Friday, January 11, 2008

Political Vandalism in Second Life

I find this story interesting for a number of reasons, but my discussion of it is motivated primarily by skepticism about the value of political activity inside a virtual world...

Second Lifer Astrophysicist McCallister, whose real name is Skyler McKinley, was kind enough to comment again one my blog. He described the report that a Gravel aide had been involved in vandalizing the John Edward HQ in Second Life as "misinformation." So I looked into it a little further.

Let me say a couple of things first...

Number One: I understand that Second Life (along with the Internet in general) is growing and evolving. Maybe Second Life will morph so completely that it will cease to be a game one day; but that day isn't here yet, I don't think. And so my attitude is one of tongue-in-cheek humor as I think about trying to convince someone whose appearance is a cross between a cartoon character and a mythical beast from Homer's Odyssey that they should vote for my candidate for President.

Number Two: On a scale of geekiness, I probably only get a four or five out of ten. But I am computer literate, involved in the Internet, and thrilled about the coming of the Information Age. I use a SmartBoard in my classroom almost daily. I send and/or receive 50 to 100 emails a day. I read my news mostly online. I have a Facebook page. I made part of my living by blogging and creating Internet content for the New York Times Company for about eight years and I still make money blogging. I can use PowerPoint, Excel, Access, and Word. I own a digital camera and I listen to MP3s. So I'm not throwing off on Second Life per se (it's probably a great game) or on Internet communication in general. It's the way I communicate, too.

That said, I found myself laughing a lot a I explored what information (and misinformation) I could find about the cyber-attack on the Edward’s HQ in Second Life.

Unless there were two attacks, Skyler seems to be correct in saying that the idea that a Gravel aide was involved is just misinformation. Did an attack happen? The Edwards campaign has a blog post about it at their official campaign website where a "witness" describes seeing it and says that the perpetrators were (gasp) Republicans. The attack included cyber-feces (which I’m guessing doesn't smell as bad as the real stuff). It's not clear to me how the witness could tell that the vandals were Republicans. S/he took notes, saved chat logs, and filed a report with Second Life's owner, Linden Labs. That strikes me a something akin to calling Mattel because I think someone molested my Barbie doll, but what do I know.

meThe source of the misinformation was Wonkette, published in July of 2007. The Edwards blog post is dated February 28, 2007 - almost five months earlier. So if there was a Gravel aide involved in an attack on the Edwards HQ in Second Life, it was a second attack I'd say. But Wonkette is the only source I found.

On the other hand, there are a number of stories about the February cyber-attack on Edwards. Vox said in March that "anarchist hippies" did it. Vox called them "virtual terrorists" and said the group calls itself "Patriotic Nigras: e-terrorists at large." Wired Blog Network has a short piece dated March 1st with a good picture of the damage. And 10 Zen Monkeys has a longer article on the attack, published on March 5th.

Besides the one from Skyler, I got two comments on the first story. The one by Second Lifer Kiwini Oe (whose real name appears to be Steven Nelson) was interesting. Follow his logic:
20 years ago there were chat rooms and message boards. Some people used them to play games, others to lead fantasy lives, and others to discuss politics with people located around the world. Graphics hardware, network speeds, processing power, software have all evolved over time, and a multiuser interface like Second Life is the result. Some people use it to play games, others to lead fantasy lives, and others to discuss politics with people located around the world.
And the problem is one of unraveling those incompatible uses if the goal of political discussion is to accomplish something in the real world. They're not going to have a Second Life Primary anytime soon that leads to real delegates at the real nominating conventions (I don't think).

The last comment was from an anonymous person claiming to be Second Lifer Pollywog Gardenvale (Claire Condra in the real world) who did the interview with Skyler's Second Life alter ego on the Gravel campaign in the virtual world. I have no reason to doubt that she is who she says she is; but she evidently doesn't have an ID for Blogspot, so I don't know how I'd verify it.

She says two things that stuck out to me:

  1. "My interview with Skyler McKinley (Astrophysicist McCallister) is no less valid because it was conducted inside a virtual world rather than by phone or e-mail." Well, I suppose that's a matter of opinion. I've taught fact verse opinion to fourth and fifth graders regularly for a couple of years now as part of their reading curriculum. I'm not sure how you define "valid" in this context. But in a setting where your subject might be playing a fantasy game, what do his answers mean to me as a reader?

    You seem to have had a marvelous career in publishing, dating back to at least the 1990's when you (I think) were publishing stuff on time management in the San Diego Business Journal. If one of the purposes of writing is to entertain, your piece does that. I wasn't throwing off on your work. I was throwing off on the idea of political activity inside Second Life.

  2. "I've attended a number of conferences and business meetings inside Second Life and have met interesting people from all over the world." Hmmm. I doubt that. Not that I'm calling you a liar. But as I understand it, there are no "people" in Second Life; just avatars. Perhaps our perception of what is real differs significantly.

So let's sum up.

  • Second Life is a great game (probably); but I have too much to do in real life to care. (That sounds snotty and I didn't really mean it to sound snotty.) It seems time consuming.

  • Political activity inside a virtual world seems pointless. Maybe it's a good place to do fund raising. I understand that Second Life money converts into real cash. But political persuasion seems pointless when you're talking to a space alien or a mythical creature.

  • Whatever I think about it, Gravel and Edwards both have their own campaign sites inside the virtual world of Second Life. Edwards’ site got vandalized. There's not much evidence that Gravel's people were involved - none, really, that seem credible.

  • I don't really care what happens in Second Life, except perhaps as a source of humor...
Yeah, that about sums it up.

Richardson Drops Out; GOP Debate in SC

Amidst all the other things going on, I've neglected to mention that New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson dropped his bid to be the Democratic nominee for President in 2008. Richardson placed fourth in the Iowa Caucus and in the New Hampshire Primary.

I liked want I knew of Richardson. Sorry to see him go...

The GOP debate Thursday night was more animated than the early debates back last year. I learned that:

me1.) John McCain thinks that some of the jobs that have left Michigan are gone forever. Mitt Romney thinks he's wrong. So what does that mean? McCain thinks we should help displaced workers retrain and that we're going to have to find new jobs (probably new types of jobs) to replace the ones that have moved or disappeared. Romney thinks we can get auto jobs and textile mill jobs back (that's what it sounds like to me).

2.) Fred Thompson wants to fight about who gets to claim the Reagan model. He called Mike Huckabee a very nasty name: liberal.

3.) Rudy Giuliani wants people to think that he has been as strong a supporter of the Iraq War as John McCain. John McCain says Giuliani's wrong.

4.) And Ron Paul is worried that the recent incident where the U.S. Navy was confronted by "aggressive Iranian speedboats" in the Strait of Hormuz could be used to justify expanding the war in the Gulf; he compared it to the Gulf of Tonkin Incident in 1964 that expanded the Vietnam War.

So in case you've lost track, the Democratic Party has five candidates left: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich, and Mike Gravel.

Hillary is the Democratic front runner. Or maybe Obama is, it's hard to tell. Edwards is still in it (for now). Kucinich is still irritating. And Mike Gravel's time off should end about next weekend.

Technically, there are eight Republicans still running for that party's nomination. In alphabetical order (by first name) they are: Alan Keyes, Duncan Hunter, Fred Thompson, John McCain, Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul, Rudy Giuliani, and Willard "Mitt" Romney.

Huckabee is the front runner; at least he was for a few minutes last week. Maybe McCain is now, but that depends on what state you're in and which poll you read.

Of course, we all know after New Hampshire how accurate polls are; Obama was supposed to win by 10% to 15% of the vote there and lost instead.

Romney wants to be the front runner; if he wins Michigan on Tuesday, he might be the front runner. And if he doesn't, he's toast. Giuliani thinks he's the front runner, but he hasn't actually run for anything yet - at least not in a state where delegates have been at stake already. Fred Thompson is not the front runner and probably will never be. Ron Paul is mostly a potential spoiler, but is still around. And Duncan Hunter is just Duncan Hunter.

There are other candidates. The Libertarian party has eight people trying to get their nomination. Ron Paul was on the ballot in 1988 (I think) as the Libertarian candidate and got one half of one percent of the national vote in the November election. The Green Party has five people looking for its nomination, including former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, from Georgia. The Constitution Party has three. The Socialist Party and the Socialist Workers Party both have named candidates already. The Unity08 Party is thinking about nominating NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg. And I found a list of 19 independents that are running - none of whom I've ever heard of.

And don't forget, Ralph Nader is still alive and out there somewhere...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Virtual Politics: I Don't Really Get the Relationship Between Second Life and Presidential Campaigns

I figured out recently that several of the political candidates running for President have a presence of one sort or another in a place called Second Life.

Okay, Second Life is not really quite a "place" - unless you think cyberspace is a place. If we're standing in front of a computer talking about the history of Timbuktu and I say, "Well, let's go to Wikipedia and see what year that was...," is Wikipedia a place? Do we really "go" there? How long does the trip take.

Second Life is a game. Like football, NASCAR, or most other games, it can be much more than a game. It can be a hobby. It can be an obsession. It can even be a way to make a living. But it's primarily a game. And it belongs to a genre of games called virtual worlds. At any given moment, 40 or 50 thousand people are playing Second Life all over the world. There are about nine million user ID's that have been created for the game since it started in 2003.

I'm familiar with virtual worlds because I've had to write about them at my site on investment in China. They're big business. The basic idea is that a person enters the game to interact with other players. The game is like life, in a lot of ways. But you have much more power over who you are. It's your second chance at life - a purely imaginary hobby of a life. If you're fat and fifty and bald and tired of life as a newspaper delivery man you can have a new life as an LA Lawyer, or as a Wall Street businessman, or as a 20-ish blonde beach babe with a full figure and a nice tan (if that's what you want). And whoever they are in the real world, most people in Second Life are someone else in the game, someone other than their real self.

But enough background...

I wrote a blog post after the Iowa Caucus and said that Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, and Mike Gravel had dropped out. Skyler McKinley from Senator Gravel's campaign staff contacted me to let me know I was mistaken, that Senator Gravel had no intention of dropping out. I'd gotten my info from MSNBC; they were wrong. Fair enough.

I Googled Skyler. Skyler goes by the name "Astrophysicist McCallister" when he's playing Second Life. I found an interview with Skyler, or at least with Astrophysicist McCallister, by someone who calls him or her self "Pollywog Gardenvale" published a newspaper for the Second Life world. For all I know, Pollywog Gardenvale is Skyler McKinley, too (there's nothing to prevent that, I don't think); but probably not.

Skyler's interview is about Senator Gravel's campaign headquarter in Second Life.

When I saw that Skyler was the coordinator for the Gravel Campaign inside a computer game, it reminded me of an email I got the other day from someone who finds my interest in politics at least a little humorous, I think. It was a image of a box of Corn Flakes, and there were pictures on the box of 19 presidential candidates. The box said "Same old corn, different flakes." And along the bottom it said "Now with Added Nuts!" And I thought, "The nuts are Ron Paul and Mike Gravel..."

My first impression was that Gravel's presence in Second Life was just confirmation of his "nut" status. I like the quote from this blog comment, "He (Gravel) is the fringiest of fringe candidates, so it probably comes as no surprise that Democrat Mike Gravel has a Second Life campaign site. What’s he got to lose?" I was wrong...

What I discovered is that a bunch of presidential candidates have some sort of a presence in Second Life. Gravel was the first. Second was Dennis Kucinich (okay he's almost a nut).

Lane's List has a list of other campaign sites in Second Life and claims that Clinton, Edwards, Obama, Ron Paul, and even al Gore have political offices in Second Life. Of course, you have to develop a Second Life ID to enter Second Life and visit these virtual sites. And it's not clear which ones are actually connected, officially, to the campaigns of those candidates (or non-candidates, in the case of Gore).

One of my favorite little tidbits that I came across in studying this is that a Gravel aide in Second Life evidently vandalized the Second Life campaign HQ of John Edwards (my first choice for President). If it's true, I hope he's in a Second Life jail somewhere...

The Internet has become incredibly social. I've found a few old high school classmates through Facebook. I'm familiar with MySpace. And even the average everyday site wants readers to comment on the site so the author can answer them and get a dialogue going.

Facebook and MySpace were intended to be places where people could advertise who they really were. Some people abused it and pretended to be someone else to form predatory relationships. But it was mostly social reality.

Second life was started as social fantasy. Be who you wish you were! It seems like the politicians have abused it by presenting their real selves in that context. Newt Gingrich basically started that abuse of Second Life.

What puzzles me is why politicians would insert themselves into a fantasy, role play game in the hopes of winning supporters. It seems like wasted effort...

Is Second Life a game? In the FAQ section of Second Life's website, question number two is "Is Second Life a MMORPG?" MMORPG stands for massively multiplayer online role playing game. And their answer is yes (and no)...
Yes and no. While the Second Life interface and display are similar to most popular massively multiplayer online role playing games (or MMORPGs), there are two key, unique differences:

  • Creativity: Second Life provides near unlimited freedom to its Residents. This world really is whatever you make it, and your experience is what you want out of it. If you want to hang out with your friends in a garden or nightclub, you can. If you want to go shopping or fight dragons, you can. If you want to start a business, create a game or build a skyscraper you can. It’s up to you.

  • Ownership: Instead of paying a monthly subscription fee, Residents can obtain their first Basic account for FREE. Additional Basic accounts cost a one-time flat fee of just $9.95. If you choose to get land to live, work and build on, you pay a monthly lease fee based on the amount of land you have. You also own anything you create—residents retain IP rights over their in-world creations.

Lunch This Week...

I like food. I like to cook, and I sometimes incorporate features of ethnic food from places I've lived into my cooking.

I generally make my own lunches and take them to school, and sometimes they become the topic of conversation. So, heck, an easy blog post: this week's lunches...

Monday - I was sooooooo sick! I stayed home. "Lunch" came at about 8pm and consisted of chicken broth and white crackers.

Tuesday - A chunk of corned beef (I cooked a brisket some time back and froze some) and some diced potatoes fried in bacon grease.

Wednesday - A slice of pork roast left over from New Year's Day (frozen, again), with black-eyed peas and fried potatoes. The pork was glazed with an orange sauce that included nutmeg and orange peel. French bread.

Today - A salad. That's rare, but I actually like salad. This one had romaine lettuce, baby spinach, cucumber, black olives, walnuts, a little cauliflower, a little broccoli, diced red bell pepper, a small amount of purple onion, and some bacon in it. Ranch dressing and French bread.

Tomorrow - A pasta dish I froze from leftovers a couple of weeks ago. It has ravioli and tortellini, some shrimp, some oysters, and an alfredo sauce.

That's the week...

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Gravel Takes Ten Days Off

I'm starting to feel like I'm picking on him or something. I didn't really start out with that intention. But Mike Gravel has decided to take 10 days off from campaigning, according to the Western Michigan Herald. The paper says he has the flu. At 77, you have to wonder whether he'd be healthy enough to be President. And I'm not surprised that he doesn't feel well after the New Hampshire Primary...

Response to Intervention: the Cons

Note: Visit my education blog, The Green Cup.

Can we still measure whether a child has a disability?

We talked last week about the new model for identifying learning disabilities: Response to Intervention.

Who decides if Johnny has a disability? In the past it was mostly math. Parents and educators could point to test results and say a child DID or DIDN'T have a disability.

One of the biggest questions the Response to Intervention (RtI) model will face is a pretty simple one: "What IS response?" The discrepancy model, for all its shortcomings, was quantifiable.

You can hear the psychologist (or whomever) at the eligibility committee meeting: "Susie has this much of a discrepancy between her intelligence and her achievement scores, Ms. Smith, and ...well... that means she not learning disabled..."

But can you hear the school's reading specialist making the explanation instead? "Ms. Smith, we've been giving Susie some extra help during intervention time now for about 15 weeks. I know she doesn't seem to be catching up; but when we move her into a one-to-one setting with a specialist and tailor instruction just for her she responds well enough that, in my professional opinion, she doesn't have a learning disability."

Who does decide if Johnny or Susie has a disability? At the moment it's not completely clear whether interventions (and the response Johnny or Susie has to them) are also evaluations, or part but not all of the evaluation process, or simply part of the pre-referral process. Does the fact that Johnny didn't respond to interventions mean in itself that he has a learning disability, or does it mean he should be evaluated to see if he has a learning disability? And if it means that he should be evaluated, then what constitutes an evaluation? The answers to those questions will probably vary from state to state...

It is clear that RtI is intended to replace the discrepancy model as a way of identifying learning disabilities. And it is clear that states cannot require local school districts to use the discrepancy model. It is not clear when the actual evaluation process starts -- when we stop trying to simply intervene and catch Johnny up in reading, and when we start trying to decide if maybe Johnny has a disability. And the new rules will probably allow more flexibility of differences in practice from state to state and district to district than ever before.

In the past it was mostly mathematical. IDEA (the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, amended in 2004) is first and foremost a civil rights law, guaranteeing the rights of children with disabilities to an education. It relies on the best features of our adversarial court system to ensure that a child's rights aren't denied. And now the only thing that really seems to determine whether a child has a learning disability is the one thing the courts are reluctant to second guess - the professional judgment of educators.

Will it really be a problem? Consider this...

The estimates vary, but somewhere between 50% and 80% of students identified as having a learning disability are dyslexic. Reading is the process of associating a group of mental units we call phonemes with symbols we call letters. Dyslexia is a condition that alters the way sound is processed so that a student with dyslexia doesn't recognize those phonemes the way other students do. What do students with dyslexia do? They cope. They make an effort to associate whole words with the way a group of letters looks to them. Or they employ some other strategy. And they make progress. Some progress. And the more attention and encouragement the child gets, the more progress they make. The problem is, while it is enough progress to hold out hope for those concerned about the child's performance, it is almost never enough progress to catch up. The result? A dyslexic child can appear to be responding (to some extend) to an intervention when in fact we've only slowed the pace at which they are falling behind. And unless their dyslexia has been identified, the chances are that they will hit the same wall in reading (the expansion of vocabulary) that they would have under the discrepancy model - and hit it at the same time (about fourth grade).

Students with dyslexia DO respond to intervention - just not enough to catch up. And the RtI model will then have to decide whether they have a learning disability based on partial response. It is not just an either/or model - though you could get that impression from the simplistic nature of many discussion of the issue.

We've talked around a bigger question. Is dyslexia a disability? The International Dyslexia Association says "yes." I think the solution often has been to ignore the possibility that a child even has dyslexia - despite the fact that there are specific interventions that could be used to teach reading to learners with that disorder.

The success of RtI will be based in part on whether educator in America come to grips with dyslexia - identify it early and address it specifically with interventions designed for dyslexics. If that doesn't happen, my prediction is that RtI will not be a successful approach to learning disabilities any more than the discrepancy model was.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

New Hampshire Makes it Muddier

I'm listening to Barack Obama concede. It's clear that he's conceding nothing but the New Hampshire Primary... "And when I am president, I will end this war in Iraq and bring our soldiers home..." That's not a concession.

Barack won without winning and lost without knowing it.

He won because Hillary is still on the defensive. Almost winning has only increased his credibility as a challenger. Six or eight weeks ago the Democratic Party was a coronation procession on its way to crown Hillary Queen of America. Today most Americans aren't sure who the Democratic Party's frontrunner is. And I'm not sure myself.

Obama lost because he didn't replicate the young college vote miracle that work for him the Iowa Caucus. I'm sure his campaign people will worry about that...

Because it is a two-way race, Edwards is still in it and makes it a three-way race. But that will change soon unless Edwards a) comes in second, in front of one of the two "frontrunners" again before February 5th and b) wins at least a couple of primaries on February 5th (or before).

Who's not in it anymore? Joe Biden got twice as many votes as Mike Gravel. Since Joe Biden dropped out last week (he's still on the ballot because they were already set), maybe Gravel should reconsider his status. When Dennis Kucinich is 10 times as popular as you are, Senator Gravel, you're probably not popular enough to be President.

The GOP field becomes even muddier after New Hampshire. McCain has new life after winning the New Hampshire Primary. It will be interesting to see how much momentum that gives him going into the next few state, and whose votes he cuts into.

meRomney and Huckabee are in a death struggle for the conservative religious vote. Romney has now lost twice in states where he was supposed to win; but he probably won't go away. Huckabee did better than expected in N.H. and is sneaking up on Romney in Michigan (next up, January 15). If Huckabee wins Michigan and South Carolina (January 19 for the GOP), I think Romney is toast. If Romney wins Nevada (far from certain) on January 19, that may take the edge off the defeat; but Romney has to win Michigan or South Carolina to stay alive, I think.

Giuliani finished fourth as was glad for it. He almost came in fifth. It's still three weeks until Florida. Giuliani decided not to compete in the races before Florida. The question is, will anyone remember who he is in three weeks? The economy has replaced terrorism as the leading issue; that's bad for Rudy. If Huckabee doesn't bead Rudy in Florida, McCain will. If McCain doesn't, Romney may. And Ron Paul got new life in New Hampshire by giving Giuliani a run for fourth place.

Does anyone remember when Fred Thompson was considered a shoe in; all he had to do was declare his candidacy? Huckabee, in third, got ten times the votes of Thompson, in sixth. Fred can take comfort in beating Duncan Hunter...

One week until Michigan.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Gravel to Drop Out Soon... (I'm Betting)

I said on Friday that Gravel had dropped out after the Iowa caucus. I was wrong, and Skyler pointed that out in my comments. I predicted at that time that Gravel wouldn't last too much longer. Now news sources in New Hampshire are reporting that Gravel told a group of teens there that marijuana was safer than alcohol.
"Alcohol is a heck of a lot worse than marijuana, and I'm sure a lot of you have tripped out on alcohol," Gravel said. "It's a lot safer to do it on marijuana."
I know he favors the legalization of marijuana. He should discuss that with lawmakers and adults, not with teenagers.

I give him a week of political life...

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Going to the Auction...

Cheryl and I used to go to the auction almost religiously. It was fun, something we could do together. It was social because there are always gobs of people there. It was a business venture to some small extent because we bought stuff at the auction and sold it on eBay.

This bronze coal miner brought about $3,000 if I remember right.There are a couple of auction houses here in Tazewell County, but the one we've enjoyed the most (and spent the most at) by far is Miller Auction in Richlands, Va.

A number of things in the last year have kind of worked together to keep us away from the auction. For awhile Steve Miller reduced his sales to about 1 good auction per month, on the first Saturday of the month. There's been a couple of those first Saturday's where we were simply out of town. There's been a couple where one (or both) of us had to attend a workshop of some kind. And there's been a few where we were just tired and decided not to go.

Last night we went to the auction.

The crowd was probably the biggest we'd ever seen. My guess is that there were six or seven hundred people there. Most of the items for sale were antique furniture pieces from an estate in neighboring Russell County. Proceeds of the sale went to the University of Virginia at Wise (formerly Clich Valley College).

Gunn barrister bookcase I didn't get...To be honest, there wasn't much there we had a use for or wanted. Maybe if I win the Powerball we'll get a bigger house. Two of our three bedrooms are furnished with things we bought at auction. My computer sits on an oak computer desk we bought at auction. I have a roll top desk, next to it. The oak barrister bookcases in our living room, along with the oak entertainment center, hall tree, and table came from auction houses. The Persian rug in the living room and the walnut buffet in the dining room both case from auctions. There are a few other odds and ends, along with a plethora of books I couldn't resist...

Last night was fun to watch. I would have liked to have the Gunn Furniture Co. barrister bookcase pictured here, but it went for about $750 and I decided I'd wait for a better deal. there were four of five Thomas Kinkade prints, nicely framed. Cheryl considered bidding on them; but, likewise, they went for more than she wanted to pay. We also raised our paddle once on the mahogany stand pictured here, but it went to someone else.

This 1800's cherry sideboard sold for $11,500

The big item of the night was the Cherry Sideboard pictured here. Steve Miller read a history of the piece before it went on sale:
1800's Cherry Sideboard. Here is The History For This Piece. The Old Courthouse on Rt. 58 was built by Henry Dickenson & used as a courthouse from Sept. 20, 1787 to Sept. 28, 1798. Later, Frank & Mollie Etta Fugate lived in the Old Courthouse on Rt. 58, formerly Dickenson property. The property was sold to the county for restoration by the Fugate's granddaughters who were the daughters of the Virginia Fugate Muse. When the property passed out of the Fugate Family that is when James Lemuel Williams (1837-1919) the Great Grandfather of Bob Hancock bought the great big wild cherry side board from the Fugate Family. James L. Williams left it to his son Javey Williams. Javey Williams gave it to Thelma Meade Hancock (Bob's mother) for nursing him through a long 6 month battle with TB years later. This wild cherry sideboard would have been in the old courthouse sometime between 1798 & 1818 and used by the Fugate Family until it was sold into the Williams Family. Sincerely Lynda Williams Closson (Family Member)
The mahogany stand we wantedThe piece went for $11,500 - the highest price for a single piece in the history of the auction house. Since items come with a 10% buyer's premium and sales tax, I estimate that the actual price the bidder paid was about $13,000. An attorney I know bought the piece. He said he planned to take ti back to Russell County, where it belonged...

The auction started at 5pm. We stayed until about 9:30. The auction probably went until close to midnight. Tuesday night smaller and less expensive items will be on the block at Miller's and Cheryl and I will probably go.