Jesse Walker, one of my favorite historians, provides a thoughtful and informative overview of the history, and increasing respectability, of Mormonism in the United States:
For many Americans Mormons are scary, or weird, or at least not the sort of folk you'd want marrying your first lady. Last year a Gallup poll found that 22 percent of the country would not support a Mormon candidate for president. MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell claimed in early April that Mormonism "was created by a guy in upstate New York in 1830 when he got caught having sex with the maid and explained to his wife that God told him to do it." Jacob Weisberg, generally a reliable barometer of center-left conventional wisdom, wrote during the run-up to the last presidential campaign that he "wouldn't vote for someone who truly believed in the founding whoppers of Mormonism."
Follow the link for my lamentations. The two other historians who comment are still celebrating.
I always start by reminding people that what happens all over the world is our business. Every aspect of [our] lives is directly impacted by global events. The security of our cities is connected to the security of small hamlets in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Our cost of living, the safety of our food , and the value of the things we invent, make and sell are just a few examples of everyday aspects of our lives that are direcly related to events abroad and make it impossible for us to focus only on our issues here are home.
Last April 27, one of the worst tornadoes in American history tore through Tuscaloosa, Ala., killing 52 people and damaging or destroying 2,000 buildings. In six minutes, it put nearly one-tenth of the city's population into the unemployment line. A month later, Joplin, Mo., suffered an even more devastating blow. In a city with half the population of Tuscaloosa, a tornado killed 161 and damaged or destroyed more than 6,000 buildings.
More than 100,000 volunteers mobilized to help the stricken cities recover. A "can-do" spirit took hold, with churches, college fraternities and talk-radio stations leading the way. But a year after the tragedies, that spirit lives on far more in Joplin than in Tuscaloosa. Joplin is enjoying a renaissance while Tuscaloosa's recovery has stalled.
In Joplin, eight of 10 affected businesses have reopened, according to the city's Chamber of Commerce, while less than half in Tuscaloosa have even applied for building permits, according to city data we reviewed. Walgreens revived its Joplin store in what it calls a "record-setting" three months. In Tuscaloosa, a destroyed CVS still festers, undemolished. Large swaths of Tuscaloosa's main commercial thoroughfares remain vacant lots, and several destroyed businesses have decided to reopen elsewhere, in neighboring Northport.
The reason for Joplin's successes and Tuscaloosa's shortcomings? In Tuscaloosa, officials sought to remake the urban landscape top-down, imposing a redevelopment plan on businesses. Joplin took a bottom-up approach, allowing businesses to take the lead in recovery.
The city of Joplin, Mo., has relaxed zoning mandates and issued thousands of repair and building permits since a major tornado struck on May 22, 2011.
Read the rest <a href=" http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303404704577309220933715082.html?mod=googlenews_wsj">here</a>.
In the 1950s, Aldous Huxley narrated this excellent radio dramatization of Brave New World for the CBS radio workshop. Enjoy.
Over at the Washington Post, Kevin Gutzman systematically demolishes Rick Santorum's claim that Madison would have shared his philosophy of church and state:
When the question was put to him by George Stephanopoulos (son of a very prominent Orthodox priest), Santorum replied: “I don’t believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute. The idea that the church can have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is absolutely antithetical to the objectives and vision of our country.”
One wishes that Stephanopoulos had asked Santorum how he knew that. Where does Santorum get his idea of “the objectives and vision of our country?” Certainly not from study of James Madison.
The chief craftsman of America’s tradition of church-state separation, Madison, disagreed with Santorum. He developed at great length over more than 50 years his belief in religious freedom. Never again in America should Virginia whip Baptists or Massachusetts hang Quakers. The church should form no part of the state.
The judge ordering the sterilization paraphrases Oliver Wendell Holmes' infamous line from the majority opinion in Buck v. Bell: "Three generations of imbeciles are enough."
The normally folksy and affable CBS icon launched a determined and grim cross-examination of Ron Paul, but Paul seemed prepared for the onslaught and handled himself well. The good doctor has much improved since 2007.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette does a story on Ron Paul's early years.
One of the worst violations of academic freedom in many years is now occurring at UW-Stout. See here.
Campus police, backed up by spineless administrators, tore door a poster from the door of Professor James Miller in the Department of Theater featuring a quotation from the popular series, "Firefly." In response, Miller put up another poster (shown above) with another quotation from the series. The police also tore it down.
Although Miller is getting full backing from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), he needs reinforcements. A chilling effect has already taken place among many UW-Stout faculty who, rather than showing support for Miller, are now removing anything "controversial" from their doors.
The best place to start, in my view, is to start calling each member of the Board of Regents of the UW System. Here are their numbers. You can also call , Paul Stauffacher , the chair of the Theater Department and urge him to back his colleague.
In my calls, I stressed that this incident had put a black mark on Wisconsin's reputation as a beacon for academic freedom. Phone calls are best. Start now!