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SOURCE: Juan Cole at his blog, Informed Comment (3-19-09)
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
So I was on the Colbert Report, hosted by Stephen Colbert at Comedy Central, on Wednesday night, to promote my new book, Engaging the Muslim World.
The clip is up at the Colber site now
Colbert has four Emmys for his comedy writing on the show, and also just won a Producers Guild Award for Television Producer of the Year Award in Live Entertainment/Competition (i.e. he has the esteem of his peers). A talented comedy writer who worked on the Saturday Night Live"Saturday TV Funhouse" cartoons (and sometimes provided voices), and then as a writer and occasional" correspondent" on the Daily Show, like Tina Fey he made the move to performance (and like her his greatest success came in parodying the political Right). To be sure, he did it first.
Colbert's persona as a pompous, right-wing news anchor has a long genealogy in television comedy. One thinks of Ted Knight's Ted Baxter character on the Mary Tyler Moore Show. Colbert's special genius lay in recognizing the comedic potential of skewering the Fox Cable News anchors and commentators, the rightwing bullyboys such as Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly. That he is a liberal playing a conservative to a young liberal audience introduces a hall-of-mirrors-like complexity into the comedy.
So after they set me, my wife and my editor and some staffers from Palgrave Macmillan up in the green room in a nondescript building on the edges of Manhattan's Theater District, the Colbert crew kindly gave me a tour of the studio (I like studios, and sort of collect visits to them). I impudently asked if I could sit at Mr. Colbert's anchor desk, and the staff kindly said yes:
As I was getting behind the desk I almost tripped on something, and looked down to find a . . . pitchfork. Gee, I thought, this will be a tough interview.
But it turns out that the pitchfork was meant for another purpose, Colbert's populist proposal to lead the peasants with torches to the AIG headquarters (i.e. the very thing Rush Limbaugh was inveighing against). Colbert's persona is sometimes more populist than merely conservative.
In our interview, Colbert effectively skewered the Islamophobic schticks of rightwing American media, a la Glenn Beck and other hatemongers. I do a lot of radio and am sometimes on with a shock jock interviewer. In fact, on Wednesday morning I had the misfortune to encounter Chicago radio personality Mancow Muller in a telephone interview on my book. At one point he started shouting, as I remember,"isn't it time to just start killing them?" and wanted to justify killing and half-starving Gazan children for the sins of Hamas. I don't know if he believes this crap or he is not all there, but his employer, Talk Radio Network, appears to be among the biggest hatemongers in the United States. A responsible American public would mount advertiser boycotts of this sewage. I'm all for free speech in media and love listening to responsible conservative voices such as those in The American Conservative. But just shouting that it is time to start killing people is sick and actually may eventually get someone killed.
Anyway, after my distasteful encounter earlier that day, I found Colbert's parody of such individuals positively hilarious.
Interestingly, Colbert revealed that he is taking the show to the Persian Gulf, for a direct encounter with the Muslim world, himself. He was hoping, he said, for an opulent experience in Dubai. I had the sad duty of informing him that Dubai isn't what it was before the real estate collapse.
The Colbert Report generously gave me a bag full of goodies. These included a Colbert Report should bag (which I will treasure), various flavored waters and snacks, a cosmetic kit that my wife thought well of, and a gift card that allows me to forward $100 to help public schools via DonorsChoose.org which was the best gift of all.
After the show was over, my wife and I had a very nice celebration dinner at Victor's Cuban Cafe in the Theater District, among my favorites in New York. Afterwards, we wanted to go back to the hotel and catch the show, which airs at 11:30 pm ET. But it then occurred to me that our hotel's basic cable package did not include Comedy Central. So we asked the manager at Victor's if we could watch it at the bar as they were closing up, and they kindly agreed. The manager had stories about visits to the restaurant of J-Lo, David Letterman, and other celebrities.
It was a wonderful experience to be on the Colbert Report. Unlike some academics, I watch a lot of television, and don't think you can understand American society if you don't. I really think that the Comedy Bloc from 11-12 ET on Comedy Central, of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, is a little space of sanity and reality in American public life. Comedy, satire and parody allow these two very intelligent and perceptive gentlemen to be brutally frank about the foibles of American society. To any extent I could join in that enterprise, it was my privilege.
SOURCE: Conrad Black at National Review Online (3-18-09)
We went around this track before, in an exchange in the Wall Street Journal five years ago, which I referred to in my National Review Online piece, to which he replied in his “Conrad Black in Fantasy Land” a few days ago. He wrote that the TVA was a mistake and that it would have been preferable to starve the farmers into urban slums, where eventually they would have had higher standards of living. I believe I am as close to a pure capitalist as Powell, and it is piquant to be accused of being a hemophiliac bleeding heart, but — as I wrote — this is an agrarian-reform plan that would have put Roosevelt in the company of Stalin and Mao Tse-tung.
Powell even inflicts upon readers the feeble sophomorism of suggesting that I think public-sector spending is more useful and stimulating to the economy than private-sector spending. A cursory glance at anything I have written about politics or economics in the last 35 years, including my biography of FDR, shows that nothing could be farther from the truth.
I must remind Powell that I wrote that Roosevelt knew little of economics, but enough to distrust most economists and to realize that half of economics is psychology. I referred to the National Industrial Recovery Act as nonsense, a hodgepodge of conflicting measures attended by a ludicrous fanfare of Blue Eagles and parades, but noted that parts of it did increase employment and raise morale. I also pointed out that Roosevelt was almost relieved when the Supreme Court threw it out. (His concern with the Court was what else it might do.)
I wrote that the New Deal, as Alan Greenspan said to me, was a respectable pass on economics, but a near-perfect score on catastrophe avoidance. The cartelism, promotion of collective bargaining, and industry codes were unfortunate. And the pre-war tax increases and the rubbish about “malefactors of great wealth” and so forth were regrettable, but Roosevelt, whose political acumen has rarely been challenged, judged them necessary to stave off Huey Long and the other fringe rabble-rousers....
SOURCE: Bill Moyers Journal on PBS (3-13-09)
KAREN ARMSTRONG: So can I ask you what you think about the Pope?
BILL MOYERS: Next thing you know, Armstrong was creating documentaries about religion and making comments like this:
KAREN ARMSTRONG: The Pope is the world's last, great, absolute monarch. He not only controls doctrinal and spiritual affairs, but also the political, social and economic fortunes of his church. And because he's believed to be directly guided by God, his decisions have the ring of absolute truth, which is strangely out of kilter with the democratic tenor of today's world.
BILL MOYERS: While working on a film in Jerusalem, the ancient city where Islam, Judaism and Christianity converge, the connections among that trio of faiths rekindled Armstrong's imagination and led to another new career.
She became one of the foremost, and most original, thinkers on religion in our modern world. Her many popular books include studies of Muhammad and Islam, the crusades, the ambitiously titled A HISTORY OF GOD and her latest, THE BIBLE.
A self-proclaimed "freelance monotheist," Karen Armstrong is now on a mission to bring compassion, the heart of religion, as she sees it, back into modern life.
KAREN ARMSTRONG: Well this is such an honor.
BILL MOYERS: Last year, at an annual gathering of the leaders in technology, entertainment and design, she received their highly prestigious TED Prize, a $100,000 cash award that, like the genie in the lamp, also grants the recipient a wish.
KAREN ARMSTRONG: I wish that you would help with the creation, launch and propagation of a Charter for Compassion -- crafted by a group of inspirational thinkers from the three Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and based on the fundamental principle of the Golden Rule.
BILL MOYERS: The Golden Rule: "Do not do to others what you would not like them to do to you." That universal principle of empathy and respect is at the core of all major religions.
Karen Armstrong's Charter for Compassion was launched last year with an interactive website, charterforcompassion.org. There, people of all faiths can submit their ideas about what the Charter should say.
Recently, she traveled to Geneva, Switzerland, and gathered with a group of international religious leaders to draft the guiding principles of her charter for compassion. Karen Armstrong, it's good to see you again.
KAREN ARMSTRONG: It's great to be back. Thank you.
BILL MOYERS: So tell us what you're up to with this movement.
KAREN ARMSTRONG: Well, my work has continually brought me back to the notion of compassion. Whichever religious tradition I study, I find that the heart of it is the idea of feeling with the other, experiencing with the other, compassion. And every single one of the major world religions has developed its own version of the Golden Rule. Don't do to others what you would not like them to do to you.
You see, the Greeks too, they may have been not religious in our sense, but they understood about compassion. The institution of tragedy put suffering on stage. And the leader of the chorus would ask the audience to weep for people, even like Heracles, who had been driven mad by a goddess and slew his own wife and children.
And the Greeks did weep. They didn't just, like modern western men, wipe a tear from the corner of their eye and gulp hard. They cried aloud because they felt that weeping together created a bond between human beings. And that the idea is you were learning to put yourself in the position of another and reach out, not only to acceptable people, people in your own group, but to your enemies, to people that you wouldn't normally have any deep truck with at all.
BILL MOYERS: So this is not just another call for another round of interfaith dialogue?
KAREN ARMSTRONG: No, it's nothing to do with interfaith dialogue. Look, I'm not expecting the whole world to fall into a daze of compassion.
BILL MOYERS: Oh, I don't think you have to worry about that.
KAREN ARMSTRONG: But this is the beginning of something. We're writing a charter which we hope will be sort of like the charter of human rights, two pages only. Saying that compassion is far more important than belief. That it is the essence of religion. All the traditions teach that it is the practice of compassion and honoring the sacred in the other that brings us into the presence of what we call God, Nirvana, Raman, or Tao. And people are remarkably uneducated about compassion these days. So we want to bring it back to the center of attention. But then, it's got to be incarnated into practical action....
I believe that the United States and its NATO allies are destined to have more and more to do with the Muslim world over the coming decades. Some estimates of world population growth suggest that it will level off about 2050 at 9 billion or so. Nearly a third of humankind at that point may well be Muslim (the proportion is more like one-sixth to one-fifth today). Muslims will be the labor pool of the 21st century. And while we all wish that we could wean ourselves from fossil fuels in only ten years, likely a majority of our energy will still be being generated by them in 2050. The deepest known reserves of petroleum and natural gas are in Muslim-majority regions such as the Persian Gulf and Central Asia. As the shallower reserves elsewhere run dry, or as the populations of those countries with limited reserves begin using these resources themselves, industrialized nations will become even more intimately intertwined with the Muslim producers. Ironically, these hydrocarbon producers may also be the ones who have the capital to partner in trying to move to solar energy, the only real solution to the crisis (and one that should be attractive to the Muslim world, which has a disproportionate amount of sunlight and deserts).
Despite this growing relationship of production and consumption, of supply and dependency, relations between the two worlds are rapidly worsening. That combination of increased need for one another and increased distrust for one another could be explosive. The Muslim world has America anxiety, because of the recent history of coups, interventions and outright invasions, and because of Washington's one-sidedness on the Israel-Palestine issue. The US and to a lesser extent Europe have Islam Anxiety, because of al-Qaeda and other terrorism, because of perceived intolerance and tendency to theocray, and because of what is seen as an irrational anti-Western sentiment. I argue in the book that Muslim terrorism is a significant but definitely fringe phenomenon, and that it resembles the far right of gun nuts and white supremicists in the US. We have to see things in proportion to make good policy.
Muslim publics are forthright in saying what they want. They want the US out of Iraq and Afghanistan and they want the Palestinians to cease being stateless and oppressed by a foreign military occupation that is expropriating them and/or depriving them of basic rights of life and property. They also would like more actual civilian development aid rather than grants of F-18s to their generals. And they want more easily to be able to travel to and learn from the United States. I think the Obama administration could hope to give them a majority of the things they say they want from us, and I think doing so would lay the groundwork for progress on the other outstanding issues. We don't, in other words, have to be at war or to recreate the cold war, this time with the Muslim world instead with international communism. Muslims like democracy and private property way too much to be good stand-ins for the commisars.
This book came together for me because of the prospect that Bush and Cheney were on their way out of office. The departure of Blair in the UK and other changes in European politics also held out the possibility that these states and their publics might be open to new policies toward the Muslim world and more specifically the Middle East. Putting forth plans seemed pretty futile as long as the Bush administration was in power, because they were incredibly stubborn and unbelievably insular.
I felt a strong responsibility to write the book because I have lived in both worlds. Altogether, I probably spent about a decade in the Muslim world. I still travel there a lot, and keep in close touch nowadays through the internet even when I'm back here. I also have a lot to do with the American Muslim and Arab communities. I can't tell you how upset I am about the bigotry and racism I see deployed against Muslims, at home and abroad, by rightwing pundits in this country. It is having an effect. I mean, a very large proportion of Americans has begun questioning the loyalty of American Muslims to the United States. In one poll, a quarter of Americans said that they would not want to live next to a Muslim.
That sentiment is ugly, especially if you know the history of race relations in the US. There were laws about where people could live based on race. The racial segregation of neighborhoods in Los Angeles, e.g., was carefully plotted out, as my colleague Scott Kurashige has shown, and had legislative and judicial backing. Japanese suffered from it, as well as African-Americans Even the 1948 and 1953 Supreme Court rulings that struck down restrictive racial covenants only made it impossible to enforce them in the courts, but did not stop whites from informally continuing the practice. When you say, in the US, that you don't want to live next to a person because of his or her ancestry, you are buying in to a very powerful history of bigotry and social control. It used to be Jews, Blacks and Asians who were targeted for such residential restrictions. At least in some Americans' minds, it is now apparently Muslims.
Inasmuch as I am a historian, I view this book as a species of contemporary history. Although my main focus is on the present, I think knowing both Middle Eastern history and the history of European and American relations with the region is essential to formulating good policy. Recognizing that most Iraqis viewed their country as the victim of British colonialism, and that much of twentieth-century Iraqi history was about gaining independence from London, would have told us that most Iraqis would not greet invading Western troops as "liberators," however happy they might have been to see Saddam Hussein overthrown. Understanding that both the Eisenhower and Reagan administrations strove mightily to build up Wahhabi Saudi Arabia as the central leader of the Muslim world allows us to see the irony of present-day American politicians' denunciations of the alleged pernicious influence of the Saudis on their coreligionists.
Now it may seem trite to insist that America Anxiety and Islam Anxiety can be overcome by better information and more intensive dialogue and negotiation, but I just want to point out that these steps are not the ones that have been being taken during the past 8 years, so we don't know how effective they could be if pursued seriously. Actually the most dramatic example of showing respect to Muslims and working to get them on the side of the US versus radicals was the Awakening Councils in Iraq, where Sunni Muslims went on the US payroll to fight what Washington calls "al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia." The American Right keeps lauding the success of this program without seeming to recognize that they oppose similar policies with regard to other, much less virulent movements. They don't even want us to talk to the nonviolent Muslim Brotherhood. Why?
SOURCE: James Traug in the NYT Bk Rev (3-12-09)
Khalidi’s central argument is that the Bush administration’s interventionist posture toward the Middle East is no mere post-9/11 aberration, but represents an especially bellicose expression of a longstanding campaign. Today’s enemy is terrorism; yesterday’s was Communism. And just as the threat of Communism was wildly exaggerated 50 years ago, so, these days, “the global war on terror is in practice an American war in the Middle East against a largely imaginary set of enemies.” Khalidi’s point is not that American policy toward the Middle East has been consistently hys terical; rather, he says, it has been consistently cynical, exploiting an apocalyptic sense of threat in order to achieve the kind of dominance to which great powers, what ever their rhetoric, aspire.
Most histories of America’s role in the Middle East, like Michael B. Oren’s Power, Faith and Fantasy,” focus on the naïveté and misguided idealism of a nation much given to moral crusades. Khalidi looks to interests rather than principles. His story of America’s active role in the Middle East begins in 1933, when the consortium known as Aramco signed an exclusive oil deal with Ibn Saud, the king of Saudi Arabia. Khalidi reminds us of familiar if squalid acts of American intervention, like the role of the C.I.A. in the 1953 overthrow of Mohammed Mossadegh, the prime minister of Iran, who had championed the nationalization of his country’s oil industry. Khalidi also describes lesser-known ones, including the delivery of “briefcases full of cash” to Lebanon’s pro-Western president Camille Chamoun in order to help Chamoun rig the 1957 parliamentary election.
This brute meddling, Khalidi argues, not only kept the pot of civil conflict boiling in many already weak states, but also “profoundly undermined whatever limited pos sibility there might have been of estab lishing any kind of democratic govern ance in a range of Middle Eastern countries.”...
SOURCE: NYT (3-15-09)
Professor Kulchytsky, though, would not go along.
The other day, as he stood before a new memorial to the victims of the famine, he recalled his decision as one turning point in a movement lasting decades to unearth the truth about that period. And the memorial itself, shaped like a towering candle with a golden eternal flame, seemed to him in some sense a culmination of this effort.
“It is a sign of our respect for the past,” Professor Kulchytsky said. “Because everyone was silent about the famine for many years. And when it became possible to talk about it, nothing was said. Three generations on.”
The concrete memorial was dedicated last November, the 75th anniversary of the famine, in a park in Kiev, on a hillside overlooking the Dnieper River in the shadow of the onion domes of a revered Orthodox Christian monastery. More than 100 feet tall, the memorial will eventually house a small museum that will offer testimony from survivors, as well as information about the Ukrainian villages that suffered.
SOURCE: http://www.newswise.com (3-13-09)
Whaples, who is department chair and professor of economics at Wake Forest University, even says he has come to see the field of economics not as the so-called "dismal science" but rather as the "cheerful science."
With daily headlines focused on unemployment figures, sluggish consumer spending and deflated stock market averages, on what does he base his optimism? The long view. Pull the lens back from the current troubles, he says, and you can expect a future of increasing knowledge, improving productivity and rising standards of living because the underlying drivers of these trends have not disappeared.
"The recent financial turmoil has no bearing on this long-term prediction," Whaples notes. "After all, the Great Depression didn't affect the long-term economic trend of the 20th century."
While he cannot predict when the economy will resume its long march upward, he is confident that the current situation is temporary and considers a historical perspective vital to helping people understand and weather the downturn.
A Rasmussen Poll released March 10 shows that nearly half of adults (49 percent) fear today's children will not be better off than their parents, with only 26 percent holding a more optimistic view.
“The view of economists should help cure these anxieties,” Whaples contends, if people can hear that view over the current din of doomsayers.
SOURCE: http://www.international.ucla.edu (3-13-09)
BEFORE AN AUDIENCE that included consular officials from six Central and Eastern European countries that threw off Communism in 1989, a visiting historian and professor from Berlin recalled the stunning events that led up to the fall of Communism and the demise of the Soviet Union, a transformation that no one had predicted would take place that year.
Visiting professor Jurgen Kocka, a modern social historian at the Free University of Berlin, gave a lecture that kicks off more than a year of talks, conferences and film screenings on and off campus focused on the events of 1989. Also on the schedule are an international conference and a film series, cosponsored with the Goethe Institute, all set for this November.
Kocka's lecture was held in Royce Hall on March 4 and was organized by the UCLA Center for European and Eurasian Studies and eight European consulates in Los Angeles.
Remarkably in Europe's history, Soviet-type regimes in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland and Romania "imploded" in 1989 without the bloodshed of war, Kocka said. Only in Romania was there significant violence, culminating in the hasty execution of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu on Christmas Day.
In East Germany, leaders never resorted to tanks or filled prisons and hospitals they had prepared for possible confrontation in 1989; their self-confidence had apparently been spent after the well-publicized exodus of thousands of citizens in September and massive urban protests that November, Kocka said. Instead, the Berlin Wall would open on Nov. 9, and in less than a year, the German Democratic Republic would be absorbed into what had been West Germany.
"Everyone knew what had happened in Tiananmen Square in Beijing in June the same year," Kocka said. "But — and it was something like a small miracle and, in a way, looking back, it still is — police violence remained very limited; the army was not called into action."
Led by dissident playwright Vaclav Havel, "easily the most impressive leader of the 1989 revolution Europe-wide," the historian noted, 750,000-strong crowds in Prague peacefully brought down the government over the course of a week in November.
Though not inevitable, said Kocka, "velvet" revolutions were possible because "the crowds and the activists of 1989 detested violence," and, crucially, because the Soviet Union never sent troops to put down the agitators....
SOURCE: NYT op ed by Frederick Kagan, Kimberly Kagan and Max Boot (3-12-09)
These were the parting words to us from Brig. Gen. Sher Muhammad Zazai, commander of the 205th Corps of the Afghan National Army in Kandahar. He was echoing the sentiments of a group of village elders we had met days before in Khost Province, who assured us that they would never allow the Taliban to come back.
It is odd that the Afghans felt it necessary to reassure American visitors that all was far from lost. It reflected the fact that even in a country where electricity and running water are scarce, word of the defeatist hysteria now gripping some in the American political elite has spread.
No one in Afghanistan — from the American commander, Gen. David McKiernan, to those village elders — underestimates the difficulties that lie ahead. But no one we spoke to on an eight-day journey (arranged for us by Gen. David Petraeus, the head of the military’s Central Command) that took us from Kunar Province on the Pakistan border to Farah Province near the Iranian frontier doubted that we can succeed, or that we must do so.
SOURCE: Houston Chronicle (3-12-09)
“We’d take East Texas trips and stop by all the historical markers and historical houses. Wherever we went, it seemed something had to be historical,” recalled her son David Benham, a Houston golf pro. “I started calling them ‘hysterical markers.’ That was really the wrong thing to do.”
Benham, a descendant of Ulysses S. Grant who grew up in Baytown not far from the homestead of early Texas statesman David G. Burnet, taught American history in a wide range of settings, including the University of Houston, Cy-Fair College, North Harris Community College and University of Houston-Downtown. She held the latter post 20 years, retiring in 2006.
“Dates and facts were very important to her,” recalled her sister Verlene Masters. “She was very dedicated. History needed to be as important to you as it was to her.”
SOURCE: HNN Staff summary of a long article in the Chronicle of Higher Education (3-13-09)
The son, Raphael H. Golb, has been charged in New York City with impersonation for allegedly assuming the identity of a scholar in order to discredit him. In an email that was widely distributed the scholar supposedly confesses to plagiarism. The scholar is a longtime critic of Norman Golb's theories about the disputed authorship of the Scrolls.
SOURCE: E.J. Dionne in the American Prospect (3-13-09)
I can't remember which of two inspiring high school history teachers, Jim Garman or Norm Hess, gave me Leuchtenburg's Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal: 1932–1940. Rereading it recently, I was reminded of the excitement I felt at age 15 over the realization that a graceful writer could bring politics to life. Leuchtenburg's version of FDR launched my teenage journey toward a practical kind of liberalism.
And my latest reading underscored the point that our times really do bear an uncanny resemblance to the 1930s, and Barack Obama's opportunities are quite like those seized by Franklin Roosevelt.
Consider, first, how the urgencies of the Depression swept aside the 1920s culture wars over prohibition. Leuchtenburg cites a letter written to FDR's political maestro Jim Farley observing how ridiculous it was "for a jobless wet Democrat to wrangle with a jobless dry Democrat over liquor when neither could afford the price of a drink." One can imagine our current economic distress having a comparable impact on disputes over, say, gay marriage.
Also striking is how the discrediting of the leading economic classes followed the same form, then and now. "Throughout the 1920s," Leuchtenburg writes, "publicists had trumpeted one never-ending refrain: that the prosperity of the decade had been produced by the genius of businessmen. If businessmen had caused prosperity, who but they must be responsible for the depression."
You wonder if our Congress will launch a probe along the lines of the 1930s Senate investigation of Wall Street led by Ferdinand Pecora. "Pecora revealed that the most respected men on Wall Street had rigged pools, had profited by pegging bond prices artificially high, and had lined their pockets with fantastic bonuses," Leuchtenburg writes. "The bankers seemed bereft of a sense of obligation even to their own institutions."
But what gives this book its power is Leuchtenburg's brilliant portrait of FDR, his administration, and how they got so much done, so fast. The anecdotes, the revelatory quotations, the pen portraits of Roosevelt's friends and enemies, are put to the service of a shrewdly analytical account that balances the role of Roosevelt himself, the force of social movements, and the exigencies of circumstance.
Leuchtenburg does not quite buy the "great man" theory of history—he gives proper due to the unions and the agitators and the interest groups. Yet he is right that FDR was the essential inspiration, thanks to his "ability to arouse the country and, more specifically, the men who served under him by his breezy encouragement of experimentation, by his hopefulness and—a word that would have embarrassed some of his lieutenants—by his idealism."
Leuchtenburg's account is also helpful in sorting out the false debate over whether Obama is more progressive or more pragmatic. FDR was the subject of the same misleading argument because he was both. "The New Deal," Leuchtenburg says, "was pragmatic mainly in its skepticism about utopias and final solutions, its openness to experimentation, and its suspicion of the dogmas of the Establishment."...
Leuchtenburg's account of the past invites us to be part of our own era's rendezvous with destiny. He certainly enlisted me, and I'm grateful that he did.
SOURCE: Michael Honey (3-12-09)
One hundred historians have declared their support for the Employee Free Choice Act, introduced into Congress on March 10 by Senator Tom Harkin and Rep. George Miller.
The legislation would make it easier for workers to organize unions and harder for employers to evade them. Workers could obtain a union when fifty percent sign cards authorizing a union. The law would also force employers to respond quickly and bargain in good faith or face increased fines and mandatory, binding arbitration by the National Labor Relations Board.
Why are faculty members, who are so notoriously un-organized, speaking on behalf of unions? There are many reasons, but on one level the reason is simple: democracy depends upon it, and our economy needs it.
The last great depression occurred when unions declined to almost nothing in the 1920s. Republican government cut taxes on the rich and removed many of the regulations of the Progressive era, which in turn allowed bankers and corporations to make sky-high profits. The housing and stock market boomed, and the rich got richer. That led to the crash of 1929. Because labor was not organized, it had almost no restraining influence on government, leading to a vast divide between the rich and the working class. Sound familiar?
In 1935, the Wagner Act made it easier for workers to organize, establishing the right to freedom of association and speech on the job without employer intimidation or interference. The rise of unions paved the way to the Social Security Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and many of the government safety nets we rely upon today.
Because unions gained in strength, workers increased their wages and their buying power. When the economy came out of its stupor during the rapid industrialization of World War II, unions became widespread. The result was the rise of the largest middle class in world history.
This history favors two arguments about the need for labor law reform today. Without unions, government will not reflect the needs of the great majority of people who work for a living. Not only will democracy suffer, but wages will stagnate, people cannot afford to buy what they produce, and our economy will suffer.
Those who have jobs need to be able to advocate for themselves. Employers will not voluntarily raise wages, and government will not do very much to make that happen either. Only workers themselves can do that, but to do it, they need to be able to harness their numbers in an organized way.
Employers will say EFCA takes away the workers right to a secret ballot. It isn’t true. If thirty percent or people in a work place petition for it, they can demand a secret ballot election. The trouble is, employer strategies since the 1980s have turned elections into a nightmare of intimidation, delays, and poor results for workers.
EFCA allows that if fifty percent petition for a union, it will take effect immediately. The choice of methods belongs to workers, not to the employers, who seem perfectly capable of protecting themselves. Let’s face it: Labor laws are written to protect workers.
History shows that we are in a time where worker rights need increased protection. Unions are clearly not the answer to every problem. But for capitalism to function in a democratic manner, we need them.
For a list of signers to the historians’ petition, and for more information on the Employee Free Choice Act, see the web site (http://LAWCHA.org/tls.php).
We, the undersigned historians, support the Employee Free Choice Act and urge Congress to enact it.”
University of California-Davis
University of Washington, Tacoma
University of Georgia
University of California, Santa Barbara
James J. Lorence
University of Wisconsin—Marathon County
University of Colorado, Boulder (Philosophy)
Michael C. Pierce
University of Arkansas
Charles A. Zappia
San Diego Mesa College
Loyola University, Chicago
Ohio State University
Worcester State College
St. Olaf College
John S. Olszowka
University of Illinois, Chicago
San Francisco State University
Western Illinois University
Jacquelyn Dowd Hall
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
University of Illinois, Chicago
John L. Revitte
Michigan State University
University of Wisconsin, Green Bay
University of Missouri, St. Louis
Nancy F. Gabin
Middlesex Community College
University of Washington, Tacoma
College of Charleston
Joshua B. Freeman
City University of New York
University of California
University of Utah
Daniel A. Graff
University of Notre Dame
Oakland University (Michigan)
Pennsylvania State University
Linda K. Kerber
University of Iowa
Washington State University – Vancouver
University of South Florida
John P. Lloyd
Cal Poly Pomona
Leslie S. Rowland
University of Maryland, College Park
University of California, Berkeley
Andrew H. Lee
New York University, Bobst Library
James N. Gregory
University of Washington
University of Houston
Case Western Reserve University
North Carolina State University
José A. Soler
University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth
Dominican University (IL)
Gordon K. Mantler
University of California, Riverside
State University of New York, Cortland
Shannan W. Clark
Montclair State University
University of California, Santa Barbara
University of Kentucky
University of California, Los Angeles
University of California, Santa Barbara
Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand)
University of California, Irvine
University of California, Santa Cruz
University of California, Santa Barbara
University of California, Santa Barbara
University of California, Los Angeles
Mary O. Furner
University of California, Santa Barbara
Indiana State Universsity
University of Florida
Michael Robert Bussel
University of Oregon
Mitchell Community College (NC)
West Virginia University
Northern Illinois University
State University of New York, Binghamton
Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania
Georgia Southern University
New York University
University of Washington
Jennifer E. Brooks
University of Maine at Augusta
University of California, Santa Cruz
University of Southern California
Eric Foner, Columbia University
Robert Zieger, University of Florida
Mai Ngai, Columbia University
Charles Bergquist, University of Washington
Nelson Lichtenstein, University of California Santa Barbara
Kimberly Phillips, William and Mary
Nikhil Pal Singh, University of Washington
Michelle Nacy, University of Washington Tacoma
Grace Palladino, University of Maryland
SOURCE: Daniel Pipes website (3-8-09)
I prepared for this interview on the Fox New Channel armed with quotes expecting to discuss specifics of the coverage of Islam in select U.S. textbook. Only when the program was already underway did I learn that there would be another interviewee with me and that it would be Hussein Ibish.
Ibish twice dismissed the Muslims who support terrorism as a"tiny speck." I disputed that on air but, having prepped to discuss textbooks, was not equipped with specific figures and citations.
Here, afterwards, are a couple of statistics to bear out my on-air statements about percentages:
USA Today:"The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found in a national survey that nearly 80% of Muslims in the USA say suicide bombings are never justified to"defend Islam," but a quarter of those under 30 think such attacks are OK in some circumstances."
Reuters:"Support in some degree for suicide bombings among younger European Muslims ranged from 22 percent in Germany to 29 percent in Spain, 35 percent in Britain and 42 percent in France, according to a May 2006 Pew poll."
For a general discussion of this topic, see Michael Freund,"The straightforward arithmetic of jihad," The Jerusalem Post, January 30, 2007. As he puts it,"Now, one in four justifying terror may not be a majority, but it certainly isn't a 'small fringe' either."
Eric Shawn: Are our children being taught a politically correct version of Islam? Well, this study from the American Textbook Council says some school textbooks portray Islam in the most favorable light, while downplaying Islamic extremism. One junior high school book described jihad this way:"jihad is defined as a struggle within each individual to overcome difficulties and strive to please God. Sometimes it may be a physical struggle for protection against enemies." Muslim activists say the attention should not be on terrorism or extremists, but others say youngsters are not getting the full story.
Joining us now is Daniel Pipes of danielpipes.org, who for years has studied Islamic extremism, and on the telephone we have Hussein Ibish, who is the executive director of the Foundation for Arab-American Leadership. Daniel, let me start with you, when you see jihad described that way as a"physical struggle for protection" – what is your reaction?
Daniel Pipes: Well Eric I'm astonished. There is a history of nearly 1400 years of violent jihad that led to warfare, destruction, enslavement, devastation. It is a fact, it is a reality, and for history books in the United States and in public schools to ignore this is to ignore not just historical fact but the main security problem of the United States today.
Eric Shawn: When you talk about security. Let me give you an example of another book, another book talking about the 9/11 hijackers under a chapter about Islamic fundamentalism, It said they were a"team of terrorists." Didn't mention their religion—it did say they were from Al-Qaeda but showed no pictures of the burning towers at all and no pictures of the people fleeing, I mean the critics say that shows that the truth is being sanitized for our children.
Daniel Pipes: I think there are two reasons for this, Eric. One has to do with the activism of Islamist groups that are urging to have these unpleasant topics not discussed and secondly there is a receptivity to that activism on the part of the educational establishment which tends to see Muslims not in any kind of threatening posture but as victims, as people who are subject to discrimination and other forms of bias and therefore who need to be reached out to, need to have the way made simple and clear for them so anything that is unpleasant should be swept under the rug.
So, between this yin and yang, between the Islamists who are pushing and an educational establishment that is receptive you have an extraordinary vision of Islam not just in the couple of books you mention but across the board, every single book one looks at one finds the same distortion of the record.
Eric Shawn: Hussein Ibish is on the telephone, Mr. Ibish what's your view? Do you believe our children are getting an inaccurate view of Islam?
Hussein Ibish: Well, I think it—across the board, probably not from school textbooks as far as I know. It is—the two examples you cited, the first case I think is a perfect—a well established, very well accepted mainstream definition of jihad that is, you know, ought to be embrace and promoted, unless you want to go ahead and say, oh Bin laden is right and he is the definitor of Islam and the extremists are—they have the interpretation exactly correct where you've got the mainstream community and mainstream scholars, saying no that is not what the religious concept means.
Eric Shawn: I know but what about homicide bombings and suicide bombings and holy war and Islamic jihad?
Hussein Ibish: Right, that absolutely, that exists as a political phenomenon and I think it is very appropriate to study that in history and political science classes but not a class about religion, because ultimately that doesn't define the religious traditions of anything but a tiny speck of the Muslim community of the entire world and certainly doesn't reflect the attitudes of the Muslims in the United States. And if you teach that in history and you should in history and political science classes but not a class about religious beliefs because it doesn't define the religious beliefs of any except a small fringe. It would be like taking the KKK and saying this is what Christians think or something it doesn't reflect mainstream Christianity and that doesn't reflect mainstream Islam.
Eric Shawn: What would you like to see the texts—go ahead Daniel, you can respond.
Daniel Pipes: That small tiny fringe is actually poll after poll, suggests, between 20, 30, 40 and even 50%,. This is not some tiny fringe. This is a very substantial part of the Muslim population both in the United States and worldwide.
Hussein Ibish: That is not true at all. The poll in the United States show that almost no American Muslims supported suicide bombings . I mean, it was a—a tiny speck and they had—had to break it down into very small sort of youthful demographic, to even extract something that was statistically measurable vis-a-vis people who are sympathetic to suicide bombing and is not true.
Daniel Pipes: This is the standard apologetic that it doesn't exist
Hussein Ibish: That's just not true. I didn't say it doesn't exist.
Daniel Pipes: But I can cite you Pew polls. I can cite you Gallup polls I can site you poll after poll after poll that shows 20, 25%, and in some cases much more—so it's a very powerful demographic and it needs to be discussed. It's part of the religion.
Hussein Ibish: Yes, they prove what I said. Definitely not in the United States. You can find—of course, well that is fine, you could say, well, in the—let's focus then in—if we're teaching about the history of what Christians believe let's focus on the Holocaust let's focus on the Spanish Inquisition—lets focus on the conquest of the Americas, and all of this it is history.
Daniel Pipes: Indeed let's do, let's do, let's do. That's history.
Eric Shawn: We're out of time.
Hussein Ibish: It's history but it's not religious belief that's different.
Daniel Pipes: Unfortunately jihad is not just history. It is something that we are dealing with at this very moment. It is the greatest national security threat to the United States. So by all means study the Inquisition. By all means study the Holocaust. That's not today's problem.
Hussein Ibish: It's fine to study these things as history. These things are history not religious belief.
Eric Shawn: Gentleman we're up against the clock. You get a sense of the passions and deep interest in this issue on what's in our children's textbooks. Well Daniel Pipes and Hussein Ibish, I thank you both for joining us to talk about what's in our children's textbooks this morning here on the Fox News channel.
SOURCE: Harper's (3-10-09)
1. What are the three biggest misperceptions Americans have about the global Islamic community?
One: If you watch American television, you see the most extreme charges against Muslims set forth by pundits. Some allege that Muslims are inherently violent and commanded by scripture to attack infidels. In fact, the Quran forbids murder and commands Muslims to make peace with people who seek peace with them. The “infidels” whom the Quran urges the faithful to combat were the militant pagans of ancient Mecca, who had aggressively attacked the Muslims and were trying to kill them all. The Quran praises the Hebrew Bible and the Gospels as full of “guidance and light,” celebrates the children of Israel, and says that Christians are closest in love to Muslims. Of course, some Muslims are bigoted and manage to ignore those parts of their scripture, but it is not the case that the religion is essentially militant. I’ve gone with Americans to the Middle East, and after a few days they typically come and confess to me that they are amazed at how nice the people are, how kind and generous to foreigners, and how little they resemble U.S. media stereotypes.
Two: Many Americans seem to view the Muslim world as the new Soviet Union, as a relatively monolithic and uniformly hostile bloc of nations. This point of view seems to me oddly detached from reality. Turkey is a NATO ally, and Washington has designated Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Kuwait and Pakistan as non-NATO allies. Other governments of Muslim-majority countries, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen have offered the U.S. intelligence, security, and/or military cooperation of a high order. Aside from Europe, there is probably no other culture area on the globe where the United States has as many formal and informal allies. The only countries the United States has relatively severe differences with among nearly fifty Muslim-majority states are Syria, Iran, and the Sudan, and that sort of thing changes over time.
Three: Americans underestimate how beloved American culture is in the Muslim world. U.S. films, television programs, music, Internet programming, and politics are matters of huge public interest, especially among youth. All the polling shows that “they” do not “hate our way of life” at all. Rather, there is enormous interest in democracy, more individual freedoms, and in free market reforms. Muslim publics report deep dissatisfaction with U.S. foreign policy on Israel/Palestine, on Iraq and Afghanistan, and they say they dislike what they see as Hollywood sexual values. But the American dream is wildly popular, even (or especially) in Iran....
SOURCE: AP (3-10-09)
Faust, 61, received the fourth annual American History Book Prize, the society announced Tuesday. She has written several other books about the Civil War and the South, including "Mothers of Invention" and "A Sacred Circle."
Harvard Crimson news story (lots of details)
SOURCE: AHA Blog (3-10-09)
Our goal is to include histories of marriage and sexuality that range across historical time, geographic space, and thematic focus. Panels currently under consideration for this special program address such topics as late medieval marriage law and practice, the imperial politics of marriage in colonial India and colonial America, miscegenation law in the United States, male domestic partnerships in turn-of-the-century Europe and America, marriage and modernity in 20th-century Brazil, the historical relationship between the issues of gays in the military and same-sex marriage, teaching the history of sexuality, historians’ participation in amicus briefs concerning same-sex marriage, and historical reflections on California’s Proposition 8.
The passage of Proposition 8 in November 2008 coincides with a significant expansion of historical scholarship on the subjects of marriage, sexuality, and the social constructions of domestic union. In San Diego in January 2010, we will be featuring some of this cutting-edge scholarship that is illuminating our understanding of these complex and historically contingent institutions and practices. We will arrange press coverage and invite public participation from San Diego and the surrounding communities to publicize the AHA’s position on equity and equal rights.
The working group’s programming ideas are still in development, and we welcome your thoughts and suggestions for additional topics and panels. Please e-mail your ideas by May 1, 2009, to Noralee Frankel, AHA’s assistant director for women, minorities, and teaching, who serves as the staff member of the working group.
SOURCE: Canadian Press (3-9-09)
Now into its 19th year, the $15,000 prize honours books on international affairs. It was established by Canadian diplomat Lionel Gelber.
Freedman's book is called "A Choice of Enemies: America Confronts the Middle East" and is published by Doubleday Canada.
"If you were to select only one book to understand the turmoil and confusion of events in the Middle East over the past 30 years, this is a perfect choice," said Noah Rubin, chair of the prize and Gelber's grandnephew.
The award is given annually by the Lionel Gelber Foundation in partnership with the Munk Centre for International Studies at the University of Toronto and Washington-based Foreign Policy magazine.
SOURCE: Chicago Tribune (3-10-09)
Dr. Debus, 82, died of cardiac arrest Friday, March 6, in his Deerfield home, said his wife, Brunilda López Debus. He had been diagnosed with lung cancer six years ago but remained productive, particularly in pursuit of his hobby, vaudeville and early 20th Century music.
Dr. Debus joined the U. of C. faculty in 1961 and became the first director of the Morris Fishbein Center for the Study of the History of Science and Medicine after it opened in 1970.
SOURCE: Meet the Press (3-8-09)
DAVID GREGORY: Liaquat, I want to start with you. The book"Lords of Finance," how central bankers in the run-up to the Great Depression got it wrong, is widely read around Washington. And in the epilogue you write this:"Anyone who writes or thinks about the Great Depression cannot avoid the question: Could it happen again?" That's the big question now.
MR. LIAQUAT AHAMED: Well, it could. If you take the current situation, we're 18 months--or 16 months into the current recession. If you go back to the Great Depression and you look at where we stood 16 months into that Great Depression, we're about at the same place. The stock market is down 50 to 60 percent, profits are down 50 percent, unemployment is up from 6 to 10. What happened then was the bottom fell out of the world economy because they applied the wrong medicine. They tried to control the budget deficit, they let the banking system go under, they didn't bail out a European bank that caused the financial panic in Europe, and they just basically let the economy crumble and applied the wrong medicine. This time I think we're applying the right medicine. The only question is, the patient is so sick, are we applying the right doses?...
MR. GREGORY: Let me get back to this question, Liaquat, of confidence. You write about not just the Depression, but the run-up to the Depression. One of the things we know about FDR, and I mentioned this with the senators, the first thing he does is speak to the confidence question. He shuts down the banks--we were talking about this--just for six days. But it calmed nerves of investors, it prevented a bank run. He also, acting as a kind of economist, took the dollar off the gold standard, which had the effect of rising prices during a deflationary cycle. And yet here we are with the Treasury still not deciding how they're going to deal with the problem at the core of the banking problem, which is how to relieve the banks of their impaired assets that are dragging not only their market value down, but also their balance sheets.
MR. AHAMED: Well, I think we had a--we were in the eye of the finance storm back in the fall, and since then the, the conditions in credit markets have gone down. We do face a problem in the banking system, but it's not people taking money out of banks, it's putting--in fact, they are putting money into bank deposits. The problem we face is a lack of equity. And that's--that has to be dealt with. Now, it can be dealt with in a variety of ways. It's not really a technical issue. I mean, there's a lot of debate about how to do it. The fundamental problem is a political issue. It's going to take a lot of public money. There is no way to do this without over $1 trillion of public money....
MR. GREGORY: But, Liaquat, here's my question. What role does economic populism play in this crisis, on the left and the right? The anger that the president talks about--because the reality is, and you talked about this in The New York Times today in an op-ed, what's happening in eastern Europe, their economy's collapsing because of credit drying up. And they actually have the prospect of real social unrest. These are new democracies and they're having such a difficult time. People don't understand the interconnectedness of our banking system, which is even more complex than people inside of it realize. Without clarity both to the market and also understanding on the part of the American people, do you do anything about political will?
MR. AHAMED: Well, I think it takes political leadership. I mean, in 1933 they held hearings in Congress, and we discovered that the president of Chase had shorted the stock of his bank and made $4 million in the great crash. Bankers were known as banksters. But Roosevelt was able to rise above this and, if you like, tap into the, to the positive side, positive side of the American public. We need that in the U.S., we need that in Europe. We need the, the leaders of Germany and France to do the same thing with their public....
SOURCE: David S. Wyman Institute (3-9-09)
Legendary comic book artist Neal Adams has teamed up with Holocaust historian Dr. Rafael Medoff to create “The Last Outrage,” a comic strip about Mrs. Dina Babbitt, a California resident who has been fighting for return of seven portraits that she was forced to paint in Auschwitz, by the notorious “Angel of Death,” Dr. Josef Mengele. The comic strip has just been published by Marvel Comics.
The paintings are being held by the Auschwitz State Museum, a Polish government-funded museum on the site of the former death camp.
“The fight for justice can be fought on many fronts, including through the medium of comic books,” said Medoff, director of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies. “Neal Adams has brought the Babbitt struggle to life as only he can, and Marvel Comics has generously provided an international forum for this important cause.”
The “Last Outrage” comic strip appears this month in the fifth and climactic issue of Marvel Comics’ “X-Men: Magneto Testament.” The five-issue mini-series reveals that the powers of Magneto, arch-nemesis of the X-Men, originated in his experiences as a victim of the Holocaust. Because of the comic book’s Holocaust theme, Marvel felt it would be appropriate to include “The Last Outrage” as a supplementary story.
While imprisoned in Auschwitz in 1944, Dina Babbitt risked her life to paint a mural of Snow White in the children's barracks at Auschwitz, to cheer up the children in their final hours. An image from Mrs. Babbitt’s recent re-creation of that mural is included in “The Last Outrage.”
When Dr. Mengele learned of Mrs. Babbitt’s artistic talent, he ordered her to paint portraits of a number of Gypsy prisoners on whom he planned to perform experiments. Some of those portraits are also reprinted, in miniature, in “The Last Outrage.”
After the Holocaust, Mrs. Babbitt settled in northern California and worked for many years as an animator for Warner Brothers and other cartoon producers, drawing characters such as Tweety Bird, Speedy Gonzalez, Daffy Duck, Wile E. Coyote, and Cap'n Crunch.
During the 1960s, the Auschwitz State Museum acquired seven of the Babbitt portraits, but has refused to return them to her, claiming the paintings “belong to history” rather than to their creator. Museum spokesmen have even claimed that Dr. Mengele is the legal owner. Ironically, the Museum does not even display all the originals, but instead sometimes exhibits high-quality reproductions.
(The Museum can be contacted via email at: Muzeum@Auschwitz.org.pl)
“The Last Outrage” is a rare collaboration between three of the biggest names in comic book history: Neal Adams, Joe Kubert, and Stan Lee.
Adams’ powerful realistic style of illustration has made him one of the most popular and influential artists in comic book history. It was Adams who revolutionized Batman in the 1970s, transforming the campy 1960s television character to the dark and gritty version that inspired the recent “Dark Knight” movie. Adams also led a successful campaign in the 1970s by comic book artists for the return of their original artwork from the publishers.
“The Last Outrage” was inked partly by Kubert, a highly influential artist and editor for DC Comics for more than fifty years. Kubert is also founder and head of the Kubert School for Cartoon and Graphic Art, in Dover, NJ, which has trained hundreds of leading comic book artists. Kubert’s acclaimed graphic novel, Yossel: 1943, imagines the experiences of a teenage cartoonist trapped in the Warsaw Ghetto.
The afterword for “The Last Outrage” was written by Stan Lee, longtime publisher of Marvel Comics and co-creator of Spider-Man, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and many other famous characters.
Other recent developments in the Babbitt struggle:
* The Wyman Institute mobilized 450 cartoonists, animators and comic book artists from around the world to sign a petition supporting Mrs. Babbitt. The petition was spearheaded by Joe Kubert, Neal Adams, and J. David Spurlock of Vanguard Productions.
* A Wyman Institute petition supporting Mrs. Babbitt was signed by prominent art gallery owners and museum officials, including James R. Borynack, chairman of Walley Findlay Galleries International; Charles C. Bergman, chairman of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation; and Irving J. Borowsky, chairman of the National Liberty Museum.
* More than fifty lawyers and legal scholars signed a Wyman Institute petition supporting Mrs. Babbitt’s legal right to her paintings. It was spearheaded by Thane Rosenbaum, professor of Human Rights Law at Fordham University Law School, and Harry Reicher, professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
The Babbitt controversy has been featured in recent months in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio and People magazine.
SOURCE: Richard Pachter in the Miami Herald (3-9-09)
Black's next book, War Against the Weak (2003), studied the role of the fake science of eugenics and its rise in the United States in the early 20th century, which provided the rationale for Hitler's racial policies. In shocking detail, Black related the subjugation, sterilization and murder of thousands of Americans solely on the basis of their race, country of origin or failure to pass culturally biased ''intelligence'' tests. This was fueled by xenophobia and ignorance, and supported -- astonishingly -- by corporate names like Carnegie, Rockefeller and others.
Black's new Nazi Nexus uses these earlier works as primary sources. But this new volume offers a compact and highly concentrated dose of history that powerfully demonstrates the deleterious effects of the convergence of avarice and ideology, American-style.
The author's premise is that American businesses beyond IBM were also complicit with Hitler's rise to power, conquest of Europe and war against the United States and that many of their activities continued through the war. In addition to doing business with the Nazis, philanthropic organizations like the Rockefeller Foundation, for example, contributed the equivalent of millions of dollars in support of German institutions devoted to eugenics, which served to legitimatize racism by attaching a ''scientific'' basis for it, according to Black. The ties between German and American researchers in this area are astounding....
SOURCE: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (3-8-09)
Nolan was living in the basement of his father's house when I visited him in January 2008. "The doctors say I have a year left," Nolan told me. The doctors were off by about a month. Nolan died Feb. 19.
I liked Nolan a lot, and I very much admired his work. He was a historian. He wrote nonfiction books about the Vietnam War.
He was, of course, far too young to have served in that war. He was 3 years old when the North Vietnamese overran Hue during the Tet Offensive of 1968. The battle to retake that city was the subject of his first book, which he wrote when he was in high school. It was a remarkable effort for a high school kid. He used after-action reports and interviewed veterans of the battle. Still, that first book was the work of a young man with an agenda. He intended to show that the war was a more noble cause than people thought.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (3-8-09)
"I am afraid I have agreed not to say a word about it," the amiable television presenter tells Mandrake.
Pan Macmillan has issued an "urgent" stock recall notice in which it said that shops needed to return all unsold copies immediately for unspecified "legal reasons".
I understand that the recall is because of a complaint by a "very well known" figure who objected to one "silly little phrase" in the book, which accompanied a BBC television series and has been published in both hardback and paperback editions.
"It's quite unbelievable," says my bookworm. "Because of one tiny phrase, which is hardly the world's biggest libel, a book which has already been been bought by 250,000 people has to be pulped. I've never known anything like it."
The publisher's notice said: "For legal reasons we need to immediately recall all unsold copies of A History of Modern Britain by Andrew Marr. I should be grateful if, by return, you would let me know how many unsold copies you have in your possession or control and return them immediately."
SOURCE: Sydney Morning Herald (3-7-09)
Potts acknowledges job losses, factory closures and household evictions, but says people were more resilient, more caring and happier than might be assumed. People in the 1930s had options. Sacked building tradesmen, for instance, went bush, where production rose by 40 per cent, even though many got only keep and a third of the basic wage. Many sent money to their families in the cities, where food coupons were also available. Others simply went to the beach, turning their backs on the workforce.
Many homes became miniature factories: backyards were turned to vegetable plots; housewives pickled and bottled; people made shoes and clothing; men caught fish and trapped rabbits. Extended families moved in together and pooled earnings; neighbours pitched in and churches made great efforts to supply clothing.
"One family I heard of fed another family for two years," says Potts. "Those people who retreated to humpies were less than 1 per cent. A lot regarded it as quite a healthy lifestyle, having a hand-built hut and developing a community. I interviewed a husband and wife who had gone bankrupt, moved from Melbourne, lived in a hut, grew vegetables. Their kids walked through the bush each day to get to school. They picked up the dole and he made toys to get extra money. They tell me it was the happiest period of their lives."
Food coupons, the only dole in 1930, meant people did not drink away their troubles and vegetables outweighed meat consumption, benefiting health on both fronts.
Potts, an honorary research associate in history at La Trobe University, interviewed 1200 people who lived through the Great Depression and drew on 800 other interviews from sources including the National Library's bicentennial collection....
SOURCE: Chicago Tribune (3-7-09)
But this is no made-up story. New York City authorities this week charged the son of University of Chicago professor Norman Golb with identity theft, criminal impersonation and harassment in connection with a campaign to smear opponents of his father's scholarly theories.
The academic subject at the center of the controversy is the 2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scrolls, religiously significant documents that have provoked controversy since they were discovered six decades ago.
The Manhattan District Attorney contends that Raphael Golb, 49, used dozens of Internet aliases during a six-month period last year to sway debate about the scrolls.
In one instance, the 49-year-old attorney allegedly opened an e-mail account in the name of Lawrence Schiffman, a New York University professor and one of his father's chief critics. Then, using NYU computers, Golb allegedly posed as Schiffman and sent e-mails to Schiffman's colleagues admitting plagiarism. ...
Norman Golb, a professor of Jewish history and civilization at the U. of C., on Friday described his son's arrest as another twist in the ongoing, often heated debate about the ancient scrolls.
"The fact of the matter is that if I understand it, Raphael was responding to the attacks on me," Golb said from his university office. "I suppose my son felt it was important to get things straight."
He added, "This has everything to do with the politics of the scrolls."...
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