This page includes, in addition to news about historians, news about political scientists, economists, law professors, and others who write about history. For a comprehensive list of historians' obituaries, go here.
SOURCE: courant.com (Hartford Courant) (8-30-09)
Like many Hondurans determined to restore democracy and constitutional order, Darío A. Euraque has no fear of the politicos and generals who on June 28 kidnapped his country's democratically elected president at gunpoint and flew him into exile, imposing themselves as rulers of the land and brutally repressing peaceful protest with clubs, tear gas and bullets. Euraque's defiance of one of the de facto government's ministers, however, could place him in harm's way.
In 2006, Euraque was granted a four-year leave from Trinity College in Hartford, where he is a tenured professor of history, so he could serve as director of the Honduran Institute of Anthropology and History, known by its Spanish acronym, IHAH. One of the most powerful cultural institutions in the country, the institute administers all matters of cultural patrimony and runs the national museums, archives and archaeological sites such as Copán, an ancient Maya city declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
I have traveled with Euraque throughout Honduras; to the cities and to remote regions of the jungle where there are no roads and where one must enter by "pipante," a long dugout canoe. Together, he and I are collaborating on a book that examines, by means of my photographs and his writings, the role that ethnic minorities play in the construction of Honduran national identity.
I have witnessed Euraque distribute personally into the hands of peasants and villagers ethnographic and anthropological books about their own communities; books he commissioned and published since assuming the directorship. No other IHAH director has done this. Euraque is an advocate for the preservation and documentation of Honduras' multitude of cultural and linguistic traditions. His groundbreaking work has been widely recognized and celebrated in Honduras and abroad.
Why, then, would anyone want to remove him from his post at the Honduran Institute of Anthropology and History? Maybe because mainstream Honduran society has long derided and marginalized the Garifuna (afro-descendant) and indigenous communities that he so steadfastly defends? That's part of it, but the main reason is that Euraque was not afraid — not afraid to stand up to Myrna Castro, the new minister of culture appointed by the coup regime.
Castro approved a request by military reservists to install themselves in a building called the Antigua Casa Presidencial, the former presidential palace which currently houses the country's National Archives, among other priceless collections. The location was strategic, insisted the soldiers.
Euraque said no. The building is under his jurisdiction. He also issued a "public clarification" on the IHAH homepage detailing specific Honduran laws and international treaties enacted to prevent just such violations of cultural property...
... Euraque's continuing struggle is an all-out combat for history. Minister Castro, like so many other Latin American "golpistas" before her, banks on fear and repression, banning books in the hope of erasing memory. Yet, history teaches us that righteous people without fear will always triumph over bureaucratic demagogues backed by brute force.
SOURCE: Newsweek (8-29-09)
The editor of The New York Times Book Review and the paper's"Week in Review" section, Sam Tanenhaus is the biographer of Whittaker Chambers and is at work on the life of William F. Buckley Jr. In a new, short book, The Death of Conservatism, he argues that the right needs to find its footing for the good of the country. In an e-mail exchange with Jon Meacham, Tanenhaus reflected on the book's themes. Excerpts:
Meacham: So how bad is it, really? Your title doesn't quite declare conservatism dead.
Tanenhaus: Quite bad if you prize a mature, responsible conservatism that honors America's institutions, both governmental and societal. The first great 20th-century Republican president, Theo- dore Roosevelt, supported a strong central government that emphasized the shared values and ideals of the nation's millions of citizens. He denounced the harm done by"the trusts"—big corporations. He made it his mission to conserve vast tracts of wilderness and forest. The last successful one, Ronald Reagan, liked to remind people (especially the press) he was a lifelong New Dealer who voted four times for Franklin D. Roosevelt. The consensus forged by Buckley in the 1960s gained strength through two decisive acts: first, Buckley denounced right-wing extremists, such as the members of the John Birch Society, and made sure when he did it to secure the support of conservative Republicans like Reagan, Barry Goldwater, and Sen. John Tower. This pulled the movement toward the center. Second: Buckley saw that the civil disturbances of the late 1960s (in particular urban riots and increasingly militant anti-Vietnam protests) posed a challenge to social harmonies preferred by genuine conservatives and genuine liberals alike. When the Democrat Daniel Patrick Moynihan called on liberals to join with conservatives in upholding"the politics of stability," Buckley replied that he was ready to help. He placed the values of" civil society" (in Burke's term) above those of his own movement or the GOP.
Today we see very little evidence of this. In his classic The Future of American Politics (1952), the political journalist Samuel Lubell said that our two-party system in fact consists of periods of alternating one-party rule—there is a majority"sun" party and a minority"moon" party."It is within the majority party that the issues of any particular period are fought out," Lubell wrote. Thus, in the 1980s, Republicans grasped (and Democrats did not) that new entrepreneurial energies had been unleashed, and also that the Cold War could be brought to a conclusion through strong foreign policy. This was the Republicans'"sun" period. The reverse is happening today. The Democrats now dominate our heliocentric system—first on the economic stimulus, which is already proving to be at least a limited success, and now on the issue of health-care reform. These are both entirely Democratic initiatives. The Republicans, so intent on thwarting Obama, have vacated the field, and left it up to the sun party to accept the full burden of legislating us into the future. If the Democrats succeed, Republicans will be tagged as the party that declined even to help repair a broken system and extend fundamental protections—logical extensions of Social Security and Medicare—to some 46 million people who now don't have them. This could marginalize the right for a generation, if not longer. Rush Limbaugh's stated hope that Obama will fail seems to have become GOP doctrine. This is the attitude not of conservatives, but of radicals, who deplore the very possibility of a virtuous government.
Is there an analogous historical moment? Conservatives argue that this is 1965 and that a renaissance is at hand.
I disagree. Today, conservatives seem in a position closer to the one they occupied during the New Deal. The epithets so many on the right now hurl at Obama—"socialist,""fascist"—precisely echo the accusations Herbert Hoover and"Old Right" made against FDR in 1936. And the spectacle of citizens appearing at town-hall meetings with guns recalls nothing so much as the vigilante Minutemen whom Buckley evicted from the conservative movement in the 1960s. A serious conservative like David Frum knows this, and has spoken up. It is remarkable how few others have. The moon party is being yanked ever farther onto its marginal orbit.
Would Chambers recognize the right as it stands today?
He might recognize it, but with dismay. Even in 1959, Chambers withdrew from National Review—where he had been writing occasional essays—because it seemed out of step, for instance, in its failure to see that the Soviet Union must be negotiated with, not simply threatened with nuclear extinction. Chambers opposed the arms race, favored civil liberties, distrusted the unregulated free market. His model was Benjamin Disraeli, the 19th-century English conservative who regarded unchecked capitalism, and the upheavals it wrought, as a potential threat to the social order. Above all, Chambers was a humanist intellectual, deeply learned in the literature of several languages. He urged Buckley (his young protégé) to read the radical novels of André Malraux. He admired Nabokov's Lolita...
SOURCE: AHA website (8-28-09)
AHA Procedures and the Boycott Vote
The Unite Here letter falsely charges that AHA executive director “Arnita Jones circumvented a proposed resolution signed by hundreds of AHA members to relocate the 2010 meeting.” In fact, a Unite Here representative, who joined the AHA on October 24 shortly before the November 1 deadline, submitted a resolution that the AHA honor a boycott of the Manchester Grand Hyatt called for by Unite Here and four other groups. Although the proposed resolution was submitted with fewer than the constitutionally required 50 AHA member signatures, the author was advised of this deficiency and given the opportunity to collect the necessary signatures so that the resolution could be placed on the Business Meeting agenda and debated. The resolution was duly published in Perspectives on History in advance of the meeting and was posted on the AHA’s web site. The boycott resolution was resoundingly defeated, however, and an alternative motion offered from the floor by Council members Barbara Weinstein and Teofilo Ruiz was accepted. For a copy of the final resolution, see http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2009/0904/0904aha2.cfm.
The accepted resolution offers an alternative response to Proposition 8 by calling for programming at the San Diego meeting that will offer historical perspectives on same-sex marriage. A mini-conference within the larger program will highlight scholarly findings that should increase public understanding of the complexity and fluidity of marriage practices across time and place. The AHA intends to widely publicize these sessions and to open them to the public. We believe this programming will represent a significant contribution to the marriage equality debate.
To summarize, the decision to provide an alternative response to the Hyatt owner’s support for Proposition 8 was a democratic one, made in complete accordance with the AHA’s rules of governance.
AHA’S Financial Exposure
Unite Here’s letter refers to the “possible cancellation fee” AHA would have paid had the Council voted to withdraw from the Hyatt. There is nothing theoretical about this fee. Had we cancelled, AHA would have been contractually obliged to pay $611,000, thus enriching the person Unite Here supposedly seeks to punish, the owner of the Manchester Hyatt, Doug Manchester. Beyond the cancellation fee, the AHA would also lose at least $180,000 in special concessions negotiated into the existing contract agreement when it was signed in 2003.
The Business Meeting and the Council decided in a democratic process that AHA would not break its contract, and thus forfeit nearly $800,000 of Association resources to protest a political action taken by one person.
The Unite Here letter also implies that Manchester Hyatt staff are treated unfairly. It offers no evidence for that claim other than an allusion to 2006 lunch-hour protests by non-union housekeepers, and to the best of our knowledge that dispute was settled. Unite Here did not then and does not now represent workers at the Manchester and is not currently engaged in organizing them. AHA members should know that our contract with the hotel states: “Hotel warrants and represents that it has had no unfair labor practice charge or complaint pending or threatened against it.” We are continuing to monitor the situation and will hold the Manchester Hyatt accountable for this clause. The bottom line here is that AHA cannot sue a hotel for breach of contract because of hearsay. While there may be informational pickets or demonstrators in the vicinity of the hotel, these will not constitute a picket line because there is no strike and there is no organizing effort. We will keep you informed by e-mail and in our bimonthly E-newsletter, Fortnightly News of any changes.
We welcome debate on these issues and scrutiny of our actions, but also wish to communicate with members our belief that AHA has acted appropriately, sensitively and with high regard to its fiduciary duty in the matters raised by Unite Here.
Please disseminate this statement, let us know your thoughts, and join us at the AHA meeting in San Diego.
American Historical Association
SOURCE: brisbanetimes.com.au (8-29-09)
British historian Antony Beevor has written a series of books, most notably Stalingrad and Berlin, which sold more than four million copies and covered the bitter fighting on the Eastern Front between the Soviet forces of Stalin and the Nazi troops of Hitler.
But despite his success in writing about the European theatre, Beevor, who visited Brisbane this week, said he couldn't write about the Pacific due to the reluctance of nations such as China and Japan to open their archives to foreign researchers.
"The Japanese attitude towards World War II is still so defensive ... so nationalistic, that the idea of allowing foreign historians, who they would regard as hostile, free range in their own archives is unimaginable," he said.
"However democratic Japan might be, it's still not exactly open minded about the history of World War II."
"If I can't get at material on both sides and be able to use it effectively I will duck the subject. I wouldn't be able to write it in the way I want to so I wouldn't even attempt it."
Beevor has moved on from the apocalyptic battles between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia to cover the Allied landings on D-Day and the subsequent battle to obtain a foothold in Fortress Europe.
Despite the wealth of material written about the invasion, Beevor unearthed previously overlooked information which had emerged since previous major works were published on the campaign.
Diaries and other papers bequeathed to archives as veterans died, previously unreleased archival information and the harrowing tales of the French caught in the middle of one of history's largest military operations allowed Beevor to assemble his comprehensive tome.
"The main histories had all been written in the 1980s and since then a huge amount of new material had become available and actually some material was lying in the American archives which had been rather overlooked," he said.
"This was the combat historian reports in which the Americans, with tremendous resources and imagination, used young historians to go in and interview the soldiers just after the battles. So you've got a real contemporary account - which makes a huge difference.
"The combination of all of this as well as the accounts of French civilians at the time make it possible to recreate the reality of the moment more than had been possible before."...
SOURCE: wbur.org (NPR Boston) (8-28-09)
Goodwin spoke to us live from the John F. Kennedy Library in Dorchester on Friday morning, where she was helping keep vigil over the flag-draped casket of the late senator.
Bob Oakes: I’m wondering if you might share with us what Ted Kennedy has meant to you in your life — both professionally and personally.
Doris Kearns Goodwin: Well, I’ve known him for probably over 35 years — my husband, of course, worked in the White House with President Kennedy; was with Bobby when he died; and then was very close to Teddy Kennedy, who was at our wedding. We’ve spent vacations with him.
You know, I think the extraordinary thing about him when you think of that long life is the way it’s really hit individual people in their daily goings-about.
There’s a real personal bond that you can feel, even out here today at the Kennedy Library. You know, so many of those people who also loved Jack and Bobby, but probably never saw him, only saw either one of them through the power of television.
A lot of these people here today have actually seen Teddy, they’ve had some dealings with him, or the legislation that he sponsored has affected them — giving them children’s health insurance; helping to get the right to vote; letting them take family and medical leave when something happened in the family; or people who are gay knowing that he helped with them; disabilities, helping with those rights.
In a certain sense, the senator, it showed, could have more power in some ways, than presidents in making different changes in people’s daily lives, and you feel that in the emotion of these people today.
Ted Kennedy, who achieved so much as a senator — authoring over 2,500 bills in the Senate, passing hundreds of them — had some personal failings, some rough years. I’m wondering, as a biographer, how would you characterize his life and legacy, or how do you think his life and legacy will be characterized?
You know, I keep coming back to the great quote by Ernest Hemingway, where he said, “Everyone is broken by life, afterward many are strong in the broken places.”
I mean there’s no question Teddy Kennedy was broken by life, both in terms of the deaths in his family, but also in terms of problems of his own making. And I think, however, if you look at the long life now — and it was so encouraging to hear for him that he felt a sense of peace with himself in these last months, knowing he was going to die, feeling that he’d had a long and productive life — there must have been moments in that life when it wasn’t clear that it was going to end up in such a positive balance.
I guess that’s what you ask of things. You know, there are certainly things he would have regretted, things that all of us would have regretted for him. But in the long run, the balance is so much on the positive side and to be able to go to your death feeling that way, it’s probably a very comforting feeling for him and his family.
We’ve been hearing a lot of people, both commentators and people in line or just lining the route where the motorcade passed on Thursday, speak of the end of an era — that Ted Kennedy’s death signals a farewell to Camelot. Do you think that’s so?
Well, I do think it’s the end of the story that really captivated so many people’s minds and hearts, starting with Jack Kennedy and Jackie, the death of Jack; Bobby taking over, the death of Bobby; the whole ’60s; and then Teddy becoming the mantle for the Kennedy family.
That original family, that story is drawing to a close. Surely there are enough young people in the next generation and the generation after that who are going to be involved in public life in one way or another, and one or more of them may rise to, perhaps, public office, Senates, maybe even some day a presidency.
It’s still going to be their own story, though. It’s a different story from the original Kennedy story...
SOURCE: The Times of India (8-28-09)
With a view to make such research accessible to non-specialists and history consciousness a part of popular culture, ICHR has initiated several new programmes. The autonomous organization plans to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Sri Krishnadevaraya of the Vijayanagara empire by holding an exhibition in Hampi and Hyderabad.
Noted historian and chairman of ICHR Prof. Sabyasachi Bhattacharya said: "A lot of misinformation is passed off as history. Even during recent issues related to history, many people had several claims. I personally believe everything has to be examined though the discipline of history.''
The exhibition on Vijayanagar empire is scheduled to be held in January 2010 and will showcase the Vijayanagar rule through several pictorial depictions from the libraries of ICHR and ASI along with architecture photographs. ICHR plans to have an inscriptions exhibition along with translations as well.
It also plans to hold a conference to celebrate the discovery and publication of Kautilya's `Arthashasthra' by Shama Shastry in 1909 at Mysore. The book, which is widely believed to be the manual for rule in the Mauryan empire, was an important discovery for historians.
Apart from exhibitions and seminars, ICHR will conduct training courses in research methodology and has already conducted two courses in Mangalore and Thiruchirapalli.
SOURCE: The Harvard Crimson (8-28-09)
Her research on the Tale of Genji, a seminal Japanese novel composed by a woman over 1000 years ago, and her work on the relationship between painting and literature in pre-modern Japan have helped bring her to the forefront of her field...
... McCormick said she intends to do further research on women’s roles in 16th- and 17th-century Japan, a period after the Tale of Genji was produced when dominant scholarship holds that women were not as influential as they had been in the 15th century.
By studying paintings called Hakubyo – literally “white lines,” for the negative space around the ink of the illustrations – McCormick said she is "trying to show that that is not the case and that women had continued to compose narratives and poetry.”
Last year, when Harvard’s endowment plunged, Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean Michael D. Smith instituted a temporary hiring freeze. But McCormick’s hiring process was not affected by last year’s freeze because she was already in the tenure track, a path Smith stipulated would not be affected by the alteration in hiring patterns.
“The school is really keeping good on its promise and promoting from within the university, which is very exciting,” McCormick said. “I think people had been wary pre-tenure, but now I think there is a feeling that they are fulfilling the commitment.”
McCormick taught at Columbia University prior to coming to Harvard in 2005, when she began as an associate professor. Prior to receiving tenure, McCormick was the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Humanities.
As an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, McCormick anticipated a career in modern dance.
“I was very much influenced by East Asian philosophy—reducing things to the minimum, reducing illusionism,” McCormick said. “All of those things were appealing to me in the modern dance form, and I felt an affinity for them when I started studying Japanese art.”...
SOURCE: American Thinker (8-28-09)
In an important development for the fight against extremist Islam in the West, the Dutch city of Rotterdam and Erasmus University Rotterdam have dismissed Tariq Ramadan, the Swiss-born Islamist academic, from his two local jobs.
Born in Switzerland, Ramadan is the grandson of Hassan al-Banna, founder of the radical Muslim Brotherhood. He is a close associate of the fundamentalist Muslim theologian Yusuf al-Qaradawi, with whom he collaborates in the so-called European Council for Fatwas and Research [ECFR], a Brotherhood-oriented body. Al-Qaradawi is the leading theorist of a "European Islam" that would abuse Western standards of religious freedom by erecting a parallel system of Shariah law alongside established civil law, coupled with aggressive da'wa or Islamic proselytizing. Ramadan has endorsed this strategy. The ECFR scheme, and Tariq Ramadan's involvement in it, are documented in the recent Center for Islamic Pluralism report, A Guide to Shariah Law and Islamist Ideology in Western Europe, 2007-2009.
Ramadan has been barred from entry into the U.S. since 2004, when he was invited by the University of Notre Dame to become the Henry R. Luce Professor at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. That ruling was based on Ramadan's financial contributions to two Palestinian groups designated by the U.S. Treasury as fundraising agencies for the terrorists of Hamas. Early in July of this year, however, given the new atmosphere of outreach to Muslim radicals under President Barack Obama, the Second Circuit U.S. Appeals Court reversed the lower-court ruling, effectively nullifying the prohibition on an American visa for Ramadan.
Meanwhile, Britain in 2005 allowed Ramadan to take up a position at Oxford University, where he is the His Highness Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani Chair in Contemporary Islamic Studies.
Ramadan is an indefatigable self-promoter. Few who have observed him paid attention to his work in The Netherlands as an integration adviser for the city of Rotterdam and a professor of "Citizenship and Identity" at Erasmus University.
Yet while the U.S. authorities now seem inclined to allow him on our shores, and Britain appears untroubled by his presence - although the UK bars his associate al-Qaradawi - the Dutch have taken action to curb Ramadan's ambitions...
... Tariq Ramadan hides his extremist views in plain sight. Why do the British and now, unfortunately, the American authorities fail to comprehend the evidence in front of them? The U.S. ban on him should be reviewed again... and upheld.
SOURCE: The Wall Street Journal (8-28-09)
His task is only getting harder. Scientists who collaborate via email, Google, YouTube, Flickr and Facebook are leaving fewer paper trails, while the information technologies that do document their accomplishments can be incomprehensible to other researchers and historians trying to read them. Computer-intensive experiments and the software used to analyze their output generate millions of gigabytes of data that are stored or retrieved by electronic systems that quickly become obsolete.
Scientists are taking advantage of the latest in telecommuting technology to access the latest research across timezones and boundaries. But the trouble, some are finding, is that technology doesn't leave a paper trail, science columinist Lee Hotz reports.
"It would be tragic if there were no record of lives that were so influential," Dr. John says.
Usually, historians are hard-pressed to find any original source material about those who have shaped our civilization. In the Internet era, scholars of science might have too much. Never have so many people generated so much digital data or been able to lose so much of it so quickly, experts at the San Diego Supercomputer Center say. Computer users world-wide generate enough digital data every 15 minutes to fill the U.S. Library of Congress.
In fact, more technical data have been collected in the past year alone than in all previous years since science began, says Johns Hopkins astrophysicist Alexander Szalay, an authority on large data sets and their impact on science. "The data is doubling every year," Dr. Szalay says.
The problem is forcing historians to become scientists, and scientists to become archivists and curators. Digital records, unlike laboratory notebooks, can't be read without the proper hardware, software and passwords. Electronic copies are difficult to verify and are easy to alter or forge. Digital records "can be more direct, more immediate and more candid," Dr. John says. "But how can we demonstrate to people in the future that these are the real thing?"
Dr. John first encountered this archival problem nine years ago when the British Library received the working papers of William Hamilton, a leading evolutionary biologist who died in 2000. Among the 200 crates of handwritten letters, draft typescripts and lab notes, Dr. John discovered 26 cartons containing vintage floppy computer disks, reels of 9-track magnetic tape, stacks of 80-column punch cards, optical storage cards and punched paper tapes meant for computing devices dating to the 1960s.
These files likely contained crucial drafts of research papers, emails and other information that could illuminate an influential life of science, as recorded through 40 years of computing technology -- as long as Dr. John can find a way to read them.
To extract the antiquated data required more than a password. Dr. John gradually assembled a collection of vintage computers, old tape drives and forensic data-recovery devices in a locked library sub-basement...
SOURCE: theage.com.au (8-26-09)
The eminent historian and his wife, Dymphna, were ''a golden couple'' who appeared to have a very strong marriage, the author of Manning Clark said at yesterday's Melbourne Writers Festival...
... Clark's epic A History of Australia often reflected his personal life, Matthews said. He looked for key figures with ''a fatal flaw'', such as Henry Lawson, with whom he could identify. Although his mother had instilled in her brilliant son a sense that he was special, and he felt called to his great task, he had an amazing lack of self-esteem. He felt ''probably far too strongly'' that he too was fatally flawed.
Michael Cathcart, who abridged Clark's epic history, asked Matthews about some of the controversial episodes in Clark's life. One was his visit to Soviet Russia in 1958 and the subsequent book Meeting Soviet Man, which Gerard Henderson has called ''a disgraceful tract''. Matthews didn't agree: ''He was knocked out by the society, but he wasn't carried away by totalitarianism. He was very critical of some things.''
Another much-criticised episode was his claim to have been in Berlin in 1938 on Kristallnacht, when in fact it was Dymphna who was there as an eyewitness to the Nazi pogroms. ''He shouldn't have done it, true, but writers do that sort of thing,'' Matthews said. ''Historians don't, though. Historians shouldn't,'' Cathcart replied. ''But he doesn't do it as a historian,'' Matthews said. ''Oh, come on!'' Cathcart said.
SOURCE: The Wall Street Journal (blog) (8-21-09)
Wall Street without the Dow?
It seems to be a possibility. We know Dow Jones & Co Inc. has been sounding out potential buyers for the company’s stock-market indexing business. The Journal’s story contains this tantalizing bit:
"A new owner might have the option to rename the Dow Jones Industrial Average, bringing the 125 year-old name to a close. The broad name recognition of the index, however, will likely be a reason to keep it intact. A person familiar with the matter said that any deal will likely require that the Dow Jones name remain."
Luckily we were able to catch Charles Geisst, a professor of finance at Manhattan College and author of “Wall Street: A History,” for a chat. Here’s a condensed version of our quick interview, with some verbatim in quotes.
MarketBeat: So when the Dow was first launched — 1896 — why was it considered valuable?
Geisst: At the time, let’s say from the Civil War to the turn of the 20th Century, the stock market had been dominated by manipulation, rumor, planted news stories and so on. But with the Dow, it was no longer possible for one financial writer to say, “It was a bad day” to encourage selling, when it really a wasn’t a bad day for the markets. Because at the time, no one really had any idea. “The index at least gave a measure, a disciplined measure, of how the market was behaving, rather than just leaving it to the whim of whatever financial writer happened to be covering the story.”
MarketBeat: So was the Dow the be-all-and-end-all for investors right off the bat?
Geisst: It really started to grow in importance during and after World War I. But it was in the 1950s and early 1960s that the Dow found its place. It was a time of post-war prosperity. Memories of the crash of 1929 were finally starting to fade and with the Eisenhower rally going, the average guy on the street began to invest in stocks again. Brokers began to put ticker machines in prominent public places like New York’s Grand Central Station so people could check the markets. “It’s a cultural icon certainly by that time.” MarketBeat: When did the Dow start to see its dominance challenged? Geisst: In the late 1960s and early 1970s a couple of things happened. The concept of portfolio theory had become a lot more elaborate and finance in general was getting more scientific. Portfolio theory looked to model the way different stocks and different sectors of the market behaved when juxtaposed against eachother. At the same time, it was really at that point when professional fund managers began to rise to prominence. As they were looking to implement some of the more scientific approaches to finance, they liked to look at broader measures of the market. As a result, indexes like the S&P 500 began to rise in importance.
SOURCE: MRC Newsbusters (Conservative Media Watchdog) (8-26-09)
Fill-in anchor Michelle Gielan discussed Kennedy’s legacy with Brinkley, soon turning to the current debate over health care reform: "And one of those causes that he was championing was health care reform, and yet, he had to sit out these last few months. How difficult was that for him?" Brinkley began his response: "Well, it was very difficult for him....he’s been forced to be sidelined and unable to talk at town hall meetings. It’s been hard not to watch the nightly news and kind of wish that you had a fiery old Ted Kennedy there, arguing his points for universal health care, it could have made a difference."
After lamenting Kennedy’s absence in pushing ObamaCare, Brinkley went on to frame the Senator’s death in an historic context: "But, as history plays it, now that he’s dead, there’ll be a mortar – martyr syndrome for him and people will start talking about his career and how much he did to help people. And in many ways, he’s still an ambassador, even though he’s gone, he’s – his energy that may help push this Obama plan through, in the end."
SOURCE: bath.co.uk (8-26-09)
But he is more than happy to stop writing to discuss a topic closer to his heart – medieval history – and his latest book, A Brief History of Life in the Middle Ages, which has just been published by Constable & Robinson.
It is his 37th book to be published, this number including school history textbooks and three medieval historical novels.
Martyn, who lives in Bradford on Avon, is passionate about Anglo Saxon and medieval history.
"So many English institutions and features that we take for granted are a product of that period," he says, running through a list that includes Parliament, common law, the spread of Christianity and the plethora of medieval churches.
"So many things have their living roots in that time that I like to work back and discover the links. My name, Whittock, for instance, is a medieval surname taken from an Anglo Saxon personal name, and lots of our place names belong to that era."
Using wide-ranging evidence, he brings the Middle Ages vividly to life, throwing up titbits such as the fact that the murder rate in East Anglia in the 14th century was higher than it is in New York today.
There's a glimpse of 11th century rural society through a conversation between a ploughman and his master, while the story of Roger the Raker is the sorry tale of a chap who drowned in his own sewage.
So great was the extent of church construction in the 13th century that it was the equivalent in modern terms of every family in England paying £500 a year for the whole century.
He says: "The book is written for the general reader and aims to be an entertaining exploration of what it was like to live in England in the Middle Ages, but it's carefully referenced so anyone can use it as a jumping off point."
He has written several books for the Brief History series and also has a GCSE textbook on Crime and Punishment since 1450 due for publication this summer...
SOURCE: UPI.com (8-26-09)
Susan Glover, who recently received a Ph.D. from University of California-Davis, in a report published in the journal Human Ecology, looked at the relationship between what was reported in contemporary local newspapers and the strategy used by prospectors in Gothic, Colo. She found news reports tended to overstate what prospectors could find and understate the risks.
Glover suggests the newspapers themselves were misinformed and not deliberately passing on false information. She also said the newspapers reflected the kind of information passed on informally in saloons.
She compared the 19th-century silver rush in Colorado to the dot-com boom of the late 1990s and the housing bubble that brought on the current global financial meltdown.
SOURCE: Hartford Courant (8-16-09)
Masur, the William R. Kenan Jr. professor of American institutions and values at Trinity College, is so taken with Springsteen's work that he has merged his academic research with his favorite artist. The result is Masur's latest book, "Runaway Dream: 'Born to Run' and Bruce Springsteen's American Vision" (Bloomsbury Press, $23), set for publication Sept. 1.
It's an exceedingly detailed analysis of the singer's breakthrough album: how it was created, its cultural context and what it means today.
"Writing it was just an absolute labor of love for me," Masur says from New Jersey during a conversation about his research, before returning to Hartford to see Springsteen perform Wednesday at Comcast Theatre.
Q. How long did it take to research and write the book?
A. It's an interesting question, because I've been a Springsteen fan ever since I was 16 years old, and I'm 52 now. So in one sense, the book is a kind of accumulation of being a lifelong fan of Springsteen and his music. I finally started to think seriously about writing about Springsteen about 2005, around the 30th anniversary of "Born to Run." I wrote a couple of essays and had the chance at Trinity College to teach a course on Presley, Dylan and Springsteen, and that sort of got me going. Once I started to do that, the full research and writing only took a couple of years.
Q. You mention the 30th anniversary. There was a lot written about "Born to Run" then, in 2005. What does your book add to the conversation?
A. Springsteen actually brought out an anniversary edition with a terrific documentary in which they interviewed a lot of the band members today looking back. What I do is a little bit different. While some of the information about the making of "Born to Run" and the agonies the band went through was revealed in 2005, I go into great detail about that.
I also talk at great length, and I think this is the most original part of it, about Springsteen's American vision. It's an analysis of that album and it situates that album both in the context of its times and in the longer, historical trajectory of understanding why it is that Springsteen is not just a great rock 'n' roll musician, he's really one of the most important cultural figures in American history. I offer a reading of the album, an analysis of the songs. Springsteen himself has said that that is the album where he first identified the themes and the issues that he would continue to address throughout his career. The last part of the book picks up on that challenge and basically traces out the ways in which the lyrical and musical themes of "Born to Run" have continued to shape and influence his music.
Q. Rock 'n' roll comes with a certain mystique. What effect does such close analysis have on that mystique?
A. I don't think it takes it apart, in the sense of ruining it. I think it adds to it. What I'm trying to understand is, what does it mean to say that a song or an album changed your life? What does it mean to say that music, that a particular song or artist, is the defining music of your life. I really just wanted to look at it for myself, but I also want to look at it for the legions of fans who have identified so deeply with this music, and that gets us into the work I do as a cultural historian, as a student of American studies. What are these themes, this runaway dream of escape, the idea of hitting the road, at some point needing to come back, to build community? These are just classic archetypal themes, and not just American themes, but universal themes, that I think explain why Springsteen has an international fan base. Almost anyone who's human can identify that basic search. "Born to Run" says, "I want to know if love is wild, I want to know if love is real," and in many ways, we've all been on that journey in one way or another throughout our lives....
SOURCE: pnj.com (8-23-09)
But much has changed in the last 30 years.
Merkel is a civilian employee of the Air Force now--he retired as a major from active-duty after serving 20 years--and he's no longer a helicopter pilot. He's a historian.
As historian for the 53rd Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Merkel is responsible for tracking and recording the unit's activities, cataloging significant events and interviewing unit members as part of his research.
In September, Merkel will be deploying to Kandahar, Afghanistan, for a five-month tour as the historian for the deployed 451st Expeditionary Wing.
"I'll be in charge of chronicling the events of a wing that just stood up at Kandahar," Merkel said.
More than 30 years ago, he deployed to Vietnam as a member of Casper Platoon, 173rd Airborne Brigade, and he said he's looking forward to supporting military activities overseas once more.
Merkel recently completed predeployment combat skills training where he was taught about handling weapons, treating traumatic injuries and staying safe in a combat environment.
The training also involved field exercises where Merkel ran, jumped and belly-crawled through a simulated combat environment while wielding an M-16 rifle.
"I'm not 20 anymore, and (I'm) a little annoyed about that," Merkel said. "However, the deployment training breathes new life into a person."...
SOURCE: Times (London) (8-23-09)
A bust-up on the set of High School Musical 4 perhaps? A scrap behind the catwalk at a Milan fashion show? No. Those accusations were slung round in an increasingly bitter public row between two of the world’s most distinguished commentators on global finance and economics, professors Paul Krugman and Niall Ferguson, of Princeton and Harvard, respectively.
It started as an argument about bond prices. But last week it blew up into a row about racism, printing money, spending our way out of recession, and the fate of the global economy.
Academic spats can, of course, be famously catty. Ludwig Wittgenstein once tossed a poker at his fellow philosopher Karl Popper at a meeting of the Cambridge Moral Science Club as they argued about whether issues in philosophy were real or just linguistic puzzles. At least Krugman and Ferguson haven’t come to blows yet, although at their next meeting it might be better to hide the blunt instruments. Still, it is a long time since the academic world witnessed a dispute as gladiatorial as this one.
Henry Kissinger, who knows a bit about fights, both political and intellectual, once observed that the reason academic tussles were so vicious was “because the stakes are so small”. And although that is true in one sense — it doesn’t matter very much whether the professor from Princeton doesn’t like his rival from Harvard — it is wrong in another. The stakes in this row are pretty high.
The argument is about whether the huge stimulus programmes launched by governments around the world, and the way central banks are furiously printing money, are lifting the global economy out of recession. Or whether they are just teeing up the next crisis — hyper-inflation and an even worse economic collapse.
In a week in which it emerged that Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England, wanted to print even more money, this is far more than an academic debate. It is about where long-term interest rates are going, and so whether mortgages will be affordable next year. It is about whether the glimmers of recovery seen now are about to be crushed by government spending.
“The deficits are stimulating the economy right now, but once the recovery starts they may choke it off,” said Stuart Thomson, a bond fund manager who controls assets of $100 billion at Ignis Asset Management. “That is what they are really arguing about.”
In short, it is about whether we are fixing the problems or whether we are just papering over the cracks, and so just storing up more trouble a few years down the road....
SOURCE: AHA Blog (8-23-09)
AHA: Applications Are Invited for the Position of Executive Director
The American Historical Association invites applications for the post of executive director, the Association’s chief executive position, responsible to the elected AHA Council. The American Historical Association is a nonprofit membership organization founded in 1884 and incorporated by the United States Congress in 1889 for the promotion of historical studies and the dissemination of historical research. It is the oldest and largest professional historical organization in the United States, bringing together nearly 5,000 institutions, 118 affiliated societies and more than 14,000 individuals, including college and university faculty, public historians, independent scholars, archivists, librarians, and secondary school teachers.
The executive director assists the Council in forming policy, oversees the work of all AHA divisions and committees, coordinates the Association’s collaboration with its affiliates and with other professional organizations, engages in advocacy for history and the humanities in conjunction with other professional organizations and works with Council to represent history before the general public. Day-to-day responsibilities include management of a substantial budget and an office with more than 20 employees. A PhD and/or experience as a historian are desirable, together with substantial experience in administering a complex organization. Fundraising experience and a willingness to engage in development efforts is desirable but not required.
The Council anticipates making an appointment for a term of five years, beginning September 1, 2010, renewable upon review. Salary, with full benefits, is competitive, consistent with qualifications. A detailed job description and other information are available upon request. Applicants should submit a c.v., a statement of their approach to the position and its challenges for the coming five years, and names (with titles and addresses) of three referees by October 15, 2009, to email@example.com.
SOURCE: Inquirer.net (8-21-09)
. We will also remember Ninoy today in the context of the life and death of his widow Cory Aquino who also began another chain of events that made history. Now that there are many moves to proclaim Cory a national hero, to begin the process of canonization, to at least have her face adorn the P500 bill alongside Ninoy, I wonder what the late historian Teodoro A. Agoncillo would say about all this. When asked to comment on the present, I often hide behind the cliché “Let history be the judge.”
Agoncillo always advised that we must gain some perspective before we can write history. To gain that perspective one has to let time pass so that the passions and fashions of the present will recede and we will be able to see things more clearly.
Currently used in colleges and universities around the country is the 8th edition of Teodoro Agoncillo’s landmark, bestselling work “History of the Filipino People” which has been around for close to half a century. In its first incarnation, Agoncillo chose a junior academic, Oscar Alfonso, as his co-author, hence that edition is better known in history and bibliographical circles as “Agoncillo and Alfonso.” Then after a few printings, Agoncillo replaced Alfonso as co-author, and invited his student Milagros C. Guerrero to write a third of the book. Thus “History of the Filipino People,” despite the changes in cover design and the addition or deletion of readings, became better known as “Agoncillo and Guerrero.” Now, in its latest incarnation, the junior author has been dropped and Agoncillo finally comes into his own as the sole author of the book as suggested by the cover.
The question that has bothered me about this arrangement is that Guerrero’s chapters were deleted and replaced by an unseen hand or hands. Can Agoncillo take responsibility for data and opinions written by someone else? Should he be liable? How could Agoncillo approve or disapprove the 8th edition of “his” book that saw print after his death? Isn’t it odd that Agoncillo, who passed away in January 1985, was able to write a book that brought history up to date to August 1987? Now that gives us a new meaning to the term “ghost writer.”
Agoncillo’s fame and influence extended beyond his classroom and the reach of his sharp tongue. He wrote over 20 books, the more notable ones being “Revolt of the Masses: The Story of Andres Bonifacio and the Katipunan” (1956), “Malolos: Crisis of the Republic” (1960), “The Fateful Years: Japan’s Misadventures in the Philippines 1941-1945” (2 vols, 1965), “Filipino Nationalism” (1974), and “The Burden of Proof: The Vargas-Laurel Collaboration Case” (1984).
Before his death he was senior member of the board of the National Historical Institute and it was to him and to the late E. Aguilar Cruz that I ran to for reference when required. Though they have passed away, their counsel remains through the minutes of the NHI board meetings that often provide illumination when issues are murky.
I remember Agoncillo today because we need perspective to understand the present and our recent history...
SOURCE: News Jacksonville.com (8-24-09)
He went to work as a legislative aide to U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, who represented Sheehan-Dean's home state, Michigan.
But during his four years in Washington, Sheehan-Dean realized his favorite part of the job was conducting tours of the Capitol for constituents - tours he punctuated with tales from history, many of them about the Civil War period.
Having studied history as well as political science at Northwestern, Sheehan-Dean decided he wanted a different kind of career.
"You can reach people teaching in a way I didn't feel I could do as a legislative aide," said Sheehan-Dean, 38, an associate professor of history who joined the faculty at University of North Florida in 2003.
Mapping our history
Earlier this year, Oxford University Press published the second book Sheehan-Dean has written about the Civil War, "Concise Historical Atlas of the U.S. Civil War." In a couple of weeks, the University of North Carolina Press will publish the paperback edition of the first book he wrote, "Why Confederates Fought: Family and Nation in Civil War Virginia." He also has edited two collections of Civil War essays.
"Why Confederates Fought," published in hardcover in 2007, is a slight revision of the doctoral thesis Sheehan-Dean wrote while at the University of Virginia, from which he earned a doctorate in history in 2003.
While at Virginia, Sheehan-Dean worked on an online project called Valley of the Shadow, which compared and contrasted two similar counties, one in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, one in the Pennsylvania's Cumberland Valley.
Sheehan-Dean worked on some of the maps for the project, in the process learning how to use Geographic Information Systems software - which is why Oxford University Press asked him to write the text for the Civil War entry in its Concise Historical Atlas series...
... "My goal with the maps was clarity and readability, not beauty," he said.
About half of the 52 maps concern military aspects of the war, with 20 campaign maps and maps of five major battles: Shiloh, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. The other 27 maps concentrate on politics, the economy and demographics. Each map is accompanied by one page of text.
After taking the summer off, Sheehan-Dean returns to the classroom this week.
He's also begun preliminary research on his next book, tentatively titled "Perfecting the Republic: America After the Civil War."
Reconstruction, which has been written about by many historians, will be covered in the book. But Sheehan-Dean said he hopes to expand on a less-studied subject: How the Union victory helped shape America's future.
SOURCE: GoUpstate.com (7-25-09)
There, they got blow-by-blow details of the Revolutionary War battle from Babits, a professor at East Carolina University whom National Park Service staff called the "foremost expert" on the conflict. This was just one stop during the weeklong National Endowment for the Humanities Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshop at Converse College.
"I've been to several, and this is probably the best one I've been to," said Peter Barella, a teacher from Port Aransas, Texas. "They're keeping us active, keeping us going. It's not just a lecture. They do the lecture bit and the introduction on the bus, and we're off and actually seeing the battlefields, the homes -- things we've read about all of our lives. That's what's exciting about it."
The teachers are getting just as valuable a lesson this week as their students will this fall in the classroom. Co-program director Melissa Walker said most American history textbooks skip over the crucial Revolutionary War battles that took place in the South.
"There's three years of fighting between the Battle of Saratoga and the American victory at Yorktown," said Walker, the George Dean Johnson Jr. Professor of History at Converse and the 2007 South Carolina Professor of the Year. "And most of that fighting took place in the South, and really a lot of the real turning-point battles took place in the South. The textbooks don't tend to reflect that, so this (workshop) is filling a gap in their knowledge."
Walker added that teachers also don't realize the extent to which the Revolution was about Americans fighting Americans -- British loyalists against American patriots. She said memoirs of Alexander Chesney - a loyalist who lived in what is now Spartanburg County - illustrate how numerous men of the times switched sides when captured and threatened with death.
The teachers this week read parts of Chesney's diary, "and got to know the way many people were really acting in self interest as much as in some grand patriotic cause," Walker said. "(Chesney's) loyalties were really with the British, but when push came to shove he did what it took to survive."...
... "It's just a great opportunity to learn more about the sites that I teach in class," said Wright, who teaches U.S. history at Broome High, "and have the (first-person) experience so I can come back and then, hopefully, when budgets are not so tight, plan some more field trips. Some of my kids are born and raised in Cowpens and have never been to the battlefield."
Wright said she learned "a lot more details" about the leadership, strategy and tactics that were used in the war and will be able to bring visuals and primary-source documents from the workshop back into her classroom.
"I love teaching U.S. history because it's so easy to involve the kids because they're so tied to it -- they have stories from their own families," Wright said. "And especially with my students, when I hear about the Scotch-Irish militia, I see my students in them, and I see their parents in them. They're very tough, they're very independent and they're very patriotic, and those are things that are all very unique to the small communities that they come from."
SOURCE: David Kaiser at his blog, History Unfolding (8-21-09)
Not since 1935, the year of the Wagner Act and of Social Security, or 1964 and the great Civil Rights Act, has the Congress faced such a critical choice as it does now. The passage or failure of effective health care reform will determine the direction that the country takes for a long time. One can understand the debate from several related perspectives, both constitutional and geographic.
Ten or twenty years ago I read an interesting article in the New Republic arguing that the Senate had turned into the fatal flaw in our constitutional system, because it gave too much power to tiny states, many of which had little involvement in the great problems of modern life. Because those states were white and lacked industry, they were largely Republican, and their Senators played key roles in blocking liberal legislation and demoralizing Democrats around the country, the article argued. I thought the argument was interesting, and it certainly occurred to me in 2000 that the Senate--and the 100 electoral votes it represents--was the only thing that had made the lamentable presidential election of that year even close. George Bush beat Al Gore not only because he managed to escape with Florida's electoral votes, but because he carried 29 states to Gore's 22 (counting DC), giving him 14 more electoral votes unrelated to population. Take away those 102 electoral votes and Gore would have won. I am not sure but I suspect that is the only election in which this has occurred.
Now, however, this problem is re-emerging. The House, apportioned by population, seems ready to pass health care reform and the Democratic leadership is committed to a public option. In the Senate key positions are held by two Democrats from very small (in population) states, Max Baucus of Montana and Keith Conrad of North Dakota. Conrad in particular is trying to stop the public option and claims the votes for it are not in the Senate. When one thinks about this, especially in contrast to the two earlier great crises in American life in the 1860s and the 1930s, some interesting differences occur.
Differences between small and large states were far less significant in the mid-19th century, largely because the United States was still overwhelmingly agricultural. The main difference, of course, was between slave and free states. The smaller free states of the west opposed slavery for some of the same reasons as the larger states of the North: they wanted to preserve their own land for free labor and small farmers. (Ironically, the strength of the Democratic Party in the North was largely in urban immigrant populations, who disliked the Yankee elites and particularly despised black people.) Similarly, in the 1930s the depression had devastated farmers everywhere, enabling Roosevelt to put together a truly national coalition because he saved people all over the country from foreclosure and starvation. The paradox today is that those who need help the most--the citizens of the red states, including the smaller ones in the upper midwest and the mountain states, but especially in the South--have become most distrustful of the government and of the educated elites. The problem the President faces is to convince those people that broader, reformed health insurance will improve their lives, and it is not clear, in the current climate, that he can do so.
A second, unrelated problem may be equally serious. The New Deal, the New Frontier and the Great Society grew in tandem with the American labor movement, which provided much of the lobbying support and the votes for their programs. Over the last 40 years, as I have noted many times, unions in the private sector have suffered a spectacular decline. That is why, in my opinion, the right seems to be out-organizing the left during the health care controversy, successfully packing town meetings and turning them into bear-baitings similar to the confrontations I saw as a student more than 40 years ago between university Administrators and the SDS. (I'll be posting on that soon.)
There seem to me to be three sides to the health care debate right now. One is the insurance industry, determined once again to avoid real reform and to protect its profits, and its equally powerful allies in the drug industry. They are of course heavy contributors to all sorts of key legislators (including Max Baucus), and they are probably helping orchestrate the town hall protests (see below.) They are allied, as the President recognized on Thursday, with the Republican Party, which wants to replay the scenario of 1993-4 when its determined opposition sank the Clinton health care plan and paved the way for victory in the 1994 Congressional elections. And the strength of that party is among the roughly 30% of the population which evidently cannot reconcile itself to the election of Barack Obama and will therefore believe the most absurd accusations about him and the health care program--the ones who are providing the troops for the town hall meetings. Most of them are relatively elderly, although there are exceptions, like the young woman who asked Barney Frank why he continued to support Obama's "Nazi plan" the other day. (Frank's reply should be seen on youtube.) On the other side are younger, more educated Americans who want to see the new President bring intelligence, analysis, and sanity into various aspects of national policy. They have not found a way to make their voices heard yet.
We do not have a smoking gun regarding the health care industry's campaign, but one did emerge this week regarding another key issue, the cap and trade bill. The American Petroleum Institute has circulated a memo to all its members describing its strategy against the bill. It deserves to be quoted in full.
COPY OF EMAIL FROM AMERICAN PETROLEUM INSTITUTE TO ITS
MEMBERSHIP - OBTAINED BY GREENPEACE – AUGUST 2009
Dear API Member Company CEO/Executive,
As I have outlined in the past few editions of the weekly
“Executive Update,” API is coordinating a series of “Energy
Citizen” rallies in about 20 states across the country
during the last two weeks of Congress’s August recess. Most
of these will be held at noontime, though some may be at
different times in order to piggyback on other events.
Thanks to the leadership of API’s Executive Committee, I am
pleased to report that we have strong support for this
first-ever effort moving ahead. Now we are asking all API
members to get involved.
The objective of these rallies is to put a human face on the
impacts of unsound energy policy and to aim a loud message
at those states’ U.S. Senators to avoid the mistakes
embodied in the House climate bill and the Obama
Administration’s tax increases on our industry. Senate
Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid reportedly has pushed
back consideration of climate legislation to late September
to allow Senators time to get their constituents’ views
during the August recess. It’s important that our views be
At the rallies, we will focus our message on two points: the
adverse impacts of unsound energy policy (e.g., Waxman-
Markey-like legislation, tax increases, and access
limitations) on jobs and on consumers’ energy costs. And we
will call on the Senate to oppose unsound energy policy and
“get it right.”
Recent opinion research that Harris Interactive conducted
for API demonstrates that our messages on Waxman-Markey-like
legislation work extremely well and are very persuasive with
the general public and policy influentials. After hearing
that Waxman-Markey-like legislation could increase the costs
of gasoline to around $4 and lead to significant job losses,
these audiences changed their opinions on the bill
significantly. Opposition to the bill within the policy
influentials cohort grew 23 points, from 40% to 63%; with a
19 point increase in those who now “strongly” oppose the
legislation. The data clearly demonstrate the softness of
support of the current approach and very strong opposition
when people are educated about the potential job losses and
energy cost increases. Our expectation is to translate
peoples’ real concerns for job losses and increased energy
costs to all unsound proposals (e.g., Waxman-Markey-like
legislation, tax increases, and access limitations).
We have identified 11 states with a significant industry
presence and 10 other states where we have assets on the
ground. We also have attracted allies from a broad range of
interests: the Chamber of Commerce and NAM , the trucking
industry, the agricultural sector, small business, and many
others, including a significant number of consumer groups,
which have pledged to have their membership join in the
events in states where they have a strong presence. We also
are collaborating closely with the allied oil and natural
gas industry associations on these events.
While such efforts are never easy and the risk of failure is
always present, we must move aggressively in preparation for
the post-Labor Day debate on energy, climate and taxes.
The measure of success for these events will be the
diversity of the participants expressing the same message,
as well as turnouts of several hundred attendees. In the 11
states with an industry core, our member company local
leadership—including your facility manager’s commitment to
provide significant attendance—is essential to achieving the
participation level that Senators cannot ignore. In
addition, please include all vendors, suppliers,
contractors, retirees and others who have an interest in our
To be clear, API will provide the up-front resources to
ensure logistical issues do not become a problem. This
includes contracting with a highly experienced events
management company that has produced successful rallies for
presidential campaigns, corporations and interest groups. It
also includes coordination with the other interests who
share our views on the issues, providing a field coordinator
in each state, conducting a comprehensive communications and
advocacy activation plan for each state, and serving as
central manager for all events.
We are asking all API members to assist in these August
activities. The size of the company does not matter, and
every participant adds to the strength of our collective
voice. We need two actions from each participating company.
Please provide us with the name of one central coordinator
for your company’s involvement in the rallies. (We will look
to this person as your representative to assist the overall
effort.) If you will let me know ASAP, we can be in touch
quickly and provide that person with additional details
about the project.
Please indicate to your company leadership your strong
support for employee participation in the rallies.
(Unfortunately, we are already experiencing some delay from
your regional people since they are not yet aware that
headquarters supports the effort.) I believe that expression
of support to your company leadership is a fundamental
predicate to organizing quickly and achieving success in
The list of tentative venues is attached. Please treat this
information as sensitive and ask those in your company to do
so as well, as some of these places may be subject to
change, and we don’t want critics to know our game plan. You
can assume with confidence that the advocates for Waxman-
Markey-like legislation and the critics of oil and gas are
going to be very active, particularly during the August
Once the list of venues and exact rally dates are
determined, we will contact your company’s coordinator to
distribute the information internally and to coordinate
transportation to the venues, if required, for your
employees. In the meantime, your company’s coordinator could
assist us by telling us in which of the venues listed below
your company has facilities or employees who can
I look forward to working with you to make the August rally
project and the other advocacy steps we are undertaking to
deliver the policy outcomes we support with measurable
results. Don’t hesitate to call me with questions.
All the best,
Jack N. Gerard
President & CEO
Ohio (venue being finalized)
Indiana (venue being finalized)
Sioux Falls SD
What strikes me about this is the complete lack of interest in the details of the Administration's proposal--just repeated references to "Waxman-Markey like legislation," which is by definition bad. Greenpeace, which discovered the memo, pointed out that the $4 gasoline estimate comes from a study by the Heritage Foundation, which receives much of its funding from oil companies as well. The insurance industry has presumably sent out similar instructions. Because most educated, professional Americans of liberal views are not organized and because unions have become so weak, they--like myself, for instance--aren't getting any comparable instructions. That's a problem. Roosevelt's reforms faced the same mixture of determined and hysterical opposition, much of it from older Americans as well. He however rode into office on a much bigger wave of discontent, and even increased his majorities in Congress after the first two years of the New Deal. He made the United States the first truly advanced industrial nation in economic and social policy. The question now is whether we will fall out of the ranks of those nations.
SOURCE: http://www.onepennysheet.com (8-24-09)
Labor historian Nelson Lichtenstein has been following Wal-Mart for half a decade now, and he believes changes in China, and not in the domestic landscape, may force its day of reckoning.
Since Sam Walton opened the first Wal-Mart in Rogers, Ark., in 1962, the company has grown into a global retailing colossus employing more than 2 million people in almost 8,000 stores worldwide and ringing up annual sales topping $400 billion.
The sheer size and scale of the empire is such that when someone holds up a mirror to Wal-Mart, what we see reflected back are many of today’s most potent social, political, economic and cultural issues.
Labor historian Nelson Lichtenstein, a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, provides such a mirror in his latest book, The Retail Revolution: How Wal-Mart Created a Brave New World of Business.
He previously edited a collection of essays on Wal-Mart published in 2006 that defined the chain as “the face of 21st century capitalism.” He began to focus on the company during the long-running 2003-2004 grocery store strike in Southern California, when three major grocery chains cited fear of Wal-Mart selling groceries for their hard-line stance in negotiations.
SOURCE: http://www.newarkadvocate.com (Newark, Ohio) (8-24-09)
The bearded 55-year-old former Newark Air Force Base historian seems perfectly content amidst the narrow aisles and crammed bookshelves some might call clutter and others a treasure trove.
He's owned Cindamar Books since 2001, but this wasn't exactly the career path he expected when he started working at the Air Force base in 1983.
Still, it's not too surprising, given his background, interests and the decisions he faced when the base closed and he lost his job in 1996.
"It wasn't really what I planned to do with my life, but it's something I know and enjoy," Beamer said. "I enjoy coming to work every day. I like being my own boss."
Beamer, who earned his bachelor's degree from Ohio University and his doctorate in history from The Ohio State University, faced some difficult decisions when the base closed.
He and wife, Teresa, who works at Denison University, had two small children at the time.
"I could have moved to stay with the Air Force and she would have had to give up her job," Beamer said. "Either way, one of us would have to give up our work."
SOURCE: Fox News rush transcript (8-24-09)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: FDR was called a socialist when he passed Social Security. JFK and Lyndon Johnson, they were both accused of a government takeover of health care when they passed Medicare. This is the process that we go through because, understandably, the American people have a long tradition of being suspicious of government until the government actually does something that helps them, and then they don't want anybody messing with whatever gets set up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUCKABEE: Joining us now from San Francisco is Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian and author of the book, "The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America."
Dr. Brinkley, thank you so much for joining us. Let me ask you, a big mistake on the part of the president to sort of invoke the memories of FDR and JFK and compare himself?
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, it's never a mistake for a Democratic president to raise the specter of FDR and Kennedy for his base. I think the Lyndon Johnson comments gets more to the crux of the difficulty the president's having.
As you know, the Great Society is what Ronald Reagan warned against. In fact, I edited "Reagan's Diaries," and he wrote one passage that said I voted four times for FDR and the New Deal, but I'm trying to roll back the Great Society. Medicaid and Medicare came through Lyndon Johnson, but so did a lot of other government programs that people, particularly conservatives, have been trying to role back some of the wealthier state programs. So there's a suspicion on the American people that's been really part of entire history, but we've — since 1980 in the Reagan revolution, of too much government.
And so I think the problem this summer for President Obama is that he's pushing health care after all that economic stimulus money, and there's kind of a woe factor going on, saying this might be too much, too fast, too expensive.
HUCKABEE: How come Democrats never compare themselves, let's say to Jimmy Carter and bring up other Democratic presidents from the past?
BRINKLEY: Well, you know, Carter's somebody who's, as they say, they used the White House as a steppingstone for his ex-presidency. Lyndon Johnson, I actually taped part of a documentary on LBJ, because his 100th birthday was this past August, and the Democratic Convention didn't want to show anything to tribute LBJ, because of Vietnam. You know, he's seen as sort of a quasi pariah in some ways. But you know, Johnson did a lot with the civil rights acts of '64 and '65, and Medicaid and Medicare.
But since 1980, it's been the rage of Reagan. From `80 until 2008, it has been a rollback of government, a more conservative feel in the country. And Barack Obama's trying to stoke a progressive movement, and he's trying — catching the same problem that Bill Clinton did after he tried pushing health care through that first year, meaning he eventually had — you had the Gingrich revolution. And then Bill Clinton had to do triangulation to kind of do some rollbacks of federal programs.
HUCKABEE: There was a clear difference. When FDR was president, the country was in an absolute turmoil and public confidence was down. The interesting thing is most people are happy with their health insurance. They'd love to see some reforms and improvements, but they don't want the government taking it over. This is a very different kind of situation, isn't it?
BRINKLEY: Well, different times. I mean, Franklin Roosevelt was enduring the Great Depression and was doing whatever they could to try to keep the country afloat. Certainly, President Obama's correct. Social Security was controversial. People didn't know whether it was going to work or not. Now post people believe that it's been a success. Medicaid and Medicare's the same. And that gets to the point that President Obama's trying to make that I know a lot of people are afraid to make this plunge into a — my health care program were a public auction, but people were afraid in the past. And it's the argument he needs to make in a lot of ways. But I think the difficulties facing government is going to get that there has been since 1988, a fear of too much government. And in the last few months, we've seen a lot of it. So he's got a very tough fight ahead for him this fall.
HUCKABEE: Doctor, thank you very much.
SOURCE: BBC (8-25-09)
The chronology of the text neatly avoids the issue by ending before the Spanish arrived in the early 1500s.
Some opposition figures have seized on what they see as a calculated omission.
The arrival of the conquistadors resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of indigenous people and the colonisation of Mexico.
On Monday, as 25 million children started the new school term, the government has found itself in the middle of a controversy it apparently did not see coming, says the BBC's Stephen Gibbs in Mexico City.
The new history textbook, published and distributed free by the education ministry, omits what historians agree was one of the most important eras in the country's history - the arrival of the Spanish led by Hernan Cortes in 1519 that led ultimately to colonisation until Mexico gained independence in 1821.
Some opposition politicians have accused the conservative government of President Felipe Calderon of deliberately discouraging a critical analysis of the conquest.