Name of source: NYT
WASHINGTON — It says something about American politics that it has come to this: For the record, Bill Clinton does not actually support Mitt Romney for president no matter how many times Mr. Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee, cites him in his speeches.
And for that matter, just for clarity, Ronald Reagan certainly would not be supporting President Obama, either.
To listen to the candidates on the campaign trail these days is a form of political whiplash. Mr. Romney lavishes praise on the very Democratic Mr. Clinton for breaking with his party’s traditional big-government orthodoxy, while Mr. Obama harks back to the very Republican Mr. Reagan for agreement that millionaires should not pay lower tax rates than the middle class....
Sunday, May 20, 2012 - 11:53
Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, the only person convicted in the 1988 bombing of an American jetliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, has died in Libya, family members told news agencies on Sunday, nearly three years after Scotland released him on humanitarian grounds, citing evidence that he was near death with metastatic prostate cancer. He was 60. .
The death of Mr. Megrahi, who always insisted he was innocent, foreclosed a fuller accounting of his role, and perhaps that of the Libyan government under Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, in the midair explosion of Pan Am Flight 103, which killed 270 people, including 189 Americans.
A former Libyan intelligence officer who worked undercover at Libya’s national airline, Mr. Megrahi was found guilty in 2001 of orchestrating the bombing and sentenced to life in prison, with a 27-year minimum. But eight years later, after doctors said he was likely to die within three months, he was freed in 2009 under a Scottish law providing for compassionate release of prisoners with terminal illnesses....
Sunday, May 20, 2012 - 10:06
FLORENCE, Ala. — Dianne O’Neal still lives on the rustic cattle farm that her husband’s family has owned since his great-great-great-grandfather purchased the land in the 1830s. She still stays in a log cabin built from chestnut trees that his ancestors chopped by hand.
But one aspect of the family’s long history here in northern Alabama is not so well preserved: Coffee Cemetery, an overgrown one-acre graveyard where the ancestors of her husband, Edward O’Neal, and their slaves are buried.
That has become a pressing matter in Florence because Walmart plans to build a store right next to the graveyard. The O’Neals’ biggest concern is that nobody knows exactly where their ancestors’ 80 slaves are buried....
Thursday, May 17, 2012 - 09:01
Researchers have discovered illustrations of female anatomy in a rock shelter in France that date back 37,000 years.
It is “the oldest evidence of any kind of graphic imagery,” said Randall White, an anthropologist at New York University and one of the researchers working on the project.
He and his colleagues report their findings in the current issue of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences....
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - 12:01
...[T]he months between the end of the primary season and the formal start of the general election at the conventions are an especially perilous period for candidates in Mr. Romney’s position....
The risks of failing to win the spring-summer narrative battle are substantial. Just ask Michael Dukakis, Bob Dole or John Kerry, all of whom failed to establish strong positive images during this period and allowed their opponents to brand them in ways they never overcame.
In 1988, Vice President George Bush used Willie Horton starting in June to portray Mr. Dukakis, the Democratic nominee that year, as a soft-on-crime liberal. Mr. Dukakis never really found a way to respond, and was wiped out in November.
In the spring of 1996, President Bill Clinton’s team portrayed Mr. Dole as old and a tool of radical conservatives in Congress like Newt Gingrich. Mr. Dole desperately tried to establish a fresh identity for himself by resigning from the Senate in May, but could not establish a consistent case for his candidacy and was drubbed in the fall....
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - 12:00
ROME — Since 1983, when 15-year-old Emanuela Orlandi vanished on a street here on her way home from a music lesson, investigators have struggled to solve her disappearance. Various theories have tied the presumed kidnapping to intrigue involving the Italian secret services, organized crime, even the attempt to assassinate John Paul II — or possibly all three.
On Monday, police forensic experts pursued yet another lead, exhuming the tomb of a notorious local crime boss at a Vatican church, where some speculated Emanuela might have been buried. Besides his remains, they found hundreds of other bones in an ancient ossuary nearby in the crypt. The police said they would test them to see if any might have been Emanuela’s.
The exhumation added a new chapter to the 29-year-old mystery that has captivated Italians, in particular because Emanuela was the daughter of an employee of the Vatican City State — and a Vatican citizen, a fact that many see as a key to understanding her disappearance....
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - 11:50
The day after President Obama endorsed gay marriage, Mitt Romney found himself responding to allegations that as a teenager he harassed a prep school classmate who later came out as gay.
The account put Mr. Romney, who has struggled on the campaign trail to cast off his rivals’ image of him as privileged and insensitive, on the defensive about events nearly 50 years ago.
The episode, reported by The Washington Post, occurred at Cranbrook, a private school that Mr. Romney, the son of an automobile executive-turned-governor, attended in Michigan. Mr. Romney returned from spring break in his senior year to find that John Lauber, a quiet, offbeat type, had bleached his hair blond....
Monday, May 14, 2012 - 16:39
Here’s one case where, as far as the city is concerned, crime can pay. Among the 840,000 archival images placed online recently by the city’s Department of Records are 1,326 police evidence photographs mostly taken from 1915 to 1920. The Municipal Archives gallery provides free research online and at a new visitors’ center at 31 Chambers Street behind City Hall, but a digital file or 8-by-10 print will cost $45.
The crime scene photos are part of what Eileen Flannelly, a deputy records commissioner, describes as “the largest collection of criminal justice evidence in the world.”
“When I look at these pictures, it’s like looking at an old gangster movie,” Ms. Flannelly said....
Monday, May 14, 2012 - 14:59
Name of source: Discovery News
The ancestors of modern Scottish people left behind mysterious, carved stones that new research has just determined contain the written language of the Picts, an Iron Age society that existed in Scotland from 300 to 843.
The highly stylized rock engravings, found on what are known as the Pictish Stones, had once been thought to be rock art or tied to heraldry. The new study, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society A, instead concludes that the engravings represent the long lost language of the Picts, a confederation of Celtic tribes that lived in modern-day eastern and northern Scotland.
"We know that the Picts had a spoken language to complement the writing of the symbols, as Bede (a monk and historian who died in 735) writes that there are four languages in Britain in this time: British, Pictish, Scottish and English," lead author Rob Lee told Discovery News....
Friday, May 18, 2012 - 16:54
May 17, 2012 -- The woman known as the Queen of Disco, Donna Summer, died today at the age of 63 after a battle with cancer.
Summer, a five-time Grammy Award winner, shot to fame in the ‘70s with iconic hits produced by famed disco producer Giorgio Moroder, according to Rolling Stone. Her hits in the ‘70s, "Bad Girls" and "Hot Stuff" were followed by hits in the ‘80s like “She Works Hard for the Money” and “This Time I Know It’s for Real.” With her ‘80s hits she was also able to move into the MTV era with memorable music videos....
Thursday, May 17, 2012 - 14:25
Ocean researchers exploring the depths of the Gulf of Mexico have discovered a wooden shipwreck laden with anchors, navigational instruments, glass bottles, ceramic plates, cannons and boxes of muskets.
Resting on the sea bottom in about 4,000 feet of water, some 200 miles offs the northern Gulf Coast shore, the wooden-hulled vessel "is believed to have sunk as long as 200 years ago," the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said in a statement.
"Artifacts in and around the wreck and the hull's copper sheathing may date the vessel to the early to mid-19th century," said Jack Irion, a maritime archaeologist with the Interior Department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management....
Thursday, May 17, 2012 - 14:23
When most people think of beheadings they probably think of events far away in time and place, such as Marie Antoinette's 1793 guillotine execution during the French revolution.
But beheadings are hardly a thing of the past; in fact in some places they are becoming increasingly commonplace....
In centuries past beheading was actually preferable to other common forms of execution (such as being burned alive or disemboweled). In early England beheading was considered a noble, and even honorable, death. Nigel Cawthorne, author of "Public Executions" (2006, Capella Press) notes that "Hanging was usually reserved for the lower classes....
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 - 13:55
Min, the ancient Egyptian god of phallus and fertility, might have brought some worldy advantages to his male worshippers, but offered little protection when it came to spiritual life.
Researchers at the Mummy Project-Fatebenefratelli hospital in Milan, Italy, established that one of Min's priests at Akhmim, Ankhpakhered, was not resting peacefully in his finely painted sarcophagus.
"We discovered that the sarcophagus does not contain the mummy of the priest, but the remains of another man dating between 400 and 100 BC," Egyptologist Sabina Malgora said....
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 - 13:53
Name of source: NetworkWorld
Unless it turns out that Alexander Graham Bell didn't really want to see Watson - that he was just goofing on the guy - then the first documented prank phone call would appear to have occurred about eight years after that famous 1876 exchange ... and at the expense of an undertaker in Providence, R.I.
This little-known nugget of telecommunications history comes from the Feb. 2, 1884 edition of The Electrical World, via Google Books, and was unearthed by Paul Collins, an associate professor of English at Portland State University, who is perhaps better known as The Literary Detective....
Friday, May 18, 2012 - 11:40
Name of source: Richmond Times-Dispatch
The historians of 100 years ago had an idea what the future should know about them. And they hid it on May 20, 1912, in the cornerstone of the new Confederate Memorial Institute on the Boulevard.
The building, soon to be known as Battle Abbey, and the Confederate Memorial Association that built it were subsumed over the years into the Virginia Historical Society....
Then the 100th anniversary of the building inspired some research by Nelson D. Lankford, vice president of the society and editor of its Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. He discovered a list of items placed in a box in the cornerstone.
Did they still exist?
Thursday, May 17, 2012 - 17:14
Name of source: Tablet Magazine
In 1996, then-International Olympic Committee President Juan Antonio Samaranch discussed the recent war in the Balkans, and the need to rebuild Sarajevo. What he didn’t commemorate, or even mention—and what, the IOC announced today, won’t be commemorated, or even mentioned, in any official capacity at this summer’s Games in London on the 40th anniversary—is the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. Despite an official Israeli request, the IOC will not do, well, anything, except, in the words of President Jacques Rogge, to offer the following thoughts: “What happened in Munich in 1972 strengthened the determination of the Olympic Movement to contribute more than ever to building a peaceful and better world by educating young people through sport practiced without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit.”...
Thursday, May 17, 2012 - 14:42
Name of source: Salon
Dan Walsh’s incredibly rich Palestine Poster Project Archives includes much in the way of protest, but it also contains a trove of rare Zionist/Israeli posters from the 1920s through the ’50s, largely before partition. The ones excerpted here are from the Mahmoud Darwish Memorial Gallery, which includes a collection of Zionist Worker agency posters calling for increased development of Palestine.
The affairs of the workers of Eretz Israel should be in the hands of the workers of Eretz Israel, 1935.
Thursday, May 17, 2012 - 14:30
Perhaps you were shocked this month when you read that years ago, thanks to its association with international workers and the anarchist movement, May Day was officially named Loyalty Day by the federal government to avoid the appearance of condoning dissent. It’s creepy and Orwellian, but it’s not that unusual....
But this isn’t a new American tradition. A simple search of other official national and state holidays shows that region by region, we have some pretty appalling holidays on the books. Here are just a few:
Robert E. Lee’s birthday and other Confederate commemoration fetes: Several states, including Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi, don’t let Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday be celebrated without tacking on this commemoration of the Confederate general who led armies into the field to defend the genocidal institution of slavery. This is the first of a few official holidays in the former states of the confederacy that are a little bit sketchy....
Monday, May 14, 2012 - 17:09
Name of source: MSNBC
Travelers looking forward to a little luxury in the coming months may want to look backward instead. From Boston to Beverly Hills, iconic hotels are celebrating their 100th anniversaries with historic tours, special events and package deals.
“The years between 1897 and 1912 represented a golden age of outrageous luxury hotels,” said Andrew K. Sandoval-Strausz, associate professor of history at the University of New Mexico and the author of “Hotel: An American History.”
In fact, 1912 can be considered something of a watershed year. “It’s not just what came before; it’s what came after,” said Sandoval-Strausz. “The income tax was imposed in 1913 by the 16th amendment. Before that, rich folks just had a colossal amount of untaxed income and there had been a burst in hotel building to accommodate them.”...
Thursday, May 17, 2012 - 13:49
Name of source: Miami Herald
A federal judge has ruled that the last volume in a CIA history of the Bay of Pigs invasion that was written more than 30 years ago and 51 years after the ill-fated Cuban mission should remain secret.
In an opinion released Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Gladys Kessler said Volume V in the CIA’s Official History of the Bay of Pigs was a draft that was “rejected for inclusion in the final publication” and was exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.
The Washington-based National Security Archive, a research institute and library, filed suit last year asking for declassification of all five volumes in the set after its previous FOIA requests were unsuccessful....
Thursday, May 17, 2012 - 12:14
Name of source: NYT Editorial Board
...On Monday, four Democratic congressmen, including John Lewis of Georgia, got so frustrated that they filed suit against the Senate, saying its filibuster rule is unconstitutional and illegally nullified their legislative votes. They argue that unlimited debate was never envisioned by the Constitution, and that supermajorities were required only in unusual cases, like overriding a veto or treaty ratification. They are joined by three students, the children of undocumented immigrants, who could have benefited from the citizenship path in the Dream Act until it was filibustered.
This suit, organized by Common Cause, makes some strong historical points, but it may not be necessary. Only recently have filibusters become a daily impediment to Senate operations, and they would not be that difficult to curb. We have supported eliminating the filibuster for judicial and executive nominees. Making other filibusters harder would be good for both parties. If Mr. Reid remains majority leader in January, he should lead the reform....
Thursday, May 17, 2012 - 09:03
Name of source: LiveScience
More than 400 years before modern-day governments tried shutting down blogs or blocking tweets, two people tasked with censoring a sometimes-critic of the Catholic Church in Renaissance Europe took to their duties in very different ways: one with great beauty, the other with glue and, it appears, a message.
Now, two books, housed at separate libraries at the University of Toronto, illustrate two unusual approaches censors took when dealing with the same author, Erasmus.
Born in Rotterdam around 1466, Erasmus was a prolific writer who sought out wisdom in ancient Greek and Latin texts. His writings, mass produced thanks to the printing press, were at times critical of the Catholic Church....
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 - 13:57
The oldest-known version of the ancient Maya calendar has been discovered adorning a lavishly painted wall in the ruins of a city deep in the Guatemalan rainforest.
The hieroglyphs, painted in black and red, along with a colorful mural of a king and his mysterious attendants, seem to have been a sort of handy reference chart for court scribes in A.D. 800 — the astronomers and mathematicians of their day. Contrary to popular myth, this calendar isn't a countdown to the end of the world in December 2012, the study researchers said.
"The Mayan calendar is going to keep going for billions, trillions, octillions of years into the future," said archaeologist David Stuart of the University of Texas, who worked to decipher the glyphs. "Numbers we can't even wrap our heads around." [End of the World? Top Doomsday Fears]...
Thursday, May 10, 2012 - 16:29
Name of source: AFP
WASHINGTON — A massive block of limestone in France contains what scientists believe are the earliest known engravings of wall art dating back some 37,000 years, according to a study published Monday.
The 1.5 metric ton ceiling piece was first discovered in 2007 at Abri Castanet, a well known archeological site in southwestern France which holds some of the earliest forms of artwork, beads and pierced shells.
According to New York University anthropology professor Randall White, lead author of the paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the art was likely meant to adorn the interior of a shelter for reindeer hunters....
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 - 13:51
Name of source: The Atlantic
One of the most compelling -- and enduring -- mysteries in archaeology concerns the rise of early humans and the decline of Neanderthals. For about 250,000 years, Neanderthals lived and evolved, quite successfully, in the area that is now Europe. Somewhere between 45,000 and 35,000 years ago, early humans came along.
They proliferated in their new environment, their population increasing tenfold in the 10,000 years after they arrived; Neanderthals declined and finally died away.
What happened? What went so wrong for the Neanderthals -- and what went so right for us humans?...
The Cambridge researchers Paul Mellars and Jennifer French have another theory, though. In a paper in the journal Science, they concluded that "numerical supremacy alone may have been a critical factor" in human dominance -- with humans simply crowding out the Neanderthals. Now, with an analysis in American Scientist, the anthropologist Pat Shipman is building on their work. After analyzing the Mellars and French paper and comparing it with the extant literature, Shipman has come to an intriguing conclusion: that humans' comparative evolutionary fitness owes itself to the domestication of dogs....
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 - 13:43
Name of source: CS Monitor
The US Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up the appeal of American treasure hunters who were forced earlier this year to surrender $500 million in silver and gold coins they recovered from the wreck of a Spanish warship 3,000 feet deep in international waters.
The high court took the action without comment.
A federal judge in Tampa, Fla., and the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta ordered Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc. of Tampa to surrender the coins and other artifacts to Spain....
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 - 13:41
Name of source: Huffington Post
A Republican lawmaker in New Hampshire was physically removed from the state House of Representatives on Tuesday afternoon after he made a Nazi salute during a contentious debate about limiting what is considered valid voter identification.
Rep. Steve Vaillancourt (R-Manchester) shouted, "Sieg Heil" and moved his hand in the air after House Speaker William O'Brien (R-Mont Vernon) restricted what he could address during a floor debate on an amendment to a state voter ID bill. O'Brien had restricted what Vaillancourt could say about the full bill, saying that he could not reference the House Election Law Committee's discussion, only the issues presented in the committee report.
O'Brien, who had previously threatened to toss Vaillancourt from the floor, used Vaillancourt's outburst to have the veteran lawmaker moved off the floor. It is the first time in at least a decade that a House member has been removed from the chamber in New Hampshire. House members then voted 238 to 103 to allow Vaillancourt to apologize to the full chamber in order to be allowed back in, setting off further debate when Vaillancourt did not apologize in the manner that O'Brien had expected....
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 - 12:51
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Ratko Mladic was a shadow of the swaggering general who once "held Sarajevo in the palm of his hand" during Bosnia's 1992-95 war as his long-awaited genocide trial opened Wednesday. Yet he still managed to inflame Bosnia's festering war wounds with the flick of his hand.
Hobbled by strokes and wearing a business suit instead of combat fatigues, the frail 70-year-old gestured toward the families of massacre victims in an angry exchange of hand signals through the bulletproof glass that separated them.
"Not even an animal would behave like that," said Mevlija Malic as she watched the trial on television in Bosnia....
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 - 12:49
Name of source: AP
WASHINGTON -- Washington National Cathedral is preparing to dedicate a new carving of civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks in a section of the church devoted to human rights.
The Episcopal cathedral formally installs the new sculpture Thursday with a ceremony of evening prayer songs. The carving of Parks will join others on the cathedral's Human Rights Porch that celebrates those who struggled to bring equality and social justice to all people. Other figures include former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt.
One of Parks' nieces, Rhea McCauley, will join the ceremony, along with Elaine Eason Steele, co-founder of the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development....
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 - 12:48
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is awarding the Medal of Honor to a Pennsylvania Army specialist killed in combat in 1970 while serving as a rifleman in Cambodia during the Vietnam War.
Paperwork for the award was lost for three decades, the Army says, and the efforts of a Vietnam veteran are largely credited for the medal being awarded posthumously to Spec. Leslie H. Sabo Jr. for heroic action. His platoon was ambushed by North Vietnamese forces in 1970 near the village of Se San in eastern Cambodia.
A White House description of the action says Sabo saved the lives of several of his fellow soldiers. At one point, he grabbed a nearby enemy grenade, tossed it away and shielded a wounded comrade with his body, saving his life....
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 - 12:47
Here's what's not going to happen this year: the earth won't end on Dec. 12; it won't be swallowed by a black hole, consumed by the sun or get taken out by a collision with the imaginary planet Nibiru. Here's what will happen: as of today, more people than ever will believe that those calamities will occur on precisely the day they're predicted to. The reason: a new discovery -- just reported in the journal Science -- of the earliest known Mayan astronomical calendar, featuring elaborate and detailed work by one of the most impressive civilizations that ever lived.
It was earlier interpretations of other Mayan calendars that gave rise to the Internet-fueled doomsday scenarios of the past few years -- mostly because one calendar cycle the Mayans computed ends Dec. 12 (though no one paid much attention to the fact that another one was supposed to begin immediately after that). If people can stay focused on the science this time though, they'll find a lot to be impressed by in the new findings....
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 - 12:45
NEW YORK — Even after decades of in-depth Holocaust research, excruciating details are only now emerging about more than 1,100 German-run ghettos in Eastern Europe where the Nazis murdered hundreds of thousands of Jews.
And there were nearly 200 more ghettos than previously believed, said Martin Dean, editor of the recently published “Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933-1945, Volume II.” It’s part of a long-term effort to document every site of organized Nazi persecution, beyond the well-known Warsaw ghetto and extermination camps like Auschwitz.
It “gives us information about ghettos that would slip into historical oblivion and be forgotten forever if we didn’t have this volume,” Holocaust scholar Lawrence Langer said. “Who knew there were more than 1,000 ghettos?”...
Monday, May 14, 2012 - 13:37
WASHINGTON (AP) — The founding president of the Autry National Center of the American West, a group of museums in Los Angeles and Denver, has been named director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington, the museum complex announced Tuesday.
John Gray will lead one of the nation's most popular museums, which is on track to host 5 million visitors this year, beginning July 23. Gray had a 25-year career in commercial banking, served in the U.S. Small Business Administration in the Clinton administration and earned a master's degree in business administration before joining the museum field.
In 1999, Gray became CEO of a museum devoted to the legacy of movie star Gene Autry in Los Angeles and is credited with transforming it into a major cultural center. Gray merged it with Colorado's Women of the West Museum and Los Angeles' Southwest Museum of the American Indian. The combined center with more than 500,000 objects also created the Institute for the Study of the American West....
Sunday, May 13, 2012 - 23:16
Name of source: North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources Press Release
A N.C. Highway Historical Marker for a Revolutionary War general and former Orange County sheriff will be dedicated on Saturday, May 19, at 11:30 a.m. When John Butler became sheriff in 1770, he represented the authority of the Crown at a time when settlers in what was then North Carolina's backcountry wanted none of it. Even his brother was a member of the Regulator Movement that in 1771 fought Royal Governor William Tryon and his militia and lost.
By the time of the American Revolution, Butler commanded the Orange County militia in the Moores Creek Bridge campaign during the Revolutionary War. He served in the Provincial Congress and later was appointed commander of the Hillsborough District militia. Butler showed great bravery in engagements at Stono Ferry, Camden, and Guilford Courthouse in 1781. He was one of six district generals in North Carolina.
Butler's final effort was to attempt to capture Loyalist David Fanning, who had captured Governor Thomas Burke and taken other political prisoners in Hillsborough in September 1781. Outnumbered, Butler's forces retreated after heavy fighting. Fanning escaped to Wilmington with the prisoners. Butler resigned his commission in 1784. He was elected to the House of Commons in 1786, but died before the session opened. His home at "Mount Pleasant" is now site of a golf course.
The marker will be dedicated at NC 2458 (Swepsonville-Saxapahaw Road) at SR 2156 (Bason Road) in Swepsonville.
There also will be a 241st Anniversary of the Battle of Alamance Celebration at Alamance Battleground in Burlington on May 19-20, call (336) 227-4785 for details. For information on the Highway Marker Program, call (919) 807-7290.
The highway marker program is part of the Office of Archives and History in the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 - 12:35
Name of source: Fox News
Architect Frank Gehry has proposed changes to the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial in Washington, following strong criticism from surviving family members and questions from top GOP House lawmakers.
The family had initially complained that the design focused too strongly on the late president's humble Kansas roots, as opposed to his accomplishments as a president and military commander.
While members of the Eisenhower Memorial Commission have voiced approval for the changes, they don't necessarily address one of the family's complaints -- a life-size sculpture of a young Eisenhower would remain at the center of the memorial despite the family's earlier objections....
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 - 12:01
Name of source: Lee White for the National Coalition for History
Please write your Members of Congress and ask them to support the National Historical Publications & Records Commission (NHPRC), the “grant-making” arm of the National Archives & Records Administration. Letters are needed to urge Congress to provide fiscal year 2013 funding of $5 million for the NHPRC’s regular grants programs.
The NHPRC is funded at $5 million for FY 2012. This figure represents a $2 million cut from the FY 2011 level of $7.0 million (and a decrease of $8.0 million from the FY 2010 level of $13.0 million). The Administration’s FY 2013 budget request includes only $3 million for the NHPRC, an amount that will not support the ongoing programs and mission of the Commission at even a minimal level. It is up to the Congress to preserve this program, which has already been cut substantially in previous fiscal years.
The NHPRC grants program is funded under the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill.
Our partners at the National Humanities Alliance have set up a template message for you to send to your Members of Congress which you can customize. We strongly encourage you to personalize this message, telling Congress why the NHPRC and its grants program are important to you, your institution, your field, state, or district. If you have received or worked on an NHPRC grant, please consider the local or long-term impact of this funding. If possible, cite numbers where appropriate and specify what would be lost without this funding....
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - 19:51
The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is seeking public comments on the draft guidelines for the FY 2013 Museums for America and National Leadership Grants for Museums programs. The guidelines for these programs have been revised to align with the IMLS Strategic Plan.
The IMLS is seeking comments to assess how well these guidelines accomplish the following goals:
To see the guidelines use these links:
Museums for America
National Leadership Grants for Museums
The comment period will end on Friday, July 6, 2012. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Final guidelines will be posted no later than October 15, 2012.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - 19:50
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) recently released its 2011 Records Management Self-Assessment Report. NARA’s findings are similar to last year’s. The responses indicated that a large majority of Federal agencies that responded remain at high to moderate risk of compromising the integrity, authenticity, and reliability of their records.
Key findings of the report include:
- Most agencies do not have adequate controls for major activities of their records management programs;
- Many records management staff have insufficient knowledge and understanding of electronic records, which leads to the continued implementation of poor recordkeeping practices;
- The majority of respondents provided materials that did not support their responses to one or more questions in the self-assessment;
- Nearly a quarter of the respondent agencies do not conduct records management training for their senior officials, and;
- Agencies risk improper management and disposition of records or, in some cases, they are saving their records but not taking the necessary steps to ensure that they can be retrieved, read, or interpreted.
In May 2011, NARA issued the mandatory annual records management self-assessment (RMSA) to Federal agencies. The goal of the self-assessments is to determine whether Federal agencies are compliant with statutory and regulatory records management requirements.
The report also revealed some positive trends. There was a slight increase in the number of agencies that scored in the Low Risk category. In addition, a number of agencies have in place or are working on guidance for managing records in social media and web 2.0 platforms as well as cloud computing environments. Federal agencies recognize the need for performance metrics for their records management programs, and several agencies have established sophisticated metrics that can serve as a model for others. Also, agencies are increasingly transferring their permanent electronic records to NARA using the Electronic Records Archives, NARA’s strategic initiative to preserve and provide long-term access to the electronic records of the Federal Government.
Agencies can use RMSA data to chart their own programs. NARA uses the annual RMSA as a tool to monitor and oversee Federal records management programs. The work reflected in this report was accomplished prior to the issuance of the Presidential Memorandum on Managing Government Records, which requires each agency to designate a senior official to supervise an evaluation of the agency’s records management program. Data from the RMSAs and agency submissions in response to the Presidential Memorandum, will give NARA a Government-wide base of information from which to develop the Records Management Directive.
NARA has the authority to inspect the records management programs and practices of Federal agencies under 44 U.S.C. 2904 and 2906. NARA evaluates agencies for compliance with requirements stated in 44 U.S.C. Chapters 31 and 33 and the regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) – specifically Subchapter B – Records Management of 36 CFR Chapter XII.
The report may be downloaded from NARA’s website [http://www.archives.gov/records-mgmt/resources/self-assessment-2011.pdf]
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - 19:48
John Gray, founding president of the Autry National Center of the American West, a consolidation of three cultural organizations in Los Angeles and Denver, has been appointed the Elizabeth MacMillan Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, effective July 23, 2012.
Gray was known for his leadership in banking and government service until he became director of the Autry Museum of Western Heritage in Los Angeles. He enlarged the museum’s mission and scope, and, in 2002, merged the museum with Colorado’s Women of the West Museum and, in 2004, with Los Angeles’ oldest museum, the Southwest Museum of the American Indian. The new organization became the Autry National Center of the American West based in Los Angeles.
The Autry National Center has more than 500,000 objects, a 130-member staff and an annual budget of about $16 million. It is accredited by the American Association of Museums and gained national prominence during Gray’s tenure.
Gray spent 25 years in commercial banking, serving as executive vice president of First Interstate Bank of California in Los Angeles from 1987 until 1996. He worked for the Small Business Administration in Washington, D.C., for two years, 1997 to 1999—when he moved back to the West Coast to serve as president and CEO of the Autry Museum in Los Angeles. This was the beginning of his career in non-profit cultural organizations, which culminated in the creation of the Autry National Center of the American West, formed by the merger of three organizations.
He retired from the Autry National Center in late 2010 and currently lives in New Mexico.
Gray has a bachelor’s degree from C.W. Post College at Long Island University and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Colorado. He is currently enrolled in the master’s program in Eastern classics from Saint John’s College in Santa Fe.
“It is a great honor to be selected as steward of our national treasures,” said Gray. “Learning and understanding our shared histories as Americans are vital to living in and developing the American experience.”
Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough said, “John pulled together three organizations with different missions, leadership and boards, to form one new center whose mission is to tell the story of the American West as a place created by cowboys, Native Americans, women, Chinese laborers, Mexicans and many others. His passion for American history and scholarship is obvious, and it’s what will make him a great leader for our American History Museum.”
Clough made the appointment based on recommendations made by a search committee chaired by Richard Kurin, Under Secretary for History, Art and Culture at the Smithsonian. The search committee included American History Museum board chair John Rogers; vice chair Nick Taubman; board member and former Smithsonian Regent Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.); museum staff members Judith Gradwohl, Marvette Perez and Jeffrey Stine; National Museum of African American History and Culture director Lonnie Bunch; the Smithsonian’s director of advancement Ginny Clark; and Nina Archabal, former director of the Minnesota Historical Society.
Gray succeeds Brent Glass, who retired as director in August 2011. Marc Pachter, former director of the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, has served as interim director since last August.
Gray will oversee 234 employees, a budget of more than $34 million and the renewal of the museum’s 120,000-square-foot west exhibition wing with its new exhibit spaces, interior public plazas, a Hall of Music for live performances, a modern education center and a gallery for the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - 19:47
Name of source: Commentary
...The Heritage Foundation’s Rory Cooper tweeted that Obama had casually dropped his own name into Ronald Reagan’s official biography on www.whitehouse.gov, claiming credit for taking up the mantle of Reagan’s tax reform advocacy with his “Buffett Rule” gimmick. My first thought was, he must be joking. But he wasn’t—it turns out Obama has added bullet points bragging about his own accomplishments to the biographical sketches of every single U.S. president since Calvin Coolidge (except, for some reason, Gerald Ford)....
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - 13:07
Name of source: Chronicle of Higher Ed
The Salvadoran jurist Reynaldo Galindo Pohl died this year at age 93. A former education minister and president of El Salvador's National Constitutional Assembly, Pohl spent much of his career pressing for human rights, first as a member of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and later as his country's ambassador to the United Nations. News of his death barely registered outside Latin American diplomatic circles. But the more than seven million global adherents of the Bahai faith marked it with deep sadness. They remembered Pohl as the tireless diplomat who shed light on the persecution of their co-religionists in the Islamic Republic of Iran at a time when few others were paying attention.
From 1986 to 1994, Pohl served as the U.N. Human Rights Commission's special representative on Iran. The Iranian regime, he found, was subjecting its largest non-Muslim religious minority to a systematic campaign of cultural eradication. In 1993, Pohl disclosed a chilling memorandum written by Seyyed Mohammad Golpaygani, then secretary of Iran's Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution. The Golpaygani memorandum, as it came to be known, set out a national policy for dealing with the "Bahai question." The Iranian government, Golpaygani forthrightly recommended, must ensure that "progress and development are blocked" for Bahais.
The centerpiece of the policy was an express ban on Bahais' obtaining postsecondary education. They "must be expelled from universities, either in the admissions process or during the course of their studies, once it becomes known that they are Bahais," Golpaygani wrote. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei approved the memorandum, "In the name of God!"...
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - 12:52
Name of source: Daily Mail (UK)
When a cargo ship carrying 66 women convicts to Australia was seized in the 18th century, it became one of the most infamous mutinies of all time.
Now a diary written by the carpenter has shed new light on the incident which happened on the Lady Shore off the coast of South America.
Today the work, produced by Thomas Millard, from Deptford, south London, sold for £12,500 at auction.
The ship was heading from Gravesend, Kent, to Bontany Bay in 1797 when it was seized by the French soldiers employed to guard the convicts....
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - 12:48
Name of source: WaPo
BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. — Mitt Romney returned from a three-week spring break in 1965 to resume his studies as a high school senior at the prestigious Cranbrook School. Back on the handsome campus, studded with Tudor brick buildings and manicured fields, he spotted something he thought did not belong at a school where the boys wore ties and carried briefcases. John Lauber, a soft-spoken new student one year behind Romney, was perpetually teased for his nonconformity and presumed homosexuality. Now he was walking around the all-boys school with bleached-blond hair that draped over one eye, and Romney wasn’t having it.
“He can’t look like that. That’s wrong. Just look at him!” an incensed Romney told Matthew Friedemann, his close friend in the Stevens Hall dorm, according to Friedemann’s recollection. Mitt, the teenage son of Michigan Gov. George Romney, kept complaining about Lauber’s look, Friedemann recalled.
A few days later, Friedemann entered Stevens Hall off the school’s collegiate quad to find Romney marching out of his own room ahead of a prep school posse shouting about their plan to cut Lauber’s hair. Friedemann followed them to a nearby room where they came upon Lauber, tackled him and pinned him to the ground. As Lauber, his eyes filling with tears, screamed for help, Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors.
The incident was recalled similarly by five students, who gave their accounts independently of one another. Four of them — Friedemann, now a dentist; Phillip Maxwell, a lawyer; Thomas Buford, a retired prosecutor; and David Seed, a retired principal — spoke on the record. Another former student who witnessed the incident asked not to be identified. The men have differing political affiliations, although they mostly lean Democratic. Buford volunteered for Barack Obama’s campaign in 2008. Seed, a registered independent, has served as a Republican county chairman in Michigan. All of them said that politics in no way colored their recollections....
Monday, May 14, 2012 - 16:33
The CIA director revealed only a few details about the 21-year-old woman, a secretary among spies. In the agency’s annual memorial service for employees killed on the job, then-Director Leon E. Panetta announced that a new name had been inscribed with calligraphy inside the CIA’s Book of Honor: Barbara Annette Robbins, who had volunteered to go to Saigon during the Vietnam War and died in a 1965 car bombing at the U.S. Embassy.
The private ceremony inside the agency’s main lobby last year marked the first time the CIA publicly acknowledged Robbins as one of their own. But the slain secretary holds enough historic titles to make her an object of curiosity within the CIA. Robbins was the first woman at the male-dominated CIA killed in the line of duty. She is the youngest CIA employee ever killed. And, according to Panetta, she was also the first American woman to die in the Vietnam War....
Friday, May 11, 2012 - 12:11
Name of source: The Globe and Mail (Canada)
Taking advantage of Egypt’s political upheaval, thieves are preying on the country’s ancient pharaonic heritage.
Illegal digs near ancient temples and in isolated desert sites have swelled a staggering 100-fold over the past 16 months since a popular uprising toppled Hosni Mubarak’s 29-year regime and security fell apart in many areas as police simply stopped doing their jobs. The pillaging comes on top of a wave of break-ins last year at archaeological storehouses — and even at Cairo’s famed Egyptian Museum, the country’s biggest repository of pharaonic artifacts....
“Criminals became so bold they are digging in landmark areas,” including near the Great Pyramids in Giza, other nearby pyramids and the grand temples of the southern city of Luxor, said Maj. Gen. Abdel-Rahim Hassan, commander of the Tourism and Antiquities Police Department....
Monday, May 14, 2012 - 15:17
Name of source: National Parks Traveler
Homesteaders flooding the American heartland in the 1860s couldn't have imagined electric lights, so if it were possible for any of them to return to Nebraska on May 20, 2012, they would be astounded indeed. A celebration of the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Homestead Act at Homestead National Monument of America will feature a laser light show... and much more from May 20-25.
Event organizers have planned an impressive array of activities, and the location is certainly appropriate. Homestead National Monument of America, located in southeastern Nebraska, is located on the site of what's believed to be the first land claimed under the Homestead Act. Daniel Freeman filed his claim at 10 minutes after midnight on January 1, 1863—the first day the Homestead Act was in effect—at the Land Office in Brownville, Nebraska.
Freeman's claim was only the first of many. By the time settlement under the Homestead Act ended in 1986, about two million individuals had used the Act to settle approximately 285 million acres—around eight percent of all the land in the United States....
Monday, May 14, 2012 - 13:36
Name of source: National Geographic
Before the brunches, before the gifts and greeting cards, Mother's Day was a time for mourning women to remember fallen soldiers and work for peace.
When the holiday went commercial, its greatest champion gave everything to fight it, dying penniless and broken in a sanitarium. Of course, Mother's Day marched on without her and is today celebrated, in various forms, on a global scale.
As early as the 1850s, West Virginia women's organizer Ann Reeves Jarvis held Mother's Day work clubs to improve sanitary conditions and try to lower infant mortality by fighting disease and curbing milk contamination, according to historian Katharine Antolini of West Virginia Wesleyan College....
Monday, May 14, 2012 - 13:32
Name of source: Inside Higher Ed
WASHINGTON -- Rep. Jeff Flake tried and failed this week to get his colleagues in the House of Representatives to slash the budget of the National Science Foundation, proposing an amendment to a 2013 spending bill that would have cut more than $1 billion from the agency's funds.
But unable to convince his fellow House members that the government needs less research on physics, engineering and other fields, he chose a lower-hanging target: social science studies with easy-to-ridicule titles.
And this time, he was persuasive.
By a vote of 218-208, the House Wednesday night backed an amendment that would bar the NSF from spending any of its 2013 funds on its political science program, which allocated about $11 million in peer-reviewed grants this year. Explaining the amendment on the House floor Wednesday evening, Flake said that given his colleagues' reluctance to slash the agency's overall budget -- the House defeated his earlier amendment by a vote of 291 to 121 -- Congress should ensure, "at the least, that the NSF does not waste taxpayer dollars on a meritless program."...
Sunday, May 13, 2012 - 16:53
Name of source: Io9
Japan's Unit 731 is one of the best kept and most horrifying secrets of World War II. Unit 731 experimented on Japanese and Chinese civilians as well as Russian and American POWs during the Second Sino-Japanese War in the 1930s and throughout World War II.
Led by the enigmatic Dr. Shiro Ishii, Unit 731 committed thousands of macabre experiments and infected hundreds of thousands with the plague in China. Most of the scientists involved with Unit 731 escaped trial and entered mainstream society at the end of the war due to an agreement with Allied commanders, but a few are speaking of the horrors they committed in their old age....
During the height of World War II, Unit 731 planned similar biological attacks for the United States. One early proposed mission involved a small kamikaze plane launched from a submarine that would unleash the plague upon the port of San Diego.
The best defined plot, codenamed Cherry Blossoms at Night, aimed to infect the majority of California with the plague during one night in 1945. Another plot involved the use of 10,000 balloon bombs carrying incendiary devices to create forest fires as far inland as Michigan....
Sunday, May 13, 2012 - 10:21
Name of source: The Local (DE)
A rare Nazi police report on the deportation of nearly 1,000 Jews from Düsseldorf has been unearthed in a London archive. It is only the second of its kind ever found, as most such records were destroyed towards the end of the war.
Police captain and SS member Wilhelm Meurin was responsible for guarding the deportation train which left Düsseldorf on November 14, 1941 in freezing temperatures, and travelled east for four days.
He said that although 300 of the people on the train were no longer capable of walking, “the unloading in Minsk could be conducted at the desired speed.”
He also reported that 8,000 Russian Jews had already been “removed and... shot” from the Minsk ghetto....
Friday, May 11, 2012 - 11:10