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Archive for May, 2014

George Washington Wanted a Simple Inauguration

Friday, May 30th, 2014

Washington told anyone who would listen that he was unfit for the job. He constantly fretted about it. He wrote that waiting for official word of his selection was like waiting for his hanging. “I wish there may not be reason for regretting the choice,” he said upon being informed of the official decision. During his ride to the inauguration in New York, he confessed his fears at every stop. In the first line of the first inaugural address he said, “No event could have filled me with greater anxieties.”

Washington’s reluctance to serve is legendary. It was a mixture of healthy modesty and genuine fear that at 57 he was not up to the task. But it was also a public relations ploy. Washington showed reluctance in the hope that his countrymen would not think he had taken the job to enrich himself or that anyone should want such a post for that reason. 

What medieval Europe did with its teenagers

Friday, May 30th, 2014

Today, there’s often a perception that Asian children are given a hard time by their parents. But a few hundred years ago northern Europe took a particularly harsh line, sending children away to live and work in someone else’s home. Not surprisingly, the children didn’t always like it.


During World War I, Germany Unleashed ‘Terrorist Cell In America’

Friday, May 30th, 2014

In the early years of World War I, as many as 1,000 American horses per day were shipped off to Europe to assist in the Allied war effort, even though the United States was officially neutral. Those horses became the target of germ warfare, infected with anthrax cultures on American soil; at the same time, mysterious explosions were rocking U.S. munitions factories, and fires were breaking out on ships headed to Europe.

Journalist Howard Blum says this was all part of an aggressive campaign of spying and sabotage the German government unleashed on the United States soon after war broke out in Europe. Blum’s book, Dark Invasion, is about the campaign and the effort of American law enforcement to crack what Blum calls “the first terrorist cell in America.” It’s filled with fascinating characters, from the duplicitous German ambassador who held the title of Count, to Capt. Franz von Rintelen, who plotted destruction while living at the Yacht Club in New York, to the NYPD bomb squad detective who in effect formed an anti-terrorist squad to try to find the saboteurs. Interesting

Fresh Air Interview

Putin: The rebuilding of ‘Soviet’ Russia

Friday, May 30th, 2014

The world was stunned when Russia invaded Crimea, but should it have been? Author and journalist Oliver Bullough says President Vladimir Putin never kept secret his intention to restore Russian power – what’s less clear, he says, is how long the country’s rise can continue.

How Soviet Artists Imagined Communist Life in Space

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Artists from the Soviet Union didn’t just imagine a worker’s Utopia on Earth. They also thought that the great communist experiment would eventually reach other worlds, too. Here are some incredible works of art and conceptual design that put the Soviet Union in space.

How Soviet Artists Imagined Communist Life in SpaceSEXPAND

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Illiberal Democracy? – Russian TV All Day

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Here is what one commentator learned from watching Russian state TV for a day

In many ways, the 8 p.m. news broadcast brings the themes of the day together. It is a masterwork of mentioning controversial points as if they were indisputable facts. What is unsaid is as important as what is said

Causation vs. Correlation

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Here are some friendly reminders that causation does not equal correlation.

Teachers Make Big Bucks in Mexico

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Maybe I should move to Mexico?

A new report by a Mexico-based think tank has revealed some real zingers, including 70 teachers who haul in more pesos than the president of the nation. One impoverished state, Hidalgo, was said to have more than 1,000 teachers listed as 100 or more years old.

The Mexican Institute for Competitiveness (IMCO) calculated the average teacher’s monthly salary at 25,000 pesos, or nearly $2,000, making it the highest paid profession in the country.

That salary is nearly three times the average of any other salary, thanks in large part to powerful labor unions that have secured high wages for teachers, who can sell their positions to friends or bequeath them to relatives, none of whom ever have to be tested for abilities or skills.

Panics, Crises, and Depressions in USH

Saturday, May 10th, 2014

Here is a list of significant economic panics, crises, and depressions in US History. It might be wise to review these before the APUSH exam.

Landmark Supreme Court Cases in USH

Saturday, May 10th, 2014

Here is a list of some of the most significant SC cases in USH. Useful to review these before the AP exam.