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Archive for December, 2014

The Confederacy and Medicaid

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014
Ten of the Eleven Former Confederate States Are Not Participating in the Expansion of Medicaid
Participating: ArkansasNot Participating: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee (may reverse rejection), Texas and Virginia

Medicaid expansion plans (as of July 2013)

You likey the red herring?

It would be fun to give this article to students, watch them digest it hook, line, and sinker, then suss out the flimsy rhetoric and hyperbole, leaving nothing but the map for the argument to hang on.
(…then rebuild the argument on more firm grounds)
If I were a more creative teacher I would do this.

Putin’s Lessons from History

Sunday, December 14th, 2014
[Putin] explains that New Russia was created by “the victories of Potemkin and Catherine II […] with its center in Novorossiisk. Therefore [it is called] New Russia. Later, for various reasons, the territories vanished, but the [Russian] people remained there.” 
It has been said that Catherine II could make four mistakes in a three-letter word, and here Putin managed to make a dozen in a single sentence. Kharkiv, the center of the Ukrainian Cossack regiment in the seventeenth century, never belonged to the short-lived “province of New Russia.” Since it was the first capital of the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic, founded in 1919, it could not have been transferred to Ukraine from Russia in the 1920s. “New Russia” could hardly be conquered from Novorossiisk because the town itself was founded only in the 1830s, when Catherine II and Potemkin were long dead, and, like Kharkiv, it was never part of the region once called “New Russia.” The regions listed by Putin did not belong to Ukraine during the “tsarist period” for the simple reason that there was no “Ukraine” either as a state or an administrative unit in the nineteenth century. Finally, the core of the original province of “New Russia” was the Ukrainian Cossack republic of Zaporizhia, which was destroyed by Russian troops in 1775.

“Putin’s historical illiteracy is nothing unusual in today’s world. He, however, believes that he knows history and is able to draw on “the lessons of history.” One history lesson that I am trying to convey to my students is that fantasies should be taken seriously when espoused by the leader of a large state. In the twentieth century the world community made the mistake of neglecting one leader’s fantasies and paid dearly for this political myopia. We should not step on the same rake again, and revanchist lunatics should not be treated as sensible and pragmatic politicians.”

Andriy Zayarnyuk is an associate professor of history at the University of Winnipeg this is his article, Putin’s Lessons from History, 2014.

A woman walked around New York City for 10 hours and filmed every catcall she received

Friday, December 12th, 2014

Hollaback, an organization that wants to stamp out street harassment and intimidation (a.k.a.catcalls), produced a video in which it videotaped a young woman walking around Manhattan for 10 hours this past August. A hidden video camera was placed in the backpack of a man walking in front of her, catching every catcall, whistle, and even one persistent character who walked alongside the woman for five minutes.

The results are startling:

5 Things About Slavery You Probably Didn’t Learn In Social Studies: A Short Guide To ‘The Half Has Never Been Told’

Friday, December 12th, 2014

Edward Baptist’s new book, “The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery And The Making Of American Capitalism”, drew a lot of attention last month after the Economist said it was too hard on slave owners.

What you might not have taken away from the ensuing media storm is that “The Half Has Never Been Told” is quite a gripping read. Baptist weaves deftly between analysis of economic data and narrative prose to paint a picture of American slavery that is pretty different from what you may have learned in high school Social Studies class.

But for those of you who are strapped for time, or who want a peek into the book before committing to the full 420 pages, here are five of his key arguments.

Interview with Edward Baptist

Friday, December 12th, 2014

Baptist, a professor of history at Cornell, just released “The Half Has Never Been Told,” laying  out a sweeping economic history of slavery. Baptist traces the flow of human capital from the Atlantic seaboard to the cotton fields of the deep South. He describes how slavers used whippings to extract more work from their property. He details how slave labor and loans secured with human collateral helped drive the industrial revolution.

These observations aren’t new. Baptist’s real achievement is to ground these financial abstractions in the lives of ordinary people. In vivid passages, he describes the sights, smells and suffering of slavery. He writes about individual families torn apart by global markets. Above all, Baptist sets out to show how America’s rise to power is inextricable from the suffering of black slaves.

Naturally, this makes some people rather uncomfortable. Reviewing Baptist’s book last month, the Economist huffed that “all the blacks in his book are victims, almost all the whites villains. This is not history; it is advocacy.” A few days later, the magazine took the rare step of withdrawing the review, pointing out that slavery was “an evil system.”

Here is the interview in Salon

Stunning photos of families in 1950s Alabama

Friday, December 12th, 2014

Rediscovered in 2012, six years after he died of cancer at the age of 93, these photos will be shown at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia


The High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia will be showing a collection of photographs by famed American cameraman Gordon Parks


The photos were originally shot on assignment for the September 1956 Life magazine photo-essay The Restraints: Open and Hidden


More photos here

The Spread of U.S. Slavery, 1790–1860

Friday, December 12th, 2014

This visualization speaks volumes

China bans Xinjiang officials from observing Ramadan fast

Friday, December 12th, 2014

The move comes amid tightened security in the region which has been hit by a growing number of violent attacks.

Authorities blame separatist Muslim Uighurs, but Uighur leaders deny they are behind the attacks.

Activists have accused Beijing of exaggerating the threat from Uighur separatists to justify a crackdown on the Uighurs’ religious and cultural freedoms.

How the Understanding of U.S. History Changes

Friday, December 12th, 2014

See how the mystic chords of memory have changed Americans’ perspectives on the Mexican-American War

In 1849, there was just no question. Mexico started this. So in 1849, the argument is we have to go in and defend Texas from being reconquered by Mexicans.

In a textbook from 1880, it’s an inevitable conflict between the races. What happens in your next textbook from 1911?

In 1966, it’s the first time you start to really see the historians – or the people who are putting the textbooks together – are going to start to question how this war started. And you also start getting the names of certain individuals who at that time actually questioned the war. And probably the most significant one is going to be a young congressman from Illinois by the name of Abraham Lincoln.

Putin and the Berlin Wall

Friday, December 12th, 2014

The Russian Federation’s current president, Vladimir Putin, was a KGB officer in East Germany during its final days, and it’s been reported that even he—no nascent democrat—was appalled at the totalitarianism of its state apparatus. Yet the sudden implosion of his homeland’s empire, and the laying open of its borders to Western businessmen and TV shows, clearly left him traumatized. His current policies can be seen as a reaction to those embittering days.