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Archive for August, 2015

Meddling Ex-Presidents during the Civil War

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

When Abraham Lincoln became president in 1861, five former presidents were still alive.Chris DeRose tells how this ex-Presidents’ Club maneuvered, plotted, advised, and aided during the Civil War. DeRose’s book The Presidents’ War: Six American Presidents and The Civil War That Divided Them explores the stories of the ex-presidents who remained active, influential, and occasionally treacherous as the Union sought to save itself.

Ex-President Warren Harding’s love child confirmed

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

It turns out the rumors were always true – America’s 29th president had a love child.

New genetic tests reveal Warren Harding fathered a child with Nan Britton during his presidency.


The Race for Labour Leadership

Sunday, August 16th, 2015
  • Who are the candidates? Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, Jeremy Corbyn, Liz Kendall

Liz Kendall, Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Jeremy Corbyn

  • Dates: Ballot papers were sent out on 14 August; voting can take place by post or online. They must be returned by 10 September. The result is on 12 September
  • Who can vote? All party members, registered supporters and affiliated supporters – including those joining via a union
  • What is the voting system? The Alternative Vote system is being used so voters are asked to rank candidates in order of preference
  • How does it work? If no candidate gets 50% of all votes cast, the candidate in fourth place is eliminated. Their second preference votes are then redistributed among the remaining three. If there is still no winner, the third place candidate is eliminated with their second preferences (or third in the case of votes transferred from the fourth place candidates) redistributed. It is then a head-to-head between the last two candidates

4 Minute Animated Lecture: The Making of the American Constitution

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

One Nation Under God?

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

The words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance and the phrase “In God we trust” on the back of a dollar bill haven’t been there as long as most Americans might think. Those references were inserted in the 1950s during the Eisenhower administration, the same decade that the National Prayer Breakfast was launched, according to writer Kevin Kruse. His new book is One Nation Under God. Here is an interview with Kruse from Fresh Air.

And here is Kruse in a KCRW debate with: 

Kevin Kruse, Princeton University
Gary Smith, Grove City College
Alan Cooperman, Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life
Mary Ellen Sikes, Secular Majority

Fresh Air Interview: India’s 1947 Partition And The ‘Deadly Legacy’ That Persists To This Day

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

Mahatma Gandhi, who used passive resistance in the fight for Indian independence, is known worldwide as a symbol of peace. But Americans know much less about the violence that erupted when the British pulled out of India in 1947

Fresh Air Interview: How Richard Nixon Became ‘One Man Against The World’

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

Richard Nixon’s presidency has always been one surrounded by questions and controversy: Why did he wiretap his own aides and diplomats? Why did he escalate the war in Vietnam? Why did he lie about his war plans to his secretary of defense and secretary of state? What were the Watergate burglars searching for, and why did Nixon tape conversations that included incriminating evidence?

Nixon was consumed by fear, Weiner tells Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross. That fear “turned into anger and that anger turned into self-destruction

Fresh Air Interview: Don’t ‘Sanitize’ How Our Government Created Ghettos

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

“We have a myth today that the ghettos in metropolitan areas around the country are what the Supreme Court calls ‘de-facto’ — just the accident of the fact that people have not enough income to move into middle class neighborhoods or because real estate agents steered black and white families to different neighborhoods or because there was white flight,” Rothstein tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross.

“It was not the unintended effect of benign policies,” he says. “It was an explicit, racially purposeful policy that was pursued at all levels of government, and that’s the reason we have these ghettos today and we are reaping the fruits of those policies.”

The Anatomy of a Slave Ship

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

“The threat of insurrection was ever present. The captain assured a nervous Riland that he “kept such a guard on the slaves as would baffle all their efforts, should they attempt to rise.” They had already tried once while on the coast of Africa and failed. When the slaves were brought above, the main deck became a closely guarded prison yard. One feature of the slave ship, on which Riland did not remark, was the netting, a fencelike assemblage of ropes that would be stretched by the crew around the ship to prevent slaves from jumping overboard.”

Read more from Slate

When ‘Petting Parties’ Scandalized The Nation

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

Two flapper women — with their dates — sit on a bed in Chicago, circa 1928.


To some social observers, petting parties of the 1920s were a natural, post-First World War outgrowth of a repressed society. To others, the out-in-the-open hug-and-kissfests were blinking neon signposts on the Road to Perdition.