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Archive for the 'USH: Post AP Ideas' Category

Donald Trump Is…

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

Is Donald Trump truly one of a kind—a sui generis sensation in U.S. politics? As Americans try to make sense of the businessman-turned-Republican presidential frontrunner and how he’s come to dominate the polls and the airwaves in the 2016 cycle, Politico Magazine decided to consult the archives: Is there a historical figure the Donald resembles—a model who can help explain his rise? We asked some of the smartest historians we know to name the closest antecedent to Trump from the annals of American history

Donald Trump in an Historical Perspective

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

We are currently enjoying a master class in the art of political stupidity. Donald J. Trump has been schooling us for some time, but the Iran nuclear deal has touched off a new race to the bottom. Mike Huckabee said the agreement with Iran would “take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven.” Ted Cruz called the Obama administration “the world’s leading financier of radical Islamic terrorism.” Let’s not even get started on the Affordable Care Act, which Ben Carson once called “the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery.”

It’s tempting to rail against the media’s ability to elicit and amplify such stupidity. But none of this is new. Politicians have always resorted to dumb claims, blatant insults, bold exaggerations and baldfaced lies to gain press coverage and win votes.

Historian Joanne Freeman takes the long view on political shenanigans and tomfoolery in America. 

The end of capitalism has begun

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

Without us noticing, we are entering the postcapitalist era. At the heart of further change to come is information technology, new ways of working and the sharing economy. The old ways will take a long while to disappear, but it’s time to be utopian.

I’ve raised this question–albeit with much less clarity–in class. Read Paul Mason’s take in The Guardian. 

The Most Common* Job In Each State 1978-2014

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

…and the rise of truck drivers.

from our friends at Planet Money

America’s angriest white men: Up close with racism, rage and Southern supremacy

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

Up close with small-town white rage, with bitter, scary men who feel left behind by economic and cultural change.

“These are the sons of small-town America, the Jeffersonian yeoman of the nineteenth century, disfigured by global restructuring and economic downturns. They come from the “large and growing number of US citizens disaffected from and alienated by a government that seems indifferent, if not hostile, to their interests. This predominantly white, male, and middle-and working-class sector has been buffeted by global economic restructuring with its attendant job losses, declining real wages, and social dislocations. While under economic stress, this sector has also seen its traditional privileges and status challenged by 1960s-style social movements, such as feminism, minority rights, and environmentalism.”

The sons of these farmers and shopkeepers expected to—and felt entitled to—inherit their fathers’ legacy. And when it became evident it was not going to happen, they became murderously angry—at a system that emasculated their fathers and threatens their manhood. They live in what they call a “Walmart economy” and are governed by a “nanny state” that doles out their birthright to ungrateful and undeserving immigrants. What they want, says one guy, is to “take back what is rightfully ours.”

What happened to the environmental movement?

Friday, September 20th, 2013

Adam Rome’s genial new book, “The Genius of Earth Day: How a 1970 Teach-in Unexpectedly Made the First Green Generation” (Hill & Wang), brings to life another era. We’re as distant from Earth Day as the Battle of Gettysburg was from James Monroe’s reëlection, and Rome evokes a United States that feels, politically, like a foreign country. There were a number of liberal Republicans. Most active members of environmental groups were hunters and fishermen. The Sierra Club was an actual club that required new members to be proposed by old ones. The Environmental Defense Fund was two years old. Things like bottle recycling and organic food were exotic.

How much military is enough?

Friday, September 20th, 2013

The U.S. once regarded a standing army as a form of tyranny. Now it spends more on defense than all other nations combined.

Between 1998 and 2011, military spending doubled, reaching more than seven hundred billion dollars a year—more, in adjusted dollars, than at any time since the Allies were fighting the Axis.

The decision at hand concerns limits, not some kind of national, existential apocalypse. Force requires bounds. Between militarism and pacifism lie diplomacy, accountability, and restraint.

Post-AP Film Selections

Saturday, May 25th, 2013

Here are some films to choose from. All of them are awesome. Comment below if you strongly endorse one of these films and/or if you would like to propose an alternative (if you propose an alternative I will expect that you can bring it to class):

  • All the President’s Men: Academy Award winner of 1974 based on the book of the same name. Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford as Woodward and Bernstein. Watergate political thriller.
  • Eyes on the Prize: award winning documentary on Civil Rights mvmt
  • Fail Safe: The Other Dr. Strangelove. Released the same year. Similar content. More serious. Sydney Lumet film with Henry Ford and Walter Matthau
  • Glory: Story of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment in the Civil War. Broderick, Denzel, Morgan Freeman. Box office sleeper.
  • Goodnight and Good Luck: Directed by and starring George Clooney
  • Grapes of Wrath: Henry Ford and Henry Fonda team up to do justice to the Steinbeck novel.
  • The People Speak: Cinematic portrayal of Zinn’s People’s History of the U.S. Dramatic readings of selections of Zinn’s text by Hollywood’s finest (Freeman, Damon, Tomei, Brolin…)
  • Lazar’s Bar Mitzvah Video: A coming of age thriller. A young fool rocks his portion of the Haftorah, makes couple grand in cool cash, dances like a cracked out spaz, and kisses his middle school crush (much to her chagrin). [no, we will not watch this]

Why Women Still Can’t Have It All

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

It’s time to stop fooling ourselves, says a woman who left a position of power: the women who have managed to be both mothers and top professionals are superhuman, rich, or self-employed. If we truly believe in equal opportunity for all women, here’s what has to change.

A discussion of Slaughter’s Atlantic piece at Slate

It’s the Inequality, Stupid

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

Eleven charts that explain what’s wrong with America.




The richest controls 2/3 of America's net worth


A millionaire's tax rate, now and then. Share of Federal Tax revenue

More visuals from Mother Jones