Worth remembering 10 years later how the wardrobe incident at the Super Bowl halftime show effectively ended Janet Jackson’s career with zero repercussions for Justin Timberlake.
This spring, I am teaching a graduate seminar on the Environmental History of the Americas. Since I know how much extra time everyone has, I thought I’d post the readings so that people can read along if they wish. I hope it is enough reading for everyone. I can always assign more.
February 4—William Cronon, Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England
Brian Donahue, The Great Meadow: Farmers and the Land in Colonial Concord
February 18—John McNeill, Mosquito Empires: Ecology and War in the Greater Caribbean, 1620-1914
Elizabeth Fenn, “Biological Warfare in Eighteenth-Century North America,” Journal of American History March 2000
February 25—Linda Nash, Inescapable Ecologies: A History of Environment, Disease, and Knowledge.
Gregg Mitman, “Geographies of Hope: Mining the Frontiers of Health in Denver and Beyond, 1870-1965, Osiris 2004
March 4—Thomas Andrews, Killing for Coal: American’s Deadliest Labor War
Stefania Barca, “Laboring the Earth: Transnational Reflections on the Environmental History of Work,” Environmental History January 2014
March 18—James Scott, Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed
March 25—Raymond Craib, Cartographic Mexico: A History of State Fixations and Fugitive Landscapes
Neil Safier, “The Confines of the Colony: Boundaries, Ethnographic Landscapes, and Imperial Cartography in Iberoamerica,” in James Akerman, ed., The Imperial Map: Cartography and the Mastery of Empire
April 1—Marsha Weisiger, Dreaming of Sheep in Navajo Country
Paul Rosier, “’Modern America Desperately Needs to Listen’: The Emerging Indian in an Age of Environmental Crisis,” Journal of American History December 2013
April 8—Emily Waklid, Revolutionary Parks: Conservation, Social Justice, and Mexico’s National Parks, 1910-1940
Mark David Spence, “Crown of the Continent, Backbone of the World: The American Wilderness Ideal and Blackfeet Exclusion from Glacier National Park,” Environmental History July 1996
April 15—James Morton Turner, The Promise of Wilderness: American Environmental Politics since 1964
April 22—John Soluri, Banana Cultures: Agriculture, Consumption, and Environmental Change in Honduras and the United States
Edward Melillo, “The First Green Revolution: Debt Peonage and the Making of the Nitrogen Fertilizer Trade, 1840-1930,” American Historical Review 2012
April 29—Mark Carey, In the Shadow of Melting Glaciers: Climate Change and Andean Society
Dipesh Chakrabarty, “The Climate of History: Four Theses” Critical Inquiry Winter 2009
Enough reading for you?
Not satisfied with the “Republican plan” that was enacted into law with no ex ante, contemporaneous, or ex post facto support from any national Republican, some congressional Republicans are pretending to have an alternative to the ACA. Its most salient issues:
- The end of guaranteed issue. You do have some pre-existing coverage protection if you’ve been lucky enough to have been continuously insured for 18 months and would never miss a deadline.
- The regulations requiring that insurance actually provide things are eliminated, as are the regulations requiring more equitable premiums among age groups.
- The subsidies are much less generous.
- Tort reform, and plenty of it!
- Perhaps most importantly, the Medicaid expansion would mostly be eliminated — only a small subset of the working poor would be included rather than everyone within 138% of the federal poverty line. As Avik Roy enthuses, “Under the per-capita cap approach, the federal government would give states a fixed amount of money per person enrolled in Medicaid. It would be up to the states to use that money in the most cost-efficient way possible.” Oh, goody — if the aftermath of the ACA has shown us anything, it’s the strong commitment of red states to provide health care to the poor.
Like the actual rather than the imaginary Heritage Plan although configured slightly differently since Republicans discovered that a tax penalty for not carrying insurance was the greatest threat to human liberty ever, this is what Republican health care reform would look like if Republicans actually supported health care reform. That is, 1)horrible and 2)radically different from the ACA. Admittedly, if you’re the kind of progressive for whom it’s better that millions of people go uninsured than anyone make a low-margin profit insuring them, you might like this proposal — private insurers will certainly have fewer customers. Which will surely cause them all to vanish soon, because…look, it’s the people with the most influence on the contemporary Republican Party, John Paul Stevens and Zombie John Chafee!
Obama will announce a minimum wage of $10.10 for all federal contractors. Obviously, it would be better if he would use the bully pulpit to force the Republican House to enact a national increase in the minimum wage, but if he has to adopt the Heritage Foundation’s minimum wage plan instead I guess we can live with it.
This order should have a very real impact — currently, the federal government is responsible for more low-wage work than Wal-Mart and McDonald’s combined.
For the first time in the history of college sports, athletes are asking to be represented by a labor union, taking formal steps on Tuesday to begin the process of being recognized as employees, ESPN’s “Outside The Lines” has learned.
Ramogi Huma, president of the National College Players Association, filed a petition in Chicago on behalf of football players at Northwestern University, submitting the form at the regional office of the National Labor Relations Board.
Backed by the United Steelworkers union, Huma also filed union cards signed by an undisclosed number of Northwestern players with the NLRB — the federal statutory body that recognizes groups that seek collective bargaining rights.
“This is about finally giving college athletes a seat at the table,” said Huma, a former UCLA linebacker, who created the NCPA as an advocacy group in 2001. “Athletes deserve an equal voice when it comes to their physical, academic and financial protections.”
Huma told “Outside The Lines” that the move to unionize players at Northwestern started with quarterback Kain Colter, who reached out to him last spring and asked for help in giving athletes representation in their effort to improve the conditions under which they play NCAA sports. Colter became a leading voice in regular NCPA-organized conference calls among players from around the country.
Now this is a story worth following. Given the difficulty graduate student unions have had in getting universities to admit they are employees, I think this is going to be an even harder struggle for athletes since they aren’t even paid, but I wish them the best of luck.
You know that the mental health maintenance system of the country is messed up when Creigh Deeds’ son can’t find a bed at the local hospital:
Deeds immediately sought and obtained an emergency custody order. As his son played the banjo in the family’s den, sheriff’s deputies showed up to enforce the order. Gus was not happy.
“He was surprised. He was frustrated,” Deeds said, but he had “no reason to believe there would be any violence.”
However, as the day wore on, Deeds said his son grew more upset.
Mental health professionals at the Community Services Board evaluated Gus Deed and determined that the boy was not suicidal, and Gus was released. Deeds says he was told there were no psychiatric beds in the area and that an individual could only be forcibly held for up to six hours under state law.
“I just had this sinking feeling Gus was going home with me, that they weren’t going to find a bed for him,” Deeds recalled, ominously.
Space was then found for Gus at a halfway house in Charlottesville, Virginia, but the troubled young man was still sent home for the night where it was thought he would get some rest and be more stable in the morning, Deeds recalled professionals telling him.
Creigh Deeds was alone with his son and worried, but he says he was focused more on getting his son help, despite pleadings from his family and from Gus’ mom who texted her ex-husband, “Get out of that house. Go to Lexington tonight.”
Unfortunately, some people are mistaking the Golden Age Earth-Two origin story of the Air Force for the Silver Age Earth-One story. They shouldn’t do that.
With respect to the founding of the United States Air Force, Lowther makes the common error of mistaking a retrospective “origin story” for arguments that were actually important at the creation. For the USAF, the important arguments focused almost solely on strategic airpower, and on the ability of airpower to win decisive victories without significant contribution from the other two services. Aviators and airpower theorists built their advocacy around explicit denigration of the contribution of the other two services. The birth of the Air Force would be similar to the creation of the Navy if the latter had involved a bitter, decades long effort to argue that the Army was ignorant and irrelevant, followed by decades of effort to scourge any ounce of joint capability from the force. This history is well documented. Faced with it, we can either adopt the (defensible) position that the history doesn’t matter, or we can get the history right. I think that it does matter, which is why I dedicate two chapters of Grounded to a history of early airpower advocacy. Pretending that the Air Force exists because of concern over “penny packets” (small, ineffective air elements attached to individual ground units) does no one any favors.
Well, this is just plain stupid:
Is blogging inherently unprofessional? Some people seem to think so, perhaps because they read my stuff, but there are plenty of bloggers far more professional than I. As a member of the International Studies Association’s Governing Council, I received the agenda today for this year’s meeting. I am on the council this year as I am the President of the Foreign Policy Analysis section, so this is my one year to hang out with the ISA muckety-mucks. Anyhow, I was surprised to find a proposal that would force those who are involved in the editing of any of the various ISA journals to cease blogging. Why? Because it seems to be the case that blogging is inherently unprofessional. Read the proposal below and then read my take on this proposal:
Read the rest, etc. It’s depressing that there are still corners of the discipline which take this attitude towards public fora participation, and it’s even more depressing that these corners still have access to levers of influence.
Pete Seeger has died. He was 94.
I have only a very fragmentary sense of how the revival of American folk music in the 1950s and 1960s played a role in the politics of the time, but apparently it did (Has there ever been a good right-wing protest song?). I do remember singing “We Shall Overcome” and “Turn Turn Turn” as a little kid in music class in the Ann Arbor public schools in the late 1960s, which I suppose proves just how invidious these forms of propaganda can be.
Also, this is a pretty good story, and none the worse for being confabulated:
Along with many elders of the protest-song movement, Mr. Seeger felt betrayed when Bob Dylan appeared at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival with a loud electric blues band. Reports emerged that Mr. Seeger had tried to cut the power cable with an ax, but witnesses including the producer George Wein and the festival’s production manager, Joe Boyd (later a leading folk-rock record producer), said he did not go that far. (An ax was available, however. A group of prisoners had used it while singing a logging song.)
Getting rejected by the state of California in his application to practice law (PDF), largely because he has never really come clean about his actions with The New Republic, even well over a decade later.
Via Roger Ailes, who points out that Marty Peretz thinks Glass is a good dude.
Honestly, I kind of feel sorry for the guy. Glass, not Peretz. No one should feel sorry for Peretz.
Ron Fournier has discovered that everyone now agrees with him:
For months, the White House and its allies mocked critics of Barack Obama’s leadership, arguing that no president has “Green Lantern” superhero powers. Now these same people are predicting that Obama can salvage his agenda by waving a magical “pen and phone.”
The contradiction illustrates how far partisans will go to defend a flailing presidency, grasping at slogans and insult…
A contradiction! Who are those people who used to understand how American government works but now think that Obama could get his legislative agenda through a Republican House if he only had the leadership to lead, with leadership? Here’s an exhaustive list of the “same people” who have allegedly changed their minds:
White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer
I don’t recall Pfeiffer ever making fun of Green Laternists, but I’m certainly sure he alone cannot constitute all of “the same people.” But at least he said something really dumb, right?
“He is going to look in every way he can with his pen and his phone to try to move the ball forward,” Pfeiffer said. “We’re putting an extra emphasis on it in 2014.”
So a White House adviser says that Obama will try to do stuff, with no claim at all about whether it will work. But to Fournier, that’s more than enough evidence that everyone agrees with him that Obama could have changed the game by doubling down on the Overton Window, but he didn’t. even. TRY!