This video is making the rounds in the blogoshphere and was e-mailed to my spousal unit by a former fellow chorister. Since this particular person has quite different theological view than do we, we were hesitant to watch it (Note: liberals can be closed-minded, too). The video is fantastic. I do have one small bone to pick here. While Newton was a slave trader, I believe that he also had some hand in passing the abolitionist Slave Trade Act 1807, even if it was later in his life.
On Thursday, Glen Beck "insisted that progressivism leads to fascism while he waved a cutout of a swastika..." (Source: NYU News)
Try doing a Google search for "use of the term nazi" and see how many stories come up related to American current affairs that have nothing to do with 1930s fascists in Europe.
Note that there is a wealth of people on the left, as well, who use this term with abandon.
There are, clearly, some people who need an abject reminder of what the Nazis did (see video below). Read the wikipedia article on nazism. There may be flaws in the HCR bill, whether you are a single-payer supporter or a fiscal conservative who does not believe the OMB projections. Talk about those things in the bill that concern you and let's all work together to try and address them. Disagreement is healthy. Calling people nazis is not.
Check out the slideshow over at Fast Company's website. They have before and after pictures of mental hospitals that have been converted into condo complexes. Hmmm. I imagine other kinds of complexes could result if you think too hard about the former residents of your new abode. In case you don't recognize the picture shown here, it's the old Danvers State Hospital in Massachusetts, which was turned into lovely apartments (if you like that sort of thing.... [shivers uncontrollably]
J Edgar Hoover as a cross dresser is one of those stories that gave us defenders of the downtrodden a bit of smug satisfaction. Unfortunately, it sounds in this piece from The Smart Set that it was somewhat an urban legend. Who knows what goings on motivated the high-flying social set of the 50s to turn on one another but that may be what happened here. Not that I feel terribly sorry for the memory of Hoover or his besmirched reputation, but it's interesting to hear another side of this story.
Memorable as her tale is, Ms Rosenstiel did not prove to be the most reliable source. Ronald Kessler, author of The Bureau: The Secret History of the FBI, reports that she was jailed for perjury in 1971 and may have wanted revenge on Hoover for supposedly putting FBI agents on her tail during divorce proceedings with her husband.
The only other evidence cited by Summers is the report of two anonymous sources in Washington, D.C. that they had seen photographs of Hoover in a blond wig and dress. Nobody else has ever seen these images. One former FBI agent recalled seeing blurry photographs that might fit the description, but he could not be sure it was Hoover.
This is a pretty amazing story at Slate about what the US government did in the early 1900s to stem alcohol use. Interesting that decades later, we're still having arguments over whether to lock up drug offenders or get them treatment.
Doctors were accustomed to alcohol poisoning by then, the routine of life in the Prohibition era. The bootlegged whiskies and so-called gins often made people sick. The liquor produced in hidden stills frequently came tainted with metals and other impurities. But this outbreak was bizarrely different. The deaths, as investigators would shortly realize, came courtesy of the U.S. government.
Frustrated that people continued to consume so much alcohol even after it was banned, federal officials had decided to try a different kind of enforcement. They ordered the poisoning of industrial alcohols manufactured in the United States, products regularly stolen by bootleggers and resold as drinkable spirits. The idea was to scare people into giving up illicit drinking. Instead, by the time Prohibition ended in 1933, the federal poisoning program, by some estimates, had killed at least 10,000 people.
For Dr. Zinn, activism was a natural extension of the revisionist brand of history he taught. Dr. Zinn's best-known book, "A People's History of the United States" (1980), had for its heroes not the Founding Fathers -- many of them slaveholders and deeply attached to the status quo, as Dr. Zinn was quick to point out -- but rather the farmers of Shays' Rebellion and the union organizers of the 1930s.
As he wrote in his autobiography, "You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train" (1994), "From the start, my teaching was infused with my own history. I would try to be fair to other points of view, but I wanted more than 'objectivity'; I wanted students to leave my classes not just better informed, but more prepared to relinquish the safety of silence, more prepared to speak up, to act against injustice wherever they saw it. This, of course, was a recipe for trouble."
Certainly, it was a recipe for rancor between Dr. Zinn and Silber. Dr. Zinn twice helped lead faculty votes to oust the BU president, who in turn once accused Dr. Zinn of arson (a charge he quickly retracted) and cited him as a prime example of teachers "who poison the well of academe."
Dr. Zinn was a cochairman of the strike committee when BU professors walked out in 1979. After the strike was settled, he and four colleagues were charged with violating their contract when they refused to cross a picket line of striking secretaries. The charges against "the BU Five" were soon dropped, however.
Dr. Zinn was born in New York City on Aug. 24, 1922, the son of Jewish immigrants, Edward Zinn, a waiter, and Jennie (Rabinowitz) Zinn, a housewife. He attended New York public schools and worked in the Brooklyn Navy Yard before joining the Army Air Force during World War II. Serving as a bombardier in the Eighth Air Force, he won the Air Medal and attained the rank of second lieutenant.
After the war, Dr. Zinn worked at a series of menial jobs until entering New York University as a 27-year-old freshman on the GI Bill. Professor Zinn, who had married Roslyn Shechter in 1944, worked nights in a warehouse loading trucks to support his studies. He received his bachelor's degree from NYU, followed by master's and doctoral degrees in history from Columbia University.
Dr. Zinn was an instructor at Upsala College and lecturer at Brooklyn College before joining the faculty of Spelman College in Atlanta, in 1956. He served at the historically black women's institution as chairman of the history department. Among his students were the novelist Alice Walker, who called him "the best teacher I ever had," and Marian Wright Edelman, future head of the Children's Defense Fund.
During this time, Dr. Zinn became active in the civil rights movement. He served on the executive committee of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the most aggressive civil rights organization of the time, and participated in numerous demonstrations.
Dr. Zinn became an associate professor of political science at BU in 1964 and was named full professor in 1966.
The focus of his activism now became the Vietnam War. Dr. Zinn spoke at countless rallies and teach-ins and drew national attention when he and another leading antiwar activist, Rev. Daniel Berrigan, went to Hanoi in 1968 to receive three prisoners released by the North Vietnamese.
Dr. Zinn's involvement in the antiwar movement led to his publishing two books: "Vietnam: The Logic of Withdrawal" (1967) and "Disobedience and Democracy" (1968). He had previously published "LaGuardia in Congress" (1959), which had won the American Historical Association's Albert J. Beveridge Prize; "SNCC: The New Abolitionists" (1964); "The Southern Mystique" (1964); and "New Deal Thought" (1966). Dr. Zinn was also the author of "The Politics of History" (1970); "Postwar America" (1973); "Justice in Everyday Life" (1974); and "Declarations of Independence" (1990).
In 1988, Dr. Zinn took early retirement so as to concentrate on speaking and writing. The latter activity included writing for the stage. Dr. Zinn had two plays produced: "Emma," about the anarchist leader Emma Goldman, and "Daughter of Venus."
Dr. Zinn, or his writing, made a cameo appearance in the 1997 film "Good Will Hunting." The title characters, played by Matt Damon, lauds "A People's History" and urges Robin Williams's character to read it. Damon, who co-wrote the script, was a neighbor of the Zinns growing up.
Damon was later involved in a television version of the book, "The People Speak," which ran on the History Channel in 2009. Damon was the narrator of a 2004 biographical documentary, "Howard Zinn: You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train."
On his last day at BU, Dr. Zinn ended class 30 minutes early so he could join a picket line and urged the 500 students attending his lecture to come along. A hundred did so.
Dr. Zinn's wife died in 2008. He leaves a daughter, Myla Kabat-Zinn of Lexington; a son, Jeff of Wellfleet; three granddaugthers; and two grandsons.