July 1, Independence Day for four African nations

July 1, 2009

They could get together for one huge party, eh?  Well, maybe not Somalia.   Found this list on Wikipedia:

Obama in Prague, on nuclear weapons

April 6, 2009

First e-mail of the day, from an early-riser friend:

A short while ago I caught a replay, on C-SPAN, of President Obama’s speech in Hradcany Square in Prague. I tuned in so as to catch almost all of it — practically all I missed were the introductory remarks. And they were cheering, I tell you. Can you say, “Ich bin ein Berliner” ??
This guy isn’t fooling around. He’s no Bush. He’s a “people’s President.” He’s charismatic. He’s exactly who we need and when we need him.

Obama talked about reducing and eliminating nuclear weapons.  Some people still dream of peace.

See also these sites:

President Barack Obama and wife Michelle, in Prague - photo via Politico

President Barack Obama and wife Michelle, in Prague - photo via Politico

The printed version of Obama’s remarks, below the fold.

Read the rest of this entry »

Kosovo: Running it up the flagpole

February 10, 2008

Living through history: Independence for Kosovo looks more likely; residents work to pick a flag for the new nation. Several serious hurdles remain; Russia promises to block UN action to support Kosovo independence from Serbia, in the Security Council.

Proposed flag for Kosovo

That flag chart on your wall could be obsolete in the near future. What do your geography and world history students know about the new nation of Kosovo?

  • Image: One proposal for the new flag of Kosovo, with no national symbols, no Albanian red, no double-headed eagle; image from New Kosova Report


“Grave breaches” of the Geneva Conventions

January 2, 2008

I tell students to go to the source; if they read the original documents, that puts them ahead of 99% of the people who claim to know what they are doing, especially in history.

Do you know what is a “grave breach” under the Geneva Conventions? Below the fold, material from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), with links to more original document material. DBQ, anyone?

Read the rest of this entry »

Can we keep up with the Russians Indians, Chinese, Europeans, Japanese, Saudis?

December 29, 2007

Sputnik’s launch by the Soviet Union just over 50 years ago prompted a review of American science, foreign policy, technology and industry. It also prompted a review of the foundations of those practices — education.

Over the next four years, with the leadership of the National Science Foundation, Americans revamped education in each locality, beefing up academic standards, adding new arts classes, new science classes, new humanities classes especially in history and geography (1957-58 was the International Geophysical Year) and bringing up to date course curricula and textbooks, especially in sciences.

On the wave of those higher standards, higher expectations and updated information, America entered an era of achievement in science and technology whose benefits we continue to enjoy today.

We were in the worst of the Cold War in 1957. We had an enemy that, though not really formal in a declared war sense, was well known: The Soviet Union and “godless communism.” Some of the activities our nation engaged in were silly — adding “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance smoked out no atheists or communists, but did produce renewed harassment of Jehovah’s Witnesses and anyone else opposed to such oaths — and some of the activities were destructive — Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s excessive and ultimately phony zeal in exposing communists led to detractive hearings, misplaced fears of fellow citizens and serious political discussion, and violations of Americans’ civil rights that finally prompted even conservative Republicans to censure his action. The challenges were real. As Winston Churchill pointed out, the Soviet Union had drawn an “Iron Curtain” across eastern Europe. They had maintained a large army, gained leadership in military aviation capabilities, stolen our atomic and H-bomb secrets, and on October 4, 1957, beaten the U.S. into space with a successful launch of an artificial satellite. The roots of destruction of the Soviet Empire were sown much earlier, but they had barely rooted by this time, and no one in 1957 could see that the U.S. would ultimately triumph in the Cold War.

That was important. Because though the seeds of the destruction of Soviet communism were germinating, to grow, they would need nourishment from the actions of the U.S. over the next 30 years.

Sen. John F. Kennedy and Counsel Robert F. Kennedy, McClellan Committee hearing, 1957

Sen. John F. Kennedy and Counsel Robert F. Kennedy, McClellan Committee hearing, 1957; photo by Douglas Jones for LOOK Magazine, in Library of Congress collections

Photo from the Kennedy Library: “PX 65-105:185 Hearing of the Select Committee to Investigate Improper Activities in Labor-Management Relations (“McClellan Commitee”). Chief Counsel Robert F. Kennedy and Senator John F. Kennedy question a witness, May, 1957. Washington, D. C., United States Capitol. Photograph by Douglas Jones for LOOK Magazine, in the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, LOOK Magazine Collection.”

Fourteen days after the Soviet Union orbited Sputnik, a young veteran of World War II, Massachusetts Sen. John F. Kennedy, spoke at the University of Florida. Read the rest of this entry »

American hero: Jack Goldsmith

September 7, 2007

Jack Goldsmith, Harvard U photoJack Goldsmith. This book, when you read it, will explain why he is a hero. Goldsmith is the guy who pulled back the memorandum from the U.S. Justice Department that authorized illegal torture.

There is hope for America so long as good men will do the right thing, quietly, out of the spotlight, and then move on without seeking credit. Watch Moyers’ interview with Goldsmith.

It’s revealing that his pictorial muse, guardian, taunter and inspiration was Elliot Richardson.

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