Political Highlights: July 26, 2010: Obama Signs Finanicial Overhaul Bill, Newt Gingrich Contemplates Running for President

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor / Features Editor at HNN. She has a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & 111TH CONGRESS:

The President speaks for campaign finance reforms

White House Photo, Chuck Kennedy, 7/26/10

IN FOCUS: STATS

  • President Obama and Vice President Biden’s Daily Public Schedules Now Online – WH Schedules
  • Obama would lose Presidential election to Republican – ANY Republican – if held today: poll: Two-plus years before the 2012 election, a Republican candidate — any Republican candidate — has a better chance of being President than current White House occupant Barack Obama does. According to a new Quinnipiac University poll , Americans would rather vote for an unnamed Republican than Obama in 2012 by a 39% to 36% margin.
    Obama’s approval rating is now at an all-time low. According to the poll, 44% of Americans approved of the president, while 48% disapproved. Just two months ago, 48% of voters approved while 43% did not.
    “It was a year ago, during the summer of 2009 that America’s love affair with President Barack Obama began to wane,” said Peter A. Brown., assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. And it is the confidence of those critical independent voters he is losing the most. “Today, his support among Democrats remains strong, but the disillusionment among independent voters, who dropped from 52% to 37% approval to 52% to 38% disapproval in the last 12 months, is what leads to his weakness overall when voters start thinking about 2012.”… – NY Daily News, 7-22-10

THE HEADLINES….

The President signs Wall Street Reform White House Photo, Lawrence Jackson, 7/21/10

  • Obama and Republicans trade charges over economy: In his weekly radio address, the president says a House GOP plan would kill jobs. Republicans respond that the administration’s policies have failed…. – LAT, 7-24-10
  • Obama, Boehner turn up the partisan rhetoric: President Obama and House Minority Leader John Boehner blasted each other Saturday. As the November elections approach, partisan rhetorical sniping can be expected to escalate, especially on the economy…. – CS Monitor, 7-24-10
  • Obama signs bill targeting government waste: President Barack Obama turned his attention to the ongoing fight against government waste Thursday, signing a bill requiring federal agencies to spend at least $1 million annually on audits targeting improper payments and fraud. Among other things, the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act provides new financial incentives for auditors to track down government waste and requires the administration to report to Congress each fiscal year on steps taken to cut down on inappropriate expenditures.
    Government needs to be a “responsible steward” of taxpayer dollars, Obama said shortly before signing the bill at the White House. “There are outstanding public servants … but too often their best efforts are thwarted by outdated technologies and outmoded” ways of doing business…. – CNN, 7-22-10
  • Less money for dead people: Obama signs waste law: President Barack Obama on Thursday signed legislation intended to slash by $50 billion the taxpayer money improperly paid to dead people, fugitives and those in jail who shouldn’t be getting benefits. But that goal, if achieved, would not even halve the $110 billion made in such payments last year. The new law will strengthen the efforts by federal agencies to halt the flow of improper money in a series of ways. Among those steps: requiring more audits of programs and adding penalties for agencies that don’t comply with the law. The legislation also broadens how any recovered money can be used. Obama chose to sign the bill in front of cameras in the White House’s State Dining Room in hopes of bringing attention to the new law. He announced a goal of reducing improper payments by $50 billion by 2012; the White House says that last year’s total of nearly $110 billion in these payments was the highest ever…. – AP, 7-22-10
  • Judge starts hearing on Arizona immigration law: A federal judge heard arguments Thursday in a packed Phoenix courtroom over whether Arizona’s tough new immigration law should take effect next week. U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton was holding the hearing on whether the law should be put on hold and whether a lawsuit filed by civil rights groups and others challenging it should be dismissed. About 30 lawyers were in court to represent defendants in the case. There also were about 150 spectators in the courtroom, many in a second-floor gallery. Defendants include various county officials from throughout the state, most of whom sent lawyers to the hearing. Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever was there in person, however, sitting at the front of the courtroom…. – AP, 7-22-10
  • Bernanke Says Extending Bush Tax Cuts Would Maintain Stimulus: Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said extending the tax cuts passed during former President George W. Bush’s administration would help strengthen a U.S. economy still in need of stimulus. “In the short term I would believe that we ought to maintain a reasonable degree of fiscal support, stimulus for the economy,” Bernanke said today in testimony before the House Financial Services Committee. “There are many ways to do that. This is one way.” – Business Week, 7-22-10
  • Obama voices regret to ousted Agriculture official: The White House says President Barack Obama has conveyed “his regret” to ousted Agriculture Department official Shirley Sherrod over her ouster in the midst of a racially-tinged firestorm. It says Obama made the call to Sherrod after she declared publicly that she would like to speak with him. In a statement, the White House says Obama told her that “this misfortune can present an opportunity for her to continue her hard work on behalf of those in need.”… – AP, 7-22-10
  • Sherrod speaks to President Obama in a telephone call: President Barack Obama spoke Thursday with Shirley Sherrod, the former Agriculture Department employee who was forced to resign from her job based on incomplete and misleading reports about a speech she gave in March. Sherrod received a text message telling her Obama had been trying to reach her since Wednesday night, said Julie O’Neill, a CNN Special Investigations Unit producer who was with her at the time. Sherrod called the White House and was asked to call back in 10 minutes, at which time she spoke to the president. Sherrod was “very, very pleased with the conversation,” O’Neill said, and told her Obama had said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was “very apologetic and very sincere.” Vilsack apologized to Sherrod on Wednesday and offered her a different position within the department…. – CNN, 7-22-10
  • Obama signs financial overhaul law: Declaring that “the American people will never again be asked to foot the bill for Wall Street’s mistakes,” President Obama on Wednesday signed landmark legislation providing the most sweeping overhaul of financial rules since the Great Depression.
    The new law reverses decades of deregulation, aiming to provide greater government protection for consumers and reduce risky practices at financial institutions to prevent a repeat of the financial crisis.
    Its controversial centerpiece is a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which will have broad authority to write new rules for mortgages, credit cards, payday loans and other consumer products and make sure firms are adhering to them…. – LAT, 7-21-10
  • Factbox: Major financial regulation reform proposals: Following are the key elements of the 2,300-page bill… – Reuters, 7-21-10
  • The Top 10 Things You May Not Know About the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection ActWH, 7-21-10
  • Bernanke Sees No Quick End to High Rate of Joblessness: The unemployment rate in the United States is likely to remain well above 7 percent through the end of 2012 and the duration of President Obama’s current term, according to the Federal Reserve. Federal Reserve chairman Ben S. Bernanke struck a more cautious tone than he did when he last submitted the report, in February.
    Ben S. Bernanke, the Fed chairman, told Congress on Wednesday that it would take “a significant amount of time” to restore the 8.5 million jobs lost in the United States in 2008 and 2009, and warned that “the economic outlook remains unusually uncertain.” He also warned that financial conditions, particularly the European sovereign debt crisis, had “become less supportive of economic growth in recent months.” In presenting the Fed’s semiannual monetary policy report to Congress, Mr. Bernanke struck a more cautious tone than he did when he last submitted the report, in February…. – NYT, 7-21-10
  • Clinton announces new sanctions against North Korea: The U.S. announced that it will strengthen sanctions against North Korea as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates toured South Korea…. – WaPo, 7-21-10
  • AP sources: No charges for ’06 US attorney firings: The Justice Department has concluded its two-year investigation into the Bush administration’s firing of U.S. attorneys and will file no charges, people close to the case said Wednesday. The investigation looked into whether the Bush administration dismissed the nine U.S. attorneys as a way to influence investigations. The scandal contributed to mounting criticism that the administration had politicized the Justice Department, a charge that contributed to the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales…. – AP, 7-21-10
  • Key U.S. Democrat backs keeping tax cuts for rich: A fiscally conservative Democrat who chairs the U.S. Senate’s budget committee on Wednesday said he supports extending all of the tax cuts that expire this year, including for the wealthy. “The general rule of thumb would be you’d not want to do tax changes, tax increases … until the recovery is on more solid ground,” Senator Kent Conrad said in an interview with reporters outside the Senate chambers, adding he did not believe the recovery has come yet…. – Reuters, 7-21-10
  • Cameron grabs hot dog in NYC, plans meetings: British Prime Minister David Cameron grabbed a quick hot dog lunch with Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Wednesday as he arrived in New York for his first official visit, but he remained silent ahead of planned meetings with business leaders and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
    Cameron, who took office 10 weeks ago, arrived in New York by train after a visit to Washington, where he met with President Barack Obama and Pentagon officials.
    Bloomberg met Cameron on a street corner outside the station, and the pair grabbed lunch from a street vendor but ignored questions from reporters while they ate. Cameron did flash a thumbs-up when asked about his lunch…. – AP, 7-21-10
  • Vilsack to apologize to ousted Agriculture worker: The White House says Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is reaching out to a black employee to apologize on behalf of the “entire administration” for forcing her ouster because of her remarks on race. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Wednesday that Vilsack had been unable to reach Shirley Sherrod so far. Sherrod was asked by department officials to resign on Monday after conservative bloggers posted an edited video of her saying she didn’t initially give a white farmer as much help as she could have 24 years ago. Sherrod says the video distorted her full speech…. – AP, 7-21-10
  • Senate Democrats set to leap hurdle on extending jobless benefits: Democrats are expected to overcome Republican opposition to the package of new aid for unemployed Americans…. – LAT, 7-20-10
  • Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan approved by Senate Judiciary Committee in 13-6 vote: Kagan wins approval in a nearly party-line vote, with Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina joining the majority Democrats. She is expected to gain full Senate confirmation in August…. – LAT, 7-20-10
  • BP stealing thunder from Cameron’s US visit: On the way to Washington, British Prime Minister David Cameron said he wants to talk about Afghanistan, Middle East peace prospects and the global economy. Everyone else wants to talk about BP. Cameron’s first trip to Washington as prime minister begins Tuesday and is being overshadowed by anger in the United States over BP’s spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and the British oil giant’s alleged involvement in the decision to free Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi from jail last year and send him home to Libya…. – AP, 7-20-10
  • Florida Legislature rejects oil drilling ban vote, adjourns: The Florida House abruptly adjourned a special legislative session after 49 minutes Tuesday, rejecting Gov. Charlie Crist’s proposal to let voters place a permanent ban on offshore drilling in the Florida Constitution. The party-line vote to adjourn the session was 67-44, with Republicans supporting adjournment and Democrats in favor of continuing the debate. A heckler from the visitors’ gallery shouted that all 67 were “in the pocket of BP.” The Senate adjourned at 2:20 p.m. with an 18-16 vote…. – Miami Herald, 7-20-10
  • Bush Tax Cuts: To Extend or Not to Extend?: The political battle for the hearts and minds of Main Street reached new levels in Washington, D.C., on Monday, a day ahead of a scheduled vote on extending unemployment benefits for millions of out-of-work Americans. While seemingly contradictory on the surface, the battle over unemployment benefits for struggling Americans is linked to the battle over extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest, which are set to expire at the end of 2010. How can politics over giving minimal support to the jobless be tied up with making the rich richer? That’s just politics, and it actually makes perfect sense, and it’s all coming to a head in Washington…. – Newsweek, 7-20-10
  • Sarah Palin stands by made-up word ‘refudiate,’ compares self to Shakespeare: Refudiate is not a word — at least, not one that appears in the dictionary. But don’t try telling former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. She’s been dropping refudiate bombs all over the place lately, and she’s not about to give up. Last week, Palin went on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show to claim that it’s “divisive” for the NAACP to call out racist elements in the Tea Party movement. (See the clip below.) Her I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I argument built to this stirring conclusion: “[The Obamas] could refudiate what it is that this group is saying. They could set the record straight.” Liberal bloggers LOL’d at her word choice, but then she did it again yesterday. In a since-deleted tweet, Palin wrote, “Ground Zero Mosque supporters: doesn’t it stab you in the heart, as it does ours throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate.” After much Twitter mockery, she erased the tweet, re-posting new versions that used actual words like reject and refute instead of the one she made up. Yet she followed this with another tweet defending her imaginary word: “‘Refudiate,’ ‘misunderestimate,’ ‘wee-wee’d up.’ English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words too. Got to celebrate it!”… – EW, 7-19-10
  • A hidden world, growing beyond control: The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work. These are some of the findings of a two-year investigation by The Washington Post that discovered what amounts to an alternative geography of the United States, a Top Secret America hidden from public view and lacking in thorough oversight. After nine years of unprecedented spending and growth, the result is that the system put in place to keep the United States safe is so massive that its effectiveness is impossible to determine…. – WaPo, 7-19-10
  • Washington Post exposes US ‘intelligence flaws’: Secret US intelligence gathering has grown so much since 9/11 no-one knows its exact cost, nor how many people are involved, the Washington Post reports. It says nearly 2,000 private companies and 1,270 government agencies are involved in counter-terror work at 10,000 locations across the country. The report, Top Secret America, follows a two-year investigation by the paper. Officials quoted acknowledge the system has shortcomings, but question some of the newspaper’s conclusions. Before the report was published, the White House told the Washington Post it knew about the problems within US intelligence gathering and was trying to fix them…. – BBC, 7-19-10
  • Next up on unfinished Senate agenda: unemployment insurance: Once Democrat Carte Goodwin is sworn in Tuesday to replace the late Sen. Robert Byrd, Senate Democrats will have the votes to try again to extend unemployment insurance to the jobless…. – CS Monitor, 7-19-10
  • Clinton tries to win over skeptical Pakistan: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton sought Monday to convince skeptical Pakistanis that American interest in their country extends beyond the fight against Islamist militants by announcing a raft of new aid projects worth $500 million.
    “Of course there is a legacy of suspicion that we inherited. It is not going to be eliminated overnight,” said Clinton following talks in Islamabad. “It is however our goal to slowly but surely demonstrate that the United States is concerned about Pakistan for the long term and that our partnership goes far beyond security against our common enemies,” she said…. – AP, 7-19-10
  • Sarah Palin Joins Chorus Slamming Ground Zero Mosque: Palin Calls on ‘Peace-Loving Muslims’ to Oppose Mosque Near 9/11 Site…
    Sarah Palin plunged into the raging debate over a proposed Islamic community center and mosque two blocks from Ground Zero in lower Manhattan, saying in series of posts on Twitter that the project should not be built. “Peace-seeking Muslims, pls understand. Ground Zero mosque is UNNECESSARY provocation; it stabs hearts. Pls reject it in the interest of healing,” the former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential candidate tweeted on Sunday. In another message, she wrote, “Peaceful New Yorkers, pls refute the Ground Zero mosque plan if you believe catastrophic pain caused @ Twin Towers site is too raw, too real.”… – ABC News, 7-19-10
  • Clinton, With Initiatives in Hand, Arrives in Pakistan: Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton arrived here Sunday for high-level deliberations with Pakistani leaders, the latest in a series of encounters that the Obama administration hopes will chip away at decades of suspicion between Pakistan and the United States. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was greeted by Ghalib Iqbal, Pakistan’s chief of protocol, in Islamabad on Sunday. Mrs. Clinton will announce a raft of initiatives to help Pakistan in public health, water distribution and agriculture, to be funded by $500 million in American economic aid. Among other things, the United States will build a 60-bed hospital in Karachi and help farmers export their mangoes…. – NYT, 7-19-10

ELECTIONS 2010, 2012….

  • Gingrich to wait for November elections before deciding on White House run: “I think that’s a decision we’ll make in February or March,” Gingrich said on “Fox News Sunday” of a presidential run. “This is a very hard family decision because it’s such a deep commitment, and it is so absorbing.”… – LAT, 7-25-10
  • GOP Rivals Jane Norton, Ken Buck Fight Over “High Heels” and Manhood: Who needs to fight about race when you can fight about gender? Jane Norton, who is facing off against Ken Buck in the GOP Senate primary in Colorado, has released an ad spotlighting Buck’s comment that people should vote for him because he does not “wear high heels.” “Why should you vote for me? Because I do not wear high heels,” Buck is shown saying in the spot, in comments he made last week. “I have cowboy boots. They have real bullsh** on them.” Says a narrator: “Now Ken Buck wants to go to Washington? He’d fit right in.” In a statement trumpeting the fact that the ad is going “viral,” Norton campaign spokesman Cinamon Watson said, “Ken is going to have to use all of his best lawyer-speak to explain this really stupid statement.” Watson went on to argue that the comment could have a significant impact on the race… – CBS News,7-22-10
  • W.Va.’s US Senate seat attracts 5 GOP candidates: Five Republicans filed paperwork Thursday to challenge West Virginia’s popular Democratic governor for the U.S. Senate seat held by the late Robert C. Byrd. Industrialist and media owner John Raese is the best known among the Republicans who joined a field of candidates that already included Gov. Joe Manchin and two other Democrats. The GOP pack also includes a substitute teacher’s aide also running for the state Legislature and a California man who attracted 44 votes in the party’s 2008 New Hampshire presidential primary. The parties will hold Aug. 28 primaries before the Nov. 2 general election. The candidate filing period ends Friday. U.S. Senate candidates must be residents of the state they wish to serve by Election Day…. – AP, 7-22-10
  • W.Va. gov, a popular Dem, to go for US Senate seat: Gov. Joe Manchin, a centrist and popular Democrat known for his handling of a coal mine disaster that killed 29 in April, declared Tuesday that he will run for the late Robert C. Byrd’s U.S. Senate seat. The bid marks the latest rise in profile for the 62-year-old Manchin since the former state lawmaker captured the governor’s office in 2004 after a term as secretary of state. He became chairman of the influential National Governors Association earlier this month, enjoys high approval ratings in his state and was seen as a comforter- in-chief to victims’ families following April’s Upper Big Branch mine explosion and the 2006 Sago mine disaster…. – AP, 7-20-10
  • Democrats retake lead in generic ballot: 1. A week removed from an internecine fight about whether or not control of the House is up for grabs this fall (it is), Democrats got some welcome news this morning as the party re-took the lead in Gallup’s generic congressional ballot question.
    Forty-nine percent of those tested said they preferred a generic Democratic candidate for Congress while 43 percent said they would opt for a generic Republican. Democrats’ six point margin represents a bump from the Gallup data earlier this month — Democrat 47 percent, Republican 46 percent — and marks the first time that Democrats have had a statistically significant edge on the question so far this election cycle.
    The reason for Democrats’ upward movement in the poll appears to be independent voters where Republicans now hold a four point generic edge (43 percent to 39 percent), a major drop from Gallup polling earlier this month that showed the GOP with a 14-point margin…. – WaPo, 7-20-10
  • Surprise SC Senate candidate makes first speech: In his first campaign appearance, South Carolina’s surprising U.S. Senate candidate Alvin Greene avoided any major gaffes Sunday as he hit his three major themes of jobs, education and justice. The speech started off with a joke and ended with Greene timidly waving, a shy smile spreading across his face as he got a standing ovation before a friendly audience in his hometown of Manning. Greene’s 6 1/2 minute speech at the local NAAP’s monthly meeting was mostly serious. Left out was any mention of his suggestion earlier this month that creating a line of action figures modeled after him could give South Carolinians jobs. In their place came platitudes familiar to anyone who has heard a stump speech.
    “Let’s get South Carolina and America back to work and let’s move South Carolina forward,” said Greene, one of about a dozen lines that got applause from the several hundred folks crammed into a sweltering junior high gymnasium…. – AP, 7-19-10

POLITICAL QUOTES

President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron of the   United Kingdom Stop to Talk on the South Lawn

President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom stop to talk during a walk across the South Lawn of the White House July 20, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

  • Geithner Says U.S. Employers `Very Cautious,’ Job Growth Not Fast Enough: Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said U.S. companies scarred by the financial crisis remain “very cautious” and are trying to get more productivity from current employees before hiring new ones. Job growth is “not as fast as we need,” Geithner said in an interview broadcast today on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program. Employers “are still cautious, still very cautious,” he said. “So they’ve been trying to get as much productivity out of their employees as possible.” Geithner also said, in a separate interview on ABC’s “This Week” program, that allowing tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans to lapse at the end of this year wouldn’t hurt economic growth…. – Bloomberg, 7-25-10
  • Obama to ‘Netroots’: We have begun to deliver on change: President Obama addressed a group of generally supportive skeptics this week: Internet-based political activists known as “Netroots,” some of whom have criticized Obama over such items as Afghanistan and the failure to create a truly government-run health care system. “Change hasn’t come fast enough for too many Americans, I know that,” Obama said by video to a Netroots Nation convention in Las Vegas. “I know it hasn’t come fast enough for many of you who fought so hard during the election.” But Obama added, “we’ve begun to deliver on the change we promised.” His video included a review — narrated by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow — of such accomplishments as the health care bill, the stimulus bill and the recently signed Wall Street regulation bill. “In ways large and small, we’ve begun to deliver on the change you fought so hard for,” Obama said. “And we’re not finished.”… – USA Today, 7-25-10
  • Biden praises Spratt as ‘graceful’ Vice president talks at Columbia fundraiser: Recalling the nearly 30 years they served together in Congress, Vice President Joe Biden on Friday praised U.S. Rep. John Spratt, D-S.C., as “a graceful man who has more decency, and a more powerful intellect, than almost anybody I’ve worked with.” Biden spoke at a fundraiser at the South Carolina State Museum, where 150 to 200 invited guests enjoyed a grilled chicken buffet lunch and then filed into an auditorium to hear from the vice president. Tickets started at $500, Spratt campaign officials said.
    “This man engineered a balanced budget,” Biden said, pointing toward Spratt. “These guys, our opponents, talking about balanced budgets and deficits is like an arsonist lecturing us on fire safety.”
    “Here’s the problem – we’ve been working so hard to get these major new building blocks laid down,” Biden said. “They are so big, so heavy, that the American people don’t understand what’s in it for them yet.
    “Now that the hard lifting is done, we’re going to spend the next 90 days going out explaining to people exactly what it means to them.” Rock Hill SC Herald, 7-24-10
  • Weekly Address: President Obama Praises New Wall Street Reform Law; Says GOP Plan Will Take Us Backward
    Remarks of President Barack Obama As Prepared for Delivery Weekly Address The White House July 24, 2010:
    ….Unfortunately, those are the ideas we keep hearing from our friends in the other party. This week, the Republican leader in the House of Representatives offered his plan to create jobs. It’s a plan that’s surprisingly short, and sadly familiar.
    First, he would repeal health insurance reform, which would take away tax credits from millions of small business owners, and take us back to the days when insurance companies had free rein to drop coverage and jack up premiums. Second, he would say no to new investments in clean energy, after his party already voted against the clean energy tax credits and loans that are creating thousands of new jobs and hundreds of new businesses. And third, even though his party voted against tax cuts for middle-class families, he would permanently keep in place the tax cuts for the very wealthiest Americans – the same tax cuts that have added hundreds of billions to our debt.
    These are not new ideas. They are the same policies that led us into this recession. They will not create jobs, they will kill them. They will not reduce our deficit, they will add $1 trillion to our deficit. They will take us backward at a time when we need to keep America moving forward.
    I know times are tough. I know that the progress we’ve made isn’t good enough for the millions of Americans who are still out of work or struggling to pay the bills. But I also know the character of this nation. I know that in times of great challenge and difficulty, we don’t fear the future – we shape the future. We harness the skills and ingenuity of the most dynamic country on Earth to reach a better day. We do it with optimism, and we do it with confidence. That’s the spirit we need right now, and that’s the future I know we can build together. – WH, 7-24-10
  • Remarks by the President on the Economy: I want to talk about the progress that we made this week on three fronts, as we work to repair the damage to our economy from this recession and build a stronger foundation for the future…
    …And to unlock the growth of our entrepreneurs, we’ll finally do what I’ve been advocating since I ran for President, which is to eliminate capital gains taxes entirely for key investments in small businesses.
    Now, last night, after a series of partisan delays, the Senate took an important step forward by supporting a lending fund in the overall small business jobs bill. I want to thanks Senators Mary Landrieu and George Lemieux for their leadership and advocacy on behalf of the millions of small business people for whom this will make a meaningful difference. I was heartened that Senator LeMieux and Senator George Voinovich crossed party lines to help pass this lending provision last night, and I hope we can now finish the job and pass the small business jobs plan without delay and without additional partisan wrangling.
    You know, the small businessmen and women who write to me every day, and the folks who I’ve met with across this country, they can’t afford any more political games. They need us to do what they sent us here to do. They didn’t send us here to wage a never-ending campaign. They didn’t send us here to do what’s best for our political party. They sent us here to do what’s best for the United States of America and all its citizens, whether Democrats or Republicans or independents. In other words, they sent us here to govern. And that’s what I hope we will do in the remaining days before the Congress takes its August recess. – WH, 7-23-10
  • President Obama Signs Wall Street Reform: “No Easy Task”
    Remarks by the President at Signing of Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act:

    Passing this bill was no easy task. To get there, we had to overcome the furious lobbying of an array of powerful interest groups and a partisan minority determined to block change. So the members who are here today, both on the stage and in the audience, they have done a great service in devoting so much time and expertise to this effort, to looking out for the public interests and not the special interests. (Applause.) And I also want to thank the three Republican senators who put partisanship aside — (applause) — judged this bill on the merits, and voted for reform. We’re grateful to them. (Applause.) And the Republican House members. (Applause.) Good to see you, Joe. (Applause.)
    Now, let’s put this in perspective. The fact is, the financial industry is central to our nation’s ability to grow, to prosper, to compete and to innovate. There are a lot of banks that understand and fulfill this vital role, and there are a whole lot of bankers who want to do right — and do right — by their customers. This reform will help foster innovation, not hamper it. It is designed to make sure that everybody follows the same set of rules, so that firms compete on price and quality, not on tricks and not on traps.
    It demands accountability and responsibility from everyone. It provides certainty to everybody, from bankers to farmers to business owners to consumers. And unless your business model depends on cutting corners or bilking your customers, you’ve got nothing to fear from reform. (Applause.)
    Now, for all those Americans who are wondering what Wall Street reform means for you, here’s what you can expect. If you’ve ever applied for a credit card, a student loan, or a mortgage, you know the feeling of signing your name to pages of barely understandable fine print. What often happens as a result is that many Americans are caught by hidden fees and penalties, or saddled with loans they can’t afford.
    That’s what happened to Robin Fox, hit with a massive rate increase on her credit card balance even though she paid her bills on time. That’s what happened to Andrew Giordano, who discovered hundreds of dollars in overdraft fees on his bank statement –- fees he had no idea he might face. Both are here today. Well, with this law, unfair rate hikes, like the one that hit Robin, will end for good. (Applause.) And we’ll ensure that people like Andrew aren’t unwittingly caught by overdraft fees when they sign up for a checking account. (Applause.)
    With this law, we’ll crack down on abusive practices in the mortgage industry. We’ll make sure that contracts are simpler -– putting an end to many hidden penalties and fees in complex mortgages -– so folks know what they’re signing.
    With this law, students who take out college loans will be provided clear and concise information about their obligations.
    And with this law, ordinary investors -– like seniors and folks saving for retirement –- will be able to receive more information about the costs and risks of mutual funds and other investment products, so that they can make better financial decisions as to what will work for them.
    So, all told, these reforms represent the strongest consumer financial protections in history. (Applause.) In history. And these protections will be enforced by a new consumer watchdog with just one job: looking out for people -– not big banks, not lenders, not investment houses -– looking out for people as they interact with the financial system. – WH, 7-21-10
  • Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron of the United Kingdom in Joint Press Availability:
    We have just concluded some excellent discussions — including whether the beers from our hometowns that we exchanged are best served warm or cold. My understanding is, is that the Prime Minister enjoyed our 312 beer and we may send him some more. I thought the beer we got was excellent — but I did drink it cold. (Laughter.)
    Mr. Prime Minister, we can never say it enough. The United States and the United Kingdom enjoy a truly special relationship. We celebrate a common heritage. We cherish common values. And we speak a common language —- most of the time. We honor the sacrifices of our brave men and women in uniform who have served together, bled together, and even lay at rest together.
    Above all, our alliance thrives because it advances our common interests. Whether it’s preventing the spread of nuclear weapons or securing vulnerable nuclear materials, thwarting terrorist attacks, or confronting climate change, or promoting global economic growth and development, when the United States and the United Kingdom stand together, our people —- and people around the world — are more secure and they are more prosperous.
    In short, the United States has no closer ally and no stronger partner than Great Britain. And I appreciate the opportunity to renew our relationship with my partner, Prime Minister Cameron.
    In his campaign, David was known for his extensive town halls discussions with voters —- “Cameron Direct.” And that’s the same spirit that we had here today. I appreciate David’s steady leadership and his pragmatic approach. And just as he’s off to an energetic start at home, I think we’ve had a brilliant start as partners who see eye-to- eye on virtually every challenge before us. – WH, 7-20-10

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

  • Maureen Dowd: You’ll Never Believe What This White House Is Missing: The Obama White House is too white. It has Barack Obama, raised in the Hawaiian hood and Indonesia, and Valerie Jarrett, who spent her early years in Iran. But unlike Bill Clinton, who never needed help fathoming Southern black culture, Obama lacks advisers who are descended from the central African-American experience, ones who understand “the slave thing,” as a top black Democrat dryly puts it…. – NYT, 7-25-10
  • Julian E. Zelizer: Why Obama’s poll numbers have sunk: President Obama’s supporters have been frustrated about the apparent paradox of this administration. With the recent passage of historic financial regulation legislation, many Democrats are having trouble grasping why his approval ratings still lag and why Democrats might lose control of the House in the fall elections.
    Supporters say the economic stimulus bill, education and health care reform, and now financial reform, should have Americans looking at the White House with the same admiration they had for President Roosevelt in the 1930s or President Johnson at the height of his success in 1964 and 1965.
    But according to a recent CBS News poll, just 40 percent of those polled approved of how the president was handling the economy. This was a drop of five percentage points since June….
    Rather than complain about what the public thinks or dismiss liberals as unrealistic, Obama would do better to be more responsive to public concerns, with joblessness at the top of his list. The president must give serious consideration to another stimulus package, and be willing to spend the kind of political capital that he used in pushing for health care and financial regulation. He must also be willing to look at some of the shortcomings of the first bill, such as insufficient funds for public works projects and for assistance to the states. – CNN, 7-19-10
  • Robert Dallek: Obama’s vacation: Time with the family … and the nuclear codes: Obama’s vacation in Maine will be a short one. But no matter where they go, presidents never really leave their job the way a typical white-collar professional does when he packs his beach towel and powers down his Blackberry. “The president is always on call, 24/7, if there is a crisis,” says presidential historian Robert Dallek. “They’re lucky if they go on vacation and there’s no crisis, and then they get some downtime. But they’re always on call.”
    Mr. Dallek recalls that when President Dwight Eisenhower showed John Kennedy around the White House after the 1960 election, Eisenhower showed the president-elect a special button that would call a helicopter to the South Lawn within seconds. That kind of rapid response follows the president everywhere, and it has only gotten better over time.
    “That was 50 years ago,” Dallek says. “Now, it’s pretty instantaneous.”… – CS Monitor, 7-16-10

History Buzz, July 19-26, 2010: The FBI & Howard Zinn & Alan Brinkley Blogs “Mad Men”

HISTORY BUZZ:

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor/Features Editor at HNN. She has a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. Her blog is History Musings

RELATED LINKS & ANNOUNCEMENTS

THIS WEEK IN HISTORY:

  • Coventry historian helps identify Battle of Fromelles fallen: TODAY marks the 94th anniversary of the Battle of Fromelles where 30 Coventry and Warwickshire servicemen are thought to have died. More than 7,000 British and Australian soldiers died, were wounded or taken prisoner during the First World War battle in Northern France. Bodies of the dead soldiers were buried in six mass graves by the Germans but the names of many of these remain unknown…. – Coventry Telegraph (UK) (7-19-10)

IN FOCUS:

  • FBI admits probing ‘radical’ historian Zinn for criticizing bureau: FBI files show bureau may have tried to get Zinn fired from Boston University for his political opinions. Those who knew of the dissident historian Howard Zinn would not be surprised that J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI kept tabs on him for decades during the Cold War. But in a release of documents pertaining to Zinn, the bureau admitted that one of its investigations into the left-wing academic was prompted not by suspicion of criminal activity, but by Zinn’s criticism of the FBI’s record on civil rights investigations…. – The Raw Story (7-30-10)

HISTORY NEWS:

  • Teaching history may become a thing of past: As the start of a new school year approaches, not to mention the November elections, Americans face a dizzying array of fiscal, human, environmental and other crises. More than ever, our democracy requires an educated citizenry capable of analyzing the world around us and of making informed judgments. So this is why Americans — from parents to voters to policymakers – must address yet another deepening crisis, the one in history education at the K-12 level. As if the approval in May of gravely flawed social studies standards by the Texas State Board of Education is not depressing enough, the nation lost one of its most learned, passionate and effective public champions for the study and appreciation of our collective past with the passing of Sen. Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia in June. However complicated his own legacy, Byrd understood that we must invest in the future by understanding the past, which is why he used his considerable influence to sponsor the Teaching American History grants program. – Houston Chronicle, 7-31-10
  • Japan asked for annexation apology by Korean scholars: Over 1,000 scholars, writers and attorneys from Korea and Japan asked the Japanese government for a formal apology for the annexation of Korea ahead of its 100-year anniversary next month…. – JoongAng Daily (7-29-10)
  • Christopher Waldrep, Michael Pfeifer: Experts on history of lynching rebut Jeffrey Lord’s Sherrod claim: Experts on the history of lynching are criticizing an American Spectator report which claimed that Shirley Sherrod’s statement that her relative Bobby Hall was lynched was “factually, provably untrue.” Media Matters (7-27-10)
  • Construction History Society of America – Newest AHA Affiliate: The AHA welcomes the Construction History Society of America as its newest Affiliated Society…. – AHA Blog (7-20-10)
  • Niall Ferguson slams Australian immigration policy: ONE of the world’s leading economic historians has slammed Labor’s “needless pseudo stimulus” spending. Niall Ferguson has also criticised the election campaign’s “pathetic” debate over capping immigration and population growth…. – The Australian (7-27-10)
  • Historian stages sleep-ins to save SC slave cabins: When Joe McGill spreads his sleeping bag on the floor of a slave cabin, he knows that spending the night there will conjure the specter of slavery…. – AP (7-23-10)
  • Daniel Kevles, David Reynolds, Lizabeth Cohen, Sean Wilentz, Simon Schama: Sixteen economists and historians joined in a consensus statement demanding urgent action on unemployment and the faltering recovery: Fourteen million out of work! Sixteen notable economists and historians have joined in a consensus statement for The Daily Beast demanding urgent action on unemployment and the faltering recovery. Joseph Stiglitz, Alan Blinder, Robert Reich, Richard Parker, Derek Shearer, Laura Tyson, Sir Harold Evans, and other thought leaders have produced a manifesto calling for more government stimulus and tax credits to put America back to work…. – Hot Indie News (7-19-10)
  • Conrad Black to be released from prison on bail: Conrad Black will likely be out on bail within days from the Florida jail that has been his home for the last 28 months. But it’s the bail conditions that will determine where he goes next. The bail conditions will be set by U.S. District Court Judge Amy St. Eve in Chicago. St. Eve is the judge who presided over Black’s trial in 2007 and who ended up sentencing him to 78 months after a jury found him guilty of three counts of fraud and one count of obstruction of justice…. – CBC News (7-20-10)
  • Historian Orlando Figes agrees to pay damages for fake reviews: One of Britain’s leading historians, Orlando Figes, is to pay damages and costs to two rivals who launched a libel case after a row erupted over fake reviews posted on the Amazon website…. – Guardian (UK) (7-16-10)

OP-EDs:

  • Alan Brinkley: ‘Mad Men’: A Conversation (Season 4, Episode 1, ‘Public Relations’): I’m flattered to have been invited to join this conversation about “Mad Men.” Like most of us on this blog, I suspect, I grew up in the 1950s and 1960s, and one of the pleasures of watching the show is being reminded of so many aspects of life in those years that now seem so much a part of the past.
    I’ve been watching the show since it began, and I’ve always been impressed by the unflinching portrayal of flawed characters whom we really want to like but are never wholly allowed to. It echoes so many parts of the culture of that era and of some of the greatest artists of the era: Cheever, Bellow, Yates, Updike, Miller, Albee, among others. And it¹s terrific on the quotidian details of the era as well ­ the clothes, the décor, the smoking, the drinking, the jargon, the sexism, the closeted homosexuality, and the casual antisemitism. Parts of it remind me of my parents. I remember the omnipresence of cigarettes and cocktails. Only later did I understand their own struggle to find a place in a world that did not come naturally to them ­ my mother, from a middle-class Jewish family, marrying a man from a lower-middle class Protestant family in North Carolina, both of them fleeing into the postwar suburban world — where backgrounds were supposed to disappear — and trying to find a place in it, not always successfully…. – WSJ, 7-25-10
  • Alan Brinkley: ‘Mad Men’: A Conversation Every Sunday after the newest episode of “Mad Men,” lawyer and Supreme Court advocate Walter Dellinger will host an online dialogue about the show. The participants include literature professor Toril Moi, political science professor David L. Paletz, media expert Evangeline Morphos, and historian Alan Brinkley. Dellinger will post his thoughts shortly after each episode ends at 11 p.m., and the others will add their commentary in the hours and days that follow…. – WSJ, 7-25-10
  • Mark Bauerlein: An Episode at Hamilton–Paquette and UrgoThe Chronicle of Higher Education (7-20-10)
  • Peter Zarrow: Me, Wang Hui, and Liberal Wishy-washy-ness: Wang Hui is a cultural historian and critic, and professor at Qinghua University in Beijing. He was for several years editor of Dushu, a serious general interest magazine perhaps roughly — very roughly — equivalent to the Atlantic monthly in the US. He is also known as a leader of the so-called “New Left” intellectuals, who highlight the costs of economic liberalization, global capitalism, and rigid Western-style modernization policies. Early this year, charges of plagiarism began to appear concerning some of some of Wang Hui’s work. He has since been subject to numerous attacks, including ad hominen blog attacks…. – The China Beat (Blog) (7-16-10)

REVIEWS & FIRST CHAPTERS:

  • Rick Perlstein’s “Nixonland” gets the digital treatment, E-Books Fly Beyond Mere Text: E-books of the latest generation are so brand new that publishers can’t agree on what to call them. In the spring Hachette Book Group called its version, by David Baldacci, an “enriched” book. Penguin Group released an “amplified” version of a novel by Ken Follett last week. And on Thursday Simon & Schuster will come out with one of its own, an “enhanced” e-book version of “Nixonland” by Rick Perlstein…. Simon & Schuster has taken the best-selling “Nixonland,” first published in hardcover in 2008 in a whopping 896 pages, and scattered 27 videos throughout the e-book…. – NYT (7-29-10)
  • Niall Ferguson: Yesterday’s Banker: HIGH FINANCIER The Lives and Time of Siegmund Warburg Niall Ferguson’s “High Financier,” the biography of the Anglo-German banker Sir Siegmund Warburg, takes us back to a different era — the 1950s and ’60s — and a different conception of banking. Profits from trading were modest, and bankers made most of their money by giving advice to clients and helping businesses to raise capital. Bankers like Warburg thought of themselves as rather like family doctors, whose job it was to get to know their clients well, understand their problems and act in their best interest — a far cry from the ethos that dominates today’s Wall Street…. – NYT, 7-30-10
  • Jane Ziegelman: In a Tenement’s Meager Kitchens, a Historian Looks for Insight: 97 ORCHARD An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement In the meantime we have Jane Ziegelman’s modest but absorbing “97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement.” The story it tells, about Old World habits clashing and ultimately melding with new American ones, is familiar. But Ms. Ziegelman is a patient scholar and a graceful writer, and she rummages in these families’ histories and larders to smart, chewy effect. Ms. Ziegelman, whose previous book, “Foie Gras: A Passion,” occupies a place at the plummier end of the food history spectrum, introduces us to the Glockners, the Moores, the Gumpertzes, the Rogarshevskys and the Baldizzis, who all lived at 97 Orchard Street, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, between 1863 and 1935…. – NYT, 7-28-10
  • Julie Flavell: Colonials Abroad: WHEN LONDON WAS CAPITAL OF AMERICA Julie Flavell’s “When London Was Capital of America” illuminates this fascinating chapter of London’s — and North America’s — past, showing how the metropolis functioned as a magnet for colonists from across the Atlantic (including the West Indies) who sought accomplishment, opportunity and commerce. An American-born scholar who is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Flavell has unearthed a host of stories that bring alive a previously neglected aspect of the colonial experience…. – NYT, 7-30-10
  • Geoffrey O’Brien: Saratoga Gothic: THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF WALWORTH A Tale of Madness and Murder in Gilded Age America In addition to publishing six books of poetry as well as eight of cultural history and criticism, Geoffrey O’Brien is the editor in chief of the Library of America, whose handsome, authoritative volumes now more or less constitute the nation’s literary canon. But however central the novelist Mansfield Tracy Walworth (1830-73) may be to O’Brien’s crackerjack new history of one family’s mayhem, it seems safe to say that he will not soon be joining Welty, Wharton and Whitman at the right-hand reaches of the Library’s long, august shelf…. – NYT, 7-30-10Excerpt
  • Thomas L. Jeffers: Turning Right: NORMAN PODHORETZ A Biography …Thomas L. Jeffers’s exhaustive but frustratingly uncritical biography, “Norman Podhoretz,” is most engaging in its early chapters, telling the story of how this brilliant and ambitious child of Jewish immigrants from Galicia rose from poverty in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn to become first, the star student of the great literary critic Lionel Trilling at Columbia University and then, at the age of 30, the editor of Commentary, the magazine of the American Jewish Committee and one of the two leading journals (along with Partisan Review) of the legendary New York Intellectuals…. – NYT, 7-30-10Excerpt
  • Lyndall Gordon: Explosive Inheritance LIVES LIKE LOADED GUNS Emily Dickinson and Her Family’s Feuds The tale that Lyndall Gordon unveils in “Lives Like Loaded Guns” is so lurid, so fraught with forbidden passions, that readers may be disappointed to find that no actual gun goes off in this feverish account of the Dickinson family “feuds.” There are metaphorical guns galore, including Dickinson’s self-portrait as lethal wallflower: “My Life had stood — a Loaded Gun — / In Corners — till a Day / The Owner passed — identified — / And carried Me away.” Gordon, who has written highly regarded biographies of Charlotte Brontë, T. S. Eliot and Mary Wollstonecraft, detects two patterns of “explosive inheritance” in Dickinson, who happened to have a grandmother named Gunn: eruptions in the lives and in the poems…. – NYT, 7-30-10
  • Jane Brox: Up From Darkness: BRILLIANT The Evolution of Artificial Light The lights eventually came back on, and I forgot about the burger lamp until reading Jane Brox’s “Brilliant: The Evolution of Artificial Light,” which takes us from fat to fluorescence and on into the future (beyond the bulb, that is). The book starts off promisingly, in the dim past…. – NYT, 7-30-10
  • Mark Atwood Lawrence: John Lukacs: The Heart of a Realist: THROUGH THE HISTORY OF THE COLD WAR The Correspondence of George F. Kennan and John Lukacs This powerful sense of estrangement from mainstream America pervades “Through the History of the Cold War,” a gloomy but fascinating volume containing more than 200 letters exchanged by Kennan and John Lukacs over half a century. The correspondence began in 1952, when Lukacs, a Hungarian émigré who later became a prolific historian of modern Europe, wrote Kennan to commend his view that the United States needed to resist Soviet expansion through political and economic, rather than military, means. To Lukacs’s surprise, Kennan wrote back… – NYT, 7-25-10
  • Wendy Moffat: Lives of the Novelists: E. M. Forster: A GREAT UNRECORDED HISTORY A New Life of E. M. Forster In “A Great Unrecorded History,” a well-written, intelligent and perceptive biography of Forster, Wendy Moffat attempts to explore that silence and at the same time to draw a picture of a figure who was sensitive, sensuous and kind, an artist who possessed a keen, plain sort of wisdom and lightness of touch that make him, to this day, an immensely influential novelist, almost a prophet. She uses the sources for our knowledge of Forster’s sexuality, including letters and diaries, without reducing the mystery and sheer individuality of Forster, without making his sexuality explain everything…. – NYT, 7-25-10
  • Powerful Political Figures, Historians and Scholars Assert President Calvin Coolidge’s Relevance in Today’s Politically Charged Climate in a New Book Titled, Why Coolidge Matters: A collection of 21 essays authored by an impressive bipartisan list of historians, political figures, scholars and journalists, that includes Senator John Kerry, former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, Governors M. Jodi Rell (CT) and James Douglas (VT), Ward Connerly, founder/chairman of the American Civil Rights Institute, and Jerry Wallace, Presidential archivist, among others, Why Coolidge Matters reflects a common denominator: President Coolidge’s civility, integrity, even-handedness and scrupulous attention to propriety provides much wisdom that can be applied to present day politics…. – Earth Times (7-20-10)
  • James T. Patterson’s “Freedom Is Not Enough,” reviewed by Kevin Boyle: FREEDOM IS NOT ENOUGH The Moynihan Report and America’s Struggle Over Black Family Life — from LBJ to Obama Shortly after the cataclysmic Watts riot in the summer of 1965, word spread around Washington that the Johnson administration had in its hands a secret report on the state of Black America. It had been written, said the rumors, by a little-known official in the Department of Labor: Daniel Patrick Moynihan. And it was “a political atom bomb,” according to columnists Rowland Evans and Robert Novak, “which strips away usual equivocations and exposes the ugly truth about the big-city Negros’ plight.” What followed, as Brown University historian James T. Patterson makes clear in this fine-grained study, was one of the great tragedies of postwar policy making…. – WaPo, 7-18-10
  • Alex Heard’s “The Eyes of Willie McGee,” reviewed by Michael Kazin: THE EYES OF WILLIE MCGEE A Tragedy of Race, Sex, and Secrets in the Jim Crow South The bare facts about the case of Willie McGee seem to fit the dreadful image of a legal lynching in the Deep South back when white supremacy ruled. In 1945, McGee, a handsome black truck-driver, was jailed for allegedly raping a white housewife named Willette Hawkins in Laurel, Miss. — while her husband slept in a nearby room and a small child slept beside her. Despite the improbable circumstances, McGee was convicted by an all-white jury and, after two appeals, was electrocuted in 1951….
    But Alex Heard, a veteran journalist who grew up in Mississippi, uncovers a story that is a good deal more intriguing, if less dramatic, than Harper Lee’s iconic Southern novel. The McGee case was fought out on a global terrain. That tearful young lawyer’s name was Bella Abzug. Years before she became a politician famous for big hats and robust feminism, Abzug worked for the Civil Rights Congress, a small but aggressive group with close ties to the Communist Party. The CRC, with aid from the Soviet bloc, whipped up an international outcry against McGee’s execution. Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo and Dmitri Shostakovich dispatched cables of outrage, and a band of protesters chained themselves to one of the columns at the Lincoln Memorial….. – WaPo, 7-18-10
  • Bruce Cumings: Carpet-Bombing Falsehoods About a War That’s Little Understood: THE KOREAN WAR The world will be watching, and here’s a book that American policymakers may hope it won’t be reading: Bruce Cumings’s “Korean War,” a powerful revisionist history of America’s intervention in Korea. Beneath its bland title, Mr. Cumings’s book is a squirm-inducing assault on America’s moral behavior during the Korean War, a conflict that he says is misremembered when it is remembered at all. It’s a book that puts the reflexive anti-Americanism of North Korea’s leaders into sympathetic historical context…. – NYT, 7-22-10Excerpt
  • Alexandra Popoff: The Tolstoys’ War: SOPHIA TOLSTOY A Biography As Alexandra Popoff suggests in her new biography, “Sophia Tolstoy,” the countess has been maligned by history, viewed as hysterical and insanely jealous, a shrew. These misconceptions, Popoff insists (with some exaggeration), “all have one source: Chertkov. For decades, he suppressed favorable information about Sophia and exaggerated his own role in Tolstoy’s life.”… – NYT, 7-18-10

FEATURES:

  • Douglas Brinkley: Electric cars like Chevy’s new Volt are too expensive today, but they won’t be for long, if history is a guide: In 1903, most car companies were “turning out products with steep prices of $3,000 or even $4,000,” writes Douglas Brinkley in Wheels for the World: Henry Ford, His Company, and a Century of Progress. In 1903, about 12,000 cars were sold in the United States The following year, Henry Ford introduced his Model B “at a startling $2,000.” Now, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ inflation calculator only goes back to 1913. But $3,000 in 1913 is worth about $66,114 today. This BLS report suggests that average family income in 1901 was about $750. Any way you slice it, cars were very expensive. A luxury car cost about four times what a family earned in a year. What kind of future was there for the car as a democratic object?… – Slate (7-28-10)
  • Shelley E. Roff: Women workers could be found on the medieval construction site, study finds: According to a recently published study, women could be found working on construction sites, if only occasionally, including in specialized roles such as carpenters and masons. The research is found in the article, “Appropriate to Her Sex?” Women’s Participation on the Construction Site in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, by Shelley E. Roff…. – Medieval News (7-27-10)
  • Richard K. Lieberman: A 19th-Century Piano Is So Square, It’s Cool: Mr. Lieberman, a professor of history at LaGuardia and director of the La Guardia and Wagner Archives, said it had an interesting history: It survived the Civil War in Kentucky, hidden in a barn where it was not burned as troops crisscrossed the area. The family legend was that someone played “Dixie” when Confederates were within earshot. It is not known whether the same pianist struck up “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” when Union soldiers were around…. – NYT (7-25-10)
  • ‘Mad Men’ series inaccurately depicts difficulties of divorce for women in ’60s: …”As historians, most of us just love ‘Mad Men’ — it is so realistic, not just in the details, but in the gender dynamics,” said Stephanie Coontz, a sociologist and professor at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash. “But, I think in this case they’ve gotten it wrong.”
    “In 1964, Nelson Rockefeller could not run for president because he was divorced — anyone with high aspirations, unless he was absolutely besotted with love, would never have considered getting involved in a divorce.”… Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (7-25-10)

QUOTES:

  • New FDR letters could be a “trove,” says Goodwin: The writer was Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd, who decades before had been FDR’s mistress and who now was making arrangements for what would be their last meeting. Elegantly handwritten, the letter never mentions Roosevelt by name — her love letters to him had been their undoing a quarter-century earlier when Eleanor Roosevelt found them in her husband’s steamer trunk…. “Wow,” said historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of “No Ordinary Time,” a chronicle of the Roosevelts during the war. “This stuff sounds like it’s going to be very exciting. You very rarely get a whole new trove of material.”… – Star Tribune (7-28-10)
  • Geoff Wade, Edward Friedman: Zheng He: Symbol of China’s ‘peaceful rise’: “The rise of China has induced a lot of fear,” says Geoff Wade of the Institute of South-east Asian Studies in Singapore. “Zheng is being portrayed as a symbol of China’s openness to the world, as an envoy of its peace and friendship – these two words keep cropping up in virtually every reference to Zheng He out of China,” says Prof Wade….
    Zheng He was an admiral in the time of “empire”, when there were no boundaries, no frontier limits, says China expert Edward Friedman. “The expeditions were real events – Zheng’s achievements were extraordinary and a marvel of the time,” says Prof Friedman of the University of Wisconsin-Madison…. BBC News (7-28-10)
  • Brian Carso: Treason expert says release of military files on war is not treason under the law: “But, it harms our democratic process,” Carso said. “Our democratic leaders have made a decision to pursue the war effort, and while we are right to constantly debate that decision as we go forward, by the same token we shouldn’t undermine our own ability to carry out the war effort.”… – The Times Leader (PA) (7-27-10)
  • Nostalgia drives ‘Mad Men’ culture beyond small screen: Taken together, New York University’s Jonathan Zimmerman says viewers aren’t watching Mad Men because it affirms any secret sexism they might harbour, but rather because the show enables a kind of self-congratulation.
    “The well-to-do pride themselves on their notions of gender equality,” says Zimmerman, a professor of history and culture. “They look especially at Mad Men’s gender roles and say: ‘My goodness, wasn’t it barbaric back then?’” “Nostalgia is a profound emotion that affects us in a guttural way,” says Zimmerman, a fan of the AMC series. “With just a shot of a corridor or a desk or a type of car, baby boomers can quite literally relive their youth.”… Vancouver Sun (7-20-10)

INTERVIEWS:

  • Will Israel’s New Archive Policy Set Back a Generation of Scholarship? CHE asks Benny Morris: Earlier this month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu extended the classification of certain national- security related state archives for an additional 20 years…. For more on the potential implications of Netanyahu’s decision, I turned to Benny Morris, a professor of history at Ben Gurion University of the Negev…. – CHE (7-30-10)

AWARDS &APPOINTMENTS:

  • MU prof’s book recognized by the Wall Street Journal: James Tobin, associate professor of journalism at Miami University, was recently recognized by the Wall Street Journal for writing one of the five best books on inventions. Tobin’s 2003 book, “To Conquer the Air,” was ranked third, following “Longitude” by Dava Sobel and “The Making of the Atomic Bomb” by Richard Rhodes. “To Conquer the Air” is the story of Wilbur and Orville Wright in early 20th-century America and the competition they faced from other top inventors of the time, including Alexander Graham Bell and Glenn Curtiss, to be the first aloft…. – Oxford Press, 7-23-10

ANNOUNCEMENTS & EVENTS CALENDAR:

  • September 17-18, 2010 at Notre Dame University: Conference aims to bring medieval, early modern and Latin American historians together: An interdisciplinary conference to be held at the University of Notre Dame this fall is making a final call for papers to explore the issue surrounding similarities between late-medieval Iberia and its colonies in the New World. “From Iberian Kingdoms to Atlantic Empires: Spain, Portugal, and the New World, 1250-1700″ is being hosted by the university’s Nanovic Institute for European Studies and will take place on September 17-18, 2010. Medieval News, 4-29-10
  • Jeff Shesol to give Jackson Lecture at the Chautauqua Institution: Historian, presidential speechwriter and author Jeff Shesol will deliver Chautauqua Institution’s sixth annual Robert H. Jackson Lecture on the Supreme Court of the United States. Jeff Shesol will give the Jackson Lecture on Wednesday, August 18, 2010, at 4:00 p.m. in Chautauqua’s Hall of Philosophy…. – John Q. Barrett at the Jackson List (6-14-10)
  • Thousands of Studs Terkel interviews going online: The Library of Congress will digitize the Studs Terkel Oral History Archive, according to the agreement, while the museum will retain ownership of the roughly 5,500 interviews in the archive and the copyrights to the content. Project officials expect digitizing the collection to take more than two years…. – NYT, 5-13-10
  • Digital Southern Historical Collection: The 41,626 scans reproduce diaries, letters, business records, and photographs that provide a window into the lives of Americans in the South from the 18th through mid-20th centuries.

ON TV:

BEST SELLERS (NYT):

BOOKS COMING SOON:

  • Richard Toye: Churchill’s Empire: The World That Made Him and the World He Made, (Hardcover), August 3, 2010.
  • Alexander Hamilton: The Federalist Papers, (Hardcover), August 16, 2010
  • Christopher Tomlins, Freedom Bound: Law, Labor, and Civic Identity in Colonizing English America, 1580-1865 (Paperback and Hardcover), September 1, 2010
  • Holger Hoock: Empires of the Imagination: Politics, War, and the Arts in the British World, 1750-1850, (Hardcover), September 1, 2010
  • Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor: Princess, Bastard, Queen, (Hardcover), September 7, 2010
  • James L. Swanson: Bloody Crimes: The Chase for Jefferson Davis and the Death Pageant for Lincoln’s Corpse, (Hardcover), September 28, 2010
  • Timothy Snyder: The Red Prince: The Secret Lives of a Habsburg Archduke (First Trade Paper Edition), (Paperback), September 28, 2010
  • Ron Chernow: Washington: A Life, (Hardcover), October 5, 2010
  • George William Van Cleve: A Slaveholders’ Union: Slavery, Politics, and the Constitution in the Early American Republic, (Hardcover), October 1, 2010.
  • John Keegan: The American Civil War: A Military History, (Paperback), October 5, 2010
  • Bill Bryson: At Home: A Short History of Private Life, (Hardcover), October 5, 2010
  • Robert M. Poole: On Hallowed Ground: The Story of Arlington National Cemetery, (Paperback), October 26, 2010
  • Robert Leckie: Challenge for the Pacific: Guadalcanal: The Turning Point of the War, (Paperback), October 26, 2010
  • Manning Marable: Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, (Hardcover), November 9, 2010
  • Elizabeth White: The Socialist Alternative to Bolshevik Russia: The Socialist Revolutionary Party, 1917-39, (Hardcover), November 10, 2010
  • Elizabeth White: The Socialist Alternative to Bolshevik Russia: The Socialist Revolutionary Party, 1917-39, (Hardcover), November 10, 2010
  • G. J. Barker-Benfield: Abigail and John Adams: The Americanization of Sensibility, (Hardcover), November 15, 2010
  • Edmund Morris: Colonel Roosevelt, (Hardcover), November 23, 2010
  • Michael Goldfarb: Emancipation: How Liberating Europe’s Jews from the Ghetto Led to Revolution and Renaissance, (Paperback), November 23, 2010

DEPARTED:

  • Robert C. Tucker, 92, dies; scholar of Soviet-era politics and history: Robert C. Tucker, 92, whose early State Department assignment in Moscow launched a distinguished career as a scholar of Soviet-era politics and history, notably tracing the enduring impact of Joseph Stalin’s reign, died July 29 at his home in Princeton, N.J. He had pneumonia. His death was confirmed by Princeton University, where he was a professor of politics from 1962 to 1984 and the founding director of the university’s Russian studies program…. – WaPo (7-31-10)
  • Robert C. Tucker, a Scholar of Marx, Stalin and Soviet Affairs, Dies at 92 (NYT): Robert C. Tucker, a distinguished Sovietologist whose frustrations in persuading the authorities in Stalin’s Russia to let his new Russian wife accompany him home to the United States gave him crucial and influential insights into the Soviet leader, died Thursday at his home in Princeton, N.J. He was 92…. – NYT (7-31-10)
  • Peggy Ann Pascoe, 55, historian at the University of Oregon: Peggy Ann Pascoe, 55, of Eugene, Ore., died Friday, July 23, 2010, of ovarian cancer. She taught women’s history at the University of Utah from 1986 to 1996. She was the Beekman Chair of Pacific and Northwest History at the University of Oregon starting in 1996; in 2005 she also became a Professor of Ethnic S tudies at UO… – MT Standard (7-25-10)
  • Historian Carola Hicks Has Died: Carola Hicks, British historian and biographer, has passed away at age 68. Her resume included college professor, research fellow, museum curator, and of course, published author. She has published several nonfiction works…. – mediabistro (7-28-10)
  • Ramon Eduardo Ruiz: Honored scholar wrote a detailed history of Mexico: Pride in his heritage helped spark an interest in history and led Ramon Eduardo Ruiz to a life of teaching, researching and writing about the past…. – SD Union-Tribune (7-26-10)
  • Indian historian, academician dies at 84: The writings of historian A Sreedhara Menon who died here on Friday are the most important references on Kerala history…. – Express Buzz (India) (7-24-10)
  • John P. Gerber, 65, librarian and historian: John Paul Gerber of Quincy, Mass., passed away suddenly on Saturday, June 12, 2010, after a valiant year-long fight against pancreatic cancer…. – Dunn County Record (WI) (7-25-10)
  • ‘Legendary’ SD historian dies at 92: Gilbert Fite devoted a great deal of his life to uncovering and preserving South Dakota history. In doing so, he became a part of it. Fite, 92, a history professor and acclaimed author, died July 13 in Fort Meyers, Fla…. – Mitchell Republic (SD) (7-21-10)
  • George Robert Healy, 87, dies: With real sadness, I share the news that George Robert Healy died on July 8th in Auburn, Maine. He was 87. A marvelous leader and cherished friend to those who worked with him, Dr. Healy was described as “a man Thomas Jefferson would have respected.”… – College of William & Mary (7-15-10)
  • Jim Clifford: Dr. Georgina Feldberg, 1956-2010: The history community lost a great teacher, scholar and active historian this week. I had the pleasure of knowing Dr. Feldberg during my first year at York. She was one of the professors in a graduate course on the history of science, health and the environment. I learned a lot from her as a teacher and from her book, Disease and Class: Tuberculosis and the Shaping of Modern North American Society. A few weeks after I last met with her, I heard she had been diagnosed with cancer. This came as a big shock to all of us in the history of medicine field and particularly to a number of my friends who Feldberg supervised. Sadly, she finally lost her four year long battle with this disease, leaving behind her husband and daughter… – ActiveHistory.ca (7-14-10)

Top Young Historians: 112- Jennifer Burns

Top Young Historians

Jennifer Burns, 34

Basic Facts

Teaching Position: Assistant Professor of History, University of Virginia, 2007- present
Area of Research: American political, cultural, and intellectual history
Education: Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, History, 2005
Major Publications: Burns is the author of Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right (Oxford University Press 2009), an intellectual biography of the controversial novelist and philosopher. Based on exclusive access to Rand’s personal papers, Goddess of the Market is the only book to draw upon Rand’s unedited letters and journals. Jennifer Burns JPG Burns is also the author of numerous scholarly journal articles, book chapters and reviews including among others: “O Libertarian, Where is Thy Sting?” Journal of Policy History, Vol. 19, No. 4, 2007: 453-471; “Liberalism and The Conservative Imagination,” in Liberalism for a New Century, Eds. Neil Jumonville and Kevin Mattson (University of California Press, 2007); “In Retrospect: George Nash’s The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945,” Reviews in American History, 32 (September 2004): 447-462; “Godless Capitalism: Ayn Rand and the Conservative Movement,” Modern Intellectual History, 1, 3 (November 2004): 1-27. Reprinted in American Capitalism: Social Thought and Political Economy in Twentieth Century America, ed. Nelson Lichtenstein (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006).
Awards: Burns is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lecturer, 2010-2013;
University of Virginia Sesquicentennial Fellowship, 2010-2011;
University of Virginia Bankard Fund for Political Economy, 2010-2011, 2009;
University of Virginia Summer Research Grant, 2009;
University of Virginia Excellence in Diversity Fellow, 2008-2009;
University of Virginia Professors as Writers Fellow, 2008-2009;
Campbell National Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University, 2007-2008;
National Endowment for the Humanities, Summer Stipend, 2007;
James H. Kettner Graduate Prize for best dissertation, 2006, Berkeley History Department;
Library Prize for Undergraduate Research, UC Berkeley. Mentor of prizewinners, 2006 and 2003;
Research Fellow, Herbert Hoover Presidential Library, 2006;
Grantee, F.A. Hayek Fund for Scholars, Institute for Humane Studies, 2006, 2007;
University of California, Berkeley, History Department Block Grant Fellowship, 2004, 2000;
University of California, Berkeley, Dean’s Competitive Fellowship, 2002;
Derek Bok Certificate of Distinction for excellence in teaching, Harvard University, 2000;

Additional Info:
Burns has appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, C-Span’s Book TV, NPR’s Weekend America, and Here & Now. She has also contributed articles to Harvard Magazine, Foreign Policy, the Christian Science Monitor, and several academic journals.
Burns has been a guest lecturer at Harvard, Columbia Business School, UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara, Rice University, and the Cato Institute.
Jennifer Burns personal website www.jenniferburns.org

Personal Anecdote

In 2006 I was starting my first job as a lecturer at UC Berkeley when the technology office phoned up and asked if I would like to podcast my course “Introduction to United States History Since 1865.” I didn’t even have an iPod, but I said “yes” without thinking much about it, thus launching the most unexpected and rewarding aspect of my career as a historian. Six months later, my lectures were up on iTunes and had been downloaded nearly 300,000 times. My inbox was bursting with emails from enthusiastic history students around the world. Accustomed to the private sanctuary of my books and my study, I panicked. It felt as though I had lost some cherished measure of privacy, and I wanted the lectures taken down immediately.

But then I paused and began to reflect on my goals and values as a historian. I had spent years of advanced study gathering knowledge – was this now to be shared only with specialists in my field? I had always believed historians should seek a broader audience, and now I was living that vision. As a Ph.D. student I had benefited from the intellectual vitality and openness of a public university, and my lectures were one small way to further the Berkeley legacy.

Instead of taking the lectures down, I decided to create a website for podcasters and began corresponding regularly with my listeners. Since then, the sense of speaking to a larger audience has shaped and strengthened all of my scholarship. Podcasting helped me craft my first book, Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right, so that it appealed to both academics and general readers. Engaging with the public has deepened my commitment to educational equity and convinced me that there need not be a firewall between professional and popular history. I have learned that even from the ivory tower, our profession can still foster and connect with the ongoing human search for meaning, story, and a shared past. Though I may be an accidental podcaster, I have become and hope to remain a deliberate historian.

Quotes

By Jennifer Burns

  • Writing my first book, Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right, was like being a detective at Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right JPG the heart of an intellectual mystery story. Though Rand’s legend was well established among both her fans and enemies, there was little scholarly work about her life and career. I was the first historian to work in her personal papers, and thus it was essential to document her life with archival evidence. Then came the challenge of fitting Rand into the evolving ideological landscape of the American right, which historians were just beginning to chart. The final step was crafting an analytic narrative that would demystify Rand yet retain the tension and sense of discovery that animated my years of detective work. — Jennifer Burns about “Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right”
  • This book firmly locates Rand within the tumultuous American century that her life spanned. Rand’s defense of individualism, celebration of capitalism, and controversial morality of selfishness can be understood only against the backdrop of her historical moment. All sprang from her early experiences in Communist Russia and became the most powerful and enduring of her messages. What Rand confronted in her work was a basic human dilemma; the failure of good intentions. Her indictment of altruism, social welfare, and services to others sprang from her belief that these ideals underlay Communism, Nazism, and the wars that wracked the century. Rand’s solution, characteristically was extreme: to eliminate all virtues that could possibly be used in the service of totalitarianism. It was also simplistic. If Rand’s great strength as a thinker was to grasp interrelated underlying principles and weave them into an impenetrable logical edifice, it was also her great weakness. In her effort to find a unifying cause for all the trauma and the trauma and bloodshed of the twentieth century, Rand was attempting the impossible. But it was this deadly serious quest that animated all her writing. Rand was among the first to identify the problem of the modern state’s often terrifying power and make it an issue of popular concern…..
    Goddess of the Market focuses on Rand’s contributions as a political philosopher, for it is here that she has exerted her greatest influence. Rand’s Romantic Realism has not changed American literature, nor has Objectivism penetrated far into the philosophy profession. She does however, remain a veritable institution within the American right. Atlas Shrugged is still devoured by eager young conservatives, cited by political candidates, and promoted by corporate tycoons. Critics who dismiss Rand as a shallow thinker appealing only to adolescents miss her significance altogether. For over a half a century Rand has been the ultimate gateway drug to life on the right.
    The story of Ayn Rand is also the story of libertarianism, conservatism, Objectivism, and the three schools of thought that intersected more prominently with her life. – Jennifer Burns in “Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right”
  • Jennifer Burns on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
  • About Jennifer Burns

  • “An important study… Burns’s dispassionate intellectual history makes a persuasive case that Ayn Rand was no joke; she was a forceful and original thinker, and a gifted manipulator of fictional conventions for ideological ends.” — Elaine Showalter, Times Literary Supplement
  • “A lovingly crafted piece of scholarly work, thrifty and concise, that follows Rand’s shifting sands of ideology.” — News Blaze
  • “Burns’ thoroughly engaging biography of writer, philosopher, and all-around controversial figure Rand delves deeply into both Rands life and her fervent devotion to capitalism and individualism…. Burns’ clear, crisp writing and piercing insights into Rand and her motivations make this eminently readable biography a must-read not only for Rand devotees but for anyone interested in the merging of literature and politics.”– Booklist(starred review)
  • “A smart assessment of Rand’s life and ideas and how they influenced each other… As Ms. Burns successfully demonstrates, Rand’s ideas have remained an importaAs Ms. Burns successfully demonstrates, Rand’s ideas have remained an important part of the American ideological mix, especially in how she honored the creative powers of American business in a free market to improve human lives. Ms. Burns’ readers will see Rand still has the power to instruct on the meaning and scary implications of government growth in the age of Barack Obama. — Brian Doherty, The Washington Times
  • “Burns… spent 8 years researching the development of Rand’s thinking and principles, and she has produced a terrific book–a serious consideration of Rand’s ideas, and her role in the conservative movement of the past three quarters of a century, that is empty of academic jargon and accessible to those unfamiliar with Rand’s life or ideas.” — The American Thinker
  • “Burns… situates Rand in a rich intellectual and cultural tradition that predated the New Deal and eventually gave rise to a revitalized limited-government movement that culminated in figures such as Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. Burns is particularly sharp at analyzing how Cold War conservatives such as Buckley rejected Rands rationalism but eventually benefited from her popularity with college students during the 1960s. Since the demise of their common foe, the Soviet Union, conservatives and libertarians increasingly find themselves at odds with one another over precisely the same issues that Rand and Buckley fought over decades ago. These range from questions about the proper role of religion in a secular society to whether the state should be used to restrict alternative lifestyles to the legitimate circumstances for military action.”– Nick Gillespie, Wilson Quarterly
  • “What University of Virginia historian Burns does well is to explicate the evolution of Rand’s individualist worldview, placing her within the context of American conservative and libertarian thought: from H.L. Mencken to William Buckley and later the Vietnam War… Overall, this contributes to an understanding of a complex life in relation to American conservatism.”–Publishers Weekly
  • “Burns has assembled a book that will interest anyone who was influenced by Ayn Rand.When a major academic publisher, like Oxford University Press, sets out to explore to the impact of Ayn Rand on American politics, that alone is a significant event… Jennifer Burns has produced a fascinating work. It is the first serious study of Rands ideas that had full access to Rands own papers. As such it is valuable. I would recommend all those interested in Ayn Rand, and Objectivism, to place their order for the book today.” — Laissez Faire Books
  • “One of the most influential, most infuriating figures in the history of American conservatism has finally met her match. Goddess of the Market is both insightful scholarship and a compelling piece of writing. Jennifer Burns has created a model for intellectual biographers to follow.”– Michael Kazin, author of A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan
  • “This provocative intellectual biography is must-reading for all those interested in the life and work of one of the most controversial thinkers of the 20th century. Drawing carefully from primary and secondary sources, Jennifer Burns has made a significant contribution to Ayn Rand scholarship.” — Chris Matthew Sciabarra, author of Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical
  • “Jennifer Burns has written a brilliant book about Ayn Rand–why many men and women praise her, but others despise her. She places Rand in the intellectual and political history of her times, moving adroitly between Rand’s fiction, non-fiction, and the people with whom she interacted.” — Martin Anderson, Hoover Institution
  • “Ayn Rand has always been a difficult figure to fit into the history of conservatism, but surely she mattered–and matters still. This important and beautifully written book shows how. It seamlessly links Rand’s operatic personal life with her political ideals and influence of those ideas, conversations, tirades, friendships, fights, and intimacies with finely-drawn and memorable characters. This is biography, intellectual history, and political genealogy that gets the story right, told with drama, skill, and insight.” — Paula Baker, Ohio State University
  • “Goddess of the Market by Jennifer Burns just arrived. I ripped open the package and got stuck reading and reading and reading. The emails, phonecalls, and IMs just had to wait. Let me just say that this is a wonderful book: beautifully written, completely balanced, extensively researched. The match between author and subject is so perfect that one might believe that the author was chosen by the gods to write this book. She has sympathy and affection for her subject but treats her as a human being, with no attempt to cover up the foibles. It is quite wonderful. I so look forward to getting back to it. It is hard to imagine that it can be surpassed as a history of Rand, her ideas, and life.” — Mises Economics Blog
  • “Burns has the edge, though, in identifying Rand’s intellectual legacy. She describes Rand as “the ultimate gateway drug to life on the right,” elaborating: “Just as Rand had provided businessmen with a set of ideas that met their need to feel righteous and honorable in their professional lives, she gave young people a philosophical system that met their deep need for order and certainty.” — Washington Monthly Magazine
  • “One of the strengths of Burns’ book is that she, unlike some other liberal scholars, has an excellent understanding of the issues that divided libertarians and conservatives, and also of the distinctions between different types of libertarianism. Burns’ book is a great analysis of Rand’s place in history, and I certainly recommend it to anyone interested in Rand or the history of libertarian and pro-free market movements.” — The Volokh Conspiracy.com
  • “A well-written and absorbing biography of Rand, it also places her ideas and influence in three overlapping contexts. Goddess of the Market goes a long way toward explaining both the popularity of Rand’s ideas and their somewhat marginalized status. — U.S. Intellectual History
  • “A lovingly crafted piece of scholarly work, thrifty and concise, that follows Rand’s shifting sands of ideology.” — News Blaze
  • “Historian Jennifer Burns’s GODDESS OF THE MARKET–the stronger of the two [biographies]–situates Rand in the 20th- century American political scene, painting her as an influential advocate for capitalism and freedom.” — The Weekly Standard
  • “Although it is hard to imagine that Rand would have been pleased with either of these biographies, both should have satisfied her desire to be treated respectfully, as a woman of ideas. The two books cover much of the same ground despite their methodological differences: Heller relies more heavily on interviews, whereas Burns has done more work in the archives (both Rand’s and those of other conservative thinkers). Heller’s book also emphasizes the affair with Nathaniel Branden, which has been explored before in memoirs by both Brandens. Burns seeks instead to tell the story of Rand’s intellectual development, situating her in the constellation of postwar conservatism, and in this way her more academic treatment is also the more original.” –- Harper’s
  • “The class was very engaging and I enjoyed the material thoroughly. The analysis of cultural and political trends is a topic that often does not get enough attention in high school. Professor Burns did a great job choosing readings to reinforce her lectures… This woman can really lecture and my fifty minutes goes quickly in this class. She is enthusiastic and audible, and it is obvious she is knowledgeable in her field of study. She speaks to her class and does not simply just read off a slide show. Professor Burns is also very easy to reach outside of class. She always notifies us via email if there are changes to her office hours. I also appreciate the effort on her part to notify students when there are political and historical forums on Grounds related to the course. She has been a great professor and this has been a very informative class and one that I made a point never to miss.”…
    “I loved the material presented in this class, it gave me a clearer perspective of todays world. This is really a worthwhile and interesting class.”…
    “GREAT course! I learned so much from Professor Burns and she was one of the most effective and efficient lecturers I have had thus far. Her lectures are very easy to follow and she gives a great synopsis of historical events. LOVED this course.”
    “Listening to Prof. Burns lecture, it’s obviously how passionate she is about the subject matter. She’s extremely knowledgeable about the subject matter and lectures were neatly organized in an easy-to-follow manner. She did an excellent job of looking at all aspects of events that have (comparatively) occurred so recently so that we could view them in proper historical context.”…
    “She was an excellent lecturer and I could tell she cared about the students.”…
    “This was by far my favorite class at UVA.”…
    “I am a history major, and this was one of the best history classes I have taken here. Professor Burns is an excellent lecturer, the readings were fascinating, and the workload was challenging but manageable.”…
    “Burns is an AMAZING lecturer; very organized, very lively, very articulate. Overall, extremely effective.”…
    “Professor Jennifer Burns is wonderful. It would be a huge mistake not to tenure this brilliant, approachable, unbelievably articulate woman. Her classes were always fascinating, and she has an ability to tie everything together. I can’t stress enough how much I admire her ability to articulate not only the history, but the circumstances combining that shaped the events we studied. SHE IS AN INCREDIBLE TEACHER. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE TENURE HER SO I CAN TAKE MORE OF HER CLASSES! I almost want to give her a round of applause after each class, and I am not exaggerating.”…
    “Fantastic and well-organized coverage of the material. Readings were well chosen, supplemented the lecture and added depth to the course. Very dynamic professor.” — Undergraduate Student Comments
  • “The course was informative, compelling, and rigorous. Altogether, everything a graduate seminar should be.”…
    “Dr. Burns was very willing to allow me to use a topic related to my dissertation for my papers in this class. This was extremely helpful for me. Thanks for your patience and help!”…
    “I found Prof. Burns to be an excellent Professor, and am sure she will teach many great courses in the future, and be a real asset to the department.” – Great class – got a lot out of it. — Grad Student Comment
  • Posted on Sunday, July 25, 2010 at 5:45 PM

    Obama Signs Wall Street Reform Bill into Law

    By Bonnie K. Goodman

    Ms. Goodman is the Editor / Features Editor at HNN. She has a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

    OBAMA PRESIDENCY & 111TH CONGRESS:

    The President signs Wall Street Reform

    White House Photo, Lawrence Jackson, 7/21/10

    IN FOCUS: STATS

    • Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010 – Full text of the bill
    • Senate Vote 208 – Passes Financial Regulation Bill – NYT, 7-16-10
    • Senate Vote 206 – Final Senate Hurdle for Financial Regulation Bill – NYT, 7-15-10

    THE HEADLINES….

    • Obama signs financial overhaul law: Declaring that “the American people will never again be asked to foot the bill for Wall Street’s mistakes,” President Obama on Wednesday signed landmark legislation providing the most sweeping overhaul of financial rules since the Great Depression.
      The new law reverses decades of deregulation, aiming to provide greater government protection for consumers and reduce risky practices at financial institutions to prevent a repeat of the financial crisis.
      Its controversial centerpiece is a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which will have broad authority to write new rules for mortgages, credit cards, payday loans and other consumer products and make sure firms are adhering to them…. – LAT, 7-21-10
    • Factbox: Major financial regulation reform proposals: Following are the key elements of the 2,300-page bill… – Reuters, 7-21-10
    • The Top 10 Things You May Not Know About the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection ActWH, 7-21-10
    • Obama, Republicans get ready for new Wall Street battle: We’ve long had the political debate over the effectiveness of the stimulus bill; then this year came the battle over the impact of new health care law. Get ready for the political fight over the value of new Wall Street regulations. President Obama is set to sign the financial regulation bill next week, and he and the Republicans have started an argument that will last until the Nov. 2 congressional elections and beyond. The law will protect consumers, stop the “shadowy deals” that led to the financial crisis of 2008, and keep taxpayers from being “on the hook for Wall Street’s mistakes,” Obama said last evening…. – USA Today, 7-17-10
    • Financial Overhaul Signals Shift on Deregulation: Congress approved a sweeping expansion of federal financial regulation on Thursday, reflecting a renewed mistrust of financial markets after decades in which Washington stood back from Wall Street with wide-eyed admiration. The bill, heavily promoted by President Obama and Congressional Democrats as a response to the 2008 financial crisis, cleared the Senate by a vote of 60 to 39, largely along party lines, after weeks of wrangling that allowed Democrats to pick up the three Republican votes to ensure passage. The vote was the culmination of nearly two years of fierce lobbying and intense debate over the appropriate response to the financial excesses that dragged the nation into the worst recession since the Great Depression…. – NYT, 7-16-10
    • Congress acts, but bank bill has work ahead: In the end, it’s only a beginning. The far-reaching new banking and consumer protection bill awaiting President Barack Obama’s signature now shifts from the politicians to the technocrats. The legislation gives regulators latitude and time to come up with new rules, requires scores of studies and, in some instances, depends on international agreements falling into place. For Wall Street, the next phase represents continuing uncertainty. It also offers banks and other financial institutions yet another opportunity to influence and shape the rules that govern their businesses…. – AP, 7-16-10
    • Financial reform bill another win for Obama, but will the public care?: Following the Recovery Act and health-care reform, the newly approved financial reform bill shows that President Obama is adept at getting his agenda through Congress. But the American public cares about one thing right now: the economy…. – CS Monitor, 7-16-10
    • Major banking bill faces final vote this week: President Barack Obama on Tuesday secured the 60 votes he needs in the Senate to pass a sweeping overhaul of financial regulations, all but ensuring that he soon will sign into law one of the top initiatives of his presidency. With the votes in hand to overcome Republican delaying tactics, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Tuesday took steps to end debate on the bill Thursday, setting the stage for final passage perhaps later in the day. The House already has passed the bill.
      “This reform is good for families, it is good for businesses, it’s good for the entire economy,” Obama said as he prodded the Senate to act quickly…. – AP, 7-14-10
    • Nelson ensures 60 votes for bank regulation bill: All but clearing the way for passage of financial regulations, conservative Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska said Tuesday he will vote for the sweeping overhaul of banking. His support ensures the legislation now has 60 votes to clear the Senate and land on President Barack Obama’s desk for his signature. The House passed the bill last month.
      “This reform is good for families, it is good for businesses , it’s good for the entire economy,” Obama said as he announced his nomination of Jacob Lew to be the new director of the White House budget office…. – AP, 7-13-10

    POLITICAL QUOTES

    • President Obama Signs Wall Street Reform: “No Easy Task”
      Remarks by the President at Signing of Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act:

      Passing this bill was no easy task. To get there, we had to overcome the furious lobbying of an array of powerful interest groups and a partisan minority determined to block change. So the members who are here today, both on the stage and in the audience, they have done a great service in devoting so much time and expertise to this effort, to looking out for the public interests and not the special interests. (Applause.) And I also want to thank the three Republican senators who put partisanship aside — (applause) — judged this bill on the merits, and voted for reform. We’re grateful to them. (Applause.) And the Republican House members. (Applause.) Good to see you, Joe. (Applause.)
      Now, let’s put this in perspective. The fact is, the financial industry is central to our nation’s ability to grow, to prosper, to compete and to innovate. There are a lot of banks that understand and fulfill this vital role, and there are a whole lot of bankers who want to do right — and do right — by their customers. This reform will help foster innovation, not hamper it. It is designed to make sure that everybody follows the same set of rules, so that firms compete on price and quality, not on tricks and not on traps.
      It demands accountability and responsibility from everyone. It provides certainty to everybody, from bankers to farmers to business owners to consumers. And unless your business model depends on cutting corners or bilking your customers, you’ve got nothing to fear from reform. (Applause.)
      Now, for all those Americans who are wondering what Wall Street reform means for you, here’s what you can expect. If you’ve ever applied for a credit card, a student loan, or a mortgage, you know the feeling of signing your name to pages of barely understandable fine print. What often happens as a result is that many Americans are caught by hidden fees and penalties, or saddled with loans they can’t afford.
      That’s what happened to Robin Fox, hit with a massive rate increase on her credit card balance even though she paid her bills on time. That’s what happened to Andrew Giordano, who discovered hundreds of dollars in overdraft fees on his bank statement –- fees he had no idea he might face. Both are here today. Well, with this law, unfair rate hikes, like the one that hit Robin, will end for good. (Applause.) And we’ll ensure that people like Andrew aren’t unwittingly caught by overdraft fees when they sign up for a checking account. (Applause.)
      With this law, we’ll crack down on abusive practices in the mortgage industry. We’ll make sure that contracts are simpler -– putting an end to many hidden penalties and fees in complex mortgages -– so folks know what they’re signing.
      With this law, students who take out college loans will be provided clear and concise information about their obligations.
      And with this law, ordinary investors -– like seniors and folks saving for retirement –- will be able to receive more information about the costs and risks of mutual funds and other investment products, so that they can make better financial decisions as to what will work for them.
      So, all told, these reforms represent the strongest consumer financial protections in history. (Applause.) In history. And these protections will be enforced by a new consumer watchdog with just one job: looking out for people -– not big banks, not lenders, not investment houses -– looking out for people as they interact with the financial system. – WH, 7-21-10
    • Wall Street Reform: Final Votes Approach: Remarks by the President in Selection of Jack Lew to be Director of OMB: Before I begin, I just want to note a breakthrough that we’ve had on our efforts to pass the most comprehensive reform of Wall Street since the Great Depression. Three Republican senators have put politics and partisanship aside to support this reform, and I’m grateful for their decision, as well as all the Democrats who’ve worked so hard to make this reform a reality, particularly Chairman Dodd and Chairman Barney Frank.
      What members of both parties realize is that we can’t allow a financial crisis like this one that we just went through to happen again. This reform will prevent that from happening. It will prevent a financial crisis like this from happening again, by protecting consumers against the unfair practices of credit card companies and mortgage lenders. It will ensure that taxpayers are never again on the hook for Wall Street’s mistakes. And it will end an era of irresponsibility that led to the loss of 8 million jobs and trillions of dollars of wealth.
      Now, as we finish our work on Wall Street reform, we’re also mindful that we’ve got significant work to do when it comes to reforming our government and reducing our deficit.
      This reform is good for families. It’s good for businesses. It’s good for the entire economy. And I urge the Senate to act quickly so that I can sign it into law next week….. – WH, 7-13-10

    President Barack Obama, with Vice President Joe Biden, Delivers   Remarks Before Signing the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer   Protection Act

    President Barack Obama, with Vice President Joe Biden, delivers remarks before signing the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C. July 21, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    Congress Passes Financial Overhaul & Obama’s Maine Vacation

    By Bonnie K. Goodman

    Ms. Goodman is the Editor / Features Editor at HNN. She has a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

    OBAMA PRESIDENCY & 111TH CONGRESS:

    The President speaks on the news from the Gulf

    White House Photo, Lawrence Jackson, 7/16/10

    IN FOCUS: STATS

    • Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010 – Full text of the bill
    • Senate Vote 208 – Passes Financial Regulation Bill – NYT, 7-16-10
    • Senate Vote 206 – Final Senate Hurdle for Financial Regulation Bill – NYT, 7-15-10
    • Obama must listen to Bill Clinton to get re-elected: The news that Barack Obama is behind Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee in a new national opinion poll and even with Sarah Palin will surely give the White House much food for thought. How does President Huckabee sound to you? Or President Palin? If the election were held today they seem at least as likely as Obama to win. It signals a major reversal for the Democratic Party in the midterm election for one reason only — they are unable to get their message out starting at the top. In the era of the one-word sound bites, Republicans are outmaneuvering Obama and his fellow Democrats in the all- important message stakes…. – Irish Central, 7-18-10
    • Americans Disapproving Obama May Enable Republicans: Americans disapprove of U.S. President Barack Obama’s handling of almost every major issue and are deeply pessimistic about the nation’s direction, offering a bullish environment for Republicans in the November congressional elections. A majority or plurality disapproves of Obama’s management of the economy, health care, the budget deficit, the overhaul of financial market regulations and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, according to a Bloomberg National Poll conducted July 9- 12. In addition, almost 6 in 10 respondents say the war in Afghanistan is a lost cause. The Senate is scheduled to begin voting on the financial regulation bill today. Almost two-thirds say they feel the nation is headed in the wrong direction, an even more sour assessment than in March when 58 percent felt that way. Two-thirds of independent voters are pessimistic, while just 56 percent of Democrats offer a vote of confidence…. – Bloomberg, 7-15-10
    • Harry Reid Jumps Out to a Lead Over Sharron Angle in New Nevada Senate Poll: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has regained a solid lead over his Republican opponent Sharron Angle in the Nevada Senate race, a new poll shows, after weeks of relentlessly portraying Angle as too extreme. Reid leads Angle 44 percent to 37 percent in the new Mason-Dixon poll, conducted for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Ten percent were undecided, and 5 percent chose “none of these candidates.”… – CBS News, 7-16-10
    • Obama White House tries to turn around bad poll numbers: The polls aren’t looking good for President Obama. ABC News says 51% would prefer to see a Republican Congress elected in November, as a check on Obama. A CBS News poll says only 13% of Americans say Obama’s economic plan has helped them personally…. – USA Today, 7-14-10
    • VP Favorable Ratings: Gore Down; Cheney, Biden Flat Americans more negative than positive toward Gore, Cheney: Americans’ current views of former Vice President Al Gore have become significantly more negative compared with three years ago, and are among the worst for him in more than a decade. The July 8-11 Gallup poll, finding 44% of Americans viewing Gore favorably and 49% unfavorably, was conducted after the announcement that he and his wife were separating, and amid a police investigation into allegations that he committed sexual assault in 2006. Gallup last measured Gore’s image in October 2007, after he was named winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, when 58% of Americans had a favorable view of him. All three party groups are less favorable toward Gore now compared with 2007, though his rating has declined more among Republicans (from 32% to 16%) and independents (from 57% to 43%) than among Democrats (from 79% to 72%)… – Gallop.com, 7-14-10

    THE HEADLINES….

    • Obama, Republicans get ready for new Wall Street battle: We’ve long had the political debate over the effectiveness of the stimulus bill; then this year came the battle over the impact of new health care law. Get ready for the political fight over the value of new Wall Street regulations. President Obama is set to sign the financial regulation bill next week, and he and the Republicans have started an argument that will last until the Nov. 2 congressional elections and beyond. The law will protect consumers, stop the “shadowy deals” that led to the financial crisis of 2008, and keep taxpayers from being “on the hook for Wall Street’s mistakes,” Obama said last evening…. – USA Today, 7-17-10
    • Obama chides Republicans for thwarting jobless extension: President Barack Obama stepped up criticism of Republicans Saturday for blocking jobless aid, hammering home a Democratic election year attack line that casts the opposition as the party of the rich.
      “Too often, the Republican leadership in the United States Senate chooses to filibuster our recovery and obstruct our progress. And that has very real consequences,” Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address. Senate Republicans have used the filibuster, a procedural hurdle demanding 60 votes in the 100-member chamber, to block at least three Democratic initiatives to extend unemployment insurance. Republicans cite the need to curb government spending amid a record budget deficit.
      “Think about what these stalling tactics mean for the millions of Americans who’ve lost their jobs since the recession began. Over the past several weeks, more than two million of them have seen their unemployment insurance expire,” the president said…. – LAT, 7-17-10
    • White House Memo Shifting Politics in Presidents’ Vacations: It has been 100 years, the local newspaper reports, since a sitting president chose this picturesque seaside village as his vacation spot. When William Howard Taft arrived in July 1910, he sprained his ankle playing golf, the captain of his yacht got “a terrible sunburn” and the townsfolk made such a ruckus about who would entertain him that Mr. Taft decided to give a speech from the bandstand on the village green. President Obama faces pressures of a different sort. Mr. Obama arrived here Friday for a summer weekend getaway with his wife, Michelle, and their daughters, Malia, 12, and Sasha, 9 — a precursor to a longer family vacation they are planning next month on Martha’s Vineyard. But what sounds like a much-needed family escape from the literal and political heat of Washington to some sounds like hypocrisy to others, given recent statements by both the president and first lady urging Americans to spend their vacation time and money along the shores of the oil-stricken Gulf of Mexico…. – NYT, 7-16-10
    • Senators Look for BP-Lockerbie Link: Just as BP stopped oil from flowing into the Gulf of Mexico, the company faces unwelcome attention from the U.S. Congress on another issue: whether it sought the release of convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi to help get a $900 million exploration agreement with Libya off the ground. Soon after his release last year, BP acknowledged that it urged the British government to sign a prisoner transfer agreement with Libya, but stressed it did not specify al-Megrahi’s case. It reiterated that stance this week when four U.S. Democratic senators asked the State Department to investigate whether there was a quid pro quo for the Lockerbie bomber’s release…. – Fox News, 7-17-10
    • West Virginia Governor Picks Ex-General Counsel to Succeed Byrd: West Virginia’s governor, Joe Manchin III, announced on Friday that he had chosen Carte P. Goodwin, his former general counsel, to temporarily fill the Senate seat long held by Robert C. Byrd. Mr. Goodwin, 36, will serve until a special election is held, which will probably be later this year. Mr. Manchin has expressed interest in being a candidate in that race. At an event announcing his appointment in Charleston, Mr. Goodwin said it would be impossible to fill the shoes of Mr. Byrd, a Democrat who died last month after serving more than a half-century in the Senate…. – NYT, 7-17-10
    • Financial Overhaul Signals Shift on Deregulation: Congress approved a sweeping expansion of federal financial regulation on Thursday, reflecting a renewed mistrust of financial markets after decades in which Washington stood back from Wall Street with wide-eyed admiration. The bill, heavily promoted by President Obama and Congressional Democrats as a response to the 2008 financial crisis, cleared the Senate by a vote of 60 to 39, largely along party lines, after weeks of wrangling that allowed Democrats to pick up the three Republican votes to ensure passage. The vote was the culmination of nearly two years of fierce lobbying and intense debate over the appropriate response to the financial excesses that dragged the nation into the worst recession since the Great Depression…. – NYT, 7-16-10
    • Congress acts, but bank bill has work ahead: In the end, it’s only a beginning. The far-reaching new banking and consumer protection bill awaiting President Barack Obama’s signature now shifts from the politicians to the technocrats. The legislation gives regulators latitude and time to come up with new rules, requires scores of studies and, in some instances, depends on international agreements falling into place. For Wall Street, the next phase represents continuing uncertainty. It also offers banks and other financial institutions yet another opportunity to influence and shape the rules that govern their businesses…. – AP, 7-16-10
    • Obama Pushes Agenda, Despite Political Risks: If passage of the financial regulatory overhaul on Thursday proves anything about President Obama, it is this: He knows how to push big bills through a balky Congress. But Mr. Obama’s legislative success poses a paradox: while he may be winning on Capitol Hill, he is losing with voters at a time of economic distress, and soon may be forced to scale back his ambitions. The financial regulatory bill is the final piece of a legislative hat trick that also included the stimulus bill and the landmark new health care law. Over the last 18 months, Mr. Obama and the Democratic Congress have made considerable inroads in passing what could be the most ambitious agenda in decades… – NYT, 7-16-10
    • Ex-Manchin Aide Tapped For Byrd Seat, W.Va. Gov. Picks Former Aide Carte Goodwin To Fill Byrd’s US Senate Seat: Gov. Joe Manchin is tapping former chief counsel Carte Goodwin, a member of a prominent West Virginia family, to succeed the late U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, Democratic officials told The Associated Press on Friday. Manchin is scheduled to present his appointee at a Friday afternoon press conference at the Capitol.
      The 36-year-old Goodwin, a Charleston lawyer, would hold the seat until November. That’s when the governor wants general election voters to decide who will serve the final two years of Byrd’s term. The Legislature has begun a special session to consider a proposal from Manchin to allow for a fall vote…. – AP, 7-16-10
    • Financial reform bill another win for Obama, but will the public care?: Following the Recovery Act and health-care reform, the newly approved financial reform bill shows that President Obama is adept at getting his agenda through Congress. But the American public cares about one thing right now: the economy…. – CS Monitor, 7-16-10
    • Pelosi plays down tensions between White House, Democratic lawmakers: At her weekly news briefing Thursday, less than 48 hours after she and other House Democrats criticized Obama’s political operation at a private caucus meeting, she said she and her fellow leaders visited the White House on Wednesday to smooth over the tension and discuss the legislative agenda.
      “We had a very positive meeting with the president yesterday,” Pelosi said. “Our major focus was on jobs. . . . There is absolutely no reason to think that the White House has been anything but cooperative with us in terms of our political efforts to retain control of Congress.”
      The current flare-up was sparked by White House press secretary Robert Gibbs’s public comments over the weekend that the House majority was in doubt and that it would take “strong campaigns by Democrats” to avert dramatic losses. WaPo, 7-15-10
    • Obama to share electric vision at Holland stop Other agencies less optimistic on costs: President Barack Obama will hail a vision of low-cost, high-powered electric vehicles in Michigan today that other government agencies have suggested is overly optimistic, especially in its estimates of how much the cost of batteries can be reduced. The president’s trip to the groundbreaking for a battery plant in Holland will highlight the more than $5 billion the administration has committed toward boosting electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. White House officials said Wednesday that the programs would help lower the cost of some batteries by 70% and provide enough components to build 500,000 electric-drive vehicles a year in the U.S. by 2015…. – Detroit Free Press, 7-15-10
    • AZ immigration law gets first major court hearing: A federal judge is scheduled to hear arguments Thursday over whether Arizona’s new immigration crackdown should take effect later this month, marking the first major hearing in one of seven challenges to the strict law. U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton also will consider arguments over Gov. Jan Brewer’s request to dismiss the challenge filed by Phoenix police Officer David Salgado and the statewide nonprofit group Chicanos Por La Causa…. – AP, 7-15-10
    • Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston reunite: What it means for Sarah Palin: Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston – former boyfriend and father of her son – have reconciled and could be married in six weeks. Politically speaking, is this good for Sarah Palin or Roger Clinton redux?… – CS Monitor, 7-15-10
    • Obama enlists Bill Clinton’s aid on economy: U.S. President Barack Obama sought on Wednesday to lift sagging confidence in his economic stewardship by enlisting the help of predecessor Bill Clinton, as a leading business group issued a scathing critique of the administration’s policies… – Reuters, 7-14-10
    • Major banking bill faces final vote this week: President Barack Obama on Tuesday secured the 60 votes he needs in the Senate to pass a sweeping overhaul of financial regulations, all but ensuring that he soon will sign into law one of the top initiatives of his presidency. With the votes in hand to overcome Republican delaying tactics, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Tuesday took steps to end debate on the bill Thursday, setting the stage for final passage perhaps later in the day. The House already has passed the bill.
      “This reform is good for families, it is good for businesses, it’s good for the entire economy,” Obama said as he prodded the Senate to act quickly…. – AP, 7-14-10
    • White House Official: Recovery Act Has Created 3 Mln Jobs: The Obama administration’s stimulus push has saved or created about 3 million jobs and is on track to save an additional 500,000 by the end of the year, according to a new report by President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers…. – WSJ, 7-14-10
    • For Obama, more on legislative priorities: President Barack Obama is discussing legislative priorities with Democratic congressional leaders for a second day Wednesday. The president met with the Senate Democratic leadership on Tuesday. On Wednesday it’s the House Democrats’ turn. Obama is getting the meetings in before Congress takes its August break…. – AP, 7-14-10
    • Sarah Palin rebuts NAACP charge of Tea Party racism: Using her favored and unorthodox means of communicating with nearly 2 million followers via her Facebook page, Sarah Palin Tuesday night expressed sadness over an as yet unpublished NAACP convention resolution accusing Tea Party activists of tolerating racist elements in their midst. The former Republican governor of Alaska, who appears to be positioning herself for a possible run at the 2012 GOP presidential nomination using the disgruntled Tea Party’s concerns over expanding and fiscally irresponsible government as a major portion of her base, said:
      I am saddened by the NAACP’s claim that patriotic Americans who stand up for the United States of America’s Constitutional rights are somehow “racists.” The charge that Tea Party Americans judge people by the color of their skin is false, appalling and is a regressive and diversionary tactic to change the subject at hand. – 7-14-10
    • As NAACP aims to stay in national debate, charge of tea party racism draws fire: One thing is clear as the NAACP gathers this week for its 101st annual meeting: The civil rights organization is intent on being seen as still relevant. Even former Alaska governor Sarah Palin sent out a Twitter message and posted a statement on her Facebook page, helping to make the NAACP convention a hot topic on conservative Web sites. She condemned the organization’s passage of a resolution denouncing what it called “racist elements” within the “tea party” movement…. – WaPo, 7-14-10
    • Pelosi, White House Feud Over Gibbs’ House Prediction: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the driving force behind the Obama agenda in Congress, sharply criticized White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs during a closed-door House Democratic caucus meeting late Tuesday, according to Democratic sources.
      Pelosi, irked since Sunday by what she and other top Democrats considered Gibbs’ careless and dismissive comments that Democrats could lose their House majority this November, upbraided a top White House aide as she knocked Gibbs’ unwelcome handicapping of House races.
      “How could he [Gibbs] know what’s going on in our districts?” Pelosi said, according to Democrats who attended the meeting. “Some may weigh his words more closely than others. We have made our disagreements known to the White House.”… – Fox News, 7-14-10
    • Obama To Nominate Former Clinton Official To Head OMB: President Barack Obama plans to nominate a former Clinton administration official to head the Office of Management and Budget, which is grappling with how to best reduce a $1.4 trillion deficit while the economy is on shaky ground. Obama will nominate Jacob Lew, who ran OMB from 1998 to 2001 under former President Bill Clinton… WSJ, 7-13-10
    • Nelson ensures 60 votes for bank regulation bill: All but clearing the way for passage of financial regulations, conservative Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska said Tuesday he will vote for the sweeping overhaul of banking. His support ensures the legislation now has 60 votes to clear the Senate and land on President Barack Obama’s desk for his signature. The House passed the bill last month.
      “This reform is good for families, it is good for businesses , it’s good for the entire economy,” Obama said as he announced his nomination of Jacob Lew to be the new director of the White House budget office…. – AP, 7-13-10
    • Senior Republican wins weeklong delay on Kagan: The Senate Judiciary Committee postponed scheduled action Tuesday to send Elena Kagan’s Supreme Court nomination to the full Senate for confirmation, setting a panel vote for next week.
      Republicans insisted on the delay, saying they needed more time to review Kagan’s written answers to questions they posed to her after her confirmation hearings, and to inquire still further into how she would behave as a justice…. – AP, 7-13-10
    • NAACP to vote on controversial resolution condemning ‘tea party’ supporters: Members of the NAACP will vote Tuesday on a resolution that condemns what the group calls “explicitly racist behavior” by supporters of the “tea party.” The resolution, which is expected to pass, pits the civil rights group against the conservative grass-roots movement, which has repeatedly denied allegations of racism…. – WaPo, 7-13-10
    • Obama looks to Bush’s worldwide strategy on AIDS: President Barack Obama is trying to bring home some of the much-lauded strategies his predecessor used to fight AIDS around the world. The national strategy for combatting HIV and AIDS the Obama administration released Tuesday credits the Bush-era international campaign against AIDS for setting clear targets and ensuring a variety of agencies and groups worked together smoothly to achieve them…. – AP, 7-13-10

    ELECTIONS 2010, 2012….

    • Surprise SC Senate candidate makes first speech: In his first campaign appearance, South Carolina’s surprising U.S. Senate candidate Alvin Greene avoided any major gaffes Sunday as he hit his three major themes of jobs, education and justice. The speech started off with a joke and ended with Greene timidly waving, a shy smile spreading across his face as he got a standing ovation before a friendly audience in his hometown of Manning. Greene’s 6 1/2 minute speech at the local NAAP’s monthly meeting was mostly serious. Left out was any mention of his suggestion earlier this month that creating a line of action figures modeled after him could give South Carolinians jobs. In their place came platitudes familiar to anyone who has heard a stump speech.
      “Let’s get South Carolina and America back to work and let’s move South Carolina forward,” said Greene, one of about a dozen lines that got applause from the several hundred folks crammed into a sweltering junior high gymnasium…. – AP, 7-19-10
    • Obama foes Romney, Palin start to mix it up a little bit: President Obama and House Democrats have had their differences lately, but so have some of the Republicans who would like to replace Obama.
      An anonymous adviser to Mitt Romney went after Sarah Palin this week, telling Time magazine’s Mark Halperin that the ex-Alaska governor is “not a serious human being.” Another nameless Romney aide added about Palin: “If she’s standing up there in a debate and the answers are more than 15 seconds long, she’s in trouble.” Ouch!
      Politico ran those quotes by an equally anonymous Palin aide, who said the former Massachusetts governor’s team is violating Ronald Reagan’s 11th commandment: Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican. “You’d think we’d all be working together toward a common goal — that being 2010 — and that should be the focus right now,” the aide said. “Those who try to claim the mantle of Reagan would be good to follow one of his most sacred tenets.”… – USA Today, 7-16-10
    • Can Republicans take back the Senate?: The kerfuffle caused by White House press secretary Robert Gibbs’ acknowledgment that there are enough seats in play to flip control of the House this fall has eclipsed another interesting political debate: Could Republicans win the Senate majority too? The answer? Yes — but it remains a significantly longer shot than the GOP taking over the House. Senate Republicans need a net gain of 10 seats, which, if history is any guide, will be difficult. The last time one party made double digit seat gains was in 1980 when Republicans defeated nine incumbents and won three more Democratic open seats for a 12-seat pickup. (Thank you Ronald Reagan!) Still, if the last few elections have taught us anything, it’s that history isn’t always determinative… – WaPo, 7-16-10
    • Palin’s Ground Game Spurs Campaign Buzz: Through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has burst back into the political spotlight this month, while her family life has once again become part of the broader American conversation. But it is Ms. Palin’s groundwork on behalf of candidates across the country, along with her continued fund-raising abilities, that has Republican leaders and political strategists wondering whether she is gearing up for a presidential bid in 2012. Ms. Palin’s intentions remain unclear, and unstated. She declined to comment through her political-action committee.
      But her influence is undeniable: On Sunday, SarahPAC disclosed contributions of at least $87,500 to Republican candidates she has endorsed, and a tantalizing $210,000 she has spent on consultants of her own. Ms. Palin also appears to have honed her pitch. Last week, SarahPAC posted a “Mama Grizzlies” video online aimed at reaching out to women voters. In the clip, women carried signs such as “I am not the ‘Angry Mob.’ I am an angry tax-bled ‘Hockey Mom.’ ” Political experts said the video—with its high production values…. – WSJ, 7-17-10
    • GOP Candidates Seize Funding Edge: Republican candidates for Congress have seized the fund-raising lead from Democrats in the closest House and Senate races. Republicans in a dozen of the closest Senate contests claimed 58% of the nearly $50 million in total contributions during the three-month period that ended June 30, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of financial reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. That is a change from the first fund-raising period of the year when Democrats brought in a slight majority of contributions in those races…. – WSJ, 7-17-10
    • Is Jim DeMint an Ace in the Hole for Barack Obama?: South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint , who once proclaimed that he’d rather have “30 Republicans in the Senate who believe in principles of freedom than 60 who don’t believe in anything,” continues to endorse Senate candidates and give leaders in his own party migraine headaches. But one politician must be smiling from ear to ear when he follows DeMint’s antics: President Barack Obama . That’s because, more than Florida’s Marco Rubio, Kentucky’s Rand Paul or Colorado’s Ken Buck — all endorsed by DeMint in GOP Senate primaries against the wishes of party strategists and insiders — the president stands to benefit the most, long term, from DeMint’s rhetoric and actions leading up to the 2010 midterm elections…. – Roll Call, 7-15-10
    • Outsider Wins Alabama GOP Gov Nomination: Self-described outsider Robert Bentley won Alabama’s Republican nomination for governor Tuesday night over establishment candidate Bradley Byrne with a strong showing in rural areas.
      In the unofficial count, Bentley had 56 percent of the vote to Byrne’s 44 percent with 83 percent of the precincts reporting. Bryne ran strong in the state’s four big counties, but Bentley outperformed Byrne in small counties, including areas where Tim James and Roy Moore did well when they ran third and fourth in the June 1 Republican primary…. – AP, 7-14-10

    POLITICAL QUOTES

    • Biden: Afghan withdrawal may start with ‘a couple of thousand troops’: As few as “a couple of thousand” U.S. troops may leave Afghanistan in the first phase of withdrawing forces from there beginning a year from now, Vice President Joe Biden said in an interview broadcast Sunday. “It could be as few as a couple of thousand troops; it could be more,” Biden told ABC’s “This Week.” Asked about a book that quotes him as saying the troop withdrawal would start with “a whole lot of people” leaving Afghanistan, Biden confirmed the comment but said he was responding to an assertion that there might be no withdrawal at all at that time. “I did say it,” Biden acknowledged, calling the July 2011 withdrawal date “the beginning of a transition” based on the ability of Afghanistan forces to provide security around the country…. – CNN, 7-18-10
    • Vice President Joe Biden defends Tea Party against ‘racist’ claims: Tea Partiers have gotten some support from an unlikely source — the Vice President of the United States. VP Joe Biden told ABC News’ Jake Tapper on Sunday that he doesn’t think the ultra-conservative group is “racist.”
      “I wouldn’t characterize the Tea Party as racist,” he said on Sunday’s “This Week.” But “there are individuals who are either members of or on the periphery of some of their things, their — their protests — that have expressed really unfortunate comments.”
      The remarks come on the heels of the NAACP’s move last week to demand that Tea Party leaders “repudiate it’s racist elements.”
      Sarah Palin was quick to defend the group.
      “I am saddened by the NAACP’s claim that patriotic Americans who stand up for the United States of America’s Constitutional rights are somehow ‘racists,’” she said via Facebook…. – NY Daily News, 7-18-10
    • Weekly Address: President Obama Says GOP Senate Leadership Choosing to “Filibuster Our Recovery and Obstruct Our Progress”
      Remarks of President Barack Obama Weekly Address The White House July 17, 2010:
      Now in the past, Presidents and Congresses of both parties have treated unemployment insurance for what it is – an emergency expenditure. That’s because an economic disaster can devastate families and communities just as surely as a flood or tornado.
      Suddenly, Republican leaders want to change that. They say we shouldn’t provide unemployment insurance because it costs money. So after years of championing policies that turned a record surplus into a massive deficit, including a tax cut for the wealthiest Americans, they’ve finally decided to make their stand on the backs of the unemployed. They’ve got no problem spending money on tax breaks for folks at the top who don’t need them and didn’t even ask for them; but they object to helping folks laid off in this recession who really do need help. And every day this goes on, another 50,000 Americans lose that badly needed lifeline.
      Well, I think these Senators are wrong. We can’t afford to go back to the same misguided policies that led us into this mess. We need to move forward with the policies that are leading us out of this mess.
      The fact is, most economists agree that extending unemployment insurance is one of the single most cost-effective ways to help jumpstart the economy. It puts money into the pockets of folks who not only need it most, but who also are most likely to spend it quickly. That boosts local economies. And that means jobs.
      Increasing loans to small business. Renewing unemployment insurance. These steps aren’t just the right thing to do for those hardest hit by the recession – they’re the right thing to do for all of us. And I’m calling on Congress once more to take these steps on behalf of America’s workers, and families, and small business owners – the people we were sent here to serve.
      Because when storms strike Main Street, we don’t play politics with emergency aid. We don’t desert our fellow Americans when they fall on hard times. We come together. We do what we can to help. We rebuild stronger, and we move forward. That’s what we’re doing today. And I’m absolutely convinced that’s how we’re going to come through this storm to better days ahead. – WH, 7-17-10
    • Obama: GOP blocking unemployed, small business aid: President Barack Obama says Senate Republicans are playing politics with bills that would extend benefits to the unemployed and increase lending to small businesses. Striking a deeply partisan tone in his weekly radio and online address, Obama said the GOP leadership has chosen to “filibuster our recovery and obstruct our progress” by blocking votes on agenda items the president says would breath life into the economic recovery.
      “These steps aren’t just the right thing to do for those hardest hit by the recession,” Obama said. “They’re the right thing to do for all of us.” The address was recorded at the White House before Obama flew to Maine on Friday for a weekend family vacation… – AP, 7-17-10
    • Wall Street Reform: Final Votes Approach: Remarks by the President in Selection of Jack Lew to be Director of OMB: Before I begin, I just want to note a breakthrough that we’ve had on our efforts to pass the most comprehensive reform of Wall Street since the Great Depression. Three Republican senators have put politics and partisanship aside to support this reform, and I’m grateful for their decision, as well as all the Democrats who’ve worked so hard to make this reform a reality, particularly Chairman Dodd and Chairman Barney Frank.
      What members of both parties realize is that we can’t allow a financial crisis like this one that we just went through to happen again. This reform will prevent that from happening. It will prevent a financial crisis like this from happening again, by protecting consumers against the unfair practices of credit card companies and mortgage lenders. It will ensure that taxpayers are never again on the hook for Wall Street’s mistakes. And it will end an era of irresponsibility that led to the loss of 8 million jobs and trillions of dollars of wealth.
      Now, as we finish our work on Wall Street reform, we’re also mindful that we’ve got significant work to do when it comes to reforming our government and reducing our deficit.
      This reform is good for families. It’s good for businesses. It’s good for the entire economy. And I urge the Senate to act quickly so that I can sign it into law next week….. – WH, 7-13-10

    HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

    • Julian E. Zelizer: Why Obama’s poll numbers have sunk: President Obama’s supporters have been frustrated about the apparent paradox of this administration. With the recent passage of historic financial regulation legislation, many Democrats are having trouble grasping why his approval ratings still lag and why Democrats might lose control of the House in the fall elections. Supporters say the economic stimulus bill, education and health care reform, and now financial reform, should have Americans looking at the White House with the same admiration they had for President Roosevelt in the 1930s or President Johnson at the height of his success in 1964 and 1965. But according to a recent CBS News poll, just 40 percent of those polled approved of how the president was handling the economy. This was a drop of five percentage points since June….
      Rather than complain about what the public thinks or dismiss liberals as unrealistic, Obama would do better to be more responsive to public concerns, with joblessness at the top of his list. The president must give serious consideration to another stimulus package, and be willing to spend the kind of political capital that he used in pushing for health care and financial regulation. He must also be willing to look at some of the shortcomings of the first bill, such as insufficient funds for public works projects and for assistance to the states. – CNN, 7-19-10
    • Analysis: Dems enacted much of Obama’s agenda: Far-reaching legislation aimed at reining in Wall Street marks the latest and likely the last major achievement by President Barack Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress, an 18-month partnership that strove simultaneously to fix a battered economy and enact sweeping changes to health care, education and more. Whatever the longer term impact — the most far-reaching changes in the health care legislation won’t start until 2014 — the immediate aftermath is unemployment that scrapes double digits and deficits far deeper than Obama and his allies inherited in January 2009. The Republicans who worked ceaselessly to thwart the president’s agenda are emboldened, while Democrats who voted it into law brace for majority-threatening election losses…. – AP, 7-17-10
    • Julian E. Zelizer: Professor of History and Public Affairs, Princeton Gulf oil spill containment: Obama’s Katrina or turning point toward reelection?: When President Clinton responded to the Oklahoma City bombing, he did so forcefully, with an expansive legislative agenda to strengthen the nation’s ability to fight against domestic terrorism. Just because the Gulf Oil spill might finally have reached a turning point, there is no way to see victory for the administration. It is clear that administration policies allowed for this kind of off-shore drilling to take place, despite great doubts and concerns, and there is evidence the administration is still authorizing risky drilling to occur (see offshore drilling). The response has not been forceful and a huge amount of environmental damage has been caused as a result of this — damage that won’t be repaired…. – Politico, 7-16-10
    • DANIEL HENNINGER: Berwick: Bigger Than Kagan: If the American people want the health-care world Dr. Berwick wishes to give them, that’s their choice. But they must be given that choice…. – WSJ, 7-14-10
    • Allan Lichtman: Scholar’s “13 Keys” Predict Another Obama Win: Although the next presidential election is 28 months away, President Barack Obama’s reelection in 2012 is nearly guaranteed despite former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s prediction that Obama has only a 20 percent chance, according to American University Professor Allan Lichtman. Lichtman’s “13 Keys” system predicts the outcome of the popular vote based on the performance of the party and not the use of candidate preference polls, campaign tactics, or events…. – American University, 7-14-10

    Top Young Historians: 111 – Andrew Preston, 36

    Top Young Historians

    Andrew Preston, 36

    Basic Facts

    Teaching Position: Senior University Lecturer in History, and Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge University
    Area of Research: American diplomatic history; American-East Asian relations; American religious history
    Education: Ph.D., History, Cambridge University, 2001
    Major Publications: Preston is the author of The War Council: McGeorge Bundy, the NSC, and Vietnam. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2006.
    Andrew Preston JPG He is currently writing a book on the religious influence on American war and diplomacy from the colonial era to the present, to be published by Knopf in 2012.
    Preston is the co-editor with Fredrik Logevall of Nixon in the World: U.S. Foreign Relations, 1969-1977. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.
    Preston is also the author of numerous scholarly journal articles, book chapters and reviews including among others: “Universal Nationalism: Christian America’s Response to the Years of Upheaval.” In The Shock of the Global: The 1970s in Perspective, ed. Niall Ferguson, Charles S. Maier, Erez Manela, and Daniel J. Sargent. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2010: 306-318; “The Politics of Realism and Religion: Christian Responses to Bush’s New World Order.” Diplomatic History 34:1 (January 2010): 95-118; “The Deeper Roots of Faith and Foreign Policy.” International Journal 65 (Spring 2010): 451-462; “Reviving Religion in the History of American Foreign Relations.” In God and Global Order: The Power of Religion in American Foreign Policy, ed. Jonathan Chaplin and Robert Joustra. Waco, Tex.: Baylor University Press, 2010: 25-44; “The Death of a Peculiar Special Relationship: Myron Taylor and the Religious Roots of America’s Cold War.” In America’s Special Relationships: Foreign and Domestic Aspects of the Politics of Alliance, ed. John Dumbrell and Axel Schäfer. New York and London: Routledge, 2009: 202-216; “Bridging the Gap between the Sacred and the Secular in the History of American Foreign Relations,” Diplomatic History, 30:5 (November 2006): 783-812; Operation Smallbridge: Chester Ronning, the Second Indochina War, and the Challenge to the United States in Asia,” Pacific Historical Review 72:3 (August 2003): 353-390; “The Soft Hawks’ Dilemma in Vietnam: Michael V. Forrestal at the National Security Council, 1962-64,” International History Review 25:1 (March 2003): 63-95.
    Awards: Preston is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
    London School of Economics Fellow, Cold War Studies Centre, 2006-2009;
    Post-Doctoral Fellow, International Security Studies, Yale University, 2001-2003;
    Fox International Fellow, Yale Center for International and Area Studies, Yale University, 1999-2000.
    Additional Info:
    Formerly Visiting Professor of History, Autumn 2007, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (Institut universitaire de hautes études internationals et du développement), Geneva, Switzerland;
    And Visiting Assistant Professor, International Relations, John M. Olin Fellow, International Security Studies, Yale University, 2005-2006.

    Personal Anecdote

    I was twenty-five years old in the spring of 1999, and just in the throes of my first intensive research trip to the United States. I was writing a dissertation on McGeorge Bundy, National Security Adviser to Kennedy and Johnson, and his role in the origins of America’s war in Vietnam. This trip was to be an extended reconnaissance mission to scope out archives in Washington, New York, Boston/Cambridge, and Austin, and lay the groundwork for a full year of research in 1999-2000. I had also lined up several interviews with many of Bundy’s former colleagues.

    Unlike many students of the war, I had no personal connection to Vietnam. As a Canadian born after U.S. troops withdrew in the spring of 1973, the war was a chapter in history rather than an episode from my own life. My parents had attended a protest or two in Toronto, but they were not activists, and Vietnam had never really been a part of their lives. I became fascinated by Vietnam for purely intellectual reasons, especially after reading David Halberstam’s classic The Best and the Brightest. So I was yet unacquainted with the raw emotional power the war still held over generations of Americans.

    One of my interviewees was Robert S. McNamara, the former Secretary of Defense and probably the best-known Vietnam policymaker. After decades of silence on the subject since leaving the Pentagon in 1968, McNamara had only recently begun granting interviews on Vietnam. In 1995, he published his memoir of the war, In Retrospect, which attracted a good deal of praise but also a firestorm of criticism.

    McNamara not only possessed a formidable intellect, he had also earned a reputation as a fearsome interviewee who would storm out of the room if he felt the questions-or the questioner-were political, moralistic, or just plain stupid. Despite In Retrospect-or probably because of it-McNamara was still extraordinarily sensitive about Vietnam. Indeed, I was surprised he had agreed to my interview request in the first place. Needless to say, I was extremely nervous.

    We met in his large, book-lined office in Washington. To break the ice, I began with what I thought was a softball. I pulled out a document I’d photocopied a few weeks before at the LBJ Library in Austin, a 1965 memo to LBJ outlining Bundy and McNamara’s reasons for advocating military escalation. I asked him to take me back to 1965 and explain the pressures they faced. To follow up, I had a series of tougher questions about why he and Bundy had not only supported escalation despite evidence-already mounting in early 1965-that it likely wouldn’t work, but also why they had so vigorously marginalized and discredited the prescient dissenters within the Kennedy and Johnson administrations.

    Brandishing the memo, I asked my question. McNamara looked at me blankly, and then down at the piece of paper in my hand. Narrowing his eyes, he fixed his gaze upon me again and blurted out, “Well, just read the damn thing! You’re a smart guy, you can obviously read, so just read it for yourself!” I was stunned by the rawness of his anger. I didn’t know how to respond, and his comments hovered over us in the awkward silence. But he hadn’t asked me to leave, and so I meekly suggested that it was perhaps best if I moved on to the next question. “Yes, I think you should,” he replied tersely, and we spoke for another half-hour. He relaxed a bit, as did I. But I never did ask my tough questions about the suppression on internal dissent (though they ended up forming the analytical core of my dissertation). I did, however, receive an invaluable lesson in Vietnam’s enduring resonance.

    Quotes

    By Andrew Preston

  • Although both Kennedy and Johnson were strong presidents, neither was particularly passionate about Vietnam, and neither of them was ever certain about the best course of action. They were not enthusiastic about waging The War Council McGeorge Bundy, the NSC, and Vietnam JPGa difficult war in pursuit of murky aims, but they also did not want to risk the domestic and international consequences that seemed likely to follow disengagement. At this point Bundy and the NSC staff enter the story, and it is the president’s uncertainty that makes them so important. Unlike their chief executive, they were rarely unsure. Their strong advice, their skill in promoting it, their bureaucratic dexterity, and their professional intimacy with the president enabled them to skew the internal debate over Vietnam in their favor. This book, then, is both a bureaucratic history of the changes in presidential decision making and a diplomatic history of the origins of the Vietnam War. It is a story with two inseparable themes: the acquisition and consolidation of power, and how that power was then used. — Andrew Preston in “The War Council: McGeorge Bundy, the NSC, and Vietnam” (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2006)
  • Independently, religion and foreign relations are two of the most important and exhaustively studied aspects of American history. Religion has consistently been one of the dominant forces in shaping American culture, politics, economics, and national identity. Indeed, the United States is the only major industrialized democracy where religion is as salient today as it was three centuries ago. America’s engagement with the world has had a similarly profound effect on virtually all facets of national life. Moreover, since at least the Seven Years’ War, and certainly since the Revolution, American foreign relations have shaped people and events within and beyond North America. Religion and foreign relations, then, are two subjects that have not only been instrumental to the study of American history, they have also played an instrumental role in making both the United States and the world what they are today. — Andrew Preston in “Bridging the Gap between Church and State in the History of American Foreign Relations,” Diplomatic History 30:5 (November 2006)
  • About Andrew Preston

    Reviews of The War Council: McGeorge Bundy, the NSC, and Vietnam

  • “A superb study of one of the key shapers of America’s Vietnam policy and of the National Security Council he led. Preston is an enormously talented young historian, and his skills are on display in this powerful and instructive book.” — Fredrik Logevall, author of Choosing War: The Lost Chance for Peace and the Escalation of War in Vietnam
  • “An impressive book that establishes more than any previous work the critical role of the reorganized National Security Council under Kennedy and Johnson. Preston skillfully demonstrates that McGeorge Bundy was key in gaining the national security adviser an influence comparable to that of the secretaries of state and defense.” — Gary R. Hess, author of Presidential Decisions for War
  • “In a vivid portrait of the intelligent, influential, and insidious McGeorge Bundy, Preston demonstrates that Bundy and his counterparts failed as policymakers because they made choices that reflected their own experiences, not the conditions of the world beyond America’s borders. This is a sobering and timely book that everyone interested in foreign policy should read.” — Jeremi Suri, author of “Power and Protest: Global Revolution and the Rise of Detente”
  • “A powerful and graceful account of the influence of McGeorge Bundy’s National Security Council in shaping U.S. foreign policy in the Vietnam era. Preston’s astute examination of the ‘soft hawks’ who took us to war underscores the need for us to constantly revise what we know of our history. The War Council is a formidable contribution.” — Kai Bird, co-author of “American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer”
  • “It is in exploring how Bundy convinced two presidents of the rightness of his argument that The War Council provides fresh insight. Most histories of the Vietnam war focus either on the combat itself or on the political leadership involved. Mr. Preston looks not at the flashes of gunfire but at the more shadowy world of bureaucratic infighting…[The War Council] shows all too clearly what happens when the White House circle of decision-makers has too small a radius. Clearly, leaders have the right to rely on a loyal few; excessive debate and deadlock are not desirable. But as America is once again learning, people in power need to make sure that the decisive circle includes those who actually know a region.” – The Economist
  • “Buffs of the 1960s and 1970s will relish Andrew Preston’s outstanding The War Council, a superbly researched reinterpretation of the origins of the Vietnam War that confirms its author’s reputation as the rising star of American History.” — Dominic Sandbrook, “Daily Telegraph”
  • “Preston has captured his subject well. His research is impeccable.” — David A. Welch, “Literary Review of Canada”
  • “With admirable clarity, Preston sketches Bundy’s intellectual heritage…Preston’s book is a definitive account of the train wreck into which Bundy and his allies drove the United States in Vietnam.” — Marilyn Young, International History Review
  • “This book is well written, neatly incorporates many primary sources, and provides cogent summaries of the positions taken by Bundy and some of his key assistants. The author also provides an excellent synopsis both of Bundy’s intellectual development and of the transformation of the NSC during this period.” — John Garofano, “Political Science Quarterly”
  • Reviews of Nixon in the World American Foreign Relations, 1969-1977 Edited by Fredrik Logevall and Andrew Preston

  • “Logevall and Preston have done a splendid job assembling a valuable collection that should help quiet those who continue to celebrate Nixon’s diplomatic brilliance.” — Melvin Small, “The Journal of American History”
  • “An outstanding overview of the Nixon era in international affairs. Nixon in the World helps us better understand both the historical uniqueness of the détente approach, and the reasons for its defeat.” — Odd Arne Westad, London School of Economics
  • “‘Rescuing choice from circumstance’ was a mantra of Nixon and Kissinger as they tried to steer the ship of state in the face of turmoil abroad and turbulence at home. These essays vividly illuminate the challenges they faced, the methods they employed, and the successes and failures they experienced. The book is a major contribution to our understanding of a fascinating era in the history of U.S. foreign relations.” — Melvyn P. Leffler, author of “For the Soul of Mankind”
  • “These essays shed much light on the fascinating and elusive Nixon administration. Each is excellent and can be read with profit by itself, but unlike many collections it is even better read cover-to-cover. Both Nixon as a peculiar leader and American foreign policy are revealed in rich detail.” — Robert Jervis, author of “American Foreign Policy in a New Era”
  • Posted on Sunday, July 18, 2010 at 8:52 AM

    A charming hideaway for rare-book lovers

    Those who’ve been to William Andrews Clark Memorial Library love its intimate, elegant grounds and trove of historical writings. Run by UCLA but tucked away in Jefferson Park, it gets few visitors.

    Source: LAT, 7-15-10

    Clark LibraryAlysn Souza is working on restoring a painting in a drawing room at the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library. The room is used for public programs. (Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times / July 7, 2010)

    Tom Lolis, who studies English literature, was looking through volumes of religious writings at the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library last fall when he came across something unexpected.

    It was a manuscript by British theologian John Portage, written around 1660. Portage’s work has been much studied by scholars, including Lolis. But here was a document that none of them knew existed.

    “I kind of lucked out,” said Lolis, who is working on a post-doctoral fellowship at the library.

    Many feel the same way when they discover the rare-book library, which is run by UCLA but located in Jefferson Park. Brick walls hide it from passersby, and most UCLA undergraduates have never heard of it.

    But those who know the library say it is unmatched and unforgettable. “The Clark Library is the greatest unknown literary treasure in Los Angeles,” said Kathleen Thompson, who with her husband owns Michael R. Thompson Booksellers, a rare bookshop that works closely with the institution. “The minute we saw it 40 years ago we fell in love with it, and our love has only grown.”…READ MORE

    History Buzz July 15, 2010: William Stewart Simkins & the UT Dorm Controversy & Niall Ferguson on America’s Decline

    HISTORY BUZZ:

    By Bonnie K. Goodman

    Ms. Goodman is the Editor/Features Editor at HNN. She has a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

    POLITICAL HIGHLIGHTS:

    IN FOCUS: HNN on Facebook & Twitter

    IN FOCUS: July 4th Myths & History

    • T.H. Breen: The Secret Founding Fathers: Enough about Washington, Jefferson and the other Founding Fathers, says historian T.H. Breen, on July 4th we should celebrate the forgotten, ordinary men who took to the streets to fight British tyranny—and are the bedrock of our republican values…. – The Daily Beast, 7-3-10
    • T.H. Breen: ‘American Insurgents’ fired first shots of Revolutionary War: Common men — and some women, too — set the stage and paved the path that led to the Revolutionary War and America’s independence from England.
      Author T.H. Breen tells readers of “American Insurgents, American Patriots: The Revolution of the People” (Hill and Wang, $27) that a bevy of common men — and some women, too — set the stage and paved the path that led to the Revolutionary War. What’s more, they were doing it a few years in advance of the bigwigs who get the credit.
      Famous names, such as Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington owe much to others who struggled for independence in the years leading up to 1776…. – News OK, 7-3-10
    • Obama celebrates July 4th at White House barbecue: Calling the Declaration of Independence more than words on an aging parchment, President Barack Obama marked the Fourth of July on Sunday by urging Americans to live the principles that founded the nation as well as celebrate them.
      “This is the day when we celebrate the very essence of America and the spirit that has defined us as a people and as a nation for more than two centuries,” Obama told guests at a South Lawn barbecue honoring service members and their families. “We celebrate the principles that are timeless, tenets first declared by men of property and wealth but which gave rise to what Lincoln called a new birth of freedom in America — civil rights and voting rights, workers’ rights and women’s rights, and the rights of every American,” he said. “And on this day that is uniquely American we are reminded that our Declaration, our example, made us a beacon to the world.” “Now, of course I’ll admit that the backyard’s a little bigger here, but it’s the same spirit,” Obama said to laughter. “Michelle and I couldn’t imagine a better way to celebrate America’s birthday than with America’s extraordinary men and women in uniform and their families.” “Today we also celebrate all of you, the men and women of our armed forces, who defend this country we love,” he told the enthusiastic group…. – AP, 7-4-10
    • 4th of July: Facts about the Declaration of Independence:
      On July 2 the Continental Congress voted to declare independence from Great Britain and on 4th of July 1776 the same Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. The Founding Fathers signed the document in August, after it was finished….
      Another fact about this important day in the United States of America’s history is that Thomas Jefferson (3rd U.S President) and John Adams (2nd U.S. President) both died on 4th of July 1826, when the country was celebrating 50th anniversary of the signing.
      Although the capital city of the United States of America is Washington named after the great president, George Washington, the first U.S President, did not sign the Declaration of Independence because he was head of the Continental Army and no longer a member in the Continental Congress.
      The first anniversary resulted in a huge party in Philadelphia in 1777. There were fireworks, cannons, barbecues and toasts. – Providing News, 7-4-10
    • Thomas Jefferson made slip in Declaration: Library of Congress officials say Thomas Jefferson made a Freudian slip while penning a rough draft of the Declaration of Independence. In an early draft of the document Jefferson referred to the American population as “subjects,” replacing that term with the word “citizens,” which he then used frequently throughout the final draft. The document is normally kept under lock and key in one of the Library’s vaults. On Friday morning, the first time officials revealed the wording glitch, it traveled under police escort for a demonstration of the high-tech imaging. It was the first time in 15 years that the document was unveiled outside of its oxygen-free safe…. – A copy of the rough draft of the Declaration can be viewed online at http://www.myLOC.gov….- AP, 7-2-104th of July quotes: Best Independence Day quotes and sayings:
    • The United States is the only country with a known birthday. (James G. Blaine)
    • This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave. (Elmer Davis)
    • Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves. (Abraham Lincoln)
    • We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it. (William Faulkner)
    • It is the love of country that has lighted and that keeps glowing the holy fire of patriotism. (J. Horace McFarland)
    • America is a tune. It must be sung together. (Gerald Stanley Lee)
    • The winds that blow through the wide sky in these mounts, the winds that sweep from Canada to Mexico, from the Pacific to the Atlantic – have always blown on free men. (Franklin D. Roosevelt)
    • Where liberty dwells, there is my country. (Benjamin Franklin)
    • Sometimes people call me an idealist. Well, that is the way I know I am an American. America is the only idealistic nation in the world. (Woodrow Wilson) – Providing News, 7-4-10
    • Local NYer standing up for Horatio Gates: For a 14th straight year, James S. Kaplan spent the Fourth of July walking in the middle of the night among ghosts of the American Revolution…. – NYT (7-5-10)
    • Fifth of July is also a day to celebrate, say historians: The unassuming date could also merit respect for providing a pair of tidy bookends in the United States labor movement. In 1934, police officers in San Francisco opened fire on striking longshoreman in one of the country’s most significant and violent labor clashes. On the same date a year later, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the National Labor Relations Act, guaranteeing the rights of employees to organize and to bargain collectively with their employers.
      “That’s a big moment in American labor history, absolutely,” said Joshua B. Freeman, a labor historian at the City University of New York…. NYT (7-5-10)

    THIS WEEK IN HISTORY:

    HISTORY NEWS:

    • Amazement at the speed and efficacy of historical scholarship in UT dorm case: Russell’s paper — published on the Social Science Research Network — drew attention to William Stewart Simkins (1842-1929), for whom a dormitory at the University of Texas at Austin was named in the 1950s. Simkins was a longtime law professor at Texas, but before that, he and his brother helped organize the Florida branch of the Ku Klux Klan — an organization he defended throughout his life, including while serving as a law professor. Russell’s paper led to public discussion in Austin of the appropriateness of naming a university building for a Klan leader. On Friday, William Powers Jr., president of the University of Texas at Austin, announced that he will ask the university system’s Board of Regents this month to change the name…. – Inside Higher Ed (7-12-10)
    • Taiwanese historian sentenced to prison for libel: Chen Feng-yang, chairperson of the history department at National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU), was found guilty of defamation charges brought by Lu Jian-rong, an ex-adjunct history professor at NTNU, after Chen allegedly attacked Lu’s reputation on NTNU’s website by calling him “a historian rotten from the roots” who is “malicious, sinful, and unforgivable” the court said…. – China Post (Taiwan) (7-9-10)
    • UMN’s graduate programs face ‘right-sizing’ in tough times: Faced with its own money troubles, the University of Minnesota is turning away more graduate students who would get financial help such as teaching positions. Still welcome are those who pay their own way or pursue in-demand studies such as biomedical sciences…. – Minneapolis Star Tribune (7-8-10)
    • Niall Ferguson: Historian warns of sudden collapse of American ‘empire’: Harvard professor and prolific author Niall Ferguson opened the 2010 Aspen Ideas Festival Monday with a stark warning about the increasing prospect of the American “empire” suddenly collapsing due to the country’s rising debt level…. – Aspen Daily News (7-6-10)
    • New Ed. Dept. report documents the end of tenure: Some time this fall, the U.S. Education Department will publish a report that documents the death of tenure. Innocuously titled “Employees in Postsecondary Institutions, Fall 2009,” the report won’t say it’s about the demise of tenure. But that’s what it will show. Over just three decades, the proportion of college instructors who are tenured or on the tenure track plummeted: from 57 percent in 1975 to 31 percent in 2007…. – CHE (7-4-10)
    • Review of Harvard Scholar’s Arrest Cites Failure to Communicate: A new review of the arrest of a prominent scholar in black studies at his own home last July blames the incident on “failed communications” between the police officer and the scholar…. – CHE (6-30-10)
    • University of Colorado Professor Uncovers First Holocaust Liberation Photos, Highlights Overlapping Narratives: David Shneer, associate professor of history and director of the Program in Jewish Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder, benefited from that openness. He began researching the issue in 2002, when he visited a photography gallery in Moscow. The exhibition was titled “Women at War,” and Shneer noticed that the photographers’ names sounded Jewish. He asked the curator, who said, “Of course they’re Jewish. All the photographers were Jewish.” Before the war, many of those developing the profession of Soviet photojournalism were Jewish, Shneer noted…. – AScribe.org (7-1-10)

    OP-EDs:

    • Sean Wilentz and Julian E. Zelizer: Teaching ‘W’ as History The challenges of the recent past in the classroom: Even before the 2008 election, debate had begun about how President George W. Bush would be remembered in American history. There were many reasons that so many people were so quickly interested in Bush’s historical reputation. Given how intensely polarized voters were about his presidency, it was natural that experts and pundits would scramble to evaluate it. Bush’s spectacular highs and lows—the stratospheric rise in his public approval following the attacks of September 11, 2001… – Chronicle of Higher Ed, 7-11-10
    • Greg Mitchell: Andrew Bacevich, His Lost Son, and Obama’s War in AfghanistanThe Nation (7-8-10)
    • Joe Conason: Sure, listen to Niall Ferguson — but always ignore his bad advice: As a celebrity intellectual, Ferguson much prefers the broad, bold stroke to the careful detail, so it is scarcely surprising that he endorsed Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan’s “wonderful” budget template, confident that his audience in Aspen would know almost nothing about that document…. – Salon (7-7-10)

    REVIEWS & FIRST CHAPTERS:

    • Charles Ogletree tackles Henry Louis Gates’ arrest in new book: Harvard law professor and author Charles Ogletree, a longtime friend and colleague of Gates’, who also served as his legal counsel in the case, examines the incident and its legal and social implications in “The Presumption of Guilt: The Arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Race, Class and Crime in America.”
      The book is about much more than the arrest of an acclaimed black professor. Ogletree focuses on the long, troubled relationship between police and black men, as well as racial profiling by law enforcement and black Americans’ continuing quest for racial fairness in the criminal justice system and in everyday life. – Philadelphia Inquirer, 7-14-10
    • BARRY STRAUSS: A Failed Rebel’s Long Shadow: Now comes a distinguished contribution to the field by the British journalist and classicist Peter Stothard. “Spartacus Road” is a work of history, telling us of Spartacus’ life and legend, but it is also a travel book, as Mr. Stothard follows Spartacus’ rebellious path through 2,000 miles of Italian countryside…. – WSJ, 7-10-10
    • Niall Ferguson’s “High Financier: The Lives and Time of Siegmund Warburg”:
      There’s a saying in publishing that the only brand is the author. Unquestionably Niall Ferguson is a brand, thanks to sweeping, Big Picture, Big Idea books such as “Colossus” and “The Ascent of Money.” With Ferguson, we expect provocative interpretations of epochs, empires and civilizations. Not this time. In “High Financier,” Ferguson follows a solitary capitalist into the weeds and flowers of his financial garden. This is no failing, of course; biography is simply a different enterprise. Rather than overarching, it often must be minute and particular. And Siegmund Warburg was extremely particular…. – WaPo, 7-9-10
    • Jane Brox: Shining a light on the way artificial light has changed our lives: BRILLIANT The Evolution of Artificial Light
      But, Jane Brox asks, at what cost? Though she celebrates human ingenuity and technical advances in “Brilliant,” her history of artificial light, Brox also presents damning evidence that in our millennia-long quest for ever more and brighter light, we’ve despoiled the natural world, abandoned our self-sufficiency and trained ourselves to sleep and dream less while working more. It’s time, Brox urges, to “think rationally about light and what it means to us.” Yes, the history of artificial light has its dark side, for those who aren’t too dazzled to detect it…. – WaPo, 7-9-10
    • Christiane Bird: Book review of “The Sultan’s Shadow,” about a 19th-century Arab princess: THE SULTAN’S SHADOW One Family’s Rule at the Crossroads of East and West
      Christiane Bird’s account of the Al Busaidi sultans in Oman and Zanzibar during the 19th century is, she says, “a tale rich with modern-day themes: Islam vs. Christianity, religion vs. secularism, women’s rights, human rights, multiculturalism, and a nation’s right to construct its own destiny.” In truth those themes are not quite so visible in “The Sultan’s Shadow” as its author would have us believe, for despite her lucid prose and dogged research, the book never comes together into a coherent whole. Instead, it is an oddly arranged miscellany, some parts of which are exceptionally interesting, but she never manages to connect them to each other in a convincing fashion…. – WaPo, 7-9-10
    • Reviews of ‘Romancing Miss Bronte,’ ‘Charlotte and Emily,’ ‘Jane Slayre’ – WaPo, 7-13-10
    • Kim Washburn: New Palin Biography Aimed At 9- To 12-Year-Olds ‘Speaking Up’ Set For September ReleaseWFTV, 7-9-10
    • Jack Rakove on Gary B. Nash: The Ring and the Crack: The Liberty Bell Yale University Press, 242 pp., $24
      It would be easy to assume that the flag and the anthem have always been the central cultural symbols of our nationality. But in fact that has not been the case, writes Gary Nash, in this fast-moving and engaging history of a different and, he argues, superior, symbol: the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. The Pledge of Allegiance to the flag was not composed until 1892, eventually becoming the source of daily school recitals and occasional litigation, from the Jehovah’s Witnesses of the late 1930s and early 1940s to the atheist Michael Newdow’s more recent judicial quest. Then, too, the Stars and Stripes went through a long post-Civil War period as something less than a banner of universal nationality. Perhaps even now, lingering Southern attachment to the rival Stars and Bars may embody more than Confederate re-enactors’ cultural fondness for the Lost Cause. And while the “Star Spangled Banner” was composed back in 1814, only in 1931 did it acquire its official status as national anthem…. – TNR, 7-2-10

    FEATURES:

    • Historian calls on new generation: “There’s a lot of what we do not know.” That’s what Dr. Mitch Kachun said about Collins in one of his two speeches at the Juneteenth celebration at Brandon Park on Saturday. Kachun, a professor of history at Western Michigan University, has extensively researched local African-American author and teacher Julia Collins. The professor expressed being gratified he could take part in helping to finally recognize Collins’ work after 140 years. He said his research was done so he could help better understand and appreciate her life…. – Sun Gazette, 6-20-10
    • Brian Black: A Look At The U.S.’s Man-Made Environmental Disasters: …Here are some of the country’s most notable environmental disasters with human influence, both large-scale and small-scale, and how the government has dealt with them…. – National Journal (7-8-10)
    • A walk through history: UTEP effort highlights Hispanics’ significance: As far as historian David Romo is concerned, the streets of South El Paso represent a living textbook that can help students understand the complexities of the Mexican Revolution of 1910.
      “The role of El Paso in the revolution by any criteria should be part of not only the El Paso school curriculum but the national curriculum,” Romo said. “Unfortunately, it’s mostly ignored by the textbooks.”…. – El Paso Times (7-6-10)
    • Census historian weighs in on electronic future of census: As hundreds of thousands of workers knock on doors this summer to collect information for the 2010 Census, momentum is mounting to drag future Censuses into the 21st century….
      “Using the Postal Service was an enormous innovation in 1970″ when Census forms were first mailed (previous Censuses were door-to-door surveys), says Margo Anderson, a professor of history and urban studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and an expert on Census history. “We’re 40 years later, and the mail isn’t the official way most people get their information or communicate. It’s really outmoded.”… – USA Today (7-6-10)
    • Soccer historian tells of South African soccer’s origins among political prisoners: “These men believed that there would be a free South Africa while they were still alive,” said Chuck Korr, an emeritus professor of history at the University of Missouri at St. Louis and the author of a book about the soccer league called “More Than Just a Game.”… – NYT (7-5-10)

    PROFILES:

    • Easton historian worked on Emmy-nominated The Pacific: Donald L. Miller, a Lafayette College history professor, was the only person on the project who personally interviewed Eugene Sledge, one of three Marines who fought in the Pacific on whom the series is based…. – The Morning Call, 7-8-10
    • As a historian in the House, Fred Beuttler puts current events in perspective: Historians do not do breaking news. Historians do not do the latest scandal scoops, election-night projections, or instant updates of Washington’s winners and losers. So it is no surprise that the media’s demand for historians is scant. But every now and then, when the breaking political news from Capitol Hill is in dire need of historical context, journalists and politicians alike go looking for Fred Beuttler… – WaPo (7-6-10)
    • 21st-century technology helps Princeton U historian John Haldon study Byzantine era: Princeton University historian John Haldon, a leading authority on medieval Byzantine history, can’t really remember a time when history didn’t intrigue him…. These days, Haldon is a professor of Byzantine history and Hellenic studies at Princeton…. NJ.com (7-5-10)
    • Kelly Lytle Hernández: UCLA professor chronicles rise of U.S. Border Patrol in new book: However, by the middle of the 20th century, the U.S. Border Patrol had shifted its focus and was concentrating its efforts on policing undocumented Mexican immigrants, a practice that continues to this day, UCLA historian Kelly Lytle Hernández writes in “Migra!: A History of the U.S. Border Patrol” (University of California Press, 2010).
      Drawing on long-neglected archival sources in both the U.S. and Mexico, Lytle Hernández uncovers the little-known history of how Mexican immigrants slowly became the primary focus of U.S. immigration law enforcement and demonstrates how racial profiling of Mexicans developed in the Border Patrol’s enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws…. – UCLA Newsroom, 6-17-10

    QUOTES:

    • Richard Norton Smith, David Greenberg: When Adversity Comes Calling, Some Actually Answer the Door: As a self-styled student of American history, Mr. Blagojevich would have a hard time comparing himself to Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy or even Gerald Ford when it comes to dealing with duress… – NYT, 7-11-10
    • Walter Wark: Spy Swaps Not a Cold War Relic: The Soviet Union is now gone, and Berlin is a single city in a reunited Germany. But, as intelligence historian Walter Wark of the University of Toronto says, the latest exchange shows that spy swaps have not gone out of date.
      “We have a tendency to forget that spying goes on as usual, and when spying goes on as usual, sooner or later there will be occasion to do a spy swap,” Wark said. “But it’s gone out of our consciousness, I think is the only thing that’s really remarkable about this. It’s not that it should happen. It’s just that kind of, with all the other dangers that we’re facing in a 21st century world, we’ve forgotten about espionage,” he said…. – VoA News (7-9-10)

    INTERVIEWS:

    • Niall Ferguson aims to shake up history curriculum with TV and war games: History should be fun. More TV should be watched in the classroom, and children should learn through playing war games. The Harvard academic Niall Ferguson, who has been invited by the government to revitalise the curriculum, today sets set out a vision of “doing for history what Jamie Oliver has done for school food – make it healthy, and so they actually want to eat it”…. – Guardian (UK) (7-9-10)
    • Russian spy swap: Jeffrey Burds explainsWaPo (7-8-10)
    • Environmental historian Brian Black talks about impacts of oil spillPenn State Live (6-30-10)
    • The end of the Soviet Union was not inevitable, says Norman StoneU.S. News & World Report (7-1-10)

    AWARDS &APPOINTMENTS:

    • Obama Nominates Larry Palmer, former historian, as U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela: U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday nominated Ambassador Larry Leon Palmer — formerly the US Ambassador to Honduras — as the new U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela…. – Latin American Herald Tribune (6-30-10)
    • National Park Service Names New Cultural Resources Head: National Park Service (NPS) Director Jonathan Jarvis recently named Stephanie Smith Toothman, Ph.D., as the Service’s new Associate Director for Cultural Resources… – Lee White at the National Coalition for history (6-28-10)
    • New Director of Education Named at the Smithsonian: Claudine K. Brown has been named director of education for the Smithsonian Institution, effective June 20…. – Lee White at the National Coalition for History (6-28-10)

    SPOTTED:

    • James McPherson: Historian makes Gettysburg spring to life: As I prepared last week for a tour of Civil War historic sites with 40 history teachers from northwestern Minnesota, I looked at the itinerary and wondered if I would get anything out of touring battlefields….
      The day climaxed when our group of teachers, lead by General McPherson, replicated Pickett’s Charge, the famous and futile attempt by General Lee to break the Union middle by sending a mile-wide swath of 13,000 men into the teeth of the Federal guns…. – Detroit Lakes Online, 7-2-10

    ANNOUNCEMENTS & EVENTS CALENDAR:

    • July 28, 2010: Evan Thomas, Award-Winning Journalist, Historian to Lecture at Ventfort Hall: Known nationally and internationally as one of the most respected award-winning journalists and historians writing today, Newsweek’s Editor-at-Large Evan Thomas will appear at Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum on Wednesday, July 28, as part of its 2010 Summer Lecture Series. He will discuss the subject of his new book, “The War Lovers: Roosevelt, Lodge, Hearst, and the Rush to Empire, 1898.” Thomas will be on hand to autograph copies during the subsequent Victorian Tea…. – Iberkshires, 7-13-10
    • September 17-18, 2010 at Notre Dame University: Conference aims to bring medieval, early modern and Latin American historians together: An interdisciplinary conference to be held at the University of Notre Dame this fall is making a final call for papers to explore the issue surrounding similarities between late-medieval Iberia and its colonies in the New World. “From Iberian Kingdoms to Atlantic Empires: Spain, Portugal, and the New World, 1250-1700″ is being hosted by the university’s Nanovic Institute for European Studies and will take place on September 17-18, 2010. Medieval News, 4-29-10
    • Jeff Shesol to give Jackson Lecture at the Chautauqua Institution: Historian, presidential speechwriter and author Jeff Shesol will deliver Chautauqua Institution’s sixth annual Robert H. Jackson Lecture on the Supreme Court of the United States. Jeff Shesol will give the Jackson Lecture on Wednesday, August 18, 2010, at 4:00 p.m. in Chautauqua’s Hall of Philosophy…. – John Q. Barrett at the Jackson List (6-14-10)
    • Thousands of Studs Terkel interviews going online: The Library of Congress will digitize the Studs Terkel Oral History Archive, according to the agreement, while the museum will retain ownership of the roughly 5,500 interviews in the archive and the copyrights to the content. Project officials expect digitizing the collection to take more than two years…. – NYT, 5-13-10
    • Digital Southern Historical Collection: The 41,626 scans reproduce diaries, letters, business records, and photographs that provide a window into the lives of Americans in the South from the 18th through mid-20th centuries.

    ON TV:

    BEST SELLERS (NYT):

    BOOKS COMING SOON:

    • Jane Brox: Brilliant: The Evolution of Artificial Light, (Hardcover), July 8, 2010.
    • Rudy Tomedi: General Matthew Ridgway, (Hardcover), July 30, 2010.
    • Richard Toye: Churchill’s Empire: The World That Made Him and the World He Made, (Hardcover), August 3, 2010.
    • Alexander Hamilton: The Federalist Papers, (Hardcover), August 16, 2010 Christopher Tomlins, Freedom Bound: Law, Labor, and Civic Identity in Colonizing English America, 1580-1865 (Paperback and Hardcover), September 1, 2010
    • Holger Hoock: Empires of the Imagination: Politics, War, and the Arts in the British World, 1750-1850, (Hardcover), September 1, 2010
    • Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor: Princess, Bastard, Queen, (Hardcover), September 7, 2010
    • James L. Swanson: Bloody Crimes: The Chase for Jefferson Davis and the Death Pageant for Lincoln’s Corpse, (Hardcover), September 28, 2010
    • Timothy Snyder: The Red Prince: The Secret Lives of a Habsburg Archduke (First Trade Paper Edition), (Paperback), September 28, 2010
    • Ron Chernow: Washington: A Life, (Hardcover), October 5, 2010
    • George William Van Cleve: A Slaveholders’ Union: Slavery, Politics, and the Constitution in the Early American Republic, (Hardcover), October 1, 2010.
    • John Keegan: The American Civil War: A Military History, (Paperback), October 5, 2010
    • Bill Bryson: At Home: A Short History of Private Life, (Hardcover), October 5, 2010
    • Robert M. Poole: On Hallowed Ground: The Story of Arlington National Cemetery, (Paperback), October 26, 2010
    • Robert Leckie: Challenge for the Pacific: Guadalcanal: The Turning Point of the War, (Paperback), October 26, 2010
    • Manning Marable: Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, (Hardcover), November 9, 2010
    • Elizabeth White: The Socialist Alternative to Bolshevik Russia: The Socialist Revolutionary Party, 1917-39, (Hardcover), November 10, 2010
    • Elizabeth White: The Socialist Alternative to Bolshevik Russia: The Socialist Revolutionary Party, 1917-39, (Hardcover), November 10, 2010
    • G. J. Barker-Benfield: Abigail and John Adams: The Americanization of Sensibility, (Hardcover), November 15, 2010
    • Edmund Morris: Colonel Roosevelt, (Hardcover), November 23, 2010
    • Michael Goldfarb: Emancipation: How Liberating Europe’s Jews from the Ghetto Led to Revolution and Renaissance, (Paperback), November 23, 2010

    DEPARTED:

    • Stan Katz: Barry D. Karl and the Historical Profession: My friend and long-time historical collaborator Barry Karl died while undergoing emergency open-heart surgery in Chicago early this week. Barry would have celebrated his eighty-third birthday on the 23rd of this month — which will be the date of the first birthday of his only grandchild, Ethan. It is too bad that he could not have lived longer, but he had a long, successful and interesting career…. – Stan Katz in the CHE (7-11-10)
    • Ramon Eduardo Ruiz dies at 88; historian of Mexico and Latin America at UC San Diego: Ramon Eduardo Ruiz, a renowned historian of Mexico and Latin America whose books included in-depth studies of the Mexican and Cuban revolutions, has died. He was 88…. – LA Times (7-10-10)
    • Lawrence Holiday Harris, historian and diplomat, dies at 89: Lawrence Harris, who had careers as an American diplomat, an army officer and a college professor, visited 52 countries and every continent…. – Atlanta Journal-Constitution (7-7-10)
    • Ann Waldron, Biographer of Southern Writers, Is Dead at 85: Ann Waldron, who wrote biographies of Southern writers and books for children and young adults, but then — at 78 — decided that she’d rather concoct tales about gruesome murders on the campus of Princeton University, died Friday at her home in Princeton, N.J. She was 85…. – NYT (7-6-10)
    • Death of historian and art author Carola Hicks, 68: A famous Cambridge art historian has died at the age of 68…. – Cambridge News (UK) (6-28-10)

    July 12, 2010: Financial Regulation Overhaul Set to Pass & Obama meets with Benjamin Netanyahu

    By Bonnie K. Goodman

    Ms. Goodman is the Editor / Features Editor at HNN. She has a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

    OBAMA PRESIDENCY & 111TH CONGRESS:

    The President & Senate Democratic Leaders before final votes on Wall Street Reform, White House Photo, Pete Souza, 7/13/10

    IN FOCUS: STATS

    • Obama White House tries to turn around bad poll numbers: The polls aren’t looking good for President Obama. ABC News says 51% would prefer to see a Republican Congress elected in November, as a check on Obama. A CBS News poll says only 13% of Americans say Obama’s economic plan has helped them personally…. – USA Today, 7-14-10
    • After 18 months of Obama, Americans already feeling fonder of Dick Cheney, less so of Al Gore: The new Gallup Poll, released overnight, shows that a near-majority of Americans now views almost-president Gore unfavorably (49%), while 44% are favorable, down 14 points since his Nobel Prize glory days of 2007. As the most recent former White House No. 2, Cheney had the most to improve in favorable ratings. And, actually, he did improve the most in the opinion of surveyed Americans.
      Cheney’s robust unfavorable rating melted 11 points during the past 18 months of the Democrat duo of Obama-Biden to 52% now. While the Republican’s favorables surged from their low point of 30% all the way up to an impressive 36% now. That’s a stunning 20% improvement. LAT, 7-14-10
    • VP Favorable Ratings: Gore Down; Cheney, Biden Flat Americans more negative than positive toward Gore, Cheney: Americans’ current views of former Vice President Al Gore have become significantly more negative compared with three years ago, and are among the worst for him in more than a decade. The July 8-11 Gallup poll, finding 44% of Americans viewing Gore favorably and 49% unfavorably, was conducted after the announcement that he and his wife were separating, and amid a police investigation into allegations that he committed sexual assault in 2006. Gallup last measured Gore’s image in October 2007, after he was named winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, when 58% of Americans had a favorable view of him. All three party groups are less favorable toward Gore now compared with 2007, though his rating has declined more among Republicans (from 32% to 16%) and independents (from 57% to 43%) than among Democrats (from 79% to 72%)… – Gallop.com, 7-14-10
    • Poll finds Pennsylvania Senate race in dead heat: Pennsylvania’s Senate race is dead even, with Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak and Republican Pat Toomey both drawing 43% of support in a Quinnipiac University poll released today.
      At this point in the race, momentum appears to be on Sestak’s side. He was down 2 percentage points in May and 8 percentage points in an April survey by Quinnipiac.
      “Congressman Joe Sestak, a decided underdog who knocked off U.S. Arlen Specter in the Democratic primary, has now closed an 8-point gap in the last three months to tie Pat Toomey,” Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said in a statement…. – USA Today, 7-14-10
    • Crist leads 3-way Senate race in Florida: Florida Governor Charlie Crist holds a narrow edge over Republican Marco Rubio in a three-way Senate race dominated by economic worries, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Tuesday.
      Crist, who left the Republican Party to run as an independent after Rubio mounted a primary challenge against him, leads Rubio 35 percent to 28 percent. Democrat Kendrick Meek trails with 17 percent less than four months before the November election for the open Senate seat.
      Crist holds a similar 34 to 29 percent edge over Rubio in a three-way race against Democrat Jeff Greene, who is locked in a tough party primary fight with Meek. The Florida primary will be held August 24.
      In the race to succeed Crist as governor, Republican Rick Scott leads Democrat Alex Sink by 34 percent to 31 percent. But Sink leads slightly, 31 percent to 30 percent, when matched against Republican Bill McCollum. McCollum and Scott are waging a bitter Republican primary race…. – Reuters, 7-13-10

    THE HEADLINES….

    President Obama Shakes Hand with Jacob Lew, His Nominee for OMB   Director

    President Barack Obama announces the nomination of Jack Lew to replace Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Peter Orszag during a statement to the press in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House July 13, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

    • Obama enlists Bill Clinton’s aid on economy: U.S. President Barack Obama sought on Wednesday to lift sagging confidence in his economic stewardship by enlisting the help of predecessor Bill Clinton, as a leading business group issued a scathing critique of the administration’s policies… – Reuters, 7-14-10
    • Major banking bill faces final vote this week: President Barack Obama on Tuesday secured the 60 votes he needs in the Senate to pass a sweeping overhaul of financial regulations, all but ensuring that he soon will sign into law one of the top initiatives of his presidency. With the votes in hand to overcome Republican delaying tactics, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Tuesday took steps to end debate on the bill Thursday, setting the stage for final passage perhaps later in the day. The House already has passed the bill.
      “This reform is good for families, it is good for businesses, it’s good for the entire economy,” Obama said as he prodded the Senate to act quickly…. – AP, 7-14-10
    • White House Official: Recovery Act Has Created 3 Mln Jobs: The Obama administration’s stimulus push has saved or created about 3 million jobs and is on track to save an additional 500,000 by the end of the year, according to a new report by President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers…. – WSJ, 7-14-10
    • For Obama, more on legislative priorities: President Barack Obama is discussing legislative priorities with Democratic congressional leaders for a second day Wednesday. The president met with the Senate Democratic leadership on Tuesday. On Wednesday it’s the House Democrats’ turn. Obama is getting the meetings in before Congress takes its August break…. – AP, 7-14-10
    • Sarah Palin rebuts NAACP charge of Tea Party racism: Using her favored and unorthodox means of communicating with nearly 2 million followers via her Facebook page, Sarah Palin Tuesday night expressed sadness over an as yet unpublished NAACP convention resolution accusing Tea Party activists of tolerating racist elements in their midst. The former Republican governor of Alaska, who appears to be positioning herself for a possible run at the 2012 GOP presidential nomination using the disgruntled Tea Party’s concerns over expanding and fiscally irresponsible government as a major portion of her base, said:
      I am saddened by the NAACP’s claim that patriotic Americans who stand up for the United States of America’s Constitutional rights are somehow “racists.” The charge that Tea Party Americans judge people by the color of their skin is false, appalling and is a regressive and diversionary tactic to change the subject at hand. – 7-14-10
    • As NAACP aims to stay in national debate, charge of tea party racism draws fire: One thing is clear as the NAACP gathers this week for its 101st annual meeting: The civil rights organization is intent on being seen as still relevant. Even former Alaska governor Sarah Palin sent out a Twitter message and posted a statement on her Facebook page, helping to make the NAACP convention a hot topic on conservative Web sites. She condemned the organization’s passage of a resolution denouncing what it called “racist elements” within the “tea party” movement…. – WaPo, 7-14-10
    • Pelosi, White House Feud Over Gibbs’ House Prediction: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the driving force behind the Obama agenda in Congress, sharply criticized White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs during a closed-door House Democratic caucus meeting late Tuesday, according to Democratic sources.
      Pelosi, irked since Sunday by what she and other top Democrats considered Gibbs’ careless and dismissive comments that Democrats could lose their House majority this November, upbraided a top White House aide as she knocked Gibbs’ unwelcome handicapping of House races.
      “How could he [Gibbs] know what’s going on in our districts?” Pelosi said, according to Democrats who attended the meeting. “Some may weigh his words more closely than others. We have made our disagreements known to the White House.”… – Fox News, 7-14-10
    • Obama To Nominate Former Clinton Official To Head OMB: President Barack Obama plans to nominate a former Clinton administration official to head the Office of Management and Budget, which is grappling with how to best reduce a $1.4 trillion deficit while the economy is on shaky ground. Obama will nominate Jacob Lew, who ran OMB from 1998 to 2001 under former President Bill Clinton… WSJ, 7-13-10
    • Nelson ensures 60 votes for bank regulation bill: All but clearing the way for passage of financial regulations, conservative Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska said Tuesday he will vote for the sweeping overhaul of banking. His support ensures the legislation now has 60 votes to clear the Senate and land on President Barack Obama’s desk for his signature. The House passed the bill last month.
      “This reform is good for families, it is good for businesses , it’s good for the entire economy,” Obama said as he announced his nomination of Jacob Lew to be the new director of the White House budget office…. – AP, 7-13-10
    • Senior Republican wins weeklong delay on Kagan: The Senate Judiciary Committee postponed scheduled action Tuesday to send Elena Kagan’s Supreme Court nomination to the full Senate for confirmation, setting a panel vote for next week.
      Republicans insisted on the delay, saying they needed more time to review Kagan’s written answers to questions they posed to her after her confirmation hearings, and to inquire still further into how she would behave as a justice…. – AP, 7-13-10
    • NAACP to vote on controversial resolution condemning ‘tea party’ supporters: Members of the NAACP will vote Tuesday on a resolution that condemns what the group calls “explicitly racist behavior” by supporters of the “tea party.” The resolution, which is expected to pass, pits the civil rights group against the conservative grass-roots movement, which has repeatedly denied allegations of racism…. – WaPo, 7-13-10
    • Obama looks to Bush’s worldwide strategy on AIDS: President Barack Obama is trying to bring home some of the much-lauded strategies his predecessor used to fight AIDS around the world. The national strategy for combatting HIV and AIDS the Obama administration released Tuesday credits the Bush-era international campaign against AIDS for setting clear targets and ensuring a variety of agencies and groups worked together smoothly to achieve them…. – AP, 7-13-10
    • US should better define, counter Islamic extremism: The Obama administration’s recent move to drop rhetorical references to Islamic radicalism is drawing fire in a new report warning the decision ignores the role religion can play in motivating terrorists. Several prominent counterterror experts are challenging the administration’s shift in its recently unveiled National Security Strategy, saying the terror threat should be defined in order to fight it. The question of how to frame the conflict against al-Qaida and other terrorists poses a knotty problem. The U.S. is trying to mend fences with Muslim communities while toughening its strikes against militant groups. In the report, scheduled to be released this week, counterterrorism experts from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy argue that the U.S. could clearly articulate the threat from radical Islamic extremists “without denigrating the Islamic religion in any way.” President Barack Obama has argued that words matter, and administration officials have said that the use of inflammatory descriptions linking Islam to the terror threat feed the enemy’s propaganda and may alienate moderate Muslims in the U.S…. – AP, 7-12-10
    • Congress returns from recess to even more of the same: Congress will return this week from the July 4th recess to a pile of unfinished business. Yes, the same might be said of every Congress returning from every recess since lawmakers wore wigs and tights. But this time it could be a big problem, especially for the party in power. When Barack Obama took office and the Democrats took control of Washington, they made ambitious promises about how much they’d get done, with or without Republican help. Now, with relatively few working days left before the November midterm elections (in part because lawmakers granted themselves another long break beginning at the end of July), they might not be able to convince skeptical, frustrated voters that they delivered — and that they deserve to stay in charge…. – WaPo, 7-11-10
    • U.S. might launch 2nd suit against Arizona immigration law, Holder says: 2nd lawsuit weighed on immigration law. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said Sunday that if the federal government does not stop Arizona’s immigration law from taking effect, it might launch a second legal challenge to combat any racial profiling that occurs. The Obama administration is suing Arizona over the law, set to take effect July 29, which would make it a state crime for someone to be in the country illegally. During “lawful stops,” local law enforcement officers will be required to question people about their immigration status if there is “reasonable suspicion” that they might be illegal immigrants. WaPo, 7-11-10
    • Governors: Obama’s Immigration Suit Is ‘Toxic’: Democratic governors expressed “grave” concerns to White House officials this weekend about the Obama administration’s suit against Arizona’s new immigration law, warning it could cost the party in crucial elections this fall, The New York Times reported late Sunday. The closed-door meeting took place at the National Governors Association in Boston on Saturday, according to two unnamed governors who spoke to the Times. “Universally the governors are saying, ‘We’ve got to talk about jobs, and all of a sudden we have immigration going on,’” Gov. Phil Bredesen of Tennessee, a Democrat, was quoted as saying. “It is such a toxic subject, such an important time for Democrats.” The Arizona law, which is facing a U.S. Justice Department challenge, requires police to question people about their immigration status while enforcing other laws if there’s reason to suspect someone is in the country illegally….. – Fox News, 7-12-10
    • With votes looming, Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan plays it cool: With committee and floor votes beginning this week on the Supreme Court nomination of Elena Kagan, skeptical lawmakers could not resist the opportunity to search for a weak point that might provoke last-minute controversy. Six Republican senators submitted questions that produced 74 pages of written responses from Kagan. In ritual form, her answers — released Friday — were finely sanded to avoid any clamor. Kagan carefully hewed to the themes she struck at last month’s hearings: In cases in which she voiced opinion, she said, it was that of Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, for whom she once worked…. – WaPo, 7-10-10
    • Obama changes VA rule to help vets get stress disorder aid: War-zone veterans will no longer have to submit specific evidence to get benefits and treatment for post-traumatic stress….- LAT, 7-11-10
    • PM: Israel-US alliance strong: “The alliance between Israel and the US is stable and strong. It has the support of the American administration and people,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at a cabinet meeting Sunday. Netanyahu said that he reiterated to Obama “Israel’s desire to proceed immediately to direct negotiations with the PA, with the goal being to advance the diplomatic process and try to reach a peace agreement.”… – JPost, 7-11-10
    • Governors avoid debate on Arizona’s immigration law: The topic’s not on their convention agenda, but it’s on everyone’s mind as demonstrators rally nearby…. – LAT, 7-11-10
    • No full Social Security benefits until age 70?: Young Americans might not get full Social Security retirement benefits until they reach age 70 if some trial balloons that prominent lawmakers of both parties are floating become law. No one who’s slated to receive benefits in the next decade or two is likely to be affected, but there’s a gentle, growing and unusually bipartisan push to raise the retirement age for full Social Security benefits for people born in the 1960s and after. The suggestions are being taken seriously after decades when they were politically impossible because officials – and, increasingly, their constituents – are confronting the inescapable challenge of the nation’s enormous debt…. – McClatchy Newspapers, 7-11-10
    • Obama turns a corner on Middle East peace: Two bits of good news emerged during Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s brief visit to Washington this week: First, that Netanyahu and President Barack Obama publicly reaffirmed the strength of U.S.-Israeli relations, and, second, that Netanyahu said he expects direct talks with the Palestinians to begin soon. Both items suggest a maturing of the Obama administration’s foreign policy as it relates to the Middle East, and may even portend real results soon. Israel has been participating in indirect negotiations with the Palestinians through former Sen. George Mitchell since Obama named him a special envoy last year…. – Detroit Free Press, 7-10-10
    • In spy swap, agents were pawns in a practiced game: In the rapid-fire spy swap, the United States and Russia worked together as only old enemies could. Less than two weeks after the FBI broke the spy ring in a counterintelligence operation cultivated for a decade, 10 Russian secret agents caught in the U.S. are back in Russia, four convicted of spying for the West have been pardoned and released by Moscow, and bilateral relations appear on track again. In describing how the swap unfolded, U.S. officials made clear that even before the arrests, Washington wanted not only to take down a spy network but to move beyond the provocative moment…. – AP, 7-10-10
    • U.S.-Russia spy swap is complete: The speed of the exchange has some wondering what was behind the deal…. – LAT, 7-9-10
    • Going Nuclear: Romney vs. Obama (and Kerry): Yesterday Mitt Romney blasted Barack Obama via a Washington Post op-ed denouncing Obama’s nuclear Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with Russia as the president’s “worst foreign policy mistake yet.” Romney complains that the Russians “badly out-negotiated” Obama and came out with a decided strategic advantage in the treaty, including the power to walk away from the treaty if the U.S. presses too far ahead with missile defense systems. Today, John Kerry, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, hit back at Romney (also in the Post), calling his argument “baloney,” and tossing in some tart insults:
      I have nothing against Massachusetts politicians running for president. But the world’s most important elected office carries responsibilities, including the duty to check your facts even if you’re in a footrace to the right against Sarah Palin. More than that, you need to understand that when it comes to nuclear danger, the nation’s security is more important than scoring cheap political points…. – Time, 7-7-10
    • Relief well drilling ahead of schedule: While workers keep drilling the wells, the battle over President Barack Obama’s effort to suspend deepwater drilling moves Thursday to a federal appeals court in Louisiana. Oral arguments in a case that challenged the Obama administration’s six-month ban on deepwater drilling start in the afternoon in New Orleans. An advocacy group called Alliance for Justice made a pre-emptive strike against the court on Wednesday. It released a scathing report alleging that many appeals court judges have extensive ties to the oil industry, including the three-judge panel that will preside over the drilling ban hearing. As the case proceeds, others hope the seas will be calm enough for vessels to return to cleaning up the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. CNN, 7-8-10
    • Department of Justice seeks injunction against Arizona immigration law: In a lawsuit filed July 6 in federal court in Arizona, the U.S. Department of Justice made good on its promise to challenge Arizona’s immigration law. Arizona law S.B. 1070, due to take effect July 29, was challenged on the basis that it unconstitutionally interferes with the federal government’s authority to set and enforce immigration policy, accoridng to a July 6 news release from the Department of Justice.
      In the brief, the administration said that “the Constitution and federal law do not permit the development of a patchwork of state and local immigration policies throughout the country,” the release said.
      The Department of Justice has requested a preliminary injunction to enjoin enforcement of the law, the news release said. The department believes law’s operation will cause irreparable harm, the release said.
      “Arizonans are understandably frustrated with illegal immigration, and the federal government has a responsibility to comprehensively address those concerns,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in the news release. “But diverting federal resources away from dangerous aliens such as terrorism suspects and aliens with criminal records will impact the entire country’s safety.” The Packer, 7-6-10
    • President Obama wants injunction to stall Arizona’s controversial new immigration law: The Obama administration sued Arizona on Tuesday to kill, or at least stall, the state’s hotly disputed new law allowing local cops to target suspected illegal immigrants. In seeking an injunction to block the law from going into effect July 29, Attorney General Eric Holder said he sympathized with Arizonans and others who are “frustrated with illegal immigration.”
      But “setting immigration policy and enforcing immigration laws is a national responsibility,” Holder declared, and “seeking to address the issue through a patchwork of state laws will only create more problems than it solves.” His lawsuit said it’s also flat-out unconstitutional, usurping federal power to control the borders…. – NY Daily News, 7-7-10
    • Obama trying carrot, not stick, on Netanyahu: Netanyahu got off easy in Washington: He left strengthened by Obama and without having to make any real concessions. Haaretz, 7-7-10
    • Obama Bypassing Senate for New Medicare Chief: Obama to use a recess appointment to put a new director in place for Medicare and Medicaid… – ABC News, 7-7-10
    • Obama Returns to Missouri, Site of Slim 2008 Loss: For some in President Obama’s White House, Missouri remains the state that got away, nearly two years after his election. Mr. Obama was the first Democrat since 1964 to win Indiana and the first since 1976 to win North Carolina. But his loss in Missouri by the narrowest of slivers (fewer than 4,000 votes) was of special disappointment. After all, the state has sided with the winner of the presidential race in nearly every election in the past century. Who would wish to be remembered for breaking that sort of trend? Now, even as President Obama juggles a barrage of dire matters, relatively calm Missouri seems to continue to carry some particular attention for the White House. This week, Mr. Obama will be in the state again, raising money in a competitive Senate campaign in a challenging political season for Democrats…. – NYT, 7-6-10

    ELECTIONS 2010, 2012….

    • Outsider Wins Alabama GOP Gov Nomination: Self-described outsider Robert Bentley won Alabama’s Republican nomination for governor Tuesday night over establishment candidate Bradley Byrne with a strong showing in rural areas.
      In the unofficial count, Bentley had 56 percent of the vote to Byrne’s 44 percent with 83 percent of the precincts reporting. Bryne ran strong in the state’s four big counties, but Bentley outperformed Byrne in small counties, including areas where Tim James and Roy Moore did well when they ran third and fourth in the June 1 Republican primary…. – AP, 7-14-10
    • GOP candidate Angle rallies GOP against Reid: U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle on Friday denounced Majority Leader Harry Reid as a “desperate man” who was distorting her conservative record while ignoring a state that leads the nation in joblessness, foreclosures and bankruptcies. A day after President Barack Obama delivered a mocking indictment of her candidacy at a rally in Las Vegas, Angle accused the president and Reid of pushing billions of dollars in stimulus spending while Nevada struggles with “an economy that is a disaster.”… – AP, 7-10-10
    • Democrats digging harder than ever for dirt on Republicans: The Democratic Party is moving faster and more aggressively than in previous election years to dig up unflattering details about Republican challengers. In House races from New Jersey to Ohio to California, Democratic operatives are seizing on evidence of GOP candidates’ unpaid income taxes, property tax breaks and ties to financial firms that received taxpayer bailout money…. – WaPo, 7-6-10
    • Once a withdrawn teen, SC man now takes on senator: Alvin Greene earned the nickname “turtle” in high school — a quiet, withdrawn boy who was smart when he applied himself but rarely took a chance and tried to put himself in comfortable situations. Nearly four weeks ago, the 32-year-old unemployed military veteran turned South Carolina’s political scene upside down when he won the Democratic nomination for a U.S. Senate seat. And unlike that high school student, he’s taking a big chance: running against powerhouse Republican Sen. Jim DeMint…. – AP, 7-6-10
    • Poll: Meg Whitman, Jerry Brown in virtual tie: California’s race for governor is a dead heat, as Republican Meg Whitman’s massive advertising blitz coupled with Democrat Jerry Brown’s lo-fi campaign have raised doubts about Brown and cut his lead among Latino voters and other key Democratic constituencies, a Field Poll released today shows.
      Brown leads Whitman 44 to 43 percent in the poll, with 13 percent undecided, according to Field’s survey of 1,005 likely voters. The poll, conducted June 22 to July 5, has a margin of error of 3.2 percentage points.
      But billionaire Whitman’s relentless advertising campaign has helped sour voters’ views of Brown, with 40 percent holding an unfavorable opinion of him – up from 25 percent in March 2009. Still, 42 percent view him favorably…. – SF Chronicle, 7-6-10
    • Feingold faces unexpectedly tough race: Add Russ Feingold to the list of Senate Democrats who find themselves in unexpectedly tough races, the latest evidence of the GOP’s success in widening the playing field that President Barack Obama’s party has to defend.
      The Wisconsin Democrat faces a wealthy political newcomer with early backing from tea party activists in a state that has many independent voters and is known for doing its own thing. Likely GOP nominee Ron Johnson is running an outsider’s campaign in a year that seems to favor outsiders…. – AP, 7-6-10
    • McCain’s Immigration Shift: ‘Many’ Should Be Sent Back: A lot has changed since 2007, when John McCain was the #1 immigration compromiser in the U.S. Senate, leading the way with a large, bipartisan bill that would have given illegal immigrants an opportunity to become U.S. citizens while beefing up border security….
      Now, McCain finds himself in a different political situation, and so does the immigration issue. McCain lost the 2008 election, during which he was sharply criticized as an immigration liberal by his GOP primary rivals, and he’s facing a primary challenge from Tea-Party-style candidate J.D. Hayworth. As a national issue, immigration has heated up after Arizona passed its new law and as a drug war has raged in Mexico…. – The Atlantic, 7-6-10

    POLITICAL QUOTES

    The President Records the Weekly Address

    White House Photo, Pete Souza, 7/9/10

    • Wall Street Reform: Final Votes Approach: Remarks by the President in Selection of Jack Lew to be Director of OMB: Before I begin, I just want to note a breakthrough that we’ve had on our efforts to pass the most comprehensive reform of Wall Street since the Great Depression. Three Republican senators have put politics and partisanship aside to support this reform, and I’m grateful for their decision, as well as all the Democrats who’ve worked so hard to make this reform a reality, particularly Chairman Dodd and Chairman Barney Frank.
      What members of both parties realize is that we can’t allow a financial crisis like this one that we just went through to happen again. This reform will prevent that from happening. It will prevent a financial crisis like this from happening again, by protecting consumers against the unfair practices of credit card companies and mortgage lenders. It will ensure that taxpayers are never again on the hook for Wall Street’s mistakes. And it will end an era of irresponsibility that led to the loss of 8 million jobs and trillions of dollars of wealth.
      Now, as we finish our work on Wall Street reform, we’re also mindful that we’ve got significant work to do when it comes to reforming our government and reducing our deficit.
      This reform is good for families. It’s good for businesses. It’s good for the entire economy. And I urge the Senate to act quickly so that I can sign it into law next week….. – WH, 7-13-10
    • President Obama & President Fernandez Meet on Trade, Drug-Trafficking, and HaitiWH, 7-12-10
    • Weekly Address: President Obama Announces Changes to Help Veterans with PTSD Receive the Benefits They Need
      Remarks of President Barack Obama As Prepared for Delivery Weekly Address July 10, 2010
      …Today, we’ve made it clear up and down the chain of command that folks should seek help if they need it. In fact, we’ve expanded mental health counseling and services for our vets.
      But for years, many veterans with PTSD who have tried to seek benefits – veterans of today’s wars and earlier wars – have often found themselves stymied. They’ve been required to produce evidence proving that a specific event caused their PTSD. And that practice has kept the vast majority of those with PTSD who served in non-combat roles, but who still waged war, from getting the care they need.
      Well, I don’t think our troops on the battlefield should have to take notes to keep for a claims application. And I’ve met enough veterans to know that you don’t have to engage in a firefight to endure the trauma of war.
      So we’re changing the way things are done.
      On Monday, the Department of Veterans Affairs, led by Secretary Ric Shinseki, will begin making it easier for a veteran with PTSD to get the benefits he or she needs.
      This is a long-overdue step that will help veterans not just of the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars, but generations of their brave predecessors who proudly served and sacrificed in all our wars.
      It’s a step that proves America will always be here for our veterans, just as they’ve been there for us. We won’t let them down. We take care of our own. And as long as I’m Commander-in-Chief, that’s what we’re going to keep doing. WH, 7-10-10
    • Treasury Secretary Geithner on Wall Street Reform: “All Americans Have a Stake in Reforms”: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner appeared on PBS NewsHour last night to discuss, among other items, the financial reform bill that is awaiting final passage by the Senate when they return from recess next week. In his conversation with NewsHour host Jim Lehrer, Secretary Geithner expressed confidence that the Congress will soon deliver a strong bill to President Obama’s desk… – WH, 7-7-10
    • Obama thanks Europe for renewing anti-terrorist financing program: The United States welcomes today’s decision by the European Parliament to join the Council and Commission of the European Union in approving a revised agreement between the United States and the European Union on the processing and transfer of financial messaging data for the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP). We look forward to the Council’s completion of the process, allowing the agreement to enter into force on August 1, 2010, thus fully restoring this important counterterrorism tool and resuming the sharing of investigative data that has been suspended since January 2010. The threat of terrorism faced by the United States and the European Union continues and, with this agreement, all of our citizens will be safer.
      The TFTP has provided critical investigative leads — more than 1,550 to EU Member States — since its creation after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. These leads have aided countries around the world in preventing or investigating many of the past decade’s most visible and violent terrorist attacks and attempted attacks, including Bali (2002), Madrid (2004), London (2005), the liquids bomb plot against transatlantic aircraft (2006), New York’s John F. Kennedy airport (2007), Germany (2007), Mumbai (2008), and Jakarta (2009).
      This new, legally binding agreement reflects significant additional data privacy safeguards but still retains the effectiveness and integrity of this indispensable counterterrorism program.
      Protecting privacy and civil liberties is a top priority of the Obama Administration. We are determined to protect citizens of all nations while also upholding fundamental rights, using every legitimate tool available to combat terrorism that is consistent with our laws and principles. – USA Today, 7-8-10

    HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

    • Allan Lichtman: Scholar’s “13 Keys” Predict Another Obama Win: Although the next presidential election is 28 months away, President Barack Obama’s reelection in 2012 is nearly guaranteed despite former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s prediction that Obama has only a 20 percent chance, according to American University Professor Allan Lichtman. Lichtman’s “13 Keys” system predicts the outcome of the popular vote based on the performance of the party and not the use of candidate preference polls, campaign tactics, or events…. – American University, 7-14-10
    • Julian E. Zelizer: Sarah Palin likes government too: During a speech at an event called “Freedom Fest,” former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin warned Tea Party activists that while government spending was a bad thing, conservatives should not go too far and start calling for reductions in the military budget.
      While Palin told the crowd in Norfolk, Virginia, “Something has to be done urgently to stop the out-of-control Obama-Reid-Pelosi spending machine,” she also told them, “We must make sure, however, that we do nothing to undermine the effectiveness of our military.”
      Palin’s speech touched on a historic problem for the conservative movement. Ever since conservatives embraced a hawkish stance toward national security policy in the early Cold War in the late 1940s and started to challenge Democrats for not being tough enough, national security has always been the poison pill for anti-government conservatism.
      Despite all their rhetoric about the dangers of government intervention and the virtues of private markets, conservatives have rather consistently supported an expansion of the government when it comes to national security….
      But when it comes to Republicans, Palin’s recent comments at the conservative rally show why voters should take right-wing arguments about the dangers of government with a grain of salt. While conservative activists like to talk about a choice between big government and small government, the real debate is over what kinds of government we must have, what our priorities should be, and where our federal money should be directed…. – CNN, 7-12-10
    • The Bush Tax Cuts and the Deficit Myth: Runaway government spending, not declining tax revenues, is the reason the U.S. faces dramatic budget shortfalls for years to come…. – WSJ, 7-14-10
    • Julian E. Zelizer Professor of History and Public Affairs, Princeton “Bringing down the House? Why is the White House warning of a Republican takeover of Congress?”: If the White House starts to talk about the other party gaining control of Congress or about how terrible midterms usually are, then they are trying to manage expectations. The White House has depended on the Democratic House to move its legislative agenda. Having votes on Capitol Hill is better than a foil and the perception of weakness…. – Politico, 7-12-10
    • Gil Troy: Obama’s ‘we’ philosophy collides with capitalism’s ‘me’: Business leaders accuse President of using failures of a few to justify expansion of government regulatory authority…
      For McGill University political historian Gil Troy, Mr. Obama’s attacks on business put him well within a presidential tradition that goes back at least as far as Andrew Jackson in the 1830s. But they also betray his particular world view and a career spent entirely outside the private sector.
      “Not only does Barack Obama lack corporate experience, but his defining experiences were as a community organizer, public interest lawyer and law lecturer,” Prof. Troy said in an interview. “That puts him ideologically, structurally and professionally in opposition to business.”
      Mr. Obama, Mr. Troy continued, is “trying to convince Americans of the efficacy of government. He’s enough of a [Ronald] Reagan baby to know that is not necessarily the easiest sell to make. So, if [the economic crisis] is not a God-given opportunity, it’s at least a Goldman Sachs-given opportunity to make that sell.”… – Globe & Mail, 7-9-10
    • Republicans should embrace Paul Ryan’s Road Map: For now, the road map has a relatively small but growing cheering section. A dozen House members have endorsed it. Sen. Jim DeMint praised it in his book “Saving Freedom.” Jeb Bush likes it. On CNN last week, economic historian Niall Ferguson called Ryan “a serious thinker on the Republican right who’s prepared to grapple with these issues of fiscal sustainability and come up with a plan.”… – Washington Examiner, 7-11-10
    • Kennedy’s clout could grow on high court: David Garrow, a Cambridge University historian who has written about the court, said the 74-year-old Kennedy already writes a disproportionate share of the court’s big decisions and will have even more chances to do so now because he can assign opinions to himself…. – AP, 7-11-10
    • Julian Zelizer: Senate bill to repeal health reform lacks backing from Republican leaders: “Unified party positions are better than divided party positions,” Julian Zelizer, a congressional expert at Princeton University, said in an e-mail. “When the GOP is not all on board with legislation,” he added, Democrats can argue “Republicans calling for repeal are on the wrong track.”
      “Equally important, in an age of party unity, when divisions like this emerge it suggests [what] pollsters are saying: there is support for the healthcare bill in red America,” he said. The Hill, 7-5-10

    President Barack Obama Talks with President Leonel Fernandez of   the Dominican Republic Following Their Meeting in the Oval Office

    President Barack Obama talks with President Leonel Fernandez of the Dominican Republic following their meeting in the Oval Office July 12, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Top Young Historians: 110 – Thomas G. Andrews

    Top Young Historians

    Thomas G. Andrews, 38

    Basic Facts

    Teaching Position: Assistant Professor, Department of History, University of Colorado, Denver, Fall, 2007-present
    Area of Research: The social and environmental history of the Rocky Mountain West
    Education: Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, United States History, May, 2003; Dissertation: “The Road to Ludlow: Work, Environment, and Industrialization in Southern Colorado, 1870-1915″
    Major Publications: Andrews is the author of Killing for Coal: America’s Deadliest Labor War. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2008, winner of the 2009 George Perkins Marsh Prize for Best Book in Environmental History, American Society for Environmental History; 2009 Bancroft Prize, Columbia University; Thomas G. Andrews JPG 2009 Vincent P. DeSantis Book Prize, The Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era; 2009 Colorado Book Award, History Category; 2009 Spence Award, Mining History Association; Honorable Mention, 2009 Hundley Prize, The Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association; Finalist, 2009 Clements Prize, Southwest History category, Clements Center at SMU; Noteworthy Book in Industrial Relations and Labor Economics, Industrial Relations Section of Princeton Firestone Library; 2009 Caroline Bancroft History Prize, Denver Public Library.
    Andrews is also the author of numerous scholarly journal articles, book chapters and reviews including among others: “Contemplating Animal Histories: Politics and Pedagogy across Borders,” Radical History Review 107 (Spring, 2010): 139-165; “Making Meat: Efficiency and Exploitation in Progressive Chicago.” Organization of American Historians Magazine 24 (January, 2010): 37-40; Flannery Burke and Thomas Andrews, “The Five Cs of History: Putting the Elements of Historical Thinking into Practice in Teacher Education.” Pp. 151-167 in History Education 101: The Past, Present, and Future of Teacher Preparation, eds. Wilson J. Warren and D. Antonio Cantu. Charlotte, N.C.: Information Age Publishing, 2008; “What Does It Mean to Think Historically?” Perspectives: The Newsmagazine of the American Historical Association (January, 2007): 32-35l; “‘Made by Toile’? Tourism, Landscape, and Labor in Colorado, 1858-1917.” Journal of American History 92 (December, 2005): 837-863; “Turning the Tables on Assimilation: Oglala Lakotas and the Pine Ridge Day Schools, 1889-1920s.” Western Historical Quarterly 33 (Winter, 2002): 407-430; “Tata Atanasio Trujillo’s Unlikely Tale of Utes, Nuevo Mexicanos, and the Settling of Colorado’s San Luis Valley.” New Mexico Historical Review 75 (January, 2000): 4-41.
    Andrews is currently working on An Animals’ History of the United States. Under contract with Harvard University Press, and “An Environmental History of the Kawuneeche Valley, Rocky Mountain National Park.” Book-length National Park Service contract report
    Awards: Andrews is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
    W. P. Whitsett Lecturer in Western History, California State University-Northridge, 2010;
    Bancroft Prize, Columbia University, 2009;
    George Perkins Marsh Award, American Society for Environmental History, 2009;
    Vincent DeSantis Prize, Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, 2009;
    Caroline Bancroft Prize, Denver Public Library Western History Department, 2009;
    Colorado Book Award, History, 2009;
    Clark Spence Award, Mining History Association, 2009;
    Honorable Mention, Clements Prize, Clements Center for Southwest Studies, Southern Methodist University, 2009;
    Honorable Mention, Hundley Book Award, Pacific Coast Branch-American Historical Association, 2009;
    Alice Hamilton Article Prize, American Society for Environmental History, 2007;
    Ray Allen Billington Article Prize, Western History Association, 2006;
    Polished Apple Teaching Award, California State University-Northridge, 2005;
    Rachel Carson Dissertation Prize, American Society for Environmental History, 2004;
    Arrell M. Gibson Article Prize, Western History Association, 2003;
    John Topham and Susan Redd Butler Faculty Fellowship, Charles Redd Center for Western Studies, Brigham Young University, 2004-5, 2009-10;
    CRISP Grant, UC-Denver College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, 2009;
    American Council for Learned Societies Contemplative Practice Fellowship, 2007-8;
    Bill Lane Center for the North American West, Stanford University, Short-Term Fellow, 2007-8;
    W. M. Keck Young Scholars Award, Huntington Library, 2005-6;
    National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute on “The Redemptive West,” Huntington Library, 2005;
    Research Grants (2), Rockefeller Archive Center, 2000-2001 and 2002-3;
    U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Graduate Fellowship, 1999-2002.
    Additional Info:
    Formerly Assistant Professor, Department of History, California State University, Northridge, Fall, 2003-Spring, 2007.

    Personal Anecdote

    In less than a week, I was set to give my first-ever conference paper, before the annual meeting of the American Society for Environmental History. A very generous friend who was already out of graduate school and teaching had made room for me on a panel devoted to exploring the implications of Richard White’s important 1994 essay, “‘Are You an Environmentalist, or Do You Work for a Living?’” The conference organizers had slated the session for a room that sat at least a hundred, not because anyone wanted to hear a Ph.D. candidate from Wisconsin blather on about coal-mine explosions, but instead because my fellow panelists were fast making names for themselves. More important still, Richard White had kindly agreed to comment on the papers.

    White’s “Are You an Environmentalist” had grabbed me the first time I read it (it has yet to let me go). I found myself deeply persuaded by White’s central claim: that environmental historians can learn a lot by taking seriously work and those who perform it. The piece taught me the best kind of truth–a simple truth of seemingly boundless explanatory power: Labor, White reminds us, has always encompassed many of the core practices through which human beings have arrived at a knowledge of nature.

    I don’t know what they put in the Koolaid that I imbibed in seminar at Wisconsin, but like most graduate students there and elsewhere, my way of paying homage to the profound influence White’s essay had had upon me (and, for that matter, the impact that his whole corpus of scholarship had made upon me since I first encountered The Middle Ground as an undergraduate) was to lash out with that peculiar brand of Oedipal rage that combines the worst aspects of adolescent impudence and twenty-something earnestness. In the months leading up to the ASEH, I must have read “Are You an Environmentalist” at least six times, each time slicing and dicing the essay with my critical knives sharpened to a razor’s edge. My near-compulsive re-reading had filled me with unwarranted confidence. I told myself that I had found every weakness, every contradiction, every leap of logic, every hole in White’s argument.

    I could not wait to tell the assembled lights of my discipline about all the things White had gotten wrong. I envisioned myself delivering a devastating critique; I imagined the verbal combat that would ensue as White, one of the greatest historians of his generation in my estimation (a conviction that I hold even more strongly today) devoted his comment to parrying my attack.

    Those who have seen Richard White engage in debate will understand why this thought was not entirely comforting. At the first historical conference I had ever attended, in fact, I had watched White pretty much eviscerate two junior scholars when they tried a stunt very similar to the one I was plotting. I attempted with little success to maintain my confidence. I told myself that I was smarter than the pair I had seen White tear up. Besides, my critique was as persuasive and elegant as theirs had been tendentious and awkward.

    Doubt, thank goodness, remained. I sent my advisor, Bill Cronon, a draft of the diatribe I had assembled. Bill gave me very clear and direct advice: Don’t be an idiot. File the paper away and write a new one that focused instead on presenting my own research findings.

    Part of me evidently had a death wish and welcomed the heady risk of committing career suicide at such an early stage. That part of me felt censored by Bill and frustrated at the ways in which professionalism seemed to constrain intellectual exchange within the academy.

    But overwhelming the compulsions seeking to push me to the edge were cooler, more cautious impulses. And so I pulled back to deliver an altogether safer paper. Bill had averted my juvenile plan. In the process, he spared Richard White the trouble of deciding whether to give me the dressing-down that I deserved, or to look graciously away from my impertinence.

    If one of my own students were to concoct a similar stunt, I would undoubtedly provide the same advice. For all this, though, I can’t help feeling a little uncomfortable with the hard lessons this incident imparted-that our profession is inextricably hierarchical in nature, that some historians are simply smarter and more highly-skilled than others, that what I can do and how I can do it depends at least to some extent on how well I know and keep to my place.

    With apologies to Borges, I had always imagined academe as a sort of paradise. This was an unusually outrageous delusion on my part; as an academic brat, tales of departmental infighting, administrative folly, and student futility were nightly topics of conversation at the family dinner table. Choosing to hold my fire against Richard White turned out to be a critical first step in my discovery that the historical discipline can offer no real place of grace, no true escape, from the world as it is–not a happy discovery, I know, but perhaps a necessary one.

    Quotes

    By Thomas G. Andrews

  • Almost a century later, evocations of Ludlow still hew to the same story lines established as the fighting unfolded. The view of the Colorado coalfield war that has become the consensus is that workers were striking simply Killing for Coal America's Deadliest Labor War JPGto achieve basic freedoms. Even though the miners suffered a crushing defeat, the blood sacrifices of Ludlow’s martyrs prompted Rockefeller and his fellow capitalists to mend their ways and set American business on the path toward today’s more enlightened labor relations. A Works Project Administration guidebook summarized this interpretation. Ludlow, New Deal authors argued, “aroused public opinion and brought about improvement of working conditions and civil liberties in the coal camps.” Like most tales of the bad old days, such stories chart a narrative of progress. From this starting point, it becomes simply a matter of emphasis and tone to elicit either complacence or alarm or lest we go back to the dark ages when big business reigned supreme and government forces served as the mailed fist of concentrated capital. — Thomas Andrews in “Killing for Coal America’s Deadliest Labor War”
  • “This truly is the highest honor that professional historians bestow upon a work in U.S. history. I imagined that I’d spend my entire career pursuing this goal without ever achieving it and I’m simply tickled to be in such incredible company.
    I’m a Colorado native, but I never knew anything about Ludlow until I was in graduate school. When I first learned about the massacre, I was appalled that such killing had occurred and I was drawn to the opportunity it provided to bring together a much bigger set of stories: about the deep-seated dependence of westerners on fossil fuels, about the coal mines that generated so much conflict in southern Colorado, and about the men, women, and children who came from around the world to work in and around the mines.
    Receiving the Bancroft is the greatest validation I could have ever imagined.” — Thomas Andrews on winning the Bancroft Prize for “Killing for Coal America’s Deadliest Labor War”
  • About Thomas G. Andrews

  • “The Ludlow Massacre of 1914 has long been known as one of the most notorious events in all of American labor history, but until the publication of Killing for Coal, it was still possible to see this slaughter simply as an episode in the history of American industrial violence. In Thomas Andrews’s skilled hands, it becomes something much subtler, more complicated, and revealing: a window onto the profound transformation of work and environment that occurred on the Western mining frontier in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Anyone interested in the history of labor, the environment, and the American West will want to read this book.” — William Cronon, author of “Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West”
  • Killing for Coal is a stunning achievement. Beautifully written and masterfully researched, it stands as the definitive history of the dramatic events at Ludlow and breaks new ground in our understanding of industrialization and the environment. If I were to pick one word to describe this book, I would say, “powerful.”” — Kathryn Morse, author of “The Nature of Gold: An Environmental History of the Klondike Gold Rush”
  • “Killing for Coal arises from the rare and providential convergence of an extraordinary author and an extraordinary topic. With a perfect instinct for the telling detail, Thomas Andrews wields a matching talent for conveying, in crystal-clear prose, the deepest meanings of history. This is, in every sense, an illuminating book, shining light into a dark terrain of the American past and of the human soul.” — Patricia Nelson Limerick, author of “The Legacy of Conquest: The Unbroken Past of the American West”
  • “A groundbreaking work about coal and coal development, labor relations and class conflict.” — Sandra Dallas, Denver Post
  • “Thomas G. Andrews’ Killing for Coal offers an intriguing analysis of the so-called Ludlow Massacre of April 20, 1914, a watershed event in American labor history that he illuminates with a new understanding of the complexity of this conflict…Killing for Coal distinguishes itself from conventional labor histories, by going beyond sociological factors to look at the total physical environment–what Andrews calls the “workscape”–and the role it played in the lives of both labor and management…In its deft marriage of natural and social history, Killing for Coal sets a new standard for how the history of industry can and should be written.” — Emily F. Popek, Pop Matters
  • “A stunning debut, full of insight into the role of labor and class not just in southern Colorado, but across the country.” — Denver Westword
  • “Andrews brings a 21st-century approach to this once-troubled landscape where the region’s voracious need for fuel trumped the rights and independence of the men who dragged it out of the ground.” — Bob Hoover, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  • “Killing for Coal is far more than a blow-by-blow account of America’s deadliest labor war. It is an environmental history that seeks to explain strike violence as the natural excretion of an industry that brutalized the earth and the men who worked beneath it. Andrews is one of the excellent young scholars who have given new life to the field of labor and working-class studies by introducing new questions about race and gender, ethnicity and nationality, and new insights drawn from anthropology and physical geography…Andrews deserves credit for writing one of the best books ever published on the mining industry and its environmental impact and for drawing more public attention to the Ludlow story and its significance.” — James Green, Dissent
  • “Andrews does an excellent job of placing the massacre in the larger context of both previous labor strife in the area and the violent reprisals that armed bands of miners launched on mine owners, strikebreakers, and militia men in response to the deaths at Ludlow. One of the great strengths of Andrews’s account is his integration of environmental history into his narrative at all levels, and not just as an afterthought. The book is as much a history of coal, coal mining, and the reshaping of Colorado’s environment as it is a history of the Great Coalfield War of 1914.” — A. M. Berkowitz, Choice
  • Posted on Sunday, July 11, 2010 at 12:56 PM

    July 5, 2010 : Obama’s Immigration Speech & Celebrating the 4th

    By Bonnie K. Goodman

    Ms. Goodman is the Editor / Features Editor at HNN. She has a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

    OBAMA PRESIDENCY & 111TH CONGRESS:

    Fireworks during the Fourth of July celebration
    Fireworks over the National Mall during the 4th of July celebration at the White House., White House Photo, Pete Souza, 7/4/10

    IN FOCUS: STATS

    • Independent Voters Favor GOP in 2010 Election Tracking: Prefer Republican candidate to Democrat by an average of 45% to 35%… – Gallop.com, 7-1-10

    THE HEADLINES….

    The President Records the Weekly Address
    • Analysis: BP clean-up leaves U.S. vulnerable to another spill: The Obama administration may succeed in pushing through its offshore drilling ban, despite fierce resistance from the oil industry, since a piece of machinery in short supply has left oil companies and the environment glaringly vulnerable to another oil spill… – Reuters, 7-6-10
    • Obama, Netanyahu Will Learn They Need Each Other: Barack Obama and Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu will find again today, as they meet in the White House, that however much they may annoy each other – and they do – they also need each other. Their ability to forge a new relationship, preferably with mutual respect and trust that eluded them, may well determine whether, how, and when Israel will attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.
      Israel’s military and its intelligence community are constantly preparing for a possible attack aimed at damaging and delaying Iran’s march toward nuclear weapons, and sources close to the planning say there is no expectation that the United States would take part. “We don’t ask anybody to do our fighting for us,” said a senior official who requested he not be named, “but it is true that we would be asking for re-supply of anything that we might use.” Israel apparently would be counting on America to top up its arsenal of bunker-busting bombs, mid-air refueling equipment and perhaps long-range missiles.
      For Israel, at age 62, it has become routine to seek a “green light” – ohr yarok is the Hebrew phrase used by Israeli defense officials – from Washington before going to war. Israeli leaders want to feel that the U.S. has their back, at least diplomatically in the inevitable United Nations debates. At times, ohr tzahov – a “yellow light” – has been enough for Israel, such as its invasion of Lebanon in 1982 after the American government was briefed but neither assented nor protested…. – CBS News, 7-6-10
    • Independence Day in Pictures: Tonight, the President and First Lady hosted service heroes and military families for a Fourth of July celebration on the South Lawn of the White House. See the Independence Day event through the lens of Pete Souza, Director of the White House Photo Office…. – WH, 7-4-10
    • Obama celebrates July 4th at White House barbecue: Calling the Declaration of Independence more than words on an aging parchment, President Barack Obama marked the Fourth of July on Sunday by urging Americans to live the principles that founded the nation as well as celebrate them.
      “This is the day when we celebrate the very essence of America and the spirit that has defined us as a people and as a nation for more than two centuries,” Obama told guests at a South Lawn barbecue honoring service members and their families. “We celebrate the principles that are timeless, tenets first declared by men of property and wealth but which gave rise to what Lincoln called a new birth of freedom in America — civil rights and voting rights, workers’ rights and women’s rights, and the rights of every American,” he said. “And on this day that is uniquely American we are reminded that our Declaration, our example, made us a beacon to the world.” “Now, of course I’ll admit that the backyard’s a little bigger here, but it’s the same spirit,” Obama said to laughter. “Michelle and I couldn’t imagine a better way to celebrate America’s birthday than with America’s extraordinary men and women in uniform and their families.” “Today we also celebrate all of you, the men and women of our armed forces, who defend this country we love,” he told the enthusiastic group…. – AP, 7-4-10
    • Biden marks US Independence Day with troops in Iraq: US Vice President Joe Biden marked Independence Day with American troops at a palace of ex-dictator Saddam Hussein on Sunday ahead of talks with the two men vying to lead Iraq’s next government. Speaking to soldiers at Al-Fao Palace, a former hunting lodge of the ousted Iraqi president that is now part of US military base Camp Victory, just north of Baghdad, an upbeat Biden relished the symbolism.
      “Here we are in the hunting lodge of a dictator who subjugated a people, who in fact stood for everything that we don’t stand for. And we are in the middle of the marble palace, making a lie of everything that he stood for,” he said. “I find it delicious that that’s happening,” he said to loud applause from the crowd of around 600 military personnel…. – AFP, 7-4-10
    • Petraeus: ‘We are in this to win’ in Afghanistan: Gen. David Petraeus formally assumed command of the 130,000-strong international force in Afghanistan on Sunday, declaring “we are in this to win” despite rising casualties and growing skepticism about the nearly 9-year-old war. During a ceremony at NATO headquarters, Petraeus received two flags — one for the U.S. and the other for NATO — marking his formal assumption of command.
      “We are in this to win,” Petraeus told a crowd of several hundred NATO and Afghan officials at the ceremony held on a grassy area just outside coalition headquarters. “We have arrived at a critical moment.” “Upfront I also want to recognize the enormous contributions of my predecessor, Gen. Stanley McChrystal,” Petraeus said. He said the progress made reflected McChrystal’s “vision, energy and leadership.”… – AP, 7-4-10
    • Democrats’ Peril, GOP’s Challenge: Friday’s tepid employment report imperils Democrats who insist their recovery initiatives are on the right track, but also could pose a challenge for Republicans, who risk looking like they favor legislative inaction in the face of continued suffering. The stubbornly high joblessness ignited another round of debate over the Democrats’ current push to extend unemployment benefits and continue stimulus spending, an argument whose outcome could determine the results of the November elections. “People have lost confidence in what the Democrats are doing,” said Republican strategist David Winston. “But that is not enough of a reason to vote for Republicans…. – WSJ, 7-3-10
    • Blame game could ‘boomerang’ on Obama, strategist says: When signs of a severe economic downfall emerged more than two years ago, then-candidate Barack Obama was quick to point a finger at the man he hoped to replace. Seventeen months into his administration, the message is often the same, and Republicans say it’s time for him to drop the Bush bashing and take ownership of the problem.
      “Nothing makes a president look weaker than pointing the finger at past administrations,” said Republican strategist Ron Bonjean. “By blaming somebody, it looks like you are playing politics and people just want jobs. They don’t care about whose fault it is. Playing the blame game only boomerangs on yourself.”… – CNN, 7-2-10
    • Obama’s immigration speech gets smacked by GOP pols, conservative pundits: GOP politicians and conservative pundits unleashed some verbal fireworks heading into the July 4 weekend by slamming President Obama’s immigration speech. Karl Rove, President George W. Bush’s former adviser, led the charge, ripping apart Obama’s remarks, saying the President was trolling for Latino voters and is “not serious” about immigration reform. “If he [Obama] could get this thing to use as a political issue for the next three months to beat up on Republicans, he’d do it, which he’s doing,” Rove told Fox’s “O’Reilly Factor” guest host Laura Ingraham. “But about fashioning a comprehensive policy with all the details and all of the equities and all the contenders that want to come to some resolution of this, forget it. He’s not serious about it.”
      Compared to Rove, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s reaction was much kinder. She called the speech “helpless.”… – NY Daily News, 7-2-10
    • Tough gun-control ordinance is passed in Chicago: A city measure that restricts the use, sale and transport of firearms is approved after a Supreme Court ruling extended handgun rights…. – LAT, 7-3-10
    • In speech, Obama to argue for immigration overhaul: President Barack Obama hopes to rally new momentum behind the push for an immigration overhaul by explaining why he thinks a comprehensive approach is the only way to fix what he and others say is a system badly in need of repair. Obama was laying out his rationale in a speech Thursday, his first as president on the issue…. – AP, 7-1-10
    • 1.3 million unemployed won’t get benefits restored: More than 1.3 million laid-off workers won’t get their unemployment benefits reinstated before Congress goes on a weeklong vacation for Independence Day. An additional 200,000 people who have been without a job for at least six months stand to lose their benefits each week, unless Congress acts. For the third time in as many weeks, Republicans in the Senate successfully filibustered a bill Wednesday night that would have continued unemployment checks to people who have been laid off for long stretches. The House is slated to vote on a similar measure Thursday, though the Senate’s action renders the vote a futile gesture as Congress prepares to depart Washington for its holiday recess…. – AP, 7-1-10
    • Financial Overhaul Wins Final Approval in House: The House on Wednesday adopted legislation to revamp the nation’s financial regulatory system, voting mostly along party lines as partisan acrimony impeded cooperation even on the shared goals of averting future economic crises. The vote in the House was 237 to 192, with all but three Republicans standing in opposition to a measure that President Obama in his State of the Union speech said embodied one of the highest priorities of his administration: “serious financial reform.” “If this bill were to fail,” the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, said, “We would be preserving a status quo that has left our economy in a wretched state.” To symbolize the importance of the bill, Ms. Pelosi personally gaveled the vote to a close, with 234 Democrats joined by three Republicans in favor; and 173 Republicans and 19 Democrats opposed…. – NYT, 7-1-10
    • Al Gore breaks silence as police reopen sexual assault case: Former Vice President Al Gore has broken his silence regarding 2006 sexual assault allegations by a massage therapist, as Portland, Ore., police say they are reopening the case.
      A statement issued by Kalee Kreider, Gore family spokesperson says: “Further investigation into this matter will only benefit Mr. Gore. The Gores cannot comment on every defamatory, misleading, and inaccurate story generated by tabloids. Mr. Gore unequivocally and emphatically denied this accusation when he first learned of its existence three years ago. He stands by that denial.” – AP, USA Today, 7-1-10
    • Obama renews immigration push: The president meets with lawmakers to discuss a strategy for passing a bill this year; gaining Republican support will be a challenge. He will make his case to the public in a speech Thursday. LAT, 6-30-10
    • Supreme Court extends rights of gun owners: The court’s 5-4 decision in the 2nd Amendment case paves the way for challenges to laws restricting gun ownership, but Justice Samuel Alito says it will not ‘imperil every law regulating firearms.’… – LAT, 6-29-10
    • Biden to visit Gulf Coast: U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will be in the Gulf of Mexico region Tuesday to see first-hand the cleanup and recovery efforts of the BP spill. Biden will stop in New Orleans and Pensacola, Fla., to survey response efforts, visit residents affected by the spill and meet with area officials, the White House said….. – UPI, 6-29-10
    • Obama, lawmakers to discuss energy, immigration: President Barack Obama is turning his attention to energy and immigration legislation Tuesday. He’ll meet with a bipartisan group of senators to discuss passing comprehensive energy and climate legislation this year…. – AP, 6-29-10
    • Delaware: Attorney General Returns: Attorney General Joseph R. Biden III returned to work Monday after spending several weeks recuperating from a stroke. Mr. Biden, who is known as Beau and who is the son of Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., suffered a mild stroke on May 11. AP, 6-28-10

    ELECTIONS 2010, 2012….

    • Six Senate candidates to watch in the dash for cashWaPo, 7-2-10
    • Ethnic Distinctions, No Longer So Distinctive: If anyone still doubted, after President Obama’s election, that candidates are no longer prisoners of their race or ethnicity, then South Carolina’s Nikki Haley offers further proof. Ms. Haley, 38, was born Nimrata Nikki Randhawa, the daughter of Indian Sikh immigrants. Now she is the Christian, Republican nominee for governor in a state with a brutal history of racial oppression. What’s notable about Ms. Haley’s campaign, like that of Mr. Obama and other candidates, is not just that she has breached a racial and cultural barrier, but that she doesn’t feel the need — or the desire — to talk much about it. “I love that people think it’s a good story, but I don’t understand how it’s different,” she recently told The New York Times. “I feel like I’m just an accountant and businessperson who wants to be a part of state government.”…. – NYT, 6-30-10
    • Illinois Senate candidates spar over BP ties: Senate rivals Alexi Giannoulias and Mark Kirk attacked each other Wednesday over ties to unpopular oil company BP and which candidate is less trustworthy. With both candidates carrying heavy political baggage, attack ads are likely to play a big role throughout the campaign for the seat once held by President Barack Obama. A day after publicly apologizing for exaggerating his military accomplishments, Kirk released two attack ads…. – AP, 6-30-10
    • Bill Clinton endorses Romanoff: Former President Bill Clinton bucked the Obama administration Tuesday and endorsed former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff in the Democratic U.S. Senate primary, calling Colorado a better place because of his leadership in the legislature.
      “Andrew brings to this race both an extraordinary record of public service and an extraordinary capacity to lead,” he wrote. “I believe that those assets, as well as his deep commitment to Colorado, give him the best chance to hold this seat in November.”… – The Denver Post, 6-30-10

    POLITICAL QUOTES

    The President speaks at the American University School of   International Service

    The President speaks at the American University School of International Service, White House Photo, Pete Souza, 7/1/10

    • Weekly Address: President Obama Touts Nearly $2 Billion in New Investments to Help Build a Clean Energy Economy
      Remarks of President Barack Obama Saturday, July 3, 2010 Weekly Address Washington, DC:
      Still, at a time when millions of Americans feel a deep sense of urgency in their own lives, Republican leaders in Washington just don’t get it. While a majority of Senators support taking these steps to help the American people, some are playing the same old Washington games and using their power to hold this relief hostage – a move that only ends up holding back our recovery. It doesn’t make sense.
      But I promised those folks in Wisconsin – and I promise all of you – that we won’t back down. We’re going to keep fighting to advance our recovery. And we’re going to keep competing aggressively to make sure the jobs and industries of the future are taking root right here in America.
      That’s one of the reasons why we’re accelerating the transition to a clean energy economy and doubling our use of renewable energy sources like wind and solar power – steps that have the potential to create whole new industries and hundreds of thousands of new jobs in America.
      In fact, today, I’m announcing that the Department of Energy is awarding nearly $2 billion in conditional commitments to two solar companies…. – WH,
    • Obama announces $2 billion for solar power: President Barack Obama announced Saturday the awarding of nearly $2 billion for new solar plants that he said will create thousands of jobs and increase the country’s use of renewable energy sources. Obama disclosed the funding in his weekly radio and online address, saying it is part of his plan to bring new industries to the U.S. “We’re going to keep competing aggressively to make sure the jobs and industries of the future are taking root right here in America,” Obama said… – AP, 7-3-10
    • Remarks by the President on Comprehensive Immigration Reform American University School of International Service, Washington, D.C.:
      Now, once we get past the two poles of this debate, it becomes possible to shape a practical, common-sense approach that reflects our heritage and our values. Such an approach demands accountability from everybody – from government, from businesses and from individuals.
      Government has a threshold responsibility to secure our borders. That’s why I directed my Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano — a former border governor — to improve our enforcement policy without having to wait for a new law.
      Today, we have more boots on the ground near the Southwest border than at any time in our history. Let me repeat that: We have more boots on the ground on the Southwest border than at any time in our history. We doubled the personnel assigned to Border Enforcement Security Task Forces. We tripled the number of intelligence analysts along the border. For the first time, we’ve begun screening 100 percent of southbound rail shipments. And as a result, we’re seizing more illegal guns, cash and drugs than in years past. Contrary to some of the reports that you see, crime along the border is down. And statistics collected by Customs and Border Protection reflect a significant reduction in the number of people trying to cross the border illegally.
      That’s why businesses must be held accountable if they break the law by deliberately hiring and exploiting undocumented workers. We’ve already begun to step up enforcement against the worst workplace offenders. And we’re implementing and improving a system to give employers a reliable way to verify that their employees are here legally. But we need to do more. We cannot continue just to look the other way as a significant portion of our economy operates outside the law. It breeds abuse and bad practices. It punishes employers who act responsibly and undercuts American workers. And ultimately, if the demand for undocumented workers falls, the incentive for people to come here illegally will decline as well.
      Finally, we have to demand responsibility from people living here illegally. They must be required to admit that they broke the law. They should be required to register, pay their taxes, pay a fine, and learn English. They must get right with the law before they can get in line and earn their citizenship — not just because it is fair, not just because it will make clear to those who might wish to come to America they must do so inside the bounds of the law, but because this is how we demonstrate that being — what being an American means. Being a citizen of this country comes not only with rights but also with certain fundamental responsibilities. We can create a pathway for legal status that is fair, reflective of our values, and works.
      It was at this time that a young woman named Emma Lazarus, whose own family fled persecution from Europe generations earlier, took up the cause of these new immigrants. Although she was a poet, she spent much of her time advocating for better health care and housing for the newcomers. And inspired by what she saw and heard, she wrote down her thoughts and donated a piece of work to help pay for the construction of a new statue — the Statue of Liberty — which actually was funded in part by small donations from people across America.
      Years before the statue was built — years before it would be seen by throngs of immigrants craning their necks skyward at the end of long and brutal voyage, years before it would come to symbolize everything that we cherish — she imagined what it could mean. She imagined the sight of a giant statue at the entry point of a great nation -– but unlike the great monuments of the past, this would not signal an empire. Instead, it would signal one’s arrival to a place of opportunity and refuge and freedom. …
      Let us remember these words. For it falls on each generation to ensure that that lamp -– that beacon -– continues to shine as a source of hope around the world, and a source of our prosperity here at home. – WH, 7-1-10
    • President Obama says Arizona’s anti-illegal immigration law is ‘ill conceived’: “I’m ready to move forward. The majority of Democrats are ready to move forward. And I believe the majority of Americans are ready to move forward,” Obama said. “But the fact is, without bipartisan support, as we had just a few years ago, we cannot solve this problem,” Obama told an audience of several hundred at American University.
      “No matter how decent they are, no matter their reasons, the 11 million who broke these laws should be held accountable,” Obama said.
      “Laws like Arizona’s put huge pressures on local law enforcement to enforce rules that ultimately are unenforceable,” Obama lamented. “And as other states and localities go their own ways, we face the prospect that different rules for immigration will apply in different parts of the country – a patchwork of local immigration rules where we all know one clear national standard is needed,” he added.
      “The legal immigration system is as broken as the border,” he said. “It’s made worse by a failure of those of us in Washington to fix a broken immigration system.”… – NY Daily News, 7-1-10
    • Remarks: Obama at Racine, Wisconsin Town Hall June 30, 2010: As we speak, we’re on the verge of passing the most comprehensive financial reform since the Great Depression – reform that will prevent a crisis like this from happening again. It’s reform that will protect our economy from the recklessness and irresponsibility of a few. Reform that will protect consumers against the unfair practices of credit card companies and mortgage lenders. Reform that ensures taxpayers are never again on the hook for Wall Street’s mistakes.
      But most of our friends in the other party are planning on voting against this reform. In fact, just yesterday, I was stunned to hear the leader of the Republicans in the House say that financial reform was like using a nuclear weapon to target an ant. That’s right. He compared the financial crisis to an ant. The same financial crisis that led to the loss of nearly eight million jobs. The same crisis that cost people their homes and their lives savings.
      Well if the Republican leader is that out of touch with the struggles facing the American people, he should come here to Racine and ask people if they think the financial crisis was an ant. He should ask the men and women who’ve been out of work for months at a time. He should ask the Americans who send me letters every night that talk about how they’re barely hanging on.
      These Americans don’t believe the financial crisis was an ant. They know that it’s what led to the worst recession since the Great Depression. And they expect their leaders in Washington to do whatever it takes to make sure a crisis like this never happens again. The Republican leader might want to maintain a status quo on Wall Street. But we want to move America forward…. – Time, 6-30-10
    • In Wisconsin, Obama criticizes GOP for blocking his economic agenda: The president visits Racine, a city where the recession has hit hard, to cite economic gains while acknowledging much work lies ahead — and arguing that Republican lawmakers are the chief obstacle.
      He also directed criticism at House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R- Ohio), who recently characterized a Wall Street overhaul package currently before Congress as “killing an ant with a nuclear weapon.” “This is the same crisis that led to the loss of 8 million jobs,” Obama said to loud applause. He called Boehner “out of touch with the struggles of everyday families.”… – LAT, 7-1-10

    HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

    • Julian Zelizer: Gotcha politics gone wild: The Democratic National Committee has launched a new website where anyone can upload videos. Call this the political YouTube.
      The “accountability project,” as the DNC has named it, is an effort systematically to capture the kind of “Macaca” moment that brought down Republican Sen. George Allen in 2006 when he made racially tinged remarks at a rally. A more recent example is the video clip from a private fundraiser last week that captured Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele questioning the war in Afghanistan, comments that have prompted calls for Steele’s resignation.
      Democrats have gone a step further by institutionalizing the power of YouTube politics with the hope of finding clips that will damage Republicans.
      This is a terrible idea. Without question, the website will escalate the partisan arms race that exists to dominate the arena of gotcha politics. Republicans surely will replicate the site. While some video clips can certainly be useful and they can expose the egregious behavior of politicians, YouTube clips too often provide short visuals that lack context and are skewed for political purposes.
      Partisan politics have been on a downward slope for decades. The media have often made things worse as editorial control over the dissemination of information has eroded to a point that is beyond repair….
      But like the old media, the new media has many flaws. The new Democratic website reveals that the parties are now fully embracing the more dangerous aspects of the new technology rather than trying to contain them.
      The growing use of these videos will severely damage the ways in which we choose and evaluate our politicians, pushing citizens to focus more on gaffes and gotcha moments than on the issues and policies that don’t lend themselves to this format, but which are really the critical questions of our time. – CNN, 7-5-10
    • Andrew Bacevich: Long wars, violence and change in America: “Long wars are antithetical to democracy,” says Andrew Bacevich in a Washington Post op-ed. He is a retired Army colonel and professor of history at Boston University. “Protracted conflict introduces toxins that inexorably corrode the values of popular government,” he says. There is “a culture of contempt” for civilians in the ranks of the military. Bacevich concludes that Americans “need to reclaim ownership of their army.”… – OpEd News, 7-5-10
    • Craig Shirley: Barack Obama A Better President than Reagan? No Chance: Siena College has just released its annual ranking of America’s 44 presidents, and I was delighted to be among the 200 historians to be asked to participate in evaluating the chief executives…. Surely the bias of those surveyed was underscored with the nonsensical ranking of Barack Obama ahead of Ronald Reagan. First, Obama should not have even been included. He’s only been in office for a year and a half. Further, many have argued that sufficient time should pass before these evaluations begin and that even Bill Clinton and George W. Bush ought to be left off the list until passions have cooled and they can be judged more dispassionately. But objectively, how does one really put Obama ahead of Reagan, who unlike FDR, solved his economic calamity in two years (and in the process, tamed the high inflation, high interest rates and created 19 million jobs in the private sector) and, oh by way, won the Cold War. Reagan critics in academia argue that Mikhail Gorbachev and Reagan concluded the Cold War. Ridiculous…. – Fox News, 7-2-10

    Top Young Historians: 109 – Daniel J. Sargent

    Top Young Historians

    Daniel J. Sargent, 30

    Basic Facts

    Teaching Position: Assistant Professor of History, University of California, Berkeley
    Area of Research: Modern American History, American foreign policy
    Education: Doctor of Philosophy, History, Harvard University, 2008
    Major Publications: Sargent is the author of A Superpower Transformed: Globalization and the Crisis of American Foreign Policy in the 1970s (Oxford University Press: Forthcoming). Daniel J. Sargent JPG Sargent is an editor of Shock of the Global: The 1970s In Perspective, co-edited with Niall Ferguson, Charles Maier, Erez Manela (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2010).
    Sargent is also the author of scholarly journal articles, book chapters and reviews including among others:
    “The United States and Globalization,” in Shock of the Global: The International History of the 1970s, edited by Ferguson et. al. (Cambridge, Mass. Harvard University Press, 2010).
    Awards: Sargent is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
    Weatherhead Center for International Affairs , Dissertation Completion Fellowship, 2006-07;
    Olin Institute for Strategic Studies , Pre-Doctoral Fellowship in National Security Studies, 2005-06;
    Harvard University, Certificate of Distinction in Teaching (Awarded 3 times, 2003-04, 2004-05).
    Additional Info:
    Taught at Yale University, New Haven, CT, 2007-2008, Henry Chauncey Jr. ’57 Postdoctoral Fellowship

    Personal Anecdote

    Earlier this year, I found myself in San Francisco General Hospital after an athletic accident shattered my left acetabulum. An immobile week in hospital gave me plenty of time to mull my first surgical experience and to reflect on the choices that had brought me here: choices that — by the happenstance that looks in retrospect like fate — had carried me to a fast and risky stretch of sidewalk in Berkeley.

    If truth be told, my doctors intimidated me. Here they were, a group of experts whose competencies complemented each other perfectly: from the nurses and radiologists to the anesthesiologist and the orthopedic surgeon who specialized in pelvic fractures. As my fears about surgery mellowed in the glow of their expertise, I wondered what I — a putative knowledge professional myself — had accomplished by comparison? Did my credentials — a PhD in international history — accredit me as an expert on a par with these men and women? Did I, by comparison with them, know anything that really mattered?

    As I pondered, I came to the conclusion that historians may be somewhat anomalous among the ranks of the gowned and capped. In my own work at least, I am more a generalist than specialist, and I imagine that the same could be said about many of us. By comparison with the surgeon or the scientist, the historian knows a little about a lot of things; knowledge in breadth, not in depth, is our stock in trade. But this, I concluded, can serve a valuable purpose.

    What I have tried to do in my own work, I suppose, is to think about how the pieces of the past might constitute larger frameworks of causation and meaning. In my book manuscript, for example, I ask how the acceleration of globalization contributed to both an apparent crisis of American power in the 1970s and to its surprising revival thereafter. This question has drawn me into a variety of specialist topics, ranging from monetary economics to human rights law. I could not claim real expertise in any of them — not by the standards of the economist or the lawyer. What I have tried to do as a historian is to learn enough to be able to relate the particular to the general, to see the fragments as part of a larger whole.

    This, I think, may be the real genius of our profession. The past, especially the recent past, is too vast to permit scholars to acquire a scientific understanding of it. What we do instead is to become adept at navigating its patterns, at distilling understanding from complexity. This may make historians somewhat anomalous in a knowledge economy in which specialization remains the order of the day. (For proof of this, spend a week in the hospital.)

    Yet it may be that the historian’s willingness to synthesize complexity and to think broadly distinguishes us in useful ways from our colleagues in medicine and the sciences. After all, conversation in the public square is too often denuded of context, complexity, and all sense of possible consequences. The historian’s sensibility may have value even outside of the academy, as a corrective to the pervasive short-termism that marks our times and our politics. I certainly hope so, although I’ll be sticking with the medical specialists for my health care!

    Quotes

    By Daniel J. Sargent

    “In view of the indifference with which American policy makers engaged globalization in the 1970s, its consequences for the United States in the decades that followed would be serendipitous. As it had in the last third of the nineteenth century, globalization in the late twentieth century fostered a nurturing international environment for the United States. Thanks to expanding global capital markets, the U.S. in the 1980s would be able to draw on the savings of foreigners to sustain its deficits and defense expenditures. The emergence of human rights as an urgent issue reinvigorated America’s ideological mission in the Cold War. And if the West experienced the birth pangs of globalization in the 1970s, the consequences for the Eastern Bloc (excepting China) in the 1980s would be catastrophic. Globalization played to American strengths. With their orientation towards limited government and entrepreneurial capitalism, their belief in the universal applicability of their culture and values, and their stubborn conviction in human freedom as history’s meta-story, Americans were uniquely positioned to become the hub of an interdependent world-civilization. The Soviet Union, by contrast, could hardly have been worse equipped to compete in an integrating world. If the USSR had been a powerful adversary in an age of steel, industrial planning, and workers’ solidarity, it could not easily adapt to a world of microprocessors, information capitalism, and Amnesty International. Indeed, Mikhail Gorbachev’s efforts in the 1980s to drag the Soviet system out of isolation and towards participation in an interdependent world led ultimately to the system’s collapse. The Cold War’s endgame – and the United States’ emergence as the world’s sole superpower – thus need to be understood in terms of the changes that globalization wrought upon the international system in the late twentieth century.” — Daniel J. Sargent in “A Superpower Transformed: Globalization and the Crisis of American Foreign Policy in the 1970s” (Oxford University Press: Forthcoming).About Daniel J. Sargent

  • “An illuminating book that provides a new way to look at the international history of the 1970s. It redirects our Shock of the Global: The 1970s In Perspective JPG attention away from the familiar narrative and instead places the decade in a new perspective that allows us to evaluate longer-term trends, including the evolution of global society, the dynamics of the international economy, the breakup of colonial empires, the impact of popular culture, and the declining realm for autonomous national choices. This superb work will be greeted with enthusiasm.” — Melvyn P. Leffler, author of “For the Soul of Mankind: The United States, the Soviet Union, and the Cold War”
  • “This volume is remarkable for uniformly strong essays and the cohesiveness of its argument that the 1970s were a distinctive era, and that the key to understanding the decade is the concept of globalization. Thought-provoking and consistently interesting, this book should have a very broad audience among both scholars and general readers alike.” — Thomas Alan Schwartz, author of “Lyndon Johnson and Europe”
  • “A stellar group of authors tackles the transformation of the world in the 1970s, showing how the decade should be seen as ushering in the contemporary global age. Ranging from the end of U.S. economic hegemony to the rise of environmentalism, from the rise of China to the growing influence of Islam, from transnational business transactions to human rights, this book carefully examines the ‘shock’ of globalization and makes a major contribution to international history.” — Akira Iriye, author of China and Japan in the Global Setting
  • “[A] masterful book.” — Michael Casey, Irish Times
  • “A serious and impressive in-depth study of an unjustly neglected decade.” — Bill Perrett, The Age
  • “Sargent is an amazing teacher… very very good class. I’M A TRANSFER STUDENT AND ENJOYED HIS CLASS!”…
    “Professor Sargent is extremely helpful and knowledgeable about U.S. foreign policy…. He is fair and does not force his point of view on the students. He knows the subject very well so you can go to him for any question.”…
    “Intelligent, kind, helpful and very informative. Makes a concerted effort to meet the needs of his students, which makes the class fairly easy. Very accessible and easy to talk to in office hours. He’s definitely an expert in international and global history. I highly recommed him to history majors.”…. — Anonymous Students
  • Posted on Sunday, July 4, 2010 at 11:43 AM

    Tenure, RIP: What the Vanishing Status Means for the Future of Education

    Source: Chronicle of Higher Education, 7-4-10

    Some time this fall, the U.S. Education Department will publish a report that documents the death of tenure.

    Innocuously titled “Employees in Postsecondary Institutions, Fall 2009,” the report won’t say it’s about the demise of tenure. But that’s what it will show.

    Over just three decades, the proportion of college instructors who are tenured or on the tenure track plummeted: from 57 percent in 1975 to 31 percent in 2007. The new report is expected to show that that proportion fell even further in 2009, dropping below one-third. If you add graduate teaching assistants to the mix, those with some kind of tenure status represent a mere quarter of all instructors….

    Professors who talked to The Chronicle say it may go as low as 15 percent or 20 percent of all instructors, and then reach a holding pattern. “I think the financial pressures are so severe that other than the selective, wealthy liberal-arts colleges and the public and private flagship research universities, tenure is just going to be a vanishing species,” says Mr. Ehrenberg.

    He is among the scholars whose research shows the decline in tenure is a bad thing for students. Such studies could create public pressure to bring back tenure, says Marc Bousquet, an associate professor of English at Santa Clara University. “I think we’re at a crossroads,” says Mr. Bousquet. “Over the past 40 years, we’ve seen a growing trend to misrecognize tenure as a kind of merit badge for research-intensive faculty.” Meanwhile, he says, “the majority of teaching-intensive faculty have been shunted out of the tenure system.” In his view, all professors should be included on the tenure track, and that’s what a report on the issue by the AAUP will call for this fall.

    But higher-education watchers don’t hold out much hope that the numbers on tenure will turn around. “In the end, these are financial decisions, and they are very hard to reverse,” says Frank J. Donoghue, an associate professor of English at Ohio State University who writes about the professoriate. “Once a university opens the door to staffing courses with adjuncts, they save so much money it’s almost unthinkable for them to stop.”…READ MORE

    Happy 4th of July: Independence Day History & Facts

    INDEPENDENCE DAY 2010

    http://www.providingnews.com/wp-content/uploads/new/2010/07/signers-of-declaration-of-independence.jpg
    • 4th of July: Facts about the Declaration of Independence:
      On July 2 the Continental Congress voted to declare independence from Great Britain and on 4th of July 1776 the same Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. The Founding Fathers signed the document in August, after it was finished….
      Another fact about this important day in the United States of America’s history is that Thomas Jefferson (3rd U.S President) and John Adams (2nd U.S. President) both died on 4th of July 1826, when the country was celebrating 50th anniversary of the signing.
      Although the capital city of the United States of America is Washington named after the great president, George Washington, the first U.S President, did not sign the Declaration of Independence because he was head of the Continental Army and no longer a member in the Continental Congress.
      The first anniversary resulted in a huge party in Philadelphia in 1777. There were fireworks, cannons, barbecues and toasts. – Providing News, 7-4-10
    • Thomas Jefferson made slip in Declaration: Library of Congress officials say Thomas Jefferson made a Freudian slip while penning a rough draft of the Declaration of Independence. In an early draft of the document Jefferson referred to the American population as “subjects,” replacing that term with the word “citizens,” which he then used frequently throughout the final draft. The document is normally kept under lock and key in one of the Library’s vaults. On Friday morning, the first time officials revealed the wording glitch, it traveled under police escort for a demonstration of the high-tech imaging. It was the first time in 15 years that the document was unveiled outside of its oxygen-free safe…. – A copy of the rough draft of the Declaration can be viewed online at http://www.myLOC.gov….- AP, 7-2-10

    4th of July quotes: Best Independence Day quotes and sayings:

    • The United States is the only country with a known birthday. (James G. Blaine)
    • This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave. (Elmer Davis)
    • Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves. (Abraham Lincoln)
    • We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it. (William Faulkner)
    • It is the love of country that has lighted and that keeps glowing the holy fire of patriotism. (J. Horace McFarland)
    • America is a tune. It must be sung together. (Gerald Stanley Lee)
    • The winds that blow through the wide sky in these mounts, the winds that sweep from Canada to Mexico, from the Pacific to the Atlantic – have always blown on free men. (Franklin D. Roosevelt)
    • Where liberty dwells, there is my country. (Benjamin Franklin)
    • Sometimes people call me an idealist. Well, that is the way I know I am an American. America is the only idealistic nation in the world. (Woodrow Wilson) – Providing News, 7-4-10

    Remembering the Historian of the Senate, Robert Byrd

    SEN. ROBERT C. BYRD, 1917-2010

    http://timesonline.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/2008/11/19/robert_byrd.jpg

    • Remembering Robert Byrd: The longest-serving senator in U.S. history dies at 92 – Time
    • Video: Sen. Robert C. Byrd, 1917-2010: Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), the longest-serving senator in U.S. history, has died at the age of 92. Whit Johnson reports. (CBS News) WaPo
    • Sen. Robert C. Byrd, champion of the Constitution and his home state, dies at 92: Robert C. Byrd, an orphan from the West Virginia coal fields who served more than half a century in the Senate and used his canny, masterful knowledge of the institution to protect its rules, shape the federal budget and, above all else, tend to the interests of his impoverished state, died Monday. He was 92…. – WaPo, 6-28-10
    • Longest-serving US Senator dies: U.S. Senator Robert Byrd, who evolved from a segregationist to a civil rights advocate in becoming the longest serving member ever of the Congress, died on Monday. First elected in 1952, Byrd was 92…. – Reuters, 6-28-10
    • Robert C. Byrd, a Pillar of the Senate, Dies at 92: Robert C. Byrd served 51 years in the United States Senate, longer than anyone else in history, and with his six years in the House of Representatives, he was the longest-serving member of Congress. But it was how he used that record tenure that made him a pillar of Capitol Hill — fighting, often with florid words, for the primacy of the legislative branch of government and building, always with canny political skills, a modern West Virginia with vast amounts of federal money….
      “America has lost a voice of principle and reason,” the president said. – NYT, 6-28-10
    • U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd — 1917-2010: Senator Robert C. Byrd, a son of West Virginia coal country who used his mastery of Senate rules and a taste for hardball tactics to become a passionate and often feared advocate for the state and the Senate he loved, died Monday at age 92. As the Senate opened Monday, Byrd’s desk was draped in black cloth with a bowl of white roses. Flags outside the White House and the Capitol flew at half-staff. … He served longer and cast more votes than any senator in history… – Register Herald, 6-28-10
    • Robert Byrd, Respected Voice of the Senate, Dies at 92: Robert C. Byrd, who used his record tenure as a United States senator to fight for the primacy of the legislative branch of government and to build a modern West Virginia with vast amounts of federal money, died at about 3 a.m. Monday, his office said. He was 92.
      He had been in failing health for several years. Mr. Byrd served 51 years in the Senate, longer than anyone in American history, and with his six years in the House, he was the longest-serving member of Congress. He held a number of Senate offices, including majority and minority leader and president pro tem. But the post that gave him the most satisfaction was chairman of the Appropriations Committee, with its power of the purse — a post he gave up only last year as his health declined. A New Deal Democrat, Mr. Byrd used the position in large part to battle persistent poverty in West Virginia, which he called “one of the rock bottomest of states.”… – NYT, 6-28-10
    http://photos.upi.com/Audio/Year_in_Review/684b5cd02b74636a9da969998e5fc731/Robert-Byrd.jpg
    • Sen. Robert C. Byrd: Longest-serving senator embodied changes in U.S.: ….In many ways, Sen. Byrd embodied the changes the nation has undergone in the past half century. A onetime segregationist and opponent of civil rights legislation, he evolved into a liberal hero as one of the earliest, unrepentant and most vocal foes of the Iraq war and a supporter of the rights of gays to serve in the military. He was the acknowledged Senate Renaissance man, who could recite poetry by memory for hours and yet be ruthless in advancing his legislative agenda. In many ways a throwback to an era of powerful orators like Henry Clay or John C. Calhoun, the stiff and formal Sen. Byrd could speak at great length with fire and passion, mixing references to the Roman Empire with emotional memories of his almost seven decades with his late wife Erma…. – AP, 6-28-10
    • Constitutional Scholar, Senate Elder Statesman Robert Byrd Remembered: Gwen Ifill reports on the life and legacy of West Virginia’s Sen. Robert Byrd, the longest-serving member in the history of Congress. Byrd died Monday at the age of 92… – PBS Newshour, 6-28-10
    • Former reporter remembers Byrd’s first office run: But John B. “Jack” Van Dyke remembers a West Virginia House of Delegates candidate in a messy butcher’s apron — “a guy by the name of Robert C. Byrd.” “He said, ‘There’s a guy by the name of Robert C. Byrd. I want you to go interview him,’” Van Dyke recalled. The young reporter walked into the grocery store, asked where he could find “Mr. Robert Byrd” and was sent to the meat counter. “He was cutting up chicken and wearing a bloody apron,” Van Dyke said. “He had on a white cap like I had worn in the Army overseas, but in a different color. There was one black lock of hair showing. ” “I told him who I was, and he said, ‘Give me five minutes.’ … Then, I interviewed Robert Carlyle Byrd, a butcher at the store.”… – Register-Herald, 6-30-10
    • Senate Stalwart Returns to Chamber One Last Time: Senator Robert C. Byrd made one last visit to the Senate floor on Thursday to allow his colleagues, staff members and the public to bid him a Capitol farewell after his death Monday at 92. The flag-draped casket of Mr. Byrd was positioned on the Lincoln Catafalque in the well of the Senate, where for decades Mr. Byrd had argued his case as he sought money for his poor state of West Virginia, challenged presidents, opposed the Iraq war and sought to uphold the traditions and trappings of the Senate.
      “Lord, we appreciate his wit and wisdom, his stories and music, as well as his indefatigable commitment to the principles of freedom that made American great,” Dr. Barry C. Black, the Senate chaplain, said during a prayer in a private ceremony for senators and family before the doors to the Senate chamber were opened… – NYT, 7-1-10

    Senator Robert C. Byrd filing his papers for reelection with

    WV Archives
    Senator Robert C. Byrd filing his papers for reelection with Secretary of State Joe Burdett, 1964.
    • Sen. Byrd viewing in WV goes into wee hours: They came by the thousands to pay their respects to U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, and they kept trickling in past midnight and into the early morning hours Friday to honor a statesman, a scholar and, above all, a proud West Virginian…. – AP, 7-2-10
    • Byrd memorial scheduled today: Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden plan to lead a memorial service today for West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd, who died Monday at age 92. Byrd’s casket has been lying in the Capitol in Charleston overnight, for viewing by the public.
      On Thursday the Senate bid farewell to Byrd. He lay in repose on the Senate floor for six hours while his colleagues and Capitol Hill staffers lined up to pay their final respects. A private funeral is set for Tuesday in Arlington, Va. – AP, 7-2-10
    • Washington begins paying final respects to Robert Byrd: Senators spent Thursday morning paying their final respects to the man they called their dean. Family, friends, colleagues and admirers of Sen. Robert Byrd, the senate’s longest serving member, began what will be a long goodbye honoring the man who was elected to the chamber in 1958 and served through 11 presidential administrations…. – WaPo, 7-1-10
    • The opinions of Sen. Robert Byrd: Featured here are some of the opinion columns that Sen. Robert Byrd wrote for The Post during his tenure on Capitol Hill. Byrd, the longest-serving member of Congress, died June 28, 2010 at age 92… – WaPo
    • Byrd’s hometown remembers him fondly: The town of Sophia has a population of just 1200 – a small, tight-knit community that is grieving a very personal loss with the death of Robert C. Byrd. “Oh everybody in town is distraught,” said Mayor Danny Barr. “But today I think he’s in heaven with his wife Erma and the Lord carried him back home.” Barr said the citizens of Sophia have always retained a genuine affection for Robert Byrd. “The town will remember him as its favorite son. He always called Sophia his home.” “Byrd was like the rest of us, we were all poor,” he said. “We were all coal mining people, it was just a tough, tough life for everybody.”… – WV PubCast, 6-29-10
    • HNN Hot Topics: Robert Byrd, the Historian’s SenatorHNN
    • Raleigh County historian Scott Worley said he’ll remember Byrd as a teacher: “He had a wonderful sense of community and history. He wanted people to know and be reminded of their history,” said Worley. “So not only was he the wonderful statesman, he was a wonderful teacher, he wanted us to keep learning from our history,” he said…. – WV PubCast, 6-29-10

    The coffin of Senator Robert C. Byrd lay in repose in U.S. Capitol  on Thursday.
    Stephen Crowley/The New York Times The coffin of Senator Robert C. Byrd lay in repose in the Capitol on Thursday.
    %d bloggers like this: