Political Headlines March 10, 2013: President Barack Obama, Comedian-in-Chief at Gridiron Club Dinner

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

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President Obama, Comedian-in-Chief at Gridiron Club Dinner

Source: ABC News Radio, 3-10-13

Kevin Winter/NBCUniversal/Getty Images

President Obama showed off his comedy chops when he spoke to an elite group of journalists Saturday night at the Gridiron Club Dinner.

The Gridiron Club is one of Washington’s most exclusive organizations for journalists, and the annual dinner features musical skits poking fun at Republican and Democratic lawmakers. This was the second time Obama has spoke at the dinner, and his speech made fun of Republicans, Democrats, himself, and, naturally, the press….READ MORE

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Full Text Obama Presidency March 9, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Gridiron Club Dinner Speech 2013 Transcript

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President at the Gridiron Dinner

Barack Obama (center) walks with Denis McDonough (right) as they leave the Gridiron Dinner in Washington March 9, 2013. | AP Photo

Obama (center) leaves the Gridiron dinner on Saturday. | AP Photo

Source: WH, 3-9-13

Washington Renaissance Hotel
Washington, DC

10:03 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Before I begin, I know some of you have noticed that I’m dressed a little differently from the other gentlemen.  Because of sequester, they cut my tails.  (Laughter.)  My joke writers have been placed on furlough.  (Laughter.)  I know a lot of you reported that no one will feel any immediate impact because of the sequester.  Well, you’re about to find out how wrong you are.  (Laughter.)

Of course, there’s one thing in Washington that didn’t get cut — the length of this dinner.  (Laughter.)  Yet more proof that the sequester makes no sense.  (Laughter.)

As you know, I last attended the Gridiron dinner two years ago.  Back then, I addressed a number of topics — a dysfunctional Congress, a looming budget crisis, complaints that I don’t spend enough time with the press.  It’s funny, it seems like it was just yesterday.  (Laughter.)

We noticed that some folks couldn’t make it this evening.  It’s been noted that Bob Woodward sends his regrets, which Gene Sperling predicted.  (Laughter.)  I have to admit this whole brouhaha had me a little surprised.  Who knew Gene could be so intimidating?  (Laughter.)  Or let me phrase it differently — who knew anybody named Gene could be this intimidating?  (Laughter.)

Now I know that some folks think we responded to Woodward too aggressively.  But hey, when has — can anybody tell me when an administration has ever regretted picking a fight with Bob Woodward?  (Laughter.)  What’s the worst that could happen?  (Laughter and applause.)

But don’t worry.  We’re all friends again in the spirit of that wonderful song.  As you may have heard, Bob invited Gene over to his place.  And Bob says he actually thinks that I should make it too.  And I might take him up on the offer.  I mean, nothing says “not a threat” like showing up at somebody’s house with guys with machine guns.  (Laughter.)

Now, since I don’t often speak to a room full of journalists — (laughter) — I thought I should address a few concerns tonight.  Some of you have said that I’m ignoring the Washington press corps — that we’re too controlling.  You know what, you were right.  I was wrong and I want to apologize in a video you can watch exclusively at whitehouse.gov.  (Laughter.)

While we’re on this subject, I want to acknowledge Ed Henry, who is here — who is the fearless leader of the Washington press corps now.  (Applause.)  And at Ed’s request, tonight I will take one question from the press.  Jay, do we have a question?  (Laughter.)  Surprisingly, it’s a question from Ed Henry.  (Laughter.)  “Mr. President, will you be taking any questions tonight?”  (Laughter.)  I’m happy to answer that.  No, Ed, I will not.  (Laughter.)

I also want to recognize David Corn.  He’s here from Mother Jones magazine.  He brought his iPhone.  So Bobby Jindal, if you thought your remarks were off the record, ask Mitt Romney about that.  (Applause.)

I have to say, I thought Bobby was incredibly funny this evening.  (Applause.)  I thought he was terrific.  Amy Klobuchar was sparkling and fantastic and fabulous.  (Applause.)  I am worried about Al Franken though.  (Laughter.)  How do you start off being one of the original writers for Saturday Night Live and end up being the second-funniest Senator in Minnesota?  (Laughter and applause.)  How the mighty have fallen.  (Laughter.)

Now I’m sure that you’ve noticed that there’s somebody very special in my life who is missing tonight, somebody who has always got my back, stands with me no matter what and gives me hope no matter how dark things seem.  So tonight, I want to publicly thank my rock, my foundation — thank you, Nate Silver.  (Laughter.)

Of course as I begin my second term, our country is still facing enormous challenges.  We have a lot of work to do — that, Marco Rubio, is how you take a sip of water.  (Laughter and applause.)

As I was saying, we face major challenges.  March in particular is going to be full of tough decisions.  But I want to assure you, I have my top advisors working around the clock. After all, my March Madness bracket isn’t going to fill itself out.  (Laughter.)  And don’t worry — there is an entire team in the situation room as we speak, planning my next golf outing, right now at this moment.  (Laughter.)

But those aren’t the only issues on my mind.  As you are aware — as has been noted this evening — we’ve had to make some very tough, huge budget cuts apparently with no regard to long-term consequences, which means I know how you feel in journalism.  (Laughter.)  I’ve been trying to explain this situation to the American people, but clearly I am not perfect. After a very public mix-up last week, my communications team has provided me with an easy way to distinguish between Star Trek and Star Wars.  (Laughter.)  Spock is what Maureen Dowd calls me.  Darth Vader is what John Boehner calls me.  (Laughter.)

Of course, maintaining credibility in this cynical atmosphere is harder than ever — incredibly challenging.  My administration recently put out a photo of me skeet shooting and even that wasn’t enough for some people.  Next week, we’re releasing a photo of me clinging to religion.  (Laughter and applause.)

I’m also doing what I can to smooth things over with Republicans in Congress.  In fact, these days John McCain and I are spending so much time together that he told me we were becoming friends.  I said, “John, stop.  Chuck Hagel warned me how this ends up.”  (Laughter.)

It took a while, but I’m glad that the Senate finally confirmed my Secretary of Defense.  And I have to say, I don’t know what happened to Chuck in those hearings.  I know he worked hard, he studied his brief.  And I even lent him my presidential debate team to work with him.  (Laughter.)  It’s confusing what happened.  (Laughter.)

But all these changes to my team are tough to handle, I’ve got to admit.  After nine years, I finally said goodbye to my chief speechwriter, Jon Favreau.  I watched him grow up.  He’s almost like a son to me, he’s been with me so long.  And I said to him when he first informed me of his decision, I said, “Favs, you can’t leave.”  And he answered with three simple words — “yes, I can.”  (Laughter.)  Fortunately, he did not take the prompter on his way out.  (Laughter.)  That would have been a problem.  (Laughter.)

With all these new faces, it’s hard to keep track of who is in, who is out.  And I know it’s difficult for you guys as reporters.  But I can offer you an easy way of remembering the new team.  If Ted Cruz calls somebody a communist, then you know they’re in my cabinet.  (Laughter.)

Jack Lew is getting started on his new role as Treasury Secretary.  Jack is so low key, he makes Tim Geithner look like Tom Cruise.  (Laughter.)  Don’t worry, everybody, Jack signed off on that joke or a five year old drew a slinky.  (Laughter.)  I don’t know which.  (Applause.)

Another big change has been at the State Department.  Everybody has noticed that obviously.  And let’s face it — Hillary is a tough act to follow.  But John Kerry is doing great so far.  He is doing everything he can to ensure continuity.  Frankly, though, I think it’s time for him to stop showing up at work in pantsuits.  (Laughter.)  It’s a disturbing image.  (Laughter.)  It really is.  (Laughter.)  I don’t know where he buys them.  He is a tall guy.  (Laughter.)

And even though I’m just beginning my second term, I know that some folks are looking ahead to bigger things.  Look, it’s no secret that my Vice President is still ambitious.  But let’s face it, his age is an issue.  Just the other day, I had to take Joe aside and say, “Joe, you are way too young to be the pope.”  (Laughter.)  “You can’t do it.  You got to mature a little bit.”  (Laughter.)

Now, I do want to end on a serious note.  I know that there are people who get frustrated with the way journalism is practiced these days.  And sometimes those people are me.  (Laughter.)  But the truth is our country needs you and our democracy needs you.

In an age when all it takes to attract attention is a Twitter handle and some followers, it’s easier than ever to get it wrong.  But it’s more important than ever to get it right.  And I am grateful for all the journalists who do one of the toughest jobs there is with integrity and insight and dedication — and a sense of purpose — that goes beyond a business model or a news cycle.

This year alone, reporters have exposed corruption here at home and around the world.  They’ve risked everything to bring us stories from places like Syria and Kenya, stories that need to be told.  And they’ve helped people understand the ways in which we’re all connected — how something that happens or doesn’t happen halfway around the world or here in Washington can have consequences for American families.

These are extraordinary times.  The stakes are high and the tensions can sometimes be high as well.  But while we’ll always have disagreements, I believe that we share the belief that a free press — a press that questions us, that holds us accountable, that sometimes gets under our skin — is absolutely an essential part of our democracy.

So I want to thank everybody for not just a wonderful evening — and, Chuck, I want to thank you for your outstanding presidency — but I also just want to thank you for the work that you do each and every day.  And in the words of one of my favorite Star Trek characters — Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise — “May the force be with you.”  (Laughter and applause.)

END 10:19 P.M. EST

Political Headlines March 9, 2013: 9 Jokes from President Barack Obama’s Gridiron Club Speech

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

9 jokes from Obama’s Gridiron speech

Source: Politico, 3-9-13

AP

AP

President Obama poked fun at himself and the Washington press corps at the Gridiron Club dinner on Saturday night. Here are his best jokes:

— Because of sequester, they cut my tails.  My joke writers have been placed on furlough. I know a lot of you reported that no one will feel any immediate impact because of the sequester.  Well, you’re about to find out how wrong you are.

— We noticed that some folks couldn’t make it this evening.  It’s been noted that Bob Woodward sends his regrets, which Gene Sperling predicted.

— Some of you have said that I’m ignoring the Washington press corps — that we’re too controlling.  You know what, you were right.  I was wrong and I want to apologize in a video you can watch exclusively at whitehouse.gov.

— Now I’m sure that you’ve noticed that there’s somebody very special in my life who is missing tonight, somebody who has always got my back, stands with me no matter what and gives me hope no matter how dark things seem.  So tonight, I want to publicly thank my rock, my foundation — thank you, Nate Silver.

— As I was saying, we face major challenges.  March in particular is going to be full of tough decisions.  But I want to assure you, I have my top advisors working around the clock. After all, my March Madness bracket isn’t going to fill itself out.  And don’t worry — there is an entire team in the situation room as we speak, planning my next golf outing, right now at this moment.

— After a very public mix-up last week, my communications team has provided me with an easy way to distinguish between “Star Trek” and “Star Wars.” Spock is what Maureen Dowd calls me.  Darth Vader is what John Boehner calls me.

— It took a while, but I’m glad that the Senate finally confirmed my Secretary of Defense.  And I have to say, I don’t know what happened to Chuck in those hearings.  I know he worked hard, he studied his brief.  And I even lent him my presidential debate team to work with him.

— But all these changes to my team are tough to handle, I’ve got to admit.  After nine years, I finally said goodbye to my chief speechwriter, Jon Favreau… Fortunately, he did not take the prompter on his way out.  That would have been a problem.

— And in the words of one of my favorite “Star Trek” characters — Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise — “May the force be with you.”

Political Headlines February 28, 2013: Lanny Davis former Clinton aide & columnist joins Bob Woodward in claiming White House threat

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

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Former Clinton aide, columnist joins Woodward in claiming White House threat

Source: FoxNews.com, 2-28-13

woodwarddavissplit.jpg
Shown here are journalist Bob Woodward, left, and former Clinton adviser Lanny Davis. (AP)

The latest claim comes from Lanny Davis, who served as counsel to former President Bill Clinton and later went on to write a column for The Washington Times. In a radio interview on WMAL, Davis said that a “senior Obama White House official” once called his editor at the Times and said that if the paper continued to run his columns, “his reporters would lose their credentials.”…READ MORE

Full Text Political Headlines February 28, 2013: White House’s Gene Sperling’s Threatening Emails to Bob Woodward over Sequester Report Washington Post Op-ed

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

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Journalist Clashes with White House over Sequester Report

Source: ABC News Radio, 2-28-13

ABC/ Ida Mae Astute

Veteran journalist Bob Woodward is embroiled in a public clash with the White House over his reporting on the sequester….READ MORE

From: Sperling, Gene
Date: February 22, 2013 11:52:34 PM EST
To: Bob Woodward

Bob:

I apologize for raising my voice in our conversation today. My bad. I do understand your problems with a couple of our statements in the fall — but feel on the other hand that you focus on a few specific trees that gives a very wrong perception of the forest. But perhaps we will just not see eye to eye here.

But I do truly believe you should rethink your comment about saying saying that Potus asking for revenues is moving the goal post. I know you may not believe this, but as a friend, I think you will regret staking out that claim. The idea that the sequester was to force both sides to go back to try at a big or grand barain with a mix of entitlements and revenues (even if there were serious disagreements on composition) was part of the DNA of the thing from the start. It was an accepted part of the understanding — from the start. Really. It was assumed by the Rs on the Supercommittee that came right after: it was assumed in the November-December 2012 negotiations. There may have been big disagreements over rates and ratios — but that it was supposed to be replaced by entitlements and revenues of some form is not controversial. (Indeed, the discretionary savings amount from the Boehner-Obama negotiations were locked in in BCA: the sequester was just designed to force all back to table on entitlements and revenues.)

I agree there are more than one side to our first disagreement, but again think this latter issue is diffferent. Not out to argue and argue on this latter point. Just my sincere advice. Your call obviously.

My apologies again for raising my voice on the call with you. Feel bad about that and truly apologize.

Gene

From: Bob Woodward
Subject: Re:
Date: February 23, 2013 7:23:37 AM EST
To: Sperling, Gene

Gene: You do not ever have to apologize to me. You get wound up because you are making your points and you believe them. This is all part of a serious discussion. I for one welcome a little heat; there should more given the importance. I also welcome your personal advice. I am listening. I know you lived all this. My partial advantage is that I talked extensively with all involved. I am traveling and will try to reach you after 3 pm today. Best, Bob

Political Headlines February 27, 2013: Bob Woodward: A ‘Very Senior’ White House Person Warned Me I’d ‘Regret’ What I’m Doing

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

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BOB WOODWARD: A ‘Very Senior’ White House Person Warned Me I’d ‘Regret’ What I’m Doing

Source: Business Insider, 2-27-13

Bob Woodward said this evening on CNN that a “very senior person” at the White House warned him in an email that he would “regret doing this,” the same day he has continued to slam President Barack Obama over the looming forced cuts known as the sequester….”It makes me very uncomfortable to have the White House telling reporters, ‘You’re going to regret doing something that you believe in,'” Woodward said….READ MORE

Political Headlines February 27, 2013: Bob Woodward says he was threatened by White House in CNN Interview

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

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Bob Woodward says he was threatened by White House

Source: CNN, 2-27-13

Bob Woodward claimed the White House threatened him about his coverage on the budget cuts, but the White House has pushed back. (Source: CNN)
Bob Woodward claimed the White House threatened him about his coverage on the budget cuts, but the White House has pushed back. (Source: CNN)

Veteran journalist Bob Woodward said Wednesday he was threatened by a senior Obama administration official following his reporting on the White House’s handling of the forced federal spending cuts set to take effect on Friday.

“They’re not happy at all,” he said on CNN’s “The Situation Room”….”It was said very clearly, you will regret doing this,” he said….READ MORE

Political Headlines February 27, 2013: Bob Woodward at war with Obama White House

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Woodward at war

Source: Politico, 2-27-13

Bob Woodward called a senior White House official last week to tell him that in a piece in that weekend’s Washington Post, he was going to question President Barack Obama’s account of how sequestration came about – and got a major-league brushback….READ MORE

Political Headlines February 27, 2013: Bob Woodward blasts President Obama’s madness on the sequester

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

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Bob Woodward blasts President Obama madness

Source: Politico, 2-27-13

The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward attacked President Barack Obama on Wednesday, saying the commander-in-chief’s decision not to deploy an aircraft carrier because of budget cuts is “a kind of madness….READ MORE

Political Headlines February 21, 2013: Bob Woodward: Obama’s sequester deal-changer

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

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Obama’s sequester deal-changer

Source: Bob Woodward, WaPo, 2-23-13

Misunderstanding, misstatements and all the classic contortions of partisan message management surround the sequester, the term for the $85 billion in ugly and largely irrational federal spending cuts set by law to begin Friday.

What is the non-budget wonk to make of this? Who is responsible? What really happened?….READ MORE

History Buzz September 9, 2012: Bob Woodward’s new book on Obama & deficit-reduction talks “The Price of Politics” 5 telling moments

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

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HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

Bob Woodward’s new book: 5 telling moments

Source: Politico, 9-9-12

Bob Woodward is shown here. | AP Photo

Bob woodward’s book offers new details of the 2011 debt-ceiling crisis. | AP Photo

Bob Woodward’s new book will be required reading in Washington for the precise reason the New York Times review was critical: its “granular telling … its almost blow-by-blow chronicle” of deficit-reduction talks during President Barack Obama’s first term.

Whether or not his reporting fundamentally changes Washington’s understanding of these years – in particular, the debt-ceiling negotiations of 2011 – the book offers essential color on the characters behind those talks.

The book, “The Price of Politics” (Simon & Schuster) is set for official release Tuesday.

Here are five telling moments….READ MORE

History Buzz August 14, 2012: Bob Woodward: New Book, ‘The Price of Politics,’ to Take on President Barack Obama, Economy

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY FEATURES

Next Bob Woodward book, ‘The Price of Politics,’ to take on President Barack Obama, economy

Source: AP, 8-14-12

The U.S. economy is about to get the Bob Woodward treatment.

The next book by the award-winning investigative reporter and best-selling author will document how President Barack Obama and congressional leaders responded to the economic crisis and where we stand now.

Publisher Simon & Schuster announced Tuesday the book will be called “The Price of Politics” and will come out Sept. 11….READ MORE

October 11, 2010: Obama Shuffles Cabinet, Talk of Obama-Hillary Ticket in 2012

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & 111TH CONGRESS:

President Obama with his Incoming and Outgoing Chiefs of Staff   following the Personel Announcement

President Barack Obama leaves the East Room of the White House after announcing that Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, left, is leaving to return to Chicago and will be replaced on an interim basis by Senior Advisor Pete Rouse, right, October 1, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

IN FOCUS: STATS

  • Poll: Half of voters disapprove of Obama’s job: Half of registered voters nationwide — 50 percent — disapprove of the job President Barack Obama is doing in In that September poll, the same proportion of the national electorate — 50 percent — disapproved of the president’s job performance while 45 percent approved. Five percent were unsure. “The battle lines are drawn for the midterm elections,” says Lee M. Miringoff, director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “President Obama’s approval rating is not a disaster, but it’s not high enough to be a battle cry for many of his fellow Democrats facing the 2010 electorate.” Poughkeepsie Journal, 10-8-10
  • Poll: Republicans remain revved up about Nov. 2 elections: Republicans enjoy a substantial “enthusiasm gap” in which their supporters are more likely to vote in this fall’s elections for control of Congress than Democratic voters, according to a new McClatchy-Marist poll.
    The poll found that 51 percent of Republicans are very enthusiastic about voting, a large edge over the 32 percent of independents who are very enthusiastic and almost twice the 28 percent of Democrats. That large gap – a strong indicator that Republicans are more likely to vote – dominates the landscape despite claims by top Democrats that they’re slowly but surely getting their voters more excited and closing the gap…. – Miami Herald, 10-7-10
  • NEWSWEEK Poll: Anger Unlikely to Be Deciding Factor in Midterms: Self-described “angry voters” no more likely to vote; Democrats trusted more than GOP on key issues: Anger is dominating the current political conversation—especially if you’re an older, whiter, economically anxious voter who dislikes President Barack Obama and tends to prefer Republicans to Democrats. But according to the new NEWSWEEK Poll, there’s little reason to believe that anger alone will be the determining factor in November’s midterm elections.
    Self-described “angry” voters fit a rather predictable political and demographic profile. The survey found that only 14 percent are Democrats. The rest are either Republicans (52 percent) or independents (29 percent), with 42 percent of the angry voters declaring themselves Tea Party supporters. For the midterms, angry voters favor Republican candidates over their Democratic rivals, 73 percent to 19 percent. Three quarters want the GOP to win control of Congress. More than seven in 10 specifically describe themselves as angry with Obama and congressional Democrats, and a full 60 percent see their vote in November as a vote against the president. Compared with voters in general, angry voters are 21 percent more likely to say they’re worried about their economic future. They are 10 percent whiter than voters in general and 7 percent less likely to be under 30…. – Newsweek, 10-1-10
  • Bob Woodward Sheds Light on Possibility of Obama/Clinton 2012 Ticket: Longtime Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward made waves when he said late Tuesday that it was “on the table” for Barack Obama to run with Hillary Clinton instead of Joe Biden as a vice president in 2012. The possibility was actually first written in his book “Obama’s Wars.” “Some of Hillary Clinton’s advisers see it as a real possibility in 2012,” Woodward said on CNN yesterday. In an interview with CBS News chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer on Wednesday, Woodward said the possibility should be taken “seriously, because it’s politics.” “In the book what I lay out when Hillary Clinton was under consideration for Secretary of State, Mark Penn, one of her former top advisers said ‘look, it’s a no-brainer, take the job.’” “‘In 2012, Obama might be in trouble. You represent voting blocks Obama did not during the primaries.’ She did very well with working class, women, Latinos and with seniors,” Woodward said. “Obama might need those groups if he’s in political trouble.” Penn stepped down as chief strategist of Clinton’s presidential campaign in April 2008, though remained involved with the campaign. Mr. Obama named Clinton as his nominee to be Secretary of State on December 1, 2008…. – CBS News, 10-6-10
  • Dumping Biden for Clinton: What Would That Accomplish?: One has to wonder what the White House was thinking when a report leaked that President Barack Obama is thinking about dropping Vice President Joe Biden from the ticket in 2012 and replacing him with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Even though David Axelrod, Mr. Obama’s top White House political strategist, quickly shot down the report as “absolutely” without merit, that would be the case no matter what the truth of the matter. The initial report that the idea was on the table at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., came from the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward, whose Watergate fame in the early 1970s and bevy of books since then demonstrate exquisite White House sources regardless of administration. Mr. Woodward being the reporter who got such a leak gave it credibility. Mr. Axelrod and Hillary Clinton’s aides can say whatever they want, but they are not going to be able to stop the talking. Anyone with a brain had to know that would be the case once Mr. Woodward brought rumors about a job swap with Mr. Biden becoming secretary of State and Ms. Clinton vice president into the public domain. And that raises two intriguing questions: Would the switch be a good idea for the president from either a political or a policy point of view?…. – WSJ, 10-6-10
  • THE HEADLINES….

    President Obama Greets Justice Elena Kagan and Chief Justice John   Roberts Before Justice Kagan's Investiture Ceremony

    President Barack Obama talks with Justice Elena Kagan and Chief Justice John Roberts before Kagan’s Investiture Ceremony at the Supreme Court, October 1, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    • White House staff exodus exposes Obama to charges of disarray More senior staff including defence secretary Robert Gates, and senior advisor David Axelrod, leave their jobs: More senior White House staff are to leave in the next few months, adding to the high exit rate from President Barack Obama’s administration. Political analysts attribute the attrition rate to exhaustion, but Republican opponents blame disarray inside the White House, with an insular team responsible for too many policy failures. The imminent departures include those of defence secretary Robert Gates, who has said he hopes to retire early next year, and Obama’s senior White House adviser, David Axelrod, who is planning a return to his home town of Chicago early next year to concentrate on planning for Obama’s 2012 re-election bid. The White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, has been mentioned in the past few weeks in connection with a range of jobs, including White House adviser or chairman of the Democratic national committee, which runs the party. This follows the departure of the national security adviser, General James Jones, after less than two years in office, as well as almost the entire economics team, of whom Peter Orszag and Christina Romer have already gone. Larry Summers is due to return to Harvard before the end of the year. The chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, left last month to stand for mayor of Chicago…. – Guardian, UK, 10-10-10
    • Obama Ratchets Up Tone Against G.O.P.: With his party facing losses in next month’s election, President Obama pressed his argument Sunday that the opposition is trying to steal the election with secret special-interest money, possibly including money from foreign companies. “Don’t let them hijack your agenda,” President Obama told supporters in Philadelphia at the second of four rallies planned. In a speech to a large rally here and in a new television advertisement, Mr. Obama and the Democrats escalated their efforts to present the Republicans as captive to moneyed interests. But Republicans and their allies fired back, dismissing the assertions as desperate last-minute allegations with no evidence to back them up. “You can’t let it happen,” Mr. Obama told thousands of supporters gathered at a school park in a predominantly African-American, working-class neighborhood in northern Philadelphia. “Don’t let them hijack your agenda. The American people deserve to know who’s trying to sway their elections, and you can’t stand by and let the special interests drown out the voices of the American people.”
      “You don’t know,” he said here. “It could be the oil industry, it could be the insurance industry, it could even be foreign-owned corporations. You don’t know because they don’t have to disclose. Now that’s not just a threat to Democrats, that’s a threat to our democracy.”… – NYT, 10-10-10
    • Obama, Biden Energize Voters at Philadelphia Rally: President Barack Obama, campaigning as if his name were on the ballot, implored voters in Philadelphia stump speech to use the three weeks left in the congressional election campaign to “stay fired up” and go to the polls to prevent a Republican landslide. The president relied on an oft-used speech as he addressed the crowd in the city’s Germantown community with the driving cadences that swept him into the White House two years ago.
      “I think the pundits are wrong. I think we’re going to win. But you’ve got to prove them wrong,” Obama said, jabbing his finger toward the audience. “They’re counting on you staying home. If that happens they win.”… – Fox News, 10-10-10
    • Obama: GOP plan to cut funding will hurt education: Offering voters a reason to keep Democrats in power on Capitol Hill, President Barack Obama says Republicans would cut education spending and put the country’s economic future at risk if they had their way. A quality education is paramount, Obama said. He suggested that federal spending on education is one area where he would not compromise. “What I’m not prepared to do is shortchange our children’s education,” Obama said Saturday in his weekly radio and Internet address….
      In his weekly message, Obama acknowledged that the country faces tight fiscal times, but he said a good education is too important to the country’s future prosperity to do it on the cheap.
      “At a time when most of the new jobs being created will require some kind of higher education, when countries that out-educate us today will out-compete us tomorrow, giving our kids the best education is an economic imperative,” he said…. – AP, 10-9-10
    • Jones an awkward fit in Obama circle: The question about James L. Jones was never whether he would be among the first senior officials to depart the Obama administration. The question was always how soon. Jones was the obvious outsider in the White House he called “Obama Nation,” a rarified land populated by veterans of the rough-and-tumble 2008 presidential campaign. A generation older than the president and those immediately around him, Jones is a retired Marine general of stature and experience who believes in the hierarchy of command and the inherent wisdom of orderly decision making…. – WaPo, 10-9-10
    • Economy loses 95K jobs due to government layoffs: A wave of government layoffs in September outpaced weak hiring in the private sector, pushing down the nation’s payrolls by a net total of 95,000 jobs. The unemployment rate held at 9.6 percent last month, the Labor Department said Friday. The jobless rate has now topped 9.5 percent for 14 straight months, the longest stretch since the 1930s. The report is the final one before the November elections, which means members of Congress will face voters next month who are frustrated with an economy that is still struggling to create jobs. The figure that may matter most is 18,000 — the number of positions lost after subtracting the 77,000 temporary census jobs that ended in September. That marks the first loss for that grouping since last December, according to economists at Nomura Securities…. – 10-8-10
    • Analysis: Jobs report is bleak news for Democrats: The die is cast, and it’s grim news for the Democrats. There’s nothing now that Congress or President Barack Obama can do to before the November midterm elections to jolt the nation’s stagnant economy. Friday’s government report — the last major economic news before the midterm elections — showed the nation continued to lose jobs last month, reinforcing the bleak reality that it probably will be years — not months — before employment returns to pre-recession levels below 6 percent. That tightens the pressure on Democrats ahead of the Nov. 2 elections. And it also casts a dark shadow well into the 2012 election season and beyond. “We won’t see under 6 percent for five years,” David Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor’s in New York, said Friday after the Labor Department reported that 95,000 more jobs were lost in September and the unemployment rate held at 9.6 percent. “It’s going to be a slow recovery.”…. – AP, 10-8-10
    • Obama economic trends on right track despite job losses: President Barack Obama said Friday economic trends were favorable despite a net loss of jobs in September, after officials released the last unemployment data before mid-term elections. Obama also attacked Republican policies which he said were hampering his capacity to ease the unemployment crisis, less than four weeks ahead of congressional polls in which his Democrats fear heavy losses.
      The president chose to highlight the fact that the economy had now produced “nine straight months of private sector jobs growth” but admitted “that news is tempered by a net job loss in September.”
      “The Republican position doesn’t make much sense, especially since the weakness in public sector employment is a drag on the private sector as well,” Obama said, after touring a small business in suburban Maryland. “The trendline in private sector jobs growth is moving in the right direction,” he said, but added he was not interested in trends or figures but the people behind them…. – AFP, 10-8-10
    • US sends $727 million to community health centers: The Obama administration on Friday announced $727 million will go to help fix up community health centers across the country, the first of $11 billion for the centers promised by the U.S. healthcare reform law. The money will go to 143 community health centers — which provide services regardless of patients’ ability to pay — in about 40 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico, the Health and Human Services department said…. – Reuters, 10-8-10
    • James Jones to step down as national security advisor: The retired Marine general will be replaced by his deputy, Tom Donilon, an administration official says. The move comes amid a larger turnover in the Obama White House…. – LAT, 10-8-10
    • Year After Obama Won Nobel, World Looks for Signs of Peace Increased Fighting in Afghanistan, Stalled Negotiations in Middle East: One year after the Nobel prize jury made its controversial decision to award President Obama the prize for world peace, a larger jury is still waiting for the president to live up to those lofty expectations. Even some of Obama’s allies — like former Nobel laureates Al Gore and Jimmy Carter — declined to assess his performance in fulfilling what the peace prize citation said was his “vision” of world harmony.
      The one year anniversary of Obama’s prize comes as fighting is escalating in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq continues to smolder and Obama struggles to keep fledgling Middle East peace talks from collapsing. Drones are firing missiles in unprecedened numbers and confrontations with Iran and North Korea are hotter than ever…. – ABC News, 10-8-10
    • Obama sends foreclosure docs bill back to Congress: President Barack Obama has rejected a bill that the White House fears could worsen the mounting problems caused by flawed or misleading documents used by banks in home foreclosures. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Thursday that Obama is sending a newly passed bill back to Congress to be fixed because the current version has “unintended consequences on consumer protections.” The bill would loosen the process for providing a notary’s seal to documents and allow them to be done electronically. Obama will not sign a bill that would allow foreclosure and other documents to be accepted among multiple states. Consumer advocates and state officials had argued the legislation would make it difficult for homeowners to challenge foreclosure documents prepared in other states…. – AP, 10-7-10
    • Christie Halts Train Tunnel, Citing Its Cost: The largest public transit project in the nation, a commuter train tunnel under the Hudson River to Manhattan, was halted on Thursday by Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey because, he said, the state could not afford its share of the project’s rising cost. Gov. Chris Christie said that his state could not afford the rising cost of the multibillion-dollar project. Work had already started. Mr. Christie’s decision stunned other government officials and advocates of public transportation because work on the tunnel was under way and $3 billion of federal financing had already been arranged — more money than had been committed to any other transit project in America…. – NYT, 10-7-10
    • Spill Panel Finds U.S. Was Slow to React: The Obama administration was slow to ramp up its response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, then overreacted as public criticism turned the disaster into a political liability, the staff of a special commission investigating the disaster say in papers released Wednesday. In four papers issued by the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, commission investigators fault the administration for giving too much credence to initial estimates that just 1,000 barrels of oil a day were flowing from the ruptured BP PLC well, and for later allowing political concerns to drive decisions such as how to deploy people and material—such as oil-containing boom—to contain the spreading oil. “Though some of the command structure was put in place very quickly, in other respects the mobilization of resources to combat the spill seemed to lag,” the commission investigators found…. – WSJ, 10-6-10
    • U.S. ‘Supportive’ of Peace Talks as Afghans Meet Former Taliban in Kabul: The White House repeated U.S. support for Afghan peace talks with the Taliban as an aide to President Hamid Karzai met former leaders of the guerrilla movement. Education Minister Ghulam Farooq Wardak, a member of a peacemaking council appointed by Karzai, conferred in Kabul this week with ex-officials of the former Taliban regime, Afghanistan’s Pajhwok news agency reported. Pakistani politicians and Arab delegates joined the meeting in the capital, which focused on how best to build a settlement with the insurgency, said a former Taliban official who attended, and who asked not to be named. Karzai’s deputy spokesman, Siamak Herawy, confirmed the meeting, which took place at Kabul’s Serena Hotel, and declined to give details. The Afghan president today summoned his peace council for an inaugural formal meeting on the ninth anniversary of the start of a U.S. bombing campaign that helped force the Taliban from power and install Karzai’s government…. – Bloomberg, 10-6-10
    • Post-election ethics trials set for Rangel, Waters: Ethics trials for two prominent House Democrats were set Thursday for after the midterm elections, depriving Republicans of headlines that could become campaign ads. An angry Rep. Zoe Lofgren, the House ethics committee chairwoman, unilaterally announced the mid-to-late November proceedings for Charles Rangel of New York and Maxine Waters of California. Lofgren, D-Calif., in a written statement, said the five Republicans on the 10-member committee blindsided her last week — when they publicly requested pre-election trials. Republicans made the request while Lofgren was flying from California to Washington. The disagreement has for the moment seriously damaged efforts to run the ethics committee without the partisan rancor evident in most House proceedings…. – AP, 10-7-10
    • Obama asks New Jersey donors for help: President Barack Obama asked wealthy donors Wednesday to help him close an “enthusiasm gap” with Republicans four weeks ahead of pivotal midterm elections. Speaking at a small dinner fundraiser, the president acknowledged that Democrats have a disadvantage because of the high unemployment rate, which he said would inevitably be blamed on the party in power. “Right now all the reports out there are that the main challenge we have is closing an enthusiasm gap between the Democrats and the Republicans,” the president said. “We’re not finished unless we lose sight of that long game and start sulking and sitting back and not doing everything we need to do in terms of making sure our folks turn out.”… – AP, 10-6-10
    • Obama awards Medal of Honor to Green Beret who died in Afghanistan: ‘America is forever in your debt,’ the president tells the parents of Staff Sgt. Robert J. Miller, an Illinois man credited with saving more than 20 U.S. and Afghan troops as he was dying. Full text: Obama awards Medal of Honor
      President Obama awarded the Medal of Honor on Wednesday to Army Staff Sgt. Robert J. Miller, who died in Afghanistan after exposing himself to enemy fire and saving the lives of more than 20 U.S. and Afghan troops. Obama presented the award — the nation’s highest military recognition — to Miller’s parents during a somber ceremony in the East Room of the White House. More than 100 of Miller’s friends and family attended the ceremony. “You gave your oldest son to America, and America is forever in your debt,” Obama told Miller’s parents, Phil and Maureen Miller. The 24-year-old Green Beret was raised in Wheaton, Ill., and “born to lead,” Obama said, noting that Miller earned two Army Commendation Medals during his first tour in Afghanistan.
      “It has been said that courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point,” Obama said at the ceremony. “For Rob Miller, that testing point came three years ago, deep in a snowy Afghan valley.”… – LAT, 10-6-10
    • Rick Sanchez Tells Jon Stewart Sorry, Wife Says: Former CNN anchor Rick Sanchez apologized to “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart Monday, four days after the journalist called the comedian a bigot during a satellite radio interview, according to a post on the Facebook page for Sanchez’s wife (account required). Suzanne Sanchez wrote that her husband was “caught up in the banter and deeply apologizes to anyone who was offended by his unintended comments.” “they had a good talk,” Suzanne Sanchez wrote. “jon was gracious and called rick, ‘thin-skinned.’ he’s right. rick feels horrible that in an effort to make a broader point about the media, his exhaustion from working 14 hr days for 2 mo. straight, caused him to mangle his thought process inartfully.”…. – CBS News, 10-5-10
    • New high court era: Kagan makes 3 women on bench: The Supreme Court began a new era Monday with three women serving together for the first time, Elena Kagan taking her place at the end of the bench and quickly joining in the give-and-take. In a scene that will repeat itself over the next few months, Kagan left the courtroom while the other justices remained to hear a case in which she will take no part. She has taken herself out of 24 pending cases, including the second of the two argued Monday, because of her work as the Obama administration’s solicitor general prior to joining the court in August…. – AP, 10-4-10
    • Kagan fills seats, makes her mark on first day of court term: Their membership has changed, and they haven’t sat together in months. Yet on Monday when Supreme Court justices took up the first case of the term, they quickly fell into familiar patterns. And newest Justice Elena Kagan was right in there with them…. – USA Today, 10-4-10
    • Justice Kagan makes her mark on day one, then has to go: Justice Elena Kagan made the most of her first day on the Supreme Court bench before reluctantly vanishing behind the burgundy curtains — leaving behind her bench-mates. The high court opened its new term Monday hearing oral arguments in two relatively low-profile appeals, but Kagan sat out the second case. It is one of 25 petitions from which the 50-year-old justice has so far recused herself. Because of her recent service as the Obama administration’s solicitor general, Kagan has decided to avoid any conflict of interest by withdrawing from cases the Obama administration had been involved in briefing. This means she will not sit on the bench during arguments or vote on the outcome of cases. The solicitor general works in the Justice Department as the government’s chief advocate before the high court…. – CNN, 10-4-10
    • Obama’s economic board members challenge him on taxes: The conversation was supposed to be about education and community colleges, but two Republicans on President Obama’s economic recovery advisory board challenged him this afternoon on his tax policies. Martin Feldstein and William Donaldson, who date to the Reagan and second Bush administrations, respectively, urged Obama not to raise taxes on the wealthiest 2% of Americans, as the president has proposed. No surprise? Well, Donaldson endorsed Obama in 2008, and Feldstein supported his economic stimulus plan in 2009. So they’re not conservative die-hards…. – USA Today, 10-4-10
    • Obama slams GOP over tax and spending cut plans: Intending to talk about colleges and worker training, President Barack Obama on Monday suddenly found himself in a spirited, election-year debate with a business advisory group about whose tax cuts should be extended and for how long. At a meeting of the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, Harvard economist Martin Feldstein pressed Obama to keep all the Bush-era tax cuts, not just the middle-class cuts the president wants to extend. “That would give a boost to confidence,” Feldstein declared. SEC Chairman William Donaldson added that an extension would allay business and consumer uncertainty.
      Obama replied that his stand would benefit 98 percent of American taxpayers. “You’d think (that) would provide some level of certainty,” he said. Obama also reiterated his view that top-income tax brackets would do little to boost the recovery, since the wealthy aren’t holding off buying flat-screen TVs and other big-ticket purchases for lack of a tax cut. Plus, he said, those tax cuts are unaffordable. “If we were going to spend $700 billion, it seems it would be wiser having that $700 billion going to folks who would spend that money right away,” he said. Obama dismissed the notion that the well-off — he included himself — would simply “take our ball and go home” if they didn’t continue to get a big tax cut…. – AP, 10-4-10
    • Jon Stewart responds to Rick Sanchez comments: “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart had a good laugh at Rick Sanchez’s expense this weekend, making light of the former CNN anchor’s recent departure over controversial comments he made about Jews and Stewart. However, Stewart did have a solution for Sanchez: “All he has to do is apologize to us,” he said, “and we’ll hire him back.” Not to be outdone, David Letterman made a surprise cameo at the benefit, telling Stewart that he decided to stop by because he was in the neighborhood, “helping Rick Sanchez clean out his office.”… – CNN, 1-4-10
    • Emanuel Says He’s Preparing Run For Chicago Mayor: Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel announced Sunday that he’s preparing to run for mayor of Chicago, a position widely known as being one he has long desired. Emanuel made the announcement in a video posted Sunday on his website, ChicagoforRahm.com. He had been careful not to launch his candidacy from Washington and headed to Chicago immediately after his resignation was announced by President Barack Obama on Friday.
      In the video, Emanuel said he’s embarking on a “Tell It Like It Is” listening tour of Chicago. “As I prepare to run for mayor, I’m going to spend the next few weeks visiting our neighborhoods at grocery stores, L stops, bowling alleys, and hot dog stands,” Emanuel said. The two-minute video shows a relaxed Emanuel sitting behind a desk wearing a white shirt that’s open at the collar and a dark jacket. Behind him is a photo of his family and several books…. – NPR, 10-3-10
    • Liberal coalition rallies in Washington for jobs, education: A coalition of liberal and progressive groups, including unions and civil rights activists, rallied in Washington Saturday to press for good jobs, immigration and education reform and to make a show of strength one month out from midterm elections. The “One Nation Working Together” rally was held at the Lincoln Memorial, just five weeks after Tea Party enthusiasts met in Washington.
      NAACP President Ben Jealous told CNN the “One Nation” movement is not “the alternative to the Tea Party, we’re the antidote to the Tea Party.”…. – CNN, 10-2-10
    • Big crowd gathers for liberal rally in Washington: Tens of thousands of people rallied near the Lincoln Memorial in the U.S. capital on Saturday as liberal groups attempted to energize their base a month before pivotal congressional elections.
      The rally, held under sunny skies, was billed as “One Nation Working Together” and followed a large rally by conservatives at the same site just over a month earlier. Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO labor organization, urged the crowd to “promise that you’ll make your voices heard, for good jobs and justice and education today and on Election Day.”…. – Reuters, 10-2-10
    • DC rally shows support for struggling Democrats: Tapping into anger as the tea party movement has done, a coalition of progressive and civil rights groups marched Saturday on the Lincoln Memorial and pledged to support Democrats struggling to keep power on Capitol Hill.
      “We are together. This march is about the power to the people,” said Ed Schultz, host of “The Ed Show” on MSNBC. “It is about the people standing up to the corporations. Are you ready to fight back?”
      In a fiery speech that opened the “One Nation Working Together” rally on the National Mall, Schultz blamed Republicans for shipping jobs overseas and curtailing freedoms. He borrowed some of conservative commentator Glenn Beck’s rhetoric and vowed to “take back our country.”
      “This is a defining moment in America. Are you American?” Schultz told the raucous crowd of thousands. “This is no time to back down. This is time to fight for America.”… – AP, 10-2-10
    • Obama promotes clean energy; GOP hits Dem spending: Wind, solar and other clean energy technologies produce jobs and are essential for the country’s environment and economy, President Barack Obama said in promoting his administration’s efforts. The president used his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday, a month away from congressional elections, to charge Republicans with wanting to scrap incentives for such projects.
      “That’s what’s at stake in this debate,” the president said. “We can go back to the failed energy policies that profited the oil companies but weakened our country. We can go back to the days when promising industries got set up overseas. Or we can go after new jobs in growing industries. And we can spur innovation and help make our economy more competitive.”
      “With projects like this one and others across this country, we are staking our claim to continued leadership in the new global economy,” Obama said. “And we’re putting Americans to work producing clean, homegrown American energy that will help lower our reliance on foreign oil and protect our planet for future generations.”… – AP, 10-2-10
    • Rouse wastes no time in first day on job: The Pete Rouse era began shortly before noon on Friday. It didn’t take long before the White House started feeling the difference. Rouse, ushered in as interim White House chief of staff by President Obama in the East Room, called his first senior staff meeting for that afternoon – and scheduled it to last just 10 minutes. It is typical Rouse, advisers said: swift and to the point, without leaving room for people to show off or hold endless debates.
      “If a meeting should take 10 minutes, Pete is not going to make it go 11,” one senior administration official said. “Pete does not want to meet for the sake of meeting.” Rouse will soon move into the large corner office being vacated by Rahm Emanuel, whose resignation Obama announced Friday during an emotional farewell…. – WaPo, 10-1-10
    • Rahm Emanuel: Why Chicago mayor bid may be his toughest race yet: Rahm Emanuel was sent off from his post as White House chief of staff by President Obama on Friday. Political analysts say he won’t have it easy trying to win the race for Chicago mayor…. – CS Monitor, 10-1-10
    • Peter Rouse: out of the shadows and into the limelight Low-key troubleshooter is losing his cherished anonymity to take over as Obama’s chief of staff: Reporting from Washington — Many of the unpleasant little tasks that a White House confronts — nudging an aide out the door, perhaps, or helping a senator find someone a job — tend to wind up on Pete Rouse’s desk. Rouse, 64, a low-key troubleshooter and consummate backroom player whose work is seldom publicized, is being elevated to a post in which he may lose some of his cherished anonymity: White House chief of staff. Rouse will succeed Rahm Emanuel, who is leaving to run for mayor of Chicago. It’s an interim appointment, although White House aides say Rouse could end up getting the post on a permanent basis…. – LAT, 10-1-10
    • Chicago aldermen offended by Emanuel’s royal send-off: President Obama’s royal send-off for Rahm Emanuel may have played well in Washington today, but it laid an egg at Chicago’s City Hall. Some aldermen were downright offended by what they perceived to be Obama’s attempt to dictate Chicago’s next mayor by praising his departing chief of staff to the hilt.
      Others went so far as to advise the president of the United States to butt out or risk a political backlash.
      “The resentment is someone who appears to come in from out of state with a bunch of money — and no significant ties to the South or the West Side — and appearing to clout and buy his way into an election,” said Ald. Howard Brookins (21st). “It would be a mistake if the President goes out for Rahm Emanuel. In communities of color, I don’t believe Rahm has shown himself to be the peoples’ candidate. And I don’t know that Rahm being forced down our throats is the right thing to do.”
      Ald. George Cardenas (12th) went public with sentiment that his suddenly liberated colleagues have been expressing privately ever since Mayor Daley announced his political retirement…. – Chicago Sun-Times
    • White House defends economic stimulus plan: President Barack Obama’s $814 billion economic stimulus plan is meeting its targets for spending and job creation, White House officials said on Friday, however unpopular it may be with the public. Seventy percent of the plan’s funds were paid out by Sept. 30, with $308 billion spent and $243 billion in tax breaks provided, they said, adding that every spending deadline Congress set for the funds was met on time or ahead of schedule, with little fraud or abuse.
      Polls have shown the plan is unpopular with much of the public and has fallen short of expectations for the economy, even though the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates it boosted real gross domestic product in the second quarter by up to 4.5 percent and raised employment by up to 3.3 million jobs…. – Reuters, 10-1-10
    • CNN’s Sanchez out after controversial comments: CNN anchor Rick Sanchez abruptly left the network Friday afternoon, just one day after making controversial comments on a satellite radio program. “Rick Sanchez is no longer with the company,” according to a statement from CNN. “We thank Rick for his years of service and we wish him well.”
      On Thursday, Sanchez appeared on the XM Sirius radio program “Stand-Up with Pete Dominick.” During the interview with Dominick, Sanchez called “The Daily Show’s” Jon Stewart “a bigot” and then said that he was bigoted against “everybody else who’s not like him. Look at his show, I mean, what does he surround himself with?” Dominick pressed for specifics, and Sanchez, who is Cuban-American, responded, “That’s what happens when you watch yourself on his show every day, and all they ever do is call you stupid.” Dominick, who was once the warm-up comic at Stewart’s Comedy Central show and now has a spot on CNN’s “John King, USA,” noted that Stewart is Jewish and so a minority himself. “I’m telling you that everybody who runs CNN is a lot like Stewart, and a lot of people who run all the other networks are a lot like Stewart, and to imply that somehow they, the people in this country who are Jewish, are an oppressed minority? Yeah,” Sanchez responded…. – CNN, 10-1-10

    ELECTIONS 2010, 2012….

    Stephen Crowley/The New York TimesRecommend
    “Don’t let them hijack your agenda,” President Obama told supporters in Philadelphia at the second of four rallies planned.

    • Democratic struggles could cost handful of contests: Rick Snyder may be House Democrats’ biggest nightmare. The Michigan Republican, a former head of the Gateway computer company, is running way ahead of Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero (D) in the Wolverine State’s gubernatorial race. (A poll released Sunday gave him a 20-point advantage.) Such a wide margin for Snyder creates the potential for a down-ballot sweep that could wash out Democrats’ chances in two hotly contested House districts.
      State Rep. Gary McDowell (D) and surgeon Dan Benishek (R) are competing for retiring Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak’s seat in the 1st District – a swing district in northern Michigan that Barack Obama won with just 50 percent two years ago…. – WaPo, 10-10-10
    • Paladino Laces Speech With Antigay Remarks: The Republican candidate for governor, Carl P. Paladino, told a gathering in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, on Sunday that children should not be “brainwashed” into thinking that homosexuality was acceptable, and criticized his opponent, Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo, for marching in a gay pride parade earlier this year. Addressing Orthodox Jewish leaders, Mr. Paladino described his opposition to same-sex marriage. “I just think my children and your children would be much better off and much more successful getting married and raising a family, and I don’t want them brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option — it isn’t,” he said, reading from a prepared address, according to a video of the event. And then, to applause at Congregation Shaarei Chaim, he said: “I didn’t march in the gay parade this year — the gay pride parade this year. My opponent did, and that’s not the example we should be showing our children.” Newsday.com reported that Mr. Paladino’s prepared text had included the sentence: “There is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual.” But Mr. Paladino omitted the sentence in his speech…. – NYT, 10-10-10
    • Feingold defends health care vote in debate: Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold is defending his vote for health care reform, saying Republican challenger Ron Johnson wants to wipe out a program that saves people from being at the mercy of insurance companies. The Democratic incumbent is seeking his fourth term, though polls show him slightly trailing Johnson, a political newcomer. The two met Friday in Milwaukee for the first of three debates ahead of the Nov. 2 election…. – AP, 10-10-10
    • Paul: Wealthy should pay more for Medicare plan: Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul raised the idea Sunday that wealthier people like his opponent, the co-owner of a Kentucky Derby horse, should pay more for Medicare coverage. Paul also warned in a speech in his hometown that unless the U.S. starts dealing with its mounting debt, it could eventually face the same chaos that erupted in Greece when violent protests rocked that debt-plagued country. Paul said his Democratic opponent Jack Conway has ducked serious discussions about shoring up entitlement programs facing mounting financial strain as baby boomers retire and live longer. He also accused Conway of vilifying him in television ads showing clips of Paul once seeming to tout the idea of a $2,000 Medicare deductible…. – AP, 10-10-10
    • Kirk, Giannoulias debate on ‘Meet the Press’: The leading contenders for Illinois’ open U.S. Senate seat debated their character issues Sunday on TV, with Democrat Alexi Giannoulias insisting he knew little about convicted felons who got loans from his family bank and Republican Mark Kirk acknowledging he is accountable for embellishing his military record. Credibility has been a campaign-long theme for both men, and a recent Tribune/WGN-TV poll showed voters have difficulty trusting either in the neck-and-neck race for the Senate seat formerly held by President Barack Obama. The contest has national symbolism for both parties in the struggle for control of Congress and as a referendum on Obama. Moderator David Gregory focused on the trust issue and Obama’s policies during the half-hour debate with the two candidates on “Meet the Press” that included excerpts from attack ads used by both sides…. – Chicago Tribune, 10-10-10
    • Sen. Brown stumps for Conn. GOP Senate candidate: U.S. Sen. Scott Brown told a crowd of several hundred on Saturday that Connecticut voters can make history and shake up the Democratic establishment — just like when he was elected in Massachusetts — if they send Linda McMahon to Washington.
      Brown said the Republican newcomer, best known as the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, is a political outsider who is “not beholden to anybody, who doesn’t owe anybody anything.” He said McMahon won’t be “in lockstep” with either the Democratic or Republican Senate leaders, and will fight for Connecticut voters. “Ever since Jan. 19 there’s a very, very powerful message that was sent, not only to Beacon Hill in Massachusetts but to Capitol Hill: That people are tired, they’re hurting, they’ve had enough,” said Brown, referring to his surprise victory last winter when he rode a wave of voter anger with Democrats and Washington and won the seat held by the late Democratic U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. “They want somebody who is going to be working and looking out for their interests and not the special interests and you guys have a great chance, a great chance,” he said. “The state of Connecticut has a chance to be part of history.”… – AP, 10-9-10
    • Tea party fuels GOP midterm enthusiasm, action: President Obama and Vice President Biden will travel to Philadelphia on Sunday for another rally designed to energize Democratic voters. The crowd at their Madison, Wis., rally last month was impressive, and this one may be, too. But any way you cut it, the Republicans still have the advantage in enthusiasm this fall, thanks in large measure to the tea party movement. The latest evidence comes in another of a long series of surveys conducted by The Washington Post, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard University. What it shows is that tea party supporters and other conservatives are the most energized and are prepared to work the hardest to persuade friends and neighbors to vote Nov. 2…. – WaPo, 10-9-10
    • Jerry Brown reinvents himself as elder statesman: Jerry Brown sees himself as a regular guy who buys his suits on sale, drives around in a Ford Crown Victoria and enjoys dinner at home with his wife. What he wants Californians to see past is the Jerry Brown of three decades ago who was derisively dubbed “Governor Moonbeam.”
      The 72-year-old Democrat, locked in a close race with Republican Meg Whitman for governor, is determined to project an everyman image, a far cry from the eccentric Californian who romanced singer Linda Ronstadt along with a few other Hollywood actresses, recited poetry on the campaign trail and moved to Japan to study in a Buddhist monastery.
      Brown faces businesswoman and political novice Whitman, the billionaire former head of eBay who has spent more than $121 million of her own money in her bid to lead the nation’s most populous state, which has been wracked by ongoing budget crises…. – AP, 10-8-10
    • Will Brown aide’s slur of Meg Whitman tip California governor’s race?: Recent polls had shown Jerry Brown opening a slight lead over Meg Whitman. Putting him on the defensive could give her a boost. Meg Whitman was the target of ‘salty’ language by a Jerry Brown campaign aide in a voice mail released Thursday. Someone from Jerry Brown’s camp has been caught on tape using an extremely inelegant term to refer to opponent Meg Whitman. Will this remark make a difference in the already-heated California gubernatorial race? Well, we won’t know for some time whether it has an effect on the polls. The Brown-Whitman contest is already a boiling cauldron of charges and counter-charges, so the airing of the slur may make the tone of the campaign only marginally harsher. But this slip by a Brown aide may give Whitman a much-needed chance to get past the issue of whether she knowingly employed an illegal immigrant as a housekeeper. For the media there’s a new flap in town – what did Brown know about the use of this language, and how did he respond to it?…. – CS Monitor, 10-8-10
    • GOP pulling W.Va. Senate ad with ‘hicky’ actors: National Republicans pulled back a West Virginia Senate ad Thursday after Democrats revealed its casting call had sought actors who looked like hicks to play state voters. The 30-second spot, filmed in Philadelphia, was dropped from the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s YouTube channel Thursday. Republicans expected it to also be withdrawn from TV, where it has been in heavy rotation since Tuesday, according to a party official not directly involved in handling the ad. The official was not authorized to comment and requested anonymity. The ad showed men in flannel shirts and baseball caps worrying that Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin would side with President Barack Obama if elected to the Senate….. – AP, 10-7-10
    • G.O.P. Senate Odds Improve for Third Consecutive Week: Democrats are on the verge of locking up several Senate races in the Northeast, including one in Connecticut that some analysts had considered a toss-up. But Republicans have gained ground overall in this week’s Senate forecast by virtue of improved polling in Nevada and West Virginia. Their odds of taking over the Senate on Nov. 2 have now improved to 24 percent — up from 22 percent last week and 15 percent three weeks ago, according to the FiveThirtyEight forecast model…. – NYT, 10-7-10
    • Obama urges support for Illinois Senate hopeful: President Barack Obama is working to keep his old Senate seat in Democratic hands, urging a crowd of supporters in his hometown of Chicago to send State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias (jeh-NOO’-lee-ehs) to Washington. Obama called Giannoulias a competitor who can be trusted to fight for the people who elected him. Giannoulias is battling Republican Rep. Mark Kirk in a tight contest.
      The president spoke at a fundraiser at the Drake Hotel. Earlier in the day he was in Maryland campaigning for Gov. Martin O’Malley…. – AP, 10-7-10
    • Obama urges O’Malley supporters to get involved in Maryland: President Barack Obama on Thursday challenged young Democrats at an election rally for Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, saying political pundits were predicting they lacked the enthusiasm of Republicans. “They say their followers are more energized,” Obama told the rally at Bowie State University. “They say you might be willing to let the other folks who left the economy in a shambles go back to Annapolis and go back to Washington.” Adding that he was betting on the young voters to prove the pundits wrong, Obama told the crowd: “Don’t make me look bad.”…. – CNN, 10-7-10
    • Dozens Fall Ill at Obama Rally in Maryland: About three dozen people fell ill at President Obama’s campaign rally at Bowie State University in Bowie, Md., Thursday, WTOP radio reported. The individuals passed out after complaining of “dizziness and fainting,” Prince George’s County fire department spokesman Mark Brady said. Two people were taken to the hospital while the rest were treated at the scene, Brady told the radio station….
      Approximately half an hour into the president’s remarks, another audience member swooned, briefly derailing Obama’s criticisms of Republicans. He leaned away from the microphone. “Can we get a medic up here?” he asked…. – Fox News, 10-7-10
    • Fight for Congress could last past Election Day: The nation may be waiting well beyond Election Day this year to find out who won control of Congress. It’s a troubling ballot-box scenario that has hundreds of lawyers from both parties preparing for battles that could drag on days, weeks or even months past the Nov. 3 day-after. Some states don’t count substantial amounts of votes until after Election Day. Others require mail-in ballots to be postmarked — not received — by Nov. 2, leaving the tally until well afterward. And with polls showing many Republican and Democratic candidates in tight contests, there’s plenty of opportunity for confusion, challenges and recounts that could delay the results and ultimately tip the balance of power on Capitol Hill. A muddled outcome could give rise to yet another kind of election uncertainty. If Republicans emerge from the balloting just short of a Senate majority, their leaders would almost certainly try to prod centrist lawmakers — like Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson or Connecticut independent Joe Lieberman — to switch and hand them control…. – AP, 10-6-10
    • President Trump? Time for 2012 handicapping: Have you heard the one about President Donald Trump? How about the notion that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will replace Vice President Joe Biden on the Democrats’ 2012 ticket? More than a year before the Iowa caucuses, political speculation ranges from the serious to the silly as pundits and prognosticators look ahead to the next presidential election. The open Republican field and the likelihood of President Barack Obama seeking a second term has led to rampant handicapping…. – AP, 10-6-10
    • Kendrick Meek, Charlie Crist battle Marco Rubio in U.S. Senate debate: Marco Rubio got the frontrunner treatment in a combative U.S. Senate debate Wednesday night, with both his rivals attacking him as an extremist out of step with Florida. “It’s abundantly clear that there’s an extreme right faction in the Republican party,” said said independent candidate Charlie Crist. “I’m the only candidate that can both win in November and crash that tea party in Washington.” “You want to take us back to Dick Cheney days,” said Democratic U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, describing Rubio as a “radical” who won’t stand up for middle class Floridians. Rubio, the former state House Speaker from Miami, held his own and cast the race as a choice between two status quo candidates or a Republican who will stand up to the agenda of Barack Obama. “If you like Obamacare, if you like the stimulus plan, you can vote for Charlie Crist or Kendrick Meek. I’m probably not your candidate,” Rubio said….. – Miami Herald, 10-6-10
    • Gallup: Poll of ‘likely voters’ portends big House gains for Republicans Among likely voters, the Republican advantage for this election is at least 13 percentage points, says a new Gallup poll. That’s higher than the three-point GOP edge among registered voters: Gallup gave its first estimates for “likely” voters, rather than registered voters – historically a far better predictor of the actual vote. The results are staggering. While the registered-voter ballot still gives Republicans a slight three-point lead, the Republican advantage jumps – a lot – in the poll of likely voters. Gallup gives estimates for two different likely-voter scenarios – one assuming higher turnout and one lower turnout. If voter turnout is high, Republican candidates have a 13-point advantage. If it’s low, they have a whopping 18-point edge over Democrats. Most voter surveys have shown Republicans to be much more energized about this election, but Gallup’s poll shows by far the biggest gap between registered and likely voters to date. So, what does it mean in terms of numbers? Historically, Gallup’s likely-voter poll correlates closely to the final results for midterm elections in the House. In 1994, when Republicans picked up 54 seats in the House, the last Gallup poll gave Republicans a 7-point lead. According to this model, by the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, the current 13-point lead would translate to Republicans picking up at least 71 seats (86 seats, in the low-turnout model). But that is pretty far outside even the most pro-Republican predictions so far…. – CS Monitor, 10-5-10
    • Republicans Hampered by Low Approval Ratings: Republicans are hanging their midterm election prospects on voters’ frustration with the Democratic Party, but a poll released by National Journal Tuesday indicates people are just as unhappy with Republicans. Six in 10 Americans polled have a negative view of GOP leadership. Perhaps that’s why Republicans have tried to efforts to frame Election Day as a referendum on the Democratic Party, not the GOP. Democratic leaders did only slightly better, with a 30/53 approval/disapproval split — though it is significant to note that their numbers are unchanged since National Journal’s polling in July. Republican disapproval figures have climbed seven points in the same amount of time, and they have the lowest performance rating in the poll’s history…. – CBS News, 10-5-10
    • Christine O’Donnell’s new ad by Republican ad wizard keeps things simple: Christine O’Donnell took to the airwaves on Tuesday with a simple message for Delaware voters: “I’m you.” When O’Donnell recently hired Fred Davis, the Republican ad wizard known for such provocative hits as “Demon Sheep,” many assumed she would use the millions she raised online to launch a shock-and-awe ad offensive. And she still might. But O’Donnell’s first general election ad is decidedly simple. Davis filmed O’Donnell, in pearls and a dark jacket, talking directly to the camera. No bells or whistles.
      “I wanted people to get to know the real Christine,” Davis said in an interview. He said the ad was designed to show “that she was not what everyone thought, that she was an everywoman – with one exception. She was one of us, but was so disappointed in our government that she was moved to action, to try and do something about it.” O’Donnell opens the 30-second spot by saying, “I’m not a witch.” It was a reference to her much-publicized 1999 statement that she dabbled in witchcraft. Davis said he included that line in the script to “once and for all put that behind her, and let people know we’re moving on from that to things that really matter today.”…. – WaPo, 10-5-10
    • Democrats hang on to leads in California: Democratic candidates hold a narrow advantage in the run-up to November’s U.S. congressional elections in California where big-spending Republican Meg Whitman is struggling in the race for governor, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found on Tuesday. As Democratic voters show increased enthusiasm in the country’s most-populous state, Democrat Jerry Brown leads Whitman in the race to succeed Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor, 50 percent to 43 percent…. – Reuters, 10-5-10
    • Donald Trump hints at presidential bid, sort of: Guess what television star is floating a political trial balloon (certainly inflated a bit with his own hot air), looking ahead to the 2012 presidential elections? If you said Donald Trump, you win. The cable airwaves have been chock-a-block with appearances by Trump, the reality television star, real estate developer, celebrity, beauty pageant mogul and self-promoter. He has even injected himself into the recent dispute over a Muslim community center and mosque near the former World Trade Center, destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001 in a terrorist attack. Trump has offered to buy the site. Just this week, the media was again filled with discussions of Trump after word of a poll in New Hampshire, an early state in the presidential sweepstakes, included questions about Trump, host of “The Apprentice,” now in another season on NBC…. – LAT, 10-5-10
    • US Election Results Could Affect Foreign Policy: U.S. voters will elect a new Congress on November 2, and public opinion polls indicate the domestic economy will be the top issue this year. Experts say foreign policy concerns do not appear to be a major factor in the congressional midterm elections. Republican gains in November, though, could have an impact on the conduct of U.S. foreign policy over the next two years. Political experts agree that the economy and worries about the high unemployment rate will be the dominant issues in this year’s election, even though the United States and its allies remain at war in Afghanistan. President Barack Obama would like to begin drawing down U.S. forces in Afghanistan by the middle of next year, battlefield conditions permitting.
      “The pace of our troop reductions will be determined by conditions on the ground and our support for Afghanistan will endure,” said President Obama. But make no mistake. This transition will begin, because open-ended war serves neither our interests nor the Afghan people’s.”…. – VOA, 10-4-10
    • Emanuel hits Chicago streets, makes case for mayor: Last week, Afghanistan. This week, parents protesting the proposed demolition of a park field house. Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel hit the campaign trail on Monday and got a sudden taste of the vastly different agenda he’d face as Chicago’s mayor — and the hurdles he must overcome to be elected. A day after unveiling his campaign on a new Website, Emanuel hit the streets, vowing to “hear from Chicagoans — in blunt and honest terms” what they want from their next mayor. Many were happy just to shake hands, exchange hugs, or drink coffee with President Barack Obama’s hard-charging former right hand man. But he also faced skepticism about his intentions, loyalties and whether he even has the legal right to run to lead a city he hasn’t lived in for nearly two years. A few of his potential rivals also surfaced in public, though they insisted it had nothing to do with him….. – AP, 10-4-10
    • Democrat Feingold runs ad touting health care vote: Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin boldly embraces and defends his vote for the health care reform law in his latest campaign television ad, even as other Democrats avoid the topic and Republicans rail against it. Feingold’s Republican opponent, Ron Johnson, has his own ad taking Feingold to task for the March vote, saying Feingold went against the wishes of Wisconsin residents…. – AP, 10-4-10
    • Immigration dominates Whitman-Brown debate: Republican Meg Whitman and Democrat Jerry Brown clashed in an impassioned, sometimes angry gubernatorial debate Saturday in which immigration dominated the harsh exchanges and stoked the fallout from Whitman’s admission last week that she had employed an undocumented immigrant. San Francisco Chronicle, 10-3-10
    • Jewish voters don’t reflexively back Rahm Emanuel for Chicago mayor: Some local Jewish voters at odds with Emanuel’s role in Obama’s Israel policy, his politics when in Congress — and his coarse language Chicago Tribune, 10-3-10
    • Chicago mayor’s race may be battle of shoe leather: It used to be that getting elected in Chicago meant relying on the ward boss, the precinct captain and the small armies they deployed to fix potholes, hand out frozen turkeys and even drive people to the polls. Court rulings and corruption convictions have ended the primacy of the Machine, leaving get-out-the-vote efforts in the hands of what officials say are volunteers. But the city’s first real mayor’s race in more than two decades will test how far Chicago has advanced since the Machine’s heyday, and how badly big-name, well-funded candidates like Rahm Emanuel still need that old street-level help.
      “Never underestimate the power of the precinct worker,” said Tom Manion, a longtime political operative who directed Mayor Richard M. Daley’s first re-election campaign in 1991. “This is going to be a Generation X campaign with Facebook, Twitter and all that … but you should never forget the power of friend talking to friend, neighbor talking to neighbor.”
      After resigning as White House chief of staff, Emanuel is expected to reintroduce himself to Chicago this week with visits to neighborhoods to meet voters. He easily has greater name recognition than other contenders, and he is among several candidates seeking the support of wealthy businessmen and politicians…. – AP, 10-2-10
    • Democrats hope organizing will counter voters’ apathy: Republicans galvanized by the ‘tea party’ movement have passion on their side as the election approaches. The imperiled majority party mobilizes its get-out-the-vote machine in Nevada and elsewhere…. – LAT, 10-1-10

    POLITICAL QUOTES

    • Weekly Address: President Obama Underscores Commitment to Strengthening Our Education System Remarks of President Barack Obama As Prepared for Delivery Saturday, October 9, 2010 Washington, DC:
      …Now, it is true that when it comes to our budget, we have real challenges to meet. And if we’re serious about getting our fiscal house in order, we’ll need to make some tough choices. I’m prepared to make those choices. But what I’m not prepared to do is shortchange our children’s education. What I’m not prepared to do is undercut their economic future, your economic future, or the economic future of the United States of America.
      Nothing would be more detrimental to our prospects for success than cutting back on education. It would consign America to second place in our fiercely competitive global economy. But China and India aren’t playing for second. South Korea and Germany aren’t playing for second. They’re playing for first – and so should America.
      Instead of being shortsighted and shortchanging our kids, we should be doubling down on them. We should be giving every child in America a chance to make the most of their lives; to fulfill their God-given potential. We should be fighting to lead the global economy in this century, just like we did in the last. And that’s what I’ll continue fighting to do in the months and years ahead. Thanks, everybody, and have a nice weekend. – WH, 10-9-10
    • Rick Sanchez is sorry. Really: In an appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Friday morning, the ousted CNN anchor said flatly that he “screwed up” in calling Jon Stewart a bigot and suggesting that Jews run the networks–comments that cost him his job last week.
      “I apologize and it was wrong for me to be so careless and so inartful,” Sanchez said. “But it happened and I can’t take it back and you know what now I have to stand up and be responsible.”
      The tone was much different than in a statement earlier this week, when Sanchez extended an apology to anyone who “may have been offended.”
      “I was feeling a little bit put out. And I was feeling a little sensitive,” Sanchez said. “And I was looking at the landscape and I was looking and I was seeing [little diversity] and I externalized the problem and I put it on Jon S tewart’s shoulders and I was wrong to do that.”…. – WaPo, 10-8-10
    • Weekly Address: President Obama Lauds Clean Energy Projects as Key to Creating Jobs and Building a Stronger Economy
      Remarks of President Barack Obama Weekly Address The White House October 2, 2010:
      Over the past twenty months, we’ve been fighting not just to create more jobs today, but to rebuild our economy on a stronger foundation. Our future as a nation depends on making sure that the jobs and industries of the 21st century take root here in America. And there is perhaps no industry with more potential to create jobs now – and growth in the coming years – than clean energy.
      For decades, we’ve talked about the importance of ending our dependence on foreign oil and pursuing new kinds of energy, like wind and solar power. But for just as long, progress had been prevented at every turn by the special interests and their allies in Washington….
      It was essential – for our economy, our security, and our planet – that we finally tackle this challenge. That is why, since we took office, my administration has made an historic commitment to promote clean energy technology. This will mean hundreds of thousands of new American jobs by 2012. Jobs for contractors to install energy-saving windows and insulation. Jobs for factory workers to build high-tech vehicle batteries, electric cars, and hybrid trucks. Jobs for engineers and construction crews to create wind farms and solar plants that are going to double the renewable energy we can generate in this country. These are jobs building the future….
      With projects like this one, and others across this country, we are staking our claim to continued leadership in the new global economy. And we’re putting Americans to work producing clean, home-grown American energy that will help lower our reliance on foreign oil and protect our planet for future generations.
      Now there are some in Washington who want to shut them down. In fact, in the Pledge they recently released, the Republican leadership is promising to scrap all the incentives for clean energy projects, including those currently underway – even with all the jobs and potential that they hold.
      This doesn’t make sense for our economy. It doesn’t make sense for Americans who are looking for jobs. And it doesn’t make sense for our future. To go backwards and scrap these plans means handing the competitive edge to China and other nations. It means that we’ll grow even more dependent on foreign oil. And, at a time of economic hardship, it means forgoing jobs we desperately need. In fact, shutting down just this one project would cost about a thousand jobs.
      That’s what’s at stake in this debate. We can go back to the failed energy policies that profited the oil companies but weakened our country. We can go back to the days when promising industries got set up overseas. Or we can go after new jobs in growing industries. And we can spur innovation and help make our economy more competitive. We know the choice that’s right for America. We need to do what we’ve always done – put our ingenuity and can do spirit to work to fight for a brighter future. – WH, 10-2-10
    • Goodbye, Rahm – Remarks by the President at the Departure of Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel: This is a bittersweet day here at the White House. On the one hand, we are all very excited for Rahm as he takes on a new challenge for which he is extraordinarily well qualified. But we’re also losing an incomparable leader of our staff and one who we are going to miss very much.
      When I first started assembling this administration, I knew we were about to face some of the most difficult years this country has seen in generations. The challenges were big and the margin for error was small — two wars, an economy on the brinks of collapse, and a set of tough choices about issues that we had put off for decades; choices about health care and energy and education, how to rebuild a middle class that had been struggling for far too long.
      And I knew that I needed somebody at my side who I could count on, day and night, to help get the job done. In my mind, there was no candidate for the job of chief of staff who would meet the bill as well as Rahm Emanuel. And that’s why I told him that he had no choice in the matter. He was not allowed to say no. It wasn’t just Rahm’s broad array of experiences in Congress and in the White House, in politics and in business. It was also the fact that he just brings an unmatched level of energy and enthusiasm and commitment to every single thing that he does.
      This was a great sacrifice for Rahm and Amy and the family to move out here. Rahm gave up one of the most powerful positions on Capitol Hill to do this. And in the last 20 months, Rahm has exceeded all of my expectations. It’s fair to say that we could not have accomplished what we’ve accomplished without Rahm’s leadership — from preventing a second depression to passing historic health care and financial reform legislation to restoring America’s leadership in the world.
      So for nearly two years, I’ve begun my workday with Rahm. I’ve ended my workday with Rahm. Much to Amy’s chagrin, I’ve intruded on his life at almost any hour of the day, any day of the week, with just enormous challenges. His advice has always been candid; his opinions have always been insightful; his commitment to his job has always been heartfelt, born of a passionate desire to move this country forward and lift up the lives of the middle class and people who are struggling to get there.
      He has been a great friend of mine, and will continue to be a great friend of mine. He has been a selfless public servant. He has been an outstanding chief of staff. I will miss him dearly, as will members of my staff and Cabinet with whom he’s worked so closely and so well. – WH, 10-1-10
      WH, 10-1-10
    • Rahm Emanuel closed his remarks aterwards touching on his own journey, the President’s, and Pete Rouse’s:
      Both my parents raised me to give something back to the country and the community that has given us so much. And I want to thank you for the opportunity to repay in a small portion of the blessings this country has given my family. I give you my word that even as I leave the White House, I will never leave that spirit of service behind. (Applause.)
      Now, because my temperament is sometimes a bit different than yours, Mr. President — (laughter) — I want to thank my colleagues for your patience the last two years that you have shown. I’m sure you’ve learned some words that you’ve never heard before — (laughter) — and in an assortment of combination of words. (Laughter.) What we learned together was what a group of tireless, talented, committed people can achieve together. And as difficult as it is to leave, I do so with the great comfort of knowing that Pete Rouse will be there to lead the operation forward.
      From the moment I arrived, and the moment he arrived, Pete has been a good friend with great judgment. He commands the respect of everyone in this building and brings decades of experience to this assignment.
      Finally, I want to thank my wife Amy and our three remarkable children — Zach, Ilana and Leah — without whose love and support none of this would have been possible. I hope to end this soon so they can all get back to school today and finish their exams. (Laughter.)
      Mr. President, thank you. And thank you all. I look forward to seeing you in Chicago. (Applause.) – WH, 10-1-10
    • Eric Cantor: ‘Things Could Get Pretty Messy’ The man who would be the next House majority leader talks about the GOP agenda and working with Obama: ‘Look, we know we screwed up when we were in the majority. We fell in love with power. We spent way too much money— especially on earmarks. There was too much corruption when we ran this place. We were guilty. And that’s why we lost.”
      That’s the confession of Eric Cantor, the 47-year old congressman from Richmond, Va. If Republicans win back the House in November’s elections, Mr. Cantor would be the next majority leader—the second most powerful post in that chamber behind the speaker. And he could be Barack Obama’s worst nightmare…. – WSJ, 10-2-10

    HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

    The President Records the Weekly Address
    White House Photo, Lawrence Jackson, 10/1/10
    • Gerald Uelmen: Meg Whitman fuzzes Rose Bird quote as Jerry Brown backpedals: Brown hasn’t said anything like that about Bird. But his attempt to distance himself from his appointee by invoking Eisenhower is a tough comparison to make. Eisenhower wasn’t especially close to Warren, but appointed him in a well- documented political trade: the California governor pledged to support Ike at the 1952 Republican convention in exchange for the first available Supreme Court vacancy.
      Gerald Uelmen, a Santa Clara University law professor and court historian, said he doesn’t buy Brown’s “Eisenhower defense.” “I think he (Brown) knew what he was getting,” Uelmen said. “I think what’s going on here is a little rewriting of history.” San Francisco Chronicle, 10-8-10
    • Alan Brinkley: Anatomy of an Uprising: GIVE US LIBERTY A Tea Party Manifesto By Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe, BOILING MAD Inside Tea Party America, By Kate Zernike THE WHITES OF THEIR EYES The Tea Party’s Revolution and the Battle Over American History By Jill Lepore
      Jill Lepore, a historian of the American Revolution and a staff writer at The New Yorker, has written a brief but valuable book, “The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party’s Revolution and the Battle Over American History,” which combines her own interviews with Tea Partiers (mostly from her home state, Massachusetts) and her deep knowledge of the founders and of their view of the Constitution. The architects of the Constitution, she makes clear, did not agree about what it meant. Nor did they believe that the Constitution would or should be the final word on the character of the nation and the government. It was the product of much compromise, and few were satisfied with all its parts…. – NYT, 10-8-10
    • Victor Davis Hanson: Rope-a-dope: Obama’s plan: After 2010, will he be Carter or Clinton? That is the ongoing parlor game now played among pundits over how President Barack Obama will react to a probable shellacking of the Democrats in midterm elections next month. Jimmy Carter stuck to his liberal agenda after suffering a modest rebuke in the 1978 midterms amid sky-high inflation, interest rates and unemployment. He didn’t take voters’ hint and went on to get clobbered two years later by Ronald Reagan. In contrast, after his party was slaughtered in the 1994 midterms (losing 51 House and eight Senate seats), a triangulating Bill Clinton moved to the center and handily won re-election in 1996. So what will Obama do if he loses a Democratic majority in the House and quite possibly the Senate, as his approval ratings tank to 40 percent? Most likely, he will stick to his liberal orthodoxy — but in a way unlike Carter. Yet, like Clinton, Obama may still have a good chance at re-election…. – Chicago Tribune, 10-7-10
    • Julian E. Zelizer: ‘Facebook politics’ is fleeting: The Tea Party has rekindled excitement in the potential of the internet to nurture mass political movements by using the Web to raise money and mobilize manpower.
      Activists have used many aspects of cyberspace: Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, iPod apps and more to rally their supporters. According to Investors.com, “Democrats and their allies dominated cyberspace for years. Now the political right, with the Tea Party explosion, at the very least is matching the left.”
      The stories about the Tea Party movement resemble the narrative about Barack Obama’s campaign.
      In 2008, Democrats used cyberspace to the same effect. Relying on what I called “Facebook politics,” the Democrats took Republicans by surprise by demonstrating how powerful a vehicle the internet could be in promoting a candidacy, bringing like-minded citizens together and offering an organizational infrastructure for movement politics.
      Yet will this form of organizing work over the long term? Can it sustain a movement after the drama of an election is over?….
      Without question, Facebook politics has reshaped the political landscape….
      It is far too easy for the most fervent supporter of a candidate or cause to simply defriend the movement and move on to something else.
      Rather than strong, shared memories of participating in something bigger than themselves, the experience might just leave behind the address of a Web page in the auto-fill mechanism of their browser or an occasional text alert to remind them of their political past. – CNN, 10-5-10

    History Buzz October 11, 2010: Medical Historian Susan Reverby Uncovers Guatemalan Syphilis Experiment

    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

    IN FOCUS:

    HISTORY NEWS:

    • Simon Schama’s appointment as history tsar an insult, says Mary Beard: The appointment of historian and presenter Simon Schama as the Coalition Government’s new history tsar has been condemned as insincere and insulting by a leading academic. Simon Schama, the historian, will advise the Government to ensure that all pupils learn Britain’s ‘island story’ before leaving school. Prof Mary Beard, classics professor at Cambridge University, described the announcement as an example of Michael Gove, the education secretary, “playing to the populist gallery”. She described the idea that a celebrity could be “parachuted” in to solve problems as insulting to British teachers and as an insincere stunt to grab attention…. – Telegraph, UK, 10-8-10
    • Tony Platt: Nuremburg Laws now on display at the National Archives “symbolically important”: The laws signed by Adolf Hitler taking away the citizenship of German Jews before the Holocaust were placed on rare public display Wednesday at the National Archives. The Nuremberg Laws were turned over to the archives in August by The Huntington, a museum complex near Los Angeles where they were quietly deposited by Gen. George Patton at the end of World War II. The papers will be on display in a separate gallery from the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence through Oct. 18…. – AP (10-6-10)
    • Group of historians petition the National Park Service to restore Blair Mountain historic status: A group of distinguished historians, educators, and filmmakers has published an open letter to the Department of the Interior to protest the National Park Service’s decision to remove the Blair Mountain battlefield in Logan County, West Virginia, from the National Register of Historic Places…. – HNN Staff (10-6-10)
    • John C. Cutler, Tuskegee and Guatemalan Syphilis Doctor, in His Own Words: Many media outlets have noted that John C. Cutler, the late doctor who led the U.S. Public Health Service syphilis experiment on Guatemalan inmates and later participated in the Tuskegee experiment, defended the latter well into the 1990s, most famously for a 1993 PBS Nova documentary entitled The Deadly Deception.
      Cutler: The Tuskegee study has been grossly misunderstood and misrepresented this way. And the fact was that it was concern for the black community, trying to set the stage for the best public health approach possible and the best therapy, that led to the study being carried out….
      We were dealing with a very important study that was going to have the long-term results of which were actually to improve the quality of care for the black community so that these individuals were actually contributing to the work towards the improvement of the health of the black community rather than simply serving as merely guinea pigs for the study. And of course I was bitterly opposed to killing off the study for obvious reasons…. – HNN Staff (10-3-10)
    • Guatemalan syphilis experiment: in the name of public health?: Of course everyone has heard by now the appalling discovery unearthed by Wellesley College professor, Susan Reverby on how the US Public Health Service (a medical branch of the US government) conducted clearly unethical and dangerous syphilis experiments in Guatemala in the mid-40s…. – Examiner.com (10-2-10)
    • Wellesley’s Susan Reverby Unearths Government Research: Digging in the archives at the University of Pittsburgh, Wellesley College medical historian Susan M. Reverby knew what she found was important enough to keep it *out* of the book she was writing on the history and myths surrounding the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Study. She did not expect what she finally wrote up to make it to the White House, through the State Department and to Guatemala…. – News Blaze (10-2-10)
    • U.S. Apologizes for Syphilis Tests in Guatemala: From 1946 to 1948, American public health doctors deliberately infected nearly 700 Guatemalans — prison inmates, mental patients and soldiers — with venereal diseases in what was meant as an effort to test the effectiveness of penicillin… – NYT (10-1-10)
    • Son of Dead Sea Scrolls Expert Is Convicted: The son of a prominent professor at the University of Chicago was convicted on Thursday of impersonating a New York University professor and other scholars who disagreed with his father’s theories on the origin of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Jurors took half a day to find the son, Raphael Haim Golb, a 50-year-old real estate lawyer, guilty on 30 of 31 counts, including identity theft, criminal impersonation and aggravated harassment…. – NYT (10-1-10)

    OP-EDs:

    • Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom: Liu Xiaobo: His Writings, His Life, His Win: I’ve never met Liu Xiaobo. I only know him through his powerful writings—and through watching compelling interviews with him, most notably in the prize-winning documentary The Gate of Heavenly Peace, a film about the 1989 protests. The film spawned a wide-ranging website that includes a section on the movie’s main characters—a very good first destination for anyone trying to get up to speed on the past activities and recent trials of the latest Nobel Peace Prize winner…. – Dissent (10-8-10)
    • Timothy Snyder: Why Laptops in Class are Distracting America’s Future Workforce: As these first few weeks of the college semester begin, professors look out expectantly into grand lecture halls, where they see, rather than faces of students, the backs of open laptops. The students, for their part, are looking intently at the laptop screens. What are they doing as they stare forward with such apparent focus?…. – CS Monitor (10-7-10)

    REVIEWS & FIRST CHAPTERS:

    • Alan Brinkley: Anatomy of an Uprising: GIVE US LIBERTY A Tea Party Manifesto By Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe, BOILING MAD Inside Tea Party America, By Kate Zernike THE WHITES OF THEIR EYES The Tea Party’s Revolution and the Battle Over American History By Jill Lepore
      Jill Lepore, a historian of the American Revolution and a staff writer at The New Yorker, has written a brief but valuable book, “The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party’s Revolution and the Battle Over American History,” which combines her own interviews with Tea Partiers (mostly from her home state, Massachusetts) and her deep knowledge of the founders and of their view of the Constitution. The architects of the Constitution, she makes clear, did not agree about what it meant. Nor did they believe that the Constitution would or should be the final word on the character of the nation and the government. It was the product of much compromise, and few were satisfied with all its parts…. – NYT, 10-8-10
    • Bill Bryson: If Walls Could Talk: AT HOME A Short History of Private Life Many adults have a fantasy that if they could go back to college — now that the desire to party, drink and sleep around has faded to a burnished memory — they’d get so much more out of it. The publishing industry often reflects this wish. Every season brings offerings that are right at home on anyone’s continuing-ed syllabus: innovative, original ways to study world history through lenses trained on the minutiae of salt or cod, earthworms or spices, tea or telephones. Now, finally, for those of us who wrestled with Rocks for Jocks, pined amid Physics for Poets and schlepped through college on 101s of any and every subject — the beloved survey courses — here’s that most popular professor, Bill Bryson, with a fascinating new book, “At Home: A Short History of Private Life.” NYT, 10-8-10
    • When the City Defined Who’s Who: ETHAN MORDDEN mulled titling his latest social and cultural history “From Mrs. Astor to Truman Capote, or the Rise of New Yorkism in American Life.” Instead, he settled on a more generic (and inviting) title with a more specific subtitle: “The Guest List: How Manhattan Defined American Sophistication — From the Algonquin Round Table to Truman Capote’s Ball” (St. Martin’s Press, $29.99)…. – NYT, 10-8-10
    • Tony Blair: The Convert: A JOURNEY My Political Life The years since the end of the cold war divide into two very different ages. The first, the 1990s, was dominated by the rise of free markets and free trade across the globe. The second, since 9/11, has been defined by terrorism, counterterrorism, war and Islamic radicalism. Bill Clinton is the symbol of the first decade and George W. Bush of the second. Tony Blair is the only major political figure to span both eras, beginning his political life in the corridors of Davos and ending it in the mud flats of Basra. He tells both tales in his engrossing memoir, “A Journey,” but they never fuse into one larger story…. – NYT, 10-8-10
    • Robert G. Kaiser: Book review: ‘Magic and Mayhem: The Delusions of American Foreign Policy From Korea to Afghanistan’ by Derek Leebaert: How refreshing to read a smart, polemical book that is deliciously rude to many grand poohbahs of our time while making good sense about the mess the United States now finds itself in across the globe. On these grounds alone Derek Leebaert deserves our gratitude. But with “Magic and Mayhem,” he performs a greater service by ringing a persuasive alarm bell about the dangers inherent in our repeated attempts to put things right in countries we don’t really understand and cannot control, from Korea six decades ago to Afghanistan right now. And he does it without any of the ideological tendentiousness so typical of our public debate these days…. – WaPO, 10-8-10
    • Lawrence Jackson: Book Review: Eugene Robinson’s ‘Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America’: Eugene Robinson’s new book, “Disintegration,” opens with an account of a Washington dinner party dripping with influential Americans whom the reader can only assume are white. But these kingmakers, gathering shortly after the election of Barack Obama, turn out to be black…. – WaPo, 10-8-10
    • In Bob Woodward’s ‘Obama’s Wars,’ Neil Sheehan sees parallels to Vietnam: In another of his superbly reported insider accounts, “Obama’s Wars,” Bob Woodward recounts how a new president may well have embroiled himself in a war that could poison his presidency — just as his predecessor, George W. Bush, destroyed his with a foolhardy war in Iraq and Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon were ruined by the war in Vietnam. The grim mountains and deserts of Afghanistan are a boneyard of invading foreign armies. The British rulers of colonial India sent an Anglo-Indian army into Afghanistan in 1839 to establish it as a buffer state against the advances of imperial Russia in Central Asia. The enterprise faltered against Afghan resistance, and the main garrison at Kabul — about 4,500 troops and 12,000 family members and camp followers — decided to retreat back to India in January 1842. Afghan tribesmen fell upon them in the snows of the mountain passes and slaughtered them without pity. Only one man, a doctor named William Brydon, reached safety. A few others were spared as prisoners and subsequently rescued…. – WaPo, 10-3-10
    • Nicholas Phillipson: The Wealth of an Intellect: Adam Smith: An Enlightened Life Against this backdrop, it comes as something of a surprise to discover “Adam Smith: An Enlightened Life” by Nicholas Phillipson (Yale, $32.50). Mr. Phillipson, an honorary fellow in history at the University of Edinburgh, has written an unabashedly intellectual biography in which Smith’s economics thinking is only part — at times, a smallish part — of a larger, inherently philosophical story…. – NYT, 10-2-10
    • Andrew Cayton Reviews Ron Chernow: Learning to Be Washington: WASHINGTON A Life Today, books about Washington continue to appear at such an astonishing rate that the publication of Ron Chernow’s prompts the inevitable question: Why another one? An obvious answer is that Chernow is no ordinary writer. Like his popular biographies of John D. Rockefeller and Alexander Hamilton, his “Washington” while long, is vivid and well paced. If Chernow’s sense of historical context is sometimes superficial, his understanding of psychology is acute and his portraits of individuals memorable. Most readers will finish this book feeling as if they have actually spent time with human beings. Given Chernow’s considerable literary talent and the continued hunger of some Americans for a steady diet of tales of Washington and his exploits, what publisher could resist the prospect of adding “Washington: A Life” to its list?…. – NYT, 9-30-10Excerpt
    • Ron Chernow: Dusting Off an Elusive President’s Dull Image: WASHINGTON A Life When George Washington was sworn in as the first president of the United States, he had only one original tooth left. It was “a lonely lower left bicuspid,” according to Ron Chernow’s vast and tenaciously researched new biography. But Mr. Chernow was not content merely to write about the tooth and its larger implications, which range from questions about Washington’s apparent reticence in later life (did his dental troubles keep him from speaking?) to his harshly pragmatic attitude toward slavery (he purchased slaves’ teeth, perhaps for use in dentures). Mr. Chernow also paid a personal visit to the tooth at the medical library where it is stored…. – NYT, 9-28-10
    • CAROLINE ELKINS reviewing Ingrid Betancourt: Deliverance: EVEN SILENCE HAS AN END My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle In her gripping memoir, “Even Silence Has an End,” Betancourt captures the despondency wrought by Fat Martha’s pronouncement with a blend of power and self-awareness that inscribes not just this one disturbing moment but her account’s every page. “Like Alice in Wonderland, I was falling, falling into a bottomless well,” she writes. “This was my black hole. I was being sucked down, dragged down into the bowels of the earth. I was alive only so that I could witness myself dying.”… – NYT, 9-30-10
    • David S. Reynolds Reviews Eric Foner: Learning to Be Lincoln: THE FIERY TRIAL Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery Do we need yet another book on Lincoln, especially in the wake of all the Lincoln volumes that appeared last year in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of his birth? Well, yes, we do — if the book is by so richly informed a commentator as Eric Foner, the DeWitt Clinton professor of history at Columbia. Foner tackles what would seem to be an obvious topic, Lincoln and slavery, and manages to cast new light on it…. – NYT, 9-30-10

    FEATURES:

    • Scholar uses Berkshires for black history project: Mississippi-born Frances Jones-Sneed moved to western Massachusetts feeling like a foreigner in the snowy hamlets of the Berkshire Mountains. She and her husband, who had taken a teaching job there, were one of the area’s few black families.
      Then Jones-Sneed was hired as a history professor at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams. There, she stumbled upon lost figures of the area’s rich black history.
      With the help of students, she found a slave who sued for freedom, a late 19th-century baseball player who later ended up in the Baseball Hall of Fame, and a Civil War chaplain who challenged Lincoln over discrimination against black soldiers…. – Boston Herald, 10-5-10

    PROFILES:

    • Janet Stone: Retired professor pens history of AASU: Janet Stone, Armstrong professor of history emerita and university historian, has published “From the Mansion to the University: A History of Armstrong Atlantic State University 1935-2010.” The 400-page hardcover book was researched over several years and includes material starting with the founding of the college in 1935 to the day that current president Linda M. Bleicken took office in July 1. Illustrated with images of Armstrong across the decades, the book includes 13 chapters and an epilogue…. – Savannah Now, 9-28-10

    QUOTES:

    • Gil Troy: Israel: A Belly-Dance Video and the Specter of Delegitimization But other reasons are not so concrete. They are in the air, says McGill University history professor Gil Troy, wafting on currents detectable to the antennas that Jews have developed over thousands of years of living with anti-Semitism.
      “Israel is the only country whose very existence is still being debated,” he says. Troy believes Israel is “the only country that still seems to be on probation.” Consider Pakistan, also founded in 1948: when its chief nuclear scientist sells the bomb to rogue states, as A.Q. Khan did more than once, “people don’t jump from criticizing that action to questioning why Pakistan was created in the first place,” Troy says.
      The need to nurture U.S. support against Iran was only one reason Netanyahu came around to the Obama Administration’s bid for talks, says Troy. “The second is this question of delegitimization.” And though not all criticism of Israel amounts to opposition to its existence, he says, some people “use these Facebook incidents, they use aberrations, they use the flotilla to say, ‘Aha. It’s no good. We should end it.’” It meaning Israel, where the middle-aged recall being taught as schoolchildren to chant, “The whole world is against us,” with a brave defiance that comes less easily to adults. – Time, 10-8-10
    • Why is This GOP House Candidate Dressed as a Nazi?: Historians of Nazi Germany vehemently dispute this characterization. “These guys don’t know their history,” said Charles W. Sydnor, Jr., a retired history professor and author of “Soldiers of Destruction: The SS Death’s Head Division, 1933-45,” which chronicles an SS division. “They have a sanitized, romanticized view of what occurred.” Sydnor added that re-enactments like the Wiking group’s are illegal in Germany and Austria. “If you were to put on an SS uniform in Germany today, you’d be arrested.”
      Christopher Browning, a professor of history at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, said, “It is so unhistorical and so apologetic that you don’t know to what degree they’ve simply caught up innocent war memorabilia enthusiasts who love putting on uniforms.”… – The Atlantic, 10-8-10
    • As Games Begin, India Hopes to Save Its Pride: “You see the mismanagement all around,” said Jaya Kakkar, a professor of history at the Shyam Lal College of Delhi University. “There is no accountability. Every day they say all is well, but all is not well. We are paying for all this, and this is what we are getting? These games have become a national shame.”… NYT (10-2-10)
    • A History Professor Responds To Our Posts About Texas Textbooks: I greatly enjoyed reading your work exposing the craziness surrounding the Fox promotion of the Christian/Islam fake controversy surrounding Texas textbooks. As a history professor I constantly struggle with the fact that historians are the only professionals that are told by others, untrained in the profession, how they should teach or study their craft. The obvious fact is that the board members… in Texas like (State Board of Ed member Cynthia) Dunbar, simply don’t like the fact that Muslims are mentioned in a favorable light. Any serious historian knows that there is no bias in history books that emphasize Muslims. In my experience the bias is the other way. Most students that I teach here have no clue about the contributions Muslims have made to knowledge, science, history, or culture. It is my hope that by exposing this drivel we can begin to work towards a day when the Texas State Board of Education is an appointed group of experts trained in their field instead of a bunch of elected idiots whose knowledge of history doesn’t go much further than the average lay person. We do a disservice to our students by holding their curriculum hostage to electoral politics. Keep up the great work! – Fox, 9-27-10

    INTERVIEWS:

    • Jon Wiener: Uncovering The ‘Truth’ Behind Lennon’s FBI Files: Oct. 9, 2010 would have been John Lennon’s 70th birthday. Fresh Air remembers the legendary musician with excerpts from interviews conducted with people who knew him, and people who studied his life. This discussion with Jon Wiener was originally broadcast on Jan. 25, 2000… – NPR, 10-8-10
    • A Lesson In Firefighting History: Robert Siegel speaks with Mark Tebeau, an urban historian at Cleveland State University, about the history of fire marks in the United States. Fire marks indicated whether a homeowner was insured for fire protection. Tebeau is also the author of Eating Smoke: Fire in Urban America…. – NPR, 10-8-10
    • Professor to interview former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education: Timothy Slekar, professor of education and head of the Division of Education, Human Development, and Social Sciences at Penn State Altoona, will conduct a radio interview with former United States Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch on Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 11 a.m. on WRTA 1240 AM in the Altoona area. Ravitch is an education historian, an education policy analyst and currently serves as a research professor in New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. The interview will be streamed on the Web at http://socialstreamingplayer.crystalmedianetworks.com/radio/wrta?from=external online. – Penn State Altoona, 10-8-10

    AWARDS &APPOINTMENTS:

    • Retired UCR professor to be honored by Queen Elizabeth II: Henry Snyder, UC Riverside professor of history emeritus, will be presented with the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire medal Oct. 16 in Los Angeles…. – Southwest Riverside News Network, 10-9-10
    • Historian Gordon-Reed Named MacArthur Foundation ‘Genius Grant’ Recipient: Acclaimed historian and law professor Annette Gordon-Reed is among 23 winners of 2010 MacArthur fellowships: Acclaimed historian and law professor Annette Gordon-Reed is among 23 winners of MacArthur fellowships, announced Monday by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Winners collect $500,000 in grants that are paid out over five years. Gordon-Reed, the winner of a Pulitzer Prize for “The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family,” holds professorships in law and history at Harvard University. Gordon-Reed’s writings have been credited with reshaping conceptions of colonial and early-American interracial relations through the examination of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, the slave who had children Jefferson is alleged to have fathered.
      The MacArthur Foundation website entry for Gordon-Reed says that, by “disentangling the complicated history of two distinct founding families’ interracial bloodlines,” the historian has been “shaping and enriching American history with an authentic portrayal of our colonial past.” – Diverse Education, 9-28-10

    SPOTTED:

    • John Brewer: British historian discusses countrymen’s love of art and travel: John Brewer, professor of literature and history at the California Institute of Technology, delivered his lecture “From Grand Tour to Tourism?: Neo-classicism, Modern Sentiment and the Business of Travel in the Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries” in Rapaporte Treasure Hall Tuesday, offering students a trip through Europe and through time. Brewer spoke of the “Grand Tour” in great depth: Young aristocratic men in 18th century Britain made this voyage, often accompanied by their tutors. It was a rite of passage before these men became landlords or husbands and had to fulfill more serious duties…. – The Brandeis Shoot, 10-8-10
    • Historian, professor Woody Holton lectures on Abigail Adams: Abigail Adams was not just a First Lady, but was also an early feminist, learned audience members at Woody Holton’s lecture on Sunday afternoon. The lecture, which took place in the Brown-Alley room, was sponsored by the Friends of Boatwright Memorial Library in honor of “Abigail Adams,” the new book by the historian and associate professor of history and American studies. Holton told the audience of about 50 people that he had a very canned lecture prepared, which he had already given about 60 times, and so was going to speak about something different, which was Abigail’s relationship with the other women in her life…. – The Collegian — University of Richmond, 10-6-10

    ANNOUNCEMENTS & EVENTS CALENDAR:

    • THE NEW-YORK HISTORICAL SOCIETY MAKES ITS MOST IMPORTANT COLLECTIONS RELATING TO SLAVERY AVAILABLE ONLINE: Rich trove of material becomes easily accessible at www.nyhistory.org/slaverycollection The New-York Historical Society is proud to announce the launch of a new online portal to nearly 12,000 pages of source materials documenting the history of slavery in the United States, the Atlantic slave trade and the abolitionist movement. Made readily accessible to the general public for the first time at www.nyhistory.org/slaverycollections, these documents from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries represent fourteen of the most important collections in the library’s Manuscript Department….
    • Understanding the Iran-Contra Affairs,” is the only comprehensive website on the famous Reagan-era government scandal, which stemmed from the U.S. government’s policies toward two seemingly unrelated countries, Nicaragua and Iran. Despite stated and repeated denials to Congress and to the public, Reagan Administration officials supported the militant contra rebels in Nicaragua and sold arms to a hostile Iranian government. These events have led to questions about the appropriateness of covert operations, congressional oversight, and even the presidential power to pardon…. – irancontra.org
    • Tony Platt: Nuremburg Laws now on display at the National Archives “symbolically important”: The laws signed by Adolf Hitler taking away the citizenship of German Jews before the Holocaust were placed on rare public display Wednesday at the National Archives. The Nuremberg Laws were turned over to the archives in August by The Huntington, a museum complex near Los Angeles where they were quietly deposited by Gen. George Patton at the end of World War II. The papers will be on display in a separate gallery from the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence through Oct. 18…. – AP (10-6-10)
    • 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:

    • 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:

    • Former history professor Rhys Isaac dead at 72: Rhys Isaac, former Distinguished Visiting Professor of Early American History at the College, has died of cancer. He was 72. Isaac, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1983 for his book “The Transformation of Virginia, 1740 -1790,” enjoyed an exemplary career in teaching and research, most especially in his scholarship on Colonial North America. He remains the only Australian historian ever to win a Pulitzer…. – William and Mary News, 10-7-10
    • Moshe Lewin, scholar of the Soviet Union, dies at 88: Moshe “Misha” Lewin, professor emeritus of history, died August 14, in Paris, France. He was 88 years old. Dr. Lewin was born in Wilno, Poland in 1921 to ethnic Jewish parents who died in the Holocaust. He moved to the Soviet Union in 1941 ahead of the invading Nazis and enlisted in the Soviet army in 1943. He received his BA from Tel Aviv University, Israel in 1961. That same year he received a research scholarship to study at the Sorbonne in Paris, where he earned a PhD in 1964. He served for one year as director of study at L’École des hautes études in Paris, before becoming a senior fellow at Columbia University in New York City. Prior to his arrival at Penn in 1978, Dr. Lewin was a research professor for 10 years at Birmingham University in England. As a professor of history at Penn, Dr. Lewin was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship in 1995. He retired and was accorded emeritus status that same year…. – UPenn Almanac (10-5-10)

    History Buzz September 2010: Bob Woodward’s “Obama’s Wars”

    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

    IN FOCUS:

    • Bob Woodward Potrayal of Obama Pleases White House: The new Bob Woodward book portrays President Obama as hard-nosed and demanding in the process of drafting a new U.S. military strategy in Afghanistan last year. And senior White House officials seem pleased by the portrait.
      “I think the book portrays a thoughtful, vigorous policy process that led us to a strategy to get us the best chance of achieving our objectives and goals in Afghanistan,” said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs.
      In an exchange with reporters on Air Force One as Mr. Obama flew to New York for two-and-a-half days of diplomacy at the United Nations, Gibbs said he hopes people read the book for themselves, as he said he did last night.
      Gibbs said Mr. Obama came into office facing an Afghanistan policy that was “neglected for seven years and badly under- resourced.” Gibbs said the president tried to shepherd a process “that was thoughtful and deliberative.”… – CBS News, 9-22-10
    • White House doesn’t dispute Woodward book’s portrayal of Obama: Bob Woodward book details Obama’s Afghan war exit plan “Obama’s Wars,” to be released Sept. 27, 2010, recounts how the president crafted his own strategy for a way out of Afghanistan.
      With juicy nuggets of the new Bob Woodward book on President Obama starting to emerge, the official White House reaction so far is: It’s just fine.
      Many of Obama’s senior advisers have already obtained and read the book, “Obama’s Wars,” and are satisfied with the image it conveys of the president, a senior administration official said Wednesday.
      “The President comes across in the [Afghanistan] review and throughout the decisionmaking process as a Commander in Chief who is analytical, strategic, and decisive, with a broad view of history, national security, and his role,” the official said in an e-mail…. – WaPo, 9-22-10
    • Washington Post scooped by New York Times on Bob Woodward story Great rival runs story on legendary Watergate reporter’s new book that spoils Post’s exclusive from its own journalist:
      The heavyweight bout between the New York Times and the Washington Post for the title of America’s leading newspaper has just seen the Post take another punch in the kidneys.
      To the Post’s immense embarrassment, it has been scooped by its great rival over a book written by one of its own journalists. And not just any journalist, either, but Bob Woodward, half of the famous Woodward and Bernstein team that broke the Watergate scandal.
      On Tuesday evening the New York Times website ran a news story by political correspondent Peter Baker reporting the juicy revelations in Woodward’s latest book, Obama’s War, detailing tensions within the White House over the direction of the conflict in Afghanistan.
      The book is not published until next week and the Washington Post had planned to run exclusive extracts. But Baker’s scoop forced it to scramble together a version of its own.
      The humiliation of being scooped under its own nose is the latest in a long line for the Post. In recent years it has lost a string of talented journalists to the NYT – including Baker, who left the Post in 2008 – while steep declines in circulation and advertising revenue have seen the Post shed staff and resources…. – Guardian, UK, 9-22-10

    HISTORY NEWS:

    • Son of Dead Sea Scrolls Expert Is Convicted: The son of a prominent professor at the University of Chicago was convicted on Thursday of impersonating a New York University professor and other scholars who disagreed with his father’s theories on the origin of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Jurors took half a day to find the son, Raphael Haim Golb, a 50-year-old real estate lawyer, guilty on 30 of 31 counts, including identity theft, criminal impersonation and aggravated harassment…. – NYT (10-1-10)
    • Brought to book with Orlando Figes: Next month sees the publication of Orlando Figes’s history of The Crimean war, Crimea: The Last Crusade. According to the blurb for his new book, Figes “re-imagines the extraordinary war, in which the stakes could not have been higher and which was fought with a terrible mixture of ferocity and incompetence”. It is ferocity and incompetence that have characterised Figes’s own extraordinary war with academics, and dominated the headlines earlier this year. The stakes could not have been higher…. – London Evening Standard (9-27-10)
    • Historians lobby for state signage to recognize Revolutionary War general Nathaniel Woodhull: Exactly 234 years ago this month, a Revolutionary War general died from wounds incurred during a defiant showdown with the British – a gripping tale of patriotism that began in Queens. But the spot where Nathaniel Woodhull was mortally wounded in 1776 does not bear tribute to the first high-ranking colonial officer to become a prisoner of war and die in enemy captivity…. – NY Daily News (9-28-10)
    • Plans for John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park in Tulsa Go Forward in U.S. House: Plans to designate the John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park in Tulsa as part of the National Park System received a boost last Thursday when Oklahoma Republican John Sullivan introduced a bill to conduct a feasibility study on incorporating the park into the NPS. The park commemorates the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot and is named for Tulsa native John Hope Franklin, the late Duke historian and Presidential Medal of Honor winner. Dignitaries will assemble on October 27 to dedicate the park in his honor…. – HNN Staff (9-28-10)
    • A Trial on Identity Theft, With Scholarly Discourse: …Raphael Haim Golb, a 50-year-old real estate lawyer, seemed at times to take on the role of everything but criminal defendant as he testified in his own defense on Monday in State Supreme Court in Manhattan. Mr. Golb faces charges that he stole the identity of and impersonated a New York University professor and others who disagreed with his father’s theories about the origin of the Dead Sea Scrolls in an effort to discredit them…. – NYT (9-27-10)
    • Historian, Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka calls Nigeria a failure: NOBEL Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has lamented the failure of Nigeria to manifest traits of a succeeding nation 50 years into independence. Speaking as guest speaker at the 50th Independence anniversary of Nigeria, organised by the Rivers State government in Port Harcourt on Monday, Professor Soyinka noted that the Nigerian nation had not been able to find the link between potential and fulfilment…. – Nigerian Tribune (9-28-10)
    • Polish group begins legal action against David Irving: A Polish organization began legal action this week to convict British Holocaust denier David Irving for “minimizing” the scale of Nazi atrocities, as the revisionist historian begins his controversial tours of the Nazi death camps in the country…. – Jerusalem Post (9-24-10)
    • Auschwitz museum rejects tour by Holocaust-denying historian: British historian and Holocaust-denier David Irving will not be permitted to give tours at Poland’s Auschwitz- Birkenau State Museum, museum officials said Tuesday after the controversial historian arrived in Poland to lead a tour of Nazi sites. “Proper actions” will be taken if Irving made statements that denied or played down the Holocaust while visiting Auschwitz, a museum spokesman told the Polish Press Agency PAP. “We cannot allow statements that harm the memory of the victims,” spokesman Bartosz Bartyzel told PAP…. – Guardian (UK) (9-21-10)
    • HNN article cited in historians’ petition to release Nixon transcript: Maarja Krusten’s HNN article “Why Aren’t All the Nixon Tapes Now Available,” originally published in February 2009, has been cited in a legal petition for the National Archives and Records Administration to unseal former president Richard Nixon’s 1975 testimony to a grand jury. The petition was spearheaded by Stanley Kutler, another regular contributor to HNN and professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin. Mr. Kutler has been involved in legal cases to release Nixon administration records since the early 1990s…. – HNN Staff (9-16-10)
    • Reports of baby Tsar remains ‘hoax’ – historian: The Russian historian Professor Andrei Sakharov has dismissed as a hoax reports from Kholmogory near the White Sea about the discovery of the remains of the Russian Emperor Ivan VI, who was killed on 1764 at 24 nearly 23 years after being deposed…. – Voice of Russia (9-13-10)
    • Historians Want Court To Unseal Nixon Testimony Unseal: A group of historians is asking the Washington federal district court to exercise its “inherent supervisory authority” to unseal the 1975 grand jury testimony of former President Richard Nixon.
      Historian Stanley Kutler, the American Historical Association, American Society for Legal History, Organization of American Historians, and Society of American Archivists filed a petition yesterday seeking the transcript of Nixon’s testimony on June 23 and June 25, 1975, and related documents of the Watergate Special Prosecution Force. The records are at the National Archives and Records Administration in College Park, Md…. – LegalTimes (9-14-10)
    • Secret Corps of Filmmakers Documented Nuclear Bomb Tests: …While many of the scientists who made atom bombs during the cold war became famous, the men who filmed what happened when those bombs were detonated made up a secret corps….
      The images are getting “seared into people’s imaginations,” said Robert S. Norris, author of “Racing for the Bomb” and an atomic historian. They bear witness, he added, “to extraordinary and terrifying power.”… NYT (9-14-10)
    • Controversial historian David Irving outrages Poles with death camp tour: David Irving, the controversial historian, has outraged war veterans and survivors’ groups with a tour of sites related to the Nazi occupation of Poland.
      Irving will be shadowed by the Polish secret service as he takes a week-long guided trip round various sites related to the German occupation of Poland, including a trip to the notorious SS-run camp Treblinka, where more than 800,000 Jews died between 1942 and 1943. Telegraph (UK) (9-9-10)
    • Canadian historian doubts Franklin artifact came from that expedition: An old wooden box excavated from beneath an Arctic cairn is being flown unopened today to Ottawa from the Nunavut hamlet of Gjoa Haven. The Nunavut government launched the excavation after an Inuit family relayed oral history suggesting that the cairn contained records from the ill-fated 1845 expedition led by Sir John Franklin in search of the Northwest Passage…. – Montreal Gazette (9-6-10)
    • Harvard history department still lacks Latin American professors: After two unsuccessful searches to replace Harvard’s two endowed professorships in Latin American history, the history department will, for the second consecutive year, rely on visiting faculty to fill the two positions.
      While the history department awaits clearance from the University to launch another search in the spring, undergraduates hoping to write Latin American history theses and graduate students in the field continue to find creative ways to pursue their course of study…. – Harvard Crimson (9-7-10)
    • Brooklyn College Furor Is More Heated Online: Reading about it online, you would think that the controversy over this year’s assigned reading for students new to Brooklyn College would have led to fevered student and faculty protests by now, making the campus the latest to be roiled by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
      But so far at least, the furor over the book — “How Does It Feel to Be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America,” by Moustafa Bayoumi, an associate English professor at Brooklyn College – is unfolding a bit like the debate over the planned Islamic community center in downtown Manhattan: much of the intensity seems far afield, while the response in the neighborhood itself is more muted…. – NYT (9-1-10)

    OP-EDs:

    • Deborah Kaplan: The Afterlife of My Husband Roy Rosenzweig’s Archive: Deborah Kaplan is an associate professor of English and cultural studies at George Mason University. She prepared a collection of Roy Rosenzweig’s essays, Clio Wired: The Future of the Past in the Digital Age, to be published by Columbia University Press this winter…. – CHE (9-26-10)
    • William Pfaff: Are Obama’s Hands Tied by Forces Beyond His Control?: A splendid and courageous new book, “Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War,” by Andrew J. Bacevich of Boston University (and for many years previously, the U.S. Army), describes with lucidity the degree to which the power of the American presidency over war and peace has been weakened in our day, and, in important respects, superseded…. – Truthdig (9-28-10)
    • Roger Cohen: Listen to Tony Judt: Democracy Still Matters: It’s important to stanch the anti-democratic tide. Thugs and oppression ride on it. If anyone needs reminding of that, read the remarkable Tony Judt, the historian who brought the same unstinting lucidity to his death last month from Lou Gehrig’s Disease as he did to the sweep of 20th-century European history. Judt was a British intellectual transposed to New York whose rigorous spirit of inquiry epitomized Anglo-American liberal civilization. Nobody knew better the repressive systems that create captive minds. Nobody wrote more persuasively about the struggle against them for pluralism, liberty and justice…. – NYT (9-20-10)
    • Michael Hirsh: Our Best Minds Are Failing Us: …Recently, the National Science Foundation sent out a query asking economists and social scientists to draw up “grand challenge questions that are both foundational and transformative”—a request that one recipient, Andrew Lo, a highly regarded financial economist at MIT, says is a first in his experience. But one problem is that the economics profession “has gotten much more intolerant of divergence from orthodoxy,” says Philip Mirowski, an economic historian at Notre Dame. “The range in which dissent happens is so narrow. In a sense they still cannot imagine the system can operate to undermine itself. That is not a position that is allowed anywhere in the economics profession. The field got rid of methodological self-criticism. This Great Moderation stuff was just arrogance, hubris.” Indeed, the joke on economists, says one of them, Rob Johnson, is that they create simplistic models that depend on people behaving as rational actors motivated by self-interest, yet “they have a blind spot regarding themselves.” The way they squabble mulishly to defend now-indefensible positions is itself evidence of how flawed those rational-actor models are…. – Newsweek (9-16-10)
    • Jed Perl: Scholarly Hipsters?: Perspective—our perspective on world history—is the subject of [Daniel] Rosenberg and [Anthony] Grafton’s easygoing, brainy Cartographies of Time, a book that bears comparison with two of my favorite illustrated volumes of all time: Mario Praz’s Illustrated History of Furnishing (1964) and A. Hyatt Mayor’s Prints and People: A Social History of Printed Pictures (1971). What Rosenberg and Grafton have in common with Mayor and Praz is a feeling for the poetic powers of material culture, for the way that stylistic evolutions express changing worldviews. By looking at timelines and how their shape and form have morphed over the years, Rosenberg and Grafton manage to describe the evolving physiognomy of the historical imagination. This book does for timelines what Grafton’s glorious The Footnote: A Curious History did for footnotes. It takes intellectual confidence to compose a text that partners with pictures without overwhelming them—that allows the images to dance and sing. Mayor and Praz had that confidence. So do Rosenberg and Grafton…. – The New Republic (9-15-10)
    • Michel Martin: Professor Walters Taught Us All A Love For Country: …I was thinking about all that because I was thinking about Ronald Walters, a pre-eminent professor of political science and African-American studies, who died Sept. 10 of cancer. He was 72.
      At the time of his death, he was a professor at the University of Maryland, where he chaired the African American Leadership Institute. He had also taught at Brandeis and Syracuse universities but perhaps most notably at Howard University…. – NPR (9-13-10)
    • Plans made for 1968 Olympics in East and West Berlin, historian says: A plan existed to bring the 1968 Olympic Games to Berlin, which was divided by then East and West Germany, a sports historian said Saturday. But the Allies, along with the West German government, would not allow it. Christopher Young, who also heads German studies at the University of Cambridge, told the online edition of daily newspaper Der Tagesspiegel that the idea was the brainchild of eventual Chancellor Willy Brandt…. – Deutsche Welle (8-28-10)
    • Steven J. Zipperstein: The Two Tony Judts: Tony Judt, who died last month at the age of 62 after suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease, was an unlikely celebrity academic. He was soft-spoken, dressed much like a graduate student, rarely appeared on television or radio, and derided postmodernism and ethnic studies. The finest of his many books, Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945 (Penguin Press), published in 2005, is a prodigiously original, rather straightforward, dense (832 pages without footnotes in paperback) political history. His last book, Ill Fares the Land: a Treatise on Our Present Discontents (Penguin Press, 2010), was dictated over the course of a couple months as his illness progressed; it is a call to social austerity, to self-effacing, moderate, social-democratic principles—in short, a document of the conservative left…. – the CHE (9-5-10)

    REVIEWS & FIRST CHAPTERS:

    • Bill Bryson: If Walls Could Talk: AT HOME A Short History of Private Life Many adults have a fantasy that if they could go back to college — now that the desire to party, drink and sleep around has faded to a burnished memory — they’d get so much more out of it. The publishing industry often reflects this wish. Every season brings offerings that are right at home on anyone’s continuing-ed syllabus: innovative, original ways to study world history through lenses trained on the minutiae of salt or cod, earthworms or spices, tea or telephones. Now, finally, for those of us who wrestled with Rocks for Jocks, pined amid Physics for Poets and schlepped through college on 101s of any and every subject — the beloved survey courses — here’s that most popular professor, Bill Bryson, with a fascinating new book, “At Home: A Short History of Private Life.” NYT, 10-8-10
    • When the City Defined Who’s Who: ETHAN MORDDEN mulled titling his latest social and cultural history “From Mrs. Astor to Truman Capote, or the Rise of New Yorkism in American Life.” Instead, he settled on a more generic (and inviting) title with a more specific subtitle: “The Guest List: How Manhattan Defined American Sophistication — From the Algonquin Round Table to Truman Capote’s Ball” (St. Martin’s Press, $29.99)…. – NYT, 10-8-10
    • Tony Blair: The Convert: A JOURNEY My Political Life The years since the end of the cold war divide into two very different ages. The first, the 1990s, was dominated by the rise of free markets and free trade across the globe. The second, since 9/11, has been defined by terrorism, counterterrorism, war and Islamic radicalism. Bill Clinton is the symbol of the first decade and George W. Bush of the second. Tony Blair is the only major political figure to span both eras, beginning his political life in the corridors of Davos and ending it in the mud flats of Basra. He tells both tales in his engrossing memoir, “A Journey,” but they never fuse into one larger story…. – NYT, 10-8-10
    • In Bob Woodward’s ‘Obama’s Wars,’ Neil Sheehan sees parallels to Vietnam: In another of his superbly reported insider accounts, “Obama’s Wars,” Bob Woodward recounts how a new president may well have embroiled himself in a war that could poison his presidency — just as his predecessor, George W. Bush, destroyed his with a foolhardy war in Iraq and Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon were ruined by the war in Vietnam. The grim mountains and deserts of Afghanistan are a boneyard of invading foreign armies. The British rulers of colonial India sent an Anglo-Indian army into Afghanistan in 1839 to establish it as a buffer state against the advances of imperial Russia in Central Asia. The enterprise faltered against Afghan resistance, and the main garrison at Kabul — about 4,500 troops and 12,000 family members and camp followers — decided to retreat back to India in January 1842. Afghan tribesmen fell upon them in the snows of the mountain passes and slaughtered them without pity. Only one man, a doctor named William Brydon, reached safety. A few others were spared as prisoners and subsequently rescued…. – WaPo, 10-3-10
    • Nicholas Phillipson: The Wealth of an Intellect: Adam Smith: An Enlightened Life Against this backdrop, it comes as something of a surprise to discover “Adam Smith: An Enlightened Life” by Nicholas Phillipson (Yale, $32.50). Mr. Phillipson, an honorary fellow in history at the University of Edinburgh, has written an unabashedly intellectual biography in which Smith’s economics thinking is only part — at times, a smallish part — of a larger, inherently philosophical story…. – NYT, 10-2-10
    • Andrew Cayton Reviews Ron Chernow: Learning to Be Washington: WASHINGTON A Life Today, books about Washington continue to appear at such an astonishing rate that the publication of Ron Chernow’s prompts the inevitable question: Why another one? An obvious answer is that Chernow is no ordinary writer. Like his popular biographies of John D. Rockefeller and Alexander Hamilton, his “Washington” while long, is vivid and well paced. If Chernow’s sense of historical context is sometimes superficial, his understanding of psychology is acute and his portraits of individuals memorable. Most readers will finish this book feeling as if they have actually spent time with human beings. Given Chernow’s considerable literary talent and the continued hunger of some Americans for a steady diet of tales of Washington and his exploits, what publisher could resist the prospect of adding “Washington: A Life” to its list?…. – NYT, 9-30-10Excerpt
    • Ron Chernow: Dusting Off an Elusive President’s Dull Image: WASHINGTON A Life When George Washington was sworn in as the first president of the United States, he had only one original tooth left. It was “a lonely lower left bicuspid,” according to Ron Chernow’s vast and tenaciously researched new biography. But Mr. Chernow was not content merely to write about the tooth and its larger implications, which range from questions about Washington’s apparent reticence in later life (did his dental troubles keep him from speaking?) to his harshly pragmatic attitude toward slavery (he purchased slaves’ teeth, perhaps for use in dentures). Mr. Chernow also paid a personal visit to the tooth at the medical library where it is stored…. – NYT, 9-28-10
    • David S. Reynolds Reviews Eric Foner: Learning to Be Lincoln: THE FIERY TRIAL Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery Do we need yet another book on Lincoln, especially in the wake of all the Lincoln volumes that appeared last year in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of his birth? Well, yes, we do — if the book is by so richly informed a commentator as Eric Foner, the DeWitt Clinton professor of history at Columbia. Foner tackles what would seem to be an obvious topic, Lincoln and slavery, and manages to cast new light on it…. – NYT, 9-30-10
    • Isabel Wilkerson: For blacks, the Great Migration north was a declaration of independence: THE WARMTH OF OTHER SUNS The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration For African Americans, restriction of movement has long had profound meaning — and never more so than after the end of slavery. The flight of 6 million Southern blacks to the North between 1915 and 1970 was, as Isabel Wilkerson writes in “The Warmth of Other Suns,” “the first mass act of independence by a people who were in bondage in this country for far longer than they have been free.”… Wilkerson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist whose own family made the trek north, puts a different face on what is known as the Great Migration. Those who made the momentous decision to leave the “Old Country,” as writer James Baldwin called the South, were as diverse and determined as those who passed through the way stations of Ellis Island…. – WaPo, 9-26-10
    • Three books on the Tea Party, reviewed by Steven Levingston: “Boiling Mad: Inside Tea Party America,” by Kate Zernike (Times, $25)
      “The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party’s Revolution and the Battle Over American History,” by Jill Lepore (Princeton Univ., $19.95)
      “Mad as Hell: How the Tea Party Movement Is Fundamentally Remaking Our Two-Party System,” by Scott Rasmussen and Douglas Schoen (Harper, $27.99) – WaPo, 9-26-10
    • Samuel Moyn: New Birth of Freedom: THE LAST UTOPIA Human Rights in History Human rights have come to dominate international discourse, but while this fact is often portrayed as the culmination of a centuries-old tradition, Samuel Moyn, a professor of history at Columbia University, takes a different view. The modern concept of human rights, he says in “The Last Utopia,” differs radically from older claims of rights, like those that arose out of the American and French Revolutions. According to Moyn, human rights in their current form — applicable to all and internationally protected — can be traced not to the Enlightenment, nor to the humanitarian impulses of the 19th century nor to the impact of the Holocaust after World War II. Instead, he sees them as dating from the 1970s, exemplified by President Jimmy Carter’s effort to make human rights a pillar of United States foreign policy…. – NYT, 9-24-10
    • Jimmy Carter, Julian E. Zelizer: Engineer of his own defeat: Jimmy Carter’s “White House Diary”: WHITE HOUSE DIARY, JIMMY CARTER Precisely whom we must thank for this sudden outpouring of books by and about Jimmy Carter — in addition to the two here under review, there is also “Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter: The Georgia Years 1924-1974,” by E. Stanly Godbold Jr. (Oxford Univ., $29.95) — but an outpouring it most certainly is, though how many readers actually will welcome it is uncertain. This is because the principal effect of Carter’s diary of his four White House years and Julian E. Zelizer’s brief assessment of them is to remind us that it was a difficult time for the country and that Carter, for all his strengths, was not the right man for the time…. – WaPo, 9-24-10
    • China’s WWI Effort Draws New Attention: Xu Guoqi is a professor of history at the University of Hong Kong. His book, Strangers on the Western Front: Chinese Workers in the Great War, will be published this year. He says that sending as Chinese laborers to the front was a brilliant strategy to link China with the West…. – Voice of America (9-23-10)
    • Craig Robertson: Book Review: The Passport in America: The Passport in America:The History of a Document Forced to evacuate our homes with only one portable essential, some of us would grab our passports. Not only do these seemingly magical certificates grant the bearer the right to cross friendly borders at will and to obtain government protection in case of trouble while overseas, they also offer a proof of citizenship in the modern age. “The Passport in America,” Craig Robertson’s provocative, if at times numbingly academic, study of this special document in American history, charts its general acceptance in tandem with the growth of the nation state and the various technologies — chiefly photography — that helped to shape modern notions of individual identity…. – NYT, 9-26-10
    • Jay Jennings: A Town, a Team, a Dream Deferred: CARRY THE ROCK Race, Football, and the Soul of an American City Historical relevance is not a problem in “Carry the Rock: Race, Football, and the Soul of an American City,” Jay Jennings’s informative but frustrating book, set on the campus of Central High School in Little Rock, Ark. History, in fact, is every­where. Central High may be the most recognizable high school name in America; at Central in 1957, the nation witnessed the full fury of the Southern resistance to school desegregation, as images of soldiers escorting black children to their classes became as famous as the students’ nickname: the Little Rock Nine…. – NYT, 9-19-10
    • Rebecca Traister: Sexual Politics: BIG GIRLS DON’T CRY The Election That Changed Everything for American Women Sleeping a few blocks away was the journalist Rebecca Traister, author of “Big Girls Don’t Cry: The Election That Changed Everything for American Women,” a passionate, visionary and very personal account of the cultural ferment that accompanied the election of ’08. Traister was covering the convention for Salon. A colleague woke her by saying urgently, “McCain picked Palin.” Traister’s stupefied response, she writes, was “Michael Palin?” (the British comedian). She wasn’t joking. And after she heard Palin speak, she wasn’t laughing…. – NYT, 9-19-10
    • Ilyon Woo: At War With the Shakers: THE GREAT DIVORCE A Nineteenth-Century Mother’s Extraordinary Fight Against Her Husband, the Shakers, and Her Times Ilyon Woo has ably pieced together the story of this triangular struggle. She places the Chapmans’ battle in the context of similar contests: theirs was not the only family torn apart by one partner’s decision to join the Shakers. The sect insisted that wives could not join unless husbands also did. Initially, such a rule did not apply when spousal roles were reversed, but the Shakers’ experience with the resolute Eunice Chapman led them to make it ­universal…. – NYT, 9-19-10
    • H.W. Brands’s “American Dreams,” reviewed by Charles Kaiser: AMERICAN DREAMS The United States Since 1945 The story of the United States since 1945 offers a historian the opportunity to mine a rich narrative of steady change and dramatic transformation. With the end of World War II now 65 years behind us — and all of the 1960s at least 40 years old — this ought be a good time to offer new information and fresh insights into the political, social and cultural events that re-invented the country in the postwar period. “American Dreams” appropriately dates the beginning of the modern era to the first explosion of an atomic bomb in the New Mexico desert in July 1945. Here, H.W. Brands, a history professor at the University of Texas, does a good job of making the familiar seem fresh: “Many of the observers were struck by the silence that surrounded the detonation. The astonishing display of light and color took place without a soundtrack — until the sonic waves reached the observation posts many seconds after the light waves.” As J. Robert Oppenheimer, the project’s director, wrote: “I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture . . . ‘Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.’ I suppose we all thought that, one way or the other.”… – WaPo, 9-17-10
    • Jonathan Schneer’s “The Balfour Declaration,” reviewed by Eugene Rogan: THE BALFOUR DECLARATION The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict British historian Jonathan Schneer has produced a remarkable book on this complex and divisive subject. His “Balfour Declaration” is engagingly written, adding to our knowledge of this frequently told story without ever taking sides. The novelty of the book lies in the way he tells the story. Schneer sets the Zionist struggle for recognition in the context of Britain’s conflicting promises to Arabs, Jews and its European allies as part of its desperate bid to defeat Germany in World War I. Britain supported these movements more for their utility to its own war effort than out of conviction…. – WaPo, 9-17-10
    • Rebecca Traister: In the 2008 election, Hillary Clinton lost but feminism won: BIG GIRLS DON’T CRY The Election That Changed Everything for American Women In the early pages of “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” Salon’s Rebecca Traister seems determined to alienate every female reader over 40. Had I fallen for her false start, I would have missed her considerable contributions to the ongoing feminist narrative described by Gloria Steinem as the “revolution from within.”… – WaPo, 9-17-10
    • Tall tales from history: Are historians best placed to write historical fiction?: Historians turning their hands to fiction are all the rage. Since Alison Weir led the way in 2006, an ever-growing number of established non-fiction writers – Giles Milton, Simon Sebag Montefiore, Harry Sidebottom, Patrick Bishop, Ian Mortimer and myself included – have written historical novels.
      So successful has been the experiment, with many of the books making the bestseller lists, that earlier this year Penguin bought two novels from Kate Williams, one of our finest young historians, for the staggering sum of £1m. Independent (UK) (8-13-10)
    • Review of Richard Overy’s “1939: Countdown to War”: This exceptionally lucid, concise and authoritative book (which publishes at the end of September) tells the story of “the extraordinary ten days of drama that separated the conclusion of the German-Soviet [non-aggression] pact early in the morning of 24 August [1939] and the late afternoon of 3 September when France joined Britain in declaring war on Germany.”… – WaPo, 9-12-10
    • Bob Dylan sings the songs of America [and Sean Wilentz analyzes him]: “No one ever seems to go in or out of that building,” says Sean Wilentz, pointing out Princeton’s Nassau Hall, a campus landmark old enough to have been held by the British during the Revolutionary War.
      It’s appropriate that this eminent American historian (“The Rise of American Democracy,” “The Age of Reagan”) is talking about spirits from the past and mysteries of the present. His new book, ” Bob Dylan in America,” (Doubleday) is about how the strains of American music and American history have come together in one man over the course of a nearly 50-year career. In Wilentz’s view, Dylan has served as a conduit for potent and nearly forgotten strands in American musical, folk and political culture. The Popular Front artists, the Beat writers, the forgotten blues singers discovered by John and Alan Lomax, these are some of the people whose work speaks through Dylan. And so, appropriate for a historian, the book is a vision of how the past becomes part of our living present…. – LA Times (9-5-10)
    • 2010 National Book Festival WaPo

    FEATURES:

    • The real underground railroad: You are a runaway slave in antebellum America. Your name, age, height, and defining characteristics — whipping scars or redbone skin, jutting tooth or missing toes — have been circulated in a newspaper ad that offers $150 for your return. You’ve crossed the treacherous border states and, so far, eluded slave catchers. But you can feel their breath, and as you cross into New England, you’ve heard tell of a law giving anyone with a badge not just the power but the obligation to arrest you….
      That distorted image, scholars say, arose in large part because whites kept the most records about the effort. In that recorded history, “there’s a tendency to see runaway slaves as childlike, people who need to be taken care of. So you tend to get writings that position the experience in that way,” said Spencer Crew, a professor of history at George Mason University…. – Boston Globe (9-26-10)
    • Descendants of 1st black US doctor mark NYC grave: White descendants of the nation’s first professionally trained African-American doctor gathered in a cemetery on Sunday to dedicate a tombstone at the unmarked grave where he was buried in 1865. “Right now I feel so connected in a new way, to actually be here,” said Antoinette Martignoni, the 91-year-old great- granddaughter of James McCune Smith. “I take a deep breath, and I thank God, I really do. I am so glad to have lived this long.”… – WaPo (9-26-10)
    • Jesper Vaczy Kragh: Mentally handicapped Danes lobotomised until 1983: historian: Many mentally handicapped Danes, including children, were lobotomised between 1947 and 1983, and many died from the operation, a historian behind a soon-to-be-published book on the topic told Danish media Thursday. “Doctors did not count on curing them completely, but wanted to pacify them, perhaps to better their condition,” Jesper Vaczy Kragh told the Christian daily Kristelig Dagbladet. “The results of such operations generally were not good, and some 7.6 percent did not survive,” said the medical historian, behind a book on lobotomies set to be published in October…. – AFP (9-23-10)
    • Why is the city of Montgomery condemning the property of African-Americans along a civil rights trail?: …Over the last decade or so, dozens—perhaps hundreds—of homes in Montgomery have been declared blighted and razed in a similar manner. The owners tend to be disproportionately poor and black, and with little means to fight back. And here’s the kicker: Many of the homes fall along a federally funded civil rights trail in the neighborhood where Rosa Parks lived. Activists say the weird pattern may not be coincidence. “What’s happening in Montgomery is a civil rights crisis,” says David Beito, a history professor at the University of Alabama who, as chair of the Alabama State Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, held hearings on the demolitions in April of last year…. – Slate (9-17-10)
    • Did the Blitz Really Unify Britain?: The defiance of Britain as it endured eight months of German bombing 70 years ago is etched on the collective memory and immortalised in the phrase “Blitz spirit”. But does this image of national unity tell the whole story?…
      Although there was some panic and chaos in those first few nights, says Juliet Gardiner, author of The Blitz: The British Under Attack, the term “Blitz spirit” typifies two qualities that emerged – endurance and defiance…. BBC Magazine (9-13-10)

    PROFILES:

    • The birth of Latin American identity with two professors Martinez: As he stood beside the ornate tomb in Seville’s massive cathedral in southern Spain, Rubén Martínez didn’t know whether to curse or bless the man whose bones lie there.
      “It’s kind of like that classic mestizo dilemma,” Martínez said, using the traditional term denoting people of mixed European and indigenous American ancestry. “He’s my dad. I’m a bastard kid. I hate him, I love him.”…
      Martínez and filmmaker Carl Byker dig deep into the origins of Latin American identity, and the societies it shaped, in “When Worlds Collide,” a 90-minute documentary that will premiere at 9 p.m. Monday on PBS channels across the country, including KCET in Los Angeles…. – LA Times (9-27-10)
    • A historic moment for N. Korea watchers: …Seoul-based historian Andrei Lankov spent the early 1990s anticipating something that hasn’t happened. In his 30s at the time – “just a beginner,” Lankov recalled – he felt certain that North Korea would collapse after leader Kim Il Sung’s death. He planned his life around it. He craved the firsthand research that North Korea’s collapse would allow. He called it his “top academic ambition” to enter the nation that operated like a vault, turning the imagined into the tactile. He’s still waiting. Lankov speaks with unusual frankness about the limitations of his knowledge, even though he attended college in Pyongyang in the mid-1980s. (He was later blacklisted from reentry for 20 years, having been accused by Pyongyang of operating as a South Korean spy.)… – WaPo (9-27-10)
    • Keith Jeffery: Historian who explored MI6 secrets: Keith Jeffery, author of the first – and possibly only – official history of MI6, said today he had made a “Faustian pact” that had in some cases “overridden the imperatives of historical scholarship”. But he was given an offer he could not refuse – “the holy grail of the British archives”… – Guardian (UK) (9-21-10)
    • Sean Wilentz, Bringing It All Back Home: In Greenwich Village, not far from where Bob Dylan got his start—but in a chic Italian bistro, not a smoky dive like the late, lamented Gaslight Cafe—the Princeton historian Sean Wilentz is choking up, recalling when Dylan’s new recordings began to mean something to him again, after he’d drifted away from Dylan in the 1980s…. – CHE (9-5-10)

    QUOTES:

    • Historians, writers in favour of Indian president opening Commonwealth Games: NEW DELHI: Should Britain remain the pre-eminent nation in the Commonwealth when the world order has been turned upside down from the days when the “sun never set on the British Empire”? With controversy raging over who will declare CWG-2010 open — representative of Queen Elizabeth or President Pratibha Patil — the question has come to the fore with shades of the old debate over equations between the colonial master and the colonised resurfacing…. – Times of India (9-28-10)
    • Young people in UK losing faith in retirement, according to Jeremy Black: Jeremy Black, professor of history at the University of Exeter, said younger people who were yet to retire were having to adjust to a dramatic change in fortunes.
      “The relationship between the generations has been transformed. Whereas it used to be the case that up and coming generations tended to be more prosperous then their parents, now we’re going to be in reverse,” he said…. – BBC News (9-7-10)
    • SC mimicking political branches, says Cambridge historian: David J. Garrow, a University of Cambridge historian, said the court had in this way started to mimic the political branches of government.
      “We are getting a composition of the clerk work force that is getting to be like the House of Representatives,” Professor Garrow said. “Each side is putting forward only ideological purists.”… – NYT (9-6-10)

    INTERVIEWS:

    • Philip D. Zelikow: Germany’s international role is smaller, says reunification expert: Philip D. Zelikow worked on German reunification as a senior National Security Council official under President George H.W. Bush. Together with Condoleezza Rice, he is the author of “Germany Unified and Europe Transformed: A Study in Statecraft (1995).” Zelikow also served as executive director of the 9/11 Commission and as the top adviser to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. He is currently the White Burkett Miller Professor of History at the University of Virginia…. – Deutsche Welle (9-30-10)
    • A Q&A With Ambassador Michael Oren: What follows are questions for Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren from Coach Kemper and IFE Journalism Interns…. – Huffington Post (9-28-10)
    • Taylor Branch on Jon Stewart’s great risk: Jon Stewart’s announcement last Thursday of his “Rally to Restore Sanity” on Oct. 30 has, not surprisingly, generated significant interest from “Daily Show” fans. (The current number of people signed up on the rally’s Facebook page is 140,000). But it also prompted some confusion, even from longtime fans. What is Stewart trying to achieve? Does this mark a more formal embrace of politics? Will this change the way he’s perceived?… – Salon (9-24-10)
    • Atlantic City: Empire or Fantasyland? An Interview with Bryant Simon: A new HBO series, Boardwalk Empire, premiered this weekend. Worlds away from what we see on Jersey Shore, it has reignited interest in New Jersey history and culture. Bryant Simon (author of Boardwalk of Dreams: Atlantic City and the Fate of Urban America and Professor of History at Temple University) has been interviewed for the accompanying HBO documentary, and here we ask him some questions about the “dreamlike” place that is AC…. – OUPblog (9-20-10)
    • The Limits of Religious Tolerance: Scott Appleby on PBS – PBS (9-10-10)
    • Richard Evans dishes to the Guardian about Nazi book burnings: Throughout history, says Matt Fishburn, author of Burning Books, a chronicle of the phenomenon through the ages, most official book-burnings have been about “control”, to announce “what a regime stands for”. Like previous such ceremonies, the Nazi burnings (which Fishburn said, on their 75th anniversary in 2008, have since become “a cultural benchmark, a popular analogy and a common insult – to burn a book today is to be a ‘fascist’”) were, essentially, about “announcing what would be acceptable in future; shaping the new public sphere. The burnings were the symbol; the repressive legislation that came in their wake was what really enforced it.”… – Guardian (UK) (9-10-10)
    • How Bob Dylan Changed the ’60s–and Beyond with Sean Wilentz: Nearly half a century after he released his first album, Bob Dylan continues to release new albums (including, last year, a compilation of Christmas songs) and tour the country playing concerts. Sean Wilentz, an American history professor at Princeton University and “historian-in-residence” at BobDylan.com, traces Dylan’s influence on American culture in his new book, Bob Dylan in America. Here, he discusses how Dylan shaped his generation—and whether there’s a similar artist in today’s music scene…. – The Atlantic (9-9-10)

    AWARDS &APPOINTMENTS:

    • Harvard’s Annette Gordon-Reed recepient of MacArthur grant: …Annette Gordon-Reed, American historian, 51; Cambridge, Mass. Gordon-Reed changed the way scholars study the life of Thomas Jefferson, revealing his relationship with his slave Sally Hemings; she continues her discoveries in colonial interracial relationships…. – Chicago Tribune (9-27-10)
    • Historian David McCullough is Recipient of 2011 John Fitzgerald Kennedy Award in Holyoke: American historian David McCullough has been awarded the 2011 John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Award which is given out annually each March by the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day Parade committee in western Massachusetts…. – Irish Massachusetts (Blog) (9-23-10)

    SPOTTED:

    • Bryn Mawr College marks 125th year with conference on women’s education in a global context: Despite the progress made during the last century, in most places on Earth men continue to hold an overwhelming advantage. With few exceptions, when it comes to health, education, work, salaries, social status, and political power, women do not even come close to parity. That was just one of the stark facts in play as Bryn Mawr College convened an international conference Thursday – “Heritage and Hope: Women’s Education in a Global Context” – to help mark the 125th anniversary of the famed women’s school…. – Philadelphia Inquirer (9-24-10)
    • BOOK WORLD’S FESTIVAL RECOMMENDATIONS If you are fascinated by the history of race . . .: In “The History of White People,” Nell Irvin Painter (History & Biography at 11:10 a.m.) argues that “race is an idea, not a fact.” From ancient times to present day, she traces how that idea developed. The Greeks and Romans did not differentiate people by skin color, for instance, and as early Irish immigrants to America could attest, one might have white skin and still not qualify as “white.”… – WaPo, 9-17-10
    • National Book Festival author schedule: History & Biography: GORDON S. WOOD A professor of history at Brown University, Gordon S. Wood is the author of several critically acclaimed and widely read histories, including “Revolutionary Characters: What Made the Founders Different” and “The Purpose of the Past: Reflections on the Uses of History.” His book in the multi-volume Oxford History of the United States, “Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815,” was recently published. 10 a.m., Signing 11 a.m…. – WaPo, 9-17-10
    • BOOK WORLD’S FESTIVAL RECOMMENDATIONS If you are curious about noteworthy Americans . . .: A theme worth exploring at the National Book Festival is American Lives, which will have you gravitating between two pavilions: History & Biography and Contemporary Life. Former First Lady Laura Bush (History & Biography at 10:35 a.m.) returns to the festival she launched in 2001, modeling it on a similar event she started as first lady of Texas in 1995. You can begin your American Lives Day by listening to Mrs. Bush discuss her recently published memoir, “Spoken from the Heart.”… – WaPo, 9-17-10
    • Brown historian speaks before U.S. Commission on Civil Rights: The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights on Tuesday launched what its leader ambitiously called “the start of a national conversation on formulating a new civil rights agenda for the 21st century,” but without significant input from mainstream civil rights organizations or the panel’s two Democratic members….
      James T. Patterson, a professor of history emeritus at Brown University in Providence, R.I., spoke before the commission about “the hailstorm of criticism” that Daniel Patrick Moynihan experienced when he wrote an internal report for the U.S. Department of Labor in 1965 called “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action.” Mr. Moynihan, a Democrat, served as a U.S. senator for New York before he passed away in 2003. His report, which was leaked to the press, said blacks had been mistreated because of racism. It also said that a “pathology” in low-income black families was impeding their economic success. As an example of that pathology, the report said that 25 percent of African-Americans were born out of wedlock at the time. It also characterized “black matriarchy” as a problem…. – Education Week (9-16-10)
    • William R. Polk travels to Afghanistan: In the past few weeks, this same William R. Polk — who has had a long career as professor, author, and foreign-policy advisor* in the intervening 52 years — traveled to Afghanistan to report on prospects there. Last week he sent a summary around privately to associates. With his permission, we are publishing his whole dispatch on our site. You can read it here. It is lengthy and discursive, but as I reached the end of each page I felt a grim compulsion to go on to the next…. – The Atlantic (8-31-10)

    ANNOUNCEMENTS & EVENTS CALENDAR:

    • 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:

    • 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:

    • Medieval history expert and dedicated Irish socialist Alf O’Brien, 72: ALF O’BRIEN, who has died aged 72, was a lecturer in the department of medieval history in University College Cork, a dedicated socialist and a leading authority on the life and times of medieval Ireland…. – Irish Times (9-4-10)
    • Ashton Welch, Gentle ‘Foe of Injustice,’ Dies at 68: Ashton W. Welch, an associate professor of history and longtime director of Creighton University’s black-studies program, died unexpectedly in his sleep on August 14. He was 68; the cause of death was not specified…. – CHE (9-26-10)
    • Richard Rodriguez Remembers Historian Franz Schurmann: Eminent scholar and historian Franz Schurmann, who co-founded Pacific News Service in 1970, passed away on August 20, 2010. Richard Rodriguez, a long-time editor and writer with PNS, remembered him in a powerful eulogy delivered Sept. 19 at UC Berkeley Alumni House…. – New American Media (9-21-10)
    • Robert Hohner, historian of the American South: Robert A. Hohner, a historian of early twentieth-century southern politics, died on August 8, 2010, at his home in London, Ontario. In an educational career interrupted by service in the U.S. Navy, Bob received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from Duke University. After teaching briefly at the U.S. Naval Academy, Bob took a position in 1965 at the University of Western Ontario (uwo), where he remained in the Department of History until his retirement in 2001…. – OAH News (9-16-10)
    • Fathi Osman, Scholar of Islam, Dies at 82: Fathi Osman, an influential scholar who articulated a liberal version of Islam and published an authoritative guide to the Koran for non-Arabic readers, died on Sept. 11 at his home in Montrose, Calif. He was 82…. “He had two major projects,” said Reuven Firestone, a professor of medieval Jewish and Islamic studies at Hebrew Union College and a senior fellow of the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at the University of Southern California. “The first was to make the case to non-Muslims that Islam is a complex civilization and should not be seen as a flat ‘other.’ The second, directed to Muslims, was to demonstrate through his scholarship that Islam is flexible and can accommodate modernity and still remain authentic to Islamic values and practices.”… NYT (9-19-10)
    • William H. Goetzmann, Pulitzer-Winning Historian, Dies at 80: William H. Goetzmann, who in a Pulitzer Prize-winning book overturned the idea of Western exploration in the 19th century as a series of random thrusts into the hinterland, finding instead that it was a far more systematic effort, died on Tuesday at his home in Austin, Tex. He was 80…. – NYT (9-11-10)
    • Former Canadian national archivist Jean-Pierre Wallot dies at 75: As national archivist during the advent of the Internet age, Jean-Pierre Wallot acted as conservator of Canada’s collective memory — from Karsh’s photographs to La famille Plouffe, a Quebec TV drama in the 1950s. Ottawa Citizen (9-12-10)
    • William H. Goetzmann, 80, Pulitzer Prize winner and UT professor: Historian William H. Goetzmann, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1967, and emeritus professor at the University of Texas died on September 7, 2010. His book Exploration and Empire , a study of the 19th century scientific exploration of the American West, won both the Pulitzer and Parkman prizes in history in 1967. His book on the art of the American West, The West of the Imagination co-authored with son William N. Goetzmann was the subject of a PBS television series by the same name in 1985. His most recent work, Beyond the Revolution (2009) traced the development of post-Revolutionary American thought…. – Austin American-Statesman (9-9-10)

    Deep Throat Revealed: Historians’ Comments

    HISTORY ARTICLES

    HISTORY, NEWS & POLITICS

    HNN, 6-03-05

    Deep Throat Revealed: Historians’ Comments

    By Bonnie Goodman

    Ms. Goodman is a graduate student at Concordia University and an Assistant Editor at HNN.

    This past week it was revealed that W. Mark Felt, the second in command at the F.B.I. during the Nixon Administrstion, admitted in a Vanity Fair magazine interview that he was “Deep Throat,” the insider source who relayed top secret information about the Watergate coverup to Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. HNN surveyed major media to see how historians reacted to the news. Text reprinted below was copied straight from news accounts.

    Richard Norton Smith, Historian, former Director of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum and Executive Director of the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum in Springfield, Ill.

    • “It’s been replaced by a new Washington game, which is, what were Deep Throat’s motives?”
    • “He seems pretty conflicted over the years about what he did. In some ways, that’s the most honorable thing about what he did: He didn’t think he was a hero.”

    Gleaves Whitney, Director of the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies at Grand Valley State University

    • Whitney “noted some have speculated Deep Throat was a composite or a “literary device” Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein created as cover for a variety of sources.”
    • “It is odd that the second-most-important law enforcement officer in the United States would go to the media rather than to a prosecutor. I need more information before I pronounce him a hero or a villain.”

    Robert Dallek, Presidential Historian now working on a book about Nixon and Henry A. Kissinger

    • “There was a powerful feeling of cynicism and skepticism about the government. There was a kind of pot that was brewing with all these unpleasant doubts and questions.”
    • “He was able to put them on the trail of the truth to find out just exactly what was going on in this scandal.”
    • “If this was a vendetta, then that would devalue what he did. But people never operate strictly out of one motive or another. He was clearly offended by the constitutional breaches that had occurred, but he was probably fueled by a certain amount of resentment at the politicization of the FBI.”

    Keith W. Olson, Professor of History, University of Maryland, author of “Watergate: the Scandal that Shook America”

    • “Revelation of Deep Throat’s identity generated massive media attention with further reflections still to come. Much of the interest stems from the fact that the mystery of his identity lasted more than thirty years. Mark Felt’s acknowledgment that he was Deep Throat belongs in the context of the series of Watergate crises that included the Saturday Night Massacre, the 18 and 1/2 minute gap on one tape, the TIME magazine call for Nixon to resign, the publication of the transcripts of the tapes, the House Judiciary Committee passage of articles of impeachment, the Supreme Court ruling, the resignation, and the Ford pardon. In this broad context Deep Throat’s identity would have had far less impact than it produced in 2005.”
    •”A second thought concerns Felt’s motive, or more accurately motives, a subject that will continue to stimulate interest. Like FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, Felt wanted to maintain FBI autonomy. Gray’s appointment and performance plus Hoover’s opposition to the Nixon-sponsored Huston Plan the summer of 1970 are factors that provide a fuller context regarding Felt’s motivations.”

    Joan Hoff, Professor of History Montana State University, Bozeman, an expert on the Watergate scandal

    • Hoff believes the identification of Deep Throat is part of “an orchestrated publicity stunt on the part of the Post and Woodward” because Woodward plans to publish his own book on Felt. “Lo and behold,” Felt’s family decides he’s Deep Throat and Felt can’t say whether he is or not, and we get the big story.”
    • “It’s conceivable that as the second in command at the FBI, the deputy director, he could have gotten information from somebody about this,” she said. “But I don’t think he gave them this information. I think it was somebody in the White House. At that point, the White House was so embattled over the tapes and the possible subpoena [of them], there were only 3 or 4 people who had access to those tapes.”
    • “He is the top law enforcement officer in the country because there’s only an acting director [of the FBI] at that point. Why didn’t he go to Sirica or a grand jury and blow the story open?”
    • Hoff predicts that the story will rebound to the discredit of Woodward. It’s another flashy story, she concedes, “but I think they made a mistake in choosing Felt.”

    Athan Theoharis, a Historian at Milwaukee’s Marquette University who has written extensively on the FBI

    • “Here you have the White House seeking information that would have political value to the White House from the FBI that had nothing to do with law enforcement. So there was a very legitimate reason for senior FBI officials to be concerned about the Nixon White House and the impact of its policies on the independence and integrity of the agency itself.”
    • The No. 2 man at the bureau was no doubt uncomfortable with his role, Prof. Theoharis said. But he said Mr. Felt had two motivations, “one principled and one bureaucratic.” Mr. Felt saw first-hand how the Nixon White House was using the Central Intelligence Agency and its own appointee at the bureau to obstruct the investigation into its links to the Watergate burglars, Prof. Theoharis said.

    W. Michael Weis, Illinois Wesleyan University History Professor

    • “One thing that this does underscore for me is that there are always a lot of people close to an administration, but not actually in the administration, who probably know a lot more about what’s really going on than they’re willing to admit. But not many of them are willing to come forward and do what Deep Throat did.”
    • “While it was seen as a victory for open government and democracy at the time, I believe that Watergate taught the people who want to engage in these illegal activities how to be better at it. They learned from the mistakes that were made by those involved in Watergate. Consequently, when the Iran-Contra scandal breaks in the late 1980s, you have people spending days and days shredding and burning documents and cleaning out hard drives.”
    • “In the immediate aftermath of Watergate, we had a chance to curb the power of government and to enact reforms that would make it impossible to deceive the American people. And we didn’t do it.”
    • “If democracy is going to prevail, then citizens have to know what’s going on in the government; citizens have to understand why decisions are made and how they’re made. Today, we know less than ever before.”

    Joseph Coohill, Penn State New Kensington History Professor

    • Coohill said that while the finding is important, people should remember that former FBI official W. Mark Felt was not the sole reason for President Nixon’s resignation. He said media coverage of Felt’s role in the Watergate scandal has been exaggerated.
    • “It definitely solves an intriguing puzzle in American history. But to call him a hero is overstating it.”
    • “People using this opportunity to look back at Watergate should give equal, if not more, credit to Nixon’s personal counsel John Dean and the reporters who pressured the investigation of White House activities, Coohill said.”
    • “There was a whole galaxy of things going on in bringing down (Nixon).”

    David Kilroy, Wheeling Jesuit University Associate Professor of History

    • But it was no surprise to Kilroy that “Deep Throat” worked at the FBI. He says he doubted it was anyone in the White House. Originally, “Deep Throat” was thought of as a traitor, but throughout the years, the perception of his role in history has changed, prompting his children to persuade him to come forward with his identity.
    • Kilroy says the Watergate scandal and Deep Throat made a huge impact on the field of journalism, but also on our country as a whole. The incident also showed the importance of an independent media, and the consequences of not checking the power of the executive branch.

    Don Ritchie, Senate Assistant Historian

    • “Hallelujah!” Ritchie recalled saying yesterday.
    • Ritchie’s new book, “Reporting from Washington: The History of the Washington Press Corps,” has just come out and on page 233, Ritchie makes it plain that he believed Felt was the storied source. “I was greatly relieved that my account of Deep Throat turned out to be right,” he said.
    • Ritchie sensed a divide among Capitol Hill staff members along age lines. “Those under 30 were puzzled by why anyone would care,” he said, noting that those older than 30 all seemed to take great note of the story.

    Sanford Ungar, President of Goucher College on PBS

    • “That book was published 29 years ago and it’s fascinating to look back now and see that Mark Felt, when I knew him for a period of time, spent several intense sessions with him talking to him, was a very opportunistic person who thought still he had a chance to become director of the FBI, and I think he may have done the right thing for the wrong motive or at least for partially the wrong motive at the time.”
    • “I did not know that Mark Felt was Deep Throat. I was led off track by the fact that — as I remember this — that Deep Throat had to be a smoker. And Mark Felt did not smoke when I was with him.”
    • “And I found a hard time imagining him as a smoker because he was such a dapper, meticulous person, that I couldn’t imagine him getting ash on his suit or being willing to smell like a cigarette. That was — that’s where I went wrong.”

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