Archive for October, 2010

October 8th 2010
Arthur Power Dudden, 1921-2009

Posted under American history & students

I’m sorry to learn that my first college History professor, Arthur Dudden, died nearly a year ago on October 14, 2009.  AHA’s Perspectives has a very nice obituary this month by Barbara Bennett Peterson, University of Hawai’i, emerita.  From her obituary:

Arthur Power Dudden, 1921–2009, was the national founding president of the Fulbright Association in 1976, Fulbright executive director 1980–84, and a respected professor of history and American studies at Bryn Mawr College. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on October 26, 1921, to Arthur Clifford and Kathleen (Bray) Dudden. He grew up in Detroit, graduated from Wayne State University with a BA in 1942, and served in World War II in the Mediterranean with the U.S. Navy. Following his discharge in 1945, he attended the University of Michigan and obtained a MA in 1947 and a PhD in history in 1950. Thus credentialed, he accepted a teaching position at the City College of New York for the summer and a full-time faculty position at Bryn Mawr in 1950. . . At Bryn Mawr he was the Fairbank Professor of Humanities 1989–92, the Katharine E. McBride Professor of History 1992–95 and 1998–99.

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He was chosen a Senior Fulbright Scholar to Denmark in 1959–60 and to western Europe in 1992. He was the president of the Fellows in American Studies 1960–61. Dudden was treasurer in 1968 and then executive director of the American Studies Association (ASA) 1969–72, enlarging this organization to attract more minority and women scholars. He led the first national ASA convention in Washington, D.C., in 1971 and organized five worldwide ASA conferences during the bicentennial. In 1991 he was honored with the national Bode-Pearson Award for splendid lifetime achievement in service to the field of American studies.

Peterson’s obit doesn’t say when he died, but Bryn Mawr’s website says it was last October 14.  I’m sorry not to have learned about it until now.  I think of him especially at this time of the year, and of his gentle manner and seemingly limitless patience with a rather quiet (if not quite sullen) discussion section of Western Civ. he ran twice a week in the fall semester of my Freshman year.  Continue Reading »

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October 7th 2010
Dems to women: it’ll be different this time, baby, we promise!

Posted under American history & bad language & Gender & local news & the body & women's history

More beating up on the majority of the Democratic party by abusive Democratic pols:  “Democrats in Tight Races put Focus on Abortion Rights,” again in The New York Times,with a photo of our U.S. “Senator” Michael Bennet talking to actual XX chromosome people as the poster boy for desperate Dems.  Dig this–if we stay home, under-vote, or vote Republican, we’ll ZOMG “lose control of our bodies!!1!!!1!”

In the bruising race for a Senate seat here in Colorado, one ad features a Denver obstetrician in her scrubs, saying women will lose control of their bodies if Ken Buck, the Republican nominee, wins. Another, from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, says privacy is at stake with a Buck victory over Senator Michael Bennet, a Democrat.

The Buck campaign has said the attacks are simply an attempt to change the subject.

“The No. 1 issues are jobs and the economy, and Michael Bennet can’t run on that,” said Owen Loftus, a spokesman for the Buck campaign. “It’s a desperate effort by a desperate campaign.”

Mr. Loftus said Mr. Buck believed that life begins at conception and opposed abortion even in cases of rape and incest, as the ads say, but that his focus as a senator would be the economy. Continue Reading »

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October 6th 2010
We said drop dead!

Posted under American history & bad language & Gender & Intersectionality & race & wankers & women's history

As I noted last week in “Democrats to women:  drop dead,” the Democrats are facing political doomsday on November 2, largely because of their own cowardice and incompetence.  We read this morning in The New York Times that President Obama is “appealing to his liberal base” and holding pep rallies aimed at college students and African Americans.  What about the rest of his base–you know, the majority of democratswomen of all ethnicities, but especially non-white women?

I’ll let you read the article for yourself to get a handle on the problem, but here’s a little study guide for your reference:

The White House may be making progress closing the so-called enthusiasm gap with Republicans, according to Democratic strategists who point to improving poll numbers and fund-raising. But the fact that Mr. Obama needs to make such a concerted effort highlights the depth of disaffection among liberals over what they see as his failure to aggressively push for the change he promised.

“It’s great that President Obama is showing a fighting spirit in the weeks before an election, but what his former voters need to see is that same fighting spirit when he’s governing,” said Adam Green, a co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a group started last year to advocate for liberal goals and candidates.

David Axelrod, the president’s senior adviser, said the appeal to the base stemmed entirely from political reality. “It’s not frustration at all,” he said. “It’s fundamental. Almost the entire Republican margin is based on the enthusiasm gap, and if Democrats come out in the same turnout as Republicans, it’s going to be a much different election.” Continue Reading »

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October 5th 2010
It’s the end, the end of the 70s; it’s the end, the end of the century

Posted under American history & bad language & fluff

Check out these tidbits of twentieth-century American history, all found in that 20th century medium, radio:

  • First, Nina Totenberg interviewed retiring Supreme Court Associate Justice John Paul Stevens and NPR presented it in two parts yesterday (here and here.)  Listen to him dish on the 1932 World Series, originalism, his working philosophy, Antonin Scalia’s poor history of dire predictions, and the one decision he regrets in his years on the court he served for more than a third of a century.  He’s 90, but he doesn’t sound a day over 65. 
  • Next, don’t miss Dana Ivey’s reading of Grace Paley’s “Six Days: Some Rememberings,” a 17-minute memoir about her sentence to the Women’s House of Detention, a Greenwich Village women’s prison, for protesting the Vietnam War.  It’s the first story on this episode of Selected Shorts, “Humor Me.”
  • Finally, I’ll just let Joey and the boys have the last word on the last century: Continue Reading »

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October 4th 2010
Women in Early America: CFP and reminder

Posted under American history & conferences & O Canada & women's history

Today’s post is a public service announcement that proposals for “Women in Early America,” a workshop jointly sponsored by the William and Mary Quarterly and the University of Southern California-Huntington Library Early Modern Studies Institute, are due Friday, October 15.  This workshop is one in an annual series designed to identify and encourage fresh trends in understanding the history and culture of early North America. 

My original post on this workshop is here.  The conference website with instructions for applying is here.  I’ll just add two things:  first of all, this is a dee-luxe conference.  The setting, the accomodations, the food, and of course the intellectual companionship will be brilliant.  You really shouldn’t miss out, if you have anything at all to say about women’s history.  Secondly, the Call for Papers emphasizes that all of early North America is game, so Mexican and Canadian history is more than welcome.  As Claudio Saunt, Ned Blackhawk, and others have argued, there really is an early American West, too–so think about it and do yourself a favor by applying to this conference. 

For those of you who have never been to the magical, enchanting Huntingon Library and Gardens, here’s a little preview of the wonders that awaits you.  Continue Reading »

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October 3rd 2010
More bad news for “Senator” Bennet; Ritter’s incompetence apparently not newsworthy

Posted under American history & Gender & happy endings & jobs & local news & wankers & weirdness & women's history

Election Day Nov. 2!

It’s still lovely, warm, and dry here–days in the 70s and 80s, nights in the 40s.  It’s about time to harvest our eatin’ apples and make some pies, and give the wormy ones to the horses for treats. 

Just about the only person having a bad day in Colorado this morning is our Democratic U.S. “Senator” Michael Bennet, who awoke to a front page Denver Post story headlined “GOP’s Buck Polling Ahead.”  (That was the headline in the print edition that hit my front walk, anyway.  The internets currently have a different headline, but the news is still bad for our never-run-a-statewide-campaign “Senator.”)

I’ve been wondering when our one Denver daily was going to notice that Weld Co. D.A. Ken Buck (R) is ahead in the U.S. Senate Race.  Real Clear Politics has reported on several polls that have shown Buck opening up a convincing lead over Bennet in the past week or so, but the Voice of the Rocky Mountain Establishment is still loathe to admit that they backed the wrong, Washington-born horse, friends.  Continue Reading »

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October 1st 2010
America’s war on teachers

Posted under American history & childhood & jobs & students

Diane Ravitch tells it like it is about current “educational reform” ideas.  She nails the key issue I have with all of the educrats who are waging war on America’s teachers, this time around with the fetish of the standardized test:

Tests that assess what students have learned are not intended to be, nor are they, measures of teacher quality. It is easier for teachers to get higher test scores if they teach advantaged students. If they teach children who are poor or children who are English language learners, or homeless children, or children with disabilities, they will not get big score gains. So, the result of this approach—judging teachers by the score gains of their students—will incentivize teachers to avoid students with the greatest needs. This is just plain stupid as a matter of policy.

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Making war on teachers and principals is ridiculous, outrageous. None of the people at the foundations or in the policymaking circles work as hard as the average teacher, face as many challenges every day, for as little pay. None of the pundits who blithely denounce teachers would work 20 years with the hope of getting a salary (today) of $52,000. 

Yeah:  the problem with education is the people who actually give enough of a $hit about education to go to college for four years, and frequently earn Master’s Degrees and even Ph.D.s  so that they can become teachers. Continue Reading »

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