Tag: History

Only 3 Survivors Left from USS Arizona

 
Lauren Bruner.

Lauren Bruner, aged 98, passed away Tuesday in California. He was one of four remaining survivors of the USS Arizona. The remaining three are Don Stratton (97), Lou Conter, and Ken Potts (both 98).

On December 7, 1941, Bruner was strafed in the legs trying to get to his battle station and received burns over 70 percent of his body from a subsequent explosion. In his memoir, Second to Last to Leave the USS Arizona, Bruner announced he would answer no more questions about the attack. “As you read these chapters,” he wrote in the preface, “know that they were real and that it was truly a Hell on Earth. The horrors of what I witnessed on that morning have kept me from sleep for many years after.”

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World History Begins in 1200 AD

 

I happened upon the changes being made to the high school level AP World History course beginning this fall. AP classes are a College Board scam (in my opinion) where students are led to believe they will earn college credit if they take this course in high school, and pass the test at a certain level (for which there is a fee). Not all colleges will accept this credit, but that information is not widely disseminated.

At any rate, the AP World History class, rather than starting in the Paleolithic era as in previous years, now begins at 1200 AD (they use CE, but I do not). Apparently, the development of societies, trade, etc., before 1200 is not pertinent to what happened afterward. I skimmed through the class guide, here is a PDF link if you are interested.

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In this, the 80th anniversary month of the start of WW2, I’ve been led to think about how rare and exceptional in human history are our present (Western) days. More

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Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam addressed the public in English and in Cantonese, giving the same address twice on 4 September 2019. This, and the content of her remarks, suggests to me an understanding that Hong Kong’s economy depends on international perceptions. She took a very calm, controlled attitude, expressed by both her voice and […]

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California History: The Ridge Route

 
Grapevine Grade looking north of original Ridge Route. Note this is Tejon Pass, not Tehachapi Pass

Early in my engineering career, I used to drive what was and still is colloquially called “the grapevine” to and from work every day for about five years. In fact, I rarely did drive the actual grapevine. I lived in Castaic , which is located in Los Angeles County at the southern end of the Tejon Pass, and worked on construction projects in the Gorman area and so drove I-5 “up the hill” and “down the hill” between these two points. The grapevine is the name for the grade at the northern portion of the Tejon Pass, which is in Kern County and connects Los Angeles with northern California.

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I was particularly moved by @franco‘s post about the religious freedom caucus that was held in the Oval Office this past week. The video showed people who have suffered religious persecution from around the world telling their story to President Trump. There were Christians, Jews, Muslims and other faiths present from many countries. They want […]

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There are moments in life that alter history, some of them present themselves as flashy and incontrovertible, while others are shattering and beyond comprehension. The historian’s job is to catalog these moments for the benefit of society. Some historians find the task set before them to be a license to skew the analysis to fit […]

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Andrew McCarthy is wrong this time. He calls not only for a policy of regime change but also for President Trump to call for “regime change” in Iran. McCarthy should pay closer attention to the history of American presidents talking up “liberation” or regime change. Consider both President Eisenhower and President George H.W. Bush, and […]

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History: Not About What They Did, But Who

 

When your kids learn about George Washington at school, what facts might be of importance? It would be good to know that he was Commander of the Continental Army. That he was our first President. The fact that he was a slave owner would also be a pertinent piece of information. How much time would you want teachers to spend telling your children about George Washington’s sex life?

While you might expect stoic people like George and Martha to stick to the missionary position, we have determined that to spice things up George liked to . . .

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Trumping Middle East Hands: Iran [Updated]

 

Start from the position that the Iranian people are hostages in their own country to a regime based on an idea, perhaps an ideology, concocted in the 1970s and propounded clearly only after Khomeini’s faction had control in the Iranian Revolution of 1979. Consider that there has been popular unrest against the regime. Factor in that the rulers are savvy and ruthless, with an elite military force keeping the regular military and the populace in check, while extending regime influence regionally and globally. The Khomeinists seem to have a strong hand, with some high cards, so how do we set about trumping their hand? Moving towards answers that are feasible takes more than hand-waving and posturing.

The U.S. military has long recognized that it was only one instrument in Uncle Sam’s tool belt, and that military strategy needed to be integrated with plans and actions by the rest of the government. This became called a “whole of government” approach. For many years, military officers, in their advanced schooling, were instructed in consideration of four “instruments of national power:” Diplomacy, Information, Military, and Economy (DIME).

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The Bad Guys? Part 1

 

The scene is one of the most iconic in film history. The Battle of Atlanta near the middle of Gone With The Wind depicts the carnage of war. As Scarlett O’Hara searches for Dr. Meade among several wounded and dying Confederate soldiers, the camera pulls back to reveal dozens more, then hundreds of bodies, 1,600 in all. It was at this point of watching the film when my daughter asked if Joshua Chamberlain (her namesake) was there.

“No,” I told her. “He was a Union officer. But remember earlier, when they were reading the dispatches from Gettysburg? He was in that battle.”

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Middle East Players: Iran

 

The latest news about “Iran” comes across as more irritation from a region that seems to always be in conflict. Moreover, the news and commentary tend to be divorced from actual history, allowing vague hand-waving, finger-pointing, and shoulder-shrugging. What follows is an attempt at a bit more definite hand-waving over the map, placing Iran briefly in their own historic context, touching on Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey as the other centers of power over the centuries.

It is not “those people.” It is not “that place.” It is not even “Islam.” Don’t take my word for it:

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Bharatiya Janata Party Alliance Wins Indian Election in Landslide

 

India’s 2019 federal election was called on May 23, with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies winning an increased majority of 350 out of 543 seats in Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian Parliament. The BJP won 300 seats itself, which means that they will not need to govern in coalition, but have enough seats to form Government in their own right.

This is what the results look like on a map (BJP+ is of course saffron):

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Almost This Day in History: Powel Crosley Said Let There Be Light – May 24, 1935

 
Crosley Field May 24, 1935 First major league night game

On May 24, 1935, almost 84 years ago, the first major league baseball game was played at night under the lights at Crosley Field in Cincinnati, Ohio. It was a big enough deal that President Roosevelt got involved in the event pressing a gold telegraph key in the White House which switched on a signal lamp 500 miles away at Crosley Field thus notifying Reds general manager Larry MacPhail to flip a switch to illuminate the playing field with 632 recently installed floodlights. The first night game was on.

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Quote of the Day: Mummy’s the Word

 

Grauballe ManThe Grauballe Man

As if he had been poured
in tar, he lies
on a pillow of turf
and seems to weep

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The Marcos Dynasty: The Corruption of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos  Like the typical American, I knew little of the ruling Filipino pair except some breathless news items years ago about Imelda’s scandalous shoe collection, and fragments about the couple’s downfall. When I saw this book for sale for less than two dollars, I wondered whether […]

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If a crucifix doesn’t interest you, then imagine that this cross is a memorial of some other person, place, or idea which is precious to you and relevant to many. It could be a symbol of American history and freedom. It could be a testament to your ancestors. And so on. If you found such […]

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A poignant reminder that Notre Dame was still an active Catholic Church is the daily schedule was still listed on their website as of midnight, Tuesday. The cathedral was begun in 1160 under Bishop Maurice de Sully and largely completed by 1260, though it was modified frequently in the following centuries.In the 1790s, Notre-Dame suffered […]

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Remembering the Fluoridated Water Wars

 
Flyer used by opponents to water fluoridation in Seattle 1952

If you’re of a certain age, you probably remember the fluoridated water controversy of the 1950s and early 1960s. I’m old enough to remember it and the other day I came across a brief discussion of the controversy in the book I was reading which whetted my appetite to see how accurate my memory of the issue was. What I found, I think, is that my memory of the controversy was only partially correct and incomplete. I thought I’d write about here at Ricochet because the actual story is 1) more interesting than the cartoon version I remembered, 2) I believe the story has been somewhat mythologized and distorted, and 3) the fluoridated water wars continued long after the early 1960’s and to a certain extent still exists.

Before I start, let me provide links to wikipedia articles for water fluoridation and for the fluoridated water controversy for your reference.

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 Our old friend, Claire Berlinski, has a very good piece in the City Journal about a communist festival she attended last Fall. In classic Berlinski style, she captures the fist in the air punch with all its Marxist glory, using her funny/serious, tongue-in-cheek writing style. It’s a snapshot of the mindset of current zombie European […]

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