Archive for the 'History' Category

“Another person with a gun won’t necessarily help you.”

Saturday, February 24th, 2018

dangerousmeta!: “My favorite thing to do for people who believe ‘more guns’ is the answer, is to drive them to the graveyard in Cimarron, New Mexico. The original “Wild West.” Often held up as some sort of John Wayne version of perfect American society. Well, here’s that society, as reflected in the cemetery:

Everyone had guns.

And they shot everyone.

Men. Women. Children. Dear lord, they even SHOT THE TOWN PREACHER.”

The total number of school-children killed by bullets to date (as of February 1, 2018) is 218 school-children.

Thursday, February 15th, 2018

Add 17 to the total, which now rises to 235 (source).

Another school shooting in the USA. No need to link, it’s all over the internet. For this foreigner who has spent her whole life in a country were very few people have guns and where regulations are strict (and became even stricter after the Winnenden school shooting in 2009 in which 15 students were killed) it is still incomprehensible why the majority of US politicians (and citizens? voters?) still support the current status quo and the second amendment.

Garret proposes to take over the NRA. I wonder if that would work.

“We are a nation of second chances.” (President Obama)

Tuesday, February 13th, 2018

Nation of Second Chances. “During his presidency, President Obama granted clemency to 1,715 people —
mostly nonviolent drug offenders serving sentences in federal prison — more than any other president in history. Through beautiful photos and powerful words, Nation of Second Chances tells their stories.”

Link via MetaFilter.

The “more than any other president in history” doesn’t seem to be quite correct though. Obama has granted clemency “more than any other president in recent history” is more exact, since Harry S. Truman pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 2,044 people, and before him Franklin D. Roosevelt granted 3,687 pardons in his four terms in office, while Barack Obama pardoned 212 people and commuted the sentences of a further 1,715 people, 1,927 people in all. (Source: Wikipedia, but the numbers seem to agree with those of the United States Department of Justice.)

“I’m gobsmacked by this sticky wicket full of codswallop”

Friday, February 9th, 2018

BBC Culture: How Americans preserved British English. “Americans today pronounce some words more like Shakespeare than Brits do… but it’s in 18th-Century England where they’d really feel at home.”

How Americanisms are killing the English language. “A book released this year claims that Americanisms will have completely absorbed the English language by 2120. Hephzibah Anderson takes a look.”

Why British English is full of silly-sounding words. “From ‘gazump’ to ‘gobsmack’, ‘squiffy’ to ‘snog’, British English is full of words that sound like barmy balderdash. Christine Ro explains why.”

Watergate’s Legacy in the Age of Trump

Thursday, February 8th, 2018

Here’s the Think with Alec Baldwin: John Dean: Watergate’s Legacy in the Age of Trump. (Podcast, 58 minutes.)

“When John Dean found his conscience, America found its backbone and impeached a president. The Nixon Administration tried to undermine American democracy during the election of 1972 through now-legendary dirty tricks aimed at their Democrat opponents. They almost got away with it. Dean was Nixon’s White House Counsel, and participated in the cover-up of the Watergate break-in. Then he began cooperating with investigators, and blew the case wide-open. Dean is one of the most complicated and fascinating characters in modern American history. In a frank and funny conversation with Alec Baldwin in front of a live audience, John Dean opens up about how it all went down – and how it could go down now under Trump, who he says shares Nixon’s paranoia and authoritarian instincts.”