'87 Sir

Thirty years of service ----USNA Class of 1987 '87 Sir

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Finally a truce in the war over AP history......

History is, of course, a subject near and dear to my heart...much like bacon but without the artery clogging side affects.

Therefore, like many historians, lovers of history, and plain old common sense Americans, I was more than a little concerned about the rollout of the latest AP history course last year.

In fact, I was very concerned about it and wrote a number of blog posts expressing my dismay not at the format and concept of how AP History would be taught, but the relentless march of political correctness and Social Justice Warrior nonsense for America and how it was formed.

Fired up and ready to go--the History Wars come around again.
Needless to say, my fears were shared:

So it appears the AP History has been revised and the SJW has been turned down a little.

Now I have no doubt it PAINED the New York Slimes to write this article since to liberals, EVERYTHING is about race, gender, or sexual orientation, but it seems like a decent middle ground has been reached.

"College Board officials reached out to critics, held meetings, attended hearings and listened. They rewrote and reorganized the curriculum, ridding it of partisan sentiment, real or imagined.
What emerged was a framework praised for achieving “an impressive middle ground,” says Jeremy A. Stern, a historian who had criticized the 2014 framework"
So, since liberals hate to compromise, since, of course they are righteous about everything, the fact that liberals allowed even some changes to this highly slanted version of American history meant the course was pretty FUBAR.

Of course, being the Grouchy Historian, I did have to laugh at one comment:
"The hardest hurdle for critics may be accepting that the teaching of history has evolved, as has the sophistication of the high school students who are eager to take on a college-level course."
Really?  Evolved?  More sophisticated?  I have some doubts, believe me.  I don't disagree the AP is a good preparation for college level work, but I wonder how much these students are prepared.  

I know the idea of "rote" memorization makes modern educators cringe, but how do you discuss the context and racial implications (cuz you know they will) of a bunch of white slave holding males writing the Declaration of Independence, if you don't know it was approved on July 4, 1776, in Philadelphia, after being drafted by Thomas Jefferson, who was from Virginia.  Oh, and that whole Revolutionary War that brought it about was pretty important too.  

Or that the Civil War started on April 12, 1861.  Or that D-Day happened on June 6, 1944.

These are not trivial issues.  It's hard to evaluate primary source material and debate the implications of different points of view of an event if you don't know the basic WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE of history.  

Time will tell, I guess...but as for me, I am sticking to buying books by reputable historians and not depending on some amalgamated textbook.  

AND...there have been many, many excellent history books so far this year...coming soon...

Friday, April 1, 2016

Why didn't they see this coming?

History is full of seemingly "out of nowhere" events that are termed Black Swan events.  This is a fairly new term coined after 9/11 to try and explain things that defy rational thinking or prediction and change how people think forever.

This election cycle is likely to be the most significant political Black Swan event of a generation, and it amuses me to see so many political pundits twist themselves into a lather over Donald Trump.

NOW, I have not decided yet which way I am going to vote...although it's a PRETTY safe bet that I will never, ever vote for Hillary.

My utter contempt for this woman know no bounds, so that is not likely to happen...ever...I think I would eat turkey bacon before voting for her.

Nonetheless as a lifelong and proud Reagan Republican, I have been watching the weird and destructive  behavior of the Republican party with...well...not a little bit of Schadenfreude.  I mean it amazes me how tone deaf ALL of our politicians are this year and really, how completely immune to their own BS they have become.

Let's take a look at two topics to see how this works:  the economy/immigration and national security/terrorism.

Ok, the economy.  What was the old joke about the guy whose wife caught him in bed with another woman--"Who you gonna believe, me or your eyes?"  Does anyone really believe the relentless nonsense peddled by this Administration that the economy is getting better, the stock market is up, Obamacare has been a huge success...blah, blah, blah...SEE GOOSE above.

Let's ask Reagan's most famous debate line- "Do you feel better off than you did eight years ago?"  That is really the only question any Republican candidate should be asking..do you feel more economically secure?  Has your home recovered it's value?  Is your health insurance more or less expensive?  How much has your family medical insurance deductible gone up or down?  AND>>>>here's the ultimate knockdown question-Do you feel your children will have more opportunity than you did?

These questions are in turn directly related to the question of immigration.  In some strange merger of convenience the powerbrokers of both established parties think this is a winner issue- the Democrats to get lots of new voters and welfare recipients (more or less the same thing) and the Republicans cheap labor for their Chamber of Commerce buddies.  

If this seems like a strange merger...well it isn't to millions of American CITIZENS who now have to compete for blue collar/entry/minimum wage jobs with floods of illegals that not only take these jobs, but still qualify for billions in welfare subsidies.  

This incongruity of welcoming millions of unskilled workers that take jobs and welfare is obvious to most of those Americans affected by these policies, but of course to the millionaires in Congress and their billionaire patrons, they just seem like xenophobic rubes clinging to their guns and religion.  Now, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that yes, the immigration system is broken, but NO, that doesn't mean that an imperial President gets to ignore it.  

Yet Republicans in Congress have taken no real action to stop this flood and the major Presidential candidates seem to be lecturing those folks most affected that they are just MEAN and unChristian to keep millions of illegals from getting free education and benefits their own children can't get.  Not smart, as Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio learned.  

People are scared for their jobs and their children's future, and dismissing or even mocking their fears as some unenlightened racist xenophobia is clearly not going to win votes.  Dismissing legitimate concerns about trade agreements that appear to bring no benefits to average people is not a good idea either.  

Could it be because the ultimate result of the age of Obama has been the ultimate emergence of Crony Capitalism?  Yes, not Free Enterprise, but Crony Capitalism...that near socialist merge of huge corporations buying politicians and rigging the game to the detriment of the once sacred middle class?  

WHOA, no Marxism alert here...but seriously...this is why Reagan was SO brilliant is his approach of keeping government small, regulation limited and letting free enterprise drive economic growth...the emergence of a big spending, big regulating, all encroaching government NEVER affects millionaires and billionaires...they just hire more tax attorneys and buy another Congressmen.  The rest of us...as Bernie Sanders would say, will feel the BERN of huge tax increases to pay for EVEN MORE big government and big corporation Crony Capitalism.

Enter Donald Trump.  Fundamentally, although he is a blowhard, narcissistic, and probably more than a bit full of his own crap, he is no fool.  He understands that there is a huge swath of the old "Reagan Democrats" that have been written off by a Democratic party increasingly dominated by Black Lives Matter, Feminists, and LGBT groups.  Combined with a huge swath of traditional Republicans unconcerned about a flood of unchecked illegal immigrants that includes gangs, thugs, and probably terrorists and is it really so hard to understand why the Make America Great Again! slogan has become a mantra of his supporters?

Then there's national security and terrorism.  Again, does anyone believe the BS peddled by this Administration that we are safe and secure?  Turn on the news and you can see this lie 24/7.  This Administration is determined to run out the clock before any real questions can be asked about the utter failure of their foreign policy in Iraq, Syria, Libya...ah, hell, most of the Middle East, as well as ignoring the virtual rebirth of Russia and China as well armed, aggressive adversaries just waiting to pounce at a real sign of perceived opportunity.

Make no mistake...all it takes is one Mumbai or Paris or Brussels style attack here in America and Donald Trump will be our next President.  The usual PC platitudes about Islmaphobia that CAIR and their fellow travelers continue to push will pale in comparison to Joe Six Pack and the legions of security moms rushing to the polls to stop the ridiculous notion that importing thousands of Syrian refugees with minimal scrutiny into America is a good idea.

So, when you watch the Republican talking heads complain about Trump as a narcissist, misogynist, liar, cheat, fraud, etc, etc...ask yourself this basic question...why is they guy doing so well with the majority of Republican voters?  

Now your usual Progressive Liberal will tell you every Republican is a homophobic, xenophobic, woman hating knuckle-dragger, so forget those morons...hell they want to elect a lying, woman-hating (if they sleep with Bill), money grubbing establishment politician who's just as much bought by Wall Street as any Republican.  

But really...ask yourself why can't the Republican Party muster someone to answer Trump's legitimate questions about trade deals, immigration, defense, jobs, the economy, unemployment?  

When they can, maybe he will fade back into the world of reality TV...otherwise...they Trump show will go on.....and the Black Swans will fly....