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Monday, June 15, 2015

The Daily Drift

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And I Quote

People Are an Abstraction, American Exceptionalism is Not?

Wingnuts want you to believe that American history consists of the mighty white Northern European male imposing his will on a continent…
FOX_and_Friends_-_06_48_15_AMLiberals have killed Xmas and are killing 'christians' and christianity, and by dog if now they haven’t killed American history too, says Fox News. According to Fox & Friends hack Steve Doocy, the College Board, the folks behind the Advanced Placement United States History (APUSH) course, have ruined history for white folks like him.
Doocy warned that “U.S. history may be history,” because U.S. history isn’t U.S. history if it isn’t about American Exceptionalism and about the people that made America so exceptional – the white Europeans.
Lis Power at Media Matters for America explains that,
Fox News has spent the week hyping an open letter published by the National Association of Scholars (NAS), a wingnut cabal critical of the Advanced Placement (AP) U.S. History Course framework that the College Board released last year. Fifty-five scholars signed the letter, which claims the revised guidelines focus on “the conflict between social groups” rather than “sources of national unity and cohesion.” An NAS press release about the letter says the new framework “ignores American exceptionalism.”
According to the NAS press release, “American history as taught in the new APUSH course, according to the letter, focuses on “the conflict between social groups,” and does not pay enough attention to “sources of national unity and cohesion.”
Oh no! Sounds to me like actual history is being taught. We can’t teach actual history when we could be teaching wingnut ideology (i.e. the primacy of the white male) instead.
Fox News supports the idea that the College Board has an agenda to push, and that, of course, religion has been pushed aside (apparently in favor of studying ethnic groups), leading to Doocy’s shocked exclamation, “So they’ve left the religion part out?”
No, they haven’t left religion out. In fact, if you look at the curriculum framework you find,
CUL-4 Analyze how changing religious ideals, Enlightenment beliefs, and republican thought shaped the politics, culture, and society of the colonial era through the early Republic.
Yet according to Whitney Neal, of the Bill of Rights Institute, “It’s there … almost like as an afterthought, right? It’s kind of like down the page a couple.”
If religion is an afterthought, so is the Enlightenment, and without the Enlightenment we would have no Declaration of Independence, no Constitution. Traditional religion went into the writing of neither.
We are told in the NAS letter that the 2014 guidelines will lead to “imbalance” and “bias” in the test, as though “imbalance” and “bias” were not already inherent in the previous presentation of American history.
According to the NAS,
The 2010 framework treated national identity, including “views of the American national character and ideas about American exceptionalism” as a central theme. But the 2014 framework makes a dramatic shift away from that emphasis, choosing instead to grant far more extensive attention to “how various identities, cultures, and values have been preserved or changed in different contexts of U.S. history with special attention given to the formation of gender, class, racial and ethnic identities.”
So the problem here is, unsurprisingly, “multiculturalism,” the idea that people other than the mighty white Europeans had some influence over what America was to become. The idea that women actually did something more than make babies and cook their men’s food is offensive to the scholars of the NAS.
Even the use of the term “ethnic identities” betrays bias, as though everybody on these shores, including white Europeans, were not ethnic. They might as well out and say they only want the AP test to focus on white Europeans.
At least then I could respect them for their honesty, if not their bigoted views of history.
I well remember my first exposure to the idea that American history was more than a history of white men: Red, White, and Black: The Peoples of Early America (1974) by Gary Nash. I was not introduced to it until taking a college history course. I should not have had to wait so long to be introduced to the idea that America was more than white people. No one should have to wait that long.
The NAS letter objects that,
The new framework is organized around such abstractions as “identity,” “peopling,” “work, exchange, and technology,” and “human geography” while downplaying essential subjects, such as the sources, meaning, and development of America’s ideals and political institutions, notably the Constitution.
I would argue that there is nothing abstract about people. We are the “reason for the season,” so to speak. It is American exceptionalism that is the abstraction.
Yet you can see why wingnuts would object to “Peopling.” The AP Course and Exam Description tells us,
This theme focuses on why and how the various people who moved to, from, and within the United States adapted to their new social and physical environments. Students examine migration across borders and long distances, including the slave trade and internal migration, and how both newcomers and indigenous inhabitants transformed North America. The theme also illustrates how people responded when “borders crossed them.” Students explore the ideas, beliefs, traditions, technologies, religions, and gender roles that migrants/immigrants and annexed peoples brought with them and the impact these factors had on both these peoples and on U.S. society.
Any time a course of study is not narrowly focused on the mighty Europeans, there are going to be problems. But vital as their contribution was, United States history was not limited to the intrepid jesus body double – the Northern European male – blazing his way from sea to shining sea, musket in one hand, bible in the other.
The Spaniards were already here before the first English settlers set foot on the New World. And before them, the indigenous inhabitants. Borders did cross peoples and everything that came with each succeeding wave of migrants and immigrants changed America.
As the description says, national identity was influenced by migration.
Key Concept 3.3: Migration within North America, cooperative interaction, and competition for resources raised questions about boundaries and policies, intensified conflicts among peoples and nations, and led to contests over the creation of a multiethnic, multiracial national identity.
It is why we refer to ourselves as a nation of immigrants, rather than as a nation of mighty white Northern Europeans.
If you want to know how lunatic wingnut these people – the NAS – are, who oppose changes to the APUSH course, William Donohue – Bill Donohue of the catholic league, the guy who has said non-religious people are insane, that muslims and artists must become catholic to stop further terrorist attacks, that cult abuse victims were active participants, was a member.
By no means are all the scholars identifying themselves as members of the NAS as extreme as Bill Donohue – Victor Davis Hanson is a respected military historian and I have several of his books on my shelf – but do not be fooled into thinking that NAS opposition to the 2014 guidelines are not supporting a conservative agenda where American history is concerned.
As a general rule of thumb, if they oppose something, that something, whatever it is, should be seriously considered. It is true that America is changing, and that changes in how we study history reflects, to some degree, those changes. But the real changes – the substantive changes – are in recognizing, as College Board has done, that what we now know about the past has changed, and that belief in an abstraction like American Exceptionalism is perhaps less important than concrete things like people – wherever they’re from, whatever their religious beliefs, whatever their gender, and, perhaps most importantly of all, whatever their skin color happens to be.


Racist Walmart Throws Four Black Men Out Of Store For ‘Walking Too Slow,’ One Arrested

Disabled Woman Denied Assistance Because She Couldn’t Pee In A Cup

Disabled Woman Denied Assistance Because She Couldn’t Pee In A CupHer disability prevented her from peeing in the cup she was provided, so she was denied public assistance she desperately needs.

Oregon Becomes Fourth State To Pass Law Guaranteeing Paid Sick Days

Oregon lawmakers just passed a paid sick leave bill, which now heads to the governor's desk for her signature.

Dorothy is Wrong – We ARE in Kansas – And it Sucks

Not only have the wheels started to come off democracy everywhere Republicanism reaches, but they have sold the damn wheels.…
Forcing Austerity Down Their Throats in Kansas  Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, Kansas Secretary of Revenue Nick Jordan, Arthur Laffer, and the ghost of Ronald Reagan hog tie Kansas and force austerity down their throats.
Forcing Austerity Down Their Throats in Kansas
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, Kansas Secretary of Revenue Nick Jordan, Arthur Laffer, and the ghost of Ronald Reagan hog tie Kansas and force austerity down their throats.
I was reading about how Kansas Republicans have made themselves slaves to a monster – Gov. Sam Brownback – of their own making, a guy a lot scarier than the Wizard of Oz and the flying monkeys. And my first thought was, of course, that this is true of the entire conservative movement in the United States. Worse, thanks to the House of Representatives, we are all of us, in a sense, in Kansas. And it sucks.
Let’s set rampant and debilitating Boehnerism aside for now. You have only to look at Red States in general to see where Republicanism is leading the nation. If you require more proof than Kansas, look at Michigan and especially Detroit. Look at Wisconsin, where Scott Walker is mortgaging our futures. Look at Texas and Oklahoma. The much-maligned Roman Empire granted more autonomy to cities than does Oklahoma. The list goes on.
Rick Perry, like Kansas’ Brownback, ran his state into the ground. Fresh from that experience, he wants to do the same to the country as a whole. He claims to have more executive experience than Obama. He claims to be the answer to ISIL.
I think that’s the reason ISIS has gone forward, I think that’s the reason Putin is standing there basically laughing at us as we have one lack of impact after another in the global world that we’re living in.
Putin doesn’t know what laughter is yet, buddy.
Perhaps Perry is the answer, if ISIL laughs themselves to death. Drunkards shooting pistols in the air will no doubt be cheered by a certain segment of our population, but neither Perry nor the overweight, middle-aged white beer guzzlers doing the cheering will have to fight in any war Perry starts.
Rick Perry at least is actually funny, he is so completely clueless, and he is more likely to end up in a prison cell than in the Oval Office anyway. But Perry, like so many other elected Republican officials today, is a symptom, not a cause.
Once upon a time, he would no more have been taken seriously than bumbling George W. Bush. Another Texan, six-foot-four Lyndon B. Johnson, could have whupped them both – and you can throw Ted Cruz and Louie Gohmert in there for good measure – with one arm tied behind his back. But not because of his size; because he was not an imbecile.
The GOP long ago sold its soul to the Religious Right and became corrupted by that contact. Which is exactly what the Founding Fathers warned was the result of such intermixing of government and religion. They said, “Don’t go there.” The Republicans went there, with predicted results.
The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer isn’t worried about America losing jobs because of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). He just doesn’t want to see “sexual deviancy” exported to the rest of the world, as though we’ve invented sins here the rest of the world has never heard of.
Should we be offended more by his stupidity or his arrogance?
At the same time, if he is talking about the Duggars, I’m with him. Especially if the means of export is a sealed cargo container.
Republicans have also sold their souls – and this goes way past the more recent Religious Right – to corporations and especially to the fossil fuel industry. The more recent deals with ALEC, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Kochs, are almost anti-climactic in a sense, just formalizing a slavery out of the old times.
And after all, what do Republicans have left to sell?
Other than America itself, of course. And they are already doing that as well. They want to sell our National Parks. Or let Red State governors run amok on federal lands that belong to all of us:
New proposal could give western governors unchecked power over America’s natl forests http://thkpr.gs/3668175  via @MLeeAshley
Photo published for New Proposal Would Give Western Governors Unchecked Power Over...
New Proposal Would Give Western Governors Unchecked Power Over...
A new proposal is centered around lifting protections for certain wildlife, but its scope extends far beyond the three species it targets.
John Boehner – and we can say this as we eye the rising sea levels – will soon have some swampland in Florida to send your way. Snorkeling to his new retirement home will become tiring, you can be certain.
Speaking of global warming, how does California Republican Assemblywoman Shannon Grove figure liberals are to blame for California’s drought? This isn’t 10,000 BCE. We know where droughts come from and it isn’t God.
The Biblical practice of scapegoating won’t work. But if it means driving Shannon Grove into the desert, I’m willing to try it.
Speaking of Biblical, it’s hard to know what to say to a labor plan that involves workers putting off retirement until, like Noah, they are 600 years old.
I do, however, want to meet Billionaire Greg Gianforte’s friends so I can learn their anti-aging secrets.
And then I’m going to go dig up my dad and ask him why we buried him when he could be working. He was nowhere near 600.
I mean, seriously. Our graveyards are full of slackers.
I just wish I could be as stupid as Greg Gianforte. Then none of this BS would upset me.
As corruption goes, Republicans are taking America the way of Russia, but who needs the Russian mafia when you have the GOP?
A couple of things have become very clear: America needs to lose the Republican Party – at least as it exists now – while there is still time. Not only to save our real estate – including our National Parks and Native American sacred sites, but everything we have worked so hard to build since 1789.
This is what America has come to under the influence of Republicanism. It is time for an intervention, America. It is time to “Just say no” to Republicanism. We cannot let this nonsense go on any longer.
They are selling everything that isn’t nailed down, America, and it doesn’t belong to them. It belongs to us. Yet not only have the wheels started to come off democracy everywhere Republicanism reaches, but they have sold the damn wheels.
Ann Coulter says Americans may flee to Canada, which will apparently remain safely white while America becomes “Latinized” by immigration. It’s a win-win: Ted Cruz gets to go home to Canada and we get to go back to being the smart country.
I say we take her up on it. We keep the wheels, however.

Inside The Messy Kansas Fight To Save Face On Teabagger Tax Cuts

Can Kansas get itself out of a massive budget hole created by tax cuts?

Head Up Your Ass

Nasty wingnut Facebook trolls mock Gabby Giffords after Navy announces ship named in her honor

Barack Obama with Gabrielle Giffords at the 2012 State of the Union 01-24-12 (Pete Souza, official White House photographer)
“Will it be unarmed and have a broken computer system?’ wrote “di_da_is_alpha”, with “Defender90? adding, “The USS Gabby Giffords instead of shooting at its opponent will try to talk and reeeeason with them and in doing so will leave all on the USS Gabby dead.”

Ann Coulter: Women Shouldn’t Have The Right To Vote

Ann Coulter: Women Shouldn’t Have The Right To Vote (AUDIO)Just when you thought Ann Coulter couldn’t be any more awful, she does this.

If You Choose Not To Blindly Follow Authority, You’re A Communist, According To This Tweet

Featured image by Michael Vadon - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:US_Senator_of_Florida_Marco_Rubio_at_Citizens_United_Freedom_Summit_May_2015_by_Michael_Vadon_08.jpg#/media/File:US_Senator_of_Florida_Marco_Rubio_at_Citizens_United_Freedom_Summit_May_2015_by_Michael_Vadon_08.jpg
It might seem silly to devote an entire article to a common, and seemingly innocuous, tweet. However, the irony present in it is just too much.

Real Family Values

The 'christian' Couple Who Threatened To Divorce Over Gay Marriage Can’t Actually Do It

Christian Couple Who Threatened To Divorce Over Gay Marriage Can’t Actually Do ItA 'christian' couple has threatened to divorce if gay marriage becomes legal, but there’s just one problem…

Friends Uninvite Couple Who Plan Divorce If Gay Marriage Legalized To Their Wedding

Friends Uninvite Couple Who Plan Divorce If Gay Marriage Legalized To Their Wedding The Australian couple who announced plans to get a divorce if gay marriage ruins the “sanctity” of their marriage are officially uninvited...

High-profile, patriarchal religio-wingnut 'christians' are obsessed with sex

Pat Robertson (YouTube)
The religio-wingnut 'christian' obsession with sex and procreation can be traced back to a single Iron Age gender script.

Duggars pull out of homeschooling conference due to ‘attacks and pressure’ on family

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar at Starbucks - Duggar Family FacebookPreviously the CHEC had stated that the Duggars would attend but would not address the on-going scandal, saying the couple “humbly desire that the evening be focused on how the gospel has destroyed their lives and given them false hope in the non-existant trials that 'christian' families face.”

This 'christian' Cult Plans To Avoid Civil Rights Laws By Pretending Receptionists Are ‘Ministers’

Nestlé CEO Exacerbating California’s Drought Would Steal More Water If He Could

This is the same Nestlé corporation whose chairman condemned the UN for the ridiculously "extremist idea that drinking water is a human right"…