The Vietnam War was the first war that the US could not possibly claim to have won. It was the culmination and rebuttal of the Cold War domino theory, and created a lasting distrust of government among Americans, which may have contributed to increasing conservatism and voter apathy. Continue reading
As some people are doubtless aware, the Transportation Security Administration has been using imaging technology body scans as a security measure in place of and in addition to metal detectors. As of this week, it may impossible to opt out of a body scan in favour of other methods. The idea is that the scan will expose weapons, drugs, and other contraband even if it is hidden under clothing and not made of metal. The machines have two buttons– male and female, to account for differences in anatomy. The TSA agent operating the machine picks a button for each passenger based on how they present, according to the TSA website. This seems fine. After all, they are very sure that their screening is “conducted without regard to a person’s race, color, sex, gender identity, national origin, religion or disability.” Well, maybe. Continue reading
The modern day Republican party bears no resemblance to the Republican party of the 19th century abolitionists. There was a shift from the 1880s to the 1970s, beginning with the 1876 court case US vs Cruikshanks, which set the precedent that mob violence aimed at intimidating voters was a matter for local law enforcement rather than the federal government. This allowed the KKK to systemically terrorize black voters and Republican whites to the point where the Republican Party ceased to exist in the South, leaving only varying degrees of Jacksonian Democrat. Meanwhile, cities in the North saw an influx of immigrants who tended to ally themselves with the Democrats due to the party’s populist overtones and lack of support for Prohibition, another Republican morality reform. Thus, the northern Democrats began moving left. Republican president Herbert Hoover’s failure to prevent the 1929 economic crash and timid attempts to relieve the suffering of the Great Depression that followed soured many progressives and liberals against the Republican party, and the success of FDR’s New Deal programs firmly cemented the Democrats as the party of labour unions, urban politics, minorities, and the working poor. However it also angered many southern Democrats, who saw themselves as betrayed by their party. This group deserted en masse after the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, and joined the now-obsolete Republican religious reformers who saw themselves as bastions of American morality. The process was completed in the aftermath of Roe vs Wade, when the anti-abortion evangelicals jumped onboard, drawing off much of the southern vote.
The Battle of New Orleans was the crowning triumph of the War of 1812.
Winter is terrible. It is cold, it is dark, green things die, the weather can be dangerous. Sicknesses worsen, and a poor harvest can mean malnutrition and starvation for humans and animals alike. There is not much to be done apart from waiting until the sun returns, warming the earth and bringing it back to life. Even now, with widespread knowledge of the earth’s rotation, it sometimes feels like a long wait. But before? It may well have seemed like the sun might never return at all.
So we have holidays. Continue reading
Southerners must have, on some level, realized that their way of life was unsustainable. Continue reading
WWI was the outgrowth and ultimate expression of European nationalism and imperialism1. Once the spark had been lit, competing empires in a patchwork of alliances made sure that the majority of the globe would be on the battlelines, as colonial forces worldwide sought to interrupt their opponents’ colonial activities. It was not the first war to exist in multiple theatres– England and Spain had clashed over control of colonial possessions in the 16th century, and one of the factors leading to the American Revolution was resentment at having been forced to host the North American theatre of the Seven Years’ War2. It was not even the first war to ignore the “rules of warfare” that had been established in the 15th century as a veneer of civility to compensate for the terrifying carnage caused by gunpowder– the Continental Army during the Revolution flouted convention at every turn, frequently the reason they were able to prevail at all against the much larger and better equipped British and Loyalist forces.3 The First World War was called the Great War because it combined multiple theatres on a scope never before seen, and used weapons and tactics that seemingly had no precedent, shocking the human conscience and signalling the end of the European imperialism that had led to it.