Archive for the ‘politics’ Tag

Not amusing sorry   Leave a comment

So as a follow-up to this blog post, imgur posted a musing about Hitler, lifted from tumblr. And now I’m lifting it from the cycle will never stop

It reminds me of the picture I found, of Hitler giggling with some schoolgirls.

How evil was Hitler? How much of his evil is from his advisors, and how much came from him? I know he was twisted and horrible anti-semetic and xenophobic and anti-Slavic and etc. That came from him. The fascination with the military was not unique. The xenophobia was not unique. What evil was Hitler?

A dangerous pasttime I know   Leave a comment

We interrupt IMPORTANT VESTING ACTIVITIES to bring you this — this — horrendous atrocity known as 12 Questions Disney Forgot to Answer About Beauty and the Beast. AS A HISTORY MAJOR AND NERD and apparently a caps-locking user I must answer these questions immediately!

1) Who in the actual hell is this?

That’s Beast/Prince Adam, losers. He’s not the heir to the throne. He wouldn’t be called “prince” if he was the heir to the throne. He’s a younger son. They probably thought he died.

2) Who punishes an 11-year-old for not letting a stranger in the house?

Fairies! Enchantresses! Witches! Basically if anything is supernatural, they will do evil things to you! This is a basic testament of supernatural things. They are evil and mean you harm. As soon as that enchantess set her sights on Prince Adam he was doomed. If he had let her in, she would have found another excuse to curse him.

3) Why did Belle open the door here?

Because xenophilia. In the old days, if someone came a’knockin’, you let them in. Even if you hated them. Or else bad things would happen. Prince Adam followed the Enlightened class and didn’t need to follow xenophilia, but Belle, a working-class girl, was raised on it.

4) Who are the faceless bastards in the background?

I don’t know. Good point. Maybe they’re not servants but the other servants are shooting them off anyway? Maybe all the servants got turned into inanimate objects, and all the inanimate objects got turned into servants? Great equalizer, that witch.

5) What is going on with this time-traveling portrait?

Well it’s in terrible shape, but it’s entirely possible that it’s a commissioned portrait that made Prince Adam look a little older anyway.

6) What would have happened if Belle touched the rose?

I don’t know. I’ve been wondering that myself.

7) How did Belle get his unconscious ass onto a horse?

Maybe Phillipe helped? He’s a smart horse.

8) How does Chip even exist?

He was a baby when the enchantment happened. Years of malnutrition and magic kept him from growing properly, but now he’s ten-years-old.

9) Is Belle stupid?

Bitch, I sing foreshadowing songs all the time. It never amounts to anything. Stop.

10) Whose clothes are they wearing?

His parent’s. Duh. The castle is a country villa for the royalty. They let Prince Adam take over the residency, but they still kept some clothing there.

11) Why didn’t Belle just say she’d be back?

She didn’t know if she was coming back or not. Her father was very sick and might need some help recovering, after all. She wasn’t just going to dump him at home and say, “Bye! Off to shag an animal!”

12) How did these people not know there was a cursed monster within walking distance?

Because the castle had shut down all communication with the outside world per the Beast’s orders. Nobody in or out. As far as they were aware that was just a few less taxes they had to pay. “A monster took over the old villa!” is pretty understandable logic.

Four hundred thousand dead in Beijing doesn’t have the same ring to it   1 comment

So in my Post-1949 China course (aka “history of the PRC”), we’re learning about the aftermath of the Cultural Revolution. Around 1966-1976, urban China was basically taken over by a whole bunch of radical students. They started out protesting against educational standards. Mao started to take advantage of the situation, and suddenly we had students dressing up in military uniforms, putting on red armbands, and walking through the streets beating up people less enthusiastic than they were. Or maybe they beat up people who were more enthusiastic than they were, because those people were taking advantage of the situation.





Very few urban dwellers got through this period unscathed. People died regularly. A lot of these kids — the Red Guard — beat people or even killed people. We’re reading the memoir of Ye Weili. Whenever we see or read about her, she talks about how girls at her high school murdered their headmaster. They forced the woman to do manual labor. The woman was old and arthritic and had heart problems; when she collapsed, they dumped her in a laundry basket and left her there overnight. We’ve read and heard interviews of people saying that they had beat people, and when the people they beat protested, they beat them even more harshly. We’ve seen videos and images of authority figures being forced to walked around with a sign hanging on their neck while stadiums of people shout abuse at them. We’ve seen Red Guard members burning and beating old symbols of art. “Cultural Revolution is not a dinner party,” Chairman Mao told them.

My professor, Prof Chang, asked us, “Who do you think did the most violence in the Cultural Revolution?”

I answered, more because it was obvious what he wanted us to say than anything. “The Red Guard.”

Prof Chang reviewed all the images we had seen in all the classes before, of the Red Guard beating and interrogating and parading their victims around. It was obvious that he was going to end this with a “But…”

And he did. The Red Guard committed a lot of violence (don’t misunderstand), but the People’s Liberation Army did worse, in shutting down the Cultural Revolution. The Chinese Government plays up the idea of the Red Guard committing all the violence. After all, the PLA was sent in by the government. The PLA is the current military of the People’s Republic of China.

“It’s like Kent State,” Prof Chang said. “The National Guard came in and shot people.”

Now I learned that what happened in Kent State was…an accident? Let’s call it that. The students were protesting, wildy enough that the National Guard was called in. The National Guard fired into the air to get the students to calm down. What goes up must come down, and four bullets land in the heads of student protesters.

Compare that to the systematic, intentional urban warfare of the Cultural Revolution. Not to mention the fact that we discuss the Kent State shootings. Both the Chinese and American governments talk about the Cultural Revolution as if the biggest atrocities were only committed by the Red Guard. Yet Kent State entered our national dialogue.

President’s birthdays   2 comments

Historic Mount Vernon’s Facebook Page broke the news today that Wisconsin’s governor, Scott Walker, has signed an official proclamation that in Wisconsin, February 22 is “George Washington Day”. That reminds me as well that my representative in Congress, Frank Wolf, is spending my tax dollars and I guess my time trying to get George Washington’s birthday made a Federal holiday again — no more of this generic “President’s Day” crap. Admittedly, the first two federal holidays in the country was July 4 and Washington’s birthday, but times have changed. We found a second awesome President with a February birthday (Lincoln). President’s way is a way to acknowledge both Presidents.

I find it weird that Walker and Wolf, two folks who are into small government, are trying to get us to celebrate a friggin’ Federalist. First President who won the Revolutionary War or not, he did not agree with their politics. The Founding Fathers were men, not symbols. That’s what makes them so interesting, so fascinating. The Constitution was not handed down to us from on high, but reached over several months of compromise. The Declaration was primarily written by Thomas Jefferson, but it was still written in committee. I find myself insulted by this movement to honor George Washington as a way to demonstrate patriotism, just as much as I’m concerned about Texas’ attempts to downplay Jefferson’s role in history. History is like science.

Anyway, if we’re going to mess with President’s Day, why would we stick with just honoring Washington and Lincoln? What other days could we choose? To that end, I made a list of every single birthday of every single President.

presidents bday first pic

presidents bday second pic
Sources: Wikipedia and

I ended up having to draw my own scatterplot graph of the information, which was easier to mine for data. Some interesting factoids:

-More Presidents were born in October than any other month (Jimmy Carter, Rutherford B. Hayes, Chester A. Arthur, Dwight David Eisenhower, Teddy Roosevelt, and John Adams)
-More Presidents were born on the 29th of every month than any other day (Andrew Johnson, John F. Kennedy, John Tyler, William McKinley)
-The only day on which there have been two Presidents born is November 2nd (James K. Polk, 1795, and Warren G. Harding, 1865)
-Calvin Coolidge has the most Patriotic birthday, July 4, 1872 (I wonder if he used that to his advantage?)
-The average age at the time of their inauguration was 55 years.
-Grover Cleveland was only 48 at the time of his first election — the first President under 50. No wonder he came back four years later, he had time!
-We’ve had 6 Jameses, 3 Georges, and 4 Johns.

If we’re going to start picking arbitrary Presidents Days, I would go with either November 2 or October 29. And if your name is James, your birthday is November 2 or October 29, and you’re 54, you should probably start running for President.

From JoCoPedia:

Following the 2008 election, renditions of the song were updated to “W’s reign of terror’s finally over; Obama is pretty excellent so far”