Category Archives: Uncategorized

Ruth Ben-Ghiat: DeSantis Is No Better Than Trump

Diane Ravitch's blog

Ruth Ben-Ghiat is a historian at New York University abd a scholar of fascism. She wrote the following for MSNBC. Readers of this blog will not be surprised to read her assertion that DeSantis is no better than Trump, and may even be much worse, given his insistence that there is only one right way to teach, act, and think—and he decides what it is. I think of him as DeFascist.

She writes:

If DeSantis is becoming many Republicans’ answer to their “Trump problem,” his rise is because of his authoritarian sympathies and attitudes, not in spite of them. He promises a more “respectable”-seeming version of illiberal rule than the baggage-laden outrage specialist that is Trump. No wonder dozens of billionaires backed him even before his November re-election….

But let’s be clear: The man whom Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post celebrates as “DeFuture” would, in fact, continue…

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Turtle Island – Gary Snyder (1974)

1960s: Days of Rage

Turtle Island is a book of poems and essays written by Gary Snyder and published by New Directions in 1974. Within it, Snyder expresses his vision for humans to live in harmony with the earth and all its creatures. The book was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1975. ‘Turtle Island‘ is a name for the continent of North America used by many Native American tribes. By the late 1950s, Gary Snyder had established himself as one of the major American poets of his generation. He was associated with both the Beat Generation and the regional San Francisco Renaissance. He spent much of the 1960s traveling between California and Japan, where he studied Zen. In 1966, he met Masa Uehara while in Osaka. They married the following year and had their first child, Kai, in April 1968; by December, Snyder and his new…

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They Put the Fib in Fiction

Dave Astor on Literature

Seven years ago, I posted a piece about “Liars in Literature.” Now, with “The Lyin’ King” Donald Trump having announced another presidential run last week, I thought it would be timely to write a follow-up featuring some lying characters I’ve “met” since 2015.

Those fictional fibbers may not be admirable, but they sure can be interesting. We wonder why they lie, if they believe their own lies, whether others believe their lies, whether lying will help them or hurt them, etc. But there’s no wondering about whether truth-averse hater Trump’s “Truth Social” social-media platform has the most hilariously Orwellian name ever. 🙂

Among literature’s liars mentioned in my 2015 post were the despotic rulers in George Orwell’s 1984, the men who framed Edmond Dantes in Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo, the murderer in Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, the aristocratic Godrey Cass in…

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Katherine Ann Power: Weather Underground

1960s: Days of Rage

Katherine Ann Power (born January 25, 1949), also known under the aliasesMae Kelly and Alice Louise Metzinger, is an American ex-convict and long-time fugitive, who, along with her fellow student and accomplice Susan Edith Saxe, was placed on the FBI‘s Most Wanted Fugitives list in 1970. The two participated in robberies at a Massachusetts National Guardarmory and a bank in Brighton, Massachusetts, where Boston police officer Walter Schroeder was shot and killed. Power remained at large for twenty-three years. A native of Colorado, Power turned herself over to authorities in 1993 after starting a new life in Oregon. She pleaded guilty and was imprisoned in Massachusetts for six years before being released on fourteen years’ probation. While in prison, Power completed her bachelor’s degree, and after her release, earned a master’s degree at Oregon State University

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Indiana: Anti-CRT Forces Underperform in School Board Races

Diane Ravitch's blog

Steve Hinnefeld reports that the voters of Indiana did not buy the anti-CRT baloney in important school board races. Indiana is a solid red state where Republicans swept every statewide race. But parents mostly like their school boards.

He begins:

School board elections are the quintessential local elections. In most states, including Indiana, they are nonpartisan. Voters make their choices based on the pros and cons of candidates, not parties. Issues matter, but candidates with strong networks of friends and supporters are likely to do well.

That makes it hard to draw conclusions from the school board elections that took place across the state last week. But it appears that conservative culture warriors didn’t do as well as they had hoped.

In some school districts, candidates vowed to take on “critical race theory” and “wokeness” in the schools. Those folks won and now have a majorityin Hamilton Southeastern, an…

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Timothy Snyder: Help Stop Genocide in Ukraine

Diane Ravitch's blog

Timothy Snyder, historian at Yale and expert on European history, invites you to contribute to a very important fund that he created.

He writes:

Sometimes things are very simple. If you can easily do something to halt a genocide, then you should.

As I have been arguing here in “Thinking about…”, the Russian intention in Ukraine has been genocidal from the beginning.

The notion that Ukraine does not exist, that its state is artificial and its national consciousness a confusion — this Putinist rhetoric was genocidal. Moscow’s claims that Ukrainians are all Nazis or gays or Jews or Satanists (the current line) is nothing more than a fascist politics of us-and-them: the enemy is defined via hate speech as subhuman, as beyond any ethical concern, existing only to be destroyed.

The standard Russian occupation practices of kidnapping children, raping women, and executing local leaders are genocidal. Everywhere that Russia has…

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Why We Still Don’t Have the JFK Assassination Files

1960s: Days of Rage

President John F. Kennedy is seen riding in motorcade approximately one minute before he was shot in Dallas, Tx., on Nov. 22, 1963. In the car riding with Kennedy are Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy, right, Nellie Connally, left, and her husband, Gov. John Connally of Texas.

“Almost exactly 59 years after those rifle shots rang out in Dealey Plaza, left a president mortally wounded and changed the course of history, there are still secrets that the government admits it is determined to keep about the November 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. More than 14,000 classified documents somehow related to the president’s murder remain locked away, in part or in full, at the National Archives in clear violation of the spirit of a landmark 1992 transparency law that was supposed to force the release of virtually all of them years ago. The fact that anything about the assassination is still…

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Virginia: Governor Youngkin Directs Whitewashing of History Standards

Diane Ravitch's blog

Educators, parents, and civil rights groups in Virginia are outraged because Governor Glen Youngkin has directed the rewriting of the state’s history standards. The Youngkin standards eliminate anything that extremists and rightwingers find objectionable. The Youngkin team initially deleted all mention of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from the elementary curriculum. Presumably any discussion of Dr. King’s life and legacy might be interpreted as “critical race theory” by the Governor’s allies.

At the same time, Youngkin’s cultural warriors expanded coverage of Ancient Greece and Rome, expecting children in the early elementary years to learn about major figures in those civilizations for whom they have no context or understanding.

In the rewrite of the standards by the Youngkin team,, a startling amount of material about African Americans was deleted. The curriculum and standards were literally whitewashed.

And as you will notice, the Youngkin draft refers to Native Americans and indigenous peoples…

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Shoe-banging incident

1960s: Days of Rage

The often used fake image of Khrushchev waving a shoe (above), and the original photo taken at the United Nations General Assembly, 10 October 1960.

“The shoe-banging incident occurred when Nikita Khrushchev, First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, pounded his shoe on his delegate-desk in protest at a speech by Philippine delegate Lorenzo Sumulong during the 902nd Plenary Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly held in New York City on 12 October 1960. In 2003, American scholar William Taubman reported that he had interviewed some eyewitnesses who said that Khrushchev had brandished his shoe but not banged it. He also reported that no photographic or video records of the shoe-banging had been found. However, in his biography of Khrushchev, he wrote that he accepted that the shoe-banging had occurred. There is at least one fake photograph, where a shoe was added into…

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“The Handsomest Drowned Man In The World” – Gabriel García Márquez (Gregory Rabassa, Translator)

1960s: Days of Rage

“The first children  who saw the dark and slinky bulge approaching through the sea let themselves think it was an enemy ship. Then they saw it had no flags or masts and they thought it was a whale. But when it washed up on the beach, they removed the clumps of seaweed, the jellyfish tentacles, and the remains of fish and flotsam, and only then did they see that it was a drowned man. They had been playing with him all afternoon, burying him in the sand and digging him up again, when someone chanced to see them and spread the alarm in the village. The men who carried him to the nearest house noticed that he weighed more than any dead man they had ever known, almost as much as a horse, and they said to each other that maybe he’d been floating too long and the water had…

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