" ... the recession, particularly if it turns out to be as long and deep as many now fear, will accelerate the rise and fall of specific places within the U.S.—and reverse the fortunes of other cities and regions." From The Atlantic Online - How the Crash Will Reshape America
posted by Afroblanco
on Feb 15, 2009 -
is the name given to a group of female soliders, (and the documentary
about them) who were some of the first women
in modern American warfare to engage in frontline combat — something that is officially forbidden by the military. "The
female support soliders were assigned to the 1st Engineer Battalion and they were recruited to accompany Marine units during raids. Originally, the female soldiers were there to search and detain any women they came upon and to guard the unit's Arabic interpreter. Over time, however, as the situation in Ramadi deteriorated, the Marine units transitioned into a more offensive role, baiting insurgents into firefights in order to draw them out. Until officers higher up the chain got spooked over the possibility of a female soldier killed in combat and quietly disbanded the unit, members of Team Lioness were often right in the thick of things, including some of the fiercest urban firefights of the Iraq War."
posted by nooneyouknow
on Nov 14, 2008 -
The United States Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842
and funded by the U.S. government, six ships
sailed with 346 men (including officers
, and artists
) on a four-year scientific and surveying mission, logging 87,000 miles
around the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans. Two ships and 28 men were lost, and the Expedition's contentious
commander Charles Wilkes
was court-martialled for his erratic behavior, and was sued
by former officers and crew members. During the Civil War in 1861, he boarded a British ship
, seized two Confederate agents, and nearly provoked military retaliation by England (he was court-martialled once again in 1864
for insubordination.) Wilkes' 1845 Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition
and the Ex. Ex.'s journals were published
by Congress, and some 40 tons of Expedition specimens and artifacts
became the foundation
of the Smithsonian Institution
's collections. [Nathaniel Philbrick (video lecture) chronicles this almost-forgotten voyage in his 2003 book Sea of Glory (NYT review).]
posted by cenoxo
on Oct 25, 2008 -
Retiring hedge fund manager Andrew Lahde
: "All of this behavior supporting the Aristocracy, only ended up making it easier for me to find people stupid enough to take the other side of my trades. God bless America.
posted by finite
on Oct 17, 2008 -
The Iron Heel
, published a century ago this year, is a novel by Jack London about socialist revolution in the United States. It is set mostly between 1912 and 1932, with a foreword and numerous footnotes written from the point of view of a historian who has just discovered the manuscript some 700 years later. Here is an excerpt (which is printed on the back cover of some editions) from chapter five:
"This, then, is our answer. We have no words to waste on you. When you reach out your vaunted strong hands for our palaces and purpled ease, we will show you what strength is. In roar of shell and shrapnel and in whine of machine-guns will our answer be couched. We will grind you revolutionists down under our heel, and we shall walk upon your faces. The world is ours, we are its lords, and ours it shall remain. As for the host of labor, it has been in the dirt since history began, and I
read history aright. And in the dirt it shall remain so long as I and mine and those that come after us have the power. There is the word. It is the king of words--Power. Not God, not Mammon, but Power. Pour it over your tongue till it tingles with it. Power."
posted by finite
on Oct 10, 2008 -
On Having A Black Name
"I am a white woman, a blond, blue-eyed white woman, and I have a first name strongly associated with black women. My mother, a southerner by birth, never stopped telling me she made the name up. The fact that she truly could not remember ever hearing the name before, is a testament to the strength of southern segregation. It is likely she heard it once or twice, and simply forgot it until later. And so, even at 50 years old, I have a name that makes people do a double-take. "You're _____?" is something I have heard all my life. "Yes, that would be me," is what I say, as they look confused. I have upset the social order. Names, I have learned, are a big, big part of it."
posted by nooneyouknow
on Apr 24, 2008 -
"The "American Intervention in Northern Russia
, 1918-1919," nicknamed the "Polar Bear Expedition," (wikipedia
) was a U.S. military intervention in northern Russia at the end of World War I." The ostensible purpose was to open an Eastern Front following the Russian withdrawal from World War I, but in practice the unit stayed to fight Bolshevism. An archive of the expedition, which gives wonderful insight into early Bolshevik Russia as well as war-weary United States, is online
. [more inside]
posted by Rumple
on Jan 25, 2008 -
Secret U. S. Endorsement of Severe Interrogations
. The New York Times has a 4000-word report today on secret Justice Department opinions--never previously disclosed--authorizing severe interrogation methods. Congress has outlawed cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment; in response, Justice declared that the CIA's most extreme interrogation methods are not cruel, inhuman, and degrading. These secret opinions, issued in 2005, are still in effect. Most lawmakers did not know they existed. White House response
: "This country does not torture."
posted by russilwvong
on Oct 4, 2007 -
The United States
and the European Union have agreed to expand a security program
that shares personal data about millions of U.S.-bound airline passengers a year. Information that potentially can be used includes "racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership" and data about an individual's health, traveling partners and sexual orientation. "Even a request for a king-size bed at a hotel could be noted in the database." "E.U.'s privacy supervisor expressed 'grave concern
' over whether the rules 'will be fully compatible with European fundamental rights,' calling the arrangement 'without legal precedent.'"
posted by ericb
on Jul 28, 2007 -
The Third View project
is a fascinating presentation of "rephotographs" of over 100 historic landscape sites in the American West that presents original 19th-century survey photographs, photographed again in the 1970s, then once again in the '90s - from the original vantage points, under similar lighting conditions, at (roughly) the same time of day and year. [Flash, and you'll probably need to allow pop-ups; a little more info inside...]
posted by taz
on Jun 15, 2007 -
"All over Orlando you see forces at work that are changing America from Fairbanks to Little Rock. This, truly, is a 21st-century paradigm: It is growth built on consumption, not production; a society founded not on natural resources, but upon the dissipation of capital accumulated elsewhere; a place of infinite possibilities, somehow held together, to the extent it is held together at all, by a shared recognition of highway signs, brand names, TV shows, and personalities, rather than any shared history. Nowhere else is the juxtaposition of what America actually is and the conventional idea of what America should be more vivid and revealing."
"Welcome to the theme-park nation." [more inside]
posted by wander
on Mar 2, 2007 -
is a site that aggregates data about the United States Senate and House. Keep track of your senators or representatives through rss feeds, read bills on topics that are important to you, and find out what industries are behind the scenes providing money to your politicians in Washington among many other uses of this new resource.
posted by rfbjames
on Feb 27, 2007 -
Shooting War: a graphic novel by Anthony Lappe and Dan Goldman.
The 11-chapter first act has been lauded in Rolling Stone
and The Village Voice
. It's 2011: President McCain is fighting for political survival, America is stuck in Iraq, and there's another oil embargo. 'Vlogger' and indie icon Jimmy Burns happens to catch a terrorist attack in NYC on his web cam, making him the new face of wartime journalism.
posted by spaltavian
on Oct 1, 2006 -
Yesterday, the Arar Commission released their report
on the handling of the Maher Arar case, previously mentioned here
. The findings are widely reported
; Canada is self-flagellating
for being complicit in the United States' abduction and torture
of a Canadian citizen. As President Bush goes to Congress to lobby for the legal authority to abduct and torture anyone without a trial
, Arar should consider himself lucky: although Canada didn't help him out for a year, the Canadian government and news media were aware of and interested in his confinement, which likely saved him from the worst tortures. As a famous legal scholar commented
some 240 years ago, "To bereave a man of life, or by violence to confiscate his estate, without accusation or trial, would be so gross and notorious an act of despotism, as must at once convey the alarm of tyranny throughout the whole nation; but confinement of the person, by secretly hurrying him to jail
, where his sufferings are unknown or forgotten, is a less public, a less striking, and therefore a more dangerous engine of arbitrary government."
posted by jellicle
on Sep 19, 2006 -