Saturday, March 12, 2011

History and Meandering (on the Mississippi)

24 comments:

  1. I've been following the story in Madison, which I'm fascinated by, so have been tuning for Rachel Maddow every night.

    But last night she moved on to Japan, talking about the danger to its nuclear power plants and explaining how nuclear power is produced and the potential danger. Really well done.

    Now I read one of the reactors has indeed blown up. Now that's terrifying!

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  2. Has anyone heard from Donot? He's slow to respond to emails, but I haven't heard from him in awhile and am starting to worry about him.

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  3. I think DNR is staying away from blogs. He got pretty upset with Melba. Haven't heard from him since, but he may still be looking in.

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  4. Thanks, Gintaras. I looked for him there, too -- that's quite the scene!

    Donot used to email every once in awhile but I haven't heard from him lately. Maybe he'll see my question and know I've been missing him.

    NY Temps, too. She'd be happy to know that the HeLa book is a finalist for the LA Times Book Awards.

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  5. The map is the meander of the Mississippi over time. There's a link to the NASA site on remote sensing in the title. Yet one more program the republicans I'm sure want to kill. They are even trying to cut tsunami warning systems......

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  6. Melba is a mess these days.It went from like 262 steady members to over 5500 today in four months.No one seems to be mindingthe store much.Most of the new members just register and list a web site to things they are selling but a few have started posting what look like messages but have their web sites in the message.It takes weeks sometimes before this kind of spam is removed.I also wonder though where Do Not is.

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  7. I missed Rachel M. Friday night and will have to check it out online. I'm overwhelmed by what has happened in Japan. Not at all surprised about the problems with the reactor. What more could happen there? The NY Times has satellite photos showing so much wiped out from the earthquake and water (I think they show more of the result of the tsunami).

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  8. I also don't post on escapefromelba anymore as there are too many profanities and back biting taking place there every day. It sued to be a good place to exchange ideas but, I guess, its day is long gone.

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  9. Marti, I hope you had a chance to watch it. She anticipates what indeed happened but also helped me understand the actual engineering of nuclear power.

    She did another good job tonight -- not fear mongering which I really appreciate, but explaining what the explosions did and did not do (yet -- I see there's more news coming) and what they mean.

    I find all of the footage from Japan very unsettling and really don't like watching any of it, but I do want to know what the consequences are.

    (Couldn't read your current book list -- I think you have to be a member to see your lists)

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  10. I'm interested in the science behind all of this and the impact -- and yet would just as soon not think about it too much as I head down to Yellowstone where there is usually quite a bit of seismic activity.

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  11. And another history lesson from Michelle Bachmann:

    Rep. Michele Bachmann got her Revolutionary War history a bit screwed up at an event in New Hampshire today, telling the crowd: "What I love about New Hampshire and what we have in common is our extreme love for liberty. You're the state where the shot was heard around the world in Lexington and Concord."

    The Battles of Lexington and Concord and the shot heard round the world took place in Massachusetts. ...

    Bachmann's gotten her American history wrong before. Back in January, she lauded the United States for its early commitment to diversity. "It didn't matter the color of their skin, it didn't matter their language, it didn't matter their economic status," Bachmann said of the first settlers. She also praised the founders who she said "worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States."

    http://www.tnr.com/blog/jonathan-chait/85169/michelle-bachmann-revolutionary-war-scholar

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  12. Seeing the anniversary of the first internet domain name made me think of Gore's famous gaffe that he invented the Internet, which according to Snopes was taken out of context,

    http://www.snopes.com/quotes/internet.asp

    Nevertheless, Gore did appear to take a lot of credit.

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  13. Trippler called to mind Death in the Haymarket. Maybe we should explore labor in our next reading group. Any suggestions?

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  14. I did catch Rachel Maddow's Friday show online in bits on Monday. It was very informative. She explained a lot on her show tonight (Tuesday) too, which I did catch on TV. Friday she explained very clearly what a meltdown of a nuclear reactor is.

    I am wondering just how it there came to be so many nuclear plants in Japan for such a small country that has earthquakes. Are these all owned by private industry? There are 55:

    http://www.japannuclear.com/nuclearpower/program/location.html

    There are 104 in the U.S.

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  15. Avrds, I've been listening to the Thomas Jefferson Hour podcasts since you brought them up here. Thanks for letting us know about them. Today I listened to one that focused on Alexander Hamilton (Mr. Chrystal was a guest.) Interesting discussions on the program, even though I disagree with some of the premises.

    They had some thoughts about which party Thomas Jefferson would be in today. I just can't see him as a Republican as the party is today. He probably would not want to be a Dem. either.

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  16. Avrds,I posted the Bachmann thing on my Facebook page.I don't know if she is really that dumb or this is another right wing way to recast American History on their slant.Even after they claim it was an honest mistake the thought lingers in the minds of their "audience" that this was indeed how things happened.It's how Soviet Russia did History and now it could be the tea party types are taking it up.

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  17. We were doing it long before the Soviet Union started bending history to suit its political ideology. Look at the way Reconstruction was recast as a failure by historians like William Dunning in the early 20th century. Thank goodness for W.E.B. Dubois. Historic revisionism is part and parcel of the American Experience.

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  18. I think in this case though it's just dumb -- I don't think people in New Hampshire think that the Boston Tea Party took place in their state either (although as one person noted the other night on Chris Matthews, she said it twice so no one around her knew the truth either or they were in on the joke).

    The opening essay in Harper's this month talks about some of the mistakes that Tea Partiers are making about US history. I wish I could copy it here.

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  19. Marti, glad you are enjoying the Jefferson hour. I find them fascinating, and I think he really gets at Jefferson's strengths as well as weaknesses. I listened to the first one with Hamilton, and liked it too -- although it's difficult to get it all into the 30 minutes required so they can then break out of character and talk about them.

    The one that I found particularly interesting was one that focused on readers' questions and talked about a long letter about economic fairness that Jefferson wrote to Madison from France -- I think I posted some of it here. His argument was that you can't have democracy without some amount of fairness through progressive taxation, which would drive the tea baggers crazy if they read it.

    Right now I"m reading a little book of Jenkinson's "Becoming Jefferson's People," where he writes a page or two in response to something Jefferson wrote. Nice, civil discussion of some of the issues we're dealing with now.

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  20. If you are going to call yourself the Tea Party, I suppose you have to ground yourself in history, no matter how tenuous the connections may be. I'm glad someone is calling them out on these "mistakes," but I don't think it really matters at their rallies. Listeners either don't know or simply shrug it off. They seem to think they are taking back the country.

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  21. Also nice to hear you've enjoyed Maddow. I like knowing what is happening, and she seems to get at the essence of things (in this case the engineering) as we've discussed here before. And in this case, the simplistic approach really works for someone like me.

    I think Japan opted for the energy independent route with the nuclear plants. There's no free energy lunch. My guess is they will soon be the leaders in wind and solar, but they have a long time ahead of them right now.

    (Sure hope google fixes that password business -- looks like that could be a nasty trap for a lot of people. Appears to be at all the blog sites -- at least on my computer.....)

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