Sunday, February 26, 2017

New Computer!

Adam put together my new computer tonight.  It is pretty awesome... but it might take me a few days to get everything back to normal and all files switched over.  
Might be a tiny downtime.


Saturday, February 25, 2017

Weekend Home and Trump Hates the Press

So I have the entire house to myself this weekend and it is a mixed bag. On the one side, school work and work on the Bulletin I help edit goes by rather quickly without much interruption (unless you count the Boxer who needs to go out to chase squirrels every ten minutes. On the other, I really do like having my four-year-old chaos monster around and my awesome husband, so it is super quiet. 

BUT.... I do get to have fancy tea time! Complete with yummy tea and fresh blooming rosemary picked from my small herb garden. 

Right now I am reading Gail Bederman's Manliness & Civilization, which looks at the transforming notions of manliness and power in connection to race during the Progressive Era in America, it is an interesting book, especially since the author uses character profiles to support her argument and explains Foucault in a way that does not make me want to cry tears of infinite sadness. 

And what about this news guys!

Trump is essentially picking what press is valid and continues to try to belie the New York Times and other legitimate news outlets that simply will not stand by while he lies and makes a mockery of the White House. 
OH the weird times we are living in... there are days I am very glad I am a historian of centuries ago. 

I am pretty much resolved as well that here in Georiga, we are not getting winter...its been early Spring since December and now its full on Spring with my peach tree getting ready to bloom and my allergies on par to explode anytime. 

I think I am going to leave this Washington Post article here about how the White House is actively trying to put the clamp down on the Russia story, because I think it is just going to get worse and we need to stay informed people!

White House Wants to Quiet Russia Questions

Friday, February 24, 2017

Too Much Awful

When the News is too much?

I don't know, I mean I like a bit of contention and chaos in my life, that is a given as I decided many years ago that it was a good idea to raise a child and pursue graduate degrees at the same time, but lately the news feels oppressive and well, it just brings me down.

Trump Steps Back Trans Protections

This one really bothered me. I am not transgendered or a member of the LGBT community, but I know and have had the pleasure of knowing many people who are and this step in a backwards direction is chilling to say the least. When the President and his spokespeople act as if the world is happy with what they are doing as thousands across the US and the rest of the world protest them, we can equate that to selective viewing or simply ignoring the truth.... but when you work consciously to remove needed protections from vulnerable people, that is dangerous. 

So I took a break myself the last few days and have not posted on Twitter (as much at least) or read every article I usually read, instead focusing on school and other things that will give me just a breather.

That being said... I think the comfort in moving back is a bad idea... taking a breather for a day or so is one thing, but letting this stuff become normal without consistently speaking out is another.

We need to protect people. 

I think this pretty much sums up my entire being lol...

Monday, February 20, 2017

Back from a Conference

I had the extreme pleasure this past week to attend and present at the Georgia Association of Historians annual conference, which was held in Jekyll Island, Georgia this year. The experience was fulfilling and helpful for me as a historian and I cannot recommend enough taking time to attend one of these conferences if you are a historian in Georgia. At the conference, historians produced scholarship from a variety of historical fields and illustrated the amazing well of talent the state has in the field of history. Exploring the past seems increasingly relevant in current political and social conditions. Throughout the weekend, conference attendees had the opportunity to discuss urban development, Early Modern England, The American Civil War, and Women's Activism along with a host of other amazing topics. I felt very lucky to have experienced such a great weekend.  

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Land of Confusion

I am going to admit that I am slightly confused and concerned after only watching about thirty minutes of the news cycle this morning...
Is it really happening that when the Administration has direct ties to Russia, the ruling party in congress essentially feels it unnecessary to look into it deeply? Are team politics that important now that when someone flirts with letting Russia interfere with American governance, the Republican party is going to give him a pass because he pretends to be a Republican as he gaslights the United States?
Do we not remember Benghazi?  I do... it was overwrought with coverage and hearings and inquiry and there was nothing there... and yet this guy has now had someone resign because of known ties... KNOWN as in they knew...

I am no fan of Trump. I think he is crass, unamerican, and dangerous... but that is not why I am super concerned when our checks and balances are not in balance. 
Regardless of who you voted for, this should worry you. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day!

So I am not super cynical about Valentine's Day... I know some people are and I try not to do the eyeroll about it, but man... if you read facebook today it is almost like a vehement cry of 


There is also the random post about St. Valentine which, to just spoil it for you, he has a bad end. 

I personally like the Galentine's Day posts I have seen... they are super cute and not bemoaning the roses and candy crowd.

I am not a roses and candy person to be fair...

This is what I sent my Husband...


This is the romantic life between my husband and I.

TO be fair, he loves his academic and historian odd wife who sends him stuff like this. 

It has been a crazy few weeks.... the President is exploding on twitter and at his resort in Florida and I can only imagine in some sort of toddler fit in the White House while his staff is, not even joking, just falling apart and all over themselves...
Looking at you Spicer, Conway and Miller....
Oh and Flynn, see he is having a bad Valentine's Day...
Maybe he needs one too:

Monday, February 13, 2017

Lies We Tell Ourselves

There are books that I read sometimes that truly transform the way I look at an issue... especially as a historian, that should happen a lot I new research comes out, new perspectives arise...we should never become stagnant....

I am going to just rave over Edward Baptist's The Half Has Never Been Told more. I think slavery is a subject that we, as a nation, should never shy away from and his book not only places the conversation in the face of anyone reading his text, but he brings up some important points about how we as a society have portrayed slavery... to lessen the burn, and that is a tragedy. 

Slavery was a thriving and growing business that helped fund the nation off the backs of other people.

The discipline often described in slavery amounted to nothing less than psychological and physical torture and it completely destroyed people

Slavery's legacy is alive and well today.

People do not want to talk about it, people want to forget about it, and rave about the "good" parts of the antebellum past and the "heritage" that musters... and that is simply 100% wrong. 

Former slaves would often sincerely state that they would rather be dirt poor and starving than back in servitude, where their lives amounted to nothing but capital and absolutely no humanity. 

Even the most benevolent slave owner... still made a living off of people he looked at as property.  There is nothing moral or forgiving about that. 

Pick this book up...
Read it.

Buy it HERE 

The cultural connections to slavery and the past are everywhere and I believe that the experience of slavery made America what it was then and what it is today. It is funny... but it was not reading this book that made me think about writing this blog post, but my lunch. I wanted something I used to eat as a kid when I visited family in the mountains of North Carolina and I made a mixture of new potatoes and green beans.... it was something we had all the time and it is a comforting and warm food, but it is also a recipe developed during the antebellum period by people who used what they had to survive.

Race is still very relevant... I still truly believe that most of the nasty backlash against Obama as President and against his wife were racially motivated, even if it was not a conscious decision... people automatically distrusted Obama and his family because they were different and still represented the other, and while its wrong...shocking, and disgusting... I think it is more true than ever before. Instead of hiding from this past or forgetting about it because slavery ended over a century ago, we should visit the lessons slavery provided every single day to work and make this a better place for every person living in the US. 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Stories to Not Ignore

I think one of the big problems with having a President who does so much in a day to cause alarm is that we often miss stories that are truly chilling or highly problematic... like this one.
I read it at midnight after coming home late and it was shocking.

Trump Relegates the Press Blackout Style

We know that Trump has a contentious relationship with the Press, because many of them simply report the truth, the President feels they are against him. Perhaps he is so delusional that he truly believes they are lying about him. I have given it some thought and someone with that level of narcissism may actually believe his own fantasies about how the rest of the world is against him...which is in no way comforting, just explanatory. 

A free and uninhibited press is one of the more important factors in our working democracy and I fear his behavior is slowly limiting that, especially when he constantly goes on twitter and riles up his base to believe that the Press is some malevolent attacker and he is simply the upstanding American victim.  Do not take that for granted that everyone knows this is not true, I know people who believe every word that comes out of his mouth...which is reinforced by radio personalities and other outlets that these people exclusively get their "news" from. 

He also uses his position to completely infiltrate the business sector he is supposed to be detached from

I think this should get a ton of attention, his attacks on the press and the response from his base.
The nation dismissed the power he has over the base once before and now it has much higher consequences. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

This is NOT Fine.

So the Senate today decided to confirm someone who is completely unqualified for the job she was appointed to. What is more, DeVos has an obvious bias against the Public Education System and prefers Private School education and good education for the select few who can afford it...while everyone else suffers.
This is bad for each and every child in the country and I will explain why...

Regardless of how great an education your child gets, the overall educational average for the country matters.... if most kids are in a failing or underpaid system, then the standards slip and things go south....

We are in a very competitive educational environment on a global scale, where people compete for jobs across national lines and thus our kids need to be prepared for that scenario and instead we are continuing to marginalize the people who cannot afford to send their kids to nice private schools....
I do not want to be cynical, but perhaps this is what the wealthy want, to maintain their class supremacy at all costs, even at the risk of dumbing down the rest of the nation.

I am a product of public education... I do not think all private schools are bad and I do not think they are the enemy, but many of the private schools in the area where I live were specifically created as a counter to school desegregation and thus I find them to be kind of disgusting and a huge part of the problem. Moreover, I was sent to a private school for a year and loathed its closed minded and noninclusive atmosphere... I felt ostracized because I did not like the right type of music, wore the right type of clothes, or concerned myself with the right social necessities (which apparently was not doing schoolwork, but trying to date boys).
I am not laying all of this on the doormat of a private school... 
My husband went to a private school and loved his education and received top notch attention in a very multi-ethnic and diverse atmosphere... but again, most children cannot afford such things and having a head of the Department of Education who has not one single day of experience in the Public School system....who openly is antagonistic towards public schools, and prefers a voucher/charter school system... worries me. 

In other news....
Our President cannot help himself from tweeting like an angry 9 year old every single morning. 
Its embarrassing. 

Monday, February 6, 2017

What a Busy Week...

While probably super productive on an academic and job level, this week may be obviously less productive on a social/political/blog front. I have a conference next week, a lecture this week, and a lot of classwork I have to get through in order to actually have a moment this weekend to work and have inventory at the bookstore...wooo!

On a political front though, I thought I would say something rather simple:

1. If you did not see the political implications in Lady Gaga's very positive and inclusive half time show for the Superbowl, you were not paying attention.

2. Acting like a child on twitter does not win you any support or fans of your policy, it just makes you seem like a giant man child with a cellphone. 

Friday, February 3, 2017

Addendum: Toddlers

My child is insane.  I needed to record this... 
After two hours of building a fort, running in circles, and then categorically blessing out his father because he would not allow the toddler to watch him play Witcher 3, I wrangled him into the bathtub, got him relatively clean...and now I am going back and forth about him actually going to sleep in his room.

He was just beating his tabby because an app didn't work.

So I walked in there.... had a long conversation about some part of Star Wars Rebels that had nothing to do with the problem with the tabby or his bedtime... hugged him, talked about a pencil... and now am again trying to get back to work.

Eugene D. Genovense's Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made which is pretty good.

Click Here if you want to get yourself a copy. 

Are We in a Post Truth World?

Recently, I found myself speaking out when I saw something online that was 100% untrue and misrepresented and although I backed up my rebuttle to the issue with facts and evidence, my post, my response, was deleted. It was an odd moment because there is a part of all of us who believe that there is some truth in the world or at least some underlying reliance on truth, even if it proves that we are wrong.

I am a historian, there are things I read daily that challenge my pre-conceived notions about a specific time period or event and that is just part of our academic world... we are challenged, we search for truth, even if it contradicts everything we believed prior. I don't reject facts is what I am saying, but what if we are in a world that simply does now.

Oh... I don't like this fact or I do not like the criticism I am receiving, so I will make up my own truth, use that as an excuse, and move forward.... alot of times without any real pushback. Now of course... I am speaking of this...

Yep... that is Kellyanne Conway basically citing a fake massacre to support Trump's Muslim Ban. It did not happen, the incident never occurred and yet, because Matthews didn't really have time to process... she does not get called on it IMMEDIATELY.
(and she should have) 
Whether she believes there was a massacre or she was outright lying, this is simply a dangerous spread of non-factual evidence to a populace who wants to believe anything that comes out of her mouth or out of the mouths of the people she represents and works with.

So.... Does it matter that this story is not true?
In the end, does Kellyanne get what she wants by saying this anyway...and now it is out and thus it is "proof" for Trump supporters who think the Muslim Ban is OK?

I don't know, but its really disturbing that she even still has a job after this.  There are some jobs that require you to be on point all the time, I think working for and within the white house is one of those jobs. 

So is lying, not knowing the facts, or simply spreading un-truth now the norm and is it OK?

Hard questions.