Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Lackawanna Valley - George Inness

September's Baccalaureate

September's Baccalaureate

September's Baccalaureate
A combination is
Of Crickets -- Crows -- and Retrospects
And a dissembling Breeze

That hints without assuming
--An Innuendo sear
That makes the Heart put up its Fun
And turn Philosopher.

-- Emily Dickinson

Monday, August 30, 2004

Protest marchers in NYC, Aug 29, 2004

Autumn in New York!

Wed Aug 25: GOP Delegates Meet With Anti-Bush Signs
Sun Aug 29: Vast Anti-Bush Rally Greets Republicans in New York

Autumn in New York!
(Where is Ella Fitgerald when you need her?)

Autumn in New York,
Why does it seem uninviting?
Autumn in New York
Look at those placards they're writing!

Ominous crowds with Abu Ghraib shrouds
In canyons of steel,
They’re making me feel - like a heel.

It’s autumn in New York!
Placards on each subway train,
Rallies in the park:
"NO MORE YEARS" is their refrain.

Marchers with angry signs,
Flag-draped coffin lines,
Is it autumn in New York,
Or Chicago all over again?

Autumn in New York:
Rooftop signs seen from the plane,
"Cheney is a Dork,"
"Bush Lied, They Died" and words profane.

Yes, jaded pols and media hacks
Who lunch at the Ritz
Will say it's no big deal, but still -

This autumn in New York
Regime change is in the air
Oh, autumn in New York
Taxis to and from Mad Square,

Pass by demos dawn to dark,
Cops and firemen, mad and noisy,
Why did we pick New York?
Next time let's have it in Boise.

Coming soon to a theatre near you!

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Susan B. Anthony's house at 17 Madison St. in Rochester. N.Y., a National Historic Landmark. The Susan B. Anthony Preservation District is a nine-block area around The Susan B. Anthony House and Susan B. Anthony Square.Susan Anthony was a benefactor of women's education at the University of Rochester; in order to raise the $50,000 the University required to convert to a co-educational institution, she cashed in her life insurance policy and donated the proceeds.

UR's Eastman Quad & Rush Rhees Library in autumn

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Welcome to Rochester, Mr. Nakashian.

Ten Best Movies Ever Made, Says You

No blog is worth its salt unless it takes a poll. Movies come readily to mind.
Write in to with your choice of:

10 (or so) best all-around feature films ever made.
10 best ffs based on historical events or persons.

What is that on first? Posted by Hello

Our National Pastime

Monday, August 30
7:00 pm Frontier Field, Rochester NY
The mighty Rochester Red Wings contend against the sordid, mindless helots of Pawtucket.
Jon Koehler is now coming, plus Craig, Jeremy, Joe, me (S. Dougherty), and there is still one extra ticket, because Prof. Kaeuper cannot attend as planned. Contact

Poor taste or disenfranchisement. Your choice. Posted by Hello

"Students are Being Disenfranchised"

College students who try to register to vote in their college town may be turned down by local election boards, according to an AP story of August 27, 2004. Students at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y. and at the College of William & Mary in Virginia were recently told that they must vote absentee in their parents' states because their campus addresses were "temporary."

The issue of where college students may register to vote is causing some students, who believe they should have the right to vote where they live most of the year, to organize.

Researchers have found that students who attend college in states that force or "encourage" them to vote absentee are less likely to vote. Some students think election boards' decisions may be politically motivated. "Students are being disenfranchised," claims a Hamilton student who came to college from Seattle. (see more)

To register to vote in New York State, go to the Monroe County Board of Elections site for an application & instructions. Whatever your political views may be, clarify your status soon, register in NY, or get an absentee ballot (especially if you live in Florida), and make sure you are on the rolls.

FDR Action Figure from Drastic Plastic. Posted by Hello

FDR 12" Figure with Wheelchair

Drastic Plastic's 1:6 scale figure includes FDR in an exact replica of his custom-made wheelchair, and replicas of his leg braces. [Given all this detail, DP should have put more effort into the likesness; the face looks more like Buddy Ebsen than FDR.]

  • 1:6 Scale
  • Highly Detailed, Hand-Sewn, Hand-Painted, and Hand-Finished Uniform and Accessories
  • HighlyPosable with 33 Points of Articulation
  • Historically Accurate Figure and Accessories


  • Metal Leg Braces with Straps
  • Wheelchair with hand strung Metal Spokes, Wheelchair Cushion
  • Cigarette Holder and Removable Cigarette., glasses, Fountain Pen
  • Shoes, Cloth Socks, Herringbone Dress Pants and Jacket, Dress Shirt and Tie, Pocket Handkerchief, Armband, Pinky Ring
  • 1:1 scale (8 1/2" x 11") reproductions of the Original Declarations of War with Germany, Japan and Italy.

Give Me Toys Price: $69.99
Out of Stock [darn!]

I've seen many historical action figures around. The Twenty-First Century Toy Co. recently carried a series of four US presidents. As the company's main stock-in-trade is military figures (the Soldiers of the World collection) one would expect these four to be wartime presidents or former military leaders, and three of them were: Washington, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt (in Rough Rider kit). Who was the fourth? FDR? Hell no. Ike? Truman? ...uh, Andrew Jackson? Kennedy in a PT 109 getup? Surely not Woodrow Wilson or LBJ?...I'm digging now...Old Tippecanoe? Zachary Taylor? Garfield? It must be Reagan, of course; he was so popular. was HERBERT HOOVER. My guess is that the Twenty-First Century Toy Co. has an ideology, and that it hates the New Deal.

Friday, August 27, 2004

This man criticized Ronald Reagan. Should America be listening to his kind of music? Posted by Hello

Why does Bruce Springsteen hate America?

LiveDaily: "Marilyn O'Grady, the Conservative Party's long shot candidate for a New York U.S. Senate seat this November, has begun airing a 30-second 'Boycott the Boss' television advertisement that urges people to boycott Bruce Springsteen (news)'s music." Springsteen's projected Vote for Change tour in swing states aims to influence voters against Bush.

"Bruce Springsteen is doing a concert tour to dump President Bush," the ad says. "What's new? Springsteen criticized Reagan, bashed the New York police and said Bush should be impeached. He thinks making millions with a song-and-dance routine allows him to tell you how to vote. Here's my vote: Boycott the Boss. If you don't buy his politics, don't buy his music."

Criticized St. Ronald Reagan, who saved the world from communism? Enough said, I don't need to hear more about any of the Reagan policies a person might reasonably disagree with, he's GOT WINGS NOW AND A HALO. HE SITS AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD--HE MAY EVEN BE GOD IT'S TOO CLOSE TO CALL--GET IT? Godless atheist.

Bashed the New York police? Over what? Raping some foreign national in their custody with a broomstick? A few bad apples, past history, who cares, get over it, yadda yadda, but may the meme that Bruce dissed the NYPD live on until the last trump shall sound.

Says the President should be impeached? For what? I though a President had to commit high crimes and misdeameanors to warrant that. Where the hell does this Springsteen get off? Did Bush violate world peace and shred international law by preemptively invading a sovereign nation? Did he mislead the American people into said invasion by falsely claiming a threat of imminent attack? Has his administration tried to subvert the Bill of Rights and deny citizens their constitutional protections, has he undermined our national security by sheer negligence, by pursuing an illegal war against the wrong enemy, by destroying the---oh, I can't go on. I'm going to set myself on fire and hurl myself off the Kodak Building now.

Before I end my life as a flaming meteor of reproach to the treasons of Bruce Springsteen, I should mention that Professor Robert Westbrook will be teaching a Fall 2004 course called HIS 298 Music-Made America: Bruce Springsteen, wherein (it is to be hoped) the iniquities and baleful influence of Bruce Springsteen will be further dissected.

Landscape with fallen cyclist near Crawford, Texas Posted by Hello

Is this man unbalanced? Posted by Hello

A Segway Story

Here is the Segway. Here is George Bush on the Segway. Any questions?

The Segway® Human Transporter, a battery-operated upright scooter which its inventors say will revolutionise transportation in the coming oil-lean years, has been spotted on the UR campus.

The Segway was spotted in Kennebunkport, Maine in June. According to a BBC News Online story, "George W Bush has fallen off a Segway - a new stand-on scooter designed to make motorised travel user-friendly. The machine went down when he stepped onto it at his family estate in Kennebunkport." Bush also made headlines this year when he fell off his bicycle in May and in July at his Crawford, Texas ranch. Inner-ear problem?

The Segway will have all sorts of applications, apparently. (Dick Cheney rode one around his Washington office when his Achilles tendon was sore.) When I was teaching 20th century history in 2001-2, a theme I tried to impress upon my students was the militarily-driven origin of a great deal of technological innovation since WWII. The Segway's creator, Dean Kamen, "wants to see US Special Forces troops eventually ride Segways into battle," and one wonders whether the idea of civilian or military application came first in the inventor's mind.

Diminishing Oil Consciousness Pervades The Net

Even the Fafblog's Fafnir and Giblets are all over the story:

"Do you think the world is gonna end?" says me.
"It has to," says Giblets. "Or else the scene'll get dull, man."
"It has to to achieve closure," says me.
"It has to or else Giblets will be damn pissed!" says Giblets. "Giblets wants death-comets! Giblets wants his plague of frogs!"
"Do you think Jesus will come back?" says me.
"Not without a ton of funding," says Giblets.
"Thats true," says me. "The budget for the Jesus Apocalypse is pretty huge."
"The special effects alone," says Giblets. "An Jesus doesn't come cheap either."
"What about a natural disaster?" says me.
"Like climate change or flyin saucers?"
"Bah!" says Giblets. "Climate change is an urban myth like bigfoot an the CIA an the Irish!"
"Could bigfoot end the world?" says me.
"Nah, his foot's too big," says Giblets.
"What if we run outta oil cause theres only so much oil an we all keep usin oil an the world jus stops cause it all runs on oil?" says me.
"We will never run out of oil!" says Giblets drinkin oil.
"Giblets that is what you said about runnin out of dodos," says me.

The dialog "not the end of the world" ends on a message of hope. Whew! Scroll down further for an exclusive interview with George W. Bush!

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Oil pipeline in Saudi Arabia
 Posted by Hello

The Implications of Saudi Arabian Oil Declining

Forget Michael Moore's rather naive and xenophobic take on the House of Saud. Saudi Arabia has severe internal problems--a rift dividing the royal house, public dissatisfaction with state policies that is fueled by Wahhabist extremists, and an increasing level of terrorist attacks. The regime is also under a good deal of outside pressure to uphold human rights and democratize its political system.

With the world's largest oil reserves, Saudi Arabia has been able to occupy a privileged place among nations, quell internal unrest, and resist outside pressure to change that would have toppled poorer countries' regimes. But Saudi oil is running out, not 50 years from now, as Arabian spokemen would suggest, but imminently, according to a report by energy expert Matthew Simmons. Simmons presented this paper at a conference held by the Hudson Institute's Center for Middle East Policy on July 9 2004. The implications for the economy of the United States, which relies on its consumption of 25% of the world's oil supply, are serious, needless to say.

Thanks to Professor M. A. Pierce for the link to this article.

New Pew Poll on Religion and Politics

Go here to see Americans' current opinions on the preferred level of religiosity in presidential candidates, on stem cell research, on which party God supports for reelection this November, etc. (File will open in Acrobat reader.)

Medieval woodcut depicting graduate student life Posted by Hello

History Textbooks in the News

Nanking? Comfort women? Never happened...

TOKYO, Aug. 26 The Chinese Xinhua News service reports that the Tokyo education board has decided to adopt a controversial history textbook for use in public secondary schools next spring. The textbook is "widely regarded as a whitewash and distortion of Japan's invasion history in the World War II." Xinhua states that the book's content includes the advocation of "worship to the empire by ushering in mythology and justifying Japan's aggression of Asian nations."

Japan, like the US, has its own history wars raging over rival interpretations of the nation's past. As is the case here, this struggle over the meaning of the national past is part of a political struggle for power and control over public policy and the national agenda.

The Korean press is also fuming over the textbook decision. The Chosun Ilbo online quotes Korean Foreign Ministry spokesperson Shin Bong-kil: "the textbook is based on a historical perspective of national chauvinism and justifies Japan's historic mistakes."

Japan Today: [The textbook] "has added fuel to a fierce domestic debate, and prompted an international chorus of criticism, mainly from China and South Korea, which argue that the nationalistic textbook glosses over Japan's wartime atrocities." The book has been approved for use in Hakuo High School, formerly a girls' school. Alumna Mutsuko Miki, the widow of a former Prime Minister, has urged the Tokyo education board not to adopt it. "The textbook, which does not even refer to the issue of 'comfort women,' is not appropriate to Hakuo which has been supported by women."

So-called "comfort women" were forced to provide sex for Japanese soldiers during WWII--thousands of women from Korea and and other Asian countries were press-ganged into serving the Imperial agenda in front-line brothels. "Historians estimate a majority of about 200,000 such women were from the Korean Peninsula, which was then ruled by Japan." (Kyodo News)
Political buttons from the Vietnam War years Posted by Hello

John Kerry's 1971 testimony

April 22, 1971

United States Senate, Committee on Foreign Relations, Washington, D.C.

The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 11:05 a.m., in Room 4221, New Senate Office Building, Senator J. W. Fulbright (Chairman) presiding. Present: Senators Fulbright, Symington, Pell, Aiken, Case and Javits.

The Chairman: You may proceed, Mr. Kerry

Statement of John Kerry, Vietnam Veterans Against the War

Mr. Kerry: Thank you very much, Senator Fulbright, Senator Javits, Senator Symington, Senator Pell. I would like to say for the record, and also for the men behind me who are also wearing the uniforms and their medals, that my sitting here is really symbolic. I am not here as John Kerry. I am here as one member of the group of veterans in this country, and were it possible for all of them to sit at this table they would be here and have the same kind of testimony.

I would simply like to speak in very general terms. I apologize if my statement is general because I received notification yesterday you would hear me and I am afraid because of the injunction I was up most of the night and haven't had a great deal of chance to prepare.

Winter soldier Investigation

I would like to talk, representing all those veterans, and say that several months ago in Detroit, we had an investigation at which over 150 honorably discharged and many very highly decorated veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia, not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command.

It is impossible to describe to you exactly what did happen in Detroit, the emotions in the room, the feelings of the men who were reliving their experiences in Vietnam, but they did. They relived the absolute horror of what this country, in a sense, made them do.
See entire statement at

Register to Vote, and Be Afraid, and Then Unfraid

Not registered to vote in New York?
Go to the Monroe County Board of Elections site for application & instructions.

Now see the Diebold Variations, and be frightened. How frightened? Very frightened.

Now see this campaign ad, and be reassured once more. See how blogs can manipulate you? I'm playing you like a Stradivarius.

Rochester History Calendar

Sunday, August 29 (late afternoon)
The intrepid medievalist Craig N. will heroically drive, from Western Massachusetts to Rochester NY, a RENTAL TRUCK containing HIS BELONGINGS! "Preposterous," you scoff, "no medievalist has ever done such a deed before."

Until now. Come to marvel, stay to help unload said truck. Pizza and beer will sustain those who stay. Contact S. Dougherty for details at

Monday, August 30
7:00 pm Frontier Field
Next-to-last Rochester Red Wings (AAA) game in series with the godless helots of Pawtucket.
S. Dougherty has one extra ticket.

Tuesday, August 31
Orientation for New History Graduate Students
Begins 10:00 am in Rush Rhees 362.

Wednesday, September 1
Fall 2004 Semester begins

Saturday, September 18
The History Department's annual Fall Picnic has been scheduled for Saturday, September 18. More details from Helen soon.

Thursday, September 23
Verne Moore Lecture Series
Welles Brown Room, Rush Rhees Library at 8:00 pm.
Thomas Sugrue of the University of Pennsylvania will lecture on "Sweet Land of Liberty: The Struggle for Racial Equality in the North." Sugrue is the author of The Origins of the Urban Crisis (Princeton, 1996), which won the Bancroft Prize in American History, the Philip Taft Prize in Labor History, and several other awards.
For more on Sugrue, click here.

Brown Bag Seminars
No dates yet---the History Department's seminar series, usually held on one Friday afternoon of each month of the Spring and Fall semesters, features distinguished guest speakers and cutting-edge historical topics.

Past and Future History Blog

The Past and Future History Blog is for the use of Rochester History Grads. I started a new blog because some people were put off by the title of The Journal of Pissing and Moaning. I don't know why! This blog is for the history grad community's news and announcements, media news of interest, and any other stuff you deem fit to post.