Harrison had been expected to adhere closely to Whig Party policies and to work closely with Whig leaders, particularly Clay. When Tyler succeeded him, he at first was in accord with the new Whig Congress in signing into law such measures as a pre-emption bill granting “squatters’ sovereignty” to settlers on public land, a Distribution Act, discussed below, a new bankruptcy law, and the repeal of the Independent Treasury enacted under Van Buren. But when it came to the great banking question, the former Democratic President was at odds with the Congressional Whigs. Twice he vetoed Clay’s legislation for a national banking act following the Panic of 1837. Although the second bill supposedly had been tailored to meet his stated objections in the first veto, its final version was not. This practice, designed to protect Clay from having a successful incumbent President as a rival in the next election, became known as “heading Captain Tyler,” a term coined by Whig Representative John Minor Botts of Virginia. Tyler proposed an alternative fiscal plan to be known as the “Exchequer,” but Clay’s friends, who controlled the Congress, would have none of it.
an instrument is only actually an official noise maker. there are plenty of things that humans can touch and make noises with. instruments are only those which we’ve all agreed are the official ways to make noise.
Were the first to harness biological warfare, leading to the mass spreading of the Black Plague, causing the deaths of 75 million people and an upending of the social order accross the Old World.
That’s what they did.
Some research studies indicate that the Black Death which devastated Europe in the late 1340s may have traveled from China to Europe along the trade routes of the Mongol Empire. In 1347, the Genoese possessor of Caffa, a great trade emporium on theCrimean peninsula, came under siege by an army of Mongol warriors under the command of Janibeg. After a protracted siege during which the Mongol army was reportedly withering from the disease, they decided to use the infected corpses as a biological weapon. The corpses were catapulted over the city walls, infecting the inhabitants. The Genoese traders fled, transferring the plague via their ships into the south of Europe, whence it rapidly spread. The total number of deaths worldwide from the pandemic is estimated at 75 million people, with an estimated 20 million deaths in Europe alone.
Were such a political force, that empires around the world could not afford to not maintain relations with them, leading to a massive increase in European understanding of the globe.
That’s what they did.
Europe’s knowledge of the known world was immensely expanded by the information brought back by ambassadors and merchants (who were sent to treat with the Mongolians). When Columbus sailed in 1492, his missions were to reach Cathay, the land of the Grand Khan in China, and give him a letter from the monarchs Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile.
Neutralized the development of societies on the Iranian plateau, by decimating its population, thus denying the peoples of that region the sort of world prominence that a population such as theirs (if the Mongols hadn’t impeded its growth) would have afforded them.
That’s what they did.
(As a result of Mongolian invasions in the 13th century) The population of the Iranian plateau suffered from widespread disease and famine, resulting in the deaths of up to three-quarters of its population, possibly 10 to 15 million people. Historian Steven Ward estimates that Iran’s population did not again reach its pre-Mongol levels until the mid-20th century.
A linguistic map of the languages and dialects within Europe
MuturZikin - Linguistic maps of Europe, Africa, America and Oceania. Priority is given to endangered languages and minority linguistic people.
The coastline closest is southern England, the coastline further, northern France. Visiting Paris is certainly a cause for some retrospection about WWII. The city abounds in monuments and references to the war, and to the British-American role in the liberation of France. Flying on a clear day over the Channel, what really awed me is just how close the English and French coasts really are. We crossed the Channel in a matter of minutes. Be the invaders Norman, Spanish, Bonapartists, or the forces of the Third Reich, this tiny bit of sea has determined the rise and fall or the furthest extent of empires.The very skies I was crossing in peace, in the relative luxury of a Ryanair cushioned seat, were traversed by guys my age or even younger wearing flack jackets, en route to terror. The point of this post is not to romanticize war, or espouse geodeterminism. Just feeling very grateful for the delicate era of relative pesce that we, as a world, enjoy, and to those individuals and institutions that sustain it.
Indeed, the most somber speculation I can make about A.D. 2014 is that in a society of enforced leisure, the most glorious single word in the vocabulary will have become work! — http://www.nytimes.com/books/97/03/23/lifetimes/asi-v-fair.html
It is this new idealism which is also, I believe, the common heritage of a generation which has learned that while efficiency can lead to the camps at Auschwitz or the streets of Budapest, only the ideals of humanity and love can climb the hills of the Acropolis. — Robert F Kennedy at the University of Cape Town, 1966
I love House of Cards.
Both versions. Political intrigue, generally, sign me up.
The House of Cards plot, about a Whip whose lust for power and fury at the denial of a senior cabinet position after the election of his preferred head of government, firstly works much better in the House of Commons than the House of Representatives. Legislators are much more often tapped to be important members of a new administration’s cabinet in the UK (i.e. 100% of the time) than in American politics. For example, Underwood was denied the position Secretary of State in the new President’s cabinet. How absurd is it that the third ranking House Democrat would expect Secretary of State? Unless he also chaired the House Foreign Relations Committee for a generation (and the show says nothing about this), there are a whole host of career diplomats, senior Senators, committee chairpeople, and career civil servants who would be much more deserving candidates. Back to the Clinton Administration, the previous post held by the US Secretary of State was Senator (Chairman of Senate Foreign Relations Committee), Senator, National Security Advisor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Ambassador to the United Nations, Deputy Secretary of State. Not a single member of the House of Representatives. In fact the last US Secretary of State to have served in the House of Representatives was James F. Byrnes, Truman’s Secretary of State between 1945-1947. EVEN then though, after he was in the House of Representatives, Byrnes went on to be a Senator from (coincidentally) South Carolina, Associate Justice on the American Supreme Court, and then, during the War, the Director of the Office of Economic Stabilization before being considered for Secretary of State.
Face it, members of the House of Representatives don’t become Secretaries of State, and a show about a plot hatched by a Congressman to take the reins of government because he is pissed that he didn’t get a bump to Secretary of State in a new Administration is absurd. However, in the House of Commons, it is certainly not implausible for a Chief Whip to assume a leadership position in a new cabinet. Urquhart would have been happy to assume any Great Office of State, but was denied a promotion, though his support in the leadership election was critical. This is a much more grave offence.
The second, and my primary reason, for why the British House of Cards is better - the party affiliation of the show’s protagonist provides the central moral ambiguity and the most exciting challenge of the two shows. First, it is obvious that both Underwood and Urquhart are men motivated by lust for power. Frank Underwood is a South Carolina Democrat. He is clearly a centrist Democrat, demonstrated by his unwavering support for school voucher programmes and his resistance to the right to collective bargaining for teachers. There are certainly principled Southern Democrats, but Frank Underwood is not one of them. Frank Underwood is that lowest of creatures, a member of a party from a region where he must be a centrist to win office, Underwood lacks any convincing motivation for his actions other than his naked lust for power. This is boring, easily condemned, and one-dimensional. Though what motivates Underwood and why we can feel sympathy for him despite his repugnant one-dimensional lust is the central question of the show.
Francis Urquhart, on the other hand, is a class warrior, a member of the Tory elite insistent on solidifying the strides towards a liberal economy made by his predecessor, Margaret Thatcher, whom he admires, in a patronising sort of way. It is Urquhart’s membership of the upper class and his ideological fervour which makes the morality question faced by the viewer all the more exciting! Unlike Underwood, there are very few who would sympathise with a member of the landed aristocracy, even in the Conservative Party, in his furious pursuit of power. Even in Britain, politicians must pretend to be middle class, and David Cameron is subject daily to ridicule over his Etonian elite background. How can I, as a member of the middle class, as someone who would never vote Tory, as someone who opposes everything that Francis Urquhart stands for, want him to succeed and vanquish his opponents!? Even Tories must wonder this too - is this unrepentant scion of privilege the right man to lead Britain? There is moral ambiguity in the British House of Cards for everyone.
The plot of House of Cards makes much more sense in the United Kingdom, given the nature of the way people move into top positions in the British political system. The central ambiguity of political intrigue, be it MacBeth or House of Cards, is getting the audience to feel empathy, and even to cheer on a morally repugnant character, and to ask themselves, “Just how far would I be willing to go?” The American House of Cards accomplishes this ambiguity. It is a fantastic piece of political intrigue. The British House of Cards accomplishes it in a much more reasoned and morally challenging way. The agony of cheering on a politician you know you should despise is much more interesting and, even, more fun, in the British series.
Wrote this for a student newspaper. ENTER THE CULTURE WARS -
Scotland’s Student Newspaper.
Over the Halloween period, two University of Chester students caused a small international incident by dressing as the World Trade Center buildings, each featuring a plane mid-explosion crashing into them.
The students who chose this as their costume have apologised and said that their intention “was to depict a serious, modern-day horror that happened in our lifetime,” rather than as a joke. Whether or not this is a lie, their judgment surely must be called into question. 2,996 people lost their lives on 9/11. Over 6,000 people were injured from the attacks, with some living with chronic and debilitating injuries. What is there to be said on the affair other than that their decision was deplorable and insensitive?
The issue of controversial Halloween fancy dress is a national political debate, and it should be. The way people dress on Halloween exposes what expressions of societal biases and stereotypes they find acceptable. The response to anti-social and racist Halloween fancy dress by institutions is also political, raising questions about personal liberty and the degree to which institutions ought to limit speech. The University of Birmingham Guild of Students adopted a zero tolerance policy towards individuals wearing racist or discriminatory fancy dress at Guild Halloween parties. Individuals were turned away if they were dressed as Mexicans, Native Americans and Sacha Baron Cohen’s ‘Dictator’ character. This stand by the University of Birmingham Guild of Students ought to be praised and emulated by other student associations around the country.
Student unions are by nature political. They exist to advocate on behalf of the interests of students and fail students when they do not. Culture is created in a social context. Student unions are powerful agents in creating campus cultures, and campus cultures obviously feed into the creation of a national political culture. Racist and derogatory fancy dress is a cultural problem. Active political student unions should promote a national culture that is equality oriented and a campus culture that is inclusive, accessible and non-threatening.
Defenders of free speech might object to the University of Birmingham Students Guild’s actions. I sympathise with their arguments. As an American, the comfort with which censorship is discussed in mainstream European political discourse is quite alien to me. This ban, even Edinburgh University Students’ Association’s (EUSA) Blurred Lines ban, would certainly be much less likely to happen on an American campus. That said, student unions are curious institutions in that they are both an advocacy organisation and a business. All businesses express their values through what goods or services they decide to sell or not to sell. Boycotting a certain good or service by declining to provide it for consumption, like EUSA decided to on Blurred Lines, is the legitimate expression of a business’s values. Further, deciding what dress that individuals can and cannot wear on a business’s premises is a legitimate legal decision and an important expression of values.
Student unions should express student values. The zero tolerance policy for racist or derogatory fancy dress is a tool in the war of ideas that student unions can use to affect campus and national culture. A culture permissive of racist and derogatory Halloween fancy dress is a culture that tolerates racism and xenophobia. And these have no place on campuses in Scotland or the rest of the United Kingdom.
University is often a critical time where people develop and consolidate their political beliefs. Whether we find examples of individuals dressing as Mexicans, or going in blackface as Trayvon Martin, or dressing as the World Trade Center buildings mid-attack, we cannot deny that Halloween is a platform for stereotyping, bigotry and intimidation. Creating a culture that is explicitly inclusive and anti-racist should be a top priority for every campus institution, including societies, but especially a representative and political student union.
Dead Presidents: LBJ's Historic Night Out -
On December 31, 1963, Lyndon Johnson had been President of the United States for just over a month. Forty days earlier, John F. Kennedy had been assassinated in Dallas, Texas and LBJ was now entering 1964 — a Presidential election year — as the incumbent President, albeit an accidental one.
After several somber, tense, and exhausting weeks, LBJ was spending the Holidays at the LBJ Ranch in the Texas Hill Country. On that New Year’s Eve, many members of President Johnson’s staff gathered at the Forty Acres Club in Austin, Texas to celebrate a birthday party for LBJ aide Horace Busby. President Johnson wanted to join the festivities, but a tired Lady Bird wasn’t interested in going out, so LBJ gathered his secretaries at the LBJ Ranch and boarded a helicopter for the short flight into Austin.