Category Archives: We’re Not In Kansas Anymore

July 18, 2011, 1:00 pm

Digital Dreams: A Case For Producing More History Ph.D’s

To order this tee shirt, click the RHR link in the text below.

Among the books I brought with me on vacation is Roy Rosenzweig’s Clio Wired:  The Future of the Past in the Digital Age (New York:  Columbia University Press, 2011).  A radical historian who passed over far too young in 2007, Roy was a member of the first cohort of historians to explore and envision what the Internet could offer to scholars.  I had read some of the essays  and others are new to me, but I decided to read it cover to cover as a set of sustained thoughts.  Since I have it on a Kindle app for iPad, I am actually reading it from cover screen to index screen, which is how I think Roy would have wanted me to read it, even though when he began to plan the volume in 2005, the Kindle had not yet been invented and would not be …

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May 4, 2011, 12:21 pm

What’s In Your Pocket? A Graduation Guide For Living In The Age Of Debt

A few weeks ago, one of my friends was sorting a box of stuff that had gotten thrown into the garage prior to a kitchen renovation years ago.  She found an historical artifact that she swears she is going to send me for a future lecture on the recent economic meltdown.  It is a flier from one of those advertising mailers that usually has coupons for a few things you really want (like laundry soap), as well as ads for a few local gardening centers and siding contractors.  This particular ad was for Countrywide Financial, one of the lenders whose dishonest practices figured prominently in the home loan bubble.  Countrywide offered to refinance her home if she just filled out the coupon and sent it back, no credit check required.  “Imagine!” she said to me, as if she had found a poodle skirt in the closet. “Refinancing your home through an advertising mailer!”

But that was exactly how it…

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September 14, 2010, 7:13 pm

A Very Sad Day

Once again a student has died violently at Zenith, this time by her own hand. She was found yesterday, badly burned, and she passed on today at Bridgeport Hospital.

You never, ever, get used to it. Ever.

April 8, 2010, 3:13 pm

The First Casualty Of War

This video of two Reuters news staff, two children and numerous unarmed bystanders (including a van that tried to assist the wounded) being being shot at and killed by a US military helicopter in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad will resonate for those of us old enough to remember the senseless cruelty of the Viet Nam War. As in Viet Nam, the lies begin with the soldiers on the ground and then trickle up.

It’s long and tedious, as well as graphic, but worth watching. It was obtained by Reuters with great difficulty via the Freedom Of Information Act, and sent to me by one of my students. For additional information, see Wikileaks.

August 6, 2009, 3:42 am

When The Radical Hits The Road: Dispatches From The People’s Republic Of Berkeley

Every time I fly to the left coast and feel this disoriented I try to remember that getting from Shoreline to San Francisco back in 1848 took between six and eight months, depending on whether one went overland or took the water route. Of course I feel disoriented: I deserve to feel disoriented, since it is actually absurd to travel that far as fast as I did.

Where am I? Why am I here? Oh.

Well, I’m in Berkeley, where I have never been before, although I have visited San Francisco about four times, and every time I do I phone Mrs. Radical and say, “We’ve got to move here.” Actually, she made the same phone call to me a few months back. And while the part of Berkeley I am in (at least so far) doesn’t seem as spiffy as the parts of San Francisco I have been in, the short walk from the hostel where I am staying to Telegraph Avenue was a reminder that there are some places in the world…

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March 14, 2009, 1:26 pm

A Lesson From Minnesota Fats: Bernie Madoff Hustled the Hustlers, But Are They Victims?

I will conclude my endless blithering about my lost and recovered iPhone with the following life lesson. As we were cruising down the highway, I was squeaking through my tears, having nothing else to say about what an idiot I had been to drop this cherished item in a parking lot, “It’s not fair. It’s not fair. It’s just not fair.” My companion, in an effort to comfort me said, “I’ll buy you a new iPhone.” And I said, “No,no,no. That’s not the point.” Fast forward to a conversation on the airplane home from vacation, surrounded by pink-skinned, peeling northerners in Mickey Mouse gear. My companion asked me what I meant when I said that “it wasn’t fair.” I explained: knowing that an iPhone was a huge luxury in times like these, I had taken all steps to be prudent about the purchase. I had calculated the increased monthly charges, and I had paid cash (or the debit card…

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March 6, 2009, 5:39 pm

It’s Biker Week On The Palm Coast

Spring vacation has finally sprung. In celebration of this fact, the Radical family decamped last night to Florida. This is a state that the New Yorker described some weeks back as an epicenter of the mortgage meltdown. Other states have other sins, it’s true, and under capitalized real estate development and debt loads are the general condition of the nation’s economy, as well as any other part of the world that the United States has managed to weave into its web. But perhaps only in Florida do convicted felons lose their right to vote, but retain their right take out a real estate license and set up shop as mortgage brokers. One result of this is, apparently, vast amounts of drug money being laundered through the real estate market, with “fronts” who set themselves up as house buyers, take out a mortgage, and then disappear, never to be seen again.

If St. Augustine, which…

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