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Henry Adams and the Age of Grant

Some fine Saturday morning reading

Crossroads

Here’s something I wrote years and years ago about Henry Adams’s political career during Ulysses S. Grant’s administration. Enjoy.

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Goodbye, 600

Tommy Tomlinson

They threw a big party at the Charlotte Observer on Thursday. You could also get by with calling it a wake. The reason for the party was that the newspaper is moving out of the building it has lived in since 1970, on the spot where the newspaper has been published since 1927. The reason for the wake had nothing to do with concrete and steel. It was about the people who make newspapers, and what they believe in.

Hundreds of people filled the lobby of the old building at 600 S. Tryon St. There were Pulitzer winners, and people who sold millions in ads, and circulation directors who figured out how to get the paper on the doorsteps of hundreds of thousands of people at 6 in the morning every day. There was Cynthia McCarter, the security guard who knows the building like a mama knows her child, and Gladys…

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Entry 30: Battle Cries

Civil War Pop

“The Battle Cry of Freedom.” Written by George Frederick Root.

Release Date: July 26, 1862.

“The Battle-Cry of Freedom.” Music by Hermann L. Schreiner. Lyrics by William H. Barnes.

Release Date: 1864.

I’m currently neck-deep in an article on the mid-19th Century Chicago music publishing firm, Root & Cady. It will likely appear in the fall edition of Chicago History and I’ll probably expand it into a longer piece down the road. In practical terms, this means I’m blogging a little less, at least for now. In intellectual terms, it means I’m starting to think about Civil war music more deeply—something I haven’t really done since I wrote my book a few years ago. Those of you who read Battle Hymns probably picked up on my fondness for Root & Cady, since the firm embodied my central idea of Civil War Americans using popular music to reflect and influence public…

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Remembering Helen Cloud Austin

The Top Shelf

UTSA Special Collections staff was sad to learn of the recent passing of Helen Cloud Austin on February 22, 2016. Special Collections had a long relationship with Austin, beginning in 1997 when she donated the first portion of her papers to the University. However, prior to 1997, Austin had already completed a prolific career in social work in San Antonio and beyond, earning local and national recognition for her dedication.

txsau_ms00061_00570

Austin was born in 1925 in Kentucky, and earned her Masters of Science degree in 1953 from the University of Louisville’s Raymond A. Kent School of Social Work, where she was only the second African-American to attend. After graduation she began work in Chicago at Cook County Hospital. In 1957 she moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, where she became Chief of the Outpatient Department at Longview State Hospital. Her husband’s civil service work led the couple to San Antonio in 1962…

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Recommended reading / viewing / listening

IMG_0445

This week: Jeb Bush’s failure / Bloomberg’s hinted candidacy / Obama and Cuba / The accomplishments of novelists Eco, Lee, and Spiotta

Most of these great items come from my social media networks. Follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, MySpace, and Facebook for more fascinating videos, photos, articles, essays, and criticism.

1. Inside Jeb Bush’s $150 Million Failure
By Eli Stokols | Politico Magazine | Feb. 20
“His closest aides failed to predict Trump and never changed course, guiding a flawed candidate into a corner he couldn’t escape.”

2. Harper Lee, Author of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ Dies at 89
By William Grimes | The New York Times | Feb. 19
“Lee, like her alter ego Scout, was a tough little tomboy who enjoyed beating up the local boys, climbing trees and rolling in the dirt.”

3. Michael Bloomberg Hints at Reasons for Candidacy, but Doesn’t Announce It
By Maggie Haberman and Alexander Burns | First Draft :: The New York Times | Feb. 18
“The most pressing problems in the country, he said, were ‘wage stagnation at home, American retreat around the world’ and a ‘corrupt gridlock and two-party system that answers to lobbyists and special interests instead of the American people.’ ”

4. Obama to Cuba: A gamble to end the embargo
By Ted Piccone | Order from Chaos :: The Brookings Institution | Feb. 18
“It is a big prize for the Castros, but in exchange for what? Why now? What can we expect to see happen on the island before and after he visits? How will the visit impact the relationship?”

5. An Interview with Dr. William Blair, Founding Editor of the Journal of the Civil War Era
Muster :: The Journal of the Civil War Era | Feb. 15
“You were the editor of Civil War History for ten years before founding and editing The Journal of the Civil War Era. Did you have a vision for JCWE that differed from CWH?”

6. The Nation He Built
By Michael Grunwald | Politico Magazine | January/February 2016
“Over the past seven years, Americans have heard an awful lot about Barack Obama and his presidency, but the actual substance of his domestic policies and their impact on the country remain poorly understood.”

7. The Quietly Subversive Fictions of Dana Spiotta
By Susan Burton | The New York Times Magazine | Feb. 19
“Over the course of her career, the author has created a new kind of great American novel.”

8. Umberto Eco, Italian novelist and intellectual, dies aged 84
By Kevin Rawlinson | The Guardian | Feb. 20
“The revered literary critic, author and essayist — most famous for 1980 novel The Name of the Rose — had been suffering from cancer.”

9. Why I love… Winona Ryder
By Bim Adewunmi | The Guardian | Feb. 20
“It’s very difficult to look away when she’s on screen. She looks like a woodland creature, a startled deer — plus, she can act”

10. Historical Lessons for a President Forced to Deal With a Hostile Congress
By Michael Beschloss | HistorySource :: The New York Times | November 2014
“The Democratic nominee of 2016, whoever she or he is, might want President Obama to adopt the [Gerald] Ford veto strategy. … It would give the party’s nominee the opportunity to argue that in 2017, only a Democratic president can hold back the excesses of a Republican-controlled House and Senate.”

The Early Life of Hattie Elam Briscoe

An incredible story.

The Top Shelf

In honor of Black History Month, Top Shelf is featuring a look at the early life and educational accomplishments of Hattie Elam Briscoe.

MS67_01-06_groupphoto-justBriscoe Hattie, upon her graduation from St. Mary’s Law School, 1956.

Hattie Ruth Elam Briscoe was born to Cloral Burton Elam and Willy Perry Elam in Shreveport, Louisiana on November 13, 1916. She was the second of five children. Hattie’s mother taught her children to read and write before entering school, which resulted in Hattie skipping a grade level upon entering elementary school. Her mother also encouraged and inspired Hattie to go to college. Sadly, her mother suffered a stroke and passed away at the age of thirty-three. Hattie was just nine years old. After her mother’s passing, her father moved the family to Marshall, Texas. Her father remarried, but unfortunately Hattie’s new stepmother was not terribly kind to her. When she was sixteen, her father “whipped” her…

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Scalia is dead – who benefits

Initial reaction, and plenty of important questions.

The truth is…

The death of Antonin Scalia will surely create endless Obama-Congress disputes when Obama will present his new choice(s). Also, many cases are to be decided during the elections cycle of 2016 and having 8 judges on board, with one less very conservative judge will make the decisions very close or tied or unforeseen postponements.

It will not be good for Congress, as it will show the American people and the world how even in jurisprudence, the American way is all about politics and personal tendencies instead of the true application of the law.

The Republican debates now will have the added feature of gay marriage at the top of the agenda and Trump is most likely to say stupid things and tweet ridiculous idea that will expose even further the bigotry and racism that are latent in the United States.

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