by AndrewMc | 1/16/2009 08:07:00 AM
True Story (tm):

I was observing a fifth grade social studies teacher a few weeks ago. She teaches in a rural area, and I was sitting off to one side of the classroom watching her do her thing. During a break one of the kids came up to me--a young girl. She dropped her voice to a whisper and pointed to a stack under the table I was next to.

"You know what those are?" she whispered kind of conspiratorially. I answered that I did not, although in fact I could tell what they were.

"Those are records," she said as if she was revealing a deep secret, "and that thing (she pointed at a box) is a record player. You put those big disks on the record player and music comes out."

Her wonderment seemed to come from the size of the records and the machine required to play them.

Sometimes I feel very old.

What's on your mind today?

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Blogger PhDinHistory on 1/16/2009 10:52 PM:

How many of you think Stan Katz is right when he argues that it would be a mistake to appoint someone in the White House to oversee humanities and culture in this country?


Blogger AndrewMc on 1/17/2009 9:18 AM:

I haven't seen this. Can you post a link to his essay/blog?


Anonymous Anonymous on 1/17/2009 10:42 AM:

Self aggrandized legacy of George W. Bush and his administration

"What we do know is that government officials decided not to inform a lawfully constituted body, created by Congress and the president, to investigate one the greatest tragedies to confront this country. We call that obstruction."

By: Jesse Hemingway

The United States of America has sunk to new moral and legal depths, by allowing the George W. Bush administration to exit the crime scene just like cockroaches fleeing for safety to the nearest dark crevice when a light goes on. Considering that this country lacks the intellectual honesty to conduct substantive moral and legal inventory of George W. Bush tenure as the failure and chief let me jog your memory. First, faith based alcohol and drug addiction therapy is totally worthless. So I have decided to look at the only moment of this self aggrandized legacy of George W. Bush claims as a success.

George W. Bush was the first citizen that was appointed by the Supreme Court to the office of President of the United States that is why when he made the following statement it was true.

“I don’t give a goddamn,” Bush retorted. “I’m the President and the Commander-in-Chief. Do it my way.”

“Mr. President,” one aide in the meeting said. “There is a valid case that the provisions in this law undermine the Constitution.”

“Stop throwing the Constitution in my face,” Bush screamed back. “It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!”


George W. Bush understood that when the Supreme Court over reached their Constitutional authority by appointing Citizen George to the office of President along with protection by both republican dominated houses. That a criminal enterprise was spawned yes look at the trail of corruption that followed first step in a successful criminal enterprise of this magnitude is to buy off the commercial media. I am not going to go over the fact that 600 trillion dollars of worthless investment devices were created under this criminal enterprise to give the appearance that the global economy was booming. That amount 600 trillion is five times the combined wealth of the entire world and nearly ten times the global GDP; it was just the method used by this criminal enterprise to create a nonexistent source of seed money; to compromise the rational functions of the world to enable their unabated global crime spree to flourish.

Self aggrandized legacy of George W. Bush and his administration has burnt every bridge possible manifesting their real identity as a criminal enterprise as they escape. This criminal enterprise has been reduced to claiming the 9/11 attacks as their only single legacy success. Now the question is that the only event they did not manipulate was 9/11? After that horrific event this criminal enterprise keep us safe. The following is from the bowels of the criminal enterprise concerning the initial opening of an investigation in to the 9/11 attacks to make sure it will not happen again and keep us safe.

"White House Opposed Formation of Commission: President Bush and Vice President Cheney both contacted then-Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle in the months after 9/11 to insist on strict limits in the scope of any investigation into the attacks.

Newsweek reported on February 4, 2002, that Vice President Cheney called Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD) to "warn" him not to open hearings into the attacks. If Daschle pressed the issue, Cheney "implied he would risk being accused of interfering with the mission" against terrorism. And despite entreaties from the families of victims of 9/11 attacks and a bipartisan group of senators and congressmen, the president vocally resisted forming an investigatory commission. President Bush only relented on November 27, 2002, a year after the attacks.

That is the only fact that matters: the president vocally resisted forming an investigatory commission."

Once the criminal enterprise was humiliated into conducting an investigation into 9/11 the only thing they now declare as being their legitimate success in their tenure, as an unregulated criminal and terror spree. The leaders of the 9/11 commission in their own words ultimately concluded that the 9/11 commission was compromised from the onset. That the criminal enterprise obstructed the efforts of the 9/11 commission investigation, even their legacy is a lie. Even the most pedestrian journalists can logically deduce and refute their final moment of fame that the George W. Bush and his administration was just a pathetic legacy, George W. Bush is as fraudulent as his appointment to the office of president of the United States.

Stonewalled by the C.I.A.

Published: January 2, 2008


MORE than five years ago, Congress and President Bush created the 9/11 commission. The goal was to provide the American people with the fullest possible account of the “facts and circumstances relating to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001” — and to offer recommendations to prevent future attacks. Soon after its creation, the president’s chief of staff directed all executive branch agencies to cooperate with the commission.

The commission’s mandate was sweeping and it explicitly included the intelligence agencies. But the recent revelations that the C.I.A. destroyed videotaped interrogations of Qaeda operatives leads us to conclude that the agency failed to respond to our lawful requests for information about the 9/11 plot. Those who knew about those videotapes — and did not tell us about them — obstructed our investigation.

There could have been absolutely no doubt in the mind of anyone at the C.I.A. — or the White House — of the commission’s interest in any and all information related to Qaeda detainees involved in the 9/11 plot. Yet no one in the administration ever told the commission of the existence of videotapes of detainee interrogations.

When the press reported that, in 2002 and maybe at other times, the C.I.A. had recorded hundreds of hours of interrogations of at least two Qaeda detainees, we went back to check our records. We found that we did ask, repeatedly, for the kind of information that would have been contained in such videotapes.

The commission did not have a mandate to investigate how detainees were treated; our role was to investigate the history and evolution of Al Qaeda and the 9/11 plot. Beginning in June 2003, we requested all reports of intelligence information on these broad topics that had been gleaned from the interrogations of 118 named individuals, including both Abu Zubaydah and Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri, two senior Qaeda operatives, portions of whose interrogations were apparently recorded and then destroyed.

The C.I.A. gave us many reports summarizing information gained in the interrogations. But the reports raised almost as many questions as they answered. Agency officials assured us that, if we posed specific questions, they would do all they could to answer them.

So, in October 2003, we sent another wave of questions to the C.I.A.’s general counsel. One set posed dozens of specific questions about the reports, including those about Abu Zubaydah. A second set, even more important in our view, asked for details about the translation process in the interrogations; the background of the interrogators; the way the interrogators handled inconsistencies in the detainees’ stories; the particular questions that had been asked to elicit reported information; the way interrogators had followed up on certain lines of questioning; the context of the interrogations so we could assess the credibility and demeanor of the detainees when they made the reported statements; and the views or assessments of the interrogators themselves.

The general counsel responded in writing with non-specific replies. The agency did not disclose that any interrogations had ever been recorded or that it had held any further relevant information, in any form. Not satisfied with this response, we decided that we needed to question the detainees directly, including Abu Zubaydah and a few other key captives.

In a lunch meeting on Dec. 23, 2003, George Tenet, the C.I.A. director, told us point blank that we would have no such access. During the meeting, we emphasized to him that the C.I.A. should provide any documents responsive to our requests, even if the commission had not specifically asked for them. Mr. Tenet replied by alluding to several documents he thought would be helpful to us, but neither he, nor anyone else in the meeting, mentioned videotapes.

A meeting on Jan. 21, 2004, with Mr. Tenet, the White House counsel, the secretary of defense and a representative from the Justice Department also resulted in the denial of commission access to the detainees. Once again, videotapes were not mentioned.

As a result of this January meeting, the C.I.A. agreed to pose some of our questions to detainees and report back to us. The commission concluded this was all the administration could give us. But the commission never felt that its earlier questions had been satisfactorily answered. So the public would be aware of our concerns, we highlighted our caveats on page 146 in the commission report.

As a legal matter, it is not up to us to examine the C.I.A.’s failure to disclose the existence of these tapes. That is for others. What we do know is that government officials decided not to inform a lawfully constituted body, created by Congress and the president, to investigate one the greatest tragedies to confront this country. We call that obstruction.

Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton served as chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the 9/11 commission.


Blogger Ahistoricality on 1/17/2009 11:05 AM:

I would agree with Katz: while a certain amount of government funding for arts and culture is a good thing, the idea that the government should be a cultural "leader" or "manager" makes me more than a little nervous. As Pete Seeger said, "the worst thing you can do to a song is make it official."

The only way in which I could be persuaded that it would be a good thing would be if it came with lots and lots more money for museums, NEH, NEA, NPR, etc, but it would have to be orders of magnitude more money for it to be worth the inevitable strings attached.

Look, Republicans will be in office again sometime: I won't grant Obama any authority I wouldn't give Bush.

(that said, I think the idea of Republicans holding up any of Obama's nominations to anything, much less the Justice department, is rank hypocrisy. In the interests of fairness, Obama should get a 'bye' on all initial nominees.....)


Blogger PhDinHistory on 1/17/2009 2:42 PM:

Here is the link for the essay by Katz.

What about the potential for the flow of information in the opposite direction of what you imagine? What if the White House advisor on the Humanities was actually in a position to make the humanities more relevant for policymakers and federal decision-makers?


Blogger Ahistoricality on 1/17/2009 5:43 PM:

Just what we need: the arts and humanities trying to justify themselves on functionalist grounds like the beef lobby.

If it worked that way, I suppose it might be useful, but we've already got institutional leaders who should be making this case: how would having a functionary who was effectively a lobbyist for a very poor and easily mocked constituency help?

I'm sorry, I'm just not seeing it.

In other news, Rob McDougall has a poster dedicated to the end of the Bush Administration.


Blogger Gordon Taylor on 1/17/2009 9:59 PM:


Many thanks for the link to the poster, which is destined to become a true historical artifact, much like TRB's famous rendition of the Gettysburg Address as Eisenhower might have delivered it. (Which, I know, REALLY, REALLY dates me.)

As for the Secretary (not Minister) of Culture, obviously Katz is right: it's DOA. Maybe NEA won't have quite the starvation diet of the Bush years, but really: the days when Presidents like Nixon actually had discretionary spending are long gone. And there are other things crying out for government money. On Interstate 5 in Seattle, the top layer of concrete has long since disappeared, the coarse aggregate beneath has worn into troughs, and the steel rebar underneath, in the many places it pokes through, has not only been polished to a high gloss but has also eroded from circular to ovoid in cross-section. I know this is called Progressive Historians, and I shouldn't be paraphrasing a Nazi, but right now when I hear the word culture I reach for my water-pistol.


Blogger Unknown on 1/18/2009 1:39 PM:

History, at least, is fully justifiable on functionalist grounds, and needs no lobbyist to be so. However, I agree with the commenters so far that the idea of a "culture czar" is pretty skeezy.


Blogger Ahistoricality on 1/19/2009 10:13 AM:

Last Minute Pardons, or Head Held High? The Latter, I think....


Blogger Ahistoricality on 1/20/2009 9:25 PM:

I was right about the pardons, it turns out. That doesn't happen often. I finally get these guys figured out and they're done.

Anyway, vis-a-vis the "Culture Czar" thing, Larry Cebula's proposing a new WPA.