Archive for the ‘History’ Category

I’m sure this would give Prof. Sadun heartburn, but he really needs to watch it.  Please comment.  I’m interested in hearing from the “experts” who read this blog about the descriptions of the various forms of government.


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This link forwarded to me this AM. Looks familiar.


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Rush Limbaugh referred to this survey , “The Shaping of the American Mind: The Diverging Influences of the College Degree and Civic Learning on American Beliefs,” today during the second hour of his show today. Its hard to believe some of the findings:

Here are a few frightening figures certain to keep you up at night:

  • 71% of Americans failed the civics knowledge test;
  • 51% of Americans could not name the three branches of government;
  • The average score for college seniors on the civics knowledge test was 54.2% (an “F” by any standard);
  • The average student’s test score improved only 3.8 points from freshman to senior year;
  • Freshmen at Cornell, Yale, Princeton, and Duke scored better than seniors on the civics knowledge test.
  • 79% of elected officials that took the civics knowledge quiz did not know the Bill of Rights expressly prohibits the government from establishing a religion.
  • 30% of office holders did not know that “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” are the inalienable rights referred to in the Declaration of Independence.
  • 27% of politicians could not name even one right or freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment.
  • 43% did not know the purpose of the Electoral College.
  • 39% of lawmakers believe the power of declaring war belongs to the president.
  • The average score for college professors who took the civics knowledge quiz was 55%.

So, while our nation’s most elite colleges are not imbuing our children with a knowledge of our history and our government, the study makes it clear that those universities are becoming round the clock factories churning out poorly instructed liberals with little civic knowledge and even less faith and less devotion to principles of liberty than those Americans who didn’t go to college.

I took the test too. Follow the link at the end of the story.  Sheepishly I’ll admit to missing 4 answers and getting an 87.8 on my exam. (no’s 7, 14, 30, 31) Even more shocking is the factoid that 55% of college professors failed! Philo??

One of Limbaugh’s callers, self-described as a conservative, said that she didn’t see the use of this information, that she was more concerned with day to day education, the civics knowledge did not affect her daily life. Limbaugh properly teed this up and drove it down the fairway. These are the basic tenets and foundations of our country.

I will agree with Rush again as he closed on this topic. This is why the Left targets young voters – they’re easy and they don’t know any better – and this study supports that conclusion.

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History of the World

Sports Talk radio is an unlikely source for recommendations to enlightening and educational listening. Yet based on a hearty review by The Ticket’s Bob Sturm, co-host of Bad Radio in Dallas TX, I have decided to give the BBC’s podcasts of “History Of The World In 100 Objects” a tumble.

Of the few I have heard, these little programs are quite listenable, enjoyable, informative, and at about 14 minutes not a huge investment of time.

One episode’s subject is a 2500+ year old bronze Chinese bell, which leads to discussion of Confucius, and his philosophies on music, harmony, and civilized societies. Another is about a mask from the Olmec’s of central Mexico, and elements of their existence.

These podcasts are free downloads off iTunes. So far it appears only 30 have been published, easy to catch up on, and  there are 70 to go – something to look forward to. Get some and expand the little gray cells into a big brain.

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Sad news from Texas.

I loved Charlie Wilson’s War.

Best quote: “You know you’ve reached rock bottom when you’re told you have character flaws by a man who hanged his predecessor in a military coup.”

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Just when the nightmares of ’80’s PC crapola were beginning to recede (only to be replaced by a superfluity of more current crapola) the spectre of Ebonics has reared its ugly head.  Or more accurately, Harry Reid reared his and dared to point out the obvious: Barack the Bi-lingual is a huge improvement over Jesse the Bro-lingual.

I’m with Steve Hayes (“It’s just weird to hear anyone say ‘Negro dialect'”) and Ward Connerly, the King of Crap-Cutting (“…I can tell in probably 90% of the cases whether an individual is black merely by talking to him on the telephone.”)

As for the “light skinned” comment, how about “light and thin”?  Not 3 days ago, I saw a picture of our president with Charlie Crist and thought, “Rule of thumb: if your fake-bake makes you darker than the president, you need to cut your oven time.”   In Charlie Crist’s case, I volunteer to stick a toothpick in him to see if he’s done.  A really big toothpick.

As if by magic, Jesse Jackson was on cue with a timely new coinage: “bankster.”  You know, a predatory lender.  Excellent!

And the dumbest response to the Harry Reid Dialectic?  Envelope, please…. Barack Obama!

“This is a good man who has always been on the right side of history. For him to have used some inartful language in trying to praise me and for people to try and make hay out of that makes absolutely no sense.”

The “right side of history” was a tired cliche when George Clooney bandied it around in 2004 stumping for John Kerry, but history caught up with Harry in 2007 in record time: no sooner had he uttered the words, “The war is lost” in Iraq, than the tide turned.  Little trip down memory lane…

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One thousand two hundred ninety years ago today, the forces of Islam met their first major defeat—one that saved Western civilization. Here is Edward Gibbon’s account. Strong defenses, unity with the Bulgarians, Greek fire, and a harsh winter saved the day.

At length, after a siege of thirteen months, the hopeless Moslemah received from the caliph the welcome permission of retreat. The march of the Arabian cavalry over the Hellespont and through the provinces of Asia, was executed without delay or molestation; but an army of their brethren had been cut in pieces on the side of Bithynia, and the remains of the fleet were so repeatedly damaged by tempest and fire, that only five galleys [out of over 2,000] entered the port of Alexandria to relate the tale of their various and almost incredible disasters.

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