Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Two Great Web Resources Of American History And Culture—Everybody Has The Ability To Learn And To Act

While much of what is on the web is junk, there are some great resources for folks who want to use their discretionary time effectively.

C-SPAN has a full archive of all its programming over the years.

One thing I find of value at the C-SPAN site is the Booknotes page. Booknotes was a weekly interview program that ran each week for a number of years.

The most recent interview I listened to was one from 1989 with Colonel David Hackworth. Colonel Hackworth was a decorated solider from Korea and Vietnam who came to oppose war and much about how the Army operated. This is programming you can listen to on your home computer while you are getting other stuff done.

Here is a Colonel Hackworth’s obituary from 2005. 

An interview on Booknotes I found of interest was one from 1998 of Iris Chang who wrote The Rape of Nanking–The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II. This book is about the Japanese occupation of China. Here is an obituary of Iris Chang 

If you look on the top left on this link, you’ll find access to a full list of old C-SPAN series and programs about a great number of topics. There is a great deal of interest here on a wide variety of topics relating to American history and American authors.

Another great resource is the website of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.

While there is a great deal of interest at this site, it is the new American wing that most holds my attention.

Here is a New York Times tour of some of the exhibits in the American wing.

You can look at and read a bit about every piece of art in each gallery of the American wing. You can do this for the art in the other galleries of the museum as well.

This works on a mobile device as well if you look it up that way.

Each work also has a link to its place the very good Heillbrunn Timeline of Art History.

This art is an insight to the political, cultural and personal lives of Americans.

If these resources don’t sail your ship, find something that does.

Everybody has the capacity to understand complex things. The resources are out there to learn all sorts of stuff.

Empowered with what we learn, we all have the ability to put forth our views and to act. Progress is up to each of us.

(Below–Enoch Wood Perry‘s Talking It Over from 1872.)

January 27, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Good Resources To Learn About The Presidents

President’s Day is coming up.

Above you see George Washington and Abe Lincoln hugging in the afterlife.

Where can you learn more about the Presidents?

I have four suggestions. Two of these resources are books and the other two can be found online.

The book The American Presidency–The Authoritative Reference is very useful.

Edited by Alan Brinkley and Davis Dyer, American Presidency is a collection of essays about each President up until George W. Bush.

The book offers up a small measure of biography and a larger portion of analysis. With the essays running between 10 and 20 pages, this book is a good path to a reasonably complex understating of the Presidents in a manageable amount of time.

A great deal of information about the Presidents can be found in The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents by William Degregoiro.

I’m not sure that any book has more facts about our Presidents than Complete Book. Here you’ll learn not just about the Presidents and their terms of office, but also about their cabinets, spouses and children, and various love affairs. It is one of the most enjoyable books I know.

The best online resource I’m aware of about the Presidents can be found at the Miller Center for Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. There you’ll find biographical information, essays and  a multimedia gallery. It is very well done.

Finally, C-Span offers the excellent American Presidents website. There are broadcasts you can watch showing where the Presidents lived, as well as programs where experts talk about the Presidents and take phone calls from viewers.

It is fine entertainment.

Make use of these top-notch resources, and you’ll know all you need to know about the Presidents and the impact they had on American history.

February 13, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hey, Marriott–I Don’t Need Five ESPN Channels

Hey, Marriott–Instead of five ESPN channels and no C-SPAN channels, how about just four ESPN channels and one C-SPAN channel.

August 6, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 1 Comment

The Free Trade Agreement With Colombia & Free Trade Agreements In General

I watched a U.S. Trade mission to Colombia a few days ago on C-Span.  

You can watch it by clicking the link that says Vignette on U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement. The video will remain up on C-Span for another week or two.

The roughly half-hour I watched of the show involved U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab and nine members of the U.S. House of Representatives touring Medellin, Colombia and meeting with various officials. 

The photo above is of Medellin. 2.4 million people live in the city and 3.2 million people live in the area of the city. Here is a brief history of the city

My friends at the AFL-CIO oppose this agreement. They say that union workers are routinely killed in Colombia and that the deal will result in lost American jobs.  

This blog, Plan Colombia and Beyond, is opposed on human rights grounds.

I have little doubt that the right-wing government of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe is on the wrong side of many basic human rights questions.

Here are arguments for the pact from a government web page dedicated to trade agreements.

Currently, the deal is stuck in disagreement between the Democratic House and President Bush.

Of the nine House members on the trip, there were seven Republicans and two Democrats.

I was intrested in the presence of the two Democratic House members in the trade delegation.   

The two were Rep. Bob Etheridge of North Carolina and Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia.  

In his profile in the 2008 Almanac of American Politics , Rep. Etheridge is portrayed as slightly left-of-center on economic issues. He is also listed as a Democrat in the minority in his party in that he reliably supports free trade agreements. He was elected to Congress in 1996. 

Mr. Etheridge represents some agricultural areas and some of the Raleigh-Durham high-tech research areas. The Almanac says that some farmers and high-tech executives have supported trade agreements. Mr. Etheridge says North Carolina has lost some jobs from these agreements, but that  “we’ve been a net winner.”   

Many in North Carolina feel that many textile and furniture making jobs have been lost to foreign competition. 

Is Mr. Etheridge sincere, or is he simply responding to powerful forces in his district? Who can know? He may not even know himself. 

Hank Johnson represents a majority Black portion of the Atlanta suburbs. He is a freshman member of the House. He is also one of two Buddhist members of the House. ( More on the two Buddhist members in an upcoming post.)

Mr. Johnson opposes the deal.  Here is what it says on his House web page–

Hank opposes the deal due to President Bush’s refusal to sign into law trade adjustment assistance for Americans threatened by international trade, the FTA’s insufficient labor standards for Colombian workers, and the deal’s potential effects on poor Afro-Colombians who may be driven off of their land as multinational companies seek to exploit Colombian natural resources.

Here pictures of the trip on Mr. Johnson’s House web page.      

Mr. Johnson seems like a peaceful man from what I saw of him on C-Span.

I have mixed feelings on our international trade agreements.

On one hand, I have zero faith in the Bush administration to protect rights of workers and the environment in the countries we do business with.

Nor I do I believe the Bush people or Republicans in Congress have any real concern for American workers.

On the other hand, we are a big powerful country in an interconnected world. As such, we have both an obligation and a practical need to help others live decent lives and to be part of a world economy. 

Also, we can’t blame people in other countries for the fact that don’t educate out kids well and that we often seem to live far beyond our means.  

I wish I could trust the people in the United States who negotiate these deals to be both economically just and socially moral. Hopefully, some trust will be possible if a Democrat replaces President Bush next year.

Here is a BBC overview of the current political situation in Colombia.   

April 23, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment