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Civil War Week 2013 Preview

July 1, 2013 in History

By History.com Staff

All this week HISTORY commemorates the 150th anniversary of two of the most significant clashes of the American Civil War–the battles of Gettysburg and Vicksburg—with a fresh slate of daily articles, original videos, interactive features, a great deal on our award-winning mobile app and more. Each day we’ll feature new, original articles and exclusive video examining various aspects of the battles and their impact on both the war and American history.

CIVIL WAR WEEK HUB
Watch our exclusive short-form video series featuring top Civil War historians and the full-length, Emmy® Award-winning docudrama “Gettysburg,” produced by filmmakers Tony and Ridley Scott. Visitors can also take a deeper dive into some of the key figures involved in the battles of Gettysburg and Vicksburg with our broad collection of topical and biographical articles.

Check out one of our favorite Civil War videos below, and don’t forget to come back daily for fresh content:

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If you had to describe the Civil War in just one word, what would it be?

CIVIL WAR WEEK DAILY CONTENT
History in the Headlines (Monday, 7/1 – Friday, 7/5)
We’re kicking things off with a closer look at the civilian cost of war—in particular, the life (and death) of Mary Virginia “Jennie” Wade, the sole civilian casualty at the Battle of Gettysburg. Later this week we’ll tackle the Union defense of Little Round Top, explore how the Battle of Gettysburg changed America forever, examine the impact of the fall of Vicksburg and take a deeper look at a different kind of Civil War “battle”—the New York City Draft Riots, the largest civil insurrection in American history.

HISTORY Lists (Tuesday, 7/2)
Often overshadowed by the massive loss of life in the fields of Pennsylvania, Ulysses S. Grant’s victory at Vicksburg was a key turning point in the war, dividing the Confederacy in two and ceding control of the Mississippi River to the Union. We’ll take a closer look at the siege of Vicksburg and see how it stacks up against other famous military sieges throughout history.

Ask HISTORY (Wednesday, 7/3)
Antietam or Sharpsburg? Manassas or Bull Run? What you call a battle has nearly everything to do with where you grew …read more

Source: HISTORY

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From Aristocracy to Monarchy to Democracy: A Tale of Moral and Economic Folly and Decay | a talk by Hans-Hermann Hoppe

July 1, 2013 in Economics

By Mises Updates

At the Rafael del Pino Foundation’s Master Lecture Series in Madrid, Spain, on June 20, 2013.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Student Loan Interest Rates Double

July 1, 2013 in Economics

Interest rates on subsidized federal student loans doubled on Monday, going from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. Cato scholar Neal McCluskey argues that the most discouraging aspect of all this isn’t the financial impact of the doubling, but that Congress couldn’t get a deal done. “If we want college prices to be reasonable, we need to cut the humongous subsidies given to students by the federal government. But right now, we can’t even get small fixes that even many supporters of student aid find reasonable.”

…read more

Source: CATO HEADLINES

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Student Loan Interest Rates Double

July 1, 2013 in Economics

Interest rates on subsidized federal student loans doubled on Monday, going from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. Cato scholar Neal McCluskey argues that the most discouraging aspect of all this isn’t the financial impact of the doubling, but that Congress couldn’t get a deal done. “That’s bad news for any future compromise, but much more importantly, a clear and troubling sign of why we won’t get the long-term solution we need: getting Washington out of student aid entirely.”

…read more

Source: CATO HEADLINES

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Actually, The Student Loan Rate Hike's a Good Thing

July 1, 2013 in Economics

By Neal McCluskey

Neal McCluskey

The wailing and gnashing of teeth has begun over today’s arrival of “6.8 Day”: the day interest rates on subsidized federal student loans rise from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. But is it really the day that college affordability died, as much of the coverage surrounding the matter has suggested? Hardly. If anything, it might actually do a bit to improve the Ivory Tower.

In the short-run, this will certainly cost students who take out subsidized federal loans — about 9.4 million people — a bit more, but keep in mind that this will only affect new loans, so it’s not as if everyone in college will suddenly see all the rates on their loans double. Plus the average subsidized loan in the 2011-12 academic year was just $3,645. And this assumes that Congress doesn’t lower rates retroactively, which sounds like the plan in the Senate.

If we want college prices to be reasonable, we need to cut the humongous subsidies given to students by the federal government.”

So how could this be a good thing? Because the evidence is pretty powerful that cheap student aid largely fuels rampant tuition inflation. It both encourages students to demand things they otherwise wouldn’t — more expensive programs, lots of educationally superfluous amenities — and enables colleges to raise their prices, since cheap aid ensures that students can pay them.

This likely hurts many of the people the aid is supposed to help. Based on the best — though flawed — numbers we have, roughly half of the people who go to college will never finish. They’ll never get the certification or degree that is the key to earning the money they’d need to pay back their debt and thrive. Basically, they’ve been handed cash to do something many simply weren’t cut out to do.

Finishing a degree doesn’t end the waste, however. Of people with a bachelor’s degree, about a third are in jobs that don’t require the credential. And then there’s credential inflation, in which degrees have become a minimal signal of employability because they are so easy to get. Fail to get one, and many employers assume there is something wrong with you.

Raising interest rates might actually discourage students a little from demanding educationally wasteful things. It wouldn’t be much of a change, but it would be a tiny move in the right direction. …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Stop the Rush to the Common Core

July 1, 2013 in Economics

By Neal McCluskey, Williamson Evers, Sandra Stotsky

Neal McCluskey, Williamson Evers and Sandra Stotsky

The Common Core — effectively national math and English curriculum standards coming soon to a school near you — is supposed to be a new, higher bar that will take the United States from the academic doldrums to international dominance.

So why is there so much unhappiness about it? There didn’t seem to be much just three years ago. Back then, state school boards and governors were sprinting to adopt the Core. In practically the blink of an eye, 45 states had signed on.

But states weren’t leaping because they couldn’t resist the Core’s academic magnetism. They were leaping because it was the Great Recession — and the Obama administration was dangling a $4.35 billion Race to the Top carrot in front of them. Big points in that federal program were awarded for adopting the Core, so, with little public debate, most did.

Major displeasure has come only recently, because only recently has implementation hit the district level. And that means moms, dads and other citizens have recently gotten a crash course in the Core.

Their opposition has been sudden and potent — with several states now considering legislation to either slow or end implementation, and Indiana, Pennsylvania and Michigan having officially paused it.

There are good reasons a backlash is now in full swing.

First, creation and adoption of these standards has violated the traditions of open debate and citizen control that are supposed to undergird public schooling.

Though preliminary drafts of the standards were released to the public, the standards were written behind closed doors by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers — private organizations — and copyrighted. There is also no public record of the meetings available.

Adoption was then strong-armed by the Obama administration via Race to the Top and No Child Left Behind waivers that the feds granted states.

Second, the Core claims to be “internationally benchmarked,” but supporters can’t name a country to which it is pegged. In addition, according to Stanford mathematician James Milgram, the math standards would put kids two years behind their top-scoring international peers by grade seven.

Third, there is little evidence that setting national standards yields superior outcomes. Supporters argue that most countries that beat us on international exams have national standards. True, but so do most countries that finish below us.

There is little deeper research on this, but what there is suggests that once you control …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Is Hayek’s Road to Serfdom Still Relevant Today?

July 1, 2013 in Economics

By Thomas DiLorenzo

You be the judge.  Here are some quotations from Hayek’s most famous book:

“We have progressively abandoned that freedom in economic affairs without which personal and political freedom has never existed in the past” (p. 67).

“[I]ndividualism [means] respect for the individual man qua man, that is, the recognition of his own views and tastes as supreme in his own sphere . . .” (p. 68).

“The fundamental principle [of liberalism is] that in the ordering of our affairs we should make as much use as possible of the spontaneous forces of society, and resort as little as possible to coercion . . .” (p. 71).

“The demand for the new freedom was thus only another name for the old demand for an equal distribution of income” (p 78).

“Socialism is . . . the road NOT to freedom, but to dictatorship and counter-dictatorships, to civil war of the fiercest kind” (p. 79).

“The conviction [of socialists] grows that if efficient planning is to be done, the direction must be ‘taken out of politics’ and placed in the hands of experts — permanent officials or independent autonomous bodies” (p 104).  Like the “independent Fed,” for instance.

“Planning leads to dictatorship because dictatorship is the most effective instrument of coercion . . .” (p. 110).  Executive orders, anyone?

“There is no justification for the belief that, so long as power is conferred by democratic procedure, it cannot be arbitrary . . .” (p. 111).

“The [government] planner will be forced to extend his controls until they become all-comprehensive” (p. 137).  As with “Obamacare’s tens of thousands of pages of regulations so far.

“With every grant of complete security [by the state] to one group the insecurity of the rest necessarily increases” (p. 153).

If you’d like to study The Road to Serfdom more intensely, consider taking my online five-week course, “The Road to Serfdom: Despotism Then and Now,” which begins this Wednesday, July 3.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Will Rice Wreck Obama's Presidency?

July 1, 2013 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Barack Obama may be president because he criticized the invasion of Iraq. From that, leftish Democrats assumed he was one of them, opposed to military intervention. But instead he proved to be a cautious liberal hawk ready to use military force and expand the national-security state. He accepted George W. Bush’s withdrawal schedule from Iraq, twice increased force levels in Afghanistan, and initiated war against Libya.

Nevertheless, there have been no new grand crusades or grandiose pronouncements. He declined to take up Madeleine Albright’s famous challenge to Colin Powell to more often use America’s “superb military.” For instance, despite applying significant economic and diplomatic pressure on Iran, President Obama has resisted insistent demands for air strikes. Even more pronounced was his reluctance to intervene in Syria, which illustrates the tension between his innate prudence and his liberal sensibility.

His previous national-security adviser, Tom Donilon, seemed to share this perspective. While Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was no shrinking violet when it came to military action, she also demonstrated little enthusiasm for joining the Syrian killfest. But the president has been changing his foreign-policy team. New secretary of state hire John Kerry appears more inclined to activism. Even more dramatic was his choice to replace Donilon with UN Ambassador Susan Rice, who this week begins her new position in the West Wing.

With Americans staunchly opposed to another Mideast military misadventure, turning his foreign policy over to Susan Rice and like-minded allies could wreck the Obama presidency.”

No doubt, her loyalty to the president was an important factor in her appointment. Moreover, President Obama is simultaneously rewarding her and sticking it to Republican critics who effectively blocked her ascension to secretary of state.

Nevertheless, her views are important. Both she and Barack Obama are proponents of multilateral institutions and processes as well as abundant foreign aid. Both back sanctions against Iran and North Korea. She also has repeated the administration mantra about keeping “all options on the table, including the military option,” regarding Iran.

However, elsewhere her approach toward military intervention appears to differ from that of the president. In particular, both she and Samantha Power, chosen to replace Rice as UN ambassador, are strong advocates of humanitarian intervention. It’s essentially the antithesis of prudent realism: Washington should intervene when it is not in America’s interest to do so. Doing so both is good and makes one feel good.

Humanitarian intervention invites cynicism. …read more

Source: OP-EDS