You are browsing the archive for 2019 March 01.

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Tupperware Parties: Suburban Women's Plastic Path to Empowerment

March 1, 2019 in History

By Erin Blakemore

If you peeked into a suburban living room in the 1950s, you might see a group of women in funny hats playing party games, tossing lightweight plastic bowls back and forth and chatting about their lives as they passed around an order form for Tupperware.

Well stocked with punch and cookies, the daytime parties were well mannered affairs. But Tupperware parties were more than they might seem. Although they engaged in lighthearted socializing at living rooms, Tupperware party organizers were running thriving, woman-owned businesses. And the women who participated in them weren’t just stocking their homes: they were experimenting with cutting-edge technology that helped food stay fresh for longer. During the 1950s and 1960s, thousands of women started their own home businesses selling Tupperware, breaking gender stereotypes even as they reinforced them.

The Tupperware Home Parties of the 1950s and 1960s were the only way to purchase a line of polyethylene plastic storage containers that were the brainchild of Earl Tupper, a Massachusetts businessman who figured out a way to turn an industrial byproduct into an improvement on plastic he called Poly-T. Tupper introduced Tupperware after World War II. But at first, nobody understood what they were or how to use them. It would take an ambitious woman—and an army of amateur salespeople—to sell the innovative containers to America.

Tupperware was developed by an American, Earl Tupper, in the mid 1940s. Tupperware Parties’ in the 50s and 60s were a way of marketing the product directly to women.

Tupperware looked nothing like the plasticware that was in most women’s kitchens. At first, homemakers were wary of a material they associated with bad smells, a weirdly oily texture and cheap construction. The bowls’ most unique feature was also what held it back initially: the airtight lids wouldn’t seal unless they were “burped” beforehand, and that confused consumers, who returned them to stores claiming the lids didn’t fit.

The businessman needed a new sales strategy, and quick. Around the time that Tupper invented Poly-T, a cleaning products company called Stanley Home had debuted the “home party,” a new method of selling products directly to housewives. Stanley Home parties were a chance for women to buy products from salespeople in their home, not their doorstep, and to do so along with their friends.

One of Stanley Home’s salespeople, Brownie Wise, quickly saw the potential of the method to sell more than …read more


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How Early Church Leaders Downplayed Mary Magdalene's Influence by Calling Her a Whore

March 1, 2019 in History

By Sarah Pruitt

Other early documents portray her as Jesus’s companion—and even mention kissing. What’s really known about the Bible’s most mysterious woman?

She was Mary of Magdala, one of the earliest followers of Jesus of Nazareth. According to the . “She was named in the Gospels, so she obviously was important. There were apparently hundreds, if not thousands, of followers of Jesus, but we don’t know most of their names. So the fact that she’s named is a big deal.”

After Jesus’s crucifixion—which she witnessed along with several other women from the foot of the cross—and after all his male disciples had fled, Mary Magdalene also played a key role in the story of the Resurrection. According to the gospels, she visited Jesus’s tomb on Easter Sunday, either alone (according to the Gospel of John) or with other women, and found the tomb empty.

“The women are the ones who go and tell the disciples,” Cargill points out. “They are the ones that discovered that he had risen, and that’s significant.”

In the Gospel of John, Jesus actually appears to Mary Magdalene alone after his Resurrection, and instructs her to tell his disciples of his return (John 20:1-13).

READ MORE: What Did Jesus Look Like?

Mary Magdalene as sinner

Despite—or perhaps because of—Mary Magdalene’s clear importance in the Bible, some early Western church leaders sought to downplay her influence by portraying her as a sinner, specifically a prostitute.

“There are many scholars who argue that because Jesus empowered women to such an extent early in his ministry, it made some of the men who would lead the early church later on uncomfortable,” Cargill explains. “And so there were two responses to this. One was to turn her into a prostitute.”

To cast Mary as the original repentant whore, early church leaders conflated her with other women mentioned in the Bible, including an unnamed woman, identified in the Gospel of Luke as a sinner, who bathes Jesus’s feet with her tears, dries them and puts ointment on them (Luke 7:37-38), as well as another Mary, Mary of Bethany, who also appears in Luke. In 591 A.D., Pope Gregory the Great solidified this misunderstanding in a sermon: “She whom Luke calls the sinful woman, whom John calls Mary [of Bethany], we believe to be the Mary from whom seven devils were ejected according to Mark.”

“By turning [Mary Magdalene] into a prostitute, …read more


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Who Was St. Patrick?

March 1, 2019 in History

By Editors

He wasn’t Irish, but he found his faith while being held as prisoner by a group of Irish raiders.

Who Was St. Patrick? (TV-PG; 1:00)

St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is one of Christianity’s most widely known figures. But for all of his prevalence in culture, namely the holiday held on the day of his death that bears his name, his life remains somewhat of a mystery. Many of the stories traditionally associated with St. Patrick, including the famous account of his banishing all the snakes from Ireland, are false, the products of hundreds of years of exaggerated storytelling.

Taken Prisoner By Irish Raiders

It is known that St. Patrick was born in Britain to wealthy parents near the end of the fourth century. He is believed to have died on March 17, around 460 A.D.

Although his father was a Christian deacon, it has been suggested that he probably took on the role because of tax incentives and there is no evidence that Patrick came from a particularly religious family. At the age of 16, Patrick was taken prisoner by a group of Irish raiders who were attacking his family’s estate. They transported him to Ireland where he spent six years in captivity. (There is some dispute over where this captivity took place. Although many believe he was taken to live in Mount Slemish in County Antrim, it is more likely that he was held in County Mayo near Killala.) During this time, he worked as a shepherd, outdoors and away from people. Lonely and afraid, he turned to his religion for solace, becoming a devout Christian. (It is also believed that Patrick first began to dream of converting the Irish people to Christianity during his captivity.)

St. Patrick’s Visions

After more than six years as a prisoner, Patrick escaped. According to his writing, a voice—which he believed to be God’s—spoke to him in a dream, telling him it was time to leave Ireland.

To do so, Patrick walked nearly 200 miles from County Mayo, where it is believed he was held, to the Irish coast. After escaping to Britain, Patrick reported that he experienced a second revelation—an angel in a dream tells him to return to Ireland as a missionary. Soon after, Patrick began religious training, a course of study that lasted more than 15 years. After his …read more


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A Durable U.S.-China Trade Accord Requires Agreement on Cybersecurity

March 1, 2019 in Economics

By Daniel J. Ikenson, Huan Zhu

Daniel J. Ikenson and Huan Zhu

Hopes are high that the United States and China will soon reach a deal to suspend the trade war. Recent reports suggest the sides are moving toward agreement on six sets of issues: cybertheft and forced technology transfer; intellectual property protection; services market access; currency interventions; agricultural market access; and non-tariff barriers to trade. Considering that measures taken by both governments in the name of cybersecurity have created recurring frictions in the bilateral relationship, the absence of an agreement in that realm would be a major oversight.

Cybertheft, cyberespionage, and cyberterrorism are all problems that can be mitigated by effective cybersecurity measures. But without agreement as to what constitutes legitimate cybersecurity policy, Washington and Beijing will continue to act unilaterally and take shotgun approaches that may mitigate some risk, but at the cost of thwarting trade, opportunities for collaboration, and technological progress. Agreement, now, on how to assess and manage cyber risks and respond to security breaches would go a long way toward providing real security and reducing frictions in the relationship that could spark the next trade war.

In the name of protecting critical economic and national security infrastructure from cyber malfeasance, the United States has adopted some absolutist policies. ZTE and Huawei have recently become household names that Americans may associate with the trade war, but these Chinese information and communications technology (ICT) companies have been in the crosshairs of various U.S. government agencies for many years.

[pullquote]These laws may require intrusive security reviews, the breadth and depth and general standards of which remain unclear, as Beijing considers the costs and benefits of alternative approaches.[/pullquote]

The U.S. government has advised U.S. telecommunications firms that if they wish to participate in federally-funded infrastructure build- outs, they should purge their supply chains of Chinese ICTs. On a few occasions, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) raised security concerns over prospective acquisitions of U.S. companies by Chinese ICTs. During the past several years, U.S. appropriations legislation has included provisions to prevent certain federal agencies from procuring or using ICT products made by Chinese companies. The recently enacted National Defense Authorization Act precludes universities and other research institutes that receive federal funding from purchasing Huawei equipment. And, reportedly, President Trump has given consideration to an executive order that would ban Huawei and ZTE products, wholly, from the United States as a matter of national security.

Meanwhile, in the …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Tony Blair Is Right — Globalisation Is a Fact Not a Choice

March 1, 2019 in Economics

By Ryan Bourne

Ryan Bourne

Don’t laugh, Brexiteers. But Tony Blair was in Washington
DC this week lecturing Americans on the need “to argue the
case for democracy from first principles”. In a think tank
speech pushing “moderate” politics, the former prime
minister and now “People’s Vote” champion was at
his triangulating worst, particularly on Brexit.

Asked how he would counteract current “populist”
moods, Blair spoke of addressing “grievances” that led
to the UK’s referendum result. That means “dealing
with” immigration, he said boldly, in his characteristically
unspecific way. The former PM still, amazingly, seems unable to
conceive that anyone might want to leave the EU for constitutional
or political reasons.

As ever with the former Labour leader though, survive the sound
bites and eventually you’ll hear a pearl of wisdom setting
him apart from most current MPs. Blair’s recognition of the
importance of technological forces set to transform politics and
society was a refreshing change from our usual dull political
debates. But it was on global economics where he was perhaps at his
most profound. Echoing other speeches, he once again observed that
“globalisation is a force of nature, not a policy: it is a

He’s right. A central failure of Western politics is the
presumption there is a political answer to all issues. That
everything is the result of some government decision or plan.
Globalisation is no different. Opponents of
“globalism” like to pin the blame of our ills on
policy. Trade deals and liberalisation, it is said, have helped
hollow out industry. Migration policy failures have transformed
communities and put pressure on public services. Corbynistas say
free capital flows have contributed to a transient, short-termist
business sector, and one that would constrain the party’s
ability to deliver the activist state its supporters desire.

There is partial truth in all this, of course. Trade
protectionism has fallen significantly in recent decades and the
extension of free movement to eastern European economies within the
EU did result in huge inflows to Britain. Policy across Western
states was indeed predicated on integration and the resulting
specialisation of economies, based on strong evidence this would
enhance prosperity. That, inevitably, affects industries’
structures and business ownership patterns.

Yet Blair is right that globalisation is about so much more than
policy. The greater economic interconnectedness we see reflects the
free decisions of people in the face of new technologies as much as
the actions of governments. Though states shape all sorts of
personal decisions through policy, the increased cross-pollination
of ideas resulting from culture, travel, study and the internet is
not something that can be reversed or boxed away. Globalisation is
thus a reality, not a set of policies.

Consider some remarkable trends. …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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America's First Immigration Law Tried (and Failed) to Deal With Nightmarish Sea Journeys

March 1, 2019 in History

By Dave Roos

Opportunity in the United States beckoned—but first immigrants from Europe had to endure a grim journey.

Record numbers of 19-century immigrants arrived in American port cities from the UK and Western Europe following the War of 1812—but that’s only if they managed to survive the journey. Many of the new arrivals were desperately poor, paid very little for their passage and were treated as nothing more than cargo by shipping companies.

One of the United States’ first immigration laws, the Steerage Act, passed on March 2, 1819, was a half-hearted attempt to improve such transatlantic travel conditions. But the regulations it introduced did little to address the horrors of 19th-century travel in steerage—a catch-all term for the lowest class of sea travel. In 1847, alone, close to 5,000 people died from diseases like typhus and dysentery on ships bound for America.

Disease thrived in the squalid conditions of steerage travel, where, depending on the size of a ship, a few hundred to 1,000 people could be crammed into tight quarters. Wooden beds, known as berths, were stacked two- to three-high with two people sharing single berths and up to four squeezed into a double. The only ventilation was provided by hatches to the upper decks, which were locked tight during rough seas and storms.

Men, women and children in bunks between decks on board an immigrant ship in the mid 19th century.

READ MORE: Timeline of Immigration to the United States

Since the only bathrooms were located above deck, passengers trapped below during stormy weather were forced to urinate and defecate (and get seasick) in buckets, which would overturn in the churning waves. The stench was unbearable and the spread of deadly diseases like typhoid, cholera and smallpox spread unabated.

Food was also in constant shortage. Some ships required passengers to bring their own meager provisions, while others provided only minimum rations meant to keep passengers from starving. A lack of clean drinking water and rancid food resulted in rampant bouts of dysentery

Congress professed to respond to these inhumane conditions with the Steerage Act of 1819, which was supposed to set minimum standards for cross-Atlantic travel. The act imposed a stiff penalty—$150, or $3,000 in 2019 dollars—for each passenger in excess of two people for every five tons of ship weight. It also laid down minimum provisions—60 gallons of water and 100 lbs of “wholesome ship bread” …read more


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Overdosing on Regulation: How Government Caused the Opioid Epidemic

March 1, 2019 in Economics

By Jeffrey Miron, Laura Nicolae

Jeffrey Miron and Laura Nicolae

Opioid overdose deaths have risen dramatically in the United
States over the past two decades. The standard explanation blames excessive prescribing by physicians and
aggressive marketing by pharmaceutical companies, beginning in the

This explanation — “more prescribing, more deaths­”
— has spurred increased legal restrictions on opioid
prescribing. Most states now have Prescription Drug
Monitoring Programs (electronic prescription databases that attempt
to reduce doctor shopping), and many states cap prescription doses. The federal government
limits opioid production and raids pain management facilities
deemed to be overprescribing. In October, the federal government
enacted legislation that increases monitoring
of prescribers and funds hospitals that attempt to reduce
prescribing. Supporters believe these restrictions will reduce the
supply of prescription opioids and thereby decrease overdose

The evidence suggests, however, that the opioid overdose
epidemic has resulted from too many restrictions on prescribing,
not too few. In a recent paper for the Cato Institute, we document this
“more restrictions, more deaths” explanation for the
opioid overdose epidemic.

The risk of overdose from proper medical use of prescription
opioids is low: in published studies, the rate of opioid addiction
in chronic pain patients has averaged less than 8 percent. Patients receiving long-term
stable doses rarely overdose because they quickly develop

Worse, regulations push users from prescription opioids to
diverted or illicit opioids, which are far more dangerous. Quality
control is poor in underground markets because reliable suppliers
cannot legally advertise their goods and consumers cannot sue for
damages from faulty or mislabeled products. Diverted or illicit
drugs do not come with warning labels, and users cannot discuss
safe use with their physicians. Underground opioid markets are also
more likely to supply hyper-potent products, such as heroin or
fentanyl. Consumers cannot easily determine the potency of such
products and so face elevated risks of overdose.

Since 2011, rapidly increasing deaths from heroin and synthetic
opioids such as fentanyl have driven up the opioid overdose death rate
despite reduced prescribing. In 2017, heroin
and synthetic opioids accounted for more than three quarters of all
opioid overdose deaths. Many young heroin users reporttransitioning to heroin from prescription
opioids when these became more difficult to acquire.

Attempts to curb overdoses by reducing the abuse potential of
prescription opioids have proven counterproductive. In 2010, Purdue
Pharmaceuticals introduced an abuse-deterrent version of OxyContin,
which made the drug less appealing to opioid abusers. Regulations
limiting access to other prescription opioids caused many users to
then substitute to heroin, leading to
an increase in heroin-overdose rates.

The federal government also …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Persecutors Pile on Jehovah’s Witnesses, in Russia and Worldwide

March 1, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Christians are the most widely persecuted religious believers around the globe. They are the most numerous people of faith worldwide. They also tend to evangelize, threatening established religions. Moreover, especially in some Muslim nations, local Christians are assumed to be strong supporters of Israel and agents of America and U.S. foreign policy. The result is an increasingly tenuous existence for Christians in many lands.

However, smaller faiths tend to face more intense hostility. Jews, of course, are the traditional scapegoats for numerous ills. Bahá’is are seen by Muslims as apostates. And Jehovah’s Witnesses now are under sustained attack in Russia.

JWs, as they are known (and call themselves), might seem an odd addition to that list. While active, their numbers remain relatively low, about 8.5 million worldwide. Their largest national home is America. The next two are Mexico and Brazil, which exist in a region with the least religious persecution. JWs reject any political role. They do not threaten the existing order anywhere.

Yet Russia has imposed a six-year sentence on a Danish JW, Dennis Christensen, for “organizing the activity of an extremist organization.” In 2016 the government recognized the JW faith as “extremist”; the following year the country’s supreme court ruled the JW church to be an “extremist organization” and banned it. Although Christensen knew that his faith had been outlawed, explained the prosecutor, the JW unsurprisingly continued to proselytize, hold meetings, and distribute literature. He was arrested in May 2017 at a worship service and is now set to serve six years in a penal colony — which will be decidedly less pleasant than the prisons in Christensen’s homeland.

Unfortunately, he is not the only such victim of Russian persecution. Last year Moscow launched a vigorous nationwide campaign against JWs. Earlier this month the world headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses published a special report, “Russia: State-Sponsored Persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses Continues.”

From September 2017 to January 2019, the church reported, the Putin government has mounted 300 raids, mostly of homes. Twenty-three people have been jailed, 27 have been placed under house arrest, 41 have been ordered to remain in their hometown, and 121 have been placed under investigation. The church has complained that government security agents use “heavy-handed tactics against the Witnesses as though they were dealing with hardened criminals. The authorities point guns in the face of Witnesses, including children and the elderly — and manhandle them.” Property worth $90 million is …read more

Source: OP-EDS