You are browsing the archive for 2019 March 21.

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Neanderthals Churned Out Huge Supply of Tools in Flintstone 'Factory'

March 21, 2019 in History

By Sarah Pruitt

Stone tools believed to be used by Neanderthals.

Archaeologists in Poland have discovered a giant 60,000-year-old flint workshop that they believe was used by Neanderthals to make thousands of stone tools.

So far, the researchers have recovered some 17,000 stone products from the site, believed to be the first large Neanderthal workshop to be discovered in Central Europe that is not located inside a cave.

Before this discovery, it was thought that such large collections of flint tools weren’t accumulated until much later, among modern humans living between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago. Scientists also believed that non-cave-dwelling Neanderthals didn’t settle in one place for long enough to leave much of a mark on their surroundings, beyond individual tools or other artifacts.

The discovery of the 60,000-year-old Neanderthal flint workshop in Pietraszyno challenges both these assumptions.

Since 2018, reported Science in Poland, Dr. Andrzej Wiśniewski from the Institute of Archaeology, University of Wrocław has been conducting joint excavations at the site in Pietraszyno (Silesia), along with researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig.

“The finds from Pietraszyno completely contradict the old vision of the use of open areas by Neanderthals,” Wiśniewski said. “It appears that in this place a community was present over a longer period, as evidenced by the large number of discovered objects. In addition, there are also preserved remains of mammoth, rhinoceros and horse bones.”

The archaeological site Dr. Andrzej Wiśniewski and his team from the Institute of Archaeology, University of Wrocław discovered the tools.

He and his fellow archaeologists were also able to trace the process used to make the tools from start to finish, as well as determine which tools had been used and which had not. They believe some of them were used to cut meat, as evidenced by the animal remains found next to them. The fact that very few types of tools were made in the workshop suggests that the tool-making activities “were socially agreed upon and served the common goals,” according to Wiśniewski.

Close relatives of modern humans, Neanderthals are thought to have appeared in Poland around 300,000 years ago. Archaeologists have found older stone tools linked to Neanderthals (200,000 years old) on the Vistula River, while the oldest Neanderthal remains discovered in Poland—the bones of a child’s hand, which had been digested by a large bird—date back more than 100,000 years.

Neanderthals were long …read more


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When President Carter Pardoned Draft Dodgers, Only Half Came Back

March 21, 2019 in History

By Natasha Frost

Carter’s executive order left many people furious, while others saw it as a bold show of compassion.

President Jimmy Carter, 1977.

It was a move with the power to unite the country—even if it came at the cost of ruffling a few feathers. Just days after Jimmy Carter’s inauguration in 1977, the new President fulfilled a campaign promise: the granting of a blanket pardon to Vietnam War draft evaders by executive order. Yet the draft had proven so divisive that not even the promise of an open-arms reunion could convince as many as 50,000 American dodgers to return home.

At the time of the order, it wasn’t clear what impact it would have, or even how many people it affected. A 1977 New York Times article, for instance, described the act as “narrow,” applying to just 10,000 people, “largely white, and middle or upper class.” The total number, in fact, was closer to 500,000. (Among them was Muhammad Ali, whom President Donald Trump offered to pardon all over again.)

About 100,000 draft evaders had left for foreign shores instead of going to war. The vast majority headed to Canada, where they were accepted as legal immigrants. So far as Canada was concerned, this influx of young men was a highly desirable addition to the labor force. They were often young and well-educated, and had few ties to the country that they had felt obliged to leave—making it easy for them to stay for good, even after Carter issued his pardon and they were permitted to return.

Back in the United States, in the days after the inauguration, the White House was beset with angry phone calls about the pardon. Many people were furious: Senator Barry Goldwater famously called it “the most disgraceful thing a president has ever done,” while the then-director of the Veterans of Foreign Wars described it as sadder “than Watergate or Vietnam itself.” The general public seemed to agree.

Antiwar demonstrators burning their draft cards on the steps of the Pentagon during the Vietnam War, 1972.

But an initial rage burned bright, and then quickly out. “Three weeks later,” says Peter Bourne, who worked with Carter for decades and later wrote his biography, “most people didn’t care what he’d done.” The phone calls stopped, the furor died down. While some were happy about the executive order, those who weren’t …read more


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Francine Hughes Killed Her Abusive Husband—And Changed U.S. Views on Domestic Violence

March 21, 2019 in History

By Erin Blakemore

Francine Hughes stood outside her Michigan home, watching it burn. Inside was her abusive husband, Mickey. Earlier that night, he had beaten and raped her for the last time. She stood watching the fire, then turned and entered the car where three of her children cowered in fear. Then she drove herself to authorities and turned herself in.

Her ordeal had begun 13 years before, when she married James “Mickey” Hughes. After a hellish marriage marked by physical, verbal and emotional abuse, they had divorced. But the abuse continued, and the night of the murder in 1977, Mickey had beaten Francine in front of their children, ripped up textbooks from her secretarial courses, and then forced her to have sex with him, threatening to kill her.

Francine did not know it, but she was about to become a central figure in what is now known as the battered women’s movement, which worked to draw attention to the plight of women who were brutalized by their husbands—but were rarely taken seriously by America’s justice system. By turning the national attention received by tragic cases like Francine’s into ways to help women like her, the movement created a system of life-saving shelters, laying the foundation for a modern awareness of domestic violence.

READ MORE: Lorena Bobbitt’s 12-Inch Knife Changed Awareness About Spousal Abuse

Francine Hughes’ life story reads like a nightmare, and the book based on her ordeal, Faith McNulty’s The Burning Bed, is as much horror story as true crime reportage. As a child, Francine Moran watched her alcoholic father abuse her mother, and when she dropped out of high school to marry, she quickly became a spousal abuse victim, too.

Mickey began to abuse her shortly after the marriage, Hughes told People. “I bought some new clothes and he ripped them off me,” she recalled. “I don’t know whether I looked too pretty or what, but he didn’t want me to look that way.” But though Mickey seemed remorseful at first, his abuse became a pattern.

Soon, Francine had four children and a husband who spent much of their money on alcohol. In 1971, she spoke with a local social worker and decided to divorce Mickey. But he ignored the divorce decree, coming and going at will and beating her. When Mickey was in a serious car crash a few weeks later, Francine took him back and nursed him to …read more


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Martin Luther King, Jr. begins the march from Selma to Montgomery

March 21, 2019 in History

By Editors

In the name of African-American voting rights, 3,200 civil rights demonstrators in Alabama, led by Martin Luther King Jr., begin a historic march from Selma to Montgomery, the state’s capital. Federalized Alabama National Guardsmen and FBI agents were on hand to provide safe passage for the march, which twice had been turned back by Alabama state police at Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge.

In 1965, King and his Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) decided to make the small town of Selma the focus of their drive to win voting rights for African Americans in the South. Alabama’s governor, George Wallace, was a vocal opponent of the African-American civil rights movement, and local authorities in Selma had consistently thwarted efforts by the Dallas County Voters League and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) to register local blacks.

Although Governor Wallace promised to prevent it from going forward, on March 7 some 500 demonstrators, led by SCLC leader Hosea Williams and SNCC leader John Lewis, began the 54-mile march to the state capital. After crossing Edmund Pettus Bridge, they were met by Alabama state troopers and posse men who attacked them with nightsticks, tear gas and whips after they refused to turn back.

Several of the protesters were severely beaten, and others ran for their lives. The incident was captured on national television and outraged many Americans.

King, who was in Atlanta at the time, promised to return to Selma immediately and lead another attempt. On March 9, King led another marching attempt, but turned the marchers around when state troopers again blocked the road.

On March 21, U.S. Army troops and federalized Alabama National Guardsmen escorted the marchers across Edmund Pettus Bridge and down Highway 80. When the highway narrowed to two lanes, only 300 marchers were permitted, but thousands more rejoined the Alabama Freedom March as it came into Montgomery on March 25.

On the steps of the Alabama State Capitol, King addressed live television cameras and a crowd of 25,000, just a few hundred feet from the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, where he got his start as a minister in 1954.

…read more


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'Fort Trump' in Poland: Why These Colors Won't Fly

March 21, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Unique among recent presidents, Donald Trump recognizes, at
least in his gut, that America’s aging alliances have turned
into ends rather than means. He also understands that
Washington’s supposed friends have enthusiastically taken
advantage of our willingness to defend the entire world.

Yet virtually all his appointees are committed members of
“The Blob,” the bipartisan foreign policy elite, whose
members view the slightest reluctance to intervene abroad as
shocking, even scandalous. They have diligently frustrated his
oft-expressed wish to end America’s participation in such
counterproductive conflicts as Afghanistan and Syria—and to
force Europe to take responsibility for its own defense.

Despite European officials’ oft-expressed aggravation with
Trump, they never stop insisting that Washington should do more on
the continent’s behalf. So it is with Poland, which feels
slighted since it does not host a permanent U.S. garrison, in
contrast to Germany and many others.

Seven decades of
defending the continent and exhibiting infinite patience in the
face of European cheap-riding obviously doesn’t count for

With an eye to the president’s vanity, Warsaw has
suggested the creation of a “Fort Trump.” The Poles
would build a base—contributing a couple billion dollars or
so—with the expectation that the Americans would come man it.
Poland would gain a de facto direct U.S. security guarantee against
Russia. And with U.S. troops on station, it could then cut back on
military spending. As an added bonus, Americans would contribute
generously to the local economy. All in all, it would be a sweet
deal for Poland.

The ploy is transparent, but fits nicely with the
Pentagon’s ambition to station military forces in as many
nations as possible. Last week, Kathryn Wheelberger, acting
assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs,
observed: “We’ve come forward with what we think is a
very serious and robust offer and we’re just working out some
of the technicalities.” The result, she hoped, would be
“a solid foundation,” and predicted that a deal could
be made within six months.

But what would America get out of this arrangement? The maneuver
would not bolster U.S. security. Despite the bipartisan political
campaign to treat Russia as a mortal enemy, Moscow is a declining
power desperate to restore lost prestige and arrest the advance of
allied arms westward. Russian President Vladimir Putin is many
things, but there is no evidence that he is suicidal, the only
circumstance under which he would attack America. Camp Trump would
exacerbate Moscow’s hostility without purpose, reinforcing
what many Russians already see as allied perfidy.

Years of expanding NATO have added plenty of American defense
responsibilities without commensurate resources. The newest member,
Montenegro, resembles the Duchy of Grand Fenwick in The Mouse
that Roared
. …read more

Source: OP-EDS