You are browsing the archive for 2019 April 04.

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Forced Marriage as a 12-Year-Old Girl: The Life of America's Last Slave Ship Survivor

April 4, 2019 in History

By Becky Little

Like many African people forced into American slavery, Redoshi was only a child when slave traders chained her to their boat. Kidnapped at age 12 in what is now Benin, she became a prisoner on the Clotilda, .

“The only other documents we have of African women’s experiences of transatlantic slavery are fleeting allusions that were typically recorded by slave owners, so it is incredible to be able to tell Redoshi’s life story,” Durkin said in a Newcastle press release. “Rarely do we get to hear the story of an individual woman, let alone see what she looked like, how she dressed and where she lived.”

Sylviane A. Diouf, a visiting professor at Brown University’s Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, says that Redoshi’s “story is valuable in and of itself,” but cautions that we shouldn’t be overly focused on which survivor was “the last” one.
“There were lots of very young people on the Clotilda and some may have died even later than she,” says Diouf, who is also author of Dreams of Africa in Alabama: The Slave Ship Clotilda and the Story of the Last Africans Brought to America.

“The importance is not whether she was the last one, or Cudjo was the last one… To have your story written about, that is important.”

READ MORE: A Slave Ship Survivor Gave an Interview in the 1930s. It Just Surfaced

…read more

Source: HISTORY

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It's Time to Rethink America's Foreign Alliance Commitments

April 4, 2019 in Economics

By Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter

This April is the month for notable milestones in two major U.S.
security commitments. NATO marks its seventieth anniversary on
April 4, and the Taiwan Relations Act turns forty on April 12.
Predictably, there will be much celebrating among supporters of the
two measures. But these anniversaries should be occasions for
reflection and reconsideration, not mindless endorsements. The
strategic environments in both Europe and East Asia have changed
dramatically since Washington made those commitments. In both
cases, the most important and worrisome change is that the risk
level to America from both commitments has risen sharply, even as
the strategic justification for them has eroded.

When the United States joined NATO in 1949, the strategic
rationale was straightforward and logical. The Soviet Union had
emerged from World War II as a global power second only to the
United States in its economic strength and military clout. It soon
established an empire of Communist political satellites in Central
and Eastern Europe, and U.S. officials had no way to be certain
just how far the Kremlin’s geographic ambitions extended. The USSR
gave every indication of being a messianic, totalitarian power with
massive, perhaps unlimited, expansionist goals.

Conversely, the democratic nations of Western Europe emerged
from World War II economically weak, militarily exhausted and
psychologically traumatized. They did not seem capable of defending
themselves from an aggressive Soviet Union without U.S. assistance
and leadership. NATO was born in that ominous strategic
environment.

The situation has changed beyond recognition in the seventy
years since NATO’s formation. The European Union (with or without
Britain) is a powerful global economic player. Indeed, the EU
collectively has a larger population and a larger economy than does
the United States. The nations of democratic Europe are prosperous,
capable entities, not demoralized, war-ravaged waifs. Although
military spending by NATO’s European members (especially Germany)
could and probably should increase, they collectively spend more
than three times as much as Russia.

The threat environment also has changed dramatically for the
better. The Soviet Union dissolved at the end of 1991, and its
principal successor state, Russia, is a pale shadow of that entity,
with barely half its population. Whereas the USSR had the world’s
second largest economy, Russia does not even rank in the top ten. Its economic output is
approximately the same size as South Korea’s and Canada’s. Russia’s
military budget is less than one-eleventh of the $750 billion that the Trump administration
wants the United States to spend during the next fiscal year.
Moreover, Moscow’s military spending is declining, not growing-a curious trend for a
government supposedly bent on conquest.

Although Russia has sometimes exhibited abrasive …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Woodstock, the Legendary 1969 Festival, Was Also a Miserable Mud Pit

April 4, 2019 in History

By Dave Roos

To see the epic performances at Woodstock, attendees endured crowds, rain, minimal food and water—and lots of mud.

The Woodstock Festival, held in August 1969, was a watershed moment in the 1960s counterculture movement. Expecting 50,000 attendees for a three-day music concert, the event instead drew an estimated 500,000.

The festival, billed as “Three Days of Peace and Music,” looms as large in the cultural imagination as the Apollo 11 moon landing that had captivated the world just a month earlier. But often lost in the haze of 1960s nostalgia is the fact that Woodstock, while undoubtedly a once-a-century cultural happening, was also a traffic-snarled, rain-soaked, mud-caked mess.

Nancy Eisenstein (in the hat) and her friends on the road to Woodstock.

“There was nothing comfortable about it, for sure,” says Nancy Eisenstein, who hopped in a friend’s van from Boston to see some of her favorite musicians perform live at Woodstock. “I can’t believe I put up with what I put up with, but when you’re 22, you put up with a lot more than when you’re 72.”

Eisenstein bought tickets to Woodstock ($18 for three days) back in Boston, where the local radio station had been buzzing all summer about the festival lineup, which would include folk legend Joan Baez and iconic rock acts like Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane and Jimi Hendrix. For Eisenstein, the biggest draw was The Who, which had just released its epic rock opera “Tommy.”

“We knew this was going to be the musical event of the century,” remembers Eisenstein, whose roommate joined her for the adventure.

Carl Porter also had a hunch that Woodstock was going to be big, but not nearly as big as it turned out to be. Porter’s family goes back generations in Sullivan County, New York, home to Max Yasgur’s dairy farm, the last-minute location for Woodstock. Porter grew up in New York City and was plugged into the Greenwich Village folk music and counterculture scene. He’d heard rumblings for months about the festival and knew it was something he couldn’t miss.

Weeks before Woodstock’s opening day, Porter took leave from his army intelligence training in Texas to head back to his family’s homestead in upstate New York. There he watched as cars full of hippies with license …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Baghdad falls to U.S. forces

April 4, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

On this day in 2003, just three weeks into the invasion of Iraq, U.S. forces pull down a bronze statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad’s Firdos Square, symbolizing the end of the Iraqi president’s long, often brutal reign, and a major early victory for the United States.

Dramatic images of the toppled statue and celebrating citizens were instantly beamed around the world. With Hussein in hiding and much of the city now under U.S. control, the day’s events later became known as the Fall of Baghdad.

“Saddam Hussein is now taking his rightful place alongside Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, Ceausescu in the pantheon of failed brutal dictators, and the Iraqi people are well on their way to freedom,” then-Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld said in a Pentagon briefing.

The Iraq War was far from over, however. Hussein was captured by U.S. forces in December 2003 and executed in December 2006, but the United States would not formally withdraw from Iraq until December 2011, eight years after the conflict first began.

…read more

Source: HISTORY

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Sultan Erdogan's Turkey Should Be Tossed from NATO

April 4, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

ISTANBUL – A couple weeks ago I visited Turkey’s
largest city, cosmopolitan Istanbul. Pictures of President Recep
Tayyip Erdogan promoting his party’s candidate for mayor,
former prime minister Binali Yildirim, dominated the cityscape and
vastly outnumbered those for Ekrem Imamoglu, the opposition
Republican People’s Party’s standard-bearer. Few
observers thought the latter had much of a chance. Yet after the
polls closed on Sunday, Imamoglu had narrowly triumphed.

Assuming the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) does not
steal the election—it’s contesting the result and
controls most levers of power—the opposition will have won
mayoralties in five of the country’s six most populous
cities, including the capital of Ankara. The AKP and related
parties have ruled Istanbul and Ankara since 1994, making the
losses doubly painful. The opposition also made significant gains
at the provincial level. The AKP still picked up a plurality of
votes and along with its nationalist coalition partner secured a
bare national majority of 51.6 percent. However, Erdogan, seemingly
on his way to being a modern sultan, no longer seems
invincible.

His greatest weakness today was once his strongest advantage:
the economy. Turkey has fallen into a recession; per capita GDP has
dropped to the level of a dozen years ago. Unemployment has surged
to the highest level in nine years. Inflation hit 20 percent, while
last year the Turkish lira’s value fell 28 percent.

An authoritarian at home,
duplicitous abroad, he is no friend nor ally of the U.S.

The opposition’s revival is good for the people of Turkey,
who are suffering under Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian
rule, as well as for Western governments, which should no longer
view Ankara as a friend and ally. In fact, the transatlantic
alliance should suspend or terminate Turkey’s membership in
NATO.

The Republic of Turkey grew out of World War I and the collapse
of the Ottoman Empire. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was an Ottoman
military officer turned revolutionary leader who was instrumental
in founding the new Turkish government. He created an
authoritarian, secular state that allied with the West during the
Cold War. Behind its democratic façade was a military-nationalist
deep state. The armed forces occasionally ousted elected leaders,
most recently in a “postmodern” coup in 1997, which
forced the resignation of an Islamist prime minister.

The following year, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, then mayor of
Istanbul, was ousted from office and jailed for reciting an
Islamist poem. In 2001, he cofounded the AKP, which won the 2002
election with support from liberals seeking to end the repressive
Kemalist regime. Once in office, he adeptly forced the military out
of politics.

However, within a decade, Erdogan was moving in an authoritarian
and Islamist direction, targeting …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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More School Choice Means More School Safety

April 4, 2019 in Economics

By Corey A. DeAngelis, Martin Lueken

Corey A. DeAngelis and Martin Lueken

Parents often rank school safety at the top of the list of what they care about
most when it comes to their children’s schooling. Recent events
have increased concerns among parents and school leaders and may
even suggest that some schools are struggling to keep children
safe
. Many people have called for heightened security measures
such as arming teachers, mandating clear backpacks, and stationing
more officers in schools.

Perhaps there’s another solution, one that doesn’t potentially
create a stressful environment for students.

What if some types of schools are safer than others? Is it
possible that school choice could improve school safety? Our
just-released study suggests it might.

School safety problems

Using survey data from Indiana in 2018, we examined the
relationship between school type and the presence of a set of 13
school safety-related practices, including controlled access to the
campus and buildings, metal detectors, uniforms, student
identification badges, and the presence of security personnel.

We find that private and public charter school leaders tend to
be more likely to report “never” having safety problems
at their schools than traditional public school leaders.
Specifically, our preferred model detects statistically significant
private school advantages, relative to traditional public schools,
for 8 out of the 13 safety outcomes.

For example, as shown in Figure 1 below, private school leaders
in Indiana are about 18 percentage points more likely to report
never having student physical conflicts than traditional public
school leaders. The results are not statistically significant for
the remaining five outcomes.

Figure 1: Private School Safety Problems Relative to
Traditional Public Schools

Figure 2: Public Charter School Safety Problems Relative
to Traditional Public Schools


Notes: All estimates reported in figure are statistically
significant at the 90% level of confidence. Full results are
reported in table 8 of the paper. These estimates are from
models that control for school characteristics (level, total
enrollment, number of minority students, number of students
eligible for the national free and reduced-price lunch program,
number of English language learners, number of minority teachers,
number of full-time teachers, urbanicity, suspensions, expulsions,
and school safety practices) and respondent characteristics (race,
gender, position, and income).

The results for public charter schools indicate that eight of
the 13 outcomes are not statistically significant, meaning there
were no significant differences detected between the propensity for
public charter and traditional public school leaders to report
never having these school problems. Three statistically significant
results suggest that public charter schools may be safer than
traditional public schools along these three measures of school
problems (likelihood of physical abuse of teachers, …read more

Source: OP-EDS