“…Slavery and race were absolutely critical elements in the coming of the war”

I just saw another Rebel-flag emblazoned “Heritage not Hate” bumper sticker. I suspect I’ll see more during the sesquicentennial observances of the Civil War.  The “Heritage not Hate” folks claim slavery had nothing to do with the Civil War. Neo-Confederates – and there are more than a few in my native Kentucky – claim that 11 slave states – the Bluegrass State not among them — seceded over “states’ rights.” I teach history. Slavery had everything to do with the Civil War. “To put it quite simply, slavery and race were absolutely critical elements in the coming of the war,” wrote Charles B. Dew in Apostles of Disunion: Southern Secession Commissioners and the Causes of the Civil War. For my money, Dew’s little book is … Continue reading

Mammogram Madness

There’s been a lot of controversy in the past couple of days over the release of a new recommendation from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force about the age women should start getting mammograms. The panel’s new recommendations represent a significant departure from existing guidelines, and have caused widespread concern since they were announced on Monday.  Personally I’m just going to say, that I have 3 friends who each had breast cancer in their 40’s and getting their mammograms saved each of them. Given that, I don’t think the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force guideline is helpful. Neither does HHS Secretary Sebelius who “told women to ignore the new advisory recommendations for now.” “The U.S. Preventive Task Force is an outside independent panel of … Continue reading

Legacies, Celebrities, and Media Skanks

NBC news correspondent Jenna Bush Hager had a news exclusive. And, like news exclusives in the Era of Infotainment TV, this one was broadcast by the entertainment division. Specifically, Jenna Bush interviewed her mother, Laura Bush, on 38th episode of “The Jay Leno Show.” It makes no difference what the questions or answers were. Journalism hasn’t been a priority of television for a long time. What matters is that a network hired someone with no background into a job with an income substantially above what most journalists earn. Jenna Bush isn’t the only one to parlay dubious credentials onto network television. Beauty pageants—it makes no difference if it’s the Miss Rutabaga or Miss America contests—are full of contestants who say … Continue reading