Thursday, December 22, 2011

Holiday Time Catch-Up

Since last posting, a pair of episodes aired on KUAF, both based around the political season we find ourselves in.

The November episode discussed the "unique" Chris Christie and how his pledge to not run reminded Bill of the great Sherman-esque proclamation of William Sherman in the late 19th century that he indeed would not run for President and if nominated would not serve.

Flip-Flop Politicians

The December episode looked at acrimonious political factions, and the modern belief that the Tea Party might cost the Republicans a "good" candidate unwilling to meet the splinter group's test. Well, Sherman set the WABAC machine for 1800 -- once again, nothing is new in American history.

Grouchy Politicians

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Coming to an Athletic Department Near You

Nate Allen of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette puts hit take on the increasing secrecy in college sports with Sometimes Lockdown Leads to Lock Up. The column is behind the ADG pay wall, but you can likely find it cut and paste elsewhere.

What is the significance? Because Allen joins a chorus around the country - Arkansas isn't special in this - of sports writers asking for more transparency. And regular political writers as Max Brantley joins in with his Arkansas Blog entry today. (Check the commentary and a link to another story from New York Times).

Again, what is the big deal? Remember how no one was interested in cell phone records until bloggers started to go after coaches (Arkansas one of the first, North Carolina one of the latest)?

Once upon a time, I was told by a colleague "what right do THEY have to see our cell phone records or read out emails."

My answer - because we are state employees, and if he didn't like that, maybe he should move into the private sector.

Am I implying I know something about UA because I worked there for over 20 years? That is not my point. I know the media there, and they can be quite indicative of trends. Watch and see if all sports media begin to probe deeper and not accept the answers of limited access - which if you can't find Allen's full column is the heart of his point. Quoting from Allen:

As coaches’ salaries and power increasingly escalate, so does the remoteness of athletic departments to the universities of which they are supposed to be a part and not apart.

The University of Arkansas’ Broyles Center was once as open as since retired Athletic Director Frank Broyles’ always open door, but now it is routinely described in comparative “lockdown” by alumni and others who were once accustomed to visiting it.

Just imagine when the UA’s football operations center is completed. The football fortress might be more forbidding than Fort Knox.

It took the political shock of Watergate to inspire a generation of reporters to ask harder questions, not accept answers and begin to go after raw data like budgets or committee reports.

Get ready, fellow PR and information professionals, for a wave of same in sports.

And I highly recommend not reacting with a closed door attitude - especially for those of us working for public institutions.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Four Refections on the Penn State Crisis

There is no time in the present, and the speed and scope of what has transpired in the last 72 hours at Penn State reinforce that statement. In a week, the organization went from celebrating one of it's most anticipated hisotorical moments, the ascension of it's iconic coaching legend into the record books as the all-time winningest, to the unquestionably lowest possible incident for an education institution, the violation of youth whom it is entrusted to protect and teach.

We must remember that as bad as this appears, we have had these kind of events in our American and human past. What separates us in the 21st century from those great tragedies is the network and the speed at which it moves. We can all become a part, if we choose, not only in reading distant news or passive viewing of the live events as they happen, we can participate in the event through our social media tools.

Maria Sciullo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette provides a succinct article on the impact of the internet on the story. Scuillo gets to the heart of the matter quickly:

Maybe, some harrumphed, this was just a case of overreaction? But the detailed report accessible to anyone with a computer, tablet or smartphone told a different story.

The indictment tells all. You can read it yourself. And as Sciullo or Pittsburgh native Dennis Miller said on his radio show, when you read it the doubt disappears.

We will now stare at the car wreck for the next days, months, years. There are some immediate lessons that will not change:

- If you think you have time to gather yourself in a major crisis, you are already doomed. It took the administration at Virginia Tech 48 hours to understand their crisis did not end when the shooter went down. It took the governor threatening to immediately relieve the president of the school to get the message through to open the school's emergency operations center and invoke their crisis plans.

The truth is very few of us have worked for an educational institution that believed these things could happen, much less would happen. And precious few of them will look at what happened elsewhere and become motivated to begin to prepare for the inevitable. Unless you are touched by these type events, you can sleep at night without drills, detailed plans or hierarchies for response.

- If your excuse for the first point is "it won't happen here", let me refer you back to the events of the first decade of the 21st century. Did anyone think airplanes could crash and bring down a 110 story building? Twice? In the same day?

Be honest - who among you could have ever imagined Penn State and Jo Paterno in this type of crisis?

- If you have discovered something so destructive, so heinous, so damaging that your only solution to protect the institution is to at best slow walk the process and more likely just cover it up, the net will get you. Eventually, people will know, and if it really is that big a problem, time will not heal the wounds and allow it to be swept away. The truth will out.

- Last of all, I was reminded by a former student of one of the prime directives I taught and lived by: the Watergate principal. No matter how bad the crime, the coverup is worse.

Arguments will be made - not this week or even this year because the nerves are too raw - that in Happy Valley they were moving through a process, that they intended to do things in good time, that this would be brought to prosecution. To outsiders, it will all look like what it is perceived to be today - a cover up at best, a perverse inverted German soldier defense (I was doing my duty by passing the information up the chain of command; I was not responsible) at worst.

Once again, the axiom is true: even a crime as reprehensible as this - especially in an education setting - the only thing worse than being the perp is being seen as someone who knew and did nothing.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

On the Heels of Protest

We have an episode on the occupy movement in perspective, but here's some more.

Granted, I'm reading the Sunday Chicago Tribune for more details about the events and Penn State and the cover-up by administration (let pause and remind you all - in all circumstances, the crime is bad; the cover-up is much worse - and this one is, well, hard to even consider).

Big full page story on the start of the commentary section: 10 things you might no know about Chicago protests.

Oh, a history piece on the long and significant history of Chicago in labor and social unrest.

Um, no, a snarky and shallow look at the minor upsets in the city from the mid to late 20th century.

In other words, Haymarket Square is not mentioned. Not once. Even though it figures TWICE in the history of protest in Chicago.

Somewhat akin to saying, let's review the great Super Bowls, and leaving out III - I don't know, because it's OLD or a long time ago.

I just re-read the piece to make sure the authors, Mark Jacob and Stephan Benzkofer, didn't slip it in and I missed it. Nope. In their lead:

"Occupy Chicago protesters are writing another chapter in a long history of dissent in this city. Here are 10 demonstrated facts:"

Briefly, Haymarket is the original anarchist event in U.S. history, a seminal moment in the labor movement and known world-wide. Why guess what, there is even a Haymarket statue and a monument to the police killed at the late 19th century labor protest turned bombing.

But we did learn about protest #4 on their list - a person who wore a tuxedo to the Mercantile Exchange to protest new dress rules. And a protest against a mini mart in the suburbs.

Oh, yes, the 1968 Democratic Convention managed to make the list. And Martin Luther King's ill-fated march.

But the original - nope. The Days of Rage? Nah-ah. The attack of the Haymarket statute? Not quite top 10.

However, a 1958 high school banning the wearing of dog tags with Elvis' birthdate and name by girls? That's number 10.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

THE Most Important Election

We hear that a lot, but is 2012 going to be THE most important election of all time. How do we judge the validity of that claim every four years? Kyle and Bill toss it around in this edition of We're History. Link to the on-line audio.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

In Honor of Daniel Meyer

So I'm taking in the Saturday morning road ritual - read the papers, have a Starbucks, wait for the bookstore across the street to open - and I come across the latest Medal of Honor recipient ceremony.

The President is placing that blue ribbon around the neck of a Marine - one of the few ever to earn the nation's highest military honor and live.

The cynical part of me, the trained historian, the PR flak, wants to pick at this story like the not so healed wound that obviously lives on this young man's soul. Yeah, the phone call part seems too staged. His selection somewhat defies the Corps' strictness for following orders.

But you know what?

As I sit here reading these stories, I don't care.

I don't care if he is some sort of central casting. And the more I look, the more I get the feeling he is not.

I want to believe in Dakota Meyer precisely for the reason he doesn't want me to. Because he is America. The one that works, and worries that taking a phone call might the boss on his ass.  The one that mourns for his brothers.  The one that might be a little Hollywood in "earning this" but still just goes out, punches the clock, moves the ball down the field.

The one that just can't see what all the fuss is about. That holds his pride and fears stoically inside. That just wants to do his job, sir.

And most of all, that knows sometimes you have to disobey orders. If you are right, you are rewarded. That believes in the right thing.

This above all is the part of Dakota Meyer's story that gives me the most hope.

He was not crushed by the system for disobeying, doing what had to be done and succeeding. Oh yes, he could easily be dead - read the news accounts - or could have caused that collateral damage his commanders correctly feared.

But he didn't.

That is also America.

It takes risks.  It is messy.  It fails sometimes.

More times than not, it rewards. Risk taking and reward seeking is America. Death or defeat is just around the corner, and it is crushing, devastating.

Fortune favors the bold is as old as Western civilization, and perhaps not coincidence that it is the motto of the 3rd Marine Division. That is Meyer's previous employer.

According the story coming from the White House, he was worried about his current one when this all started:

Obama said Meyer had initially refused to take his call about the award because he was working, saying, "If I don't work, I don't get paid."

Again, I don't care if that's stagecraft. It sounds like a serious young man who does not want the notoriety, that wants to just forget the worst day of his life, that, well, as he said:

I'd rather have all my guys here now than receive the medal," Meyer, now a construction worker back home in Kentucky, told CNN.

I was about to write, "I am unashamed to say that Dakota Meyer is my hero".  I got halfway through the sentence and realized that was wrong to say. I am guessing that is exactly what he doesn't want, in fact, does not deserve. 

He has given his pound of flesh to his country in the one physical wound he suffered in the fire-fight and the continuing one that I am betting rests in his heart and soul - for his lost brothers. He doesn't need the additional burden of being some kind of national talisman, or living up to some image we project upon him.

So instead, let me say I honor Dakota Meyer's service by two things. First, remembering him in my prayers and repeating his story so that maybe some of you that follow here can take some inspiration from him.

The second is more important - and for Dakota Meyer.

I'm going to work today. And I'm going to do the best possible job. And, thinking of the college football career he originally wanted instead of the Marines, I'm going to leave it all on the field.

Because Dakota Meyer, that horrible day, was a man, a Marine and an American.

Fortes fortuna juvate

Monday, September 5, 2011

Fun with Elections

The 18th and 19th centuries are filled with political characters, and Bill and Kyle go down that history memory lane on a Labor Day edition of the series.

Monday, August 29, 2011

New Episodes in the Can

Fans should keep an ear on KUAF in the NW Arkansas area, or via the Ozarks at Large website for five new episodes just taped last weekend.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

War By Other Names

We might think of times where the United States waged war by other means, but recently Kyle and I sat down to talk about what happens when war gets another name.

Does the War Powers Act apply in Libya? is our starting point. From there, we talk about what war means to the United States -- the Neutrality Acts of the 1930s, the Kellogg-Briand Pact and the "outlawry of war", and the original issue of War Powers, LBJ and the Gulf of Tonkin.

Jump to the Ozarks at Large audio from this July 29, 2011, edition of We're History.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Summer Travels Can Be Historic

Don't laugh at the old "hysterical markers" that line our highways. There is plenty of history in the airports most folks will use for their summer trips and vacations. Kyle and Bill talk about who was Butch O'Hare, what there is to see at the Fort Smith and Las Vegas airport museums and the prehistoric connection at Dallas-Fort Worth International.

Jump to the summer travel audio from our July 11, 2011, from Ozarks at Large.

Monday, July 4, 2011

More on Steve Martin, Twitterist and Historian

Steve Martin proves the point that you can reinvent yourself as long as you have talent and are willing to put in the work. Thus, his new career as a blue grass banjo player, writer of American history songs (check out a review on the single and iTunes for Me and Paul Revere) and most of all for this space, Twitter maven.

That a stand-up comedian would build a 1.3 million follower list is not a surprise, nor that his 140 characters are funnier than yours. (BTW - the link takes you to @SteveMartinToGo)

What I see as refreshing - and the soul of the artist coming out - was his comments about Twitter in USA TODAY on June 30:

"it's funny to be walking down the hallway and have a tweet appear in your mind . . . and not really knowing where it comes from. That unpredictability to myself might mean it's unpredictable to the audience in the same way."

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Steve Martin Joins In

We mention the Paul Revere event in this week's episode, and now Stve Martin's blue grass career joins in.

Monday, June 27, 2011

We're Back

After a little summer hiatus, the show returns with an episode today about that classic topic -- Don't Know Much About History. The recent National Educational Assessment Program report created a lot of noise in the media about what high school and other age kids don't know. The reality is, this is an unfortunate American history constant.

Dating back to the New York Times' front-page story in April 1943, just about every decade we have seen a national survey that proves we don't know our own history.

Kyle and I bounce it around today, and also discuss a couple of recent Presidential candidate/hopefuls who had a little trouble with their historical facts.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Long Time, No Post

Apologies to followers, we've also not had a lot of episodes in the past few weeks with travel for both myself and Kyle. However, I promise four new episodes are in the hopper for the next few weeks of summer.

Meanwhile, take a look at this cross post from Bill's personal blog on new media and communications that relates to both Civil War history and the talk he is giving on June 16 in Van Buren.

Distant Replay of the Civil War

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sputnik Moment

Several weeks ago, President Obama spoke of the "Sputnik Moment" for American during his state of the union. We found several interesting points in it.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Life on the Road

Saturday morning during a recent road trip, I took a walk up the street to the Atomic Testing Museum. Why? Because the NAB schedule didn't start until 1 p.m. And when else would I have the chance, particularly when I discovered it was a short one mile walk straight down the street of my hotel.

The neighborhood looked familiar because it's was - turns out the museum is located right behind the UNLV softball stadium, on the corner of the campus. Yet another reason why you as the traveling SID has no excuse to miss an place like this.

You might say, but my politics, beliefs, lack of caring about history - I don't want to go to "fill-in-the-blank" museum. OK, I get that, but let's walk through this example, arguably the most extreme of all.  After all, short of being Edward Teller's grandkids or a devotee of Curtis LeMay, why would any average person want to see a presentation of how one of the most horrific weapons developed in the history of man is tested.  Think about it - I'm not in Alamorgordo, N.M., where the National Atomic Museum looks at the creation of the bomb. This is about TESTING it.

The way the museum got creative with a dry subject was important.  Again, even if you are only mildly interested in a subject, study how they present the subject.  What fonts on signs? How consistent is the color scheme? How good was the branding? Can you tell, I've spent a little too much time in museum construction in the past - can't walk into one any more without trying to figure out mounting systems they used for AV.  

Counter argument: But I can see that by looking at the museums and displays of the teams we play in the lobbies of their facilities without taking time to go off the itinerary  of the team on my own.

Where do you think those looks come from? The design companies that build recruiting presentations, er, um, ah, athletic museums are the same ones making these high level museums. And if they aren't, they are the companies that the ones you are using are stealing their ideas.

Again, why? Because you never know what your are going to learn until you learn it.

This is going to be a long set-up, stay with me, it's worth it. In my history class at NWACC, one of the things I spend a little extra time on is the end of the Second World War, the start of the Cold War and how the collective "we" didn't always understand the long-range impacts of decisions. Obviously, one of those was dropping the atomic bombs. I help frame it with a personal story, and the experiences of Japanese civilians who have suffered the tremendous fire-bombings that preceded the atomic weapons.

Some of the things that we did with early nuclear in the opening of the Cold War today is purely barbaric. We made FiestaWare - extraordinarily colorful kitchen crockery painted with uranium paint - or create home chemistry kits with radioactive elements - out of ignorance.  Does fracking for natural gas bother you today? How about nuclear devices to shake loose the gas - as Robert Wuhl would say, I shhhhh out not. Learned it in the museum.

The testing of these unusual devices - atomic jets, atomic rocket motors, nuclear demolition for road projects and tunnels - gave me a series of new things to illustrate the point that until you learn about how dangerous this new technology was you can't understand the full nature of the impact.

That's all well and good. Then I stumble upon it. One of the two retired engineers of the Nevada Test Site that has been in several of the videos drops his own bomb.  In talking about the future of the test site, he makes this little plea. One day in the not so distant future, there may not be anyone left alive that has actually experienced a real test - above or below ground.

Here is this genuine cold warrior, and you can see it in his face, almost sense it in his voice. The fear.  The awe-inspired respect, but the fear of the power of the devices. It changed him, and no amount of explaining it, showing the gruesome images of Hiroshima or Nagasaki is going to convey what he knew in his soul.

This is what I'll use, both as a motivation in class and an example. Relating it back to Europe at the beginning of the 20th century, which became oh so eager to spoil for a "good fight" and a year later found itself in the meat grinder and epic generation changing First World War.  The same young men who wanted to prove themselves became the broken older politicians who after seeing the horror of the trench did anything in their power to avoid another war, including appeasing a madman.

Why? Because they had experienced it.  It remained a living memory. When the living memory fades, the unreasonable becomes plausible.

And now I have the other half of my lecture for next week, reminding the class that sometimes we do things we have to do but we must never forget the awesome burdens that come with, as Harry S Truman said, an Awesome Power.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

New Scripts Coming Soon

Working on some nuclear catastrophe, summer travel piece and recent politics.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

I Know I Said Wilson

In the recent episode on "to the shores of Tripoli", Kyle and I were rolling along and inexplicably, while talking about Thomas Jefferson, I said "Wilson." Maybe I thought Kyle was Polish -- the apocryphal story of Pole intellectuals greeting each other with the word "Wilson" as a high-minded salute to the President's post World War I peace policy, the Fourteen Points. I'd just run through that in class the day before we taped. Or, it simply could be mental fatigue -- a lot of traveling here for at least half of the We're History crew. There's another audio miscue in the piece -- can you hear it?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

To the Shores of Tripoli

Not necessarily a found overstatement by media, but more of a taking advantage of the historical moment -- a quick episode on exactly what that opening line of the Marine Corps Hymn means. It refers to the first ever hoisting of the Stars and Stripes in victory over a foreign land -- the battle of Deme as a part of the First Barbary War under Thomas Jefferson's administration.

This script started out as a straight-forward look up the event to give the Libyan "war" some context. It turned up a couple of interesting notes that are relevant today -- the limits of Presidential war powers and force projection to try to avoid ground troops.

Check it out by downloading the Monday, April 4, edition of Ozarks At Large via iTunes, listen to this link via the KUAF website or by using the KUAF app for iSpace and click on Ozarks At Large for the Monday episode.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

New Tools, Same Revolutions

Kyle and Bill talk about the impact of Twitter and Facebook on today's events in the Middle East, and remember back when other technologies may have impacted America's history. Most notably, the colonial period and the Committees of Correspondence.

Social media is whatever the times provide. Listen to the episode.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Presidential Election Insults

The history of U.S. elections is one of barb and insult. Those good old days were not quite as gentlemanly as we like to envision them. In fact, they were down right insulting at times. This episode, which aired on Monday, Feb. 14 (I wonder if that was done with no small irony by Kyle for Valentine's Day) showed that well back into the 19th century, there was no love lost between candidates.

I enjoy coming up with these, because once I can get Kyle on a chuckling roll, it's fun to see how much I can get him to crack up. The one that did the trick was this passage, when I'm closing out the 19th century:

I’ll toss in a 20th century bonus --1912 was an absolute fiesta. Sitting president William Howard Taft called the previous president, now third-party candidate Theodore Roosevelt, a “dangerous egotist” and a “demagogue.” TR called his former hand-picked successor a “fathead” with the brain of a “guinea pig” and a “flubdub with a streak of the second rate and the common in him.” Woodrow Wilson labeled TR as “the most dangerous man of the age.” TR returned the favor that Wilson was “a damned presbyterian hypocrite and a Byzantine logothete,” “an infernal skunk in the White House.”

If milk were available, there would have been sinus irrigation.

Now this episode drew some phone calls to the station -- not by angry listeners -- but those who wanted to know what was that book we were using. Bad news here, it's not just one book. Those lovely campaign quotes have been collected over the years from several places.

However, if you want a single volume good starting place, one of my personal favorite authors on the presidents and their unusual proclivities and pronouncements was Paul Boller. The TCU professor had a series of books that ran under "Presidential . . . " -- Presidential Anecdotes and Presidential Campaigns have a lot of these in them.

And if you liked this episode, the same day we taped an "evergreen" on the end of civility in politics in general that will air sometime later this spring. It is full of many of the one-liners about politicians -- not from campaigns, per se, but opinions offered during the course of working together -- that were used on the @Were_History Twitter feed with the hashtag of #TheySaidIt during the end of January and the first of February.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Are you getting the tweets?

Following on with longer posts here about the individual segments, we've begun sending out some of our favorite quotes -- some that can be on public airways and some that are, well, a little blue -- from the historical past.

They are going out from our @Were_History twitter feed with the hash tag of #theysaidit. It includes some whoppers. To keep up with this quote a day series over the next couple of weeks, and to get regular updates, be sure to subscribe.

Also, don't forget our Facebook page either.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Presidential Press Secretaries

While snow may have delayed it for a day, the latest edition of We're History is available now on-line. It aired on Wednesday, Feb. 2 -- a Ground Hog Day special of sorts as this was a bit of a retread of one of our episodes from the 2008 season.

This script had some of the elements of the episode we did when George Bush's press secretary Scott McClellan came out with his book, accusing his superiors of making him lie for the president.

The recently departed Robert Gibbs did not have a similar moment, and in the course of getting this episode out some of the comments on Gibbs were cut for time. We do review the two great schools -- former journalists and advisers/PR types/friends of the president. Gibbs certainly was more of the adviser-friend to Obama.

The new press secretary swings back toward the former journalist pro with Jay Carney. We saw that within Bush's world -- Tony Snow as the famous journalist who left and was replaced by McClellan, then Dana Perino.

McClellan does give me the chance to bring back up the great story of Gerald Ford's one-month spokesman in Jerald terHorst. terHorst resigned when he felt Ford and the White House mislead him, famously saying:

I cannot in good conscious support your decision to pardon former President Nixon

You can read the whole thing with this image from WikiPedia.

As for Gibbs, he leaves us with a great quote for the social media age. In speaking of what needs to happen when dealing with real-time or social media:

The best way to fight rumor is with fact. If you don't fight rumor, it becomes truth.

And of course, no remembrance of PR types is complete without two Ron Ziegler quotes:

This is the operative statement. All other statements are inoperative.


If my answers sound confusing, I think they are confusing because the questions are confusing and the situation is confusing.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Get the KUAF App

If you aren't in the listening area, KUAF now has its own iSpace app -- AND it includes all of Ozarks at Large. So another way you can get your semi-monthly dose of history!

Jump here in the iTunes Store.

Friday, January 21, 2011

It Was The Worst of Times

Pure glass half full Dickensian as we tape off two episodes of 19th century political wit and witticisms that completely puncture the idea at we are living in the most contentious times. For all the hard opinions and name calling, no one to date in the 21st century of such harsh times has called the President a "flubdub" or possessing a "backbone of a chocolate eclaire".

One concession to the modern era, we can certainly spread our caustic words further and faster. Yet, the Internet also gives us to the power to search out and find that while yes, the two sides are quite willing to spew invective at each other, none have accused the other of child beating, molestation or insinuated that sexual relations with native Americans (or other "races" deemed less than socially acceptable) disqualified individuals from consideration for the highest offices in the land.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Looking Back at Looking Back

The archive for the Wednesday, Jan. 20, edition of We're History is on-line. In this episode, Bill and Kyle talk philosophy -- exactly what is history. Bill gives us the short version of what he tells his class before the start of each semester. There's the past, there's the history that got recorded and there's the History that we create.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Presidential PR

By the time we get this one out, surely the current president will have chosen his new White House press secretary. In recognition of the passing from the scene of Robert Gibbs, Kyle and I revisit some of the notables who have spoken for the president. They are a varied lot, ranging from old line journalists like Pierre Sallinger to old buddies like Jordie Powell to professional PR types like Dana Perino. Best if all, we remember the child wonder (no, not DeeDee Myers) Ron Nessen and the one-month press secretary Jerald terHorst.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

New Recordings

To start off the new semester, Kyle and I went into the studio to lay down five new bits. The first may air as early as tomorrow, appropriate since it is a little thought piece I use each semester with my NWACC students.

Humor me with my grand theory of the historical universe, but in giving my survey students tools to understand and interpret history I tell them there are three parts to history: the past, history (with a little h) and capital H History.

The past is what actually happened, the events and things that transpired in the time before this moment. We live the past. We experience the past. We remember our own little corner and perspectives of the past. But the past is gone once it happens, never to be seen again.

The little h history is what we recorded of the past. It is the photographs, the newspaper accounts, the original documents, the films, the first person accounts. History can never be as complete as the past, and it is only what survives the ravages of time and memory to be presented to those of us who dare to interpret what occurred in the past for those of us in the present; those of us who create and commit History.

Listen in tomorrow at KUAF for the rest of that story. I'll have the show archive link as soon as it's ready.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Vacation time for Obama

In the late summer of 2010, the current president was being assailed from both sides of the political spectrum about his vacation habits. Turns out, some of the charges that Barak Obama was taking too much time off when compared to his predecessors was not supported by the historical record. It also gave Kyle and Bill a chance to look back at the impact on vacation time -- and vacation spots -- used by the American President.

Presidential Vacations from Aug. 30, 2010.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Third parties

Another from the archives as we catch up from the past, Kyle and Bill sit down to talk about how the Tea Party fits into the American political past.

Tea Party, Bull Moose, Reform and Mugwump from Oct. 26, 2010.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Historical look at the midterms

A sitter at the net from back in Oct. 19, 2010, as Kyle and Bill sit down to talk about what the historical trend was on mid-term elections. This was created in the midst of the chance for an "unprecedented" swing in the congress. The reality, of course, is almost every American President's party loses in the mid-terms. So the House swing in November came as no surprise to the We're History crew.

The Historical Mid-Term Elections from back on Oct. 19, 2010.