Archive for the ‘American Studies’ Category

Labor Day To-Do List

September 3, 2018

Labor Day To-Do List

Happy Labor Day. Now that September is upon us, remember:

1. The 2018 NFL season starts Thursday, September 6th. Get snacks & beer.

2. Air out woolens.

3. Buy leaf bags.

4. Do not wear white shoes after September 3rd. 
Persons in the continental United States wearing white shoes past that date are assumed to be illegal aliens from the Southern Hemisphere, and will be treated accordingly. You have been warned.

More:

“Why Can’t You Wear White After Labor Day?” Kathy Benjamin, Mental Floss

“The Reason(s) Behind the No-White-After-Labor-Day Rule (Blame the One Percent!),” John Surico, Village Voice

Why We Can’t Wear White After Labor Day,” Laura Fitzpatrick, Time

Related:

“When Labor Day Meant Something,” Chad Broughton, The Atlantic

“How Labor Day Was Celebrated When Unions Were on the Rise,” Eliza Berman, TIME

“Early Labor Day parades included cigar-making, beer, and proposed live animal slaughter,” Phil Edwards, Vox

“8 facts about American workers,” Sara Kehaulani Goo, Pew Research Center

“US unions are shrinking. These 7 charts show what that means.” Danielle Kurtzleben, Vox

“Why white men hate unions,” Edward McClelland, Salon

“More Workers Are Claiming ‘Wage Theft,’” Steve Greenhouse,New York Times

“No union mines left in Kentucky, where labor wars once raged,” Dylan Lovan, Associated Press

“Workers Organize, but Don’t Unionize, to Get Protection Under Labor Law,” Steven Greenhouse. New York Times

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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American Shame at an All-Time High

July 3, 2018

American Shame at an All-Time High

“This Fourth of July marks a low point in U.S. patriotism. For the first time in Gallup’s 18-year history asking U.S. adults how proud they are to be Americans, fewer than a majority say they are ‘extremely proud.’ Currently, 47% describe themselves this way, down from 51% in 2017 and well below the peak of 70% in 2003.”

–“In U.S., Record-Low 47% Extremely Proud to Be Americans,” Jeffrey M. Jones, Gallup

More:

“It’s Independence Day, but Americans aren’t feeling so proud,” Emily Guskin, Washington Post

“We’re Divided On Patriotism Too,” Nathaniel Rakich and Dhrumil Mehta, FiveThirtyEight

“Poll: On the 4th, what symbolizes the best (and worst) of America? It depends whom you ask,” Susan Page and Merdie Nganza, USA Today

Related:

“‘God Bless America’: 100 Years of an Immigrant’s Anthem,” Sheryl Kaskowitz, New York Times

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Top image (“Trump Molests Flag: Last Refuge of a Scoundrel.”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Thanksgiving Greetings from William S. Burroughs

November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving Greetings from William S. Burroughs
A holiday poem from Williams S. Burroughs: “Thanks for the wild turkey and the passenger pigeons …”

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Happy Native Americans’ Day

October 10, 2016

Happy Native Americans' Day

On October 10, 2016, the Federal Office of Management and Budget observes the invasion of the Americas by Christophorus Columbus (aka Christoffa Corombo, Cristoforo Colombo, Cristóvão Colombo, Christovam Colom, and Cristóbal Colón), a Genoese private contractor working for the government of Castile. Federal employees (and the mailman) have Monday off. Even at the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Of course, senators and congressmen have every Monday off. Every Friday, too.

God Bless America.

Note: Monday, October 10, 2016 is Native American Day in South Dakota. That’s when Minneapolis, Portland and Seattle celebrate Indigenous People’s Day.

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4th of July. Hot Dog!

July 1, 2016

4th of July. Hot Dog!

Many Americans will celebrate this Independence Day by ingesting a batter-like slurry of pork and/or beef meat taken off the bone by advanced meat recovery machinery (AMM) and mixed with potassium lactate, sodium diacetate, sodium erythorbate, corn maltodextrin, sodium nitrate, and paprika extract, then forced into tubes for processing.

Patriotic citizens will heat the slurry-filled tubes over glowing little pillows of carbonized sawdust and petroleum distillates, place them in enriched flour buns moistened with a paste of ground yellow mustard seeds mixed with acetic acid and turmeric, and garnish them with many tiny cubes of chemically preserved cucumber dyed an improbable green with FD&C Yellow #5. Then they’ll eat them.

Yum!

The National Hot Dog & Sausage Council says Americans will eat 7 billion hot dogs this summer, 150 million of them on Independence Day. So enjoy our National Food, and have a safe and happy 4th of July.

Read more:

“What’s in Your Wiener? Hot Dog Ingredients Explained,” Katherine Harmon, Scientific American

“Why Americans Are Eating Fewer Hot Dogs,” Paul Lukas,Bloomberg BusinessWeek

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Image (after James Montgomery Flagg and Oscar Mayer) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Shopping Can Be Fun!

June 26, 2016

“A brief history of the American shopping mall,” from PBS NewsHour Weekend’s Tracy Wholf.

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Burnt Offerings

May 27, 2016

Burnt Offerings

It’s Memorial Day weekend, and patriotic citizens honor America’s fallen heroes by incinerating and ingesting meat outdoors. Other observances include mass motorcycle runs, traffic jams, parades of children and pets, and ceremonial retail frenzy.

This weekend will fatten U.S. meat sales and heat up the economy. Citizens who do not eat meat grill veggies; religious Jews grill kosher meat. It might be said that burger burning, bargain-hunting Americans are celebrating the values our fallen heroes were defending, but only if gluttony and consumerism are mistaken for expressions of freedom.

Anyway, have a thoughtful weekend. Observe the traditional moment of silence on Monday at 3:00 PM. And try to avoid the traditional outbreak of Memorial Day motor accidentsboating mishapshouse fires, and food poisoning.

Related:

“National WWII Museum Poll Shows 80 percent of Americans Unfamiliar with Memorial Day’s Real Meaning” (Press Release).

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com [Note: I imagined this outrageous grill a few years ago; now someone is selling it].

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length

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Slavery in America

February 19, 2016

The Whitney Plantation near Wallace, Louisiana, was founded by German émigré Ambroise Heidel and his family in 1722, and his son Jean Jacques Haydel Sr. converted it to sugar cultivation in the early 1800s. The property passed through several hands before it was purchased by New Orleans attorney John Cummings, who spent 16 years and $8 million of his own money transforming it into a museum dedicated to telling the story of slavery in America.

“The Whitney Plantation is not a place designed to make people feel guilt, or to make people feel shame. It is a site of memory, a place that exists to further the necessary dialogue about race in America.”

— “Telling the Story of Slavery,” Kalim Armstrong, The New Yorker

More:

“Harsh world of slavery focus of Louisiana plantation museum,” Jonathan Kaminsky, Reuters

Video produced by Kalim Armstrong

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Donald Trump, Meet Langston Hughes

January 17, 2016

Donald Trump, Meet Langston Hughes

Let America Be America Again
Langston Hughes (1902 – 1967)

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

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Billy’s Christmas Wish

December 29, 2015

“Billy’s Christmas Wish,” written and recited by Red Sovine. Imagine you’re alone, driving a semi down a dark highway at night, hearing this over the radio.

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