Female Spies and Gender-Bending Soldiers Changed the Course of the Civil War

In this climate, women made great spies precisely because of the way 19th-century society underestimated them. During the Civil War, they “were able to take society’s ideas about the weakness of womanhood and brilliantly exploit them,” Abbott says. “Women were always supposed to be the victims of war, not the perpetrators. One of my favorite quotes in the book is from a Lincoln official, who was completely flummoxed when he said, ‘What are we going to do with these fashionable women spies?’ The idea that women are not only capable of treasonous activity, but they are also capable of executing it more deftly than men was something that had never occurred to these men.

After 150 years, America is still haunted by the ghosts of its Civil War, whose story has been romanticized for so long it’s hard to keep …

(via Female Spies and Gender-Bending Soldiers Changed the Course of the Civil War)

Something to keep in mind when reading articles about women in spec-ops units. If only we had an enemy that underestimated women to the point where women would walk around hidden in plain sight.

History Unfolding: Right-wingers, then and now

Thanks largely to last fall’s elections there are now 123 Generation Xers in the Congress. 83 of them are Republicans and 43 are Democrats. The Democrats are the party claiming to stand for the achievements of the last eighty years of American life, and they are correspondingly much older. Indeed, most of the leadership of the Democrats in Congress, including Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, and their committee chairmen in the Senate are from the Slent generation, whose youngest members will turn 69 this year. John Boehner is a Boomer, but most important lieutenants, Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor, are Xers. We can’t understand them if do not keep in mind that they feel no commitment or any allegiance to anything this country did before 1980 or so. Their attitude was summed up by one of their number after a Thursday meeting with Treasure Secretary Tim Geithner: “We didn’t start this mess.”

From History Unfolding

Interesting read, adding historical context to the rise of the tea party and genX conservatives.

Clinton Sees An Early Payoff of U.S. Debt

Mr. Clinton, in an announcement from the White House, called on Republican leaders in Congress to “put politics aside and join me” in a budget proposal that would pay off dollars 3.6 trillion in debt by 2013. This, he said, would leave the United States debt-free for the first time since 1835.

“What we’re doing by taking this position,” Mr. Clinton said, “is maximizing the choices the next president and the next Congress will have.”

From Consumer Confidence Hits an All-Time High – Jobs Called ‘Plentiful’ – Clinton Sees An Early Payoff of U.S. Debt – NYTimes.com

Remember when?

Adam Winkler: MLK and His Guns

in 1956, after King’s house was bombed, King applied for a concealed carry permit in Alabama. The local police had discretion to determine who was a suitable person to carry firearms. King, a clergyman whose life was threatened daily, surely met the requirements of the law, but he was rejected nevertheless. At the time, the police used any wiggle room in the law to discriminate against African Americans.

Ironically, the concealed carry permit law in Alabama was promoted by the National Rifle Association thirty years earlier. Today, the gun rights hardliners fight to eliminate permits for concealed carry, as Arizona has done.

Eventually, King gave up any hope of armed self-defense and embraced nonviolence more completely. Others in the civil rights movement, however, embraced the gun.

One of the most indelible images of the 1960s is a photograph from Life magazine of Malcolm X looking out a window with a long M-1 carbine in his hands, the rifle pointed up to the sky. For blacks unhappy with the progress achieved by King’s marches, the gun became a symbol of the “by any means necessary” philosophy.

From Adam Winkler: MLK and His Guns

So the moral of the story seems to be; if you want popular support for gun control, get infamous black people to pose with guns.

Thomas Jefferson on Wealth Inequality

I am conscious that an equal division of property is impracticable, but the consequences of this enormous inequality producing so much misery to the bulk of mankind, legislators cannot invent too many devices for subdividing property, only taking care to let their subdivisions go hand in hand with the natural affections of the human mind. The descent of property of every kind therefore to all the children, or to all the brothers and sisters, or other relations in equal degree, is a politic measure and a practicable one. Another means of silently lessening the inequality of property is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions or property in geometrical progression as they rise.

From Thomas Jefferson on Wealth Inequality

Thomas Jefferson was a pinko commie socialist redistributionalist.

Founding Fathers’ papers to be accessible online

The University of Virginia Press is putting the published papers of Washington, Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and Benjamin Franklin on a National Archives website that is expected to be accessible to the public in 2012.

When complete, the website will allow users to read, browse and search the text of tens of thousands of documents from the period.

From Founding Fathers’ papers to be accessible online

I am just cynical enough to believe that this will lead to more out of context quotes from the founding fathers mudding up what should be reasonable debate.