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December 17, 2017


Trump and the Division and Turmoil of the Napoleonic Wars

On this day in 1804, Napoleon Bonaparte crowns himself Emperor of France, taking the Charlemagne replica from the hands of Pope Pius VII and placing it on wife Josephine’s head. He also took the titles King of Italy and Protector of the Confederation of the Rhine before reversals of fortune and war found him in

Back to the Future

On this day in 1980, TV overtakes reality as over 83 million Americans tune in to “Dallas” to finally find out who shot J.R. The November 21 episode solved the mystery, identifying Kristin Shepard, J.R.’s wife’s sister and his former mistress, as the culprit. CBS television debuted the first five-episode pilot season of “Dallas” in

The German Tirpitz “The Lonely Lady of the North”

On November 12th in 1944, a flight of 32 British Lancaster bombers equipped with “Tallboy” ordnance scored two direct hits on the infamous German battle wagon Tirpitz, sending her to the bottom. Like her sister ship Bismarck, the Tirpitz was armed with a main battery of eight 15-inch guns in four twin turrets. After a

Now What?

Now that Jeff Flake has channeled his inner FDR; now that Bob Corker has made it abundantly clear that the White House is basically a day-care center; now that John McCain and George Bush have each publicly rebuked this president and his policies, there’s only one question I have. Now what? Because here’s what it

Feudal America

This month’s Atlantic Magazine has a depressing little article about how the idea of America—the set of beliefs that animated people like Whitman, Emerson, and Thoreau—appears to be disappearing with each passing generation, leaving only a dry husk of nationalism, racism, and xenophobia in its place. According to the article, on a scale of 1-10,

The quixotic Clement Vallandigham

On this date in 1863 the quixotic Clement Vallandigham is soundly defeated in the Ohio governor’s race. As leader of the Copperheads, anti-war Democrats often sympathetic to the Confederacy, Vallandigham had been a two-term congressman before secession. Vehemently speaking out against Lincoln and the Union, Vallandigham was tried and convicted in a military court under

Christopher Columbus “Dick Moves”

On many calendars in the Americas and elsewhere, Monday marked the celebration of Columbus Day, or “Día de la Hispanidad.” Columbus actually “discovered America” on October 12, 1492, and herein lies our lesson. At about 2:00 in the morning of 12 October, a lookout on the Pinta, Rodrigo de Triana, spotted land, and immediately alerted


We have become unhinged. I don’t mean “crazy,” though perhaps we are crazy. We certainly think other people are crazy. Them. The other side. And it’s the other-side-ness I’m talking about when I say we are unhinged. Unhinged. We’ve always taken sides in political arguments, right from Day One, but the two sides used to

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