Tag Archives: facts

You Are Here Scholars Protest New AP U.S. History Standards

Great Article written by : Daniel Lattier / Intellectual Takeout : 

This week, an impressive list of scholars across the nation published a letter opposing the new framework for the College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) exam in U.S. History. You can read the full letter here.

As you may know, millions of U.S. high school students take an AP U.S. History course and exam each year in the hopes of earning college credit. The new framework of the exam is designed to shape the course curriculum.

The scholars’ problems with the new framework include the following:

  • It takes away teachers’ previous freedom with the curriculum and “centralizes control, deemphasizes content, and promotes a particular interpretation of American history.”
  • The historical view it promotes “downplays American citizenship and American world leadership in favor of a more global and transnational perspective.”
  • The framework is organized around the theme of “identity-group conflict… while downplaying essential subjects, such as the sources, meaning, and development of America’s ideals and political institutions, notably the Constitution.”
  • It shifts away from the previous framework’s emphasis on American exceptionalism and national character in favor of an emphasis on “the formation of gender, class, racial and ethnic identities.”

Those with similar concerns are often met with the straw man argument that they wish to turn a blind eye to the past sins committed by Americans. Fortunately, the scholars anticipated this argument in their letter:

“We do not seek to reduce the education of our young to the inculcation of fairy tales, or of a simple, whitewashed, heroic, even hagiographical nationalist narrative. Instead, we support a course that fosters informed and reflective civic awareness, while providing a vivid sense of the grandeur and drama of its subject.”

The concerns raised in the scholars’ letter are not new to me. I brought up similar ones in an article last year on Minnesota’s U.S. history standards, which you can read here. I have provided these standards below:

These are the standards used in Minnesota’s U.S. history classes at all levels. As you read through them, you’ll notice the presence of the same themes that trouble the national group of scholars: American history as one primarily of class and ethnic conflict, and an effort to shift students toward a more global identity.

Personally, I have no idea how you preserve the United States without instilling a good measure of civic pride and identity in its people. These things have always been thought necessary to the survival of modern nation-states. Those who are seeking to do otherwise probably want what never was and never will be.

That said, please don’t mistake me. I’m not for suppressing the perpetration of these themes. I think an open, public debate on the lens through which we should view America is a very good and necessary thing. Let the battle of ideas commence, charitably, and we’ll see whose ideas have the greatest resonance and staying-power.

What I’m against, though, is a public school system that currently has a monopoly on history curriculum—both nationally through the AP exam and at the state-level—and which uses that monopoly to promote a very particular view of American history. The AP exam and the Minnesota standards do not express a presently-held majority consensus about America’s past. What is more, they often promote a particular, critical view of history to students who have not been adequately schooled in the art of historical criticism themselves. In other words, they’re not allowing for a battle of ideas; to use a loaded word, they’re indoctrinating.

In the fifth century, Augustine famously defined a “people” as “a group of rational beings bound together by a common agreement about the objects of their love.” We the people of the United States were originally bound together by a common love of freedom. Right now, this freedom is not being allowed for in the curriculum of American schools that shapes the minds of our youth. As the end of the scholars’ letter reads, “We can, and must, do better.”

Latino USA presents : ‘A Latino History of Hip-Hop’ Part : 1 & 2

Latino USA is the foremost Latino voice in public media and the longest running Latino-focused program on radio.

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Website: Latinousa.org

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For the first part of a two-part series on how Latinos have influenced hip-hop Latino USA producers Daisy Rosario and Marlon Bishop learn about the early years by talking to legends like Devastating Tito, Lee Quiñones, and Charlie Chase. They break down the four elements of hip-hop: MCing, DJing, graffiti, and break dancing and explore how New York City made it all possible.

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Much is inferred when we say the word “Hip-Hop” and it isn’t always positive but besides that, it usually is tagged as a “Black” thing. Totally unfair and un-true! Ensconced in the global roots of the genre, are Latino giants who after all these years, continue to be overlooked or overshadowed due to the “Black and White” mindset as my interview subject Daisy Rosario so aptly put it.

Rosario and her cohort Marlon Bishop, decided enough was enough, and pulled together an audio documentary which celebrates Hip-Hop from the Latino perspective. A much needed conversation, the series brings us the stories, insights and perspectives of Latinos who have on both coasts, set the stage and laid the foundation for much of what we call “Real Hip-Hop,” outside of any racial lines. They helped create and elevate the craft as well as define the “pillars” accepted as basic tenets of Hip-Hop as a whole.

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“A Latino History of Hip-Hop” Part II Episode, a continuation of “A Latino History of Hip-Hop, Part I,”  air[s] [today] on Friday, June 5. While Part I, which aired on March 20, examined the origins of Hip-Hop in New York City, Part II will explore the profound contributions of Latinos to Hip-Hop culture from the late 80’s to present day, focusing primarily on the music in major U.S. cities, such as New York, Los Angeles and Miami. Latino influence on hip-hop culture is so widely overlooked. 

The segment examines the legacy of the late Big Pun (Christipher Lee Rios), the first Latin rapper to go ever platinum and emerge from the underground Hip-Hop scene in The Bronx. Additionally, the show features special guest Mellow Man Ace, who’s Spanglish hit “Mentirosa” put Latinos on the West Coast hip-hop map. Other guests include rising Puerto Rican star Bodega Bamz and Miami’s DJ Laz. (LatinoUSA.org)

Latino USA (latinousa.org) is a radio program distributed by National Public Radio (NPR). Check out our exclusive interview with series co-creator Daisy Rosario below!

A Latino History of Hip-Hop, Part I: NOW on LatinoUSA.org

 

A Latino History of Hip-Hop, Part 2: NOW on LatinoUSA.org

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For the second part of a two-part series on how Latinos have influenced hip-hop, Latino USA producers Daisy Rosario and Marlon Bishop explore what happens when rap music becomes big business. We hear from Spanglish rap pioneer Mellow Man Ace, chat with radio personalities Bobbito Garcia and Cipha Sounds, find out about how DJ Laz put his spin on Miami bass, and we pay tribute to the legendary Big Pun.

 

Daisy Rosario

Daisy Rosario is a comedian, writer and producer of things from radio stories to live events. Recently graduated from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, she also works with The Moth and the Upright CitizensBrigade Theatre. Daisy has interned at Radiolab, taken a play she directed to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and is an obsessive baseball fan. Her story “Child of Trouble,” was featured on the Peabody award-winning Moth Radio Hour. She holds a BFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Marlon Bishop

Marlon Bishop is a radio producer and journalist with a focus on Latin America, New York City, music and the arts. He got his start in radio producing long-form documentaries on Latin music history for the public radio program Afropop Worldwide. After a stint reporting for the culture desk at New York Public Radio (WNYC), Marlon spent several years writing for MTV Iggy, MTV”s portal for global music and pop culture. Marlon has also lived and traveled all over Latin America, reporting stories as a freelancer for NPR, Studio 360, The World, the Village Voice, Billboard and Fusion, among other outlets. He is currently a staff Producer for Latino USA.

Study finds Vaping is 95% Safer than Smoking

ARTICLE CREDITS : Vape about it : By Chris Catani :

A new study published by Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos on Thursday May 21st 2015 titled “E-Cigarettes Generate High Levels of Aldehydes Only In “Dry Puff” Conditions” debunks the“Hidden Formaldehyde in E-Cigarette Aerosols” research paper that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine back in January 2015.

Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos, a world renowned cardiologist and leading e-cigarette and vaping researcher has been conducting scientific studies on e-cigarettes since they first became popular back in 2007.

In his latest study published today, he found that “”Vapers are not exposed to dangerous levels of aldehydes. My reading of the evidence is that e-cigarettes are at least 95% safer than smoking. Smokers should be encouraged to switch to vaping.

The study goes on to show that minimal levels of aldehydes were detected and that those levels were 30-250 times LOWER than tobacco cigarette smoke.

To show where the controversy first began lets go back to January 2015 when the New England Journal of Medicine published a research paper titled “Hidden Formaldehyde in E-Cigarette Aerosols”. The research paper concluded that e-cigarettes contain twice the amount of formaldehyde than that of a traditional tobacco cigarette. The media and politicians ran with it and it caused the public to think e-cigarettes were full of formaldehyde.

The original study was flawed from the beginning. Researchers overheated the atomizers in the e-cigarette to a point no vaper would realistically vape at. This created what is known in the vaping community as a “Dry hit” or “Dry puff”. A dry hit occurs when e-liquid on the wick or cotton is all used up and the wick or cotton becomes dry, hence the name “Dry hit”.

The New England Journal of Medicine severely overheated the atomizers and measured the amounts of formaldehyde in these dry hits, then released the findings as evidence that there is twice as much formaldehyde in e-cigarettes than in a traditional tobacco cigarette. It was a complete smear campaign!

When the original study by the New England Journal of Medicine was released, Dr. Gilbert Ross of the American Council on Science and Health said, “This flawed study will be used to attack e-cigs as not only not safer than smoking cigarettes, but perhaps even more toxic. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Dr. Farsalinos study was peer reviewed and published in Addiction which is a monthly international scientific journal publishing peer-reviewed research reports on alcohol, illicit drugs, tobacco, and gambling as well as editorials and other debate pieces. Owned by the Society for the Study of Addiction, it has been in continuous publication since 1884.

This is another conclusive study that shows that vaping is safe and a way healthier alternative to smoking combustible cigarettes.

Insidegov.com ranks presidents from worst to best do you agree with there rankings ?

Ranking Every Modern US President from Worst to First

Posted on April 24, 2015 by Ben Taylor

Throughout American history, citizens have debated the pros and cons of every president, from their leadership abilities to their accomplishments; their foreign policy to their economic progress.

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Naturally, it’s impossible to capture the many nuances of each Commander in Chief. How can you account for all the subtle reforms? The timeless speeches? And that’s not to mention the uglier side of the office, with administration scandals, nasty campaigns, and social injustices.

For today, however, we’re focusing on six simple, quantifiable factors for every president since Franklin D. Roosevelt. This list isn’t meant to be definitive, but it can give you a general idea of which modern presidents were more successful than others in these specific areas. These factors, ordered from most weight to least weight, are:

  • Average approval rating throughout the presidency
  • Average margin of victory by popular vote (includes both elections for presidents who sought a second term, whether or not he went on to win)
  • Change in unemployment rate from start to finish of presidency
  • Change in deficit as a percentage of GDP from start to finish of presidency
  • Change in federal debt as a percentage of GDP from start to finish of presidency
  • Congressional seats won or lost by the president’s party during his administration, normalized for length of term

Notably missing? Foreign policy. For this list, we’ve avoided scoring presidents on international affairs, given how difficult these accomplishments are to quantify.

Without further ado, here are the 13 presidents since the time of FDR, ranked from last to first.

Jimmy Carter #13

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Score: 43.18

Carter’s presidency was actually about average in terms of unemployment, debt and the deficit. Instead, his biggest problem was winning over the American people. Both his average approval rating and average margin of victory in elections were among the lowest for modern heads of state.

Explore approval ratings, budget, debt and more with interactive profiles on each of these slides. You can find the data sources listed under each chart.

George W. Bush #12

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Score: 44.70

President Bush’s numbers are below average in most categories, but he takes a notable hit on unemployment. As the economic crises continued to worsen in the president’s final six months in office, unemployment soared, enough to knock Bush into second-to-last.

Gerald Ford #11

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Score: 51.90

Ford’s ascent to the presidency came quickly and surprisingly—a series of events overshadowed by the unfolding Watergate scandal. Two short years later, Ford’s term ended. More than anything, Ford ranks low because he didn’t have much time to accomplish anything of substance.

Correction: a previous version of this page stated that Ford did not seek reelection, which is incorrect.

Barack Obama #10

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Score: 51.93

While Obama has a bit more time to shape his legacy, we ran his numbers to the present day to see where he would rank. The current Commander in Chief has overseen a significant drop in unemployment and done well with the deficit, but his approval ratings remain stubbornly low and the federal debt has increased significantly.

George H.W. Bush #9

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Score: 53.30

In the afterglow of the Reagan administration, President Bush rode a high approval rating through the first three years of his presidency. Unfortunately, his decision to raise taxes—an action that broke his famous “no new taxes” pledge—tanked his ratings and promptly lost him the 1992 election.

Richard Nixon #8

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Score: 58.68

Strictly by the numbers, President Nixon had an average presidency, with some small reductions in the federal debt and a minor uptick in unemployment. Naturally, the Watergate Scandal went on to tarnish his reputation and leave a black mark on the administration, but for this particular ranking, he remains in the middle of the pack.

Bill Clinton #7

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Score: 60.07

Clinton tends to receive high marks in today’s public opinion polls, but the raw numbers don’t speak quite as highly of the Commander in Chief. Yes, his economic numbers ranged from decent to good, but his party consistently lost seats throughout his presidency. To Clinton’s credit, he was able to work with a Republican-controlled Congress, but the fact that he lost so many seats at all speaks to an underlying flaw in the president.

Harry S. Truman #6

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Score: 60.94

Truman leads the pack across three categories: seats won, deficit and debt…a capable leader transitioning from war to peacetime. Still, his approval ratings don’t come close to several of the more popular presidents from the 20th century.

John F. Kennedy #5

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Score: 60.94

Another opinion poll favorite, JFK suffers slightly from Gerald Ford syndrome—he just wasn’t in office long enough to achieve his full potential. Even so, JFK sports the highest average approval rating of any modern president.

Ronald Reagan #4

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Score: 62.74

The Gipper has strong marks almost across the board, from approval rating to the deficit to unemployment. Incidentally, his only spot of weakness (at least in this methodology) is the federal debt, where he ranks among the bottom three for modern presidents (only better than Obama and FDR).

Dwight D. Eisenhower#3

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Score: 68.65

Eisenhower boasted solid economic numbers throughout his presidency, but his most impressive feat may have been maintaining such a high approval rating over eight full years. Throughout 96 months, he only dipped below 50% once.

Franklin D. Roosevelt#2

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Score: 69.08

Considered by many to be a top five all-time president, FDR earns our 2nd spot, with historically large improvements in unemployment following the Great Depression, and consistently high approval ratings over four terms. That said, FDR suffers just a bit in our rankings due to a gigantic increase in federal debt. Here, our methodology’s lack of foreign policy indicators rears its head, as FDR naturally pushed the country into debt in order to finance World War II.

 

Lyndon B. Johnson #1

 

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Score: 72.70

LBJ tends to get some respect in public opinion polls, but we’re higher on him than most. It’s tough to follow FDR on just about anything, but LBJ’s numbers speak volumes: he won over the American people early, boasting high approval ratings and the largest average margin of victory on our list. He reduced unemployment by over two full percentage points, kept the national debt under control, and helped the country move on from a global conflict. By our numbers, he’s the best president of the modern era.