He “like[s] to fire people,” or, the beatings will continue until morale improves.

Hilarious unsourced post at the National Review Online:  no names, no actual evidence that any of this is true, but dark warnings about the tidal wave of unemployment that’s about to be unleashed across the country because the so-called “job creators” are pi$$ed off that their candidate didn’t win.  Here’s allegedly one for you:

I explained to [my employees] a month ago that if Obama gets in office that the regulations for Obamacare are gonna hurt our business, and I’m gonna have to make provisions to make sure I have enough money to cover the payroll taxes, the additional health care I’m gonna have to do, and I explained that to them and I said you do what you feel like in your heart you need to do, but I’m just letting you know as a warning this is things I have to think of as a business owner.

Well unfortunately, and most of my employees are Hispanic — I’m not gonna go into what kind of company I have, but I have mostly Hispanic employees — well unfortunately we know what happened and I can’t wait around anymore, I have to be proactive. I had to lay off 22 people today to make sure that my business is gonna thrive and I’m gonna be around for years to come. I have to build up that nest egg now for the taxes and regulations that are coming my way.

Right.  Because a President Romney would magically have been granted the power to issue a retroactive veto for a bill passed 3 years before his inauguration, and none of those “taxes and regulations” would be coming your way, ever, guaranteed. Continue reading

Alfred F. Young, 1925-2012

Al Young

We learned yesterday that Al Young has died at the age of 87 in Durham, North CarolinaA leading scholar of the “New Left,” especially with respect to working class people and the history of the American Revolution, his influence on several generations of early American historians is indisputable.  Young saw the Revolution as one that emerged from the bottom up, although he was very clear that the Revolution benefited only a tiny minority of elite Americans in spite of the sacrifices and suffering of the masses.  You can read other tributes to him on H-OIEAHCnet by Mike McDonnell and Kenneth Lockridge, with others certain to follow, I am sure.

Young’s New Left view of the Revolution (as opposed to the consensus school dominated by Bernard Bailyn and Gordon Wood) triumphed among scholars trained from the 1970s through the 2000s.  (Wood published a book called The Radicalism of the American Revolution twenty years ago.  Young never wrote a book called The Consensus of the American Revolution!  His full name was Alfred Fabian Young, after all.)  Unlike proponents of the consensus school, Al was never offered a position at an elite, private institution, and spent the bulk of his career at Northern Illinois University.

I knew Al briefly after his retirement, Continue reading

Bill Keller visits sweet, quiet Oxford

. . . and reports on what he calls the Republican Id.

I never experienced Oxford as Republican as Keller sees it.  In fact, it seemed like a little blue oasis in a sea of Butler County red, but maybe that was just me and my neighbors in the Mile Square.  And FWIW, I never met any Miami faculty like Rich Hart (what an ironic name for a glibertarian free marketeer!)  But maybe it has changed in the 11 years since I lived there.

(True confession:  Fratguy and I changed our party registration to Republican on the day of the Republican primary in 2000 so that we could vote for John McCain and therefore–we hoped–stop George W. Bush!  Sorry, America–we failed.  Also, another true fact:  Oxford is the only place I ever voted that used punchcard ballots, as in the ballots with the potential for “hanging chads.”)

This was the most interesting part of the article:  Continue reading

GREat scores or eGREgious scores: who gives a crap? Hint: we do! (Sorta).

A history Master’s student from outside the U.S. has a question about the GREs as he readies his applications for Ph.D. programs.  Can you help him understand how GRE scores are used in your graduate program admissions, especially those of you who teach in History departments?  To the mailbag, friends!

Dear Historiann,

As a student looking to apply to Ph.D. programs next year, I’ve been thinking a lot about the GRE (which my Canadian M.A. program luckily doesn’t require). It seems to me even more absurd than the SAT, and I can’t help but think that admissions committees weight it very highly relative to grades, recommendations, writing sample, etc.. Am I correct in this assumption, or should I go on an anti-standardized testing rant?

With All Due Respect,

GRE-phobic Gordon from Guelph

Dear Gordon,

I know–taking a mass-produced, mass-administered test seems like the height of idiocy, but never underestimate the degree to which history departments in U.S. universities (and probably elsewhere) desperately want to outsource their major decisions to others.  Since against all reason and good judgment, you appear to yearn to follow in the footsteps the embittered and frequently underemployed commenters on this blog, I should warn you that taking the GRE is merely the first time that your fate will be (in a small way, to be sure) outsourced to someone outside of the admissions committees who are tasked with reading and evaluating your application. Continue reading

Dia de los Muertos/All Saints Day quiz

I meant to get this post up last night, but for some reason my blog was off-line for a spell.  (BTW, this is not my pumpkin-carving kit, which tends more toward the soiled yoga pants-and-crummy sweatshirt variety.)  I hope you all had a safe and happy Halloween.

Now that the candy has been counted, stashed, and secretly raided by those of you with children under the age of 8, here’s my question:  Continue reading