#amreading: THE FALL OF THE OTTOMANS, by Eugene Rogan

Rogan’s The Fall of the Ottomans is the first history/nonfiction self has been able to get into since May.

She’s on Chapter Five: Launching Jihad, p. 102

The Jihad does not come from the source you’d expect: It is December 8, 1914. Turkey’s Minister of War is a politician named Enver Pasha.

Rogen’s description of Enver:

Enver, an impetuous man, had made his career through bold, high-risk initiatives. A historic leader of the 1908 revolution, an architect of the 1911 Ottoman-led jihad in Libya, leader of the 1913 raid on the Sublime Porte who forced the prime minister to resign at gunpoint, and “liberator of Edirne” in the Second Balkan War, Enver believed in taking action and had little doubt in his own judgment and abilities.

Here’s a list of the other history self has read thus far in 2017:

  • Montcalm and Wolfe: The Decline and Fall of the French Empire in North America
  • The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
  • SPQR
  • Rubicon
  • The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

The Wall: Pro and Con from Ground Zero

The excerpts are from an article by Jenny Jarvie and Brian Bennett in the Los Angeles Times, 18 July 2017, about the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, where preparation for construction of the border wall has begun. The area, about 10 miles southeast of McAllen, is also the site of a 2,088-acre refuge created in 1943 “for the protection of migratory birds”:

  • “The Rio Grande Valley has been an area of exploitation by smugglers, and an area lacking in border infrastructure,” Carlos Diaz, a Customs and Border Protection spokesman, wrote in an email. “These miles will help connect existing segments of wall throughout the area and fill critical gaps.”
  • “This is insane,” said Scott Nicol, co-chairman of the Sierra Club’s Borderlands Team. “This is the crown jewel of the Rio Grande Valley wildlife refuge system, with one of the highest rates of biodiversity in the U.S. If it’s walled off, with no public access, it will be left to rot.”

According to the LA Times, “the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is under contract with Michael Baker International, a global engineering firm, to gather geotechnical data at sites in the Rio Grande Valley and other locations along the Southwest border, according to Jenny Burke, a spokeswoman for the Homeland Security Department.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Also Reading: Evan Osnos in The New Yorker, 8 May 2017

Many scholars believe that the most plausible bases for a Trump impeachment are corruption and abuse of power. Noah Feldman, a Harvard Law School professor who specializes in constitutional studies, argues that, even without evidence of an indictable crime, the Administration’s pattern of seemingly trivial uses of public office for private gain “can add up to an impeachable offense.” Last week, after the State Department took down an official Web page that showcased Trump’s private, for-profit club, Mar-a-Lago, Feldman told me, “A systematic pattern shown through data points would count as grounds for impeachment.”

And self is nowhere near the end of this article. It’s taken her days just to get this far.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amreading Evan Osnos’s New Yorker Article, “Endgame: What would it take to cut short Trump’s Presidency?”

Self hopes dear blog readers appreciate that she is giving up precious time she could have spent writing her most kick-ass story to date (pagophilics, a Captain, a woman, an alien invasion launched from the Bering Sea) to continue reading the Evan Osnos article (in the 8 May 2017 issue of The New Yorker):

Trump has embraced strategies that normally boost popularity, such as military action. In April, some pundits were quick to applaud him for launching a cruise-missile attack on a Syrian airbase, and for threatening to attack North Korea. In interviews, Trump marvelled at the forces at his disposal, like a man wandering into undiscovered rooms of his house. (“It’s so incredible. It’s brilliant.”)

and:

The White House recently stopped releasing visitors’ logs, limiting the public’s ability to know who is meeting with the President and his staff.

This is indeed a very enthralling piece, dear blog readers. Self can’t wait to read how it ends.

Stay tuned.

#amreading: “Endgames” by Evan Osnos (The New Yorker, 8 May 2017)

  • By this point in George W. Bush’s term, Bush had travelled to twenty-three states and a foreign country. Trump has visited just nine states and has never stayed the night. He inhabits a closed world that one adviser recently described as ‘Fortress Trump.’

Turnout: England, 8 June 2017

The “youthquake” was a key component of Corbyn’s 10-point advance in Labour’s share of the vote — exceeding even Tony Blair’s nine-pont gain in his first 1997 landslide. No official data exists for the scale of this but an NME-led exit poll suggests turnout among under-35s rose by 12 points to 56% compared with 2015. The survey said nearly two-thirds of younger voters backed Labour, with Brexit their main concern.

— Alan Travis, The Guardian, Saturday, 10 June 2017

Betsy DeVos, Have a Breakdown

Because, at this point, I do question your mental health.

Smiley face when confronted by angry Black students.

Absolutely the right response. Absolutely.

How dare you, woman have you no shame. Race issues obviously mean nothing to you. Nothing.

Then if you can’t understand, be afraid.

Afraid of your own poor judgment.

So I look at the video again. There you are: Keep on smiling! Adjust those podium mikes! Look helplessly at the Black University President by your side! (A completely idiotic and inappropriate response, let me tell ya: “Help me! I’m a vulnerable white woman! In a sea of angry Blacks!” Thus prompting racists of all stripes, those in plain view as well as those merely lurking, to go: “Look at what those people are doing to this poor, helpless white lady!” I wish never to see another such performance in my lifetime)

Betsy, you are doing so much damage to education, every day that you continue in your position. Because you’re just sleepwalking. You know it, the President knows it, the GOP knows it.

To the graduating class of Bethune-Cookman: I salute you. You will go on to do great things.

Link.

“Getting Kicked in the Teeth”: Elizabeth Warren

Warren is on the Left? So sayeth The Guardian in a feature on Elizabeth Warren (2 May 2017)

  • For many on the US left, Elizabeth Warren embodies best of Sanders and Clinton.
  • With Sanders still a leading vice and centrist politics around the world in retreat, it might be tempting for Democrats to turn left.

Stop doing that, Guardian! Stop labeling our politicians.

  • Warren: I think left/right is less and less an accurate description of the political landscape.
  • Warren: GDP, unemployment, no longer reflect the lived experiences of most Americans. And the lived experiences of most Americans is that they are being left behind in this economy.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Danger!: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 3 May 2017

Signage, Cork:

DSCN1591

How will Brexit impact Ireland? No one knows for sure.

What’s next for America?

DSCN1114

Reading The Guardian, March 2017

As luck would have it, self began reading The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, by Edward Gibbon:

DSCN1109

Self’s reading of THE DECLINE AND FALL gave self all sorts of premonitions.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

George Washington: First POTUS

This spring, self began reading a series of histories, starting with Francis Parkman’s Montcalm and Wolfe: The Decline and Fall of the French Empire in North America.

She really enjoyed that book, which gave reader’s glimpses of the very young George Washington (21 years old) in his first combat experience. Throughout the book, there were other glimpses. Finally, by the end of the book, self could not believe how much this young man had grown and flourished. Even though he wasn’t the main subject of the book, and was still only in his 20s by the time the events the book narrated were over, he showed himself to be a natural leader.

Now, months later, self has just begun reading The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey, by Rinker Buck. On p. 30, she reads Buck’s opinion of Parkman: “a notoriously snobbish Boston Brahmin.” Okaaaay. He also says George Washington “worked the same day job as Donald Trump” — he was a “land developer . . .  described as the richest of his generation.” (p. 32)

But, one interesting fact about Washington was that he was so practical, he saw right away the usefulness of mules as farm and/or pack animals, and he immediately began to breed them, and he even “advertised in the Pennsylvania and Virginia newspapers . . . the services of his jacks, who made long breeding tours throughout the . . .  colonies and the new frontier states every year . . . The early descendants of the Mount Vernon stock — tall, drafty, and weighing between a thousand and 1,200 pounds . . . ” (which is 10 x what self weighs, and she can’t imagine having to deal with anything that weighs 10 x as much as her — it would be so devastating an encounter, probably as bad as an encounter with a grizzly) were initially called American Mammoth mules . . .

So there’s our first President for you — a natural leader, a practical man, one who propagated the west with American mammoth mules, and self would never have known if she hadn’t read Rinker Buck.

That is why reading is so important, etc etc

Wonder what SCROTUS reads? Sorry, but self cannot help comparing # 1 and # 45 and feeling that there is a yawning gulf . . .

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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