Friday, May 29, 2015

JFK and RFK: A few movies about their lives

The Kennedy brothers are among the most fascinating people in American history. When I say this, I'm not talking about Ted Kennedy (the Democratic Senator), or eldest brother Joe Kennedy, Jr. (who was killed in World War II); but rather, JFK and RFK. I'm not a big fan of Teddy Kennedy, as he represented everything that's wrong with today's Democrats; but the Kennedy president and his brother Robert (who served as attorney general) were actually quite good.

(from left ro right)
Bobby Kennedy, Ted Kennedy, and John F. Kennedy

Joe Kennedy, Jr.

JFK has the distinction of being the last good Democrat president. With the chain of incompetents the Democrats have produced since these times, it's hard to fathom that there was once actual competence in the Democratic Party; but in these days, they had FDR, Truman, and Kennedy. FDR was incompetent on economic policy, but compensated for it in his handling of World War II; and Truman and Kennedy were great on both foreign and domestic policy. I won't spend too much time evaluating the Kennedy presidency, as this blog post is about the different Kennedy media; but suffice it to say here he was good.

Monday, May 18, 2015

A review of “The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression”

We've all heard stories about how bad things were during the Great Depression, with extensive poverty and massive unemployment - perhaps the only economic crisis worse than our current one. But the history classes don't often go into the question of why; leaving the complicated subject of causation to economists, rather than the historians of the subject. When history classes do comment on the "why" of the Depression, they often paint a glowing picture of big government, with some economics classes not being much better in this regard.

Poor mother and children - Oklahoma, 1936

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Some thoughts about business education

I have both a practical side and an impractical side. My Facebook friends probably see the impractical side of me more, as I post about things like history and languages, and stay away from the more mundane topics of everyday life. (Maybe having Ramen noodles for dinner is interesting to someone, but I never found it that fascinating; and generally speaking, I don't post about impractical things - most people would probably find it boring if I did.)

I was a business major with a concentration in marketing, and a certificate in economics

Nonetheless, I have a strong practical side, which manifested itself in my choice of college majors. I actually majored in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. It might seem strange that a guy who spends his time learning Ancient Greek would major in business, but it's true - I even got a certificate in Business Economics to boot. (I never took any business classes in high school, although I did take some computers classes that ended up being helpful for my business degree, since that degree required some classes in computer information systems.) Thus, I have some firsthand experience with vocational education in my academic career, and thought I'd write a post about it - thus commenting on the one subject I actually have a degree in, and the educational issues in that field.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

A review of PBS's “Transcontinental Railroad” movie

It allowed a continent to be crossed in just a week, where before it had taken six months or more. It enabled fast transport for trade goods of all kinds, connecting the economies of the continent's East and West coasts. And it unleashed a wave of settlement and colonization, which would have massive effects on the population spread & distribution in the West - and by extension, the history, politics, economics, and even geography of the country.

Snow gallery (a portion of the railroad), while under construction

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Plato and Mormonism


"Have you ever heard of Plato? Aristotle? Socrates?" "Yes." "Morons." (Or were they?)


I felt inspired to write this piece about Plato and Mormonism. These subjects might seem to be unconnected, but there are a few quotes from Mormons' General Conferences about the Ancient Greek philosopher Plato. Most of them are favorable, while one of them is critical of his philosopher king idea. Mostly they're favorable, though, and I will discuss these General Conference quotes in detail now.

Friday, May 1, 2015

A review of Simon Schama’s “A History of Britain”

"That the two Kingdoms of England and Scotland shall upon the First day of May which shall be in the year One thousand seven hundred and seven and for ever after be united into one Kingdom by the name of Great Britain ... "

"Union with Scotland Act of 1706," Article I (passed by the Parliament of England, and later made official by the "Union with England Act of 1707," passed by the Parliament of Scotland)

I should preface this review, for my international readers, by saying that I am an American; but an American of mostly British descent, whose ancestors come mainly from England and Scotland. (England and Scotland today are both part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain.) I identify strongly with Britain; not only because of my ancestry, but because Britons and Americans share common values such as freedom and democracy; and because we have been allies in war and peace for over two centuries; not fighting a war against each other since 1815 (the year the War of 1812 ended). Thus, I am much interested in the history of Great Britain, and thought I'd learn a little bit more about it by watching this series.

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