Atomic history

November 15, 2006

I spent a decade of my life chasing compensation for the downwind victims of fallout from the U.S. government’s testing of atomic devices at the Nevada Test Site — I was working for a Utah politician, and many of the victims were Utah citizens unfortunate enough to live in small towns where, some idiot calculated, the damage from the fallout would be minimized and possible to deny.

Over at Axis of Evel Kneivel, where the Carnival of History 43 is hosted this week, I found this post on the November 5 anniversary of a 1951 atomic bomb test that involved moving hundreds of innocent soldiers to be exposed to radiation in order to test whether they could fight after an atomic exchange.

If Santayana was right, if learning history will help us to prevent the bad parts from recurring, it is urgent that you go read that post, and that you vow to prevent the recurrence of things such as a calculated sacrifice of innocent U.S. citizens.

Go see.


Carnival of History #43

November 15, 2006

History Carnival 43 is up at Axis of Evel Knievel.  Well, over there they call it “History Carnival XLIII,” but there’s not much Roman history involved.

Without pointing to too many posts, let me just urge you to go take a look.  The Carnival lists many good posts, listing history and talking about history.  You’ll do well to see for yourself.

I also want to thank D at the Axis of Evel Knievel for the link to the post on this blog about the newly released collection of Dorothea Lange’s photos of the Japanese internment in the U.S. during World War II.  The book, and the issue, deserve a wide audience.  Especially among Texas high school kids, whose tests show they need to know more about the Japanese internment, and World War II in general.  Especially, they need to know more before they march off to war, or march off to court to defend systems that allow our government to summarily imprison people who are otherwise peaceful.


No “Grito” on video

November 15, 2006

It’s amazing what is not available on video for use in the classroom.

Texas kids have to study the “Grito de Dolores” in the 7th grade — the “Cry from Dolores” in one translation, or the “Cry of Pain” in another (puns in Spanish! Do kids get it?). Father Miguel Hidalgo y Castillo made the speech on September 16, 1810, upon the news that Spanish authorities had learned of his conspiracy to revolt for independence. The revolution had been planned for December 8, but Hidalgo decided it had to start early.

This date is celebrated in Mexico as Independence Day. Traditionally the President of Mexico issues an update on the Grito, after the original bell that Father Hidalgo used is rung, near midnight.

Hidalgo himself was captured by the Spanish in 1811, and executed.

It’s a great story. It’s a good speech, what little we have of it (Hidalgo used no text, and we work from remembered versions).

Why isn’t there a good 10- to 15-minute video on the thing for classroom use? Get a good actor to do the speech, it could be a hit. Where is the video when we need it?Father Hidalgo issues the Grito

Statue of Father Hidalgo in Dolores, Mexico


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