The Medieval monk (circa 1100) Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote in his famous History of the Kings of Britain that Walter the Provost, who was an Archdeacon In Oxford gave Geoffrey “a certain very ancient book written in the British language” a encouraged Geoffrey to translate the Welsh or Breton into Latin.
Of course the history is fiction [although many believed the veracity of the book during the Middle Ages]. Geoffrey’s ‘history’ erected massive new dimensions to the legend of King Arthur and turned him into the most famous legend of the Middle Ages. All sorts of other legends are found there including how Brutus and the Trojans came to Britain, the legend of King Lear and much else.
I had my own ‘very ancient book’ moment although it’s not quite as exciting, and the book is real. But I did—kind of—conjure up a lost thesis.
Peel and Donnelly’s 1935 study of the 1932 election refers to work conducted by Robert Grove under the supervision of Beyle at Syracuse University concerning the rhetoric used by political parties during the 1932 election (among other events). It is insightful. He found the language—particularly of Republicans to be vague and meant to be emotive. Essentially he lays out the analysis about ideology that John Gerring at Boston University discusses in his 1998 book on political party ideologies and anticipates my own work.
Gerring—through no fault of his own—does not know about this work. That is unsurprising since the most recent citation referring to the study comes from 1935. The study was completely forgotten by the political science community. The work that Grove conducted (and his supervisor Beyle also wrote on political theory) was not the direction the political science discipline swept up in the behavioral revolution was headed. Those who cared about partisan rhetoric argued that it existed in its form to unite disparate party factions (Gosnell and Merriam). Those types of arguments took hold. That Grove’s study was forgotten (and later ones on power and acquiescence) has set the political science discipline back in my judgment.
The only extant copy of Grove’s thesis was lost long ago according to inter-library loan services and records at Syracuse University. That did not stop me. I know over long decades mistakes creep into systems at large (or any) institutional library. I called Syracuse University and pleaded with the reference librarians to search for Grove’s thesis no matter how unlikely the possibility of it being found. To their credit they followed through on my exhortations and—almost magically—the vanished thesis re-appeared. The librarians mailed it to me in Helena, Montana where I read and reproduced the thesis to preserve it for posterity. Typically political scientists are not in the business of going on quests—whether for holy grails or lost manuscripts. I’m not sure whether my inner Medievalist is coming out, but it sure was a neat feeling.
This is very sad:
4 Dead in Metro-North Train Derailment in the Bronx
It would be one of those jokes orchestrated by the gods if my life ended in a train derailment.
Was detonated in the Senate today. The filibuster was removed for most presidential nominees.
What is extraordinary is how anti-climatic it all was. In part, because while the Republicans denounced the move, they really gave their tacit consent by being as uncooperative as possible. During the Bush administration a deal was worked out where Democrats would only filibuster high-profile nominees (those gangs) and several GOP judges were allowed to be seated.
The frightening event here was that Republicans did not bother to even really criticize the nominees. They said they would not confirm any Obama nominees to the most important circuit court in the nation. In other words they simply stated they want to sabotage the president and not work with him. This is worse than ever before. It may be considered too risky to work with the president politically for the GOP—which suggests how nuts the base is and how scary it is to now elect GOP politicians.
Of course it’s the president’s job to appoint judges and the GOP essentially is doing all it can to make the president fail (the United States being collateral damage) and not execute laws in effect. It’s obviously not respecting any sort of offices or the results of elections.
This is symptomatic of the trouble the U.S is in.
There is growing evidence that people of today are far less interested in willing money to their children. It’s not hostility to children, it’s just that the new elderly would like to use their money for themselves. This is a sea-change from many of the elderly who grew up during the Great Depression with the younger members of the Silent Generation and older members of the Baby Boom seemingly thinking this way. Also, younger cohorts seem to be moving in this direction. There certainly can be quibbles with studies—but the general trend seems to be real.
Why is this?
I have a theory. The rise of defined-contribution retirement and now health care, etc. fosters this sort of psychological perspective. I doubt it’s simple correlation. Evaluating this theory would be a good research project for an enterprising scholar. There are alternative explanations, such as the ‘Bowling Alone’ theory of Putnam. I would like to also see far more written about how a defined-contribution society translates into behaviors concerning charitable giving.
By Nina Kate from Opposing Views:
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) was among the most vocal proponents of the state’s new voter ID law, which requires all voters to present valid identification at the polls.
But when Abbott showed up to vote, there was a problem: although he is registered to vote as Greg Abbott, his driver’s license identifies him as Gregory Wayne Abbott. Thus, under the law he staunchly defended, he would be unable to vote.
Thankfully for Abbott and others in similar cases, he was still able to cast his ballot thanks to a provision added by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis. According to Davis’ amendment, voters whose names are similar on their voter registration and ID card may still vote if they sign an affidavit confirming their true identity.
Davis also had to sign the affidavit.
For all the mucking around about the evils of ‘Obamacare’ both parties seem way too enamored about the model for all sorts of major policies.
The Republican Party gleefully wishes to turn Medicare into an Obamacare like entity. The purpose of Medicare vouchers is so seniors will be mandated to purchase private insurance on the market. Instead of a penalty they will be given cash for the purpose from the government. Other than being more generous for seniors than the Affordable Care Act is for other Americans, the mechanisms and conceptual framework are the same.
In housing policy both political parties seem to be stumbling toward an Obamacare type solution. In the post Fannie Mae and Mac worlds it appears that both parties want the federal government to do less and private actors to do more in a, you guessed it, complex system with public underwriting and mandates whereby private sector actors will be doing the business of making loans for mortgages. This is clearly fraught with peril. Perverse incentives and the potential for another housing bust/lending crisis would seem almost inevitable.
They may hate Obamacare. But Republicans and Democrats seem to think that is the model for any complex policy problem. And, yes, I think they’re both wrong. LBJ spun the Government Sponsor Entities off the budget books in 1968. They need to be put back in the books and under federal control. At some level the government is going to guarantee the solvency of the financial system anyways, so it might as well make sure the mischief does not happen in the first place, especially with housing but also with Medicare.
And Democrats need to fight for a public option that is robust and for everyone. Either private insurance companies will need to become more responsive to compete or simply go under. As far as I;m concerned the death of private health insurance would be a positive for society.
The Democratic Party should have given far more support to Barbara Bruno in New Jersey. It looks like Governor Christie will be re-elected by a wide margin making his argument about becoming president stronger.
He is a poor governor—destroying the Amtrak project early in his administration, ‘revitalizing’ New Jersey business with a bunch of disasters including the Revel Casino. He hurt NJ’s economy and lots of other questionable stuff. He is popular as a cult of personality. And a really bad personality. He’s belligerent. But he bullies all sorts of people including Republicans when it suits him. That has lifted him up in the polls.
And it’s too bad. E.J Dionne stated that he thinks the Democratic Party was short-sighted and will regret not helping Bruno far more. I concur.