Tuesday, April 08, 2008

American tribes, another election story (myth?) great books, and Gmail tips

Lots of interesting postings on Hullaballoo recently, including this one on how John McCain's 'Biography' tour seems to be an appeal to show he's a descendant of America's Cavalier tribe: Courting the Cavaliers. Digby cites Ed Kilgore, but finds a further explanation in a 2001 essay by Michael Lind, America's Tribes.
Interesting thoughts. Several years ago I read a book on this topic, too, probably Kevin Phillips' The Cousins' Wars: The story being that the old wars between the Puritans and Cavaliers in England led to the divisions in American society, the Revolution and Civil War. Lind calls them the Cavaliers and the Yankees. Seems calling the Yankees 'Puritans' makes more sense. At any rate, Republicans are now the Cavaliers (or the South) and Democrats are now the Yankees (North, of course), the reverse of the party lineup as it was just a couple generations ago. It's a stretch but it seems it may help us to understand each other. How do Jim Webb's Scotch-Irish (Born Fighting) fit in? Do they side with the Irish, who aligned with the Cavaliers? Or are they a Puritan influence in the South? Who are the Californians? Originally Cavaliers with lots of Puritan mixed in?
This theme was prominent in this week's episode of HBO's John Adams, with the fighting between Jefferson and Hamilton. Thank goodness for television and movies, which may be the only way young Americans are learning history these days. So important.

Wow, another to-do about a Hillary Clinton story. This one is worth looking closer at before making a judgment on her statements. You know the one, about the woman in difficult labor who was turned down by the Ohio hospital because she didn't have a $100 deposit and later died after a stillbirth. The New York Times reported a hospital that treated her denies the story and wants Clinton to stop telling it. But is that the whole story? The AP says Part Truth, Part Errors. But the Post's The Trail blog says the woman's relatives say it's true: it was another hospital that had demanded prepayment, so she didn't go there. The Daily Howler says everyone involved needed to check the facts.
Clinton was told the story by a sheriff's deputy who heard it from the relatives. Does anyone factcheck Bush's statements, let alone McCain's, so closely?

The Telegraph published a list of The 110 best books: the perfect library. Great list, and brought up some books that I haven't thought of in a long time. When I was a kid, Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca was an important book to read. But I haven't seen it mentioned in years.
Muriel Spark is on the list, too, with The Ballad of Peckham Rye. I have a stack of Spark books I've collected but don't think I've read yet. Think I'll put them on the reading list. Under Science Fiction, Arthur C. Clarke's 2001 Space Odyssey comes in. I just reread it, finished last night. What a book.

Really my only peeve about Gmail is that sometimes trying to find a set of emails by searching doesn't work as well as I'd like. But that's something I could do better, according to this Dennis O'Reilly column in CNet: Put a finer point on your Gmail searches. Need to find a message from Ellen with a Word attachment? Type from:ellen filename:doc. And lots more tips.

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