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Sep 16, 2020

2020-09-19@06:11:08 GMT

Today in History

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Today in History

Today is Wednesday, Sept. 16, the 260th day of 2020. There are 106 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlights in History:

On Sept. 16, 1974, President Gerald R. Ford announced a conditional amnesty program for Vietnam war deserters and draft-evaders.

On this date:

In 1630, the Massachusetts village of Shawmut changed its name to Boston.

In 1810, Mexico began its revolt against Spanish rule.

In 1966, the Metropolitan Opera officially opened its new opera house at New York’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts with the world premiere of Samuel Barber’s “Antony and Cleopatra.”

In 1982, the massacre of between 1,200 and 1,400 Palestinian men, women and children at the hands of Israeli-allied Christian Phalange militiamen began in west Beirut’s Sabra and Shatila refugee camps.

In 1987, two dozen countries signed the Montreal Protocol, a treaty designed to save the Earth’s ozone layer by calling on nations to reduce emissions of harmful chemicals by the year 2000.

In 1994, a federal jury in Anchorage, Alaska, ordered Exxon Corp. to pay $5 billion in punitive damages for the 1989 Exxon Valdez (val-DEEZ’) oil spill (the U.S Supreme Court later reduced that amount to $507.5 million). Two astronauts from the space shuttle Discovery went on the first untethered spacewalk in ten years.

In 2001, President George W. Bush, speaking on the South Lawn of the White House, said there was “no question” Osama bin Laden and his followers were the prime suspects in the Sept. 11 attacks; Bush pledged the government would “find them, get them running and hunt them down.”

In 2005, President George W. Bush ruled out raising taxes to pay the massive costs of Gulf Coast reconstruction in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, saying other government spending had to be cut to pay for the recovery effort.

In 2007, contractors for the U.S. security firm Blackwater USA guarding a U.S. State Department convoy in Baghdad opened fire on civilian vehicles, mistakenly believing they were under attack; 14 Iraqis died. O.J. Simpson was arrested in the alleged armed robbery of sports memorabilia collectors in Las Vegas. (Simpson was later convicted of kidnapping and armed robbery and sentenced to nine to 33 years in prison; he was released in 2017.)

In 2009, Mary Travers, 72, part of the folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary, died in Danbury, Connecticut.

In 2013, Aaron Alexis, a former U.S. Navy reservist, went on a shooting rampage inside the Washington Navy Yard, killing 12 people before being shot dead by police.

In 2014, President Barack Obama declared that the Ebola epidemic in West Africa could threaten security around the world and ordered 3,000 U.S. troops to the region in emergency aid muscle.

Ten years ago: Pope Benedict XVI began a controversial state visit to Britain, acknowledging the Catholic Church had failed to act decisively or quickly enough to deal with priests who raped and molested children. The Seattle Storm completed their undefeated march through the postseason, beating the Atlanta Dream 87-84 for a three-game sweep in the WNBA finals. John “Jack” Goeken, founder of telecommunications giant MCI and father of air-to-ground telephone communications, died in Joliet, Illinois, at age 80.

Five years ago: Eleven Republican presidential candidates debated at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, wrangling over immigration, gay marriage and foreign affairs. Baton-wielding Hungarian riot police unleashed tear gas and water cannons against hundreds of migrants after they broke through a razor-wire fence and tried to surge into the country from Serbia. Country singer Sturgill Simpson and singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams, both eclectic genre-bending artists, took home top honors at the Americana Honors and Awards show in Nashville.

One year ago: More than 49,000 members of the United Auto Workers went on strike against General Motors, bringing more than 50 factories and parts warehouses to a standstill. (The strike ended after 40 days when workers ratified a new contract.) “Saturday Night Live” said it had rescinded its invitation to Shane Gillis to join the cast; he was found to have posted a video in which he used a racial slur for Chinese people. The Pittsburgh Steelers announced that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger would undergo surgery on his right elbow, ending the 37-year-old quarterback’s 16th NFL season just two weeks in. Former television newsman Sander Vanocur died in California at the age of 91; he’d been a questioner at the first Kennedy/Nixon debate in 1960.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Janis Paige is 98. Actor George Chakiris is 88. Bluesman Billy Boy Arnold is 85. Movie director Jim McBride is 79. Actor Linda Miller is 78. Rhythm-and-blues singer Betty Kelley (Martha & the Vandellas) is 76. Musician Kenney Jones (Small Faces; Faces; The Who) is 72. Actor Susan Ruttan is 72. Rock musician Ron Blair (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers; Mudcrutch) is 72. Actor Ed Begley Jr. is 71. Country singer David Bellamy (The Bellamy Brothers) is 70. Country singer-songwriter Phil Lee is 69. Actor Mickey Rourke is 68. Actor-comedian Lenny Clarke is 67. Actor Kurt Fuller is 67. Jazz musician Earl Klugh is 67. Actor Christopher Rich is 67. TV personality Mark McEwen is 66. Baseball Hall of Famer Robin Yount is 65. Magician David Copperfield is 64. Country singer-songwriter Terry McBride is 62. Actor Jennifer Tilly is 62. Retired MLB All-Star pitcher Orel Hershiser is 62. Baseball Hall of Famer Tim Raines is 61. Actor Jayne Brook is 60. Singer Richard Marx is 57. Comedian Molly Shannon is 56. Singer Marc Anthony is 52. News anchor/talk show host Tamron Hall is 50. Comedian-actor Amy Poehler is 49. Actor Toks Olagundoye (tohks oh-lah-GOON’-doh-yay) is 45. Country singer Matt Stillwell is 45. Singer Musiq (MYOO’-sihk) is 43. Actor Michael Mosley is 42. Rapper Flo Rida is 41. Actor Alexis Bledel is 39. Actor Sabrina Bryan is 36. Actor Madeline Zima is 35. Actor Ian Harding is 34. Actor Kyla Pratt is 34. Actor Daren Kagasoff is 33. Rock singer Teddy Geiger is 32. Actor-dancer Bailey De Young is 31. Rock singer-musician Nick Jonas (The Jonas Brothers) is 28. Actor Elena Kampouris is 23.

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Here’s why Trump and his supporters are so threatened by ‘critical race theory’

For the last couple of months, Donald Trump has been promising to restore patriotic education in our schools. He mentioned it during his speech at the Republican Convention, during a press conference, and at his campaign rally in Nevada this week. In the midst of his attacks on the 1619 Project—a series published by the New York Times documenting the impact of slavery on our country’s history—it hasn’t been difficult to guess what the president means by that promise, even though his references have been fairly cryptic.

But during a speech at the National Archives on Thursday, the president clarified his intentions. He directly attacked the 1619 Project by calling it “ideological poison” that would “dissolve the civic bonds” in America. In addition, he claimed that critical race theory is “toxic propaganda,” suggesting that it is an effort to impose tyranny and a “new segregation.” He even went so far as to claim that it was abuse to teach it to children.

That is the context in which Trump proposes to restore patriotic education. He announced the formation of a “1776 Commission” (a direct hit on the 1619 Project) to promote the effort. But as is often the case with the president, his remarks were long on attacks and short on his proposed alternatives, although he did say that, “We want our sons and daughters to know that they are the citizens of the most exceptional nation in the history of the world.” The crux of the matter for him is to ensure that school curriculums are stripped of the perspective of people of color and that American history is viewed as white history.

It is important to keep in mind what Trump is referring to when he talks about critical race theory. According to the UCLA School of Public Affairs, it was developed by legal scholars in order to provide an analysis of race and racism from a legal perspective.

CRT recognizes that racism is ingrained in the fabric and system of the American society. The individual racist need not exist to note that institutional racism is pervasive in the dominant culture. This is the analytical lens that CRT uses in examining existing power structures.

In other words, it is a theory that examines the role of systemic racism, which has been embedded in institutions and affects people of color in almost every aspect of their lives—including housing, employment, education, health, and wealth—regardless of the racist attitudes of individuals.

Trump presented a straw man when he suggested that teaching critical race theory to children was akin to child abuse. No one is suggesting that we immerse six-year-olds in all of that any more than we would expect them to be able to handle a course in macroeconomics. Instead, CRT informs how we teach children in a way that “perpetuates the marginalization of people of color.”

That is precisely what threatens both Trump and his supporters. To confront the role that racism plays in our society is a two-step process. First of all, we must recognize that, since our founding, U.S. institutions have been grounded in white supremacy. Secondly, in order to ensure that our principles of equality and justice apply to everyone, those institutions have to change.

That first step presents an obstacle for people like Trump, who view any admission of error as a sign of weakness. During his speech on Thursday, the president said that the narratives being pushed by the left resemble the anti-American propaganda of our adversaries, concluding that “both groups want to see America weakened, derided and totally diminished.”

But Trump’s approach is the one that broadcasts weakness. It takes strength to examine ourselves, identify shortcomings, and correct them to the best of our ability. It is at moments when we’ve been able to do that as a country that we have demonstrated our exceptionalism. As Barack Obama said during his speech at the 50th anniversary of the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, that is what it means to be patriotic.

What greater expression of faith in the American experiment than this, what greater form of patriotism is there than the belief that America is not yet finished, that we are strong enough to be self-critical, that each successive generation can look upon our imperfections and decide that it is in our power to remake this nation to more closely align with our highest ideals?…

For we were born of change.  We broke the old aristocracies, declaring ourselves entitled not by bloodline, but endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights.  We secure our rights and responsibilities through a system of self-government, of and by and for the people.  That’s why we argue and fight with so much passion and conviction — because we know our efforts matter.  We know America is what we make of it.

In many ways, what is on the ballot in November are these two views of what it means to be an American. Are we a country that is too afraid to even admit our shortcomings, or are we strong enough to be self-critical and seize our power to continue the process of aligning the country with our highest ideals?

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