History

By Tim Graham | May 15, 2014 | 9:34 PM EDT

You can guess you’re on the NPR website – and the “Code Switch” race-matters blog – when an article on ice-cream trucks comes with an editor’s warning: “This article is about a virulently racist song. Read no further if you wish to avoid racist imagery and slurs.”

Some trucks apparently play the well-known melody “Turkey In the Straw,” and Theodore R. Johnson III blamed "a great many" ice cream trucks for playing a melody apparently popularized by a blackface song named “Zip Coon” and a horrid 1916 ditty titled “"Ni--er Love A Watermelon Ha! Ha! Ha!"

By Brent Baker | May 14, 2014 | 7:43 PM EDT

Another educational illustration, on FX’s The Americans, of the alliance of interests between Soviet communists and the Left in the West during the 1980s, when both worked to undermine the Reagan administration’s defense policies.

(The series, set in the early 1980s, revolves around “Philip and Elizabeth Jennings,” undercover KGB agents living as an ordinary American husband and wife in suburban, Washington, DC. A new episode debuts tonight.)

By Tim Graham | May 6, 2014 | 12:12 PM EDT

A new biopic about Ronald Reagan is in pre-production, and Paul Bond at The Hollywood Reporter relayed that Manifest Film Sales has picked up international sales rights and will introduce the project to buyers at the Cannes Film Festival.

The producers of the $25 million film, simply called Reagan, "inked a deal for a U.S. release on 3,000 screens and $35 million in prints and advertising." It doesn’t sound like a Oliver Stone hatchet job, but is based on his historic role in bringing down the Soviet empire.

By Brent Baker | April 23, 2014 | 7:10 PM EDT

Sounding remarkably like American liberals and journalists at the time – not to be redundant – last week’s episode of FX’s The Americans set in the early 1980s (a new episode runs tonight), included a scene in which a KGB operative, working in the United States, sputtered in disgust at President Ronald Reagan on her TV: “Look at him. He’ll do anything. He doesn’t care. Kids, nuns, journalists -- he doesn’t care.”

That came from “Elizabeth Jennings,” played by Keri Russell, as she watched Reagan speak on TV, a speech I figured out was delivered at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) dinner held at the Mayflower hotel on Friday, February 26, 1982.

By Chuck Norris | April 14, 2014 | 5:24 PM EDT

This week holds some critical dates. April 15 haunts most Americans as a tax deadline. April 18 and 20 this year commemorate the pinnacle in Holy Week — Good Friday and Easter. But April 13 still stands as an important day that eludes most Americans. It's the birthday of Thomas Jefferson.

We patriots love to quote the Founding Fathers, especially when they support our theses. And Jefferson remains at the top of the heap. But there are three beliefs or practices often attributed to Jefferson that are either myths or cherry-picked partial views.

By Tim Graham | April 10, 2014 | 6:59 AM EDT

Rolling Stone's latest issue is designed to start a buzz again. It's Julia Louis-Dreyfuss (at age 53) in the nude, with an image of the Constitution on her back to promote her HBO series "Veep." We know it's unlikely most Veeps would jump at the chance to pose naked for Rolling Stone. Maybe Joe Biden.

Anyway, the nudity hasn't been as scandalous as the cheeky decision to have John Hancock's historic large signature at the bottom of the Constitution image -- when John Hancock's signature appeared on the Declaration of Independence. How many Rolling Stone readers might notice through the bong haze?

By Tim Graham | April 5, 2014 | 7:22 AM EDT

Friday’s Washington Post published an essay by its own arts writer Soraya Nadia McDonald hailing the new leftist documentary on Anita Hill. It doubles down on the alleged sainthood of Anita Hill and her still-unsubstantiated charges of sexual harassment by Clarence Thomas. Nobody ever mentions that this paragon of taking sexual harassment seriously.... wrote in Bill Clinton’s defense in The New York Times during the Lewinsky scandal seven years after her 1991 testimony. She comically pretended not to know that Lewinsky came up in a sexual harassment case brought by Paula Jones. It was in that sexual harassment case that Clinton lied under oath about having sex with Lewinsky.

Instead, McDonald openly channeled The Nation magazine and radical feminist blogs and boasts that there’s no way senators of both parties would ever dare to challenge Hill’s motives (or lack of proof) as they did in 1991:

By Tim Graham | April 4, 2014 | 9:37 AM EDT

On Friday morning, CNN host Jake Tapper tweeted “On Hillary Clinton's assertion of media double standard, strongest complaints by her campaign in 2008 were against pro-Obama male journos”.

MRC's Dan Gainor alerted me that the responses from other national journalists about Hillary Clinton’s treatment of the press in the ‘08 cycle were surprising. Perhaps this should be a segment on Tapper's show where we can all learn more before 2016:

By Ken Shepherd | April 2, 2014 | 6:47 PM EDT

Because the United States should "focus... on preventing more war, terrorism and [nuclear] proliferation," it's probably time that we just "get over" the Iranian hostage crisis, argues Barbara Slavin in her April 2 Voice of America column, "Can We Ever Move on from the Hostage Crisis?"

The career journalist was expressing her annoyance with how there is consternation in Washington over the prospect of the Obama/Kerry State Department granting a visa to an Iranian diplomat who was a figure in the student-led seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979. To Slavin's mind, this is a cynical ploy to scotch Iranian nuclear talks and, besides, haven't we Americans also upset Iranians with some of the things we've done in the past? (emphasis mine):

By Paul Bremmer | March 19, 2014 | 12:05 PM EDT

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman went on PBS’s Charlie Rose show Monday night and defended President Obama’s soft foreign policy approach to the crisis in Ukraine.

Of that approach, which so far has consisted of sanctions against 11 Russian and Ukrainian officials, Friedman said:

By Seton Motley | March 4, 2014 | 9:13 AM EST

The Washington Post Editorial Board has long had a government agriculture policy position that is actually grounded in Reality. 

Going back at least half a decade - to the passage of the last terrible Farm Bill - they have been rightly pointing out that the Crony Socialist, picking-losers-at-the-expense-of-winners matrix of taxes, subsidies and quotas is simply a disaster.

By Brent Baker | February 26, 2014 | 1:19 PM EST

Season 2 debuts tonight of The Americans, the FX drama centered around husband and wife KGB undercover agents (Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell as “Philip and Elizabeth Jennings”) who live with their kids as ordinary Americans in suburban Washington, DC when Reagan becomes President. 

In the next to last episode of the first season, at a scene in a restaurant sometime in 1982, a source tells “Elizabeth” she can trust a U.S. Colonel, who wants to pass on information about the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), because “he’s completely disillusioned with the Chicken Hawks in the Reagan administration.”