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Rob MacDougall
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Two-Fisted Historian
Two-Fisted Historian

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Oh man, Jack Layton. :(

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Richard White, Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America

"Looking for Behrman's equivalent in archives is like looking for Superman and finding only Clark Kent. The agents of the Southern Pacific were not only fallible; they were often bumbling. The actual Octopus was a sadly conflicted monster. Those tentacles of steel were as likely to be slapping at each other or poking into the monster's own cyclopean eye as to be securing prey; the soulless force of the corporation actually amounted to a group of divided, quarrelsome, petualnt, arrogant, and often astonishingly inept men. With the possible exception of the Canadian Pacific, it was true of all the transcontinentals; it was true of most western railroads. There was an Octopus, but it was usually less fearful than funny and fantastic. It was like watching a group of fat men in an Octopus suit."

Sean Wilentz, The Age of Reagan, 1974-2008:

"Since there is no paper trail, how much influence Rumsfeld and Cheney had in orchestrating the "Halloween massacre" late in 1975--the largest reshuffling of any cabinet to that point in modern American history--remains a subject of speculation. But without question Rumsfeld and Cheney were the major beneficiaries. On Sunday, November 2, Ford, now hard-pressed by the right, took care of his administration's family business, Godfather-style, in a single day. He fired Schlesinger and (finally) Colby. He relieved Kissinger of his position as national security adviser; thus Kissinger would no longer work out of the White House and would no longer have ready access to the president. ... As for Colby's job directing the CIA, Bork's name did not survive vetting at the highest levels. ... The president settled on George H.W. Bush, who was serving as his envoy to China and had privately expressed a desire to come home. ... The biggest plum, the position of secretary of defense, went to Donald Rumsfeld. His major qualification for that particular job, the White House claimed with a straight face, was that he had been a Navy flier; now Rumsfeld would have as much formal power (and access to his old friend President Ford) as Henry Kissinger. The new White House chief of staff (with the former sonorous title now restored) would be Dick Cheney.

And that was not all. The very next day, Vice President Rockefeller ... announced publicly that he had withdrawn his name from consideration for the Republican ticket."

I am enjoying this book so far (I had resisted it for some not very good reasons), but I wonder why Wilentz spends so much time on these two grey-faced apparatchiks in the Ford administration. Do you think they'll turn out to be important somehow?

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"While the doctors got on with their work, I also decided to take matters into my own hands and elected to treat the living bacteria inside me as totem animals. If, I speculated, they had a physical existence and purpose, surely they could be endowed with a mythic or magical intent by a human intelligence. In the wee small hours, with the alcoholic night nurse on duty, I spoke to the germs and promised them a starring role as the baddies in my current magnum opus, The Invisibles, if they left me alone. This, I explained to them, would give them a far longer life and greater symbolic significance than any mere physical overthrow of my body could offer. I gave Staphylococcus aureus the chance to become fiction. It was a good deal, and they seemed to go for it."

I'd been waiting for Grant Morrison to write his memoirs.

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All must be shared to win the war.
Sorry all. There was a typo in the last bit of art I posted. Here it is again sans typo. :)

Looks like they're already spreading around though! lol
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"Rob MacDougall at Old Is the New New did almost everything wrong. ... But MacDougall's blog became one of the unalloyed joys of the history blogosphere ..."

My blog gets Hall of Famed at Cliopatria, with a very generous blurb by the hard-to-please Jonathan Dresner. Thanks, Jon!

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Am I doing this right? Is this thing on? Does the link work? What smells like mustard?
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