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location Minneapolis, MN
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visits member for 2 years, 9 months
seen Oct 24 '13 at 21:09

Jan
26
comment What were the reasons for making Prohibition a constitutional amendment?
People who really want to drive something in sometimes go for a Constitutional amendment for emphasis and to make it harder to change in the future. Some people in Minnesota are trying to pass an amendment to the state Constitution that would prohibit what is already prohibited by statute, for example.
Jan
23
comment How to research controversial history?
@DVK: Was there any real way of corroborating such stories at the time? Some soldiers said that happened, most didn't, and the government denied widespread atrocities but wasn't trusted (with at least some reason). Nobody knew, and as you say people went wild with pretty sketchy evidence. (FWIW, if such atrocities had been widespread, I'm sure we'd have confirmation by now. Not that that stopped me from believing it likely back then.)
Jan
22
comment How to research controversial history?
FWIW, there were reports from US soldiers that My Lai-type incidents were quite common, and we certainly couldn't trust the military to be completely honest. At the time, there was no way for the general public to know what the truth was, and of course which story somebody believed usually depended on their politics. The secondary sources are therefore pretty much useless in telling what happened.
Jan
22
answered Why did George McClellan fail to act?
Jan
22
comment Why did George McClellan fail to act?
He also had a good deal of strategic ability. His first campaign had a shot at taking Richmond, if executed decisively.
Jan
21
comment Which war games did Napoleon practice with his generals?
The rise of the wargame as training aid was sometime after Napoleon, I believe as a result of the reform of the Prussian Army.
Jan
19
comment Does US law permit spending taxpayers' money to support foreign political parties?
@MichaelF: A question on what money the US has spent supporting pro-US parties and where would be on topic. A question of current legality would not be. Currently, the last sentence, which isn't the original question, is on topic.
Jan
18
comment Does US law permit spending taxpayers' money to support foreign political parties?
How is this question historical? It deals with current law.
Jan
16
comment What are the counterarguments to calling German nazism a right-wing movement?
@DVK: The media is not particularly left wing. In the US, reporters tend to be on the liberal side and management on the conservative. Neither side is particularly left-wing by standards elsewhere. Any argument depending on the media being hard left wing is fallacious.
Jan
16
comment Is the claim that Hitler came to power democratically justified?
Was Hitler, himself, actually elected to anything? Nazis were elected, but he was appointed Chancellor.
Jan
16
comment Are there arguments to think Hitler was a racist?
Since "race" is mostly a social construct (the genetic variation among races is much smaller than the variation between them), it makes no sense to argue that Hitler's racist beliefs would not count as "racist" today. They were clearly racist then, and they'd be considered racist today. Ever read Mein Kampf?
Jan
14
comment Who was the last US president who did not start a war?
What congressionally authorized war did Obama start? He intervened in Libya without congressional authorization, as I remember. Nor do I remember Clinton starting one, but that may just be my memory. Both presidents committed acts of war, but does that count?
Jan
14
comment What is modern criticism of Nazism?
@kubanczyk: Hitler didn't reach power by winning democratic elections in the normal sense. The Nazis never had more than 40% of the Reichstag, and lost ground in the last free election. This is normally enough (in a multiparty parliament) to run things, but hardly enough to usurp power. That came from a highly undemocratic decision by von Hindenberg and others, who were looking for a right-wing autocrat and got the wrong one.
Jan
14
comment How to research controversial history?
And beware of the supposedly fair view. Any account of WWII that puts the Axis on the same moral level as the Western Allies (I'm deliberately not including the Soviet Union and China here) may seem fair and unbiased but is twisting the facts far more than the simplistic views they taught me as a child.
Jan
5
awarded  Nice Question
Dec
30
awarded  Student
Dec
30
asked How accurate or supported is Jared Diamond's “Guns, Germs, and Steel”?
Dec
10
comment How much tax did Romans pay?
There is a legitimate question here: how did Roman taxes compare to current US taxes? We can ignore the apparent political bias of the source of the quote.
Dec
10
comment What was the worst economic crisis of all times?
@David: Depends on what you're looking for. The Great Depression affected most of the world's largest economies, while the Zimbabwe hyperinflation affected one very small economy. I'm sure I can find major disasters that hit very small economies if I look for them.
Dec
10
answered Does Grant's use of attrition tactic support his reputation as a general?