A failure of history class (5×8 – 2/25/13)

Is racism or ignorance behind recent school incidents, PTSD and the padre from Canada, who owns the news, should there be a military draft, and the ice musician.


The Monday Morning Rouser:

1) RACISM OR IGNORANCE?

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Photo: Shane Schuster

The principal at Grand Forks’ Red River High School says appropriate action is being taken against the kids who dressed up as Ku Klux Klan members at Friday night’s hockey semifinal game. The students were part of a “white out” plan at the game.

Typical of these types of instances, officials won’t say what “appropriate action” means. And, of course, the usual questions persist: Were these kids racist? Or just ignorant about history?

“The students removed the attire after students around them told them how offensive their attire was,” the principal told Forum Communications, indicating the latter, and reflecting, perhaps, the quality of the history curriculum in schools.

The hockey game was against Davies High School, named after Ronald Davies, a former federal judge from Fargo whose rulings in 1957 integrated schools in Little Rock, Ark.

Do they teach this in history class?

Related: Hudson High program promotes acceptance among students. (Pioneer Press)

2) PTSD AND THE PADRE

Sometimes, one wonders whether anyone is coming home from the wars without post traumatic stress disorder.

The CBC provides the story of Maj. Michel Martin, a chaplain who went to Afghanistan to help the troops there deal with the mental health effects of war. He came home with PTSD.

“PTSD destroys a lot of people. I never thought one moment that I would go through it one day. It almost destroyed me,” he said.

Listen to the interview.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports another afflicition may rival PTSD. “Clinicians suspect some troops are suffering from what they call ‘moral injuries’ — wounds from having done something, or failed to stop something, that violates their moral code,” the AP reports.

3) TO DRAFT OR NOT TO DRAFT?

If women are now eligible for combat in the United States, why don’t 18-year-old women have to register for the draft? Legally, there may be no other choice, the Associated Press says.

Better question: Why do we even still have a Selective Service system? Melvin Laird, the former secretary of defense, says we don’t need it.


Some contend the draft is needed so that military sacrifice and risk may be more equitably shared. Ironically, a fundamental issue the Gates Commission on an All-Volunteer Force cited when the draft was discontinued was that it was inherently unfair. Among the issues the commission also cited was policymakers’ inability to adequately answer the question: Who shall serve when not all serve? Nobel economic laureate Milton Friedman, a member of the commission, summed it up by saying that conscription was inconsistent with the American values of choice, personal liberty and a free society.

Unfortunately, the majority of those who would be eligible for the draft today do not meet the standards for military service, for physical fitness and other reasons. People are the military’s most important asset. But if the objective is to maintain at reasonable costs an effective military force, the draft fails this test. If the objective is to require all young people to serve their country, there are numerous possible alternatives beyond making the military the only outlet.

But Thom Hartman, writing on Truthout, says it’s no coincidence that wars with an all-volunteer military are longer than ones with a draft.


We need to bring back the draft. Our founding fathers knew its value. That’s why they formed a citizen-based militia. When George Washington, in his farewell address warned us to beware of foreign entanglements, he knew that a citizen militia – what today is closest to a draft – was the best way to prevent us from jumping into foreign military misadventures.

A draft system is a great leveler. When there’s a draft, what our founders called a “citizen’s militia,” every single American has some skin in the game.

Fewer than 1 percent of Americans have been touched by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Fewer than 1 percent of Americans have experienced the pain and suffering of losing a loved one on a distant battlefield.

4) WHO OWNS THE NEWS?

There was a horrible crash at Daytona speedway on Saturday, spilling debris into the crowd and injuring more than two dozen people. After NASCAR got order restored, its next priority was making sure you didn’t see the most compelling video of it.

It claimed a copyright infringement and forced YouTube (Google) to remove the multiple videos filmed by people in the crowd. At first, YouTube acquiesced.

Within hours, however, Google put the videos back, but the questions remain.

Writing on the website, Paid Content, Matthew Ingram says the Digital Millennium Copyright Act — DMCA — “only gives services like YouTube ‘safe harbor’ from copyright-infringement charges so long as the company acts quickly when it receives a takedown notice. In effect, there is virtually no leeway for protests or attempts to get a provider to defend their demands.”

“Our speech is to a large degree controlled by private corporations like Google and Twitter and Apple,” Ingram writes, “and in many ways we are still coming to grips with what that means for us as a society.”

Related media: Spring training baseball games started over the weekend. The little boxscores in the paper are a lifeline to people desperately trying to survive winter. But agate type — little scores and data — are disappearing from the newspaper. (TV Fury)

5) CHILLING BEFORE THE CONCERT

Terje Isungset, is putting on a concert on a corner by the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis today (7:30 p.m.) But first he had to make his musical instruments, the Pioneer Press says. Out of lake ice.

Bonus: After 19 days in a coma, volleyball player wants to play one more season. (Winona Daily News)

TODAY’S QUESTION

The authority preparing to build the new football stadium in downtown Minneapolis has announced plans to tear down the old Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome early in 2014. Today’s Question: What is your most vivid memory of the Dome?

WHAT WE’RE DOING

Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: The battle over the Keystone pipeline.

Second hour: Are there limits to what we can learn from data?

Third hour: Somali-African American tensions.

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): Historian David Nichols, speaking at the Minnesota Historical Society forum on “War Within War: Lincoln and US-Dakota War of 1862.”

Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) – TBA

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - The Voting Rights Act, born out of the Civil Rights Movement, was enacted more than 40 years ago. But now, the Supreme Court will soon consider challenges to the law that binds some Southern states to federal supervision. NPR will have the story.