Monday, April 6, 2020

Two Days, and One Week, That Will Live in Infamy

Like Pearl Harbor, the attacks on 9/11/01 forever changed us as a country. Not since December 7, 1941 had our nation suffered such a devastating defeat by a foreign power on our own soil. In the days after 9/11 comparisons to Pearl Harbor were frequently made. Both attacks resulted in a spirit of American unity. A common enemy was identified. A national government galvanized American energies to combat and destroy the forces that attacked the homeland.

The US surgeon general said this week is going to be the "hardest and the saddest" for "most Americans' lives," describing the upcoming grim period of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States as a "Pearl Harbor moment" and a "9/11 moment." 

Do you agree?  Why or why not?

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Alphabet Soup

Critics of FDR's programs called them an 'Alphabet Soup' of confusing acronyms.  Conservatives felt FDR's government had no business regulating crop prices or digging ditches.  Radicals on the other hand felt that the President's New Deal hadn't gone far enough in redistributing the wealth.

What role should the government have in our lives?  Should the Government provide schools and roads?  Military?  Welfare? Health care?  Paid work leave?  Retirement?

What does our current POTUS think about the future of these programs?

Friday, March 20, 2020

Who Was Rube Goldberg?

RUBE GOLDBERG (1883-1970) was a cartoonist, an inventor, and the only person ever to be listed in Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary as an adjective. Of the nearly 50,000 cartoons he drew in his lifetime, Rube is best known for the zany contraptions of Professor Butts. These inventions, also known as Rube Goldberg Machines, solved a simple task in the most overcomplicated, inefficient, and hilarious way possible.

Take a look at these example Rube Goldberg cartoons and then draw and label a simple kinetic sculpture commemorating the causes of the Great Depression.

The parts of a kinetic sculpture are constantly moving. For example, a ball might hit a lever that sets off a pulley. The pulley might, in turn, pull a bucket that dumps water on a paddle wheel. The paddle wheel creates another movement. Different actions can take place independently of one another as well. But all the actions together have a combined result.

At least one part on your sculpture must represent each Key Content Term from Chapter 30. These terms may appear on your machine in any order.  You can submit your drawing on TCI, or draw it on paper, snap a photo, and email it with subject line 'Rube Goldberg.'

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

1920's Consumerism

In the 1920's the economy shifted from war time to peace and began an era of consumerism. Prices dropped and what people couldn't afford they began buying on credit.

Advertisers, now reaching millions of consumers on a daily or weekly basis, hired movie stars and sports figures to persuade Americans to buy all types of products, from washing machines to chewing gum. Business had become America's secular religion, thanks to advertising. Bruce Barton's 1925 book comparing religion and business, The Man Nobody Knows, declared Jesus Christ's parables as "the most powerful advertisements of all time.... He would be a national advertiser today."

Barton's philosophy was that good advertsing appealed to consumers and created desire for a product. According to Barton, " The American conception of advertising is to arouse desires and stimulate wants, to make people dissatisfied with the old and out-of-date."  Barton told his employees that their ads should have a theme, an interesting headline, and a purpose to direct consumers to act in a particular way (usually to buy a product).  His ads often used catch slogans.

In 1919 Bruce Barton cofounded his own advertising firm whose clients included General Electric, General Motors, and US Steel.  His advertising firm was also one of the first agencies to use radio, rather than newspapers and magazines, for advertising.  Barton grew to be one of the most successful advertising executives of the 1920s.

What is the 'formula' for successful advertising?

What other techniques did advertisers use?

How do commercials get us to buy stuff we don't need?

Pick a product from the 1920's.

Create your own ad.

See some sample ads. 

Inflation Calculator:  How much would my product cost in 1920's?

How have perceptions of many of these products (i.e. cigarettes) changed over time?

The most important part of an AD is its 'signature' or 'brand recognition.  How many of these famous brands can you name?

Monday, March 9, 2020


The 'nobel experiment' as it was called in the 1920s was intended to reduce alcohol abuse, strengthen families and make America a better place.

But it didn't stop people from drinking, it just criminalized them; and it brought violence and corruption to our streets.

On March 23, 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt signed into law an amendment to the Volstead Act known as the Cullen-Harrison Act, allowing the manufacture and sale of certain kinds of alcoholic beverages.

On December 5, 1933, the ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment repealed the Eighteenth Amendment for good.

1) Could Prohibition happen again?  Why or why not?

2) Should the government be able to tell you what you can drink or what drugs you can or can't take?  Explain with evidence from the links.

3) How about if you can smoke?  Why or why not?
4) Can the government decide what you should eat?  Give examples.

5) What responsibility does the government have to protect the health of its citizens?

6) What Federal agency regulates our food & drugs?  How does the President want to change it?

7) When does your individual freedom as an American over-ride that responsibility?

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Original O.G.

Dillinger and Capone were the 'Original' Original Gangstas. How 'Gangsta' are you?

However 'well intentioned,'   the 18th Amendment had some rather unintended consequences.

Gangland violence in Chicago captured headlines and attention across the nation the afternoon of Thursday, Feb. 14, 1929, and fueled rumors in Butler County. The crime later was called "the most spectacular of the decade in Chicago." There were more than 500 gangland murders in the Windy City in the 1920s.

The 1929 St. Valentine's Day Massacre took the lives of seven men by machine-gun and shotgun fire at about 10:30 a.m. in a garage at 2122 North Clark Street in Chicago. The mass shooting climaxed a struggle for control of Chicago's North Side. It pitted the powerful gang of Al Capone against the faltering group led by George (Bugs) Moran. Capone ordered his lieutenants to annihilate the entire Moran gang -- and they almost did it. Moran and two other gang members approached the garage, but fled when they believed police were raiding the building.

Moran had been lured to the massacre site by the prospect of buying bonded whisky. At stake was the security of Capone's illicit liquor business, estimated at more than $60 million a year by federal authorities. The killings solidified the 30-year-old Capone's control over the Chicago whisky trade and other criminal activities.

The Chicago crime still dominated conversations four days later when three strange men checked into the Anthony Wayne Hotel at High Street and Monument Avenue in Hamilton. They aroused suspicion by arriving in an expensive car with Illinois license plates and asking for the hotel's highest priced room.

Who were these mystery men and why did they come to Hamiltion, Ohio?

What connection did other notorious gangsters like John Dillinger have to this area?

How were gangsters of the '30s different from gangsters today?

Bet you didn't know Mr. Kelly is related to a notorious 20s gangster either.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

To Tell the Truth

Three contestants claim to be the same person. Four celebrities question the contestants, 
then vote for the one they think is the real person. This simple game has endured as a 
TV classic for over 45 years. Today's assignment pays tribute to the show that asked the 
burning question... 

"Will the real ________ please stand up?" 

 With your group you are each to choose a fact for the historical figure assigned you. Use your Biography Handout as a resource. All of your facts should be made false except one. After presenting  your facts in front of the class they will try to guess which is true.  The more realistic/ believable your facts the better chance you have of fooling your classmates and winning the game. 
 Do you have what it takes TO TELL THE TRUTH?