Tuesday, December 10, 2019

A Campfire Conversation

During a private, three-day camping trip in the Yosemite Valley in 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt and preservationist John Muir shared their views on wilderness use while "talking freely around the campfire." Both men shared a life-long appreciation for the wilderness and its natural inhabitants. But each brought different views on how, why, and to what extent that environment should be protected. Their exchange of those views eventually led to the expansion of Yosemite National Park under the federal government.

In this lesson, students will use online tools – as well as information contained in this episode – to research the backgrounds, experiences, and points of view of both men. They will then share that information in a re-creation of one of the pair's "campfire conversations."

1. What was Muir’s point of view on wilderness use? What was Roosevelt’s view?

2. In what ways were their points of view similar? In what ways were they different?

3. For each man, what was the value in hearing the other’s point of view?

4. In what ways was the campfire setting an appropriate one for the conversation?

5. If you were in attendance at that campfire, what would you have liked to say to either man?

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Get a Job

"There is work that profits children, and there is work that brings profit only to employers. The object of employing children is not to train them, but to get high profits from their work."-- Lewis Hine, 1908

Do you have a job? If you had to get a job by the end of the week what would you do? How many hours would you work? How much would you get paid? Are there any risks or dangers?

Compare your jobs to children laborers during the industrial age.

What role should the government assume in protecting workers -especially children- from the hazards of the workplace?

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Is Greed Good?

The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind. And greed, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA. Thank you very much.

Before there was Wolf of Wall Street there was Wall Street? What is Michael Douglas' character Gordan Gecko saying in this classic quote from the movie? Do you agree or disagree with his opinion?

What is the difference between a 'Robber Baron' and a 'Captain of Industry?'  Which is Warren Buffet?  Donald Trump?

Look at the chart: Legacy of the Bushiness Tycoons. Which of these views is most similar to that of Gordan Gecko? (click below to enlarge)

Of course lets not forget the demise of Augustus Gloop.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Who Really Owns the Land?

What is your most valuable possession? How can you prove you 'own' it?

According to John Locke, one doesn’t acquire land merely by claiming it, or even by living on it. One acquires solely through productive use. Moreover, one has no right to hold more land than one can use productively.

The Indians left much of the land unused, they never farmed it, raised livestock, or mined any of it. Land, a part of the universe, belonged to all, particularly the tribe. Individual land ownership did not exist, since all were entitled to the fruits of nature. Users' rights were protected and specified in various traditions, but there was no such things as land "ownership". Generally, individuals could clear as much land as needed for farming; this land would remain in a family's possession as long as they continued to use it. Once it was abandoned, anyone else could cultivate it.  

1) What would Locke say to Yertle the Turtle

2) What would he say to the Indians?  

3) Did we really steal the Indian’s land?  

4) Were the Indians using all of it?  

5) How did Indians view of the land differ from the settlers?  

6) What was the Dawes Act?

7) How did the Dawes Act take advantage of the Indians?

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Battle or Massacre?

Whats the difference between a Battle and a Massacre?

Read the account of the Battle of Wounded Knee  and compare it to the first hand accounts of the Indians who were there. What differences do you notice? How are the accounts biased?

I find it hard to accept that Wounded Knee was a “battle” rather than a “massacre.” Chief Big Foot’s abject band of 300 was comprised mostly of women and children. The adult men among them were few and not well armed. All of them were starving and suffering from prolonged exposure to cold. Before embarking on their trek which tragically ended at Wounded Knee, they had spent more than a decade on the reservation, being systematically beaten down and broken apart.

Contrast this to the 500 well-fed, equipped, and armed soldiers sent to prevent Chief Big Foot’s (a.k.a. Spotted Elk) band from reaching Pine Ridge. This army unit infamously included the reconstituted 7th Cavalry, which had been humiliated at the Custer battle in 1876 and was itching for retribution. Consider the chilling orders issued to the army:
Disarm the Indians. Take every precaution to prevent their escape. If they choose to fight, destroy them.

Short, concise, and clear. The results were deadly, and it was not a battle. One can come to this conclusion only by relying primarily or exclusively on government and army sources.

Listen to Charlie Parrker's song 1890.

In the end, nearly 200 Lakota lay dead and 25 soldiers were killed. Most of the soldiers were killed by a few warriors defending the women, children, and elderly being slaughtered by 500 troopers using rifles and 4 Hotchkiss cannons with exploding shells (with a firing rate of 1 shell per second), this strains credulity. Unwisely, the army commander had formed his troops in a circle around the Lakota, so when the firing began the troopers were shooting not only at the unprotected Lakota, but also at their fellows — killing each other with “friendly” fire. This resulted in a court martial trial for the commander James William Forsyth. The charges against him were ultimately dropped and he was later promoted to Major General. (source)

Its been more than 120 years since this massacre. Has the Government made amends?

Listen and you decide: Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee (lyrics)

Friday, May 10, 2019

2000 Elecition

The 2000 election, the most controversial in history, is revisited with testimony from key players who helped decide the outcome after botched results. CNN Special Report – Bush vs. Gore: The Endless Election.

Is partisanship a bigger threat to our country than China or Russia? Should we abolish the Electoral College?  Why or why not?

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

America In The 21st Century

The economy is a key domestic issue. But it has never been the only one. All modern presidents came into office with several goals they expected to achieve. In a country deeply divided in its party loyalties, none of them would accomplish all they had hoped. In this chapter, you will examine how well those three presidents—Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama—met their domestic policy goals after entering the Oval Office.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

The End Justifies the Means

Do the ends justify the means? In other words, if the United States was able to prevent the Soviet Union from spreading its beliefs and practices, are the actions taken to do so justified? Why or why not? How far would you be willing to go to bring about this end? This far?

The statement that the ends justifies the means can be traced back to Niccolo Machiavelli. The closest he came to it was when he expressed his view in Chapter XVIII of The Prince:

“There is nothing more necessary to appear to have than this last quality (appearing to be religious), inasmuch as men judge generally more by the eye than by the hand, because it belongs to everybody to see you, to few to come in touch with you.”

This quote about keeping faith, or being true to your word, Machiavelli is instructing a Prince on how to behave and how to keep up appearances. He says it’s very important to appear merciful, faithful, humane, upright, and religious. He also says that one must be prepared to act in a manner contrary to the appearance to keep up the appearance. This is because everyone can see what you appear to be, and only a few will get close enough to touch you and actually find out what happened.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Great Migration

I just begin to feel like a man. It's a great pleasure in knowing that you have got some privilege. My children are going to the same school as whites and I don't have to umble to no one. I have registered—Will vote the next election and there isn't any "yes sir" and "no sir."
—Author unknown, from Letters of Negro Migrants of 1916–1918
What began as a trickle soon turned into a mass movement of African Americans known as the Great Migration [Great Migration: beginning during World War I, the mass movement of millions of African Americans from the rural South to cities in the North and Midwest in order to take jobs in industry] . Chicago, New York City, Cleveland, and other cities saw an explosion of black residents. Whites suddenly found themselves competing with blacks for jobs and housing. In some places, racial tensions sparked riots.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Stock Market Simulation

Your Rich Uncle Pennybags has died and left you $100,000!

You could put that money in the Bank but with John Dillinger and his gang running around that might not be such a good idea.

Rather than bury it in pickle jars in the back yard why not invest it in the Stock Market?

1) Which investments were best?  Worst?  What would you do different if you played the game again?

2) Compare/ contrast our simulation graph to the graph of the actual Dow Jones. What is the advantage of long term investing?

3) How did Stock Speculation lead to the actual events of 'Black Tuesday' in 1929?

4) The stock market was the first 'domino' in a chain reaction that would spread world wide.  What were the others?

5) Is investing in the stock market still a good idea?  What would Warren Buffett say?