The Money Plot: A History of Currency’s Power to Enchant, Control, and Manipulate

Economy, Policies

The Money Plot: A History of Currency’s Power to Enchant, Control, and Manipulate

Money obeys the rules of math, but math does not rule money. When it comes to creating and sustaining faith in a currency, the principles of narrative reign supreme. Like great characters, great currencies develop. The dollar faltered for more than 100 years after its founding. It teetered into the 20th century, then much like an adolescent on the verge of adulthood, matured and regressed in equal measure until, by the middle of the same century, it was ready to rescue the franc, the lira, the mark, the pound and the yen.

Heroes often discard logic and reason in favor of fury and passion; likewise, the impulses that motivated the greatest character ever invented. Molded from farmland, flesh, fish, forests, sugar and slaves, the dollar was and always would be synonymous with the American spirit. It epitomized the vision of Alexander Hamilton, Andrew Jackson, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. Nothing would surpass it.

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Why Do We Forget Pandemics?

Policies, Society

Why Do We Forget Pandemics?

Until the Covid-19 pandemic, the catastrophe of the Spanish flu had been dropped from American memory.

The second Moderna shot made me sick—as predicted. A 24-hour touch of what an alarmed immune system feels like left me all the more grateful for my good fortune in avoiding the real thing and for being alive at a time when science had devised a 95 percent effective vaccine in record time.

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The U.S. Water and Wastewater Crisis – How Many Wake-up Calls Are Enough?

Policies, Water

The U.S. Water and Wastewater Crisis – How Many Wake-up Calls Are Enough?

In February, much of Texas plunged into darkness when the state’s electricity grid failed due to extreme cold weather conditions. What started as a foreseeable blackout quickly became a life-threatening calamity. The frigid temperatures cracked pipes and froze wells.  To escape the frigid cold, have drinking water, and flush toilets, Texans were forced to boil snow and icicles. The extreme weather conditions and lack of basic amenities resulted in several fatal cases of hypothermia, frostbite, and carbon monoxide poisoning.

More than 14 million people in Texas were affected, and lost access to clean water at the height of the crisis. At the beginning of March, there were still nearly 390,000 people who did not have water safe enough to drink in their homes

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America’s Next Insurgency

Civil War, Threats

America’s Next Insurgency

Bleeding Kansas began with an eviction attempt. In late 1854, Jacob Branson, an abolitionist from Ohio, started trying to kick Franklin Coleman, a slavery proponent, off his property. Roughly a year later, Coleman ran into a friend of Branson’s at a local blacksmith’s shop. The friend berated Coleman for continuing to squat on the land and demanded that he desist. It’s not clear what, if anything, Coleman said in response. But it is clear what he did. As the friend walked away, Coleman took out a gun and killed him.

Fearing reprisal in what was a largely antislavery community, Coleman fled to a nearby town and turned himself in to a proslavery sheriff. That sheriff promptly freed him and then arrested Branson.

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Lessons Learned From a Year of Closed Schools

Education, Policies

Lessons Learned From a Year of Closed Schools

An outbreak at a senior home, which would ultimately be linked to at least 37 deaths, had already shuttered three schools in the 24,000-student district for deep cleaning, the central office was inundated with calls and emails from frantic parents and school staff reporting potential new exposures and more than 20% of students had stopped coming in at all.

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