Is Our Harvard Grads Learning? No.

de Tocqueville
This report has been making the blogospheric rounds today and it is, well, damning of our educational system’s ability to impart civic knowledge, to put it bluntly.
Simply stated, when presented with a 60 question test covering basic U.S. history, civics and political philosophy, Harvard seniors scored best with a D+ average. All other schools’ students scored worse.
The report’s findings are extremely interesting — not only are our college students culturally and politically illiterate, but they actually score lower on average after attending four or more years of higher education. College makes kids dumber, apparently.
Bop on over and take the test yourself and (hopefully!) you’ll be able to report: “I’m smarter than the average Harvard grad.”
(Full disclosure: I scored 54/60, missing questions 18, 19, 36, 54, 58 and 60. I guess I need to brush up on my Just War, Keynsian economic theory and good governance oversight…)

Bestest Fark Thread Evar

We’ve previously discussed the lolcats Internet meme briefly here before, so I won’t go into its origins at the moment (citations for the development of said meme/macro/fad/”kitty pidgin” available here, here, here, here, here and here, if you’re interested). However, I simply must point out the following “lolpresidents” thread over on Fark that has some of the funniest mutations of the meme I’ve yet seen — particularly the Grover Cleveland “I’d hit it twice — non-consecutively” entry.
Then again, I’m a U.S. History nerd and an Internet meme hound, so maybe it’s just something that will simply scratch my own humor itches…

Historical Idiocy

What do you get when you congregate a bunch of medical doctors and scientists with little to keep themselves amused? You find out that Abraham Lincoln might have survived, had he had access to 21st century medical technology.
Next up, I fully expect to see a History Channel documentary detailing just how differently Custer’s Last Stand would have gone, had he and his cavalry detachment had access to M4 carbines, M249 SAWs and a boatload of 5.56mm ammo.

Conspiracies, Man, Conspiracies!

Several disturbing conspiracies have come to light recently and I just can’t keep quiet about them any more.
First up is the Great Shrinking Cadbury Creme Egg conspiracy, as pointed out by noted researcher and comedian B.J. Novak:

I knew something was up when Cadbury, that most English of companies, was gobbled up by a Swiss company in 1969(!). There’s something about that year, man!
First there was “Loose Change“, the insane and ignorant of basic physical realities and, well, physicsbrave documentary that first inspired 9/11 “Truthers” to look into the truth behind our government’s involvement and complicity in the WTC attacks, the Moon landings and disco music. Also, I think Rosie O’Donnell and Charlie Sheen may have watched it a time or two.
In any event, there still remain great conspiracies to be busted: JFK’s assassination by CIA-trained Cubans left over from the Bay of Pigs Invasion and funded by Texas oil interests, Bell Helicopter and the Mafia all supervised by LBJ, George Bush’s 2000 Presidential “win” and the Great Eye on the back of American paper currency (check it out! It’s straight from the Illuminati!). One of the last unvisited conspiracies, though, is the sinking of the Titanic. Fortunately, a brave filmmaker, inspired by Loose Change, has composed Unfastened Coins, a riveting documentary that proves, once and for all, that the Titanic wasn’t sunk by an iceberg but by some kind of “Berg”, if you get my meaning:

That stuff is on the Internet, man, so it must be true!

Happy Palindromic Birthday, Texas!

DonMy wife and in-laws have (slowly) been converting me over to a slight Texas partisan, so all my Yankee brethren will have to excuse my obvious bias when I wish Texas a happy 171st birthday. I’m due down to Dallas long about November or so, so I’ll officially get to pay my respects then.
(Honey, if you’re reading this: I know your years of Texas history in school probably informed you as to the significance of March 2nd – you’ll have to excuse my ignorance, as the NJEA thought I needed to know about the culinary propensities of the Lene Lenape and how to read “banned” books far more than actual U.S. History.)

Zombie George Washington Demands BRAAAAANES, Warns Against Foreign Entanglements

Have y’all seen the new Presidential $1 coins the U.S. Mint is set to release? Here are the first 4:
The X-Presidents!
The wisdom of minting $1 coins when the population of the U.S. has shown, time-and-again, their resistance to such coinage aside, I’ve got to say: that’s the dirt poorest attempt at capturing our first 4 Presidents’ visages I’ve ever seen committed to metal.
George Washington, for instance, looks ready to try out for the next George Romero film:
Zombie George W.
Meanwhile, James Madison looks as if he vants to suck your bloot, having just polished off Dolley’s liver:
Vampire Madison!
Come to think of it, The New Adventures of Zombie Washington and Vampire Madison! would make a pretty kick-butt comic book. Image!, DC, Marvel: hop to it!