Palin not only history illiterate

June 9, 2011


“Don’t know much about history” — Sam Cooke

It would be the easiest thing in the world to make this about Sarah Palin.

She makes mistakes like Apple makes iPhones, so there is a temptation to catalogue her recent bizarre claim that Paul Revere’s midnight ride in April 1775 was to “warn the British.” (He actually rode to alert patriots Samuel Adams and John Hancock that British troops were coming to arrest them) as superfluous evidence of intellectual mediocrity. The instinct is to think her historical illiteracy speaks ill only of her.

But the thing is, she is not the only one.

You may think that statement is meant to encompass the likes of Glenn Beck (who said conservatives started the Civil Rights Movement), and Michele Bachmann (who said the Founding Fathers ended slavery) and it is. But the troubling thing is, it also encompasses many of the rest of us as well. Where history is concerned, this is fast becoming a nation of ignoramuses and amnesiacs.

The alarm bell has been ringing for years. Consider “Losing America’s Memory: Historical Illiteracy in the 21st Century,” a 2000 study by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, a Washington-based advocacy group. Researchers found that the majority of seniors at the nation’s best colleges could not identify the words of the Gettysburg Address or explain the significance of Valley Forge. They did not know, the study concluded, because they had not been taught. History, the study said, was no longer a requirement in the nation’s top schools.

And then, there is a 2006 assessment by the Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics, often called The Nation’s Report Card. It found that nearly 40 percent of 12th-graders could not identify the purpose of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and only 14 percent could identify and explain a factor leading to U.S. involvement in the Korean War.

Some may think that failure insignificant. History is but the dust of yesteryear, is it not? It is just rote memorization of names and dates and something about the Smoot-Hawley Act. If kids are bored by that, who can blame them? And who cares? We all should. No child should be able to finish public school, much less college, without a firm grasp of American history. Because history is not dust. Nor is it myths we tell to comfort and acquit ourselves.

Nor is it a lever we twist in order to gain political advantage. No, our history is the master narrative of who we are.

It is a narrative of slaves and soldiers, inventors and investors, demagogues and visionaries, of homicide, fratricide and genocide, of truths held self-evident and of government of the people, by the people and for the people. It is a narrative of Europeans leaving Europe yearning to breathe free and the children of slaves leaving the South yearning for the same. It is a narrative of blood on French beaches and a man on the moon.

And we allow all that to be forgotten at our own peril. How can our children write the next chapter of a story they don’t even know? So, while it is comforting to think Palin’s gaffe speaks only to her own considerable limitations, it is also short-sighted. The evidence suggests she is less an exception to, than a reflection of, a nation that is in the process of forgetting itself.

Heck, we are all Sarah Palin now.

— Leonard Pitts Jr. is a columnist for the Miami Herald. His email is lpitts@miamiherald.com.


Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 11 months ago

"No child should be able to finish public school, much less college, without a firm grasp of American history."

Only American history? Who and what we are today is not only what happened in the New World, but also the ideas and concepts brought over from many other cultures.

There are not very many innovations, ideas, concepts, and philosophies that did not have their origins in other cultures.

"History always repeats itself twice: first time as tragedy, second time as farce." - Karl Marx

kernal 6 years, 11 months ago

My latest favorite is the Atlanta teacher who introduced a WWII veteran, at an event commemorating D-Day, as a survivor of World War Eleven.

mom_of_three 6 years, 11 months ago

didn't he warn the british AFTER he had been captured and not during his ride, which is what SHE said? And the President admitted he made an error for the number of states. none of the others have admitted anything. She still thinks she is right.
I still crack up when I think about her interview with Chris whats his name because she said it was a "gotcha" question. yeah, gotcha - what do you hope to gain from the visit? If that is a gotcha question, we are in more trouble than we think.

ferrislives 6 years, 11 months ago

You know what CTE, you're actually right. He rode through the streets on his horse yelling at the British troops that the British were coming. If that's the case, maybe he's related to Palin?

The whole idea that while she's in Boston, she's going to tell them how proud they should be that Revere warned the British that they themselves were coming shows something about her (lack of) brainpower.

The fact that Palin's own people went on Wikipedia in an attempt to re-write the entry for Paul Revere is enough proof for me. Revisionist history at its finest. Maybe they have some more kool-aid for you.

cato_the_elder 6 years, 11 months ago

Ferris, read my response below. A professor from Suffolk University (which I'm sure you didn't know is located in Boston), who undoubtedly knows a lot more about Paul Revere than you do, said on NPR on June 6 that Palin was correct.

ferrislives 6 years, 11 months ago

Just as Casey Anthony down in Florida will find a psychologist or regular doctor to back up her claims, so too will other so-called experts express their own opinions on Palin's version of history. Just as I would if you were defending Obama's mistake on the # of US states, I'm calling you and others on your BS. None of you, including Palin, know how to say that you were wrong. That's a big character flaw in Palin, because she's simply an egotistical narcicist with glasses and a two big...round ladies. Nothing more.

cato_the_elder 6 years, 11 months ago

Ferris: Number one, I suggest that you learn how to spell "narcissist."

Number two, I suggest that you consider the fact that Barack Obama is without a doubt the most narcissistic U.S. president in history.

Number three, it's revolting that knee-jerk liberals like you can make disgustingly sexist statements about conservative women, as you just did, and get a free pass on it from their fellow liberal morons. It's rank hypocrisy at its worst. You're just like all the rest of your pals - a smarmy hypocrite.

ferrislives 6 years, 11 months ago

First: I typed without the benefit of spellcheck on a phone, but it's nice to know that the grammar nazi's are alive and well.

Second: I never said that he wasn't. You're choosing to put words into my mouth.

Third: Yup cato, saying that you and others are truly only enamored with Palin because of her looks makes me a sexist. I'm not a sexist, but I am a realist. If you truly think that Palin is qualified to be President, then you have very low standards. You can name call me all you want.l But if you knew anything about me, you'd know that I am not a liberal. In fact, I'm conservative on most issues, especially concerning fiscal conservatism. But I also understand that almost all politicians are hypocrites, including Palin.

The problem with sheep like you is that you have blinders on. You'll defend anyone on your side no matter what they have to say. If Palin had sent photos via Twitter of her ladies, you'd shout to everyone about how smart it was of her to do so, and how everyone should stop ganging up on her.

You need to learn to look around have an opinion of your own; not some regurgitation of Fox News.

By the way, the +1 that I gave mom_of_three in the first place had to do with the 1st sentence of her post: "didn't he warn the british AFTER he had been captured and not during his ride, which is what SHE said?". Learn your history cato.

cato_the_elder 6 years, 11 months ago

Ferris: Your comments about Palin were blatantly sexist, and you are a sexist bigot for making them. The fact that people like you can make such comments and get a free pass from liberals, especially liberal feminists, and their media pals is disgusting.

I don't support Palin for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination and I don't find her particularly attractive. I do find it amusing that all liberals seem to be fixated with her but profess at the same time to be more intelligent than she is, which they aren't.

As for history, I've forgotten more of it than you'll ever know. Of course, knowledge of history isn't necessary if all you want to do is be a fry cook on Venus.

ferrislives 6 years, 11 months ago

You've pulled the sexist card like liberals pull the racist card. The more you do it, the more it becomes muddled. Stating the obvious, which has been expressed by several right-wingers on this forum about Palin's sex appeal is not being sexist; it's being realistic. "Realist"...look it up sometime

As far as the original point of this article, if you do not agree that Revere only told the British about what was happening after he was captured, then you are attempting to revise history. If you do agree that this is correct, then we really don't have a disagreement.

You're getting grumpy in your old age cato_the_elder.

cato_the_elder 6 years, 11 months ago

You have no idea how old I am. You have, however, confirmed that you're also a bigot as far as people older than you are concerned, not just women. You must be so young that you're doubly bigoted as far as Palin is concerned - both since she's a woman and also because she's apparently considerably older than you are.

Bob Forer 6 years, 11 months ago

I am not a knee jerk liberal. But I do agree that Palin is an idiot. Why do you continue to defend her, Cato? Your position reflects poorly not upon your intellect--which I do not question--but upon your intellectual honesty.

cato_the_elder 6 years, 11 months ago

Palin's not an idiot. She performed reasonably well as Governor of Alaska, easily on a par with Clinton's performance in Arkansas, for example. She's a red-blooded Mama Grizzly and I admire her courage and determination, but that does not mean that I support her for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

Let me pose this: If Palin's an "idiot," then Joe Biden clearly is and a good number of the members of Congress are also. I agree that people of greater intellect than Palin, Biden, and most members of Congress ought to be holding those offices, but they aren't. The fact is that for many reasons the most capable people in America seldom if ever run for or get elected to public office at that level.

cato_the_elder 6 years, 11 months ago

Palin said what she said after a visit to the Old North Church (for your edification, "mom_of_three," that's in Boston). Taken in context, what Palin said was correct - as was discussed in depth by a professor from Suffolk University on National Public Radio on June 6, much to the chagrin of the NPR reporter conducting the interview.

And, "mom_of_three," nothing said by any other present-day politician, including the moronic Joe Biden, will ever match Obama's reference to a "corpsman" as a "corpse-man." Given his position as commander-in-chief, that may be the most embarrassing verbal act ever commited by a sitting president, and reveals as clearly as possible how uneducated Obama really is.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 11 months ago

Oh, get over it. Palin's rambling "treatise" was clearly off the cuff, and not based on any real understanding of the events of the time.

I might have made equally inaccurate statements if it were me, but I wouldn't be up there trying to make political points about an event over which I had only a vague familiarity, either.

"Vague" describes Palin's familiarity with about every subject imaginable. She's just not curious enough about anything other than self-promotion to put in the homework.

cato_the_elder 6 years, 11 months ago

And she's also got more common sense in her little finger than you have in your whole body.

mom_of_three 6 years, 11 months ago

I believe the historian fromthe museum she visited also said she was incorrect. And i think your patronizing attitude is unneeded.

And you have not addressed the fact she thought it was a gotcha question. If that is a gotcha question, she better not run for president.

cato_the_elder 6 years, 11 months ago

And you have not addressed Obama's imbecilic statement to which I referred, which was an ignorant insult to every service person and veteran in America.

gkerr 6 years, 11 months ago

British Soldiers had been billeted in the Colonies for years prior to the fresh movement of Red Coats. Those Coats on the move heard the musket shots, and bells pealing as did the billeted Red Coats. They were aware something was up and Revere told them the colonists had rallied men to oppose them that they were not going to freely surpress the insurrection that game was on.

Paul Revere was not obsequious in his message but frank and bold and defiant and challenging. Palin was right. Her detractors are ideological opponents who leapt to erroneous conclusion and continue to hold their error due to embarrassment and seething hatred of a warrior opponent. Gkerr

Jimo 6 years, 11 months ago

Fascinating revisionist history. 'Tis fun to play.

What happened to Hitler after the Nazis defeated the Allies?

Did Chinese explorers treat the Indians better than the Euros did?

What year did the Roman Empire accomplish the first moon landing?

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 11 months ago

I just love historical revisionism; both in the remote and the very recent past.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 11 months ago

“The victors invariably write the history to their own advantage.” - Jean-Luc Picard

beatrice 6 years, 11 months ago

Solomon, not knowing history and blabbering on like you do, and making a momentary slip of the tongue are two entirely different things. We both know that you can not honestly believe that Obama actually thought there were 57 states. When told of his comment, he laughed and admitted to being tired. Worth a chuckle, but no big deal. If you have never said the wrong word at some point in your life, then you are probably mute. The rest of us have. It truly is part of spoken language.

Palin, on the other hand, was incorrect in her memory of history and then had the audacity to stand behind her comments as though they were accurate. That is just ridiculous.

However, I hope conservatives keep backing her. It makes the conservative movement look that much more out of touch with rational thinking.

Bob_Keeshan 6 years, 11 months ago

But who warned the militia that the British had been warned that the militia had been warned?

Did Paul Revere then warn the British that the militia had been warned that the British were warned that the militia had been warned?

Damn, that Palin is a neverending font of knowledge.

ugh 6 years, 11 months ago

"she is not the only one...heck, we are all Sarah Palin now."

Sounds to me like his is including himself in his critique.

rtwngr 6 years, 11 months ago

Pitts is the pits. He is the definition of the pot calling the kettle ... well, anyway, you know. This man spouts revisionist history all the time. He should be called Leonard Putz.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 11 months ago

In other news: "...With some of the economic indicators looking a bit dicey, President Obama traveled to Ohio last week to tout what the administration considers a good-news story: the rescue of the domestic automobile industry. In fact, he also made it the subject of his weekly radio address. We take no view on whether the administration’s efforts on behalf of the automobile industry were a good or bad thing; that’s a matter for the editorial pages and eventually the historians. But we are interested in the facts the president cited to make his case. What we found is one of the most misleading collections of assertions we have seen in a short presidential speech. Virtually every claim by the president regarding the auto industry needs an asterisk, just like the fine print in that too-good-to-be-true car loan...." http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/president-obamas-phony-accounting-on-the-auto-industry-bailout/2011/06/06/AG3nefKH_blog.html

woodscolt 6 years, 11 months ago

you have to like this post. one of the best

gkerr 6 years, 11 months ago


See Reference to Washington Post article above by Snap/crackle.

Washington Post Fact Checker in Chief gave Three Pinnochios for three big lies in Obama's speech on Auto Bailouts. As the Fortunas wheel turns even USA Today and Washington Post, Boston Herald, LA Times, San Fran Chronicle are beginning to smell the fetid stench o f a failed Presidency and even comment on it. Just Tuesday USA Today ran story detailing 61 trillion dollars in Federal obligations that cannot be paid for. That's a new figure to me, I thought it was 15 trillion in current accounts deficit and 15 trillions more in future contracted obligations- but alas, no, it is now 61 Trillion. The trust funds have been raided and replaced by IOUs- Our Politicians and their Special Interest supporters have cynically destroyed the economy to maintain their office of advantage, perks, and power. They are nearly all Weiners and that includes their facilitators in the Press. gkerr

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 11 months ago

"Too bad so many posters here don't believe anything not coming from Fox"

It's not worth the trouble to look it up, but within the last week or so some commentor made the claim that since Fox had not covered it, it must not be happening.

"You Can't Fix Stupid" - an album by American comedian Ron White.

Ralph Reed 6 years, 11 months ago

So, Seeing no defense of Palin, and the standard attacks on Pitts (which is the norm here) and President Obama, I assume a couple of things. We're all in agreement that Palin had absolutely no idea what she was talking about; and that she's brazen enough to refuse to admit obvious error. I also posit that the majority of posters above are trying shift focus away from her gaaf by pointing out what they perceive in others.

@L1: re: your 0745. Not attacking you, but a few specifics, please.

@snap: re: your cut-n-paste at 0827. Interesting editorial/oped/blog in the Washington Post. What's your take on it?

@kernal: re: your 0745. The real concern is not that the teacher called it WW-eleven, but of what political persuasion is the teacher. Remember, one answer will make it OK as it was an honest mistake chalked up to nervousness and the other answer will make it a travesty.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 11 months ago

You mean where he hasn't parroted your favorite historical revisionism.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 11 months ago

It really chafes your butt that someone who doesn't worship Hayek and Rand could have a nuanced view of government and markets. But true believers usually can't see anything beyond their true beliefs.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 11 months ago

There is opinion, there is belief, and there is knowledge.

Many people confuse those three things.

jafs 6 years, 11 months ago

You can spin it however you like.

What would you call your libertarianism?

It's clearly not knowledge, so that leaves opinion and belief - your choice.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 11 months ago

I did get an A in Logic in college, so I don't think I'm particularly stupid, but what you just said made no sense to me.

I think where it all breaks down is where you first said, "I believe in democracy." In my opinion, what that really means is that you are saying that it is the best system of government so far devised, except perhaps for a benevolent dictatorship. But a benevolent dictatorship fails because it is simply not possible to identify which dictator would be benevolent. So toss that one out.

Then all of a sudden you were talking about the reality of democracy as though it had a reality other than what we commonly mean by that term. After that, somehow you connected ghosts with democracy.

That's where you lost me. In my experience, ghosts have nothing to do with democracy, and a democratic vote as to whether they actually exist or not would have no merit.

As far as the multiple possible meanings of the word "believe", I don't think there are that many. If you have direct knowledge through experience of the reality of something, then it becomes a reality for you. Then it all falls apart because we all have had different experiences, and no two people will experience the same event the same way.

The way I think of it, when I say I "know" something, it means that based upon my experiences with it in the past, it is true.

If I say I "believe" something, it means that it's my opinion that it's so, but I really don't have any direct experience of it. For example, I "believe" World War 1 happened, but I don't "know" that it did, I can only infer that it did based upon reading about it.

But, from looking up "believe" in the dictionary, maybe the distinction is not so clear cut between "believe" and "opinion". However, I have always thought there is an obvious naunce in different meaning.

From Merriam-Webster: Definition of BELIEVE intransitive verb 1a : to have a firm religious faith b : to accept something as true, genuine, or real 2: to have a firm conviction as to the goodness, efficacy, or ability of something 3: to hold an opinion : think transitive verb 1a : to consider to be true or honest b : to accept the word or evidence of 2: to hold as an opinion : suppose — be·liev·er noun — not believe : to be astounded at

jafs 6 years, 11 months ago

Ok - that's a bit clearer.

But I'm not sure that it is as important a distinction as you think.

You believe, do you not, that libertarianism is a better system than others? And, that, if we changed our system to be more in line with your ideas, that would be an improvement?

Those are claims about reality, just as belief in God is (I'll use God rather than ghosts, since I think it's a better example). And, people who believe in God/religion believe just as you do.

They tend to think their religion is better than others, and that if their ideas were adopted, it would be an improvement. There are those who say it directly, on these comments - that politicians should lead by the Word, etc.

Belief in God is generally more that a simple belief that God is real, it also involves a whole set of connected beliefs, and ideas about how people should live.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 11 months ago

I think that libertarianism is not incompatable with democracy, but it might require more educated voters than we have today. You can't take a libertarian stance on everything, because there are some things that simply must be handled by central government, such as the minting of money (and I don't mean the present system of just printing more dollars out of thin air), the roads, certain utilities, and law enforcement.

But there's a problem with libertarianism and law enforcement. Yes, a lot of laws that are simply stupid and expensive to enforce are simply part of the American scene. Those should be changed, and it would not necessarily mean the demise of democracy.

That was all based upon what I "think" you meant by libertariansim, maybe I got that all wrong, I'm not sure and looking that up would be to time consuming for the moment. But I think you understand what I was trying to say.

And about your coments about reality, that is simply way to involved to go into here, we are limited to 3,000 characters.

About "politicians should lead by the word", oh boy, that would be a mistake. What's "the word"? The Koran? The sayings of Budda?

And about belief in G-d, there is a problem with exactly what the definition of G-d is. For instance, a possible opinion is that G-d is "the sum totality of all that exists." So then, if you claim there is no G-d, then you are claiming nothing exists at all. And then, something like 600 people got together a few weeks ago to "debate" something that I don't think we can possibly "know" anyway. The only thing I can infer from that is that they had nothing better to do.

The "better" religions, in my opinion, are the ones that do not claim exclusivity. "There are many paths to the top of the mountain, but the view is always the same." - ancient Chinese proverb

And about exactly what I am sure I "know" what reality really is, that includes G-d, religion, ghosts, all sorts of paranormal phenomenon, etc., I am quite sure that there is absolutely no possible way we could understand it, so no wonder there are so many different views on that subject.

And then back to what I "know", based upon personal experience - there is more than we see, and the reason we do not see it is because we cannot see it. Of course, everyone else would claim that is merely an opinion, but to me it is something I "know", and no one will ever be able to change my mind about that.

jafs 6 years, 11 months ago

My post was a response to LO, not you.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 11 months ago

Oh, sorry 'bout that!

Damn, I was getting all ready to defend my statements about how reality is not only more complex than we understand, but more complex than we can understand!

jafs 6 years, 11 months ago

I already responded to this above.

You are right about the distinction.

But, it doesn't distinguish your libertarianism from religious belief as much as you'd like.

jafs 6 years, 11 months ago

If I remember right, this started with your denigrating religious believers, that they believed in things that were "made up", and as such couldn't really believe in them, and so must believe something else.

I find that sort of thing objectionable.

It is your belief that God is "made up" - I don't know that it's any more or less "made up" than libertarian ideas.

And, in the sense that you want me to understand the term believe, it refers to a set of tenets or "a firm conviction as to the goodness, efficacy or ability of something" - from Webster's.

Religious belief fits that definition, as does libertarianism.

You have a firm conviction in the goodness and efficacy of libertarian principles, while religious believers have the same in regard to their tenets - the 10 commandments, Sermon on the Mount, etc.

jafs 6 years, 11 months ago

Well, we should probably end this one now.

I find your libertarian beliefs to have no more or less validity than religious belief, and to be strikingly similar to them in a number of ways.

You, on the other hand, think it has much more validity, and like to put down religious believers.

I doubt that either of us will convince the other.

gkerr 6 years, 11 months ago

Ralph Reed,

I'll repeat a defense by many historians and bloggers appearing in many News Paper articles and blog commentaries, paraphrased-----" British Soldiers had been billeted in the Colonies for years prior to the fresh movement of Red Coats. Those Coats on the move heard the musket shots, and bells pealing as did the billeted Red Coats. They were aware something was up and Revere told them the colonists had rallied men to oppose them that they were not going to freely surpress the insurrection that game was on.

Paul Revere was not obsequious in his message but frank and bold and defiant and challenging. Palin was right. Her detractors are ideological opponents who leapt to erroneous conclusion and continue to hold their error due to embarrassment and seething hatred of a warrior opponent.

Pitts is a professional apologist for the leftist cult of Keynes. The jig is up on inexorable expansion of government meddling in the lives of citizens by big brother programs costing trillions and destroying liberty.

mom_of_three 6 years, 11 months ago

palin was not right in the question she was asked. She was right if you find the right question to put to her answer.
She was asked "what do you hope to get out of this visit?"

And I will repeat what the historian at the Paul Revere museum said - Palin is wrong.

gkerr 6 years, 11 months ago

Mom of three,

What question? I thought she made a narrative statement, not a question. Gkerr

deec 6 years, 11 months ago

Q: "“What have you seen so far today and what are you going to take away from your visit?” A: "He who warned the British that they weren't going to be taking away our arms by ringing those bells and, um, making sure as he's riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that, uh, we were going to be secure and we were going to be free."

ksriver2010 6 years, 11 months ago

Its a shame that schools don't teach history as anything more than rote memorization. IF they teach history at all. No Child Left Behind has been shown to increase the number of hours spent teaching kids how to pass the tests. This pushes out arts, music, science, and history. And we have a media and consumer culture which creates a divide and war between this generation and previous generations. I have all seen it when I tell my kid something, and she looks at me like I am from another planet. Because in her mind I am. Being from another generation is like being from another planet.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 11 months ago

Ultimately, we the voters decide who our elected officials will be. Collectively, how is our history? Geography? Economics? Science?
And we get to decide who will choose our battles and how they will be conducted. And we get to choose who will lead our multi-trillion dollar economy. Scary stuff.

jafs 6 years, 11 months ago

Yes it is.

And, as the population seems to be getting less intelligent and educated, the quality of our collective decisions declines.

gkerr 6 years, 11 months ago


And don't you think an ever expanding and expensive government has had something to do with that decline? Gkerr

jhawkinsf 6 years, 11 months ago

We've seen a couple of generations of lower educated people having more children than those with greater education. The results are as troubling as they are predicable.

jafs 6 years, 11 months ago

Not particularly.

I agree with jhf below, and in addition, I think that technological advances have resulted in shorter attention spans, and the loss of the ability to think things through, eg twitter.

And, the change in media hasn't been helpful either, with news becoming more partisan and entertainment than substantive news.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 11 months ago

"I think that technological advances have resulted in shorter attention spans"

Current psychiatric opinion indicates that you are correct. But that's only opinion, who knows.

But it can't be good that young people today can't seem to do anything without some sort of electronic device to distract them.

But back to psychiatric opinion: It's a fact that diagnosis of Attention Deficit & Hyperactivity Disorder is incrediblely high, much higher than ever before. And, one of the hallmarks of ADHD is a very short attention span.

However, that only indicates that the diagnosis rates are high, it doesn't really mean that anything has actually changed. Some say ADHD is rapidly becoming the most overdiagnosed disorder in history.

gkerr 6 years, 11 months ago


So the lack of history knowledge isn't at least in large part due to it's not being taught in the modern public schools. I've seen articles for years complaining about the paucity of history courses and their tailoring of emphasis on sociological indoctrination and even substantial revisionist manipulation of historical fact. Well as Reverend Wright opined maybe the Chickens have come home to roost.

It doesn't seem the uber educated have learned anything from the historical failure of socialism as they have managed to run up with the help of Spineless Republicans buying reelection, trillions as in 61 trillions of debt funding unnecessary wars, catastrophic social programs, abortion as Malthusian eugenics dream come true which has managed to eliminate the intelligent and the minority as well, and a very very expensive and wasteful public school system that baby sits rather than educates. The public education establishment on the whole, not in every particular is crippled by an unfocused politicized politically correct suffocatingly inefficient and undisciplined system of education that simply FAILS in it's primary mission to educate the ignorant, truly educate them.

I'll bet anything Palin knows far more American history than her liberal opponents, he'll they don't know anything about the failure of socialism in USSR, China, Eastern Europe, Germany in the third Reich, or the current bankruptcy of the USA and Europe as we have like moths risen to the bright lights of the idealized Socialist Dream which most of us don't even realize has failed because that failure hasn't been taught as it is hard for the left to see failure in their fiercest dreams. And make no mistake about it the left and their tepid acolytes own the public school franchise in this country, and have for at least half a century. Disgraceful. Gkerr

somedude20 6 years, 11 months ago

^ Jackpot!!! Palin is not an overly attractive person but in her line of "work" she looks better as most are male and the few females look like the backside of a werewolf ( or Chewbacca) Makes me think that the dudes who find her attractive must live with(wife/partner) heinous beast. Look around people as there are many women who are much smarter than she

Paul R Getto 6 years, 11 months ago

I suggest the media ignore Ms. Palin, as we should with the Phelps clan. She is a sideshow and rapidly becoming addicted to the money and attention. She's no dummie as some allege. Why should she take a 90% cut in pay to run for an office she can't handle? The family is nearly set up financially now. Leave her alone and let her talk to her admirers. As for history? Much of it is bunk (Henry Ford: '"History is more or less bunk. It's tradition. We don't want tradition. We want to live in the present, and the only history that is worth a tinker's damn is the history that we make today." (Chicago Tribune, 1916). ' ) and it's nearly always written by the winners, who have their own perspective.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 11 months ago

That may be true, but it's somewhat like driving on the highway. Sure, you should always keep your attention on the road ahead.

But, it's a good idea to glance in the rear view mirror once in a while, and also to remember your previous driving mistakes so that you do not make them again.

Bob_Keeshan 6 years, 11 months ago

Of course Paul Revere warned the British. In 1775, everyone living in Massachusetts was British.

Why do you think he yelled out, "The British are coming!" two times? Once for the British army and once for the British currently living in Massachusetts. Both were coming.

Paul Revere was the original "Fair and Balanced".

Barry Watts 6 years, 11 months ago

I'm not here to say who started it, but here is the voting on the Civil Rights Act of 1964: The Senate version: * Democratic Party: 46-21 (69%–31%) * Republican Party: 27-6 (82%–18%) The Senate version, voted on by the House: * Democratic Party: 153-91 (63%–37%) * Republican Party: 136-35 (80%–20%) Interesting.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 11 months ago

And most of those Democrats who voted against it were from the South. And those old Dixiecrats are now Republicans.


Barry Watts 6 years, 11 months ago

Does not matter what they are now. The fact is that the Republican Party was a positive force in the writing of, voting on, and enactment of the 1964 Civil Rights Act of 1964. Democrats have just hijacked the race issue to acquire votes.

mom_of_three 6 years, 11 months ago

And it was a democratic President that pushed for it and signed it. It was a democratic president who supported King for a while until he started attacking the government for not doing enough for the working poor. I can only imagine the difference that Robert Kennedy would have made.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 11 months ago

"Democrats have just hijacked the race issue to acquire votes."

Southern Democrats of the time, who were the historic party of the old Confederacy, didn't "hijack" the race issue. They owned it (although it is better described as a "racist" issue in their case.)

It was the Republicans under a conscious effort under Nixon in the 68 election to go after the racist Democrats of the old South, and they've been Republicans ever since.

MyName 6 years, 11 months ago

Yay, let's start a flame war about something that's been settled 50 years ago!


Terry Sexton 6 years, 11 months ago

"She's just not curious enough about anything other than self-promotion to put in the homework." That's sums it up, bozo. She has no interest in serving her country or she wouldn't have quit the governorship. I wish she'd move to Russia, see if she could see Alaska from her porch.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 11 months ago

I cannot understand how someone could actually trust and vote for the presidency for a person that could not even finish one single term as governer of the state of Alaska.

And other than that, what did she actually accompish besides her work with the PTA and being the mayor of a town that no one ever heard of before she came onto the national scene?

And to be President? I have a hard time believing that anyone would seriously consider her for that position. But:

"Never underestimate the power of human stupidity." - Robert A. Heinlein

jesse499 6 years, 11 months ago

bgwmail I don't care about PARTYS I just once would like to elect someone for the people of the US not some D--party. All a party is from all I can see is a bunch of lawyers trying to get their hands on our money

mom_of_three 6 years, 11 months ago

I agree. All the partys do when elected is to keep the other one from being successful and not helping their constituents at all. They forget why they are there.

jesse499 6 years, 11 months ago

For that matter they try there hardest to make everything worst so they can get elected so the other party can do the same so why arn't things getting better Hmmmm!!!!!.

mom_of_three 6 years, 11 months ago

IF she got anythiing right, it was totally by accident. Sure, revere told teh British they weren't going to get our arms, when he was captured. But that is not what his ride was about. And that isn't what she was asked.
There may have been bells rang, but Revere didn't do it. Revere was to alert Adams and hancock and warren and a few others, who needed to go to safety.
he did knock on a few doors in the country to let them know he saw some british troops around, after he escaped from a few. But basically, she was wrong. It was a freaking war - of course they were after arms, and had been after arms for years. Armies always look to capture arms so the other side can't use them. But that isn't what the ride was about.
She had no idea what she was talking about and now people are trying to fit the circumstances for her answer.
I dont care if it is a repub or a dem. If they are wrong, they are wrong.

gkerr 6 years, 11 months ago

Mom of three,

He Alerted all Colonists as he rode- many were Brit sympathizers, Only about a third of the Colonialists were sympathetic with the tea Partiers and the willingness of some to go to war and shoot at the Brits, third were moderates who didn't have strong feelings one way or other and a third were Whigs who were strongly pro Brit and were vehemently against rebellion or attacking the Mother Land of England. Also there were Brits in all the towns most likely with some soldiers stationed here and there along the way.

Muskets were fired and bells rung to alert the revolutionaries as well as moderates and vehement English sympathizers as well as English functionaries and English army elements billeted in villages and towns that the Battle was going to be joined against the Marching British by American revolutionary fighters.

What's so difficult about understanding that the Colonials were not of one accord, in fact the Revolutionaries while energized were in a minority and those willing to actually fight the Crown still rarer. The Muskets and bells calling for mobilization of militia rebels opposing the Crown were also warnings to Whigs, moderates, and resident English that the battle was on.

Get it through your heads, Palin was right in substance, in fact, and in the context of the times. gkerr

notaubermime 6 years, 11 months ago

This is what she said: "He who warned uh, the British that they weren't gonna be takin' away our arms, uh by ringing those bells, and um, makin' sure as he's riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be sure and we were going to be free, and we were going to be armed."

Her claim is that Paul Revere was ringing bells and firing warning shots as he was riding. That's just flat-out false. Paul Revere was not Charlton Heston with more cowbell.

mom_of_three 6 years, 11 months ago

gkerr - you are doing exactly what I was talking about. You are using her words and inserting them into historical context, when she had NO CLUE what she was talking about. She was asked "what do you hope to take away from this visit (to the paul revere museum) and we get her version of history.

She wasn't right. Get it through your head. IT was a war. everyone during war wants to take away arms. DUH.
She is pro guns and she used this visit to throw it in there again. She is dumb as a rock. NOt sure how anyone can think she actually knows anything about history.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 11 months ago

Pain never actually said that she could see Russia from her house. That was a line Tina Fey used during an SNL sketch. Some knuckle-dragging sinister blogger attributed it directly to Palin & every drone on that side of the aisle has been repeating it ever since.

beatrice 6 years, 11 months ago

And how many times have you repeated the lie that Al Gore said he invented the internet?

Bob_Keeshan 6 years, 11 months ago

Puh-lease. Palin gave multiple interviews where she talked about being able to see Russia from Alaska and how that gave her foreign policy cred. Then the media blew up about it and Palin defended the comment again and again and again. All the Tina Fey sketch did was finally scare Palin off of talking about it.

Palin has nobody to blame but Palin. Only a mouth breathing partisan would try to blame others for her nonsense.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 11 months ago

Little Diomede Island in Alaska is less than 2 and half miles from Big Diomede Island in Russia. If the weather is clear, it is possible to see Russia from Alaska. SNL writers added the "from my house" part of the quote.

beatrice 6 years, 11 months ago

So seeing a place counts as foreign policy? Remember the context in which she spoke about Russia.

Can you see Russia from Diomede Island? Yes

Did Palin ever visit the island? No. At least not according to the people who live there.

So in fact, she cannot make the honest claim of having seen Russia from Alaska.

Bob_Keeshan 6 years, 11 months ago

Oh, you're right. That makes it less mockable. Do you read The Economist, too?

deec 6 years, 11 months ago

I can see trees out my window. i guess that makes me a botanist. I see bridges when I drive, so I'm a civil engineer. If I say a bunch of words and a couple of the words are vaguely related to a historical event, does that make me presidential material?

dlkrm 6 years, 11 months ago

Pitts is criminally ignorant, and a liar.

voevoda 6 years, 11 months ago

Pitts may be wrong sometimes, but what in this (or any) of his editorials can remotely be considered "criminal"?

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 11 months ago

It is not a crime to be ignorant, at least so far, and a lie is told with intent to deceive. So he perhaps is ignorant on some subjects, but that's not a crime. And I don't think he's a liar, but he may be mistaken sometimes.

Perhaps there are better columnists, but he must be pretty interesting, considering the number of comments on this thread.

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 11 months ago

The supporters of Palin and Michelle Bachmann revel in their ignorance. Palin and Bachmann both wear their stupidity and willful ignorance like accessories, like jewelry.

It is a sad state of affairs when so many consider willful ignorance and hard-headed stupidity as positive traits.

Reactionary, anti-intellectual populism has a home in the GOP.

voevoda 6 years, 11 months ago

Palin's statement about Paul Revere would have gotten about a C- on a freshman American history exam. There may be a way to make her actual words conform to historical fact, but only by inserting a lot of things that she didn't even imply and leaving out a lot of more pertinent facts.

gkerr 6 years, 11 months ago


Her words conform to historical fact? BUT only by inserting things she didn't even imply- what really do you mean? Would you explain the meaning of your statement? What is being inserted and by whom, what did she not imply that would be needed to square with the historical facts? And what were the "a lot" of pertinent facts left out.

Is this just word salad or is there really meaningful insight in your statement? Gkerr

Liberty275 6 years, 11 months ago

Leo use words wrong way in big letters.

Liberty275 6 years, 11 months ago

The rest of you should be ashamed. The only reason you are talking about Palin is so you don't have to talk to each other about Weiner hanging out on the internet and showing off.

purplesage 6 years, 11 months ago

The culture is more easily molded into something unintended by the Founding Fahtersif hisstory is unknown. An emphasis on math and science, allegedly to stay competitive in the world, has been undertaken at the expense of those things which communicate values and vision. Literature and history fulfill those functions.

In the school where my kids did their high school years, the teachers were using "historical novels" for text books. That isn't history, though it may tell a version of it.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 11 months ago

Would Palin throw the residents of the Falkland Islands under the bus to score some points with the oppressive regimes of South America? The Mope in Chief is proposing to do just that.

booyalab 6 years, 11 months ago

Honestly, I don't think most of the anti-Paliners would consider this a bad thing. The Falkland Islands are not in their current victim inventory. Plus, the USA is clearly the most oppressive regime in the history of the world, so the oppression in South America is probably a reaction to our oppression of them.

Kontum1972 6 years, 11 months ago

Sarahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh............u betcha...Woof..Woof....

mom_of_three 6 years, 11 months ago

I will be the first to admit I am not an 18th century history buff, BUT I can tell when someone is just BS'ing their answer. And she had no clue.
You can put her answer into historical context and have it be correct (but not the way she said it), but I think when the paul revere museum curator says she was wrong, she was wrong.

gatekeeper 6 years, 11 months ago

I was recently in Boston visiting all these sites. I have also read what Revere himself wrote about the events. The people that support Palin, no matter what idiotic thing comes out of her mouth, should read about this and visit themselves before calling everyone else ignorant.

When I heard about this, I could just see the people that work at Revere's house with looks of horror on their faces. If Palin had spent any time talking to them (and the great people at the North Church) instead of making a huge press event out of her visit, she could have learned the real events.

It's sad when even Fox News had to tell her she was wrong and she still stood her ignorant ground and said she was right.

Anyone that can go to Boston and experience it all for yourselves - I highly encourage you to go. Great city and the historical tours are a blast. You can even visit some old taverns where Hancock, Revere and Adams hung out while making their plans (and you'll learn of how secret they had to be to keep the Redcoats from learning of their plans).

gudpoynt 6 years, 11 months ago

The Greed Dragon! I had the lobster. Delish

gatekeeper 6 years, 11 months ago

Yep! I love being able to go have lobster and a pint of Sam Adams at 10:30 in the morning. Boston is awesome!

booyalab 6 years, 11 months ago

A brief list of Obama errors:

Claiming that the US invented the automobile

Trying to use Brandenburg Gate in Germany for a public speech about peace, then when his team realized the opposition to it used Siegessäule, which also had strong Nazi symbolism for Germany.

Gave Gordon Brown DVDs, not just a terrible gift for royalty, but in the wrong format.

Not understanding the basic requirements on each side for negotiation in the Palestine/Israel conflict by forcing Israel to give up the West Bank but not forcing Palestine to give up right of return.

Supporting Muslim Brotherhood

Believing he can assist a revolution without using force or trying to destroy the regime

Believing that any "home-grown" revolution in the middle east will result in more freedom and democracy.

Revealed secrets of our allies to Russia in order to get them to sign the START treaty

Lecturing world leaders like he's their kindergarten teacher

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 11 months ago

"Gave Gordon Brown DVDs, not just a terrible gift for royalty, but in the wrong format."

Fail. Gordon Brown is royalty? Since when is the Prime Minister part of the royal family?

I'm sure there are other errors in your list, but I didn't bother reading past this one after you demonstrated that your posts are not worth the effort.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 11 months ago

Speaking of making up quotes: "News outlet Politico has been forced to issue a correction after two authors incorrectly attributed a damning quote to her in an opinion piece. In an article that pits Palin vs. Rep. Michele Bachmann, authors Paul Goldman and Mark J. Rozell appear to catch Palin slamming Bachmann. Here it is in context, which is the third paragraph in the article: Palin’s bus tour had some of the hallmarks of a primal scream: “I built this constituency, not Bachmann, not anyone else.” Looking at it through her eyes, she has a point. That’s a big deal. Considering the piece, that would appear to be the start of a word war between the two Tea Party favorites. But there’s just one problem. Palin never said it..." http://www.theblaze.com/stories/politico-issues-correction-after-palin-camp-bashes-authors-for-making-up-quote/

camper 6 years, 11 months ago

Palin is administering damage control on this. Though there may be a small thread of truth in what she said, the overwhelming account of Paul Revere's historical ride was to warn patriots who were at risk from being hanged for treason, to keep ammunition stockpiles safe, and to warn citizens of looting that the British may have employed, and to also advise the militia. Sure, he was captured by the British and shortly thereafter released (without his horse I think).

But here is the thing. We learn these histories when we are in grade school. And Palin is in her forties (I believe). These things become foggier in our minds as time marches on. And it may also depend on her history classes. I went to school in Conneticut where the Revolutionary war was taught at great length, and later Texas, where Texas History was predominant. I'm not sure about Alaska, but there is certainly a different history up there.

And remember the Kansas-Nebreska act. I was asked about that once in a conversation, and described what it was. After researching further, I found I was not 100% correct on the things I said.

So in the end, Palin should have laughed this one off and employed humor. Like President Obama did with the 57 state thing, and recently signing a document with the wrong year.

gkerr 6 years, 11 months ago

Camper, Perhaps she should have laughed it off like the One on his many gaffs, stammers, and stutters. Maybe she was just lucky she got the facts right as a matter of historic fact, and should have admitted she knew nothing of what she was talking about, kinda like Barak's writing off his close filial relationship with his confessor, mentor, and pastor Reverand Wright when it became clear by his own perennial words and homilies that he was a racist hater of America, Jews, and whites including Hiliary Clinton who was a skanky piece of trash in his opinion. America got just what she deserved on 9/11, the chickens came home to roost don't ya know.

No Palin should go woman to boy against the One and at least inspire the conservative opposition to have some Nads when contrasting their views with this giant cipher in the White House. Gkerr

jafs 6 years, 11 months ago

You have a very common inability to separate facts from interpretation/spin.

The comment you quote is a simple statement - it is neither racist nor cop hating - those are your additions to it.

Unless you believe that cops never act stupidly, or that nobody should comment on it when they do so.

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