Lies all around us

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“Lies my Teacher Told Me” is a good book to start folks down the path of doubting the myths, fairy tales and fiction fed to us as history. James W. Loewen, the author of that book, reminds us of the lies in the Washington Post….

For example, South Carolina’s monument at Gettysburg, dedicated in 1963, claims to explain why the state seceded: “Abiding faith in the sacredness of states rights provided their creed here.” This tells us nothing about 1863, when abiding opposition to states’ rights provided the Palmetto State’s creed.

Source: Why do people believe myths about the Confederacy? Because our textbooks and monuments are wrong. – The Washington Post via Hunter at DailyKos

Watch: “Little White Lie”

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I can’t begin to explain this documentary. It’s easiest to just watch the trailer.

Little White Lie tells Lacey Schwartz’s story of growing up in a typical upper-middle-class Jewish household in Woodstock, NY, with loving parents and a strong sense of her Jewish identity — despite the open questions from those around her about how a white girl could have such dark skin. She believes her family’s explanation that her looks were inherited from her dark-skinned Sicilian grandfather. But when her parents abruptly split, her gut starts to tell her something different.

via Little White Lie – ITVS

You can watch it using the PBS App (on iPad, iPhone or Apple TV) or you can buy it on iTunes.

Washington’s Teeth were wooden if wooden means pulled from a Slave’s mouth

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And what history is still taught today:

In 1780 a French dentist named Jean Pierre Le Moyer (also called Le Mayeaur, Le Mayeur, and Joseph Lemaire) came to America, possibly as a naval surgeon with the French forces commanded by the Comte de Rochambeau, and over the next decade treated patients in New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Alexandria, and Richmond. […] Le Moyer first treated George Washington’s teeth at his military headquarters in 1783.

The following year, in May of 1784, Washington paid several unnamed “Negroes,” presumably Mount Vernon slaves, 122 shillings for nine teeth, slightly less than one-third the going rate advertised in the papers, “on acct. of the French Dentis [sic} Doctr. Lemay [sic],” almost certainly Le Moyer. Over the next four years, the dentist was a frequent and apparently favorite guest on the plantation. Whether the Mount Vernon slaves sold their teeth to the dentist for any patient who needed them or specifically for George Washington is unknown, although Washington’s payment suggests that they were for his own use. Washington probably underwent the transplant procedure–“I confess I have been staggered in my belief in the efficacy of transplantion,” he told Richard Varick, his friend and wartime clerk, in 1784–and thus it may well be that some of the human teeth implanted to improve his appearance, or used to manufacture his dentures, came from his own slaves.

via Special Video Reports – The Private Lives Of George Washington’s Slaves | Jefferson’s Blood | FRONTLINE | PBS

props to FranChescaleigh’s blog

Drug testing welfare applicants is bad policy

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Drug testing welfare applicants a big zero:

Drug testing welfare recipients is demonizing.  Courts have ruled on numerous occasions that Republican efforts to make every applicant pee in a cup are unconstitutional. The laws that do go into effect only confirm what researchers already know: Welfare recipients are not rampant drug users, and most of those who do take drugs are not addicts.Those who do have substance abuse problems mostly drink alcohol.