Longshot: The Adventures of a Deaf Fundamentalist Mormon Kid and His Journey to the NBA
by Lance Allred
Published by HarperOne
This book has almost no political content whatsoever. I couldn’t tell you whether Lance Allred is a Republican, Democrat, independent, or Mugwump. I don’t know who he voted for in 2008, or if he voted at all. Allred is a basketball player in the NBA’s Summer League, hoping to catch on with the Orlando Magic after one brief stint with the Cavs. So what does Allred’s book have to do with the topics we cover at the History Commons?
Not much, really. It’s just a damn fine book, and as such, deserving of mention.
Over the past few years, as the revelations about the torturing of detainees have built up, a narrative of what happens seems to have emerged. It goes something like this:
Vice President Dick Cheney was both shocked by 9/11 and saw it as an opportunity to implement radical elements of his own agenda. Therefore, he got the CIA and other elements of the government to step up its already active rendition programme, add a detention and torture programme of its own and, we now find, go around the world assassinating people. He also arranged legal cover for all this by getting mid-level people at the Justice Department like John Yoo to sign off on it, under pressure from Cheney’s counsel David Addington.
The CIA assassination programme that was recently in the media was actually first partially revealed by the Washington Post in 2005, when details enabling his originator to be identified were published. The programme made news in the last few days as CIA Director Leon Panetta admitted that the agency withheld information about it from Congress, although the CIA never actually used it to assassinate anybody. Nevertheless, the programme’s “duties” seem to have been taken over by something journalist Seymour Hersh called an “executive assassination wing” that was run out of the Office of Vice President Dick Cheney, and this grouping did go on missions and kill people.
The Push Towards “History Commons 2.0”
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As you may or may not have noticed, the timeline on the current global economic crisis has again been reorganized. Firstly, it underwent its umpteenth name change, and now goes under the moniker Global Financial and Economic Crisis 2007-2009. We plan this will be the last change, with the possible exception of altering the end year if the crisis goes into 2010, which is looking fairly likely right now.
The categories were also reorganized. A new meta-category called Failing Companies: Specific Cases was created. The category about the collapse of the British mortgage bank Northern Rock was moved here and a category covering the failure of the US insurance giant AIG was added. The latter category only has a few entries at present, but several dozen more have already been entered into the system and will be published over the next week or two.
Finally, the oldest material that briefly covered, for example, oil in the 1970s and the 1980s savings and loan crisis was also re-organized, being shrunk down from a number of meta-categories to just one, called Events in Economic History. This material is not being worked on because the guy who started to go over it was unable to find the time to keep contributing. We thought there was no need to get rid of good information, however piecemeal it is, so we figured we would keep it, but alter the categories so that there were not lots of categories with few entries that were not being developed. The majority of categories now focus on current events, which is what the contributors are writing about.