Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Lafayette: The Lost Hero, a PBS Documentary

Marquis de Lafayette... a name you know I'm sure.  At least a name you've heard of.  The name may start the gears in your mind and then suddenly come to a screeching halt when you're forced to stop the machine and wonder... "How do I know that name?"  You may have heard of Lafayette College, or maybe there's a town you've heard of called Lafayette or Fayetteville.   Perhaps you've driven on Lafayette street.  It's a familiar name for sure, but perhaps the story behind the name is a little more vague.

You may have heard of a place called Lafayette, or Fayetteville, or Lafayette Hill or you may know a street with the same name.  But who is Lafayette? 

 an often neglected and controversial figure of American and French history.   Through letters and memoirs PBS has put together a documentary that follows the life and legend of Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, the Marquis de Lafayette.  

Why would a young, wealth French aristocrat leave the comforts of his French life to fight for the independence of another nation on another continent?  The documentary will answer this question, as well as bring to light many other untold tales about Lafayette and his family. 

Visit the Facebook Page for Lafayette: The Lost Hero: set up by film maker Oren Jacoby.

Lafayette: The Lost Hero from The Documentary Group on Vimeo.


Monday, August 16, 2010

For Love of LIberty - The Story of America's Black Patriots

Introduced by Colin Powell, hosted on-camera by Halle Berry and narrated by Avery Brooks, For Love of Liberty uses letters, diaries, speeches, journalistic accounts, historical text and military records to document and acknowledge the sacrifices and accomplishments of African-American service men and women.

The story spans the Revolution to today and examines why, despite enormous injustice, these heroic men and women fought so valiantly for freedoms they themselves did not enjoy.

The project's goal is to raise public consciousness and shed light on an extraordinary and relatively unexplored aspect of our nation's history. The central theme of the initiative, the price of liberty, is relevant to all Americans.


Here are the links to For Love of Liberty web site:

http://www.forloveofliberty.net - Watch videos, read stories/bios, and check out an awesome timeline of US Wars

http://forloveofliberty.com - This site is all about the documentary. See images from the film, meet the cast and purchase the video.


Here are facilitators guide for both High School and College...




After September 30, 2010, the site will no longer be active due to funding issues by the Army. In an effort to distribute the materials before the site goes away... please send this to friends, colleagues and veterans. Below are the links to download the documentary. (Or you can buy it...)

For Love of Liberty Documentary Links:

Chapter 1: Introduction - http://www.megaupload.com/?d=8MH2M6FT

Chapter 2: The Revolution - http://www.megaupload.com/?d=DCBNTI26

Chapter 3: The Civil War - http://www.megaupload.com/?d=91G9WPUR

Chapter 4: WWI - http://www.megaupload.com/?d=XNCBIKH9

Chapter 5: WWII - http://www.megaupload.com/?d=SJKIMAZG

Chapter 6: The Korean War - http://www.megaupload.com/?d=65YPE8LZ

Chapter 7: The Vietnam War - http://www.megaupload.com/?d=G9YJT4V2

Chapter 8: The Middle East - http://www.megaupload.com/?d=LM5DB80G

Chapter 9: Conclusion - http://www.megaupload.com/?d=BQ98URBM

Play All: - http://www.megaupload.com/?d=S6EG13VM


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Why Every President Sucked...

I recently received an email from Eric Olsen, a marketing writer and consultant. He seems like a brilliant chap. One of those guys that's good at everything... he appears to be very successful in life and in career. The reason he contacted me... is because he's also a musician and historian at heart. He's taken his musical talents, mixed them with some wit and cynicism... and he's put together a compilation of songs with the theme that every President has not met expectations.

His website: WhyEveryPresidentSucked.com has the intent of ridding our society of the search for the perfect president. It won't happen.

There is a lot of truth to what he's saying... but there are also some things I might argue...
For example, in his song about Lincoln Eric states through his lyric...

"the sad thing is
for the cost of the war
you could have bought and freed
every slave you’re fighting for..."

But Lincoln didn't want to free the slaves. He wanted to preserve the union. Buying all the slaves from the Southern plantations would not have done anything to mend the divide between North and South. The south was fighting for preservation of their culture. Preservation of their economy, their way of life. The slave owners would not have allowed anyone to buy their freedom in mass numbers like that.

Overall the idea is brilliant... This can undoubtedly be used in the classroom. Choose an era or a president and show the song and the lyric in class. Discuss. Find the faults, find the truths, find the reasons why the President "sucked". I know the kids will love this. Have them make their own songs... Send them to Eric, I'm sure he'd love to hear them.

Each president has a short summary of the imperfect event or happenings that work as the theme for the song, as well as the lyrics for better understanding.

Below is his 'Why JFK Sucked' song... with lyrics.

"The CIA sent 1,500 Cubans to Cochinos Bay
Exiles armed and ready to revenge of Fidel

And to mimic a natural uprising
Defeating Castro’s communizing ways

And the deal was that the U.S. had their backs
If things would go awry
Awry they went, but no one came

Where was JFK
Who promised he would save the day

the bay of pigs
it was a big
disaster for America
rather than an uprising
everything came down
Where was JFK
Who promised he would save the day

And to save the little pretty face he had left
he had to pay Castro $53 million to get the prisoner’s back
Where was JFK
Who promised he would save the day"


10 Greenest Presidents

It was only a matter of time before a list like this surfaced. Many administrations did excellent work in promoting environmental and sustainable causes. These are the 10 best.

  1. Teddy Roosevelt - Comes as no surprise... He's the original Environmentalist
  2. Jimmy Carter - he was always more of a humanitarian than an executive anyway...
  3. Thomas Jefferson - Louisiana Purchase and Lewis and Clarke did a lot for his ranking.
  4. Bill Clinton - With Gore over his shoulder, you'd expect some change...
  5. Richard Nixon - he made the list of Presidents with the worst environmental record too...
  6. Franklin Roosevelt - Civilian Conservation Corps... part of the New Deal
  7. Abraham Lincoln - established the US Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  8. Lyndon Johnson - protected 9 million acres of land with the Wilderness Act
  9. Woodrow Wilson - oversaw the creation of the National Park Service... (Teddy's idea...)
  10. John Kennedy - had his guys look into the effect of pesticides and chemicals... laying groundwork for the EPA.

To read more about each President and their contributions go to the Daily Green
http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/greenest-presidents-460808 - You can also see a list of the Presidents with the worst environmental policy...