Category Archives: Americana

CBS News live stream of 1963 JFK assassination coverage

CBS News is live streaming coverage of the JFK assassination from 1963. A schedule of events is here. The stream includes commercials as originally aired. If you miss the stream, features from the coverage show highlights.

Screen shot 2013-11-22 at 2.06.16 PM

NPR is using Twitter to stream out events as they happened and as they were covered 50 years ago, with the Today in 1963 feed.

Related articles to stream 1963 broadcast coverage of JFK assassination
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CBS Will Stream Kennedy Assassination Coverage Online in ‘Real Time’

Some notes on a 30th high school reunion

TheB-52'sTheB-52'sSome notes on a 30th high school reunion, written last summer but just now published.

There's a certain ritual set of behavior you can safely engage in when you talk to someone who you vaguely remember from high school but have been completely out of touch with for 30 years.

Ask about where they are living now, and discovered that most of your classmates moved more than 200 miles away from home. Some stayed in Marquette, or came back after college, or moved to even smaller towns nearby.

Ask about their family, and you will find that some of your classmates are grandparents.

Ask about what they are doing.  I was surprised to find some of my classmates having had 25 or even 30 years of continuous career in the same field or even with the same employer.

I found myself mostly talking to people who I talked to in high school – as my friend Tim put it we found the "geek table" and occupied that. Some things never change, and all we would have needed was a Rubik's Cube and we could pick up where we left off.

People do change a lot in 30 years. A small handful of folks look remarkably like what they looked like 30 years ago, plus or minus an 80s hairdo. Others changed a lot, not always in a direction I would have expected.

There was a small shrine to the classmates who had died, and it was sad and surprising to see young faces and realize that you wouldn't be seeing them again, not here and not anywhere.

All in all, it was one of those parties that reminded me of the very few high school parties I went to – lots of people standing around drinking beer, a few people dancing, and the DJ playing the B-52s. I'm looking forward to the next event some 5 or 10 years from now to see how we're still all holding up.

2012 election prediction maps

From Nate Silver's NY Times weblog FiveThirtyEight, captured Saturday, November 3, 2012:

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The Los Angeles Times electoral map, again a prediction from Saturday. Note that this analysis doesn't give exact numerical predictions. The Chicago Tribune links to the same map.

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The Detroit Free Press runs with a map from Real Clear Politics:Picture 64

The Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) interactive map, showing toss-up states in orange:

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Thanks to Naomi Zikmund-Fisher, here are a few more:


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From, this map that shows equal area based on electoral votes:

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A second distorted map, this one from Frontloading HQ:

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Finally, this NPR map shows campaign spending by state, with the size of the state adjusted to match where the money is going. From the story "A campaign map morphed by money", this clearly shows which states are battleground states:


Look for more maps here on election night – if you find any more or know of any other that are good leave a comment and I'll add them in.


Union membership rates by state, 2011 data from Bureau of Labor Statistics

From a Bureau of Labor Statistics news release:

In 2011, the number of workers belonging to a union in Michigan was 671,000, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported [on Monday, April 9, 2012]. Regional Commissioner Charlene Peiffer noted that union members accounted for 17.5 percent of wage and salary workers in Michigan in 2011 compared to 16.5 percent a year earlier. At its peak in 1989, the first year state data were available, Michigan’s union membership rate was 26.0 percent. (See chart 1 and table A.)

The full news release has lots of detailed data, but the map below is the keeper.

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, news release 12-631-CHI

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the University of Michigan, 1962

The Michigan Daily story of April 15, 2012 has an excellent set of photos of MLK's visit to Ann Arbor on November 5, 1962, and the story of how they were discovered.

David Erdody, a digital curator at the Bentley Historical Library, discovered a series of 20 photo negatives in early January that feature King giving a speech and hosting a discussion at the University. These photographs, which have never been printed or published, depict King speaking and greeting a crowd at Hill Auditorium, attending a small discussion in the Michigan Union and having dinner at the University on Nov. 5, 1962.

One of the main archives of MLK materials is at Boston University; there's a set of correspondence with the University of Michigan Office of Religious Affairs that would be worth looking at to round out some of the institutional memory of this event.


Message from President Andrew Jackson on the Ohio and Michigan Boundary, January 12, 1836

[Doc. No. 54.] 24th Congress, 1st Session. Ho. of Reps. Executive.

Ohio and Michigan Boundary





Reports from the Secretaries of State and War on the subject of the Ohio and Michigan boundary.

January 12, 1836.

Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

To the House of Representatives of the United States :

Having laid before Congress on the 9th ultimo, the correspondence which had previously taken place relative to the controversy between Ohio and Michigan, on the question of boundary between that State and Territory, I now transmit reports from the Secretaries of State and War on the subject, with the papers therein referred to.


Washington, January 11, 1836.

– 30 –

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Promotional considerations for this message were provided by Garrett Scott, Bookseller.

Garrett Scott, Bookseller

P.O. Box 4561

Ann Arbor MI 48106

ph. (734) 741-8605

First editions in 19th and eartly 20th century eccentric religious movements, popular entertainments, literature and Americana.

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In memory of the victims of the Bath Massacre, May 18, 1927

On May 18, 1927, disgruntled school board member Andrew Kehoe bombed the Bath, Michigan school, killing 38 children and six adults.

There is a new book out on the disaster, entitled Bath Massacre: America’s First School Bombing, from the University of Michigan Press, written by Arnie Bernstein.  The press kindly sent me a copy.  Bernstein has a historian’s eye for small and significant period details of fascinating interest to anyone who thinks about what the 1920s were like in Michigan, which makes it easy to pick up anywhere and read some small detail that gives you a sense for the times. 

There is enough of a horrifying tragedy in these covers, a story that I don’t know, that I think I need to get the book onto a high shelf so that my very literate 8 year old doesn’t read it quite just yet until I get a chance to read it and figure out how to explain it to him.

Bath is northeast of Lansing at I-69 exit 92.  Pleasant Hill Cemetery has many graves, and the Dewitt Public Library serves the area.