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Martin Luther King Jr. Cheated on His Wife and Got Drunk; Big Deal

A writer asks us to stop ignoring the fact that the civil rights leader was a human being.


For years now the white power organization Stormfront has parked an anti-Martin Luther King Jr. website at MartinLutherKing.org, the hope being, presumably, that people innocuously searching for information about the civil rights leader will be shocked upon discovering that King drank alcohol and had extramarital affairs. Today, hopefully, the purveyors of that website may think about taking it down.

That's because in today's Washington Post, on the 43rd anniversary of King's assassination, writer Hampton Sides makes the very important, oft-overlooked point that a man's flaws don't necessarily outweigh their contributions to the world. After noting that one of King's mistresses had spent the night with King the evening before he was killed, Sides writes, "King was a human being: flawed, vulnerable, uncertain about the future, subject to appetites and buffeted by the extraordinary stresses of his position. His civil rights cause was holy, but he was a sinner."

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Jefferson Versus Adams: The Dirtiest Political Campaigns in History (Video)

Has 2010 been the dirtiest election year ever? Nope. This attack-ad battle between Jefferson and Adams from 1800 puts our modern vitriol to shame.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_zTN4BXvYI&feature=player_embedded

With so much mudslinging in political campaigns this year, you might think 2010 has had the dirtiest election ads year ever. Not so, suggests this video from the contentious presidential battle between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson in 1800.

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No surprise here: The Texas State Board of Education voted to approve changes to the state's social studies curriculum by a margin of 9 to 5 down party lines. (Natch.) But, it wasn't a total miscarriage of justice, as Thomas Jefferson—who you may recall was the third president of the United States—snuck back into the curriculum at the last minute.

According to a post on the Dallas Morning News' Trail Blazers blog:
The deletion of Jefferson -- whose separation of church-state philosophy doesn't get high marks among Christian conservatives -- sparked a flurry of criticism on cable TV, where some pundits held the board up to ridicule. So today, members put Jefferson back on the list of writers including John Locke, Thomas Aquinas and William Blackstone.

Another last minute addition was the name of our current commander-in-chief, who was simply referred to as the first black person elected president. There was some discussion about whether or not to include Barack Obama's middle name, Hussein. As it stood at the final vote, he will be identified as "Barack Obama."

Arne Duncan, secretary of education, told CNN last week that he doesn't believe that the curriculum changes in Texas will spread. (Video below.) "Whatever Texas decides," he said, "I don't think there will be large ripple effects around the country."

Duncan also criticized the ideological reasons behind the curriculum changes. His comments followed those of Rod Paige, education secretary under George W. Bush, who said “History should be what history is, not what we would like for it to be to meet a political ideology.”

Now that the changes are official, it will be interesting to see what this does to the textbook industry. California, the largest school system in the country, is already taking steps to make sure these changes don't enter textbooks used in that state. So, will there be two versions of history textbooks for states to choose from?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObP2WCxs1C8

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