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  • The Depression for farmers - North Carolina Digital History on Mar 17, 12
    • he growth of cities and railroads opened new markets for farm products, and industrialists found new ways to process them into convenience foods. But little of the money from these new markets went to farmers — instead, it went to railroads, other distributors, and processors
    • New technologies, meanwhile, made farmers more efficient — they could produce more with less work from the same land. But expensive machinery introduced what economists call an economy of scale: Only bigger farmers could afford the technology, and so farmers had to expand — or be forced off the land, as many were. (That trend, too, would continue throughout the twentieth century.)
    • Farmers who had borrowed money to expand during the boom couldn’t pay their debts.

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  • Farmers Faced Foreclosure during the Great Depression on Mar 17, 12
    • Here's what often happened. During the 20s, many farmers borrowed money from banks to buy more land or new machinery. Farmers pledged their assets as security on the loan. So if a farmer couldn't make the payments on a loan for land, the bank could take back the asset – the land – and sell it to get back their money. In the 1920s, many loans were written when land values and crop prices were high. After the stock market crash, few people had the money to buy land, and so land values plummeted. When a bank had to foreclose and sell the land, they couldn't Video Interview Thurman Hoskinsmake up the difference. So, banks would take all of the assets pledged to the loan. Families were often thrown off their farms and lost everything.
  • Great Depression - A Short History of the Great Depression on Mar 17, 12
    • Small farmers were hit especially hard. Even before the dust storms hit, the invention of the tractor drastically cut the need for manpower on farms. These small farmers were usually already in debt, borrowing money for seed and paying it back when their crops came in. When the dust storms damaged the crops, not only could the small farmer not feed himself and his family, he could not pay back his debt. Banks would then foreclose on the small farms and the farmer's family would be both homeless and unemployed.

  • SparkNotes: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Chapters 2–3 on Jan 29, 12
    • wain uses Tom to satirize romantic literature and to comment on the darker side of so-called civilized society. Tom insists that his make-believe adventures be conducted “by the book.” As Tom himself admits in regard to his gang’s oath, he gets many of his ideas from fiction. In particular, Tom tries to emulate the romantic—that is, unrealistic, sensationalized, and sentimentalized—novels, mostly imported from Europe, that achieved enormous popularity in nineteenth-century America. Tom is identified with this romantic genre throughout the novel. Whereas Tom puts great stock in literary models, Huck is as skeptical of these as he is of religion. In both realms, Huck refuses to accept much on faith. He rejects both genies and prayers when they fail to produce the promised results. Twain makes this contrast between Tom’s romanticism and Huck’s skepticism to show that both points of view can prove equally misleading if taken to extremes.
  • Themes, Motifs, and Symbols on Jan 29, 12
    • Civilized society - When Huck plans to head west at the end of Huck Finn to escape further "sivilizing," he is trying to avoid more than having to take baths regularly and going to school. Throughout the novel, Twain depicts society as a structure that has become little more than a collection of degraded rules and precepts that defy logic. This faulty logic manifests itself early, when the new judge in town allows Pap to keep custody of Huck. The judge privileges Pap's "rights" to his son over Huck's welfare. Clearly, this decision comments on a system that puts a white man's rights to his "property"-his slaves-over the welfare and freedom of a black man. Whereas a reader in the 1880s might have overlooked the moral absurdity of giving a man custody of another man, however, the mirroring of this situation in the granting of rights to the immoral Pap over the lovable Huck forces the reader to think more closely about the meaning of slavery. In implicitly comparing the plight of slaves to the plight of Huck at the hands of Pap, Twain demonstrates how impossible it is for a society that owns slaves to be just, no matter how "civilized" that society believes and proclaims itself to be. Again and again Huck encounters individuals who seem good (Sally Phelps, for example), but Twain takes care to show us that person as a prejudiced slave-owner. The shakiness of the justice systems that Huck encounters lies at the heart of society's problems: terrible acts go unpunished, yet frivolous crimes, such as drunkenly shouting insults, lead to executions. Sherburn's speech to the mob that has come to lynch him accurately summarizes the view of society given in this book: rather than maintaining collective welfare, society is marked by cowardice, a lack of logic, and profound selfishness.
  • George Packer: The Debt-Ceiling Fight Continues : The New Yorker on Aug 21, 11
    • His daughter had developed bone cancer, and he was desperate to make money, but his hours soon dwindled to four or five a week. In April, Hartzell was terminated.
    • “It’s kind of like I’ve fallen into that non-climbable-out-of rut,” he said. “If you can’t climb out, why not move?”
    • 14.1 million unemployed Americans, or 9.2 per cent of the workforce.

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  • Track Officials and Caster Semenya Reach Agreement in Gender Inquiry - on Dec 08, 09
    • One of the most public and controversial cases of sex verification in sports has apparently been resolved, at least in part, but the answers to some important questions have not been made public.
    • South Africa’s sports ministry said in a statement Thursday that Caster Semenya, 18, the world champion 800-meter runner, had reached an agreement with track and field’s world governing body to keep the gold medal and prize money she won at the world championships in August.
    • Most notably, however, the sports ministry did not say whether Semenya would be allowed to continue to compete as a woman. The statement also did not disclose the results of sex-verification tests she had undergone.

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  • Sex-Verification Results on South African Runner, Caster Semenya, Awaited - on Dec 08, 09
    • The International Association of Athletics Federations had been expected to announce its findings by Friday, but instead said it would not discuss her medical tests.

      “The I.A.A.F. will not comment upon the medical aspects of Caster Semenya’s case,” the governing body said in a statement. “There will be no discussion of Caster Semenya’s case at the forthcoming I.A.A.F. Council Meeting. No further comment will be made on this subject until further notice.”

    • Before the final, the I.A.A.F. said it had ordered gender tests be conducted on her because of her muscular build and recent rapid improvement in times.
  • Analysis - Seeking Simple Rules for Complex Gender Realities - News Analysis - on Dec 08, 09
    • The current policies of the International Association of Athletics Federations are vague, incomplete and contradictory. For example, one states that some women with some male-typical aspects (including, in some cases, a Y chromosome and testes) can play as women, but it doesn’t specify which combinations disqualify an athlete. This means a woman like Semenya can’t really know for sure, in advance of competition, if she should show up.
    • The I.A.A.F. requires that transsexual women have their hormone levels kept female-typical through removal of the testes and ingestion of female-typical hormones.
    • Fair enough. But it allows born-females with adrenal tumors to compete as women, even though their bodies may have higher levels of testosterone than the average male. Not too consistent.
  • Essay - Science Is Forcing Sports to Re-examine Their Core Principles - on Dec 08, 09
    • Caster Semenya, the South African 800-meter world champion whose sex is in question, faces similar opposition. Perhaps her biology is just too male to entitle her to compete on the women’s playing field. Specifically, maybe she makes too many androgens, those “masculinizing” hormones.

      But the medical commission of the I.A.A.F., the world governing body for track and field, knows that women naturally vary substantially in their androgen levels. In fact, I.A.A.F. policy allows a woman with adrenal tumors — who may make more androgens than the average man — to compete as a woman. When asked to explain its reasoning, the I.A.A.F. did not respond.

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