Welcome to Perspectives, a blog of thoughts, commentary and observations ranging from autistic adolescents to intimate portraits of urban communities.


Stumble of the Week

Historical Truth. As a 16-year-old during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, I remember the collective fear of a nuclear attack, followed by relief that the calm and steely resolve of President Kennedy had made the Soviets blink. In a review of Sheldon Stern’s new book, The Cuban Missile Crisis in American Memory, Benjamin Schwartz writes that almost everything we have been taught about the event is not true. The miscalculations and political considerations of the Kennedy administration brought us to the brink of war, and a legendary counter-story was concocted and fed to a gullible press. One of the villains is Arthur Schlesinger Jr., “whose histories ‘repeatedly manipulated and obscured the facts.”’ Schlesinger, who left academia for the halls of power and became the model of the “public intellectual,” was long considered a sycophant by his old academic colleagues. They have been vindicated. His “accounts – ‘profoundly misleading if not out-and-out deceptive,’” writes Schultz, “were written to serve not scholarship but the Kennedys.” Women’s Rights. The fight for the hearts, minds and other organs of the Republican party continues stage right. The Daily Beast reports that the “transvaginal ultrasound” is back on the legislative dockets in Michigan, Tennessee and Alabama. A year ago, the Virginia legislature passed – and then rescinded after a national outcry – a bill mandating the procedure, which the Michigan GOP insists “further protects the interests of the women seeking an abortion by assessing the viability of the fetus and confirming the approximate gestational age of the fetus.” The party of non-intrusive government has embraced women’s rights.

War Crimes