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America: Like It Or Unfriend It 277

Posted by timothy
from the please-extend-below dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "As we celebrate America's birthday today, head over the to the NY Times and take a look at a very clever 'op-art' creation, 'Like it or Unfriend It' by Teddy Wayne, Mike Sacks, and Thomas Ng, that represents what 'America's Wall' would look like through our history. Beginning with 'Christopher Columbus wrote on America's wall: 'This IS India, right?,' through 'America added Great Britain to Kingdoms I am Fighting With,' through 'The South has changed its privacy settings to accept carpetbaggers,' and finishing with 'America stopped playing the game Wild-Goose Chase While Nation-Building,' and 'America has joined the China Network' the wall includes dozens of invitations, likes, posts and changes to privacy settings that shows a summary of American history as seen from a Facebook perspective. Our favorite from the 1980s: 'Ronald Reagan created a page: "Trickle-Down Economics" followed by "Half a million upper-income people like this.'" For another take on 4th of July data visualization, Tim O'Reilly points out flag.codeforamerica.org, which aggregates twitter posts tagged #July4 into an evolving flag tapestry.
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America: Like It Or Unfriend It

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  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@@@lynx...bc...ca> on Monday July 04, 2011 @02:24PM (#36654434) Journal

    ... as a means of teaching history. This particular "wall" is a bit too brief to be useful for most purposes, but a more detailed one could probably be contrived to describe the activities surround noteworthy events in history.

    If it helps kids learn, then that's a good thing... right?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ehrichweiss (706417) *

      I wish they'd get it right for once. Christopher Columbus wasn't looking for "India", he was looking for Hindustan.

      http://www.documentingreality.com/forum/f181/name-indian-origins-72901/ [documentingreality.com]

      • by hedwards (940851)

        That's not really that big of a deal, he was looking for the Indian subcontinent it doesn't really matter what you call it, he was looking for the land that is present day India. The bigger issue is that he wasn't concerned with falling off the edge of the world.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 04, 2011 @03:51PM (#36655096)

          The "Columbus thought the world was round, while everyone else thought it was flat" isn't accurate.

          What Columbus was fighting against is that people though the Earth was (correctly) approximately 40,000 km in diameter (The Greeks had measured it fairly accurately) while Columbus thought (incorrectly) it was much smaller and that it was practical to sail west to India. Columbus lucked out in that America was in the way, otherwise he would have been a footnote in history as the leader of an expedition of 3 ships that sailed west never to be seen again.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by xkuehn (2202854)

            What Columbus was fighting against is that people though the Earth was (correctly) approximately 40,000 km in circumference (The Greeks had measured it fairly accurately) while Columbus thought (incorrectly) it was much smaller and that it was practical to sail west to India. Columbus lucked out in that America was in the way, otherwise he would have been a footnote in history as the leader of an expedition of 3 ships that sailed west never to be seen again.

            FTFY

            • If you're going to say you fixed his post for him, you should really fix everything. He misspelled "thought" as "though", which didn't get the red underline.

              He may be attempting to use clever rewording to quietly start a rumor that the world really is smaller by a factor of approx. 3.14159, which surely makes you wonder at the subtle motives behind using such a weird ratio... unlike the round regular numbers you'd expect. Was that a deliberate ploy? [slashdot.org]

        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 04, 2011 @04:39PM (#36655374)

          India got it's name from River Indus.........which is called Sindhu in Sanskrit. Persians and Arabs called us Hindu(Do you see the rhyme scheme in Hindu and Sindhu) and from Hindu we got Hindustaan(Land of the Hindus). The Greeks called Sindhu as Indus(whatever way the Greek spelt it! India was known to the Greeks(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_conquests_in_India) and Romans(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_India#Roman_trade_with_India http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_commerce)) and Indus became India.

          The original name of the country was Aryavrata(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C4%80ry%C4%81varta) or Abode of the Aryans(Noble people........not the Nazi thing(you can blame Max Muellar and Hitler)). Then the country was renamed Bhaarat from Bharat(Brave son of King Ajatshatru). All our modern or old text refer to India as Bharat or AryaVrata. Foreigners named us India and Hindustaan. We use Bhaarat in our daily language.

          Hinduism as religion doesn't exist in any of our texts. We call it Sanaatan Dharma(it means Eternal Law/Duty http://www.sanatandharma.org/) or just Dharma(pronounced Dharm)

      • I wish they'd get it right for once.

        So do I. The very first post should have been "America has added GB to Kindoms I am Fighting With" since before that there was no America. If he means the continent then he should have said North America and, in any case, his later posts are clearly written to take America as US.

    • by nicholas22 (1945330) on Monday July 04, 2011 @02:50PM (#36654632)
      Actually it is very depressing that THIS is how you get children to be interested in your history. I blame the parents.
      • Why do you find it depressing? I would imagine that any society where these things don't evolve would be on its way to the end.

        I expect the generation that went through school after me probably had their parents saying the same things about computers in schools, my mother probably said the same thing when "School House Rock" came on TV, and her parents probably said the same thing about organized education, so on back to the printing press, literacy, and so forth... One can imagine a parent saying "If oral tradition was good enough for us, it should be good enough for our children".

        Not all change is negative, not all of it is positive either of course. Change can however stimulate people to think in new ways and consider things that they did not consider in the past.

        An oft quoted study in fact measured productivity improvements around change. If a study group *thought* that a change was being implemented to improve productivity, productivity improved. In the case I read about I believe it was "replacing light bulbs with wide spectrum bulbs" the "work people" came in and swapped out the tubes with identical ones and productivity went up for awhile and plateaued and then regressed back to mean levels.

        So if doing something new and fresh causes kids to learn, speaking as a parent, more power to innovative educators. If it is only a short term improvement, that's fine too, just be thinking about the next thing down the road.

        "Think of the children" - why make learning hard/repetitive/stale when we have choices?

        Min

        • "Think of the children" - why make learning hard/repetitive/stale when we have choices?

          Because Facebook has nothing to do with learning, and is about the stupidest application of social networking out there.

        • by lexsird (1208192) on Monday July 04, 2011 @07:15PM (#36656320)

          Yeah, fuck all of those tough subjects like math, science and history. Things that require "study", what a complete waste of time "study" is. We just need to please little Johnny so he will take his nose out of his texting to give a nod at some Facebook page. That will solve our education problems and why we are collectively becoming the dumbest fucking people on the planet.

          Do you seriously know just how far down the toilet our education system has slid in the past 50 years? An 8th grade test from that era would make an 4.0 AA graduate feel like a retard. How about we try to go back to when education was working first before we try to improve on the complete disaster that we are using now? This is the one problem with a free society, any idiot can open their mouth with an idea, and there are more idiots than non-idiots, hence the idiots can have their way.

          • Not sure you actually read my post before you replied, or the GGP for that matter. The point was not "let's teach facebook" the point was "Children respond well to material when presented in a format which they associate to (e.g. schoolhouse rock cartoons) therefore, let's present one of the "tough subjects" in a manner that will get their attention."

            While we're on the subject though, it should be noted that in the past (my parents' generation) not everyone went to school. Farmers tended to keep their children at the farms because they needed the help getting the harvest in. Therefore you had a self selected population from which you were obtaining your statistics. Your sampling methodology then would not be uniform when comparing grades and such between then and now. If you include those farmers who didn't go to school (my father was a 3rd grade dropout) I think you'll find they'd drop down your average at the 8th grade level dramatically (means disliking values of 0 as they do).

            If you consider that IQ tests tend to require an element of knowledge (language for the vast majority of them, and a cognitive framework around math for the non-linguistic ones), and you couple that with the fact that IQ tests need to be re-normed back to 100=average every few years, it rather argues that when you take an aggregate measure of human "intelligence" we're getting "smarter" (doing better on the tests). In the time frame we're speaking of, and assuming the current model of evolution holds, it seems unlikely that's due to the actual substantial increase in the collective human intellect, therefore the knowledge portion of the equation is the only element that can be improving.

            There is a well known cognitive predisposition to view the past as being better then the present, and it's easy to fall victim to this tenancy when you don't stop to do your analysis.

            Now I realize I've probably just fed the troll, but felt it important enough to make my arguments for the other non-trolls who might be reading this thread, as troll or no, we (as a society) can do damage when we think in the way the parent is exemplifying. Ideally the people represented in forums such as this one (generally forward thinking folks) should be the check against these tendencies.

            Are there issues in the education system? Hell ya. NCLB is a prime example, it rewards all sorts of bad teaching habits, incentizes behaviors like teaching the test, etc. In my field of work (Corporate Infosec) we pay a lot of attention to ensuring that reward/punishment systems are in line with the behaviors we're attempting to reinforce, rather then unaligned. I could wish that law makers would spend similar amounts of effort thinking about such things before passing broken legislation. Education budgets are drastically under prioritized (if you doubt this, look at defense budgets vs education in the G20.) All these are points where we can have a useful discussion. A new technique for speaking to children in a manner in which they might absorb some information isn't to my way of thinking one of them.

            Min

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by lexsird (1208192)

        Blame parents indeed. Humans on Earth really need to adopt a policy that only the best are allowed to have children. Bad parents = more bad people on the planet. And sadly there are more bad parents than good ones.

        Look at how coddled American children are. They are treated like little fairy prince and princesses until they turn of age and realize that their life so far has been a big lie and they have absolutely no skills to offer the world. Our public schools are a complete joke and Bush's "no child left b

    • by belthize (990217)

      We'd need to come up with a name for a more detailed version. It might be nice if it included pictures, complete sentences and maybe some insight as to why the details are important. Too bad 'history book' is already taken.

      • FaceBook's Lawyers Like this.

        The wall posts need to be TFA type story link though. So then you get all your detail, but it's sorted as 200 articles and not like an author who keep writing and writing in one, long, incredibly unbroken chapter moving from topic to topic so that the student cannot interrupt it. Those books are really quite hypnotic.

    • This particular "wall" is a bit too brief to be useful for most purposes

      Missed out the entire Spanish-American war dealie. I guess they forgot the Alamo.

      • by Gryle (933382) on Monday July 04, 2011 @03:42PM (#36655036)
        The Battle of the Alamo occurred during the Texian revolt from Mexico and has nothing to do with the Spanish-American War. Unless you're just making a list of things the NY Times didn't put on the wall.
        • Not my country. All I know about it I got from watching Zorro, King of the Hill, and the odd Western. My knowledge, to sum up, is that there was a Spanish-American War, that Texas used to be part of Mexico (spanish colony), and now it's a state. There was a battle at the Alamo. So, given that sparse information, it's not unreasonable to conclude that the Alamo massacre was part of the Spanish-American War.
          • by Gryle (933382)
            Not unreasonable, but still wrong. The Spanish-American war was between the US and Spain, mainly over stuff occurring in the Caribbean and the Philippines. The Battle of the Alamo was fought when the Texians (name given to the predominantly Anglo rebels) revolted against the Mexican government. If anything, the Alamo is aligned with the Mexican-American war. One of the causes was the US annexation of Texas since Mexico still considered Texas as part of its territory in spite of the Treaty of Velasco nine ye
    • by nospam007 (722110) *

      'Christopher Columbus wrote on America's wall: 'This IS India, right?,'

      He didn't say that, he was Italian, he said:
      Questa è l'India, giusto?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 04, 2011 @02:25PM (#36654450)
    How to I unfriend it?
  • So... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by feepness (543479) on Monday July 04, 2011 @02:29PM (#36654480) Homepage
    There are around 150,000 troops in Iraq/Afghanistan. We have bases all over the world. We are currently bombing other nations (Libya/Yemen/Somalia). We have bases in over a hundred other countries around the world.

    When did we stop nation building again?
    • Re:So... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by dclozier (1002772) on Monday July 04, 2011 @02:32PM (#36654518)
      When companies stopped manufacturing here.
    • You are maintaining an empire.

      HTH.

    • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ShavedOrangutan (1930630) on Monday July 04, 2011 @02:52PM (#36654646)

      When did we stop nation building again?

      When we became too P.C. to finish a war. If we're nation building now, it's somebody else's nation and financed by our national debt.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Dunbal (464142) *

        it's somebody else's nation and financed by our national debt.

        You have to know who your pimp is. Financing is done by China and Japan, since they own most of the national debt (the US government holds most of the rest, but that's just the fluff that's propping up the illusion of the US dollar).

        • by Anubis350 (772791)
          The bulk of US debt is actually held domestically AFAIK, by an absolutely huge margin, with the fed marking up the single largest % of that. Japan and China *combined* finance about 20% of US debt. A quick google gives me this: http://blogs.wsj.com/marketbeat/2011/06/09/the-fed-is-the-biggest-holder-of-us-debt/ [wsj.com] though there are plenty of other sources too
          • by Dunbal (464142) *
            Yeah, the "held domestically" part is the fluff I was talking about. The biggest buyer of US treasuries is - the US government. No printing press required when you can just issue bonds to yourself.
        • by DarkOx (621550)

          That is just wrong something around 60% of the national debt is the property of domestic owners. China and Japan hold lots but its not correct to say most. In practical economic terms I am not sure the distinction matters but for the sake of our language China and Japan don't have most of the debt, they have a large amount of of the debt.

      • by roman_mir (125474)

        Correction - financed by foreign debt, every 40 cents spent by US government is borrowed from abroad.

    • You don't build a nation with bombs. You destroy a nation with them. You build a nation with schools, infrastructure, trade, etc.
    • When did we stop nation building again?

      When Obama failed to get his tax hike through, the Chinese bought all your bad debt, and Congress refused to allow Obama anymore money. Happy fucking Independence Day :D

      • by DarkOx (621550)

        That might be how it looks abroad but here at home the reality is that the war in Afghanistan is the one thing congress probably can be counted on support appropriates for. Obama is giving up the effort because he has to get re-elected if he does not give his base something they won't turn out for him. The public is against the war at this point. The reality congress (which has a historically low approval rating) can duck most of the responsibility because they are numerous enough its hard for the laze

  • Turrorists. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Monday July 04, 2011 @02:29PM (#36654490)

    A part of me can't help but think of what our founding fathers would think of America today and how quickly they'd be branded as terrorists.

    War on Drugs, TSA, 'mandatory' DUI checkpoints, gun control, police abuses, etc, etc.

    That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.-

    Imagine if a group of informed citizens stood up and sent that to the feds. How quickly would they be shut down?

    • by blcamp (211756)

      I've posted that passage from the Declaration on my Facebook page many times - including today - and I haven't been "shut down".

      And you know what? They ain't shutting me down... or shutting me UP... until I stop making CO2.

      • by houghi (78078)

        They shut others up. Like that one who said some president was a dick and he was forced to apologize.

        Sure, it wasn't the government that made him shut up and that makes it even worse,

        • Re:Turrorists. (Score:5, Informative)

          by hedwards (940851) on Monday July 04, 2011 @03:25PM (#36654888)

          If you're going to relay that anecdote you might want to point out that the individual was a journalist and made the comment on live TV while he was acting in an official capacity. This wasn't a matter of some random individual calling the President a dick on his or her free time.

          And it was the right thing to do, journalists are not supposed to express personal views with company resources, they're supposed to be trying to be as impartial as possible.
          Journalist apologizes for strongly worded criticism of Obama [thehill.com]

          • by Dunbal (464142) *

            a journalist and made the comment on live TV while he was acting in an official capacity

            ROFL. Yeah, journalists in "official" capacity. When did Americans stop thinking for themselves - oh let me rephrase that, when are Americans going to start thinking for themselves?

            • by hedwards (940851)

              You're trolling, right?

              A journalist does get to think and have opinions, but that isn't to say that such opinions on the job representing a news agency are acceptable to express on the air. Journalists are a bit like historians, doesn't matter what their opinion is if it can't be backed with facts. And the aim is always supposed to be on finding the most accurate account of events possible.

              There are organizations like Fox that feel the need to make up their stories and editorialize all over the place, but t

          • by BarC0d3z (825670)

            That journalist - a very respected one in both camps, btw - was asked his opinion and gave the hosts - a political talk-show - several opportunities to retract the invitation.

      • Re:Turrorists. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by rbrausse (1319883) on Monday July 04, 2011 @03:19PM (#36654848)

        posting something on Facebook != starting a revolution

    • You don't really have anything to worry about until you start stock-piling weapons. Think Waco Texas or Ruby Ridge. Start collecting guns on a compound, you might draw the attention of the feds, and it might be bad for you.

      If all you do is talk, you will be mocked. Like Sharron Angle [about.com], when she suggested using second-amendment remedies to take out Harry Reid. The whole point of democracy is we don't need an armed insurrection to change things. The War on Drugs, TSA, DUI checkpoints all continue because peo
      • by hitmark (640295)

        I guess the war on drugs is allowed to continue on because the visible users are the "outsiders" of society. I wonder how many there is that wear a suit and tie each day, and inject or snort something in at times and places less publicly visible.

        • Yeah, I agree.....the people who feel strongest about drug legalization are mainly the ones who want to do drugs. Other people are indifferent or see drug users as crack-idiots who live on the street; and let's face it, most of us know a couple people from High-school who ruined their lives with drugs.

          Assuming that all drug users (that is, those who are aware enough to vote) would vote yes to drug legalization [wikipedia.org], we can say there are fewer than 46% who use drugs regularly. The number for harder drugs, like
          • by ArsonSmith (13997)

            "...most of us know a couple people from High-school who ruined their lives with drugs. "

            I also know people that didn't amount to anything and were never on drugs. As well as some who still do drugs 20 years later who are quit successful, well adjusted, productive members of society. I've always thought there may be a strong a correlation not equal to causation issue with this.

      • He may well not care enough to vote. I'm amazed at the number of people who will whine online, but do not cast their vote. They will cry about how bad things are but cannot be bothered to take the least of steps to try and change it.

        That is also part of the reason why things like this get supported. It isn't that so many people necessarily support it, it is that so many people who vote do. If the supporters of something all vote and the opponents of ti all don't then it'll continue even if the opponents out

        • Yeah, you are probably right.

          Another thing I am finding is that a lot of people lack knowledge of basic American civics (maybe other countries too, I don't know). They don't understand how government works, so they don't understand how things can change. This leads them to seeing government as a giant monolithic evil 'thing,' instead of an extension of the will of the people.

          Then they don't vote, and the cycle perpetuates itself.
          • It was in another post about a week ago I was arguing for a much greater emphasis on teaching civics in schools, at least from middle school up until graduation. The constitution isn't being trampled on by the government, the police, the terrorists. People need look no further than a mirror to see where the problem lies. Too many people are too quick to blame yet too slow to act.
    • Re:Turrorists. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by The Great Pretender (975978) on Monday July 04, 2011 @03:28PM (#36654912)
      While interesting, the thing that bothers me about this exercise is it puts the focus on friending/unfriending the US, but as with a lot of these exercises it completely ignores the assholishness of all those countries critiquing the US. I'm British by birth, lived there 23 years, came to the US and now naturalized. As much as people want to be critical about the US history, I grew up learning how Britain has been completely prickish throughout the whole of history in general. The difference I suppose is that we were taught about this in school. The point being there is no country, the US included, out there that who has the right to critique any countries history without critiquing their own. People in glasshouse shouldn't throw stones.
    • by hitmark (640295)

      I wonder if those founding fathers ever considered a nation that would span the continent when they wrote that document.

      • Of course they did, they were far from being stupid people, and civilizations long before ours spanned more than just a single continent.
    • by cob666 (656740)
      Sam Adams wold most definitely be branded a terrorist for inciting the Boston Massacre and the Tea Party. It would take massive amounts of coordination and fire power to replace our current government. The file Seven Days in May [wikipedia.org] is probably the most accurate portrayal of the overthrow of the US Government that I can think of right now.
    • by lymond01 (314120)

      it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government

      Absolutely. It's called a revolution.

      How quickly would they be shut down?

      Ain't nobody said it would be easy, or that the other guy doesn't like they way he's doin' it. You expectin' the government to just agree they aren't doin' such a swell job, step down, and offer you a swing at it? Here in America, we believe in democracy as a means to bring about change. W and Obama couldn't seem more different, but we're still

  • While I am certain the religious content of this video will not be liked by many on Slashdot, it should be noted that this is not the first time this idea was used -- to mimic social media to explain history. In my opinion, the video was far more creative in the telling of its story as well. It creatively shows the story of Christmas with great insight and thoughtfulness.

    A Social Network Christmas [youtube.com]

  • by Loopy (41728)

    Classy, as always.

  • Ronald Reagan (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Let's see... When the inept Carter admin was overthrown I got a tax cut. It was my first job out of college and the pay sucked. Hardly upper class.

    And wait, there's more. The tax cuts gave us a couple decades of growth. Oh, and the Soviet empire fell.

    You know, he was a good president after all.

    • Re:Ronald Reagan (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hedwards (940851) on Monday July 04, 2011 @03:27PM (#36654910)

      Not really, he gave us $4tn in deficits, several bubbles in the equities market and led the nation to increasingly hand over its money to the rich on the basis of a completely disproven theory of economics. Hell, even Reagan himself know that tax cuts for the rich were not a panacea which is why he raised them that second year in office.

      • by DarkOx (621550)

        Its really fun to blame Regan for the deficits but, the explosive growth in the deficit trend started under Carter, the rate at which the deficit was increased actually decreased thought most of the Regan administration.

        Its also true that Regan had a largely unwilling congress and he had to make major compromises with them, in terms of allowing social spending to get them to pass his own agenda items. Many of those program Regan was methodologically against add up to a large portion of that $4T.

        At the end

        • The only reason Reagan didn't give us world War Three was because Thatcher and a pile of others finally managed to convince him that all he had to do was wait a few months and the USSR would fall apart on it's own. Using astrology to influence policy, invading a member of the British commonweath without contacting the UK first, needless sacrificing marines in Lebanon merely to "show the flag" when they should have at least been prepared for hostilities, escorting Saddams oil tankers, selling weapons to Hez
      • by Jhon (241832)

        "Not really"? We didn't have a couple of decades of growth? Or are you trying to change what he said?

        Did we have deficits? Yes. Was that due to tax cuts? No. More money came in as a result of the growth generated by those tax cuts.

        What caused the deficits, then? Could it be.... Government over-spending? Spending far more than what was generated? Hmmm....

        But that wouldn't fit in to your narrative... would it?

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Nimey (114278)

          Government overspending, indeed. Why, did you know that St. Reagan (pbuh) dramatically increased military spending so he could willy-wave at the Soviets?

          What's that you were wharrgarbling about narrative, now?

    • by Pope (17780)
      "Ketchup is a vegetable." Fuck Reagan,
      • by rubycodez (864176)
        You might be interested to know that while "fruit" has a biological definition, "vegetable" is only a culinary one. I did better under Reagan than any president since.
    • by CokeBear (16811)

      A tax cut while in a deficit situation is just a future tax increase.
      Why do you want to keep raising taxes on your kids?

      • by rubycodez (864176)
        Not necessarily true, if instead of raising taxes we prune the government to 40% or less of its present size. I don't support half of what the federal government does, let's mostly get rid of it.
        • which is what conservative governments traditionally do. Cherry pick certain areas of government to slash in the name of reducing the numbers of 'lazy public servants'. All the while promising tax cuts from the savings.

          Sucks to be reliant on a government service that gets cut but hey, it's for the greater good!

          Who decides the 40% though?

    • by Nimey (114278)

      All hail Saint Reagan (peace be upon him).

  • by kevinmenzel (1403457) <kevinmenzel AT gmail DOT com> on Monday July 04, 2011 @02:50PM (#36654628)
    Just because you declare independance doesn't make you a country. Try again on April 9, when the treaty that ended the war of independance was ratified, and the former colonies became recognized as their own country. If anything, July 4 (or July 2, or August 2 depending on which historian you're reading and what your point of view is) is America's "Conception Day".
    • Re:Birthday? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hedwards (940851) on Monday July 04, 2011 @03:30PM (#36654940)

      Had we lost the war we wouldn't be observing Independence day at all. The reason we observe it on July 4th is because that was the day on which the Declaration of Independence was signed and the day on which quite a few individuals more or less signed their own death warrants had the bid failed.

      I think it's the right choice as it better exemplifies the spirit of the revolution than the day upon which we succeeded in throwing the Brits out.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Dunbal (464142) *
        So what does the spirit of the revolution have to say about the American media obsession with the British royal family? Cake and eat it too?
        • by artor3 (1344997)

          That Americans aren't so petty as to hold a grudge against the British for two hundred years.

          • by Kittenman (971447)

            That Americans aren't so petty as to hold a grudge against the British for two hundred years.

            Huh? Seen any recent Hollywood movies?

        • by Red_Chaos1 (95148)

          Lots of people have obsessions with things that are quaint, cute, and totally pointless.

        • by hedwards (940851)

          I don't see any problem with that, as long as they're over there and not over here for reasons other than a visit. Considering that we haven't had any wars with the Brits in nearly 200 years, I'm not sure there's anything wrong with being fascinated by the royal family.

        • by rubycodez (864176)
          get mad at the British for that Hanoverian kraut's actions?
      • I'm not saying "Don't celebrate it." There is of course reason to celebrate July 4. I'm just saying it's not America's birthday.
        • by hedwards (940851)

          Says you, we consider that to be the event that signifies the start of our country. It's the point when we stopped recognizing the crown as the ruler of our land. Strikes me as a completely legitimate way of deciding when to start counting.

        • by hansraj (458504)

          Belated* Happy Birthday, America!

          I am in Europe and missed it by a few hours. Sorry.

      • by Jhon (241832)

        The reason we observe it on July 4th is because that was the day on which the Declaration of Independence was signed and the day on which quite a few individuals more or less signed their own death warrants had the bid failed.

        Actually, the DoI was "signed" on the 2nd (not really then either, but I digress) . It was at the printers on the 4th...

        I could go in to the actually events and take 4 or 5 paragraphs... but it's my day off and I want to enjoy our nations "birth" with my kids.

    • by rubycodez (864176)
      Wrong, the country was formed right at the signing of the Declaration. Thanks for playing "revisionist urban legends".

      "We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolv
    • by crdotson (224356)

      By your reasoning, if England still maintained to this day that the US was part of England, the US still wouldn't be a country?

      On July 4, 1776, a group of people claimed that they were a separate nation, no longer governed by England, and began acting that way. For various reasons, nobody was able to prove them wrong, so that's the best date to claim as the US's birthday -- even if other countries didn't immediately recognize it. It wasn't as thought the US actually came out of a woman's birth canal, so I

  • Funny To Whom? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by blcamp (211756)

    Clever? I think not. Facebook satire has been around ever since Facebook hit the big time. This is not original by any means.

    On top of that, the lefty drivel and Bush-bashing has no appeal for, oh, at least half of the NYT's potential audience. Unless of course, they no longer have any interest in having readership that leans to the right.

    • by hercubus (755805)

      the lefty drivel and Bush-bashing has no appeal for, oh, at least half of the NYT's potential audience

      obviously you lean right. did you not get the memo that right-thinking, right-leaning people should only head to "nytimes.com" to bitch at Krugman? to suggest that a "real American" would ever be in the NY Times audience shows your commitment to the cause must be flagging or flaccid. the left still has its Mojo, just ask Mr. Weiner. no flaccid problems there!

  • by OzPeter (195038) on Monday July 04, 2011 @03:23PM (#36654872)
    I had a bit of an epiphany today about date formats. Any other day of the year and this would be known as July 4th, 2011 (ie Sept 11th), and any attempt by other people to say "why are you using such a dumb arsed date format?" would be met by jeers of "It's our date format and we'll do what we like with it". However, today, on what is probably the most venerable US national holiday its known as "4th of July" .. just like it would be known in pretty well every other country in the world. I can't say that I know the history of why this is, but I do find it curious.
  • I find the "Lets make a fake facebook wall" means of communicating to be incredibly tacky and not at all funny or smart,

    You're still reading a ton of text anyway.

  • friend or foe (Score:4, Insightful)

    by slick7 (1703596) on Monday July 04, 2011 @04:52PM (#36655466)
    It wouldn't bother me if some of our so-called "friends" quit being our friends. What does bother me is the fact that these "friends" are our friends because we give them money. In an economy that has yet to see the bottom, our so-called "friends" would understand if the money stopped, and those that don't understand, screw 'em. The abuses of the state department in squandering the tax money of the US voters while the voters once again, have to tighten their collective belts. The payoffs to these "friends" does nothing more than prop up totalitarian regimes and support an illicit drug industry.

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