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How We Judge America's Presidents
WATERGATE. MONICA LEWINSKY. PAINKILLERS IN THE OVAL OFFICE. IRAN-CONTRA. READ MY LIPS. THE CHARACTER FACTOR. The American president’s character matters. To most Americans, it matters deeply. But how do we define what character means, and why can’t we agree? In this sober, probing consideration of “the character factor” and the presidency, veteran political analyst James P. Pfiffner leads us through a survey of three aspects of presidential character that have proved problematic for recent chief executives: lies, promise-keeping, and sexual probity. His goal is not to tell us which presidents have been “good” and which “bad.” Rather, he helps us think critically and impartially about complex character issues and invites us to reach our own conclusions. The Character Factor avoids both the abyss of moral relativism and the desert of political cynicism. It helps us look at our presidents (and our presidential candidates) without illusions, knowing that flawed men can still be great leaders but that some flaws deserve defeat at the polls—or even the ultimate presidential sanction, impeachment.
Texas Ranger Norman K. Dixon
Activism in the Community
Much of the history of Mexican American educational reform efforts has focused on campaigns to eliminate discrimination in public schools. However, as historian Guadalupe San Miguel demonstrates in Chicana/o Struggles for Education: Activisim in the Community, the story is much broader and more varied than that.
While activists certainly challenged discrimination, they also worked for specific public school reforms and sought private schooling opportunities, utilizing new patterns of contestation and advocacy. In documenting and reviewing these additional strategies, San Miguel’s nuanced overview and analysis offers enhanced insight into the quest for equal educational opportunity to new generations of students.
San Miguel addresses questions such as what factors led to change in the 1960s and in later years; who the individuals and organizations were that led the movements in this period and what motivated them to get involved; and what strategies were pursued, how they were chosen, and how successful they were. He argues that while Chicana/o activists continued to challenge school segregation in the 1960s as earlier generations had, they broadened their efforts to address new concerns such as school funding, testing, English-only curricula, the exclusion of undocumented immigrants, and school closings. They also advocated cultural pride and memory, inclusion of the Mexican American community in school governance, and opportunities to seek educational excellence in private religious, nationalist, and secular schools.
The profusion of strategies has not erased patterns of de facto segregation and unequal academic achievement, San Miguel concludes, but it has played a key role in expanding educational opportunities. The actions he describes have expanded, extended, and diversified the historic struggle for Mexican American education.
Chilean architecture—along with that of São Paolo and Mexico City—sets a benchmark for the intersection of modernism with vernacular influences in Latin America. Culture, landscape, and the geology of this earthquake-prone region have all served as important filters for the practice of post-1950s design in Chile. This volume introduces the modern architecture of Chile to readers in the United States. Looking primarily at domestic architecture as a lens for studying the larger movement, Fernando Pérez Oyarzun considers the relationship between theory and practice in Chile. As he shows in his chapter, during the early 1950s the School of Valparaíso offered the possibility of developing experimental projects accompanied by theoretical statements. There, visual artists considered poetry the starting point of modern architecture and contributed their radically modern views to the design process of the project. Next, Rodrigo Pérez de Arce examines the material context of architecture in Chile: the availability of materials and technologies, the frequency of violent earthquakes and related seismic activity, and the nation’s craft-based, labor-intensive building practices. He applies these considerations to a series of case studies to demonstrate how they interact with cultural, historical, economic, and even political influences. In the book's final chapter, Horacio Torrent reviews the interplay between the architectonic culture and modern shapes that came into sharp focus in the 1950s in Chile. In another series of case studies, he highlights the formation of a system of concepts, thought processes, instruments, and values that have given Chilean architecture a certain singularity during the last fifty years.
New Habitat for America's Mysterious Birds
Chimney Swifts, birds that nest and roost in chimneys, have been historically abundant in North America. But by the late 1980s, the number of swifts migrating to North America from the Amazon River Basin had declined. A growing number of people across North America are now constructing nesting towers and conducting Chimney Swift conservation projects in their own communities. With Chimney Swift Towers, concerned bird conservationists have a step-by-step guide to help them create more habitat for these beneficial, insect-eating birds. Chimney Swift experts Paul and Georgean Kyle give directions for building freestanding wooden towers, wooden kiosk towers, masonry towers, and other structures. Included are - design basics, - lists of materials needed, - useful diagrams and photographs, - and detailed instructions on site preparation, tower construction, installation, and maintenance. Anyone with basic woodworking or masonry skills and an interest in wildlife conservation will find this publication helpful. That includes do-it-yourselfers, homeowners involved in creating backyard habitat for wildlife, landscape and structural architects, park and wildscape managers, wildlife management area professionals, nature centers, garden centers, scout troops, and other civic organizations in search of community service projects.
Mexican Americans in Victoria, Texas
Claiming Citizenship spotlights a community where Mexican Americans, regardless of social class, embraced a common ideology and worked for access to the full rights of citizenship without confrontation or radicalization. Victoria, Texas, is a small city with a sizable Mexican-descent population dating to the period before the U.S. annexation of the state. There, a complex and nuanced story of ethnic politics unfolded in the middle of the twentieth century. Focusing on grassroots, author Anthony Quiroz shows how the experience of the Mexican American citizens of Victoria, who worked within the system, challenges common assumptions about the power of class to inform ideology and demonstrates that embracing ethnic identity does not always mean rejecting Americanism. Quiroz identifies Victoria as a community in which Mexican Americans did not engage in overt resistance, labor organization, demonstrations, or the rejection of capitalism, democracy, or Anglo culture and society. Victoria's Mexican Americans struggled for equal citizenship as the "loyal opposition," opposing exclusionary practices while embracing many of the values and practices of the dominant society. Various individuals and groups worked, beginning in the 1940s, to bring about integrated schools, better political representation, and a professional class of Mexican Americans whose respectability would help advance the cause of Mexican equality. Their quest for public legitimacy was undertaken within a framework of a bicultural identity that was adaptable to the private, Mexican world of home, church, neighborhood, and family, as well as to the public world of school, work, and politics. Coexistence with Anglo American society and sharing the American dream constituted the desired ideal. Quiroz's study makes a major contribution to our understanding of the Mexican American experience by focusing on groups who chose a more subtle, less confrontational path toward equality. Perhaps, indeed, he describes the more common experience of this ethnic population in twentieth-century America.
Mexican Workers and Job Politics during World War II
In Claiming Rights and Righting Wrongs in Texas, Emilio Zamora traces the experiences of Mexican workers on the American home front during World War II as they moved from rural to urban areas and sought better-paying jobs in rapidly expanding industries. Contending that discrimination undermined job opportunities, Zamora investigates the intervention by Mexico in the treatment of workers, the U.S. State Department's response, and Texas' emergence as a key site for negotiating the application of the Good Neighbor Policy. He examines the role of women workers, the evolving political struggle, the rise of the liberal-urban coalition, and the conservative tradition in Texas. Zamora also looks closely at civil and labor rights–related efforts, implemented by the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and the Fair Employment Practice Committee.
The Roller-Coaster Life of a Texas Wildcatter
The native son of a distinguished West Texas family and a 1954 graduate of Texas A&M whose career and personal pursuits have ranged from farmer to insurance salesman to wildcatter, pipeline entrepreneur, rancher, banker, real estate mogul, big game hunter, conservationist, philanthropist, front-running gubernatorial candidate, and oil tycoon, Clayton W. Williams Jr. is by all measures one of a kind. He has repeatedly been on the Forbes list of the 400 wealthiest Americans, yet more than once Claytie has also been on the verge of bankruptcy. This authorized biography captures the dimensions of his fascinating life: his determined work ethic and honesty; his passionate interests and rough-hewn style; his devotion to wife and constant companion Modesta and family; his all-in wildcatter bets and integrity-above-all payoff of debts; his patented gaffes in the “wildest, woolliest Texas governor’s race ever” and their spotlighted consequences for the state and nation; and running through it all, both unrestrained celebrations and knees-on-the-ground repentance. His many notable successes, his most admirable traits, as well as his most outrageous flaws are all portrayed in this book, often in Claytie’s own words or in the extensive comments, revealing anecdotes, and first-person accounts of others, supplemented by family and business documents, as well as contemporary journalistic records. This book tells it all, revealing one distinctive maverick who has left his boot prints all across Texas for 75 years.
Presidential scholars, former and current policymakers, and a former president bring varied insights and analyses to consider the impact, influence, and legacy of the presidency of William Jefferson Clinton, the “'New Democrat' from Hope, Arkansas." In the eight years between 1993 and 2001, the Clinton White House presided over a booming economy that included a budget surplus in Clinton’s second term, oversaw the most significant welfare reform since the New Deal, and wrestled with the challenge of developing a foreign-policy vision for the post–Cold War era. Structurally, the Clinton presidency expanded the office and responsibilities of the First Lady and the Vice President to an unprecedented degree, prevailed in a budget battle with Congress that included two government shutdowns, briefly employed a line-item veto until the Supreme Court declared that power unconstitutional, and endured the second impeachment of the chief executive in American history. The evolution and consequences of the increased power held by modern presidents became sharply evident during the Clinton years. In The Clinton Presidency and the Constitutional System, based on the Eleventh Presidential Conference at Hofstra University, readers are afforded a unique combination of scholarly analysis and the perspectives of former administration officials. Students and scholars of the presidency will glean important understandings from the balanced, judicious studies of the Clinton administration and their juxtaposition with firsthand recollections of some of the participants who defined and shaped those events.