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Will the Jacksonville Jaguars make history for the wrong reasons?

A Jacksonville Jaguars helmet at TIAA Bank Field training camp (Photo by James Gilbert / Getty Images)

The Jacksonville Jaguars are currently leading a 16-game losing streak. Could they become the third NFL team to lose 20 straight games?

Last season, the Jacksonville Jaguars beat the Indianapolis Colts in Week 1. Back then, things were going well. Quarterback Gardner Minshew II got off to a great start after leaving the bench the year before. Heck, cornerback CJ Henderson and safety Andrew Wingard each had an interception.

No one would have blamed you if right after the game you started printing your 2020 AFC South Division champions and betting your savings on Jacksonville to qualify for the playoffs. However, there were still 15 games left and the Jags lost EACH OF THEM. On the plus side, they landed the No. 1 overall pick and had the most selection space in the league. Additionally, the organization gave the boot to head coach Doug Marrone and brought in Urban Meyer to oversee the rebuild.

Prior to Week 1, the Jaguars were a 3.0 point favorite to beat the Houston Texans, and rightly so. They used the first pick in the 2021 draft against quarterback Trevor Lawrence and the team leaders have spent the entire offseason improving the roster, so how did that go? Houston crushed the Jags in a dominant fashion and looked like the top team despite having less talent on paper and didn’t spend the offseason focusing on strength and conditioning like their counterpart. from AFC South.

Although the Jaguars currently hold a 0-1 record in 2021, they have lost 16 straight games since last year. If they keep playing like they did in Game 1 of the season, they could become the third team in NFL history to lose 20 straight games. Will the Jaguars end the streak?


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Historic Hawthorne House undergoes restoration in Raymond

Raymond resident Abel Bates has been involved with the Hawthorne House Association since the early 1970s and hopes to transform the historic house into a much needed community center, he said. Kristen McNerney / Lake District Weekly

The Raymond House where famous writer Nathaniel Hawthorne lived from around 1812 to 1825 is getting a makeover and could become a new location for the Lake District.

Abel Bates, a resident of Raymond who has been involved with the Hawthorne House Association since the early 1970s, said he looks forward to getting the most out of the house.

“We would like to use it more as a community center,” Bates said.

The organization has raised approximately $ 60,000 of a goal of $ 75,000 since 2019 to restore the home. Reconstruction efforts this summer included lifting the house to restore its foundation, excavating stone to be cut and made into veneer, and installing new heat pumps. Bates said the next phase will include the restoration of the siding and roofing.

The repairs will allow the house to benefit a number of organizations in the area, Bates said. In addition to the two or three events held each year by the Hawthorne House Association, Bates said he hopes the community can come together there.

The Raymond Arts Alliance, which has sponsored writing workshops, poetry readings, comedy and magic shows, community songs and concerts, is an organization that has an eye on the Hawthorne House.

Built circa 1812, this house at 40 Hawthorn Road in Raymond was occupied by Nathaniel Hawthorne and his family until he graduated from Bowdoin College in 1825. After the Hawthorne family moved to Salem, Massachusetts, the house was briefly used as a stage stop. and tavern. A major renovation took place around 1880 when the house was converted into a meeting house. The congregation dissolved around 1920, leaving the house abandoned until the Hawthorne Community Association was formed to preserve the famous novelist’s house and to provide a meeting place for local events with an emphasis on historical discussions. Courtesy of the Hawthorne Community Association

“The community is really looking for a place to host events,” said Mary-Therese Duffy of the Raymond Arts Alliance. “My hope is that as their renovations Completed we can use it more fully.

Duffy said it was difficult for local organizations to come together as many “historic homes used for venues have been co-opted or become private property.”

While Bates said the pandemic made it difficult for the association to organize many in-person fundraisers, many people have stepped up and responded to mailings of donation requests.

“There are so many people who still care so much about the history of this little band out there,” said Mike Davis, deputy director of the Bridgton Historical Society.

Although the pandemic has been “very hard” on small museums, Davis stressed the role people who remained in their home communities over the past year and a half have had in their increased interest in local history.

“It’s a bit of a double-edged sword,” he said.

Davis said he was happy that the association founded in 1922 was finally taking drastic steps to keep the house permanently.

“It seems like every 40 or 50 years you will find a newspaper article describing the house as in ‘a state of disrepair’,” Davis said. “Even in the 1800s, people were saying ‘I would like someone to step up and do something to save them.’ There has never been enough money so far. It’s pretty incredible that he’s still standing today.

“It is truly noble what they are doing,” he said.

Bates said the Hawthorne House Association is planning a Halloween party, followed by its annual Christmas party. He would like to host a craft show this fall, but said it could be difficult if local artists have already booked times for the season. A calendar of events will be available soon, he said.

Hawthorne, who left Raymond to attend Bowdoin College in Brunswick, wrote “The Scarlett Letter”, “The House of Seven Gables”, “Twice-Told Tales” and many other novels and short stories in the 19th century.


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Do salt substitutes improve your heart health?

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Experts say there are other ways to reduce the salt in your diet than using salt substitutes. Getty Images
  • Chinese researchers say that using a salt substitute can help improve heart health.
  • But experts say the study’s results don’t necessarily apply to the United States because of the different diets and higher consumption of processed foods.
  • They suggest including more fruits and vegetables as a way to reduce sodium intake without using salt substitutes.

Switching from table salt to salt substitutes may help reduce the risk of stroke in people over age 60 with a history of high blood pressure or stroke.

That’s according to a study published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The research included nearly 21,000 participants and took place in 600 villages in rural areas of five Chinese provinces.

About 72 percent of study participants had a history of stroke and 88 percent had a history of high blood pressure.

Participants were given free salt substitutes (about 75 percent sodium chloride and 25 percent potassium chloride) as a replacement for common salt and were advised to use it for cooking, seasoning and food preservation.

They were also encouraged to use the salt substitute more sparingly than before to maximize their sodium reduction.

Sufficient salt substitute was provided to cover the needs of the entire household (approximately 20 grams per person per day).

Participants from other villages continued with their usual cooking and eating habits.

The project was supported by the National Council for Health and Medical Research.

“This study provides clear evidence of an intervention that could be undertaken very quickly at very low cost… We have now shown that it is effective and that is the benefit for China alone. Salt substitution could be used by billions more with even greater benefits, ”said Dr. Bruce Neal, principal investigator of the study and professor at the George Institute for Global Health in Sydney, Australia, in a report. Press release.

A big question arising from this research is whether it is applicable in the United States and other countries outside of China.

“While I wish I could say yes, it’s more realistic to probably say no,” said Dr. Elizabeth Klodas, FAAC, a Minneapolis-based cardiologist and founder of Step One Foods.

Klodas noted that since the study looked at high-risk populations, the results may not apply to other populations (for example, people without high blood pressure and without stroke).

“This was also a study of a unique genetic / cultural group with specific eating habits / patterns and may not translate to other populations,” Klodas told Healthline.

The biggest obstacle to reducing sodium intake in the United States is that much of our sodium intake is not under our control.

“In rural China, most meals are cooked from scratch, so sodium intake is under the control of the preparer. Americans eat a lot more prepared and processed foods – and a lot of these products have a lot of sodium before we even get in the salt shaker, ”Klodas explained.

Sodium can also lurk almost anywhere, she said.

A plain bagel, for example, can provide 450 milligrams of sodium, before you even put anything in it. The maximum recommended sodium intake is 2,300 milligrams per day, so one bagel is about 20 percent of a full day’s sodium allowance.

“The salt substitute won’t help you much there,” Klodas said.

“Finally, the intake of base salt was very high (assumed to be up to 20 grams of salt per person per day), so the observed effect might not translate to those consuming less salt to begin with,” she added.

Kimberly Gomer, MS, RD, LDN, director of nutrition at the Pritikin Longevity Center, explained that in theory, a salt substitute would improve cardiovascular risk because it would definitely improve high blood pressure, and it comes at a price.

“Potassium chloride as a substitute is a problem. As we age, our kidney function naturally slows down. We measure kidney function by glomerular filtration rate, or GFR.

“Our kidneys are our filtering device. So the natural aging process will slow down GFR, and putting potassium directly on food as a seasoning will negatively affect that, ”Gomer told Healthline.

Ultimately, Klodas said, the answer isn’t how to manipulate the sodium content of what we usually eat, but rather how to change what we eat.

“We never recommend these salt substitutes, but rather beautiful herbs, both dried and fresh, to enhance the taste of food,” Gomer said.

She explained that such a change is an adjustment of the palate.

Because we are used to heavily salty foods and using salt and other high salt seasonings, such as soy sauce, teriyaki and all the various black and Himalayan salts which are now popular, this may take weeks or months to make this adjustment.

“A simple way to reduce sodium in our diets is to deliberately add foods that are naturally sodium-free, including all fresh fruits and vegetables,” Klodas said. “It helps to naturally displace items with higher sodium content. “

She explained that eating fruit before lunch or dinner, for example, can be a way to reduce sodium intake while increasing intake of several beneficial nutrients, including potassium.

“Adding fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables while reducing sodium intake has been shown to be as effective as adding medication to lower blood pressure,” Klodas said.

While it takes some time to make the switch and see the benefits, Gomer said the positives are clear.

“Less bloating, decreased water retention, easier weight loss due to lack of salt stimulation and, more importantly, (rapid) reduction in blood pressure in those who are salt sensitive”, she noted.


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50 years ago today, the Pirates make history with the first all-minority lineup in MLB

The 1971 Pirates were unique.

The year saw the team’s first full season at Three Rivers Stadium, four All-Stars, a World Series championship and unprecedented roster in Major League history.

Fifty years ago today, on September 1, 1971, the Pittsburgh Pirates made history as the first all-minority starting lineup in MLB history.

Home to the Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh started future Hall of Fame outfielder Willie ‘Pops’ Stargell left and ‘The Great One’ Roberto Clemente right, current All-Stars or future Al Oliver at start, Dave Cash at third and Manny Sanguilen behind the plate. Dock Ellis took the mound for the Bucs, who previously pitched one of the most unique hitterless in history, walking eight and striking out six hitters against the San Diego Padres on June 12, 1970 as ‘he was taking LSD.

Gene Clines (center fielder), Rennie Stennett (second baseman) and Jackie Hernandez (shortstop) completed the roster, leaving a lasting impact on the game 24 years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier on April 15, 1947.

The Complete Line of Historical Pirates:

  1. Rennie Stennett, 2B
  2. Gene Clines, FC
  3. Roberto Clemente, RF
  4. Willie Stargell, LF
  5. Manny Sanguillen, C.
  6. Dave Cash, 3B
  7. Al Oliver, 1B
  8. Jackie Hernandez, SS
  9. Ellis Pier, P

Manager Danny Murtaugh has been among regular starters including first baseman Bob Robertson, third baseman Richie Hebner and shortstop Gene Alley, all of whom have seen consistent playing time throughout the season. , in favor of the unique one of its kind. over time — alignment, offering its players the opportunity to break their own barrier in the big leagues during an evolving but tense period.

On a Wednesday night in front of 11,278 fans, the 138th game of the regular season, the Pirates defeated the Phillies 10-7, giving doubters no reason to speculate on the potential success of a batting order and defensive unit. entirely in the minority, exceeding it. all with the first Pirate Championship since 1960.

The Bucs celebrated the 1971 World Series champions in a weekend series at PNC Park against the New York Mets from July 16-18.

The organization also paid tribute to the Homestead Grays of the Negro League this latest homestand, wearing replica Grays jerseys on Friday, August 27, welcoming the St. Louis Cardinals to recognize African-American players, including the great Josh Gibson , who represented Pittsburgh for 17 league seasons, winning three Negro World Series (1943-44, 1948).

As the Pirates and the City of Pittsburgh honor the 1971 club in 2021 for a number of feats and milestones, the September 1 lineup from Stennett, Clines, Clemente, Stargell, Sanguillen, Cash, Oliver, Hernandez and Ellis opened the door for those to follow in America’s national pastime, being recognized with increased notoriety and recognition than was originally described half a century ago for one of the baseball’s most historic franchises.


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Tommy Lasorda fights with Phillie Phanatic

Tommy Lasorda gained a reputation for having a fiery, if not combative, personality throughout his tenure as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. While this was often funneled to motivate his team, it led to an altercation with a mascot on this day in Dodgers history.

As the Dodgers faced the Philadelphia Phillies at Veterans Stadium on August 28, 1988, Lasorda became enraged with Phillie Phanatic dressing a model in his jersey. Lasorda barged out of the canoe and started picking up Phillie Phanatic’s all-terrain vehicle.

As the Phillies mascot started walking towards Lasorda, the Dodgers skipper turned and chased after him. A showdown ensued and Lasorda ended up with the doll, which he used to repeatedly punch Phillie Phanatic with.

It wasn’t Lasorda’s only run-in with a mascot during his tenure as manager of the Dodgers. The following August, Lasorda started yelling at the refs for some reason during a game against the Montreal Expos.

In the end, it was because Expos mascot Youppi !, was dancing on the visitors’ canoe and taunting Lasorda and the players for most of both innings. Lasorda was furious with what was going on, and the result was Youppi! being the first mascot ever to be ejected from an MLB game.

Whether it’s coincidence or not, the Dodgers won both games in which Lasorda got mad at a mascot. They defeated the Expos in 22 innings behind Rick Dempsey’s solo homerun and scored three runs in the first inning on Franklin Stubbs’ brace en route to a 5-0 victory over the Phillies.

Lasorda spent 20 seasons managing the Dodgers and has proven to be a worthy successor to Alston. Lasorda went 1,599-1,439-2, won eight NL West titles, four pennants and two World Series. He abruptly announced his retirement in July 1996 in part due to health issues and at the time he became vice-president of the Dodgers.

Lasorda maintained close ties and an active presence with the organization and had his No. 2 jersey removed by the organization on August 15, 1997. He died in January 2021.

Dodgers honoring Lasorda

The Dodgers are celebrating Lasorda’s memory throughout the 2021 regular season with a No.2 patch on their shirt sleeve.

Have you subscribed to Dodger Blue’s YouTube channel? Don’t forget to activate the notification bell to watch player interviews, participate in shows and giveaways, and more!


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Tourism alliance could raise billions to preserve Gullah Geechee culture

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) – The Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Commission is mobilizing a new tourism alliance to raise awareness of Gullah Geechee culture.

The history of the Gullah Geechee people dates back to the 1700s. The food, dances, music and culture of the Gullah Geechee people continue along the coast from Wilmington, North Carolina to St. Augustine, Florida.

Gullah Geechee Tourism Alliance representative Laura Mandala said her organization is stepping up efforts to preserve this rich history.

“We are really trying to make people appreciate what their ancestors brought to this country and their current contributions to the region,” Mandela said. “I mean the food, the spices, the crabs, a lot of what’s in the hallway, comes from those traditions.”

The aim of the alliance is both to create more events and museums, as well as to think about how to bring together resources that strengthen those that already exist.

Mandela says the corridor along the coast has the potential to generate $ 35 billion in annual spending for visitors.

She says for Wednesday’s meeting.

The meeting starts at 2 p.m. on Wednesday and Mandala says more than 220 people have already registered. She says it will be completely virtual.

Those interested can register for the Gullah Geechee Tourism Alliance meeting via zoom.

Copyright 2021 WCSC. All rights reserved.


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The relationship between race and well-being has never been so pressing | At the Smithsonian

This summer, Simone Biles, widely regarded as the greatest female gymnast of all time, shocked the sports world by retiring from the majority of her events at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Citing her struggles with “twisties,” a mental block that makes gravity-defying gymnastics movements incredibly dangerous, the 24-year-old has received widespread praise for putting his health first.

Biles later said she took inspiration from Naomi Osaka, the 23-year-old tennis star who retired from Roland Garros and Wimbledon in order to prioritize her mental health. The two women, both black athletes at the peak of their sport, are part of a growing wave of black individuals “publicly [taking] their sanity in their hands in a way never seen before in elite sports, ”as NBC News reported.

Lonnie Bunch, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, says the example set by Biles, Osaka and others has brought the issue of “mental health through the lens of race” to the fore. This topic, along with the broader relationship between race and well-being, looks particularly timely in 2021, as the United States continues to contend with systemic racism and a pandemic that disproportionately affects people of color.

“Part of the fight for equity in America is the fight for equitable health care and access to mental health care,” Bunch said.

Race, welfare and wealth will feature prominently in an upcoming forum hosted by the Smithsonian’s Our Shared Future: Reckoning With Our Racial Past initiative. Scheduled for Thursday, August 26 at 7 p.m. EST, the virtually broadcast summit will put Smithsonian academics in conversation with authors, experts and activists. Planned programming includes sessions on the history and impact of race, the link between health and wealth, the role of race in mental health and trauma, and local organizations striving to reinvent a better future.

The Smithsonian announced its Reckoning With Our Racial Past initiative last summer, following the murder of George Floyd and the outbreak of widespread protests against police brutality. Funded with a $ 25 million donation from Bank of America, the goal of the campaign is to “confront race and highlight racism and social justice from a historical perspective,” Ariana said. Curtis, director of content for the initiative. Reckoning With Our Racial Past also seeks to emphasize the relevance of its topic today and to offer ideas on how to move forward as a nation.

The Smithsonian announced the initiative last June, in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and widespread protests against systemic racism.

(Photo by Tasos Katopodis / Getty Images)

In addition to virtual and live events, the multi-year initiative will include town halls, digital resources, educational tools, immersive pop-up experiences, storytelling projects, fundraising efforts and more. This week’s event will be the first of three national forums.

“When I became a secretary [in 2019], what was important for me was to recognize that the Smithsonian had a contemporary resonance, that it had an opportunity, really a responsibility, to have value, to say basically: we are going to help the public by giving him tools to grapple with everyday life, from the challenge of climate change to race issues, ”says Bunch.

He adds: “When a nation is in crisis, its institutions must be strengthened. And clearly, this country is in crisis.

The Smithsonian’s collections and researchers represent a wealth of expertise, and its status as a beloved 175-year-old American institution means it is uniquely positioned to bring together people of different backgrounds and experiences.

“Our network includes other museums and cultural centers in the United States of varying sizes and missions, as well as community organizations, academics and activists,” says Curtis. “We are certainly not assuming that the Smithsonian is the first organization to think about these [questions of race,] but thinking of the power we have as a trusted institution to bring these [issues] to a larger and larger audience is really important.

The secretary envisioned the project as a way for the Smithsonian to “do what we do best”: namely, to make complicated subjects accessible to the public, provide a historical and cultural context that illuminates the present, and forge links between people who could not otherwise interact. . With the funded initiative, the Smithsonian could shed “some light” on a moment “fraught with misinformation, hatred and partisanship.”

The team responsible for developing the initiative focused its efforts on six thematic pillars: running and well-being; race and wealth; race and location; race, politics and ethics; race beyond the United States; and race, arts and aesthetics. All of these topics tie in with ongoing Institution-wide work of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center’s Care Package, an online exhibit of creative offerings released at the height of the pandemic, when the crimes of Anti-Asian hatred was in the news across the nation — on the NMAAHC’s Talking About Race portal.

“The term ‘systemic racism’ can seem unwieldy and overwhelming,” explains Curtis, “and so we wanted to think about how to make it knowable? How to make it understandable? How do you make it feel changeable? “

She adds that she wants the forums to give the public a sense of optimism: “We want people to think about a way forward. “

Covid-19 test

The Covid-19 pandemic has taken a disproportionate toll on people of color.

(Governor Tom Wolf via Flickr under CC BY 2.0)

The ongoing pandemic influenced the decision of the organizers to center the initiative’s first forum on race, welfare and wealth. But this week’s event doesn’t just focus on Covid-19. One session will discuss the development of race as a social construct and the lingering consequences of unsubstantiated claims that race is based on biological differences. “[This is] a time when people are trying to go beyond race as an identity and really want to question how race works, what race means, what role race and racism have in our lives today ”, Curtis explains.

Joi Lewis, founder of the Healing Justice Foundation; Monique Morris, President and CEO of Grantmakers for Girls of Color; and Diana Chao, Founder and Executive Director of Letters to Strangers, will lead a separate discussion on mental health and trauma, a topic explicitly linked to public statements made by Biles, Osaka and other black athletes.

“This particular conversation is intergenerational,” Curtis explains. “Younger generations of black women speak openly about their mental health in ways that would not have seemed acceptable or permitted to previous generations. Opening this conversation in public spaces is really important.

To ensure the initiative reaches a large part of the country, the Smithsonian is working with local partners, including cultural organizations, historically black colleges and universities, sports teams, and nonprofits. These groups will help organize pop-up events in cities across the United States, addressing issues through a local lens in recognition of the fact “that the race takes place differently in different places,” according to Bunch.

“It’s less about the Smithsonian saying we have the answers, and more about the Smithsonian as a facilitator,” he adds. “What I hope it will become [is] a driver of possibility, a driver of collaboration that… the Smithsonian can continue to do long after I’m no longer a secretary.

For Bunch, the initiative represents “an opportunity for the Smithsonian to demonstrate that it has value, not only as a place that looks back, but as a place that looks to the future.” He hopes this “will help a nation recognize that it has a common future even though race issues have always divided us.”

The initiative’s first forum, on the theme of race, well-being and wealth, will be held virtually on August 26 at 7 p.m. EST. Join Secretary Bunch and a panel of esteemed experts at oursharedfuture.si.edu.


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The Sheldon Museum of Art opens its exhibitions in the fall semester | Announce

Works by Ron Gorchov, Dan Christensen and Anish Kapoor are exhibited at the Sheldon Museum of Art in the exhibition “Point of Departure”.

The Sheldon Museum of Art at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has opened four new exhibitions for the fall semester. Each draws on the museum’s collection of nearly 13,000 objects to provide a thematic presentation that fosters inquiry, discovery and opportunities for students, faculty and staff, alumni and visitors to engage with. art and with each other.

Until December 31, Sheldon presents the exhibitions: “Point of Departure: Abstraction 1958 – Present”, “The Nature of Waste: Material Pathways, Discarded Worlds”, “Framing a Legacy: Gifts from Ann and James Rawley” and “Sheldon Treasures. “

“Point of Departure: Abstraction 1958 – Present” examines the evolution of abstraction from the late 1950s – after the first wave of artists associated with Abstract Expressionism – to the present day.

The title of the exhibition is taken from a 1958 jazz recording by Andrew Hill that both illustrates and defies its time. Hill’s music has its roots in a post-Monk, hard-bop style, pushing it to the edge of free jazz and, as the title suggests, into new territory. Abstraction in the visual arts, like Hill’s music, continues to evolve.

Abstraction is one of the strengths of the Sheldon collection. The founding funds of early Modernism in America inspired key postwar acquisitions of works associated with Abstract Expressionism. With perseverance, this concentration has continued until now. Recent additions to the collection offer an inclusive presentation of diverse voices and perspectives that lead to deeper and more focused discussions of abstraction. To this end, Point de Départ includes six recent acquisitions and four loans from local collections.

“The Nature of Waste: Material Pathways, Discarded Worlds” presents a holistic investigation of waste streams, examining works of art that draw inspiration from our scraps, leftovers, trash, rubbish, scarcity and ruins. With subjects ranging from 19th-century ragpickers to today’s eco-critical practices, the works highlight the complex relationship of waste to colonialism and industrial production.

This exhibition was curated by Katie Anania, Assistant Professor of Art History at the School of Art, Art History & Design. Support for the exhibit is provided by the Hixson-Lied Endowment, the Nebraska Arts Council, the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, the Sheldon Art Association, and the Daugherty Water for Food Institute at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

“Framing a Legacy: Gifts from Ann and James Rawley” is a celebration of the artwork donated to the museum by longtime supporters Ann and James Rawley. This not only underscores their affinity for the collection of paintings, sculptures and works on paper, but also Ann’s meticulous practice of framing.

James Rawley (1916-2005) was Carl Adolph Happold Professor Emeritus of History here at the university. He has taught courses and published books in his areas of specialization: the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln, and the Atlantic slave trade. His significant contributions to the study of American history are recognized by the James A. Rawley Prize (OAH), awarded in his memory by the Organization of American Historians for the best book on race relations, and the James A Prize. Rawley (AHA), awarded by the American Historical Association for the best Atlantic history book.

“Sheldon Treasures”, an ongoing exhibition that changes every semester, highlights some of the museum’s most important and well-known objects. The works presented in the fall 2021 edition of “Sheldon Treasures” demonstrate the breadth of approaches taken by artists to represent the human figure. Throughout art history, the representation of the human form has provided expressive possibilities for stylistic innovation, social commentary, and storytelling.

For more information on the museum’s exhibits and programs, visit sheldonartmuseum.org.

More details on: https://sheldonartmuseum.org/


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Maine Gardener: Why Maine Audubon added non-native plants to its sale

When I read on the Maine Audubon Society website that the organization had started selling non-Maine plants, I was surprised.

I was sure the environment mainstay hadn’t given up on its commitment to the plants that Maine’s birds, insects, and other species need to survive. But I wondered what caused the change.

The added non-natives are good plants. One of them, Liatris scariosa or the northern flaming star, is native to York County but not the rest of the state, by the standards used by Audubon. Audubon had therefore previously excluded him from the sale of plants.

Eric Topper, explaining the change, said some birds, insects and other animals, as well as some plants, have extended their historical range, mainly north and east as the climate has warmed. So why wouldn’t Audubon sell plants whose historical range is somewhat south and west of Maine.

The change was not an instant decision.

“Since we’ve been in the world of native plant restoration six or seven years now, we’ve struggled to define our definition of native plants,” Topper said in a telephone interview.

When sales began, Maine Audubon opted for the list, also used by state officials, called BONAP, the Biota of North America program, which has long studied native plants. Audubon also consulted with state officials, and if the state thought a factory shouldn’t be on the list, it was removed, Topper said.

As a result, the list of native Maine Audubon plants for sale (mainenativeplants.org) was among the most restrictive of the native Maine listings.

Over the years, with real life experience, those in charge have started to question boundaries. Audubon staff have noticed how much hummingbirds love Monarda didyma, with the common names scarlet bee balm or red bergamot.

While working in greenhouses to water the plants, bumblebees (which are native) cover and worship Liatris spicata.

So, Audubon added these plants, which are not strictly native according to the definition she chose to use, because of their enormous benefits to birds and other wildlife that Maine Audubon’s mission is to protect.

Topper said his organization did not make the decision without outside help. He received help from Dan Jaffe, now a horticulturist at the Norcross Wildlife Foundation in Massachusetts, who co-authored the book “Native Plants for New England Gardens” while with the Native Plant Trust.

In addition to Liatris spicata, Monarda didyma, and Liatris scariosa, other non-native plants added to Audubon are Echinacea purpurea or purple coneflower, and Coreopsis lanceolata or lanceleaf coreopsis – both native to the northeastern United States but not Maine.

Buyers seem to have agreed with Audubon’s choice. Scarlet Bee Balm, Spearleaf Coreopsis, and Purple Echinacea are already sold out for this year.

Topper encourages people to research these species – not cultivars of those species, which would have a brand name with single quotes at the end – at local nurseries, and plant them.

I asked Topper if selling plants that might not be strictly native to Maine amounted to assisted migration. There has been some concern, which I spoke about in 2018, that plants might go extinct because their natural habitats are getting too hot for them to live. And these plants cannot naturally migrate as fast as climate change moves their ideal climate further north.

Topper said the sales could help with the migration, but that was not the group’s intention. He thinks the species got to Maine anyway, because people love them and planted them in their gardens.

One thing Topper said towards the end of our interview surprised me. Despite Maine Audubon’s emphasis on native species, he realizes that non-natives also have a great advantage in wildlife. He had just spent a week in the heart of nature, places where the forest has taken over from abandoned farms. Apple trees – native to Kazakhstan – in these woods still thrive and are a huge boon to wildlife, he said, giving just one example.

By the way, the Maine Audubon plant sale has gone well this year, and although three of the new introductions have sold out, there are still many good native plants in stock.

And he says, and I agree, that September and early October are great times to plant shrubs and perennials in Maine. Plus, buying them will help Audubon staff.

“We don’t want to take care of these plants in the winter,” he said.

Tom Atwell is a freelance writer who gardens in Cape Elizabeth. He can be contacted at: [email protected]

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How the US withdrawal from Afghanistan threatens Russia

The departure of the United States from Afghanistan marks the culmination of the long turbulent period that began with the Soviet invasion of 1979. During this time, the Afghan Islamists became the adversaries of the United States and the USSR. Russia, and the discord between them helped them survive and persevere. While some Russian observers might view the US withdrawal as a defeat and a weakness, this development could lead to more problems for Moscow than benefits.

The US-led war in Afghanistan began in October 2001 in response to the September 11 attacks organized by Al Qaeda. Photo: internationalaffairs.org.au.

US-Russian competition and the emergence of the Islamic threat

The consequences of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan must be understood in the context of the history of Moscow-Kabul relations. Afghanistan has been a volatile place for a long time. In 1973, following a Rebellion organized by pro-communist rebels, the monarchy, led by Mohamed zahir shah, the only legitimate force accepted by most Afghans of diverse ethnicities, was overthrown, sparking a civil war. As internal fighting ravaged the country, Moscow first observed from a distance, but then decided, in 1979, to intervene in what became the USSR’s first foreign invasion outside its sphere of influence. . The ensuing guerrilla warfare lasted for years, with Afghanistan turning into a “bloody wound” for the Soviet Union, in the words of the Soviet Union. Mikhail Gorbachev.

It is generally assumed that the Soviet invasion was doomed, as the British had been before and the Americans after. This was not the case. Unlike the United States and even the British Empire, the USSR was prepared for a conflict that spanned several generations. It should be remembered that it took almost a hundred years for the Russian Empire to conquer the Caucasus, while the Soviet war with Basmachi, the Islamic rebels of Central Asia, lasted more than a decade, until early 1930s. But Gorbachev’s unexpected rise to power weakened the Soviet state, and by 1989 Soviet troops had left Afghanistan.

In the context of the Cold War rivalry, the United States was understandably content with the Soviet situation and actively supported the Afghan resistance, portraying its members as heroic freedom fighters. But with the departure of Soviet troops and the Afghan government left to its own devices, the Taliban, an Islamist movement and a military organization, have taken control of the country. In 1995, the Talibs enter Kabul, assassinate the Afghan president Mohamed najibullah, and created the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

Since Najibullah was installed by the Soviets, Washington was not disturbed by his demise, and the Taliban did not subsequently emerge as a problem for the American political establishment, for various reasons. This perspective, however, was primarily defined by the United States’ relationship with post-Soviet Russia. Undoubtedly, some American policymakers and observers believed that Russia would transform into a democratic capitalist state, marking this Francis Fukuyama called “the end of the story”. But, paraphrasing George orwell, “All ‘endings of the story’ are equal, but some are more equal than others. In this sense, Russia’s “end of history” in the form of the Soviet collapse differs greatly from that of the United States. resistance, even if some of its members were Islamists, in the Chechen wars for independence, on the assumption that they were the enemies of Russia. At the same time, the Russian elite have continually tried to extend an olive branch to Washington, even as the geopolitical honeymoon seemed over, especially after the 1999 attack between the United States and the United States. NATO against the former Yugoslavia.

The “Scythian” grievances of the West and Russia

Vladimir PoutineRussia’s succession to the presidency in 2000 did not bring about an immediate change in Russian attitudes: the new elite was not yet ready for a direct confrontation with adversaries and underestimated the danger of Islamism global. When he came to power, Putin sent mixed signals to the United States. On the one hand, he hinted that Russia would be more assertive, visiting North Korea and canceling a Chernomyrdin-Gore Commission deal that had cut off Russian arms sales to Iran. On the other hand, he was the first foreign leader to express full support for Washington after 9/11. He also made no objection to US bases in Central Asia, likely expecting geopolitical rewards. When none followed, Putin’s position hardened.

In his Munich speech in 2007, the Russian president accused the United States of striving for unchecked world domination, referring to its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. By then, Russian-American cooperation had waned and Moscow was pushing Kyrgyzstan to close American bases in Manas. Still, Putin did not want to completely sever ties. In 2012, for example, he agreed that the United States could use the air base near the Russian city of Ulyanovsk as a “multimodal” transit facility to “transport goods and personnel to and from Afghanistan” .

Perhaps one of the best glimpses of Russia’s position on Afghanistan comes from a 2010 editorial for the New York Times co-written by the general Boris Gromov, former Soviet commander in Afghanistan, and Dmitry Rogozin, then Russian Ambassador to NATO. The article suggested that the United States and Russia should work together, as the two countries have a lot in common, at least when it comes to jihadists. The authors noted that Soviet troops in Afghanistan had defended “Western civilization,” which was, in a way, a reference to an idea first expressed in 1918 by the Russian seminal poet. Alexandre blok in his poem “The Scythians”.

In the poem, Blok explains metaphorically that the “Scythians” or Russians, while having “slanted eyes” to Asians, were in fact closer to Europeans, their “white brothers”, than to Asians. The “Scythians” had protected their “white brothers” for centuries from the “Mongols”, the barbaric Asian hordes, and expected gratitude. But instead, the “white brothers” waged endless wars against the “Scythians” (Russians). As such, the “Scythians” launched a final appeal to their “white brothers”, calling on them to make peace and unite together, otherwise they would simply let the countless hordes of “Mongols” and “Huns” pass. to Europe. and attack their “white brothers”, who, despite their technological advances, would not be able to resist these multitudes. If that were to happen, the “Scythians” (Russians) “will not budge” when the “frenzied Huns… roast their white-skinned fellows alive”.

In a way, these ideas were reflected in the thinking of a considerable section of the Russian elite, not just General Gromov and Rogozin, who hinted in the editorial that America should reconsider its views on Russia, and if the former were to follow his advice. , Moscow would help him deal with Afghanistan. The Kremlin was clearly prepared to compromise with the United States in the name of visible geopolitical cohesion, but nothing was achieved. In addition, with the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the Donbass War, US-Russian relations deteriorated almost to the level of the Cold War era, and any hope of cooperation between the two countries faded. practically extinct – even direct conflict could not be ruled out. Marking a new low, last year it was reported that members of a Russian military intelligence unit (GRU) offered to pay bounties to Taliban fighters to kill US and Allied soldiers in Afghanistan.

“Defeat” of the United States and Russian fears

Yet after the president Joe biden announced in April 2021 that US troops would withdraw from Afghanistan to end a war that had lasted around two decades – a move that sparked heated discussions over America’s crushing ‘defeat’, the Kremlin changed of your. Moscow probably realizes that it was the “white brothers” who protected Russia from the Asian hordes and Islamic extremists, and not the other way around. With the US withdrawal and the emergence of a power vacuum, these hordes could potentially spill over into Central Asia and head further north, to the borders of Russia, reactivating radical Islamism in the Caucasus regions of the North and the Volga.

This is an old Russian fear, envisioned in the 1990s by the late general Alexandre lebed, which at one point was considered Boris Yeltsinthe successor of. While the Taliban assures everyone, including Russia, that it has no appetite for overseas expansion – and the Taliban elite might in fact say it – the movement cannot control all of them. its factions: some of them surely dream of a world Islamist revolution. To add to the concerns of the Russians, there are groups of radicalized Tajiks and Uzbeks currently operating in Afghanistan who may attempt to bring extremist ideas back to their home countries, near Russian borders. Finally, the very vision of the Taliban beating the powerful “infidel” – America – could incite Islamists everywhere, including in the backyards of Russia. If history is any indication, the Bolshevik victory in the Russian Civil War spurred revolutionary movement around the world. All these factors alarmed not only the Russian leadership, but also the countries of Central Asia. In May, the Tajik president Emomali rakhmon arrived in Moscow for consultation and assurance, becoming the only foreign leader to participate in the annual Russian Victory Day parade in 2021.

The decline of the Roman Empire opened the doors for hordes of barbarians to invade unprotected territories and destroy Rome’s traditional enemies in the process. After (and even before) the January 6 Capitol uprising in Washington, some observers have drawn parallels between the United States and the declining Roman Empire. There is an analogy to be drawn: a decline in resources and social cohesion has led to the withdrawal of Rome (and now Washington) from the periphery of the empire. In both cases, many tribes and nations initially applauded this release. But let’s not forget that the end of Roman rule did not lead to universal peace, but to the long dark ages, strewn with chaos and subsequent decline.

Surely the Kremlin realizes that this scenario is likely to happen. And if chaos ensues after the United States withdraws from Afghanistan, the American imprint in that country and the Middle East may well be remembered with nostalgia, as Roman rule once was in a darkened plunged Europe. in the dark ages.


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