The year, 2020, would make a great college history class in a few decades. The election, the pandemic, the impeachment…

Sure, the presidential process has been the same since 1776, but in the age of the Internet, it seems like a different ballgame.

If you want a little more context to all the chaos without going back to school, there's an easier way to understand the evolution of government since the inception of the United States of America. We're fans of The Great Courses Plus, which offers hundreds of different expert-created video and audio courses on every topic imaginable.

The Great Courses Plus makes learning more accessible and allows you to delve into whatever world tickles your fancy. But don't worry if you're having flashbacks to high school history class- there's no homework, no lengthy assignments.

America has such a deep history, that it's possible to build an entire course for yourself, just on the history of U.S. presidents, so we did!

In honor of President's Day, here's the course list we've built for you.

The Skeptic's Guide to American History

Taught by award-winning professor, Dr. Mark A. Stoler, this course debunks the myths and misconceptions that have been spread or misremembered over time. This one's structured like a television show; there are 24 episodes that are about half an hour long each, so it's perfect for a nightly ritual or a weekend binge.

Going to the Devil: The Impeachment of 1868

This 78 minute documentary is studded with fascinating historical facts that can help you trace a line from 1868 to the impeachments of 2020 and 2021, and better understand the process as a whole. You can watch courses in any order at any time, so you can save this for a one-time showing or watch it over the course of a week.

You can download courses to take with you on-the-go and switch between your different devices.

Understanding the US Government

Political science professor and political expert Dr. Jennifer Nicoll Victor hits this one out of the park. The Great Courses Plus partners with experts around the world as well as organizations like The Smithsonian and National Geographic to deliver the best teacher for every course.

This one goes deep into the whys and hows of the American government, so you'll finally understand the ins and outs of the absolute organized chaos that is Congress.

A History of the United States, 2nd Edition

This is why we love The Great Courses Plus. Welcome to everything you could ever need to know about the United States. This overview from Columbus to the turn of the millennium will make you an expert in all things America. It's taught by 3 professors and comes with an optional 400+ page PDF if you want to keep notes.

You can also just leave it running in the background; and with The Great Courses Plus, there is no extra work to do, so you can log on and learn when you want, and log off when you don't.

For a break from politics, you'll find videos on other current events, such as How The Stock Market Works or even current household trends, like Baking Bread.

If you've ever wanted to be the person who's in the know, The Great Courses Plus will give you access to all the historical (and non-historical) information you'll need to be an armchair expert. Who knows, it may even inspire you to be a certified expert.

With monthly and yearly subscription options, you gain access to everything from Ancient Egypt to the science of crime scenes.

Check out all of the amazing courses offered on The Great Courses Plus! Follow this link and choose from a 3, 6 or 12-month subscription!

Culture News

On President's Day, Celebrities Honored the Past When America Had a Leader

"In honor of Presidents Day, lie to everyone you meet and form your own criminal syndicate with the fam. Have fun 'til the feds show up."

In the annals of American history, one tradition lost to time is having a president of the United States.

Now, we have a simulation of a dictator who's passionate about internment camps and scaling back LGBTQ communities' fundamental rights, like serving in the military or going to the bathroom. On President's Day, high profile celebrities used their platforms on Twitter to commemorate the role formerly known as "leader of the free world." From Bette Midler's mournful post that President's Day "just reminds me that we don't have one" to Sesame Street's throwback to Big Bird's ambitious campaign in 1976, here were the best celebrity posts honoring this antiquated holiday.

Until next year, do as Jeffrey Wright (Westworld) suggests: "In honor of Presidents Day, lie to everyone you meet and form your own criminal syndicate with the fam. Have fun 'til the feds show up."






Meg Hanson is a Brooklyn-based writer, teacher and jaywalker. Find Meg at her website and on Twitter @megsoyung.


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Politics Features

How Should America Remember the 41st President?

The media has continually compared Trump to George H.W. Bush since his passing.

Chicago Tribune

Leaders and heads of state from all over the country gathered at the National Cathedral Wednesday to bid farewell to the 41st President of the United States, George H.W. Bush. His son and former US president, George W. Bush, gave the eulogy at the service, saying that his father, "valued character over pedigree and he was not a cynic. He looked for the good in everybody, and usually he found it." The younger Bush remained relatively stoic throughout, until he said, "He was the best father a son or daughter could have," at which point he let out a strangled sob.

This touching image of a son grieving his father evoked further outpourings of sympathy from a nation that has seemingly warmed to the elder Bush in the wake of his death. Even left-leaning public figures and media outlets posted statements honoring and remembering the good qualities of the 41st President.



Consequently, posts began spreading across social media not only condemning H.W., but those who would publicly express grief at his passing. In particular, his refusal during his presidency to help fund the research and treatment of AIDS — given that his death happened to fall on the eve of world AIDS day — was widely criticized. It seemed that many felt that to remember Bush as a good president, was to erase the harm he had caused. For example, Michelangelo Signorile wrote for HuffPost, "The Media Is Erasing George H.W. Bush's Catastrophic Harm To LGBTQ People."


This combination of the usual bipartisan post-mortem beatification of a political figure with the public's refusal to forget 41's wrong doings, is further complicated by the left's desire to use Bush as an example of an honorable Republican figure in contrast to Trump. As AP press says, "the national media has almost inevitably focused on the contrast between his [Bush] era and the present day." Or as the The Washington Post wrote, Bush has become, in death, "a yardstick for Trump."

What liberal Americans are left with is an interesting narrative that boils down to, "we shouldn't honor him in death, he was a bad person" combined with a desire to position H.W. as another reflection of the complete moral vacancy that Trump represents. This leaves us all with the question: how should we remember a President? Can we honor his service to the country and still acknowledge his low points? Will Trump's legacy be one of casting a flattering light on all Presidents before him?

Surely, the best course of action in remembering a President is to take a holistic view. We can remember the many failings of 41, and still use his legacy of productivity and sanity as an example of the kind of President the country deserves and — prior to Trump — expected, regardless of political differences.


Brooke Ivey Johnson is a Brooklyn based writer, playwright, and human woman. To read more of her work visit her blog or follow her twitter @BrookeIJohnson.



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Would you want to be 22 again?

Monica Lewinsky certainly wouldn’t. The most infamous intern in recent history has broken her 10 year silence over THAT affair for only the second time.

Just in case you don’t remember Ms Lewinsky—she’s the one who saved the blue dress, was betrayed by her friend and whose name has become a sexual euphemism.

In 1998 Lewinsky was a 22 year old White House intern and President Bill Clinton was arguably the most powerful person in the free world. The fall out from their affair has defined her ever since and in an honest TED Talk in Vancouver called The Price of Shame, Lewinsky used the stage to call for an end to cyber bullying.

In front of a crowd of 1,400 who were “pin drop silent” Lewinsky, now 41 revealed;

"At the age of 22, I fell in love with my boss. At the age of 24, I learned the devastating consequences... Who didn’t make a mistake at 22?

Not a day goes by that I am not reminded of my mistake, and I regret that mistake deeply,

In 1998, after having been swept up in an improbable romance, I was then swept up into the eye of a political, legal and media maelstrom like we had never seen before.”

She was referring to the infamous Starr Report which was released online in 1998 and gave EVERY intimate detail of the affair-including the fact that she had saved a blue dress that President Clinton had errmmm…..jizzed on;

The price of Ms Lewinsky’s shame was that she went overnight from being a “completely private person to a publicly humiliated one.” She was an international joke and branded “a tramp, tart, slut, whore, bimbo, and of course, That Woman.”

She continued;

"This scandal was brought to you by the digital revolution. It was the first time traditional news was usurped by the Internet, a click that reverberated around the whole world.

The result was devastating. I lost my reputation and my dignity…I lost my sense of self.

When this happened to me 17 years ago there was no name for it. Now we call it cyber bullying."

After years out of the spotlight, Lewinsky was moved to speak out by the 2010 suicide of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi. (Clementi jumped to his death after students publicly revealed a private video of him with another man).

Says Lewinsky;

"Every day online, people-especially young people who are not developmentally equipped to handle this-are so abused and humiliated that they can’t imagine living to the next day.

With every click we make a choice."

She wants to see a “cultural revolution.”

“Public humiliation as a blood sport has to stop,” she says. “We need to return to a long-held value of compassion and empathy.”

 

Piers Morgan clearly has no sympathy with Monica Lewinsky's recent comments about how the Bill Clinton affair changed her life for the worse.

As Popdust previously reported, the former White House intern gave a speech at the Forbes Under 30 Summit, saying the fallout from her fling with the President was so horrible she wanted to die.

Failed talk show host Piers is having none of it, saying the only person to blame for what happened to Monica was Monica.

"My objection to Monica Lewinsky's speech is not based on any moral outrage over her deceitful behavior 20 years ago. It's based on her extraordinary self-deceit now," he said. "If you're a 22-year-old intern working at the White House and you embark on an affair with your married President, then most people would probably say the shame-ometer probably starts right there and then.

"It wasn't the Internet that shamed you, Monica; it was your predilection, like Bill Clinton's, for illicit cigar-fuelled lust in the world's most powerful room. You were 22, not 16. And you both knew you were playing with the kind of fire that destroys forests in the Californian summer. He should shoulder the lion's share of responsibility because he was a much older man and unlike you, he was married. But you're not blameless and in your heart, you know that."

Harsh words, but then again Piers Morgan IS sort of an expert on shame you see - we're sure you all remember THIS little doozy...

 

 

 

Monica Lewinsky was so depressed after her affair with then-President Bill Clinton came to light, she wanted to die.

The 41-year-old former White House intern was speaking at the Forbes Under 30 Summit in Philadelphia on Monday when she opened up about the sexual scandal that rocked the nation in 1998.

"Frankly, I came close to disintegrating. No, it's not too strong a word. I wish it were, but it isn't," Monica said. "A relentless mantra in my head: I want to die. Overnight, I went from being a completely private figure, to a publicly humiliated one. I was patient zero – the first person to have their reputation completely destroyed worldwide via the Internet."

The only way she was able to handle the intense scrutiny and public humiliation was by understanding the difference between her public personal and her real sense of self.

According to Monica, no one knew who she really was, or understood her.

"During this period, I gradually came to realize that there were two Monica Lewinskys ... There was me, and there was public Monica Lewinsky. A somewhat curious character, constructed by political factions and the media. Constructed with a little fact, and a lot of fiction. My friends didn't know that Monica. My family didn't know that Monica. And this Monica, the real Monica standing here today, didn't know her either."

All well and good but how about a little personal accountability here, Mon? No one MADE you bone your married boss (who also happened to be the President of the United States)!