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The sad truth is that the conquest and capture of Africans and their sale to Europeans was one of the main sources of foreign exchange for several African kingdoms for a very long time. Slaves were the main export of the kingdom of Kongo; the Asante Empire in Ghana exported slaves and used the profits to import gold. Queen Njinga, the brilliant 17th-century monarch of the Mbundu, waged wars of resistance against the Portuguese but also conquered polities as far as 500 miles inland and sold her captives to the Portuguese. When Njinga converted to Christianity, she sold African traditional religious leaders into slavery, claiming they had violated her new Christian precepts. –“Ending the Slavery Blame-Game,” Henry Louis Gates, Jr., New York Times
Still smarting from the 1975 “Pepsi Challenge” taste-test battle, Coca-Cola Co. launches “Project Kansas,” a top-secret mission to reformulate Coke. President-Chief Operating Officer Robert Goizueta appoints Coca-Cola USA head Brian Dyson, who taps marketing chief Sergio Zyman to head the endeavor. Mr. Zyman and company test a new, sweeter version of the flagship cola with 190,000 nationwide taste tests at a cost of $4 million. At a bottlers’ meeting in Atlanta back on April 22, 1985, Mr. Zyman announced from the stage that Coke was changing its taste. The next day Coca-Cola revealed the new, sweeter taste to financial analysts and the media. But word of the new product finally leaks out and Pepsi dispatches its own press assault on the same day claiming victory. “The other guy blinked,” Pepsi says in ads saying Coke reformulated its brand to taste “more like” Pepsi. –“New Coke: One of Marketing’s Biggest Blunders Turns 25,” Abbey Klaassen, Advertising Age
Though it may seem paradoxical, the “gay agenda” today is fundamentally conservative. Neither gay activists nor mainstream conservatives will be happy to admit this, of course. Those in the conservative movement resistant to making peace with the main criteria of this program—the extension of civil marriage rights, the right to serve openly in the military, the right to adopt children, and the acceptance of homosexuality itself as a benign, naturally occurring feature of humanity—continue to think of the gay rights movement as it was in its heyday of the immediate post-Stonewall era. They see gay people as threats to the traditional American family structure and social order, which, to be fair, most of the prominent gay activists at the time were….Today, there are no calls for free love or the sanctifying of bathhouses as battlegrounds for civil rights. The young gay activists protesting today do so in order to get married. They want to join a bedrock institution, not tear it apart. –“A Conservative Conundrum,” James Kirchick, The Advocate
More from TedRoss:
In Havana, the past year has been marked by a parade of bold-faced names from the north — John Kerry reopening the United States Embassy; Andrew Cuomo bringing a delegation of American business leaders; celebrities ranging from Joe Torre, traveling on behalf of Major League Baseball to oversee an exhibition game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team, to Jimmy Buffett, said to be considering opening one of his Margaritaville restaurants there. All this culminated with a three-day trip in March by Barack Obama, the first American president to visit Cuba since Calvin Coolidge in 1928. But to those who know the city well, perhaps nothing said as much about the transformation of political relations between the United States and Cuba that began in December 2014 as a concert in the Tribuna Antiimperialista.
Ratio of the amount J. P. Morgan paid a man to fight in his place in the Civil War to what he spent on cigars in 1863:
The Food and Drug Administration asked restaurants to help Americans eat less.
Pope Francis announced that nuns could use social media, and a priest flew a hot-air balloon around the world.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”