Although this site has been created primarily for my students, everyone is welcome. In these pages you'll find many sources of information.
The Online Resources section below has numerous links that are of current interest. For more links to material on just about any topic you're looking for, use the E-Links button above. Linked off of that page are pages containing hundreds of links to sites covering a number of topics.
Visit often ... I update frequently! Hope you enjoy the site!
Quote of the Month
I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.
News of the Month
The year 2020 has radically affected the world and world politics as well as our personal way of life. We have witnessed protests against increasing state control over its citizens across the world. We have seen new armed conflicts in several hot spots, the most named storms of any year on record, a record number of global fires and of course, the coronavirus pandemic that started a worldwide health crisis, opening the door for an economic crisis.
The second wave of the pandemic brought an increased tightening of COVID-19 measures. Even though these measures are necessary and crucial, the growing power of authorities has begun agitating the masses. Although small in number, demonstrations have already begun in various countries while the weariness of the societies around the globe is hard to dismiss. If these restrictions continue, in many countries socioeconomic breakdowns are imminent. The fear of losing their jobs and the struggle to earn money will make people more depressed and furious which might lead to organized strikes and large-scale protests. Billionaires, on the other hand, have gotten richer.
This past year it seemed as if the globe has been teetering on the brink of something big. With the COVID-19 outbreak, globalization has been replaced by isolation, in terms of our personal lives, and bilateral and multilateral relations as well. The weakening trust in international institutions has been lost completely during the pandemic. 2021 is likely to bring more health crises as no one really knows when the pandemic will end despite the development of promising vaccines. If the pandemic rages on, the scope of the already-expected global economic crisis will expand. Where will those who don’t have homes, savings, daily wages or health care go during the middle of a pandemic?
In the political sphere, 2020 witnessed a number of major events from the US presidential election to weakening ties in the trans-Atlantic alliance and rising tensions among NATO allies to the foundations of new alliances. These developments have revealed that we are in an era of change. It is an interesting fact that all the shifting eras in history shook many different fields at the same time. The history of the crises of world civilization always came with global shocks - economic, political and cultural revolutions or counterrevolutions that happened at the same time. We can add something else to these radical developments in different fields today: climate change. We cannot ignore its negative socioeconomic effects on the world population.
There is no doubt that developments from 2020 will continue in 2021, marking this time as a turning point in modern history. But what will be the orientation and the acceleration of those changes? The darkest days of the pandemic are likely still ahead as case numbers surge across the world. The effort to vaccinate everyone could take much longer than expected as logistical challenges and vaccine skepticism slow the process.
Some economists fear the post-pandemic recovery will be a slow upward grind rather than a speedy return to normalcy. Most probably, China will be the fastest country to recover from the pandemic’s economic implications and the fastest to put things back on track. That might pave the way for a stronger China and a weakened US. An unfair distribution of the vaccine across the world, favoring some countries over others, would likely pave the way for further conflicts. We may see new military deployments due to the re-escalation of violence in current conflict zones and new hot spots that may appear. The potential for new refugee flows and large-scale migration may result in harsher reactions than before.
By now, the need for development in the fields of science and technology has been understood by everyone. Unfortunately, this carries risks as well as opportunities. The technology race can escalate just like the arms race, which would further heighten rivalries and enmities between states. Trade wars can expand with technology competition. We’ve already seen an increase in technological espionage activities and cyberattacks. In addition, while the impact of technology has been appreciated over the last couple of years, people have recently become more critical of the tech industry, and distrust of the executives who run the show has risen. The growing power of high-tech companies startles people more and more every day.
Most of the underlying problems and challenges that made 2020 feel like a horror story will roll along with us into the new year. All in all, we can’t wait to leave 2020 behind, but 2021 will not be an easy year and I fear more hard times are ahead. If we want 2021 to be better, we will have to make it better ourselves. We must confront the brutal realities head-on. We must resolve to be patient and steadfast, to spend 2021 fighting for science, facts, democracy and compassion and repairing all that was lost in 2020. After a full year of that, maybe 2022 will be better.
Then and Now
01/01/1735 - Paul Revere was born in Boston.
01/01/1752 - Betsy Ross was born in Philadelphia.
01/01/1863 - President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared that slaves in rebel states were free.
01/01/1892 - The Ellis Island Immigrant Station in NY formally opened.
01/01/1898 - Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island consolidated into NYC.
01/01/1901 - The Commonwealth of Australia officially came into existence.
01/01/1959 - Fidel Castro led Cuban revolutionaries to victory over Fulgencio Batista.
01/01/1994 - The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect.
01/01/1997 - Kofi Annan assumed the post of UN Secretary-General.
01/01/1999 - The Euro, the new single currency of 11 European countries, officially came into existence.
01/01/2021 - Kwanzaa ends
01/01/2021 - New Year's Day ... Happy New Year!
01/01/2021 - Ganjitsu / Oshogatsu – Shinto
01/02/1492 - The leader of the last Arab stronghold in Spain surrendered to Spanish forces loyal to King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella I.
01/02/1921 - KDKA in Pittsburgh broadcast religious services on the radio for the first time when it aired the Sunday service of Calvary Episcopal Church.
01/02/1960 - Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts announced his candidacy for the democratic presidential nomination.
01/02/1974 - President Nixon signed legislation requiring states to limit highway speeds to 55 mph.
01/02/2021 - Cassé Gāteau begins and ends on 01/04 – Voudon
01/03/1521 - The Roman Catholic Church excommunicated Martin Luther.
01/03/1892 - JRR Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, was born in Bloemfontein South Africa.
01/03/1938 - The March of Dimes campaign to fight polio was organized.
01/03/1947 - TV broadcast Congressional proceedings for the first time as viewers in Washington, Philadelphia and NY saw opening ceremonies of the 80th Congress.
01/03/1961 - The US severed diplomatic relations with Cuba.
01/03/1989 - The Arsenio Hall Show premiered.
01/03/2000 - The last new daily Peanuts comic strip ran.
01/04/1790 - Washington delivered the first annual presidential address - the State of the Union - to the nation.
01/04/1948 - Britain granted independence to Burma, now called Myanmar.
01/04/1960 - French author Albert Camus died in a car accident at the age of 46.
01/04/1974 - President Nixon refused to hand over tape recordings and documents subpoenaed by the Senate Watergate Committee.
01/04/1995 - The 104th Congress, the first entirely under Republican control since the Eisenhower era, convened.
01/04/1999 - Former pro-wrestler Jesse "The Body" Ventura took the oath of office as Minnesota's 37th governor.
01/04/2021 - Trivia Day
01/05/1925 - Nellie Ross succeeded her late husband as governor of Wyoming, becoming the first female governor in the US.
01/05/1949 - In his State of the Union address, President Truman labeled his administration the "Fair Deal."
01/05/1993 - The state of Washington executed Westley Allan Dodd, an admitted child sex killer, in America's first legal hanging since 1965.
01/05/2021 - Twelfth Night – Christian
01/06/1412 - Joan of Arc was born in Dom Remy.
01/06/2021 - Tirer Gāteau (Les rois) – Voudon
01/06/2021 - Epiphany of the Lord – Christian
01/07/1610 - Galileo discovered four of Jupiter's biggest moons using his makeshift telescope for the first time.
01/07/1789 - Americans held their first US presidential election when they voted for electors who, a month later, voted to make George Washington the nation's first president.
01/07/1953 - President Truman announced the development of the hydrogen bomb in his State of the Union address.
01/07/1959 - The US recognized Fidel Castro's new government in Cuba.
01/08/1642 - Astronomer Galileo Galilei died in Arcetri Italy.
01/08/1815 - US forces led by General Andrew Jackson defeated the British in the Battle of New Orleans, the closing battle in the War of 1812.
01/08/1959 - France inaugurated Charles De Gaulle as president of France's Fifth Republic.
01/08/1964 - President Lyndon Johnson declared a War on Poverty. (I don't think we've won yet.)
01/09/1793 - Frenchman Jean-Pierre Blanchard flew between Philadelphia and Woodbury NJ in a hot-air balloon.
01/09/1968 - The Surveyor VII space probe made a soft landing on the moon, marking the end of an American series of unmanned explorations of the lunar surface.
01/09/2006 - Alito confirmation hearings commenced in the Senate Judiciary Committee, Washington DC.
01/10/1776 - Thomas Paine published Common Sense.
01/10/1845 - Poet Elizabeth Barrett received her first note, "I love you," from her eventual husband, poet Robert Browning.
01/10/1870 - John D. Rockefeller incorporated Standard Oil.
01/10/1920 - The Treaty of Versailles went into effect establishing the League of Nations.
01/10/1928 - The Soviet Union ordered the exile of Leon Trotsky.
01/10/1946 - The first General Assembly of the UN convened in London.
01/10/1949 - RCA introduced the first 45 rpm record.
01/11/1913 - The first sedan-type automobile, a Hudson, went on display at the 13th Automobile Show in NY.
01/11/1964 - Under orders from Surgeon General Luther Terry, the first cigarette package labels appeared, warning Americans that cigarettes "may be a health hazard."
01/11/2021 - Seijin No Hi (Coming of Age Day) – Shinto
01/12/1519 - Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I died.
01/12/1773 - Charleston SC established the first public museum in America.
01/12/1965 - American playwright Lorraine Hansberry, whose A Raisin in the Sun was the first Broadway production by a black woman, died in NYC.
01/12/1971 - All in the Family premiered on CBS.
01/12/1998 - According to Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey, computer HAL was born today.
01/13/1966 - Appointed Secretary of Housing and Urban Development by President Johnson, Robert Weaver became the first black Cabinet member.
01/13/2021 - Stephen Foster Memorial Day
01/14/1784 - The US ratified a peace treaty with England ending the Revolutionary War.
01/14/1963 - Alabama swore in George C. Wallace as governor with a pledge of "segregation forever."
01/14/1970 - Diana Ross and the Supremes performed their last concert together, at the Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas.
01/14/2021 - Maghi – Sikh
01/14/2021 - Pongal (Makar Sankranti) begins and ends 01/17 – Hindu
01/15/1559 - England crowned Queen Elizabeth I in Westminster Abbey.
01/15/1870 - A cartoon by Thomas Nast in Harper's Weekly represented the Democratic Party as a donkey for the first time.
01/15/1928 - Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta.
01/15/1943 - Construction began on the Pentagon.
01/16/1547 - Ivan the Terrible was crowned tsar of Russia.
01/16/1920 - Prohibition began in the US as the 18th Amendment to the Constitution took effect. (We later decided it was a pretty stupid thing to do and got rid of it.)
01/16/1991 - The White House announced the start of Operation Desert Storm in the Middle East.
01/16/2021 - Religious Freedom Day
01/17/1706 - Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston.
01/17/1893 - A group of businessmen and sugar planters overthrew Hawaii's monarchy, forcing Queen Liliuokalani to abdicate.
01/17/1946 - The UN Security Council held its first meeting.
01/17/1961 - In his farewell address, President Eisenhower warned against the rise of "the military-industrial complex."
01/18/1788 - The first English settlers arrived in Australia's Botany Bay to establish a penal colony.
01/18/1912 - English explorer Robert F. Scott and his expedition reached the South Pole, only to discover that Roald Amundsen had beaten them to it. Scott and his party perished during the return trip.
01/18/1943 - A wartime ban on the sale of pre-sliced bread in the US, aimed at reducing bakeries' demand for metal replacement parts, went into effect.
01/18/2021 - Martin Luther King Jr Day
01/19/1809 - Author and poet Edgar Allen Poe was born in Boston, where his actor-parents were performing. Three years later he became an orphan.
01/19/1955 - TV filmed a presidential news conference for the first time with permission from President Eisenhower.
01/19/1966 - India elected Indira Gandhi as prime minister.
01/19/2021 - Confederate Heroes Day (TX)
01/20/1801 - John Marshall became chief justice of the Supreme Court.
01/20/1841 - China ceded the island of Hong Kong to Great Britain. It returned to Chinese control in July 1997.
01/20/1942 - Nazi officials held the notorious Wannsee conference, during which they arrived at their "final solution" that called for exterminating Jews.
01/20/2021 - Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti – Sikh
01/20/2021 - Rohatsu / Bodhi Day – Buddhist
01/21/1915 - The first Kiwanis Club was founded in Detroit.
01/21/1930 - Newspapers published the first Buck Rogers comic strip.
01/21/1954 - The US launched the world's first nuclear submarine, the Nautilus, at Groton CT.
01/21/1977 - President Carter pardoned almost all Vietnam War draft evaders.
01/22/1953 - Arthur Miller's The Crucible opened on Broadway.
01/22/1968 - Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In premiered on NBC.
01/22/1973 - The Supreme Court handed down its Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion using a trimester approach.
01/23/1789 - Georgetown University opened in Washington DC.
01/23/1845 - Congress decided to hold all national elections on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.
01/23/1950 - The Israeli Knesset approved a resolution proclaiming Jerusalem the capital of Israel.
01/23/1964 - The US ratified the 24th amendment to the Constitution, eliminating the poll tax in federal elections.
01/23/1968 - North Korea seized the US Navy ship Pueblo, charging its crew with being on a spy mission. They released the crew 11 months later. (They still have the ship.)
01/24/1848 - James W. Marshall discovered a gold nugget at Sutter's Mill in northern California, a discovery that led to the Gold Rush of '49.
01/24/1916 - The US Supreme Court ruled that the federal income tax was constitutional.
01/24/1922 - Inventor Christian K. Nelson, of Onawa IA, patented the Eskimo Pie.
01/25/1961 - President Kennedy held the first presidential news conference carried live on radio and television.
01/26/1788 - The first European settlers in Australia, led by Captain Arthur Phillip, landed in present-day Sydney.
01/27/1951 - A period of atomic testing in the Nevada desert began as an Air Force plane dropped a one-kiloton bomb on Frenchman Flats.
01/27/1973 - The Vietnam peace accords were signed in Paris.
01/27/2021 - Tu B'Shevat / New Year of Trees begins at sunset and ends tomorrow evening – Judaism
01/28/1596 - English navigator Sir Francis Drake died off the coast of Panama and was buried at sea.
01/28/1909 - The US ended direct control over Cuba.
01/28/1915 - An act of Congress created the US Coast Guard.
01/28/1970 - The soap opera All My Children debuted on TV.
01/28/1973 - A cease-fire officially went into effect in the Vietnam War.
01/28/1986 - The space shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff from Cape Canaveral, killing all seven crewmembers.
01/28/2021 - Mahayana New Year – Buddhist
01/29/1820 - Britain's King George III died insane at Windsor Castle. (He was the king we were revolting against during the Revolutionary War.)
01/29/1845 - Edgar Allan Poe's poem, The Raven, was first published in the NY Evening Mirror. The Baltimore Ravens took their name from that poem because Poe spent a lot of time in that city.
01/30/1815 - The US Library of Congress recovered from its 1812 destruction by acquiring Thomas Jefferson's 6,457-volume personal library.
01/30/1933 - Station WXYZ in Detroit aired the first episode of The Lone Ranger radio program.
01/30/1933 - Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany.
01/30/1958 - A Hindu extremist murdered Indian political and spiritual leader, Mahatma Gandhi.
01/30/1968 - The Vietnam War's Tet Offensive began as Communist forces launched surprise attacks against South Vietnamese provincial capitals.
01/31/1865 - General Robert E. Lee became General-In-Chief of all the Confederate armies.
01/31/1928 - Scotch Tape was used for the first time.
01/31/1936 - The Green Hornet premiered on radio.
01/31/1945 - An American firing squad in France executed Private Eddie Slovik, the only US soldier since the Civil War executed for desertion.
01/31/1950 - President Truman announced he had ordered development of the hydrogen bomb.
01/31/1958 - The US entered the Space Age with its first successful launch of a satellite into orbit, the Explorer I.
01/31/2006 - Coretta Scott King, widow of Marin Luther King Jr, died in Atlanta GA.
Online Resource Links
What ISIS Really Wants: The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy and for how to stop it | ISIS Claims Responsibility, Calling Paris Attacks First of the Storm | Syria Iraq: The Islamic State Militant Group | Isis: The Inside Story | Frontline: The Rise of ISIS | Council on Foreign Relations: A Primer on ISIS | Cracks in ISIS Are Becoming More Clear | How ISIS’ Attacks Harm the Middle East | Timeline: the Rise, Spread and Fall of the Islamic State
Check out Today's Front Pages. Each day, you can see the front pages of more than 800 newspapers from around the world in their original, unedited form.
Whether or not you noticed, the earth's population passed 7 billion a while back. You might enjoy NPR's wonderful video, Visualizing How a Population Grows to 7 Billion.
Check out the St. Louis Fed's presentation The Financial Crisis: What Happened?. The original video is no longer available but you can view the power point presentation.
Want to take a survey but not sure how many responses to collect? This Survey Calculator gives you the number for any given population size and desired confidence level. A reverse calculator lets you enter characteristics of an existing survey and gives the confidence interval (±X%) to apply to the results. The Survey System site, sponsored by a survey software company, also gives clear explanations of statistical significance, survey design and related concepts. Also check out 20 Questions a Journalist (and You, too!) Should Ask About Poll Results.
PBS's 30 Second Candidate allows you to view more political ads than you ever knew existed. Choose the Historical Timeline link to see how political ads have changed over the years. Start with the infamous Daisy Ad that Lyndon Johnson used against Barry Goldwater. Click on Watch Johnson ads. Then click on either the QuickTime link or the Real Video link next to Daisy.
Check out Political Compass. The site does a good job of explaining political ideologies (although with definitions different from those I use) and gives you a chance to discover your own political philosophy.
Law Library of Congress: North Korea: Collection of links to websites on North Korean government, politics and law. Includes legal guides, country studies and links to constitutions and branches of government (where available). Council on Foreign Relations: North Korea: Background, articles and opinion pieces about North Korea government and politics. Many of the articles focus on North Korea's nuclear program. From the Council on Foreign Relations, "an independent membership organization and a nonpartisan think tank and publisher."
State of the Union (SOTU): The site uses an interactive timeline to provide a visual representation of prominent words in presidential State of the Union addresses by displaying significant words as "determined by comparing how frequently the word occurs in the document to how frequently it appears throughout the entire body of SOTU addresses." The Appendices section describes the statistical methods used. Also includes the full text of addresses.
Small Town Papers: This site provides access to scanned images of recent issues of dozens of small town newspapers from throughout the United States. Newspapers are updated periodically, 2-3 weeks after publication. The site also includes a searchable archive (of articles, photos and advertisements), which covers different periods for each paper, some as far back as the 1890s. Access to the archives requires free registration.
This website serves as a centralized location to learn about the Congressional Research Service and search for CRS reports that have been released to the public by members of Congress. (CRS Reports do not become public until a member of Congress releases the report.) Features a searchable database with more than 8,000 reports, a list of recently released reports, other collections of CRS reports and a FAQ about CRS.
Instances of the Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798 - 2020: This report lists hundreds of instances in which the United States has used its armed forces abroad in situations of military conflict or potential conflict or for other than normal peacetime purposes. It was compiled in part from various older lists and is intended primarily to provide a rough survey of past US military ventures abroad, without reference to the magnitude of the given instance noted.
Keeping the Shi'ites Straight Based on the opinion that no story has been more confusing for the Western news media to cover in postwar Iraq than the politics of the country's Shi'ite majority, this article provides a basic outline of Shi'ite religious history. Discusses the Sadr family (Muhammad Baqir as-Sadr, Ayatollah Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr, and Muqtada as-Sadr), Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim and other figures.
This commercial site presents brief information about dozens of Black Inventors from the United States. Some entries include portraits and images. Also includes a searchable timeline covering 1721-1988. Does not include bibliographic information.
Annenberg Political Fact Check: This site describes itself as a nonpartisan, nonprofit, consumer advocate for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in US politics. The site provides original articles, with summaries and sources, analyzing factual accuracy in TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases. Searchable. From the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.
White House Tapes: The President Calling: Three of America's most compelling presidents -- Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon -- bugged their White House offices and tapped their telephones. In this documentary project, American Radio Works eavesdrops on presidential telephone calls to hear how each man used one-on-one politics to shape history. Includes audio, a transcript of the documentary and background information on each president and the tapes.
The State of State and Local Finances: New studies afford a state-by-state or city-by-city analysis of fiscal well being. The Year of Living Dangerously: While leaders in a growing number of states appear to believe they're serving the public good by squeezing government dry, there's little question that minimizing management carries a host of dangers that directly affect the lives of citizens.
Government Debt by Country Map: Shows countries' general government gross debt as a percentage of GDP in 2012.
First Amendment Library: Provides info on Supreme Court First Amendment jurisprudence, including rulings, arguments, briefs, historical material, commentary and press coverage.
If you need a presentation or workshop for your group,
or the link at the top of the page.