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Quote of the Month

I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.

~David Bowie



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 With the COVID-19 outbreak, globalization has been replaced by isolation, in terms of our personal lives, and bilateral and multilateral relations as well.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

then and now button   01/01/1735 - Paul Revere was born in Boston.

then and now button   01/01/1752 - Betsy Ross was born in Philadelphia.

then and now button   01/01/1863 - President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared that slaves in rebel states were free.

then and now button   01/01/1892 - The Ellis Island Immigrant Station in NY formally opened.

then and now button   01/01/1898 - Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island consolidated into NYC.

then and now button   01/01/1901 - The Commonwealth of Australia officially came into existence.

then and now button   01/01/1959 - Fidel Castro led Cuban revolutionaries to victory over Fulgencio Batista.

then and now button   01/01/1994 - The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect.

then and now button   01/01/1997 - Kofi Annan assumed the post of UN Secretary-General.

then and now button   01/01/1999 - The Euro, the new single currency of 11 European countries, officially came into existence.

then and now button   01/01/2021 - Kwanzaa ends

then and now button   01/01/2021 - New Year's Day ... Happy New Year!

then and now button   01/01/2021 - Ganjitsu / Oshogatsu – Shinto

then and now button   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.

then and now button   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.

then and now button   01/02/1960 - Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts announced his candidacy for the democratic presidential nomination.

then and now button   01/02/1974 - President Nixon signed legislation requiring states to limit highway speeds to 55 mph.

then and now button   01/02/2021 - Cassé Gāteau begins and ends on 01/04 – Voudon

then and now button   01/03/1521 - The Roman Catholic Church excommunicated Martin Luther.

then and now button   01/03/1892 - JRR Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, was born in Bloemfontein South Africa.

then and now button   01/03/1938 - The March of Dimes campaign to fight polio was organized.

then and now button   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.

then and now button   01/03/1961 - The US severed diplomatic relations with Cuba.

then and now button   01/03/1989 - The Arsenio Hall Show premiered.

then and now button   01/03/2000 - The last new daily Peanuts comic strip ran.

then and now button   01/04/1790 - Washington delivered the first annual presidential address - the State of the Union - to the nation.

then and now button   01/04/1948 - Britain granted independence to Burma, now called Myanmar.

then and now button   01/04/1960 - French author Albert Camus died in a car accident at the age of 46.

then and now button   01/04/1974 - President Nixon refused to hand over tape recordings and documents subpoenaed by the Senate Watergate Committee.

then and now button   01/04/1995 - The 104th Congress, the first entirely under Republican control since the Eisenhower era, convened.

then and now button   01/04/1999 - Former pro-wrestler Jesse "The Body" Ventura took the oath of office as Minnesota's 37th governor.

then and now button   01/04/2021 - Trivia Day

then and now button   01/05/1925 - Nellie Ross succeeded her late husband as governor of Wyoming, becoming the first female governor in the US.

then and now button   01/05/1949 - In his State of the Union address, President Truman labeled his administration the "Fair Deal."

then and now button   01/05/1993 - The state of Washington executed Westley Allan Dodd, an admitted child sex killer, in America's first legal hanging since 1965.

then and now button   01/05/2021 - Twelfth Night – Christian

then and now button   01/06/1412 - Joan of Arc was born in Dom Remy.

then and now button   01/06/2021 - Tirer Gāteau (Les rois) – Voudon

then and now button   01/06/2021 - Epiphany of the Lord – Christian

then and now button   01/07/1610 - Galileo discovered four of Jupiter's biggest moons using his makeshift telescope for the first time.

then and now button   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.

then and now button   01/07/1953 - President Truman announced the development of the hydrogen bomb in his State of the Union address.

then and now button   01/07/1959 - The US recognized Fidel Castro's new government in Cuba.

then and now button   01/08/1642 - Astronomer Galileo Galilei died in Arcetri Italy.

then and now button   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.

then and now button   01/08/1959 - France inaugurated Charles De Gaulle as president of France's Fifth Republic.

then and now button   01/08/1964 - President Lyndon Johnson declared a War on Poverty. (I don't think we've won yet.)

then and now button   01/09/1793 - Frenchman Jean-Pierre Blanchard flew between Philadelphia and Woodbury NJ in a hot-air balloon.

then and now button   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.

then and now button   01/09/2006 - Alito confirmation hearings commenced in the Senate Judiciary Committee, Washington DC.

then and now button   01/10/1776 - Thomas Paine published Common Sense.

then and now button   01/10/1845 - Poet Elizabeth Barrett received her first note, "I love you," from her eventual husband, poet Robert Browning.

then and now button   01/10/1870 - John D. Rockefeller incorporated Standard Oil.

then and now button   01/10/1920 - The Treaty of Versailles went into effect establishing the League of Nations.

then and now button   01/10/1928 - The Soviet Union ordered the exile of Leon Trotsky.

then and now button   01/10/1946 - The first General Assembly of the UN convened in London.

then and now button   01/10/1949 - RCA introduced the first 45 rpm record.

then and now button   01/11/1913 - The first sedan-type automobile, a Hudson, went on display at the 13th Automobile Show in NY.

then and now button   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."

then and now button   01/11/2021 - Seijin No Hi (Coming of Age Day) – Shinto

then and now button   01/12/1519 - Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I died.

then and now button   01/12/1773 - Charleston SC established the first public museum in America.

then and now button   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.

then and now button   01/12/1971 - All in the Family premiered on CBS.

then and now button   01/12/1998 - According to Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey, computer HAL was born today.

then and now button   01/13/1966 - Appointed Secretary of Housing and Urban Development by President Johnson, Robert Weaver became the first black Cabinet member.

then and now button   01/13/2021 - Stephen Foster Memorial Day

then and now button   01/14/1784 - The US ratified a peace treaty with England ending the Revolutionary War.

then and now button   01/14/1963 - Alabama swore in George C. Wallace as governor with a pledge of "segregation forever."

then and now button   01/14/1970 - Diana Ross and the Supremes performed their last concert together, at the Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas.

then and now button   01/14/2021 - Maghi – Sikh

then and now button   01/14/2021 - Pongal (Makar Sankranti) begins and ends 01/17 – Hindu

then and now button   01/15/1559 - England crowned Queen Elizabeth I in Westminster Abbey.

then and now button   01/15/1870 - A cartoon by Thomas Nast in Harper's Weekly represented the Democratic Party as a donkey for the first time.

then and now button   01/15/1928 - Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta.

then and now button   01/15/1943 - Construction began on the Pentagon.

then and now button   01/16/1547 - Ivan the Terrible was crowned tsar of Russia.

then and now button   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.)

then and now button   01/16/1991 - The White House announced the start of Operation Desert Storm in the Middle East.

then and now button   01/16/2021 - Religious Freedom Day

then and now button   01/17/1706 - Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston.

then and now button   01/17/1893 - A group of businessmen and sugar planters overthrew Hawaii's monarchy, forcing Queen Liliuokalani to abdicate.

then and now button   01/17/1946 - The UN Security Council held its first meeting.

then and now button   01/17/1961 - In his farewell address, President Eisenhower warned against the rise of "the military-industrial complex."

then and now button   01/18/1788 - The first English settlers arrived in Australia's Botany Bay to establish a penal colony.

then and now button   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.

then and now button   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.

then and now button   01/18/2021 - Martin Luther King Jr Day

then and now button   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.

then and now button   01/19/1955 - TV filmed a presidential news conference for the first time with permission from President Eisenhower.

then and now button   01/19/1966 - India elected Indira Gandhi as prime minister.

then and now button   01/19/2021 - Confederate Heroes Day (TX)

then and now button   01/20/1801 - John Marshall became chief justice of the Supreme Court.

then and now button   01/20/1841 - China ceded the island of Hong Kong to Great Britain. It returned to Chinese control in July 1997.

then and now button   01/20/1942 - Nazi officials held the notorious Wannsee conference, during which they arrived at their "final solution" that called for exterminating Jews.

then and now button   01/20/2021 - Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti – Sikh

then and now button   01/20/2021 - Rohatsu / Bodhi Day – Buddhist

then and now button   01/21/1915 - The first Kiwanis Club was founded in Detroit.

then and now button   01/21/1930 - Newspapers published the first Buck Rogers comic strip.

then and now button   01/21/1954 - The US launched the world's first nuclear submarine, the Nautilus, at Groton CT.

then and now button   01/21/1977 - President Carter pardoned almost all Vietnam War draft evaders.

then and now button   01/22/1953 - Arthur Miller's The Crucible opened on Broadway.

then and now button   01/22/1968 - Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In premiered on NBC.

then and now button   01/22/1973 - The Supreme Court handed down its Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion using a trimester approach.

then and now button   01/23/1789 - Georgetown University opened in Washington DC.

then and now button   01/23/1845 - Congress decided to hold all national elections on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

then and now button   01/23/1950 - The Israeli Knesset approved a resolution proclaiming Jerusalem the capital of Israel.

then and now button   01/23/1964 - The US ratified the 24th amendment to the Constitution, eliminating the poll tax in federal elections.

then and now button   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.)

then and now button   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.

then and now button   01/24/1916 - The US Supreme Court ruled that the federal income tax was constitutional.

then and now button   01/24/1922 - Inventor Christian K. Nelson, of Onawa IA, patented the Eskimo Pie.

then and now button   01/25/1961 - President Kennedy held the first presidential news conference carried live on radio and television.

then and now button   01/26/1788 - The first European settlers in Australia, led by Captain Arthur Phillip, landed in present-day Sydney.

then and now button   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.

then and now button   01/27/1973 - The Vietnam peace accords were signed in Paris.

then and now button   01/27/2021 - Tu B'Shevat / New Year of Trees begins at sunset and ends tomorrow evening – Judaism

then and now button   01/28/1596 - English navigator Sir Francis Drake died off the coast of Panama and was buried at sea.

then and now button   01/28/1909 - The US ended direct control over Cuba.

then and now button   01/28/1915 - An act of Congress created the US Coast Guard.

then and now button   01/28/1970 - The soap opera All My Children debuted on TV.

then and now button   01/28/1973 - A cease-fire officially went into effect in the Vietnam War.

then and now button   01/28/1986 - The space shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff from Cape Canaveral, killing all seven crewmembers.

then and now button   01/28/2021 - Mahayana New Year – Buddhist

then and now button   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.)

then and now button   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.

then and now button   01/30/1815 - The US Library of Congress recovered from its 1812 destruction by acquiring Thomas Jefferson's 6,457-volume personal library.

then and now button   01/30/1933 - Station WXYZ in Detroit aired the first episode of The Lone Ranger radio program.

then and now button   01/30/1933 - Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany.

then and now button   01/30/1958 - A Hindu extremist murdered Indian political and spiritual leader, Mahatma Gandhi.

then and now button   01/30/1968 - The Vietnam War's Tet Offensive began as Communist forces launched surprise attacks against South Vietnamese provincial capitals.

then and now button   01/31/1865 - General Robert E. Lee became General-In-Chief of all the Confederate armies.

then and now button   01/31/1928 - Scotch Tape was used for the first time.

then and now button   01/31/1936 - The Green Hornet premiered on radio.

then and now button   01/31/1945 - An American firing squad in France executed Private Eddie Slovik, the only US soldier since the Civil War executed for desertion.

then and now button   01/31/1950 - President Truman announced he had ordered development of the hydrogen bomb.

then and now button   01/31/1958 - The US entered the Space Age with its first successful launch of a satellite into orbit, the Explorer I.

then and now button   01/31/2006 - Coretta Scott King, widow of Marin Luther King Jr, died in Atlanta GA.






Online Resource Links

then and now button   How Wobbly Is Our Democracy?

then and now button   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

then and now button   What it’s like to live on $2 a day in the United States (PDF)

then and now button   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.

then and now button   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.

then and now button   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.

then and now button   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.

then and now button   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.

then and now button   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.

then and now button   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."

then and now button   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.

then and now button   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.

then and now button   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.

then and now button   Stem Cell Research: See the official NIH resource for Stem Cell Research. In 2005, NOVA aired an overview of The Stem Cell Issue.

then and now button   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.

then and now button   Government Product Recalls

then and now button   Homeland Security Knowledge Base

then and now button   If you're worried about retirement, try some of the following sites.
        IRS Tax Information for Retirement Plans
        Social Security Retirement Planner
        Retirement Planning Resources from Smart Money

then and now button   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.

then and now button   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.

then and now button   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.

then and now button   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.

then and now button   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.

then and now button   Government Debt by Country Map: Shows countries' general government gross debt as a percentage of GDP in 2012.

then and now button   First Amendment Library: Provides info on Supreme Court First Amendment jurisprudence,  including rulings, arguments, briefs, historical material, commentary and press coverage.

Global Economic Projections for 2021




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use this Community link or the link at the top of the page.
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Copyright © 1996 Amy S Glenn
Last updated:   01/01/2021   0400

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