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!
Quotes of the Month
The future of this republic is in the hands of the American voter.
~Dwight D Eisenhower
If people don't vote, everything stays the same. You can protest until the sky turns yellow or the moon turns blue, and it's not going to change anything if you don't vote.
It's heartbreaking that so many hundreds of millions of people around the world are desperate for the right to vote, but here in America people stay home on election day.
The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men.
~Lyndon B Johnson
Bad officials are elected by good citizens who don’t vote.
~George Jean Nathan
Voting is not only our right. It is our power.
Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.
~Franklin D Roosevelt
News of the Month
Why vote when you are just one person among millions? If you care about your future and want the best for your friends, family and others, you should vote in every election. Why? Here are a number of reasons.
Your vote is your voice (and you deserve to be heard). As individuals, we each have very little control over what happens to other people or the world around us on a daily basis. Voting gives us some collective say in how we want to be governed and who gets to make the big decisions that affect our society. Voting expands your personal sphere of control. Not voting is giving your consent to the status quo, essentially saying that you don't care whether anything changes.
A lot more is at stake than just who becomes president. The race for president gets the most attention, but plenty of other crucial positions are contested. The American system of government is built upon a foundation of checks and balances at the local, state and federal levels. The people we elect will either support or oppose key aspects of the president's agenda. Of course, elections aren't just about people. In addition to electing politicians, we vote for the chance to have our voices heard on all kinds of issues that impact our lives and the lives of others. For example, the importance of voting extends to critical issues like:
Your ballot may also include important referendums, propositions or other measures related to major issues at the state or local level.
Students and young people have the power to change everything. According to one study, 59% of all eligible voters in the US are part of the three youngest generations. Gen Xers, Millennials and post-Millennials (Generation Z) have the ability to transform America simply by voting. Sadly, that opportunity is being squandered, especially when it comes those who are 18 to 24. Only 36% in the 18 to 29 age group voted in the 2018 midterm elections. Just 49.1% of people in the 18 to 24 age group were even registered to vote in 2018. People who are part of America's oldest generations turn out to vote in much higher numbers. And they tend to lean more conservative in their political beliefs than younger people. If you're young and eligible to vote, you need to do your part and encourage your peers to do the same. In an America divided perhaps more than ever, every vote counts, especially those from one of the country's largest and most diverse voting groups.
Higher education is becoming out of reach for too many Americans. We can only protect our democracy if our citizens are educated and have the skills and expertise to pursue meaningful career opportunities. The cost of college keeps rising. And for many students with low or moderate incomes and limited financial resources, most American colleges may be unaffordable, even with student loans or Pell Grants. Policymakers and political leaders at the state and federal levels have the power to make college more accessible and affordable for all Americans. But they won't change things unless we vote for politicians who truly support that cause.
Health care is still a major problem that your votes can help solve. Health may not be important if you're young, but it should be one of the top reasons you vote. After all, you never know when injury or illness might strike. You also probably care about the health of older people in your life. And your future health may be affected by how people vote on the issue today. Although the Affordable Care Act has resulted in more Americans having health insurance, its future is in doubt. And the cost of insurance and drug prescriptions continues to rise for many people. In fact, the US has some of the highest health care costs in the world. A lot of Americans still can't afford to see a doctor or get treated for illness. This problem needs to be solved. We all get older. And nobody should die because they can't afford the health care they need. The issue is especially relevant in 2020, given the health risks of the coronavirus pandemic.
Climate change threatens everybody's future (including yours). The younger you are, the more likely it is that climate change will directly impact you during your lifetime. Actually, there's a strong chance it already has. Climate change is arguably the greatest threat facing humanity. We're already at crisis levels: Stronger hurricanes, longer wildfire seasons, unexpected floods, severe heat waves, extended droughts, inundated coastal cities and other devastating effects of global warming are becoming the norm. These facts are supported by science. We should vote for politicians who believe in science and want to act urgently to avoid the worst-case scenarios.
You owe it to America's heroes (past and present). Countless Americans have sacrificed their lives or suffered extreme hardship in order to secure our right to vote. That includes military service members, women suffragettes, minority groups and many others at home and abroad who have fought for liberty and civil rights. When you vote, you honor their sacrifices. We must never take our voting rights for granted. They can only be preserved by casting our ballots in every election and guarding against politicians who would seek to suppress the votes of people they don't want to represent.
You'll be seen as a doer, not a complainer. Some people become so cynical about the state of the world and American politics that they never vote. But here's the deal: You can either be a proactive agent of positive change or a passive victim of your own boring pessimism. Yes, change can be slow. Lasting change usually is. You may have to vote in several elections before the things you want start coming to fruition. It takes time for progress to happen, for enough people to see a certain vision and get on board with it. But if you never vote for people who support that vision, it's hard to believe you actually care about it. There is simply no integrity in complaining about something if you don't make the effort to change it.
Other people are depending on you to do the right thing. Your vote can help stop injustice. It can also help lift others up or keep them out of harm's way. After all, lots of Americans are still underrepresented in our democracy. And this nation works best when we look out for each other. Voting gives you the opportunity to amplify the voices of those who desperately want and need to be heard. Plus, voting for the interests of those who are marginalized or need a helping hand can be more inspiring than simply voting for your own narrow interests.
It's your duty to help prevent fascism and tyranny. As an American citizen, you're free to believe what you want. But if you wish to maintain that freedom, you must help defend the country from those who would replace our democracy with an oppressive authoritarian government in which citizens no longer have a voice. We cannot afford to take our liberties for granted. Yet, our low voter turnouts don't bode well for the future of our democracy. When citizens don't vote, it makes it easier for leaders with authoritarian tendencies to gain power. After all, lack of participation in the voting process demonstrates cynicism, ignorance or disinterest — things that aspiring tyrants can exploit for their purposes. Americans who don't participate in our democracy are easier to control and manipulate. Over time, low voter turnout erodes our democracy, leaving us with a government that doesn't represent us. We really are in danger of losing the rights and freedoms we take for granted. Voting is a minor inconvenience compared to the full-on oppression of tyranny. Your vote is your protection.
You're lucky you have the right to vote. Never forget that countless people around the world don't have your privilege. They would die to win the same right to vote that you have. They want the same chance to live with dignity, to have their voices heard. Instead, they are often powerless to change things unless they take up arms in violent revolt. Don't dishonor the hopes, dreams and noble struggles of the oppressed by ignoring your basic rights.
Elections can have severe consequences that last for decades. We can't count on future elections to correct the bad things that may result from the current one. And you certainly can't count on other people to vote the way you expect or want. The results of just one election can produce long-lasting consequences that can't be reversed for a generation or longer. Lifetime appointments to the Supreme Court are just one example. Power begets power. Sometimes, voting for the lesser of two evils is the most important thing you can do. It's better than giving the candidates you most oppose an easier path to victory or a greater mandate if they win.
You probably don't have a good excuse not to vote. You may still think, "Why should I vote when I have perfectly good reasons not to? I have the right to not participate." It's true: Not voting is certainly your right. But unless you are physically or mentally incapable of casting a ballot, your reasons may not stand up to scrutiny, especially in light of everything already mentioned. For the health of our democracy and your own well-being, we need you to vote. And don't forget about the power of education. The more you know (and the more you're able to do), the better off you, your community and our nation will be. America is strongest when people like you have the skills to take advantage of the opportunities that are available to them. Our power is in our vote.
Then and Now
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
10/01/1800 - Spain ceded Louisiana to France in a secret treaty.
10/01/1856 - The first installment of Gustave Flaubert's scandalous novel Madame Bovary was published.
10/01/1908 - Henry Ford introduced the Model-T automobile.
10/01/1968 - The cult horror movie Night of the Living Dean had its world premiere in Pittsburgh.
10/01/2020 - Pavarana – Buddhist
10/02/1835 - The first battle of the Texas Revolution took place as American settlers defeated Mexican cavalry near the Guadalupe River.
10/02/1950 - Peanuts, created by Charles M. Schulz, was first published in nine newspapers.
10/02/1967 - Thurgood Marshall became an associate justice of the Supreme Court, making him the first black appointed to the nation's highest court.
10/02/2020 - Sukkot begins at sunset and ends on the 9th at nightfall – Judaism
10/03/1863 - President Lincoln declared the last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day.
10/03/1895 - Steven Crane's The Red Badge of Courage was published. It was the first novel to highlight an ordinary soldier's experience in the Civil War.
10/03/1929 - The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes formally changed its name to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.
10/03/1990 - West Germany and East Germany ended 45 years of postwar division, declaring the creation of a new unified country.
10/03/1995 - A jury found OJ Simpson innocent of the slayings of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman.
10/04/1957 - Leave it to Beaver premiered on CBS.
10/04/1957 - The Space Age began as the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first man-made satellite, into orbit.
10/04/2020 - Intergeneration Day
10/04/2020 - Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi – Christian
10/05/1921 - Radio broadcast the World Series for the first time.
10/05/1953 - Earl Warren became the 14th chief justice of the Supreme Court.
10/05/2020 - Child Health Day
10/06/1973 - War erupted in the Middle East as Egypt and Syria attacked Israel during the Yom Kippur holiday.
10/06/1981 - Extremists shot and killed President Anwar Sadat of Egypt while reviewing a military parade.
10/07/1777 - The second Battle of Saratoga began during the American Revolution. British forces under General John Burgoyne surrendered 10 days later.
10/07/1949 - The Republic of East Germany was formed.
10/07/2002 - In a somber address to the nation, President George W. Bush labeled Saddam Hussein a "homicidal dictator" and said the threat from Iraq was "unique and imminent."
10/08/1066 - William the Conqueror invaded England to claim the English throne.
10/09/1635 - Religious dissident Roger Williams was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
10/09/1888 - The public was first admitted to the Washington Monument.
10/09/1967 - Latin American guerrilla leader Che Guevara was executed while attempting to incite revolution in Bolivia.
10/09/2020 - Leif Erikson Day
10/09/2020 - Shemini Atzeret begins at sunset and ends on the 11th at nightfall – Judaism
10/10/1886 - The tuxedo dinner jacket made its American debut at the autumn ball in Tuxedo Park NY.
10/10/1911 - Revolutionaries under Sun Yat-sen overthrew China's Manchu dynasty.
10/10/1943 - Chiang Kai-Chek took the oath of office as president of China.
10/10/1973 - Vice President Spiro T. Agnew pleaded no contest to one count of federal income tax evasion and resigned his office.
10/10/2020 - Simchat Torah begins at sunset – Judaism
10/11/1811 - The first steam-powered ferryboat, the Juliana, commenced operation between NYC and Hoboken.
10/11/1890 - The Daughters of the American Revolution was founded in Washington DC.
10/11/1932 - The 1st American political telecast took place as the Democratic National Committee sponsored a program from a CBS television studio in New York.
10/11/2020 - National Coming Out Day
10/12/1492 - Christopher Columbus arrived with his expedition in the present-day Bahamas.
10/12/1870 - General Robert E. Lee died in Lexington VA at the age of 63.
10/12/1973 - President Nixon nominated House minority leader Gerald Ford to succeed Spiro Agnew as vice president.
10/12/2020 - Columbus Day
10/13/54CE - Roman emperor Claudius I died after his wife, Agrippina, poisoned him.
10/13/1845 - Texas ratified its first US state constitution.
10/13/1960 - Richard Nixon and John Kennedy participated in the third televised debate of their presidential campaign.
10/14/1066 - The Normans under William the Conqueror defeated the English at the Battle of Hastings.
10/14/1947 - Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier as he flew the experimental Bell X1 rocket plane over Edwards Air Force Base in California.
10/14/1964 - Martin Luther King Jr. won the Nobel Peace Prize.
10/15/1917 - A French firing squad executed Mata Hari, a Dutch dancer who had spied for the Germans, outside Paris.
10/15/1976 - In the first debate of its kind between vice-presidential nominees, Democrat Walter Mondale and Republican Bob Dole faced off in Houston.
10/15/1991 - The Senate narrowly confirmed (52-48) the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court.
10/16/1793 - During the French Revolution, Queen Marie Antoinette was beheaded.
10/16/1859 - Abolitionist John Brown led a group of about 20 men in a raid on Harper's Ferry.
10/16/1916 - Margaret Sanger opened the first birth control clinic in NYC.
10/16/1962 - The Cuban missile crisis began as President Kennedy learned that reconnaissance photographs had revealed the presence of missile bases in Cuba.
10/16/1978 - The College of Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church chose Cardinal Karol Wojtyla to be the new pope. He took the name John Paul II.
10/16/1995 - The Million Man March took place in Washington DC, led by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
10/16/2020 - Boss’s Day
10/16/2020 - Dictionary Day … the birthday of Noah Webster
10/17/1933 - Albert Einstein arrived in the US as a refugee from Nazi Germany.
10/17/1945 - Colonel Juan Peron staged a coup, becoming absolute ruler of Argentina.
10/17/1978 - President Carter signed a bill restoring US citizenship to Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
10/17/2020 - Navratri begins today and ends on October 24th – Hindu
10/18/1685 - King Louis XIV of France revoked the Edict of Nantes, which had established legal toleration of France's Protestant population, the Huguenots.
10/18/1767 - The boundary between Maryland and Pennsylvania, the Mason-Dixon Line, was agreed upon.
10/18/1867 - The US took formal possession of Alaska from Russia.
10/18/2020 - Birth of the Bab – Baha’i
10/19/1765 - The Stamp Act Congress, meeting in New York, drew up a declaration of rights and liberties.
10/19/1944 - The Navy announced that it would allow black women into the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service).
10/19/1950 - UN forces entered the North Korean capital of Pyongyang.
10/19/1960 - The US imposed an embargo on exports to Cuba covering all commodities except medical supplies and certain food products.
10/19/2020 - Birthday of Baha'u'llah – Baha’i
10/20/1803 - The US Senate ratified the Louisiana Purchase.
10/20/1947 - The House Un-American Activities Committee opened hearings into alleged Communist influence and infiltration within the American motion picture industry.
10/20/2020 - Installation of Holy Scriptures as Guru Granth Sahib Ji – Sikh
10/21/1797 - The US Navy frigate Constitution, also known as Old Ironsides, launched in Boston's harbor.
10/21/1945 - Women in France voted for the first time.
10/22/1836 - Sam Houston became the first constitutionally elected president of the Republic of Texas.
10/22/1962 - President Kennedy announced an air and naval blockade of Cuba following the discovery of Soviet missile bases on the island.
10/23/1983 - In Lebanon, a suicide truck bombing at Beirut International Airport killed 241 US Marines and sailors. A nearly simultaneous attack on French forces killed 58 paratroopers.
10/23/1987 - The US Senate rejected (58-42) the Supreme Court nomination of Robert Bork.
10/24/1901 - Anna Edson Taylor, a 43-year-old widow, became the first person to survive going over Niagara Falls in a barrel.
10/24/1939 - Nylon stockings were sold publicly for the first time in Wilmington DE.
10/24/1940 - The 40-hour workweek went into effect under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.
10/24/1945 - The United Nations officially came into existence as its charter took effect.
10/24/1962 - The US blockade of Cuba during the missile crisis officially began under a proclamation signed by President Kennedy.
10/24/2020 - United Nations Day
10/25/1400 - Author Geoffrey Chaucer died in London of unknown causes.
10/25/1854 - The Charge of the Light Brigade took place during the Crimean War.
10/25/1962 - Author John Steinbeck won the Nobel Prize in literature.
10/25/2020 - Marine Corps Marathon (Washington DC)
10/25/2020 - Dussehra (Vijaya Dashami) – Hindu
10/26/1825 - The Erie Canal opened in upstate New York, connecting Lake Erie and the Hudson River.
10/26/1881 - The Gunfight at the OK Corral took place in Tombstone AZ as Wyatt Earp, his two brothers and Doc Holliday confronted and killed three members of Ike Clanton's gang. Earp's brothers were wounded.
10/26/1967 - The Shah of Iran crowned himself and his queen after 26 years on the Peacock Throne.
10/27/1787 - The first of the Federalist Papers was published in a New York paper.
10/27/1947 - You Bet Your Life, starring Groucho Marx, premiered on ABC Radio.
10/28/1636 - Harvard College opened in Massachusetts.
10/28/1886 - President Cleveland dedicated the Statue of Liberty, a gift from the people of France, in New York Harbor.
10/28/1962 - Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev informed the US that he had ordered the dismantling of Soviet missile bases in Cuba.
10/28/2020 - Mawlid an Nabi (Birth of the Prophet) begins at sunset – Muslim
10/29/1929 - Black Tuesday descended on the New York Stock Exchange as prices collapsed amid panic selling and thousands of investors lost everything.
10/29/1966 - The National Organization for Women was founded.
10/30/1938 - The radio play, War of the Worlds, starring Orson Welles, aired on CBS.
10/30/1945 - The US government announced the end of shoe rationing.
10/30/1995 - By a vote of 50.6% to 49.4%, federalists prevailed over separatists in Quebec in a secession referendum.
10/30/2020 - Chanté-messes (through tomorrow) – Voudon
10/31/1517 - Martin Luther posted the 95 Theses on the door of the Wittenberg Palace church, marking the start of the Protestant Reformation in Germany.
10/31/1892 - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes was published.
10/31/1984 - Two Sikh security guards assassinated Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
10/31/2020 - Reformation Day
10/31/2020 - Samhain – Wicca, Celtic
10/31/2020 - Hallowe’en
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.