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Quote of the Month

We have a witch’s brew of ingredients for global conflict.

~Robert Latiff, retired Air Force major general and fellow at the University of Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study



News of the Month

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is moving the Doomsday Clock up to 100 seconds to midnight. It is the first time the clock has passed the two-minute mark in more than 70 years of existence. Founded in 1945 by University of Chicago scientists who had helped develop the first atomic weapons in the Manhattan Project, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists created the Doomsday Clock two years later, using the imagery of apocalypse (midnight) and the contemporary idiom of nuclear explosion (countdown to zero) to convey threats to humanity and the planet. The decision to move (or to leave in place) the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock is made every year by the Bulletin’s Science and Security Board in consultation with its Board of Sponsors, which includes 13 Nobel laureates. The Clock has become a universally recognized indicator of the world’s vulnerability to catastrophe from nuclear weapons, climate change and disruptive technologies in other domains. The farthest from midnight was 17 minutes in 1991.

Deciding each year whether humankind has veered closer to destruction, the Bulletin has traditionally focused on the availability of nuclear weapons and willingness among the world’s great powers to use them. Members of the Bulletin’s Science and Security Board pointed this year to a host of concerning developments, including the prospect of a deal limiting Iran’s nuclear development completely falling apart after Iran began reducing its compliance following US withdrawal under President Trump.

In North Korea, meanwhile, there has been no real progress despite fanfare over talks with the Trump administration, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has promised to demonstrate a new weapon. Earlier this year the US withdrew from an arms control treaty with Russia that had been in place since the 1980s.

This year’s announcement also underscored changes over the years in the threats tracked by the Doomsday Clock, as the Bulletin’s scientists express growing concern about the state of the planet. They warn that the threat of climate change is nearly as dire as the danger of nuclear weapons. Compounding the long-standing concerns about climate change and nuclear disaster is the rise of information warfare. Technologies like artificial intelligence, fast and highly maneuverable hypersonic weapons, as well as the increasing potential for conflict in space all add to worries that a minor event could trigger catastrophic fallout.

It has not helped that world leaders have responded with falsehoods and misrepresentations while decrying fake news. Continued corruption of the information ecosphere on which democracy and public decision making depend has heightened the nuclear and climate threats. The Bulletin’s scientists worry about government disdain for experts and hostility toward science, and warn of influential leaders who denigrate and discard the most effective methods for addressing complex threats — international agreements with strong verification regimes — in favor of their own narrow interests and domestic political gain. By undermining cooperative, science- and law-based approaches to managing the most urgent threats to humanity, these leaders have helped to create a situation that will, if unaddressed, lead to catastrophe, sooner rather than later.




Then and Now

February is Black History Month

February is American Heart Month.

then and now button   02/01/1861 - Texas voted to secede from the Union.

then and now button   02/01/1920 - The Royal Canadian Mounted Police began operations.

then and now button   02/01/2003 - NASA's Columbia exploded over east Texas on reentry.

then and now button   02/01/2020 - National Freedom Day

then and now button   02/01/2020 - Imbolc (or Oimelc) – Wicca, Celtic

then and now button   02/02/1536 - Pedro de Mendoza of Spain founded Buenos Aires.

then and now button   02/02/1653 - New Amsterdam - now New York - was incorporated.

then and now button   02/02/1848 - The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, ending the Mexican War, was signed.

then and now button   02/02/1971 - Idi Amin assumed power in Uganda.

then and now button   02/02/2020 - Groundhog Day

then and now button   02/02/2020 - Candlemas – Christian

then and now button   02/03/1690 - The colony of Massachusetts issued the first paper money in America to pay soldiers fighting in the war against Quebec. (It probably wasn't worth much more than it is now ... which is probably why they paid soldiers with it.)

then and now button   02/03/1913 - The US ratified the 16th Amendment to the Constitution, providing for a federal income tax.

then and now button   02/03/1959 - A plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa, claimed the lives of rock-and-roll stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and JP "The Big Bopper" Richardson.

then and now button   02/03/2020 - Setsubun (Bean Scattering) – Shinto

then and now button   02/04/1783 - Britain declared a formal cessation of hostilities with its former colony, the United States of America.

then and now button   02/04/1789 - Electors unanimously chose George Washington to be the first US President.

then and now button   02/04/1801 - John Marshall became chief justice of the US Supreme Court.

then and now button   02/04/1861 - Delegates from six southern states met in Montgomery AL to form the Confederate States of America.State of the Union cartoon

then and now button   02/04/1962 - The Soviet Union's news agency Pravda claimed the Russians invented baseball.

then and now button   02/04/1974 - Members of the Symbionese Liberation Army kidnapped newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst was from her apartment in Berkeley CA.

then and now button   02/04/2020 - The State of the Union Address (tentative date)

then and now button   02/05/1631 - Roger Williams, founder of Rhode Island, and his wife arrived in Boston from England.

then and now button   02/05/1917 - Congress passed, over President Wilson's veto, an immigration act severely curtailing the influx of Asians.

then and now button   02/05/1917 - Mexico adopted its constitution.

then and now button   02/05/1937 - President Franklin Roosevelt proposed increasing the number of justices on the Supreme Court. Critics accused Roosevelt of attempting to "pack" the high court.

then and now button   02/06/1952 - Britain's King George VI died. His daughter, Elizabeth II, succeeded him.

then and now button   02/06/1959 - The US successfully test-fired for the first time a Titan intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) from Cape Canaveral FL.

then and now button   02/06/2001 - Israel elected Ariel Sharon as prime minister in a landslide victory over Ehud Barak.

then and now button   02/07/1936 - FDR authorized a flag for the office of the vice president.

then and now button   02/07/1940 - Walt Disney's Pinocchio had its world premiere.

then and now button   02/07/1964 - The Beatles began their first American tour, arriving in NY.

then and now button   02/07/1986 - Haitian President-for-Life Jean Claude Duvalier fled his country ending 28 years of Duvalier rule.

then and now button   02/08/1910 - The Boy Scouts of America was incorporated.

then and now button   02/08/1922 - President Harding had a radio installed in the White House.

then and now button   02/08/1924 - The first execution by gas in the US took place at the Nevada State Prison in Carson City.

then and now button   02/08/1978 - Radio broadcast the deliberations of the Senate for the first time as members opened debate on the Panama Canal treaties.

then and now button   02/08/2020 - Boy Scout Day

then and now button   02/08/2020 - Magha Puja / Sangha Day – Buddhist

then and now button   02/09/1825 - The House of Representatives elected John Quincy Adams president after no candidate received a majority of the electoral votes.

then and now button   02/09/1861 - The Provisional Congress of the Confederate States of America elected Jefferson David president and Alexander Stephens vice president.

then and now button   02/09/1870 - The US Weather Bureau was established.

then and now button   02/09/1943 - The WWII battle of Guadalcanal in the southwest Pacific ended with an American victory over Japanese forces.

then and now button   02/09/1950 - Senator Joseph McCarthy charged that the State Department was riddled with Communists.

then and now button   02/09/1964 - The Beatles made their first live American TV appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on CBS.

then and now button   02/09/1971 - The Apollo 14 returned to earth after man's third landing on the moon.

then and now button   02/10/1846 - Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Mormons, began an exodus to the west from Illinois.

then and now button   02/10/1949 - Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman opened on Broadway.

then and now button   02/10/1967 - The 25th Amendment to the Constitution, dealing with presidential disability and succession, went into effect.

then and now button   02/11/1812 - Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry signed a redistricting law favoring his party ... giving rise to the term "gerrymandering."

then and now button   02/11/1945 - FDR, Winston Churchill and Josef Stalin signed the Yalta agreement.

then and now button   02/11/1979 - Followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini seized power in Iran.

then and now button   02/11/1983 - Janet Reno became the first female attorney general.

then and now button   02/11/1990 - South Africa freed black activist Nelson Mandela after 27 years in captivity.

then and now button   02/12/1733 - English colonists led by James Oglethorpe founded Savannah GA.

then and now button   02/12/1909 - The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was founded.Academic Freedom Day

then and now button   02/12/1915 - The US House of Representatives rejected a proposal to give women the right to vote.

then and now button   02/12/1932 - Mrs. Hattie Caraway became the first woman elected to the US Senate.

then and now button   02/12/1966 - Adam West premiered as Batman in the US.

then and now button   02/12/2020 - Academic Freedom Day (Charles Darwin’s birthday)

then and now button   02/13/1635 - America's oldest public school, the Boston Public Latin School, was founded.

then and now button   02/13/1795 - The University of North Carolina became the first US state university to admit students. The first was Hinton James, who was the only student on campus for two weeks.

then and now button   02/13/1920 - The League of Nations recognized the perpetual neutrality of Switzerland.

then and now button   02/13/1960 - France exploded its first atomic bomb.

then and now button   02/14/1778 - The American ship Ranger carried the recently adopted Stars and Stripes to a foreign port for the first time as it arrived in France.

then and now button   02/14/1918 - Tarzan of the Apes was released for the first time. There were a number of protests since people reasoned that Tarzan was living in sin with Jane without the benefit of matrimony.

then and now button   02/14/1920 - The League of Women Voters was founded in Chicago.

then and now button   02/14/1931 - The movie Dracula was released, with Bela Lugosi as the Count.

then and now button   02/14/1945 - Peru, Paraguay, Chile and Ecuador joined the UN.

then and now button   02/14/1989 - Iran's Ayatollah put out a $1 million bounty for Salman Rushdie, the author of The Satanic Verses, considered blasphemous by members of the Islamic community.

then and now button   02/14/2020 - Valentine's Day

then and now button   02/15/1564 - Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei was born in Pisa.

then and now button   02/15/1764 - The city of St. Louis was established.

then and now button   02/15/1879 - President Hayes signed a bill allowing female attorneys to argue cases before the Supreme Court.

then and now button   02/15/1898 - The US battleship Maine mysteriously blew up in Havana Harbor, killing more than 260 crew members and bringing the US closer to war with Spain.

then and now button   02/15/1950 - Disney released the movie Cinderella.

then and now button   02/15/1989 - The Soviet Union announced that the last of its troops had left Afghanistan, after more than nine years of military intervention.

then and now button   02/15/2020 - Susan B. Anthony Day

then and now button   02/15/2020 - Parinirvana – Buddhist

then and now button   02/16/1959 - Fidel Castro became premier of Cuba after the overthrow of Fulgencio Batista.

then and now button   02/16/1968 - Haleyville AL began the first 911 emergency telephone system in the nation.

then and now button   02/17/1801 - The House of Representatives broke an electoral tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, electing Jefferson president and Burr vice president.

then and now button   02/17/1817 - A street in Baltimore became the first lit with gas from America's first gas company.

then and now button   02/17/1897 - The forerunner of the National PTA, the National Congress of Mothers, was founded in Washington.

then and now button   02/17/1947 - The Voice of American began broadcasting to the Soviet Union.

then and now button   02/17/1964 - The Supreme Court ruled that congressional districts within each state had to be roughly equal in population.

then and now button   02/17/2020 - Presidents Day

then and now button   02/18/1861 - The Confederate States of America swore in Jefferson Davis as president.

then and now button   02/18/1885 - Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was published for the first time.

then and now button   02/18/1930 - The ninth planet of our solar system, Pluto, was discovered.

then and now button   02/18/1985 - Jonathan Isaac Horsky Glenn was born in Mansfield OH.

then and now button   02/19/1846 - The Texas state government was formally installed in Austin.

then and now button   02/19/1942 - President Roosevelt signed an executive order giving the military the authority to relocate and intern Japanese-Americans as well as Japanese nationals living in the US.

then and now button   02/19/1945 - The Marines landed on Iwo Jima.

then and now button   02/20/1792 - President Washington signed an act creating the US Post Office.

then and now button   02/20/1809 - The Supreme Court ruled the power of the federal government is greater than that of any individual state. (It's been downhill ever since.)

then and now button   02/20/1839 - Congress prohibited dueling in the District of Columbia.

then and now button   02/20/1962 - Astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth, flying aboard Friendship Seven.

then and now button   02/21/1878 - The first telephone directory was issued.

then and now button   02/21/1965 - Former Black Muslim leader Malcolm X was shot to death in New York.

then and now button   02/21/1972 - President Nixon began his historic visit to China.

then and now button   02/21/2020 - Maha Shivaratri (Great Shiva Night) – Hindu

then and now button   02/22/1819 - Spain ceded Florida to the US.

then and now button   02/22/1879 - Frank Woolworth opened a 5-cent store in Utica NY.

then and now button   02/22/1924 - Calvin Coolidge delivered the first presidential radio broadcast from the White House.

then and now button   02/22/1935 - It became illegal for airplanes to fly over the White House.

then and now button   02/22/1980 - The US Olympic hockey team upset the Soviets 4-3 and went on to win the gold medal.

then and now button   02/23/1836 - The siege of the Alamo began in San Antonio.

then and now button   02/23/1945 - US Marines on Iwo Jima captured Mount Suribachi where they raised the American flag.

then and now button   02/23/1997 - Scientists in Scotland announced they had succeeded in cloning an adult sheep producing a lamb named Dolly.

then and now button   02/24/1868 - The House of Representatives impeached President Andrew Johnson following his attempted dismissal of Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. The Senate acquitted him.

then and now button   02/24/1903 - The US signed an agreement acquiring a naval station at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

then and now button   02/24/1920 - A fledgling German political party - the Nazi Party - held its first meeting in Munich. Its chief spokesman was Adolf Hitler.

then and now button   02/24/1942 - The Voice of America went on the air for the first time.

then and now button   02/24/1980 - The US hockey team defeated Finland, 4-2, to clinch the gold medal at the Winter Olympic Games.

then and now button   02/25/1570 - Pope Pius V excommunicated England's Queen Elizabeth I.

then and now button   02/25/1793 - The department heads of the US government met with President Washington in the first Cabinet meeting.

then and now button   02/25/1836 - Inventor Samuel Colt patented his revolver.

then and now button   02/25/1913 - Secretary of State Philander C. Knox declared the 16th amendment ratified, allowing Congress to levy and collect income taxes.

then and now button   02/25/2020 - Norriture Rituelle des sources tęt d' l'eau – Voudon

then and now button   02/25/2020 - Mardi Gras / Carnival / Fat Tuesday / Shrove Tuesday

then and now button   02/26/1919 - Congress established Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.

then and now button   02/26/1940 - The US Air Defense Command was created.

then and now button   02/26/1951 - The US ratified 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, limiting a president to two terms of office.

then and now button   02/26/1952 - Prime Minister Winston Churchill announced that Britain had developed its own atomic bomb.National Adjunct Walkout/Action Day

then and now button   02/26/1993 - A bomb built by a group of Islamic extremists exploded in the parking garage of NY's World Trade Center, killing 6 people and injuring more than 1,000 others.

then and now button   02/26/2020 - National Adjunct Walkout/Action Day (#NAWD) ... Adjuncts are often referred to as the Wal-Mart workers of academia (although let the record show that Wal-Mart, at least, is raising its employees’ wages).

then and now button   02/26/2020 - Ash Wednesday, Beginning of Lent – Christian

then and now button   02/27/1801 - The District of Columbia was placed under the jurisdiction of Congress.

then and now button   02/27/1922 - The Supreme Court unanimously upheld the 19th Amendment to the Constitution that guaranteed the right of women to vote.

then and now button   02/28/1827 - The first US railroad chartered to carry passengers and freight, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company, was incorporated.

then and now button   02/28/1854 - Around 50 people opposed to slavery met at a schoolhouse in Ripon WI, to call for a new political organization. The group would later take the name of the Republican Party.

then and now button   02/28/1863 - President Lincoln signed the first military draft law in the US. Rich people could opt out if they paid $300.

then and now button   02/28/1953 - Scientists James Watson and Francis Crick discovered the double-helix structure of DNA.

then and now button   02/28/1979 - Mr. Ed, TV's talking horse, died.

then and now button   02/29/1504 - Christopher Columbus, stranded in Jamaica during his fourth voyage to the West, used a correctly predicted lunar eclipse to frighten hostile natives into providing food for his crew.






Online Resource Links

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 Iraq  |  Cracks in ISIS Are Becoming More Clear  |  How ISIS’ Attacks Harm the Middle East

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 - 2004: 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.

How the Doomsday ClocK Has Changed




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Copyright © 1996 Amy S Glenn
Last updated:   02/01/2020   1300

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