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.
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Quotes of the Month
Men argue. Nature acts.
We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost's familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road - the one less traveled by - offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.
~Rachel Carson, Silent Spring
The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.
Numbers of the Month
One of President Trump’s broadest and longest-standing attempts to minimize the risk posed by the changing climate is to insist that the entire idea that the world is getting warmer has been so disproved that advocates had to rebrand global warming as climate change. This is not only not the case, but it’s a reversal of what happened in 2002 when Republican consultant Frank Luntz recommended that then-president George W. Bush drop the term global warming in favor of the term climate change. He also encouraged the administration, under fire for abandoning a climate-related agreement shortly after taking office, to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty [in climate change] a primary issue in the debate to keep the public from accepting that climate change was occurring.
Trump himself has seized on this idea, repeatedly arguing that there is uncertainty about whether the climate really is warming or the role of humans in that warming, and has consistently reversed government efforts to slow climate change. Yet his administration recently released a congressionally-mandated major climate change report, the National Climate Assessment, making it very clear that there is not only broad consensus on the reality of climate change but also on the cause and effects of it. Further, it makes a clear statement that climate change is not only already affecting the US, but that the effects are getting worse. The report, apparently unintentionally, offers fairly direct rebuttals to nearly every critique Trump has used in recent years.
A few of President Trump’s critiques of climate change:
I don’t necessarily agree that human activity is the overwhelming cause of climate change.
I don’t know that it’s man-made.
I don’t believe the impact is merely what some say, and other scientists that dispute those findings very strongly.
Brutal and Extended Cold Blast could shatter ALL RECORDS - Whatever happened to Global Warming?
Maybe [climate change] contributes a little bit to wildfires. The big problem we have is management.
You don’t know whether or not [melting glaciers] would have happened with or without man.
Wind turbines are death to the environment.
Clean coal is a great thing. And it’s another source. It has to compete against natural gas. It has to compete against a lot of different things, including solar and including wind and including all of those things. Now, they’re much, much more expensive, as you know. They’re much, much more expensive. In fact, they need subsidy. And if you don’t give them subsidy - I don’t like energy that needs subsidy. [Trump has regularly used the term clean coal to refer to coal generally. In climate terms, clean coal refers only to a process by which the carbon dioxide released when coal is burned is captured and prevented from entering the atmosphere.]
What I’m not willing to do is sacrifice the economic well-being of our country for something that nobody really knows.
A few of the points made in the Trump administration’s recent climate report:
Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization, primarily as a result of human activities. The impacts of global climate change are already being felt in the US and are projected to intensify in the future - but the severity of future impacts will depend largely on actions taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the changes that will occur.
The unambiguous long-term warming trend in global average temperature over the last century cannot be explained by natural factors alone. Greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are the only factors that can account for the observed warming over the last century; there are no credible alternative human or natural explanations supported by the observational evidence. Without human activities, the influence of natural factors alone would actually have had a slight cooling effect on global climate over the last 50 years.
A key goal of scientific research is to increase our confidence and reduce the uncertainty in our understanding of the world around us. Even so, there is no expectation that uncertainty can be fully eliminated, just as we do not expect a perfectly accurate estimate for our drive-time each day. While there is inherent uncertainty in climate science, there is high confidence in our understanding of the greenhouse effect and the knowledge that human activities are changing the climate in unprecedented ways. There is enough information to make decisions based on that understanding.
Annual average temperature over the contiguous US has increased by 1.2ºF over the last few decades and by 1.8°F relative to the beginning of the last century. Additional increases in annual average temperature of about 2.5°F are expected over the next few decades regardless of future emissions. Increases ranging from 3°F to 12°F are expected by the end of century, depending on whether the world follows a higher or lower future scenario, with proportionally greater changes in high temperature extremes.
Climatic changes, including warmer springs, longer summer dry seasons, and drier soils and vegetation, have already lengthened the wildfire season and increased the frequency of large wildfires. Analyses estimated that the area burned by wildfire across the western US from 1984 to 2015 was twice what would have burned had climate change not occurred.
In the Arctic, annual average temperatures have increased more than twice as fast as the global average, accompanied by thawing permafrost and loss of sea ice and glacier mass. Arctic-wide glacial and sea ice loss is expected to continue; by mid-century, it is very likely that the Arctic will be nearly free of sea ice in late summer.
A growing number of states, cities and businesses have pursued or expanded upon initiatives aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and the scale of adaptation implementation across the country has increased. However, these efforts do not yet approach the scale needed to avoid substantial damages to the economy, environment and human health expected over the coming decades. Many activities within the public and private sectors aim for or have the effect of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, such as the increasing use of natural gas in place of coal or the expansion of wind and solar energy to generate electricity.
Low carbon-emitting natural gas generation has displaced coal generation due to the rising production of low-cost, unconventional natural gas, in part supported by federal investment in research and development. In the last 10 years, the share of generation from natural gas increased from 20% to over 30%, while coal has declined from nearly 50% to around 30%. Over this same time, generation from wind and solar has grown from less than 1% to over 5% due to a combination of technological progress, dramatic cost reductions and federal and state policies.
The continued warming that is projected to occur without substantial and sustained reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions is expected to cause substantial net damage to the US economy throughout this century, especially in the absence of increased adaptation efforts. With continued growth in emissions at historic rates, annual losses in some economic sectors are projected to reach hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century - more than the current gross domestic product of many US states.
President Trump’s response to the claim that the economic effects of continued warming would be devastating?
“I don’t believe it.”
Then and Now
12/01/1824 - The presidential election was turned over to the House of Representatives when a deadlock developed between John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, William Crawford and Henry Clay. Adams was the winner.
12/01/1830 - French novelist Victor Hugo was supposed to turn in a draft of his book The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The deadline was extended several times before the book was published in 1831.
12/01/1913 - The first drive-in automobile service station opened in Pittsburgh.
12/01/1955 - Rosa Parks, a black seamstress, refused to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery city bus.
12/01/1969 - The US government held its first draft lottery since WWII.
12/01/2018 - World AIDS Day
12/02/1804 - Napoleon was crowned emperor of France.
12/02/1823 - President Monroe outlined his doctrine opposing European expansion in the Western Hemisphere.
12/02/1859 - Militant abolitionist John Brown was hanged for his raid on Harper's Ferry the previous October.
12/02/1942 - A self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction was demonstrated for the first time at the University of Chicago.
12/02/2018 - Chanukah begins at sunset and ends on the 10th at nightfall – Judaism
12/02/2018 - First Sunday of Advent – Christian
12/03/1947 - Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire opened on Broadway.
12/03/1967 - Doctors performed the first human heart transplant in South Africa.
12/04/1783 - General George Washington said farewell to his officers at Frances Tavern in NY.
12/04/1945 - The Senate approved US participation in the United Nations.
12/05/1933 - Prohibition came to an end as Utah became the 36th state to ratify the 21st Amendment to the Constitution which repealed the 18th Amendment.
12/05/2003 - The last Amy Glenn Show after 10 years on the air. I still miss you guys!
12/06/1790 - The US Congress moved from NY to Philadelphia.
12/06/1889 - Jefferson Davis, the first and only president of the Confederate States of America, died in New Orleans.
12/06/1923 - Radio broadcast a presidential address for the first time as President Coolidge spoke to a joint session of Congress.
12/06/1933 - After being banned in the US and England on its publication in 1922, James Joyce's Ulysses was ruled not obscene by a federal judge.
12/06/1947 - President Truman dedicated Everglades National Park in Florida.
12/07/1941 - Japanese forces attacked American and British territories in the Pacific, including the home base of the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor.
12/07/1972 - America's last moon mission to date launched as Apollo 17 blasted off from Cape Canaveral.
12/07/2018 - Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day
12/08/1941 - The US Congress declared war on Japan.
12/08/1980 - A deranged fan shot and killed John Lennon outside his NYC apartment building.
12/08/2018 - Rohatsu / Bodhi Day – Buddhism
12/08/2018 - Feast of the Immaculate Conception – Christian
12/09/1608 - English poet John Milton was born in London.
12/09/1854 - Alfred, Lord Tennyson's Charge of the Light Brigade was published in England.
12/09/1907 - Christmas seals went on sale for the first time at the Wilmington DE post office. Proceeds went to fight tuberculosis.
12/10/1830 - Poet Emily Dickinson was born in Amherst MA.
12/10/1520 - Martin Luther publicly burned the papal edict demanding that he recant or face excommunication.
12/10/1906 - Theodore Roosevelt became the first American to win the Nobel Peace Prize, for helping to mediate an end to the Russo-Japanese War.
12/10/1931 - Jane Addams became the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. She was a co-recipient.
12/10/1938 - The movie Gone With the Wind began filming in Hollywood, and dozens of back-lot sets were set on fire for the burning of Atlanta' scene, including those huge wooden gates from King Kong.
12/10/1950 - Ralph J. Bunche became the first black American to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
12/10/1953 - The first issue of Playboy Magazine went on sale. It featured the famous nude calendar of Marilyn Monroe. What it didn't have was an issue date since Heffner wasn't sure he'd ever have a reason to print a second issue.
12/10/1958 - The first domestic passenger jet flight took place in the US as a National Airlines Boeing 707 flew 111 passengers and 7 crew members from NYC to Miami in about 2 1/2 hours.
12/10/1964 - The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. won the Nobel Peace Prize.
12/10/1967 - Otis Redding, 26-year-old R&B legend, died in a plane crash near Madison WI.
12/10/2018 - Ganga-Bois – Voudon
12/11/1872 - America's first black governor took office as Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback became acting governor of Louisiana.
12/11/1936 - Britain's King Edward VIII abdicated the throne in order to marry American divorcee Wallis Warfield Simpson.
12/11/1941 - Germany and Italy declared war on the US. The US said "right back at you!"
12/11/1961 - The first American military support for South Vietnam's battle against Communist guerrillas arrived in Saigon.
12/12/1870 - Joseph Rainey of South Carolina became the first black lawmaker sworn into the US House of Representatives.
12/12/1897 - The Katzenjammer Kids, the pioneering comic strip created by Rudolph Dirks, made its debut in the New York Journal.
12/12/1917 - Father Edward Flanagan founded Boys Town outside Omaha, Nebraska.
12/12/1925 - The first motel, the Motel Inn, opened in San Luis Obispo CA.
12/12/2000 - A divided US Supreme Court reversed a state court decision in Florida's contested presidential election, making George W. Bush the president.
12/12/2018 - Agou-Arroyo (Manga la mer) through the 14th – Voudon
12/13/1577 - Sir Francis Drake of England set out with five ships on a nearly three-year journey that would take him around the world.
12/13/1918 - President Wilson arrived in France, becoming the first chief executive to visit Europe while in office.
12/13/2000 - Republican George W. Bush claimed the presidency a day after the US Supreme Court shut down further recounts of disputed ballots in Florida. Democrat Al Gore conceded and delivered a call for national unity.
12/13/2003 - Saddam Hussein was captured hiding in a small cellar in Tikrit.
12/14/1799 - George Washington died at his Mt. Vernon home at the age of 67.
12/14/1981 - Israel annexed the Golan Heights, which it had seized from Syria in 1967.
12/15/1791 - The Bill of Rights went into effect following ratification by Virginia.
12/15/1890 - Sioux Indian Chief Sitting Bull was killed in Grand River SD.
12/15/2018 - Bill of Rights Day
12/16/1773 - The Boston Tea Party took place in protest over British taxes.
12/17/1830 - South American patriot Simon Bolivar died in Columbia.
12/17/1903 - Wilbur and Orville Write of Dayton OH went on the first successful manned-powered airplane flights near Kitty Hawk NC, using their experimental craft, the Wright Flyer.
12/17/1957 - The US successfully tested the Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time.
12/17/1989 - The Simpsons debuted on Fox.
12/17/2001 - US Marines raised the Stars and Stripes over the long-abandoned American Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.
12/17/2018 - Wright Brothers Day
12/17/2018 - Saturnalia begins and runs through the Winter Solstice
12/18/1865 - The 13th Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery, took effect.
12/18/1892 - Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker Suite publicly premiered in St. Petersburg, Russia.
12/18/1944 - In a pair of rulings, the Supreme Court upheld the wartime relocation of Japanese-Americans, but also said undeniably loyal Americans of Japanese ancestry could not be detained.
12/18/1992 - Kim Young-sam became South Korea's first civilian president in three decades.
12/19/1732 - Benjamin Franklin published Poor Richard's Almanack.
12/19/1843 - A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens, was first published in England.
12/19/1984 - Britain and China signed an accord returning Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty on July 1, 1997.
12/19/1998 - The Republican-controlled House impeached President Bill Clinton, later acquitted by the Senate, for perjury and obstruction of justice.
12/20/1803 - The Louisiana Purchase was completed as ownership of the territory was transferred from France to the US during ceremonies in New Orleans.
12/20/1860 - South Carolina became the first state to secede from the Union.
12/20/1989 - The US launched Operation Just Cause, sending troops into Panama to topple the government of General Manuel Noriega.
12/21/1620 - The first of the Mayflower pilgrims came ashore at Plymouth Rock, in present-day Plymouth MA. Although historians are certain that the Pilgrims set foot in the New World on the 26th, not the 21st, no one bothered to set an exact date for the celebration of the event until 275 years later, by which time the original date had been obscured.
12/21/1898 - Scientists Pierre and Marie Curie discovered the radioactive element radium.
12/21/1913 - The first crossword puzzle was published in the New York World.
12/21/1968 - Frank Bormann, James Lovell Jr. and William Anders became the first astronauts to orbit the moon, completing 10 orbits in Apollo 8.
12/21/2018 - Solstice, the first day of Winter
12/21/2018 - Yule/Winter Solstice – Wicca, Celtic
12/22/1989 - A popular uprising toppled from power Romanian President Nocolae Ceausescu, the last of Eastern Europe's hard-line Communist rulers.
12/23/1823 - Clement C. Moore's A Visit from St. Nicholas was first published.
12/23/2001 - Israel barred Yasser Arafat from making his annual Christmas Eve visit to Bethlehem.
12/23/2018 - Festivus
12/24/1524 - Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama, who had discovered a sea route around Africa to India, died in Cochin, India.
12/24/1851 - Fire devastated the Library of Congress in Washington, destroying about 35,000 volumes.
12/24/1865 - Several veterans of the Confederate Army formed a private social club in Pulaski TN called the Ku Klux Klan.
12/24/1961 - The Lion Sleeps Tonight became the first African song to hit #1 on the American Pop chart. The Tokens performed the American version of Wimoweh.
12/24/2018 - Christmas Eve – Christian
12/25/2018 - Bain de Noël (Frotte feuilles) or Fete des Membres – Voudon
12/25/2018 - Christmas Day – Christian
12/26/1606 - Shakespeare's play King Lear was performed for the first time at the court of King James I.
12/26/1893 - Chinese leader Mao Tse-tung was born in Hunan province.
12/26/1941 - Winston Churchill became the first British prime minister to address a joint meeting of the US Congress.
12/26/1944 - Tennessee Williams' play The Glass Menagerie was first performed publicly at the Civic Theater in Chicago.
12/26/2018 - St. Stephen’s Day – Christian
12/26/2018 - Kwanzaa begins and runs through January 1st. Each of the seven nights of Kwanzaa emphasizes one of seven principles: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.
12/27/1831 - Naturalist Charles Darwin set out on a voyage to the Pacific aboard the HMS Beagle. His discoveries during the trip helped to form the basis of his theories on evolution.
12/27/1900 - Militant prohibitionist Carry A. Nation carried out her first public smashing of a bar at the Carey Hotel in Wichita KN.
12/27/1904 - James Barrie's play Peter Pan opened at the Duke of York's Theatre in London. The play was written in the same year as its production. None of Barrie's other plays would ever enjoy as much success as this one.
12/27/1932 - Radio City Music Hall opened in NYC.
12/27/1947 - Howdy Doody debuted on NBC.
12/27/1985 - American naturalist Dian Fossey was murdered at a research station in Rwanda.
12/28/1897 - Cyrano de Bergerac, by Edmond Rostand, premiered in Paris.
12/28/1945 - Congress officially recognized the Pledge of Allegiance. It did not include the words "under God."
12/29/1845 - The Union admitted Texas as the 28th state.
12/29/1851 - The first American YMCA was organized in Boston.
12/29/1890 - The Wounded Knee massacre took place in South Dakota when US troops, sent to disarm them, killed over 300 Sioux.
12/30/1922 - Vladimir Lenin proclaimed the establishment of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
12/30/1993 - Israel and the Vatican agreed to recognize each other.
12/31/1946 - President Truman officially proclaimed the end of hostilities in WWII.
12/31/1974 - Private US citizens were allowed to buy and own gold for the first time in more than 40 years.
12/31/1974 - Harry Chapin's Cat's in the Cradle went gold.
12/31/2018 - Omisoka – Shinto
12/31/2018 - New Year's Eve
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 Iraq | Cracks in ISIS Are Becoming More Clear | How ISIS’ Attacks Harm the Middle East
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 - 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.
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.