Although this site has been created primarily for my students, everyone is welcome. In these pages you'll find many sources of information.
The Online Resources section below has numerous links that are of current interest. For more links to material on just about any topic you're looking for, use the E-Links button above. Linked off of that page are pages containing hundreds of links to sites covering a number of topics.
Visit often ... I update frequently! Hope you enjoy the site!
Quote of the Month
It is a national feeling of fear and frustration that could result in national suicide and the end of everything that we Americans hold dear. I speak as a Republican. I speak as a woman. I speak as a United States Senator. I speak as an American. I think that it is high time that we remembered that we have sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution. I think that it is high time that we remembered that the Constitution, as amended, speaks not only of the freedom of speech but also of trial by jury instead of trial by accusation. Those of us who shout the loudest about Americanism in making character assassinations are all too frequently those who, by our own words and acts, ignore some of the basic principles of Americanism: The right to criticize; the right to hold unpopular beliefs; the right to protest; the right of independent thought.
~Senator Margaret Chase Smith, 1950
News of the Month
A year that began in crisis, 2022 is hardly concluding with peace and good will. The biggest armed conflict in Europe since WWII rages on as Russia seeks to eviscerate its neighbor Ukraine. Inflation, having hit forty-year highs, is running at more than seven per cent annually. Republicans, many still in the thrall of Trump and his lies about his 2020 election defeat, reclaimed the House of Representatives. And Trump himself is campaigning for President again. Thanks to a Supreme Court remade by the right during Trump’s Presidency, Roe v. Wade, with its guarantee of women’s reproductive freedom, stands no more. COVID, diminished but not destroyed, continues to kill, on average, several hundred people in the US every day.
The nation, understandably, remains in a dark mood. It’s hardly good news that 76% of Americans in the most recent Gallup survey think the country is on the wrong track, down from a high of 87% last summer. But expectations are everything in politics. And the one truly good thing you can say about 2022 is that It could have been worse. Russia could have won. A Republican red wave, predicted by history and the polls, might have swept radical Trumpist election deniers into control of both houses of Congress and key state-election offices. Inflation might have kept going up. The economy could have entered a full-fledged recession.
No wonder, then, that Biden and his administration are ending the year on a strikingly positive note. Legislatively, Biden managed to secure passage of a long list of bills in his first two years, including measures to spend billions on infrastructure, climate-change mitigation and health care, as well as a CHIPS Act that seeks to shift manufacturing of critical technology components back to the US. Some of those bills even cleared with bipartisan support, despite a 50-50 Senate and a narrow House majority. Politically, Democrats overcame Biden’s unpopularity to register the best midterm results in 20 years for a party in power, keeping hold of the Senate as voters rebuffed the most extreme Trump-backed Republican candidates in battleground states.
On the world stage, Biden has rallied the West to Ukraine’s defense, secured large bipartisan majorities in Congress to send billions in military assistance, impose sweeping sanctions on the Russian economy and negotiate the accession of previously neutral Finland and Sweden into NATO. With this unprecedented aid, Ukraine has managed to fight Russia to a standoff. Kyiv, predicted by experts in the Pentagon and elsewhere to fall within days, still stands.
Biden has so far been a president whose great skill is persistence in the face of adversity and a leader whose foes have underestimated him at great cost to themselves. Both Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump seem to have made the mistake of believing their own propaganda. They did not see Biden as the formidable opponent he has proven to be. The American president, aided by the overreach of their attacks on democracies at home and abroad, brought something that turned out to be incalculably valuable to the fight: clarity.
For several years, Biden had warned of a new era of conflict between rising autocracies and the world’s democracies. When Putin proved him right, he did not back away, as his predecessors in both parties had so often done when confronted by the Russian leader’s outrages throughout two decades. As for Trump, the existential threat he posed to American democracy brought Biden into the 2020 presidential contest in the first place - and Biden closed out the 2022 midterm campaign by warning about the high stakes. Many voters, it seems, actually listened.
But not everything is positive. America remains perilously divided, a 50-50 country where candidates of a rogue GOP as manifestly unqualified as Herschel Walker in Georgia and as viciously untruthful as Kari Lake in Arizona can receive 48.6% and 49.7% of the vote, respectively. Donald Trump, despite the sudden outbreak of Republicans blaming him for all the losing, has not yet been decisively repudiated by the party that inflicted him on the rest of us. Nor has he been held to account in a court of law for his growing list of offenses against the Constitution and the democratic order. Exiled to Mar-a-Lago and reduced to hawking virtual playing cards of himself as a would-be superhero, he is a punch line, but also an ongoing threat.
The state of the economy, meanwhile, remains uncertain, as does our health - mental, physical, environmental and spiritual. Mass gun deaths, a uniquely American phenomenon, included the murder of 19 children and 2 teachers in Uvalde, Texas. Against such a backdrop, too much of what passes for politics is profoundly unserious BS, whether it’s the governor of Florida, making war on Walt Disney World or Elon Musk spending $44 billion on Twitter in the name of “free speech” only to destroy it and billions of dollars of shareholder value in his Tesla car company, while he was at it. But 2022 could have been much, much worse. A glimmer of hope has been purchased at great cost at the end of a long, awful 2022 - in the unmarked graves of Ukrainian suburbs and the clandestine abortions of America’s red states.
Then and Now
01/01/1735 - Paul Revere was born in Boston.
01/01/1752 - Betsy Ross was born in Philadelphia.
01/01/1863 - President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared that slaves in rebel states were free.
01/01/1892 - The Ellis Island Immigrant Station in NY formally opened.
01/01/1898 - Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island consolidated into NYC.
01/01/1901 - The Commonwealth of Australia officially came into existence.
01/01/1959 - Fidel Castro led Cuban revolutionaries to victory over Fulgencio Batista.
01/01/1994 - The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect.
01/01/1997 - Kofi Annan assumed the post of UN Secretary-General.
01/01/1999 - The Euro, the new single currency of 11 European countries, officially came into existence.
01/01/2023 - Kwanzaa ends
01/01/2023 - New Year's Day!
01/01/2023 - Ganjitsu / Oshogatsu – Shinto
01/02/1492 - The leader of the last Arab stronghold in Spain surrendered to Spanish forces loyal to King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella I.
01/02/1921 - KDKA in Pittsburgh broadcast religious services on the radio for the first time when it aired the Sunday service of Calvary Episcopal Church.
01/02/1960 - Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts announced his candidacy for the democratic presidential nomination.
01/02/1974 - President Nixon signed legislation requiring states to limit highway speeds to 55 mph.
01/02/2023 - Cassé Gâteau begins and ends on 01/04 – Vodún
01/03/1521 - The Roman Catholic Church excommunicated Martin Luther.
01/03/1892 - JRR Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, was born in Bloemfontein South Africa.
01/03/1938 - The March of Dimes campaign to fight polio was organized.
01/03/1947 - TV broadcast Congressional proceedings for the first time as viewers in Washington, Philadelphia and NY saw opening ceremonies of the 80th Congress.
01/03/1961 - The US severed diplomatic relations with Cuba.
01/03/1989 - The Arsenio Hall Show premiered.
01/03/2000 - The last new daily Peanuts comic strip ran.
01/04/1790 - Washington delivered the first annual presidential address - the State of the Union - to the nation.
01/04/1948 - Britain granted independence to Burma, now called Myanmar.
01/04/1960 - French author Albert Camus died in a car accident at the age of 46.
01/04/1974 - President Nixon refused to hand over tape recordings and documents subpoenaed by the Senate Watergate Committee.
01/04/1995 - The 104th Congress, the first entirely under Republican control since the Eisenhower era, convened.
01/04/1999 - Former pro-wrestler Jesse "The Body" Ventura took the oath of office as Minnesota's 37th governor.
01/04/2023 - Trivia Day
01/05/1925 - Nellie Ross succeeded her late husband as governor of Wyoming, becoming the first female governor in the US.
01/05/1949 - In his State of the Union address, President Truman labeled his administration the "Fair Deal."
01/05/1993 - The state of Washington executed Westley Allan Dodd, an admitted child sex killer, in America's first legal hanging since 1965.
01/05/2023 - Twelfth Night – Christian
01/06/1412 - Joan of Arc was born in Dom Remy.
01/06/2023 - Tirer Gâteau (Les rois) – Vodún
01/06/2023 - Epiphany of the Lord – Christian
01/07/1610 - Galileo discovered four of Jupiter's biggest moons using his makeshift telescope for the first time.
01/07/1789 - Americans held their first US presidential election when they voted for electors who, a month later, voted to make George Washington the nation's first president.
01/07/1953 - President Truman announced the development of the hydrogen bomb in his State of the Union address.
01/07/1959 - The US recognized Fidel Castro's new government in Cuba.
01/07/2023 - Mahayana New Year – Buddhist
01/08/1642 - Astronomer Galileo Galilei died in Arcetri Italy.
01/08/1815 - US forces led by General Andrew Jackson defeated the British in the Battle of New Orleans, the closing battle in the War of 1812.
01/08/1959 - France inaugurated Charles De Gaulle as president of France's Fifth Republic.
01/08/1964 - President Lyndon Johnson declared a War on Poverty. (I don't think we've won yet.)
01/08/2023 - Rohatsu / Bodhi Day – Buddhist
01/09/1793 - Frenchman Jean-Pierre Blanchard flew between Philadelphia and Woodbury NJ in a hot-air balloon.
01/09/1968 - The Surveyor VII space probe made a soft landing on the moon, marking the end of an American series of unmanned explorations of the lunar surface.
01/09/2006 - Alito confirmation hearings commenced in the Senate Judiciary Committee, Washington DC.
01/09/2023 - Seijin No Hi (Coming of Age Day) – Shinto
01/10/1776 - Thomas Paine published Common Sense.
01/10/1845 - Poet Elizabeth Barrett received her first note, "I love you," from her eventual husband, poet Robert Browning.
01/10/1870 - John D. Rockefeller incorporated Standard Oil.
01/10/1920 - The Treaty of Versailles went into effect establishing the League of Nations.
01/10/1928 - The Soviet Union ordered the exile of Leon Trotsky.
01/10/1946 - The first General Assembly of the UN convened in London.
01/10/1949 - RCA introduced the first 45 rpm record.
01/11/1913 - The first sedan-type automobile, a Hudson, went on display at the 13th Automobile Show in NY.
01/11/1964 - Under orders from Surgeon General Luther Terry, the first cigarette package labels appeared, warning Americans that cigarettes "may be a health hazard."
01/12/1519 - Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I died.
01/12/1773 - Charleston SC established the first public museum in America.
01/12/1965 - American playwright Lorraine Hansberry, whose A Raisin in the Sun was the first Broadway production by a black woman, died in NYC.
01/12/1971 - All in the Family premiered on CBS.
01/12/1998 - According to Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey, computer HAL was born today.
01/13/1966 - Appointed Secretary of Housing and Urban Development by President Johnson, Robert Weaver became the first black Cabinet member.
01/13/2023 - Stephen Foster Memorial Day
01/14/1784 - The US ratified a peace treaty with England ending the Revolutionary War.
01/14/1963 - Alabama swore in George C. Wallace as governor with a pledge of "segregation forever."
01/14/1970 - Diana Ross and the Supremes performed their last concert together, at the Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas.
01/14/2023 - Pongal (Makar Sankranti) begins and ends 01/17 – Hindu
01/15/1559 - England crowned Queen Elizabeth I in Westminster Abbey.
01/15/1870 - A cartoon by Thomas Nast in Harper's Weekly represented the Democratic Party as a donkey for the first time.
01/15/1928 - Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta.
01/15/1943 - Construction began on the Pentagon.
01/15/2023 - Maghi – Sikh
01/16/1547 - Ivan the Terrible was crowned tsar of Russia.
01/16/1920 - Prohibition began in the US as the 18th Amendment to the Constitution took effect. (We later decided it was a pretty stupid thing to do and got rid of it.)
01/16/1991 - The White House announced the start of Operation Desert Storm in the Middle East.
01/16/2023 - Religious Freedom Day
01/16/2023 - Martin Luther King Jr Day
01/17/1706 - Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston.
01/17/1893 - A group of businessmen and sugar planters overthrew Hawaii's monarchy, forcing Queen Liliuokalani to abdicate.
01/17/1946 - The UN Security Council held its first meeting.
01/17/1961 - In his farewell address, President Eisenhower warned against the rise of "the military-industrial complex."
01/18/1788 - The first English settlers arrived in Australia's Botany Bay to establish a penal colony.
01/18/1912 - English explorer Robert F. Scott and his expedition reached the South Pole, only to discover that Roald Amundsen had beaten them to it. Scott and his party perished during the return trip.
01/18/1943 - A wartime ban on the sale of pre-sliced bread in the US, aimed at reducing bakeries' demand for metal replacement parts, went into effect.
01/19/1809 - Author and poet Edgar Allen Poe was born in Boston, where his actor-parents were performing. Three years later he became an orphan.
01/19/1955 - TV filmed a presidential news conference for the first time with permission from President Eisenhower.
01/19/1966 - India elected Indira Gandhi as prime minister.
01/19/2023 - Confederate Heroes Day (TX)
01/20/1801 - John Marshall became chief justice of the Supreme Court.
01/20/1841 - China ceded the island of Hong Kong to Great Britain. It returned to Chinese control in July 1997.
01/20/1942 - Nazi officials held the notorious Wannsee conference, during which they arrived at their "final solution" that called for exterminating Jews.
01/20/2023 - Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti – Sikh
01/21/1915 - The first Kiwanis Club was founded in Detroit.
01/21/1930 - Newspapers published the first Buck Rogers comic strip.
01/21/1954 - The US launched the world's first nuclear submarine, the Nautilus, at Groton CT.
01/21/1977 - President Carter pardoned almost all Vietnam War draft evaders.
01/22/1953 - Arthur Miller's The Crucible opened on Broadway.
01/22/1968 - Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In premiered on NBC.
01/22/1973 - The Supreme Court handed down its Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion using a trimester approach.
01/22/2023 - Chinese New Year
01/23/1789 - Georgetown University opened in Washington DC.
01/23/1845 - Congress decided to hold all national elections on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.
01/23/1950 - The Israeli Knesset approved a resolution proclaiming Jerusalem the capital of Israel.
01/23/1964 - The US ratified the 24th amendment to the Constitution, eliminating the poll tax in federal elections.
01/23/1968 - North Korea seized the US Navy ship Pueblo, charging its crew with being on a spying mission. They released the crew 11 months later. (They still have the ship.)
01/24/1848 - James W. Marshall discovered a gold nugget at Sutter's Mill in northern California, a discovery that led to the Gold Rush of '49.
01/24/1916 - The US Supreme Court ruled that the federal income tax was constitutional.
01/24/1922 - Inventor Christian K. Nelson, of Onawa IA, patented the Eskimo Pie.
01/25/1961 - President Kennedy held the first presidential news conference carried live on radio and television.
01/26/1788 - The first European settlers in Australia, led by Captain Arthur Phillip, landed in present-day Sydney.
01/26/2023 - Vasant Panchami – Hindu
01/27/1951 - A period of atomic testing in the Nevada desert began as an Air Force plane dropped a one-kiloton bomb on Frenchman Flats.
01/27/1973 - The Vietnam peace accords were signed in Paris.
01/28/1596 - English navigator Sir Francis Drake died off the coast of Panama and was buried at sea.
01/28/1909 - The US ended direct control over Cuba.
01/28/1915 - An act of Congress created the US Coast Guard.
01/28/1970 - The soap opera All My Children debuted on TV.
01/28/1973 - A cease-fire officially went into effect in the Vietnam War.
01/28/1986 - The space shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff from Cape Canaveral, killing all seven crewmembers.
01/29/1820 - Britain's King George III died insane at Windsor Castle. (He was the king we were revolting against during the Revolutionary War.)
01/29/1845 - Edgar Allan Poe's poem, The Raven, was first published in the NY Evening Mirror. The Baltimore Ravens took their name from that poem because Poe spent a lot of time in that city.
01/30/1815 - The US Library of Congress recovered from its 1812 destruction by acquiring Thomas Jefferson's 6,457-volume personal library.
01/30/1933 - Station WXYZ in Detroit aired the first episode of The Lone Ranger radio program.
01/30/1933 - Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany.
01/30/1958 - A Hindu extremist murdered Indian political and spiritual leader, Mahatma Gandhi.
01/30/1968 - The Vietnam War's Tet Offensive began as Communist forces launched surprise attacks against South Vietnamese provincial capitals.
01/31/1865 - General Robert E. Lee became General-In-Chief of all the Confederate armies.
01/31/1928 - Scotch Tape was used for the first time.
01/31/1936 - The Green Hornet premiered on radio.
01/31/1945 - An American firing squad in France executed Private Eddie Slovik, the only US soldier since the Civil War executed for desertion.
01/31/1950 - President Truman announced he had ordered development of the hydrogen bomb.
01/31/1958 - The US entered the Space Age with its first successful launch of a satellite into orbit, the Explorer I.
01/31/2006 - Coretta Scott King, widow of Marin Luther King Jr, died in Atlanta GA.
Online Resource Links
What ISIS Really Wants: The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy and for how to stop it | ISIS Claims Responsibility, Calling Paris Attacks First of the Storm | Syria Iraq: The Islamic State Militant Group | Isis: The Inside Story | Frontline: The Rise of ISIS | Council on Foreign Relations: A Primer on ISIS | Cracks in ISIS Are Becoming More Clear | How ISIS’ Attacks Harm the Middle East | Timeline: the Rise, Spread and Fall of the Islamic State
Check out Today's Front Pages. Each day, you can see the front pages of more than 800 newspapers from around the world in their original, unedited form.
Whether or not you noticed, the earth's population passed 7 billion a while back. You might enjoy NPR's wonderful video, Visualizing How a Population Grows to 7 Billion.
Check out the St. Louis Fed's presentation The Financial Crisis: What Happened?. The original video is no longer available but you can view the power point presentation.
Want to take a survey but not sure how many responses to collect? This Survey Calculator gives you the number for any given population size and desired confidence level. A reverse calculator lets you enter characteristics of an existing survey and gives the confidence interval (±X%) to apply to the results. The Survey System site, sponsored by a survey software company, also gives clear explanations of statistical significance, survey design and related concepts. Also check out 20 Questions a Journalist (and You, too!) Should Ask About Poll Results.
PBS's 30 Second Candidate allows you to view more political ads than you ever knew existed. Choose the Historical Timeline link to see how political ads have changed over the years. Start with the infamous Daisy Ad that Lyndon Johnson used against Barry Goldwater. Click on Watch Johnson ads. Then click on either the QuickTime link or the Real Video link next to Daisy.
Check out Political Compass. The site does a good job of explaining political ideologies (although with definitions different from those I use) and gives you a chance to discover your own political philosophy.
Law Library of Congress: North Korea: Collection of links to websites on North Korean government, politics and law. Includes legal guides, country studies and links to constitutions and branches of government (where available). Council on Foreign Relations: North Korea: Background, articles and opinion pieces about North Korea government and politics. Many of the articles focus on North Korea's nuclear program. From the Council on Foreign Relations, "an independent membership organization and a nonpartisan think tank and publisher."
State of the Union (SOTU): The site uses an interactive timeline to provide a visual representation of prominent words in presidential State of the Union addresses by displaying significant words as "determined by comparing how frequently the word occurs in the document to how frequently it appears throughout the entire body of SOTU addresses." The Appendices section describes the statistical methods used. Also includes the full text of addresses.
Small Town Papers: This site provides access to scanned images of recent issues of dozens of small town newspapers from throughout the United States. Newspapers are updated periodically, 2-3 weeks after publication. The site also includes a searchable archive (of articles, photos and advertisements), which covers different periods for each paper, some as far back as the 1890s. Access to the archives requires free registration.
This website serves as a centralized location to learn about the Congressional Research Service and search for CRS reports that have been released to the public by members of Congress. (CRS Reports do not become public until a member of Congress releases the report.) Features a searchable database with more than 8,000 reports, a list of recently released reports, other collections of CRS reports and a FAQ about CRS.
Instances of the Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798 - 2020: This report lists hundreds of instances in which the United States has used its armed forces abroad in situations of military conflict or potential conflict or for other than normal peacetime purposes. It was compiled in part from various older lists and is intended primarily to provide a rough survey of past US military ventures abroad, without reference to the magnitude of the given instance noted.
Keeping the Shi'ites Straight Based on the opinion that no story has been more confusing for the Western news media to cover in postwar Iraq than the politics of the country's Shi'ite majority, this article provides a basic outline of Shi'ite religious history. Discusses the Sadr family (Muhammad Baqir as-Sadr, Ayatollah Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr, and Muqtada as-Sadr), Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim and other figures.
This commercial site presents brief information about dozens of Black Inventors from the United States. Some entries include portraits and images. Also includes a searchable timeline covering 1721-1988. Does not include bibliographic information.
Annenberg Political Fact Check: This site describes itself as a nonpartisan, nonprofit, consumer advocate for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in US politics. The site provides original articles, with summaries and sources, analyzing factual accuracy in TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases. Searchable. From the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.
White House Tapes: The President Calling: Three of America's most compelling presidents -- Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon -- bugged their White House offices and tapped their telephones. In this documentary project, American Radio Works eavesdrops on presidential telephone calls to hear how each man used one-on-one politics to shape history. Includes audio, a transcript of the documentary and background information on each president and the tapes.
The State of State and Local Finances: New studies afford a state-by-state or city-by-city analysis of fiscal well being. The Year of Living Dangerously: While leaders in a growing number of states appear to believe they're serving the public good by squeezing government dry, there's little question that minimizing management carries a host of dangers that directly affect the lives of citizens.
Government Debt by Country Map: Shows countries' general government gross debt as a percentage of GDP in 2012.
First Amendment Library: Provides info on Supreme Court First Amendment jurisprudence, including rulings, arguments, briefs, historical material, commentary and press coverage.
If you need a presentation or workshop for your group,
or the link at the top of the page.