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Quote of the Month
Let the workers organize. Let their voice proclaim their injustices and demand their privileges. Let all thoughtful citizens sustain them, for the future of labor is the future of America.
~John L Lewis
News of the Month
Labor Day, an annual celebration of workers and their achievements, originated during one of American labor history’s most dismal chapters. In the late 1800s, at the height of the Industrial Revolution in the US, the average American worked 12-hour days and 7-day weeks in order to eke out a basic living. Despite restrictions in some states, children as young as 5 or 6 toiled in mills, factories and mines across the country, earning a fraction of their adult counterparts’ wages. People of all ages, particularly the very poor and recent immigrants, often faced extremely unsafe working conditions, with insufficient access to fresh air, sanitary facilities and breaks.
As manufacturing increasingly supplanted agriculture as the source of American employment, labor unions, which had first appeared in the late 18th century, grew more prominent and vocal. They began organizing strikes and rallies to protest poor conditions and compel employers to renegotiate hours and pay. Many events turned violent during this period. Others gave rise to longstanding traditions. On September 5, 1882, 10,000 workers took unpaid time off to march from City Hall to Union Square in New York City, holding the first Labor Day parade in US history. Labor Day alone didn’t change much. But from the 1930s through 1950s, labor unions were on the rise and one in every three workers was unionized, ushering in a new middle class, safety procedures and a voice at work.
According to American labor leader Peter McGuire, who is often credited with founding the holiday (although others claim union leader Matthew Maguire actually did), Labor Day celebrates the everyday men and women who work to create "all the grandeur we behold." The idea of a workingmen’s holiday, celebrated on the first Monday in September, caught on in other industrial centers across the country and many states passed legislation recognizing it. Oregon was the first state to recognize the holiday. It made Labor Day a legal holiday on February 21, 1887. That same year, Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York also legally adopted the holiday, although Congress did not legalize a national holiday until 12 years later.
Labor unions bring to mind the concept of solidarity but the long-standing goals of the labor movement also enhance individual freedom. Samuel Gompers, the first president of the American Federation of Labor and an advocate of making Labor Day a national celebration, lifted up freedom in a commentary on the holiday in 1910. “The struggle of labor,” he declared, “is to free man from his own weakness … from his own unfair, unjust and unnecessarily cruel environments,” and to bring forward “the day of deliverance from absurd economic conditions and cruel burdens.” In a Labor Day address in 1941, just months before Pearl Harbor drew the US into WWII, President Franklin D Roosevelt underscored that “one of the first acts of the Axis dictatorships has been to wipe out all the principles and standards which labor had been able to establish for its own preservation and advancement. Trade unionism is a forbidden philosophy under these rule-or-ruin dictators for [it] demands full freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Trade unionism has helped to give to everyone who toils the position of dignity which is his due.” Despite the successes of the past, though, all is not currently well with American labor.
Today, 207.5 million American workers are producing goods and services more efficiently than ever. The average hourly employee’s productivity has increased 80% over the past four decades. Many of us work longer and harder than ever before - the average American now spends 44 hours per week on the job - yet half of all workers make less than $1,037 a week, a figure that, adjusted for inflation, matches the level of earnings 18 years ago. Too, 55% of Americans don't use all of their paid time off and 33% of Americans' vacation time went unused in 2020, even though 80% of Americans would take time off if their bosses were more supportive. And those figures include only those workers who actually get paid vacations. In the US (the only advanced economy in the world that does not guarantee its workers paid vacation days and paid holidays), 25% of Americans don’t get any paid vacation or paid holidays. Nor is job-protected paid sick leave, medical leave or family leave guaranteed in the US. Economic disparities, long-term unemployment, wage stagnation, inflation and other challenges remain problems in a struggling US economy. Only 1 in 10 workers are organized, and one-third of the country’s workers earn less than $15 an hour. Research suggests that union decline has contributed significantly to the rise in inequality in America.
Some parts of the labor movement, particularly at the rank-and-file level, seem to have reached their breaking point. Dissatisfaction with pay and benefits, job security and working conditions have led more and more US workers to decide that once again the best way to get what they want is through collective bargaining. There has been an increase in employee activism, a flurry of new union activity across the country and a dramatic increase in the number of election petitions to form unions. For the first time in decades labor contracts ratified in the first quarter of 2023 provided union-represented workers with an average first-year pay raise of 7%. Many young people see hope in the flurry of new organizing efforts, especially in industries not previously unionized. For example, union drives could help hospitality workers gain the job security and pay that autoworkers achieved decades ago, once again transforming the prospects of the American middle class. And the American public seems to agree. Americans generally like unions and broadly support the right of workers to unionize. A majority (71%) holds a favorable view of unions, the highest since 1965. A majority of Americans (58%) see the long-term decline in the share of workers represented by unions as a bad thing for both the country and working people.
Interestingly, much of the current union organizing is taking place in industries and companies that previously avoided union representation. Mega-corporations, especially in retail, tech and service, have long kept out unions - until now. Historically, unions have advanced during booms of successful activity in favorable legal, political and economic circumstances. But these booms are often followed by employers’ innovations in reducing unions’ effectiveness and increasing legal restrictions, leading to union busts. If companies resist negotiating contracts, a possible union response is to threaten to strike and shut down production. Historically, strikes were a major way that workers were able to win higher wages and union recognition, from the sit-down strikes in the 1930s to the public-sector strikes in the 1960s to the Justice for Janitors strikes around the 1990s to the recent educator strikes. As new union elections declined over the past 50 years, so did strikes - and as union elections increased this year, strikes increased as well. When new unions form, win their first contracts or win strikes, it can inspire other workers to do the same. This Labor Day, it appears that frustrated workers have been inspiring one another nationwide.
But it’s difficult to organize a union in the US. It’s very rare for employers to accept worker unionization without a fight. Over the years, an entire industry has developed around union avoidance, including consultants who specialize in helping employers form strategies to prevent unionization and defeat unions. Anti-union propagandists, threats, delays by employers, intimidation (at least implicitly) of workers trying to organize and even the termination of workers, has hindered US employees in exercising their right to unionize. Workers have to believe that joining a union is worth the risk and because polling places are at workers’ job sites, the current system is so stacked against unions that they cannot fairly compete with employers. There are penalties for such unfair and illegal labor practices but they are often modest and are sometimes imposed only many years later. US employers have learned well how to defeat unionization efforts, even when it appears most of their workers want to be represented by a union and desire a greater voice in the workplace. Most employers have a greater ability to simply “wait it out” than do their rank-and-file employees.
Labor laws, meant to protect workers’ rights to organize, have failed to effectively adapt to the changing dynamics of work. States have passed laws that make it easier for employers to restrict unions and replace workers. For instance, half the states now have “right to work” laws that make it optional for workers to pay union dues, even when a union’s bargaining must apply to them. Companies routinely use legal and illegal tactics to prevent unions from forming, including hiring union-avoidance firms, threatening to close workplaces if a union forms, holding mandatory meetings to persuade workers to vote no, offering new perks and promises of better conditions, and bogging down election processes with legal challenges.
Although US union organizing has experienced an increase this year, the overall trend has been a steady decline in unions. Union membership peaked in the 1950s when 40% of US workers belonged to labor unions. That number dropped to 9% by 2021, the lowest on record. With the decline of unions, corporations have chipped away at the conventional mid-century work arrangement, which involved steady employment, opportunities for advancement and raises, and decent pay with some benefits. In the long term, the decline of unions has hurt workers. Studies have found that union members make about 20% more on average than otherwise similar nonunionized workers. The additional wages often come out of corporate profits, which explains why the decline of unions has contributed to rising economic inequality. The shrinking of unions effectively redistributes income from low- and middle-income workers to affluent investors. Then there are the political effects of union decline. Unions help turn out voters and focus them on economic issues. Studies have shown that the passage of right-to-work laws reduces the vote by about 3% on average.
Labor Day honors the struggles of American workers to live lives of their own choosing with a degree of prosperity, security and freedom. The low unemployment rate that developed during the pandemic altered the balance of power between employers and employees, creating an environment that fostered union membership and resulted in the formation of unions at several high-profile companies. The question now is whether there has been a real, lasting change in public opinion and worker attitudes about the need for a stronger worker voice.
Then and Now
09/01/1864 - Atlanta fell to Union forces.
09/01/1939 - WWII began as Nazi Germany invaded Poland.
09/01/1942 - A federal judge in Sacramento upheld the wartime detention of Japanese-Americans as well as Japanese nationals.
09/01/1951 - The US, Australia and New Zealand signed a mutual defense pact, ANZUS.
09/01/1961 - The Soviet Union ended a moratorium on atomic testing with an aboveground nuclear explosion in central Asia.
09/01/1998 - Federal legislation made airbags mandatory.
09/02/1666 - The Great Fire of London broke out claiming thousands of homes but only a few lives.
09/02/1789 - The US Treasury Department was established.
09/02/1864 - Sherman occupied Atlanta.
09/02/1901 - VP Theodore Roosevelt offered the advice: Speak softly and carry a big stick.
09/02/1945 - Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam an independent republic.
09/02/1945 - Japan formally surrendered in ceremonies aboard the USS Missouri, ending WWII.
09/02/1963 - Alabama Governor George Wallace prevented the integration of Tuskegee High School by encircling the building with state troopers.
09/02/1969 - The first ATM opened for business.
09/02/1973 - JRR Tolkien, the author of the best-selling fantasy novels The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, died at the age of 81 in Bournemouth, England.
09/02/1998 - A UN court handed down the first international conviction for genocide, finding Jean-Paul Akayesu, the former mayor of a small town in Rwanda, guilty of nine counts,
09/02/2023 - Hummingbird Day
09/02/2023 - VJ Day
09/03/1777 - The American flag was flown in battle for the first time on this day in 1777, during a Revolutionary War skirmish at Cooch's Bridge, Delaware.
09/03/1783 - The Treaty of Paris between the US and Great Britain officially ended the Revolutionary War.
09/03/1939 - Britain and France declared war on Germany, two days after the Nazi invasion of Poland.
09/03/1978 - The Roman Catholic Church installed Pope John Paul I as its 264th pontiff.
09/04/476CE - The Western Roman Empire fell when Romulus Augustus, the last emperor of the Western Roman Empire, was deposed by Odoacer, a German barbarian who proclaimed himself king of Italy.
09/04/1781 - Spanish settlers founded Los Angeles.
09/04/1886 - The last American Indian warrior surrendered when Geronimo, the wiliest and most dangerous Apache warrior of his time, finally surrendered in Skeleton Canyon, Arizona.
09/04/1951 - President Harry S. Truman's opening speech before a conference in San Francisco was broadcast across the nation, marking the first time a television program was broadcast from coast to coast. The speech focused on Truman's acceptance of a treaty that officially ended America's post-World War II occupation of Japan.
09/04/1957 - Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus called out the National Guard to prevent nine black students from entering Central High School in Little Rock.
09/04/2023 - Labor Day
09/05/1774 - In response to the British Parliament's enactment of the Coercive Acts in the American colonies, the first session of the Continental Congress convened at Carpenter's Hall in Philadelphia. Fifty-six delegates from all of the colonies except Georgia drafted a declaration of rights and grievances and elected Virginian Peyton Randolph as the first president of Congress. Patrick Henry, George Washington, John Adams and John Jay were among the delegates.
09/05/1793 - The Reign of Terror began during the French Revolution as the National Convention instituted harsh measures to repress counterrevolutionary activities.
09/05/1836 - The Republic of Texas elected Sam Houston as president.
09/05/1877 - After his victory at Little Bighorn, US Army forces led by Colonel Nelson Miles pursued Crazy Horse and his followers. His tribe suffered from cold and starvation, and on May 6, 1877, Crazy Horse surrendered to General George Crook at the Red Cloud Indian Agency in Nebraska. He was sent to Fort Robinson NE, where he was fatally bayoneted on this date by a US soldier after resisting confinement in a guardhouse.
09/05/1972 - Arab guerrillas attacked the Israeli delegation at the Munich Olympic Games. They killed eleven Israelis, five guerrillas and a police officer.
09/06/1941 - Germany ordered Jews over the age of six in German-occupied areas to wear yellow Stars of David.
09/06/1975 - Czechoslovak tennis star Martina Navratilova, in NY for the US Open, requested political asylum.
09/06/2023 - Read a Book Day
09/06/2023 - Janmashtami / Krishna Jayanti (Birthday of Krishna) – Hindu
09/07/1901 - The Peace of Beijing ended the Boxer Rebellion in China.
09/07/1940 - Nazi Germany began its initial blitz on London during WWII.
09/07/1977 - The Panama Canal treaties, calling for the US to eventually turn over control of the waterway to Panama, were signed in Washington.
09/08/1664 - The Dutch surrendered New Amsterdam to the British, who renamed it New York.
09/08/1900 - A hurricane that killed about 6,000 people stuck Galveston TX.
09/08/1935 - Senator Huey P. Long (The Kingfish) of Louisiana politics was shot and morally wounded. He died two days later.
09/08/1952 - Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea was first published.
09/08/1971 - The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts opened in Washington DC with a performance of Leonard Bernstein's Mass.
09/08/1974 - President Ford granted an unconditional pardon to former President Richard Nixon.
09/08/2023 - Star Trek Day … Trekkies Unite!
09/08/2023 - National 401(k) Day
09/09/1776 - The Second Continental Congress made the term United States official, replacing United Colonies.
09/09/1948 - The People's Democratic Republic of Korea (North Korea) was created.
09/09/1957 - President Eisenhower signed into law the first civil rights bill to pass Congress since Reconstruction.
09/09/1976 - Communist Chinese leader Mao Zedong died in Beijing at the age of 82.
09/09/2002 - Iraq challenged the US to produce "one piece of evidence" that it was producing weapons of mass destruction.
09/10/1608 - John Smith became president of the Jamestown colony council in Virginia.
09/10/1846 - Elias Howe received a patent for his sewing machine.
09/10/1939 - Canada declared war on Nazi Germany.
09/10/1955 - Gunsmoke premiered on CBS.
09/10/1963 - Twenty black students entered Alabama public schools following a standoff between federal authorities and Governor George Wallace.
09/10/1991 - The Senate Judiciary Committee opened hearings on the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the US Supreme Court.
09/10/2023 - Grandparents’ Day
09/11/1962 - The Beatles made their first record for EMI, Love Me Do and P.S. I Love You.
09/11/1973 - Chilean President Salvador Allende died in a violent military coup.
09/11/1997 - Scots voted to create their own Parliament after 290 years of union with England.
09/11/2001 - Terrorists flew hijacked airliners into the World Trade towers in NYC and the Pentagon in Washington. A fourth plane crashed in Pennsylvania.
09/11/2023 - Patriot Day
09/12/1609 - English explorer Henry Hudson sailed into the river that now bears his name.
09/12/1944 - During WWII, US Army troops entered Germany for the first time near Trier.
09/12/2000 - Hillary Rodham Clinton became the only First Lady to win an election as she claimed victory in the NY Democratic Senate primary.
09/12/2023 - Rastafarian New Year's Day
09/13/1943 - Chiang Kai-shek became president of China.
09/13/1948 - Elected to the US Senate, Republican Margaret Chase Smith of Maine became the first woman to serve in both houses of Congress.
09/14/1814 - On this evening, Francis Scott Key stood onboard the ship Minden in Chesapeake Bay and composed the lines known as The Star-Spangled Banner.
09/14/1940 - Congress passed the Selective Service Act, providing for the first peacetime draft in US history.
09/15/1821 - Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador proclaimed their independence from Spain.
09/15/1935 - The Nuremberg laws deprived German Jews of their citizenship and made the swastika the official symbol of Nazi Germany.
09/15/1963 - A bomb went off during Sunday services at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham AL killing four black girls.
09/15/2023 - September 15 through October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month.
09/15/2023 - Rosh Hashanah begins this evening and ends at sundown on the 17th– Judaism
09/16/1810 - Mexico began its revolt against Spanish rule.
09/16/1919 - The American Legion was incorporated by an act of Congress.
09/16/1940 - Sam Rayburn of Texas became Speaker of the US House.
09/16/1940 - President Franklin Roosevelt signed into law the Selective Training and Service Act which set up the first peacetime military draft in US history.
09/16/2023 - Mexican Independence Day
09/16/2023 - Mayflower Day
09/17/1787 - A majority of delegates attending the constitutional convention in Philadelphia completed and signed the Constitution of the US.
09/17/1920 - The American Professional Football Association, a precursor of the National Football League, was formed in Canton OH.
09/17/1939 - The Soviet Union invaded Poland, more than two weeks after Nazi Germany launched its assault.
09/17/1978 - After meeting at Camp David, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat signed a framework for a peace treaty.
09/17/2023 - Citizenship Day and Constitution Day (Federal law now requires all schools receiving federal funding to teach the Constitution on this day. Doesn’t that seem a little contrary to the spirit of the Constitution?)
09/18/1850 - Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act which allowed slave owners to reclaim slaves who had escaped to other states.
09/18/1970 - Jimmy Hendrix died in London at age 27.
09/19/1796 - President Washington's farewell address was published.
09/19/1912 - When feminist Rebecca West, 19, reviewed Marriage by HG Wells, 45, and called him "the old maid among novelists," Wells asked to meet her. By the next spring, they had embarked on what became a 10-year love affair.
09/19/1957 - The US conducted its first underground nuclear test in the Nevada desert.
09/19/1986 - Federal health officials announced that the experimental drug AZT would be made available to thousands of AIDS patients.
09/20/1519 - Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan set out from Spain on a voyage to find a western passage to the Spice Islands in Indonesia.
09/20/2001 - President George W. Bush gave an address to a joint session of Congress cautioning the nation that there were "struggles ahead and dangers to face."
09/21/1780 - Benedict Arnold’s plan to surrender the fort at West Point NY to British forces was discovered. Arnold was an American military officer who served during the Revolutionary War. He fought with distinction for the American Continental Army and rose to the rank of major general before defecting to the British side of the conflict in 1780. General George Washington had given him his fullest trust and had placed him in command of West Point in New York. Arnold was planning to surrender the fort there to British forces, but when the plot was discovered, he fled to the British lines. In the later part of the conflict, Arnold was commissioned as a brigadier general in the British Army, and placed in command of the American Legion. He led the British army in battle against the soldiers whom he had once commanded, after which his name became synonymous with treason and betrayal.
09/21/1792 - The French National Convention voted to abolish the monarchy.
09/21/1897 - The New York Sun ran its famous editorial that declared, "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus."
09/21/1949 - The People's Republic of China was established.
09/21/1970 - NFL Monday Night Football made its debut on ABC.
09/21/1981 - The Senate unanimously confirmed the nomination of Sandra Day O'Connor to become the first female justice on the Supreme Court.
09/22/1776 - Nathan Hale was hanged as a spy by the British during the Revolutionary War.
09/22/1862 - President Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation which declared all slaves in rebel states should be free as of January 1, 1863.
09/22/1949 - The Soviet Union exploded its first atomic bomb.
09/22/1980 - The Persian Gulf conflict between Iran and Iraq erupted into full-scale war.
09/23/1806 - The Lewis and Clark expedition returned to St. Louis from the Pacific Northwest.
09/23/1846 - German astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle discovered the planet Neptune.
09/23/1957 - A white mob forced nine black students (The Little Rock Nine) who had entered Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas to withdraw.
09/23/2023 - First Day of Autumn
09/23/2023 - Autumn Equinox – Wicca, Celtic
09/23/2023 - Autumn Equinox Day – Shinto
09/24/1789 - Congress passed the First Judiciary Act which provided for an Attorney General and a Supreme Court.
09/24/2023 - Gold Star Mother’s Day
09/24/2023 - Yom Kippur (Atonement) begins at sunset – Judaism
09/25/1690 - Publick Occurrences, Both Foreign and Domestick, the first newspaper published in America, was printed by Richard Pierce and edited by Benjamin Harris in Boston. It contained 3 printed pages and 1 blank page.
09/25/1789 - The first US Congress adopted 12 amendments to the Constitution and sent them to the states for ratification. Ten of those amendments became the Bill of Rights.
09/25/1897 - Author William Faulkner was born in New Albany MS.
09/25/1957 - With 300 US Army troops standing guard, nine black children forced to withdraw from Central High School in Little Rock, because of unruly white crowds, were escorted to class.
09/25/1979 - Evita opened on Broadway.
09/25/1981 - Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was sworn in to the Supreme Court. She was the first woman nominated and the first confirmed to the court. Nominated by President Ronald Reagan, she was considered the swing vote for the Rehnquist Court and the first five months of the Roberts Court. O'Connor's relatively small shift away from conservatives on the Court seems to have been due at least in part to Justice Clarence Thomas's views. When Thomas and O'Connor were voting on the same side, she would typically write a separate opinion of her own, refusing to join his. In the 1992 term, O'Connor did not join a single one of Thomas's dissents. She retired in 2005.
09/25/2023 - Roi Wangol, Mousindi – Vodún
09/26/1789 - Thomas Jefferson became America's first Secretary of State.
09/26/1914 - The Federal Trade Commission was established.
09/26/1950 - UN troops recaptured the South Korean capital of Seoul from the North Koreans.
09/26/1960 - The first televised debate between presidential candidates Richard Nixon and John Kennedy took place in Chicago.
09/26/1962 - The Beverly Hillbillies premiered on CBS.
09/26/1986 - William Rehnquist became the 16th chief justice of the US.
09/26/2023 - No Nukes Day
09/26/2023 - Mawlid an Nabi (Birth of the Prophet) begins at sunset and ends at evening on the 27th – Muslim
09/27/1779 - John Adams was named to negotiate the Revolutionary War's peace terms with Britain.
09/27/1954 - Tonight, hosted by Steve Allen, debuted on NBC.
09/27/1964 - The Warren Commission issued a report concluding that Lee Harvey Oswald had acted alone in assassinating President Kennedy.
09/27/1996 - Afghanistan's Taliban drove the government out of Kabul and captured the capital.
09/28/1066 - William the Conqueror invaded England to claim the English throne.
09/28/1850 - The US Navy abolished flogging as a form of punishment.
09/28/2023 - Anant Chaturdashi – Hindu
09/29/1542 - Portuguese navigator Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo arrived at present-day San Diego.
09/29/1789 - The US War Department established a regular army with several hundred men.
09/29/2008 - By a vote of 225–208, with most Democrats in support and Republicans against, the US House of Representatives rejected the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, which included a $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program. In response, the DJIA dropped 777.68 points, or 6.98%, then the largest point drop in history. The S&P 500 Index fell 8.8% and the Nasdaq Composite fell 9.1%. Several stock market indices worldwide fell 10%. Gold prices soared to $900/ounce. The economic crisis (or Global Financial Crisis) of 2008, which started in the US but spread to the rest of the world, was the most serious financial crisis since the Great Depression of 1929. Predatory lending targeting low-income homebuyers, excessive risk-taking by global financial institutions and the bursting of the US housing bubble culminated in a "perfect storm." Mortgage-backed securities (MBS) tied to American real estate, as well as a vast web of derivatives linked to those MBSs, collapsed in value. Financial institutions worldwide suffered severe damage, reaching a climax with the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers on September 15, 2008, and a subsequent international banking crisis. If you’re interested in the details, try books Crash Proof by Peter Schiff and Meltdown by Thomas Woods, movies Inside Job (2010), The Big Short (2015) and Too Big to Fail (2011), or Frontline 2009 episodes Inside the Meltdown, Ten Trillion and Counting, Breaking the Bank and The Warning.
09/29/2023 - Manman Aloumandia – Vodún
09/29/2023 - Sukkot begins at sunset and ends on October 1st at nightfall – Judaism
09/30/1791 - Mozart's opera The Magic Flute premiered in Vienna.
09/30/1868 - The first volume of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women was published.
09/30/1954 - The US Navy commissioned the first atomic-powered vessel, the submarine Nautilus.
09/30/1962 - Black student James Meredith succeeded on his fourth try in registering for classes at the University of Mississippi.
09/30/2023 - Maitresse Délai – Vodún
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.