Archive for October, 2017

What Happened in Niger?

We may never know the entire situation, but this CRS report certainly will inform us – Niger: Frequently Asked Questions About the October 2017 Attack on U.S. Soldiers; it can be read in conjunction with this PolitiFact piece – The big picture: Niger and what we know about what happened to U.S. troops. Both come with references. Another excellent site is the Council on Foreign Relations Niger page.

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Today in History – The Beginning of the Protestant Reformation

Whether Martin Luther nailed his “95 Theses” to the door of the Wittenberg Cathedral or simply delivered them to his archbishop is a matter of conjecture, but what is indisputable is that his public condemnation of numerous, Papal transgressions, spawned a movement of rebellion whose legacies still reverberate to this day. While not the first wave of protests (hence “protestant”) against the Catholic Church (look at the Waldensian movement and a little later the Hussite movement), this particular iteration proved long-lasting, thanks in no small part to the burgeoning role of the printing press that had been introduced in the West in 1451.

This post will not present a recapitulation of this era. Please come here to read about the best books on the Reformation. (Roland Bainton’s work still stands the test of time, and Parker’s work on Calvin removes much of the heated and opinionated rhetoric associated with this towering intellect.) For an online examination of those turbulent times, please read this entry from Spartacus Educational – Protestant Reformation. Another site worth visiting, and containing audio/video files as well, is this one from Deutsche Welle.

The standard edition of the collected works of Martin Luther, short-handed as WA (Weimerer Ausgabe), took over forty years to compile, are in 121 volumes, and in German; there is an multi-volume selected edition of his works in English. Online works by Luther can be found at: Christian Classics Ethereal Library (hundreds of authors) and Project Wittenberg (along with other contemporary authors). To get an insight into this person, recommended readings include:His Table Talk (conversations with Luther) and Luther’s Correspondence and Other Contemporary Letters.

John Calvin’s challenging works were published in 59 volumes as Ioannis Calvini opera quae supersunt omni; English versions can be found in the CCEL where the commentaries alone comprise 46 volumes. A contemporary document on the man can be found in Memoirs of the life and writings of John Calvin; compiled from the narrative of Theodore Beza…

Other Reformation authors can be found here and here.

Post-Reformation Digital Library is an amazing site holding hundreds, if not thousands of digital copies of primary writings.

From the Reformation to the Thirty Years’ War contains valuable primary sources.
















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Air and Water Pollution Cause Millions of Deaths Every Year

According to the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health, “Pollution is the largest environmental cause of disease and premature death in the world today. Diseases caused by pollution were responsible for an estimated 9 million premature deaths in 2015—16% of all deaths worldwide—three times more deaths than from AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined and 15 times more than from all wars and other forms of violence.” (Summary) This report examines the causes of the problems and makes recommendations on remediation. Numerous references and graphics supplement this work; related articles are also indicated. (Free registration is required.)

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Interviews With Hurricane Sandy Witnesses from New Jersey

As we remember Hurricane Sandy, having recourse to these interviews of those who were there will readily reinforce the memories we all have of that day and the days that followed.

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“Beyond the Caliphate” Project

Sponsored by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, this undertaking “… documents and identifies activity linked to and inspired by the Islamic State outside of the territory it claims as part of its physical Caliphate. In doing so, the project seeks to provide insights into how the influence, operational reach, and capabilities of the Islamic State are changing in certain locales over time.” At present, three brief reports have been released: Morocco, Southeast Asia, and Turkey.

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Some of the Remaining JFK Assassination Records Have Been Released

The National Archives released another large batch of records that deal with the investigations into the death of President Kennedy. While all the remaining records were assumed to be made public, many were held back due to “national security” concerns. Here is The New York Times take on this development. From the Kennedy Presidential Library, here is an overview of his assassination; Spartacus Educational provides a link-laden review of that event.

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Jersey City Is #2 Among 2017’s Best Halloween Cities

This survey by WalletHub places Jersey City just behind New York City as the best place for trick or treating, further reinforcing Jersey City’s growing stature as a friendly, dynamic, and growing urban center.

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