Monday, December 19, 2011

THOMAS online, brought to you by the Library of Congress

I really enjoy finding a new resource on the web.  Sometimes it’s kind of a Homer Simpson moment though (“Doh!”), when I think I should have known about this thing earlier.  Thanks to a blog post about the Federalist Papers by my friend Paul over at History Delivered, I discovered THOMAS, brought to you by the wonderful folks at your Library of Congress.  I thought I would share it with you here.

THOMAS, named for Thomas Jefferson, is the section of the Library of Congress website that provides a bit of transparency to our government.  Here’s an explanation from the site’s About page: “THOMAS was launched in January of 1995, at the inception of the 104th Congress.  The leadership of the 104th Congress directed the Library of Congress to make federal legislative information freely available to the public.”

The site provides all of the legislative information you could want to get your eyes on, so you don’t have to suffer the biased summations of the media, whatever your political philosophy.  On this site you can read the real text of bills and resolutions that our Congress is debating, along with treaties, the Congressional Record, and more (not to mention the Federalist Papers).  The site has actually been around since 1995.  Realizing that and having not looked into it sooner is definitely one of my Homer Simpson moments.  But who has time for all of this reading?  Well, perhaps I do watch too much television, but since all of my favorite shows are in repeats, the holiday season is an excellent time to do a little extra reading and research.  ;-)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Significant Pearl Harbor Day

My thanks to Barry Simpson from the 509th Parachute Infantry Association for posting a link via Facebook to a newspaper article in the Birmingham Press Register.  This was how I found out that this year will make the last formal December 7th ceremony for the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association chapters around the country.  This is the 70th anniversary of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  With most of their members in their nineties, and fewer and fewer able to attend events, the national organization and many local chapters plan to disband on December 31st of this year.

I find this news saddens me more than I thought it would.  December 7th is not only “Pearl Harbor Day,” but also signals the anniversary of the United States’ entry to the Second World War.  As a student of this war, the most tumultuous event of the twentieth century that set the stage for the Cold War and formed our current international landscape, I hope that despite the passing of our veterans we will continue to honor the day and remember the sacrifice.

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