EppsNet Archive: History

Nov. 12, 1954: Ellis Island Closes

12 Nov 2015 /

Via History.com:

On this day in 1954, Ellis Island, the gateway to America, shuts it doors after processing more than 12 million immigrants since opening in 1892. Today, an estimated 40 percent of all Americans can trace their roots through Ellis Island, located in New York Harbor off the New Jersey coast and named for merchant Samuel Ellis, who owned the land in the 1770s.

On January 2, 1892, 15-year-old Annie Moore, from Ireland, became the first person to pass through the newly opened Ellis Island, which President Benjamin Harrison designated as America’s first federal immigration center in 1890. Before that time, the processing of immigrants had been handled by individual states.


With America’s entrance into World War I, immigration declined and Ellis Island was used as a detention center for suspected enemies. Following the war, Congress passed quota laws and the Immigration Act of 1924, which sharply reduced the number of newcomers allowed into the country and also enabled immigrants to be processed at U.S. consulates abroad. After 1924, Ellis Island switched from a processing center to serving other purposes, such as a detention and deportation center for illegal immigrants, a hospital for wounded soldiers during World War II and a Coast Guard training center. In November 1954, the last detainee, a Norwegian merchant seaman, was released and Ellis Island officially closed.

On This Day

19 Jul 2015 /
A Hospital Corpsman attached to the 3rd Battal...

A Hospital Corpsman attached to the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines operating in Afghanistan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On July 19, 1980, the Summer Olympics began in Moscow with dozens of nations boycotting because of Soviet military intervention in Afghanistan.

Thirty-five years later, there’s still a war going on in Afghanistan, so you can see what a shrewd foreign policy move that was.

Women’s World Cup: Why the US Will Beat Germany

30 Jun 2015 /

A recurring theme in world history is the United States dick-slapping Germany: World War I, World War II, “Tear down this wall!” … maybe that’s not the most appropriate metaphor for a women’s soccer match but we’ve been winners all our lives.

U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

Happy Flag Day!

14 Jun 2015 /
The Stars and Stripes

During the American Revolution, the Continental Congress adopts a resolution stating that “the flag of the United States be thirteen alternate stripes red and white” and that “the Union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.” The national flag, which became known as the “Stars and Stripes,” was based on the “Grand Union” flag, a banner carried by the Continental Army in 1776 that also consisted of 13 red and white stripes. According to legend, Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross designed the new canton for the Stars and Stripes, which consisted of a circle of 13 stars and a blue background, at the request of General George Washington. Historians have been unable to conclusively prove or disprove this legend.

Bad Luck

3 Feb 2015 /

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as “bad luck.”

— Robert Heinlein

Thanksgiving Day

28 Nov 2014 /

Mark Twain

Thanksgiving Day, a function which originated in New England two or three centuries ago when those people recognized that they really had something to be thankful for — annually, not oftener — if they had succeeded in exterminating their neighbors, the Indians, during the previous twelve months instead of getting exterminated by their neighbors, the Indians. Thanksgiving Day became a habit, for the reason that in the course of time, as the years drifted on, it was perceived that the exterminating had ceased to be mutual and was all on the white man’s side, consequently on the Lord’s side; hence it was proper to thank the Lord for it and extend the usual annual compliments.

Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 1

A Glimpse of Antiquity

10 Sep 2014 /

Yes, those are World Books and Reader’s Digest Condensed Books. No, this is not an archaeological dig. It’s a furniture store we visited over the weekend.

When I was growing up, our family, like many American families at that time, had a set of World Book encyclopedias, so I knew they existed but I haven’t actually seen one in decades.

Reader’s Digest Condensed Books are a relic from a time when many Americans still liked to think of themselves as the kind of people who read books but didn’t want to actually read a whole, entire book. Reader’s Digest stripped out all the boring passages about clouds and such that people don’t read and compressed four or five books into the size of one.

Today, of course, no one reads books at all, with or without the cloud passages, so Reader’s Digest Condensed Books have joined World Book encyclopedias in the dustbin of history.

Teaching Computer Science

1 Sep 2014 /

Tomorrow is my first day as an AP Computer Science teacher at Corona del Mar High School. It’s a volunteer gig through the TEALS organization.

Only about 10 percent of U.S. high schools offer computer science classes and at most of those schools, it counts as an elective, like Home Ec or Wood Shop, not as a class that can be applied toward graduation like math or science.

The most popular AP exam in 2013 was US History — 439,552 students took the AP US History exam. Only 31,117 students took the AP Computer Science exam. That’s about the same number as the AP Art History exam. I don’t want to denigrate the study of art history, but given the ubiquity of computers and software and programming in daily life, the study of computer science seems more likely to enable a person to be self-supporting and to contribute to the common good.

I’ve heard people say that computer science should be taught in every high school in America. That may be a good idea, but no one ever says where all the qualified computer science teachers are supposed to come from. The TEALS vision is to put high-tech professionals like myself in schools to teach computer science and to teach teachers to teach computer science.

I’m happy to have the opportunity but I’m also scared, I might as well put that out there. What am I scared of? Like everything else, that I won’t perform to expectations and that I’ll be exposed as a phony.

You Say Anarchy, Sir, Like It’s a Bad Thing

15 Jun 2013 /
Thomas Jefferson

Frankly, one of our political parties is insane, and we all know which one it is. They have descended from the realm of reasonableness that was the mark of conservatism. They dream of anarchy, of ending government.

My fellow Americans —

I’ll tell you who’s insane: anyone who’s not dreaming of anarchy at this moment in history is insane. People forget that this great nation was founded by anarchists, born out of an armed revolution against a corrupt government.

As I said at the time, “Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.”

I assure you, though, that regrettably neither current political party dreams of anarchy. They both dream of exactly the same things: self-aggrandizement and rewarding their most powerful supporters with political spoils.


The well-known liberal cartoonist Ted Rall wrote a book a couple of years ago advocating a new American revolution. Unfortunately, while popular uprisings do continue to occur around the world, I am not optimistic that it will ever happen again in America.

The great majority of our citizens now are far more informed about fantasy football and reality TV than they are about current events. They understand politics at only the most simple-minded level: Team Red vs. Team Blue.

I’m Team Blue! Let’s go, Blue! BOOOOO, Team Red! Or vice versa.

Notice, for example, that all of the things that Team Blue hated so much about the George W. Bush administration are okay now that they’re being carried out by President Obama.

Obama didn’t stop the wars or the torture or the spying. He’s just as cozy with Wall Street. Gitmo is still open for “prolonged detention.” Moreover, he’s killing foreign civilians, and sometimes American citizens, with drone strikes, and he’s eliminating whatever civil liberties you think you have left.

Torture and war and economic collapse don’t matter as long as they’re being supervised by my team! Go Blue! We’ll all be in a gulag in 10 years. Go Blue!

Some despotic regimes around the world rely on starvation and threats of violence to keep the people in a state of submissive compliance. Here in America, the same collective stupor is effected via mindless entertainments and gadgetry.

I should raise myself out of depression, paralysis and failure and resist this massive government/corporate dystopia — but I might miss my TV programs.

In 1776, we decided that being Americans meant being free men and women, not serfs and lackeys. We mutually pledged to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor to throw off the abuses and usurpations of the Government, and to secure the blessings of Liberty.

How soon they forget.

I bid you God speed,

Thomas Jefferson, anarchist

Thomas Jefferson

The Ruins

12 Sep 2011 /
palmyra castle 6:10

And now behold what remains of this powerful city: a miserable skeleton! What of its vast domination: a doubtful and obscure remembrance! To the noisy concourse which thronged under these porticoes, succeeds the solitude of death. The silence of the grave is substituted for the busy hum of public places; the affluence of a commercial city is changed into wretched poverty; the palaces of kings have become a den of wild beasts; flocks repose in the area of temples, and savage reptiles inhabit the sanctuary of the gods. Ah! how has so much glory been eclipsed? how have so many labors been annihilated? Do thus perish then the works of men–thus vanish empires and nations?

The Golden State Mutual Building

7 Jul 2011 /
The Golden State Mutual Building

On June 1, 2011, the City of Los Angeles reached a significant milestone in its historic preservation program: the approval of City Historic-Cultural Monument #1000, the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance building at 1999 W. Adams Boulevard in West Adams. The Golden State Mutual Building is a very fitting recipient of this honor. Built in 1949, this six-story commercial building was designed in the Late Moderne style by architect Paul R. Williams 1894-1980. Williams was the first certified African-American architect west of the Mississippi River, the first African-American member of the American Institute of Architects, and also served on the first Los Angeles Planning Commission in 1920.

Anne Frank

3 Mar 2011 /
Memorial for Margot and Anne Frank

As I’ve said before, it continues to amaze me how many people around the world have been touched by the life of this one girl . . .

I have seen the movie about Anne Frank and I was very emotional and hurt it was very hard to watch this movie
the things they had to go through it makes you think twice as hard what if it was my family we take things for granted

Anne Frank didn’t have a chance to have a family of her own go to the movies stay up late getting married every aspect of life
what she had she cherished with all the love for everything she had

this situation with race needs to stop we all bleed the same colour unless we have aliens or robot blood among us or those who choose to judge all races

To me Anne Frank was a very brave outstanding young lady that had to grow up so fast before her time

To Otto Frank,Edith Frank,Margot Frank,Anne Frank you are all together now in gods arms holding you all ever so gentle his angels are cmforting you all from all the hard ache you all went through god bless you all

R.I.P. Anne Frank

200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes – The Joy of Stats

5 Dec 2010 /

Twitter: 2010-08-16

16 Aug 2010 /
  • Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to retweet it. #

Miep Gies, 1909-2010

12 Jan 2010 /
Miep Gies

AMSTERDAM – Miep Gies, the office secretary who defied the Nazi occupiers to hide Anne Frank and her family for two years and saved the teenager’s diary, has died, the Anne Frank Museum said Tuesday. She was 100.

“I don’t want to be considered a hero,” she said in a 1997 online chat with schoolchildren.

“Imagine young people would grow up with the feeling that you have to be a hero to do your human duty. I am afraid nobody would ever help other people, because who is a hero? I was not. I was just an ordinary housewife and secretary.”


Hotel California

2 Sep 2009 /
Hotel California album cover

I’m reading one of those “year in history” things for 1976 — Legionnaire’s Disease, Apple Computer founded, Hotel California released . . . wait a minute . . . Hotel California was released in nineteen-SEVENTY-SIX?! Oh my gosh . . . oh my gosh . . .

As a sidebar, I’m disappointed in the Eagles for signing Michael Vick. Does he even play an instrument?

Lightning’s Book Reviews: Don’t Know Much About History

26 Aug 2009 /
Don't Know Much About History book cover
Lightning Epps

Hi everybody! It’s me, Lightning!

My owner’s son has this book for his AP U.S. History class. You should read it! The title — Don’t Know Much About History — makes you think of the famous song by Sam Cooke, so right away you want to know more about it!

History is fascinating! For example, did you know that the Duke and Duchess of Windsor had ELEVEN pugs?! The Duke used to be the King of England but he had to “adbdicate” (that means quit) so he’d have enough time to walk all of his dogs.

I hope that fact is in the book!

Duke and Duchess of Windsor with pugs

— Lightning paw

Thomas Jefferson Wishes You a Happy Fourth

4 Jul 2009 /
Thomas Jefferson

My fellow Americans —

Happy Independence Day to all of you!

Please take a few minutes on this day to look at a wonderful history lesson — about me! — by Maira Kalman, in which you’ll learn, among other things, that I actually wrote the Declaration of Independence!



Crucial Conversations

23 Mar 2009 /

I know my son had a history test today, and that history is a make-or-break class for him. I want to ask him about the test but we’re having a delicious family meal at Olive Garden and I don’t want to break up the festive mood in the event the news turns out to be bad.

I decide to ease into it with some small talk . . .

“So, how was recess today?”


I continue, “I know you had a history test today but rather than get right into that, I thought we could start with some small talk about recess.”

He says, “I haven’t had recess since 6th grade.”

“Oh. In that case, how was the history test?”

Failure is an Orphan

1 Feb 2009 /

For centuries, historians have debated whether history is propelled by Great Men (and Women), human forces of nature who bend events and systems to their will, or by vast impersonal forces (communism, capitalism, globalization) that render even the most powerful of us a mere reed basket floating in a massive river. There’s no session on the subject at the World Economic Forum in Davos. But at least with regard to finance and business, the consensus seems to be clear: Success is the work of Great Men and Great Women, while failure can be pinned on the system.

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