Bell Ringers

Bell ringers can be some of the best ways to start and/or finish a class. You’ve got the meat of the lesson buttoned up, you just need a way to introduce it and/or a powerful way to bring it home. Use them. Share them.

Dec. 1 – Rosa Parks is arrested

Dec. 1, 1955, Rosa Parks is arrested for refusing to move to the back of a bus and give her seat to a white passenger in Montgomery, Alabama. Rosa Parks, a seamstress in Montgomery, Alabama, is well known across the country as a woman refused to give into segregation. The day was Thursday December 1st, and Rosa boarded a city ... Read More

Nov. 29 – The Partition of Palestine

Nov. 29, U.N. Votes for Partition of Palestine On this day in 1947, the United Nations voted for the partition of Palestine and the creation of an independent Jewish state despite heavy Arab opposition. It is important to note that this was not the start of the Jewish-Arab conflict over Palestine, which actually began in in the 1910s when both ... Read More

Nov. 26 – Monday Madness

Nov. 26, Cyber Monday (First Monday after Thanksgiving) We all know the internet has been nothing short of revolutionary. It has changed the way we communicate with others, conduct business, consume information, get entertainment, and of course how we shop. One of the greatest examples of the disruptive effects of the internet on shopping comes around once a year with ... Read More

Nov. 23 – Starbucks or Speedway?

Nov. 23, National Espresso Day. We all have habits that can be pretty costly in the long run. Whether you tend to eat out several times a week, spend a little too much going out every weekend, or make regular impulse purchases, the costs add up and can eat away at your budget. One of the most common costly habits ... Read More

Nov. 22 – President Kennedy is Dead!

On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas. Kennedy is one of four presidents who were assassinated in office. The man who shot him, Lee Harvey Oswald, was himself shot and killed two days later. Much mystery has surrounded the assassination, and conspiracy theories continue to abound. Perhaps more interesting that this whodunit, however, ... Read More

Nov. 22 – Go for a Ride Day

Nov. 22 is Go for a Ride Day. Americans have always been attached to our transportation (although the video is shot in the UK), and getting out on the open road is part of the American mystique. But is that still true? One of the interesting changes in society is the reduction in personal transportation. The statistics web site Fivethirtyeight ... Read More

Nov. 22 – John F. Kennedy assassinated

John F. Kennedy was a democrat and the 35th president of the United States. He died an unfortunate death on November 22, 1963. Kennedy was shot in the back of the head at 12:30pm central standard time while traveling in a presidential motorcade through downtown Dallas. He was then taken to Parkland Hospital where he was pronounced dead 30 minutes ... Read More

Nov. 22 – Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is the truly American holiday. Unlike all the rest of our holidays, it is fixed on a Thursday, meaning most people have four days off in a row. And unlike Christmas, it is unconnected to consumerism, so there is far less pre-Thanksgiving anxiety (unless, of course, you’re one of the 7% of people flying to your holiday destination – ... Read More

Nov. 22 – Easy Ridin’

Nov. 22 is “Go for a Ride” day. Originally, motorcycles were primarily a form of low-cost transport, and they still are in much of the world. But as prosperity came and more people could afford cars, they became a luxury item, or a lifestyle choice. The “motorcycle generation” was the Baby Boomer generation, and for them, motorcycles represented a kind ... Read More

Nov. 19 – Reagan and Gorbachev Meet at Summit

Nov. 19, Reagan and Gorbachev Hold Their First Summit Meeting. On this day in 1985, then U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev met in Geneva, Switzerland. It was the first summit meeting between leaders of the two powerful nations in approximately eight years. The summit did not produce any ground-breaking agreements, but managed to help establish a ... Read More

Nov. 17 – The House Approves NAFTA

Nov. 17 U.S. House of Representatives Approves NAFTA With a vote of 234 for and 200 against, the North American Free Trade Agreement was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives on this day in 1993 after a hard-fought Congressional battle. Shortly thereafter the measure was approved by the Senate, where the result was never in doubt. This represented a ... Read More

Nov. 15 – Making Money with Stocks

Nov. 15, First Stock Ticker Debuts Investing in the stock market can be pretty intimidating for the average American, especially those of use who don’t know too much about it and without the money to afford costly mistakes. But fear not, for there are simple solutions to this common problem. Enter mutual funds and ETFs. Mutual funds are investment vehicles ... Read More

Nov. 15 – National Educational Support Professionals Day

Nov. 15 is National Educational Support Professionals Day. Many schools 150 years ago consisted of a building, some furniture, and a teacher. Today, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, instructional expenses are only 61% of total school outlays for K-12 education. In higher education, less than 1/3 of expenses (per student) are for instruction! This is one of ... Read More

Nov. 15 – Clean out your Refrigerator Day

Nov.15 is National Clean out your Refrigerator Day Sometimes, it is just time to do a thorough cleaning and get a fresh start on life. Every so often, you want to throw everything out, and just start over. That bottle of mustard that’s been sitting there for 3 years? – Garbage. The tub of cream cheese that slipped to the … Read More

Nov. 14 – National Burn your Draft Card Day

Nov. 14, 1968, was “National Burn Your Draft Card Day”. The United States had its last military draft from 1940 to 1973. Today, young men still need to register, but there is no active draft. The Vietnam War was a time of great turmoil in the United States, and one of the key issues dividing the country was the draft, … Read More

Nov. 13 – The Magic Bus

On Nov. 13, 1956, the Supreme Court ruled that segregated buses in Alabama were unconstitutional. The ending of the Civil War was hardly the end of discrimination against African Americans. The early hopes for a colorblind society were quickly dashed as the Northern occupation of the South ended, and a series of discriminatory laws began constructing a segregated society, sometimes ... Read More

Nov. 11 – Veterans Day

Our federal holiday, Veterans Day, first derived from an armistice between the allied nations and Germany during World War I.  This armistice was in 1918 on the 11th hour of the 11th day during the 11th month, hence why our holiday is on Nov. 11th. This is also where the Armistice Day name was derived from. In the year 1938, ... Read More

Nov. 9 – Tear Down This Wall!

On November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall opened for free movement for the first time since it was erected in 1961. Many factors went into the opening of the wall. Upon his election in 1980, President Ronald Reagan reengaged the Soviet Union militarily through a major rebuilding of the American military. His administration also pushed the Soviets and other communist ... Read More

Nov. 8 – Reagan Elected Governor of California

On Nov. 8, 1966, Ronald Reagan was elected governor of California. Reagan had been an actor and speaker before he became politically involved. His charm and wit made him into one of the most effective communicators in politics, despite having views that were well to the right of the Republican Party when he started. As president, he was fond of … Read More

Nov. 7 – Tippecanoe and Tyler, Too!

On Nov. 7, 1811, William Henry Harrison led an army which defeated a force of Native Americans near what is now Lafayette, Indiana. His victory gave him national fame. In 1840, he ran for president on the slogan, Tippecanoe and Tyler Too. Harrison was the last president to have been born a British citizen, and, dying of pneumonia only one … Read More

Nov. 7 – I’m Stressing Out, Man!

November 7, National Stress Awareness Day Whether it’s work related, family related, school related, or just due to the innumerable inconvenient aspects of day-to-day life as a human being, stress affects each and every one of us. Sometimes that stress can be a good thing, making us mentally stronger and pushing us to be our best, but too much stress ... Read More

Nov. 6 – Election Day 2018

Every Tuesday following the first Monday in November is Election Day! Confused already? This year, 2018, it happens to fall on Nov. 6th. Generally from 6 am to 6 pm polls will open at voting places around the United States for citizens to come and cast their ballot to exercise their right to vote for their elected officials. While many ... Read More

Nov. 4 – Trick or Treat? Who Benefits When Daylight Changes?

On Nov. 5, 2017  most of us will need to turn our clocks back one hour for Daylight Saving Time.  In 1918, the United States instituted Daylight Savings Time (DST). The idea was that during the summer, a lot of daylight was “wasted” because the sun came up so early in the morning, while people were still sleeping. By moving … Read More

Nov. 1 – Calzone and pennies

Nov. 1 is National Calzone Day! Kramer tries to pay in pennies. Are pennies legal tender? Are businesses required to accept payment in pennies? Pennies are legal tender, but according to the Treasury Department, there is “no Federal statute mandating that a private business, a person, or an organization must accept currency or coins as payment for goods and/or services.” … Read More

Oct. 31 – Trick or Treat?

Have you ever noticed that parks are often messier than shopping malls? Or that people take better care of their cars than they do school or public buses, or subway cars? These are all examples of what is called the tragedy of the commons. In 1833 British economist William Foster Lloyd noticed that cattle grazed on public land were scrawnier ... Read More

Oct. 30 – Mutually Assured Destruction

On Oct. 30, 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower approved NSC resolution 162/2, which set the terms and strategy for the use of nuclear weapons by the United States. Since atomic bombs were used on Nagasaki and Hiroshima in Japan, ending World War II, there has been ongoing debate about the use of nuclear weapons in future conflicts. To date, neither ... Read More

Oct. 30 John Adams, “Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.”

On Oct. 30, 1735, John Adams was born. Adams was an important figure during the American Revolution, and twice served as George Washington’s vice president. He only served one term himself, and his election served to begin the political division of the United States into two competing parties. His rival in 1796, Thomas Jefferson, defeated him in 1800, whereupon he … Read More

Oct. 30 – “Rumble in the Jungle”

On October 30, 1974, Mohammad Ali knocked out George Foreman in the 8th round, retaking the world heavyweight boxing championship. Ali (born Cassius Clay) had been convicted of draft evasion following his refusal to participate in 1966, during the Vietnam War. As a result of his conviction, he was stripped of his championship. In 1971, the Supreme Court overturned his … Read More

Oct. 30 – I have not yet begun to fight!

On Oct. 30, 1775, a Naval Committee was established by the Continental Congress. By the end of the war, 65 ships had served in the American navy, which primarily operated to disrupt British commerce. In the years since, the American navy has grown to be the most preeminent force in the world, and an important part of the ability of ... Read More

Oct. 28 – Volstead Act

Overriding President Woodrow Wilson's veto, Congress passed the Volstead Act on Oct. 28, 1919. This act is better understood as the legal authority which enforced the 18th Amendment to the US Constitution, the prohibition of alcohol. The American Temperance movement was at its height during these few years when the strict restriction on an alcohol was enforced.  One of the ... Read More

Oct. 26 – The Wild West and the OK Corral

Perhaps the most famous gunfight in history, and certainly in the history of the “wild” West, occurred on Oct. 26, 1881, in Tombstone, Arizona. The “Wild West” was quite a place. While it was not really as violent as movies make it out to be, the homicide rate in Western towns is estimated to have exceeded 97 per 100,000 citizens. … Read More

Oct. 25 – Equilibrium price of Chucky

Oct. 25 is National Chucky Day. The movie “Child’s Play” is actually based on a real event. In 1906, a child was given a doll by a maid in Key West, Fla. The doll is on display in a museum in Key West, and some people claim that their cameras stop working after pointing them at the doll. Today, the … Read More

Oct. 25 – Nixon Vetoes War Powers Resolution

Oct. 25, 1973 President Nixon vetoes the War Powers Resolution, however, Congress passed the law over Nixon’s veto on Nov. 7, 1973. The War Powers Resolution of 1973 was one of the decade’s landmark pieces of legislation. During World War II, Congress greatly expanded the president's military power and discretion. Since World War II, the United States has fought in ... Read More

Oct. 23 – What’s a trillion dollars among friends?

Oct. 23, 1981, the national debt rose to $1 trillion. After watching the video, does any of this make sense? One of the key points John makes is that government debt is not the same thing as personal debt—that much of our federal debt is money we owe to ourselves. While he rightly argues that debt is therefore less of … Read More

Oct. 22 – Standard Oil Becomes a Trust

On Oct. 22, 1882, Standard Oil became a trust, to try to circumvent anti-monopoly laws. A monopoly exists when only one firm supplies a product. Monopolies sometimes occur naturally, when there are economies of scale which prevent competition from emerging once an established firm gets to a certain size. For instance, city supply of water to homes is an example ... Read More

Oct. 20 – US Senate ratifies the Louisiana Purchase

In 1803, the United States acquired 828,000,000 square miles of French territory in the middle of North American in what became known as the Louisiana Purchase. This area was west of the Mississippi river, and as the name would suggest, contained much of what is current day Louisiana, along with all or part of what are now 15 other states. ... Read More

Oct. 19 – 1st Blockbuster Store

On October 19th 1985, the first Blockbuster video store opens in Texas. Blockbuster, a childhood staple for millenials, revolutionized the video rentals industry of its time. Blockbuster’s unique business model allowed it to offer lower prices and greater selection of movies, games, and tv shows to consumers than its competitors. By obtaining contracts with studios to give Blockbuster early releases ... Read More

Oct. 19 – Black Monday

On Monday, Oct. 19, 1987, the stock market fell more than 22%, the largest one-day loss in the history of the market. The Stock Market Crash of 1987 (Black Monday) Explained in One Minute from Certell on Vimeo. While people tend to focus on daily rises and falls of the market and of individual stocks, it is important to understand … Read More

Oct. 18 – Credit Could Ruin Your Life, or Charm Your Wife

October 18, National Get Smart About Credit Day. The credit card system is kind of like a superpower. It gives you the ability to make large purchases on the spot without knowing if you have the money to pay for them or not. While this sounds amazing, as with any superpower it’s vital to remember that with great power comes ... Read More

Oct. 18 – The Last Frontier

On Oct. 18, 1867, Russia formally transferred control of Alaska to the United States. Alaska was probably the first part of the Americas to be settled by wandering groups crossing the Bering land bridge around 14,000 BC. In the late 18th century, Russia traders, trappers and missionaries began colonizing it, but financial and political difficulties caused them to offer to … Read More

Oct. 18 – Al Capone

On October 18, 1931, Al Capone was convicted of Tax evasion. Mini Bio- Al Capone from Certell on Vimeo. While Capone ran a wide range of illegal businesses, his focus was on illegally selling alcohol during the Prohibition Era. The 18th Amendment to the Constitution, one of the so-called Progressive Amendments, prohibited the manufacture, sale or transportation of alcohol, as … Read More

Oct. 15 – Clarence Thomas’s Confirmation

On Oct. 15, 1991, the Senate voted 52 to 48 to confirm Clarence Thomas as justice on the Supreme Court. His nomination was marred by accusations of sexual harassment by a former employee, Anita Hill. Hill’s testimony brought the issue of workplace harassment to the fore of the national conversation. Thomas has been one of the most consistently conservative justices ... Read More

Oct. 13 Third presidential debate with Nixon in Hollywood and Kennedy in NY

On Oct. 13, 1960, Richard Nixon (Republican) and John F. Kennedy (Democrat) engaged in their third presidential debate. This contest was somewhat unique, as the candidates spoke from different locations as opposed to appearing together. Nixon was broadcast from Hollywood, while Kennedy appeared in New York. The debates as a whole played a critical role in shaping the outcome of ... Read More

Oct. 12 – What’s fair is fair?- or isn’t it?

On Oct. 12, 1977, the Supreme Court heard the landmark Regents of University of California v. Bakke (1978) case on affirmative action. This was the first of several lawsuits challenging the use of race in college admissions. Subsequent famous cases include Grutter v. Bollinger, Gratz v. Bollinger and most recently Fisher v. University of Texas, the subject of the video … Read More

Oct. 12 – the future of “Backseat Driving”

On October 12, 1915, the millionth Model T Ford rolled off the assembly line. Mo Rocca -The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation- Model T from Certell on Vimeo. By using an assembly line to build the Model T Ford car, Henry Ford made it possible for the automobile to become part of the household reality of average Americans. Ford pioneered many … Read More

Oct. 12 – Keeping up with the Joneses

October 12, National Savings Day. Developing good savings habits is a big challenge for many people. One of the most common traps people fall into is trying to “keep up with the Joneses.” When our friends, family, and/or neighbors are spending more  than we are, we are tempted to go beyond our own means to match or surpass their lifestyle. ... Read More

Oct. 12 – Angus Deaton & Poverty

On Oct. 12, 2015, Angus Deaton, professor of economics at Princeton University, won the Nobel Prize. Deaton’s contribution focused on understanding how innovation and development affect the well-being of the world’s poor. He is a strong advocate for rethinking the way in which we think about foreign aid and how to make it effective. The question of how best to … Read More

Oct. 11 – Who Gets The Blonde?

On Oct. 11, 1994, John Nash won the Nobel Prize in Economics for his work on the Nash Equilibrium, one of the foundational ideas of game theory. Economics is the science of choice, and while much of economics today involves crunching numbers, an important part of the field continues to be understanding how and why we make the choices we … Read More

Oct. 11 – SNL Debuts

On Oct. 11, 1975, the social commentary comedy show called Saturday Night Live (or SNL for short) hit the screen. It is widely considered to be one of the most successful broadcast television shows of all time—and for good reason. Even in its early days, the culture of SNL began to seep into American society, by taking political jabs at ... Read More

Oct. 11 – Government – Life of the Party

October 11 is “It’s My Party” Day Seinfeld – Political Party Mascots from Certell on Vimeo. Political parties first emerged with the ending of the presidency of George Washington. The American electoral system favors the emergence of two dominant parties, but in many countries, dozens of parties exist and compete at any one time. Today in the United States, party … Read More

Oct. 5 – Iran Contra Scandal Unravels

On Oct. 5, 1986, Eugene Hasenfus’ plane was shot down by members of the Sandinista regime, the governing party in Nicaragua. After questioning, Hasenfus admitted that he had been tasked with delivering weapons to the Contras (a Nicaraguan revolutionary group) on behalf of the American Central Intelligence Agency. This revelation was the beginning of the discovery of the “Iran-Contra” scandal, ... Read More

Oct. 5 – Rodney Dangerfield & Business

On October 5, 2004, Rodney Dangerfield died. Dangerfield was a comedian and actor, famous for his tagline, “I don’t get no respect!” In the 1986 movie Back to School, Dangerfield plays an “uneducated” but successful businessman who goes back to school with his son to convince him of the importance of school. Here, he takes in his first economics class. … Read More

Oct. 4 – Sputnik launched

On Oct. 4, 1957, the Soviet Union won the first stage of the “Space Race” with the launch of Sputnik, the world’s first artificial satellite. One of the most important elements of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union was the Space Race. Both superpowers sought to be the first ones into space, believing that doing ... Read More

Oct. 3 – Lincoln and Thanksgiving

On October 3, 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln declared that there should be a national day of thanksgiving: Thanksgiving Proclamation – Abraham Lincoln – 1863 – Hear the Text from Certell on Vimeo. In his speech, Lincoln points to all the advances the nation is making, despite the war raging in the South. Some say … Read More

Oct. 3 – The Bank Bailout

Oct. 3, The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 The financial crisis of 2008 and the ensuing recession shook the American financial system to its very core. In the years leading up to the Great Recession, the stock market and housing industry seemed to be on an unstoppable rise from which everyone was benefiting. At the time, regulations requiring banks ... Read More

Oct. 2 – “I disapprove of what you say, but…”

On Oct. 2, 1789, George Washington proposed the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, called the Bill of Rights. Some of these rights have become mostly forgotten: few people worry about violations of the third amendment – prohibiting the quartering of soldiers in homes; speedy and public trials (6th amendment) are not disputed, nor the right to a jury trial … Read More

Oct. 2 – First shots of the Texas Revolution

On Oct. 2, 1835, the first shots in the Texas War for Independence were fired at the Battle of Gonzales, sparking the Texas Revolution and Texas’ eventual split from Mexico. While Texas was officially an entity of Mexico, by the 1820s, Americans were flooding into the territory due to the plentiful land and farming opportunities it presented. As the farming ... Read More

Oct. 1 – Nazi Sentencing at Nuremberg

Oct. 1, 1946, the International Military Tribunal (IMT) issues verdicts against leading Nazis at Nuremberg. In the aftermath of World War II, many high ranking Nazi officials were sentenced to death by the War Crime Tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany. The phrase, “I was just following orders” originates from these trials and it brings up important questions about justice. More importantly, ... Read More

Sept. 30 – Riots Over Segregation at Ole Miss

On Sept. 30, 1962, riots broke out across the University of Mississippi over the federal government’s enforcement of integration at the university. Following the 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, segregated schools were unconstitutional. This, however, did not stop many southern states from attempting to disrupt its implementation. In 1962, Ole Miss university accepted James Meredith, ... Read More

Sept. 29 – The World’s First Billionaire

On Sept. 29th, American oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller becomes the world’s first billionaire. John D. Rockefeller, most famous for starting his company Standard Oil, revolutionized America at the turn of the 20th century, at his peak controlling 90 percent of the United States’ oil market. He realized earlier than anyone that the true money in the industry was not ... Read More

Sept. 28 – Private vs. Public Goods

On September 28, 2008, SpaceX launched the first private spacecraft. SpaceX Falcon 1 August 2, 2008 with stage separation and blow from Certell on Vimeo. Exploration has always been a risky business. Things that are good for the public, but where the risk, or the benefit is not easily calculated or maintained, are often funded by the government. These are … Read More

Sept. 28 – Miles Davis dies

On Sept. 28, 1991, jazz icon Miles Davis passed away in California at the age of 65. Miles Davis is considered one of the best jazz musicians of all time. From the 1940s to the 1980s, it can be argued that no one left a greater mark on music. Not only was Davis’s music widely popular, but its appeal to ... Read More

Sept. 28 – Should the Government Protect Us?

On September 28, 1904, a woman was arrested for smoking in an open car. “A policeman on horseback reportedly stopped her and gasped, “Ma’am, you can’t do that on Fifth Avenue!” At that time, serving single women in hotels and restaurants was also restricted. That all began to change only a few years later. Although lung cancer rates of men … Read More

Sept. 27 – John Adams negotiates Revolutionary War peace terms with Great Britain

On Sept. 27th, 1779, the American Continental Congress appointed John Adams as the minister in charge of negotiating peace and commerce treaties with Great Britain during the Revolutionary War. Adams conducted much of his work during the war out of Paris, and was able to negotiate highly favorable terms for the United States following the end of the war. The ... Read More

Sept. 27 – Axis Powers Formed

On Sept. 27, 1940 the signing of the Tripartite Pact in Berlin marked the formation of the Axis powers. The Axis powers were the nations that fought against the Allied forces in World War II, with the three main powers being Nazi Germany, the Empire of Japan, and the Kingdom of Italy. These three governments rejected the liberal principles that ... Read More

Sept. 27 – Broken Windows

On Sept. 27, Hurricane Inez slammed into the Caribbean, then Florida, and on into Mexico. About 1,000 people died. At the time, it was the strongest Hurricane recorded. When natural disasters strike, people sometimes argue that despite the human tragedy, there is a bright side: “Look at all the jobs that will be created!” This is an example of what ... Read More

Sept. 26 – Johnny Appleseed Day

September 26 is Johnny Appleseed Day. On September 26, 1774, John Chapman, aka Johnny Appleseed, was born in Leominister, Massachusetts. CSAH: Johnny Appleseed- His Real Name And His Ties To Indiana from Certell on Vimeo.   While there are multiple legends about Chapman, in fact he was an itinerant minister of the New Church (Swedenborgianism) and nurseryman, who fenced in … Read More

Sept. 25 – Eisenhower and Khrushchev meet for talks

On Sept. 25, 1959, President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev met in the US with hopes of improving Soviet-United States relations. The meeting marked a high point before relations between the two powers turned sour. After two days of meeting with each other, the two leaders issued a joint statement that seems to announce a positive meeting ... Read More

Sept. 24 – The First Supreme Court

On Sept. 24, 1789 the Judiciary Act of 1789 was passed by Congress after being signed by President George Washington, thereby establishing the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court makes up the highest tribunal in the country. It includes one Chief Justice and eight Associate justices. Cases and controversies concerning the Constitution and U.S. laws at the highest level are worked ... Read More

Sept. 21 – Benedict Arnold commits treason

On Sept. 21, 1780, General Benedict Arnold committed treason against the United States. Arnold was regarded as an American hero during the American Revolution. His bravery and leadership at the Battle of Ticonderoga in 1775 earned him a significant amount of respect, even with the leader of the Continental Army, George Washington. Nonetheless, Arnold had many enemies within the military. ... Read More

Sept. 21 – Monday Night Football

On September 21, 1970, Monday Night Football premiered. CSAH: 1970 Monday Night Football Intro from Certell on Vimeo. In 1970, the National Football League finished its merger with the American Football League, and restructured itself into two conferences. From this time forward, it solidified itself as the dominant spectator sport in America. Most years, the Super Bowl is the top-rated … Read More

Sept. 21 – Sandra Day O’Connor

On September 21, 1981, Sandra Day O’Connor became the first female justice on the Supreme Court. She was appointed by Ronald Reagan, and was considered a federalist (meaning that she believed the federal government should limit its interference in state matters), and a moderate. CSG: Sandra Day O'Connor from Certell on Vimeo. Among her most famous opinions was Grutter v. … Read More

Sept. 21 – NFL Player Strike

On September 21, 1982, the National Football League players went on strike (Peyton Manning was just starting elementary school in New Orleans). CSE: 1982 Wk 02 NFL Player Strike – NBC News from Certell on Vimeo. The 1982 strike lasted 57 days, and ended when the players revolted against their union. Sports are big business. Cities compete for the right … Read More

Sept. 18 – More Mac, More Problems

September 18, National Cheeseburger Day The quintessential cheeseburger, perhaps the most classic of American foods, has become synonymous with fast-food giants such as McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, and In-n-Out amongst others. Some do it better than most, but the concept remains the same for all. Not too long ago, one popular way of ordering your meal was to “super size” ... Read More

Sept. 17 – Constitution and Citizenship Day

On Sept. 17, 1787 the Constitution was signed. Each year, on what has become known as Constitution Day, publicly funded educational institutions and all federal agencies are required to reflect on the Constitution and its meaning. The Constitution went into effect on March 4, 1789, a date established by the Confederation Congress after New Hampshire became the 9th state to ... Read More

Sept. 17 – U.S. Constitution signed

On Sept. 17, 1787 the United States Constitution was officially signed. With the newly founded United States flailing under the Articles of Confederation, a convention was to be held in Philadelphia to revise the articles. Instead however, the delegates at the Constitutional Convention, known more commonly as the Founding Fathers, ended up writing an entirely new constitution for the United ... Read More

Sept. 14 – OPEC

Watch: CSE – What is OPEC? CSE: What is OPEC? from Certell on Vimeo. OPEC, or the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, was formed on September 14, 1960. It is a perfect example of a cartel, which is an organization designed to reduce competition and thereby increase profits and prices. Until recently, many people believe we were running out of … Read More

Sept. 13 – National Positive Thinking Day

September 13 is National Positive Thinking Day It turns out that, left to our own devices, we (as a species) tend to focus and get stuck on negative thoughts more than we do on positive ones. In this video, social psychologist Alison Ledgerwood describes her research on this topic, and provides suggestions on what to do about it! Watch: CSG: Getting … Read More

Sept. 12 – National Video Game Day

September 12 is National Video Games Day In 1975, Atari introduce a home version of Pong. Pong was a popular arcade video game and It was a huge success. It paved the way for a revolution in home electronics, and a dramatic change in how people spent their time and money. A single play of an arcade game cost $0.25, … Read More

Sept. 11 – 9/11 Terror Attacks on America

On Sept. 11th, 2001, the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda coordinated the deadliest terror attack in United States history at the World Trade Center complex in New York City. After hijacking four planes, the terrorist group crashed two of them into the North and South towers of the World Trade Center. Another of the four planes crashed into parts of the ... Read More

Sept. 11 – Zimmerwald Conference issues a call to end WW1

On Sept. 11, 1915 delegates of the First International Socialist Conference in Zimmerwald, Sweden call for an immediate end to World War I. As the war progressed from September 5th - 11th, a group of anti-war advocates and socialists convened in neutral Switzerland. The Zimmerwald Conference included 40 delegates from 11 countries: Russia, Poland, France, Germany, Bulgaria, Romania, Italy, Switzerland, ... Read More

Sept. 10 – Andrew Jackson shuts down the Second Bank of the U.S.

On Sept. 10, 1833, Andrew Jackson shut down the Second National Bank of the United States. The National Bank had been an ongoing controversy since the Constitution was ratified in 1789. Alexander Hamilton, a prominent Federalist and the first Secretary of Treasury under George Washington, advocated for the formation of the National Bank, claiming it would help the country repay ... Read More

September 7 – Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac

On September 7, 2008, the Federal Government took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) are two “government-sponsored enterprises” designed to expand the market for mortgages by buying loans from lenders, and repacking them into mortgage-backed securities. This system worked so long as economic decisions were … Read More

September 7 – The Hoover Dam

On September 7, 1936, the Hoover Dam (then called the Boulder Dam), officially opened. Hoover Dam was the largest hydroelectric power station in the world when it was built, along with being the largest concrete structure at the time. Its primary purpose, however, was and continues to be water control. HooverDam from Certell on Vimeo. Watch: CSG: Is Water Worth … Read More

Sept. 6 – President William McKinley is shot

On Sept. 6th, 1901, President William McKinley was shot at the World’s Fair in Buffalo, New York. McKinley had been shaking hands with people when an anarchist named Leon Czolgosz fired two shots into the president’s chest. Eight days later, McKinley died from the injury, leaving Theodore Roosevelt as the 26th President of the United States. McKinley was one of ... Read More

Sept. 4 – Is Google a Monopoly?

Sept. 4, Google is incorporated Over the past 20+ years, the phrase “Google it” has become synonymous with “look it up.” The internet’s favorite search engine is used to search the web 13 billion times a month, and today Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has expanded into countless other ventures from AI and robots to smartphones and computers. But, does Google ... Read More

Sept. 3 – Labor Day

Labor Day is the first Monday in September in the United States. Labor Day became an official national holiday in the United States in 1894. While most countries celebrate International Workers’ Day on May 1, government officials at the time feared that honoring workers on that day would turn it into a commemoration of the Haymarket Affair, a deadly bombing … Read More

Sept. 1 – National Tailgating Day

Sept. 1st is National Tailgating Day! The temperatures are beginning to cool, the leaves are turning brilliant colors, and there is a crispness in the air. This means one thing. It’s time to tailgate! Tailgates are an American tradition that are traced back to…the American Civil War?? Although some accredit it back to Julius Caesar. As noted in Virginia Tech’s ... Read More

Aug. 30 Tragedy of the Commons – Climate Change

On Aug. 30, 2006, California Senate passes Global Warming Solutions Act. If you ask the average American what the greatest issue the country is facing today is, you would get a variety of responses. According to a Gallup poll from July 2017, many would say poor leadership, or healthcare, or immigration, or even terrorism. Only three percent would say the ... Read More

Aug. 29 – The longest filibuster

On August 29, Democratic (he later changed parties a couple of times) Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina ended the longest filibuster in U.S. Senate history, 24 hours and 18 minutes of protest against a Civil Rights law proposed by the Eisenhower Administration. Back then, to filibuster, a Senator had to remain on his feet, speaking, without bathroom breaks or … Read More

Aug. 29 – Inflation

On August 29, 1862, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing was formed. Originally its purpose was to print paper money in the form of IOUs from the U.S. government, since there was a lack of funds to pay for the Civil War in coin. The first notes were hand-signed by clerks at the Treasury Department. The ability to print paper … Read More

Aug. 28 – King speaks to March on Washington (I Have a Dream Speech)

On Aug. 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. announced his “I Have a Dream” speech as he addressed the crowd at the March on Washington in Washington D.C. The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was the biggest peaceful assembly the capital has ever seen, with more than 250,000 people in attendance. The final speaker at the march ... Read More

Aug. 27 – Red Scare dominates American politics

On Aug. 27, 1952, The New York Times published three stories about the impact of the “Red Scare” on the upcoming revolution, and anti-communism became a dominant theme in the election. Following the Bolshevik Revolution and the rise of communism in Russia, a small number of Americans began to preach the sentiments of socialism, anarchy, and communism. These ideas were ... Read More

August 24 – The Communist Control Act

On August 24, 1954, President Eisenhower signed the Communist Control Act. Watch: CSG – The Hollywood Blacklist The Hollywood Blacklist- 1947-1960 from Certell on Vimeo.

August 22 – National Tooth Fairy Day

Watch: CSE – The Tooth Fairy CSE – The Tooth Fairy – Official Trailer (HD) – 20th Century FOX from Certell on Vimeo. For those whose families participated, visits from the tooth fairy formed one of the great “awe” moments of an otherwise painful and sometimes messy rite of passage. One of the challenges parents face is establishing the proper … Read More

August 21 – Welcome Hawaii!

On August 21, 1959, Hawaii became the 50th state in the United States. Watch: CSAH – Hawaii Becomes 50th State CSAH – Hawaii Becomes 50th State – 1959 – Today in History – Aug, 21 1959 from Certell on Vimeo. While the United States grew from only 13 states along a thin stretch of the Atlantic Coast into a continent-wide … Read More

August 17 – National Thriftshop Day

Watch: Macklemore – Thrift Shop THRIFT SHOP (G rated Radio Edit Clean version) – MACKLEMORE & RYAN LEWIS FEAT. WANZ from Cosmic Reach Media on Vimeo. One way to spend less is to buy used. When you buy a new car, for instance, it instantly depreciates by as much as 11% once you leave the parking lot! Smartly buying a … Read More

August 17 – North Korea

Watch: CSE – North Korea Explained CSE – North Korea Explained from Certell on Vimeo. On August 17, 1945, Korea was officially divided by the victorious powers of World War II, namely the Soviet Union and the United States. The dividing line was the 38th Parallel. This has led to an incredible “natural” experiment. North Korea has been government by … Read More

August 17 – Japan Surrenders

On August 17, 1945, Japan surrendered, ending World War II. Watch: CSAH – U.S. Celebrates Japanese Surrender CSAH – U.S. Celebrates Japanese Surrender (1945) from Certell on Vimeo. When the Japanese surrendered in 1945, they brought to an end one of the bloodiest decades in human history. The celebrations were unprecedented, and certainly deserved. The end of the war had … Read More

August 15 – The Sell or Starve Act

On August 15, 1876, Congress passed legislation cutting off all funds to the Lakota people until they gave up claim to the Black Hills in South Dakota. Called the “Sell or Starve” Act, it led the Sioux to give up the Black Hills, which were finally seized by the United States on February 28, 1877. Watch: CSG – The Battle … Read More

August 11 – is National Presidential Joke Day

Watch: We Begin Bombing in 5 minutes Watch: Reagan Tells Soviet Jokes Common Sense Government Read: Is it “Presidential” to tell jokes? President Obama famously had his Blackberry taken away in 2009, when he became president. No one has seemingly placed any limitations on President Trump’s use of Twitter. Are there modes of communication that should be off limits to … Read More

August 11 – Andrew Carnegie

Watch: Andrew Carnegie’s Rise From Poverty Read: Andrew Carnegie and his family arrived in America from Scotland in 1848, virtually penniless. At the age of 13, he began working in factories to help support his family. He quickly moved from job to job until he became a successful businessman on his own. His wealth grew, and at one point he … Read More

August 11 – Marquette Frye

Watch: Interview with Marquette Frye Read: On August 11, 1965, African-American Marquette Frye was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. When police also impounded and tried to tow his car, a fight and then a riot of violence, burning, and looting broke out, lasting six days. Thirty-four people were killed, over a thousand injured, and $40 million of property ($309 … Read More

August 4 – National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day

Watch: Sesame Street – The First Time Me Eat Cookie Read: August 4 is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day! Chocolate chip cookies were invented by Ruth Graves Wakefield and Sue Brides in 1938. Ruth owned the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts, which is why they’re called Toll House Cookies. During World War II, Massachusetts soldiers received them in care … Read More

August 3 – National Watermelon Day

August 3 is National Watermelon Day. The world record for spitting watermelon seeds is 68 feet 9 1/8 inches. Check out this video as Mike Rowe learns how to spit a watermelon seed. Watch: Mike Rowe and Watermelon Spitting Read: National Watermelon Day Did you know that watermelon is considered both a fruit and a vegetable? There are biological reasons … Read More

August 1 – Watergate

Watch: All the President’s Men Clip All the President's Men from Certell on Vimeo. Read: On August 1, the first article on the Watergate Break in was published in the Washington Post. The Watergate Scandal involved the illegal break-in of the Democratic National Committee on June 17, 1972. Its cover up by Richard Nixon led to his resignation and a … Read More

May 28 – The 54th Infantry

On May 28, 1863, the 54th Massachusetts Infantry departed for combat. The 54th was the first African-American regiment created after Abraham Lincoln authorized the recruitment of free blacks and former slaves into the military. The regiment performed heroically, in the frontal assault of Fort Wagner in 1863, took 40 percent casualties, an event immortalized in the film, Glory. Questions: Why ... Read More

June 1 – All the News, All the Time

On June 1, 1980, CNN went live with the first 24/7 cable news channel. Today, we take for granted that someone is always reporting the news. In fact, depending on how you set notifications on your smartphone, not only is news always to be found on one of several TV channels and web sites, but you can also be notified, ... Read More

May 31 – Autonomous Vehicle Day

May 31 is National Autonomous Vehicle Day. The dream of self-driving cars and trucks is very near to becoming reality. Although there are other technologies (like fusion-based atomic power plants) which have been “just around the corner” for decades, with self-driving cars, the engineering problems seem to have been mostly solved, and the remaining work is based on accumulating data, ... Read More

May 22 – Heave Ho! My Lads, Heave Ho! (official song of the Merchant Marine)

May 22 is National Maritime Day. The United States is a Maritime power. Today, the American Navy, while much smaller than during the Cold War, is by far the largest and most powerful in the world. As a result, the United States can project power almost anywhere in the world. By contrast, the economics of running a merchant fleet have ... Read More

May 23 – A Penny for your Thoughts

May 23 is Lucky Penny Day. Do you still use pennies? For several decades, now, the U.S. government has been trying to remove the lowly penny from circulation, but it never quite gets around to it. Do you any idea of why? For some people, it may be nostalgia. A penny used to be worth something, and it brings back ... Read More

May 24 – Play Ball!

On May 24, 1935, Major League Baseball had its first night game. The first night baseball game was played in 1880, only a year after Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. Night baseball began in the minor leagues in 1930. In 1935, MLB owners began offering games at night, in addition to during the day. It was only in 1988, ... Read More

May 17 – Separate But Not Equal

On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that separate but equal schools for black children were an unconstitutional violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. As a result, the United States began a long process of integrating schools across the country, in both the North and the South. To this day, the question of the ... Read More

May 15 – Rationing, Central Planning

On May 15, 1942, seventeen states introduced gasoline rationing to support the war effort. A prominent economist, Professor Peter Boettke, from George Mason University, attributes his decision to become an economist to his experience digging swimming pools one summer, while still in school. His employer required a lot of fuel, and due to gasoline shortages caused by the oil embargo ... Read More

May 14 – Jamestown was Founded

On May 14, 1607, Jamestown was founded. The arrival of European settlers in the Americas was the start of a new era in America, as well as world history. Colonists came for many reasons – some primarily to get rich quickly (few accomplished this), others because they were fleeing persecution, and some simply out of adventure. The Jamestown Charter lists ... Read More

May 10 – Uniting the Country

On May 10, 1869, at Promontory Summit, Utah, Central Pacific Railroad President Leland Stanford hammered the final spike into the first transcontinental railroad in the United States. Completion of the railroad took six years and was financed largely through government subsidies and land grants. The railroad dramatically reduced the time needed to cross the country, and its completion was celebrated ... Read More

May 10 – J. Edgar and the FBI

On May 10, 1924, J. Edgar Hoover became the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI is much in the news today. While it was created as a law enforcement agency, from the early days of J. Edgar Hoover, its longest-serving director, it has drifted (or rushed) into politics and policy. One of the oldest questions in politics ... Read More

May 8 – Victory in Europe

On May 8, 1945, Germany surrendered to the Allies, ending the European phase of World War II. Formal surrender took place the following day. The end of the war in Europe brought to a close hostilities which had engulfed the world, and before Japan surrendered in August that year, taking an estimated 80 million lives. It also brought to an ... Read More

May 1 – It’s the Law!

May 1 is Law Day! It was founded in 1957 by the American Bar Association, with each year having a different theme. 2018 is Miranda Rights. If you watch any television or movies, you have heard the Miranda warnings thousands of times. They are so well-known that arrestees in other countries (where they are irrelevant – it’s a purely U.S. ... Read More

May 2 – Have You No Decency?

On May 2, 1957, Senator Joseph McCarthy died. McCarthy is famous as the Senator who, in the late 1940s and early 1950s, relentlessly pursued communists believed to have infiltrated the American government. Through hearings, public statements, and speeches, he was so dogged that the term “McCarthyism” now refers to anyone engaged in a campaign based on unfair allegations and accusations. ... Read More

May 1 – The Tallest in the World

May 1, 1931, the Empire State Building officially opened. The Empire State Building may be the most iconic structure in the United States. Construction began in 1930, as the full force of the Great Depression was being felt. It was completed only a year later, in 1931, under budget and ahead of schedule. At the time, and for almost 40 ... Read More

April 27 – U.S. Grant

On April 27, 1822, Ulysses S. Grant was born. Grant was the 18th President of the United States, and Commanding General of the Army at the end of the Civil War. Grant was never considered as great a general as his counterpart, Robert E. Lee. And he is generally considered an average president. He governed during difficult times, and had ... Read More

April 26 – Wealthy … or Rich?

On April 26, 1711, David Hume was born. David Hume was a Scottish philosopher, most famous for his writing on empiricism and skepticism, arguing that there are limits to what we can truly know. But he also made important arguments about money and trade, and his arguments against mercantilism. Mercantilism is the theory that a country gets wealthy by exporting ... Read More

April 27 – Why We Hate(d) the British

On April 27, 1773, the British Parliament passed the Tea Act. The Tea Act was one of several acts passed by the British Parliament to try to generate revenue from the American Colonies to reduce the British debt. The main purpose of the act was to save the British East India Company by granting it a monopoly of tea imports ... Read More

April 17 – Ellis Island Day

April 17 is Ellis Island/Family History Day. From 1892 until 1934, Ellis Island was one of the main entry points for immigrants to arrive in America. Altogether, 12 million immigrants were processed on Ellis Island before departing for all points across the country. Interestingly, a significant number of immigrants turned around and went back home. While many more people came ... Read More

April 19 – Get to Work!

On April 19, 1932, Herbert Hoover proposed a five-day work week. Through most of Western history, people have worked six days, and rested on the seventh day. The origins of the day of rest are found in the Bible, and therefore are very much a Western idea. In 1793, the French Revolution tried to create a 10-day week, but didn’t ... Read More

April 16 – Neither Snow nor Rain … but what about FedEx?

On April 16, 1900, the U.S. Postal Service issued the first book of stamps. Stamp collecting used to be a popular hobby, and getting mail was the highlight of many people’s day. Benjamin Franklin was the first U.S. Postmaster, and operating a postal service is one of the few jobs specifically laid out in the Constitution. The need for an ... Read More

April 11 – Thar she Blows!

April 11 is submarine day. Submarines are strange creatures. Crews sometimes leave port and don’t surface again for months. The public record is 111 days. At the same time, they have had an enormous influence on history. A submarine attack on the Lusitania brought the United States into World War I. The arms race to create faster, quieter, and longer-range ... Read More

April 11 – Groovin’

April 11 is National Eight Track Tape Day. The 8-track is considered a bridge technology between earlier reel-to-reel tape players, and smaller cassettes. 8-tracks were only widely adopted in the U.S., U.K., and other English-speaking countries, alongside Japan. What 8-tracks did was allowed you to make your music portable. While records were popular, you couldn’t play them in a car, ... Read More

April 11 – The Great Society

On April 11, 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act. Lyndon B. Johnson is an enigma. He was a brash, profane Texan, thought to have stolen the 1960 election for John Kennedy by stuffing the ballot box in a few strategic Texas counties. He was drummed out of running for a second term for not doing more ... Read More

April 5 – Read a Road Map Day

April 5 is National Read a Road Map Day. When Columbus set out from Spain, he was convinced the world was round, but he was way off in terms of what the globe actually looked like. In his case, it was because he didn’t have enough information. Today, we all have continuously available information about the world around us (with ... Read More

April 5 – Burr rr rr iiiito Day

April 5 is National Burrito Day. Are you a burrito person? Or a taco person? Interestingly, there is a huge discrepancy between the demand for tacos and the demand for burritos across the United States. In southwestern cities, the taco is supreme. As you go north and/or east, there is a shift toward burritos. To what do you attribute this? ... Read More

April 4 – Tippecanoe (and Tyler, too)

On April 4, 1841, President William Henry Harrison died after only 30 days in office. Harrison served the shortest term of president, dying a month after he caught pneumonia during his inauguration, where he delivered the longest speech on record (8445 words), without a coat or hat, in the rain in an estimated temperature of 48 °F. Harrison was a ... Read More

Mar. 28 – Running into History

On Mar. 28, 1990, sprinter Jesse Owens received the Congressional Gold Medal from President George H.W. Bush. In 1936, Jesse Owens electrified the world by winning four gold medals at the Berlin Olympics, the first athlete to do so in one games. The fact that a black man did this embarrassed racial theorists in Nazi Germany. That said, by his ... Read More

Mar. 28 – I liked Ike

On Mar. 28, 1969, President Dwight D. Eisenhower died. Dwight David Eisenhower came onto the world stage when he served as the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe, supervising the D-Day invasion and the defeat of Germany. In 1952, he ran for president and won in a landslide. He governed as a moderate Republican, and was responsible ... Read More

Mar. 28 – Eskimo Pie Day

Mar. 28 is Eat an Eskimo Pie Day! Eskimo Pies were invented in 1921, and patented in 1922. The inventor, Christian Nelson, quickly became wealthy, selling an estimated one million pies a day during the first year of business in partnership with Russell Stover! The instant success of Eskimo Pie’s led to many imitators, and the Stover family moved on ... Read More

Mar. 22 – Goof Off!

Mar. 22 is National Goof Off Day. One of the most classic films about goofing off is Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. And one of the important concepts in economics is scarcity. We all have finite resources, and among them is time. For some people, spending a day in school comes at a high cost. In the movie, Ferris decides to ... Read More

Mar. 19 – League of Nations

On Mar. 19, 1920, the United States Senate rejected Woodrow Wilson’s League of Nations treaty. Woodrow Wilson believed that forward-thinking individuals could use the example of World War I to end war altogether. His idealism, however, was in stark contrast with the goals of the allies, who wanted to punish Germany. The linchpin of the new world order which was ... Read More

Mar. 20 – Uncle Tom’s Cabin

On Mar. 20, 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe published Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Stowe’s abolitionist novel galvanized abolitionist sentiment in many northern states by portraying the way in which the system of slavery dehumanized individuals and destroyed families. The novel sold 300,000 copies in its first year alone. Uncle Tom’s Cabin was based on the story of Josiah Henson and chronicles the ... Read More

Mar. 16 – Bear Market

On Mar. 16, 2008, Bear Stearns collapsed, setting the stage for the financial crisis and Great Recession of 2008-09. The Bear Sterns Company was a New York investment bank that specialized in “asset-backed securities.” These were largely tradeable financial instruments based upon mortgages. They made it possible to own a share of the housing market, without an obvious direct connection ... Read More

Mar. 14 – 10 Most Wanted

On Mar. 14, 1950, the FBI published the first FBI 10 Most Wanted list. J. Edgar Hoover was director of the FBI from its founding in 1935, until his death in 1972. At the end of 1949, he conceived the idea of the “Most Wanted List” as a way of attracting attention to the successes of the FBI in apprehending ... Read More

Mar. 16 – National Freedom of Information Day

March 16 is National Freedom of Information Day. Justice Louis Brandeis famously said that, “Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman” … “The most important political office is that of the private citizen.” The Freedom of Information Act was enacted ... Read More

Mar. 7 – National Be Heard Day

Each year on the 7th day of March, National Be Heard Day is observed across the country by small businesses. It can be an exciting experience to become an entrepreneur and do something that you love. In a small business, hard work and creating products that others value is a key ingredient in being successful. Another key ingredient to that ... Read More

Mar. 7 – Breaking Bad

On Mar. 7, 1936, Adolf Hitler broke the Treaty of Versailles by sending troops into the Rhineland, an area of Germany that the Treaty of Versailles required remained demilitarized. This breach of the Treaty marks the beginning of the path that led to World War II. The United States entered World War I to fight "a war to end all ... Read More

Mar. 7 – Selma

On Mar. 7, 1965, Civil Right marchers left Selma for Montgomery, Alabama to protest lack of voting rights for African Americans. In 1965, Civil Rights demonstrators engaged in three marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama to protest restrictions on black voting rights. During the first march, authorities violently attacked the marchers, beating one of the organizers, Amelia Boynton, into unconsciousness ... Read More

Feb. 26 – It’s so Grand!

On Feb. 26, 1919, Grand Canyon National Park was created. Ten years later, Grand Teton Park was also created. The United States has 58 National Parks. Many of them are spectacularly beautiful. One might ask, however, how the government ends up owning land. According to Article IV, Section 3, Clause 2 of the Constitution (the Property Clause), “The Congress shall ... Read More

Feb. 28 – National Sleeping Day

Feb. 28 is National Public Sleeping Day. We all know that we’re more productive when we’re well-rested. For many people, a quick nap can help make up the difference. From an economic point of view, the question is what is the cost. For George, in the video, it is almost getting caught by his boss. He has transaction costs related ... Read More

Mar. 1 – Everyone Loves Peanut Butter

Mar. 1 is National Peanut Butter Lovers’ Day. Peanut Butter is a quintessentially American food. And even in places (like the Netherlands) where it is eaten on bread, it is never eaten with jelly except in the United States! While George Washington Carver, a famous African-American inventor, didn’t invent peanut butter, he did discover more than 300 uses for them. ... Read More

Feb. 21 – Assassination of Malcolm X

On Feb. 21, 1965, Malcolm X was murdered. Malcolm X was a leading figure of the radical side of the movement to promote the cause of African-Americans. He became a leading spokesman for the Nation of Islam, until he broke with the movement in 1964. He was a believer in Pan-Africanism, black self-determination, and black self-defense, justifying the use of ... Read More

Feb. 21 – Workers of the World!

On Feb. 21, 1848, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published the Communist Manifesto. It was not until the formation of the Soviet Union in 1917 that a government tried to put in place a communist system. During the subsequent century, the battle between the political and economic system of communist countries and those built upon democracy and free institutions dominated ... Read More

Feb. 19 – Japanese Internment

On Feb. 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, signed executive order 9066, calling for the forcible relocation of Japanese-Americans into internment camps away from the West Coast. More than 110,000 Japanese-Americans, a majority of whom were U.S. citizens, were interned, and thousands more voluntarily moved away from the West Coast. Following many decades of denial, in 2007 it became known ... Read More

Feb. 22 – Walking the Dog

Feb. 22 is National Walk the Dog Day. Desegregation decisions like Brown v. Board of Education, and the Civil Rights Movement’s growing influence and success, had a major influence on American culture and cultural integration. One prominent area was music. White sixties musicians borrowed from Blues, Soul, and other African-American genres to create what is now called Classical Rock. One ... Read More

Feb. 14 – Happy? Valentine’s Day

Feb. 14 is Valentine’s Day. Love is usually thought of as something outside economics, but of course a lot of exchange goes on within a loving relationship, as well. Watch the video, and then answer the following questions: Questions: Do you like to prank? Is pranking a sign of affection? If so, why? Most of the pranks involved scaring the ... Read More

Feb. 12 – Impeachment is not Removal

On Feb. 12, 1998, Bill Clinton was acquitted by the United States Senate on the charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. The acquittal brought to an end a three-year investigation into the actions of Bill Clinton before and during his presidency. That investigation led Clinton to be impeached by the House of Representatives – only the second time a ... Read More

Feb. 5 – Packing the Court

On Feb. 5, 1937, President Franklin Roosevelt announced a plan to increase the size of the Supreme Court from nine to as many as 15 justices. His argument was that the existing court continued to strike down New Deal legislation as unconstitutional, and to get things done, it was important for the Court to be more compliant. Roosevelt’s plan called ... Read More

Feb. 8 – Go Fly a Kite

Feb. 8 is National Kite Flying Day. The kite was invented in China around the 5th Century B.C. as trade grew, it was introduced to India, and then much later to Europe. One of the science experiments which led Benjamin Franklin to become would famous was when he demonstrated that lightning was electricity, by attaching a lightning rod to a ... Read More

Feb. 6 – Monopoly

On Feb. 6, 1935, the first game of Monopoly made by Parker Brothers went on sale. In 1903, Elizabeth Magie created “The Landlord’s Game” to teach about the evils of concentrated wealth. Magie wanted the game to explore the harm of concentrating land in a few private hands. The game went viral, and morphed into something quite different: a lesson ... Read More

Jan. 29- Bleeding Kansas

On Jan. 29, 1861, Kansas joined the Union as the 34th state. By the time it joined, six states had already seceded. The status of Kansas had been one of the precipitating causes of the war. In 1854, the Kansas-Nebraska Act had provided that those two territories would decide for themselves whether to allow slavery or be free states. Following ... Read More

Jan. 30 – The Tet Offensive

On Jan.30, 1968, communist forces of the North Vietnamese army and the Viet Cong broke a cease-fire established to celebrate the Vietnamese New Year. While American and South Vietnamese forces eventually repelled the attacks and killed as many as 40,000 soldiers (against losses of about 3,000), the Tet Offensive shook the confidence of the American public, and greatly increased domestic ... Read More

Feb. 1 – National Get up Day

Feb. 1 is National Get up Day National Get Up day was formed in 2017, and was created by American figure skating. Personal success is determined by many things – finding one’s comparative advantage, recognizing that getting ahead requires finding ways to help others, and a great deal of practice to master the skills necessary to be productive in whatever ... Read More

Jan. 25 – Opposite Day

Jan. 25th is Opposite Day. Many things have not gone as planned in American history. For instance, in 1948 it was widely believed that President Truman had lost the election. But the opposite was true. Many people believe that the United States is doing less than other countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but the opposite is true (which is ... Read More

Jan. 24 – The Tax Man

On Jan. 24, 1916, the Income Tax was ruled constitutional in the United States. Until 1916, the Federal government was much smaller than it is today, and it received revenue through excise taxes, tariffs, customs, and the sale of public land. These older forms of revenue now account for around 10% of the federal budget. Since 1916, an increasing share ... Read More

Jan. 24 – 1984 is not like 1984

On Jan. 24, 1984, Apple released the Macintosh computer. Apple, Inc. is one of the largest companies in the world and has the most valuable and highly recognized brand in the world. Its reputation is for creating innovative, high quality products, and it promotes itself as a culture, as much as a technology. While Apple now dominates the culture, and ... Read More

Jan. 17 – Ben’s Big Day

Ben Franklin was born on Jan. 17, 1706. Ben Franklin was one of the leading figures of the Enlightenment, as well as the American revolution. He is credited with inventing everything from lending libraries to bifocals and discovering that lightening is electricity. He lived a very deliberate life, at least on his own account, and also left us with many ... Read More

Jan. 18 – Everything is Honey

Jan. 18 is Winnie the Pooh Day. Pooh’s many adventures have inspired children and adults since 1926. Questions: In Pooh’s dream video above, is there any limit to the amount of honey he can eat? Why is his dream only that? If you had an unlimited amount of honey to eat, how long do you think it would take before ... Read More

Jan. 16 Religion as Helping Shape American History

Religion played a fundamental role in the settlement of North America. The Pilgrims, who helped settle New England, were fleeing persecution. Likewise, the Quakers of Pennsylvania, and the Mennonites and Amish who also settled there. Maryland was founded as a Catholic colony. And many of the Europeans who settled the Midwest did so for religious, as well as economic reasons. ... Read More

Jan. 11 – National Milk Day

Jan. 11 is National Milk Day. Milk is a highly regulated product in the United States and over the years it has been subsidized in numerous ways by the government. These subsidies have led to overproduction, and the government has tried various ways of making good use of the excess it has created. One way was through government purchase of ... Read More

Jan. 9: Nerds-to Rule them All

Jan. 9 is World Nerd Day. Advances in robotics and artificial intelligence have placed an ever-higher premium on intelligence. But it was not always and everywhere that way. In the Killing Fields of Cambodia during the 1970s, the communist Khmer Rouge government sought to destroy intellectuals – professors or those who spoke a foreign language, for instance. Even looking smart ... Read More

Jan. 8 – Debt Free

On Jan. 8, 1835, the United States’ National Debt hit $0 for the first and only time in history! Watch this video on raising the debt ceiling, made during the financial crisis of 2008, to get a sense of some of the still-current issues on debt, taxes, and deficits: Government debt, of course, is different from personal debt. Government debt ... Read More

Jan 4 – National Spaghetti Day

Jan. 4 is national spaghetti day. The Flying Spaghetti Monster is the deity of a spoof religion created to make a political point. It is the “god” of Pastafarians, and is connected to a political movement of “pirate” parties. In 2009, the Pirate Party in Sweden won 7.1% of the vote for the European parliament, and was give two seats ... Read More

Jan. 2 – Stranger than Fiction

Jan. 2 is Science Fiction Day When Orson Wells’ radio production of War of The Worlds was broadcast on Oct. 30, 1938, many people took it for the reporting of a real invasion from outer space! The spillover between real life and science fiction has continued, ever since. Watch this video on the technology adapted from the sixties show Star ... Read More

Jan. 1 – “Breaking up is hard to do …”

Motorola DynaTAC 8000X Commercial Portable Cellular Phone Image source: Motorola, Inc. Legacy Archives Collection On Jan. 1, 1984, the AT&T monopoly was broken up, with the spinoff of local phone service into several companies, the ending of the monopoly of providing telephone equipment, and the changing of a variety of other telephone regulations. In March of the same year, the ... Read More

Dec. 20 – It’s a Wonderful Life

On Dec. 20, 1946, “It’s a Wonderful Life” premiered in New York. A bank’s function is to take in savings from customers, and loan it out to individuals and businesses for a higher rate of interest than it pays to its savers. The difference pays its cost, and if the bank is prudent with its loans and rate setting, it ... Read More

Dec. 20 – National Underdog Day

Dec. 20 is National Underdog Day. Hollywood is full of underdog stories, and it is one of the things (but not the only one) that distinguishes American films from those made elsewhere. A great example is “Hoosiers,” the 1986 Gene Hackman movie about a small-time high school basketball team in Indiana that competed (and won) at the highest level in ... Read More

Dec. 18 – Official End of Slavery

While the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in rebel states in 1863, the ending of the Civil War did not automatically prohibit slavery. To do so required another act of government. The ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment, abolishing slavery, was officially announced on Dec. 18, 1865. The Thirteenth Amendment says that: Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for ... Read More

Dec. 13 National Cocoa Day

Dec. 13 is National Cocoa Day Nothing means winter so much as hot chocolate with marshmallows! Cocoa is referred to as the fruit of gods by the South Americans who discovered it (in Greece, the gods were partial to nectar and ambrosia). Cocoa only grows in warm rainforests near the equator, and most of it is commercially produced in West ... Read More

Oct. 30 – “Rumble in the Jungle”

On October 30, 1974, Mohammad Ali knocked out George Foreman in the 8th round, retaking the world heavyweight boxing championship. Ali (born Cassius Clay) had been convicted of draft evasion following his refusal to participate in 1966, during the Vietnam War. As a result of his conviction, he was stripped of his championship. In 1971, the Supreme Court overturned his … Read More

Nov. 29 – The Partition of Palestine

Nov. 29, U.N. Votes for Partition of Palestine On this day in 1947, the United Nations voted for the partition of Palestine and the creation of an independent Jewish state despite heavy Arab opposition. It is important to note that this was not the start of the Jewish-Arab conflict over Palestine, which actually began in in the 1910s when both ... Read More

Nov. 22 – President Kennedy is Dead!

On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas. Kennedy is one of four presidents who were assassinated in office. The man who shot him, Lee Harvey Oswald, was himself shot and killed two days later. Much mystery has surrounded the assassination, and conspiracy theories continue to abound. Perhaps more interesting that this whodunit, however, ... Read More

Nov. 19 – Reagan and Gorbachev Meet at Summit

Nov. 19, Reagan and Gorbachev Hold Their First Summit Meeting. On this day in 1985, then U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev met in Geneva, Switzerland. It was the first summit meeting between leaders of the two powerful nations in approximately eight years. The summit did not produce any ground-breaking agreements, but managed to help establish a ... Read More

Nov. 14 – National Burn your Draft Card Day

Nov. 14, 1968, was “National Burn Your Draft Card Day”. The United States had its last military draft from 1940 to 1973. Today, young men still need to register, but there is no active draft. The Vietnam War was a time of great turmoil in the United States, and one of the key issues dividing the country was the draft, … Read More

Nov. 11 – Veterans Day

Our federal holiday, Veterans Day, first derived from an armistice between the allied nations and Germany during World War I.  This armistice was in 1918 on the 11th hour of the 11th day during the 11th month, hence why our holiday is on Nov. 11th. This is also where the Armistice Day name was derived from. In the year 1938, ... Read More

Nov. 9 – Tear Down This Wall!

On November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall opened for free movement for the first time since it was erected in 1961. Many factors went into the opening of the wall. Upon his election in 1980, President Ronald Reagan reengaged the Soviet Union militarily through a major rebuilding of the American military. His administration also pushed the Soviets and other communist ... Read More

Nov. 7 – Tippecanoe and Tyler, Too!

On Nov. 7, 1811, William Henry Harrison led an army which defeated a force of Native Americans near what is now Lafayette, Indiana. His victory gave him national fame. In 1840, he ran for president on the slogan, Tippecanoe and Tyler Too. Harrison was the last president to have been born a British citizen, and, dying of pneumonia only one … Read More

Oct. 30 – “Rumble in the Jungle”

On October 30, 1974, Mohammad Ali knocked out George Foreman in the 8th round, retaking the world heavyweight boxing championship. Ali (born Cassius Clay) had been convicted of draft evasion following his refusal to participate in 1966, during the Vietnam War. As a result of his conviction, he was stripped of his championship. In 1971, the Supreme Court overturned his … Read More

Oct. 30 – I have not yet begun to fight!

On Oct. 30, 1775, a Naval Committee was established by the Continental Congress. By the end of the war, 65 ships had served in the American navy, which primarily operated to disrupt British commerce. In the years since, the American navy has grown to be the most preeminent force in the world, and an important part of the ability of ... Read More

Oct. 28 – Volstead Act

Overriding President Woodrow Wilson's veto, Congress passed the Volstead Act on Oct. 28, 1919. This act is better understood as the legal authority which enforced the 18th Amendment to the US Constitution, the prohibition of alcohol. The American Temperance movement was at its height during these few years when the strict restriction on an alcohol was enforced.  One of the ... Read More

Oct. 26 – The Wild West and the OK Corral

Perhaps the most famous gunfight in history, and certainly in the history of the “wild” West, occurred on Oct. 26, 1881, in Tombstone, Arizona. The “Wild West” was quite a place. While it was not really as violent as movies make it out to be, the homicide rate in Western towns is estimated to have exceeded 97 per 100,000 citizens. … Read More

Oct. 20 – US Senate ratifies the Louisiana Purchase

In 1803, the United States acquired 828,000,000 square miles of French territory in the middle of North American in what became known as the Louisiana Purchase. This area was west of the Mississippi river, and as the name would suggest, contained much of what is current day Louisiana, along with all or part of what are now 15 other states. ... Read More

Oct. 18 – Al Capone

On October 18, 1931, Al Capone was convicted of Tax evasion. Mini Bio- Al Capone from Certell on Vimeo. While Capone ran a wide range of illegal businesses, his focus was on illegally selling alcohol during the Prohibition Era. The 18th Amendment to the Constitution, one of the so-called Progressive Amendments, prohibited the manufacture, sale or transportation of alcohol, as … Read More

Oct. 12 – the future of “Backseat Driving”

On October 12, 1915, the millionth Model T Ford rolled off the assembly line. Mo Rocca -The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation- Model T from Certell on Vimeo. By using an assembly line to build the Model T Ford car, Henry Ford made it possible for the automobile to become part of the household reality of average Americans. Ford pioneered many … Read More

Oct. 4 – Sputnik launched

On Oct. 4, 1957, the Soviet Union won the first stage of the “Space Race” with the launch of Sputnik, the world’s first artificial satellite. One of the most important elements of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union was the Space Race. Both superpowers sought to be the first ones into space, believing that doing ... Read More

Oct. 3 – Lincoln and Thanksgiving

On October 3, 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln declared that there should be a national day of thanksgiving: Thanksgiving Proclamation – Abraham Lincoln – 1863 – Hear the Text from Certell on Vimeo. In his speech, Lincoln points to all the advances the nation is making, despite the war raging in the South. Some say … Read More

Oct. 2 – First shots of the Texas Revolution

On Oct. 2, 1835, the first shots in the Texas War for Independence were fired at the Battle of Gonzales, sparking the Texas Revolution and Texas’ eventual split from Mexico. While Texas was officially an entity of Mexico, by the 1820s, Americans were flooding into the territory due to the plentiful land and farming opportunities it presented. As the farming ... Read More

Sept. 30 – Riots Over Segregation at Ole Miss

On Sept. 30, 1962, riots broke out across the University of Mississippi over the federal government’s enforcement of integration at the university. Following the 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, segregated schools were unconstitutional. This, however, did not stop many southern states from attempting to disrupt its implementation. In 1962, Ole Miss university accepted James Meredith, ... Read More

Sept. 28 – Miles Davis dies

On Sept. 28, 1991, jazz icon Miles Davis passed away in California at the age of 65. Miles Davis is considered one of the best jazz musicians of all time. From the 1940s to the 1980s, it can be argued that no one left a greater mark on music. Not only was Davis’s music widely popular, but its appeal to ... Read More

Sept. 27 – Axis Powers Formed

On Sept. 27, 1940 the signing of the Tripartite Pact in Berlin marked the formation of the Axis powers. The Axis powers were the nations that fought against the Allied forces in World War II, with the three main powers being Nazi Germany, the Empire of Japan, and the Kingdom of Italy. These three governments rejected the liberal principles that ... Read More

Sept. 26 – Johnny Appleseed Day

September 26 is Johnny Appleseed Day. On September 26, 1774, John Chapman, aka Johnny Appleseed, was born in Leominister, Massachusetts. CSAH: Johnny Appleseed- His Real Name And His Ties To Indiana from Certell on Vimeo.   While there are multiple legends about Chapman, in fact he was an itinerant minister of the New Church (Swedenborgianism) and nurseryman, who fenced in … Read More

Sept. 25 – Eisenhower and Khrushchev meet for talks

On Sept. 25, 1959, President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev met in the US with hopes of improving Soviet-United States relations. The meeting marked a high point before relations between the two powers turned sour. After two days of meeting with each other, the two leaders issued a joint statement that seems to announce a positive meeting ... Read More

Sept. 21 – Benedict Arnold commits treason

On Sept. 21, 1780, General Benedict Arnold committed treason against the United States. Arnold was regarded as an American hero during the American Revolution. His bravery and leadership at the Battle of Ticonderoga in 1775 earned him a significant amount of respect, even with the leader of the Continental Army, George Washington. Nonetheless, Arnold had many enemies within the military. ... Read More

Sept. 21 – Monday Night Football

On September 21, 1970, Monday Night Football premiered. CSAH: 1970 Monday Night Football Intro from Certell on Vimeo. In 1970, the National Football League finished its merger with the American Football League, and restructured itself into two conferences. From this time forward, it solidified itself as the dominant spectator sport in America. Most years, the Super Bowl is the top-rated … Read More

Sept. 17 – U.S. Constitution signed

On Sept. 17, 1787 the United States Constitution was officially signed. With the newly founded United States flailing under the Articles of Confederation, a convention was to be held in Philadelphia to revise the articles. Instead however, the delegates at the Constitutional Convention, known more commonly as the Founding Fathers, ended up writing an entirely new constitution for the United ... Read More

Sept. 12 – National Video Game Day

September 12 is National Video Games Day In 1975, Atari introduce a home version of Pong. Pong was a popular arcade video game and It was a huge success. It paved the way for a revolution in home electronics, and a dramatic change in how people spent their time and money. A single play of an arcade game cost $0.25, … Read More

Sept. 11 – Zimmerwald Conference issues a call to end WW1

On Sept. 11, 1915 delegates of the First International Socialist Conference in Zimmerwald, Sweden call for an immediate end to World War I. As the war progressed from September 5th - 11th, a group of anti-war advocates and socialists convened in neutral Switzerland. The Zimmerwald Conference included 40 delegates from 11 countries: Russia, Poland, France, Germany, Bulgaria, Romania, Italy, Switzerland, ... Read More

September 7 – The Hoover Dam

On September 7, 1936, the Hoover Dam (then called the Boulder Dam), officially opened. Hoover Dam was the largest hydroelectric power station in the world when it was built, along with being the largest concrete structure at the time. Its primary purpose, however, was and continues to be water control. HooverDam from Certell on Vimeo. Watch: CSG: Is Water Worth … Read More

Sept. 6 – President William McKinley is shot

On Sept. 6th, 1901, President William McKinley was shot at the World’s Fair in Buffalo, New York. McKinley had been shaking hands with people when an anarchist named Leon Czolgosz fired two shots into the president’s chest. Eight days later, McKinley died from the injury, leaving Theodore Roosevelt as the 26th President of the United States. McKinley was one of ... Read More

Aug. 28 – King speaks to March on Washington (I Have a Dream Speech)

On Aug. 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. announced his “I Have a Dream” speech as he addressed the crowd at the March on Washington in Washington D.C. The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was the biggest peaceful assembly the capital has ever seen, with more than 250,000 people in attendance. The final speaker at the march ... Read More

August 21 – Welcome Hawaii!

On August 21, 1959, Hawaii became the 50th state in the United States. Watch: CSAH – Hawaii Becomes 50th State CSAH – Hawaii Becomes 50th State – 1959 – Today in History – Aug, 21 1959 from Certell on Vimeo. While the United States grew from only 13 states along a thin stretch of the Atlantic Coast into a continent-wide … Read More

August 17 – Japan Surrenders

On August 17, 1945, Japan surrendered, ending World War II. Watch: CSAH – U.S. Celebrates Japanese Surrender CSAH – U.S. Celebrates Japanese Surrender (1945) from Certell on Vimeo. When the Japanese surrendered in 1945, they brought to an end one of the bloodiest decades in human history. The celebrations were unprecedented, and certainly deserved. The end of the war had … Read More

August 11 – Marquette Frye

Watch: Interview with Marquette Frye Read: On August 11, 1965, African-American Marquette Frye was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. When police also impounded and tried to tow his car, a fight and then a riot of violence, burning, and looting broke out, lasting six days. Thirty-four people were killed, over a thousand injured, and $40 million of property ($309 … Read More

August 4 – National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day

Watch: Sesame Street – The First Time Me Eat Cookie Read: August 4 is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day! Chocolate chip cookies were invented by Ruth Graves Wakefield and Sue Brides in 1938. Ruth owned the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts, which is why they’re called Toll House Cookies. During World War II, Massachusetts soldiers received them in care … Read More

May 28 – The 54th Infantry

On May 28, 1863, the 54th Massachusetts Infantry departed for combat. The 54th was the first African-American regiment created after Abraham Lincoln authorized the recruitment of free blacks and former slaves into the military. The regiment performed heroically, in the frontal assault of Fort Wagner in 1863, took 40 percent casualties, an event immortalized in the film, Glory. Questions: Why ... Read More

May 22 – Heave Ho! My Lads, Heave Ho! (official song of the Merchant Marine)

May 22 is National Maritime Day. The United States is a Maritime power. Today, the American Navy, while much smaller than during the Cold War, is by far the largest and most powerful in the world. As a result, the United States can project power almost anywhere in the world. By contrast, the economics of running a merchant fleet have ... Read More

May 14 – Jamestown was Founded

On May 14, 1607, Jamestown was founded. The arrival of European settlers in the Americas was the start of a new era in America, as well as world history. Colonists came for many reasons – some primarily to get rich quickly (few accomplished this), others because they were fleeing persecution, and some simply out of adventure. The Jamestown Charter lists ... Read More

May 8 – Victory in Europe

On May 8, 1945, Germany surrendered to the Allies, ending the European phase of World War II. Formal surrender took place the following day. The end of the war in Europe brought to a close hostilities which had engulfed the world, and before Japan surrendered in August that year, taking an estimated 80 million lives. It also brought to an ... Read More

May 2 – Have You No Decency?

On May 2, 1957, Senator Joseph McCarthy died. McCarthy is famous as the Senator who, in the late 1940s and early 1950s, relentlessly pursued communists believed to have infiltrated the American government. Through hearings, public statements, and speeches, he was so dogged that the term “McCarthyism” now refers to anyone engaged in a campaign based on unfair allegations and accusations. ... Read More

April 27 – Why We Hate(d) the British

On April 27, 1773, the British Parliament passed the Tea Act. The Tea Act was one of several acts passed by the British Parliament to try to generate revenue from the American Colonies to reduce the British debt. The main purpose of the act was to save the British East India Company by granting it a monopoly of tea imports ... Read More

April 17 – Ellis Island Day

April 17 is Ellis Island/Family History Day. From 1892 until 1934, Ellis Island was one of the main entry points for immigrants to arrive in America. Altogether, 12 million immigrants were processed on Ellis Island before departing for all points across the country. Interestingly, a significant number of immigrants turned around and went back home. While many more people came ... Read More

April 11 – Thar she Blows!

April 11 is submarine day. Submarines are strange creatures. Crews sometimes leave port and don’t surface again for months. The public record is 111 days. At the same time, they have had an enormous influence on history. A submarine attack on the Lusitania brought the United States into World War I. The arms race to create faster, quieter, and longer-range ... Read More

April 5 – Read a Road Map Day

April 5 is National Read a Road Map Day. When Columbus set out from Spain, he was convinced the world was round, but he was way off in terms of what the globe actually looked like. In his case, it was because he didn’t have enough information. Today, we all have continuously available information about the world around us (with ... Read More

Mar. 28 – Running into History

On Mar. 28, 1990, sprinter Jesse Owens received the Congressional Gold Medal from President George H.W. Bush. In 1936, Jesse Owens electrified the world by winning four gold medals at the Berlin Olympics, the first athlete to do so in one games. The fact that a black man did this embarrassed racial theorists in Nazi Germany. That said, by his ... Read More

Mar. 20 – Uncle Tom’s Cabin

On Mar. 20, 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe published Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Stowe’s abolitionist novel galvanized abolitionist sentiment in many northern states by portraying the way in which the system of slavery dehumanized individuals and destroyed families. The novel sold 300,000 copies in its first year alone. Uncle Tom’s Cabin was based on the story of Josiah Henson and chronicles the ... Read More

Mar. 16 – National Freedom of Information Day

March 16 is National Freedom of Information Day. Justice Louis Brandeis famously said that, “Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman” … “The most important political office is that of the private citizen.” The Freedom of Information Act was enacted ... Read More

Mar. 7 – Selma

On Mar. 7, 1965, Civil Right marchers left Selma for Montgomery, Alabama to protest lack of voting rights for African Americans. In 1965, Civil Rights demonstrators engaged in three marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama to protest restrictions on black voting rights. During the first march, authorities violently attacked the marchers, beating one of the organizers, Amelia Boynton, into unconsciousness ... Read More

Mar. 1 – Everyone Loves Peanut Butter

Mar. 1 is National Peanut Butter Lovers’ Day. Peanut Butter is a quintessentially American food. And even in places (like the Netherlands) where it is eaten on bread, it is never eaten with jelly except in the United States! While George Washington Carver, a famous African-American inventor, didn’t invent peanut butter, he did discover more than 300 uses for them. ... Read More

Feb. 21 – Assassination of Malcolm X

On Feb. 21, 1965, Malcolm X was murdered. Malcolm X was a leading figure of the radical side of the movement to promote the cause of African-Americans. He became a leading spokesman for the Nation of Islam, until he broke with the movement in 1964. He was a believer in Pan-Africanism, black self-determination, and black self-defense, justifying the use of ... Read More

Feb. 22 – Walking the Dog

Feb. 22 is National Walk the Dog Day. Desegregation decisions like Brown v. Board of Education, and the Civil Rights Movement’s growing influence and success, had a major influence on American culture and cultural integration. One prominent area was music. White sixties musicians borrowed from Blues, Soul, and other African-American genres to create what is now called Classical Rock. One ... Read More

Feb. 6 – Monopoly

On Feb. 6, 1935, the first game of Monopoly made by Parker Brothers went on sale. In 1903, Elizabeth Magie created “The Landlord’s Game” to teach about the evils of concentrated wealth. Magie wanted the game to explore the harm of concentrating land in a few private hands. The game went viral, and morphed into something quite different: a lesson ... Read More

Jan. 30 – The Tet Offensive

On Jan.30, 1968, communist forces of the North Vietnamese army and the Viet Cong broke a cease-fire established to celebrate the Vietnamese New Year. While American and South Vietnamese forces eventually repelled the attacks and killed as many as 40,000 soldiers (against losses of about 3,000), the Tet Offensive shook the confidence of the American public, and greatly increased domestic ... Read More

Jan. 25 – Opposite Day

Jan. 25th is Opposite Day. Many things have not gone as planned in American history. For instance, in 1948 it was widely believed that President Truman had lost the election. But the opposite was true. Many people believe that the United States is doing less than other countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but the opposite is true (which is ... Read More

Jan. 16 Religion as Helping Shape American History

Religion played a fundamental role in the settlement of North America. The Pilgrims, who helped settle New England, were fleeing persecution. Likewise, the Quakers of Pennsylvania, and the Mennonites and Amish who also settled there. Maryland was founded as a Catholic colony. And many of the Europeans who settled the Midwest did so for religious, as well as economic reasons. ... Read More

Jan. 9: Nerds-to Rule them All

Jan. 9 is World Nerd Day. Advances in robotics and artificial intelligence have placed an ever-higher premium on intelligence. But it was not always and everywhere that way. In the Killing Fields of Cambodia during the 1970s, the communist Khmer Rouge government sought to destroy intellectuals – professors or those who spoke a foreign language, for instance. Even looking smart ... Read More

Jan. 2 – Stranger than Fiction

Jan. 2 is Science Fiction Day When Orson Wells’ radio production of War of The Worlds was broadcast on Oct. 30, 1938, many people took it for the reporting of a real invasion from outer space! The spillover between real life and science fiction has continued, ever since. Watch this video on the technology adapted from the sixties show Star ... Read More

Dec. 20 – National Underdog Day

Dec. 20 is National Underdog Day. Hollywood is full of underdog stories, and it is one of the things (but not the only one) that distinguishes American films from those made elsewhere. A great example is “Hoosiers,” the 1986 Gene Hackman movie about a small-time high school basketball team in Indiana that competed (and won) at the highest level in ... Read More

Oct. 30 – “Rumble in the Jungle”

On October 30, 1974, Mohammad Ali knocked out George Foreman in the 8th round, retaking the world heavyweight boxing championship. Ali (born Cassius Clay) had been convicted of draft evasion following his refusal to participate in 1966, during the Vietnam War. As a result of his conviction, he was stripped of his championship. In 1971, the Supreme Court overturned his … Read More

Nov. 26 – Monday Madness

Nov. 26, Cyber Monday (First Monday after Thanksgiving) We all know the internet has been nothing short of revolutionary. It has changed the way we communicate with others, conduct business, consume information, get entertainment, and of course how we shop. One of the greatest examples of the disruptive effects of the internet on shopping comes around once a year with ... Read More

Nov. 23 – Starbucks or Speedway?

Nov. 23, National Espresso Day. We all have habits that can be pretty costly in the long run. Whether you tend to eat out several times a week, spend a little too much going out every weekend, or make regular impulse purchases, the costs add up and can eat away at your budget. One of the most common costly habits ... Read More

Nov. 22 – Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is the truly American holiday. Unlike all the rest of our holidays, it is fixed on a Thursday, meaning most people have four days off in a row. And unlike Christmas, it is unconnected to consumerism, so there is far less pre-Thanksgiving anxiety (unless, of course, you’re one of the 7% of people flying to your holiday destination – ... Read More

Nov. 15 – Making Money with Stocks

Nov. 15, First Stock Ticker Debuts Investing in the stock market can be pretty intimidating for the average American, especially those of use who don’t know too much about it and without the money to afford costly mistakes. But fear not, for there are simple solutions to this common problem. Enter mutual funds and ETFs. Mutual funds are investment vehicles ... Read More

Nov. 15 – National Educational Support Professionals Day

Nov. 15 is National Educational Support Professionals Day. Many schools 150 years ago consisted of a building, some furniture, and a teacher. Today, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, instructional expenses are only 61% of total school outlays for K-12 education. In higher education, less than 1/3 of expenses (per student) are for instruction! This is one of ... Read More

Nov. 7 – I’m Stressing Out, Man!

November 7, National Stress Awareness Day Whether it’s work related, family related, school related, or just due to the innumerable inconvenient aspects of day-to-day life as a human being, stress affects each and every one of us. Sometimes that stress can be a good thing, making us mentally stronger and pushing us to be our best, but too much stress ... Read More

Nov. 4 – Trick or Treat? Who Benefits When Daylight Changes?

On Nov. 5, 2017  most of us will need to turn our clocks back one hour for Daylight Saving Time.  In 1918, the United States instituted Daylight Savings Time (DST). The idea was that during the summer, a lot of daylight was “wasted” because the sun came up so early in the morning, while people were still sleeping. By moving … Read More

Nov. 1 – Calzone and pennies

Nov. 1 is National Calzone Day! Kramer tries to pay in pennies. Are pennies legal tender? Are businesses required to accept payment in pennies? Pennies are legal tender, but according to the Treasury Department, there is “no Federal statute mandating that a private business, a person, or an organization must accept currency or coins as payment for goods and/or services.” … Read More

Oct. 31 – Trick or Treat?

Have you ever noticed that parks are often messier than shopping malls? Or that people take better care of their cars than they do school or public buses, or subway cars? These are all examples of what is called the tragedy of the commons. In 1833 British economist William Foster Lloyd noticed that cattle grazed on public land were scrawnier ... Read More

Oct. 25 – Equilibrium price of Chucky

Oct. 25 is National Chucky Day. The movie “Child’s Play” is actually based on a real event. In 1906, a child was given a doll by a maid in Key West, Fla. The doll is on display in a museum in Key West, and some people claim that their cameras stop working after pointing them at the doll. Today, the … Read More

Oct. 22 – Standard Oil Becomes a Trust

On Oct. 22, 1882, Standard Oil became a trust, to try to circumvent anti-monopoly laws. A monopoly exists when only one firm supplies a product. Monopolies sometimes occur naturally, when there are economies of scale which prevent competition from emerging once an established firm gets to a certain size. For instance, city supply of water to homes is an example ... Read More

Oct. 19 – 1st Blockbuster Store

On October 19th 1985, the first Blockbuster video store opens in Texas. Blockbuster, a childhood staple for millenials, revolutionized the video rentals industry of its time. Blockbuster’s unique business model allowed it to offer lower prices and greater selection of movies, games, and tv shows to consumers than its competitors. By obtaining contracts with studios to give Blockbuster early releases ... Read More

Oct. 19 – Black Monday

On Monday, Oct. 19, 1987, the stock market fell more than 22%, the largest one-day loss in the history of the market. The Stock Market Crash of 1987 (Black Monday) Explained in One Minute from Certell on Vimeo. While people tend to focus on daily rises and falls of the market and of individual stocks, it is important to understand … Read More

Oct. 18 – Credit Could Ruin Your Life, or Charm Your Wife

October 18, National Get Smart About Credit Day. The credit card system is kind of like a superpower. It gives you the ability to make large purchases on the spot without knowing if you have the money to pay for them or not. While this sounds amazing, as with any superpower it’s vital to remember that with great power comes ... Read More

Oct. 12 – Keeping up with the Joneses

October 12, National Savings Day. Developing good savings habits is a big challenge for many people. One of the most common traps people fall into is trying to “keep up with the Joneses.” When our friends, family, and/or neighbors are spending more  than we are, we are tempted to go beyond our own means to match or surpass their lifestyle. ... Read More

Oct. 12 – Angus Deaton & Poverty

On Oct. 12, 2015, Angus Deaton, professor of economics at Princeton University, won the Nobel Prize. Deaton’s contribution focused on understanding how innovation and development affect the well-being of the world’s poor. He is a strong advocate for rethinking the way in which we think about foreign aid and how to make it effective. The question of how best to … Read More

Oct. 11 – Who Gets The Blonde?

On Oct. 11, 1994, John Nash won the Nobel Prize in Economics for his work on the Nash Equilibrium, one of the foundational ideas of game theory. Economics is the science of choice, and while much of economics today involves crunching numbers, an important part of the field continues to be understanding how and why we make the choices we … Read More

Oct. 5 – Rodney Dangerfield & Business

On October 5, 2004, Rodney Dangerfield died. Dangerfield was a comedian and actor, famous for his tagline, “I don’t get no respect!” In the 1986 movie Back to School, Dangerfield plays an “uneducated” but successful businessman who goes back to school with his son to convince him of the importance of school. Here, he takes in his first economics class. … Read More

Oct. 3 – The Bank Bailout

Oct. 3, The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 The financial crisis of 2008 and the ensuing recession shook the American financial system to its very core. In the years leading up to the Great Recession, the stock market and housing industry seemed to be on an unstoppable rise from which everyone was benefiting. At the time, regulations requiring banks ... Read More

Sept. 29 – The World’s First Billionaire

On Sept. 29th, American oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller becomes the world’s first billionaire. John D. Rockefeller, most famous for starting his company Standard Oil, revolutionized America at the turn of the 20th century, at his peak controlling 90 percent of the United States’ oil market. He realized earlier than anyone that the true money in the industry was not ... Read More

Sept. 28 – Private vs. Public Goods

On September 28, 2008, SpaceX launched the first private spacecraft. SpaceX Falcon 1 August 2, 2008 with stage separation and blow from Certell on Vimeo. Exploration has always been a risky business. Things that are good for the public, but where the risk, or the benefit is not easily calculated or maintained, are often funded by the government. These are … Read More

Sept. 27 – Broken Windows

On Sept. 27, Hurricane Inez slammed into the Caribbean, then Florida, and on into Mexico. About 1,000 people died. At the time, it was the strongest Hurricane recorded. When natural disasters strike, people sometimes argue that despite the human tragedy, there is a bright side: “Look at all the jobs that will be created!” This is an example of what ... Read More

Sept. 21 – NFL Player Strike

On September 21, 1982, the National Football League players went on strike (Peyton Manning was just starting elementary school in New Orleans). CSE: 1982 Wk 02 NFL Player Strike – NBC News from Certell on Vimeo. The 1982 strike lasted 57 days, and ended when the players revolted against their union. Sports are big business. Cities compete for the right … Read More

Sept. 18 – More Mac, More Problems

September 18, National Cheeseburger Day The quintessential cheeseburger, perhaps the most classic of American foods, has become synonymous with fast-food giants such as McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, and In-n-Out amongst others. Some do it better than most, but the concept remains the same for all. Not too long ago, one popular way of ordering your meal was to “super size” ... Read More

Sept. 14 – OPEC

Watch: CSE – What is OPEC? CSE: What is OPEC? from Certell on Vimeo. OPEC, or the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, was formed on September 14, 1960. It is a perfect example of a cartel, which is an organization designed to reduce competition and thereby increase profits and prices. Until recently, many people believe we were running out of … Read More

Sept. 10 – Andrew Jackson shuts down the Second Bank of the U.S.

On Sept. 10, 1833, Andrew Jackson shut down the Second National Bank of the United States. The National Bank had been an ongoing controversy since the Constitution was ratified in 1789. Alexander Hamilton, a prominent Federalist and the first Secretary of Treasury under George Washington, advocated for the formation of the National Bank, claiming it would help the country repay ... Read More

September 7 – Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac

On September 7, 2008, the Federal Government took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) are two “government-sponsored enterprises” designed to expand the market for mortgages by buying loans from lenders, and repacking them into mortgage-backed securities. This system worked so long as economic decisions were … Read More

Sept. 1 – National Tailgating Day

Sept. 1st is National Tailgating Day! The temperatures are beginning to cool, the leaves are turning brilliant colors, and there is a crispness in the air. This means one thing. It’s time to tailgate! Tailgates are an American tradition that are traced back to…the American Civil War?? Although some accredit it back to Julius Caesar. As noted in Virginia Tech’s ... Read More

Aug. 30 Tragedy of the Commons – Climate Change

On Aug. 30, 2006, California Senate passes Global Warming Solutions Act. If you ask the average American what the greatest issue the country is facing today is, you would get a variety of responses. According to a Gallup poll from July 2017, many would say poor leadership, or healthcare, or immigration, or even terrorism. Only three percent would say the ... Read More

Aug. 29 – Inflation

On August 29, 1862, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing was formed. Originally its purpose was to print paper money in the form of IOUs from the U.S. government, since there was a lack of funds to pay for the Civil War in coin. The first notes were hand-signed by clerks at the Treasury Department. The ability to print paper … Read More

August 22 – National Tooth Fairy Day

Watch: CSE – The Tooth Fairy CSE – The Tooth Fairy – Official Trailer (HD) – 20th Century FOX from Certell on Vimeo. For those whose families participated, visits from the tooth fairy formed one of the great “awe” moments of an otherwise painful and sometimes messy rite of passage. One of the challenges parents face is establishing the proper … Read More

August 17 – National Thriftshop Day

Watch: Macklemore – Thrift Shop THRIFT SHOP (G rated Radio Edit Clean version) – MACKLEMORE & RYAN LEWIS FEAT. WANZ from Cosmic Reach Media on Vimeo. One way to spend less is to buy used. When you buy a new car, for instance, it instantly depreciates by as much as 11% once you leave the parking lot! Smartly buying a … Read More

August 17 – North Korea

Watch: CSE – North Korea Explained CSE – North Korea Explained from Certell on Vimeo. On August 17, 1945, Korea was officially divided by the victorious powers of World War II, namely the Soviet Union and the United States. The dividing line was the 38th Parallel. This has led to an incredible “natural” experiment. North Korea has been government by … Read More

August 11 – Andrew Carnegie

Watch: Andrew Carnegie’s Rise From Poverty Read: Andrew Carnegie and his family arrived in America from Scotland in 1848, virtually penniless. At the age of 13, he began working in factories to help support his family. He quickly moved from job to job until he became a successful businessman on his own. His wealth grew, and at one point he … Read More

August 3 – National Watermelon Day

August 3 is National Watermelon Day. The world record for spitting watermelon seeds is 68 feet 9 1/8 inches. Check out this video as Mike Rowe learns how to spit a watermelon seed. Watch: Mike Rowe and Watermelon Spitting Read: National Watermelon Day Did you know that watermelon is considered both a fruit and a vegetable? There are biological reasons … Read More

May 31 – Autonomous Vehicle Day

May 31 is National Autonomous Vehicle Day. The dream of self-driving cars and trucks is very near to becoming reality. Although there are other technologies (like fusion-based atomic power plants) which have been “just around the corner” for decades, with self-driving cars, the engineering problems seem to have been mostly solved, and the remaining work is based on accumulating data, ... Read More

May 24 – Play Ball!

On May 24, 1935, Major League Baseball had its first night game. The first night baseball game was played in 1880, only a year after Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. Night baseball began in the minor leagues in 1930. In 1935, MLB owners began offering games at night, in addition to during the day. It was only in 1988, ... Read More

May 15 – Rationing, Central Planning

On May 15, 1942, seventeen states introduced gasoline rationing to support the war effort. A prominent economist, Professor Peter Boettke, from George Mason University, attributes his decision to become an economist to his experience digging swimming pools one summer, while still in school. His employer required a lot of fuel, and due to gasoline shortages caused by the oil embargo ... Read More

May 10 – Uniting the Country

On May 10, 1869, at Promontory Summit, Utah, Central Pacific Railroad President Leland Stanford hammered the final spike into the first transcontinental railroad in the United States. Completion of the railroad took six years and was financed largely through government subsidies and land grants. The railroad dramatically reduced the time needed to cross the country, and its completion was celebrated ... Read More

May 1 – The Tallest in the World

May 1, 1931, the Empire State Building officially opened. The Empire State Building may be the most iconic structure in the United States. Construction began in 1930, as the full force of the Great Depression was being felt. It was completed only a year later, in 1931, under budget and ahead of schedule. At the time, and for almost 40 ... Read More

April 26 – Wealthy … or Rich?

On April 26, 1711, David Hume was born. David Hume was a Scottish philosopher, most famous for his writing on empiricism and skepticism, arguing that there are limits to what we can truly know. But he also made important arguments about money and trade, and his arguments against mercantilism. Mercantilism is the theory that a country gets wealthy by exporting ... Read More

April 19 – Get to Work!

On April 19, 1932, Herbert Hoover proposed a five-day work week. Through most of Western history, people have worked six days, and rested on the seventh day. The origins of the day of rest are found in the Bible, and therefore are very much a Western idea. In 1793, the French Revolution tried to create a 10-day week, but didn’t ... Read More

April 11 – Groovin’

April 11 is National Eight Track Tape Day. The 8-track is considered a bridge technology between earlier reel-to-reel tape players, and smaller cassettes. 8-tracks were only widely adopted in the U.S., U.K., and other English-speaking countries, alongside Japan. What 8-tracks did was allowed you to make your music portable. While records were popular, you couldn’t play them in a car, ... Read More

April 5 – Burr rr rr iiiito Day

April 5 is National Burrito Day. Are you a burrito person? Or a taco person? Interestingly, there is a huge discrepancy between the demand for tacos and the demand for burritos across the United States. In southwestern cities, the taco is supreme. As you go north and/or east, there is a shift toward burritos. To what do you attribute this? ... Read More

Mar. 28 – Eskimo Pie Day

Mar. 28 is Eat an Eskimo Pie Day! Eskimo Pies were invented in 1921, and patented in 1922. The inventor, Christian Nelson, quickly became wealthy, selling an estimated one million pies a day during the first year of business in partnership with Russell Stover! The instant success of Eskimo Pie’s led to many imitators, and the Stover family moved on ... Read More

Mar. 22 – Goof Off!

Mar. 22 is National Goof Off Day. One of the most classic films about goofing off is Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. And one of the important concepts in economics is scarcity. We all have finite resources, and among them is time. For some people, spending a day in school comes at a high cost. In the movie, Ferris decides to ... Read More

Mar. 16 – Bear Market

On Mar. 16, 2008, Bear Stearns collapsed, setting the stage for the financial crisis and Great Recession of 2008-09. The Bear Sterns Company was a New York investment bank that specialized in “asset-backed securities.” These were largely tradeable financial instruments based upon mortgages. They made it possible to own a share of the housing market, without an obvious direct connection ... Read More

Mar. 7 – National Be Heard Day

Each year on the 7th day of March, National Be Heard Day is observed across the country by small businesses. It can be an exciting experience to become an entrepreneur and do something that you love. In a small business, hard work and creating products that others value is a key ingredient in being successful. Another key ingredient to that ... Read More

Feb. 28 – National Sleeping Day

Feb. 28 is National Public Sleeping Day. We all know that we’re more productive when we’re well-rested. For many people, a quick nap can help make up the difference. From an economic point of view, the question is what is the cost. For George, in the video, it is almost getting caught by his boss. He has transaction costs related ... Read More

Feb. 21 – Workers of the World!

On Feb. 21, 1848, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published the Communist Manifesto. It was not until the formation of the Soviet Union in 1917 that a government tried to put in place a communist system. During the subsequent century, the battle between the political and economic system of communist countries and those built upon democracy and free institutions dominated ... Read More

Feb. 14 – Happy? Valentine’s Day

Feb. 14 is Valentine’s Day. Love is usually thought of as something outside economics, but of course a lot of exchange goes on within a loving relationship, as well. Watch the video, and then answer the following questions: Questions: Do you like to prank? Is pranking a sign of affection? If so, why? Most of the pranks involved scaring the ... Read More

Feb. 8 – Go Fly a Kite

Feb. 8 is National Kite Flying Day. The kite was invented in China around the 5th Century B.C. as trade grew, it was introduced to India, and then much later to Europe. One of the science experiments which led Benjamin Franklin to become would famous was when he demonstrated that lightning was electricity, by attaching a lightning rod to a ... Read More

Feb. 1 – National Get up Day

Feb. 1 is National Get up Day National Get Up day was formed in 2017, and was created by American figure skating. Personal success is determined by many things – finding one’s comparative advantage, recognizing that getting ahead requires finding ways to help others, and a great deal of practice to master the skills necessary to be productive in whatever ... Read More

Jan. 24 – 1984 is not like 1984

On Jan. 24, 1984, Apple released the Macintosh computer. Apple, Inc. is one of the largest companies in the world and has the most valuable and highly recognized brand in the world. Its reputation is for creating innovative, high quality products, and it promotes itself as a culture, as much as a technology. While Apple now dominates the culture, and ... Read More

Jan. 18 – Everything is Honey

Jan. 18 is Winnie the Pooh Day. Pooh’s many adventures have inspired children and adults since 1926. Questions: In Pooh’s dream video above, is there any limit to the amount of honey he can eat? Why is his dream only that? If you had an unlimited amount of honey to eat, how long do you think it would take before ... Read More

Jan. 11 – National Milk Day

Jan. 11 is National Milk Day. Milk is a highly regulated product in the United States and over the years it has been subsidized in numerous ways by the government. These subsidies have led to overproduction, and the government has tried various ways of making good use of the excess it has created. One way was through government purchase of ... Read More

Jan. 1 – “Breaking up is hard to do …”

Motorola DynaTAC 8000X Commercial Portable Cellular Phone Image source: Motorola, Inc. Legacy Archives Collection On Jan. 1, 1984, the AT&T monopoly was broken up, with the spinoff of local phone service into several companies, the ending of the monopoly of providing telephone equipment, and the changing of a variety of other telephone regulations. In March of the same year, the ... Read More

Dec. 20 – It’s a Wonderful Life

On Dec. 20, 1946, “It’s a Wonderful Life” premiered in New York. A bank’s function is to take in savings from customers, and loan it out to individuals and businesses for a higher rate of interest than it pays to its savers. The difference pays its cost, and if the bank is prudent with its loans and rate setting, it ... Read More

Dec. 13 National Cocoa Day

Dec. 13 is National Cocoa Day Nothing means winter so much as hot chocolate with marshmallows! Cocoa is referred to as the fruit of gods by the South Americans who discovered it (in Greece, the gods were partial to nectar and ambrosia). Cocoa only grows in warm rainforests near the equator, and most of it is commercially produced in West ... Read More

Dec. 1 – Rosa Parks is arrested

Dec. 1, 1955, Rosa Parks is arrested for refusing to move to the back of a bus and give her seat to a white passenger in Montgomery, Alabama. Rosa Parks, a seamstress in Montgomery, Alabama, is well known across the country as a woman refused to give into segregation. The day was Thursday December 1st, and Rosa boarded a city ... Read More

Nov. 22 – Go for a Ride Day

Nov. 22 is Go for a Ride Day. Americans have always been attached to our transportation (although the video is shot in the UK), and getting out on the open road is part of the American mystique. But is that still true? One of the interesting changes in society is the reduction in personal transportation. The statistics web site Fivethirtyeight ... Read More

Nov. 22 – John F. Kennedy assassinated

John F. Kennedy was a democrat and the 35th president of the United States. He died an unfortunate death on November 22, 1963. Kennedy was shot in the back of the head at 12:30pm central standard time while traveling in a presidential motorcade through downtown Dallas. He was then taken to Parkland Hospital where he was pronounced dead 30 minutes ... Read More

Nov. 22 – Easy Ridin’

Nov. 22 is “Go for a Ride” day. Originally, motorcycles were primarily a form of low-cost transport, and they still are in much of the world. But as prosperity came and more people could afford cars, they became a luxury item, or a lifestyle choice. The “motorcycle generation” was the Baby Boomer generation, and for them, motorcycles represented a kind ... Read More

Nov. 17 – The House Approves NAFTA

Nov. 17 U.S. House of Representatives Approves NAFTA With a vote of 234 for and 200 against, the North American Free Trade Agreement was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives on this day in 1993 after a hard-fought Congressional battle. Shortly thereafter the measure was approved by the Senate, where the result was never in doubt. This represented a ... Read More

Nov. 15 – Clean out your Refrigerator Day

Nov.15 is National Clean out your Refrigerator Day Sometimes, it is just time to do a thorough cleaning and get a fresh start on life. Every so often, you want to throw everything out, and just start over. That bottle of mustard that’s been sitting there for 3 years? – Garbage. The tub of cream cheese that slipped to the … Read More

Nov. 13 – The Magic Bus

On Nov. 13, 1956, the Supreme Court ruled that segregated buses in Alabama were unconstitutional. The ending of the Civil War was hardly the end of discrimination against African Americans. The early hopes for a colorblind society were quickly dashed as the Northern occupation of the South ended, and a series of discriminatory laws began constructing a segregated society, sometimes ... Read More

Nov. 8 – Reagan Elected Governor of California

On Nov. 8, 1966, Ronald Reagan was elected governor of California. Reagan had been an actor and speaker before he became politically involved. His charm and wit made him into one of the most effective communicators in politics, despite having views that were well to the right of the Republican Party when he started. As president, he was fond of … Read More

Nov. 6 – Election Day 2018

Every Tuesday following the first Monday in November is Election Day! Confused already? This year, 2018, it happens to fall on Nov. 6th. Generally from 6 am to 6 pm polls will open at voting places around the United States for citizens to come and cast their ballot to exercise their right to vote for their elected officials. While many ... Read More

Oct. 30 – Mutually Assured Destruction

On Oct. 30, 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower approved NSC resolution 162/2, which set the terms and strategy for the use of nuclear weapons by the United States. Since atomic bombs were used on Nagasaki and Hiroshima in Japan, ending World War II, there has been ongoing debate about the use of nuclear weapons in future conflicts. To date, neither ... Read More

Oct. 30 John Adams, “Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.”

On Oct. 30, 1735, John Adams was born. Adams was an important figure during the American Revolution, and twice served as George Washington’s vice president. He only served one term himself, and his election served to begin the political division of the United States into two competing parties. His rival in 1796, Thomas Jefferson, defeated him in 1800, whereupon he … Read More

Oct. 25 – Nixon Vetoes War Powers Resolution

Oct. 25, 1973 President Nixon vetoes the War Powers Resolution, however, Congress passed the law over Nixon’s veto on Nov. 7, 1973. The War Powers Resolution of 1973 was one of the decade’s landmark pieces of legislation. During World War II, Congress greatly expanded the president's military power and discretion. Since World War II, the United States has fought in ... Read More

Oct. 23 – What’s a trillion dollars among friends?

Oct. 23, 1981, the national debt rose to $1 trillion. After watching the video, does any of this make sense? One of the key points John makes is that government debt is not the same thing as personal debt—that much of our federal debt is money we owe to ourselves. While he rightly argues that debt is therefore less of … Read More

Oct. 18 – The Last Frontier

On Oct. 18, 1867, Russia formally transferred control of Alaska to the United States. Alaska was probably the first part of the Americas to be settled by wandering groups crossing the Bering land bridge around 14,000 BC. In the late 18th century, Russia traders, trappers and missionaries began colonizing it, but financial and political difficulties caused them to offer to … Read More

Oct. 15 – Clarence Thomas’s Confirmation

On Oct. 15, 1991, the Senate voted 52 to 48 to confirm Clarence Thomas as justice on the Supreme Court. His nomination was marred by accusations of sexual harassment by a former employee, Anita Hill. Hill’s testimony brought the issue of workplace harassment to the fore of the national conversation. Thomas has been one of the most consistently conservative justices ... Read More

Oct. 13 Third presidential debate with Nixon in Hollywood and Kennedy in NY

On Oct. 13, 1960, Richard Nixon (Republican) and John F. Kennedy (Democrat) engaged in their third presidential debate. This contest was somewhat unique, as the candidates spoke from different locations as opposed to appearing together. Nixon was broadcast from Hollywood, while Kennedy appeared in New York. The debates as a whole played a critical role in shaping the outcome of ... Read More

Oct. 12 – What’s fair is fair?- or isn’t it?

On Oct. 12, 1977, the Supreme Court heard the landmark Regents of University of California v. Bakke (1978) case on affirmative action. This was the first of several lawsuits challenging the use of race in college admissions. Subsequent famous cases include Grutter v. Bollinger, Gratz v. Bollinger and most recently Fisher v. University of Texas, the subject of the video … Read More

Oct. 11 – SNL Debuts

On Oct. 11, 1975, the social commentary comedy show called Saturday Night Live (or SNL for short) hit the screen. It is widely considered to be one of the most successful broadcast television shows of all time—and for good reason. Even in its early days, the culture of SNL began to seep into American society, by taking political jabs at ... Read More

Oct. 11 – Government – Life of the Party

October 11 is “It’s My Party” Day Seinfeld – Political Party Mascots from Certell on Vimeo. Political parties first emerged with the ending of the presidency of George Washington. The American electoral system favors the emergence of two dominant parties, but in many countries, dozens of parties exist and compete at any one time. Today in the United States, party … Read More

Oct. 5 – Iran Contra Scandal Unravels

On Oct. 5, 1986, Eugene Hasenfus’ plane was shot down by members of the Sandinista regime, the governing party in Nicaragua. After questioning, Hasenfus admitted that he had been tasked with delivering weapons to the Contras (a Nicaraguan revolutionary group) on behalf of the American Central Intelligence Agency. This revelation was the beginning of the discovery of the “Iran-Contra” scandal, ... Read More

Oct. 2 – “I disapprove of what you say, but…”

On Oct. 2, 1789, George Washington proposed the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, called the Bill of Rights. Some of these rights have become mostly forgotten: few people worry about violations of the third amendment – prohibiting the quartering of soldiers in homes; speedy and public trials (6th amendment) are not disputed, nor the right to a jury trial … Read More

Oct. 1 – Nazi Sentencing at Nuremberg

Oct. 1, 1946, the International Military Tribunal (IMT) issues verdicts against leading Nazis at Nuremberg. In the aftermath of World War II, many high ranking Nazi officials were sentenced to death by the War Crime Tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany. The phrase, “I was just following orders” originates from these trials and it brings up important questions about justice. More importantly, ... Read More

Sept. 28 – Should the Government Protect Us?

On September 28, 1904, a woman was arrested for smoking in an open car. “A policeman on horseback reportedly stopped her and gasped, “Ma’am, you can’t do that on Fifth Avenue!” At that time, serving single women in hotels and restaurants was also restricted. That all began to change only a few years later. Although lung cancer rates of men … Read More

Sept. 27 – John Adams negotiates Revolutionary War peace terms with Great Britain

On Sept. 27th, 1779, the American Continental Congress appointed John Adams as the minister in charge of negotiating peace and commerce treaties with Great Britain during the Revolutionary War. Adams conducted much of his work during the war out of Paris, and was able to negotiate highly favorable terms for the United States following the end of the war. The ... Read More

Sept. 24 – The First Supreme Court

On Sept. 24, 1789 the Judiciary Act of 1789 was passed by Congress after being signed by President George Washington, thereby establishing the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court makes up the highest tribunal in the country. It includes one Chief Justice and eight Associate justices. Cases and controversies concerning the Constitution and U.S. laws at the highest level are worked ... Read More

Sept. 21 – Sandra Day O’Connor

On September 21, 1981, Sandra Day O’Connor became the first female justice on the Supreme Court. She was appointed by Ronald Reagan, and was considered a federalist (meaning that she believed the federal government should limit its interference in state matters), and a moderate. CSG: Sandra Day O'Connor from Certell on Vimeo. Among her most famous opinions was Grutter v. … Read More

Sept. 17 – Constitution and Citizenship Day

On Sept. 17, 1787 the Constitution was signed. Each year, on what has become known as Constitution Day, publicly funded educational institutions and all federal agencies are required to reflect on the Constitution and its meaning. The Constitution went into effect on March 4, 1789, a date established by the Confederation Congress after New Hampshire became the 9th state to ... Read More

Sept. 13 – National Positive Thinking Day

September 13 is National Positive Thinking Day It turns out that, left to our own devices, we (as a species) tend to focus and get stuck on negative thoughts more than we do on positive ones. In this video, social psychologist Alison Ledgerwood describes her research on this topic, and provides suggestions on what to do about it! Watch: CSG: Getting … Read More

Sept. 11 – 9/11 Terror Attacks on America

On Sept. 11th, 2001, the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda coordinated the deadliest terror attack in United States history at the World Trade Center complex in New York City. After hijacking four planes, the terrorist group crashed two of them into the North and South towers of the World Trade Center. Another of the four planes crashed into parts of the ... Read More

Sept. 4 – Is Google a Monopoly?

Sept. 4, Google is incorporated Over the past 20+ years, the phrase “Google it” has become synonymous with “look it up.” The internet’s favorite search engine is used to search the web 13 billion times a month, and today Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has expanded into countless other ventures from AI and robots to smartphones and computers. But, does Google ... Read More

Sept. 3 – Labor Day

Labor Day is the first Monday in September in the United States. Labor Day became an official national holiday in the United States in 1894. While most countries celebrate International Workers’ Day on May 1, government officials at the time feared that honoring workers on that day would turn it into a commemoration of the Haymarket Affair, a deadly bombing … Read More

Aug. 29 – The longest filibuster

On August 29, Democratic (he later changed parties a couple of times) Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina ended the longest filibuster in U.S. Senate history, 24 hours and 18 minutes of protest against a Civil Rights law proposed by the Eisenhower Administration. Back then, to filibuster, a Senator had to remain on his feet, speaking, without bathroom breaks or … Read More

Aug. 27 – Red Scare dominates American politics

On Aug. 27, 1952, The New York Times published three stories about the impact of the “Red Scare” on the upcoming revolution, and anti-communism became a dominant theme in the election. Following the Bolshevik Revolution and the rise of communism in Russia, a small number of Americans began to preach the sentiments of socialism, anarchy, and communism. These ideas were ... Read More

August 24 – The Communist Control Act

On August 24, 1954, President Eisenhower signed the Communist Control Act. Watch: CSG – The Hollywood Blacklist The Hollywood Blacklist- 1947-1960 from Certell on Vimeo.

August 15 – The Sell or Starve Act

On August 15, 1876, Congress passed legislation cutting off all funds to the Lakota people until they gave up claim to the Black Hills in South Dakota. Called the “Sell or Starve” Act, it led the Sioux to give up the Black Hills, which were finally seized by the United States on February 28, 1877. Watch: CSG – The Battle … Read More

August 11 – is National Presidential Joke Day

Watch: We Begin Bombing in 5 minutes Watch: Reagan Tells Soviet Jokes Common Sense Government Read: Is it “Presidential” to tell jokes? President Obama famously had his Blackberry taken away in 2009, when he became president. No one has seemingly placed any limitations on President Trump’s use of Twitter. Are there modes of communication that should be off limits to … Read More

August 1 – Watergate

Watch: All the President’s Men Clip All the President's Men from Certell on Vimeo. Read: On August 1, the first article on the Watergate Break in was published in the Washington Post. The Watergate Scandal involved the illegal break-in of the Democratic National Committee on June 17, 1972. Its cover up by Richard Nixon led to his resignation and a … Read More

June 1 – All the News, All the Time

On June 1, 1980, CNN went live with the first 24/7 cable news channel. Today, we take for granted that someone is always reporting the news. In fact, depending on how you set notifications on your smartphone, not only is news always to be found on one of several TV channels and web sites, but you can also be notified, ... Read More

May 23 – A Penny for your Thoughts

May 23 is Lucky Penny Day. Do you still use pennies? For several decades, now, the U.S. government has been trying to remove the lowly penny from circulation, but it never quite gets around to it. Do you any idea of why? For some people, it may be nostalgia. A penny used to be worth something, and it brings back ... Read More

May 17 – Separate But Not Equal

On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that separate but equal schools for black children were an unconstitutional violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. As a result, the United States began a long process of integrating schools across the country, in both the North and the South. To this day, the question of the ... Read More

May 10 – J. Edgar and the FBI

On May 10, 1924, J. Edgar Hoover became the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI is much in the news today. While it was created as a law enforcement agency, from the early days of J. Edgar Hoover, its longest-serving director, it has drifted (or rushed) into politics and policy. One of the oldest questions in politics ... Read More

May 1 – It’s the Law!

May 1 is Law Day! It was founded in 1957 by the American Bar Association, with each year having a different theme. 2018 is Miranda Rights. If you watch any television or movies, you have heard the Miranda warnings thousands of times. They are so well-known that arrestees in other countries (where they are irrelevant – it’s a purely U.S. ... Read More

April 27 – U.S. Grant

On April 27, 1822, Ulysses S. Grant was born. Grant was the 18th President of the United States, and Commanding General of the Army at the end of the Civil War. Grant was never considered as great a general as his counterpart, Robert E. Lee. And he is generally considered an average president. He governed during difficult times, and had ... Read More

April 16 – Neither Snow nor Rain … but what about FedEx?

On April 16, 1900, the U.S. Postal Service issued the first book of stamps. Stamp collecting used to be a popular hobby, and getting mail was the highlight of many people’s day. Benjamin Franklin was the first U.S. Postmaster, and operating a postal service is one of the few jobs specifically laid out in the Constitution. The need for an ... Read More

April 11 – The Great Society

On April 11, 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act. Lyndon B. Johnson is an enigma. He was a brash, profane Texan, thought to have stolen the 1960 election for John Kennedy by stuffing the ballot box in a few strategic Texas counties. He was drummed out of running for a second term for not doing more ... Read More

April 4 – Tippecanoe (and Tyler, too)

On April 4, 1841, President William Henry Harrison died after only 30 days in office. Harrison served the shortest term of president, dying a month after he caught pneumonia during his inauguration, where he delivered the longest speech on record (8445 words), without a coat or hat, in the rain in an estimated temperature of 48 °F. Harrison was a ... Read More

Mar. 28 – I liked Ike

On Mar. 28, 1969, President Dwight D. Eisenhower died. Dwight David Eisenhower came onto the world stage when he served as the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe, supervising the D-Day invasion and the defeat of Germany. In 1952, he ran for president and won in a landslide. He governed as a moderate Republican, and was responsible ... Read More

Mar. 19 – League of Nations

On Mar. 19, 1920, the United States Senate rejected Woodrow Wilson’s League of Nations treaty. Woodrow Wilson believed that forward-thinking individuals could use the example of World War I to end war altogether. His idealism, however, was in stark contrast with the goals of the allies, who wanted to punish Germany. The linchpin of the new world order which was ... Read More

Mar. 14 – 10 Most Wanted

On Mar. 14, 1950, the FBI published the first FBI 10 Most Wanted list. J. Edgar Hoover was director of the FBI from its founding in 1935, until his death in 1972. At the end of 1949, he conceived the idea of the “Most Wanted List” as a way of attracting attention to the successes of the FBI in apprehending ... Read More

Mar. 7 – Breaking Bad

On Mar. 7, 1936, Adolf Hitler broke the Treaty of Versailles by sending troops into the Rhineland, an area of Germany that the Treaty of Versailles required remained demilitarized. This breach of the Treaty marks the beginning of the path that led to World War II. The United States entered World War I to fight "a war to end all ... Read More

Feb. 26 – It’s so Grand!

On Feb. 26, 1919, Grand Canyon National Park was created. Ten years later, Grand Teton Park was also created. The United States has 58 National Parks. Many of them are spectacularly beautiful. One might ask, however, how the government ends up owning land. According to Article IV, Section 3, Clause 2 of the Constitution (the Property Clause), “The Congress shall ... Read More

Feb. 19 – Japanese Internment

On Feb. 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, signed executive order 9066, calling for the forcible relocation of Japanese-Americans into internment camps away from the West Coast. More than 110,000 Japanese-Americans, a majority of whom were U.S. citizens, were interned, and thousands more voluntarily moved away from the West Coast. Following many decades of denial, in 2007 it became known ... Read More

Feb. 12 – Impeachment is not Removal

On Feb. 12, 1998, Bill Clinton was acquitted by the United States Senate on the charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. The acquittal brought to an end a three-year investigation into the actions of Bill Clinton before and during his presidency. That investigation led Clinton to be impeached by the House of Representatives – only the second time a ... Read More

Feb. 5 – Packing the Court

On Feb. 5, 1937, President Franklin Roosevelt announced a plan to increase the size of the Supreme Court from nine to as many as 15 justices. His argument was that the existing court continued to strike down New Deal legislation as unconstitutional, and to get things done, it was important for the Court to be more compliant. Roosevelt’s plan called ... Read More

Jan. 29- Bleeding Kansas

On Jan. 29, 1861, Kansas joined the Union as the 34th state. By the time it joined, six states had already seceded. The status of Kansas had been one of the precipitating causes of the war. In 1854, the Kansas-Nebraska Act had provided that those two territories would decide for themselves whether to allow slavery or be free states. Following ... Read More

Jan. 24 – The Tax Man

On Jan. 24, 1916, the Income Tax was ruled constitutional in the United States. Until 1916, the Federal government was much smaller than it is today, and it received revenue through excise taxes, tariffs, customs, and the sale of public land. These older forms of revenue now account for around 10% of the federal budget. Since 1916, an increasing share ... Read More

Jan. 17 – Ben’s Big Day

Ben Franklin was born on Jan. 17, 1706. Ben Franklin was one of the leading figures of the Enlightenment, as well as the American revolution. He is credited with inventing everything from lending libraries to bifocals and discovering that lightening is electricity. He lived a very deliberate life, at least on his own account, and also left us with many ... Read More

Jan. 8 – Debt Free

On Jan. 8, 1835, the United States’ National Debt hit $0 for the first and only time in history! Watch this video on raising the debt ceiling, made during the financial crisis of 2008, to get a sense of some of the still-current issues on debt, taxes, and deficits: Government debt, of course, is different from personal debt. Government debt ... Read More

Jan 4 – National Spaghetti Day

Jan. 4 is national spaghetti day. The Flying Spaghetti Monster is the deity of a spoof religion created to make a political point. It is the “god” of Pastafarians, and is connected to a political movement of “pirate” parties. In 2009, the Pirate Party in Sweden won 7.1% of the vote for the European parliament, and was give two seats ... Read More

Dec. 18 – Official End of Slavery

While the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in rebel states in 1863, the ending of the Civil War did not automatically prohibit slavery. To do so required another act of government. The ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment, abolishing slavery, was officially announced on Dec. 18, 1865. The Thirteenth Amendment says that: Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for ... Read More

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