American History: The Devastating 2010 Gulf Oil Spill Still Impacts U.S. Coastal Waters

Tourism and maritime activities along the U.S. Gulf Coast underwent a significant jolt on April 10, 2010. Barely more than seven years ago, an explosion and fire caused an offshore British Petroleum pipeline to spew an estimated 4.9 million barrels of crude oil into U.S. coastal waters for 87 days.


Ongoing Damage


The horrific disaster killed 11 people. It damaged numerous businesses in the region, too. Estimates of environmental losses included the deaths of thousands of marine mammals. Over 1,000,000 birds died as a result of the catastrophe.


Now a study conducted by Jeffrey Short, an environmental consultant from Juneau, Alaska, has provided evidence of ongoing negative impacts on fish in the area. The report could hold significant implications for the recovery of damaged U.S. coastal fishing industries.


Creating Ecological Imbalances


The new study suggests the oil spill created severe imbalances in maritime ecosystems. The loss of so many predators caused some fish populations to explode soon afterwards and exceed population carrying capacity in the severely damaged local environment. Some fish species actually began starving. Without natural controls on population expansion, some maritime species experienced stress. Jeffrey Short has concluded the herring population across a wide swathe of water from Alabama to Texas may never fully recover from the tragedy. He believes the spill in the Gulf Coast may have cause irreversible ecological damage to sensitive marine environments in the region.


Another study mentioned in the article published on the Huffington Post website reportedly appeared in the Social Science Society of America Journal. It detailed findings by crop researchers sponsored by the American Society of Agronomy. That study also concludes the oil spill possibly produced long term harm.


The Quincy: Crime & Shootings:

*The Quincy Crimes Examined:


On May 7, 2013 many were stunned when the news of the New Brunswick NJ shooting was made public. The Quincy Apartment Complex is within close proximity to the Raritan River. The complex is no stranger to crime. However, on this particular day no one could have ever predicted a shooting taking place at this location.


On May 7, 2013 a Pizza man was making a delivery to the Northern Building inside of the Quincy Apartment Complex. Upon returning to his parked vehicle the delivery man was robbed and then shot. Witnesses said three men were waiting in another vehicle brandishing weapons.


Although the crime was reported to local police, later that day a person was arrested for supplying incorrect or false information about the crime to police. Later that evening, sometime after 7:00 pm, a wounded male showed up at a local emergency room with a gun shot wound. The man was believed to be one of the victims of the shooting earlier that day.


On October 7, 2015, almost two and a half years after the Quincy shooting, another shooting took place at the “Brunswick Apartment Complex”. This complex is an area of New Brunswick which is no stranger to crime. Apparently this shooting was committed by a known gangster.


The injured person was driven to a local hospital. However, from the start New Brunswick Police believed that the driver was in fact the prime suspect. The police returned to the apartment complex later that day to collect additional evidence. Upon returning to the crime scene, police recovered some shell casings as well as stray bullets.


*High Crime Neighborhood/area:


This particular area of New Brunswick is a high crime area. The area has several apartment houses as well as older homes. Police feel the area around Liberty Street and the Raritan River is convenient for criminals because there are a variety of convenient escape routes.


The area in which the crimes occurred has been steadily growing worse over the past decade. Many locals do not feel safe living in and around the Liberty Street area any longer.


Concerning the 2013 shooting incident at the Quincy Complex. Police later discovered that in fact no pizza was ever delivered to the complex. Basically, someone placed a false order in an attempt to trap the delivery man and subsequently rob and shoot him on the spot.


It seems residents of this New Brunswick neighborhood are not very trusting and have lied to authorities on numerous occasions. Apparently, residents have placed calls ordering pizza and other foods in the past with the intent to rob and possibly assault the delivery person. This area of Northern New Jersey seems to also have a high incidence of domestic disputes in which police are called on numerous occasions.


The news media seems to keep the public well informed about crimes that have taken place within the area around the Quincy Complex. Therefore, at least residents are kept informed and can take appropriate measures to ensure their safety.


Long Lost Civil War Sword Discovered

On Tuesday, The Massachusetts Historical Society put on display what has been called the “holy grail of civil war swords.” It is a sword that belonged to famed Union Army colonel, Robert Gould Shaw, and a sword that had been missing since 1865.
Colonel Shaw, leader of the Union Army’s first all-black regiment, died with the sword in hand during the Second Battle of Fort Wagner. A Confederate soldier then took the sword until Union soldiers reclaimed it in 1865. But from there, the sword disappeared. Many believed it would never be found. Until, in March of this year, the sword finally turned up in Massachusetts, in the attic of Mary Minturn Haskins, wife of the grandson of Colonel Shaw’s sister. The Haskins family has graciously decided to donate the sword to the Massachusetts Historical Society, where it will be on display through September.
Colonel Shaw, who was immortalized in the 1989 film “Glory,” was the son of abolitionist parents, and it was his father who gave him command of the army’s first all-black regiment. Shaw was a white man, but nonetheless he developed a very close relationship with his troops in a time of sharp racial divide, going so far as to join them in their refusal to accept army wages until they were paid as much as their white counterparts.
After Shaw’s heroic death in the Second Battle of Fort Wagner, Confederate soldiers buried him in a mass grave along with his black soldiers. The Confederates meant it as an insult, but the Union saw it as a tribute to Shaw’s legacy as a man committed to equality. Colonel Shaw was a great man, and, thanks to the serendipitous discovery of his sword, we now have a monument to honor him.

Professor Wants to Make Apollo Landing Site Historic Landmark

Beth O’Leary – a former professor of anthropology at New Mexico State – has suggested that the federal government should grant the Apollo 11 landing site national historic landmark status. She and her co-authors have recently published a book entitled the Final Mission: Preserving NASA’s Apollo Sites, in which they argue that a number of the lunar landing sites need to be preserved as part of the nation’s heritage.

O’Leary retired from her university job three years ago and is a recognized expert in historical preservation and the still infant field of space archaeology. Back in 2012, O’Leary was presented with an award by NASA related to work she published for them entitled NASA’s Recommendations to Space Fairing Entities: How to Protect and Preserve the Scientific and Historic Value of U.S. Government Lunar Artifacts.

This was a guide for how NASA should handle future historical moon landings. Obviously, if the moon and other bodies in the solar system are ultimately colonized by NASA – or perhaps by Elon Musk and SpaceX – the landing sites and the colonies themselves could become as famous and historically important as Plymouth Rock and Jamestown.

O’Leary will be speaking at the Smithsonian and the National Geographic Society this week as they commemorate the 48th anniversary of Apollo 11’s landing at Tranquility Base. In her book, O’Leary considers space exploration – and in particular the American space program – from a historical and archaeological perspective.

In addition to Earth-based space program sites, O’Leary thinks that off world sites need to be considered by the government for inclusion on the list of national landmarks. She has also suggested that tranquility base should be a world heritage site as well, given its tremendous historical significance and “outstanding universal value.”

The 13th Annual Cottagers African American Cultural Festival

The Cottagers on Martha’s Vineyard is sponsoring an important African American Cultural Festival. This particular festival will be given in honor of black people and all of their accomplishments. Normally, Black History month celebrations take place every year in February.

While many people (black and otherwise) enjoy these celebrations; a lot of other people could care less about them. Since this is the case, the Cottagers on Martha’s Vineyard puts on an annual African American festival during the summer to remedy this problem. The MV Times typically features a story about this great event.

The African American Cultural Festival will take place on Thursday July 26 and it will be the Cottagers 13th celebration of this type. This festival helps black people and other Americans from different backgrounds to be able to learn about African culture and American black people.

The Cottagers really enjoy this particular festival because it delves deeply into the lives of black people and their contribution to America. The festival also includes good food, good music and lots of lectures. The lectures will be about women’s contribution to American history and situations impacting them.

The festival is a really big event on Martha’s Vineyard. Many summer tourists travel into the area to experience it and local residents enjoy the festival as well. While many lectures take place at this festival, there is music, games, concert and fun events as well. Many entrepreneurs attend the festival to sell their goods. The hosts of the festival want everyone to know that black history is not just about black people – it’s about everyone in America.

A Breakdown of Events that Have Redefined American History

America has a rich heritage. A number of events have captured the imagination of the entire nation besides influencing the evolution and history of the American society. The following are some events in the nation’s history, which every American should be aware of.

The Purchase of Louisiana Territory

Present-day Louisiana and the surrounding states weren’t initially part of the United States. It was only under Thomas Jefferson that this conglomerate of states joined the union, thus doubling its area. Jefferson’s government paid sixty million francs to France, an equivalent to $15million. According to the Huffington Post, the deal added 828,800 square miles to American territory, thus shaping the country’s history.

The Vietnam War

It goes without saying that the Vietnam War arose from years of retrogressive politics in America, and the spread of Communism around the globe. America’s entry into the Vietnam War was largely caused by the fact that it felt threatened by the spread of Communist ideas in South Vietnam, which was democratic. More than 58,000 Americans ended up losing their lives during the war.

John F. Kennedy’s Assassination

A lot of conspiracy theories have been proposed as to why Kennedy died. Most of these theories pint towards the infamous Chicago mafia. Nonetheless, the motivation behind his killing remains a mystery. What is evident is that Kennedy’s assassination devastated American morale besides stroking fear throughout the nation.

Osama bin Laden’s Death

Before his death, Osama bin Laden was regarded by the western world as the epitome of villainy. He was despised universally for being the face of global terrorism. His death in May 2011 was well received especially in the United Stated where he was hated for his role in the Twin Tower attacks, which led to the devastating loss of lives and property. Osama was widely seen as the public number one enemy of civilization. His death redefined America’s history, more so its involvement in the fight against global terrorism.

American Sport’s Legend OJ’s Fall From Grace

America is waiting for the results of OJ’s parole hearing. OJ is now 70 years of age and considered to be just a washed up has-been who killed his wife and a friend of hers, he perhaps thought was a boyfriend. It didn’t always use to be this way for OJ. There was a time when he was a shining star and adored by the American public.

OJ began his career in football, receiving a variety of accolades, including the Heisman Trophy in 1968. After being the first pick of the pro draft in 1969, he served nine seasons with the Buffalo Bills. He would then go on to break records, and finally, found himself inducted into 1985’s Pro Football Hall of Fame. Other accomplishments can be found in The New York Time’s article, “Key Events in OJ Simpson’s Fall From Sports Hero, Movie Star.” OJ was more than just a football hero. OJ came across as a likable guy, many Americans could relate to. He would go on to fill a cameo role in Hollywood’s classic comedy movie, “The Naked Gun.”

In 1995, after what can only be described as the trial of the century, OJ was shockingly found not guilty in the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown and her friend Ron Goldman. He would live free until 2007 when he and five others would be charged with robbery. They claimed the memorabilia they were trying to take was originally stolen from OJ.

Whatever happens to OJ, his legacy will never be that once great football player and all around, fun American guy. Instead, he will be remembered as a heartless killer and selfish criminal.

American Civil War Made America Better

The United States came to be when the South surrendered to the North, two years after the defeat of the Confederate army. The turning point of the American Civil War came when General Robert Edward Lee decided to directly attack the Cemetary Ridge, the place where the Unions were. Unfortunate for his army, the Union army was well prepared. The ground provided enough cover for the troop to hide and they did some improvising that put them on the upper hand. As much as the Confederate soldiers tried, it was impossible to get the Unions out of their position. The attack back fired on the Confederates as they were the ones who became an easy target for the Union army.

The tactics
One thing that helped the Union army to be the victors in the war is the general understood the geography of the place. He was always keen not to put his soldiers on a clear ground, knowing that could compromise them. The troops used the Blue Ridge Mountains as cover and kept off the flat areas. After the defeat of the Confederate army, General Lee took advantage of the rainy weather to retire his troop using the Potomac River.

Current effect
The end of the civil war must have been a good thing for the modern America as in a survey done showed that a good number of Americans think the State is better than before. According to Max Roser, the Oxford economist, America has come from far to be where it is today. He says it is vital that people keep the faith no matter what. The only way is to understand the state’s history. The end of the war brought freedom and freedom is an important aspect of life. Something that has seen people work hard to have self-improvement as well as look for ways to tackle future challenges.

The Final Days of John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy’s final days portray a person who was eager for excitement. Maybe this was because his two siblings, Kathleen and Joe, had died while still young and he had faced death as a youth during the Second World War. Somehow, the president appeared conscious that his time on earth was limited.

JFK could be humorous about his preferred ways of dying, and he categorically stated that he would prefer dying in war or through poisoning. He also talked about how short his life was, and in one instance he guessed that he would die at the age of 45. He insisted that he had to secure a place in American history books, thus seized every opportunity to live his life to the fullest.

This ambitious attribute turned out to be a blessing to the nation. For instance, his brainchild the Atmospheric Test Ban Treaty was approved by the Senate in September 1963. The treaty was to block any other detonation of nuclear devices in the atmosphere by both the United States and the Soviet Union. Ted Sorensen once stated that this agreement gave JFK the greatest satisfaction. Indeed, the treaty proved beneficial because it helped conserve the environment and reduced tensions between the two nations.
Several other achievements during the last moments of his presidency deserve mention yet were often overlooked. JFK offered the Soviet an olive branch, after standing against the country’s aggression in Cuba. He additionally authorized the sale of wheat to the Soviet to supplement their poor harvest. In the same month, the final report of the President’s Commission on the Status of Women was issued while his civil rights bill was debated in Congress.

Moreover, Kennedy assured the country that it would achieve the dream of landing on the moon no matter the challenges. He addressed his fellow citizens at the San Antonio Aerospace Medical Health Center, where he urged them to keep their eyes on the skies. This was on November 21, 1963, approximately twenty-four hours before he was assassinated.

Blurring the Line of Historian and Political Pundit

American political news and commentary have ushered in a new territory when compared to the last administration. Trump has spent his short presidency being confronted daily by a hostile media. It is clear that the media is not only skeptical of Trump, they are still very confused about how he was able to find himself in The White House. As always, the American public simply wants the facts about what decisions are being made and why.

Some news organizations are turning to historians in order to make sense of Trump and his administration. The current contentious feelings between news organizations and the Trump administration has catalyzed an interest in historians to provide their insight and judgment.

In a recent Op-Ed piece published in the New York Times called, “Historians Shouldn’t Be Pundits,” Moshik Temkin, points out the dangers in historians being asked to appear in very short news segments, playing the role of a political pundit. The reality is, that while historians can provide us with valuable information about our political history and how we have evolved, there is a danger in them making ruthless comparisons and analogies.

While many citizens who were not pleased with the election results would enjoy hearing their bias confirmed through a historian comparing Trump to Nixon, or some other evil foreign dictator, these types of correlations are misleading at best. Temkin welcomes the interest in history by news organizations who are inviting historians to make an appearance, and this should be embraced. However, he is cautioning all of us to separate historical facts from our modern-day, volatile political banter that is more reserved for pundit personalities.