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Russia: A Timeline

March 19, 2019 in History

By Editors

Russia’s history is rife with both booms and busts.

From early Mongol invasions to tsarist regimes to ages of enlightenment and industrialization to revolutions and wars, Russia is known not just for its political rises of world power and upheaval, but for its cultural contributions (think ballet, Tolstoy, Tchaikovsky, caviar and vodka).

Below is a timeline of notable events in the world’s largest country.

Mongol Invasions

862: The first major East Slavic state, Kievan Rus, is founded and led by the Viking Oleg of Novgorod (although some historians dispute this account). Kiev becomes the capital 20 years later.

980-1015: Prince Vladimir the Great, who converts from paganism to Orthodox Christianity, rules the Rurik dynasty and spreading his newfound religion. His son, Yaroslav the Wise, reigns from 1019-1054 as grand prince, establishing a written code of law, and Kiev becomes a center of politics and culture in eastern Europe.

1237-1240: Mongols invade Kievan Rus, destroying cities including Kiev and Moscow. The Khan of the Golden Horde rules Russia until 1480.

1480-1505: Ivan III—known as Ivan the Great—rules, freeing Russia from the Mongols, and consolidating Muscovite rule.

1547-1584: Ivan IV—or Ivan the Terrible—becomes the first tsar of Russia. The grandson of Ivan the Great expands the Muscovite territory into Serbia, while instituting a reign of terror against nobility using military rule. He dies of a stroke in 1584.

Romanov Dynasty

1613: After several years of unrest, famine, civil war and invasions, Mikhail Romanov is coronated as tsar at age 16, ending a long period of instability. The Romanov dynasty will rule Russia for three centuries.

1689-1725: Peter the Great rules until his death, building a new capital in St. Petersburg, modernizing the military (and founding the Russian navy) and reorganizing the government. With his introduction of Western European culture, Russia becomes a world power.

1796: Russia’s longest-ruling female leader, Catherine II, or Catherine the Great, takes power in a bloodless coup and her reign marks Russia’s era of enlightenment. A champion of the arts, her 30-plus-year rule also extends Russia’s borders.

1853-1856: Stemming from Russian pressure on Turkey and religious tensions, the Ottoman Empire, along with British and French forces, fights Russia and Czar Nicholas I in the Crimean War. Russia is crippled in its defeat.

Brutal Execution of the Romanovs (TV-PG; 5:55)

1861: Tsar Alexander II issues his Emancipation Reform, abolishing serfdom and allowing peasants to …read more


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Explore 10 Biblical Sites: Photos

March 19, 2019 in History

By Sarah Pruitt

These tantalizing ancient finds may—or may not—offer material evidence of locations, characters and stories written about in the Bible.

Tel Megiddo

Current Location: Israel

Megiddo is better known to some by its Greek name of Armageddon, which some Christians believe will be the site of the end-times battle prophesied in the Book of Revelation. Archaeologists have uncovered an astounding 26 layers of human occupation at this site, which is located about 30 km southeast of Haifa, Israel. A leading Canaanite city during the Bronze Age, it later became an important royal city in the Kingdom of Israel, according to the Hebrew Bible.


Current Location: Israel’s West Bank

This ancient settlement, located on the northwest shores of the Dead Sea, gained international fame in the late 1940s, when Bedouin shepherds stumbled into nearby caves and discovered the first of the ancient Hebrew and Aramaic texts known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, which contain biblical text and other ancient writings. Subsequent excavations revealed the ruins of buildings and an extensive aqueduct system. Some scholars believe Qumran was home to the Essenes, an isolationist Jewish sect often credited with authorship of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Tel Hazor

Current Location: Israel (Galilee)

At some 200 acres, this site in Upper Galilee (now a national park) is the largest of Israel’s “tels,” the artificial mounds that have formed over centuries of human settlement, as older buildings crumble and new ones are built. According to the Old Testament, Hazor was the site of one of Joshua’s key victories in his conquest of Canaan after Moses’ death; he supposedly burned the city to the ground, clearing the way for Israelite settlement. Excavations are ongoing, and though some evidence of burned materials and structures have surfaced, archaeologists are still debating whether the biblical battle actually took place.

READ MORE: The Bible Says Jesus Was Real. What Other Proof Exists?


Current Location: Jordan

This ancient desert fortress, located just over 30 km to the southwest of Madaba, Jordan, sits atop a hill overlooking the Dead Sea. After its destruction by Roman troops, King Herod the Great rebuilt Machaerus and used it as a military base. The Bible (and Jewish historian Flavius Josephus) identified the palace-fortress as the site where John the Baptist was imprisoned and executed on the orders of Herod the Great’s son Herod Antipas.

READ MORE: Where is the Head …read more


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Let's Stop Bashing Billionaires — They Are Making Our Lives Better

March 19, 2019 in Economics

By Chris Edwards

Chris Edwards

Are rich people idle “rentiers,” as economist Thomas
Piketty calls them, who inherit wealth and add no social value? In
supporting Sen. Bernie Sanders’ plan for higher estate taxes,
former Labor Secretary Robert Reich claimed
that “America is creating a new aristocracy of the
non-working super rich.” And in plugging Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s wealth
tax, Paul Krugman said
“we seem to be heading toward a
society dominated by vast, often inherited fortunes.”

In fact, today’s economy is dominated by entrepreneurial
innovation, which is generating rapid turnover in the ranks of the
wealthy. And even among the declining share of the rich who
inherited their wealth, many are impressive company builders or
philanthropists in their own right.

In the U.S. economy, wealth is dynamic, which is clear from the
Forbes annual list of the 400 richest Americans. Fully
43% of the people on the list in 2018 were not on it 10 years ago.
The newcomers are entrepreneurs driving economic growth. There is
Jensen Huang, co-founder of graphics chip maker Nvidia
NVDA, +3.66% and Shahid
Khan, who built automotive parts maker Flex-N-Gate. There are Brian
Acton and Jay Koum, co-founders of WhatsApp, which provides free
phone service globally for more than 1 billion users.

Reinhold Schmieding is on the 400 list. He founded Arthrex, a
surgical tools company that has developed thousands of products.
There is Robert Pera, founder of wireless equipment maker Ubiquiti
Networks, and Judy Faulkner, who founded medical records software
firm Epic Systems. Thai Lee is one of the many immigrant
entrepreneurs on the Forbes list. She built business IT provider
SHI International.

Today’s economy is
dominated by entrepreneurial innovation, which is generating rapid
turnover in the ranks of the wealthy.

These billionaires are the farthest thing from rentiers. They
are inventing new products and driving down prices of services that
we all use. They are making our lives better.

In a 2013 study, Steven Kaplan and Joshua Rauh explored
the backgrounds of Forbes 400 members over the years to see whether
wealth was self-made or inherited. They found that the share who
were self-made rose from 40% in 1982 to 69% by 2011. The study
found that fully 20% of people on the Forbes list grew up poor, as
billionaire Oprah Winfrey did. In 2018, Forbes produced a similar tally on the
rise of self-made billionaires
. The magazine found that
“the number of Forbes 400 members who have forged their own
path, using entrepreneurial capitalism as a means to attain a vast
fortune, has increased dramatically.”

Wealth is more dynamic in America than in Europe. <a target=_blank …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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The Hidden Costs of Drug Prohibition

March 19, 2019 in Economics

By Trevor Burrus

Trevor Burrus

For over 100 years, America’s drug war has been a part of
our lives. For those, like me, who grew up consuming Reagan-era
anti-drug propaganda, the drug war resembled a holy crusade of
purification more than a criminal-justice problem. Murderers,
robbers, and rapists were treated as criminals of opportunity and
desire, but drug users were moralized in the language of sin and
redemption. It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I asked the
most basic and fundamental question about the drug war: Why
do heroin addicts get cages and alcoholics get

Only by asking that question was I able to cut through the pall
of anti-drug propaganda that had been pulled over my eyes.
It’s often observed that, during wartime, home-front
propaganda focuses on dehumanizing the enemy. The Vietnamese became
“Gooks,” Germans became “Huns,” and
Japanese became “Japs.” Converting your enemy to a
subhuman thing seems almost necessary if we’re going to ask
soldiers to do something that is supposed to be morally prohibited
— namely kill another human being.

Similarly, spending a day on the front lines of the drug war and
then going out for drinks after work requires some form of mental
gymnastics. Illicit drug users become “junkies,” while
alcoholics are lovingly given the bucolic name
“lushes.” The drug war, like so many legal prohibitions
on vices and private behavior, is rooted in the dehumanization of
the drug users usually based on racial stereotypes and moralistic
class warfare. That’s why heroin users get cages.

Many of the costs of drug
prohibition are well known, but some of the most insidious and
invidious costs are under-discussed.

But heroin users — as well as users of other illicit drugs
— get more than cages. Due to drug prohibition, illicit drug
users get dangerous and overly potent drugs. Due to drug
prohibition, we all get a hostile and increasingly ineffective
system of law enforcement that violates civil liberties on a daily
basis. And due to drug prohibition, we have millions of people
under some form of criminal-justice supervision, whether it’s
jail, prison, or probation, all because of the racially charged
fears of white men 80-100 years ago. Many of the costs of drug
prohibition are well known, but some of the most insidious and
invidious costs are under-discussed. Listen…

Creating and Killing Drug Addicts

Black-market drugs are often tainted with various impurities and
poisons. Their potency is often unknown, endangering users with the
possibility of overdose. These are well-known consequences of drug
prohibition. A less well-known consequence, however, is how drug
prohibition makes drugs stronger and therefore both more dangerous
and more addictive.

It’s easy to see why. Under prohibition, illicit …read more

Source: OP-EDS