05 November 2005

This Day In History

1862 : Lincoln removes McClellan


A tortured relationship ends when President Lincoln removes General George B. McClellan from command of the Army of the Potomac. McClellan ably built the army in the early stages of the war but was a sluggish and paranoid field commander who seemed unable to muster the courage to aggressively engage General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia.

McClellan was a promising commander who served as a railroad president before the war. In the early stages of the conflict, troops under McClellan's command scored several important victories in the struggle for western Virginia. Lincoln summoned "Young Napoleon," as some called the general, to Washington to take control of the Army of the Potomac a few days after its humiliating defeat at the Battle of First Bull Run in July. Over the next nine months, McClellan capably built a splendid army, drilling his troops and assembling an efficient command structure. He also developed extreme contempt for the president, and he often dismissed Lincoln's suggestions out of hand. In 1862, McClellan led the army down Chesapeake Bay to the James Peninsula, southeast of the Confederate capital at Richmond, Virginia. During this campaign, he exhibited the timidity and sluggishness that later doomed him. During the Seven Days' battles, McClellan was poised near Richmond but retreated when faced with a series of attacks by Lee. McClellan always believed that he was vastly outnumbered, though he actually had the numerical advantage. He spent the rest of the summer camped on the peninsula while Lincoln began moving much of his command to General John Pope's Army of Virginia.

After Lee defeated Pope at the Second Battle of Bull Run in late August, he invaded Maryland. With the Confederates crashing into Union territory, Lincoln had no choice but to turn to McClellan to gather the reeling Yankee forces and stop Lee. On September 17, 1962, McClellan and Lee battled to a standstill along Antietam Creek near Sharpsburg. Lee retreated back to Virginia and McClellan ignored Lincoln's constant urging to pursue him. For six weeks, Lincoln and McClellan exchanged angry messages, but McClellan stubbornly refused to march after Lee. In late October, McClellan finally began moving across the Potomac in feeble pursuit of Lee, but he took nine days to complete the crossing. Lincoln had seen enough. Convinced that McClellan could never defeat Lee, Lincoln notified the general on November 4 of his removal. A few days later, Lincoln named General Ambrose Burnside to be the commander of the Army of the Potomac.

After his removal, McClellan battled with Lincoln once more-for the presidency in 1864. McClellan won the Democratic nomination but was easily defeated by his old boss.

04 November 2005

Sicktionary


Just like rotten bacon or fresh vegetables, these words make me ill.

When dad wasn't kicking the dog or passing out in the bushes, he used to tell me “sticks and stones will break your bones but words will never hurt you.” Apparently that was as much a lie as “I’m just going out for cigarettes—be right back.” According to a study at the University of Missouri, hearing certain words can make you more likely to get sick in the next week.

Following are some of the words that make me and my buddies sick when we hear them. Should you be exposed to any, check your testicles for signs of retraction and call in sick—the incubation period can last as long as six days. (Ten-day weekend!)

You need Penicillin
Marriage(I love you Tori)
Colonoscopy
Turn your head and cough
Jimmy Fallon
“There’s a flag on the play”
Madonna
New England Patriots
"Not tonight, I have a headache"
Fat free
PT
Will and Grace
Nude pics! (Of Hilary)
Men's hand cream
WNBA doubleheader
“It’s a girl”
Light beer
Recall formation

This Day In History

IRANIANS STORM U.S. EMBASSY:


Student followers of the Ayatollah Khomeini send shock waves across America when they storm the U.S. embassy in Tehran. The radical Islamic fundamentalists took 90 hostages. The students were enraged that the deposed Shah had been allowed to enter the United States for medical treatment and they threatened to murder hostages if any rescue was attempted. Days later, Iran's provincial leader resigned, and the Ayatollah Khomeini, the leader of Iran's fundamentalist revolutionaries, took full control of the country--and the fate of the hostages.

Two weeks after the storming of the embassy, the Ayatollah began to release all non-U.S. captives, and all female and minority Americans, citing these groups as among the people oppressed by the United States government. The remaining 52 captives were left at the mercy of the Ayatollah for the next 14 months.

President Jimmy Carter was unable to diplomatically resolve the crisis, and on April 24, 1980, he ordered a disastrous rescue mission in which eight U.S. military personnel were killed and no hostages rescued. Three months later, the former shah died of cancer in Egypt, but the crisis continued. In November 1980, Carter lost the presidential election to Republican Ronald Reagan. Soon after, with the assistance of Algerian intermediaries, successful negotiations finally began between the United States and Iran.

On January 20, 1981--the day of Reagan's inauguration--the United States freed almost $3 billion in frozen Iranian assets and promised $5 billion more in financial aid. Minutes after Reagan was sworn in, the hostages flew out of Iran on an Algerian airliner, ending their 444-day ordeal. The next day, Jimmy Carter flew to West Germany to greet them on their way home.

03 November 2005

The Islamic Plague?


When will the mainstream media ever report the facts? When will it state that the pillaging taking place for the last week in the Muslim population is primarily committing the suburbs of Paris? This is important news in light of many other world events. But I'm not too surprised the mainstream media is not reporting it.

I just spent some time looking over some articles that came up on some Search Engines and typed in "paris riots" and found many articles, but almost nothing indicating that mostly Muslims are doing the violence. Even when it is stated, it is done in the nicest way possible, and usually in an attempt to make you feel sorry the rioters.

Here's a great example from CNN.com yesterday
"Suburbs that ring France's big cities, home to immigrant communities often from Muslim North Africa, suffer soaring unemployment and discrimination. Disenchantment and anger thrive in the tall cinderblock towers and long "bars" that make up the projects."

What in the name of Allah! Am I missing something? Aren't these the people (or their families) who came to France to free themselves of it's culture, governments, and social services? And since when is disappointment an excuse for violence?

Most importantly, since when did it become inappropriate to call things by their proper name? There is a violent MUSLIM uprising-taking place in France. It is a situation of their own making, intimately related to world wide Islamic violence. Yet it seems everywhere we turn, newspapers and other media tell us it is because they are "disenfranchised," or that they are reacting to "American foreign policy," or "Israeli aggression."

Those who fail to see and name evil are doomed to be taken over by it. The riots in France are irrefutably Muslim riots. When will we name them and the Islamic plague that is facing the world today?

This Day In History

1928 Mickey Mouse debuts


Cartoon star Mickey Mouse appears in Steamboat Willie, an animated short produced by Walt Disney. Steamboat Willie was the first fully synchronized sound cartoon ever produced, with Mickey's squeaky voice provided by Walt Disney himself.

Born on a Missouri farm, Walt Disney sold his first sketches to neighbors when he was just seven, and he attended the Kansas City Art Institute at night while he was in high school. At age 16, during World War I, Disney went overseas with the Red Cross and drove an ambulance that he decorated with cartoon characters.

Back in Kansas City, Disney started working as an advertising cartoonist. He founded a company called Laugh-O-Gram with his older brother, Roy, but it went bankrupt, and the brothers left Kansas City for Hollywood with $40 and some art supplies. The brothers launched a new animation venture with a series of animated short films called Alice in Cartoonland and soon developed Mickey Mouse and an array of other characters, including Donald Duck and Goofy, featured in "The Silly Symphony" series.

Meanwhile, the company developed increasingly sophisticated animation technology. In 1937, the company released the first feature-length animated movie, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The film was a huge hit, grossing $8 million.

During World War II, Disney devoted most of his company's resources to the production of training and propaganda films for the military. In 1965, he designed the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (EPCOT), which he envisioned as an aid toward improving the quality of life in American cities. He also helped establish the California Institute of the Arts in 1961. His 43-year career earned him nearly 1,000 honors and citations from throughout the world, including 48 Academy Awards and seven Emmys. Harvard, Yale, the University of Southern California, and UCLA all bestowed him with honorary degrees. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, France's Legion of Honor and Officer d'Academie decorations, Thailand's Order of the Crown, Brazil's Order of the Southern Cross, Mexico's Order of the Aztec Eagle, and the Showman of the World Award from the National Association of Theatre Owners. In addition to his films, his legend lives on through Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and EPCOT Center, and generations of children have experienced the joy and magic of the "Happiest Place on Earth." Walt Disney died in 1966.

02 November 2005

This Day In History

1960 Lady Chatterley's Lover obscenity trial ends


On this day in 1960, a landmark obscenity case over Lady Chatterley's Lover, by D.H. Lawrence, ends in the acquittal of Penguin Books. The publisher had been sued for obscenity in publishing an unexpurgated version of Lawrence's novel, which deals with the affair between the wife of a wealthy, paralyzed landowner and his estate's gamekeeper. The book had been published in a limited English-language edition in Florence in 1928 and Paris the following year. An expurgated version was published in England in 1932. In 1959, the full text was published in New York, then in London the following year.

Lawrence was born to a poor coal-mining family in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, in 1885. His mother struggled to teach her children refinement and a love of education. She depended heavily on Lawrence for emotional support and nurturing. He won a scholarship to Nottingham High School, worked as a clerk, and attended University College in Nottingham, where he earned a teaching certificate. His first novel, The White Peacock, was published in 1911.

The following year, Lawrence fell in love with Frieda Weekley, the German wife of a fellow teacher. The pair fled to Germany and wed after Frieda divorced her husband. In 1913, Lawrence published his first major novel, Sons and Lovers, an autobiographical novel set in a coal town. The couple returned to England, and Lawrence's next novel, The Rainbow(1915), was banned for indecency. After World War I, Lawrence traveled to Italy, Australia, and Mexico and wrote several more novels, including Women in Love (1921). He died of tuberculosis in France in 1930, at the age of 44.

01 November 2005

DVD OF THE WEEK - Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith


In 1999 and 2002, most critics gave decent reviews for Star Wars Episodes I and II, maybe because they were afraid of fan backlash or just maybe just maybe wanting them to be better than what they were.

Everyone knows the plot by now, concerning the eventual conflict between Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Anakin Skywalker and the latter's turn to the Dark Side of the Force. The point of Revenge of the Sith is not what happens, but how it happens. In this regard, Lucas delivers the goods, and does so in a way that casts a whole new light on the much-beloved Episodes IV-VI.

Detractors have blamed writer/director George Lucas for writing clunky dialogue and failing to support his actors while they struggled. Now the performers appear far more comfortable, and in fact, enthusiastic about their jobs.

The overall quality of acting has improved 90% from Episodes I & II, and even Samuel L. Jackson sounds like his old self. Ian McDiarmid in particular gives one of the series' best performances since Alec Guinness in "Star Wars."

Likewise, the new digital Yoda (voiced by Frank Oz) is now capable of facial expressions that express authentic humanity. In a fight with the Emperor, Yoda grimaces and glares, and we can sense hints of fear, rage and anguish beneath the surface.

The digital effects in particular have reached a point that they no longer seem "too perfect." The film's awesome landscapes, sometimes appearing onscreen for no more than a few seconds, appear as background for Lucas's lovingly flawed human characters.

Lucas also allows a new darkness to creep into the film. Good and evil are no longer so clear cut. In many instances he demonstrates that good and evil are only relative terms; each person has it within him or herself to turn at any time, and each person struggles constantly.

Likewise, the film's depiction of political power shifts is utterly timeless, yet completely relevant. Even a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, history tends to repeat itself.

It Couldn't Get Much Better Than This - The Vatican In D.C.

From the FreeRepublic:

As David Bernstein points out today in his post on The Volokh Conspiracy, the confirmation of Judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court will result in a Catholic majority on that bench. It seems timely, therefore, to speculate on the potential changes in store for that august institution:

10) Meat-less Fridays all year round in the Supreme Court cafeteria;
9) Oral arguments in Latin;
8) The bones of Charles Carroll will be disinterred and placed in a glass coffin at
the front of the chambers
7) Collections between each session of oral argument;
6) Supreme Court windows replaced with stained glass;
5) "Oyez, oyez" will be replaced with rung Sanctus bells;
4) Incense will be burned throughout each session;
3) Supreme Court opinions will be deemed infallible and unreviewable by any earthly
authority unless Rome intervenes;
2) Catechism of the Catholic Church will now be "persuasive authority";
And, the number one change which a Catholic majority would make to the Supreme
Court . . .
1) Wednesday night bingo!

Alito, Alito, Alito


Alito, Alito, Alito, I can finally scream we have what we ought to have had all along!

We aren't being told that the candidate will be a good candidate because the President thinks so or because the candidate goes to the right church every Sunday, or because he comes from the right geographical location or because he's one of the best "white" male lawyers in New Jersey. We have fifteen years worth of opinions where we and the Senators and everybody else in the world can go look not just at the conclusions he has drawn, but at the reasoning process by which he has arrived at those conclusions. There's no guessing here, and no taking somebody else's word for it that the guy is a good lifetime appointment. We can know exactly what the nominee thinks is a judge's role in the face of the law, and we can look back and see exactly how consistently he applies his principles even when those principles lead to conclusions distasteful to his own political agenda. This is what I want to see in every Supreme Court nomination.

Now, having read enough of Alito's opinions (thanks to the internet) to be reasonably comfortable that he shapes his decisions to fit the law rather than looking out for his own personal agenda, and that he seems to reason very carefully and rationally, and I'm going to go and email my state Senators and ask them to confirm this man.

This Day In History

1952 United States tests first hydrogen bomb

The United States detonates the world's first thermonuclear weapon, the hydrogen bomb, on Eniwetok atoll in the Pacific. The test gave the United States a short-lived advantage in the nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union.

Following the successful Soviet detonation of an atomic device in September 1949, the United States accelerated its program to develop the next stage in atomic weaponry, a thermonuclear bomb. Popularly known as the hydrogen bomb, this new weapon was approximately 1,000 times more powerful than conventional nuclear devices. Opponents of development of the hydrogen bomb included J. Robert Oppenheimer, one of the fathers of the atomic bomb. He and others argued that little would be accomplished except the speeding up of the arms race, since it was assumed that the Soviets would quickly follow suit.

The opponents were correct in their assumptions. The Soviet Union exploded a thermonuclear device the following year and by the late 1970s, seven nations had constructed hydrogen bombs. The nuclear arms race had taken a fearful step forward.

31 October 2005

Shout Out To My Boys From Bragg 274 FST

Props To Fellow Combat Medic

U.S. Army medic saves Iraqi policeman
October 31, 2005


BAGHDAD (Army News Service, Oct. 31, 2005) -- An Iraqi police officer owes his life to a U.S. Army medic who treated his wounds as terrorists fired on their position Oct. 10.

“I didn’t have time to think about it,” said Spc. Andrew “Doc” Suchanek, 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division. “I just knew I didn’t want that guy to get hurt even worse. I just reacted.”

While on a routine patrol in west Baghdad, Suchanek and other Soldiers of C Company, 1/87 Infantry responded to assist Iraqi Police who had come under fire from automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades. Encountering a critically-wounded police officer, Suchanek began immediate life-saving treatment.

Then a terrorist suddenly fired an RPG at both of them. Without hesitation, Suchanek threw himself on the police officer, shielding him from danger. The grenade exploded harmlessly and Suchanek continued treatment to save the life of the policeman. As his fellow Soldiers secured the area, Suchanek coordinated evacuation for his patient to a local hospital.

American care for the wounded -- civilian or military -- does not end in the street, said Capt. Douglas Hermann, 1/87’s medical officer.

“Combat medics like Suchanek provide live-saving care, and under fire,” Hermann said. “But the job isn’t done after the injured are pulled away from combat. Other medics respond after the casualty has left the front lines. There, other medics stabilize the injured and get them safely to a hospital.”

The battalion medics at Forward Operating Base Hawk in Baghdad receive casualties and get them to the combat support hospital. Hermann said providing follow-up care and getting the wounded aboard medical helicopters are life-saving tasks.

“These medics do their job with amazing speed and motivation,” he added. “They know mere minutes can mean life and death to their patients.”

(Editor’s Note: Spc. Carlos Caro serves with the 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry)

This Day In History

1517 Martin Luther posts 95 theses


Martin Luther, a professor of biblical interpretation at the University of Wittenberg in Germany, nails his 95 revolutionary theses on the door of the Castle Church, marking the beginning of the Protestant Reformation in Germany.

In the theses, Luther condemned the excesses and corruption of the Roman Catholic Church, especially the papal practice of asking payment--called indulgences--for the forgiveness of sins. He followed up the revolutionary work with equally controversial and groundbreaking theological works, and his fiery words set off religious reformers all across Europe.

In 1521, Pope Leo X excommunicated Luther. Three months later, Luther was called to defend his beliefs before Holy Roman Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms, where he was famously defiant. For his refusal to recant his writings, the emperor declared him an outlaw and a heretic. Luther was protected by powerful German princes, however, and by his death from natural causes in 1546 the course of Western civilization had been significantly altered.

30 October 2005

This Day In History

1938 "War of the Worlds" panics millions


Radio program Mercury Theater on the Air presents Orson Welles' production of H.G. Wells' "War of the Worlds," a fictional drama about a Martian invasion in Grovers Mill, New Jersey. The program, which aired on Halloween, sparked a panic among listeners who believed the play was an actual news broadcast. Of the six million listeners who heard the show, more than 1.7 million reportedly believed the story was true.

Born in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and raised in Chicago, Orson Welles was well versed in Shakespeare before he finished grade school. He excelled in poetry, music, cartooning, and magic. After high school, Welles-the son of an inventor and a concert pianist-chose to travel the world rather than attend college, and he launched his acting career in Ireland in 1931.

He came back to the United States in 1932 but was snubbed by Broadway, so he traveled to Spain, where he performed as a bullfighter. He returned to the United States soon thereafter and landed the role of Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet on Broadway. In 1937, he founded the Mercury Theater, home of innovative stage and radio drama, with John Houseman. Their radio anthology program, which later changed its name to The Campbell Playhouse, ran until 1941.

At age 25, Welles produced, directed, co-wrote, and starred in the Academy Award-winning Citizen Kane, his first foray into motion pictures. The film told the story of a media tycoon who muscled his way to power using unscrupulous tactics while destroying his marriage and alienating his friends. Though Citizen Kane wasn't commercially successful, the film won praise for its unique camera and sound work, which influenced filmmakers around the world. Indeed, it topped the list in the American Film Institute's 1998 poll of America's 100 Greatest Movies. After Citizen Kane, Welles' diverse works included everything from adaptations of Shakespeare to documentaries. Some of his acclaimed films included The Stranger (1946), The Lady from Shanghai (1948), and Chimes at Midnight (1966). In his later years, he narrated documentaries and appeared in commercials, and he left behind numerous unfinished films when he died in 1985. He was a recipient of the American Film Institute's Life Achievement Award.
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