Friday, February 28, 2014

How Is Your State Doing on the Environment?

I saw this scorecard on how each individual state is doing in regards to the environment, and thought it was fascinating, as well as telling.

Also, frankly, more than a little depressing.

Yet, even though the truth hurts, I still believe that our society can really only improve if people become more informed, and good people take action. That means that people have to spread the word when things like this come out.

So, that is what I am going to do now. Take a look and see for yourself:

Young People Are Tuning Fox News Out

It is almost unthinkable today to believe that FOX News would be going anywhere, anytime soon. It seems that they always make so much noise (obviously, not for the right reasons), and they hold a certain arrogance about them that would suggest that they are more than they really are.

Yet, is it possible that they are merely an illusion? That, in other words, they are not this enormous behemoth of a "news" station, but rather, that they are a dying dinosaur? Again, that can be hard to believe, when you hear a lot of people who obviously get their "news" from FOX, and seem to hold a lot of sway in election after election.

But the reality is that young people are not just turning away, but outright rejecting FOX News and what the station has come to represent.

According to an article by Jason Easley of from earlier this year (see link to article below):

"Beneath all of the arrogant swagger and bragging, Fox News has a huge problem.

"It isn’t just that younger people aren’t watching. They are flat out rejecting Fox News. Just like the Republican Party, Fox News is aging and fading. Attempts to rebrand are going nowhere, as young news consumers have been turned off by Fox."

Hmmm...sounds good.

The thing is, I have heard premature calls about the death of neocon ideology, and about FOX "News", before. Some claimed that the white population was decreasing, while the non-white population was increasing, and that this would herald the beginning of a new, progressive spirit. Some suggested that George W. Bush had been so bad during his eight long years in the White House, that America would be turned off to so-called conservative ideology (I say that because, to my mind's eye, what passes for conservatism in modern day America is simply a de facto corporate supremacy, amounting to giving corporate America free rein, at the expense of a government, however imperfect it might be, that is nonetheless elected by the people). But soon after Obama took over, the Tea Party rose to prominence, and somehow, the blame for all of the problems that had existed before Obama took office was, nonetheless, placed squarely on his shoulders. More recently, the government shutdown last year once again, rather predictably, had people once again calling for the end of this destructive version of conservatism, or libertarianism, or whatever else people refer to it as these days.

So, maybe it's a bit too early to sound the death knell on FOX "News".

But that said, it is young people who are paying the price of the past mistakes that this country has made, and in particular, the mistakes that it has made during this very, very long (many decades long, as far as I can tell) turn towards what passes for conservative political ideology, during which time the rich have gotten richer, while the standard of life among average Americans have declined at an alarming rate.

Things that might have appeared as unthinkable in, let's say, the early seventies have come to pass. Think about it: the education system, which ranked at the top in almost every category during America's "Golden Age" of the fifties and early sixties, is now seen as crumbling and failing our kids. Our healthcare system is a disaster, and despite being the only industrialized nation on earth not to have some form or other of universal healthcare, we still pay, on average, more medical expenses per year than those other countries do. Our infrastructure is crumbling, with roads and bridges in a severe state of disrepair in too many cases. Cities are crumbling and declaring bankruptcy. Environmental degradation is reaching an alarming level, as our already lax environmental regulations are not even being enforced as much as they could and should, as recent news in West Virginia would clearly suggest. Even as revered and helpful an institution as the post office is struggling just to keep it's head above water. And, of course, unions, which brought Americans their 40 hour workweek and many of the benefits that people clearly have come to take for granted, are now viewed as "useless" by many people who have forgotten that their really is strength in numbers. Instead of seeing and dealing with obvious corruption at the top levels of corporate America and within a government very easily swayed by the big money that corporate America is willing to pay them, Americans instead have bought into fixating on corruptions within unions, and so union-busting has become the cause célèbre among short-sighted Americans. Too many of them support an ideology that serves against their best interest, yet they do it loudly and proudly.

It's enough to make me sigh just thinking and writing about it.

Indeed, though, it is the young people in this country who have to now deal with all of that. They are entering a workforce where a college degree certainly does not guarantee you anything anymore. Where there is more competition than good jobs available. Where kids are not expected to live as high a standard of living as their parents, which is the first time in a very long time that any generation of Americans have faced that. And perhaps, just maybe, they can see more clearly than those older Americans who well remember the superpower days, and who have given in to a false sense of entitlement and superiority, who just are too taken by their own sense of self-worth in a country that they always assumed would be the envy of the world, to actually see the writing on the wall that young people now see far more clearly.

Americans can still accumulate a lot of stuff. Many consumer goods are cheaper in America, indeed, and that does have it's benefits. But in almost every other category, Americans are falling behind. They do not have as complete and adequate health benefits that, say, Europeans enjoy. Nor do they entitled to as much vacation time as people in Europe, or in Australia, and Japan. The education system in countries like Finland and Poland are showing up the American one at every turn. Yes, that's right, you can forget all of those "stupid" Polish jokes that made the Polish out to be imbeciles. Their education system is up and coming, and they are already doing better than the United States in almost every meaningful category. Those countries also lead the United States in alternative energy technology. They use less energy and pollute far less, per person, than Americans do.

Sure, we have handsome, smiling "leaders" that assure us that we are the "greatest country in the world", and end speeches with "God Bless America", but maybe that's not enough for us anymore? Maybe, indeed, young people are starting to see that daydreaming about their country being the best will not help them pay the mounting bills from their student loans, as well as their share of what the government has borrowed for many decades now, all while giving the most fortunate among us, as well as huge corporations, tax cuts and all manner of incentives that, clearly, the country could not afford.

So, maybe indeed, an awakening is going on.

Or, maybe, this is just one more premature prediction of the end of the arrogant scourge afflicting this country, and that not only has loudly and proudly called for an end to many of America's greatest institutions, but will continue to do so, even more loudly and proudly. They may just make more noise than ever, just to distract people enough to avert their eyes and focus from what's really going on in the country.

Hopefully, we really can rely on young people to see things in a clearer light than past generations have.

We shall see what happens, one way or another.

"Young Viewers Avoid Fox News Like the Plague as Ratings Drop 30%" by Jason Easley, January 2, 2014:

On This Day in History - February 28 Chemical Structure of DNA Found

Once again, it should be reiterated, that this does not pretend to be a very extensive history of what happened on this day (nor is it the most original - the links can be found down below). If you know something that I am missing, by all means, shoot me an email or leave a comment, and let me know!

Feb 28, 1953: Watson and Crick discover chemical structure of DNA

On this day in 1953, Cambridge University scientists James D. Watson and Frances H.C. Crick announce that they have determined the double-helix structure of DNA, the molecule containing human genes.  

Though DNA--short for deoxyribonucleic acid--was discovered in 1869, its crucial role in determining genetic inheritance wasn't demonstrated until 1943. In the early 1950s, Watson and Crick were only two of many scientists working on figuring out the structure of DNA. California chemist Linus Pauling suggested an incorrect model at the beginning of 1953, prompting Watson and Crick to try and beat Pauling at his own game. On the morning of February 28, they determined that the structure of DNA was a double-helix polymer, or a spiral of two DNA strands, each containing a long chain of monomer nucleotides, wound around each other. According to their findings, DNA replicated itself by separating into individual strands, each of which became the template for a new double helix.  In his best-selling book, The Double Helix (1968), Watson later claimed that Crick announced the discovery by walking into the nearby Eagle Pub and blurting out that "we had found the secret of life." The truth wasn’t that far off, as Watson and Crick had solved a fundamental mystery of science--how it was possible for genetic instructions to be held inside organisms and passed from generation to generation.  

Watson and Crick's solution was formally announced on April 25, 1953, following its publication in that month’s issue of Nature magazine. The article revolutionized the study of biology and medicine. Among the developments that followed directly from it were pre-natal screening for disease genes; genetically engineered foods; the ability to identify human remains; the rational design of treatments for diseases such as AIDS; and the accurate testing of physical evidence in order to convict or exonerate criminals. 

Crick and Watson later had a falling-out over Watson's book, which Crick felt misrepresented their collaboration and betrayed their friendship. A larger controversy arose over the use Watson and Crick made of research done by another DNA researcher, Rosalind Franklin, whose colleague Maurice Wilkins showed her X-ray photographic work to Watson just before he and Crick made their famous discovery. When Crick and Watson won the Nobel Prize in 1962, they shared it with Wilkins. Franklin, who died in 1958 of ovarian cancer and was thus ineligible for the award, never learned of the role her photos played in the historic scientific breakthrough.  

Feb 28, 1987: Gorbachev calls for nuclear weapons treaty

In a surprising announcement, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev indicates that his nation is ready to sign "without delay" a treaty designed to eliminate U.S. and Soviet medium-range nuclear missiles from Europe. Gorbachev's offer led to a breakthrough in negotiations and, eventually, to the signing of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in December 1987.  

Gorbachev and President Ronald Reagan had been wrestling with the issue of nuclear arms reduction in Europe since 1985, when they first met face-to-face to discuss the matter. A subsequent meeting in 1986 started with high hopes for an agreement, but the discussions broke down when Gorbachev linked the issue of the elimination of U.S. and Soviet INF in Europe to U.S. termination of its development of the Strategic Defense Initiative (the so-called "Star Wars" anti-missile defense system). However, both Reagan and Gorbachev faced pressures to reach a settlement. Reagan was under assault by "no-nuke" forces both in the United States and in western Europe. By late 1986 and early 1987, he was also faced with the fallout from the Iran-Contra scandal, when his administration had become involved in illegal arms dealings with both Iran and the Contra forces in Central America. Gorbachev wanted to achieve a cut in nuclear armaments, both to bolster his prestige on the world stage and to provide some much-needed relief for a Soviet economy sagging under the burden of massive military expenditures.  

In February 1987, Gorbachev announced that the Soviet Union was willing to proceed with negotiations on the INF Treaty. This time, he suggested that "the problem of medium-range missiles in Europe be singled out from the package of issues and that a separate agreement on it be concluded, and without delay." In other words, he was dropping his insistence on including SDI in the negotiations. The timing of Gorbachev's offer was interesting to many observers in the United States. Some suggested that it was not coincidental that his statement was released just days after a high-level presidential review board had issued a stinging report critical of the Reagan administration's involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal. Perhaps, they concluded, Gorbachev felt that Reagan would be anxious for a settlement. The two men met in December 1987 and signed the INF Treaty, by which the Soviets eliminated about 1,500 medium-range missiles from Europe and the United States removed nearly half that number.

Here's a more detailed look at events that transpired on this date throughout history:

202 BC - Coronation ceremony of Liu Bang as Emperor Gaozu of Han takes place, initiating four centuries of the Han Dynasty's rule over China
364 - Valentinian I becomes Roman Emperor.
870 - 8th Ecumenical council ends in Constantinople
1570 - Anti-Portugese uprising on Ternate, Moluccas
1638 - Scottish Presbyterians sign National Convent, Greyfriars, Edinburgh
1646 - Roger Scott was tried in Mass for sleeping in church
1653 - -Mar 3] 3 Day Sea battle English beats Dutch
1667 - English colony Suriname in Dutch hands
1692 - Salem witch hunt begins
1700 - Today is followed by March 1 in Sweden, thus creating the Swedish calendar.
1704 - Elias Neau, a Frenchman, opens a school for blacks in NYC
1704 - Indians attack Deerfield, Mass, kill 40, kidnap 100
1708 - Slave revolt, Newton, Long Island NY, 11 die
1710 - In the Battle of Helsingborg, 14,000 Danish invaders under Jørgen Rantzau are decisively defeated by an equally sized Swedish force under Magnus Stenbock.
1728 - George F Handel's opera "Siroe, re di Persia," premieres in London
1730 - Tsarina Anna Ivanovna leads autocracy
1749 - 1st edition of Henry Fieldings' "Tom Jones" published
1759 - Pope Clement XIII allows Bible to be translated into various languages
1778 - Rhode Island General Assembly authorizes enlistment of slaves
Evangelist John WesleyEvangelist John Wesley 1784 - John Wesley charters Methodist Church
1787 - The charter establishing the institution now known as the University of Pittsburgh is granted.
1794 - US Senate voids Pennsylvania's election of Abraham Gallatin
1810 - 1st US fire insurance joint-stock company organized, Philadelphia
1819 - 1st public performance of a Franz Schubert song, "Schäfers Klageleid"
1826 - M Biela, an Austrian officer, discovers Biela's Comet
1827 - 1st commercial railroad in US, Baltimore & Ohio (B&O) chartered
1828 - Franz Grillparzer's "Ein Treuer Diener," premieres in Vienna
1835 - Dr Elias L"nnrot publishes Finnish poem "Kalevala"
1838 - Robert Nelson, leader of the Patriotes, proclaims the independence of Lower Canada (today Québec)
1844 - 12-inch gun aboard USS Princeton explodes
1847 - US defeats Mexico in battle of Sacramento
1849 - 1st boat load of gold rush prospectors arrives in SF from east coast
1850 - The University of Utah opens in Salt Lake City, Utah.
1854 - Republican Party formally organized at Ripon, Wisc
Composer Franz SchubertComposer Franz Schubert 1859 - Arkansas legislature requires free blacks to choose exile or slavery
1861 - Territories of Nevada & Colorado created
1862 - Opera "La Reine de Saba," premieres in Paris
1863 - Confederate raider "Nashville" sinks near Fort McAllister Georgia
1864 - -Mar 3rd] Skirmish at Albemarle County Virginia (Burton's Ford)
1864 - -Mar 4th) Raid at Kilpatrick's Richmond
1870 - The Bulgarian Exarchate is established by decree of Sultan Abd-ul-Aziz of the Ottoman Empire.
1871 - 2nd Enforcement Act gives federal control of congressional elections
1878 - US congress authorizes large-size silver certificate
1879 - "Exodus of 1879" southern blacks flee political/economic exploitation
1882 - 1st US college cooperative store opens, at Harvard U
1883 - 1st US vaudeville theater opens (Boston)
1888 - Ferry in San Pablo Bay explodes
1888 - Vincent d'Indy's Wallenstein-trilogy, premieres
1891 - Oscar Grundén skates world record 500m (50.8 sec)
1893 - Edward Acheson, Penn, patents an abrasive he names "carborundum"
1896 - France dismisses Queen Ranavalona of Madagascar
1900 - General Buller's troops relieve Ladysmith Natal
1902 - Jules Massenets opera premieres in Monte Carlo
1903 - Barney Dreyfuss & James Potter buys Philadelphia Phillies for $170,000
1904 - Vincent d'Indy's 2nd Symphony in B, premieres
1906 - Stanley Cup: Ottawa Silver 7 sweep Queen's U (Kingston Ont) in 2 games
1908 - Failed assassination attempt on Shah Mohammed Ali in Teheran
1912 - Victor Trumper's last Test Cricket innings c Woolley b Barnes 50
1913 - 6.8-m, 4000-kg elephant seal killed, South Georgia (S Atlantic)
1914 - Construction begins on Tower of Jewels for the Exposition (SF)
1917 - AP reports Mexico & Japan will allie with Germany if US enters WW I
1917 - Russian Duma sets up Provisional Committee; workers set up Soviets
1920 - Maurice Ravel's "Le tombeau de Couperin," premieres
1922 - Egypt regains independence from Britain, but British troops remain
1922 - KHQ-AM in Spokane WA begins radio transmissions
1923 - Swedish king Gustaaf V begins state visit to Netherlands
1924 - US begins intervention in Honduras
1925 - "Tea For Two" by Marion Harris hit #1
1925 - Congress authorizes a special handling stamp
1925 - Longest win streak in Toronto Maple Leaf history (9 games)
1925 - Theater Museum of Amsterdam forms
1929 - Chic Black Hawks lose record NHL 15th straight game at home
1931 - Canadian Rugby Union adopts the forward pass
1931 - Oswald Mosley founds his New Party
1933 - 1st female in cabinet: Francis Perkins appointed Secretary of Labor
1933 - German Pres Von Hindenburg abolishes free expression of opinion
Dictator of Nazi Germany Adolf HitlerDictator of Nazi Germany Adolf Hitler 1933 - Hitler disallows German communist party (KPD)
1935 - Amsterdam Hotel of the Red Lion gets sidewalk permit
1935 - Wallace Carothers manufactures 1st nylon polymer
1939 - Great-Britain recognizes Franco-regime in Spain
1939 - The first issue of Serbian weekly magazine Politikin zabavnik is published.
1939 - The erroneous word "Dord" is discovered in the Webster's New International Dictionary, Second Edition, prompting an investigation.
1940 - 1st televised basketball game (U of Pitts beats Fordham U, 50-37)
1940 - Richard Wright's "Native Son" published
1940 - US population at 131,669,275 (12,865,518 blacks (9.8%))
1941 - 39 U Boats (197,000 ton) sunk this month
1941 - British-Italian dogfight above Albania
1942 - 1st weapon drop on Netherlands
1942 - Japanese land in Java, last Allied bastion in Dutch East Indies
1942 - Race riot, Sojourner Truth Homes, Detroit
1943 - "Porgy & Bess" opens on Broadway with Anne Brown & Todd Duncan
1943 - 63 U Boats (359,300 ton) sinks this month
1947 - Anti Kuomintang demonstration on Taiwan
1947 - 228 Incident: In Taiwan, civil disorder is put down with the loss of 30,000 civilian lives.
1950 - "Alive & Kicking" closes at Winter Garden Theater NYC after 46 perfs
1951 - French government of Pleven dissolves
1951 - Senate committee reports of at least 2 major US crime syndicates
Soviet Union Premier Joseph StalinSoviet Union Premier Joseph Stalin 1953 - Stalin meets with Beria, Bulganin, Khrushchev & Malenkov
1954 - Patty Berg/Pete Cooper wins LPGA Orlando Mixed Golf Tournament
1954 - US performs atmospheric nuclear test at Bikini Island
1956 - 13 die in a train crash in Swampscott Mass
1956 - Forrester issued a patent for computer core memory
1957 - Jockey Johnny Longden's 5,000th career victory
1958 - West Indies 1-504 in reply to Pakistan 328, day 3 of 3rd Test Cricket
1959 - "Goldilocks" closes at Lunt Fontanne Theater NYC after 161 perfs
1959 - Ice Dance Championship at Colo Springs USA won by Denny & Jones of GRB
1959 - Ice Pairs Championship at Colorado Springs won by Wagner & Paul of CAN
1959 - Ladies Figure Skating Championship in Colo Spr won by Carol Heiss USA
1959 - Launch of Discoverer 1 (WTR)-1st polar orbit
1959 - Men's Figure Skating Championship in Colo Spr won by David Jenkins USA
1959 - NFL trade, Chicago Cards trade Ollie Matson to LA Rams for 9 players
1960 - 8th winter Olympic games close at Squaw Valley, Cal
1960 - Mickey Wright wins LPGA Tampa Golf Open
1960 - US wins Olympic hockey gold medal by defeating Canada
Politician, statesman Henry KissingerPolitician, statesman Henry Kissinger 1961 - JFK names Henry Kissinger special advisor
1962 - WMGM-AM in New York City changes call letters to WHN
1966 - Cavern Club (Beatles hangout) in Liverpool closes
1966 - Sandy Koufax & Don Drysdale begin a joint holdout against Dodgers
1967 - Wilt Chamberlain sinks NBA record 35th consecutive field goal
1968 - Pirate Radio Hauraki, off NZ, returns to the air
1969 - Ice Dance Championship at Colorado Spr won by Towler & Ford of GBR
1969 - Ice Pairs Championship at Colorado Spr won by Rodnina & Ulanov of URS
1969 - Ladies Figure Skating Champion in Colo Spr won by Gabriele Seyfert GDR
1969 - Men's Figure Skating Championship in Colo Springs won by Tim Wood USA
1970 - "Georgy" closes at Winter Garden Theater NYC after 4 performances
1970 - Bicycles permitted to cross Golden Gate Bridge
1970 - Caroline Walker runs world female record marathon (3:02:53)
1970 - KIIN (now KUN) TV channel 12 in Iowa City, IA (PBS) 1st broadcast
1970 - WUTR TV channel 20 in Utica-Rome, NY (ABC) begins broadcasting
1971 - WDRB TV channel 41 in Louisville, KY (IND) begins broadcasting
Golfer Jack NicklausGolfer Jack Nicklaus 1971 - 53rd PGA Championship: Jack Nicklaus shoots a 281 at PGA Natl FL Jack Nicklaus wins his 2nd golf grand slam
1972 - George Harrison is involved in a minor car accident
1972 - Pres Richard Nixon ends historic week-long visit to China
1972 - The Asama-Sanso incident ends in Japan.
1973 - Suriname government of Sedney arrests 13 union leaders
1974 - Ethiopian government of Makonnen forms
1974 - Labour Party wins British parliamentary election
1974 - Taiwan police shoots into crowd
1974 - US & Egypt re-form diplomatic relations after 7 years
1975 - 41 killed in London Underground, as train speeds past final stop
1975 - EG signs accord of Lome with 46 developing countries
1975 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
1975 - A major tube train crash at Moorgate station, London kills 43 people.
1976 - 18th Grammy Awards: Love Will Keep Us Together, Natalie Cole wins
1976 - Ceuta & Melilla (Spanish Morocco) are last European African possession
37th US President Richard Nixon37th US President Richard Nixon 1976 - Spain withdraws from Western Sahara
1977 - 1st killer whale born in captivity (Marineland, Los Angeles California)
1977 - Harbor strike in Rotterdam/Amsterdam ends
1979 - Ernest Thompson's "On Golden Pond," premieres in NYC
1980 - "The Well-Tuned Piano" by La Monte Young premieres (takes 4 h 12 m)
1980 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
1981 - Calvin Murphy (Hou), sets NBA record with 78 consecutive free throws
1981 - China PR throws out Neth ambassador due to submarine sale to Taiwan
1982 - AT & T looses record $7 BILLION for fiscal year ending on this day
1982 - Ayako Okamoto wins LPGA Arizona Copper Golf Classic
1982 - FALN (PR Nationalist Group) bombs Wall Street
1983 - Last broadcast of "M*A*S*H" on CBS-TV
1983 - Final TV episode of "M*A*S*H" airs (CBS); record 125 million watch
1984 - 26th Grammy Awards: Michael Jackson wins 8 Grammys
1986 - European Economic Community sign "Special Act" for Europe free trade
King of Pop Michael JacksonKing of Pop Michael Jackson 1986 - Peter Uberroth suspended 7 baseball players for 1 year, after they admitted in Curtis Strong's trial in September, they used drugs
1988 - 15th Winter Olympic games close at Calgary, Canada
1988 - Anti-Armenian pogrom in Azerbaijan, 30 killed
1988 - Pat Verbeek becomes 1st NJ Devil to score 4 goals in an NHL game
1988 - Yvonne van Gennip skates world record 5 km ladies (7:14.13)
1989 - Gretchen Polhemus, 23, (Texas), crowned 38th Miss USA
1989 - Memo by Brian Gumbel criticizing Today Show co-workers becomes public
1989 - Red Schoendienst & Al Barlick elected to baseball's Hall of Fame
1990 - Dutch police seize 3,000 kg of cocaine
1990 - US 65th manned space mission STS 36 (Atlantis 6) launches into orbit
1991 - "Les Miserables" opens at Theatre Carre, Amsterdam
1991 - "Speed of Darkness" opens at Belasco Theater NYC for 36 performances
1991 - Don Mattingly named 10th NY Yankee Captain
1991 - Noureddine Morceli runs world record 1500m indoor (3:34:16)
1991 - US & allied forces grant Iraq a cease fire
1993 - "Anna Christie" closes at Criterion Theater NYC after 54 performances
Comedian Jerry SeinfeldComedian Jerry Seinfeld 1993 - 7th American Comedy Award: Seinfeld wins
1993 - Gun battle erupts at Waco Texas between FBI & Branch Davidians
1993 - Iolanda Chen triple jumps world indoor record hop step (14.46m)
1994 - 100 agents raid Branch Davidian compound at Waco Texas
1994 - Brady Law, imposing a wait-period to buy a hand-gun, went into effect
1995 - Denver International Airport opens
1996 - 38th Grammy Awards: Jagged Little Pill, Alanis Morisette wins
1997 - Earthquake in Pakistan, kills 45
1997 - FBI agent Earl Pitts pleads guilty to selling secrets to Russia
1997 - Smokers must prove they are over 18 to purchase cigarettes in US
1997 - The North Hollywood shootout takes place.
1998 - "View From the Bridge," closes at Criterion Theater NYC
1998 - Vancouver Canucks Mark Messier is 4th NHLer to get 1,600 points
1998 - First flight of RQ-4 Global Hawk, the first unmanned aerial vehicle certified to file its own flight plans and fly regularly in U.S. civilian airspace.
1998 - Kosovo War: Serbian police begin the offensive against the Kosovo Liberation Army in Kosovo.
2001 - The Nisqually Earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter Scale hits the Nisqually Valley and the Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia area of the U.S. state of Washington.
2001 - Six passengers and four railway staff are killed and a further 82 people suffer serious injuries in the Selby rail crash.
2004 - Over 1 million Taiwanese participating in the 228 Hand-in-Hand Rally form a 500-kilometre (300-mile) long human chain to commemorate the 228 Incident in 1947
2005 - Lebanon's pro-Syrian prime minister, Omar Karami, resigns amid large anti-Syria street demonstrations in Beirut.
2005 - A suicide bombing at a police recruiting centre in Al Hillah, Iraq kills 127.
2007 - Jupiter flyby of the New Horizons Pluto-observer spacecraft.
2008 - Former Prime Minister of Thailand Thaksin Shinawatra is arrested on corruption charges upon returning to Thailand after months of exile.
2012 - Occupy London protesters evicted from St Paul's Cathedral
2012 - Discovery of the largest prehistoric penguin, Kairuku grebneffi, at nearly 5ft tall
2013 - 28 people are killed and 60 are injured after a series of bombings across Baghdad, Iraq
2013 - 35 people are killed in violent demonstrations across Bangladesh
2013 - The brains of two rats have been successfully connected so that they share information

1827 - The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad became the first railroad incorporated for commercial transportation of people and freight.   1844 - Several people were killed aboard the USS Princeton when a 12-inch gun exploded.   1849 - Regular steamboat service to California via Cape Horn arrived in San Francisco for the first time. The SS California had left New York Harbor on October 6, 1848. The trip took 4 months and 21 days.   1854 - The Republican Party was organized in Ripon, WI. About 50 slavery opponents began the new political group.   1861 - The U.S. territory of Colorado was organized.   1881 - Thomas Edison hired Samuel Insull as his private secretary.   1883 - The first vaudeville theater opened.   1885 - AT&T (American Telephone and Telegraph) was incorporated. The company was capitalized on only $100,000 and provided long distance service for American Bell.   1893 - Edward G. Acheson showed his patent for Carborundum.   1900 - In South Africa, British troops relieved Ladysmith, which had been under siege since November 2, 1899.   1911 - Thomas A. Edison, Inc. was organized.   1940 - The first televised basketball game was shown. The game featured Fordham University and the University of Pittsburgh from Madison Square Gardens in New York.   1948 - Bud Gartiser set a world record when he cleared the 50-yard low hurdles in 6.8 seconds.   1951 - A Senate committee issued a report that stated that there were at least two major crime syndicates in the U.S.   1953 - In a Cambridge University laboratory, scientists James D. Watson and Francis H.C. Crick discovered the double-helix structure of DNA.   1954 - In San Francisco "Birth of a Planet" was aired. It was the first American phase-contrast cinemicrography film to be presented on television.   1956 - A patent was issued to Forrester for a computer memory core.   1962 - The John Glenn for President club was formed by a group of Las Vegas republicans.   1974 - The U.S. and Egypt re-established diplomatic relations after a break of seven years.   1979 - Mr. Ed, the talking horse from the TV show "Mr. Ed", died.   1983 - "M*A*S*H" became the most watched television program in history when the final episode aired.   1986 - Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme was assassinated in Stockholm.   1993 - U.S. Federal agents raided the compound of an armed religious cult in Waco, TX. The ATF had planned to arrest the leader of the Branch Davidians, David Koresh, on federal firearms charges. Four agents and six Davidians were killed and a 51-day standoff followed.   1994 - NATO made its first military strike when U.S. F-16 fighters shot down four Bosnian Serb warplanes in violation of a no-fly zone over central Bosnia.   1995 - The Denver International Airport opened after a 16-month delay.   1998 - Serbian police began a campaign to wipe out "terrorist gangs" in the Yugoslav province of Kosovo.   2001 - The Northwest region of the U.S., including the state of Washington, was hit by an earthquake that measured 6.9 on the Richter Scale. There were no deaths reported.   2002 - In Ahmadabad, India, Hindus set fire to homes in a Muslim neighborhood. At least 55 people were killed in the attack.  2002 - Sotheby's auction house announced that it had identified Peter Paul Reubens as the creator of the painting "The Massacre of the Innocents." The painting was previously thought to be by Jan van den Hoecke.   2002 - It was announced that John Madden would be replacing Dennis Miller on "Monday Night Football." Madden signed a four-year $20 million deal with ABC Sports.

1953 James Watson and Francis Crick described their theory that two DNA strands were coiled in a double helix.

The following links are to web sites that were used to complete this blog entry:

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Movie Review: Instinct

Inspired by Daniel Quinn's "Ishmael", which had a powerful effect on me when i first read it as well,

This movie is very good. Moving. Riveting. Fascinating. Mysterious.

All of these things, and more, even. Funny, but I had not even heard of it, prior to stumbling on it on Youtube. The whole movie was there to watch, for free, and I took a chance that it would be halfway decent. After all, Anthony Hopkins is one of my favorite actors, if not outright the favorite. Plus, it looked interesting, in terms of scenery.

Indeed, I was glad that I went ahead and took the opportunity to watch this film. It is good and, as already mentioned, has a lot to offer. All of those things that I mentioned earlier are true.

Yet, it has more to offer, particularly on an intellectual level, even much more, if you simply watch it after having read Quinn's "Ishmael". It is such an important book and, if you take it seriously and read it as a true alternative to the history that amounts to mythology that we have always taken for granted, than the book could change your life. If you allow it to, of course.

Reading Ishmael (or other works from Quinn, particularly "The Story of B" or "My Ishmael"), and understanding the underlying message will allow you to understand this movie much more clearly, and to probably get in the mind of Anthony Hopkins character much more.

Don't get me wrong: this is a pretty entertaining movie, most likely, even if you are unfamiliar with Daniel Quinn's work. But if you are familiar with Ishmael, then this movie, which already is good and stands on it's own, become more layered, if you will. You understand what is going on a hell of a lot better. Trust me on this one, because right at the very beginning of the movie, it is outright stated that the movie is inspired by this book (although an entirely different story from it).

Hopkins is a phenomenal actor, one of the very best of all time, surely. And he brings life and lends credibility to his character, noted Professor Ethan Powell, who went to Africa to watch gorillas, and was never the same afterwards.

He attacked and killed soldiers while in Africa, and was imprisoned, before being extradited to the United States. While being processed at the airport, the loudness of his surroundings once again makes Dr. Ethan Powell snap, and he attacks and seriously injures the guards around him. He only really calms down when he catches sight of his daughter, Lynn Powell, played by Maura Tierney.

Back under restraint, Professor Powell now refuses to speak, and he is considered dangerously unstable. He is taken to a maximum security prison under harsh conditions, left there, essentially, to rot.

Enter a brilliant young, up and coming psychiatrist, Theo Caulder, played by Cuba Gooding, Jr.. Having convinced his superiors to give him this shot, despite their reservations about his lack of experience, Caulder finally gets his shot with the professor. There is one catch, though: he will be the psych for the entire prison. Still, despite this, he is excited, and wants to do what he does best: to appear friendly enough to essentially befriend patients, and gain their trust. Yet, as a learned man, the professor could prove to be a bigger challenge, and Caulder himself is the only one who really thinks that he can break through.

After some rough patches in the first couple of sessions, Caulder does indeed break through. Convincing him to use his words in order to spread his message this one last time, Caulder finally manages to get Professor Powell to talk, much to the astonishment of everyone, including Lynn Powell, the professor's daughter.

Caulder thinks that this breakthrough is going to go far in advancing his career, and that is clearly his main interest initially. But Professor Powell proves not just to be a much more involved and challenging case than he expected, but also to hold a certain knowledge, or perhaps a certain way of looking at the world, that gets Caulder's attention. This does not happen all at once. But after Powell physically attacks Caulder, and forces him to realize that he is not in control of the situation as he automatically assumes that he is, Caulder becomes more receptive to what Powell is actually telling him.

And Caulder is fascinated, and completely taken in by what the professor has to say. It is more, much more, than mere intellectual curiosity, for that matter. Caulder is surprised to find himself completely taken by Powell's description of his experiences in Africa, and what he has learned about the world. he talks about a "Taker" culture (this is where familiarity with Daniel Quinn's work really comes in handy).

Before long, Caulder begins to see the world differently. He begins to feel uncomfortable with his own intense focus on advancing his career, and instead of seeing the prison as a place that he, like the inmates, has to serve time in, he begins to really see the prison system, and just how unfair it is. He had assumed that he was free prior to meeting Powell, but Powell convinces him that Caulder himself is every bit as imprisoned in his own way as any of the inmates are. He is not "free", like he always assumed he was.

With seemingly each session, Caulder meets with Lynn Powell, and they become friends, almost bordering on a romance. Something just keeps bringing Caulder back to her, and clearly, after a while, it is clearly not just because she happens to be the professor's daughter.

Ethan Powell, a distinguished professor earlier in his life, and now seen merely as a dangerous, lunatic convict, is adapting to prison life in his own way. He understands better than most how might makes right within the prison walls, and how the guards, ultimately, hold the most power in that sense. But he challenges it more and more, until there are outright conflicts. When Caulder gets involved, things really begin to get tense.

Eventually, after an episode with the head guard, Powell returns to his vow of silence. By that point, Caulder's time with the professor is pretty much up. He is really struggling with it, and has come to view the professor in a very different light than the rest of the world has. Suddenly, he can not only sympathize with Powell, but urges him to seek a trial, because he thinks that if Powell explains himself to a judge the way that he did to Caulder, he can outright be released from prison. Yet, he is surprised to see that Powell just isn't interested.

Ultimately, this movie is about Powell, and what he learned while in Africa. His studies of the gorillas were, in some ways, very similar to Caulder's study of him in the beginning. he was detached, and his interest was purely academic. He had his preconceptions about the gorillas, much like Caulder did about him. he assumed that they were violent, that they could easily threaten him. But when he actually studied them, he slowly but surely was accepted within their community, as improbable as that may have seemed. As he learned more about them, he came to understand that they were, in fact, more peaceful than the "Taker" culture that he had been a part of. Like Caulder, what he learns from this community that he had at first kept at arm's length comes to change his life, and he cannot go back. He cannot simply go back into society and view things in the same way. And if he is to truly be free, he knows that, ultimately, he has to separate himself from it.

As for Caulder, he is very different by the end of the movie than he had been in the beginning. There is a transformation, and he is a changed man. He credits Ethan Powell for opening his eyes to this new outlook on life, and his place in it.

This movie was surprisingly good. I thought that maybe they relied too much on the violence of the professor, for a movie where the message is supposed to be about a rejection of the societal violence that the professor was supposed to have rejected in the first place. Perhaps, it is a case of fighting fire with fire. Who knows?

In any case, this is a thought-provoking movie. It does not have the explosions and special effects that seems to be the only thing that some young guys look for in movies. This is not Transfromers 2, in other words - a terrible movie with incredible special effects, and hardly any storyline whatsoever.

This movie tells a story. It has action, and that is where it differentiates from "Ishmael", where the ideas expressed are the source of the fascination. The ideas count in this one, but so does the story - a tale of two men transforming, one through the telling of the other's transformation. This is an emotional, as well as a cerebral, movie, and you should enter it with patience to allow the complete picture to unroll and reveal itself. It also requires an open mind. But, in the end, this movie is much more rewarding than the vast majority of movies that are out there.

Highly recommended!

On this Day in History - February 27 New Orleanians Celebrates Mardi Gras

Once again, it should be reiterated, that this does not pretend to be a very extensive history of what happened on this day (nor is it the most original - the links can be found down below). If you know something that I am missing, by all means, shoot me an email or leave a comment, and let me know!

Feb 27, 1827: New Orleanians take to the streets for Mardi Gras  

On this day in 1827, a group of masked and costumed students dance through the streets of New Orleans, Louisiana, marking the beginning of the city's famous Mardi Gras celebrations.  

The celebration of Carnival--or the weeks between Twelfth Night on January 6 and Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Christian period of Lent--spread from Rome across Europe and later to the Americas. Nowhere in the United States is Carnival celebrated as grandly as in New Orleans, famous for its over-the-top parades and parties for Mardi Gras (or Fat Tuesday), the last day of the Carnival season.  

Though early French settlers brought the tradition of Mardi Gras to Louisiana at the end of the 17th century, Spanish governors of the province later banned the celebrations. After Louisiana became part of the United States in 1803, New Orleanians managed to convince the city council to lift the ban on wearing masks and partying in the streets. The city's new Mardi Gras tradition began in 1827 when the group of students, inspired by their experiences studying in Paris, donned masks and jester costumes and staged their own Fat Tuesday festivities.  

The parties grew more and more popular, and in 1833 a rich plantation owner named Bernard Xavier de Marigny de Mandeville raised money to fund an official Mardi Gras celebration. After rowdy revelers began to get violent during the 1850s, a secret society called the Mistick Krewe of Comus staged the first large-scale, well-organized Mardi Gras parade in 1857.  

Over time, hundreds of krewes formed, building elaborate and colorful floats for parades held over the two weeks leading up to Fat Tuesday. Riders on the floats are usually local citizens who toss "throws" at passersby, including metal coins, stuffed toys or those now-infamous strands of beads. Though many tourists mistakenly believe Bourbon Street and the historic French Quarter are the heart of Mardi Gras festivities, none of the major parades have been allowed to enter the area since 1979 because of its narrow streets.  In February 2006, New Orleans held its Mardi Gras celebrations despite the fact that Hurricane Katrina had devastated much of the city with massive flooding the previous August. Attendance was at only 60-70 percent of the 300,000-400,000 visitors who usually attend Mardi Gras, but the celebration marked an important step in the recovery of the city, which counts on hospitality and tourism as its single largest industry.

Feb 27, 1776: Patriots score early victory at Moores Creek, North

In the early-morning hours of February 27, 1776, Commander Richard Caswell leads 1,000 Patriot troops in the successful Battle of Moores Creek over 1,600 British Loyalists. It would go down in history as the first American victory in the first organized campaign of the Revolutionary War.  

Responding to the call by North Carolina Royal Governor Josiah Martin, British Colonel Donald McLeod began marching 1,600 Loyalists from Cross Creek, North Carolina, towards the coast, where they were supposed to rendezvous with other Loyalists and Redcoats at Brunswick, North Carolina. When Commander Caswell and the Patriots arrived at Moores Creek Bridge ahead of the British Loyalists, Caswell positioned his troops in the woods on either side of the bridge, awaiting the British with cannons and muskets at the ready. The British learned of the Patriot troops at Moores Creek in advance, but, expecting only a small force, decided to advance across the bridge to attack. The British Loyalists shouted, "King George and Broadswords!" as they advanced across the bridge; they were swiftly cut down by a barrage of Patriot musket and cannon fire.  

The British Loyalists quickly surrendered, giving the Patriots their first victory of the Revolutionary War. The victory aborted British plans to land a force at Brunswick, North Carolina, and ended British authority in the state. Within two months, on April 12, 1776, North Carolina became the first state to vote in favor of independence from Britain.  The National Park Service commemorates the victory at Moores Creek with a National Battlefield Park at the site, which was established in 1926.

Feb 27, 1922: Supreme Court defends women's voting rights

In Washington, D.C., the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, providing for female suffrage, is unanimously declared constitutional by the eight members of the U.S. Supreme Court. The 19th Amendment, which stated that "the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State on account of sex," was the product of over seven decades of meetings, petitions, and protests by women suffragists and their supporters.  

In 1916, the Democratic and Republican parties endorsed female enfranchisement, and on June 4, 1919, the 19th Amendment was passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification. On August 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment, achieving the required three-fourths majority of state ratification, and on August 26 the 19th Amendment officially took effect.

Feb 27, 1969: Communist offensive continues

Communist forces shell 30 military installations and nine towns in South Vietnam, in what becomes known as the "Post-Tet Offensive." U.S. sources in Saigon put American losses in this latest offensive at between 250 and 300, compared with enemy casualties totaling 5,300. South Vietnamese officials report 200 civilians killed and 12,700 made homeless.

Feb 27, 1934: Auto safety crusader Ralph Nader born

On this day in 1934, the auto safety advocate and activist Ralph Nader, whose 1965 book "Unsafe at Any Speed" criticized the auto industry for poor safety standards and ultimately led to various reforms, is born in Winsted, Connecticut.  

Nader graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Law School and served in the U.S. Army for six months before becoming a lawyer. In 1965, while working as legislative aid in Washington, D.C., he published "Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile," which examined unsafe practices in the auto industry and charged car makers with emphasizing style and power in their designs at the expense of safety. One chapter of the book examined problems with the Chevrolet Corvair, a car produced by General Motors (GM). After Nader claimed in his book that the Corvair had an unacceptable rollover risk, the auto giant sent investigators to spy on Nader and look into his personal life in an effort to discredit him. Nader sued GM for harassment and invasion of privacy and won a settlement. The publicity surrounding GM's actions helped turn "Unsafe at Any Speed" into a bestseller and make Ralph Nader a household name. He testified before Congress about car safety, and his efforts aided the passage of the 1966 National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, a piece of legislation aimed at reducing the rising number of injuries and deaths from road accidents by establishing federal safety standards for every American-made vehicle, including requiring safety belts for all passengers.  

GM discontinued the Corvair in 1969 following slumping sales that were due, in part, to the negative publicity from "Unsafe at Any Speed." Nader's name became mud to some Corvair fans and according to a 2004 article in The New York Times: "Mr. Nader is still a touchy subject with many [Corvair] owners, whose vanity license plates may read 'N8R H8R' or 'RALPHWHO.' Other Corvair owners... put Nader campaign bumper stickers on their cars upside down, on the theory that they would be easier to read if indeed the car rolled over."  

Nader went on to become America's pre-eminent consumer advocate and work on behalf of a range of causes, including food and drug safety. He also embarked on several unsuccessful runs for the U.S. presidency as a third-party candidate. Nader was criticized by some people for siphoning away votes from Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore in the close 2000 election, which Gore ultimately lost to Republican George W. Bush.

Feb 27, 1960: U.S. Olympic hockey team beats Soviet Union

On this day in 1960, the underdog U.S. Olympic hockey team defeats the Soviet Union in the semifinals at the Winter Games in Squaw Valley, California. The next day, the U.S. beats Czechoslovakia to win its first-ever Olympic gold medal in hockey.  

The 1960 U.S. team was led by Jack Riley, the head hockey coach at West Point and himself a member of the 1948 U.S. Olympic hockey squad. His players were college students and amateurs and included two pairs of brothers, Bill and Bob Cleary and Bill and Roger Christian. Interestingly, Bill Christian’s son David was a member of the “Miracle on Ice” Olympic squad in 1980 that defeated the heavily favored Soviet Union in the semifinals and two days later beat Sweden to capture the gold medal. The last player cut from the 1960 U.S. squad was Herb Brooks, who went on to coach the “Miracle on Ice” team two decades later.  

The Americans had taken home silver medals in hockey at the Winter Games in 1952 and 1956, but going into the 1960 Olympics they were considered a long shot. The team managed to win its first four games against Czechoslovakia, Australia, Sweden and Germany, however, and then scored an upset victory over Canada and went on to meet the Soviets in the semi-final round on February 27. A packed crowd was on hand at Blythe Arena in Squaw Valley to witness the U.S. defeat the Soviets, 3-2, in a tightly fought game. It was the first time an American hockey squad had ever defeated the long-dominant Soviets in Olympic competition. The next day, the U.S. met the Czechs in the finals. After two periods, the U.S. was behind, 4-3; however, they scored six goals in the third period and went on to win the game, 9-4. It was America’s first-ever Olympic gold medal in hockey. Canada won the silver medal while the Soviets received the bronze.  

Twenty years later, on February 22, 1980, history repeated itself when the U.S. hockey team beat the Soviet Union in the semifinals of the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. It was a major upset for the Soviets, who were considered the world’s best team at the time, even better than any professional team in North America. The victory was particularly charged because the U.S. and Soviet Union were still Cold War enemies. On February 24, the Americans defeated Finland, 4-2, for the gold. The Soviets won the silver and Sweden took the bronze.

Here's a more detailed look at events that transpired on this date throughout history:

837 - 15th recorded perihelion passage of Halley's Comet
1526 - Saxony & Hesse form League of Gotha (league of Protestant princes)
1531 - Evangelical German monarchy/towns form Schmalkaldische Union
1557 - 1st Russian Embassy arrives in London
1563 - William Byrd is appointed organist at Lincoln Cathedral
1594 - Henri IV crowned king of France
1626 - Yuan Chonghuan is appointed Governor of Liaodong, after he led the Chinese into a great victory against the Manchurians under Nurhaci.
1665 - Battle at Elmina, Gold Coast: Vice-adm De Ruyter beats English
1667 - Abraham Crijnssen conquerors Fort Willoughby (Zeelandia), Suriname
1670 - Jews expelled from Austria by order of Leopold I
1678 - Earl of Shaftesbury freed out of London Tower
1696 - English/Welsh nobles lay down Oath of Association
1700 - Pacific Island of New Britain discovered
1713 - French troops bomb Willemstad Curacao
1801 - Washington DC placed under Congressional jurisdiction
1803 - Great fire in Bombay, India
1813 - 1st federal vaccination legislation enacted
1813 - Congress authorizes use of steamboats to transport mail
1814 - Ludwig von Beethovens 8th Symphony in F, premieres
1816 - Dutch regain Suriname
1827 - 1st Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans
1844 - Dominican Republic gains independence from Haiti (National Day)
1854 - Composer Robert Schumann saved from suicide attempt in Rhine
US President Abraham LincolnUS President Abraham Lincoln 1860 - Abraham Lincoln makes a speech at Cooper Union in the city of New York that is largely responsible for his election to the Presidency.
1861 - Russians shoot at Poles protesting Russian rule of Poland in Castle Square, Warsaw
1861 - US Congress authorizes 1st stamped newspaper wrappers for mailing
1864 - 6th & last day of battle at Dalton, Georgia (about 600 casualties)
1864 - Near Andersonville GA, rebels open a new POW camp "Camp Sumpter"
1865 - Civil War skirmish near Sturgeon, Missouri
1869 - John Menard is 1st black to make a speech in Congress
1871 - Meeting of Alabama claims commission
1872 - Charlotte Ray, 1st Black woman lawyer, graduated Howard University
1873 - Dutch socialist Samuel van Wooden demands law against child labor
1874 - Baseball 1st played in England, at Lord's Cricket Grounds
1877 - US Electoral College declares R Hayes winner presidential election
1879 - Constantine Fahlberg discovers saccharin (artificial sweetener)
1881 - Battle at Amajuba, S Afr: Boers vs Brit army under Gen Colley
1883 - Oscar Hammerstein patents 1st cigar-rolling machine
1890 - D Needham & P Kerrigan box 100 rounds (6 h 39 m), SF; match is draw
1900 - Battle at Pietershoogte
1900 - Boer General Cronjé surrenders to English in Pardenberg, South-Africa
1900 - British Labour Party forms
1901 - NL Rules Committee decrees that all fouls are to count as strikes except after two strikes
1906 - France & Britain agree to joint control of New Hebrides
1908 - Sacrifice fly adopted (repealed in 1931, reinstated 1954)
1908 - Star #46 was added to US flag for Oklahoma
1912 - Lord Kitchener opens Khartoum-El Obeid (Nyala) railway
1919 - 1st public performance of Holst's "Planets"
1919 - American Association for Hard of Hearing forms (NYC)
1921 - US female Figure Skating championship won by Theresa Weld Blanchard
1921 - US male Figure Skating championship won by Sherwin Badger
1921 - The International Working Union of Socialist Parties is founded in Vienna.
31st US President Herbert Hoover31st US President Herbert Hoover 1922 - Commerce Sec Herbert Hoover convenes 1st National Radio Conference
1922 - G B Shaw's "Back to Methusaleh I/II," premieres in NYC
1922 - Supreme Court unanimously upheld 19th amend woman's right to vote
1924 - Belgium's Theunis government falls
1925 - Hitler's resurrects NSDAP political party in Munich
1925 - Test Cricket debut of Clarrie Grimmett, who took 5-45 & 6-37 v England
1927 - For 2nd Sunday in a row golfers in SC arrested for violating Sabbath
1929 - Turkey signs Litvinov-pact
1930 - Bouvet Island declared a Norwegian dependency
1932 - Explosion in coal mine Boissevain, Virginia, USA (38 dead)
1933 - German parliament building, Reichstag, destroyed by fire
1933 - Jean Genet's "Intermezzo," premieres in Paris
1933 - Nazis set fire to German parliament, blame it on Communists
1936 - Willy den Ouden swims world record 100 m free style (1:04.6)
1937 - Bradman scores 169 in 5th Test Cricket v England in 223 minutes
1938 - Britain and France recognize Franco government in Spain
1939 - Belgian government of Pierlot falls
1939 - English Spook house Borley Rectory destroyed in a fire
1939 - France recognizes Franco's regime in Spain
1939 - Supreme Court outlaws sit-down strikes
1940 - Martin Kamen and Sam Ruben discover carbon-14
1942 - 1st transport of French Jews to nazi-Germany
1942 - Battle of Java Sea began 13 US warships sunk-2 Japanese
1942 - J S Hey discovers radio emissions from Sun
1943 - The Smith Mine #3 in Bearcreek, Montana, explodes, killing 74 men.
1943 - The Rosenstrasse protest starts in Berlin
1945 - Battle of US 94 Infantry
1945 - Lebanon declares Independence.
1946 - 4th "Road" film, "Road to Utopia" premieres (NYC)
1947 - Paul-Emile Victor French polar expeditions organized
Dictator of Nazi Germany Adolf HitlerDictator of Nazi Germany Adolf Hitler 1949 - Chaim Weizmann becomes 1st Israeli president
1950 - General Chiang Kai-shek elected president of Nationalist China
1951 - 22nd amendment ratified, limiting president to 2 terms
1955 - Betty Jameson wins LPGA Sarasota Golf Open
1956 - Elvis Presley's releases "Heartbreak Hotel"
1956 - Female suffrage in Egypt
1957 - Mao's speech "On Correct Handling of Contradictions Among People"
1957 - Premiere of only prime-time network TV show beginning with an "X": "Xavier Cugat Show" on NBC (until X-Files)
1958 - USSR performs nuclear test at Novaya Zemlya USSR
1959 - Chicago Cards trade running back Ollie Matson to LA Rams for 9 players
1959 - Boston Celtic Bob Cousy sets NBA record with 28 assists Boston Celtics score 173 points against Minneapolis Lakers
1960 - Oil pipe line from Rotterdam to Ruhrgebied opens
1960 - US Olympic Ice Hockey Team beats USSR 3-2 en route to gold medal
1961 - The first congress of the Spanish Trade Union Organisation is inaugurated.
1962 - South-Vietnam pres Ngo Dinh Diem's palace bombed, 1st US killed
Singer & Cultural Icon Elvis PresleySinger & Cultural Icon Elvis Presley 1963 - Mickey Mantle of NY Yankees sign a baseball contract worth $100,000
1964 - "What Makes Sammy Run?" opens at 84th St Theater NYC for 540 perfs
1964 - The government of Italy asks for help to keep the Leaning Tower of Pisa from toppling over.
1965 - "High Spirits" closes at Alvin Theater NYC after 375 performances
1965 - Dutch Marijnen government resigns
1965 - France performs Underground nuclear test at Ecker Algeria
1966 - Ice Dance Championship at Davos won by Diane Towler/Bernard Ford GRB
1966 - Ice Pairs Championship at Davos won by Belousova & Protopopov of URS
1966 - Ladies Figure Skating Championship in Davos won by Peggy Fleming of US
1966 - Men's Figure Skating Championship in Davos won by Emmerich Danzer AUT
1967 - Antigua & St Christopher-Nevis become associated states of UK
1967 - Dominica gains independence from England
1967 - Rio de la Plata Treaty
1969 - Gen Hafez al-Assad becomes head of Syria via milt coup
1969 - President Nixon visits West-Berlin
1970 - NY Times (falsely) reports US army has ended domestic surveillance
1971 - Doctors in the first Dutch abortion clinic (the Mildredhuis in Arnhem) start to perform aborti provocati.
1972 - Pres Nixon & Chinese Premier Chou En-lai issued Shanghai Communique
1973 - American Indian Movement occupy Wounded Knee in South Dakota
1973 - Dick Allen signs a record $675,000 3-yr contract with White Sox
1973 - Members of American Indian Movement begin occupation of Wounded Knee
1973 - Pope Paul VI publishes constitution motu proprio Quo aptius
1973 - White Sox slugger Dick Allen signs 3-year $750,000 contract
1974 - "People" magazine begins sales
1974 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
1975 - CDU-politician Peter Lorentz kidnapped in West Berlin
1975 - House of Reps pass $21.3 billion anti-recession tax-cut bill
37th US President Richard Nixon37th US President Richard Nixon 1976 - Final meeting between Mao tse Tung & Richard Nixon
1977 - Judy Rankin wins LPGA Bent Tree Golf Classic
1977 - Keith Richards gets suspended sentence for heroin possession, Canada
1978 - France performs nuclear test at Muruora Island
1980 - 22nd Grammy Awards: What a Fool Believe, Streisand-Diamond duet
1980 - Israel & Egypt exchange ambassadors
1980 - Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF wins elections in Zimbabwe
1980 - Terrorists occupies Dominican embassy in Bogota
1981 - Greatest passenger load on a commercial airliner-610 on Boeing 747
1981 - Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder record "Ebony & Ivory"
1982 - Dan Issel (NBA-Nuggets), hits on 63rd consecutive free throw
1982 - Earl Anthony becomes 1st pro bowler to win more than $1 million
1982 - France performs nuclear test at Muruora Island
1982 - Wayne Williams found guilty of murdering 2 of 28 blacks in Atlanta
1983 - Eamonn Coghlan set indoor mile record of 3:49.78
Musician & member of the Beatles Paul McCartneyMusician & member of the Beatles Paul McCartney 1983 - Jan Stephenson wins Tucson Conquistadores LPGA Golf Tournament
1984 - Carl Lewis jumps world record indoor (8,675 m)
1984 - WRC-AM in Washington DC changes call letters to WWRC
1984 - Worker's union leader Billy Nair freed in South Africa
1985 - Farmers converge in Washington to demand economic relief
1985 - Mauritania's new constitutional charter published
1985 - US dollar is worth Ÿ3.9355 (Netherlands)
1986 - The United States Senate allows its debates to be televised on a trial basis.
1987 - "Washington Week In Review," 20th anniversary on PBS
1987 - Donald Regan resigned as White House chief of staff
1987 - Mike Conley triple jumps world indoor record (17.76m)
1987 - NCAA cancels SMU's entire 1987 football schedule for gross violations of NCAA rules regarding athletic corruption
1988 - Ayako Okamoto wins LPGA Orient Leasing Hawaiian Ladies Golf Open
1988 - Bonnie Blair (US) wins Olympic 500m speed skating in record 39.1
1988 - Gulfstream G-IV goes around the world 36:08:34
Olympic Sprinter and Long jumper Carl LewisOlympic Sprinter and Long jumper Carl Lewis 1988 - Katarina Witt (GDR) wins 2nd consecutive Olympic figure skating
1989 - German war criminals Aus der Funten/Fischer, freed in Holland
1989 - Venezuela is rocked by the riots of Caracazo.
1990 - Exxon Corp & Exxon Shipping are indicted on 5 criminal counts (Valdez)
1990 - No one elected to Hall of Fame for 2nd time in 3 years
1991 - Ben Elton's "Silly Cow," premieres in London
1991 - Gulf War ends after Iraqi troops retreat and Kuwait is re-taken by the US
1991 - Noureddine Morcelli set 1500m mark at 3:34:16
1991 - Singer James Brown is released from prison
1992 - Larry Smith, named 9th Commissioner of the CFL
1992 - Tiger Woods, 16, becomes youngest PGA golfer in 35 years
1993 - PBA National Championship Won by Ron Palombi Jr
1994 - 17th Winter Olympic games closes in Lillehammer, Norway
1994 - Maronite church near Beirut bombed, 10 killed
1995 - Car bomb explodes in Zakho, North-Iraq (54-80 killed)
Golfer Tiger WoodsGolfer Tiger Woods 1996 - Mark Waugh scores 126 in World Cup against India
1997 - "Last Night of Ballyhoo" opens at Helen Hayes Theater NYC
1997 - Singer Sade (Helen Folasade), arrest in Jamaica for disobeying a cop
1998 - Apple discontinues developing Newton computer
1998 - FBI arrests 10 most wanted suspected serial killer Tony Ray Amati
1998 - NE Patriot David Meggett arrested in Toronto on sex assault charges
1998 - Britain's House of Lords agree's to end 1,000 years of male preference by giving a monarch's first-born daughter the same claim to the throne as any first born son
1999 - Olusegun Obasanjo becomes Nigeria's first elected president since mid-1983.
1999 - Korea International School is founded by Soon-Il Chung. It is currently directed by Ann Clapper.
2002 - Godhra train burning, a Muslim mob kills 59 Hindu pilgrims returning from Ayodhya
2002 - Ryanair Flight 296 catches fire in London Stansted Airport. Subsequent investigations criticize Ryanair's handling of the evacuation.
2002 - 44th Grammy Awards: Walk On, Alicia Keys wins
2003 - Former Bosnian Serb leader Biljana Plavsic is sentenced by the U.N. tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, to 11 years in prison
2003 - Rowan Williams is enthroned as the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury in the Anglican church.
2004 - Former BPMC general secretary Ordrick Samuel launches a new party in Barbuda, Barbudans for a Better Barbuda.
Singer-songwriter Alicia KeysSinger-songwriter Alicia Keys 2004 - A bombing of a Superferry by Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines worst terrorist attack kills 116.
2007 - The general strike against Lansana Conté in Guinea ends.
2007 - The Chinese Correction: the Shanghai Stock Exchange falls 9%, the largest drop in 10 years.
2010 - Central Chile is hit with an 8.8 magnitude earthquake.
2012 - Wikileaks begins disclosing 5 million emails from private intelligence company Stratfor
2013 - 20 people are killed in a market fire in Calcutta, India
2013 - 17 Afghan militia are killed by Taliban insurgents in an attack in the Andar District
2013 - Pope Benedict XVI presents his farewell address to Vatican City

1700 - The Pacific Island of New Britain was discovered.   1801 - The city of Washington, DC, was placed under congressional jurisdiction.   1827 - New Orleans held its first Mardi Gras celebration.   1861 - In Warsaw, Russian troops fired on a crowd protesting Russian rule over Poland. Five protesting marchers were killed in the incident.   1867 - Dr. William G. Bonwill invented the dental mallet.   1883 - Oscar Hammerstein patented the first cigar-rolling machine.   1896 - The "Charlotte Observer" published a picture of an X-ray photograph made by Dr. H.L. Smith. The photograph showed a perfect picture of all the bones of a hand and a bullet that Smith had placed between the third and fourth fingers in the palm.   1900 - In South Africa, the British received an unconditional surrender from Boer Gen. Piet Cronje at Paardeberg.   1922 - The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the 19th Amendment that guaranteed women the right to vote.   1933 - The Reichstag, Germany's parliament building in Berlin, was set afire. The Nazis accused Communist for the fire.   1939 - The U.S. Supreme Court outlawed sit-down strikes.   1949 - Chaim Weizmann became the first Israeli president.   1951 - The 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, limiting U.S. Presidents to two terms.   1972 - The Shanghai Communique was issued by U.S. President Nixon and Chinese Premier Chou En-lai.   1973 - The American Indian Movement occupied Wouned Knee in South Dakota.   1974 - "People" magazine was first issued by Time-Life (later known as Time-Warner).   1981 - Chrysler Corporation was granted an additional $400 million in federal loan guarantees. Chrysler had posted a loss of $1.7 billion in 1980.   1982 - Wayne B. Williams was convicted of murdering two of the 28 black children and young adults whose bodies were found in Atlanta, GA, over a two-year period.   1986 - The U.S. Senate approved the telecast of its debates on a trial basis.   1990 - The Exxon Corporation and Exxon Shipping were indicted on five criminal counts in reference to the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.   1991 - U.S. President George H.W. Bush announced live on television that "Kuwait is liberated."   1997 - In Ireland, divorce became legal.   1997 - Don Cornelius received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.   1998 - Britain's House of Lords agreed to give a monarch's first-born daughter the same claim to the throne as any first-born son. This was the end to 1,000 years of male preference.   1999 - Colin Prescot and Andy Elson set a new hot air balloon endurance record when they had been aloft for 233 hours and 55 minutes. The two were in the process of trying to circumnavigate the Earth.   1999 - Nigeria returned to civilian rule when Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo became the country's first elected president since August of 1983.   2002 - In Boston, twenty people working at Logan International Airport were charged with lying to get their jobs or security badges.   

1844 Dominican Republic gained independence from Haiti. 1933 German Reichstag building in Berlin was destroyed by fire. 1951 The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, limiting the President to two terms. 1973 Members of the American Indian Movement occupied the village of Wounded Knee, S.D. 1991 Kuwait was liberated in the Gulf War. 2003 Fred Rogers, of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, died. 2012 Ali Abdullah Saleh stepped down as president of Yemen after months of protests.

The following links are to web sites that were used to complete this blog entry:

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Arizona Businesses Can Already Refuse Gays, Kansas Senate Rejects Similar Bill

Fresh off concerns of anti-gay legislation in Russia during the Sochi Olympics, many gay rights activists are returning their attention back home, and realizing more than ever that the fight for equality is far from won in the United States.

While some states have legalized marriage and advanced gay rights more generally, other states are fighting such measures to the bitter end, apparently.

In Kansas, with the support and blessing of local Tea Party groups, the state House passed House Bill 2453, which essentially cloaked itself as a "religious rights" bill, but contained measures that would have legalized discrimination against homosexuals.

Specifically, House Bill 2453 reads as follows ("Kansas House passes bill to deny same-sex couples services" by Dana Ford, CNN, February 12, 2014:

"No individual or religious entity shall be required by any governmental entity to do any of the following, if it would be contrary to the sincerely held religious beliefs of the individual or religious entity regarding sex or gender: 

"Provide any services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges; provide counseling, adoption, foster care and other social services; or provide employment or employment benefits, related to, or related to the celebration of, any marriage, domestic partnership, civil union or similar arrangement."

The state Senate defeated the bill, though, and it is now DOA.

Not so in Arizona, which is, once again, making waves with controversial legislation that is making some wonder just how far the state has progressed in it's general mindset since the days when Jim Crow laws existed there (yes, there were segregation laws in this state, although it is not usually identified with the "Solid South").

Arizona is no stranger to these kinds of controversies, as it has been mired with similar controversy in the fairly recent past about policies that many believe reinforces bigotry within the state. Arizona was among the last states to recognize Martin Luther King Day as a holiday back in the nineties. More recently, it passed a highly controversial and fiercely contested anti-immigration bill that many felt legalized a new form of discrimination. And now, this anti-gay bill seems to be more of the same. Many people fear that the image of Arizona from the outside will be hurt, that it's reputation as a place where bigotry triumphs is already a reality.

To that end, there is already speculation that the state could lose the Super Bowl, which Arizona is set to host next year. The NFL expressed their opposition to the bill, but refused further comment until Jan Brewer does something - either signing the bill into law, or vetoing it. But Arizona lost a Super Bowl that it had been rewarded already in the past, after the NFL rewarded the 1993 Super Bowl to Pasadena, when as punishment for Arizona still refusing to recognize MLK Day as an official holiday.

More recently, the passage of the anti-immigration bill had many outsiders beginning a campaign to "Boycott Arizona".

Now, this bill, which has once again thrust Arizona into the national spotlight, for all the wrong reasons ("Arizona governor returns home amid furor over bill" by Bob Christie of the Associated press, February 26, 2014:

"The legislation has caused a national uproar. The chorus of opposition has grown each day, with the business community, the state's Super Bowl Committee and both Republican U.S. senators calling for a veto. Former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney was the latest prominent voice to weigh in and urge Brewer to veto the bill."

Strangely, some who voted in favor of it recently are now asking Jan Brewer to veto it, although they also strongly suggest that the bills opponents are exaggerating the effects of the bill ( "Arizona governor returns home amid furor over bill" by Bob Christie of the Associated press, February 26, 2014:

"Some Republican senators who pushed the bill through the Legislature are now calling for a veto as well, but they cite "inaccurate" information about the measure for igniting a firestorm. They argue the bill is designed only to protect business owners with strong religious beliefs from discrimination lawsuits that have happened in other states. Some blame the media for blowing the law out of proportion."

It remains to be seen what the reaction would be if, indeed, this bill is signed into law by the governor. But the possibility that it would lose the Super Bowl, as well as lose business and face more boycotts of some sort or another, would most assuredly grow.

Yet, for all of the wrangling about this bill, it is interesting to note that it is putting into law something that already essentially exists: the right of businesses to refuse gays. According to a recent article by Paresh Dave

"Legal experts also said SB 1062 is redundant because, under Arizona law, gays have no special protections at businesses and public accommodations. In other words, businesses don't need protection for something they can't be sued for."

So, in effect, the bill is redundant, because it is just making official something that already exists. More symbolic, or perhaps even political posturing, than substantive.

Governor Jan Brewer has until Saturday to sign the bill into law, or veto it, or possibly even to ignore it.

In the meantime, these kinds of bills may begin to gain momentum in other states, flirting with similar style measures to discriminate against gays. Who knows which state is next? Mississippi, maybe, or Alabama? Some other state, perhaps.

Let's see what happens.

These are the articles that I used to write this particular blog entry:

"Arizona businesses already can refuse to serve gays: SB1062 explained" by Paresh Dave of The Los Angeles Times, February 22, 2014:,0,2958198.story#ixzz2uQby0Ud1

"Wary Arizona businesses urge veto of anti-gay bill" by Cindy Carcamo of The Los Angeles Times, February 22, 2014:,0,1812097.story#axzz2uMuzlBRU

"Arizona Congressional Delegation Speaks Out Against Anti-Gay SB 1062" by Amanda Terkel, 24, 2014:

"Arizona worried legislation could cost state Super Bowl XLIX" by Laurie Merrill and Peter Corbett, both of The Arizona Republic, February 25, 2014:

"Arizona governor returns home amid furor over bill" by Bob Christie of the Associated press, February 26, 2014:

"Kansas House passes bill to deny same-sex couples services" by Dana Ford, CNN, February 12, 2014:

"Kansas goes off the deep end with an anti-gay bill" Op/Ed piece by Michael McGough of The Lost Angeles Times, February 15, 2014:,0,6718807.story

"Kansas Tea Party group urges state senators to legalize discrimination against LGBT citizens" by Scott Kaufman of The Raw Story, Monday, February 24, 2014: