Archive for February, 2008

29
Feb
08

On This Day, 2-29-08: Gone With the Wind

1940: Gone with the Wind sweeps Oscars

Regarded as the most popular movie of all time, Gone with the Wind is honored with eight Oscars by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on this day. An epic romance set during the hard times faced by the South after the American Civil War, the movie swept the prestigious Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, Cinematography, Art Direction, Film Editing, and Actress categories.

However, the most momentous award that night undoubtedly went to Hattie McDaniel for her portrayal of Mammy, a former slave. McDaniel, who won the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award, was the first African-American actress or actor ever to be honored with an Oscar. http://www.thehistorychannel.co.uk/site/this_day_in_history/this_day_February_29.php

1288 – Scotland established this day as one when a woman could propose marriage to a man. In the event that he refused the proposal he was required to pay a fine.

1860 – The first electric tabulating machine was invented by Herman Hollerith.

1904 – In Washington, DC, a seven-man commission was created to hasten the construction of the Panama Canal.

1944 – The invasion of the Admiralty Islands began with “Operation Brewer.” U.S. General Douglas MacArthur led his forces onto Los Negros.

1944 – Dorothy McElroy Vredenburgh of Alabama became the first woman to be appointed secretary of a national political party. She was appointed to the Democratic National Committee.

1944 – The Office of Defense Transportation, for the second year in a row, restricted attendance at the Kentucky Derby to residents of the Louisville area. This was an effort to prevent a railroad traffic burden during wartime.

1960 – American entrepreneur Hugh Heffner opens his first ‘Playboy Club’ in Chicago.

1980 – Buddy Holly’s glasses and the Big Bopper’s wristwatch were found in old police files by the Mason City Sheriff. The items were worn by the men when their plane crashed on February 3, 1959.

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28
Feb
08

On This Day, 2-28-08: Republican Party

1994: First NATO military action

In the first military action in the 45-year history of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, US fighter planes shoot down four Serbian warplanes flying a bombing mission in violation of Bosnia’s no-fly zone.

Founded in 1949 to combat Soviet aggression, NATO volunteered in 1994 to enforce United Nations resolutions enacted to end three years of conflict in the former Yugoslavia. In 1995, NATO deployed 60,000 troops to the war-torn region to enforce the Dayton Peace Accords, signed in Paris by the leaders of the former Yugoslavia.

http://www.thehistorychannel.co.uk/site/this_day_in_history/this_day_February_28.php

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.*

1900 – In South Africa, British troops relieved Ladysmith, which had been under siege since November 2, 1899.

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.

1962 – The John Glenn for President club was formed by a group of Las Vegas republicans.

1983 – “M*A*S*H” became the most watched television program in history when the final episode aired.

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.

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.

I can only say that there is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do to see a plan adopted for the abolition of slavery.
George Washington

*I have personally heard many arguments during the several years I lived in North Carolina that the American Civil War wasn’t about slavery, and yet here we have the founding of the Republican Party based on the common goal of abolishing slavery.  Raised a Presbyterian in the Second Presbyterian Church and having done research into that church’s split prior to the Civil War, I know that Presbyterian reverends preaching abolition in northern churches caused that split.  But the American Civil War wasn’t about slavery?

27
Feb
08

On This Day 2-27-08

1964: Pisa Tower needs help

On February 27, 1964, the Italian government announces that it is accepting suggestions on how to save the renowned Leaning Tower of Pisa from collapse. It had been shifting since the first three stories were constructed on soft ground in the 12th century. A century later, four more stories were erected at a slight angle in the hope of correcting the tilt.

However, by the 1960s, the tower was 17 feet off-center, and experts warned that the medieval building was in serious danger of toppling in an earthquake or storm. An average of 250 tourists climbed the tower daily, and some local officials feared that if the tilt were corrected, the tourists might stop coming. In 1966 and 1985, attempts to reduce the lean by drilling were aborted when the tower tilted further south. In 1990, the Italian government closed the Leaning Tower’s doors to the public out of safety concerns.

Finally, in 1999, engineers began a process of soil extraction that showed positive effects. Once an 18-inch reduction is achieved, probably sometime in 2001, the project will end. This reduction will give another 300 years of life to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and it will once again be open to the public.

http://www.thehistorychannel.co.uk/site/this_day_in_history/this_day_February_27.php

1801 – The city of Washington, DC. was placed under congressional jurisdiction.

1861 – In Warsaw, Russian troops fired on a crowd protesting Russian rule over Poland. Five protesting marchers were killed in the incident.

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 recieved 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.

1951 – The 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, limiting U.S. Presidents to two terms.

1973 – The American Indian Movement occupied Wounded Knee in South Dakota.

1990 – The Exxon Corporation and Exxon Shipping were indicted on five criminal counts in reference to the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.

26
Feb
08

On This Day, 2-26-08: Luftwaffe

1935: Hitler organises Luftwaffe

On 26 February 1935, Nazi Germany’s ultra-modern air force – the Luftwaffe – is secretly organised under the direction of Hermann Goering. The Versailles Treaty prohibited military aviation in Germany, but the civilian airline Lufthansa allowed flight training for the men who later became Luftwaffe pilots.

After seizing power in 1933, Nazi leader Adolf Hitler began to secretly develop his military air force. In February 1935, the Luftwaffe was formally organised, and in March, Hitler revealed it to the world. Two years later, a stinging sample of Germany’s new air power was felt in the brutal bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War. After September 1939, Poland, France, and especially Britain and Russia discovered the Luftwaffe to be the deadliest of Germany’s armed forces.

Britain’s Royal Air Force, although outnumbered 2 to 1, handed the Luftwaffe its first defeat in the Battle of Britain. Later in the war, American forces joined the RAF in the battle for Europe’s skies, and the once-proud Luftwaffe was destroyed.

http://www.thehistorychannel.co.uk/site/this_day_in_history/this_day_February_26.php

1815 – Napoleon Bonaparte escaped from the Island of Elba. He then began his second conquest of France.

1848 – The second French Republic was proclaimed.

1863 – U.S. President Lincoln signed the National Currency Act.

1907 – The U.S. Congress raised their own pay to $7500.

1916 – Mutual signed Charlie Chaplin to a film contract.

1919 – In Arizona, the Grand Canyon was established as a National Park with an act of the U.S. Congress.

1929 – U.S. President Coolidge signed a bill creating the Grand Teton National Park.

1933 – A ground-breaking ceremony was held at Crissy Field for the Golden Gate Bridge.

1945 – In the U.S., a nationwide midnight curfew went into effect.

1952 – British Prime Minister Winston Churchill announced that Britain had developed an atomic bomb.

1987 – The U.S.S.R. conducted its first nuclear weapons test after a 19-month moratorium period.

1993 – Six people were killed and more than a thousand injured when a van exploded in the parking garage beneath the World Trade Center in New York City. The bomb had been built by Islamic extremists.

A vote is like a rifle; its usefulness depends upon the character of the user.
Theodore Roosevelt

Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people.
Theodore Roosevelt

No people is wholly civilized where a distinction is drawn between stealing an office and stealing a purse.
Theodore Roosevelt

To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.
Theodore Roosevelt

 

25
Feb
08

F-117 Stealth

F-117 Stealth

The F-117 brought stealth technology to the modern battlefield and altered warfare.  Virtually invisible to radar, built with ultra-quiet engines and low-emission exhaust vents, this plane is virtually invisible until it opens its bomb doors to deliver its payload, and by then it can’t be stopped.  This plane is viewable at the National Museum of the USAF, in Dayton, Ohio http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/

25
Feb
08

Monday Humor: Politics

If GOP candidate Mike Huckabee is elected president, he plans to build a fence to keep the aliens out of the U.S. Maybe I’m the moron here, but it seems that once you manage to traverse the entire galaxy, it’s unlikely that eight feet of chain link is going to stop you.
(Steve Bacon)

What is one billion?

According to a recent government publication …
A billion seconds ago Harry Truman was president.
A billion minutes ago was just after the time of Christ.
A billion hours ago man had not yet walked on earth.
A billion dollars ago was late yesterday at the U.S. Treasury.

http://www.ahajokes.com/pl003.html

George W. Bush told Dick Cheney, “I really hate all the stupid jokes people make about me.” Cheney reassured him by saying, “Jokes can’t hurt you. They are just made up by a bunch of stupid people. In fact, most humans are quite stupid. Here, I’ll show you what I mean.”

Cheney goes outside and hails a D.C. cab and says to the driver, “Please take me to 261 M street to see if I’m home, ” said Cheney.

Without a word, the cabbie took them straight to M Street. Cheney then rang the doorbell, came back to the car and said, “Oh, I guess I’m not there! Take us back to where we started, please.”

The cabbie did what he was told without a word. Cheney leaned over and said to Dubya, “You get the idea? People are idiots wherever you go! Don’t worry about their opinions!”

Bush said, “Thanks Dick. I feel a lot better.” Then he winked and whispered, “Hooboy, was he stupid! He picked us up right in front of a phone booth. He should have realized you could have called instead!

*****

A man walked into a cowboy bar and ordered a beer just as President Bush appeared on the television. After a few sips, he looked up at the television and mumbled, “Now, there’s the biggest horse’s ass I’ve ever seen.” A customer at the end of the bar quickly stood up, walked over to him, and decked him. A few minutes later, as the man was finishing his beer, Mrs. Bush appeared on the television. “She’s a horse’s ass too,” the man. This time, a customer at the other end of the bar quickly stood up, walked over to him, and knocked him off his stool. “Damn it!” the man said, climbing back up to the bar. “This must be Bush country!” “Nope,” the bartender replied. “Horse country!”

*****

Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton are on the titanic. When it starts to sink Carter yells, “Quick, save the women and children!” Nixon: “Screw the women and children” Clinton: “Do we have time?”

*****

A little boy goes to his dad and asks, “What is politics?”

Dad says, “Well son, let me try to explain it this way: I’m the breadwinner of the family, so let’s call me capitalism. Your Mom, she’s the administrator of the money, so we’ll call her the Government. We’re here to take care of your needs, so we’ll call you the people. The nanny, we’ll consider her the Working Class. And your baby brother, we’ll call him the Future. Now, think about that and see if that makes sense.” So the little boy goes off to bed thinking about what dad had said.

Later that night, he hears his baby brother crying, so he gets up to check on him. He finds that the baby has severely soiled his diaper. So the little boy goes to his parents’ room and finds his mother sound asleep. Not wanting to wake her, he goes to the nanny’s room. Finding the door locked, he peeks in the keyhole and sees his father in bed with the nanny. He gives up and goes back to bed. The next morning, the little boy says to his father, “Dad, I think I understand the concept of politics now.” The father says, “Good son, tell me in your own words what you think politics is all about.”

The little boy replies, “Well, while Capitalism is screwing the Working Class, the Government is sound asleep, the People are being ignored and the Future is in deep shit.”

http://www.lotsofjokes.com/political.htm

24
Feb
08

On This Day, 2-24-08: Juan Domingo Perón

1946: Perón elected in Argentina

Juan Domingo Perón, the controversial former vice president of Argentina, is elected president. He was imprisoned the year before, but appeals from workers and his charismatic wife, Eva Duarte de Perón, forced his release. As president, Perón constructed an impressive populist alliance, and his vision of self-sufficiency for Argentina won him wide support.

However, he also became increasingly authoritarian, jailing political opponents and restricting freedom of the press. In 1952, his greatest political resource, his wife Evita, died, and support for him dissolved. Three years later, he was ousted in a military coup. In 1973, after 18 years of exile, he returned to Argentina and again won the presidency. His second wife, Isabel de Martinez Perón, was elected as vice president and in 1974 succeeded him upon his death.

http://www.thehistorychannel.co.uk/site/this_day_in_history/this_day_February_24.php

1803 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled itself to be the final interpreter of all constitutional issues.

1821 – Mexico declared independence from Spain.

1848 – The Communist Manifesto was published.

1857 – The first shipment of perforated postage stamps was received by the U.S. Government.

1868 – The U.S. House of Representatives impeached President Andrew Johnson due to his attempt to dismiss Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton. The U.S. Senate later acquitted Johnson.

1942 – The Voice of America (VOA) aired for the first time.  http://www.voanews.com/english/portal.cfm

1945 – During World War II, the Philippine capital of Manilla, was liberated by U.S. soldiers.

1988 – The U.S. Supreme Court overturned a $200,000 award to Rev. Jerry Falwell that had been won against “Hustler” magazine. The ruling expanded legal protections for parody and satire.

1989 – Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini sentenced Salman Rushdie to death for his novel “The Satanic Verses”. A bounty of one to three-million-dollars was also put on Rushidie’s head.

1992 – “Wayne’s World” opened in U.S. theaters.

News from the Voice of America

Iraqi Kurdistan Warns Turkey, Urges Baghdad and Washington to Stop Incursion

By Daniel Schearf
Irbil, Iraq
23 February 2008

The Kurdish regional government of Iraq has warned Turkey not to target civilian areas during its military operations there against Kurdish rebels of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK . Kurdish officials are asking for Baghdad and Washington to help stop the conflict. Daniel Schearf reports from the northern Iraqi city of Irbil.

In this photo released by the Turkish Military, Turkish commandos are seen during an operation in an undisclosed location on the Turkish-Iraqi border

In this photo released by the Turkish Military, Turkish commandos are seen during an operation in an undisclosed location on the Turkish-Iraqi border

The president of Iraqi Kurdistan, Massoud Barzani, issued a statement Saturday warning if Turkish forces target civilians or damage any civilian infrastructure they will face large-scale resistance.

Mr. Barzani said his Kurdish security forces, called the Peshmerga, would not interfere in Turkey’s fight against Kurdish rebels inside Iraq.

Media reports over the weekend said the Peshmerga forced some Turkish soldiers to return to their bases after they strayed too far into Iraq.

However, Peshmerga spokesman Jabar Yawer denies there was any face-off between Kurdish and Turkish troops. Yawer says there has been no communication between the Peshmerga and Turkish troops. He says there are no Peshmerga in the areas of conflict, only Turkish soldiers and PKK fighters, so there are no problems between Turkish and Peshmerga forces.

So far there are no reports of civilian casualties, but Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said Saturday the Turkish military has destroyed five bridges near the Turkish border despite promises to avoid such damage.

He said the Turkish incursion risks destabilizing the region, and he called for an immediate withdrawal of Turkish troops.

The Turkish military sent tanks and hundreds, perhaps thousands, of troops into northern Iraqi Kurdistan Thursday evening in its biggest raid into Iraq in years.

Turkey says the incursion is to prevent Kurdish PKK fighters from launching attacks into Turkey.

Kurdish officials have asked Baghdad and Washington to intervene to stop the Turkish action. Tariq Jawhar is a spokesman for the National Assembly of Kurdistan.

He said Kurdish officials want Iraq’s federal government and the U.S. to interfere to stop what he called an aggression and to seek peaceful negotiations to solve the problem between Iraq and Turkey. He said such military operations are a clear violation of Iraq’s territory.

The PKK has been fighting for autonomy in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast since 1984. Turkey, the United States and the European Union have designated the group a terrorist organization.

Turkey and the PKK have released conflicting casualty figures from the current fighting, with the PKK claiming it has killed a larger number of Turkish soldiers than the Turkish military has reported.

The figures have not been independently verified.

http://www.voanews.com/english/2008-02-23-voa20.cfm




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