Sep 112009
 
 Friday, 11 September 2009  Posted by at 09:37 events, history, meme, misc, news, people Tagged with: , , ,  No Responses »

I was going to post something similar to what I posted on the one year anniversary… that I was not going to let the terrorists win and that i was going to remember the other things about the day. But you can read that here.

Instead… this morning on the ride in, at 8:46am, NPR aired this story. Go read it, or better yet, listen to the audio. It stopped my train of thought in its tracks. I knew I needed to share this.

True heroes.

Jun 052009
 
 Friday, 5 June 2009  Posted by at 09:11 events, history, news Tagged with: , , ,  No Responses »

6 June 1944 – 65 years ago today – Allied forces landed at the beaches of Normandy. A lot has been said and written about that day, but twenty five years ago today the President Ronald Reagan gave what is perhaps the definitive speech on D-Day. Here is the text of that speech:

We’re here to mark that day in history when the Allied peoples joined in battle to reclaim this continent to liberty. For four long years, much of Europe had been under a terrible shadow. Free nations had fallen, Jews cried out in the camps, millions cried out for liberation. Europe was enslaved, and the world prayed for its rescue. Here in Normandy the rescue began. Here the Allies stood and fought against tyranny in a giant undertaking unparalleled in human history.

We stand on a lonely, windswept point on the northern shore of France. The air is soft, but forty years ago at this moment, the air was dense with smoke and the cries of men, and the air was filled with the crack of rifle fire and the roar of cannon. At dawn, on the morning of the 6th of June 1944, 225 Rangers jumped off the British landing craft and ran to the bottom of these cliffs. Their mission was one of the most difficult and daring of the invasion: to climb these sheer and desolate cliffs and take out the enemy guns. The Allies had been told that some of the mightiest of these guns were here and they would be trained on the beaches to stop the Allied advance.

The Rangers looked up and saw the enemy soldiers — at the edge of the cliffs shooting down at them with machine-guns and throwing grenades. And the American Rangers began to climb. They shot rope ladders over the face of these cliffs and began to pull themselves up. When one Ranger fell, another would take his place. When one rope was cut, a Ranger would grab another and begin his climb again. They climbed, shot back, and held their footing. Soon, one by one, the Rangers pulled themselves over the top, and in seizing the firm land at the top of these cliffs, they began to seize back the continent of Europe. Two hundred and twenty-five came here. After two days of fighting only ninety could still bear arms.

Behind me is a memorial that symbolizes the Ranger daggers that were thrust into the top of these cliffs. And before me are the men who put them there.

These are the boys of Pointe du Hoc. These are the men who took the cliffs. These are the champions who helped free a continent. These are the heroes who helped end a war.

Gentlemen, I look at you and I think of the words of Stephen Spender’s poem. You are men who in your ‘lives fought for life…and left the vivid air signed with your honor’…

Forty summers have passed since the battle that you fought here. You were young the day you took these cliffs; some of you were hardly more than boys, with the deepest joys of life before you. Yet you risked everything here. Why? Why did you do it? What impelled you to put aside the instinct for self-preservation and risk your lives to take these cliffs? What inspired all the men of the armies that met here? We look at you, and somehow we know the answer. It was faith, and belief; it was loyalty and love.

The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead or on the next. It was the deep knowledge — and pray God we have not lost it — that there is a profound moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest. You were here to liberate, not to conquer, and so you and those others did not doubt your cause. And you were right not to doubt.

You all knew that some things are worth dying for. One’s country is worth dying for, and democracy is worth dying for, because it’s the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man. All of you loved liberty. All of you were willing to fight tyranny, and you knew the people of your countries were behind you.

May 202009
 
 Wednesday, 20 May 2009  Posted by at 08:53 misc, news, politics Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »

Lt. Dan Choi, from Orange County, California, is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and an Iraq War veteran. Last March he went on Rachel Maddow’s show and spoke three truthful words: “I am gay.”

As a result Lt. Choi received a letter from the Army on April 23 discharging him for violating the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. He told Rachel Maddow the letter was “a slap in the face” to himself and the soldiers he as commanded and served with over the past decade.

Lt. Choi is fighting to stay in the military and ensure that no other soldier is ever again discharged as a result of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The Courage Campaign and CREDO Mobile are joining his effort to secure equality in our armed forces.

President Obama did not create this policy. But he now has the opportunity to keep his promise and allow gay and lesbian soldiers to serve openly in the military. It’s the right thing to do — for justice and for national security.

Please sign the petition.

Apr 172009
 
 Friday, 17 April 2009  Posted by at 13:56 news Tagged with: ,  No Responses »

From The Demoines Register

Warren County Recorder Polly Glascock said in an e-mail to colleagues that a woman from the Statehouse called her to ask how she’d handle the gay-marriage issue.

Glascock answered that she would be required to process the applications. “She inquired as to why I thought I had to do that — it’s not a law, it’s an opinion,” Glascock wrote.

The caller was the clerk of Republican Rep. Kent Sorenson.

Full story is here.

Apr 172009
 
 Friday, 17 April 2009  Posted by at 09:03 misc, news, people Tagged with: , , ,  No Responses »

In case you have not seen Susan Boyle’s performance, it is here.

The Guardian has a very good article discussing the reactions to her:

It wasn’t singer Susan Boyle who was ugly on Britain’s Got Talent so much as our reaction to her

Is Susan Boyle ugly? Or are we? On Saturday night she stood on the stage in Britain’s Got Talent; small and rather chubby, with a squashed face, unruly teeth and unkempt hair. She wore a gold lace dress, which made her look like a piece of pork sitting on a doily. Interviewed by Ant and Dec beforehand, she told them that she is unemployed, single, lives with a cat called Pebbles and has never been kissed. Susan then walked out to chatter, giggling, and a long and unpleasant wolf whistle.

Why are we so shocked when “ugly” women can do things, rather than sitting at home weeping and wishing they were somebody else? Men are allowed to be ugly and talented. Alan Sugar looks like a burst bag of flour. Gordon Ramsay has a dried-up riverbed for a face. Justin Lee Collins looks like Cousin It from The Addams Family. Graham Norton is a baboon in mascara. I could go on. But a woman has to have the bright, empty beauty of a toy – or get off the screen. We don’t want to look at you. Except on the news, where you can weep because some awful personal tragedy has befallen you.

Simon Cowell, now buffed to the sheen of an ornamental pebble, asked this strange creature, this alien, how old she was. “I’m nearly 47,” she said. Simon rolled his eyes until they threatened to roll out of his head, down the aisle and out into street. “But that’s only one side of me,” Susan added, and wiggled her hips. The camera cut to the other male judge, Piers Morgan, who winced. Didn’t Susan know she was not supposed to be sexual? The audience’s reaction was equally disgusting. They giggled with embarrassment, and when Susan said she wanted to be a professional singer, the camera spun to a young girl, who seemed to be at least half mascara.

She gave an “As if!” squeak and smirked. Amanda Holden, the female judge, a woman with improbably raised eyebrows and snail trails of Botox over her perfectly smooth face, chose neutrality. And then Susan sang. She stood with her feet apart, like a Scottish Edith Piaf, and very slowly began to sing Les Miserables’ I Dreamed A Dream. It was wonderful.

The judges were astonished. They gasped, they gaped, they clapped. They looked almost ashamed. I was briefly worried that Simon might stab himself with a pencil, and mutter, “Et tu, Piers, for we have wronged Susan in thinking that because she is a munter, she is entirely useless.” How could they have misjudged her, they gesticulated. But how could they not? No makeup? Bad teeth? Funny hair? Is she insane, this sad little Scottish spinster, beloved only of Pebbles the Cat?

When Susan had finished singing, and Piers had finished gasping, he said this. It was a comment of incredible spite. “When you stood there with that cheeky grin and said, ‘I want to be like Elaine Paige’, everyone was laughing at you. No one is laughing now.” And it was over to Amanda Holden, a woman most notable for playing a psychotic hairdresser in the Manchester hair-extensions saga Cutting It. “I am so thrilled,” said Amanda, “because I know that everybody was against you.” “Everybody was against you,” she said, as if Susan might have been hanged for her presumption. Why? Can’t “ugly” people dream, you flat-packed, hair-ironed, over-plucked monstrous fool?

I know what you will say. You will say that Paul Potts, the fat opera singer with the equally squashed face who won Britain’s Got Talent in 2007, had just as hard a time at his first audition. I looked it up on YouTube. He did not. “I wasn’t expecting that,” said Simon to Paul. “Neither was I,” said Amanda. “You have an incredible voice,” said Piers. And that was it. No laughter, or invitations to paranoia, or mocking wolf-whistles, or smirking, or derision.

We see this all the time in popular culture. Do you ever stare at the TV and wonder where the next generation of Judi Denchs and Juliet Stevensons have gone? Have they fallen down a Rada wormhole? Yes. They’re not there, because they aren’t pretty enough to get airtime. This lust for homogeneity in female beauty means that when someone who doesn’t resemble a diagram in a plastic surgeon’s office steps up to the microphone, people fall about and treat us to despicable sub-John Gielgud gestures of amazement.

Susan will probably win Britain’s Got Talent. She will be the little munter that could sing, served up for the British public every Saturday night. Look! It’s “ugly”! It sings! And I know that we think that this will make us better people. But Susan Boyle will be the freakish exception that makes the rule. By raising this Susan up, we will forgive ourselves for grinding every other Susan into the dust. It will be a very partial and poisoned redemption. Because Britain’s Got Malice. Sing, Susan, sing – to an ugly crowd that doesn’t deserve you.

Sep 112002
 
 Wednesday, 11 September 2002  Posted by at 14:18 events, history, news, politics Tagged with: , , , , ,  1 Response »

[Ed. Note ~ Ported from my old Diaryland blog on 11 September 2009]

September 11 in:

Ethiopia: New Year

Pakistan: Jinnah Day (1948)

Tunisia: Evening of Destiny

Hispanics: National Hispanic Heritage Week – – – – – ( Sunday )

US: National Grandparents’ Day – – – – – ( Sunday )

Afghanistan: National Assembly Foundation Day (1964) – – – – – ( Wednesday )

Scotland: Fisherman’s Walk Day – – – – – ( Friday )

September 11 Religious Observances:

Orth : Comm of the Beheading of St John the Baptist (8/29 OS)

RC : Commemoration of SS Protus & Hyacinth, martyrs

September 11 In History:

1609 – Henry Hudson discovers Manhattan island

1777 – Battle of Brandywine, Pa; Americans lose to British

1789 – Alexander Hamilton appointed Secretary of the Treasury

1814 – An American fleet scored a decisive victory over the British in the Battle of Lake Champlain in the War of 1812.

1847 – Stephen Foster performed his Oh! Susanna for the very first time. The performance, for a crowd at the Eagle Saloon in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, earned Foster a bottle of whiskey.

1853 – 1st electric telegraph in use, Merchant’s Exchange to Pt Lobos

1857 – Mormon fanatic John D. Lee, angered over President Buchanan’s order to remove Brigham Young from governorship of the Utah Territory, incited a band of Mormons and Indians to massacre a California-bound wagon train of 135 (mostly Methodists) in Mountain Meadows, Utah.

1862 – O. Henry (William Sydney Porter) was born – author: short stories: Gift of the Magi; died June 5, 1910

1875 – 1st newspaper cartoon strip

1877 – The first comic-character timepiece was patented by the Waterbury Clock Company. It was another 56 years before the same company produced the first Mickey Mouse watch.

1883 – The mail chute was patented by James G. Cuttler, a former Mayor of Rochester, NY. The device was first used in the Elwood Building in Rochester. Mail chutes can still be seen — and sometimes, they still work — in many old office buildings.

1885 – D.H. (David Herbert) Lawrence was born – writer: Lady Chatterly’s Lover; died in Mar 2, 1930

1889 – Start of the Sherlock Holmes adventure “The Crooked Man” (BG)

1913 – Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant was born – football coach: University of Alabama: the winningest coach in college football [323 wins, 85 losses, 17 ties in 25 years]; died Jan 26, 1983

1917 – Ferdinand (Edralin) Marcos was born – President of the Philippines [1966-1986]; his corrupt government was overthrown in 1986; died Sep 28, 1989

1919 – US marines invade Honduras

1922 – British mandate of Palestine begins

1923 – The ZR-1 (biggest active dirigible) flies over NY’s tallest skyscraper, the Woolworth Tower

1926 – Aloha Tower dedicated in Honolulu

1927 – Babe Ruth hits 50th of 60 homers

1935 – Gherman Titov was born – Russian cosmonaut: second man in space [first was Yuri Gagarin]; first man to spend more than a day in space [25 hours: Vostok 2: 1961]; died Sep 20, 2000

1936 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated Boulder Dam (now Hoover Dam) by pressing a key in Washington to signal the startup of the dam’s first hydroelectric generator in Nevada.

1940 – Brian (Russell) De Palma was born – director: Carrie, The Untouchables, Bonfire of the Vanities, Body Double, Scarface, Wise Guys

1941 – Charles A. Lindbergh sparked charges of anti-Semitism with a speech in which he blamed ”the British, the Jewish and the Roosevelt administration” for trying to draw the United States into World War II.

1941 – FDR orders any Axis ship found in American waters be shot on sight

1943 – Mickey Hart was born – musician: drums, songwriter: group: Grateful Dead: St. Stephen, China Cat Sunflower, Dark Star, Alabama Getaway; scored part of film: Apocalypse Now

1944 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill met in Canada at the second Quebec Conference.

1946 – 1st mobile long-distance car-to-car telephone conversation

1951 – Florence Chadwick becomes 1st woman to swim the English Channel from England to France. It takes 16 hours & 19 minutes

1952 – West German Chancellor Adenauer signs a reparation pact for Jews

1954 – The Miss America Pageant was televised for the first time. Bob Russell — not Bert Parks — was the host. Lee Meriwether was crowned Miss America by a panel of judges that included movie queen Grace Kelly.

1959 – Elroy Face of the Pittsburgh Pirates saw his 22-game winning streak come to an end. Face lost to the LA Dodgers, 5-4. He did, however, finish the 1959 season with an impressive 18-1 record. For those of you with baseballs for heads, who can’t figure out how he ended up with 18 wins for the season instead of 22 … Face won the other four games at the end of the 1958 season.

1960 – The 17th Olympic games close in Rome

1961 – Bob Dylan’s 1st NY performance

1962 – Ringo Starr joined John, Paul, George and Andy White (session drummer) to record Love Me Do at Abbey Road, London, England. Ringo played tambourine. It took 17 takes to complete Love Me Do to everyone’s satisfaction.

1962 – Kristy McNichol was born – Emmy Award-winning actress: Family [1976-77, 1978-79]; Empty Nest, Apple’s Way, Baby of the Bride, Women of Valor, Dream Lover, Only When I Laugh, Little Darlings, The Summer of My German Soldier

1965 – Beatles’ “Help!,” album goes #1 & stays #1 for 9 weeks

1967 – Harry Connick Jr. was born – Grammy Award-winning singer: We are in Love; actor: Copycat, When Harry Met Sally

1967 – ”The Carol Burnett Show” premiered on CBS.

1967 – US Surveyor 5 makes 1st chemical analysis of lunar material

1970 – “Would you believe?” The last of the Get Smart series on CBS-TV was aired.

1971 – Former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev died at age 77.

1974 – The St. Louis Cardinals took seven hours, four minutes and 25 innings to beat the New York Mets 4-3 at Shea Stadium in Flushing, NY. The game set a National League record for innings played in a night game. It was the second-longest game in professional baseball history. Fans went home at 3:10 a.m.

1977 – TV’s Rhoda gets divorced

1984 – Bruce Springsteen broke the attendance record at the Spectrum in Philadelphia. The Boss entertained 16,800 fans for the first of six sold-out shows. Springsteen broke his own record; one he set during a visit to Philly in 1981.

1985 – Pete Rose broke the major-league record for hits. He connected for hit #4,192 against Eric Show of San Diego.

1986 – The stock market’s Dow Jones Industrial Avgerage plunged 86.61 points to 1792.89. 237.57 million shares were traded making it the busiest day ever (to that day) on Wall Street.

1987 – CBS went black for six minutes after anchorman Dan Rather walked off the set of ”The CBS Evening News” because a tennis tournament being carried by the network ran overtime.

1991 – 14 die in a Continental Express commuter plane crash near Houston

1994 – Andre Agassi won the men’s title at the U.S. Open tennis tournament, defeating Michael Stich 6-1, 7-6 (7-5), 7-5.

1997 – The Army issued a searing indictment of itself, asserting that ”sexual harassment exists throughout the Army, crossing gender, rank and racial lines.”

1999 – Serena Williams won the U.S. Open women’s title at age 17 in only her second year as a pro. Williams beat top-seeded Martina Hingis, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4).

1997 – The Scots voted to create their own Parliament after 290 years of union with England.

1998 Congress released Kenneth Starr’s report that offered graphic details of President Clinton’s alleged sexual misconduct and leveled accusations of perjury and obstruction of justice; the president’s attorneys quickly issued a rebuttal.

2001 – The worst terrorist attack on American soil – 2819+ die as a result of hijacked airplane attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Western Pennsylvania.