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Army commanders order removal of 'God and country' recruiting sign
Unauthorized poster at Arizona recruiting office
January 17, 2015
An Army recruiting station has been ordered by higher ups to shelve a sidewalk sandwich board with the wording "On a mission for both God and country.Ē
The order went out Friday to a recruiting station in Phoenix that had been displaying the outdoor sign since at least October. The sign board also shows an image of a Special Forces patch and Ranger, Airborne and Special Forces tabs.
An inquiry from Army Times to the U.S. Army Recruiting Command prompted the sandwich boardís immediate removal.
The commandís spokesman told the paper the signís text was changed by ďlocal recruiting personnelĒ but without clearance from command headquarters.
ďHad the process been followed, the copy shown would not have been approved,Ē spokesman Brian Lepley said.
On Thursday, the head of the atheist group Military Religious Freedom Foundation called the sign the ďPoster of Shame.Ē
In an online post, the groupís Mikey Weinstein called the display a ďstunning, unconstitutional disgrace,Ē Army Times reported.
ďThe Military Religious Freedom Foundation is delighted the Constitution has been adhered to by the U.S. Army Recruiting Command,Ē Weinstein said after the signís removal.
It appears that prior to being changed the sandwich board read: ďWe donít call for reinforcements. We make them.Ē
When preparing for a possible emergency situation, it's best to think first
about the basics of survival: fresh water,
food, clean air and
Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at
least three days, for drinking and sanitation.
Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food.
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone
alert and extra batteries for both.
- Flashlight and extra batteries.
First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help.
Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic
sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place.
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities.
- Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food).
- Local maps
Additional Items to Consider Adding to an Emergency Supply Kit:
- Prescription medications and glasses.
- Infant formula and diapers.
- Pet food and extra water for your pet.
- Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies,
identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container.
- Cash or traveler's checks and change.
- Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or information from
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding
if you live in a cold-weather climate.
- Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and
sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather
- Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper ÔŅĹ When diluted nine parts
water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an
emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular
household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or
bleaches with added cleaners.
- Fire Extinguisher.
- Matches in a waterproof container.
- Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items.
- Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels.
- Paper and pencil.
- Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children.
source: Ready.gov, Dept. of
'There's a whole new sub-class of part-time residents that flow back and forth'
January 9 2015
(South Florida Sun-Sentinel) U.S. policy created for humanitarian reasons 50 years ago has fueled a criminal pipeline from Cuba to Florida, enabling crooks from the island to rob American businesses and taxpayers of more than $2 billion over two decades.
A yearlong Sun Sentinel investigation found money stolen in the United States streaming back to Cuba, and a revolving door that allows thieves to come here, make a quick buck and return.
Cuba has become a bedroom community for criminals who exploit Americaís good will.
ďThereís a whole new sub-class of part-time residents that flow back and forth,Ē said Rene Suarez, a Fort Myers attorney who represents Cubans charged in criminal schemes. ďThey tell me stories and live very comfortably in Cuba with the illegitimate money that theyíre able to obtain here in the United States.Ē
The Sun Sentinel traveled to Cuba, examined hundreds of court documents, and obtained federal data never before made public to provide the first comprehensive look at a criminal network facilitated by U.S. law.
The Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966, a remarkable act of Congress passed at the height of the Cold War, gives Cubans advantages over every other immigrant group.
Cubans are allowed to enter the United States without visas or background checks of their criminal histories in Cuba. Unlike other immigrants seeking political asylum, Cubans can return home without jeopardizing their status, aiding crime rings that recruit accomplices and hide stolen money in Cuba.
The law has remained largely unchanged while financial and travel restrictions between the two countries have loosened, priming the system for abuse.
Strained relations between the countries make it nearly impossible to capture criminals who flee to the island. They also make it nearly impossible to deport criminals to Cuba after they serve their sentences in the U.S., as would be the case with criminals from most other countries. The crooks can stay here, free to steal again.
Cuban crime rings are staging car accidents for insurance fraud, hijacking trucks, and selling their Medicare numbers to provide for their families in Cuba. Theyíre smuggling money from these illegal enterprises on charter flights to Cuba, paying mules to take cash back and wiring dollars through Western Union.
ďSome of these folks are basically funding life in Cuba for their families,Ē said Miami-Dade Police Lt. Jose Gonzalez, whose detectives dismantle marijuana grow houses run mostly by Cuban nationals. ďThese people are going to Cuba weekly or monthly. These are citizens of Cuba commuting here to work.Ē
This free flow of criminals and cash has made a mockery of the two pillars of U.S. policy toward Cuba: the trade embargo designed to financially choke the Castro government and the special immigration rules that envisioned a one-way path for Cubans to escape communism.
Cubaís state-controlled economy benefits from the illicit money. In one South Florida insurance scam alone, ringleaders sent millions back to the island and the Cuban government seized $200,000.
Long known as a safe haven for fugitives from America and other countries, Cuba now is harboring scores of its own citizens wanted for economic crimes in the U.S.
The Sun Sentinel found and interviewed fugitives living openly on the island, including one wanted on charges he stole a semi-trailer loaded with $180,000 in nickels from the Federal Reserve. Another, charged in a $1 million credit-card fraud ring, had boasted that he went to the U.S. to steal and taunted authorities to ďcome to Cuba to look for me.Ē
In unveiling his initiative to ďpromote greater openness with CubaĒ last month, President Obama did not address whether immigration rules should be tightened, or whether the U.S. will be able to deport some 34,500 convicted Cuban criminals and force Cuba to return fugitives never brought to justice here.
Members of Congress interviewed about the Sun Sentinelís findings say the ease with which Cuban criminal networks can operate in the U.S. must be part of a wide-ranging discussion on increased engagement with the country that has stood as Americaís nearest enemy for five decades.
Criminals are corrupting the intent of the Cuban Adjustment Act: to provide refuge to those fleeing Fidel Castro and communism.
Cubans need only touch U.S. soil to be admitted to the country. Theyíre automatically considered political refugees and are immediately eligible for welfare, food stamps and other assistance. After a year and a day, they can obtain permanent residency, known as a green card.
Immigrants from other countries can wait years for visas just to be admitted to the U.S., and then wait years more for government benefits. Those fleeing persecution risk losing their asylum if they return to their home countries before becoming U.S. citizens.
More than 1 million Cubans have come to the U.S. since the 1959 Communist revolution, creating one of Americaís most prosperous immigrant communities. While the overwhelming majority are law-abiding, a small faction has come to specialize in certain, mostly economic, crimes.
The federal government has long pointed to the prevalence of Cuban immigrants in Medicare fraud, as first reported in the Miami Herald, but authorities never quantified it. The Sun Sentinel analyzed court bookings data and found that Cuba natives, operating primarily in South Florida, are so prolific they account for less than one percent of the U.S. population but are responsible for 41 percent of arrests nationwide for health-care fraud.
The reach of Cuban crime rings extends far beyond ripping off the U.S. government health program for the elderly and disabled, the Sun Sentinel found.
In Miami-Dade County, where 24 percent of the population was born in Cuba, immigrants from the island account for 73 percent of arrests for health-care fraud; 72 percent of arrests for cargo theft; 59 percent of arrests for marijuana trafficking; and half the arrests for credit-card and insurance fraud.
Among Cuban-born defendants sentenced to federal prison for these crimes, two out of three are still Cuban citizens.
Their take: more than $2 billion since 1994, a conservative tally based on restitution ordered in federal cases and a Sun Sentinel sampling of state cases in Florida.
Alex Acosta, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, said Medicare thieves alone steal more than $2 billion each year in South Florida.
ďThe United States has opened its doors to Cuban refugees under the Cuban Adjustment Act,Ē said Acosta, the son of Cuban immigrants who is now dean of the Florida International University law school. ďThat is an extraordinary immigration offer that the United States has done for political and humanitarian reasons, and it is offensive that these individuals are abusing that.
ďItís equally offensive that the Castro regime is allowing them to do so and profiting from crime in the United States.Ē
The close ties that the criminals have to Cuba and the involvement of many new arrivals has spurred speculation among investigators, prosecutors and even members of Congress about whether the Cuban government is behind the fraud. Cuba denies it.
The Sun Sentinelís review of hundreds of court cases found many of those charged had arrived without visas and would have been refused entry and sent home had they not been Cuban. Others were convicted repeatedly of ripping off businesses and the government, but could not be deported.
A Cuban national convicted twice for theft before he joined a Palm Beach County credit-card fraud ring that stole $750,000.
Another who allowed his name to appear as owner of a North Miami Beach pharmacy that stole $695,000 from Medicare in two months; he was paid $10,000 for his signature and $40,000 to go back to Cuba.
Two Miami Cuban citizens with multiple convictions who are charged as leaders in a 48-person, multi-state ring that stole $500 million in prescription drugs from Medicaid.
U.S. policy toward Cuba has made America an easy mark for criminals coming from an impoverished nation, said Scott Stewart, vice president of analysis at Stratfor, a global intelligence firm based in Austin, Texas, and author of a report on organized crime in Cuba.
ďWeíre so rich, and weíre so close,Ē he said. ďItís a very good environment for them to operate in.Ē
Cash to Cuba
A massive South Florida fraud ring that stole millions from auto insurers in recent years shows how U.S. policy benefits the criminals and allows them to easily return with ill-gotten cash, a possibility policymakers never intended.
The $18 million fraud involved 21 clinics in Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties and more than 100 mostly-Cuban participants. They staged accidents, smashing cars with a sledgehammer, and billed insurers for treatment of nonexistent injuries.
The masterminds were Cuban immigrants, Lazaro Vigoa Mauri, then 45, and Vladimir Lopez, 38, who traveled back to the island as often as every month during the scam, according to a 2013 indictment charging them with fraud and money laundering.
Lopez spent most of his time in Cuba, former employee Carmen Venegas testified. ďHe was here, then he would go back to Cuba, but he was traveling constantly ó every 15 days, on the weekend, every 20 days.Ē
The leaders employed new arrivals who came without visas and were allowed entry into the United States under the Cuban Adjustment Act. At least three other participants had been ordered removed for previous crimes but were still here because Cuba refuses to take back most deportees.
The criminals took advantage of U.S. policy intended to help Cubans resettle and occasionally return for visits, using those trips home to smuggle millions from their illegal ventures back to the island.
ďIndividuals were buying properties and taking money to Cuba, and they were also having other individuals smuggle it to Cuba for them,Ē South Florida IRS agent Pamela Martin testified at a 2013 court hearing.
One had three houses in Cuba ó a notable achievement on an island that legalized private property sales only three years ago.
The owner of one clinic scammed insurers out of more than $400,000, smuggling much of it to Cuba on commercial charter flights, a former employee admitted in a plea agreement.
Another left Cuba on a raft, became a massage therapist at one of the clinics and then started his own. He withdrew thousands from his clinicís bank account and sent it in $500 increments to relatives in Cuba ďvia friends who were traveling there,Ē he told agents.
The leaders escaped. Vigoa, Lopez and three others fled to Cuba, where U.S. authorities canít touch them. Vigoa returned to his hometown of Pinar del Rio, his ex-girlfriend told agents, and had a cousin send his furniture from West Palm Beach.
Cubaís safe harbor had a price, records show. One fugitive, Martin testified, ďhad a couple hundred thousand dollars seized by the Cuban governmentĒ for unjust enrichment, a charge Cuba levies against people with too much unexplained money.
Criminal defense lawyers told the Sun Sentinel they know of other fugitives who returned to Cuba and had to give the government a cut of their money.
ďIf people are not in a position to pay off public officials to the amount and degree they demand, they sometimes wind up in jail until they come up with the amount,Ē said Samuel Rabin Jr., a Miami defense lawyer. ďSome of them pay a significant amount of money and are never jailed.Ē
These criminal enterprises also generate millions of dollars that find their way into the government-run Cuban economy.
The million-dollar credit-card fraud ring in Texas paid for trips to Cuba and sent Western Union money orders back to relatives. A Tampa ring bought gift cards and electronics with counterfeit credit cards and shipped goods to the island. And a South Florida marijuana cultivation ring funded major renovations to homes in Cuba with luxuries ordinary Cubans could not afford: new appliances, tile, custom crown moldings.
ďThereís a tremendous amount that Iíve seen in my cases of underground money that goes there,Ē said Humberto Dominguez, a Miami criminal defense lawyer. ďItís huge.Ē
Pre-9/11 NYC Skyline
Twin towers of the World Trade Center burning
Post 9/11 NYC Skyline - Freedom Tower Being Built
At the site of unimaginable death and devastation, a memorial of breathtaking beauty has emerged.
The National September 11 Memorial opens today on the 10th anniversary of the terror attacks and is a dazzling tribute to the lives lost, and to a city and nation that will never forget. It is the largest made man made waterfall in the world. They are bordered by bronze panels inscribed with the names of those who died there, at the Pentagon and in western Pennsylvania.
In the footprints of the old Twin Towers are now two square, below-ground reflecting pools, each nearly an acre, fed from all sides by waterfalls that begin just above ground.
Lower Manhattan will be in lockdown mode today as massive crowds and a host of dignitaries descend on the area for the solemn observance of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
Throughout the morning, the names of the more than 2,600 people who died in the 1993 and 2001 World Trade Center attacks will be read aloud.
Ten years on from the day the 9/11 terrorist attacks changed so much for so many people, the world's leaders and millions of citizens are pausing to reflect.
From Sydney to Atlanta, formal ceremonies are planned or already under way to remember the nearly 3,000 who perished from more than 90 countries. And, in a reminder that threats remain, authorities in Washington and New York are beefing up security in response to intelligence about possible plans for a car bomb attack.
For some people, the pain never stops. In Malaysia, Pathmawathy Navaratnam woke up Sunday in her suburban Kuala Lumpur home and did what she's done every day for the past decade: wish her son "Good morning." But Vijayashanker Paramsothy, a 23-year-old financial analyst, was killed in the attacks on New York.
"He is my sunshine. He has lived life to the fullest, but I can't accept that he is not here anymore," said Navaratnam. "I am still living, but I am dead inside."
In Manila, dozens of former shanty dwellers offered roses, balloons and prayers for another 9/11 victim, American citizen Marie Rose Abad. The neighborhood used to be a shantytown that reeked of garbage. But in 2004, Abad's Filipino-American husband built 50 brightly colored homes, fulfilling his late wife's wish to help impoverished Filipinos.
The village has since been named after her.
"It's like a new life sprang from the death of Marie Rose and so many others," said villager Nancy Waminal.
HISTORY of NEW YORK
New Yorkers are rightfully proud of their state's many achievements and contributions. This synopsis is adapted from a brief history previously printed in the Legislative Manual.
Duke of York
New York harbor was visited by Verrazano in 1524, and the Hudson River was first explored by Henry Hudson in 1609. The Dutch settled here permanently in 1624 and for 40 years they ruled over the colony of New Netherland. It was conquered by the English in 1664 and was then named New York in honor of the Duke of York.
Existing as a colony of Great Britain for over a century, New York declared its independence on July 9, 1776, becoming one of the original 13 states of the Federal Union. The next year, on April 20, 1777, New York's first constitution was adopted.
In many ways, New York State was the principal battleground of the Revolutionary War. Approximately one-third of the skirmishes and engagements of the war were fought on New York soil. The Battle of Saratoga, one of the decisive battles of the world, was the turning point of the Revolution leading to the French alliance and thus to eventual victory. New York City, long occupied by British troops, was evacuated on November 25, 1783. There, on December 4 at Fraunces Tavern, General George Washington bade farewell to his officers.
The First Government of New York State
The first government of New York State grew out of the Revolution. The State Convention that drew up the Constitution created a Council of Safety which governed for a time and set the new government in motion. In June 1777, while the war was going on, an election for the first governor took place. Two of the candidates, Philip Schuyler and George Clinton, were generals in the field. Two others, Colonel John Jay and General John Morin Scott, were respectively leaders of the aristocratic and democratic groups in the Convention. On July 9, George Clinton was declared elected and he was inaugurated as Governor at Kingston, July 30, 1777. Albany became the capital of the State in January 1797.
The First Capital of the New Nation
Alexander Hamilton was a leader in the movement which ended in the development of the Federal Constitution, and he was active in its ratification. New York City became the first capital of the new nation, where President George Washington was inaugurated on April 30, 1789.
The Empire State
In following years, New York's economic and industrial growth made appropriate the title "The Empire State," an expression possibly originated by George Washington in 1784. In 1809, Robert Fulton's "North River Steamboat," the first successful steam-propelled vessel, began a new era in transportation.
The Erie Canal, completed in 1825, greatly enhanced the importance of the port of New York and caused populous towns and cities to spring up across the state. The Erie Canal was replaced by the Barge Canal in 1918; and the system of waterways was further expanded by the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway.
Overland transportation grew rapidly from a system of turnpikes established in the early 1880s to the modern day Governor Thomas E. Dewey New York State Thruway. By 1853, railroads, that had started as short lines in 1831, crossed the state in systems like the Erie and New York Central.
Statue of Liberty
Located in New York harbor, the Statue of Liberty was formally presented to the U.S. Minister to France, Levi Parsons on July 4, 1884 by Ferdinand Lesseps, representing the Franco-American Union.
The cornerstone was laid in August 1884 and the Statue of Liberty arrived in June 1885, in 214 packing crates. President Grover Cleveland dedicated the Statue of Liberty on October 28, 1886, when the last rivet was put into place.
During the nineteenth century, America became a haven for many of the oppressed people of Europe, and New York City became the "melting pot." The Statue of Liberty (dedicated in 1886 in the harbor), with its famous inscription, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free," was the first symbol of America's mission
The international character of New York City, the principal port for overseas commerce, and later for transcontinental and international airways, has been further enhanced by becoming the home of the United Nations, capital of the free world. Here the people of all nations and races come to discuss and try to solve the world's problems in a free and democratic climate.
New York Stock Exchange
As one of the wealthiest states, New York made tremendous strides in industry and commerce. The New York Stock Exchange, founded in 1792, has become the center of world finance. Diversified and rich natural resources, together with unmatched facilities for transport, produced a phenomenal growth in manufacture and industry. Research and inventive genius have been extensive, especially in the field of electronics, power and the peaceful and productive use of atomic energy.
Center for Art, Music, and Literature
New York City also became a leading national center for art, music and literature, as exemplified by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Metropolitan Opera Company, and large publishing houses.
The state has supplied more than its share of national leaders, beginning with Alexander Hamilton, the first secretary of the treasury; and John Jay, the first chief justice. Aaron Burr and George Clinton served as vice presidents. Martin Van Buren, Chester A. Arthur and Grover Cleveland went from New York politics to the presidency. In the 1900s, Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt achieved the presidency; and Nelson Rockefeller served as vice president. Governors Charles E. Hughes, Alfred E. Smith and Thomas E. Dewey all were candidates for the presidency.
September 11 attacks
The September 11 attacks (often referred to as 9/11, pronounced nine-eleven) were a series of coordinated suicide attacks by Al-Qaeda upon the United States on September 11, 2001. On that morning, 19 Al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four commercial passenger jet airliners. The hijackers intentionally crashed two of the airliners into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, killing everyone on board and many others working in the buildings. Both buildings collapsed within two hours, destroying nearby buildings and damaging others. The hijackers crashed a third airliner into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C. The fourth plane crashed into a field near Shanksville in rural Somerset County, Pennsylvania, after some of its passengers and flight crew attempted to retake control of the plane, which the hijackers had redirected toward Washington, D.C. There were no survivors from any of the flights.
2,974 victims and the 19 hijackers died in the attacks. The overwhelming majority of casualties were civilians, including nationals of over 90 different countries. In addition, the death of at least one person from lung disease was ruled by a medical examiner to be a result of exposure to dust from the World Trade Center's collapse.
The 9/11 attacks had immediate and overwhelming effects upon the American people. Many police officers and rescue workers elsewhere in the country took leaves of absence to travel to New York City to assist in the process of recovering bodies from the twisted remnants of the Twin Towers. Blood donations across the U.S. also saw a surge in the weeks after 9/11. Not only were New Yorkers united during this horrific tragedy but all of America and the entire world shared their pain.
OSAMA BIN LADEN KILLED!!
On May 2, 2011, US Special Forces killed Bin Laden in Pakistan. A small US team had conducted the raid in about 40 minutes.
Three other men were killed in the raid - one of Bin Laden's sons and two couriers - the official said, adding that one woman was also killed when she was used as "a shield" and two other women were injured.
Americans Celebrate this great feat. "America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done. -
George W Bush
Former US president
Easter - Jesus Christ's resurrection
Easter is the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third day of his burial after his crucifixion by Romans at Calvary c. 30 AD. It is the culmination of the Passion of Christ, preceded by Lent (or Great Lent), a forty-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance.
The week before Easter is called Holy Week, and it contains the days of the Easter Triduum, including Maundy Thursday, commemorating the Maundy and Last Supper, as well as Good Friday, commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus.[ In western Christianity, Eastertide, the Easter Season, begins on Easter Sunday and lasts seven weeks, ending with the coming of the fiftieth day, Pentecost Sunday. In Orthodoxy, the season of Pascha begins on Pascha and ends with the coming of the fortieth day, the Feast of the Ascension.
Many people see Easter as the most important event in the church calendar. Easter preparations begin with 40 days of strict fasting prior to Easter Day. Many Orthodox Christians attend liturgies during the Holy Week that leads up to Easter Sunday.
Some Americans who are members of the Russian Orthodox Christian community still practice the tradition of laying Easter eggs and Easter bread on dead relativesí graves. This practice is a way of greeting the dead with news that Jesus Christ has risen. Many Greek Orthodox Christians buy Easter bread, known as tsoureki, and prepare lamb for the Easter feast.
Another tradition observed in many Christian churches is the blessing of food baskets. The baskets are usually filled with bread, cheese, meat, eggs, butter, salt, and other types of food used for Paschal celebrations. The fasting period has ended and meat and dairy products can be eaten.
The Christian date for Easter Sunday is not a federal public holiday in the United States. However, it is held on a Sunday, which is a non-school day and non-working day for many Americans.
Many Orthodox churches base their Easter date on the Julian calendar, which differs from the Gregorian calendar that is used by many western countries and Catholics. Therefore the Orthodox Easter period often occurs later than the Easter period that falls after the time of the March equinox.
There are different types of Orthodox churches that are well established in the United States. Some of these churches include the Greek Hellenic Orthodox Church, the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America, and the Russian Orthodox Church. The Russian Orthodox Church in North America can be traced back to the late 18th century, where a Russian church was built on Kodiak Island in Alaska during that period. Alaska was previously part of Russia until the United States bought the land. The number of Greek Orthodox churches grew as Greek immigration increased after the late 19th century in the United States.
The Easter egg is hard-boiled and often dyed red to symbolize the blood of Christ. It was an important symbol connected with spring fertility rituals in many early civilizations. Many Greek Orthodox Christians rap their eggs against their friends' eggs and the owner of the last uncracked egg is considered lucky. Another important symbol associated with Easter is the lamb. It is often depicted with a banner that bears a cross, and it is known as the Agnus Dei, meaning "Lamb of God" in Latin.
Theodore Roosevelt, 1919
"In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the man's becoming in very fact an American, and nothing but an American...
There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag, and this excludes the red flag, which symbolizes all wars against liberty and civilization, just as much as it excludes any foreign flag of a nation to which we are hostile...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."
--Theodore Roosevelt, 1919
To this day, the westbound crossing record of the SS United States stands unbroken
The SS United States - America's Flagship faces an unknown future
She broke the transatlantic speed record in both directions on her maiden voyage from New York to Europe by the greatest margin in history. (That record still stands, 59 years later.) The top political, military and entertainment figures of the day regularly sailed aboard her, along with everyday Americans and immigrants to our shores. She became the living embodiment of America's post-World War II industrial might
So significant were the accomplishments of the firm Gibbs & Cox, that founder William Francis Gibbs remains the only individual ever to be awarded both the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers' gold medal for both his naval architecture and marine engineering accomplishments.
Gibbs passed away in 1967, but his enormous legacy lives on in the design firm of Gibbs & Cox, which continues to supply marine engineering for government contracts, though it has long been out of the passenger ship business. Of the numerous passenger ships designed by Gibbs & Cox, only the SS United States remains extant, stripped of all interior fittings, with the exception of heavy machinery.
Interior fittings and furniture, auctioned off in 1984, have found their way into museums and private collections around the world. So significant was the interior design of the SS United States, it is still lauded over 50 years after the ship's maiden voyage. In summer 2004, Modernism Magazine celebrated the forward thinking 1950s female design firm of Smyth, Urquhart & Marckwald. The magnificent interiors and custom furniture they created are displayed in museums and still evoke a sense of the classic elegance of mid-20th century design.
The significance of the SS United States to the American Merchant Marine cannot be overstated. The ship remains the largest passenger vessel constructed in the United States and the fastest ocean liner to ever cross the North Atlantic (both eastbound and westbound). As the nation's flagship for over 17 years, the ship's service was exemplary and it was never plagued by mechanical difficulty.
For over 35 years the ship has been spared from the worst humiliation a vessel can endure: the breaker's torch. It is not only unusual that a ship, out of service for well over three decades, remains intact, it is extraordinary. In the past decade, a tremendous awareness has emerged of the liner's plight, and former builders, passengers and crew have come forward in large numbers determined to ensure that the SS United States is preserved as an amazing technological and engineering triumph, and American cultural icon.
The tremendous red, white and blue funnels, while somewhat faded, still stand strong and are a testament to the ingenuity, vision, determination and pride that represent the American dream. As the stewards of her historical legacy, the SS United States Conservancy remains committed to the vision of a revitalized United States that can serve as a brilliant example of American industrial might for generations to come.
Save Our Ship
After the ship had been listed for sale for a year, in early 2010 NCL announced that it would be accepting bids from scrappers. After this announcement the SS United States Conservancy launched a major campaign, "Save Our Ship", to raise funds and awareness in support of the vessel.
In July of 2010, the Conservancy announced that it had received a $5.8 million pledge from Philadelphia philanthropist H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest, allowing the Conservancy to buy the ship outright and maintain her at her current berth for 20 months while redevelopment plans are made and funds for her restoration are raised. This marks the first time in the history of the SS United States that a group concerned primarily with the vessel's historical significance and preservation has owned her.
While this great ship is safe for now, she has not yet been "saved". Funds must yet be raised for her restoration and redevelopment. Once this significant task is completed, the Conservancy envisions a future where the SS United States is a sustainable waterfront attraction, providing jobs and important public amenities, while educating and inspiring future generations.
The SS United States Conservancy began as an initiative of the SS United States Preservation Society, a nonprofit organization incorporated in 1992. For more info on Donating,
Oct. 21, 2011
Steve Jobs Slammed Obama at Meeting
The unreleased Jobs biography reveals a contentious secret meeting between the Apple co-founder and President Obama.
Steve Jobs Biography Reveals He Told Obama, 'You're Headed For A One-Term Presidency'
One of the most hotly-anticipated biographies of the year, "Steve Jobs," author Walter Isaacson reveals that the Apple CEO offered to design political ads for President Obama's 2012 campaign despite being highly critical of the administration's policies and that Jobs refused potentially life-saving surgery on his pancreatic cancer because he felt it was too invasive. Nine months later, he got the operation but it was too late.
Those are just some of the tidbits about Jobs' life revealed in the upcoming biography, a copy of which was obtained by The Huffington Post. The publication date of the official biography of the notoriously-secretive Apple co-founder was pushed up after his death in October. "I wanted my kids to know me," Isaacson quoted Jobs as saying in their final interview. "I wasn't always there for them and I wanted them to know why and to understand what I did."
Among other details unearthed in the book on the notoriously-secretive Apple co-founder:
Jobs' Meeting With Obama
Jobs, who was known for his prickly, stubborn personality, almost missed meeting President Obama in the fall of 2010 because he insisted that the president personally ask him for a meeting. Though his wife told him that Obama "was really psyched to meet with you," Jobs insisted on the personal invitation, and the standoff lasted for five days. When he finally relented and they met at the Westin San Francisco Airport, Jobs was characteristically blunt. He seemed to have transformed from a liberal into a conservative.
"You're headed for a one-term presidency," he told Obama at the start of their meeting, insisting that the administration needed to be more business-friendly. As an example, Jobs described the ease with which companies can build factories in China compared to the United States, where "regulations and unnecessary costs" make it difficult for them.
Jobs also criticized America's education system, saying it was "crippled by union work rules," noted Isaacson. "Until the teachers' unions were broken, there was almost no hope for education reform." Jobs proposed allowing principals to hire and fire teachers based on merit, that schools stay open until 6 p.m. and that they be open 11 months a year.
Aiding Obama's Reelection Campaign
Jobs suggested that Obama meet six or seven other CEOs who could express the needs of innovative businesses -- but when White House aides added more names to the list, Jobs insisted that it was growing too big and that "he had no intention of coming." In preparation for the dinner, Jobs exhibited his notorious attention to detail, telling venture capitalist John Doerr that the menu of shrimp, cod and lentil salad was "far too fancy" and objecting to a chocolate truffle dessert. But he was overruled by the White House, which cited the president's fondness for cream pie.
Though Jobs was not that impressed by Obama, later telling Isaacson that his focus on the reasons that things can't get done "infuriates" him, they kept in touch and talked by phone a few more times.
Air Force makes ‚ÄėGod‚Äô reference optional in oath.
Air Force makes God reference optional in oath
Fox News - Oct. 25, 2013
The Air Force Academy has decided to make the phrase SO HELP ME GOD optional in its honor code in what it called an effort to build a culture of dignity and respect.
The decision to make the reference optional came after the Academy‚Äôs Honor Review Committee met to consider a complaint filed by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF).
Here at the Academy, we work to build a culture of dignity and respect, and that respect includes the ability of our cadets, Airmen and civilian Airmen to freely practice and exercise their religious preference or not, Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson said in a prepared statement.
The current version of the Academy‚Äôs oath reads: We will not lie, steal or cheat nor tolerate among us anyone who does. Furthermore, I resolve to do my duty and live honorably, so help me God.‚ÄĚ
In the spirit of respect, cadets may or may not choose to finish the Honor Oath with SO HELP ME GOD said Johnson, the superintendent of the Academy.
The Honor Oath was created in 1984 and is administered to cadets at the conclusion of Basic Cadet Training.
The phrase SO HELP ME GOD was added later in the aftermath of an alleged cheating scandal.
To add more seriousness to the oath, we decided to mirror the commissioning oath and add the words, SO HELP ME GOD said retired Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Hans Mueh, a member of the committee that made the change.
Ron Crews, executive director of Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, commended the Air Force Academy for allowing cadets to say So help me God.
These young Americans being trained to defend the rights of Americans should be able to exercise their religious convictions by solemnizing their oath with so help me God he said.
Last week, the Colorado Springs Independent newspaper published a photograph of a poster at the academy which included the oath. The newspaper then forwarded the photo to MRFF President Mikey Weinstein.
Weinstein, a frequent critic of Christianity in the armed forces, wrote a letter to Johnson. Weinstein said she responded 68 minutes later and ordered the art work removed.
Johnson said the focus of the Air Force Academy is to develop leaders of character.
This all begins by living honorably, she said. ‚ÄúThe Honor Code and Honor Oath reinforce this fundamental value.‚ÄĚ
Although the Almighty reference is now optional, the recitation of the remainder of the Honor Oath is required.
Buy American This Season
Birth of a New Tradition
As the different holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide
Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods -- merchandise that has been
produced at the expense of American labor. This year will be different. This year
Americans will give the gift of genuine concern for other Americans. There is no longer
an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American
hands. Yes there is!
It's time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box,
wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper?
Everyone -- yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your
local American hair salon or barber?
Gym membership? It's appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health
Who wouldn't appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, American owned detail shops
and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a book of gift certificates.
Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plonking down the Benjamin's
on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like his driveway
sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local
There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants -- all offering gift certificates. And, if your
intended isn't the fancy eatery sort, what about a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast
joint. Remember, folks this isn't about big National chains -- this is about supporting your
home town Americans with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.
How many people couldn't use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop
run by the American working guy?
Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady
for a day.
My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is struggling
to get his repair business up and running.
OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spin their own wool and
knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery and beautiful wooden boxes.
Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip.
And, how about going out to see a play or ballet at your hometown theatre.
Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.
Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chinese lights for the house?
When you buy a five dollar string of light, about fifty cents stays in the community. If you have
those kinds of bucks to burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip.
You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so that China can build another
glittering city. Christmas is now about caring about US, encouraging American small businesses
to keep plugging away to follow their dreams. And, when we care about other Americans, we care
about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn't imagine.
THIS is the new American Christmas tradition!
Petco Pulls Pet Treats Suspected of Killing, Sickening Thousands
Petco Pulls Chinese Treats.
January 7, 2015
Petco says it has removed all remaining Chinese-made dog and cat treats from its website and stores nationwide because of concerns they have sickened thousands of pets and killed 1,000 dogs in the U.S. since 2007.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says initial tests have not connected the Chinese jerky and rawhide treats to the illnesses, but the San Diego-based company and its rival PetSmart vowed in May to ban the snacks.
Petco is the first national pet retailer to pull the treats from its 1,300 stores. Phoenix-based PetSmart Inc. said Monday that it plans to have them off shelves at its roughly 1,300 stores by March.
The FDA targeted the treats after receiving more than 4,800 complaints of pet illnesses, including the deaths, after pets ate chicken, duck or sweet potato jerky treats from China. Tests have not confirmed any connection, but the agency is still investigating.
An FDA spokeswoman on Monday pointed to a news release from May about its investigation and declined further comment.
Petco Vice President John Sturm said all treats are now made in the U.S. or places such as the Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia and South America. The company risked tens of millions of dollars by changing treat vendors, he said.
American Jobs are being lost to China, Mexico and South America
AP - April 13, 2014
Where Have All The Good Jobs Gone?
Countries like China, Mexico and Colombia now produce what used to be produced here in the United States. We have given away our best jobs through so-called ďfree tradeĒ agreements and most-favored nation status, which accompanies our membership in the WTO. We have lowered or eliminated our protective tariffs, leaving our companies vulnerable.
ďFree tradeĒ means uncontrolled, unrestricted access to our economy for foreign-made goods, tariff- and duty-free. These goods are made at wages of $4 per hour or less. We cannot compete with these wages, so we are forced to outsource nearly all of our manufacturing, sell-out to foreign interests, or simply go bankrupt.
We have sabotaged ourselves through our ďfree tradeĒ agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), and the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS). NAFTA alone has sucked over 682,000 jobs out of our country since its inception. Not only have these agreements destroyed jobs, they have destroyed our ability to manufacture.
We are losing the institutional knowledge that comes with being a manufacturing powerhouse, and we may never get it back if we allow this trend to continue.
The WTO has also facilitated the transfer of our manufacturing and wealth to overseas nations. In order to be a WTO member, the United States must grant most-favored nation status to all member countries. This means that if we offer a low tariff rate to a country such as France or Germany, we must offer that same low rate to China.
We can no longer pick and choose which countries it is in our best interest to trade certain goods with. As a result, China now accounts for the largest portion of our balance-of-trade deficit, and many of our manufacturers have moved their operations there in search of lower costs, selling back to the United States at no penalty.
This is clearly an unsustainable model. We cannot continue to live on imports and debt. We need good jobs, and our politicians are doing everything they can to prevent them from developing. It is time to replace any politician who has proven they donít understand this dire situation. The cost of inaction is too great.