Agoramania Soap Box
Bravo, San Francisco!
saw this today:
San Francisco subway system adopts 'buy American' policy
Published April 18, 2012
The nearly 800 trains that make up San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit, better known as BART, have reached the end of the line.
"We have the oldest cars that are currently running in the country," says Dick Wieczorek, head of BART'S procurement department.
Now, the largest public rail line on the West Coast is spending $3.2 billion to replace 775 cars with a state-of-the-art fleet made in the U.S.A.
"We are instituting a 'Buy American' policy so that we can help put America back to work," says BART board president John McPartland.
BART is the first transit agency in the nation to give preference to companies that manufacture most of their trains in the U.S., a move that makes it eligible for federal funds. At a recent press conference hailing the policy, California Congressman John Garamendi said BART's choice was simple: “It can support our foreign competitors, or help create thousands of jobs for American workers and signal to the world that American manufacturing is back in business.”
Ironically, BART is looking at three foreign train makers, all with assembly plants in the eastern United States.
The one that uses the most American-made components, from engine parts to seat cushions, will stand a better chance of winning the lucrative bid.
"If somebody offers us more than 60 percent, in terms of domestic components, we can give them a bid preference in recognition of the fact that they may be spending more money to buy those U.S. components," explains Wieczorek.
John Lohnas is among the 370,000 passengers who commute on BART each day. "Any time a company, especially a tax-supported organization, buys American-made products it's wonderful," he says.
But San Francisco economist James Forcier contends doing business in America isn't always cheap, and the result will be higher fares for passengers.
“They [BART] already admit in their paperwork that the cost is going to be 5 percent to 10 percent greater as a result of this process than it would have been otherwise," Fortier says. "Those dollars have to come from somewhere, and most likely they're going to come from the riders."
In the next few weeks, BART will decide which foreign company will be the winner of this 'Buy American' policy, with the first new trains rolling out by 2017.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/04/18/san-francisco-subway-system-adopts-buy-american-policy/print#ixzz1sQLbguGR
Happy St. Patrick's Day!
St. Patrick and the First St. Patrick's Day Parade
Saint Patrick, who lived during the fifth century, is the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland. Born in Roman Britain, he was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave at the age of 16. He later escaped, but returned to Ireland and was credited with bringing Christianity to its people. In the centuries following Patrick's death (believed to have been on March 17, 461), the mythology surrounding his life became ever more ingrained in the Irish culture: Perhaps the most well known legend is that he explained the Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) using the three leaves of a native Irish clover, the shamrock.
Since around the ninth or 10th century, people in Ireland have been observing the Roman Catholic feast day of St. Patrick on March 17. Interestingly, however, the first parade held to honor St. Patrick's Day took place not in Ireland but in the United States. On March 17, 1762, Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City. Along with their music, the parade helped the soldiers reconnect with their Irish roots, as well as with fellow Irishmen serving in the English army. thanks to: http://www.history.com/topics/st-patricks-day
Celebrating Two Great Presidents
As Presidents' Day approaches, let's take a moment to learn some interesting facts about two great American leaders. Read more about our presidents on the National Park Service website here : http://www.nps.gov/search/index.htm?query=president+trivia&sub1.x=0&sub1.y=0
George Washington, 1st President: 1789-1797
• Washington was the only American president to be unanimously elected.
• Washington never lived in the White House. The nation’s capital was located in Philadelphia, as well as several other cities, prior to its move to Washington, D.C.
• George Washington was the only president who did not represent a political party.
Abraham Lincoln, 16th President: 1861-1865
• Abraham Lincoln was a man of perseverance. Before Lincoln’s election as the 16th president of the United States he failed as: a business man - as a storekeeper, failed as a farmer - he despised this work, failed in his first attempt to obtain political office, he failed when he sought the office of speaker, he failed in his first attempt to go to Congress, he failed when he sought the appointment to the United States Land Office, he failed when he ran for the United States Senate and he failed when friends sought for him the nomination for the vice-presidency in 1856.
• Abraham Lincoln was the first president to wear a beard and the tallest president at 6’ 4".
• Lincoln was the first president to die by assassination. On Good Friday, April 14, 1865, John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C.
Pearl Harbor, December 7th: "A date which will live in infamy".
President Franklin D. Roosevelt: Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.
The United States was at peace with that nation, and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island of Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our secretary of state a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack.
It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.
The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.
Yesterday the Japanese government also launched as attack against Malaya.
Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.
Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam.
Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.
Last night Japanese forces attacked Wake Island.
And this morning the Japanese attacked Midway Island.
Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.
As commander in chief of the Army and Navy I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense. But always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us. . .
Source: Courtesy of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, New York.
Land that I Love
As we remember the attack on our country a decade ago our brave men and women fighting the war against terror and our current economic challenges, I wanted to share this inspiring e-mail received from a friend:
Cut and paste the link below to go to a video showing the very first public singing of GOD BLESS AMERICA. But before you watch, you should also know the story of the song. The time was 1940. America was still in a terrible economic depression. Hitler was taking over Europe and Americans were afraid we'd have to go to war. It was a time of hardship and worry for most Americans.
This was the era just before TV, when radio shows were HUGE, and American families sat around their radios in the evenings, listening to their favorite entertainers and no entertainer of that era was bigger than Kate Smith. Kate was also large in size, and the popular phrase still used today is in deference to her, It ain't over till the fat lady sings.. Kate Smith might not have made it big in the age of TV, but with her voice coming over the radio, she was the biggest star of her time.
Kate was also very patriotic. It hurt her to see Americans so depressed and afraid of what the next day would bring. She had hope for America , and faith in her fellow Americans. She wanted to do something to cheer them up, so she went to the famous American song-writer, Irving Berlin (also wrote White Christmas) and asked him to write a song that would make Americans feel good again about their country. When she described what she was looking for, he said he had just the song for her. He went to his files and found a song that he had written, but never published, 22 years before - way back in 1917. He gave it to Kate Smith and she worked on it with her studio orchestra. She and Irving Berlin were not sure how the song would be received by the public, but both agreed they would not take any profits from God Bless America any profits would go to the Boy Scouts of America . Over the years, the Boy Scouts have received millions of dollars in royalties from this song.
This video starts out with Kate Smith coming into the radio studio with the orchestra and an audience. She introduces the new song for the very first time, and starts singing. After the first couple versus, with her voice in the background still singing, scenes are shown from the 1940 movie, You're In The Army Now. At the 4:20 mark of the video you see a young actor in the movie, sitting in an office, reading a paper it's Ronald Reagan. Frank Sinatra considered Kate Smith the best singer of her time, and said when he and a million other guys first heard her sing God Bless America on the radio, they all pretended to have dust in their eyes as they wiped away a tear or two.To this day, God Bless America stirs our patriotic feelings and pride in our country. Back in 1940, When Kate Smith went looking for a song to raise the spirits of her fellow Americans, I doubt she realized just how successful the results would be for her fellow Americans during those years of hardship and worry, and for many generations of Americans to follow. Now that you know the story of the song, I hope you will enjoy it and treasure it even more. God BlessAmerica!
Events that Shaped America...198 Years Ago!
It happened on August 24, 1814 and this was the result:
British forces fled in confusion and rains extinguished the fires. President Madison
then proclaimed a National Day of Public Humiliation, Fasting & Prayer to Almighty God on
November 16, 1814. Two weeks after the War ended, Madison proclaimed a National Day
of Thanksgiving & Devout Acknowledgment to Almighty God, on March 4, 1815.
Now, read about the events leading up to this historic climax:
AIR FORCE WEATHER OBSERVER, A tornado that saved a city and defeated the enemyPosted 2/26/2007 Updated 3/6/2007
by Evelyn Dole, Air Force Reserve Command
2/26/2007 - Robins AFB, Ga. -- The summer of 1814 was one of the hottest on record.In late August, the afternoon rains and temperatures of over 100 F made the air humid withbeads of moisture and turned the stagnate marshlands surrounding Washington D.C. intodisease-carrying mosquito hatcheries. The 8,000 heat-weary townspeople were even moremiserable when news came that the invading British Army was marching in from the ChesapeakeBay.
Although our young country had been at war with the British Empire for over two years, themajority of indeterminate skirmishes had occurred in the Great Lakes region. Now thatWellington had defeated Napoleon at Waterloo, the Empire was ready to turn its full attention tothe task of defeating its former colony by sending battle-hardened troops to squash the up-startAmericans. Washingtonians along with Dolley Madison, the First Lady, were confident theBritish Army would attack the strategic thriving port of Baltimore rather their capital city. However,the British General Robert Ross and Rear Admiral George Cockburn did have two specific reasonsfor an attack on Washington. The British and Canadians were seeking revenge on the United Statesfor the destruction by the American Army of the capital of York in Upper Canada (now Toronto,Canada) and they hoped the destruction of America's new capital city would demoralize the countryenough to obtain its surrender.
On Wednesday morning, August 24, 1814 Dolly Madison looked through her spyglass from one ofthe upper floor windows of The White House. She was watching the surrounding lands, searchingfor her husband, President Madison. All she saw were weary, hunched-over-with-defeat Americantroops walking back into the city. By 3 p.m., she received word from her husband, who was with hiscabinet and many other government officials who had fled to the mountains of Virginia, to evacuateWashington. She began the task of loading a wagon with portable articles, documents and other itemsof importance, notably the full-length Gilbert Stuart painting of President George Washington. As theBritish troops marched down Pennsylvania Avenue toward the Presidential Mansion, she reluctantlyleft moments before the soldiers entered the building.
Admiral Cockburn ordered all government buildings burned which included the buildings housing theSenate and House of Representatives, (the central rotunda of the Capitol not yet constructed). Alsoburned were the Library of Congress, the U.S. Treasury building, and many other public buildings.Next Cockburn turned his attention on The White House, where the soldiers were dining on foodfound in the dining hall. After they were finished, they set about destroying the building - finally settingit on fire.
Dawn rose the next morning and the remaining Washingtonians felt the day's warmth not from the sunbut from the heat of the fires. While the British soldiers continued to set fires and destroy the stores ofammunition found, they failed to notice the early afternoon sky begin to darken. Westward beyond thecity, large clouds were forming, beginning to swirl, and soon the sky intensified with lightning and thundersignaling the approach of a thunderstorm. The British soldiers familiar with thunderstorms in Englandand preoccupied with their orders discounted the Americans watching the sky.
As the storm front neared the city, Washingtonians took cover. The winds dramatically increased and atornado developed over the city that produced a "frightening roar." The tornado ripped throughWashington and headed straight toward the British occupation. Structures were torn off their foundations,other buildings were blown down. Feather mattresses were sucked out of windows, trees were uprooted,fences were blown down, chimneys collapsed, the heavy chain bridge across the Potomac River buckled,and many British cannons were picked up and tossed around. Panic ensued; many British soldiers did nothave time to take cover and were killed by collapsing buildings and flying debris.
Finally, the winds quieted but the rain fell in torrents for more than two hours quenching most of the flamesand prevented Washington from continuing to burn. The British Army regrouped near Capitol Hill, a bitshaken by the harsh weather and decided to depart Washington that evening. Downed trees across roadshampered their journey and when they reached their ships, it was discovered two had broken free from theirmoorings and were washed ashore. The British Commander later reported that more of their soldiers werewounded and killed by this catastrophic disaster than from all the firearms the American troops could musterin their ineffectual defense of Washington.
President James Madison and his cabinet returned to Washington and started the rebuilding of our Capitol.Never again, would a foreign army enter our city and only rarely would Washingtonians see a tornado.
Three tornadoes struck near Washington that day. It was later reported that one landed to the northwest,another in the high country [which is now called Georgetown], and the one that struck the Capitol Hill area.Whether there was a single tornado taking a southeasterly course or a tornado swarm, it will never be known.What can be said for certain is that a powerful tornado with destructive winds did hit downtown Washingtonat a crucial time; forcing the British out of the city, and saving what was left of our Capitol.
Happy 235th Birthday America!
I pledge Allegiance to the flag,
of the United States of America,
and to the Republic,
for which it stands,
one nation under God,
with Liberty, and Justice for all
The Signers of the Declaration of Independence at Philadelphia representing the new States as follows:
Connecticut: North Carolina: Virginia: thanks to "The Old Educator" at http://www.oldeducator.com/july4factsandtrivia.htm
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Robert Treat Paine
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
thanks to "The Old Educator" at http://www.oldeducator.com/july4factsandtrivia.htm
Fighting Corruption Can Benefit U.S. Economy
(NAPSI)—Fighting corruption is essential to improving people’s lives in poorer developing countries, and it can benefit the
That’s the word from experts who estimate that more than 50 percent of
Developmental experts at the World Bank hold that corruption hits poor people the hardest, since the poor rely most on public services and are least able to pay bribes for simple things, such as a commercial driver’s license or a permit to set up a vegetable stand.
Many of the issues that poor countries face—including violent conflict, disease and pollution—are not contained by borders. By addressing these pressing needs in developing areas, the World Bank is working to create greater global stability-and a more solid foundation for economic growth here in the
That’s why many of the Bank’s investments in poorer countries—nearly $72 billion last year—focus on helping the poor while fighting corruption. These investments are paying off with big results. For example:
• More than 3 million teachers recruited and/or trained; more than 2 million classrooms built or rehabilitated, benefiting more than 105 million children per year; and about 300 million textbooks purchased and/or distributed.
• More than 47 million people provided with access to basic health, nutrition or population services; 310 million children immunized; 98 million children with improved nutrition; and about 33 million mosquito nets purchased and/or distributed to prevent malaria.
• More than 113 million people given access to an improved water source and 5.8 million people provided with access to almost 600,000 improved sanitation facilities.
Poor governance and corruption remain among the most challenging problems today for many of the World Bank’s clients, and the fight against corruption won’t be won overnight. But making sure the money goes where it’s supposed to can make a big difference.
The World Bank also maintains an international hotline (1-800-831-0463) for anyone to report incidents of corruption. To learn more about the World Bank and its anti-corruption programs, visit www.worldbank.org/integrity.
Remembering Those Who Gave the Ultimate Sacrifice
Words for all Americans to live by from the Vietnam Veterans of America Constitution, Revised 8/03/2001
WE, the veterans who served during the Vietnam War, who embraced through sacrifice and service to country the most fundamental and cherished bonds of our democracy, reaffirm that commitment to spirit and ideals, accepting it as the solemn responsibility of our survival, to bear the burden of what has been, so that tragedy once endured can never be forgotten.
AND so do we resolve that the true measure of our worth as citizens, as veterans, and as patriots be found in our willingness to draw from and abide by these strengths and convictions born of heritage and experience.
TO HOLD that a sacred and binding contract exists between governors and governed, with the latter recognizing an obligation of compulsory foreign or domestic service equitably shared by all, and the former morally obligated to implement foreign and domestic policies that are clear, consistent, and reflective of the will of the people.
TO HOLD further, that the contract extends to post obligatory service with the Nation, bound whenever and wherever appropriate to the prompt delivery of compensation to individuals or survivors in direct proportion to sacrifice and service rendered.
TO HONOR with dignity the sacred memory of the war dead, and so in dignity, insure that the lasting legacy of the fallen is responsibility toward, not exploitation of, their sacrifice.
TO STAND for cooperation, dialogue, and friendship among the nations of the world community, with full respect and support of those principles central to our national life.
for more information, click here: http://www.vva333.com/
Happy Mother's Day!
French - Mere
German - Mutter
Hindi - Maji
Urdu - Ammee
English - Mom, Mummy, Mother
Italian - Madre
Portuguese - Mãe
Albanian - Mëmë; Nënë; Burim; Kryemurgeshë
Belarusan - Matka
Cebuano - Inahan; Nanay
Serbian - Majka
Czech - Abatyse
Dutch - Moeder; Moer
Estonian - Ema
Frisian - Emo, Emä, Kantaäiti, Äiti
Greek - Màna
Hawaiian - Makuahine
Hungarian - Anya, Fu
Ilongo - Iloy; Nanay; Nay
Indonesian - Induk, Ibu, Biang, Nyokap