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Decision 2006 Is The Republican Cut Run And Scare Strategy Running On Fumes

(category: History, Word count: 1527)
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Over the course of George Bush's six years in office it has become abundantly clear that Mr. Bush and his cronies are in a state of "willful denial" about the worsening situation in Iraq....and so is a large chunk of the American public, willingly or due to misleading partisan information.

As the temperature rises and with less than 5 weeks left to the mid-term elections, some of the most zealous backers of this administration in the Republican Party are running scared leaving Mr. Bush trapped holding the "hot plate."

With the on-going "Sex & Pedophilia" scandal involving now resigned Republican Congressman, Mark Foley (R - FL), the focus on this administration has switched gears mid-stream - from a wanton catastrophe to a circus of "Catastrophilia."

A homosexual Republican Congressman with Pedophilic tendencies is like "manna from heaven" for the Democrats. They can't ask for a better gift so close to the elections - an opportunity to expose Republican hypocrisy. You can bet that mothers of all political persuasions will get an earful of this.

These revelations of the activities of Mr. Foley has prompted an all out "Circular Panic Shootout" amongst Republicans, with each and every one facing the electorate this November distancing himself/herself from Foley.

This "October Surprise" could be the final nail in the coffin for the Republican Party. The "chickens have come home to roost," and the "Values" and "Faith" Party is in deep trouble.

"I will not withdraw even if Laura and Barney are the only ones supporting me," - George Bush, speaking to a group of Republicans in the White House, according to Bob Woodward (Award Winning Journalist) in his new book: State of Denial. Barney is one of the Bush's two dogs.

In May 2003, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld while speaking to a cheering congregation of U.S. troops in Qatar said, "So when people are writing the history books, you're going to be in it. Thank you very much."

The Vice President Mr. Dick Cheney in an appearance on September 14, 2003 in a "Meet the Press" weekly show with NBC's Tim Russert said, "My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators."

House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) recently, sounding much like CNN's Lou Dobbs, linked immigrants to terrorist and criminal gangs by saying: "Illegal's crossing our borders are gang members who cross to injure our citizens. This is a daily struggle in some towns."

These four statements and many others I have not listed here sum up the dysfunctional, hypocritical and deceitful "Republican Mentality" that readily permeates the party from top to bottom.

If you read in between the lines, the intimation is that Bush, Rumsfeld and Cheney have been fighting this war for the sake of "history," ....and that "illegal immigrants" and by extension "legal immigrants" are just a bunch of criminals and terrorists - dangerous and deceitful rhetoric expressly intended drive an "immigration wedge" to divide America, and instill fear all the way to the November ballot box.

Like seasoned predators Republicans have in the last couple of years skillfully capitalized on a basic human instinct of "fear of the unknown" to weave a national security policy of "fear" into the psyche of the American public, with incredible effectiveness.

A few weeks to the mid-term elections, the "Kings" of "Wedge Issues" and partisan smears are at it again, even though they are clearly on the ropes this time around.

While Bush has been choreographing the "Terrorist Fear Branch," the right wing of the Republican party led by xenophobes like Duncan Hunter, Tom Tancredo, George Allen and James Sensenbrenner among many others have been "stroking" the locals by holding anti-immigrant town-hall style hate meetings to "rally the base" of the Republican party, a base comprising of maniacal extremists still hanging on to America's bloody and racially intolerant past.

The so called "House Republican Immigration Field Hearings" conducted in the recent months supposedly explored the "societal and governmental costs of illegal immigrants," use of health-care facilities, welfare and "the criminal consequences of illegal immigration." These meetings turned out to be "Distortion Dens" in which immigrants were mercilessly vilified. Manufactured videos of immigrants crossing in from Mexico superimposed with images of Osama bin Laden and Zacharias Moussaoui were played to "fearful" Town-Hall congregants, and are still appearing on TV screens in numerous family living rooms across America.

Needless to say that the "positive" contributions of immigrants (illegal & legal) have been totally blanked out in favor of blood-letting, high-stakes demonizing, irrational and rampant xenophobia aimed at "the disease carrying homeland invaders." Also, totally swept aside is the Senate bill that would have been a workable starting point from which to work on this complex issue, in order to reach a rational and comprehensive solution.

In order to placate their "base," the Republican dominated U.S. government has been conducting sweeping immigration raids across the country, inhumanely separating children born in The United States, who are constitutionally American citizens, from their immigrant mothers and fathers .... well meaning "Economic Refugees," from third world nations racked with incompetent and thieving governments.....some with the assistance of greedy U.S. multi-national corporations whose "colonial" and corrupt profit motive is legendary.

Even Tom Kean, former Republican Governor of New Jersey and a respected ex-911 commissioner has joined the fray for the sake of "Dear Party," pulling a "Michael Moorer" on Democrats. Sources indicate that Mr. Kean was hired as a pre-production consultant for the movie "The path to 9-11? a TV miniseries which grossly misrepresents the facts in the 9/11 Commission report and portrays the Clinton administration in bad light.

Clearly, a desperate attempt by Republican operatives in collaboration with a "ratings hungry" media powerhouse (ABC/Disney) to influence the electorate.

If this movie were not a sneaky political move why was an advance copy of the film given to right wing extremist radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh - a self-serving demagogue who has a penchant for monstrous distortions and extremist hyperbole.

Other reports from Washington indicate that the Republicans are planning to unload their significantly superior financial war chest on Democrats in the form of negative TV and Radio ads over personal issues and local controversies. According to these reports, the Republican Congressional committee has dispatched operatives to comb through personal records to find damaging information on their Democratic opponents.

Even though mud-flinging is a political staple for both parties and in-fact almost everywhere else in the world, the Republicans are masters at this game and can ratchet it up to ludicrous levels.

Look out for Republican candidates to become meaner and more twisted in the coming few weeks.

But will the moderate "swing" voters in both parties buy into this charade this time around?

According to a CNN Poll conducted on September 6, 57% of Americans without a high school education believe that Saddam Hussein was involved in the 911 attacks (a fact most recently denied in a news conference August 21, when President Bush said Hussein had "nothing" to do with the attacks), 54% of High School graduates believe likewise. Only 39% of college graduates believe the same. The number dwindles dramatically to 19% for postgraduates.

Are Americans that ill informed? If so then we should expect another Republican win this November.

Will red baiting terror, using politics of deceit, fear and hate work this time?

Will the Republican party successfully energize their "intolerant" right wing base and also scare the pants off moderate Republicans, Independents and even some Democrats....again?

Is the Republican Party running on fumes?

Cheap political scores that violate the core of internationally revered American values like hurriedly establishing military commissions that will utilize "alternative forms of torture" in order to claim the mantle as the "toughest in the war on terror" are very troubling, notwithstanding the fact that these measures have been implemented in other countries before with little or no success.

Piecemeal measures that are politically targeted and principally bankrupt, without any long-term solutions is not the way to govern this great nation.

Coercion, "bribery," and scare tactics have destroyed the good standing of America in the eyes of the rest of the world during this administration's tenure.

On moral, political and pragmatic grounds the Democratic Party or even better non-aligned independents should wake up and right the American ship, for the Republicans have failed miserably....they have bamboozled the citizenry, betrayed their trust and misappropriated their hard earned tax money in an unnecessary "imperialist" war.

Another Republican majority in both houses will be a disaster. America's standing as measuring rod for the rest of the world has been severely compromised and stands to diminish even further if Republicans are given a blank check to continue with their "pillaging sham."

The American people need to wake up too and send a strong message to both Parties, that partisan politicking without principle is damaging to all and sundry, party faithful or no party.

Perhaps we need a "rational" third party?

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Obama Is Coming Clear The Way

(category: History, Word count: 1193)
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"Obama biro, yawne yo!" (Obama is coming, clear the way) - Tens of thousands of cheering Luo "Tribesmen" and ululating women screamed as they welcomed Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) back to his father's ancestral land - Nyangoma Kogelo village in Luo Land, Western Kenya, several weeks ago.

In a matter of hours Obama had soared to unprecedented political prominence in Kenya, eclipsing a bunch of corrupt and heartless nincompoops - The (Mt. Kenya Mafia), who are ruthlessly grinding beautiful Kenya to the ground.

The only difference between the Mt. Kenya Mafia and the current U.S. Republican administration, is that the former have brought Kenya down to it's "Economic Knees," while it's virtually impossible for George Bush's government to bring down the mighty economy of the United States, no matter how much they misappropriate it's coffers by way of inflated Iraq reconstruction contracts or Katrina FEMA trailers. Otherwise both groups employ similar schemes - exploiting and manipulating ethnic (racial) intolerance and promoting rampant corruption - a bunch of "cold-blooded" louts.

The six year cesspool of a mess presided over by the Bush administration might not be in vain after all. It has made America hungry for a messenger with a message of hope.

In the NBC "Meet The Press" interview of Sunday 22nd October, I watched Senator Obama intimate that - based on the responses he has been receiving across the country, he is considering running for the presidency of The United States in 2008.

What impressed me most about him is how he tackled the question regarding his previous assertion in 2004 - that he would complete his six year Senate term and not run for President in 2008: "I have thought about the possibility, but I have not thought about it with the seriousness and depth I think is required," Obama said. "My main focus is on 2006, and making sure that we re-take the Congress. After November 7th, I will sit down and consider it."

Unlike the shifty, programmed, and selfishly partisan politicians I am used to watching on Sunday morning political TV, Barack Obama countered Tim Russert's questions with poise, spontaneity and most important, he seemed very genuine.

In a political system muddied and tainted by arrogance, corruption and incompetence, watching and listening to Obama is inordinately refreshing.

In Obama I see an intelligent and capable man, unlike the current President who constantly reminds me of an unprepared and confused "open book, open notes" exam taker, badly rehearsed and totally incapable of articulating his views without the stewardship of his father's cronies, Karl Rove his "Political Architect" and a bone breaking conglomeration of "Hyena" special interest groups.

Obama's apparent good human qualities added to the fact that he is a great American story, makes the Senator a very attractive prospect for the ultimate prize in politics - The Presidency of The United States.

Is Obama Presidential material?

Many cite his lack of political experience, claiming his resume is too thin for a run at the Presidency. I disagree and here is why:

1. Unlike other black leaders, Obama doesn't grind "white noses" in Racism, and at the same time he is a symbol of hope to millions of dis-affected blacks and other minorities.

Judging by his Senatorial election win of a 70% majority, Obama has proven that he is a very powerful vote magnet across racial lines. He has established an "inclusive" track record that would be vital in a presidential election if he decides to run. His candidacy would draw out millions of dormant black voters thus making the Democratic candidacy more viable.

On the flipside, we all know that there are some whites such as the right wing gutter constituents of con-man Rush Limbaugh, who will forever embrace Racism and will never accept a black president. A President Obama would mark the beginning of the placement this irritant breed to the fringes of political obscurity.

2. He is NOT a bumbling idiot, appears humble and has not been tainted with partisan politics. Perhaps even more important is that he is a confident intellectual, which I think is a necessary pre-requisite for handling the complex issues of the highest political office in the world.

3. The last Republican President who had some smarts was the foul-mouthed bigot - Richard Milhouse Nixon, who engineered his own downfall with a lethal concoction of homophobia, anti-Semitism, anti-black and "Communist Paranoia." As a matter of fact Nixon's political career spanned three decades of scare mongering, witch-hunts and dirty tricks, the same tactics that have been successfully deployed by the current administration over the last six years.

All others after him have been bumbling buffoons with slight exceptions in George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan.

Reagan the Serial Liar who made Americans feel good about themselves, was not only ill informed but partially senile towards the end of his second term - not particularly smart, but a great "Political Actor," whose major achievements included presiding over the disintegration of the Soviet Empire (which was inevitable anyway), misuse of the World Bank and funding of CIA death squads to safeguard the corporate thievery by US multinational companies in Latin American countries.... and the worst in my opinion; propping the racist Apartheid regime in South Africa.

The "Great Communicator" was just another Republican crook!

Bill Clinton and John Kennedy did not have that much experience. Abraham Lincoln ran after two years in the House, Woodrow Wilson after two years as governor, and Franklin D. Roosevelt & Jimmy Carter after four years as governor.

Perhaps Dr. Martin Luther King summed it up best in his "The Drum Major Instinct" sermon delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia, February 4, 1968 - He said: "Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.... You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love. And you can be that servant," qualities that are thoroughly lacking in the Republican base - the "self-chosen" people of "Faith."

If the Democrats nominate Hillary Clinton, a very polarizing Democrat, the Republican smear spigots will spill out of control and flood the whole country to an extent that the Katrina calamity will look like a storm in a teacup. On the other hand, an Obama nomination would fuel vicious racial and below the belt "Nyangau" attacks from the right wing, like the slime being spewed by Republican troglodytes against black Democrat Harold Ford Jr. in the Tennessee, or by incumbent Senator George "Macaca" Allen in Virginia.

I wonder if Senator Obama has the stomach for such personal and racist attacks - a GOP staple!

Colin Powell assessed these circumstances in 2000 and chickened out, and subsequently dimmed his star serving in this ham-fisted administration for four years before being pushed out in favor of "yes-woman" Condoleezza Rice. It is rumored that he feared political assassination.

Will Obama follow through or is his potential candidacy just hype?

It is time for America to put it's Racist legacy behind it, to re-assess its future, and take a closer look at this rising star, for I think Barack Obama is ready - to cleanse the "maligned" soul of America.

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The First Serial Killer Ed Gein

(category: History, Word count: 979)
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Ed Gein is also known as The Butcher of Plainfield, The Plainfield Butcher, The Mad Butcher, The Plainfield Ghoul.

A serial killer who served as the inspiration to numerous films, among them Psycho, The Silence of the Lambs, Maniac, Three on a Meathook, Deranged, Ed Gein, The Movie, and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

He was born on August 27, 1906 in La Crosse, Wisconsin and lived with his domineering and fanatically religious mother, Augusta, and his older brother, Henry, on a 195-acres family homestead outside Plainfield, Wisconsin. His father, George, a no-good alcoholic, and much despised by Augusta, died in 1940, aged 67. His brother abruptly followed suit in 1944, aged 43 (he died in a mysterious and suspicious brush fire). Ed's mother passed away a year later, on December 29, 1945, aged 67. Ed remained all alone and subsisted on Federal farm subsidies and his occasional bouts as the community's itinerant handyman and babysitter.

After his mother died, Ed sealed the upper floor as a shrine, and lived in a single room by the kitchen. He accumulated a library of anatomy books, porn magazines, horror and adventure novels, historical accounts of the Nazi medical experiments in Auschwitz and elsewhere, and medical encyclopedias. At night, he performed rudimentary surgeries on exhumed and decomposing female bodies about whose death he learned from the obituaries in the local paper. His semi-retarded friend Gus helped him dig up the graves, including, reportedly, the body of Ed's own mother.

Even at this early necrophiliac phase, Gein kept the victims' internal organs and draped himself with the flayed skins or fitted them onto a tailor's mummy. Around the house, he wore women's panties stuffed with excised vaginas. Contrary to rumor, he did not have sex with the bodies. They smelled too bad, he explained.

Gein wondered what it feels like being a woman and fantasized about gender reassignment. He was not shy about his collections and even showed them to visitors. For many years, Ed and his shrunken heads have been the butt of morbid local jokes. Once he told a a sawmill owner named Elmo Ueeck that Mary Hogan, one of his victims, is not missing. "She is at my farm right now" - confessed Ed sheepishly. No one paid any attention to the shy recluse.

When Gus was committed to an old people's home, Ed's supply of corpses dried up. To replenish it, he proceeded to murder a string of women who were in their mid to late fifties (he denied having killed young girls who vanished without a trace throughout the area starting in 1947). Bernice Worden was dragged from her hardware store on November 16, 1957 together with her cash register and $41 in cash (Ed said he was planning to return the money, he just wanted to learn how cash registers work).

Her son, Frank, the deputy-sheriff, suspected Gein. A day later, captain Lloyd Schoephoester and the sheriff, Art Schley, found her at Gein's house, hanging upside down from a meat hook, beheaded, and gutted. Her intestines and head were discovered in a box, nails driven through her ears. Her heart rested on a plate in the living room.

A search throughout the grisly, trash and junk ridden house yielded ten preserved skins from human heads, a rug consisting of the skin from a woman's upper torso, a belt with embedded female nipples, a chair, a drum, and a wastebasket upholstered in human skin, a soup bowl made from the crown of a skull, lampshades fashioned from human flesh, a table resting on human shinbones for its legs, and a refrigerator stocked with bits of female anatomy (Ed denied the cannibalism charges levied against him). Other artifacts made of human skins (and the occasional sown-off nose) included a purse, bracelet, a sheath for a knife, and leggings. A pair of human lips were sewed onto a string (a curtain pull).

Skulls crowned the four bedposts in Gein's room. Trophies - human heads stuffed with newspapers - were pinned to the walls, flanked by nine death masks made of the original faces of dead women. A shoebox contained nine female genitalia including one painted silver (presumably his mother's). Finally, Gein peeled the breasts off one of his victims to make himself a "mammary vest". He wore it - and other garments made from human female skin - when he pretended to be his own mother.

All in all, the house and the surrounding land contained the remains of 15 bodies but Gein himself admitted that he had murdered only two - Worden and Mary Hogan, a tavern keeper on December 8, 1954. They were both shot in the head. The police found eight bodies in the local graveyard that were exhumed and mutilated by Gein. All body parts found belonged to female adults.

Gein quickly became a cult figure and the butt of moralizing folk tales and "Geiners", macabre jokes. His farm and belongings were put on the block in a much-publicized and controversial auction. On March 20, 1958, the house burned to the ground as a result of probable arson. "Just as well" - muttered Gein when he learned of the conflagration. His Ford Sedan 1949 was displayed in carnivals and fairs by an entrepreneurial businessman for many years.

Gein spent a decade in an insane asylum but finally was judged competent to stand trial. The trial started on November 7, 1968 and the jury found him guilty but criminally insane. He was committed to Central State Hospital (for the Criminally Insane) at Waupon, Wisconsin and moved in 1978 to the Mendota Mental Health Institute. He was a model patient. There he died on July 26, 1984 of cancer and respiratory and heart ailments and was buried next to his mother in the Plainfield cemetery. His grave was desecrated by vandals.

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Oil Prices May Crash

(category: History, Word count: 508)
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Oil has been rising for the past 10 years as the world has come to the understanding that there is only a limited supply and national economies are tied to it. To many people the rise in oil price is a good bet because of its limited nature. It may be possible that oil will take a dive in price as it comes close to $100 per barrel as people begin to feel uneasy.

It is possible that people have made so much money on oil stock, futures, options and other investments that people or large investment houses may dump their investments and take the winnings. If this happens even a small decline could trigger and en masse exodus from the market forcing a quick downward trend on the price per barrel of oil causing the market to crash. A market crash could be as much as a 40% decline in the price per barrel.

There are a number of forces around the world that may make a dip in the market in the near future. The Middle East may become more stable in the near future as the ending to the Iraq war becomes more likely. Even though there is no guarantee that the country will become stable it is a possibility it may become this way as one side beats out the other. It isn't likely to have an immediate affect.

Since companies have found the oil market to be so lucrative they have been scouring the world over for new deposits. In their interest they have been able to find these new deposits and in a couple of years will be able to tap them, which will put more money into the market. When this oil goes into the market the demand will decrease because world wide production has increased.

Since oil prices have been on the rise over the past decade countries have been investing in alternative fuel sources. For example, in the United States ethanol plants have been springing up all over the pace, cars are expected to increase efficiency and he government is trying to cut dependency on foreign oil. This will have a downward affect on the price of oil as the need for it decreases.

Many market analysts also believe the oil price of investments is also higher then its true costs. It is an overheated market that may be waiting for a crash. They believe that it won't be long before people start taking their money out because they believe it can't go much further. When people take out their money this is when big changes in the market are going to be seen.

$100 is a psychological barrier for most people. Oil prices have never been this high in history and most people simply can't imagine a time when oil will be this high. Therefore, when the $100 threshold is met people may naturally become uneasy and begin to sell their oil shares which could free up the markets and temporarily reduce the costs.

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Drug Rehab Views Afghanistan S Opium Poppy Industry Is Blooming

(category: History, Word count: 402)
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The worldwide illicit drugs business is by far the most profitable illicit global trade, says the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), earning some $320 billion annually. Compared to this, human trafficking at $32 billion and illegal firearms at $1 billion are a drop in the bucket. Afghanistan, producing 92% of the world's illegal opium from its miles and miles of poppy farms, is by far the world's largest contributor to the production of illicit heroin and morphine. For millions of addicts around the world, the dark force from Afghanistan that rules their lives can only be overcome through drug rehab.

Not surprisingly, no one has come up with a workable idea on how to stop it. The problem is that the chain of "narcodollars" reaches from the poppy farms all the way to the highest levels of Afghanistan's government, with the Taliban insurgents in the mix in a very big way. At $3.1 billion, the opium trade is the equivalent of a third of the country's total economy. Last year's 6,100 tons of opium was worth $60 billion at street prices, and this year an even larger crop is expected.

As well as keeping the drug barons rich, the drug trade has affected Afghanistan's citizenry in an unexpected and very negative way. Historically, poppy farmers and citizens rarely used the drugs personally. Today, according to UN reports, thousands of Afghani's are abusing the drugs and becoming addicted, and desperately need drug rehab. But the country doesn't have the necessary infrastructure to support drug rehab facilities.

As for solutions, the U.S. is pushing for crop spraying and destruction. But thousands of farmers will be out of work and penniless. Replacing poppies with other crops won't work because there's no distribution system for exporting produce. Others are suggesting the opium trade be legitimized and production redirected for medicines. But the health industry won't pay street prices to drug barons, so that probably won't fly.

Meanwhile, here in America we continue to deal with street drug crime and lives being ruined through opiate addiction. Until a solution is found to stop the supplies of drugs from around the world, we can try to prevent addiction by our own example and through effective education. And we must care for those who suffer addiction with successful drug rehab programs that really work.

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Celebrate American Freedom Won 225 Years Ago

(category: History, Word count: 356)
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With the decisive Battle of Yorktown in Virginia in 1781, America freed itself from the shackles of tyranny. Now, Virginia-the first, permanent English-speaking colony in the New World-is celebrating the 225th anniversary of the historic battle.

The National Park Service's Yorktown Battlefield and Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation's Yorktown Victory Center, together with the town of Yorktown, are hosting stirring events and exhibits to bring clarity to America's most important military victory-George Washington's triumph of allied forces over the British at Yorktown in October 1781.

This year in Yorktown-along the sandy shores of the tidal York River near the Chesapeake Bay-will be special, beginning with timeless attractions, such as:

(*) The Victory Center, where visitors can "meet" Revolutionary soldiers, try on their uniforms and view artifacts from the sunken British ship "Betsy," one of many British ships resting on the bottom of the York River; and

(*) The Yorktown Battlefield, where you can walk the fields and fortifications where General Washington forced the surrender of more than 8,000 British soldiers, effectively ending the American Revolution.

Then amid a backdrop of spectacular autumn foliage, Yorktown will host a four-day commemoration of the decisive battle beginning Thursday, Oct. 19. A small-town parade, traditional military Pass in Review ceremony, tactical field demonstrations and a live-action orchestral and choral event called "We Salute You-An American Symphony" will honor American military service.

Fireworks over the York River, an assembly of fife and drum corps from across the U.S., military bands and a naturalization ceremony will remind spectators and participants of the basic freedoms achieved 225 years ago in Virginia. Culminating with a ceremonial surrender of the British army at Yorktown's Colonial National Historical Park, more than 2,000 reenactors will mobilize in a brilliant show of British redcoats marching to the actual field of surrender.

In addition, a new exhibit at the Victory Center depicts how different cultures helped shape American society. And the new Riverwalk Landing in Yorktown-a retail center with unique shopping and dining options-is another reason to return to Virginia for "Jamestown 2007: America's 400th Anniversary" next year.

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The Story Of The Guillotine

(category: History, Word count: 347)
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The guillotine was first put to lethal use on April 25, 1792, at 3:30 PM, in Paris at the Place de Greve on the Right Bank of the Seine. It separated highwayman Nicolas Jacques Pelletier's head from the rest of his body.

The device was perfected - though not invented- by Doctor Joseph Ignace Guillotin (1738 - 1814). The 'e' at the end of the noun is a later, British, addition. Ironically, he belonged to a movement seeking to abolish capital punishment altogether.

Guillotine-like implements were used on delinquents from the nobility in Germany, Italy, Scotland and Persia long before the good doctor's era. Guillotin and German engineer and harpsichord maker, Tobias Schmidt, improved and industrialized it. It was Schmidt who transformed the blade, changing it from round to the familiar form and placing it at an oblique, 45 degree, angle. The process of severing the head - the blade falling, cutting through the tissues and severing the head - took less than half a second. More than 40,000 people were guillotined during the French Revolution and in its immediate aftermath (1789-1795).

Nor was the guillotine abandoned after the French Revolution. As late as 1870, one Leon Berger, an assistant executioner and carpenter, added a spring system, which stopped the mouton at the bottom of the groves, a lock/blocking device at the lunette and a new release mechanism for the blade.

The murderer Hamida Djandoubi was beheaded on September 10, 1977, in Marseilles, France. The guillotine was never used since.

a.. Total weight of a Guillotine is about 580 kg

b.. The guillotine blade with weight is over 40 kg

c.. The heights of the guillotine posts average about 4 meters

d.. The guillotine blade drop is about 2.3 meters

e.. The falling blades rate of speed is about 7 meters/second

f.. The actual beheading was completed in 2/100 of a second

g.. The power when the guillotine blade stops at the bottom is 400 kg/square inch

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The Real Thanksgiving

(category: History, Word count: 396)
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The legend of Thanksgiving goes back more than 350 years. We have all heard the story about how the Pilgrims spent Thanksgiving with the Natives and ate fully, but is this what really happened?

The Wampanoag Indians were descendants of the Iroquois who had spent their time in New England for thousands of years. The tribe lived off the land by hunting deer and other animals in the summer and early fall, fishing salmon and herring in the spring and then moved farther inland during the winter to seek shelter from the storms.

The group lived along the coastal region in round-roofed houses called 'wigwams' unlike the Midwest Indians who used teepees in order to travel quickly.

The people were friendly and hospitable towards strangers. However a group of English travelers had saddened villages across the region by bringing disease and capturing many to be sold on the slave market. One of the villages, Patuxet, demolished by the English was one of a famous Native American, Squanto.

Squanto was a Native American who befriended John Weymouth (an English Explorer) and headed back to England in order to learn their customs speak English and become Christian. During his stay, a British Slaver captured Squanto and sold him to the Spanish in the Caribbean. Luckily a Spanish Franciscan priest helped Squanto back to England where he would pay Weymouth to bring him back to his homeland.

On his return home Squanto had realized his village was deserted and left with skeletons. The neighboring tribe of Wampanoag took Squanto in and treated him as their own.

As the year went on the neighboring Pilgrims grew weaker and couldn't survive much longer. Luckily, the Wampanoag came to the rescue. The Wampanoag brought food hospitality towards the people. Since Squanto spoke English he could easily communicate with the Pilgrims and show them how to grow crops and survive off the land. The two groups then spent three days together talking about the land and eating food.

As the years passed, more Pilgrims came and forgot about the friendly Natives. They stole land, tortured and enslaved the Wampanoag while the rest were left foodless and with disease.

For many, Thanksgiving is a time for rejoice and thankfulness for what our ancestors had endured during the early years, but for the Wampanoag it is a time left hard to forget.

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Mayor Bloomberg Says Shooting Unacceptable

(category: History, Word count: 1098)
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Several days ago, an unfortunate shooting took place in New York City. A team of five undercover police officers were sitting in a van outside a strip club doing surveillance. There was an additional officer outside on foot in radio contact with the van. A gentleman of African American descent was celebrating his wedding which was supposed to be the next day with two of his friends.

The three individuals left the club, got into their car and came under suspicion of the officer who was on foot and in plain clothes. The officer approached the car, wearing his badge. The driver of the car bolted. The officer thereupon radioed the five officers in the van that I think he has a gun. At that point, the car with the three individuals in it crashes into the van with the five cops, not once but twice.

A hale of bullets, some fifty in all follow. One officer fired 31 times by himself. The driver of the vehicle, who was supposed to be married the next day, dies in the shooting, and his two companions were wounded. In the crime scene that followed no one finds a gun that could have been used by the gentlemen in the car.

What follows next is EVERYBODY IS JOCKEYING FOR POSITION. The Mayor announces that firing that many bullets (over 50) is "UNACCEPTABLE", while the police commissioner keeping his cool, talks about the evidence not being completely in yet to form a judgment. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton get in on the act, and stir up old angers in the African American community.

The first thing I say is, "Thank God, two of the officers in question were black, and one Hispanic. The remaining two officers were white. The second thing is that the Mayor has never been in a shoot-out. The closest he comes to a gun is the police unit that protects him, and his $10 billion dollar Forbes 400 fortune. So what is Bloomberg trying to do? We can only conjecture. It does seem possible that he is positioning himself for a run for the Presidency in 2008, and he does not want to seem overly bias to the police department. It seems to me he is patronizing the Black community, which is just as bad.

The Police Commissioner, Raymond Kelly is also positioning himself for a run for Mayor of New York in the next two years. This means he has to watch what he says also. I can't begin to imagine what a police officer has to go through to make a decision in an instant to use his gun.

Human beings have five million years of evolution built into them. The most primitive emotional basis of our history is the "Fight or Flight" response. In a moment of intense fear, or panic as in when lions were chasing us 50,000 years ago, our sympathetic nervous system kicked in. Our brains are not thinking, instead instantly, extremely powerful chemicals start to flush through the body. These include noradrenalin, adrenaline, and cortisol which are released by the adrenal glands.

These chemicals are so powerful that they overwhelm the body. Your emotional brain is preparing your body for FIGHT. The moment that first bullet went off; each officer involved assumed they were being shot at. All of them immediately emptied their automatic weapons at the car in question. NYPD officers are no longer permitted to carry revolvers as their primary weapons. They are instead required to carry semi automatic weapons such as the Glock 17, with a five pound trigger pull and a magazine that can fire 17 rounds. It is called a Glock 17 because it was the 17th patent taken out by its inventor.

Most police officers carry 15 rounds in the magazine until the spring is broken in. You can however fire all 17 rounds in seconds, and that's just what happened. The Mayor is playing to the grandstand, and knows less than nothing about a gun fight. Once you fire, you don't say to yourself is two or three shots enough? You don't even know if you have hit anything. The adrenaline keeps pouring through your body, you can barely stand up.

Unfortunately we have these preconceived attitudes generated by watching too many police shows on television. An example would be the various CSI television shows which show the crime scene detectives solving the case, and arresting the perpetrator. That's nonsense; crime scene detectives NEVER EVER arrest anyone. They simply investigate the crime scene, and turn over the evidence to homicide detectives who do the searching and the arrests.

Only in the movies and television do we see cool cops acting calm under pressure. In real life, the fear that takes over the body is completely overwhelming. At some point in each of our lives, you have probably been stopped by a police officer for a traffic violation. You might remember the adrenaline rush you feel in your own body when this happens. What you don't know is the adrenaline rush the police officer is feeling in his body when this happens.

There is nothing more frightening than a police officer pulling somebody over at night on a quiet road. The officer has no idea what is going to happen, or who he is encountering. There is a feeling of panic that is pervasive.

I am sure in the incident at the night club that the officers regret the unfortunate ending to a terrible situation. I believe that although they may be charged and tried for this incident, I do not believe that any REASONABLE jury would ever convict. If convicted by a biased jury, the case would be overturned on APPEAL. Nevertheless, some people including the Mayor may try to make political hay out of this tragedy. If so, he will not benefit long-term, people tend to see through these situations to what is really going on.

I will leave you with these thoughts. Seventy years ago, my father, than a 17 year old teenager was walking by an armored truck parked on the avenue. The rear doors were opened and my father decided to peer in, somewhat upsetting a guard who was sitting in the truck. The guard looked at my father, and said, "You know young man; you hardly ever get into trouble minding your own business." When the car drove into the van containing the five police officers TWICE, the driver was certainly not minding his own business. We should all pause for thought. Good luck

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