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Today's quotation...
Thus with the year
Seasons return; but not to me return
Day, or the sweet approach of even or morn,
Or sight of vernal bloom or summer's rose,
Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine;
But cloud instead, and ever-during dark
Surrounds me; from the cheerful ways of men
Cut off, and for the book of knowledge fair
Presented with a universal blank
Of Nature's works, to me expung'd and raz'd,
And wisdom at one entrance quite shut out.
-- Paradise Lost, John Milton [1608-1674]

The most called-upon prerequisite of a friend is an accessible ear.
-- Maya Angelou [1928-2014]

Washington's Birthday

George Washington, "The Father of His Country," first President of the United States of America, first in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen, was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, on February 22, 1732.

Washington was the indispensable President by:
(1) holding the Continental army together for eight years until the British decided that continuing the war was not worth the price;
(2) presiding over the Constitutional Convention that created the world's oldest written constitution;
(3) serving as our first President and, thus, establishing by example both the limits and prerogatives of the chief executive office of the American democratic republic;
(4) voluntarily giving up power both as a military commander and a political leader, thereby denouncing in advance, any potential Caesar or Napoleon in American politics; and,
(5) most importantly, providing by character and example, a model of republican citizenship.
Restore George Washington's Birthday
By Terence P. Jeffrey

     George Washington's birthday, February 22 should be restored as a stand-alone national holiday if only to celebrate Washington as a model of American virtue in his relationship with African-Americans, his personal moral struggle with the institution of slavery and his final decisive rejection of racism and involuntary servitude.

     Washington is not a hero because he never did wrong. He is a hero because he recognized his own failing as well as the failings of American society, and worked with unfailing courage to amend them.

     The story of Washington and slavery is a story of liberation and redemption. It is a story that should unite and inspire Americans today. And it is a story that confirms, perhaps more than any other aspect of Washington's remarkable life, his status as America's greatest statesman.

. . .

     There are many other things, of course, that make Washington great, but this alone is a good reason to restore February 22 as a national holiday in his name. We will never find a greater champion of the American ideal.


     --Excerpts from the article in HUMAN EVENTS, the week of February 11, 2002
08:11 2/22/2002


 Happy Birthday ......
    In 1749, Johann Nikolaus Forkel, musicologist and first biographer of Bach.
    In 1810, Frederic Chopin, composer.
    In 1857, Heinrich Hertz, physicist, first to broadcast and receive radio waves
    In 1900, Luis Buñuel, Spanish film director (Exterminating Angel)
    In 1908, Sir John Mills, Actor, "The Singer Or The Song."
    In 1932, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass, politician and prominent spokesman for democratic causes. Born in Brookline Massachusetts, the youngest son of Rose and Joseph Kennedy, Ted Kennedy was groomed for political success. Graduating from Harvard in 1956, he continued his education at the University of Virginia, receiving his law degree in 1959. He worked for his brother John’s presidential campaign in 1960, and in 1962 was elected to fill the seat in the U.S. Senate left vacant by his brother’s election. In 1969, he was voted majority whip, becoming the youngest ever. In the same year, Kennedy drunkenly drove his car off of a bridge at Chappaquidick, killing his 28-year-old companion, Mary Jo Kopechne. The fallout from this event prompted his withdrawal as a presidential candidate in 1969. Kennedy’s senatorial achievements include the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, and the Children's Health Act of 1997.
    In 1950, Julius Erving, Basketball Hall-of-Famer. "Dr. J's" acrobatic talent made him one of the most exciting players in the history of professional basketball. Born in Hempstead, NY, Dr. J’s athletic ability won him a scholarship to the University of Massachusetts, where he first caught the public’s eye, averaging more than 20 points and 20 rebounds per game, something only seven players have done to date. Joining the ABA in 1971, he played for the Virginia Squires and was traded to the Nets after two years, twice leading them to the championships. He led the league in scoring 3 times and was voted the ABA’s MVP three times. After the merge of the ABA and the NBA, Erving was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers where he went to the finals four times, winning the NBA Championship in 1983. His NBA honors include being voted to the 35th Anniversary All-Time Team, and being named MVP. Erving retired in 1987, becoming the third player to have scored over 30,000 points in his career.
    In 1975, Drew Barrymore, actress, whose captivating performances and notorious antics have made her the toast of Tinsel Town. Born in LA into a renowned acting family, Drew’s career began at the tender age of 11 months, acting in a dog food commercial. Her career came on fast and furious, as she made her silver screen debut in Altered States at age four. At seven, she played her most famous role as the endearing Gertie in E.T.: The Extraterrestrial, directed by Steven Spielberg. Accompanying her mother to nightclubs, Barrymore developed a taste for alcohol and drugs, leading to an adolescence marked by addiction and rehab. She bravely chronicled her ordeal in the candid book, Little Girl Lost, at age 16. Making a graceful return to Hollywood’s A-List with her brief on-screen appearance in Scream (1996), Drew went on to form her own production company, Flower Films. She has since co-produced the tender tale Never Been Kissed and the box office smash Charlie's Angels. Her newest comedy 50 First Dates (2004), co-starring Adam Sandler, recently debuted at number one.

 On this day...
    In 1630, popcorn first introduced to colonists at Thanksgiving dinner by Indian Quadequina.
    In 1784, a U.S. merchant ship, the Empress of China, left New York for the Far East to trade goods with China.
    In 1819, the United States acquired Florida from Spain under an accord signed by Secretary of State John Quincy Adams and Spanish minister Don Luis de Onis. (Florida [and the rest of the North American continent] had been Spanish territory until the acquisition.)
    In 1860, organized baseball’s first game was played in San Francisco, California.
    In 1864, [Civil War]Battle of West Point, Mississippi
    Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest routs a Union force three times the size of his army at the Battle of West Point, Mississippi, helpingto end Union General William T. Sherman’s expedition into Alabama.
    Sherman was marching an army east across Mississippi from Vicksburg to Meridian. He had captured and destroyed a vital Confederate supply center at Meridian and was planning to move further east to Selma, Alabama, another Rebel supply base. Sherman was relying on cavalry support from General William Sooy Smith, who was coming southeast from Memphis, Tennessee. Sherman directed Smith to meet him at Meridian on February 10, but Sherman did not occupy Meridian until February 14. Meanwhile, Smith dallied in Tennessee waiting for the arrival of Colonel George Waring Jr.’s cavalry brigade from Kentucky, and did not leave for Mississippi until February 11.
    On February 20, some of Smith’s men skirmished with Confederates near West Point, just over 100 miles north of Meridian. The Yankee troops slowly drove the Confederates back through West Point. The next day, more skirmishing flared as the troops continued south. The Confederates were led by Jeffrey Forrest, Nathan’s younger brother. The elder Forrest waited south of West Point with the intent of drawing Smith’s force into a swampy area between two rivers. Smith caught on to the plan just before it was too late and began a retreat back through West Point. On February 22, the Yankees made a stand north of West Point and fought off a Confederate attack during which Jeffrey Forrest was killed. With the older Forrest blocking his way to Meridian, Smith retreated back to Memphis.
    The Confederates suffered 144 men killed, wounded, or missing, while the Union lost 324. The engagement was significant because Sherman was forced to return to Vicksburg. The battle also lifted Confederate morale and enhanced the reputation of Nathan Bedford Forrest, who had taken on a much larger Union force and won.     In 1865, Tennessee adopted a new constitution that abolished slavery.

    In 1879, Frank Winfield Woolworth opened his first "Five Cent Store" store in Utica, New York. However, it failed and was moved to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where it succeeded.
    In 1886, The Times of London became the first British newspaper to institute a personal column on its classified page.
    In 1900, Hawaii becomes a United States territory.
    In 1902, a report published by Walter Reed and Dr. James Carroll declared Yellow fever is spread by mosquitos.
    In 1912, Jules Vedrines pushes the recognized absolute speed record past the 100 mph barrier, as he hits 100.22 mph in a Deperdussin racer at Pau, France.
    In 1913, Francisco Madero, revolutionary president of Mexico, was assassinated by the military, along with Vice-President Pino Suarez.
    In 1920, mechanical rabbit first introduced on the Emerville, California dog track.
    In 1921, American transcontinental airmail service begins. The route between San Francisco, California, and Mineola, New York, is flown in 14 segments.
    In 1924, Calvin Coolidge delivered the first presidential radio broadcast from the White House.
    In 1935, because they are disturbing President Roosevelt's sleep, all air flights over the White House are permanently rerouted.
World At War
    World War II, which had begun in Europe on September 1, 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany, ended six years later to the day, September 1, 1945. The final concluding ceremony came the following day, September 2, 1945, with the signing of surrender papers by representatives of Japan, Nazi Germany's Axis partner in the Far East.

Nine Notable Veterans of World War II

THE GREAT BATTLES OF WORLD WAR II
* * * * * * * * * * * * * IWO JIMA: U.S. ATTACKS JAPANESE HOMELAND * * * * * * * * * * * * * IWO JIMA: U.S. ATTACKS JAPANESE HOMELAND * * * * * * * * * * * * * IWO JIMA: U.S. ATTACKS JAPANESE HOMELAND
    In 1942, Headline: President Roosevelt to MacArthur: Get out of the Philippines
    President Franklin D. Roosevelt orders Gen. Douglas MacArthur out of the Philippines, as the American defense of the islands collapses.
    The Philippines had been part of the American commonwealth since it was ceded by Spain at the close of the Spanish-American War. When the Japanese invaded China in 1937 and signed the Tripartite Pact with fascist nations Germany and Italy in 1940, the United States responded by, among other things, strengthening the defense of the Philippines. General MacArthur was called out of retirement to command 10,000 American Army troops, 12,000 Filipino enlisted men who fought as part of the U.S. Army, and 100,000 Filipino army soldiers, who were poorly trained and ill prepared. MacArthur radically overestimated his troops’ strength and underestimated Japan’s determination. The Rainbow War Plan, a defensive strategy for U.S. interests in the Pacific that was drawn up in the late 1930s and later refined by the War Department, required that MacArthur withdraw his troops into the mountains of the Bataan Peninsula and await better-trained and -equipped American reinforcements. Instead, MacArthur decided to take the Japanese head on–and he never recovered.
    On the day of the Pearl Harbor bombing, the Japanese destroyed almost half of the American aircraft based in the Philippines. Amphibious landings of Japanese troops along the Luzon coast followed. By late December, MacArthur had to pull his forces back defensively to the Bataan Peninsula–the original strategy belatedly pursued. By January 2, 1942, the Philippine capital of Manila fell to the Japanese. President Roosevelt had to admit to himself (if not to the American people, who believed the Americans were winning the battle with the Japanese in the Philippines), that the prospects for the American forces were not good–and that he could not afford to have General MacArthur fall captive to the Japanese. A message arrived at Corregidor on February 20, ordering MacArthur to leave immediately for Mindanao, then on to Melbourne, Australia, where “You will assume command of all United States troops.” MacArthur at first balked; he was fully prepared to fight alongside his men to the death if necessary. MacArthur finally obeyed the president’s order in March.
    The first American air headquarters in Europe in World War II, the US Army Bomber Command, is established in England, with Brig. Gen. Ira C. Eaker, commanding.
    In 1943, U.S.S.R.: Outnumbered seven to one, German General Manstein launches counter-attack in Caucasus.
    The USO, formed in 1942, sponsored tours by celebrities to entertain troops on leave. While most USO performances took place stateside in the three thousand clubs across the country, including the famous Stage Door Canteen in New York, others were staged near the battle grounds of Europe and the Pacific. Performing in one of the traveling USO shows was not a particularly safe endeavor. Over the course of the war, thirty-seven USO performers were killed from air crashes, vehicle accidents, and drownings.

    In 1944, Stockholm bombed by the USSR. Four days later the Soviets bomb Helsinki, Findland.
    Washington: FDR vetoes new tax bill, calling it relief for the greedy.
02/22/2018 1244
    In 1956, No. 1 Billboard Pop Hit: "Lisbon Antigua," Nelson Riddle.
    In 1959, the inaugural Daytona 500 race was held, Johnny Beauchamp initially was declared the winner, but the victory later was awarded to Lee Petty.
    In 1967, U.S. and South Vietnamese forces launched Operation Junction City, the biggest combined operation of the Vietnam War, attacking communist forces in Tayninh Province north of Saigon.
    In 1969, Barbara Jo Rubin became the first woman to win a U.S. thoroughbred horse race.
    In 1973, the U.S. and Communist China agreed to establish liaison offices.
     Israeli fighter planes shot down an unarmed Libyan commercial airliner, killing 106 of the 113 people aboard.
    In 1976, Florence Ballard of the Supremes dies of cardiac arrest. Age 32. Ballard was cut from the group in 1967 following such No. 1 hits as "Baby Love," "Stop! In the Name of Love" and "You Can't Hurry Love."
    In 1978, an Atlas booster carries first Air Force Navstar Global Positioning System satellite into orbit.
    In 1980, the U.S. hockey team stuns the Soviet team at the XIII Olympic Games in Lake Placid, N.Y., scoring a pair of goals in the third period to deliver a 4-3 defeat to the defending champions in one of the most dramatic upsets in sports history. The victory, achieved by an unlikely group of underdogs consisting of collegians and no-name professionals led by NCAA coach Herb Brooks, would go down in history as the "Miracle on Ice."     Israel introduced a new currency, the shekel, replacing the pound.
    In 1984, Census Bureau statistics showed that the State of Alaska was the fastest growing state of the decade, with an increase in population of 19.2 percent.
     A 12-year-old Houston boy known publicly only as "David," who'd spent most his life in a plastic bubble because he had no immunity to disease, died 15 days after being removed from the bubble for a bone-marrow transplant.
    In 1987, pop artist Andy Warhol died at a New York City hospital at age 58.
     The United States, Japan, West Germany, Britain, France and Canada agreed to cooperate to stem the decline of dollar.
    In 1989, Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini, who had sentenced author Salman Rushdie to death, said economic sanctions would not change his stance, and that publication of Rushdie's "The Satanic Verses" was a sign from God that Iran should not reach out to the West.
    In 1990, former President Reagan's videotaped testimony for the trial of former national security adviser John Poindexter was released in Washington; in his deposition, Reagan said he never had "any inkling" his aides were secretly arming the Nicaraguan Contras.
    In 1991, the United States gave Iraq 24 hours to quit Kuwait or face an all-out ground war.
    In 1993, after much speculation, CBS announces that David Letterman will remain in New York. (Many had speculated that Letterman might move to L.A.). Letterman's new CBS show will broadcast from the old Ed Sullivan Theater.
     The U.N. Security Council voted to form an international war crimes tribunal to try those accused of such offenses during the ethnic fighting in the former Yugoslavia.
    In 1994, The Justice Department charged 31-year CIA veteran Aldrich Ames and his wife, Rosario, with selling national security secrets to the Soviet Union. (Ames was later sentenced to life in prison; his wife received a 5-year term.)
    In 1995, France accused four American diplomats and a fifth U.S. citizen of spying, and asked them to leave the country.
     Security forces in Algiers crushed a prison uprising by Islamic extremists, resulting in 96 deaths by official count.
     Steve Fossett lands in Saskatchewan, Canada, after flying across the Pacific Ocean in a balloon. The four-day trip that began in South Korea sets a new distance ballooning record.
     At a news conference, British Prime Minister John Major and his Irish counterpart, John Bruton, unveiled a plan they hoped would bring peace to Northern Ireland.
    In 1997, Scottish scientist, Ian Wilmut and colleagues, announced that an adult sheep was successfully cloned. Dolly, the first to be born, was born in July 1996.
    In 1998, Abraham A. Ribicoff, the former Connecticut governor and senator who served as President Kennedy's secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, died in Riverdale, N.Y., at age 87.
     The Czech Republic defeated Russia 1-0 to win men's hockey as the Nagano Winter Olympics came to a close.
     Turkey's Islam-based Welfare Party ceased to exist after losing a bitter fight with the secular establishment over the role of Islam.
     Iraq averted U.S. military intervention when it agreed to allow U.N. weapons inspectors to resume their work.
    In 1999, Levi Strauss, falling victim to a fashion generation gap, announced it was closing 11 plants.
    In 2000, Anna E. Myers, a personal friend of the Ol'Kunnel's, died. "Ann" was 84. Ann survived her husband, Walter F. Myers. She was the beloved mother of Jean Fleming and Walter "Bud" Myers, Jr., sister of Dora Fritz and Clara Hamby, friend of Herman Bull. Also survived by five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Here Ann is pictured in 1978 as the Ol'Kunnel will always remember her with her graceful demeanor and enduring smile. R.I.P.

     A car bomb in the Basque capital Vitoria killed Socialist Party member Fernando Buesa.
    In 2002, the General Accounting Office, investigative arm of Congress, sued Vice President Dick Cheney in an effort to find out who met with him and his task force while they were developing a proposed national energy policy.
    In 2003, Mexican teenager Jesica Santillan died after undergoing two heart-lung transplants, first of which was botched.
    In 2004, a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up on a crowded Jerusalem bus, killing seven passengers.
     Rebels attacked a refugee camp in northern Uganda, killing at least 192 people.
     Consumer activist Ralph Nader announced he would run as an independent candidate for the U.S. presidency. Many Democrats said his earlier candidacy cost Al Gore the 2000 presidential election. [Yeah, too bad. ;-)]
    In 2005, a powerful earthquake toppled mud-built homes and flattened villages in central Iran, killing at least 270 people and injuring 950. A senior official said the death toll could top 550.
    In 2009,
South Korea calls for nuke-free peninsula
SEOUL, Feb. 22 (UPI) --
The only way to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula is to first keep it free of nuclear weapons, a South Korean negotiator says.
Huh Chul, a director general at Seoul's Foreign Ministry, said Sunday he got no disagreements from North Korea when he made that statement during last week's mini-six-party meeting in Moscow to discuss efforts to persuade the North to give up its nuclear program, the South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.
Neither Pyongyang, Russia nor China voiced any objections to Huh's call for nuclear-free Korean peninsula as a pre-condition for peace, he said.
"The North also refrained from making overt criticism of Seoul's current North Korean policies, which could have made the talks difficult," said Huh, who heads the foreign ministry's Korea Peninsula Peace regime office, Yonhap reported.
Huh told the news agency he was cautiously optimistic that if any progress is made at committee-level discussions, it may provide new momentum to the stalled main six-party forum, which have been inactive since late last year when North Korea's objected to a U.S.-proposed verification regime on its past nuclear activities.
© UPI, Headline News Powered by Bravenet.com
11:55 2/22/2009
    In 2011, a 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck the New Zealand city of Christchurch, killing at least 65 people and trapping many more beneath the rubble.

  • 65 -- confirmed dead, although this figure is expected to rise
  • 30 million tons -- amount of ice that fell from New Zealand's largest glacier, located 120 miles from Christchurch, as a result of the quake
  • 350,000 -- approximate population of Christchurch
  • 250 -- search and rescue specialists expected to be on the ground today
  • Over 100 -- number of people thought to be trapped under destroyed buildings
  • 80 percent -- portion of the city's residents without power
  • 6.3 -- magnitude of the earthquake
  • 3 miles -- distance from the city where quake was centered, significantly closer than September's disaster, which was 25 miles from the city
  • 2.5 miles -- depth at which the quake originated


-- Info from a contribution of Steven Hoffer
20110223 1104
    In 2014, one of the world’s most-wanted criminals, Joaquin “El Chapo” (“Shorty”) Guzman Loera, head of the Sinaloa cartel, the world’s biggest drug trafficking organization, is arrested in a joint U.S.-Mexican operation in Mazatlán, Mexico, after outrunning law enforcement for more than a decade. Guzman had been the target of an international hunt since 2001, when he escaped from a Mexican prison where he was serving a 20-year sentence. During his years on the lam, Guzman’s elusiveness was celebrated in “narcocorridos,” Mexican ballads glorifying the drug trade, while in such places as Chicago, where his cartel supplied the majority of the narcotics sold in the city, he was declared Public Enemy No. 1.



 Thought for the day...

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