Monday, February 18, 2013
Today, we are celebrating Presidents’ Day, a holiday that actually has its roots way back in 1879, when Congress first set aside a holiday honoring George Washington.
The first attempt to create a “President’s Day” occurred in 1951, when the “President’s Day National Committee” was formed. Its purpose was NOT to honor any particular individual, but the office of the Presidency.
In 1968, Congress attempted to pass legislation (the Uniform Monday Holiday Act) that would have honored both George Washington AND Abraham Lincoln (whose birthday had never been a national holiday). This new “Presidents’ Day” never became law, and the day remained “Washington’s Birthday”. Officially, that’s still what it is today.
By the mid 1980’s, the term Presidents’ Day began to make its appearance, due to a push from advertisers. At least a few states have changed the name of the holiday from “Washington’s birthday” to “Presidents’ Day”, but they are definitely in the minority.
The original “Washington’s birthday” holiday was celebrated on February 22, which was the actual date of Washington’s birth. The date of the holiday shifted to the third Monday in February in 1971, which places it between Lincoln’s birthday (February 12) and Washington’s birthday.
Paper money has actually been used in America since 1690, when the Massachusetts Bay Colony issued the first paper money. It wasn’t until 1861 that the United States itself first issued paper money, which were called Demand Notes (nicknamed “greenbacks”). They continued to be printed until 1971.
The very first dollar bill was issued in 1862 - but it didn’t have George Washington’s picture on it. It actually contained a portrait of Samuel P. Chase, who was the Secretary of the Treasury, and it looked like this:
In 1869, it was redesigned, and George Washington’s portrait replaced Samuel Chase on the front side of the bill. THAT bill looked like this:
During my working career, I earned in excess of $1,250,000, according to my official Social Security Statement. If you pulled out YOUR statements, you’d probably be surprised at how much YOU have earned so far in your life., which brings up an interesting question:
Where did all that money go?
Following my dad’s example, I’ve always kept a monthly budget, so I have at least a rough idea of how my monthly income gets spent. Wouldn’t it be fun, though, it you could actually see all the places your hard earned dollars have traveled to?
Believe it or not, you can.
There’s a website called “wheres George.com” that will allow you to track where your dollars actually travel to. Naturally, you’ll need to set up a user name and a password to get in, but after that, it’s an easy process.
You can either mark your own bills (write wheresGeorge.com along one of the edges), and send them on their way, or you can track bills that someone else has already marked.
Either way, though, you’ll finally have an opportunity to use the following phrase:
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
If somebody asked you to name five “tough as nails” action heroes, you’d probably include Sylvester Stallone as one of them. To date, he’s completed 60 movies, and he plays a “tough guy” role in the vast majority of them.
He appeared in 4 Rambo movies, and 6 Rocky films, but you’re probably familiar with a number of his other roles as well. His very first film was a soft core porn film called “The Party at Kitty and Stud’s” , which he agreed to do when he was virtually penniless.
The most memorable line in the second Rambo movie was this one:
what is it you want?
In view of all the “macho” roles that he’s played, you’d probably assume that he had some military service along the way, wouldn’t you?
If you did, you’d be wrong.
When he was 19, he moved to Switzerland, and served as the girl’s athletic coach at the American College of Switzerland in Leysin, where he was employed for two years. He later moved to Florida, and attended the University of Miami in the late 1960’s, which gave him a student deferment. After he dropped out of school, he took an army physical.
His tough guy appearance is actually the result of an accident that occurred at the time of his birth. Due to complications his mother suffered during his delivery, her obstetrician was forced to use forceps to bring him into the world. The forceps severed a nerve, and caused paralysis in the lower left side of his face. That, in turn, led to his snarling look and slurred speech.
Immediately prior to his first film role (the porn film) he had been evicted from his apartment in New York City for failure to pay rent, and would up sleeping in the New York City Port Authority bus station for three weeks.
Today, he’s got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and he’s worth $275 million, so I think he’s done just fine.
Although the majority of his movies did not receive critical acclaim, “Rocky” apparently stuck a nerve with the film industry. It was nominated for ten Academy Awards, including Best Actor and best Original Screenplay, and went on to win Best Picture, Best Directing, and Best Film Editing.
Stallone is not noted for being involved in any charitable causes, but here’s his take on philanthropy:
“Rambo isn't violent. I see Rambo as a philanthropist”
Is he a hero? Technically not, but try watching the video below, and tell me that you don’t feel inspired.
Saturday, February 2, 2013
One of the children who was killed at the Sandy Hook Elementary School was a 6 year old boy named Jesse Lewis, the son of Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin. Jesse was one of the children who was hidden in a closet by his teacher, Victoria Soto. However, he and five other children ran from the closet in order to distract attention from the other students, thus saving their lives. Jesse and the other 5, as well as his teacher and a teachers aide, were all killed by Adam Lanza.
Ironically, on the date of the shooting (December 14) it took Adam Lanza LESS THAN 17 minutes and 20 seconds to wreak his carnage. At 9:35 a.m., he shot his way through a locked glass door at the front of the school, using his mother's Bushmaster XM15-E2s rifle (one of the guns that Dianne Feinstein's bill would ban). He finally shopped shooting between 9:46 and 9:49 a.m., after having fired off between 50 and 100 rounds from a 30 round magazine (which Senator Feinstein's bill would also ban). One Victim, six year old Noah Pozner, was shot 11 times. His mother owned 12 firearms, all purchased legally. She was the first victim , with 4 gunshots to the head.
On January 28, Neil Heslin (holding a picture of himself with his son Jesse) testified at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, and pleaded for stronger gun control measures. Whenever you can spare the time, set aside 17 minutes and 20 seconds, and watch the video below in its entirely:
Neil Heslin testimony
Here’s the sad part:
Towards the end of his presentation to the Connecticut legislature, he was HECKLED by a few “gun rights activists”. You and I both know that there is a special place in Hell for people like that, and it would be easy to hurl a stream of expletives at the simple minded folks who had absolutely no compassion for the father of a young child who was needlessly slain, but I’ll leave you with a simple thought:
A father’s right to have his child attend school in safety trumps ANYBODY’S 2nd amendment rights. In spite of what Wayne LaPierre thinks, having an armed gunman in every school in America is NOT the right answer to the question of “how can we protect our children?”
And, it gets worse.
Six of the children from Sandy Hook Elementary School fled next door to the home of a man named Gene Rosen, who provided some comfort to the terrified children. Incredibly, the conspiracy theorists have accused Mr. Rosen of making up the whole story in order to promote gun control measures. Obviously, there’s a special place in Hell for those folks as well.
There WAS a time when the National Rifle Association was an organization that deserved respect. For most of its existence, its focus was on gun safety and training. Even today, the organization sponsors NINE separate programs that fall under the category of “education and training.
In 1999 (8 years after Wayne LaPierre was elected Executive Vice President), the NRA supported mandatory criminal background checks, and even wanted to expand them to gun shows, saying “no loopholes anywhere for anyone”. Their 1999 position came 4 years AFTER Wayne LaPierre wrote a fundraising letter describing federal agents as "jack-booted government thugs", which caused George H.W. Bush to resign from his lifetime NRA membership.
The NRA started to go “off the rails” in 1975, when they established the Institute for Legislative Action. Five years later, they went even further, when they endorsed Ronald Reagan for President. This endorsement was the first time in the organization’s history that they had actively endorsed a political candidate.
Ironically, the Institute for Legislative Action was established just a few short years after the Nixon administration had put together what became known as "Nixon's Enemies List". To quote John Dean, the purpose of the list was to "use available federal machinery to screw our political enemies." Most people aren't aware of the fact the the NRA Institute for Legislative Action ALSO has an enemies list, and it's a very extensive list.
The list was published in December. However, when the glare of publicity recently brought the list to the attention of the public, the NRA quickly yanked it from its website. The link below, though, will allow to you view at least a partial list:
the short list
The REASON that the NRA veered in the wrong direction is a simple one.
In 2012, the gun industry in America racked up sales of $11.7 billion in sales, and $993 million in profits. $11.7 billion seems like a lot of money, until you consider this fact:
44% of the world’s arms trade is supplied by the United States. If you translate that into dollars, it’s $220 billion a year. If you’re wondering why all those Tea Party Republicans (as well as the NRA) are dead set against the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty, it’s because it would very likely reduce the income of their benefactors, the gun manufacturers.
The link below will explain WHY the gun industry became so lucrative:
show me the money.
In addition to the items mentioned above, the gun manufacturers have achieved further legal protection with the passage of the Lawful Commerce in Arms Act of 2005, which gave them immunity from lawsuits. The gun industry is the only consumer-oriented industry that has this protection.
New York City had filed a lawsuit against gun manufacturers way back in the year 2000, contending that gun makers and their distributors had knowingly flooded illicit, underground markets with their weapons, but a federal appeals court threw out their lawsuit in April of 2008.
The gun manufacturers (who are part of NRA’s Ring of Freedom) have been a good friend to the NRA. It is estimated that the gun manufacturers contribute close to $40,000,000 to the coffers of the NRA each year. In turn, the NRA has spent a LOT of money promoting gun sales for the gun manufacturers. In 2010, the most recent year available, the NRA spent over $276,000,000 on its operations. In contrast, the LARGEST “gun control” group, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, spent a little over $3,000,000.
The NRA (and the gun manufacturers) have also had a lot of help from Congress. In 2006, Wisconsin Congressman James Sensenbrenner (winner of the 2006 NRA “Defender of Freedome” Award, introduced legislation that required (for the first time) that the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, needed confirmation by the Senate. As a result, the NRA has blocked the nomination of EVERY SINGLE NOMINEE for the position since 2006. There have been five ACTING directors since that time. The current acting director, B. Todd Jones, has been nominated by President Obama to be the permanent director. Predictably, he has detractors as well as supporters.
If you’re a fan of “The Daily Show”, you’ll appreciate the show that Jon Stewart did about this topic on January 16. The first segment (6:08)explains how the NRA has blocked has blocked all the permanent directors since 2006:
Jon Stewart, part one.
The second segment of this show (5:43) explains how the NRA actual WROTE THE LEGISLATURE that prevents the ATF from doing its job:
Jon Stewart, part two.
One of the proposals that have been made to reduce gun violence is universal background checks, not only by registered dealers, but also at gun shows and between individuals. A recent survey by Johns Hopkins University found that 89 % of all Americans, and 74% of the NRA members, support universal background checks.
Now that Wayne LaPierre is of the opinion that gun rights are a God given right, he’s no longer in favor of universal background checks.
He also seems to be of the opinion that just about anyone who wants a gun should have one. If you think THAT’S a good idea, the video below may change your mind:
Second Amendment Rights Gone Wrong.
Oddly enough, a universal background check was NOT on of the 23 points of Planned Executive Actions that President Obama plans to take. However, the President HAS spoken publicly in favor of a ban an automatic weapons and magazines with a capacity more than 10 rounds, and he also wants to see universal background checks.
If you review all of these points, I think you’ll agree that they are all very reasonable actions. If you listen to Kentucky Senator Ron Paul, though, you’d be absolutely certain that the Democrats are going to take away everyone’s guns:
My jaw hit the floor.
After reading Senator Dianne Feinstein's new so-called "Assault Weapons" Ban, I can only describe this radical scheme as the effective END of the Second Amendment in America.
The gun-grabbers are going for broke, doing everything they can to "cash in" on the recent tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut.
They're targeting EVERYTHING -- rifles, shotguns and even handguns -- and every gun owner and gun purchase is to be catalogued and tracked by the federal government.
That's why it's absolutely critical you act IMMEDIATELY.
As you'll see, I've enclosed a special Emergency Second Amendment Protection Directive INSISTING your Representative and Senators vote against this radical scheme.
Won't you please sign it TODAY? There's no time to waste.
President Obama's Administration is announcing it will "push forward quickly" on gun control -- and Vice President Joe Biden is promising it will be a "done deal" in a matter of weeks!
If passed, Feinstein's Gun Ban would:
*** Ban the sale, transfer, importation, and manufacturing of 120 specifically named rifles, shotguns and handguns!
*** Ban the sale, transfer, importation and manufacturing of ALL firearms with a detachable magazine and at least one "military characteristic" -- which could mean just about anything that makes a gun "look scary;"
*** Ban the sale, transfer, importation, and manufacturing of magazines holding more than 10 rounds;
*** Force owners of ALL "grandfathered" weapons to undergo an intrusive background check and fingerprinting -- treating law-abiding citizens like criminals;
*** Force owners of ALL "grandfathered" weapons to federally register their guns after obtaining a permission slip from local law enforcement showing their guns are not in violation of state or local law.
That's right. If you own a $10 magazine that's more than 10 rounds, you'll have to register it with the BATFE in their National Firearms Registry.
The ban on "transfers" means you and I can forget about ever handing down one of these guns to our kids and grandkids.
Worse, it could mean widows become instant felons if their husbands owned one of these banned magazines or firearms!
And make no mistake, the gun-grabbers' TRUE motives behind gun registration is always the same -- outright gun CONFISCATION, and to do that they must first register every gun and gun owner.
Then Senator Feinstein will be able to achieve her publicly stated goal:
"Mr. and Mrs. America, turn 'em all in."
I can hardly even think about what a DISASTER for our country it would be should President Obama, Senator Feinstein and their anti-gun pals succeed in ramming this monstrosity down our throats.
This is exactly the WRONG move for our country -- for our liberties and for our safety.
Now I know THAT'S something you're not hearing from the anti-gun propagandists in the national media.
But the truth is, increasing gun sales in America in recent years has led to lower crime rates.
The same is true all over the world.
Studies show countries with low rates of civilian firearms ownership are the most violent. Countries with high rates of civilian firearms ownership are the safest.
(editors note: the chart below proves that the EXACT OPPOSITE is true)
the facts about guns
Just look to nearby Mexico if you want to see an example of the gun-grabbers' idea of utopia. Effectively ruled by violent drug gangs in many areas, Mexico is a cesspool of rape, violence and murder.
If you and I want to keep the Second Amendment freedoms we're so blessed to enjoy as American citizens, it's absolutely CRITICAL you and I act IMMEDIATELY.
That's why I've agreed to help the National Association for Gun Rights fight back to stop this Gun Ban and help lead the fight AGAINST the gun-grabbers.
They're tough. They're principled. And they know how to win.
They know the ONLY way you and I win this fight is if my colleagues here in Congress understand that voting for gun control will mean the END of their political careers . . .
And they're busy mobilizing pro-gun Americans all over the country to make sure Congress gets that message loud and clear.
Won't you please sign it TODAY?
But with President Obama, Sarah Brady and all the gun-grabbers doubling down, there's not much time.
To defeat this radical scheme, the National Association for Gun Rights is going to have to pull out all the stops to alert and mobilize Second Amendment supporters all over the country.
Direct mail. Phones. Email. Blogs. Guest editorials. Press conferences. Hard-hitting internet, newspaper, radio and even TV ads if funding permits. The whole nine yards.
Of course, a program of this scale is only possible if the National Association for Gun Rights can raise the money.
But that's not easy, and we may not have much time.
In fact, if gun owners are going to defeat Feinstein's Gun Ban, pro-gun Americans like you and me have to get involved NOW!
So please put yourself on record AGAINST the Feinstein's Gun Ban by signing NAGR's Emergency Second Amendment Protection Directive.
But along with your signed Directive, please agree to make a generous contribution of $250, $100, $50 or even just $35.
And every dollar counts in this fight so even if you can only chip in $10 or $20, it will make a difference.
Thank you in advance for your time and money devoted to defending our Second Amendment rights.
Rand Paul United States Senator
P.S. The gun-grabbers are going for broke.
There are roughly 300 million firearms currently registerd in America, which means it will be difficult to come to a consensus about gun control any time soon.
The NRA, of course, is not in favor of more controls on guns:
However, you might be interested to know that public approval of the NRA has plunged since the shooting in Newtown:
If you’d like the truth about the NRA, the Facebook page below will be useful to you:
I’m of the opinion that all 23 of Obama’s 23 points should be implemented. I’m also of the opinion that there is no need in our society for assault weapons and high capacity magazines, except on battle fields. For that reason, I’ve written to both Arizona senators and our Representative, Ann Kirkpatrick, and urged them to give full support to Dianne Feinstein’s latest bill.
(Incidentally, if you think that President Obama hates guns, the picture below should clarify his position:)
If you agree with me, I would urge you to do the same.
In the meantime, keep the powder dry.