Friday, July 17, 2009


Pearl Harbor

On Sunday, December 7th, 1941 the Japanese launched a surprise attack against the U.S. Forces stationed at Pearl Harbor , Hawaii By planning his attack on a Sunday, the Japanese commander Admiral Nagumo, hoped to catch the entire fleet in port. As luck would have it, the Aircraft Carriers and one of the Battleships were not in port. (The USS Enterprise was returning from Wake Island , where it had just delivered some aircraft. The USS Lexington was ferrying aircraft to Midway, and the USS Saratoga and USS Colorado were undergoing repairs in the United States .)

In spite of the latest intelligence reports about the missing aircraft carriers (his most important targets), Admiral Nagumo decided to continue the attack with his force of six carriers and 423 aircraft. At a range of 230 miles north of Oahu , he launched the first wave of a two-wave attack. Beginning at 0600 hours his first wave consisted of 183 fighters and torpedo bombers which struck at the fleet in Pearl Harbor and the airfields in Hickam, Kaneohe and Ewa. The second strike, launched at 0715 hours, consisted of 167 aircraft, which again struck at the same targets.

At 075 3 hours the first wave consisting of 40 Nakajima B5N2 'Kate' torpedo bombers, 51 Aichi D3A1 'Val' dive bombers, 50 high altitude bombers and 43 Zeros struck airfields and Pearl Harbor Within the next hour, the second wave arrived and continued the attack.
When it was over, the U.S. Losses were:

US Army: 218 KIA, 364 WIA.
US Navy: 2,008 KIA, 710 WIA.
US MarineCorp: 109 KIA, 69 WIA.
Civilians: 68 KIA, 35 WIA.

TOTAL: 2,403 KIA, 1,178 WIA.

USS Arizona (BB-39) - total loss when a bomb hit her magazine.
USS Oklahoma (BB-37) - Total loss when she capsized and sunk in the harbor.
USS California (BB-4 4) - Sunk at her berth. Later raised and repaired.
USS West Virginia (BB-48) - Sunk at her berth. Later raised and repaired.
USS Nevada - (BB-36) Beached to prevent sinking. Later repaired.
USS Pennsylvania (BB-38) - Light damage.
USS Maryland (BB-46) - Light damage.
USS Tennessee (BB-43) Light damage.
USS Utah (AG-16) - (former battleship used as a target) - Sunk.
USS New Orleans (CA-32) - Light Damage..
USS San Francisco (CA-38) - Light Damage.
USS Detroit (CL-8) - Light Damage.
USS Raleigh (CL-7) - Heavily damaged but repaired.
USS Helena (CL-50) - Light Damage.
USS Honolulu (CL-48) - Light Damage..
-------------------------- -- ---------------------------- ---------------------------------------------------------------
USS Downes (DD-375) - Destroyed. Parts salvaged.
USS Cassin - (DD -3 7 2) Destroyed. Parts salvaged.
USS Shaw (DD-373) - Very heavy damage.
USS Helm (DD-388) - Light Damage.
USS Ogala (CM-4) - Sunk but later raised and repaired.
Seaplane Tender
USS Curtiss (AV-4) - Severely damaged but later repaired.
Repair Ship
USS Vestal (AR-4) - Severely damaged but later repaired.
Harbor Tug
USS Sotoyomo (YT-9) - Sunk but later raised and repaired.
188 Aircraft destroyed (92 USN and 92 U.S. Army Air Corps.)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Jazz musicians who died young

Bunny Berigan
Died of: a liver hemorrhage in 1942 at the age of 33

Bunny Berigan of Hilbert, Wisconsin, was an influential swing trumpeter, and played with Hal Kemp, Paul Whiteman, Benny Goodman, and Tommy Dorsey. His version of “I Can’t Get Started” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1975, and his tone is a blend of Louis Armstrong and cool swing. His severe alcoholism led to pneumonia and cirrhosis of the liver, yet he refused doctor’s orders to rest and quit drinking. He suffered a massive liver hemorrhage and died two days later in a hospital in New York City.

Chick Webb

Died of: spinal tuberculosis in 1939 at the age of 34

Chick Webb of Baltimore, Maryland, was an innovative bandleader at the inception of hot swing in the late 30’s. His band was the house band at the famous Savoy Ballroom in Harlem, and he always managed to “beat” other swing bands in head-to-head battles at the Savoy. He discovered vocalist Ella Fitzgerald, and was a major influence of drummer Buddy Rich. He suffered from spinal tuberculosis since childhood, and complications eventually wore him down in 1939.

Fats Navarro
Died of: tuberculosis in 1950 at the age of 26

Theodore “Fats” Navarro of Key West, Florida, was one of the early pioneers of bebop, and the main trumpet influence of Clifford Brown. He played with a few big bands, such as Benny Goodman and Lionel Hampton, but he made his true fame from his brilliant small combo work with Charles Mingus, Coleman Hawkins, and Charlie Parker. He was the main rival of Dizzy Gillespie on bebop trumpet, and they both played with the distinctive puffed-out cheeks. He was a heroin addict with tuberculosis, and he died from complications of both in a New York City hospital.

Charlie Christian
Died of: tuberculosis in 1942 at the age of 25

Charlie Christian of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, was highly influential in transferring the electric guitar from the staccato rhythm swing style of Freddie Green to the more modern bebop and cool jazz styles. He was the guitarist who paved the way for the guitar to be thought of as a solo instrument in addition to a rhythm instrument, and he basically played the guitar as if it were a saxophone. Although not a drug addict, Christian’s hectic lifestyle took a severe toll on his body, already weakened by tuberculosis. He died after a long stay in a hospital on Staten Island after it initially appeared that he was getting better.

Clifford Brown
Died of: a car crash in 1956 at the age of 25

Clifford Brown of Wilmington, Delaware, was a major turning point in the direction of jazz trumpet, and would undoubtedly have redefined the entire instrument had he lived. He and drummer Max Roach were trailblazers in the hard bop style of the early 50’s, and almost all modern trumpeters owe much of their playing styles to the players who immediately followed Clifford Brown, such as Donald Byrd, Freddie Hubbard, and Wynton Marsalis. In addition to his playing style, Clifford was an avid practitioner of clean, healthy living, and he helped break the heroin cycle that claimed so many young jazz musicians. Sadly, he was a passenger in a car that skidded out of control on a rainy turnpike in Pennsylvania, killing all occupants. One of the most widely recognized jazz ballads is the hauntingly beautiful “I Remember Clifford,” by Benny Golson.

Jaco Pastorius
Died of: a severe beating in 1987 at the age of 35

Jaco Pastorius of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was arguably the most influential bassist in jazz history. He played a rock-fusion style and made the bass into a premier solo instrument. The success of his first solo album in 1976 led to his union with keyboardist Josef Zawinul and Weather Report. He was severely beaten by Luc Havan, a club bouncer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and left comatose on the streets for several hours. His family disconnected his life support after 10 days in the hospital, and Havan eventually pled guilty to manslaughter.

Bix Beiderbecke
Died of: alcohol withdrawal in 1931 at the age of 28

Bix Beiderbecke of Davenport, Iowa, was able to take his Dixieland roots and infuse them with the classical influences of jazz-loving French composers Debussy and Ravel. He helped make jazz more accessible to curious, yet cautious white audiences. He suffered from terrible alcoholism, and finally succumbed to its effects after years of poor health.

Charlie Parker
Alto Saxophone
Died of: pneumonia in 1955 at the age of 34

Charlie Parker of Kansas City, Missouri, also known as Yardbird Parker, or more simply “The Bird,” was one of the most influential jazz artists to have lived to any age. He pioneered the jazz style known as bebop, and was a major influence and contemporary of Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonius Monk. He helped redefine the process used by musicians to play improvised solos based on chord extensions and their relationships to similar melodies. Parker was hopelessly addicted to heroin and alcohol, and was in such terrible shape upon his death that the coroner incorrectly guessed he was in his 50’s.

A Brief History of Presidential Vacations

By Ethan Trex on Top Story

We’re in the throes of summer vacation season, but at least one American is still on the job. While it’s rumored that President Obama will follow in the footsteps of President Clinton and vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, he hasn’t had a chance to break out his Bermuda shorts just yet. When Obama does take off, though, he’ll join in the grand tradition of presidential vacations, like these notable ones:
1. Abe Lincoln Doesn’t Go Too Far

lincoln-soldiers-homeFar-flung vacations are nice, but President Lincoln preferred to stay a bit closer to home. When Lincoln needed a getaway from the heat and political turmoil of Civil War-era Washington, D.C., he headed to…a different part of Washington, D.C. From 1862 to 1864 Lincoln spent June through November living in a cottage atop a hill at the Soldiers’ Home a few miles from the White House. Lincoln apparently loved the slight change of scenery, which meant slightly cooler temperatures and a chance to ride his horse each morning. If you’re considering a stay-cation this year, consider this Honest Abe’s endorsement.
2. FDR Heats Up Georgia

FDR-warmspringsSome presidents choose to head to their hometowns or a beachside resort for their vacations, but Franklin Roosevelt preferred to travel to western Georgia. Warm Springs, Georgia, is the home of (you guessed it!) warm springs that supposedly had therapeutic value for polio sufferers. FDR, who had contracted his own paralytic illness in 1921, started visiting Warm Springs in 1924 in the hope that exercising in the springs’ warm waters would cure him.

Although the springs didn’t reverse his illness, FDR felt like his time at the resort alleviated his symptoms somewhat. In 1927 he bought the resort he’d been staying at, and in 1932 he ordered a six-room Georgia pine house to be built on the property. This house was FDR’s retreat throughout his presidency and became known as the Little White House.

FDR was sitting for a portrait at the Little White House when he died of a stroke in April 1945. Today, the house is part of Georgia’s state park system and is open to visitors; it’s been preserved to look almost exactly as it did the day FDR died.
3. Movie Cowboy Does Real Ranching

Reagan_and_Gorbachev_in_western_hats_1992Think George W. Bush was the first president to sneak away from the White House to spend time on his ranch? Not quite. At the end of his second term as Governor of California in 1974, Ronald Reagan paid just over half a million dollars to acquire Rancho del Cielo in California’s Santa Ynez Mountains.

The 688-acre ranch, complete with stables and a 1500-square-foot adobe house, was Reagan’s go-to vacation destination while he was in office, and he entertained some big names there, including Margaret Thatcher, Queen Elizabeth II, and Mikhail Gorbachev, who gamely wore a cowboy hat during his visit.
4. LBJ Does Some Ranching, Too

LBJ-ranchGeorge W. Bush drew some criticism for spending so much time clearing brush on his Prairie Chapel Ranch, but by all indications, fellow Texan Lyndon Johnson was even more involved in the everyday operations of his ranch. Johnson, who had gotten into ranching in 1951, grew his LBJ Ranch into a 2700-acre spread populated by 400 head of Hereford cattle.

Johnson was no absentee owner when he was in Washington, either. Johnson frequently headed back on vacations and supposedly drove his foreman crazy by calling every day to talk about the weather on the ranch or how the pastures looked. Today, the National Park Service maintains LBJ’s spread as a working ranch, complete with a herd of cattle descended from the Herefords Johnson bred.
5. Nixon Gets the Right Ice Cubes

nixon-winterWhen Richard Nixon wanted a break from Washington, he headed to a modest ranch home he owned on Key Biscayne off Miami. Nixon’s “Florida White House,” which he visited 50-plus times during his tenure in office, eventually swelled to include three houses and a floating helipad, which the Department of Defense installed at a taxpayer expense of $400,000. (There was plenty of room for taxpayer outrage at the $625,000 total the government spent sprucing up the Florida White House; one itemized expense was $621 for a replacement icemaker because “the President does not like ice with holes in it.”)

Given that this house was Nixon’s retreat, it’s no surprise that some shady dealings transpired on the premises. Nixon allegedly discussed plans for the Watergate break-in at the house, and he holed up there when the coverup came to light. The house fell into disrepair after Nixon sold it, and in 2004 it was razed to make room for a new building.

nixon-westThe Florida White House wasn’t Nixon’s only retreat, though. He bought a mansion overlooking the Pacific Ocean in San Clemente, California shortly after taking office in 1969. Nixon dubbed his new digs “La Casa Pacifica,” but the press quickly started referring to the spread as “the Western White House.” This house wasn’t cheap for taxpayers, either; the government dropped over a million dollars improving this home with temporary office quarters for staffers, helipads, and an upgraded heating system.
6. FDR’s Successor Gets His Own Little White House

white-house-key-westHarry Truman may have been from Missouri, but he headed south when he needed some R&R. Truman started suffering from exhaustion in late 1946, and his physicians recommended a warm weather vacation to revitalize the President.

Truman took his vacation in a converted duplex in Key West that already held some history. The house, which was originally built in 1890 for the commandant and paymaster of Key West’s naval base, had already hosted William Howard Taft while he was in office in 1912. When Thomas Edison developed 41 new weapons to aid in the American efforts in World War I, he spent six months living in the house. Once Truman visited the house, though, it quickly became known as Truman’s Little White House. He ended up spending 175 days in Key West over the course of his two terms in office. Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy later used the house while they were in office, and it’s now open as a tourist attraction.
7. Teddy Roosevelt Goes Bear Hunting


Lounging on the beach is great, but do you really think Teddy Roosevelt would miss the opportunity to do something manly? Roosevelt’s vacation in 1905 took him to the Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs, CO, where he spent three weeks bear hunting.
8. Kennedy Retreats to His Compound

Starting in 1926, Joseph P. Kennedy began taking his family to Hyannisport, Massachusetts, on vacation each summer. His son John liked the area so much that in 1956 he bought a cottage of his own near his parents’ digs, and the family soon purchased a third cottage in the area, giving rise to the name “the Kennedy Compound.” JFK used his cottage as a base of operations for his presidential campaign and later vacationed there each summer he was in office.
9. George H.W. Bush Prefers Not to Ranch

kenneNot to be outdone by the Kennedys, the Bush family has an even older compound of their own in Kennebunkport, Maine. In 1903 George H. Walker, the grandfather of George H.W. Bush, built a great mansion on his oceanfront estate in Kennebunkport, and the property has remained in the family ever since.

George H.W. Bush used the Kennebunkport compound as his vacation home during his presidency, and George W. Bush made a few getaways to the house as well. Between father and son, they’ve entertained some pretty big names at their summer house, including Yitzhak Rabin, Vladimir Putin, and Nicolas Sarkozy.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Pacifists Caused World WWII

Leftists, pacifists, and anti-war demonstrators think they are doing the world good by keeping their country from engaging in war. In actual fact, American pacifists in the 1930s made possible the appeasement of Hitler which led to World War II. Let me explain.

After World War I, many Americans came to view our intervention in that war and the subsequent peace settlements as a tragic mistake. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, on the other hand, had read Mein Kampf and realized that Hitler was a madman and was a threat not only to Europe but to America as well (1). Unfortunately, because of the neutrality acts Roosevelt was prevented from directly helping any country fight against Hitler.

Worse, when Roosevelt tried to persuade Britain to take a strong stand against Hitler, they were persuaded to do otherwise because they realized that because of the pacifists no help would come from America: From the book "No More Killing Fields" by David A. Hamburg:

[Chamberlain:] ... the Americans were not a useful counterweight to Germany: "It is always best and safest to count on nothing from the Americans but words. ...

Fearing Britain would have to face Germany without America, Chamberlain took the path of appeasement, which only encouraged Hitler to go further.

Because of their fear of war, because of their cowardice, American pacifists encouraged war where a more aggressive stance might have stopped Hitler altogether. Tens of millions dead; this is what pacifism wrought.

The 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence

What kind of men were the 56 signers who adopted the Declaration of Independence and who, by their signing, committed an act of treason against the crown? To each of you the names Franklin, Adams, Hancock, and Jefferson are almost as familiar as household words.

Most of us, however, know nothing of the other signers.

Who were they? What happened to them?

I imagine that many of you are somewhat surprised at the names not there: George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Patrick Henry. All were elsewhere.

Ben Franklin was the only really old man. Eighteen were under 40; three were in their 20s. Of the 56 almost half -24- were judges and lawyers. Eleven were merchants, 9 were landowners and farmers, and the remaining 12 were doctors, ministers, and politicians.

With only a few exceptions, such as Samuel Adams of Massachusetts, these were men of substantial property.

All but two had families. The vast majority were men of education and standing in their communities. They had economic security as few men had in the 18th century.

Each had more to lose from revolution than he had to gain by it. John Hancock, one of the richest men in America, already had a price of 500 pounds on his head.

He signed in enormous letters so "that his Majesty could now read his name without glasses and could now double the reward." Ben Franklin wryly noted: "Indeed we must all hang together, otherwise we shall most assuredly hang separately." Fat Benjamin Harrison of Virginia told tiny Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts: "With me it will all be over in a minute, but you , you will be dancing on air an hour after I am gone.

These men knew what they risked. The penalty for treason was death by hanging. And remember: a great British fleet was already at anchor in New York Harbor.

They were sober men. There were no dreamy-eyed intellectuals or draft card burners here. They were far from hot-eyed fanatics, yammering for an explosion.

They simply asked for the status quo. It was change they resisted. It was equality with the mother country they desired. It was taxation with representation they sought. They were all conservatives, yet they rebelled.

It was principle, not property, that had brought these men to Philadelphia. Two of them became presidents of the United States. Seven of them became state governors. One died in office as vice president of the United States. Several would go on to be U.S. Senators.