Sunday, January 29, 2006

I QUIT!


09:30 - 28 January 2006

The treasurer of a pensioners' campaign group has quit his full-time position to form an organisation dedicated to helping humanity establish contact with alien life forms. Phillip Snow, who will continue to assist the North Staffordshire Pensioners' Convention on a part-time basis, believes a rise in UFO sightings is a sign of the dawning of a new age.He is convinced this is a time when first contact will be established with extra-terrestrial beings.
Ministry of Defence records show that 158 unexplained sightings were reported nationally in 2005, up from 86 in 2004 and 99 in 2003.
Mr Snow, aged 60, of Betley Court, Betley, has set up the New Living group, which is dedicated to easing the public into an era when the prospect of alien sightings will no longer be a source of panic.
It will raise awareness of its beliefs and offer advice to anyone concerned about other life forms.
The group has no affiliation with the pensioner's convention. Mr Snow is a devotee of the Mayan calendar, which is a series of prophesies and predictions left by the ancient indigenous people of Central America. Some people believe the Mayans were visited by aliens, who taught them the advanced understandings their race is famous for.
Experts are still baffled as to how the Mayans were able to master mathematics, create accurate astrological calendars and build massive pyramids in the jungle.
Some believe the Mayan calendar predicts the end of the world in the year 2012 when the calendar - which started in 3115BC - draws to a close. But Mr Snow believes the end of the Mayan calendar predicts the start of an age when other beings will make contact and teach humans how to solve huge environmental problems such as global warming.
Mr Snow said: "Particularly in 2012, there will be a quantum shift into a golden age. Originally, people were talking about the end of the world, but it's not going to be like that."We will establish contact with our galactic neighbours. They will help us through this shift and they will tell us the true history of life - that we didn't evolve from monkeys, we are of extra-terrestrial origin."Mr Snow believes most aliens look exactly like us and could already be living on earth completely undetected by the authorities.
Mr Snow added: "I know at first people will think I'm a crackpot. But I've studied this for 30 years and it is going to happen."A spokesman for bookmakers Ladbrokes offered odds of 10,000,000-1 on aliens making contact by the year 2012. William Hill offered more conservative odds on the Prime Minister of the day confirming the existence of intelligent alien life at 100-1.

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 9:48 PM   0 comments links to this post

Sunday, January 22, 2006

The World's First Underwater Hotel

I found the following article at: Hydropolis - The World's First Underwater Hotel

I have not had the opportunity to verify it with additional sources. However I thought many may find it interesting.

Currently under construction in Dubai, Hydropolis is the world's first luxury underwater hotel. It will include three elements: the land station, where guests will be welcomed, the connecting tunnel, which will transport people by train to the main area of the hotel, and the 220 suites within the submarine leisure complex. Great photos.It is one of the largest contemporary construction projects in the world, covering an area of 260 hectares, about the size of London's Hyde Park.

"Hydropolis is not a project; it's a passion," enthuses Joachim Hauser, the developer and designer of the hotel. His futuristic vision is about to take shape 20m below the surface of the Arabian Gulf, just off the Jumeirah Beach coastline in Dubai. The £300 million, 220-suite hotel is due to open at the end of 2007 and will incorporate a host of innovations that will take it far beyond the original blueprint for an underwater complex worthy of Jules Verne.

There are only a few locations in the world where such a grandiose dream could be realised. A high proportion of today's architectural marvels are materialising like fanciful mirages from the desert sands. We have come to expect extravagant enterprises to be mounted in the Middle East, and especially in Dubai. "This venture could only be born here in Dubai," says Hauser. "It [has] a very open-minded, international community - and that's what makes it so special."
The land on which Hydropolis is being built belongs to His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai. It was his last free beach property on this stretch of coast. The project is a fantastic one, yet Sheikh Mohammed's success record with comparable schemes instils confidence that science fiction can become fact. With his support, several companies have been formed to kick-start this phenomenal project, and around 150 firms are currently involved.

"There have been many visions of colonising the sea - Jules Verne, Jean Gusto and several Japanese architects - but no one has ever managed to realise this dream," says Hauser. "That was the most challenging factor, and that's what makes it so fascinating. Despite being a dream of mankind for centuries, nobody has ever been able to make living underwater possible."

UNDERWATER HOTEL DESIGN
The original idea for Hydropolis developed out of Hauser's passion for water and the sea, and goes much deeper than just building a hotel underwater. More than just curiosity, it is a commitment to a more far-reaching philosophy. "Once you start digging deeper and deeper into the subject, you can't help being fascinated and you start caring about all the associated issues," he explains. "Humans consist of 80% water, the earth consists of 80% water; without water there is no life."
Hydropolis reproduces the human organism in an architectural design. There is a direct analogy between the physiology of man and the architecture. The geometrical element is a figure eight lying on its side and inscribed in a circle. The spaces created in the basin will contain function areas, such as restaurants, bars, meeting rooms and theme suites. These can be compared to the components of the human organism: the motor functions and the nervous and cardiovascular systems, with the central sinus knot representing the pulse of all life.
The ballroom, located at this nerve centre, will have asymmetrical pathways connecting the different storeys along ramps. A large, petal-like retracting roof will enable the staging of open-sky events. Staircases, lifts and ramps will provide access to the ballroom, while flanking catering areas will supply banquets and receptions.

HYDROPOLIS LAND STATION
In order to enter this surreal space, visitors will begin at the land station. This 120m woven, semicircular cylinder will arch over a multi-storey building. On the lowest level passengers board a noiseless train propelled by fully automated cable along a modular, self-supporting steel guideway to Hydropolis. A just-in-time and on-demand logistical system will facilitate efficient supply of goods to the hotel.

The upper storeys of the land station house a variety of facilities, including a cosmetic surgical clinic, a marine biological research laboratory and conference facilities. On the lower levels are the staff rooms, goods storage and loading areas, and hotel and parking areas.
The land station also includes a restaurant and high-tech cinema screening the evolution of life in the ocean and the history of underwater architecture. As a finale, the screen will open to reveal the real-life Hydropolis. A viewing platform at the front opening of the spanning roof will allow views of the architecture as well as the light shows of Hydropolis.

MARINE ARCHITECTURE
This structure promises to be a conceptual as well as a physical landmark. While human beings accept the existence of water, we have only a superficial appreciation of its significance. "We waste it, go swimming in it and generally take it for granted," says Hauser. "Humans could actually live self-sufficiently underwater, generating energy, nurturing food supplies and so on. This is why we are starting a foundation to demonstrate something of the importance of water in our lives.
"My general plan was to create a living space in the sea. My initial proposal was a deep-sea project, which looked very different. I had to adjust to the local reality of the natural surroundings and change to a shallow water construction.
"We want to create the first ever faculty for marine architecture because I believe that the future lies in the sea, including the future of city planning. I am certain that one day a whole city will be built in the sea. Our aim is to lay the first mosaic by colonising the sea."
Hauser plans to incorporate many different elements associated with the sea. The cosmetics will be ocean-based, the cinemas will screen films that focus on aquatic themes and a children's seaworld will educate as well as entertain.
He views his creation as a place where those who do not dive - or do not even swim - can experience the tranquillity and inspiration of the underwater world. "We are expecting around 3,000 visitors per day in addition to the hotel guests. The aim is to inspire people to develop a new awareness of the sea."
As well as emphasising the positive aspects of water, Hauser also believes we are systematically destroying marine life, and thus wishes to draw attention to various dangers and problems, such as the loss of algae and the destruction of the coral reefs.

FUNDING AND DEVELOPMENT
Dreams, however fabulous, remain unfulfilled without the cash to support the commitment. "The hardest part of the process was finding sponsorship to the tune of €550 million," admits Hauser. "That's what brought me to Dubai. Still, it was a battle which took two-and-a-half years and proved tougher than developing the project itself. No bank would pay such an amount. It's a risky investment, as there are no pilots. We had to convince investors that it is safe and will bring returns on investment."
With official blessing, the Dubai Development & Investment Authority (DDIA) established a framework to handle grants and authorisations. Once the financial backing was guaranteed, the sonar analysis of the seabed complete and 7,000 anchors in place, construction began in summer 2005.
"We are sure that this hotel will set a precedent," says Hauser. "Crescent-Hydropolis is now planning a chain of underwater hotels, and nine countries have shown interest. Some will be the realisation of my initial deep-sea design." Hauser has even chosen to make his permanent home in Dubai. "And that won't change after the project [is finished], regardless of where our next project will be. The infrastructure is exceptionally good here - and it seldom rains!"

To see what it will look like, follow this link: Hydropolis - The World's First Underwater Hotel

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 4:15 PM   0 comments links to this post

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Transcript of bin Laden tape

Bin Laden appears to be addressing the American people:
My message to you is about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and how to end them. I did not intend to speak to you about this because this issue has already been decided. Only metal breaks metal, and our situation, thank God, is only getting better and better, while your situation is the opposite of that.
But I plan to speak about the repeated errors your President Bush has committed in comments on the results of your polls that show an overwhelming majority of you want the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. But he (Bush) has opposed this wish and said that withdrawing troops sends the wrong message to opponents, that it is better to fight them (bin Laden's followers) on their land than their fighting us (Americans) on our land.
I can reply to these errors by saying that war in Iraq is raging with no let-up, and operations in Afghanistan are escalating in our favor, thank God, and Pentagon figures show the number of your dead and wounded is increasing not to mention the massive material losses, the destruction of the soldiers' morale there and the rise in cases of suicide among them. So you can imagine the state of psychological breakdown that afflicts a soldier as he gathers the remains of his colleagues after they stepped on land mines that tore them apart. After this situation the soldier is caught between two hard options. He either refuses to leave his military camp on patrols and is therefore dogged by ruthless punishments enacted by the Vietnam Butcher (U.S. army) or he gets destroyed by the mines. This puts him under psychological pressure, fear and humiliation while his nation is ignorant of that (what is going on). The soldier has no solution except to commit suicide. That is a strong message to you, written by his soul, blood and pain, to save what can be saved from this hell. The solution is in your hands if you care about them (the soldiers).
The news of our brother mujahideen (holy warriors) is different from what the Pentagon publishes. They (the news of mujahideen) and what the media report is the truth of what is happening on the ground. And what deepens the doubt over the White House's information is the fact that it targets the media reporting the truth from the ground. And it has appeared lately, supported by documents, that the butcher of freedom in the world (Bush) had decided to bomb the headquarters of the Al-Jazeera in Qatar after bombing its offices in Kabul and Baghdad.
On another issue, jihad (holy war) is ongoing, thank God, despite all the oppressive measures adopted by the U.S Army and its agents (which is) to a point where there is no difference between this criminality and Saddam's criminality, as it has reached the degree of raping women and taking them as hostages instead of their husbands.
As for torturing men, they have used burning chemical acids and drills on their joints. And when they give up on (interrogating) them, they sometimes use the drills on their heads until they die. Read, if you will, the reports of the horrors in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo prisons.
And I say that, despite all the barbaric methods, they have not broken the fierceness of the resistance. The mujahideen, thank God, are increasing in number and strength — so much so that reports point to the ultimate failure and defeat of the unlucky quartet of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz. Declaring this defeat is just a matter of time, depending partly on how much the American people know of the size of this tragedy. The sensible people realize that Bush does not have a plan to make his alleged victory in Iraq come true.
And if you compare the small number of dead on the day that Bush announced the end of major operations in that fake, ridiculous show aboard the aircraft carrier with the tenfold number of dead and wounded who were killed in the smaller operations, you would know the truth of what I say. This is that Bush and his administration do not have the will or the ability to get out of Iraq for their own private, suspect reasons.
And so to return to the issue, I say that results of polls please those who are sensible, and Bush's opposition to them is a mistake. The reality shows that the war against America and its allies has not been limited to Iraq as he (Bush) claims. Iraq has become a point of attraction and restorer of (our) energies. At the same time, the mujahideen (holy warriors), with God's grace, have managed repeatedly to penetrate all security measures adopted by the unjust allied countries. The proof of that is the explosions you have seen in the capitals of the European nations who are in this aggressive coalition. The delay in similar operations happening in America has not been because of failure to break through your security measures. The operations are under preparation and you will see them in your homes the minute they are through (with preparations), with God's permission.
Based on what has been said, this shows the errors of Bush's statement — the one that slipped from him — which is at the heart of polls calling for withdrawing the troops. It is better that we (Americans) don't fight Muslims on their lands and that they don't fight us on ours.
We don't mind offering you a long-term truce on fair conditions that we adhere to. We are a nation that God has forbidden to lie and cheat. So both sides can enjoy security and stability under this truce so we can build Iraq and Afghanistan, which have been destroyed in this war. There is no shame in this solution, which prevents the wasting of billions of dollars that have gone to those with influence and merchants of war in America who have supported Bush's election campaign with billions of dollars — which lets us understand the insistence by Bush and his gang to carry on with war.
If you (Americans) are sincere in your desire for peace and security, we have answered you. And if Bush decides to carry on with his lies and oppression, then it would be useful for you to read the book Rogue State, which states in its introduction: "If I were president, I would stop the attacks on the United States: First I would give an apology to all the widows and orphans and those who were tortured. Then I would announce that American interference in the nations of the world has ended once and for all."
Finally, I say that war will go either in our favor or yours. If it is the former, it means your loss and your shame forever, and it is headed in this course. If it is the latter, read history! We are people who do not stand for injustice and we will seek revenge all our lives. The nights and days will not pass without us taking vengeance like on Sept. 11, God permitting. Your minds will be troubled and your lives embittered. As for us, we have nothing to lose. A swimmer in the ocean does not fear the rain. You have occupied our lands, offended our honor and dignity and let out our blood and stolen our money and destroyed our houses and played with our security and we will give you the same treatment.
You have tried to prevent us from leading a dignified life, but you will not be able to prevent us from a dignified death. Failing to carry out jihad, which is called for in our religion, is a sin. The best death to us is under the shadows of swords. Don't let your strength and modern arms fool you. They win a few battles but lose the war. Patience and steadfastness are much better. We were patient in fighting the Soviet Union with simple weapons for 10 years and we bled their economy and now they are nothing.
In that there is a lesson for you.










http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2006-01-19-binladen-fulltext_x.htm#

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 1:18 AM   0 comments links to this post

Transcript of bin Laden tape

It is common for Americans to form opinions based on only half of the information. The recent tape of Osama Bib Laden is being discussed all over America. The Amazing thing is most Americans have only heard a few things that were said on the tape. Most will not even take the time to actually read the entire transcript of the tape. But, in-spite of this lack of knowledge they will not have a lack of opinions! So, to help people have access to all the information, I am posting the entire transcript of the Bin Laden tape and a link to the transcript. Please take the time to read the following:


The following is the full text of a new audiotape from al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Parts of the tape were aired on Al-Jazeera television, which published the entire version on its website. The text was translated from the Arabic by The Associated Press.
Bin Laden appears to be addressing the American people:
My message to you is about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and how to end them. I did not intend to speak to you about this because this issue has already been decided. Only metal breaks metal, and our situation, thank God, is only getting better and better, while your situation is the opposite of that.
But I plan to speak about the repeated errors your President Bush has committed in comments on the results of your polls that show an overwhelming majority of you want the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. But he (Bush) has opposed this wish and said that withdrawing troops sends the wrong message to opponents, that it is better to fight them (bin Laden's followers) on their land than their fighting us (Americans) on our land.
I can reply to these errors by saying that war in Iraq is raging with no let-up, and operations in Afghanistan are escalating in our favor, thank God, and Pentagon figures show the number of your dead and wounded is increasing not to mention the massive material losses, the destruction of the soldiers' morale there and the rise in cases of suicide among them. So you can imagine the state of psychological breakdown that afflicts a soldier as he gathers the remains of his colleagues after they stepped on land mines that tore them apart. After this situation the soldier is caught between two hard options. He either refuses to leave his military camp on patrols and is therefore dogged by ruthless punishments enacted by the Vietnam Butcher (U.S. army) or he gets destroyed by the mines. This puts him under psychological pressure, fear and humiliation while his nation is ignorant of that (what is going on). The soldier has no solution except to commit suicide. That is a strong message to you, written by his soul, blood and pain, to save what can be saved from this hell. The solution is in your hands if you care about them (the soldiers).
The news of our brother mujahideen (holy warriors) is different from what the Pentagon publishes. They (the news of mujahideen) and what the media report is the truth of what is happening on the ground. And what deepens the doubt over the White House's information is the fact that it targets the media reporting the truth from the ground. And it has appeared lately, supported by documents, that the butcher of freedom in the world (Bush) had decided to bomb the headquarters of the Al-Jazeera in Qatar after bombing its offices in Kabul and Baghdad.
On another issue, jihad (holy war) is ongoing, thank God, despite all the oppressive measures adopted by the U.S Army and its agents (which is) to a point where there is no difference between this criminality and Saddam's criminality, as it has reached the degree of raping women and taking them as hostages instead of their husbands.
As for torturing men, they have used burning chemical acids and drills on their joints. And when they give up on (interrogating) them, they sometimes use the drills on their heads until they die. Read, if you will, the reports of the horrors in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo prisons.
And I say that, despite all the barbaric methods, they have not broken the fierceness of the resistance. The mujahideen, thank God, are increasing in number and strength — so much so that reports point to the ultimate failure and defeat of the unlucky quartet of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz. Declaring this defeat is just a matter of time, depending partly on how much the American people know of the size of this tragedy. The sensible people realize that Bush does not have a plan to make his alleged victory in Iraq come true.
And if you compare the small number of dead on the day that Bush announced the end of major operations in that fake, ridiculous show aboard the aircraft carrier with the tenfold number of dead and wounded who were killed in the smaller operations, you would know the truth of what I say. This is that Bush and his administration do not have the will or the ability to get out of Iraq for their own private, suspect reasons.
And so to return to the issue, I say that results of polls please those who are sensible, and Bush's opposition to them is a mistake. The reality shows that the war against America and its allies has not been limited to Iraq as he (Bush) claims. Iraq has become a point of attraction and restorer of (our) energies. At the same time, the mujahideen (holy warriors), with God's grace, have managed repeatedly to penetrate all security measures adopted by the unjust allied countries. The proof of that is the explosions you have seen in the capitals of the European nations who are in this aggressive coalition. The delay in similar operations happening in America has not been because of failure to break through your security measures. The operations are under preparation and you will see them in your homes the minute they are through (with preparations), with God's permission.
Based on what has been said, this shows the errors of Bush's statement — the one that slipped from him — which is at the heart of polls calling for withdrawing the troops. It is better that we (Americans) don't fight Muslims on their lands and that they don't fight us on ours.
We don't mind offering you a long-term truce on fair conditions that we adhere to. We are a nation that God has forbidden to lie and cheat. So both sides can enjoy security and stability under this truce so we can build Iraq and Afghanistan, which have been destroyed in this war. There is no shame in this solution, which prevents the wasting of billions of dollars that have gone to those with influence and merchants of war in America who have supported Bush's election campaign with billions of dollars — which lets us understand the insistence by Bush and his gang to carry on with war.
If you (Americans) are sincere in your desire for peace and security, we have answered you. And if Bush decides to carry on with his lies and oppression, then it would be useful for you to read the book Rogue State, which states in its introduction: "If I were president, I would stop the attacks on the United States: First I would give an apology to all the widows and orphans and those who were tortured. Then I would announce that American interference in the nations of the world has ended once and for all."
Finally, I say that war will go either in our favor or yours. If it is the former, it means your loss and your shame forever, and it is headed in this course. If it is the latter, read history! We are people who do not stand for injustice and we will seek revenge all our lives. The nights and days will not pass without us taking vengeance like on Sept. 11, God permitting. Your minds will be troubled and your lives embittered. As for us, we have nothing to lose. A swimmer in the ocean does not fear the rain. You have occupied our lands, offended our honor and dignity and let out our blood and stolen our money and destroyed our houses and played with our security and we will give you the same treatment.
You have tried to prevent us from leading a dignified life, but you will not be able to prevent us from a dignified death. Failing to carry out jihad, which is called for in our religion, is a sin. The best death to us is under the shadows of swords. Don't let your strength and modern arms fool you. They win a few battles but lose the war. Patience and steadfastness are much better. We were patient in fighting the Soviet Union with simple weapons for 10 years and we bled their economy and now they are nothing.
In that there is a lesson for you.


The transcript can be found at:
http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2006-01-19-binladen-fulltext_x.htm#

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 1:11 AM   0 comments links to this post

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Study: Most College Students Lack Skills

Study: Most College Students Lack Skills

By BEN FELLER, AP Education Writer

Nearing a diploma, most college students cannot handle many complex but common tasks, from understanding credit card offers to comparing the cost per ounce of food.
Those are the sobering findings of a study of literacy on college campuses, the first to target the skills of students as they approach the start of their careers.
More than 50 percent of students at four-year schools and more than 75 percent at two-year colleges lacked the skills to perform complex literacy tasks.
That means they could not interpret a table about exercise and blood pressure, understand the arguments of newspaper editorials, compare credit card offers with different interest rates and annual fees or summarize results of a survey about parental involvement in school.
The results cut across three types of literacy: analyzing news stories and other prose, understanding documents and having math skills needed for checkbooks or restaurant tips.
"It is kind of disturbing that a lot of folks are graduating with a degree and they're not going to be able to do those things," said Stephane Baldi, the study's director at the American Institutes for Research, a behavioral and social science research organization.
Most students at community colleges and four-year schools showed intermediate skills, meaning they could perform moderately challenging tasks. Examples include identifying a location on a map, calculating the cost of ordering office supplies or consulting a reference guide to figure out which foods contain a particular vitamin.
There was brighter news.
Overall, the average literacy of college students is significantly higher than that of adults across the nation. Study leaders said that was encouraging but not surprising, given that the spectrum of adults includes those with much less education.
Also, compared with all adults with similar levels of education, college students had superior skills in searching and using information from texts and documents.
"But do they do well enough for a highly educated population? For a knowledge-based economy? The answer is no," said Joni Finney, vice president of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, an independent and nonpartisan group.
"This sends a message that we should be monitoring this as a nation, and we don't do it," Finney said. "States have no idea about the knowledge and skills of their college graduates."
The survey examined college and university students nearing the end of their degree programs. The students did the worst on matters involving math, according to the study.
Almost 20 percent of students pursuing four-year degrees had only basic quantitative skills. For example, the students could not estimate if their car had enough gas to get to the service station. About 30 percent of two-year students had only basic math skills.
Baldi and Finney said the survey should be used as a tool. They hope state leaders, educators and university trustees will examine the rigor of courses required of all students.
The survey showed a strong relationship between analytic coursework and literacy. Students in two-year and four-year schools scored higher when they took classes that challenged them to apply theories to practical problems or weigh competing arguments.
The college survey used the same test as the National Assessment of Adult Literacy, the government's examination of English literacy among adults. The results of that study were released in December, showing about one in 20 adults is not literate in English.
On campus, the tests were given in 2003 to a representative sample of 1,827 students at public and private schools. The Pew Charitable Trusts funded the survey.
It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
___
On The Net:
American Institutes for Research: http://www.air.org/

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 6:26 PM   0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Nuclear Iran


I would like to point everyone to a great radio program that discussed the subject of Iran. You should really take the time to listen. Here is some information about the show.

A nation that has supported terrorism will have the ultimate weapon of mass destruction in 10 years. The nation is Iran which has long sponsored Hezbollah, labeled a terrorist group by the United States. Iran has just decided to ignore European and American warnings about continuing its efforts to develop nuclear technology. With that technology, it is feared, Iran may have "the bomb" in ten years.
In the 1st Hour, On Point, Host Tom Ashbrook considers how the issue of going nuclear looks from the Iranian point of view.

Here is some more information:
If you're looking for a strategic mind game of the first order, with real world implications to boggle the biggest brainiac, here it is: Iran and the nuclear weapons. Iran denies and denies and moves forward. Last week it broke the locks on uranium processing facilities -- and broke even the backs of European patience.An Iranian bomb would shadow the world's biggest oil fields; Israel, which its leaders denounce; and any place that terror can reach. But Russia sells Iran nuclear technology, China buys its oil, Europe wants a special friend, and the U.S. is stretched to the limit in Iraq and Afghanistan.Hear about the tick, tick, tick of Iran's nuclear advance.

Here is the link to the program:
http://www.onpointradio.org/shows/2006/01/20060118_a_main.asp

Please let me know what you think about the program.

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 11:44 AM   0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

IRAN UPDATE













Iran is still the major news story in the United States today. Here is some of the latest information:

This link has all the latest information and more links to some intresting articles:
World powers split over Iran nuclear program





I will continue to gather information on this situation.

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 6:48 PM   0 comments links to this post

Monday, January 16, 2006

THE MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION


Imagine you are a contestant on the Television show “How to be a Millionaire.” The host of the show says, “Are you Ready? You are one question away from going home with one million dollars.” The dramatic music plays, the audience begins to cheer, and your heart begins to pound. You speak slowly, and trying to sound confident, you say, “Yes.”

The host says, “For one-million dollars.... What is the correct way to resolve the current situation in Iraq? Remember, if you answer incorrectly, you do not take home a million dollars!

Here are your choices:

1. Do nothing, hoping Iran’s intentions are good and they will never create a nuclear weapon to use on the U.S. or others.

2. Seek U.N. sanctions against Iran and hope that it will deter them from continuing on their present course.

3. Launch a military strike against Iran.
Use special forces to attempt to assassinate the leader of Iran.”



Now if that question is difficult for a game show contestant, try answering it when a lot more than a million dollars is on the line! A wrong answer could lead to a war or an attack years down the road on the US by Iran! The truth is, all situations that involve the governments of different countries are very complicated. So, how would you answer the question of how to resolve the situation with Iran?

Let’s look at our options:

Do nothing: This option has short-term benefits. There is no threat of war and no tensions between countries. But we need to think about the long-term consequences. Is Iran a friend to the United States? I think most people would agree that Iran is not a country that we would want to just assume would never attack US or help others to do so. I would point readers to the Newsweek article: 9/11 The Iran factor. This article shows that the final report of the 9-11 Commission revealed troubling new evidence that Iran was closer to Al Qaeda than Iraq was! This would at least give some evidence that Iran is a threat! To do nothing may only put off the inevitable and could cause us to be vulnerable for a deadly attack. This is not an option I feel comfortable with. You can read the article at: www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5457389/site/newsweek

Seek U.N. sanctions. I am for having as many nations as possible united against Iran. If we have learned anything in Iraq, it is that to go alone or with only a small coalition is not a great idea. But, we have also learned that U.N. sanctions are not very effective. Remember how the U.N. ended up putting money in the hands of Saddam Hussein. I would point people to:www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,135654,00.html

You can do the research and find many stories that demonstrate that the U.N. is by no means the solution to this problem

Launch a military strike: I cannot look to this solution with any sense of confidence. If we attack, what are the consequences? Do we simply attack the nuclear facilities? Do we seek to destroy the current government? If we attack in any way, we must have as many nations of the world supporting the action as possible! This is a must, especially given our current situation in Iraq. We cannot find ourselves in a large military action in both Iran and Iraq and then have other countries upset and want to retaliate against us.

Assassinate the president of Iran. This is against American policy and would probably cause more problems than it would solve.


Well, the clock is ticking. Do you have an answer? I have to admit that this is a complicated situation. I am hoping that the world’s governments will put pressure on Iran, and they will finally back down. I hope Iran’s bark is worse than their bite. North Korea is a great example of a country that makes threats but in recent history has backed down. However, I can’t help but think that at some point in history, America and Iran will collide. The million-dollar question may not be one of how to avoid it, but rather of when it will happen.

Written by:
Trevor J. Hammack

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 9:14 PM   1 comments links to this post

FACTS ABOUT IRAN


Iran is a subject that is being discussed and debated. I have always thought the only way to truly have an opinion on something is to have an informed opinion. So to help inform people I am going to provide some links that will educate people about Iran:



Information about Iran:
News - Country profile of Iran
An overview of Iran including key facts, political leaders and notes on the media

Timeline: Iran
A chronology of key events

World Factbook: Iran
features general country information about geography, people, economy, and transportation in Iran. From CIA.

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 6:14 PM   0 comments links to this post

IRAN UPDATE

Big Security Council Members Agree on Iran

By BETH GARDINER,
Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 31 minutes ago

Russia and China agreed with the United States and its European allies Monday that Iran must fully suspend its nuclear program, but the countries stopped short of demanding referral to the U.N. Security Council, Britain's Foreign Office said.
In a conciliatory statement, Iran's ambassador to Moscow praised a Russian proposal to move the Iranian uranium enrichment program to its territory — a step that could resolve the deadlock over Tehran's nuclear ambitions.
Russian President Vladimir Putin also urged caution in dealing with the Iranian nuclear issue, saying that Tehran might still agree to the Russian offer and warning "it's necessary to work carefully and avoid any sharp, erroneous moves."
Britain, France and Germany, backed by Washington, want Iran to be referred to the Security Council, which can impose sanctions.
But Russia and China, which have close commercial ties with Iran, have resisted such a move in the past and could stymie efforts against Tehran as veto-wielding members of the U.N. body.
The British Foreign Office said all five permanent members of the Security Council — the U.S., Britain, France, Russia and China — and Germany had shown "serious concern over Iranian moves to restart uranium enrichment activities."
They agreed on the need for Iran to "return to full suspension," according to the statement.
Diplomats from Britain, France and Germany also informed officials from Russia, China and the United States that they plan to call for an emergency board meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency next month. The 35-nation IAEA board, which could refer the issue to the Security Council, will discuss what action to take against Iran.
Representatives of the six countries held a daylong meeting in London in a bid to reach consensus over what action to take after Iran removed U.N. seals from its main uranium enrichment facility last week and resumed research on nuclear fuel, including small-scale enrichment, after a 2 1/2-year freeze.
The move alarmed the West, which fears Iran intends to build an atomic bomb. Iran claims its program is peaceful, intended only to produce electricity and it has threatened to end cooperation the U.N. nuclear watchdog if it is brought before the Security Council.
The Russian proposal would ensure oversight so that uranium would be enriched only as much as is needed for use in nuclear power plants and not to the higher level required for weapons.
"As far as Russia's proposal is concerned, we consider it constructive and are carefully studying it. This is a good initiative to resolve the situation. We believe that Iran and Russia should find a way out of this jointly," Iran's ambassador to Moscow, Gholamreza Ansari, said in comments translated into Russian and shown on state Channel One television.
Putin, speaking in Moscow after a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said Moscow's position is "very close" to that of the U.S. and the European Union. But he added that "it's necessary to work carefully and avoid any sharp, erroneous moves."
European diplomats have said in recent days there are signs that Russia, which is deeply involved in building Iranian reactors for power generation, is leaning toward referral. Putin's comments, though, seemed to suggest he was still looking for other alternatives.
China, which is highly dependent on Iranian oil, has warned that hauling Iran before the Security Council would escalate the situation.
The Foreign Ministry in Beijing took a cautious tone.
"China believes that under the current situation, all relevant sides should remain restrained and stick to solving the Iranian nuclear issue through negotiations," the ministry said in a statement.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the vote on referral "ought to be as soon as possible."
"We've got to finally demonstrate to Iran that it can't with impunity just cast aside the just demands of the international community," Rice said Sunday during a trip to Africa.
Speaking before Monday's talks in London, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said the "onus is on Iran" to prove its program is peaceful. He said the international community's confidence had been "sorely undermined by a history of concealment and deception" by Iran.
Straw said the dialogue with Russia and China was of "crucial importance."
British Prime Minister Tony Blair's official spokesman said the London talks signaled "growing international concern at the behavior of the Iranian government and at ... the words of the Iranian president," who has called for Israel to be "wiped off the map" and said the Nazi Holocaust a "myth."
Iranian state radio, meanwhile, reported that the government had allocated the equivalent of $215 million for the construction of what would be its second and third nuclear power plants. Iran plans to build 20 more nuclear plants, and Russia has offered to build some of them.
Straw reiterated that military action against Iran is not an option.
He also said sanctions were not inevitable even if the nuclear dispute is referred to the Security Council, saying other countries had complied with council demands without the need for sanctions.

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 6:05 PM   1 comments links to this post

WORLD EVENTS AND YOU

THE FLAG OF IRAN









FLAG OF NIGERIA







Americans tend not to be that concerned with world events. In fact, they usually don't follow world events outside of a few soundbites they hear on TV. At the same time, Americans are famous for having an opinion and they usually share it loudly inspite of the fact that more often than not, their opinions are based more on feeling than on facts! At this time, there are situations that are currently developing that can affect Americans. They are the developing situations with Iran and Nigeria. Many Americans may seem uninterested, but there is a good chance the next time they stop to put gas in their car, they may realize something is going on. Look carefully at the following stories:

Oil higher, markets on edge over Iran, Nigeria Reuters

Crude Oil Rises on Concern About Nigeria Unrest, Iran Standoff Bloomberg

Oil up on fears over possible supply disruptions in Iran; unrest ... Forbes

Oil market alarmed by Iran over higher prices

Shell quits Nigeria oil stations as violence flares

How much these events affect the gas prices in the United States is yet to be seen.

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 3:31 PM   0 comments links to this post

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Wiretapping and You

Ever since The New York Times revealed that a National Security Agency program was wiretapping U.S. citizens on an order from the president, experts around the country have been discussing and debating the issue.

There are those who want President Bush impeached, and others who seem to have no concern that the government was wiretapping U.S. citizens. As usual, if you want to find the truth you have to do some research. So in order to try and find the truth on this subject, I am going to provide a number of links from sources that come from many different perspectives. If you read and listen to everything, I believe you will be better able to come to an informed conclusion.

LINKS:

Deciphering the NSA's New Wiretapping Motivations

Bush's Legal Basis for Domestic Spying Program

The NSA and Domestic Surveillance

Legality of Bush-Approved NSA Wiretaps Questioned

Surveillance and the Law

Keeping the NSA Spy Story a Secret

Understanding the NSA: Author James Bamford

The NEW YORK post had a great article pointing out the hypocrisy many are showing in regards to the NSA story.

Here is a sample:

January 14, 2006 -- THE controversy follow ing revelations that U.S. intelligence agencies have monitored suspected terrorist-related communications since 9/11 reflects a severe case of selective amnesia by The New York Times. It certainly didn't show the same outrage when a much more invasive and indiscriminate domestic surveillance program came to light during the Clinton administration.
Then, it was Echelon, a National Security Agency program. Its mission, Steve Kroft noted on "60 Minutes," was "to eavesdrop on enemies of the state: foreign countries, terrorist groups and drug cartels. But in the process, Echelon's computers capture virtually every electronic conversation around the world."

You can read the rest of the article at:

http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/60314.htm

Here is another :

a good post

Kabul calling ...pay attention NSA!

Let Bush, NSA do their jobs

Why we don't trust youwith national security

As you can see there is no shortage of opinion about this. The debate will rage on, but it will be up to each individual to attempt to come to a conclusion that is based on fact and not hype.

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 1:59 PM   0 comments links to this post

Saturday, January 14, 2006

NOW THIS!


Tensions between the US and Iran are growing, people are dying on a daily basis in Iraq, and now we have problems with Pakistan.

A U.S. airstrike on Pakistan village targeted al Qaeda's second-in-command, U.S. intelligence sources say, but Pakistani officials said Ayman al-Zawahri was not there and condemned the attack.




Here are some links to stories about this:

Strike on Damadola kills at least 17

Qaeda No.2 away during attack: Pakistan official

Video

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 11:31 PM   0 comments links to this post

Top Ten Favorite Words (Not in the Dictionary)

Top Ten Favorite Words (Not in the Dictionary)

1. ginormous (adj): bigger than gigantic and bigger than enormous

2. confuzzled (adj): confused and puzzled at the same time

3. woot (interj): an exclamation of joy or excitement

4. chillax (v): chill out/relax, hang out with friends

5. cognitive displaysia (n): the feeling you have before you even leave the house that you are going to forget something and not remember it until you're on the highway

6. gription (n): the purchase gained by friction: "My car needs new tires because the old ones have lost their gription."

7. phonecrastinate (v): to put off answering the phone until caller ID displays the incoming name and number

8. slickery (adj): having a surface that is wet and icy

9. snirt (n): snow that is dirty, often seen by the side of roads and parking lots that have been plowed

10. lingweenie (n): a person incapable of producing neologisms


You can see the entire article at:
http://www.m-w.com/info/favorite.htm

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 10:53 PM   0 comments links to this post

CAT (1) VS DOG (0)

For those of us who love cats, we are often told by dog owners that their dog would hurt our cat if they were ever to get in a fight. Well, all I can say is, dog owners beware!

See the Pit Bull that got beat up by a cat :)

http://usatodaytv.feedroom.com/?fr_story=FEEDROOM129391

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 4:50 PM   0 comments links to this post

Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice

I posted an article earlier this month in which I gave a few suggested books for reading. I am going to post another suggestion today. I would ask the readers of this blog to please let me know if you actually read any of the books I suggest. I would be curious to read your thoughts on the book or books you read. If the feedback is positive, I may continue to add suggestions throughout the year.

BOOK:

Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice.
Author: Raymond ArsenaultReleased: 2006













Information:
In 1961, the Freedom Riders set out for the Deep South to defy Jim Crow laws and call for change. They were met by hatred and violence -- and local police often refused to intervene. But the Riders' efforts transformed the civil rights movement.





Audio: You can listen to a story about the history and the book at:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5149667

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 1:16 PM   0 comments links to this post

Taiwan breeds green-glowing pigs

Afraid of getting lost in the dark? There is no need to fear or look for a flashlight! You just need a new pet pig! Scientists in Taiwan say they have bred three pigs that "glow in the dark".

You can read more at:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4605202.stm

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 1:49 AM   0 comments links to this post

The Art of Tuva Throat Singing


Are you tired of hearing the latest pop song? What about the latest rap or hip hop single? Well, here is something you most likely have never heard, "Tuva Throat Singing" . You may be asking what is that? Well here is a little information:

Throat singing usually refers to several traditional Central Asian styles of overtone singing, but is also applied to other non-Central Asian traditional techniques.
The harmonic frequencies created by the human vocal apparatus are harnessed in throat singing to select overtones by tuning the resonance in the mouth. The result of tuning allows the singer to create more than one pitch at the same time, with the capability of creating six pitches at once. Generally the sounds created by throat singing are low droning hums and high pitched flutelike melodies. The sound of certain styles of overtone singing may remind one of a Theremin.

You read more at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Throat_singing

There is a land at the vast, windswept meeting of Siberia and Mongolia, where humankind's most ancient, nomadic past still lives in song. The place is called Tuva, and the Tuva throat singers do today what ages of pastoral herders have done on those vast grasslands. The Tuva singers produce harmonies within one voice, two deep and arresting tones from one throat. They do it in imitation of the sounds of the land -- of wind and the bleating of sheep and the murmur of water. But now they do it all over the world, off jet planes and cell phone calls, ancient animism in the swirl of the modern world.Hear the deep and wondrous sound of the Tuva throat singing.

You can listen to a fascinating program, featuring music and interviews at:

http://www.onpointradio.org/shows/2006/01/20060113_b_main.asp



Happy Listening!

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 1:15 AM   0 comments links to this post

Friday, January 13, 2006

BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN

If you don't know what Brokeback Mountain is, let me try to help you out. It is a movie that was recently released and has received a lot of coverage by the media. It has been nominated for many awards already. You may be asking, "what is so great about this movie?" Well, it is a movie that is about two gay cowboys. It is a movie that seeks to at least produce sympathy for those who are gay. In our culture, wrong and right is normally determined by emotion more than by an objective standard of wrong and right. So what better way to help change people's views on wrong and right than a movie! Movies speak to emotions and emotions are what seems to now be the test for truth, morality, and ethics. There has been much written on this subject and I am going to provide links for people to follow. I challenge you to read carefully the information I am pointing you to. It may prove to be very challenging to your worldview:


A great article:
'Brokeback Mountain'
Rape of the Marlboro Man
http://worldnetdaily.com/news/printer-friendly.asp?ARTICLE_ID=48076


A REVIEW:
http://www.pluggedinonline.com/movies/movies/a0002455.cfm


More about the film from Christianity Today

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 4:30 PM   0 comments links to this post

Thursday, January 12, 2006

OIL AND YOU

This may come as a shock to many, but oil is a resource that we will run out of one day. Consider the fact that America uses over 21 million barrels of oil a day!












Consider also the fact that U.S. gasoline consumption of 320,500,000 gallons per day (March 2005) works out to about 3700 gallons per second.


At some point in time the world is going to have to deal with the reality that we will run out of oil!

I point readers to the following stories:

Is the world's oil running out fast?
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/3777413.stm


When the last oil well runs dry
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3623549.stm



At the same time, the entire subject of oil becomes a very political topic.
There are those who are opposed to drilling for oil in certain areas of the world, due to possible environmental problems.

If we engage in a military conflict and oil is a possible reason, then people protest the war! They hold up signs for the TV cameras that say, "No War For Oil." Then they get back in their SUVs and drive home! Those who seem to be against the drilling for oil and for wars that may help with the obtaining of oil are the same people who have no problem using oil.
The fact is simple. We need oil! We also need to begin looking for alternative fuels.

Take some time and listen to some reports found at:
http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/programs/worldview/series/200507oil.asp



A very interesting story was reported 10 January, 2005 by NPR. It suggested that there may be a lot of oil availabe in Califirornia:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5147602

At some point, the sun is going to set on our use of oil. The question is, what are we going to do then?



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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 3:01 PM   0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Languages and America

UPDATED
At the time of the original post the audio to the story was not yet available. You can know here a great discussion on this topic, by following the link at the end of this post.


I heard a great program today that I think Many others may find interesting. Most of us who grew up in America, remember that learning other languages was never a high priority. The question is, should it have been? and should it be? Consider the following:

If you are an Arabic speaker in America these days, Uncle Sam wants you badly. The Army and Marines are paying ten thousand dollar signing bonuses for fluent Arabic speakers. The CIA is paying up to thirty-five thousand, just to join. And still, the United States finds itself nearly deaf and dumb in many critical languages week, President Bush announced a new crash program to train Americans -- from kindergarten on up -- in Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Urdu, Russian, and Central Asian languages. Some say it's too little too late. But it's a high-profile push away from French, German, Italian and the "uno, dos, tres" lessons that dominate today.


You can find out more at:

http://www.onpointradio.org/shows/2006/01/20060110_b_main.asp

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 9:09 PM   1 comments links to this post

10 million girls 'missing' in India

Selective abortion: 10 million girls 'missing' in India
Mon Jan 9, 1:19 AM ET

Around 10 million female fetuses may have been aborted in India over the past two decades because of ultrasound sex screening and a traditional preference for boys, according to a study published online in The Lancet.

Researchers based in Canada and India looked through data from a national survey, conducted among 1.1 million households in 1998, and at information about 133,738 births that took place in 1997.

They found that in cases where the preceding child was a girl, the gender ratio for a second birth was just 759 girls to 1,000 boys.
And when the two previous children were girls, this ratio fell even further, to 719 girls to 1,000 boys.
On the other hand, when the preceding child or children were male, the gender ratio among successive births was about the same.

Based on the natural sex ratio in other countries, around 13.6-13.8 million girls should have been born in India in 1997 -- but the actual number was 13.1 million.

"We conservatively estimate that prenatal sex determination and selective abortion accounts for 0.5 million missing girls yearly," said one of the authors, Prabhat Jha of St. Michael's Hospital at the University of Toronto, Canada, on Monday.

"If this practice has been common for most of the past two decades since access to ultrasound became widespread, then a figure of 10 million missing female births would not be unreasonable."
The "girl deficit" is far more prominent in educated women, the investigators found.
The number of boys born as second children was twice as high among this group than among illiterate mothers.
However, the deficit did not vary by religion.

The study published by the London-based medical journal comes on the heels of a report last October by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which warned that infanticide or abortion was driving India towards a gender imbalance with alarming social consequences.

Afghanistan, China, Nepal, Pakistan and South Korea face similar problems, the UNFPA said.

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 7:22 PM   1 comments links to this post

NEW YEAR

It is 2006 and I hope everyone has a great year. With a new year we all have another opportunity to experience many things, and to learn many more new things. I am going to make a few suggestions on some books that may challenge and teach many people. I may add suggestions throughout the year. Here is the first list:


Iraq is going to be a subject that is talked about a lot in 2006. Here is a book that gives a first hand account of the struggles we are facing in Iraq.

Book:My Year in Iraq: The Struggle to Build a Future of HopeAuthor: L. Paul Bremer, with Malcolm McConnellReleased: 2006
Purchase My Year in Iraq: The Struggle to Build a Future of Hope at:
Amazon

You can listen to an Interview with the Author at:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5139135

In the period after the Civil War, former slaves were made promises of equality and citizenship by the federal government. Historian Eric Foner analyzes the fate of those promises in Forever Free: The Story of Emancipation and Reconstruction.
Book:Forever Free: The Story of Emancipation and ReconstructionAuthor: Eric Foner, Joshua BrownReleased: 2006
Purchase Forever Free: The Story of Emancipation and Reconstruction
Amazon

You can listen to a great interview with the Author at:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5133942

Polio : An American Story by David M. Oshinsky

You can find the book at Amazon.com

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 7:03 PM   0 comments links to this post