Former Celtics Coach Red Auerbach Dies
By JOSEPH WHITE, AP Sports Writer
15 minutes ago
WASHINGTON - Red Auerbach, who had a genius for building Boston Celtic championship teams, a gift for straight talk, and a cigar at the ready for every victory, died Saturday, eight days after his 89th birthday.
Auerbach's death was announced by the Celtics, who still employed him as team president. Next season will be dedicated to him, they said.
The Hall of Fame coach died of a heart attack near his home in Washington, according to an NBA official, who declined to be identified because the family had not officially spoken. His last public appearance was on Wednesday, when he received the Navy's Lone Sailor Award at a ceremony in the nation's capital.
"Red Auerbach was the consummate teacher, leader, and a true pioneer of the sport of basketball," commissioner David Stern said on NBA.com. "The NBA wouldn't be what it is today without him."
Auerbach's 938 victories made him the winningest coach in NBA history until Lenny Wilkens overtook him during the 1994-95 season. His nine titles as a coach came in the 1950s and 1960s _ including eight straight from 1959 through 1966 _ and then through shrewd deals and foresight he became the architect of Celtics teams that won seven more championships in the 1970s and 1980s.
Auerbach was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1969. The jersey No. 2 was retired by the Celtics in his honor during the 1984-85 season.
"He was a unique personality, a combination of toughness and great, great caring about people," said author John Feinstein, who last year collaborated on a book with Auerbach on the coach's reflections of seven decades in basketball. "He cared about people much more than it showed in his public face, and that's why people cared about him."
With the Celtics, he made deals that brought Bill Russell, Robert Parish and Kevin McHale to Boston. He drafted Larry Bird a year early when the Indiana State star was a junior to make sure Bird would come to Boston.
He coached championship teams that featured players such as Russell, Bob Cousy, Tom Heinsohn, Bill Sharman, K.C. Jones and Sam Jones, all inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Phil Jackson matched Auerbach's record nine championships when the Los Angeles Lakers won the title in 2001-02.
After stepping down as general manager in 1984, Auerbach served as president of the Celtics and occasionally attended team practices into the mid-1990s, although his role in the draft and personnel decisions had diminished.
"Red was a guy who always introduced new things," Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca told The Associated Press in an interview this month. "He had some of the first black players in the league and some people didn't like that, but you've got to do what's right for the fans."
When Rick Pitino took the president's title when he became coach in 1997, and Auerbach became vice chairman of the board. After Pitino resigned in 2001, Auerbach regained the title of president and remained vice chairman. When the team was sold in 2002 to a group headed by Grousbeck, Auerbach stayed on as president.
Through all those changes and titles, Auerbach didn't lose his direct manner of speaking, such as when he discussed the parquet floor of the Boston Garden shortly before the Celtics' longtime home closed in September 1995.
"The whole thing was a myth," Auerbach said. "People thought not only that there were dead spots, but that we knew where every one was and we could play accordingly.
"Now, did you ever watch a ballplayer go up and down the court at that speed and pick out a dead spot?" he asked. "If our players worried about that, thinking that's going to help them win, they're out of their cotton-picking mind. But if the other team thought that: Hey, good for us."
As Celtics president, Auerbach shuttled between Boston and his home in the nation's capital, where he led an active lifestyle that included playing racquetball and tennis into his mid-70s.
Auerbach underwent two procedures in May 1993 to clear blocked arteries. He had been bothered by chest discomfort at various times beginning in 1986.
Auerbach was also hospitalized a year ago, but he was soon active again and attended the Celtics' home opener. Asked that night what his thoughts were, he replied in his usual blunt manner: "What goes through your mind is, 'When the hell are we going to win another one? I mean, it's as simple as that."
Auerbach had planned to be at the Celtics' opener this season, in Boston next Wednesday against the New Orleans Hornets.
In his 16 seasons as the Celtics' coach, Auerbach berated referees and paced the sideline with a rolled-up program in his clenched fist. The cigar came out when he was sure of another Celtic triumph.
He had a 938-479 regular-season coaching record and a 99-69 playoff mark. On Jan. 12, 1966, he got victory No. 1,000 in a game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Auerbach had a reputation as a keen judge of talent, seemingly always getting the best of trades with fellow coaches and general managers.
In 1956, he traded Ed Macauley and Cliff Hagan to St. Louis for the Hawks' first-round pick and ended up with Russell _ probably the greatest defensive center of all time and the heart of 11 championship teams.
In 1978, he drafted Bird in the first round even though he would have to wait a year before Bird could become a professional.
Before the 1980 draft, the Celtics traded the No. 1 overall selection to Golden State for Parish and the No. 3 pick. The Warriors took Joe Barry Carroll. The Celtics chose McHale.
In 1981, Boston chose Brigham Young guard Danny Ainge in the second round. Ainge was playing baseball in the Toronto Blue Jays organization at the time, but was freed after a court battle to play for the Celtics.
In June 1983, another one-sided deal brought guard Dennis Johnson from Phoenix for seldom-used backup center Rick Robey.
Born Arnold Auerbach in Brooklyn, N.Y. on Sept. 20, 1917, Auerbach attended Seth Low Junior College in New York and George Washington University. His playing career was undistinguished. In three seasons at George Washington he scored 334 points in 56 games. He would often attend games at GW's Smith Center, where the court is named in his honor.
As a coach, he was an instant success, posting the best record of his career in his first season. He led the Washington Capitols to a 49-11 mark in 1946-47, the NBA's debut season, and took them to the playoff semifinals.
The Capitols had winning records the next two seasons under Auerbach, who moved on to the Tri-Cities Blackhawks for one season in 1949-50. They had a 28-29 mark, Auerbach's only losing record in 20 years as an NBA coach.
In the NBA's first four seasons, the Celtics never had a winning record. But Auerbach changed that dramatically when he succeeded Alvin "Doggy" Julian as Boston's coach for the 1950-51 campaign.
They went 39-30 that year, and the Celtics never had a losing record in his 16 seasons on the bench. Boston's lowest winning percentage was .611 in his last 10 seasons.
His last game as coach was on April 28, 1966, when Boston edged the Lakers 95-93 in the seventh game of the finals to win the NBA title. He was just 48 years old, but ready to move on.
On Feb. 13 of that season, Auerbach was honored at halftime of a loss to Los Angeles at Boston Garden.
"They say that losing comes easier as you grow older," he said after the game. "But losing keeps getting harder for me. I just can't take it like I used to. It's time for me to step out."
Russell became player-coach the next season, while Auerbach concentrated on his job as general manager. Russell was the first of five Boston coaches who had played for Auerbach.
Auerbach fostered the image of the Celtics as a family and took pride in the fact that many ex-players remained close to the team. And although he cultivated a cantankerous public image, his former players testified to his basic good nature.
"He'd help me wherever he could," K.C. Jones said after the 1983-84 season, his first as Boston's coach. "He's done that from day one, so nothing's really changed. He's still the same grouchy guy, but he takes care of his people."
Auerbach worked under 11 ownership groups with the Celtics. When Grousbeck took over, Auerbach told the new owner why always had his players wear black sneakers.
"They stay cleaner. They don't have be changed," Grousbeck said. "There are a number of things we've learned directly from Red, and meeting him has been the highlight of this whole experience."
Auerbach is survived by his two daughters, Nancy Auerbach Collins and Randy Auerbach; his granddaughter, Julie Auerbach Flieger, and three great-grandchildren.
AP Sports Writers Howard Ulman and Jimmy Golen in Boston contributed to this report.
Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Former Celtics Coach Red Auerbach Dies
Posted by William N. Phillips, Jr. at 10/28/2006 11:39:00 PM
Joe Niekro passes away at 61
Brother of Hall of Famer Phil won 221 games in 22 seasons
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
Joe Niekro recognized the pitch as soon as it left his brother's hand. After all, it was the pitch that their dad taught them when they were just kids growing up together in Ohio.
There it was -- the signature Niekro knuckleball -- dancing toward home plate at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium on May 29, 1979. By the time Phil finished his delivery, Joe had had swung, sending the baseball over the left-field wall for a home run -- the lone long ball of his 22-year career.
Joe lived in the shadows of his older brother's career, which was honored with an induction into baseball's Hall of Fame. But on that day, it was the younger Niekro who walked away the winner. Over 22 Major League seasons, the same pitch that Phil made famous helped Joe Niekro win 221 games, including a club-record 144 for the Houston Astros.
On Friday, Joe Niekro passed away. According to The Tampa Tribune, Niekro suffered an aneurysm and was taken to South Florida Baptist Hospital before being transported to St. Joseph's hospital on Thursday. He was 61.
"It's really a shock when something like that happens," said Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, who was a teammate of Niekro from 1980-85. "As a teammate, you spend a lot of time with each other and have close relationships. This news, you have to sort through it."
Niekro's big-league career began in 1967 and ended in 1988 -- a period in which he spent time with the Cubs, Padres, Tigers, Braves, Astros, Yankees and Twins. Chicago made the right-hander a third-round draft pick in 1966, when he was 21 years old.
When Joe signed with the Cubs, he threw a fastball, curve, and a slider. He didn't rely as heavily as Phil did on the knuckleball because he had the ability to throw harder. It wasn't until his Major League career got off to a slow start that Joe began using the pitch he learned during his childhood.
Phil Niekro Sr. could throw hard at a young age, but an arm injury prompted him to develop the knuckleball before moving on from baseball. After long days of working in coal mines in Ohio, Phil Sr. would come home and play catch with his two sons, passing on his unique pitch.
Joe had yet to reach his peak when Houston purchased his contract for $35,000 from Atlanta in 1975. The Astros were non-contenders from 1975-77, giving Niekro ample time to hone his craft. He'd spend parts of 11 seasons in Houston, where he became the club's winningest pitcher and first back-to-back 20-game winner in 1979-80.
"Times were different in baseball back then. Joe was 30, 31 when he got to Houston," said Astros president Tal Smith, who was Houston's general manager from 1975-80. "It took him a couple of years until he established himself. In those days, prior to the advent of free agency, you had more time, more patience to provide opportunities.
"That gave Niekro time to perfect the knuckeball, then he produced back-to-back 20-win seasons and all of the memorable things that happened," he added. "He was such a special guy. I never heard anybody who said anything disparaging about him. He always had a smile, a quip. He kept everybody loose in the clubhouse. And he was the consummate winner."
The 1979-80 seasons were the pinnacle of Niekro's career. In '79, he led the National League with 21 victories and five shutouts, finishing second to Bruce Sutter in the Cy Young voting. He was sixth in voting for the NL Most Valuable Player Award and was selected to his only All-Star team. The Sporting News recognized Niekro as the Pitcher of the Year that season.
A year later, Niekro went 20-12 and was fourth in the balloting for the NL Cy Young. Also in 1980, Niekro threw a complete-game six-hitter against the Dodgers in the 163rd game of Houston's season. The victory clinched the NL West title -- the first in team history. Niekro then led Houston to its first-ever playoff win by pitching 10 shutout innings in an 11-inning win over the Phillies in Game 3 of the NL Championship Series.
"He pitched a terrific game 163," recalled Smith, who was stunned by Niekro's death. "It was a real shock. I saw him in the spring and he looked great. He looked like he was in good health."
Niekro's postseason success wasn't limited to his time in Houston. He was a member of the 1972 Tigers, who won the American League East, and the '87 Twins, who won the World Series.
During that '87 season, Joe's son Lance -- 8 years old at the time -- was a batboy for Minnesota. He was on the field during the postgame celebration and he rode with his dad in a convertible during the parade held in Minneapolis.
Now, Lance Niekro is a first baseman in the San Francisco Giants' system. He has three big-league seasons under his belt and received some advice from his dad when he was demoted to Triple-A earlier this season.
"When I was going down to Fresno, my dad called and said he had five years in the big leagues when he was sent down," Lance Niekro said. "He said it was something that can happen, and you can go about it two ways -- be mad about everything, or go down there and say you have something to prove."
Throughout his career, Joe had plenty to prove as Phil -- six years his elder -- pitched his way to 318 wins and a plaque in the hallowed halls in Cooperstown, N.Y. Joe was inducted into the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame in November 2005.
Joe and Phil Niekro combined for 539 wins, the most by brothers in Major League history. So Joe's name lives on in the record books and the Niekro name continues to live on in baseball through his son.
"Just to see that name on the back of a Major League uniform, on a Major League field, is a big thrill," Joe Niekro told the San Francisco Chronicle in June, 2005.
Lance Niekro found his way to the big leagues with his bat, but that doesn't mean his dad didn't pass on that famous knuckleball. Lance learned how to throw the knuckler at the age of 12.
Joe probably taught Lance how to hit one, too.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Reporters Alyson Footer and Rich Draper contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Posted by William N. Phillips, Jr. at 10/28/2006 07:07:00 AM
Friday, October 27, 2006
Martin could drive Ford in limited truck schedule
Veteran says he has opportunity to race Chevys in Busch Series
By Ryan Smithson, NASCAR.COM
October 26, 2006
05:04 PM EDT (21:04 GMT)
HAMPTON, Ga. -- Mark Martin's days with Ford are not over yet.
Martin said on Thursday that his 2007 race schedule will likely include 5-10 races in a Ford in the Craftsman Truck Series. He also said that he is likely to run a 5-10-race Busch Series schedule in a Chevrolet.
At Talladega this month, Martin announced that he would drive a 20-race Nextel Cup schedule in the No. 01 Chevrolet for MB2 Motorsports next season.
Martin said that his Busch plans will involve an unnamed Chevrolet team, possibly one different than MB2.
"I am pretty close to a truck deal," said Martin, who has run 11 truck races this year, winning five of them. "I think the first hurdle has finally been cleared on that.
"I think I will race a Ford truck next year, and five, maybe even 10 races and I think I will race a Busch car five to 10 races in a very exciting variety, possibly three different teams. The Busch team will be a Chevrolet, and the truck will be a Ford, if I race it."
The move to MB2 Motorsports shocked the industry. There is arguably no driver more associated with a team than Mark Martin and Roush Racing -- the two have been together for 19 years -- but Martin did not want to run a full schedule in 2007.
MB2 Motorsports has struggled mightily this season -- the two-car team has scored just two top-10s all season -- but Martin says the team will surprise some people in 2007.
"Things were getting better before I signed on," Martin said. "In the past they have been a great team and a great contender. They started turning the corner."
Bill's Comment: Stay tuned, in case the wind decides to blow another direction. I only say this because he keeps those who follow NASCAR in suspense as to whether or not he will retire, yet alone as to which team (or manufacturer) he will be racing for. Do not get me wrong. Mark Martin is one of the most respected drivers both on and off the track, and is a sentimental favorite amongst the fans. Regardless of whom he drives for (besides MB2 Motorsports, now Ginn Racing), his experience and expertise will only make the team that much better. No matter what track he will race at in the Craftsman Truck Series, he will be a favorite.
Posted by William N. Phillips, Jr. at 10/27/2006 08:24:00 AM
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Bill's Pre-Comment: What you are about to see below is an e-mail that was sent to me by NJ State Senator Speaker Joseph J. Roberts, Jr. What strikes me funny, before I even read this, is that I am a registered Republican. Enjoy the propoganda you are about to read!
Dear Friend :
In the five years since the vicious attack on our friends and neighbors, George W. Bush promised to make us safer by going to war in Iraq instead of finishing the job in Afghanistan. But this week our top spy and intelligence agencies released a report that said the war in Iraq has made us less safe today because the war is creating more terrorists then ever before.
President Bush and Republicans in control of congress are spending a record one billion, seven hundred fifty million dollars a week in Iraq, they cut while they slash homeland security funding for New Jersey. And guess what? The mastermind of the 9/11 attack still roams free somewhere near the mountains of Afghanistan.
Democrats know that the battle against the radical right-wing agenda of President George W. Bush and Republicans for control of congress begins here in New Jersey. And with a contribution of just $50 or more, you can help us win back control of congress and take our county in a new
direction. Click here to contribute.
If Republicans remain in power, then over the next two years they will try to shove their right-wing agenda down our throats and take us in the wrong direction.
We can't rely on the Republicans to protect our ports, our children's future, or retirement security. We need to support our local Democrats who will focus on our priorities here and fight to make sure we receive our fair share from Washington, D.C.
Click below to give $50 or more to help us take back Congress:
When we wake up the day after the elections, let's make sure we have no regrets. Together we can take back our government and make sure it works for the people once again.
Speaker Joseph J. Roberts, Jr.
Posted by William N. Phillips, Jr. at 10/26/2006 02:59:00 PM
If the polls are to be believed, the Republicans who control the White House and Congress are in trouble.
People vote their pocketbooks, or wallets, the old adage goes.
But the economy is booming. Even gasoline prices have plummeted. Unemployment, the bogeyman of politicians, has shrunken to a record low point.
As for the security matter, since 9/11, the worst attack on American soil since the Civil War, the United States has been free of any significant terrorist attack. None. Zippo. Zilch.
If Americans do vote the GOP out of either House of Congress, many of these accomplishments are threatened.
Should Democrats get control of the House of Representatives, they have already promised that one of the Republican initiatives that made all these things possible will be rolled back.
Higher taxes -- and with it, economic recession and more unemployment.
The Democrats will also signal the terrorists a "victory" for their side with a push for a quick withdrawal from Iraq. Remember, the Congress, not the president, funds our troops abroad. A Democratic Congress will most assuredly withhold funding unless Bush relents.
The list of Republican accomplishments is both long and real, and provides the platform upon which even greater results will be built under a Republican Congress and White House.
For sure, the GOP has had its share of shortcomings. The economy could be doing better. The deficit could be smaller. The postwar plans in Iraq could have been better implemented.
If anything, the Republicans are facing a message deficit. The liberal media establishment is just not letting them tell their story to the American people.
Here are 10 good reasons why you should vote Republican come election day. You won't hear about them on ABCCBSNBC News.
Reason #1. The economy is kicking butt. It is robust, vibrant, strong and growing. In the 36 months since the Bush tax cuts ended the recession that began under President Clinton, the economy has experienced astonishing growth. Over the first half of this year, our economy grew at a strong 4.1 percent annual rate, faster than any other major industrialized nation. This strong economic activity has generated historic revenue growth that has shrunk the deficit. A continued commitment to spending restraint has also contributed to deficit reduction.
Reason #2. Unemployment is almost nil for a major economy, and is verging on full employment. Recently, jobless claims fellto the lowest level in 10 weeks. Employment increased in 48 states over the past 12 months ending in August. Our economy has now added jobs for 37 straight months.
Reason #3. The Dow is hitting record highs. In the past few days, the Dow climbed above 12,000 for the first time in the history of the stock market, thus increasing the value of countless pension and 401(k) that funds many Americans rely on for their retirement years.
Reason #4. Wages have risen dramatically. According to the Washington Post, demand for labor helped drive workers' average hourly wages, not including those of most managers, up to $16.84 last month -- a 4 percent increase from September 2005, the fastest wage growth in more than five years. Nominal wage growth has been 4.1 percent so far this year. This is better or comparable to its 1990s peaks. Over the first half of 2006, employee compensation per hour grew at a 6.3 percent annual rate adjusted for inflation. Real after-tax income has risen a whopping 15 percent since January 2001. Real after-tax income per person has risen by 9 percent since January 2001.
Reason #5. Gas prices have plunged. According to the Associated Press, the price of gasoline has fallen to its lowest level in more than 10 months. The federal Energy Information Administration said Monday that U.S. motorists paid $2.21 a gallon on average for regular grade last week, a decrease of 1.8 cents from the previous week. Pump prices are now 40 cents lower than a year ago and have plummeted by more than 80 cents a gallon since the start of August. The previous 2006 low for gasoline was set in the first week of January, when pump prices averaged $2.238. In the week ending Dec. 5, 2005, prices averaged $2.19. Today, gasoline can be found for less than $2 a gallon in many parts of the country.
Reason #6. Since 9/11, no terrorist attacks have occurred on U.S. soil. Since 9/11 the U.S. has not been attacked by terrorists thanks to such programs as the administration's monitoring of communications between al-Qaida operatives overseas and their agents in the U.S. and the monitoring of the international movement of terrorist funds -- both measure bitterly opposed by Democrats.
Reason #7. Productivity is surging and has grown by a strong 2.5 percent over the past four quarters, well ahead of the average productivity growth in the last 30 years. Strong productivity growth helps lead to the growth of the Gross Domestic Product, higher real wages, and stronger corporate profits.
Reason #8. The Prescription Drug Program is working. Despite dire predictions that most seniors would refrain from signing up to the new Medicare prescription benefits program, fully 75 percent of all those on Medicare have enrolled, and the overwhelming majority say they are happy with the program.
Reason #9. Bush has kept his promise of naming conservative judges. He has named two conservative justices to the Supreme Court, Chief Justice John G. Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. In addition, he has named conservative justices who are devoted to the Constitution as it is written and not as activist liberal judges think it means. The strong likelihood that one or more justices will retire from the Supreme Court makes it mandatory for the Republicans to hold the Senate and have a chance to name new conservative justices.
Reason #10. The deficit has been cut in half three years ahead of the president's 2009 goal, with the 2006 fiscal year budget deficit down to $248 billion. The tax cuts have stimulated the economy and are working.
In contrast to this stunning record of real achievement, the Democrats offer no real plans for the way they want to improve America or make us safer.
Instead, issues like the Mark Foley scandal have been used to smokescreen their own lack of ideas in a public debate.
The choice voters will make is whether they want higher taxes and less security by surrendering the tools used to combat terrorism or lower taxes and the continued use of tools like the Patriot Act, terrorist surveillance, terrorist interrogations and missile defense.
Consider what leading Democrats are promising if they gain control of Congress.
* Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., who would lead the House tax-writing committee if Democrats win in November, said he "cannot think of one" tax cut he would renew. That agenda would result in $2.4 trillion tax increase over the next 10 years.
* If Democrats take majorities in the House and Senate, the average family of four can expect to pay an average of $2,000 more in taxes.
* The leader of House Democrats and the woman who would be speaker of the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said after 9/11 that she "doesn't really consider ourselves at war ... we're in a struggle against terrorism."
* By opposing the Patriot Act, terrorist surveillance missile defense and even interrogating the most dangerous terrorists captured on the battlefield, Democrats are in direct opposition to the vital tools we use to fight terrorism.
* Many Democrats, including the prospective House Ways and Means chairman, favor cutting off funding for the war in Iraq.
* Democratic leaders have made it clear that they see investigations and impeachment as viable options should they take control of Congress. They are therefore promising to tie the hands of the president and his administration in the middle of a war.
* Democrats want to reverse the president's economic policies that have led to a historically strong economy.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 10/26/2006 09:11:00 AM
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
John Spencer, former Mayor of Yonkers and candidate for U.S. Senate in New York
A breath of fresh air to politics, in 1996, Spencer shocked the “experts” became the Republican mayor of overwhelmingly Democrat Yonkers, New York’s fourth-largest city. As mayor, he stood up for conservative principles and what was right for the people he represented.
What others thought of as impossible, he saw as challenges to overcome. He took a stagnant city in decline and changed its image to a city of progress. He revitalized the waterfront, cut taxes that others said couldn't be cut and improved services. John Spencer is proud to run on his life record and on his record as a big-city mayor who pulled a city out from under a state Financial Control Board and federal oversight of its court-ordered desegregation.
At the height of the Vietnam War, when others were avoiding the draft, John Spencer chose to enlist in the United States Army to serve his country. The awesome responsibility of leading men whose very survival depended on him as a young Infantry Lt., shaped and molded him into the leader he is today.
A principled conservative who can win.
As a candidate and public servant, Spencer has been proud to run and win with the Conservative Party of New York’s endorsement. John Spencer has always clearly and unashamedly taken a principled stand for his pro-life, pro-marriage, pro-growth, pro-2nd amendment, and anti-illegal immigration positions. As our candidate for the U.S. Senate, Spencer will provide a clear contrast to Senator Clinton’s views. If we nominate a Republican who agrees with Senator Clinton on these issues, we are destined to lose.
As a self-made man, John Spencer worked his way up from construction worker to real estate management and knows firsthand the challenges that working class families face to make ends meet. He found his purpose in fatherhood and was not afraid to roll up his sleeves and work hard to provide for his family. His devotion to every aspect of his older children's lives, Jennifer and John, led to his active participation in the community. This was the beginning of his involvement in politics as a vehicle for social change. Since remarried, John and his wife Kathy are the proud parents of three young children, Kaitlyn, Patrick and James.
John Spencer: the true conservative you can trust. Join Spencer for Senate today!
Lynn Swann's life has always been about seizing opportunities. Born in Alcoa, Tennessee to Willie and Mildred Swann, Lynn moved to California at the age of 2 with his parents and two brothers.
It was in California where Lynn was faced with his first challenge, which he turned into an opportunity. Mildred Swann enrolled her 8 year old son into dance class, and it was here that Lynn would develop incredible balance and grace that would serve him well in the future.
While in High School, Lynn would be named an All-American High School Football player. His athletic ability would afford him an opportunity that would forever change his life, the opportunity to go to college. With no intention to attend there but as a favor to a friend's dad, Lynn visited the University of Southern California. The rest is college football history.
Lynn used the opportunity to play football at the University of Southern California to earn his degree in public relations from the university's school of journalism. Lynn Swann excelled on the football field, playing on two Rose Bowl teams and a National Championship team in 1972. Lynn was team captain, most valuable player, and an All-American in 1973.
His success on the field led to an opportunity to play professional football. In 1974, he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Lynn would go on to be a cornerstone of the Steelers dynasty, winning four Super Bowls and playing in three pro-bowls. He was inducted into the Pro-Football Hall of Fame in 2001.
During and following his success with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Lynn pursued an opportunity to launch a successful career as a sports broadcaster. Lynn has worked for ABC since 1976, covering a variety of events as a host, reporter, and analyst including the 1984 Summer Olympics, the Winter Games in 1988, International Diving Championships. USFL, NCAA, College and Monday Night Football, the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes, the Irish Derby and Wide World of Sports. Lynn has traveled the world for ABC Sports.
Lynn has toured the country as a motivational speaker, touting the need for responsibility, strong leadership, and making the most of opportunities that present themselves. He also turned his success on the field into opportunities in the corporate world. Lynn currently sits on the board of directors of two companies -- H.J. Heinz Company and Hershey Entertainment and Resorts.
But out of all of his professional successes, moving to Pittsburgh in 1974 would prove to be the opportunity of a lifetime. Lynn and his family identified with the values that defined Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania; hard work, determination, and the will to succeed. That's why Lynn set out almost immediately to make his community better.
Lynn used his celebrity status to raise money to provide scholarships for the Pittsburgh Ballet. He has received numerous honors for his service toward the growth and improvement of our nation's youth. Since 1980, Lynn Swann has been the National Spokesman for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. He now serves on their National Board of Directors and was President of the national board from 1993 to 1995. He has traveled across the country, testified before Congress and visited the White House on behalf of the nation's premiere one-to-one mentoring organization.
It is this community leadership along with other qualities that led President George W. Bush to ask Lynn to serve as the Chairman of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. In this role, once held by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lynn is responsible for helping to create and implement the President's fitness agenda for America.
Now comes a unique opportunity for Lynn Swann to offer the state a fresh and energetic leadership. That's why Lynn Swann is running for Governor.
Far too many people have to leave Pennsylvania to find opportunity. Lynn wants to make sure that Pennsylvanians across the Commonwealth have access to opportunity right here in Pennsylvania, just like he did. Swann for Governor is the first step in making that a reality.
~Joyce Comments: To read Lynn Swann's Policies for Change click here.
Katherine Harris, Representative of District 13 and candidate for U.S. Senate in Florida
With her swearing in on January 7, 2003 as the United States Representative for the 13th District of Florida, Katherine Harris opened the newest chapter in her distinguished career of public service to her native state. Continuing her work on behalf of
A Leader in the Florida State Senate...
During her term in the Florida state senate, Congresswoman Harris passed over one hundred bills, while serving as chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce and Economic Opportunities and as vice-chair of the Senate Committee on Banking and Insurance and the Senate Committee on Governmental Reform. Her legislative achievements included an economic development package that helped fuel Florida's dramatic rise from 42nd place to 1st place in the nation as a state to start a new business or grow an existing business; a significant increase in teacher salaries; and stiffened penalties for white collar crime and for crimes committed against the elderly.
Distinguished Service as Florida's Secretary of State...
As Florida's 23rd and last elected secretary of state, Congresswoman Harris jointly exercised responsibility for clemency, education, law enforcement and the environment with the governor of Florida as a member of Florida's unique Executive Cabinet. She also served as head of the Florida Department of State, a multifaceted agency that managed Florida's state-level responsibilities in international affairs, elections, corporate and business registrations, licensing, historic preservation, libraries, and culture and the arts.
As secretary of state, Congresswoman Harris concurrently served as the head of Florida's Office of International Affairs and led the development of a wide variety of innovative programs that sought to employ diplomatic, humanitarian, educational and cultural tools to provide economic opportunities at home while building understanding, prosperity and stability abroad.
While serving as secretary of state, Congresswoman Harris laid the strong foundation for Florida's preeminent campaign to win the Permanent Secretariat for the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). She worked intensively to ensure Florida as the lead location among all candidates for the Secretariat in the Western Hemisphere by obtaining the unanimous vote of both houses of the United States Congress expressing a preference for Florida's candidacy over any other potential site in the United States, as well as securing funding from Congress to assist Florida's bid for the Secretariat.
Fighting for Issues Important to Florida...
Congresswoman Harris also led the transformation of the Gulf of Mexico States Accord into a vibrant partnership that has made tremendous strides towards its objective of unifying the Gulf region through the enhancement of investment, trade and tourism, as well as through the promotion of economic, transportation, academic and cultural exchanges between its member states. Launched in 1995, the Gulf of Mexico States Accord had lapsed into near dormancy when then-Secretary of State Harris negotiated the location of the Accord's Secretariat in Tampa. During the four months following the establishment of the Secretariat, the Tampa Bay region's trade with Mexico grew by $30 million, inspiring Chrysler to reroute the shipping of the automobiles manufactured in Mexico through the Port of Tampa, and establishing a pilot program ferry service between Tampa and the Yucatán.
In the aftermath of the 2000 election controversy, Congresswoman Harris' leadership provided a driving impetus for election reform. In 2001, she testified before the U.S. House Administration Committee and proposed legislation that became the blueprint for Florida's nationally acclaimed Election Reform Act. In 2002, she successfully proposed and achieved passage of historic civil rights legislation in Florida that forcefully addresses the exclusion of persons with disabilities from full and equal participation in the electoral process.
A Record of Success...
A former IBM marketing executive and vice president of a commercial real estate firm, Congresswoman Harris earned a Master's Degree from Harvard University with a specialization in international trade and negotiations, and a Bachelor's Degree in history from Agnes Scott College. She studied abroad at the University of Madrid and at L'Abri outside Geneva, Switzerland. Congresswoman Harris has received numerous honors for her dedicated work on behalf of Florida including: the Mel Fisher Award for International Trade Advocacy; the Florida Economic Development Council Legislator of the Year Award; the Florida United Business Association Outstanding Legislator Award; the Florida Arts Advocacy Award; the Sarasota Manatee Jewish Family and Children Service's Philanthropy Award; the Sarasota Humanitarian of the Year Award and the Sarasota Statesman of the Year Award.
Congresswoman Harris was born in Key West, Florida. She returns to the district every weekend to spend time with her husband Anders Ebbeson and his 24-year-old daughter, Louise and the constituents of District thirteen.
~Joyce Comments: To read Katherine Harris on issues click here.
Alan Schlesinger, former Mayor of Derby and candidate for U.S. Senate in Connecticut
Two term Mayor of the City of Derby: 1994-1998
Defeated a popular Democrat Incumbent and Re-elected with over 80% of the vote as a Republican in a City with a 4 to 1 Ratio of Democrat to Republican registration.
Alan brought the City of Derby out of a deep deficit situation to a surplus and then reduced taxes.
* Six term State Representative: 1981-1993
Defeated a popular Democrat Incumbent, leading the ticket and winning by large margins in a predominantly Democrat District
* Ranking Republican on the Banking Committee
* Vice Chairman of the Education Committe (1985-1986)
* Chairman of the Special Revenue Sub-Committee (1983-1984)
* Served on the Judiciary, Finance and Government Administration and Elections Committees
* Member of the National Conference of State Legislatures
Alan was a consistent taxpayer watchdog, warning of the state budget crisis several years before the implementation of the state income tax. Alan attempted to avert fiscal problems by offering many progressive tax and spending alternatives.
* Selectman (Town of Orange): 1979-1981
Defeated popular Democrat Incumbent
Alan worked hard for his local constituents from the time he was a volunteer in school.
* University of Connecticut School of Law: J. D.
* Wharton School of Finance of the University of Pennsylvania: B.S. in Economics
* Amity Regional High School (Orange, Woodbridge, Bethany)
Private Sector Experience:
* Partner in the Law Firm of Schlesinger and Barbara, LLC (Shelton, CT)
A lifelong resident of Connecticut, Alan grew up in Orange and has lived in both Derby and Woodbridge as an adult.
~Joyce Comments: To read Alan Schlesinger on issues click here.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 10/25/2006 09:42:00 AM
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Joe Negron, State Representative and substitute candidate for House of Representatives District 16 in Florida
Joe Negron is a native Floridian with an extensive record of community and public service, combined with almost 20 years of legal, business, and professional experience. Currently, Joe is the State Representative for Dist. 82, serving Palm Beach, Martin, and St. Lucie Counties and is chairmen of the Appropriations Committee. Joe has been married for 22 years to Rebecca Negron, a maternal-child nurse. They have three children, David, Jonathan, and Becca.
In the 2004 election, Joe served as Regional Chairman of the Bush/Cheney ’04 Florida Legal Team.
Awards and Honors for Public Service:
Record of Civic and Community Service
~Joyce Comments: For more about Joe Negron on issues click here.
Dick DeVos, candidate for Governor of Michigan
Michigan Born, Michigan Raised
Dick's story begins on October 21, 1955 in Ada, Michigan, a small village a few miles east of Grand Rapids. The first-born son of Rich and Helen DeVos, Dick was later joined by his brother Dan, sister Cheri, and brother Doug.
Winding dirt roads, the Thornapple River, and a few families characterized Ada in the 1950s. Soon after they were married, Rich and Helen built a small ranch home there, next door to Rich's friend and business partner, Jay Van Andel, and his wife Betty.
Dick's childhood was shaped by loving parents, an entrepreneurial father and a schoolteacher mother. Theirs was a busy home. Dick and brother Dan shared bedroom space in the basement with each other - and with their dad's office. And it was a simple home. Dick recalled how the bathroom went without floor tile for quite some time - until their Dachshund, Gretel, had a litter of puppies that funded the tiling of the floor.[more...]
Turning Around Grand Rapids - Getting it Done
"From a community standpoint, it was 'put up or shut up' time," DeVos recalled. "I thought possibly I was in position to bring people to the table to find consensus to make it happen. I wanted to make it happen. I wanted to make a few calls to see if this thing [could] go, or on the contrary, take it off the table for 10 years. It was clear one day we would have an arena. It was time to get on it or decide it's not going to happen"
Dick grew up in Grand Rapids. He knew his hometown was capable of more. He remembered the days when downtown was a destination, not a detour. The previous generation had gotten Grand Rapids off on the right foot, but more work was needed. Dick knew that with the right combination of leadership and motivation, Grand Rapids could change and become stronger. [more...]
The Alticor Story - Creating Opportunities and Jobs
A few years into his employment, the company initiated a management training program in which Dick enrolled. The program was designed to give individual exposure to and experience in the entire breadth of the Amway business. For nearly six years, Dick worked on the manufacturing lines. He worked in accounting and finance. He worked in research and development. He worked in shipping and receiving. He drove hi-los. He drove eighteen-wheelers. He worked in the printing shop. He worked shoulder-to-shoulder with nearly everyone in the Amway operation. He and his wife Betsy also worked as distributors, selling Michigan-made Amway products to friends and neighbors. They were constantly amazed at how few people really knew about the great, high-quality products being made in their own backyard.
After successfully completing the management training program, Dick began working in the meetings and special events department and later assumed leadership of the department. [more...]
~ Joyce Comments: To read Dick DeVos TurnAround Plan for Michigan click here.
Kerry Healey, Lieutenant Governor and candidate for Governor of Massachusetts
As Lieutenant Governor, Kerry Healey assumed a broad range of responsibilities in the Romney-Healey administration. She has drawn on her background in criminal justice to promote tougher public safety laws. Kerry has been a leader in efforts to increase penalties for sex offenders and drunk drivers. A vocal advocate for victims, Kerry has also championed legislation to mandate post-release supervision for convicted criminals as well as legislation to track violent criminals (including domestic abusers) using GPS technology.
Kerry Healey grew up in Daytona Beach, Florida, with her parents, Edward and Shirley Murphy. A World War II veteran, her father served 27 years in the US Army and the Army Reserves. Her mother taught in the Florida public school district for over 20 years. Kerry went to work at the age of 15 after her father suffered a disabling heart attack. She worked three jobs while she was in high school and went on to help put herself through Harvard, graduating in 1982 with a bachelor's degree in government.
She was awarded a Rotary International Scholarship in 1983 and earned a Ph.D. in political science and law from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. In 1985, Kerry was chosen to be a visiting researcher in the International and Comparative Legal Studies Program at Harvard Law School. She continues to pursue her interest in international affairs as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
For more than a decade, Kerry enjoyed a distinguished career as a law and public safety consultant at Abt Associates, Inc., in Cambridge, MA. While at Abt, she conducted extensive research for the U.S. Department of Justice related to child abuse and neglect, domestic violence, gang violence, victim and witness intimidation and the prosecution of drug crimes.
A Beverly resident, Kerry has been an active member of her community. She is a past member of the Foundation Board of North Shore Community College and the Friend's Board of Beverly Hospital. Kerry successfully co-chaired the campaign to rebuild her city's branch library, raising over $1 million in private funds and grants. In 2001, she co-chaired Beverly's United Way Campaign to support community development efforts.
Kerry also served as a member of the adjunct faculty at Endicott College and the University of Massachusetts at Lowell teaching criminal justice and social policy.
Kerry, 46 and her husband Sean have been married for 20 years. They have two school-aged children.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 10/24/2006 03:34:00 PM
For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 19, 2006
Today, The President Signed A Bill That Draws A Clear Line Against One Of The Most Egregious Abuses In Biomedical Research And Vetoed A Bill That Attempts To Overturn His Balanced Stem Cell Research Policy:
- The President Signed The "Fetus Farming Prohibition Act," Which Prohibits Trafficking In Human Fetuses That Are Created With The Sole Intent Of Aborting Them To Harvest Their Parts.
- The President Vetoed H.R. 810, Which Would Overturn The Balanced Policy On Embryonic Stem Cell Research That The Administration Has Followed For The Past Five Years. This bill would also reverse the principle that Congress itself has followed for more than a decade, when each year it has prohibited Federal funding for research that destroys human embryos.
- If This Bill Were To Become Law, American Taxpayers Would For The First Time In Our History Be Compelled To Fund The Deliberate Destruction Of Human Embryos. The President has made it clear to Congress he will not allow our Nation to cross this moral line. If we are to find the right ways to advance ethical medical research, we must also be willing to reject the wrong ways when necessary.
- If This Bill Were To Become Law, American Taxpayers Would For The First Time In Our History Be Compelled To Fund The Deliberate Destruction Of Human Embryos. The President has made it clear to Congress he will not allow our Nation to cross this moral line. If we are to find the right ways to advance ethical medical research, we must also be willing to reject the wrong ways when necessary.
- President Bush Is Disappointed Congress Failed To Pass A Bill That Would Have Authorized Additional Federal Funding For Promising New Research That Could Produce Cells With The Abilities Of Embryonic Cells, But Without The Destruction Of Human Embryos. This bill was unanimously approved by the Senate and received 273 votes in the House of Representatives, but it was blocked by a minority in the House using procedural maneuvers.
- It Makes No Sense To Say You Are In Favor Of Finding Cures For Terrible Diseases As Quickly As Possible And Then Block A Bill That Would Provide Funding For Promising And Ethical Stem Cell Research.
- The President Is Directing The HHS Secretary And NIH Director To Use All The Tools At Their Disposal To Aid The Search For Stem Cell Techniques That Advance Promising Medical Science In An Ethical And Morally Responsible Way.
- It Makes No Sense To Say You Are In Favor Of Finding Cures For Terrible Diseases As Quickly As Possible And Then Block A Bill That Would Provide Funding For Promising And Ethical Stem Cell Research.
President Bush Is The First President To Provide Federal Funding For Embryonic Stem Cell Research
In 2001, President Bush Set Forth A New Policy On Stem Cell Research That Struck A Balance Between The Needs Of Science And The Demands Of Conscience. In this new era, our challenge is to harness the power of science to ease human suffering without sanctioning practices that violate the dignity of human life.
- When The President Took Office, There Was No Federal Funding For Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research.
- Under The Policy Announced Five Years Ago, This Administration Became The First To Make Federal Funds Available For This Research. Federal funding was made available for research only on human embryonic stem cell lines derived from embryos that had been destroyed before the announcement of the President's policy. The Administration has made available more than $90 million for research on these lines, allowing important research to go forward without using taxpayer funds to encourage the further deliberate destruction of human embryos.
Finding New Cures For Disease Does Not Require Destroying Human Embryos
Today, The President Met With Children Who Began Their Lives As Frozen Embryos Created For In Vitro Fertilization. These children were adopted while still embryos, and have been blessed with the chance to grow up in a loving family. They remind us of what is lost when embryos are destroyed in the name of research, that we all began our lives as a small collection of cells, and that America must never abandon our fundamental moral principles in our zeal for new treatments and cures.
Embryonic Stem Cells Come From Human Embryos That Are Destroyed For Their Cells. Each of these human embryos is a unique human life, with inherent dignity and matchless value.
With The Right Techniques And Policies, We Can Achieve Scientific Progress While Living Up To Our Ethical Responsibilities. America was founded on the principle that we are all created equal, and endowed by our Creator with the right to life. We can advance the cause of science while upholding this founding principle.
Since The President Announced His Policy In 2001, Advances In Scientific Research Have Also Shown The Great Potential Of Stem Cells That Are Derived Without Harming Human Embryos. The Administration has expanded the funding of research into stem cells that can be drawn from children, adults, and the blood in umbilical cords, with no harm to the donor - and these stem cells are already being used in medical treatments.
Researchers Are Now Also Investigating New Techniques That Could Allow Doctors And Scientists To Produce Stem Cells Just As Versatile As Those Derived From Human Embryos Without Requiring The Destruction Of These Embryos. One technique scientists are exploring would involve "reprogramming" an adult cell - for example, a skin cell - to function like an embryonic stem cell.
President Bush's Balanced Approach To Stem Cell Research Has Worked
The President's Policy Has Allowed Science To Explore The Potential Of Embryonic Stem Cells - And It Has Allowed America To Continue To Lead The World In This Area. Under the President's policy, 21 human embryonic stem cell lines are currently available for Federal funding, and are in use. Each of these lines can be replicated many times. As a result, the National Institutes of Health have helped make more than 700 shipments to researchers since 2001.
There Is No Ban On Embryonic Stem Cell Research. To the contrary, even critics of the President's policy concede that these Federally funded lines are being used in research every day by scientists across the world.
According To The Most Recent Data, From 1998 To 2004, 85 Percent Of Publications On Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research Involved The Use Of Lines Approved For Funding By NIH. (Jason Owen-Smith and Jennifer McCormick, "An International Gap In Human ES Cell Research," Nature Biotechnology, April 2006)
According To The Most Recent Data, From 1998 To 2004, 46 Percent Of All Human Embryonic Stem Cell Studies Published Have Been Done In American Institutions. (Jason Owen-Smith and Jennifer McCormick, "An International Gap In Human ES Cell Research," Nature Biotechnology, April 2006)
The President Believes We Must Continue To Explore Hopeful Alternatives And Advance The Cause Of Scientific Research While Staying True To The Ideals Of A Decent And Humane Society. At a moment when ethical alternatives are becoming available, we cannot lose the opportunity to conduct research that would give hope to those suffering from terrible diseases and help move our Nation beyond the current controversies over embryonic stem cell research.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 10/24/2006 12:41:00 PM
Chevy, Dodge to change models
By Bob Margolis, Yahoo! Sports
October 23, 2006
The Charger and Monte Carlo's days in NASCAR are numbered.
Beginning in 2007, Dodge and Chevrolet will campaign new models in Nextel Cup competition, Yahoo! Sports has learned.
Dodge will run the Avenger, while Chevrolet will run the Impala SS, according to sources with some of NASCAR's manufacturers. The change also was indicated in a technical bulletin distributed to all teams last week. Both Dodge and Chevy soon will announce that they have been given approval by NASCAR to change to the new models, with Chevy's announcement possibly coming as soon as this week.
The street version of the new Dodge Avenger, which has been dubbed "the mini-Charger," was introduced at the Paris auto show in September. It is an all-new model that is smaller than, but similar in design to, the Dodge Charger currently being used in NASCAR.
The Avenger is being touted as a direct competitor to the Honda Accord, Ford Fusion and Toyota Camry.
According to the sources, the stock car version has been approved for use by Dodge teams for both the current Nextel Cup car as well as the Car of Tomorrow version, starting next season.
Dodge had high hopes for the Charger when it was introduced back into NASCAR competition in 2005. However, it was plagued with aerodynamic handling problems during its first year because it was designed to make use of a larger rear spoiler that eventually was outlawed by NASCAR well after the final design for the Charger was completed.
Those aerodynamic issues weren't successfully addressed until this season.
The Avenger joins the Coronet, Mirada, Magnum and Intrepid as nameplates Dodge has used in NASCAR. The Charger nameplate was used twice, first in the 1970s and again in 2005.
Chevrolet's use of the Impala marks the second time around for that nameplate in NASCAR, as well. The Impala was the Chevrolet model of choice in NASCAR from the mid-'50s until the late '60s. Chevy also has campaigned the Bel Air, Lumina, Chevelle, Laguna and, of course, the Monte Carlo.
However, unlike its Dodge counterpart, the Impala SS will only be used by Chevrolet teams for their Car of Tomorrow, according to sources.
Manufacturers and NASCAR also are continuing to move forward with plans to change all of the models used in the Busch Series, perhaps as soon as the 2010 season. That change would put smaller, sportier models into competition, like the retro-designed Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger – as well as the Toyota Solara.
Veteran motorsports writer Bob Margolis is Yahoo! Sports' NASCAR reporter. Send Bob a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated on Monday, Oct 23, 2006 3:08 pm EDT
Posted by William N. Phillips, Jr. at 10/24/2006 12:18:00 PM
Special to American Forces Press Service
CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind., Oct. 23, 2006 When asked how it feels to return from a yearlong deployment to Iraq, soldiers of the 655th Transportation Company have a unified response: big smiles.
When asked what they accomplished while deployed, the answers vary. But it quickly becomes apparent that the U.S. Army Reserve unit with headquarters in Jasper, Ala., accomplished a lot.
The approximately 160 soldiers of the 655th were responsible for logistical support of U.S. Army personnel in Iraq, as well as that of coalition and Iraqi security forces. That meant driving lots of trucks for lots of miles -- more than a million miles throughout the country, Army Sgt. 1st Class Anazia Patterson said.
Patterson, a Lafayette, La., native and the unit’s operations and training noncommissioned officer, said moving supplies kept the 655th plenty busy.
"We moved equipment, food and water, the mail," Patterson said. "The trucks would leave with loads, pick up loads in one sector, drop it off in another, pick up another load and bring it back to Camp Adder.”
The company was stationed at Camp Adder, part of Tallil Air Base, near Nasiriyah, Iraq. Drivers could spend anywhere from five to 15 days re-supplying and repositioning equipment for coalition forces as military installations are turned over to Iraqi security forces.
"I know we served forces from El Salvador, Italy, Poland and Russia," Patterson said.
The unit drove more than 1.5 million miles through the hostile areas of Iraq and had multiple contacts with roadside bombs and complex small-arms attacks.
“We had several damaged vehicles, but zero injuries or casualties,” Patterson said.
The unit also conducted about 260 combat logistics patrols, processed about 80 plus Combat Action Badges for direct enemy contact, and received about 95 Driver and Mechanic Badges for a minimum of 8,000 miles per soldier.
The supply section spent countless hours deploying and redeploying equipment to and from the theater of operations by keeping accountability of all assigned equipment in the amount of $10.5 million.
The administration section also worked long hours making sure that all soldiers’ personnel actions were completed and soldiers were paid and promoted throughout the deployment.
Patterson said the 655th is returning as a tight-knit and confident unit, an admirable accomplishment considering the unit is populated with Army reservists primarily from other units. Patterson said soldiers came from California, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, and North and South Carolina.
In addition to its transportation missions, the 655th kept current on training requirements, qualifying regularly on individual and crew-served weapons systems. Many of the soldiers attended schools; the unit left with 15 qualified combat medics and returned with more than 50.
"Some want to have careers in the medical field, others just want to have that extra set of skills," Patterson said. "They were all motivated to be able to help if necessary."
On several occasions those skills were needed. At least twice, members of the 655th helped provide medical assistance at the scene of accidents. Air-assault-qualified members of the unit were able to guide rescue helicopter landings for medical evacuation of injured personnel.
Patterson also pointed to the countless hours put in by support personnel from the unit as good indication of how busy the unit was. Maintenance supervisor Army Staff Sgt. Lona Townsend ran day and night shifts to keep up with a constant need for repair of trucks and trailers.
"There was a lot of upkeep to keep them on the road," Townsend said. "We have 17 mechanics, as well as admin clerks and tool room clerks who took care of the trucks and command maintenance (of) vehicles for the whole unit."
Townsend said the section did everything from minor repairs to complete rebuilds of Humvees. "I'd let any one of them work on my car, … and I have a Mustang," Townsend said.
"Our goal was to keep those drivers on the road and as safe as possible," Townsend said.
The 655th had one final responsibility before returning here, and that was to orient the unit that replaced them. The 655th spent the last several weeks with the 593rd Transportation Company, with headquarters in Nevada, transferring responsibilities and doing their best to set up the 593rd for a mission of equal success.
About 20 soldiers of the 655th volunteered to stay on for an extra tour with the 593rd and other units located at Camp Adder. Patterson said she feels those experienced soldiers will help make a big difference for the 593rd, a unit she says is already on the right track.
"They came in with a good attitude. They wanted to take over; they were willing to learn," Patterson said. "They're going to be OK."
After about five days of personnel processing, the 655th will host a homecoming celebration for family and friends here before they begin to report to their home stations.
Camp Atterbury, Ind.
|Soldiers from the 655th Transportation Company stand in formation at Indianapolis International Airport after returning from a yearlong deployment to Iraq. U.S. Army photo |
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 10/24/2006 10:07:00 AM
Winning the Future for October 23, 2006
Your Vote (Still) Counts
by Newt Gingrich
October 23, 2006
Vol. 1, No. 27
Your Vote (Still) Counts
I began thinking about this week's "Winning the Future" with the belief that I would take a break from talking about the elections coming up in just 15 days. But a week of traveling across the country, speaking to Americans and listening to their thoughts about where our nation is headed has convinced me to share one more thought with you. That thought is this:
Your vote (still) counts.
I know you wouldn't think so if you've been listening to the elite media. They've been telling us for weeks now that the election is over and one side has already won.
It's like I Said: It Ain't Over Until It's Over
And they've been telling us one more thing that is unsupported by the evidence: Conservatives are less likely to turn out and vote this year. But this is not what I see when I meet with Americans across the country. And it's not what the polls are showing. In fact, when the Gallup Poll recently asked conservatives how motivated they feel about getting out and voting this year, a full 70 percent said they were extremely or very motivated about the elections.
I know you understand the importance of turning out to vote on November 7 for a safer, stronger and more prosperous America. But I want to make sure that your neighbors, your co-workers and the people at your place of worship know it too. Our vote counts. Let's not let the elite media fool us into thinking otherwise.
Arizona Voters 1, Judicial Supremacy 0
Speaking of voting, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of democracy this week by deciding that Arizona may go ahead and implement a law that was passed overwhelmingly by the voters, requiring a photo ID to cast a ballot.
Arizona's voter identification law was passed two years ago by the citizens of a state concerned about illegal immigration and the potential impact of illegal voters on their elections. This is an issue we've talked about in "Winning the Future" before: For our democracy to be legitimate, it has to reflect the views of legal and legitimate voters.
Of course, soon after it was passed, the Arizona photo ID law was challenged by the usual coalition of left-liberal groups. They eventually convinced some federal judges to suspend the law while their lawsuit goes forward, reversing the expressed will of the people. In its ruling, the Supreme Court lifted that suspension. It's not total victory -- the court didn't rule on the constitutionality of the law. But it is a useful reminder to voters: There are federal judges out there who are willing and eager to cancel out our democratic decisions with a stroke of their pen. Thankfully, in this case, the Supreme Court got it right.
The Battle of Iwo Jima Remembered
Clint Eastwood's new movie Flags of Our Fathers was released last week.
It is a very powerful film.
It tells the story of the second raising of the American flag atop the Japanese island of Iwo Jima during World War II and of the iconic photo that captured that moment.
Three of the six flag raisers in the famous photo by Joe Rosenthal survived the battle and returned to the United States at the request of President Roosevelt to lead the 7th Bond Drive to raise money for the war effort. The movie revolves around the story of these three -- two marines and one Navy corpsman.
The vivid scenes of battle depicted in this film are unforgettable. The film conveys how in war we ask ordinary people to do extraordinary things and that the heroes we honor are those who lost their lives in battle -- 6,821 Americans were killed in action on Iwo Jima, 5,931 of them Marines. The film also simply and elegantly conveys the reason for such great sacrifice -- to save American lives.
P.S. - Something remarkable happened this weekend: The American people began to rediscover the centrality of God in the history and heritage of our nation.
On Friday, I released my new book, Rediscovering God in America. It's a walking tour of Washington, D.C.'s, monuments and historic buildings that pays special attention to the many references to faith and our Creator that were made by our nation's founders and most important leaders.
It's a book that I'm very proud of, but one that I had expected would have a quieter impact. Boy, was I wrong. From debuting on Amazon.com at No. 4,184 at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, Rediscovering God in America shot up to No. 30 by 11:00 p.m. that same night. By Saturday morning, Sean Hannity sent me an e-mail to let me know that it had reached No. 4 on Amazon.com. That might have had something to do with the fact that I had been on Sean's wildly popular radio show the day before to talk about Rediscovering God in America. Sean had read my book, and I was touched and gratified when he said, "The book increased my faith, and it reminded me of just how special our foundation has been." What a weekend for "Winning the Future."
Posted by William N. Phillips, Jr. at 10/24/2006 09:49:00 AM
It’s very unfashionable these days to say nice things about George W. Bush. After six years of being screamed at by the press, even W’s friends are getting worn down. But that’s no different from Lincoln and Truman. Being screamed at long and hard is practically an entrance test for presidential stature in America.
I’ll bet right now that Bush 43 will come to be seen as one of the most important presidents, not because he has solved the challenges of the war we now face, but because he is the first president to try to do so with all his heart and soul. In the Long War on Islamofascism, future administrations will learn from George W. Bush, just as Cold War presidents learned from Harry S Truman. Truman didn’t win the Cold War, but he defined it for the next forty years. Like Truman’s, this is a watershed administration, gifted with the intelligence and courage to recognize the times we live in.
Sad to say, our Democrat Party isn’t ready to govern. The only thing more terrifying than nuked-up mullahs is the Democrats’ eagerness to give them whatever their tiny hearts desire. It was Bill Clinton who gave two nuclear reactors to Kim Jong Il in exchange for a promise to be good— but with no actual inspections for five years. It was Jimmah Carter who allowed Ayatollah Khomeini to seize power in Tehran, because a religious person like Khomeini just had to be a lot sweeter than the Shah. The sadomasochistic nature of the Khomeini regime is incomprehensible to ole Jimmah, who naturally still thinks he was right all along. The dictionary doesn’t have a word for that kind of folly. It is beyond words.
Clinton and Carter are unable to learn. The press constantly tells them how wonderful they are, and invents new delusions to set the stage for more Democrat fiascos to come. So Clinton and Carter keep the Democrats stuck in a mythic past. Jimmy Carter really believes he had Kim Jong Il changing course toward peace and love in 1994. Clinton presumably believes Yasser Arafat really was going to stick with his solemn agreements with Israel. For the Democrats it’s "shoulda-woulda-coulda" forever and ever.
But great PR does not make for great presidencies. Passing the buck doesn’t do it. Had Lincoln chosen to ignore those shots fired at Fort Sumter in April, 1861 he would have enabled the end of the United States. Had Harry Truman failed to drop the Bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the US would have lost hundreds of thousands more lives—or settled with an Imperial Japan that was only a decade away from nuclear weapons. Such decisions are inhumanly difficult, but they must be made with clarity and courage. That is why Carter and Clinton will forever be third-raters, and why Truman and Bush 43 may be among our best. For our greatest presidents it’s not "book learning" but character that matters.
Moral intuition is the key. Walter Lippmann once said that FDR had a third-rate mind but first-rate political instincts. What Lippmann didn’t say was that most of our lives are governed by finely honed instincts: only intellectuals try to define every word they say, and it constantly gets them snarled up when they try to act: It’s the Hamlet syndrome. In contrast, moral intuition is cherished in Anglo-American conservatism because our intuitions capture truths that cannot be fully articulated. Karl Marx was a creature of German and French philosophy, which is precisely why his ideas have been so immensely destructive of human lives and happiness. Marx represents the triumph of ungrounded intellect over reality-based intuition.
Our chattering classes think that ordinary Americans are stupid, because they don’t know the difference between Slovakia and Slovenia. But they know the difference between right and wrong: which is a lot more important, and an insight in painfully short supply among those who fashion themselves of superior mental capacity.
By the measure of moral clarity and courage, George W. Bush is right up there with the best in American history.
James Lewis is a frequent contributor to American Thinker.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 10/24/2006 09:22:00 AM
Monday, October 23, 2006
Ron Saxton, Republican candidate for Governor of Oregon
Born and raised in Albany, Oregon, Ron Saxton graduated from West Albany High School in 1972 and was the first in his family to complete college, graduating from Willamette University and the University of Virginia Law School.
A passionate education advocate, Ron is recognized as one of Oregon's leading experts on education issues. He was elected to the Portland Public Schools Board in 1997 and served as its Chair from 1998-2000. Ron is also the founding President of the Portland Schools Foundation, a community-based organization that has raised more than $30 million in private contributions to improve student achievement and school performance in Oregon's largest school district.
Ron has also co-chaired the Oregon Higher Education Roundtable, chaired the
Cascade Pacific Council, Boy Scouts of America, and served as a board member of the Saturday Academy, a science and math mentoring program for Oregon's youth.
Named one of the Outstanding Lawyers of America , Ron is a co-founder of the AterWynne law firm where he specializes in complex business transactions involving the energy, manufacturing and natural resource industries. He has also owned a commercial cherry farm and served as a political commentator on KATU television in Portland and for the Medford Mail Tribune . Ron is currently a board member of Associated Oregon Industries and has served on numerous Oregon business boards.
Ron and his wife Lynne, also a fourth-generation Oregonian, recently celebrated their 28 th anniversary. Lynne is the Executive Director of The Christie School, a charitable organization serving children and families throughout Oregon. Together, Lynne and Ron have one son, Andy, an engineer for an Oregon-based defense contractor.
Together, the Saxtons enjoy tennis, traveling, cooking and bike riding, as well as Ron's love for gardening, fly-fishing, baseball and jazz.
A lifelong Republican and common-sense conservative, Ron Saxton is the Republican candidate for Governor who is running to change the way Oregon's government operates.
~Joyce Comments: To find out where Ron Saxton is on issues click here.
Michael Steele, Lieutenant Governor of Maryland and candidate for U.S. Senate
- Became Maryland's FIRST statewide elected African-American.
- One of the first in his family to go to college - graduating from Johns Hopkins University, and receiving his law degree from Georgetown University.
- Named one of the Baltimore Sun's 2003 Legislative Session "Winners" for his efforts to work with both sides of the aisle.
Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele was the first African-American ever elected to statewide office in Maryland. Michael made history once again in October 2005, when he announced his candidacy for the state's open seat in the United States Senate.
Since taking office as Lieutenant Governor with Governor Robert Ehrlich in 2003, Michael has produced real solutions to the real problems facing Marylanders. The Lt. Governor has lead the fight to improve access to better-performing schools; worked alongside law enforcement officials to reduce crime and secure communities; strengthened the state's minority business program to foster greater entrepreneurship; and worked with Maryland conservationists to protect the environment for future generations.
Lt. Gov. Steele has helped redefine the state's goals and commitment towards small and minority businesses in Maryland as chair of the Governor's Commission on Minority Business Enterprise Reform. More recently, he chaired the Governor's Commission on Quality Education in Maryland, which recommended institutional reforms to improve the state's public education system.
Michael currently oversees the Governor's Office on Community Initiatives, partnering with faith-based, community and volunteer organizations to assist the state's most needy. Lt. Governor Steele also serves as a strong advocate for the preservation and advancement of the state's five Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
Michael continues to work with the Maryland police and the Maryland Vehicle Theft Prevention Council to reduce crime and vehicle theft, and he has forged a strong partnership with the mayors of the state's 157 municipalities while strengthening ties between the state and local governments.
Michael Steele was born on October 19, 1958 at Andrews Air Force Base in Prince George's County and was raised in Washington, DC. He graduated from Archbishop Carroll High School, earned his bachelor's degree in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University in 1981, and received his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 1991. Mr. Steele also spent three years as a seminarian in the Order of St. Augustine in preparation for the priesthood.
In 2002, President George W. Bush appointed Mr. Steele to serve a term on the Board of Visitors of the United States Naval Academy. His other affiliations include the State House Trust, the East Baltimore Development Corporation, the Export-Import Bank Advisory Committee and the Prince George's County Chapter of the NAACP.
A 2005 Aspen Institute-Rodel Fellow in Public Leadership, Lt. Governor Steele was recently awarded a Bethune-DuBois Institute 2005 Award for his work in the ongoing development of quality education in Maryland.
Lt. Governor Steele is a member of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Landover Hills, where he attends mass regularly with his wife Andrea and their two sons, Michael and Drew.
Ken Blackwell, Secretary of State and candidate for Governor of Ohio
Republican gubernatorial nominee and two-term Secretary of State Ken Blackwell is a staunch economic conservative providing Ohioans bold and experienced leadership. He believes controlling government spending and cutting taxes will kick-start Ohio's economy – creating jobs and economic prosperity.
Ken Blackwell has a distinguished record of achievement as an educator, diplomat and finance executive. Mr. Blackwell’s public service includes terms as mayor of Cincinnati, an undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission. In 1994, he became the first African American elected to a statewide executive office in Ohio when he was elected Treasurer of State.
Mr. Blackwell is a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and a former member of the federal senior executive service. He is co-chairman of the board of directors of the Campaign Finance Institute in Washington, D.C. and a member of the Harvard Policy Group on Network- Enabled Services and Government. Mr. Blackwell is a member of the national advisory boards of the Princeton Review and Youth for Christ. He also is a former chairman of the U.S. Census Monitoring Board and member of the Advisory Panel of the Federal Elections Commission.
In 2002, he received meritorious recognition from the Center for Digital Government, and was recognized by Government Technology magazine as one of the top 25 public sector leaders in information technology. He is a past president of the National Electronic Commerce Coordinating Council. More than 25 years ago, he began his work in using technology to help government fulfill its mission and commitment to citizens as a member of the board of directors of Public Technology, Inc., located in Washington, D.C.
A certified government finance manager, Mr. Blackwell was a 1999 recipient of the Government Finance Officers Association’s Excellence in Government Award. He is on the board of directors of the National Taxpayers Union, the John M. Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs at Ashland University, and was formerly a domestic policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. He has served on the U.S. Department of Labor’s Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans. Mr. Blackwell was a delegate to the White House Summit on Retirement Savings in both 1998 and 2002. During the 1990s he served on the congressionally appointed National Commission on Economic Growth and Tax Reform, and in 1998, he co-edited a book with Jack Kemp, entitled, “IRS v. The People: Time for Real Tax Reform.”
Mr. Blackwell also has served on the boards of directors of the International Republican Institute, the American Council of Young Political Leaders, and the Congressional Human Rights Foundation. He was a scholar-in-residence at the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights at the University of Cincinnati College of Law.
As the U.S. Representative to the U.N. Human Rights Commission, he led the U.S. delegation to all four of the preparatory meetings for the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and presently serves on the advisory board of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.
His international activities have taken him to 53 countries and strengthened his understanding of emerging international markets and the growth of democracy worldwide. Mr. Blackwell has held the nation’s highest security clearance, and has twice received the U.S. Department of State’s Superior Honor Award from the administrations of Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton for his work in the field of human rights.
He holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Education degrees from Xavier University (OH), where he later served as a vice president and member of its faculty. In 1992, he received Xavier’s Distinguished Alumnus Award. He has been a Fellow at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, the Aspen Institute, the Salzburg Seminar in Austria and the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University (British-American Project). His continuing education has included executive programs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard.
Among his awards are honorary doctoral degrees from several institutions of higher education in Ohio, including Ashland University, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, Lourdes College, Urbana University, Wilberforce University, and Wilmington College, as well as from Indiana Wesleyan University and Franklin Pierce College in New Hampshire. He is a recipient of the Veritas Award from Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, Connecticut and the President's Award for Public Service and Leadership from Central State University in Ohio.
In 1998, Mr. Blackwell delivered the Beckett Lecture on Religious Liberty at Oxford University. He also has lectured at Harvard, the University of Newcastle in England, the Moscow State Institute for International Relations in Russia, and the International Academy of Public Administration in Paris. Many of his speeches and lectures have been published in “Vital Speeches of the Day.”
Mr. Blackwell is a lifelong resident of Cincinnati. He was a founding partner of the highly successful Blue Chip Broadcasting Company. He and his wife of 37 years, Rosa, who currently serves as superintendent of Cincinnati Public Schools, have three adult children, Kimberly, Rahshann, and Kristin. In 1994, the Blackwells were honored as one of the National Council of Negro Women’s Families of the Year, and, in 1996, Mr. and Mrs. Blackwell together received the Martin Luther King, Jr. Dreamkeeper Award. He is a member of the Sigma Pi Phi fraternity. The Blackwells attend Bethlehem Temple Apostolic Church in Cincinnati.
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~Joyce Comments: To see where Ken Blackwell is on the issues click here.
Shelley Sekula Gibbs, At Large member of Houston City council and write-in candidate for House of Representatives District 22 in Texas
Dr. Sekula Gibbs is currently serving her third term as an At Large member of the Houston City council where she helped pass a much needed property tax roll back and assisted in securing $20 million in federal funds to train and hire more police for our area. As a strong proponent for regional Homeland Security, Shelley helped found the Ellington Field Task Force, which not only kept Ellington Field open but also expanded its mission by becoming a Joint Reserve Base. As an advocate for Johnson Space Center/NASA, Shelley works with local business leaders to ensure that Congress supports programs like the Crew Exploration Vehicle and the President's vision of returning to the moon and on to Mars. Shelley was a leader in bringing railroads, industry, and communities together to prevent the construction of the San Jacinto rail in Southeast Harris County that would have devastated property values and endangered thousands of nearby families. Moreover, she helped secure reduced rail transportation rates for captive petrochemical shippers. Understanding the need for economic development in the region, Shelley has worked with numerous municipalities and organizations to bring businesses and jobs to our area while improving transportation and air quality.
When Dr. Sekula Gibbs represents us in Washington, she will work tirelessly to:
- Secure America's Borders
- Reform Immigration Without Amnesty
- Protect Life and the Family
- Guard Against Restrictions to our Right to Bear Arms
- Replace Federal Income Tax with a Fair Tax, Reduce the Debt and Increase Jobs
- Preserve Ellington Field for Local and National Defense
- Support NASA and the Johnson Space Center
- Create a regional Research and Biotechnology hub
- Elliminate Frivilous Law Suits and Provide Affordable Health Insurance
Shelley Sekula Gibbs is a conservative Republican with a strong record of leadership, reform, and integrity. She is a successful businesswoman, wife, and mother who will well represent the citizens of Congressional District 22 while guarding the principles that are key to being a Republican and a patriotic American.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 10/23/2006 10:48:00 AM