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Cooley Hurd

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Member since: 2002
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116 Years Ago Today: USS Maine explodes and sinks in Havana Harbor


In January 1898, Maine was sent from Key West, Florida, to Havana, Cuba, to protect U.S. interests during the Cuban War of Independence. Three weeks later, at 21:40 on 15 February, an explosion on board Maine occurred in the Havana Harbor. Later investigations revealed that more than 5 long tons (5.1 t) of powder charges for the vessel's six and ten-inch guns had detonated, obliterating the forward third of the ship. The remaining wreckage rapidly settled to the bottom of the harbor. Most of Maine's crew were sleeping or resting in the enlisted quarters, in the forward part of the ship, when the explosion occurred. In total 260 men lost their lives as a result of the explosion or shortly thereafter, and six more died later from injuries. Captain Sigsbee and most of the officers survived, because their quarters were in the aft portion of the ship. Altogether, though, there were only 89 survivors, 18 of whom were officers. On 21 March, the US Naval Court of Inquiry, in Key West, declared that a naval mine caused the explosion.

The New York Journal and New York World, owned respectively by William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, gave the Maine intense press coverage, but employed tactics that would later be labeled "yellow journalism." Both papers exaggerated and distorted any information they could attain, sometimes even fabricating "news" when none that fitted their agenda was available. For a week following the sinking, the Journal devoted a daily average of eight and a half pages of news, editorials and pictures to the tragedy. Its editors sent a full team of reporters and artists to Havana, including Frederic Remington, and Hearst announced a reward of $50,000 "for the conviction of the criminals who sent 258 American sailors to their deaths." The World, while overall not as lurid or shrill in tone as the Journal, nevertheless indulged in similar theatrics, insisting continually that the Maine had been bombed or mined. Privately, Pulitzer believed that "nobody outside a lunatic asylum" really believed that Spain sanctioned the Maine's destruction. Nevertheless, this did not stop the World from insisting that the only "atonement" Spain could offer the U.S. for the loss of ship and life, was the granting of complete Cuban independence. Nor did it stop the paper from accusing Spain of "treachery, willingness, or laxness" for failing to ensure the safety of Havana Harbor. The American public, already agitated over reported Spanish atrocities in Cuba, was driven to increased hysteria.

The Maine's destruction did not result in an immediate declaration of war with Spain. However, the event created an atmosphere that virtually precluded a peaceful solution. The Spanish–American War began in April 1898, two months after the sinking. Advocates of the war used the rallying cry, "Remember the Maine! To Hell with Spain!" The episode focused national attention on the crisis in Cuba, but was not cited by the William McKinley administration as a casus belli, though it was cited by some hawks already inclined to go to war with Spain over perceived atrocities and loss of control in Cuba.

Christie vacationing in Puerto Rico during crippling winter storm aftermath in NJ


Washington (CNN) - On the heels of a major winter storm that blanketed his state with snow, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie spent Friday at a resort in Puerto Rico with his family.

CNN was alerted to his whereabouts by a person who saw the governor poolside at a resort in San Juan.

Asked to confirm if Christie is in Puerto Rico, a spokesman for the governor said he is on a brief vacation with his family.

"After the storm had passed, the governor left the state this morning for a long weekend away with his family, and he will return Monday night," said spokesman Colin Reed.

In accordance with state protocol, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno is in charge of government business until Christie returns.

Democrats criticized Christie in December 2010 for not cutting short a family vacation to Disney World while a massive blizzard brought New Jersey to a standstill. Guadagno was also out of state at that time.

Former 2nd Lady Joan Mondale Dies at Age 83

Source: ABC

ABC News link:

Joan Mondale, who built a reputation as a national cultural arts advocate while her husband was vice president, has died.

Her family issued a statement through their church saying she died Monday afternoon with family by her side.

Mondale was so passionate about the arts that she was nicknamed "Joan of Art." She herself was an avid potter when her husband Walter, then a Democratic U.S. senator from Minnesota, was elected Jimmy Carter's vice president in 1976.

Read more: http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/2nd-lady-joan-mondale-dies-age-22352296

Gross gently, Joan and comfort to those left behind.

55 Years Ago Today: The Day the Music Died


The Day the Music Died, so dubbed by a lyric in the Don McLean song "American Pie," is a reference to the deaths of rock and roll musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson, in a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa, on February 3, 1959. Pilot Roger Peterson was also killed.

After terminating his partnership with The Crickets, Buddy Holly assembled a new band consisting of Waylon Jennings, Tommy Allsup, and Carl Bunch, to play on the '"Winter Dance Party" tour. The tour also featured rising artists Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper, who were promoting their own recordings as well. The tour was to cover 24 Midwestern cities in three weeks.

The distance between venues and the conditions prevalent aboard the poorly equipped tour buses adversely affected the performers. Cases of flu spread among the band members, and Carl Bunch was hospitalized due to frostbite. Frustrated by the conditions, Holly decided to charter a plane when they stopped for their performance in the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, to reach their next venue in Moorhead, Minnesota. Carroll Anderson, owner of the Surf Ballroom, chartered the plane from the Dwyer Flying Service. Richardson, who was affected by the flu, swapped places with Waylon Jennings, taking the latter's place on the plane, while Tommy Allsup lost his place to Ritchie Valens on a coin toss. Dion DiMucci (of Dion and the Belmonts fame) decided not to board the plane for the $36 fee.

The investigation of the incident determined that soon after take off, a combination of poor weather conditions and pilot error caused spatial disorientation that made pilot Roger Peterson lose control of the plane. Hubert Dwyer, owner of the flight service company, could not establish radio contact and reported the aircraft missing the next morning. He took off in his own Cessna 180 and spotted the wreckage less than six miles (9.7 km) northwest of the originating airport in a cornfield. He notified the authorities who dispatched Deputy Bill McGill, who drove to the wreck site and found the bodies of the passengers and pilot. They were later identified by Carroll Anderson.

TJ Holmes should have his own weekday show on MSNBC...

He's "subbing" for the usual weekend news host now, but he really should have his own show. He's brilliant and personable.

Live event - the christening of the USNS John Glenn - he's speaking now:


SPECIAL REPORT- Japan's homeless recruited for murky Fukushima clean-up


SENDAI, Japan, Dec. 30 (Reuters) - Seiji Sasa hits the train station in this northern Japanese city before dawn most mornings to prowl for homeless men.

He isn't a social worker. He's a recruiter. The men in Sendai Station are potential laborers that Sasa can dispatch to contractors in Japan's nuclear disaster zone for a bounty of $100 a head.

"This is how labor recruiters like me come in every day," Sasa says, as he strides past men sleeping on cardboard and clutching at their coats against the early winter cold.

It's also how Japan finds people willing to accept minimum wage for one of the most undesirable jobs in the industrialized world: working on the $35 billion, taxpayer-funded effort to clean up radioactive fallout across an area of northern Japan larger than Hong Kong.


Dear Fox News; thank you for making Christmas SUCK!

I work in Medical Software and speak to my clients on a daily basis. Clients who are of different religions and ethnic backgrounds. Because of this, and because I'm respectful, I wish all who I speak to on the phone a "Happy Holiday" this time of year.

Well, some intolerant Fox News watcher, when I wished them this all-encompassing greeting, YELLED at me on the phone today, "It's Christmas!!" Yeah... actually fucking YELLED at me! Stunned, I said, "um, and you too." I hung up, dejected and saddened.

Happy Holidays has been an accepted greeting for as long as I can remember. We had some silly paper thing that hung on our front door throughout the 60's and 70's that said "Happy Holidays" and, for the life of me NO one ever objected to it! Fast-forward 40 years and NOW silly assholes who watch this God-awful, intolerant cable news network now ATTACK those who offer this greeting.

Fox News, you just plain suck for ruining this time of year with your divisive bullshit. You are NOT "champions of Christmas". You are helping destroy it.

"Yesterday... December Seventh... 1941... A date which will live in infamy..."

CNN Breaking: Metro North Commuter Train Derailment in the Bronx

Here's a USA Today link:


A train derailed Sunday morning at a station in the Bronx, media outlets are reporting.

CNN, citing the New York Fire Department, said about 100 firefighters are responding to the scene in the Bronx. The Associated Press, quoting a woman at the scene, is says the some cars of the Metro-North passenger train toppled into water. A woman at the scene, Rebecca Schwartz, told AP that numerous emergency vehicles have responded.

BusinessInsider has images:


...and an aerial shot from Twitter:
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