Thursday, August 29, 2013

Fantasy Football: CBS Sports

Okay, so now we are down to my last three teams in CBS Sports Fantasy Football leagues. To this point, everything seems to be going well. That's because all my previous teams are in 10 team leagues. The leagues I am in with CBS are 12 team leagues, meaning, all the players that dropped to me in previous drafts probably aren't going to drop in these drafts. With two extra teams in the leagues, that's 28 more players that will be drafted. Instead of ten players selected each round, now we have 12 players that will be selected so the pickings will be slim as we go along. This makes it more of a challenge. And I like challenges.


Columbus has been a consistent winner for me. They sport a record of 45-24-1. And a playoff record of 4-3. They have played in two league championship games, winning one in 2010. They were my best team last year losing in the championship game. This team has yet to have a losing season with their worst year coming in 2011 when they went 7-7. For the better part, this team is still a work in progress after the draft. More than likely, I will be trading some players. The primary player who I will probably trade is RB Darren McFadden. There seems to be a lot of interest in him. I didn't really want him when I drafted him but the players I was hoping to get in his stead were already plucked from the board. He was the best option at the time and I drafted him with intentions on trading him for either a WR or perhaps a TE or both. WR Kendall Wright is also on the trading block. Otherwise, I'm fairly happy with who I ended up with. I have two solid QB's. Good options at RB and some serviceable WR's. If the right offer comes along, this team will be upgraded before the season begins. Unless a trade does unfold, it could be a dogfight to make the post-season. 


Waverly has been around for only a few years. They have a career record of 25-17 and a playoff record of 3-1. They won their league championship their first year and lost the championship game their second year. Last year was a complete disaster, finishing 4-10. However this year presents hope. QB Ryan, RB's Martin and Murray and TE Graham make this team relevant. I could be adding QB Romo to this team soon and WR Mike Williams as I have wavier claims on them and hopefully, they will go through. if so, this team could be more potent and have a real good shot at making the playoffs and making a run for another championship. I have had a few trade offers but none that I deemed beneficial for the team.


I saved this team for last in this post because quite frankly, I really like it. From top to bottom, it looks solid and could make a run for a championship. For their history, Ross County hasn't done so well despite a 49-32-2 record. A post season record of 2-2. They only qualified for post season play twice in their six years despite never having a losing record either. Their worst year was 7-7 in 2011. Other than that, they usually end up with 8 or 9 wins and of their four non qualifying playoff seasons, three of those years they missed the post season by one win. They do make it exciting though. It always seems to come down to the final game of the year with them and thus far, they have been losing those games. But as you can see, I have QB Ryan, RB Martin, WR Nelson, TE Graham and some solid players in RB Bush, Mendenhall and Mathews (if they stay healthy) and WR's Williams and Maclin. I like QB Eli Manning backing up Ryan too. Overall, I have high expectations with this team. 

There it is. All my Fantasy Football teams are ready to go. Wish me luck! LOL


Monday, August 26, 2013

Flag Of Germany

The Flag of Germany is a tricolour consisting of three equal horizontal bands displaying the national colours of Germany: black, red, and gold. The flag was first adopted as the national flag of modern Germany in 1919, during the Weimar Republic.

The black-red-gold tricolour first appeared in the early 19th century and achieved prominence during the 1848 Revolutions. The short-lived Frankfurt Parliament of 1848–1850 proposed the tricolour as a flag for a united and democratic German state. With the formation of the Weimar Republic after World War I, the tricolour was adopted as the national flag of Germany. Following World War II, the tricolour was designated as the flag of both West and East Germany. The two flags were identical until 1959, when the East German flag was augmented with the coat of arms of East Germany. Since reunification on 3 October 1990, the black-red-gold tricolour has remained the flag of Germany.

The flag of Germany has not always used black, red, and gold as its colours. After the Austro-Prussian War in 1866, the Prussian-dominated North German Confederation adopted a tricolour of black-white-red as its flag. This flag later became the flag of the German Empire, formed following the unification of Germany in 1871, and was used until 1918. Black, white, and red were reintroduced as the German national colours with the establishment of Nazi Germany in 1933, with the deliberate attempt to replace German republican colours with imperial colors.

The color schemes of black-red-gold and black-white-red have played an important role in the history of Germany and have had various meanings. The colours of the modern flag are associated with the republican democracy formed after World War I, and represent German unity and freedom: not only the freedom of Germany, but also the personal freedom of the German people. During the Weimar Republic, the black-red-gold colours were the colours of the democratic, centrist and republican political parties, as opposed to the political right and political left, as seen in the name of Reichsbanner Schwarz-Rot-Gold, formed by members of the SPD, the German Centre Party, and the German Democratic Party to defend the republic against extremists on the right and left, to teach the population to respect the new republic and to honour its flag and the constitution.

The German association with the colours black, red, and gold surfaced in the radical 1840s, when the black-red-gold flag was used to symbolize the movement against the Conservative European Order that was established after Napoleon's defeat.

The Frankfurt Parliament had declared the black-red-gold as the official colours of the German Confederation, with the red in the tricolour most likely referencing the Hanseatic League, and the gold and black symbolizing Austria as its empire, considered to be "German", had an influence over (what would become) southern Germany. There are many theories in circulation regarding the origins of the colour scheme utilized in the 1848 flag. It has been proposed that the colours were those of the Jena Student's League, one of the radically minded Burschenschaften banned by Metternich in the Carlsbad Decrees. Another claim goes back to the uniforms (mainly black with red facings and gold buttons) of the Lützow Free Corps, comprising mostly university students and formed during the struggle against the occupying forces of Napoleon. It is during the mid-nineteenth century that red became synonymous with revolution and Karl Marx's socialist vision. Whatever the true explanation, these colours soon came to be regarded as the national colours of Germany during this brief period, and especially after their reintroduction during the Weimar period, they have become synonymous with liberalism in general.

The German national flag or Bundesflagge (federal flag), containing only the black-red-gold tricolour, was introduced as part of the (West) German constitution in 1949. Following the creation of separate government and military flags in later years, the plain tricolour is now used as the German civil flag and civil ensign. This flag is also used by non-federal authorities to show their connection to the federal government, e.g. the authorities of the German states use the German national flag together with their own flag.

The government flag of Germany is officially known as the Dienstflagge der Bundesbehörden (state flag of the federal authorities) or Bundesdienstflagge for short. Introduced in 1950, the government flag is the civil flag defaced with the Bundesschild ("Federal Shield"), which overlaps with up to one fifth of the black and gold bands. The Bundesschild is a variant of the coat of arms of Germany, whose main differences are the illustration of the eagle and the shape of the shield: the Bundesschild is rounded in base, the standard coat of arms is pointed. The government flag may only be used by federal government authorities and its use by others is an offence, punishable with a fine. However, public use of flags similar to the Bundesdienstflagge (e.g. using the actual coat of arms instead of the Bundesschild) is tolerated, and such flags are sometimes seen at international sporting events.

Since the German armed forces (Bundeswehr) are a federal authority, the Bundesdienstflagge is also used as the German war flag on land. In 1956, the Dienstflagge der Seestreitkräfte der Bundeswehr (Flag of the German Navy) was introduced: the government flag ending in swallowtail. This naval flag is also used as a navy jack.

Source: Wikipedia

This work released under CC 3.0 BY-SA - Creative Commons

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sharon Desruisseaux Interviews Carroll Bryant

After a one year hiatus from giving interviews, I finally broke down and decided to give one. When author Sharon Desruisseaux came to me and asked if I would give her one for her new blog, "SharonDNovels", how could I say no? After all, she was kind enough to let me interview her. LOL

So if you good people get a chance, please take a look. I mean, it has been over a year and a lot has been going on so, you might be surprised about what you learn. LOL

Oh, for crying out loud, go read it. Here, I'll leave a link. Ha-ha


Friday, August 23, 2013

Jesse Ventura: Influences

Ventura was born James George Janos, on July 15th, 1951, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the son of Bernice Martha (née Lenz) and George William Janos, both of whom were World War II veterans. Ventura has an older brother who served in the Vietnam War. Ventura has described himself as Slovak; his father's parents were from what is now Slovakia, and his mother was of German ancestry. Ventura was raised a Lutheran. He attended the now-closed Cooper Elementary School and graduated from Minneapolis' Roosevelt High School in 1969.

From December 1st, 1969, to September 10th, 1975, during the Vietnam War era, Ventura served in the United States Navy. Ventura graduated with BUD/S class 68 in December 1970 and was part of Underwater Demolition Team 12

Ventura has frequently referred to his military career in public statements and debates. He was criticized by hunters and conservationists for stating in an interview with the Minneapolis StarTribune in April 2001, "Until you have hunted men, you haven't hunted yet."

In January 2002, Ventura, who had never specifically claimed to have fought in Vietnam, disclosed for the first time that he did not see combat. However, Ventura, who was stationed at Subic Bay in the Philippines, was awarded the Vietnam Service Medal, which was given to military personnel who took part in the contributions to the war effort in Vietnam.

Near the end of his service in the Navy, Ventura began to spend time with the "Dago" chapter of the Mongols motorcycle club, in San Diego. He would ride onto Naval Base Coronado on his Harley-Davidson wearing his Mongol colors. According to Ventura he was a full-patch member of the club and even third in command of his chapter, though he never got into trouble with the authorities. In the fall of 1974, Ventura left the bike club to return to Minnesota. Shortly after the Mongols entered into open warfare with their rivals, the Hells Angels.

In Minnesota Ventura attended North Hennepin Community College in the mid-1970s. At the same time, he began weightlifting and wrestling. He was a bodyguard for The Rolling Stones for a short time before he ventured into professional wrestling and changed his name.

He created the stage name Jesse "The Body" Ventura to go with the persona of a bully-ish beach bodybuilder, picking the name "Ventura" from a map as part of his "bleach blond from California" character. As a wrestler, Ventura performed as a villain and often used the motto "Win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat!" Much of his flamboyant persona was adapted from "Superstar" Billy Graham, a charismatic and popular performer during the 1970s and '80s. Years later, as a broadcaster, Ventura made a running joke out of it claiming that Graham stole all of his ring attire ideas from him. 

In 1975, Ventura made his debut in the Central States territory, before moving to the Pacific Northwest, where he wrestled for promoter Don Owen as Jesse "The Great" Ventura. During his stay in Portland, Oregon, he had notable feuds with Dutch Savage and Jimmy Snuka and won the Pacific Northwest Wrestling title twice (once from each wrestler), and the tag team title five times (twice each with Bull Ramos and "Playboy" Buddy Rose, and once with Jerry Oates). He later moved to his hometown promotion, the American Wrestling Association in Minnesota, and began teaming with Adrian Adonis as the "East-West Connection" in 1979. In his RF Video shoot in 2012 he revealed that shortly after he arrived in the AWA he was given the nickname "the Body" by Verne. The duo won the promotion's World Tag Team Championship on July 20th, 1980, on a forfeit when Verne Gagne, one-half of the tag team champions along with Mad Dog Vachon, failed to show up for a title defense in Denver, Colorado. The duo held the belts for nearly a year, losing to "The High Flyers" (Greg Gagne and Jim Brunzell)

Ventura continued to wrestle until September 1984, when blood clots in his lungs ended his in-ring career. Ventura claimed the blood clots were a result of his exposure to Agent Orange during his time in Vietnam. Ventura did return to the ring in 1985 forming a tag-team with "Macho Man" Randy Savage & Savage's manager (and real life wife) Miss Elizabeth. Often after their televised matches Ventura would taunt and challenge fellow commentator Bruno Sammartino, but nothing ever came of this. He also participated in a six-man tag team match in December 1985 as he, Roddy Piper, and "Cowboy" Bob Orton defeated Hillbilly Jim, Uncle Elmer, and Cousin Luke in a match which was broadcast on Saturday Night's Main Event. The tag match against the Hillbillies came about after Piper and Orton interrupted Elmer's wedding ceremony and Ventura, who was under instruction from Vince McMahon to "bury them", insulted Elmer and his wife during commentary of what was a real wedding ceremony at the Meadowlands Arena by proclaiming when they kissed "OMG they look like two Carp in the middle of the Mississippi River going after the same piece of corn" (according to Ventura the wedding was real as at the time the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board would not allow the WWF to stage a fake wedding in the state of New Jersey, so Stan Frazier (Uncle Elmer) and his fiance agreed to have a real in-ring wedding) 

In 1987, while negotiating his contract as a WWF commentator, Ventura waived his rights to royalties on videotape sales when he was falsely told that only feature performers received such royalties. In 1991, having discovered that other non-feature performers received royalties, Ventura brought an action for fraud, misappropriation of publicity rights, and quantum meruit in Minnesota state court against Titan Sports. Titan removed the case to federal court, and Ventura won an $801,333 jury verdict on the last claim. The judgment was affirmed on appeal, and the case, 65 F.3d 725 (8th Cir.1995), is an important result in the law of restitution.

Nearing the end of his wrestling career, Ventura began an acting career. He acted in the 1987 movie Predator, whose cast included future California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and future Kentucky Gubernatorial candidate Sonny Landham. Ventura became close friends with Schwarzenegger during the production of Predator. He appeared in two episodes of Zorro filmed in Madrid, Spain, in 1991. He had a starring role in the 1990 sci-fi movie Abraxa, Guardian of the Universe, and supporting roles in The Running Man, Thunderground, Demolition Man, Repossessed, Ricochet, The Master of Disguise (in which he steals the Liberty Bell), and Batman & Robin – the first two and last of these also starring Schwarzenegger. Ventura also made a cameo appearance in Major League II, as "White Lightning". He also appeared as a self help guru (voice only) in The Ringer trying to turn Johnny Knoxville into a more confident worker. Ventura also had a cameo in The X-Files episode "Jose Chung's From Outer Space" as a Man in Black alongside fellow 'MiB' Alex Trebek. In 2008, Ventura was in the independent comedy Woodshop, starring as a high school shop teacher named Mr. Madson. The film was released September 7th, 2010.

Following his departure from the WWF, Ventura took advice from a former high school teacher and ran for mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota in 1990. Ventura defeated the city's 25-year incumbent mayor and served from 1991 to 1995.

Ventura ran for Governor of Minnesota in 1998 as the nominee for the Reform Party of Minnesota (he later joined the Independence Party of Minnesota when the Reform Party broke from its association with the Reform Party of the United States of America). His campaign consisted of a combination of aggressive grassroots events and original television spots, designed by quirky adman Bill Hillsman, using the phrase "Don't vote for politics as usual." He spent considerably less than his opponents (about $300,000) and was a pioneer in his using the Internet as a medium of reaching out to voters in a political campaign.

He won the election in November 1998, narrowly (and unexpectedly) defeating the major-party candidates, St. Paul mayor Norm Coleman (Republican) and Minnesota Attorney General Hubert H. "Skip" Humphrey III (Democratic-Farmer-Labor). After his victory, bumper stickers and T-shirts bearing the slogan "My governor can beat up your governor" appeared in Minnesota. The nickname "Jesse 'The Mind'" (from a last-minute Hillsman ad featuring Ventura posing as Rodin's Thinker) began to resurface sarcastically in reference to his frequently controversial remarks. Ventura's old stage name "Jesse 'The Body'" (sometimes adapted to "Jesse 'The Governing Body'") also continued to appear with some regularity. 

After a trade mission to China in 2002, Ventura announced that he would not run for a second term, stating that he no longer felt dedicated enough to his job to run again as well as what he viewed were constant attacks on his family by the media. Ventura accused the media of hounding him and his family for personal behavior and belief while neglecting coverage of important policy issues. He later told a reporter for The Boston Globe that he would have run for a second term if he had been single, citing the media's effect on his family life.

Governor Ventura sparked media criticism when, nearing the end of his term, he suggested that he might resign from office early to allow his lieutenant governor, Mae Schunk, an opportunity to serve as governor. He further stated that he wanted her to be the state's first female governor and have her portrait painted and hung in the Capitol along with the other governors. Ventura quickly retreated from the comments, saying he was just floating an idea.

In political debates, Ventura often admitted that he had not formed an opinion on certain policy questions. Ventura frequently described himself as "fiscally conservative and socially liberal." He selected teacher Mae Schunk as his running mate.

Lacking a party base in the Minnesota House of Representatives and Senate, Ventura's policy ambitions had little chance of being introduced as bills. Initially, the residents of Minnesota feared Ventura's vetoes would be overturned. He vetoed 45 bills in his first year, and only three of those vetoes were overridden. The reputation for having his vetoes overridden comes from his fourth and final year, where six of his nine vetoes were overturned. He vetoed a bill to require recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools. Nevertheless, Ventura was still successful in several initiatives. One of the most notable was the rebate on sales tax. In each year of his administration, Minnesotans received a tax-free check in the late summer. The state was running a budget surplus at the time, and Ventura believed that the money should be returned to the public.

Later, he came to support a unicameral (one-house) legislature, property tax reform, gay rights, and abortion rights. While funding public school education generously, he opposed the teachers' union, and did not have a high regard for the public funding of higher education institutions. Additionally, Ventura supported the use of medicinal marijuana, advocated a higher role for third parties in national politics, and favored the concept of instant-runoff voting. He also opposed the death penalty.
In an interview on The Howard Stern Show, he reaffirmed his support of gay rights, including gay marriage and gays in the military, humorously stating he would've gladly served alongside homosexuals when he was in the Navy as they would've provided less competition for women. (Later, on the subject of a 2012 referendum on amending the Minnesota constitution to limit marriage to male-female couples, Ventura elaborated "I certainly hope that people don't amend our constitution to stop gay marriage because, number one, the constitution is there to protect people – not oppress them", and went on to relate a story from his pro wrestling days of a friend who was denied hospital visitation to his same-sex partner.)

Ventura was elected on a Reform party ticket, but he never received support from Ross Perot's Texas faction. When the Reform party was taken over by Pat Buchanan supporters before the presidential elections of 2000, Ventura left the party in February 2000, referring to it as "hopelessly dysfunctional". However, he maintained close ties to the Independence Party of Minnesota, which also broke from the Reform party around the same time.

During the first part of his administration, Ventura strongly advocated for land-use reform and substantial mass transit improvements, such as light rail. He made the light rail project a priority, obtaining additional funding from the Minnesota state legislature to keep the project moving. The Hiawatha Line was completed in 2004.

During another trade mission to Cuba in the summer of 2002, he denounced the American economic sanctions against Cuba, stating that the sanctions affected the Cuban public more than it did its government.

In his book Independent Nation, political analyst John Avlon describes Ventura as a radical centrist thinker and activist.

Ventura, who ran on a Reform Party ticket and advocated for a greater role for third parties in American politics, is highly critical of both Democrats and Republicans. Ventura described both parties as "monsters that are out of control" who are concerned only with "their own agendas and their pork."

Despite having been a supporter of third parties as governor and having voted for Ralph Nader in 2008 as a protest vote, although he did vote for John Kerry in the 2004 Presidential election, Ventura has since declared he no longer supports the third party movement and advocates that all political parties, including third parties, be abolished. Feeling that the two-party system has corrupted the government, Ventura has expressed concern that if a third party became as successful as the Republicans and Democrats, it "will likewise have to corrupt itself. If you already have a two-headed monster, why would you need three?" Ventura still remains an independent and has indicated in the event he runs for political office in the future, he would not run with any political party.

Ventura greatly disapproved of some of the actions that took place at the 2002 memorial for Senator Paul Wellstone, his family, and others who died in a plane crash on October 25th, 2002. Ventura said, "I feel used. I feel violated and duped over the fact that the memorial ceremony turned into a political rally". He left halfway through the controversial speech made by Wellstone's best friend, Rick Kahn. Ventura had initially planned to appoint a Democrat to Wellstone's seat, but he instead appointed Dean Barkley to represent Minnesota in the Senate until Wellstone's term expired in January 2003. Barkley was succeeded by Norm Coleman, who won the seat following the political backlash that resulted from Wellstone's memorial service and indirectly helped Republicans achieve a net gain of two seats in the U.S. Senate and eight in the U.S. House.

After the legislature refused to increase spending for security, Ventura attracted criticism when he decided not to live in the governor's mansion during his tenure, choosing instead to shut it down and stay at his home in Maple Grove. Critics pointed to the loss of jobs for several working-class people at the mansion and the extra cost of reopening the mansion later.

In 1999, a group of disgruntled citizens petitioned to recall Governor Ventura, alleging, among other things, that "the use of state security personnel to protect the governor on a book promotion tour constituted illegal use of state property for personal gain." The petition was denied.

During his tenure as Governor, Ventura drew frequent fire from the press in the Twin Cities. He referred to reporters as "media jackals," a term that even appeared on the press passes required to enter the governor's press area. Shortly after Ventura's election as governor, author and humorist Garrison Keillor wrote a satirical book about the event, spoofing Ventura as "Jimmy (Big Boy) Valente," a self-aggrandizing former "Navy W.A.L.R.U.S. (Water Air Land Rising Up Suddenly)" turned professional wrestler turned politician. Initially, Ventura responded angrily to the satire, but later, in a conciliatory vein, said that Keillor "makes Minnesota proud". During his term, Ventura appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman, in which he responded controversially to the following question: "So which is the better city of the Twin Cities, Minneapolis or St. Paul?". Ventura responded, "Minneapolis. Those streets in St. Paul must have been designed by drunken Irishmen". He later apologized for the remark, adding that it was not intended to be taken seriously.

While Ventura has not held public office since the end of his term as governor in 2003, he has remained politically active and has occasionally hinted at intentions of possibly running again for political office. In an interview on CNN's The Situation Room on April 7, 2008, Ventura said that he was considering entering the race for the United States Senate seat then held by Norm Coleman, his Republican opponent in the 1998 Gubernatorial race. A poll commissioned by Twin Cities station Fox 9 put him at 24 percent, behind Democratic candidate Al Franken at 32 percent and Norm Coleman at 39 percent in a hypothetical three-way race. However, Ventura announced on Larry King Live on July 14th, 2008, that he would not run; Ventura's decision not to join the race was partly rooted from a fear of a potential lack of privacy for his family, a concern that contributed to his refusal to seek a second term as governor. Al Franken ended up winning the election.

In his 1999 autobiography I Ain't Got Time to Bleed, Ventura suggested he did not plan on running for the presidency but did not rule out such an idea. He spoke at Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul's "Rally for the Republic", organized by the Campaign for Liberty, on September 2nd, 2008. At the event, Ventura implied a possible future run at the U.S. Presidency. At the end of his speech, Ventura announced before a live audience that if America proves itself worthy, then "in 2012 we'll give them a race they'll never forget!" In 2011, Ventura expressed interest in running with Ron Paul for the 2012 presidential elections if the latter decided to run as an independent. On November 4th, 2011, Ventura said at a press conference about the dismissal of his court case against the Transportation Security Administration for what he claims are illegal searches of air travelers, that he is "thinking about" running for President. There had been reports that officials from the Libertarian Party have tried to persuade Ventura to run for the presidency on a Libertarian ticket although the party chairman Mark Hinkle said, "Jesse is more interested in 2016 than he is in 2012. But I think he's serious. If Ron Paul ran as a Libertarian, I think he definitely would be interested in running as a vice presidential candidate. He's thinking, ‘If I run as the vice presidential candidate under Ron Paul in 2012, I could run as a presidential candidate in 2016."

David Gewirtz of ZDNet wrote in a November 2011 article that he thinks Ventura would have a chance at winning, if he declared his intention to run at that point and ran a serious campaign, but that it would be a long shot.

In September 2012, Ventura announced on several shows, including Piers Morgan Tonight, The View, The Alex Jones Show, and The Howard Stern Show that if a grass roots movement gets him national ballot access in all fifty states and Puerto Rico, as well as access to participate in the presidential candidate debates, he will "seriously consider" running for president in 2016, as an Independent.

Ventura was succeeded in his office on January 6th, 2003, by Republican Tim Pawlenty. He began a cable television show in October 2003, on MSNBC called Jesse Ventura's America. The show was broadcast once a week, on Saturdays, unlike many MSNBC shows which are on five nights a week (this show was originally planned for five nights a week as well, but MSNBC executives changed their minds). At the time of its airing, Jesse Ventura's America was the only national television show filmed in Minnesota. Among his guests were Charles Barkley, Gray Davis, Arianna Huffington, Rob Kampia, and Kathy McKee. However, the show was short-lived and ended on December 26th, 2003, only a couple of months after it began. Although MSNBC executives said the show was cancelled because the show was too expensive to make, Ventura argued that the show was shelved because of his opposition to the Iraq War, saying that MSNBC did not want him becoming a prominent opponent to the war.

On October 22nd, 2004, with Ventura by his side, former Governor of Maine Angus King endorsed John Kerry for President at the Minnesota state capitol building. Ventura did not speak at the press conference. When prodded for a statement, King responded, "He plans to vote for John Kerry, but he doesn't want to make a statement and subject himself to the tender mercies of the Minnesota press". In the 2012 Senate elections, Ventura endorsed King in his campaign for the open Senate seat in Maine, in which King won.

In November 2004, an advertisement began airing in California featuring Ventura. In it, Ventura voiced his opposition to then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's policies regarding Native American casinos. Ventura served as an advisory board member for a group called Operation Truth, a non-profit organization set up "to give voice to troops who served in Iraq." “The current use of the National Guard is wrong....These are men who did not sign up to go occupy foreign nations”.

On December 29th, 2011, Ventura announced his support for Ron Paul on the Alex Jones Show for the 2012 Presidential Election as "the only anti-war candidate." However, after Mitt Romney became the presumptive nominee for the Republican party presidential candidate in May 2012, Ventura gave his support to Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson on June 12th, 2012, whom Ventura argued was the choice for voters who “really want to rebel.”

In September 2012, Ventura and his wife appeared in an advertisement calling for voters to reject a referendum to be held in Minnesota during the November elections that would ban same-sex marriages in the state. The referendum was defeated.  

In a brief interview with Alex Jones in September 2006, Ventura began expressing doubts regarding the events behind the September 11 attacks. Ventura expressed concern over NORAD's response to the four commercial airliners that were hijacked and compared it to the response to the plane crash that killed professional golfer Payne Stewart in 1999, in which fighter jets were scrambled to intercept Stewart's jet. However, Ventura did not state that he believed the government orchestrated the attacks, but did argue that the government has contemplated false flag attacks in the past, citing Operation Northwoods as an example.

In April and May 2008, Jesse Ventura, in several radio interviews for his new book, Don't Start the Revolution Without Me, reiterated his concerns about what he described as some of the unanswered questions about 9/11. His remarks about the possibility that the World Trade Center was demolished with explosives were also repeated in newspaper and television stories following some of the interviews.

On May 18th, 2009, when asked by Sean Hannity of Fox News, how George W. Bush could have avoided the attacks of September 11th, 2001, Ventura answered, "Well, you pay attention to memos on August 6th that tell you exactly what bin Laden's gonna do."

On April 9th, 2011, when Piers Morgan from CNN asked Ventura what his official view on the events of 9/11 was, Ventura said, "My theory of 9/11 is that we certainly – at the best we knew it was going to happen. They allowed it to happen to further their agenda in the Middle East and go to these wars."

In August 2009, it was announced that Ventura would host TruTV's new show Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura. "Ventura will hunt down answers, plunging viewers into a world of secret meetings, midnight surveillance, shifty characters and dark forces," truTV said in a statement. On the program, which debuted on December 2, 2009, Ventura travels the country, investigating cases and getting input from believers and skeptics before passing judgment on a theory's validity.

According to TruTV, the first episode drew 1.6 million viewers, a record for a new series on the network.

The second season of the series debuted in October 2010 and aired 8 episodes through December 2010.

A third season began airing in November 2012.

In January 2011, Jesse Ventura filed a lawsuit against the Transportation Security Administration for being subject to controversial pat-downs. Ventura, who received a titanium hip replacement in 2008 that sets off metal detectors at airport security checkpoints, has asserted that these pat-downs violate citizens' Fourth Amendment rights. Ventura's attorney has claimed that while he is not seeking any monetary compensation, Ventura wants an acknowledgment from the court that his rights were violated and that the TSA halt future pat-downs on him. Ventura stated that as a former politician and a military veteran and posing no threat, it is inappropriate for him to be subject to pat-downs.
The lawsuit was dismissed in November 2011 under the ruling that Ventura should have filed the lawsuit in the Court of Appeals. In related comments to the media following the lawsuit's dismissal, Ventura stated he believed America had become "fascist" for the secret ruling and subsequent mainstream media blackout. The former Governor said he would seek dual citizenship in both the United States and Mexico, having lived in Baja California Sur for a number of years. He also said he no longer felt patriotic and would raise a fist during the playing of the national anthem at public events. Ventura has declared he would no longer fly commercially and has repeatedly stated, "I love my country, not my government" in post-press-release interviews. The ultimate outcome of the TSA constitutional matter remains undetermined, and Ventura has not stated whether he would continue his lawsuit.

Source: Wikipedia

This work is released through CC 3.0 BY-SA - Creative Commons

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Carroll's Journal: Lethal Weapon!

A couple nights ago, I was hit on by a dude. For some guys, this would spark some sort of outrage, but for me, well, I'm used to it. I've been getting hit on by guys since I was 16 years old. The fact that it is still happening is what surprises me the most. It's a bit odd this particular young man would come onto me and I'll explain why shortly but first, this was the second time in the past seven days I got propositioned by a guy. About five days earlier, another young man gave me a wink. I'm not sure what is going on here for suddenly receiving all this attention from guys but then again, things like this never come with any clear explanation. It just happens.

But this last guy is different. The guy who hit on me a couple nights ago is like 22 years old and for a guy, not bad looking. If I were gay, I'd probably took him up on the offer. What makes this last time so odd, and unexpected, is the fact that I kind of know this guy and he and I have had our differences in the past regarding other issues. In fact, we had a heated argument a few months ago which almost came to blows. (No pun intended.) So obviously, I always assumed we didn't much care for one another. Well, I didn't much care for him. Evidently, he kind of cares about me.

The reason this kind of thing doesn't bother me as much as it probably would bother other straight men is because I have several friends in the gay and lesbian community. Most of my friends in that community joke with me a lot and everything and on a few occasions in the past, new acquaintances through these friends assume that because I have friends in the gay and lesbian community that I am gay. Once they learn I'm not, the advances stop. Unless one of them gets it in their head that I can be converted. Unfortunately for them, I like the female gender way too much for that to ever happen. I'm not even the least bit interested in experimentation.

Still, because I and this young man do not get along, or at least, we haven't up until the point of his advances, I find it quite odd he would make a move on me. Then again, I can't say I blame him, I'm a sexy beast. LOL

Earlier that day, while in the store, the lady cashier commented that I had a Mel Gibson "Lethal Weapon" thing going on what with me wearing my ball cap and my hair having now grown out and was pushing through from the bottom of it all fluffy and what not. It was reflecting back to that moment when I realized why all of a sudden the guys were now checking me out. It has to be the hair.  Who doesn't like long blond hairy?

I would credit my blue eyes as another part of this phenomenon but I mostly wear my sunglasses during daylight hours so I doubt anyone can see that my eyes are blue.

I also credit the fact that this past summer, I've been exercising more than normal. I'm a lean mean sexy machine right now.  I'm a sexual lethal weapon! Ha-ha.

Okay, I'm joking right now, but hey, let me have my fun. 

Then I start thinking that maybe some of this attention is the result of what little fame I've been getting from my books and songs. I don't know. But I am back in the studio working on a few new musical projects that I hope to be posting soon on my Youtube channel. One of these projects is a Christmas song that my nephew requested I record. I gave him my word I would so I can't let my little buddy down, now can I? 

I will admit that every time I start going back into the studio to work on new musical projects, I start feeling like Rick Springfield or something. The artistic juices start to flow and I get a little swag in my step. Then there are the interview requests I've been getting by the news media here on a local level. It's all very flattering, this attention, but also kind of scary. More and more people are starting to recognize me now when I go out and about. People looking, staring, pointing at me and such. Not as much in the town where I live as these people have gotten used to me and all, but now, when I go to meet my friends or have lunch with my mother in Chillytown, it's beginning to get more noticeable.

Some of my family and friends are uncomfortable with it and recently, their participation in hanging out with me has decreased. Where I find it slightly amusing, they find it rather disturbing. Then again, they don't see me as some public figure, nor do I see myself as such. So maybe, these two guys coming onto me might be tied up into that. Everyone digs a celebrity, even a local one. I guess. 

I'm also in the process of having the cover for my next book being designed. I still have some work to do before my next book is ready to be released and probably won't finish it up until around December, after my musical projects for the year are completed, and I expect to release my next book sometime around February or the first of March in 2014. It will be the second installment of "The Light" series, or book two of the Zenakis Vinzant adventures. Then I willl probably take a couple of months off before heading back into the studio next year to start working on more songs. We'll see how things go. 

Currently, I have no plans to going to San Diego anytime soon, or California in general. I might stick close to home next year to get some art done. 

I also want to take this time to announce that I had been dealing with a medical issue. Well, what I thought was a medical issue. You see, as I have found out recently, I was misdiagnosed with a medical condition. Fortunately though, a second opinion set things straight. (No pun intended) 

As for these sexual advances towards me by men? Well, I'm sure there are a few girls out there kicking and screaming. "Great! Carroll is getting hit on my all these hot young guys and I can't even find a date! I hate you Carz!" - LOL

Sometimes I wonder though, how much better my sex life would have been had I been born gay. Then I figure it probably wouldn't have been any less complicated because I have had to comfort a couple of my gay friends who would call me up at night and bitch about their better half having cheated on them or whatever the case may be. I suppose gay or straight, relationships are still just as complicated and screwed up. That's merely the result of us humans having this little thing called emotions. And when emotions are involved, well, things tend to get a little screwy. 

Still, I can't help but say .... I'm a sexy beast! LOL Or maybe, I am a sexual "Lethal Weapon"

Go me! .... Ha ha ha ha ha 


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Fanatsy Football: ESPN

Okay, we covered my Yahoo! teams so now, I get to boast about my five ESPN fantasy football teams. The thing I like most about playing  FF on multiple websites is the mystery of the draft. It changes drastically from place to place. ESPN ranks players differently and thus, you get a huge variety of how each draft goes. I mean, even from one draft to the next in Yahoo! can sometimes be different from one another, but when you jump to ESPN, then to CBS Sports (where my last three teams will be featured) then the vast differences in drafting really shows up. It's always exciting to see where some players are highly more thought of on Yahoo! than on on ESPN and CBS Sports. It's kind of like Madden Football, I always seem to enjoy the drafting process more than the games themselves. (Almost)

Anyhow, let's take a look at my ESPN teams. (And just so you know, I like ESPN leagues better than Yahoo! and CBS because ESPN offers the "flex" position. While in Yahoo! and CBS standard leagues you have to play 3 WR's, ESPN let's you decide if you want to play a 3rd WR, or a 3rd RB or a 2nd TE. This is done by ESPN offering the "flex" position option.) I like playing a 3rd RB.


This was the first ever team I ever played. In my first year of playing, I played only two teams. Piketon was started in MSN leagues while on Yahoo! I later started a team called "Paris Hilton Rules" in a private league that a friend of mine started. ("Paris Hilton Rules" went 10-4 and won the league championship.) I have never played that team again. Meanwhile, Piketon (originally called Pike City Pokes their first three years) went 5-8 and did not qualify for the post season, but man what a season. Had I won our final game of the year, they would have made the playoffs. This led me to starting more teams for the next three years. Piketon has a career record of 48-44 and post season record of 3-2. They won their league championship in 2010 in ESPN league their first year. The previous season, 2009, they lost their league championship game in MSN leagues. The reason I transferred my team to ESPN was because MSN was having way too many "technical" difficulties. But this season looks good for Piketon. Matt Ryan dropped to me in the fourth round! I also got RB Doug Martin in the first round, drafting in the number five spot. Ryan and Martin are a couple of gifts from the FF gods. :D

New Mexico Scorpions

Originally, New Mexico was just called the "Scorpions". But I wanted to honor the great state of New Mexico again. I almost called them the Albuquerque Scorpions. I'm thinking to add Albuquerque to my teams list, but I'm not feeling like to add more teams yet. Anyhow, New Mexico sports a 50-26-2 record and a post season record of 2-4. They have played in two league championships, losing both times. This season is looking very well. Not only did I get RB Doug Martin in the 1st round, but TE Jimmy Graham  was a 3rd round gift from the FF gods. As was QB RG-III. (Robert Griffin III) Whom I got in the 7th round, and QB Tony Romo in the 8th! With 1000 yard WR's Hakeen Nicks and Eric Decker, this team is primed for a championship run in 2013.


This team's name was inspired by the movie "Triple X". I actually considered changing their name to Albuquerque Coyotes, but I decided to give them one final year to win a championship. They played in a championship game their first season but lost. Their regular season record is 46-32 and their post season record is 1-4. This season looks iffy. Oh sure we got the best TE in the NFL in Jimmy Graham and a great young RB in Martin, but the season falls on the shoulders of my 2nd year QB Andrew Luck. If the sophomore jinx doesn't get him, we might have a shot for post-season play. We also need RB Chris Johnson to take it up a notch and WR Victor Cruz should be effective. I rolled the dice on RB Mendenhall and WR Dobson. All in all, we should do well in competing this year. 

Kingston Kings

This was a tough draft this year with this team. Obviously, having lived a portion of my life in Kingston, Ohio, just outside a few miles from Chillicothe, I had to honor them with a team, right? So anyhow, like I was saying, this was a tough draft. For their history, Kingston has a record of 43-22 and a post season record of 1-4. Back in 2010, they lost their championship game. Anyhow, this year, the guys (and one girl) were locked into drafting RB's more than usual. I was picking from spot number 9 in the first round. (Out of ten teams) The choices at that position were slim by the 6th round and after already drafting TE Jimmy Graham, and with no viable RB to select at that point, I threw a monkey wrench in the machine by taking another 1000 yard pass catching TE in Jason Witten. Still, I think I did okay considering. If Bell or Pead can make a splash at RB I still lack that thrid RB I can count on. I was offered a few trades for Graham and one for Witten. None of them wanted to hand over one of their stud RB's. Instead, they have offered me nothing but bench players, thinking I would bite on the quantity of players instead of quality. No dice! This ain't my first rodeo cowboys. You want a starter then you have to give up a starter. Tit for tat, I say. I don't normally do a whole lot of trades. Maybe, out of 12 teams, I make a total of three trades. Last year I made just one. So it's do or die with bunch until someone  gets antsy and offers me what I want. Until then, if then, I still believe this team might have a shot for the post season. I give them a 60 percent chance. 

Roswell Aliens

This team could rule! What a draft! I have studs up and down this roster. I'm loaded at every position and .... best of all .... I have great depth! I almost took RB Demarco Murray in the third round but decided against it in favor of TE Jimmy Graham. Boy, did that move pay off. I didn't think Murray would last to the fourth, let alone the fifth round! After grabbing QB Ryan in the 4th, I snatched up Murray to have a great 1-2-3 punch at RB and FLEX position. Then to get Rookie RB Bell of Pittsburgh with the following pick? Amazing! Plus, I have 4 potential top 20 WR's in Nicks, Hilton, Maclin and Williams. Not to mention, WR Chris Givens of the Rams who is poised for a break out season. Every position has depth and I still locked up the PK and D/ST I was looking to get in Tucker and TBay. I would be shocked if this team didn't make the playoffs. So there you have it, my five ESPN FF teams for 2013. 


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Carroll Bryant Interviews Ira

It's no secret that I don't do many interviews. I thought I wanted to do more of them and in a way, I kind of do, but the thing is, it's a little harder than it looks. It takes a lot of time, and time is one thing that has been lacking recently. I do enjoy doing them though. The HoiTahPoiSha interview was really fun to put together and do. One of the hardest parts of doing interviews is trying to find someone interesting to interview. I have several interviews pending right now. One of those interviews pending is with a man who knew Elvis Presley. However, health problems has caused a major delay in that one. Another interview with a band on the top 40 charts in England has fizzled due to contractual issues with their manager. Then there is another musician I had lined up but he is being stubborn. LOL He just doesn't like giving interviews ever since he retired from the bizz. He's still thinking about it though. Still, there are others I have contacted and yet to hear back from.

Add all of this up and put into factor that my schedule hasn't exactly been clear itself and it's just one big mountain to climb to try and find these interesting people do interviews. It takes time to search for them too. However, there is a saying that talks about things being "right under your nose" and you just never seem to realize it. Lo and behold, here I was searching for someone interesting to interview and I didn't realize that someone interesting was already standing right in front of me. Someone who has done perhaps a hundred interviews of authors and even did a few with me. Someone who is already a very good poet too. Of course, I am talking about my blog partner, and perhaps best internet friend in the history of internet friends, Ira.

Ira and I met while I was a member of Goodreads back in the Fall of 2011. Our conversations led us to a friendship and then I made her a mod of my GR group. From there, it just grew and grew. She was the one who "forced" me to start a blog here on "Blogger". I wasn't very thrilled about it in the beginning, to blog that is, as I had a blog with Weebly and wasn't getting into it one bit. But thanks to her persistence and along with her help, I did start to enjoy blogging and now, just a hair over 1 and a half years later, here we are. But her and my friendship is going on 2 years strong now. She and I are about as close as two people can possibly be over the internet. She owns just about all of my passwords for almost all of my online accounts, with the exception of my emails. She has helped me out a lot when I go galloping off to California or wherever. She's been a tremendous help and an even more tremendous friend.

But it hasn't always been a one sided affair. I have opened a door for her too where blogging is concerned. In the beginning of us becoming blog partners, she wanted to do some author interviews so I brought her into my author group on GR and let her go at it. She began getting authors to interview. She, nor I, never knew how that would turn into such a huge thing. Probably more than half of her posts on her blog are author interviews. She's gotten quite good at it. She's the Larry King of blogging. Or perhaps a much more better comparison, the Barbara Walters of the blogging world. And she's still going strong to this day.

Don't think I haven't noticed. Okay, it took me a while to notice it, but better late than never. And now, because of her doing so many interviews with others, I thought it would be fun to interview her for a change. After some coaxing, I finally got her to agree.  So let's get this interview going, shall we?

Carroll: First of all, Ira, thanks for finally agreeing to this interview.  My first question is, why in the heck did you become my friend? LOL I mean, what did you see in me that made you think you wanted to become my friend?

Ira: Well, are you sure you want that answer? I'm going to leave you and everyone else in mystery for this. Keeping my reasons to myself.

Carroll: I already know the answer, but since you put it that way, I see you don't want to say, so ... moving right along. (LOL) How many author interviews do you think you have done so far?

Ira: At the moment I have done 95 and probably by the end of the month I'll have 105.

Carroll: What is it about doing these author interviews that you like?

Ira: I never really thought about it...I think that I like doing this is cuz I feel like I'm helping authors and helping myself.

Carroll: Of all the interviews you have done with all of these amazing authors, talk about a few of your favorites.

Ira: Oh that's a tough one. I'm not sure to be honest, I have done so many that I cannot keep up with whose would be best. I think I say that all the interviews I've done have been different. Some were very to the point and then there are some authors who open up and give little details that intrigues the reader. I feel as if to enjoy a book, if you know what the author and their personality or their feelings are about the book, you enjoy it more.

Carroll: Why do you think you do so many interviews? What do you get out of it? Is it just simply the thrill of meeting these people and interacting with them? I know you're a big reader of books, so I would imagine there has to be some kind of excitement in thinking that one day, some of these authors will become best sellers and you can look back and say, "I interviewed that author." - is that one of the thrills of doing these interviews?

Ira: I say that even now! Lol, I've interviewed Nyrae Dawn, Kasie West, Katie McGarry, Jodi Medaows. These authors have written amazing books. I'm sure I could add more but the list would be long. Although I have not read any of her books, Erin Albert is a famous person on my blog. All these authors who write have something to give others; they give this certain type of hope to other aspiring authors and people in general. I am honored to have interviewed these authors and as soon as I can, I wish I can interview other authors who I love as well.

Carroll: It's no secret that you're a devoted Muslim. Could you talk a little bit about what it is like to be a Muslim? Perhaps shed some light on public misconceptions of what Muslims are all about? And stereo-types?

Ira: I love being a Muslim. I love wearing my hijab, my abaya, my niqaab. I love my religion and I am proud to be a Muslimah. However, when I go out and see the stares that once made me cringed, I now look at them straight in the eyes and roll my eyes.  I live in a small posh town where it's mostly filled with Non-Muslims but the count of Muslims is rising. I haven't seen many praciting Muslims though I know they're out there. My father never forced me to wear the veil or hijaab. I wore it out of my own love and want. Not all Muslim families are idiots or illiterate and don't know how to speak English and, in the Canadian Charter of Rights, we have free will to practice religion; people shouldn't be telling me that I can't wear the veil just cuz I live in Canada. Sorry, but this is a passionate and hurtful topic. It hurts me to know that there are ignorant people who think we Muslims are terrorists when half us struggle to live in our daily life. It's a shame.

Carroll: Good enough. Besides being an active blogger and interviewing authors, you also like to write poetry. What is it about writing poetry that you enjoy the most? And how does that conflict with you being Muslim?

Ira: The poetry I write is more of a let out for me in different aspects and views. I tend to write poetry from my feelings. I take in the situation and atmosphere, the emotion and everything around it and then write the words that come. It conflicts in many ways, I however, have ceased on writing poetry because of the conflicts I've learned about poetry in Islam. I do not want to get into this though. My apologies.

Carroll: Apologies accepted. Besides writing poetry, do you aspire to become an author yourself someday?

Ira: Yes I do actually. I do hope, that some time in the later future, I will become an author.

Carroll: How many poems have you written so far in your life?

Ira: I counted them recently and I don't like to boast or openly tell people this. However, I have written about 300 and counting.

Carroll: Being friends with you has opened my eyes about the Muslim community. You have taught me many things about that religion and because of it, I have a greater respect for Muslims. For that I thank you, but, also because of this, I have noticed a lot more persecution of Muslims in the media and by American and Canadian government. How difficult is it for you to see this persecution going on? What kind of toll does it take on you personally?

Ira: As dramatic as I am, I'm not gonna go into the whole Americans and Canadians and all those people killing my fellow Muslims should die and burn like those other idiotic Muslims do. However, it pains me to see that Muslims in all these countries are getting persecuted. Their homes are being burned down, their families killed. It then behooves me when ignorant non-Muslims say that they deserve it. Tell me, if your father was brought out and killed in front of you; what would you do? Tell me, if your house was bombed and then the house of your friends and their friends and you had no where to go? No roof over you head? How would you feel? I don't think people understand that. They just think that Muslims are terrorist and that we should all be put behind bars. Did you know that there are Muslims all around the world who aren't violent? Who aren't extreme? Those people that Non-Muslims call terrorist aren't Muslim. They are terrorists but not Muslim for a Muslim would never be a terrorist. For a Muslim doesn't believe in harming others.

I suppose this becomes a touchy topic for me because while sitting here I can't do anything to help those in need. I just wish that the ignorant, self righteous and full of themselves Non-Muslims would see the truth. But they wont and that's what hurts most. I pray to God, to help those in need in Syria, Palestine, Afghanistan and all those other countries where hell is taking place.

Carroll: Have you ever considered getting into politics?

Ira: Hell no! I hate politics. They're so annoying and stupid. I sometimes have to sit with my parents and listen to the latest political arguments on the computer cuz my dad loves politics and I swear, I itch to get up and leave but I quietly listen, asking the questions that need to be asked and that's all.

Carroll: Do you own a pet? If not, do you think you ever will?

Ira: No, at the moment I don't. I did however, 10 years ago. It was a few fishes...They ended up dying for some reason...Later I found out that my sisters had been making them play...with their  hands....Yeah no wonder they died. lol

Carroll: I know you're a big Tim Horton's fan. What's you favorite beverage you like to order from Tim Horton's?

Ira: lol, I can't believe you asked this! Yes, I love Tim Horton (the coffee shop) and my favourite beverage is Iced Cappuccino. And mostly in the winter I love to drink Hot Chocolate, sometimes the occasional French Vanilla but that's rare. I mostly opt for Iced Capp.

Carroll: Do you think you'll live your whole life in Canada? And have you ever considered moving to the states or anywhere else when you get married?

Ira: I don't know, I want to move and get away but at the same time the prospect of leaving this small town, the big city of Toronto kinda scares me. I don't know about when I get married but for now while I live with my parents, I'd like to live in Ontario.

Carroll: I know you can't wait to get married, but how many kids do you think you would want?

Ira: Well, lets see now...Maybe 5? Maybe more? lol I don't know. If it happens and I end up with 12 kids even, I'll be happy. I'm not saying I want 12 kids, just that I don't care for how many kids I have.

Carroll: As you begin your quest in chasing your dreams of becoming a writer, what hurdles do you face or do you think you might face in your pursuit?

Ira: I'm not really sure at this point. All I know is that I am not a devoted writer as I was before. I get distracted too easily and next thing I know, I've stopped writing. So I couldn't really answer that because I don't seem to be facing any right now.

Carroll: Because you're new to writing, what advice at this point early on would you give someone if they asked you for it?

Ira: Write what you want, when you want and how you want. You are your own person and shouldn’t worry about what others will think.

Carroll: Hey, thanks a lot for doing this interview. I really appreciate it. Any final words or thoughts you wish to leave us all with?

Ira: Everyone out there is different. They have their problems to deal with and the best way to deal with it is not to be alone, but to be united with those who you call family. If you close yourself off from people, you'll either become a recluse or die alone. I think that people should put their difference aside and suck it up to live life to their fullest. Thanks for interviewing me Carroll.

Carroll: That about wraps up this interview. Check Ira out at her Love Hate Poetry blog, and read her poetry, author interviews and learn a little bit more about being Muslim. The truth - versus mainstream media stereotypes - may surprise you. There's a lot going on over at Love Hate Poetry so check it out.

Thanks again Ira. It's been fun interviewing you. 

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Rutherford B. Hayes: The Presidents

Rutherford Birchard Hayes was born in Delaware, Ohio, on October 4th, 1822, the son of Rutherford Hayes and Sophia Birchard. Hayes's father, a Vermont storekeeper, took the family to Ohio in 1817 but died ten weeks before his son's birth. Sophia took charge of the family, bringing up Hayes and his sister, Fanny, the only two of her four children to survive to adulthood. She never remarried. Sophia's younger brother, Sardis Birchard, lived with the family for a time.[4] Always close to Hayes, Sardis Birchard became a father figure to him, contributing to his early education. 

Through both his father and mother, Hayes was of New England colonial ancestry. His earliest American ancestor emigrated to Connecticut from Scotland in 1625. Hayes's great-grandfather, Ezekiel Hayes, was a militia captain in Connecticut in the American Revolutionary War, but Ezekiel's son (Hayes's grandfather, also named Rutherford) left his New Haven home during the war for the relative peace of Vermont. His mother's ancestors arrived in Vermont at a similar time, and most of his close relatives outside Ohio continued to live there. John Noyes, an uncle by marriage, had been his father's business partner in Vermont and was later elected to Congress. His first cousin, Mary Jane Noyes Mead, was the mother of sculptor Larkin Goldsmith Mead and architect William Rutherford Mead. John Humphrey Noyes, the founder of the Oneida Community, was also a first cousin.

Hayes attended the common schools in Delaware, Ohio, and enrolled in 1836 at the Methodist Norwalk Seminary in Norwalk, Ohio. He did well at Norwalk, and the following year transferred to a preparatory school in Middletown, Connecticut, where he studied Latin and Ancient Greek. Returning to Ohio, Hayes entered Kenyon College in Gambier in 1838. He enjoyed his time at Kenyon, and was successful scholastically; while there, he joined several student societies and became interested in Whig politics. He graduated with highest honors in 1842 and addressed the class as its valedictorian.

After briefly reading law in Columbus, Ohio, Hayes moved east once more to attend Harvard Law School in 1843. Graduating with an LL.B, he was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1845 and opened his own law office in Lower Sandusky (now Fremont). Business was slow at first, but he gradually attracted a few clients and also represented his uncle Sardis in real estate litigation. In 1847, Hayes became ill with what his doctor thought to be tuberculosis. Thinking a change in climate would help, he considered enlisting in the Mexican–American War, but on his doctor's advice he instead visited family in New England. Returning from there, Hayes and his uncle Sardis made another long journey to Texas, where Hayes visited with Guy M. Bryan, a Kenyon classmate and distant relative. Business remained meager on his return to Lower Sandusky, and Hayes decided to move to Cincinnati.

Hayes moved to Cincinnati in 1850, and opened a law office with John W. Herron, a lawyer from Chillicothe. Later, Herron joined a more established firm and Hayes formed a new partnership with William K. Rogers and Richard M. Corwine. Hayes found business better in Cincinnati, and enjoyed the social attractions of the larger city, joining the Cincinnati Literary Society and the Odd Fellows Club. He also attended the Episcopal Church in Cincinnati but did not become a member. Hayes courted his future wife, Lucy Webb, during his time there. His mother had encouraged him to get to know Lucy years earlier, but Hayes had believed she was too young and focused his attention on other women. Four years later, Hayes began to spend more time with Lucy. They became engaged in 1851 and married on December 30th, 1852, at the house of Lucy's mother. Over the next five years, Lucy gave birth to three sons: Birchard Austin (1853), Webb Cook (1856), and Rutherford Platt (1858). Lucy, a Methodist, teetotaler, and abolitionist, influenced her husband's views on those issues, although he never formally joined her church.

As the Southern states began to secede after Lincoln's election to the Presidency in 1860, Hayes was lukewarm on the idea of a civil war to restore the Union. Considering that the two sides might be irreconcilable, he suggested that the Union "Let them go." Although Ohio had voted for Lincoln in 1860, the Cincinnati voters turned against the Republican party after secession, and the Democrats and Know-Nothings combined to sweep the city elections in April 1861, ejecting Hayes from the city solicitor's office. Hayes formed a new law partnership with Leopold Markbreit and returned to private practice. After the Confederates had fired on Fort Sumter, Hayes resolved his doubts and joined a volunteer company composed of his Literary Society friends. That June, Governor William Dennison appointed several of the officers of the volunteer company to positions in the 23rd Regiment of Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Hayes was promoted to major, and his friend and college classmate Stanley Matthews was appointed lieutenant colonel; also joining the regiment as a private was another future president, William McKinley.

After a month of training, Hayes and the 23rd Ohio set out for western Virginia in July 1861 as a part of the Kanawha Division. They passed the next few months out of contact with the enemy until September, when the regiment encountered Confederates at Carnifex Ferry in present-day West Virginia and drove them back. In November, Hayes was promoted to lieutenant colonel (Matthews having been promoted to colonel of another regiment) and led his troops deeper into western Virginia, where they entered winter quarters. The division resumed its advance the following spring, and Hayes led several raids against the rebel forces, on one of which he sustained a minor injury to his knee. That September, Hayes's regiment was called east to reinforce General John Pope's Army of Virginia at the Second Battle of Bull Run. Although Hayes and his troops did not arrive in time for the battle, they joined the Army of the Potomac as it hurried north to cut off Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, which was advancing into Maryland. Marching north, the 23rd was the lead regiment encountering the Confederates at the Battle of South Mountain on September 14. Hayes led a charge against an entrenched position and was shot through his left arm, fracturing the bone. Hayes had one of his men tie a handkerchief above the wound in an effort to stop the bleeding, and continued to lead his men in the battle. While resting, he ordered his men to meet a flanking attack, but instead his entire command moved backward, leaving Hayes lying in between the lines. Fearing he might not survive, Hayes left messages for his wife and friends with a wounded Confederate soldier who was lying near him. Eventually, his men brought Hayes back behind their lines, and he was taken to hospital. The regiment continued on to Antietam, but Hayes was out of action for the rest of the campaign. In October, he was promoted to colonel and assigned to command of the first brigade of the Kanawha Division as a brevet brigadier general

While serving in the Army of the Shenandoah in 1864, Hayes received the Republican nomination to the House of Representatives from Ohio's 2nd congressional district. Asked by friends in Cincinnati to leave the army to campaign, Hayes refused, saying that an "officer fit for duty who at this crisis would abandon his post to electioneer for a seat in Congress ought to be scalped." Instead, Hayes wrote several letters to the voters explaining his political positions and was elected by a 2,400-vote majority over the incumbent Democrat, Alexander Long.

When the 39th Congress assembled in December 1865, Hayes was sworn in as a part of a large Republican majority. Hayes identified with the moderate wing of the party, but was willing to vote with the radicals for the sake of party unity. The major legislative effort of the Congress was the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, for which Hayes voted and which passed both houses of Congress in June 1866. Hayes's beliefs were in line with his fellow Republicans on Reconstruction issues: that the South should be restored to the Union, but not without adequate protections for freedmen and other black southerners. President Andrew Johnson, to the contrary, wanted to readmit the seceded states quickly without first ensuring that they adopted laws protecting the newly freed slaves' civil rights and granted pardons to many of the leading former Confederates. Hayes, along with congressional Republicans, disagreed. They worked to reject Johnson's vision of Reconstruction and to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1866. Re-elected in 1866, Hayes returned to the lame-duck session to vote for the Tenure of Office Act, which ensured that Johnson could not remove administration officials without the Senate's consent. He also voted for a civil service reform bill that attracted the votes of many reform-minded Republicans, but did not pass. Hayes continued to vote with the majority in the 40th Congress on the Reconstruction Acts, but resigned in July 1867 to campaign for governor.

A popular Congressman and former soldier, Hayes was considered by Ohio Republicans to be an excellent standard-bearer for the 1867 election campaign. Hayes's political views were more moderate than the Republican party's platform, although he agreed with the proposed amendment to the Ohio state constitution that would guarantee suffrage to black Ohioans. Hayes's opponent, Allen G. Thurman, made the proposed amendment the centerpiece of the campaign, and both men campaigned vigorously, making speeches across the state, mostly focusing on the suffrage question. The election was mostly a disappointment to Republicans, as the amendment failed to pass and Democrats gained a majority in the state legislature. Hayes thought at first that he, too, had lost, but the final tally showed that he had won the election by 2,983 votes of 484,603 votes cast.

As a Republican governor with a Democratic legislature, Hayes had a limited role in governing, especially since Ohio's governor had no veto power. Despite its restrictions, Hayes used his office to oversee the establishment of a school for deaf-mutes and a reform school for girls. He also endorsed the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson and urged his conviction, which failed by one vote in the United States Senate. Nominated for a second term in 1869, Hayes campaigned once more for equal rights for black Ohioans and sought to associate his Democratic opponent, George H. Pendleton with disunion and racism. Hayes was re-elected with an increased majority, and the Republicans took the legislature, ensuring Ohio's ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which guaranteed black suffrage. With a Republican legislature, Hayes's second term was more enjoyable, and he was gratified to see suffrage expanded and a state Agricultural and Mechanical College (later to become Ohio State University) established. He also proposed a reduction in state taxes and reform of the state prison system. Choosing not to seek re-election, Hayes looked forward to retiring from politics in 1872.

Hayes's success in Ohio immediately elevated him to the top ranks of Republican politicians under consideration for the presidency in 1876. The Ohio delegation to the 1876 Republican National Convention was united behind him, and Senator John Sherman did all in his power to bring Hayes the nomination. In June 1876, the convention assembled with James G. Blaine of Maine as the favorite. Blaine started with a significant lead in the delegate count but could not muster a majority. As he failed to gain votes, the delegates looked elsewhere for a nominee and settled on Hayes on the seventh ballot. The convention then selected Representative William A. Wheeler of New York for Vice President, a man about whom Hayes had recently asked "I am ashamed to say: who is Wheeler?" 

The Democratic nominee was Samuel J. Tilden, the Governor of New York. Tilden was considered a formidable adversary who, like Hayes, had a reputation for honesty. Also like Hayes, Tilden was a hard-money man and supported civil service reform. The campaign, in accordance with the custom of the time, was conducted by surrogates, with Hayes and Tilden remaining in their respective home towns. The poor economic conditions made the party in power unpopular and made Hayes suspect that he might lose the election. Both candidates focused their attention on the swing states of New York and Indiana, as well as the three southern states - Louisiana, South Carolina, and Florida - where Reconstruction governments still ruled. The Republicans emphasized the danger of letting Democrats run the nation so soon after southern Democrats provoked the Civil War and, to a lesser extent, the danger a Democratic administration would pose to the recently won civil rights of southern blacks. Democrats, for their part, trumpeted Tilden's record of reform and contrasted it with the corruption of the incumbent Grant administration.

As the returns were tallied on election day, it was clear that the race was close: Democrats had carried most of the South, as well as New York, Indiana, Connecticut, and New Jersey. The popular vote also favored Tilden, but Republicans realized that if they held the three unredeemed southern states together with some of the western states, they would emerge with an electoral college majority.

Because March 4th, 1877 fell on a Sunday, Hayes took the oath of office privately on Saturday, March 3, in the Red Room of the White House, the first president to do so in the Executive Mansion. He took the oath publicly on the following Monday on the East Portico of the United States Capitol. In his inaugural address, Hayes attempted to soothe the passions of the past few months, saying that "he serves his party best who serves his country best". He pledged to support "wise, honest, and peaceful local self-government" in the South, as well as reform of the civil service and a full return to the gold standard. Despite his message of conciliation, many Democrats never considered Hayes's election legitimate and referred to him as "Rutherfraud" or "His Fraudulency" for the next four years. 

Hayes had been a firm supporter of Republican Reconstruction policies throughout his political career, but the first major act of his presidency was an end to Reconstruction and the return of the South to home rule. Even without the conditions of the Wormley's Hotel agreement, Hayes would have been hard-pressed to continue the policies of his predecessors. The House of Representatives in the 45th Congress was controlled by a Democratic majority that refused to appropriate enough funds for the army to continue to garrison the South. Even among Republicans, devotion to continued military Reconstruction was fading. Only two states were still under Reconstruction's sway when Hayes assumed the Presidency and, without troops to enforce the voting rights laws, these too soon fell.

Hayes's later attempts to protect the rights of southern blacks were ineffective, as were his attempts to rebuild Republican strength in the South. He did, however, defeat Congress's efforts to curtail federal power to monitor federal elections. Democrats in Congress passed an army appropriation bill in 1879 with a rider that repealed the Force Acts. Those Acts, passed during Reconstruction, made it a crime to prevent someone from voting because of his race. Hayes was determined to preserve the law protecting black voters, and he vetoed the appropriation. The Democrats did not have enough votes to override the veto, but they passed a new bill with the same rider. Hayes vetoed this as well, and the process was repeated three times more. Finally, Hayes signed an appropriation without the offensive rider, but Congress refused to pass another bill to fund federal marshals, who were vital to the enforcement of the Force Acts. The election laws remained in effect, but the funds to enforce them were curtailed for the time being.

Hayes next attempted to reconcile the social mores of the South with the recently passed civil rights laws by distributing patronage among southern Democrats. "My task was to wipe out the color line, to abolish sectionalism, to end the war and bring peace," he wrote in his diary. "To do this, I was ready to resort to unusual measures and to risk my own standing and reputation within my party and the country." All of his efforts were in vain; Hayes failed to convince the South to accept the idea of racial equality and failed to convince Congress to appropriate funds to enforce the civil rights laws.

In his first year in office, Hayes was faced with the United States' largest labor disturbance to date: the Great Railroad Strike of 1877. In order to make up for financial losses suffered since the panic of 1873, the major railroads cut their employees' wages several times in 1877. In July of that year, workers from the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad walked off the job in Martinsburg, West Virginia to protest their reduction in pay. The strike quickly spread to workers of the New York Central, Erie, and Pennsylvania railroads, with the strikers soon numbering in the thousands. Fearing a riot, Governor Henry M. Mathews asked Hayes to send federal troops to Martinsburg, and Hayes did so, but when the troops arrived there was no riot, only a peaceful protest. In Baltimore, however, a riot did erupt on July 20 and Hayes ordered the troops at Fort McHenry to assist the governor in its suppression; by the time they arrived, the riot had dispersed. Pittsburgh next exploded into riots, but Hayes was reluctant to send in troops without the governor first requesting them. Other discontented citizens joined the railroad workers in rioting. After a few days, he resolved to send in troops to protect federal property wherever it appeared to be threatened and gave Major General Winfield Scott Hancock overall command of the situation, marking the first use of federal troops to break a strike against a private company. The riot spread further, to Chicago and St. Louis, where strikers shut down railroad facilities. By July 29th, the riots had ended and federal troops returned to their barracks. Although no federal troops had killed any of the strikers, or been killed themselves, clashes between state militia troops and strikers resulted in deaths on both sides. The railroads were victorious in the short term, as the workers returned to their jobs and some wage cuts remained in effect, but the public blamed the railroads for the strikes and violence, and they were compelled to improve working conditions and attempted no further cuts. Business leaders praised Hayes, but his own opinion was more equivocal; as he recorded in his diary: "The strikes have been put down by force; but now for the real remedy. Can't something [be] done by education of strikers, by judicious control of capitalists, by wise general policy to end or diminish the evil? The railroad strikers, as a rule, are good men, sober, intelligent, and industrious."

Hayes confronted two issues regarding the currency. The first was the coinage of silver, and its relation to gold. In 1873, the Coinage Act of 1873 stopped the coinage of silver for all coins worth a dollar or more, effectively tying the dollar to the value of gold. As a result, the money supply contracted and the effects of the Panic of 1873 grew worse, making it more expensive for debtors to pay debts they had contracted when currency was less valuable. Farmers and laborers, especially, clamored for the return of coinage in both metals, believing the increased money supply would restore wages and property values. Democratic Representative Richard P. Bland of Missouri proposed a bill that would require the United States to coin as much silver as miners could sell the government, thus increasing the money supply and aiding debtors. William B. Allison, a Republican from Iowa offered an amendment in the Senate limiting the coinage to two to four million dollars per month, and the resulting Bland–Allison Act passed both houses of Congress in 1878. Hayes feared that the Act would cause inflation that would be ruinous to business, effectively impairing contracts that were based on the gold dollar, as the silver dollar proposed in the bill would have an intrinsic value of 90 to 92 percent of the existing gold dollar. Further, Hayes believed that inflating the currency was an act of dishonesty, saying "expediency and justice both demand an honest currency." He vetoed the bill, but Congress overrode his veto, the only time it did so during his presidency.

The second issue concerned United States Notes (commonly called greenbacks), a form of fiat currency first issued during the Civil War. The government accepted these notes as valid for payment of taxes and tariffs, but unlike ordinary dollars, they were not redeemable in gold. The Specie Payment Resumption Act of 1875 required the treasury to redeem any outstanding greenbacks in gold, thus retiring them from circulation and restoring a single, gold-backed currency. Sherman agreed with Hayes's favorable opinion of the Act, and stockpiled gold in preparation for the exchange of greenbacks for gold. Once the public was confident that they could redeem greenbacks for specie (gold), however, few did so; when the Act took effect in 1879, only $130,000 out of the $346,000,000 outstanding dollars in greenbacks were actually redeemed. Together with the Bland–Allison Act, the successful specie resumption effected a workable compromise between inflationists and hard money men and, as the world economy began to improve, agitation for more greenbacks and silver coinage quieted down for the rest of Hayes's term in office.

Hayes and his wife, Lucy, were known for their policy of keeping an alcohol-free White House, giving rise to her nickname "Lemonade Lucy." The first reception at the Hayes White House included wine. However, Hayes was dismayed at drunken behavior at receptions hosted by ambassadors around Washington, leading him to follow his wife's temperance leanings. Alcohol was not served again in the Hayes White House. Critics charged Hayes with parsimony, but Hayes spent more money (which came out of his personal budget) after the ban, ordering that any savings from eliminating alcohol be used on more lavish entertainment. His temperance policy also paid political dividends, strengthening his support among Protestant ministers. Although Secretary Evarts quipped that at the White House dinners, "water flowed like wine," the policy was a success in convincing prohibitionists to vote Republican. 

Hayes decided not to seek re-election in 1880, keeping his pledge that he would not run for a second term. He was gratified with the election of James A. Garfield to succeed him, and consulted with him on appointments for the next administration. After Garfield's inauguration, Hayes and his family returned to Spiegel Grove. Although he remained a loyal Republican, Hayes was not too disappointed in Grover Cleveland's election to the Presidency in 1884, approving of the New York Democrat's views on civil service reform. He was also pleased at the progress of the political career of William McKinley, his army comrade and political protégé.

Hayes became an advocate for educational charities, advocating federal education subsidies for all children. He believed that education was the best way to heal the rifts in American society and allow individuals to improve themselves. Hayes was appointed to the Board of Trustees of The Ohio State University, the school he helped found during his time as governor of Ohio, in 1887. He emphasized the need for vocational, as well as academic, education: "I preach the gospel of work," he wrote, "I believe in skilled labor as a part of education." He urged Congress, unsuccessfully, to pass a bill written by Senator Henry W. Blair that would have allowed federal aid for education for the first time. Hayes gave a speech in 1889 encouraging black students to apply for scholarships from the Slater Fund, one of the charities with which he was affiliated. One such student, W. E. B. Du Bois, received a scholarship in 1892. Hayes also advocated better prison conditions.

Hayes was greatly saddened by his wife's death in 1889. He wrote that "the soul had left [Spiegel Grove]" when she died. After Lucy's death, Hayes's daughter, Fanny, became his traveling companion and he enjoyed visits from his grandchildren. In 1890, he chaired the Lake Mohonk Conference on the Negro Question, a gathering of reformers that met in upstate New York to discuss racial issues. Hayes died of complications of a heart attack at his home on January 17th, 1893. His last words were "I know that I'm going where Lucy is." President-elect Grover Cleveland and Ohio Governor William McKinley led the funeral procession that followed Hayes's body until he was interred in Oakwood Cemetery. Following the donation of his home to the state of Ohio for the Spiegel Grove State Park, he was re-interred there in 1915. The following year the Hayes Commemorative Library and Museum, the first presidential library in the United States, was opened on the site, funded by contributions from the state of Ohio and Hayes' family.

Source: Wikipedia

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