Monthly Archives: February 2009

The 4 wars fought by the British Colonies before 1776

The American Revolutionary war was not the first war fought by the English in North America. These four wars were fought to establish English Supremacy in North America – particularly over England’s #1 enemy – France.

King William’s War 1689-1697

In Quebec this is called the First InterColonial War. It is the first war between New England and New France. New France had a larger expanse of land and friendlier relationships with the American Indians, but New England had more people. This war was actually won by the future Canadians (which is probably why you don’t learn about it in American History courses) at the Battle of Quebec fought in 1690. The British sent a diplomat up to Montreal, asking for an immediate surrender of the city of Montreal.  Here is a picture of this:


The French Frotenac famously replied:

Non, je n’ai point de réponse à faire à votre général que par la bouche de mes canons et de mes fusils.(I have no reply to make to your general other than from the mouths of my cannons and muskets.)

Queen Anne’s War 1702-1713

Result: Britain gains Nova Scotia, New Foundland, and the Carribean Island of St. Kitts, and a bunch of other stuff. England wins.

King George’s War 1744-1748

Outcome: a tie, but the French allied themselves with the American Indians who caused many casualties in the British Colonies – particularly in Massachussets.

French and Indian War 1754-1763

Result: All of Canada is handed over to Britain. France loses French Louisiana and most of the Carribean. Spain loses Florida to the British. Here is a useful map of who owned what before this war, in 1750.

Who owns what in 1750

Who owns what in 1750


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BiPlane Rides Over Philadelphia

A great gift for anybody! A ride on The Cannibal Queen, a famous open cockpit World War II Stearman biplane. You must be over 10 years old and weigh less than 350 lbs. Stearman is what Boeing was called before it was Boeing – in the thirties and early 40s. They made this plane in 1942. Rides cost $179 for a half hour ride over Philadelphia.  So put on your goggles and go on a ride! (Note: my birthday is coming up. This also might be a good present for Elizabeth).


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Nancy Pelosi has secret meeting with Pope Benedict XVI

UPDATE: I googled this and there are over 900 news hits. Apparently it wasn’t that secret.  I believe that both Pelosi and Benedict showed a lot of moral courage in discussing this issue together. It doesn’t appear that Pelosi is going to change her mind on abortion unless a higher authority than the pope tells her to. I am sure God loves both Pelosi and the Pope, and understands where each one is coming from.


Nancy Pelosi,  the first woman Speaker of the House of Representives, and second in line for successsion to the presidency (after Biden),  just had a secret meeting with Pope Benedict XVI and her arch-bishop George Niederauer (February 8, 2009), to discuss the abortion issue. Pelosi is Roman Catholic.

Last August, she told Tom Brocaw that the doctors of the Church had not decided whether life begins at conception.  Her archbishop wrote a long response saying that Pelosi’s comment was mistaken and inviting her to meet with him. She accepted!

Keep praying for the Democratic Leadership in America!


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Community Supported Agriculture

Gretchen and I buy a “share” of fruits and vegetables from a local farmer. The way it works is that you pay for a year’s worth of fruits and or vegetables up front in February, and the farmer prepares a bag of whatever they grow every week. You have to pick it up at a pick up point every week. The advantage for the farmer is that he gets his money in February, when they are buying seeds, fertilizer, etc. and not making much income, and gets to avoid all the middle men getting their cut. The advantages for the member is that you get *A LOT* of fresh locally grown produce and new friends.

Here is a website to sign up or check it out:

and here is the website of the Kirshners, the farmer that we get our shares from:

Awesome vegetables from North Star Orchards

Awesome vegetables from North Star Orchards

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Remembering Obama’s Cabinet

Here is the current list of Obama’s Cabinet with mnemonics to help remember their names.
President Obama’s Cabinet
Defense Secretary – Robert Gates (not confirmed yet)
Obama decided to keep Bush’s choice, Robert Gates,  who replaced Donald Rumsfeld on December 18, 2006 as Defense Secretary. Robert Gates spent 26 distinquished years in the CIA, ending up as Director of the CIA under George HW Bush. After that he became president of Texas A & M University. Gates was raised in Wichita Kansas. He attained the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts. He made straight A’s in school.
Robert Gates is the gate to peace in the middle east (hopefully)
Robert starts with “R” and Robert Gates is a Republican
Not Bill Gates (“B” stands for billions), but Robert Gates.
Agriculture Secretary – Tom Vilsack
Tom is the former governor of Iowa (D) and briefly launched a candidacy to become the Democratic pick for President in 2008. Shortly after ending his White House bid, he endorsed Hillary and became national co-chair for her campaign against Obama. He grew up in Pennsylvania where he was adopted from a Roman Catholic Orphanage by his Roman Catholic parents – Bud (real estate agent) and Dolly (homemaker). Governers of farm states have traditionally been a popular choice for Agriculture Secretary – as his two predecessors (Mike Johanns and Ed Shafer) were also farm state governors.. Vilsack has recieved some criticism for supporting the interests of large industrial farms and genetically engineered crops from some environmental activist groups who wanted Obama to make a more visionary choice.
Former  Iowa governor Tom  VILSACK your groceries at the department of agriculture TOMorrow
Education Secretary – Arne Duncan
Younger than Obama at 44 years of age.  He previously was in charge of the Chicago public schools. His father was a psychology professor at the University of Chicago. His mother is a community organizer in Chicago – she runs the Sue Duncan Children’s Center for African American Children on the Chicago South Side. He graduated magnam cum laude from Harvard University and where he was a basketball player. After that he played professional basketball in Australia. He met his wife Karen in Tasmania Australia.
Spock is smart and he is a Vulcan so  the head of Education is Arne Duncan
Energy Secretary – Steven Chu
Steven won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997. He is a Chinese American and grew up in St. Louis, Mo. His bachelor’s degree is from the University of Rochester, and his Ph.D. is from Berkeley. He then worked at Bell Labs, and then as a physics professor at Stanford. He has involved himself in the intelligent design debate on the side of not believing in intelligent design partly because his name is Steven He is an advocate for more research in alternative energy and global warming. One of the things he doesn’t know is Mandarin. He is the second American Chinese to be on the cabinet and the first with a Nobel Prize.
Stephen Chu is a scientist named Steve
and he leads the department of energy
Secretary of Health and Human Services – Tom Daschle – Withdrew
Former Senator from South Dakota (D), where he grew up Roman Catholic.  He used to be the Majority Senator Leader (and then minority, and then majority, and then minority again because of the evenly split senate). His office received a letter with anthrax in it in October 2001. 
Tom Daschle once received anthrax in the mail 
which is not good for your health nor
were his human services required in 2004
or 2009 because of a tax fine.
Secretary of Homeland Security – Janet Napolitano
A Methodist lawyer and successful two-time governor of Arizona who was raised in Pittsburgh PA and Albuquerque, New Mexico. She worked for Anita Hill as an advising attorney during the 1991 Clarence Thomas Supreme Court Nominee Hearings. She is a survivor of breast cancer. She endorsed Obama in January of 2008. She is single, which in Ed Rendell’s (Gov of PA) view, makes her perfect for the job of Homeland Security.
nano nano
Janet Napolitano – put POLITA  in the middle of NANO and get NApolitaNO
Janet is single and at home with homeland security
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development – Shaun Donovan
At 42 – the secretary of HUD is younger than Obama. Harvard Degrees both graduate and undergraduate. He has been working for New York City to provide affordable housing to 500,000 New Yorkers through Mayor Bloomberg’s ambitious 8.5 billion dollar 10 year plan. I He is a federally-assisted housing expert.
Huds man is
Shaun Donovan 

Secretary of the Interior – Ken Salazar
Ken is a Colorado Senator and rancher who is not always a consistant environmentalist, making this an interesting Obama choice. He opposed the listing of the Black-tailed Prairie Dog being put on the endangered species list because ranchers find this animal to be a pest. He is a moderate who often defends Western land owner rights. He narrowly defeated beer executive Pete Coors of the Coors Brewing Company to win his senate seat. He is not a friend of James Dobson.
 He also likes to wear cowboy hats. He grew up on a Colorado ranch with seven siblings and no phone or electricity.Ken’s wife is known as Hope and he has two daughters – Melinda and Andrea.
“I’ve been taunted, called names — from dirty Mexican to lots of other names — as I was growing up, and even now as a United States Senator. To have that personal experience in having gone through that kind of discrimination, it helps in terms of informing the debate and bringing a certain sense of reality to some of the issues we are dealing with on a national level.”
—New York Times, June 11, 2006
“The America where I grew up is vanishing today, left behind by a Washington, D.C., that has lost touch with what is important to the people of the heartland. I fear that rural Colorado, like the rest of rural America, has become ‘the Forgotten America.'”
—In his first speech to the Senate, March 2, 2005
Ken Salazar – Kan you say salad czar
A Mexican rancher turned US Senator  from America’s Heartland interior state of Colorado.
Secretary of Justice (attorney general) – Eric Holder
Eric was appointed judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia by Ronald Reagan. He then became Deputy Attorney General for Clinton, and then he was senior legal advisor for the Obama Campaign. He is against torture and the death penalty and in favor of gun control.
Eric Holder of Justice and the position of attorney general.
Eric is also holder 
of the view that water-boarding is torture.
Secretary of Labor – Hilda Solis – not confirmed yet
Hilda has been in the United States House of Reps since 2001, where she represents East Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley. She was raised by immigrant parents in a tract home in La Puenta, Ca. Hilda had 4 sisters and 2 brothers. She won the JFK Profile in Courage Award in 2000 for her work in environmental justice. Other winner of this award are John McCain in 1999 and the NYPD in 2002. She likes to Salsa dance.
Hilda Solis isn’t a souless neighbor
She salsas in the department of labor
Secretary of State – Hillary Clinton
 Hillary once served on the board of Wal-mart who needed a token woman on the board, so they chose the governor’s wife. Here is a good article about this part of her life working for this company that exploits workers around the world to offer cheaper prices:
She was raised in a conservative Methodist home. Teenage Hillary volunteered to help with the Goldwater Campaign in 1964 when she was in high school. She was very involved in Republican politics when entering college and was president of the Young Republicans. However, her views changed about the Vietnam war and the American Civil Rights Movement. She wrote her youth pastor that she was “a mind conservative but a heart liberal”. In 1968, she went to the Republican National Convention and was completely turned off by what she saw. She left the Republican party for good, and became a political activist for civil rights, and became the first student to deliver the commencement address at her college.
The first time that Bill Clinton asked her to marry him – she said no.
Bill moved back to Arkansas, and she decided to also move to Arkansas and become a law professor. She finally does say “yes” to Bill Clinton, but does not change her last name when they marry in their living room. After Clinton becomes Governor, she does decide to change her name from Hillary Rodham to Hillary Clinton because the Arkansas voters kind of want her too. Hillary becomes a full partner in the Rose Law firm, and makes tons of money.
Clinton is not president of state
Hillary is SECRETARY of state!
Secretary of Transportation – Rep. Ray Lahood (R-Il)
Ray was a Republican Rep from Obama’s state of Illinois. He is of Arab heritage, and is a moderate Republican. He is a Maronite Catholic (an order of Catholicism that was founded by fourth century aesthetic monk, St Maron,  in the desert near Antioch).
Ray Lahood, like Robert Gates, name starts with an “R” and he is a Republican, everybody else’s name starts with something else and they are not Republicans.
The secretary of DOT is (L)a hood
Department of Treasury – Timothy Geithner
Geithner was born in Brooklyn, NY on August 18, 1961 and is the same age as Obama (47), but grew up mainly in Zimbabwe, India and Thailand. Sometimes he makes mistakes on his taxes.
Tim Geithner, 
better with the public treasure than his private treasure. We hope.
Secretary of Veteran Affairs
Retired General Eric K. Shinseki
4 star general and Chief of Staff of the Army. An impressive military man who had a different military strategy than Rumsfeld and President Bush had. He wanted to send in much more troops to secure Iraq. His position fell out of favor, although, now it looks like it might have been a more correct view. He is a Japanese American, born in Hawaii. He had half of his foot blown off by a mine in Vietnam.
Veteran Affairs Secretary is noted  Japanese American vet
 The half-footed general was a Vet
 He lost his foot in Vietnam but not his Shin
Don’t let Sin seek ee – Shinseki
Secretary of Commerce –
Judd Gregg –  Republican Senator from New Hampshire (RESIGNED)
Judd Gregg name doesn’t start with “R” like Robert Gates and Ray Lahood, the other 2 Republicans on Obama’s Cabinet, so it is a good thing he resigned. He has had a distinguished political career as NH rep. and NH governor. He is a lucky man – winning $850,000 from the NH lottery. New Hampshire has been good to him.  His dad, Hugh Gregg  was also the governor of NH, and wrote a book “All I learned about politics” (which is blank).
Judd Gregg not Jud Greg. 2 “d”s and 3 “g”s
Judd Gregg was never a judge
Obama is having a hard time filling the Secretary of Commerce position – Bill Richardson was his first choice and Bill resigned because he didn’t pay enough bills in taxes.

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Free Audio Book to stop slavery

During the month of February, 2009. There are women in poor countries who have been promised good jobs and a life out of poverty, but they end up as sex slaves in America.  There are children in Uganda who are kidnapped and taught to kill and torture grownups as child soldiers. There are more slaves now than in any time in history. And then there are also people who are going to rescue them. These are some of their stories. I strongly recommend downloading this book for free:

Not For Sale


Award-winning journalist David Batstone reveals the story of a new generation of 21st century abolitionists and their heroic campaign to put an end to human bondage. In his accessible and inspiring book, Batstone carefully weaves the narratives of activists and those in bondage in a way that not only raises awareness of the modern-day slave trade, but also serves as a call to action.

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Web Portal of Presidents in the 5 most populated Countries

#1 – CHINA led by President Hu. A nation of  1.3 Billion People

Chinese Government Official Web Portal (in English)


President Hu Jintao

A news/propaganda portal with links to informative articles and videos (in English) of how China is dealing with its people and the world today.  The president of China, Hu JinTao, is a relatively young Chinese leader  (late 60s), grew up in a poor family, became an hydroelectronic engineer, and then became a very successful Chinese politician. He won Time’s Man of the Year in 2007.  

Below the fold, is information for non-residents on how to study or work or visit in China, how to marry someone from China and how to adopt a Chinese child.

It has no interactive features such as requesting emails or comments that I could find.

The religious page gives insights into how the Chinese Government views religion. Religion appears to be seen as something that has been brought to China – first by the Buddhists in the first century (from India) and became the prominent religion. Islam (from Saudi Arabia) came to China in the seventh century, as did Catholicism (also from other countries). Finally Protestant Christianity reached  China in the early nineteenth century. There is finally Taoism, China’s only indigenous religion. There are 1,500 Taoist temples, compared to 46,400 places of Christian worship. 

#2 – INDIA led by President Pratibha Patil. A nation of 1.15 billion people.




This is a very nice site featuring a nice quote:

 I am deeply committed to the cause of education and would like to see every person, man and woman, boy and girl, be touched by the light of modern education. Empowerment of women is particularly important to me as I believe this leads to the empowerment of the nation

and a friendly button on the lower left that says “Write To Me” with a small picture of the president of India on it.  The dates on the press releases are in DD.MM.YYYY so I first thought they were old (since I am used to MM.DD.YYYY), but they are not.


#3 – UNITED STATES OF AMERICA led by President Barach Obama – a nation of 300 million people.


This is an informative website that currently centers around the White House blog and Obama’s weekly address. There is interesting information about Obama’s approach to faith.

I was not raised in a particularly religious household. I had a father who was born a Muslim but became an atheist, grandparents who were non-practicing Methodists and Baptists, and a mother who was skeptical of organized religion, even as she was the kindest, most spiritual person I’ve ever known. She was the one who taught me as a child to love, and to understand, and to do unto others as I would want done.

I didn’t become a Christian until many years later, when I moved to the South Side of Chicago after college. It happened not because of indoctrination or a sudden revelation, but because I spent month after month working with church folks who simply wanted to help neighbors who were down on their luck – no matter what they looked like, or where they came from, or who they prayed to. It was on those streets, in those neighborhoods, that I first heard God’s spirit beckon me. It was there that I felt called to a higher purpose – His purpose.

Barach Obama Feb 5 2009 National Prayer Breakfast

There is a “Contact Us” button on each page. President Obama does not want perishable gifts such as food or flowers. He asks that you send those to your local community center instead.

#4 – INDONESIA led by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. A Nation of 230 million people.

A government news portal. A little slow to load. There is an interactive map, that is slow to load and gave me Indonesian text.


#5 – BRAZIL led by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. A nation of 191 million people.

Brazil, like India, has a very pretty site. It prominantly features a photograph of a huge statue of Jesus with His arms open wide.







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New Orleans Art

New Orleans had a huge modern  art biennial called “Prospect. 1” headed by curator Dan Cameron. This huge  show was in all kinds of different venues. Some of it is people making  art out of houses ruined by Hurricane Katrina and it is “art as a gesture of compassion” with the goal of bringing in fresh tourist dollars. It was expected to draw 100,000 people. They plan to do Prospect. 2, 2 years from now – so even though I missed this one (Nov 1, 2008-Jan 18,2009), maybe I can go to the next one.

I recently read Anne Rice’s new book “Called Out of Darkness – a Spiritual Confession” which features New Orleans prominently.  It is a beautiful book about growing up Roman Catholic in New Orleans, and then Anne’s returning to the faith after becoming a famous author of vampire books. I may write a review of it.

there is also a good article about it in the Feb 09 Art In America

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Sam’s Web App Launches

Check out , which is a “community specific news and information platform” for towns and neighborhoods – kind of a Web 2.0 interactive internet improvement over the local newspaper.

This is what the site says about Sam’s work:

About Sam


Sam Cole is one of Patch’s star front-end engineering team, which means that he makes things pretty and then makes them move in peculiar ways. He recently moved to New York City from upstate New York and married his gorgeous wife, which turns out are two pretty complicated maneuvers, more so then you would think. He now lives in beautiful Bed Stuy.

… lots of impressive life accomplishments for Sam Cole at 22! Congratulations!

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NASA’s 1,474 megapixal Panorama of the Inauguration

The Inauguration of President Obama

This pan-able and zoom-able photograph of 2 million people is pretty spectacular taken by NASA is worth taking a look at.  You can zoom down to any of the two million people and read their hats, watch children misbehave, examine strange men standing on buildings,  watch people take photos, and search for celebrities, and mainly look at two million people looking very very cold. Be sure to look at the most popular “snapshots” that zoom in on people like Denzel Washington, President Bush and other famous people. This gigapan has fantastic resolution and does not take very long to load.

Here is the gigapan website

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