The Beginning of World War I

At 11:10 a.m. on July 28, 1914, Count Leopold von Berchtold, the Austro-Hungarian Minister for Foreign Affairs, sent a telegram to M.N. Pashitch, the Serbian Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs. The message read:

The Royal Serbian Government not having answered in a satisfactory manner the note of July 23, 1914, presented by the Austro-Hungarian Minister at Belgrade, the Imperial and Royal Government are themselves compelled to see to the safeguarding of their rights and interests, and, with this object, to have recourse to force of arms. Austria-Hungary consequently considers herself henceforward in state of war with Serbia.


Thus began World War I.

Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his spouse on the day of their assassination
Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his spouse on the day of their assassination

It was exactly one month after Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife were killed by a Serbian nationalist in Sarajevo. Emboldened by the support of its ally Germany, Austria-Hungary presented Serbia with an ultimatum demanding, among other things, that Austria-Hungary be allowed to conduct its own investigation into the archduke’s killing.

Serbia accepted all of Austria’s demands save one, yet the Austrian government broke diplomatic ties and began to prepare for war. At the same time, Serbia’s ally Russia began to mobilize its military against Austria.

wwi_map3Within days, Germany declared war on Russia, Russia’s ally France declared war on Germany and Germany reciprocated. Germany’s designs on Belgium prompted England’s declaration of war on Germany.

Before the war was over, a total of 32 nations had joined forces against the Austria-Hungary/Germany/Turkey/Bulgaria alliance. One nation, Romania, actually entered the war twice. The first time was when it declared war with Austria-Hungary on Aug. 27, 1916. Those hostilities ended with the Treaty of Bucharest on May 7, 1918. But Romania again entered the war on Nov. 10, 1918, the day before the armistice was signed with the last combatant remaining from the Austria-Hungary/Germany/Turkey/Bulgaria alliance, Germany.


Obama Says That Washington Distracted by ‘Phony Scandals’

President Barack Obama speaks about the economy, Wednesday, July 24, 2013, at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill.
President Barack Obama speaks about the economy, Wednesday, July 24, 2013, at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill.

Last Wednesday, President Barack Obama dismissed the scandals that have engulfed his administration as “phony.”

“With an endless parade of distractions and political posturing and phony scandals, Washington’s taken its eye off the ball,” Obama said in a campaign-style speech on the state of the economy. “And I’m here to say this needs to stop. This needs to stop. Short-term thinking and stale debates are not what this moment requires. Our focus has to be on the basic economic issues that the matter most to you – the people we represent.”

Obama didn’t mention any controversies by name, so he may need reminded of a few.  Starting with the decision of his Department of Justice to not prosecute members of the New Black Panthers for voter intimidation and the fiasco of Fast and Furious, his administration was off to the races with controversy.  Obama’s disregard for the law has been rampant from the auto bailout to the illegal war in Libya to the most recent decision to administratively decide to change portions of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  Throw in the use of the Internal Revenue Service to harass conservative and religious groups, revelations about the National Security Agency spying on American citizens and the Sept. 2012 terror assault in Benghazi, Libya and the associated cover-up have all brought unwanted scrutiny on the White House.

White House press secretary Jay Carney also used the term “phony scandals” earlier Wednesday in an appearance on MSNBC.  I would say to the press secretary and even the president that just because MSNBC chooses not to cover the stories of the Obama administration’s misdeeds, does not mean that they didn’t take place.

Ford’s Model A

Ford Motor Company’s First LogoOne hundred and ten years ago this week, a revolution in transportation began when, only a few weeks after the fledgling Ford Motor Company was incorporated, Ford sold his first automobile to Dr. Ernst Pfennig, a Chicago dentist.

Ford’s first Model A was the first vehicle mass-produced by Ford Motor Company. The two-cylinder, eight-horsepower Model A reached maximum speeds of about 30 miles per hour.  The Model A cost $850 (that’s over $21,000 in today’s dollars!)

Ford Model A - 1903
Ford Model A – 1903

Unlike later versions of his famous assembly-line vehicles, which came in “any color you want, as long as it’s black,” the first Model A was a bright shiny red.

The car weighed 1,240 pounds and could reach a top speed of 45 miles per hour. Options included a rear tonneau with two seats and a rear door for $100, a rubber roof for $30, or a leather roof for $50.

The Ford Motor Company had spent virtually all of its original investment funds when Dr. Pfenning picked up his car. The company had only $223.65 left in the bank at the time.  In his first year of production Ford sold 1,750 versions of the Model A.

The rest, as they say, is history.

System lets Colorado lawmakers avoid radar tickets

A loophole in state law has allowed Colorado state senators and representatives to avoid photo radar tickets because of special treatment given to lawmakers when they get license plates.

State plates 2Most license plates are issued to specific vehicles. But license plates for lawmakers are issued to individuals and aren’t registered in state computers.

Saying the process isn’t fair, Denver police began considering alternatives after an investigation by KCNC-TV ( ) reported Thursday.

The city has an aggressive photo radar program that sends out millions of dollars in photo radar tickets every year. However, police have not been able to send citations to legislators whose cars carry the special plates.

The problem surfaced when Evonne Estis of Canon City began receiving photo radar tickets intended for state Sen. Mike Johnston. Police say Johnston was photographed speeding six times in about a year.

His state legislative plate bears the number “33,” the district he represents, and was not in the DMV system. No tickets were sent for three of the violations.

The other three were sent to Estis, who has a vanity plate on her SUV that reads “33,” her favorite number, the station reported.

“It just so happened that I was receiving the tickets,” Estis said.

When KCNC told Johnston what had happened, he said the tickets were not Estis’ responsibility and promised to take care of it.

“I sent her a note when I apologized, saying if she gets any photo radar tickets she should have them sent to me and I’ll be happy to pay them for her,” Johnston said.

Johnston said he has already paid $160 for the photo radar tickets that were inadvertently sent to Estis.

Johnston also said he favors fixing the problem so lawmakers are treated equally.

Unions Pile On Against ObamaCare

They were for it before they were against it and now, some of the country’s most powerful union leaders are expressing their full disapproval of ObamaCare.

Unions Against Obamacare

The leaders of three major U.S. unions, including the highly influential Teamsters, have sent a scathing letter to Democratic leaders in Congress, warning that unless changes are made, President Obama’s health care reform plan will “destroy the foundation of the 40 hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class.”

If that’s not bad enough, the Affordable Care Act, if not modified, will “destroy the very health and well being of our members along with millions of other hardworking Americans,” the letter says.

The letter, signed by Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa, UFCW President Joseph Hansen and UNITE-HERE President D. Taylor, comes after companies have cut worker hours in order to avoid reaching the 50 full-time employee threshold requiring a business to provide health insurance through government exchanges under ObamaCare. Union leaders are reminding Democrats, not Republicans, about why they originally supported a healthcare overhaul and are expressing buyer’s remorse.

When you and the President sought our support for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), you pledged that if we liked the health plans we have now, we could keep them. Sadly, that promise is under threat. Right now, unless you and the Obama Administration enact an equitable fix, the ACA will shatter not only our hard-earned health benefits, but destroy the foundation of the 40 hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class.

Like millions of other Americans, our members are front-line workers in the American economy. We have been strong supporters of the notion that all Americans should have access to quality, affordable health care. We have also been strong supporters of you. In campaign after campaign we have put boots on the ground, gone door-to-door to get out the vote, run phone banks and raised money to secure this vision.

Now this vision has come back to haunt us.

Since the ACA was enacted, we have been bringing our deep concerns to the Administration, seeking reasonable regulatory interpretations to the statute that would help prevent the destruction of non-profit health plans. As you both know first-hand, our persuasive arguments have been disregarded and met with a stone wall by the White House and the pertinent agencies. This is especially stinging because other stakeholders have repeatedly received successful interpretations for their respective grievances. Most disconcerting of course is last week’s huge accommodation for the employer community—extending the statutorily mandated “December 31, 2013” deadline for the employer mandate and penalties.

Time is running out: Congress wrote this law; we voted for you. We have a problem; you need to fix it. The unintended consequences of the ACA are severe. Perverse incentives are already creating nightmare scenarios.

Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have been asked to move forward with “fixes” to the healthcare law, or in other words, unions want more waivers.

The very complaints union leaders are bringing to the table now about ObamaCare are the same warnings conservatives and businesses gave before the legislation was signed into law in 2010. Hopefully it won’t be long before unions are calling for full repeal.

Democrats Propose a National Park On the Moon

Two House Democrats have proposed legislation that would establish a national historical park on the surface of the moon to mark where the Apollo missions landed between 1969 and 1972.

Rep. Donna Edwards
Rep. Donna Edwards
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson

The bill from Reps. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) would create the Apollo Lunar Landing Sites National Historical Park. The park would be comprised of all artifacts left on the surface of the moon from the Apollo 11 through 17 missions.

The bill says these sites need to be protected because of the anticipated increase in commercial moon landings in the future.

“As commercial enterprises and foreign nations acquire the ability to land on the Moon, it is necessary to protect the Apollo lunar landing sites for posterity,” according to the text of the Apollo Lunar Landing Legacy Act, H.R. 2617.

Under the legislation, the park would be established no later than one year after the bill passes and would be run jointly by the Department of the Interior and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).


The measure would allow the government to accept donations from companies and foreign governments to help manage the landing sites and “provide visitor services and administrative facilities within reasonable proximity to the Historical Park.”

After one year, Interior and NASA would have to reach an agreement on how to manage the site, including how to monitor it, managing access to the sites and cataloguing the items in the park.

The government would also have to submit the Apollo 11 lunar landing site to the United Nations for designation as a World Heritage site.

Both Edwards and Bernice Johnson are members of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee where Johnson is the ranking member.

Edwards, the ranking member on the House Space Subcommittee, also proposed legislation on Monday to reauthorize NASA for three years. That bill, H.R. 2616, authorizes spending of $18.1 billion in 2014 for NASA, which rises to $18.9 billion in 2016.

Aside from boosting NASA’s budget, the bill also sets as a goal a human mission to Mars and maintains a commitment to funding International Space Station operations through 2020.

Independence Weekend Gun Deaths in Chicago Virtually Unreported by Media

Despite being seemingly bumped from the front pages, gun control is alive and well. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband showed up in New Hampshire to promote their anti-gun agenda. Apparently New York’s Mayor Bloomberg is fronting the money for this nationwide tour. No big shock there.

Since the Newtown shooting, it seems there haven’t been any mass murders. “Gun violence” in America seems to have temporarily subsided. We haven’t heard of any shootings in months.

Could that really be or is it just not being reported? Well, you’d be smart to choose the latter.

Welcome to Chicago 01There is in fact gun violence, and it’s happening in Barack Obama’s hometown of Chicago.

While I would have hoped that everyone had a nice relaxing Independence Day weekend complete with all of the trimmings— parades, picnics, family gatherings and fireworks, the people of Chicago spent their long weekend dodging bullets. Of course watching, listening to, or reading any national media, one would never know that.

In Chicago, over the 4th of July weekend, a mere 74 people were shot and 12 were killed. That’s from Wednesday night to Sunday night!

dont-shoot-i-want-to-grow-up-chicago-220x110This happens month after month, year after year in a city with possibly the strictest gun control in the country. The totals for 2013, and we’re only halfway, are 870 shot and wounded, 180 shot and killed, and 211 total homicides (knives, clubs, fists, etc.).

So why is this not front page material, above the fold, in the New York Times? Why did you not see the weekend’s carnage when you opened your Internet browser? Could it be the mainstream press really does have an agenda?

Who is the mayor of Chicago? Oh that’s right, it’s Rahm Emanuel, friend of both the Clinton’s and Obama.

The media wouldn’t actually try to paper over the 1037 murders that have occurred since 2011 when Rahm took office would they? I’m sure that’s the farthest thing from the truth.

Check the Internet. Pick a search engine. There have been many reports of the weekend violence, but all were from conservative or local/regional sites. Nothing from the Times online, MSNBC, Washington Post, et al.

Several page searches in, you might stumble upon a CNN article in which they were trying to find a positive spin and actually reported gun violence was down. The report claimed that the city was making progress, but according to officials there was much to be done. If you find that article, you will notice that the article was from June, when only 40 were murdered and 225 shot and wounded. That’s progress?

They can try to sugarcoat this all they want, but there were more people shot in Chicago during that weekend than in Egypt.

Does the press have an agenda or do they just think that blacks being shot and murdered is important enough to report, unless your name is Trayvon.