Saturday, August 30, 2014

Flag Of Great Britain / United Kingdom

The Flag of Great Britain was the royal banner known at different names as the King's Colours, the Great Union Flag, and the Union Flag. The design dated from the early 17th century, when it was ordered by King James VI and I to be used on ships on the high seas, and it subsequently came into use as a national flag following the Treaty of Union and Acts of Union 1707, gaining a regularized status as "the Ensign armorial of the Kingdom of Great Britain", the newly created state. It was then adopted by land forces as well, although the blue field used on land-based versions more closely resembled that of the blue of the flag of Scotland.

The flag consists of the red cross of Saint George, patron saint of England, superimposed on the Saltire of Saint Andrew, patron saint of Scotland. Its correct proportions are 1:2.
The flag's official use came to an end in 1801 with the creation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. At that time Saint Patrick's Flag was added to the flag of Great Britain to create the present-day Union Flag.

The flag of the new Kingdom was formally chosen on 17 April 1707, two weeks before the Acts of Union of 1707 were to take effect. Sir Henry St George, Garter King of Arms, had presented several possible designs to Queen Anne and the Privy Council. The principal alternative for consideration was a version of the flag with the Cross of Saint Andrew lying on top of that of Saint George, called the "Scotts union flag as said to be used by the Scotts", but this was rejected.

The Union Flag can be flown by any individual or organisation in Great Britain on any day of their choice. Legal regulations restrict the use of the Union Flag on Government buildings in Northern Ireland. Long-standing restrictions on Government use of the flag elsewhere were abolished in July 2007.

In Northern Ireland, the Union Flag is flown from buildings of the Northern Ireland Office as decreed by Regulations published in 2000. The Regulations were amended in 2002 to remove the requirement to fly the flag on the birthdays of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon who both died that year. The current flag days are now the same as the United Kingdom government days noted above with the exception of the Duchess of Cornwall's birthday, which was only added to the UK flag days after her wedding to the Prince of Wales in 2005, and has not yet been extended to Northern Ireland.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland is the only body in the United Kingdom that is not permitted to fly the Union Flag, and is only permitted to fly its service flag or the Royal Standard in the event of a visit by the Sovereign.

In November 2007 the then culture minister Margaret Hodge said she would consider a redesign of the Union Flag to incorporate the Welsh dragon, during a debate in the House of Commons on the frequency with which the flag flies above public buildings. The issue was initially raised by Ian Lucas, another Labour MP, who complained that the flag introduced in 1606 following the accession of James VI of Scotland to the English throne as James I combined the cross of St George and the saltire of St Andrew. This principle continued in 1801 when the St Patrick cross was incorporated following the Union with Ireland Act 1800. Lucas claimed the identity of Wales had been suppressed ever since the Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542. In the debate, Albert Owen MP said that "we in Wales do not feel part of the union flag because the dragon or the cross of St David is not on it." Conservative MP Stewart Jackson described the comments as "eccentric".

As of 2013, numerous proposals have been made about how the Union Flag might be altered to create a flag for the union of England, Wales and Northern Ireland after possible Scottish independence. The College of Arms has stated that there is no need to change the flag in those circumstances, and the existing flag could continue to be used if desired. Regarding the removal of Scottish heraldic features from the Union Flag, the Court of the Lord Lyon stated in 2012 that "[that] would be speculation at this stage, and we could only cross that bridge if we came to it."

The reason that the UK flag is not symmetrical is because of the relative positions of the saltires of St Patrick and St Andrew. The red saltire of St Patrick is offset such that it doesn't relegate the white saltire of St Andrew to a mere border. St Andrew's saltire has the higher position at the hoist side with St Patrick's saltire in the higher position on the opposite side.

Sources: Wikipedia

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


Monday, August 25, 2014

Love Is A Drug

Love is like the first time you dropped acid. You're anticipating an awesome trip. Everyone says it's great. Then when it kicks in, you start hallucinating. People turn into zombies without any skin. When they talk, it sounds like muffled noises. They grow huge fangs. Their eyes turn devil red. Their laughter scares you more than it eases your fears. Everything you see stretches like rubber every which way. Bats start flying around your head. Bugs are crawling on your skin. "Get off me!" You lash out, but to no avail. This is nothing like your friends said it would be. You just want out!

Finally, you come down. Sweat is pouring out from every pore of your body. You're visibly shaken. Your heartbeat starts to slow down. You swear to yourself "never again", but you know that is a lie. You will do it again because you're now addicted to it.

Yeah, love is like that, only without the munchies.

On the plus side, at least you don't have cotton-mouth. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sir Henry Morgan: The Pirates

Sir Henry Morgan (Harri Morgan in Welsh; ca. 1635 – 25 August 1688) was a Welsh privateer, pirate and admiral of the English Royal Navy who made a name for himself during activities in the Caribbean, primarily raiding Spanish settlements. He earned a reputation as one of the most notorious and successful privateers in history, and one of the most ruthless among those active along the Spanish Main.

Henry Morgan was the eldest son of Robert Morgan, a farmer living in the locality of Caerau, Cardiff, Wales, near what is now known as Ely, Cardiff, Wales, situated on the Ely River, in south-east Wales, within the historic boundaries of Monmouthshire. Robert Morgan (born c.1615) was a descendant from a cadet branch of the ‘Tredegar Morgans’ and had two brothers, Thomas and Edward.

Major-General Sir Thomas Morgan (1st Baronet 1604-79) served in the Commonwealth forces during English civil war from 1642-9, was Governor of Gloucester 1645, fought in Flanders, wounded, and in 1661 retired to his estate in Kynnersley, Herts. He was married on 10 September 1632, and had nine sons, of whom the eldest, Sir John Morgan followed in his father's profession.He also had a sister Catherine. An entry in the Bristol Apprentice Books showing "Servants to Foreign Plantations" 9 February 1655, included "Henry Morgan of Abergavenny, Labourer, Bound to Timothy Tounsend of Bristol, Cutler, for three years, to serve in Barbados on the like Condiciouns." Thomas was recalled in 1665 to become Governor of Jersey, and died in St. Helier in April 1679. Colonel Edward Morgan (c. 1616- after 1665) was a Royalist during English Civil War 1642-9, Captain General of the Kings forces in South Wales, escaped to the continent, and married Anna Petronilla the daughter of Baron von Pöllnitz, Westphalia, (governor of Lippstadt, a city 20 miles east of Dortmund Germany). They had six children, two sons, and four daughters (including Anna Petronilla and Johanna). He was appointed Lt-Gov. Jamaica 1664-65.

There was no record of Morgan before 1655. He later said that he left school early, and was "more used to the pike than the book." Alexandre Exquemelin, Morgan's surgeon at Panama, says that he was indentured in Barbados. After Morgan sued the publishers for libel and was awarded £200, Exquemelin was forced to retract his statement. Subsequent editions of his book were amended.
Exquemelin said that Morgan came to Jamaica in 1658 as a young man, and raised himself to "fame and fortune by his valour". Recent versions of his life claim that, despite having had little experience as a sailor, Morgan sailed to the Caribbean to take part in the Western Design, Cromwell's plan to invade Hispaniola. His first battle at Santo Domingo ended in a failed attempt to take the island. The fleet moved on to Jamaica, which the English force successfully invaded and occupied.

His uncle Edward Morgan was Lieutenant-Governor of Jamaica after the Restoration of Charles II of England in 1660. Henry Morgan married his uncle's daughter Mary, a cousin. Morgan was reportedly the "Captain Morgan" who joined the fleet of Christopher Myngs in 1663. He was part of the expedition of John Morris and Jackmann when they took the Spanish settlements at Vildemos (on the Tabasco river); Trujillo, (Honduras) and Granada.

In late 1665 Morgan commanded a ship in the old privateer Edward Mansfield's expedition sent by Sir Thomas Modyford, the governor of Jamaica. They seized the islands of Providencia and Santa Catalina Island, Colombia. When Mansfield was captured by the Spanish and executed shortly afterward, the privateers elected Morgan as their admiral.

By 1661 Commodore Christopher Mings appointed Morgan captain of his first vessel. He plundered the Mexican coast under Lord Windsor's commission in 1665. When Lord Windsor, governor of Jamaica, refused to stop the pirates from attacking Spanish ships, the Crown relieved him, and appointed Sir Thomas Modyford in his place. Although Modyford proclaimed loyalty to the Crown, he became a critical element of Morgan's expeditions by going against the word of the king and granting Morgan letters of marque to attack Spanish ships and settlements. Modyford was originally appointed governor of Barbados for both his loyalty and service to King Charles II during the English Civil War and his familial relation to the First Duke of Albemarle, but he was later removed from this position. Modyford was then appointed Governor of Jamaica as an attempt to save his dignity. This, along with the Royalists' defeat at Worcester, decreased Modyford's loyalty to the crown. As governor, Modyford was required to call in all pirates and privateers of the West Indies because England and Spain were temporarily at peace. However, the majority of these buccaneers, Sir Henry Morgan included, either refused to return or did not receive the message that there was a recall.

When Morgan did return, Modyford had already received letters from the King of England warning him to force all of the pirates to return to port. Modyford chose to neglect these warnings and continue to issue letters of marque under the guise that it was for the King's best interest to protect Jamaica, and this was a necessary element in that goal. Because Modyford desired to get rid of the Dutch presence in the Caribbean he issued a letter of marque to Captain Edward Mansvelt to assemble a fleet of fifteen ships manned by roughly 500 to 600 men. Having just returned from a successful expedition off the Mexican Coast, where he captured several ships off the coast of Campeche, Morgan was appointed vice admiral of the fleet. Mansvelt was given orders to attack the Dutch settlement of Curaçao, but once the crew was out at sea it was decided that Curaçao was not lucrative enough for the impending danger associated with attacking it. With this in mind, a vote was taken and the crew decided that attacking a different settlement would be a safer and more lucrative alternative. Unhappy with this decision, many of the buccaneers deserted the expedition and headed back to port while others continued on with Admiral Mansvelt and Vice-Admiral Morgan to attack the Spanish island of Providence.

When Morgan and Mansvelt's fleet arrived at Providence, the Spanish were unprepared. Unable to form a defence, the Spanish surrendered all of their forts. Mansvelt and Morgan ruthlessly decided to destroy all but one of these forts. The buccaneers lived in the city and collected all of its wealth while Morgan and Mansvelt sailed around Costa Rica. Eventually, they spotted a Spanish man-of-war on the horizon and decided to return to Jamaica to gather reinforcements so that the island of Providence could be a town run and inhabited by pirates. As a sign of his sympathy toward pirates Modyford appointed his brother, Sir James Modyford, as governor of Providence. In the mind of Mansvelt, the idea of a pirate-run settlement was brilliant. However, he and Modyford both overlooked the true essence of a pirate: a pirate is not a soldier who is disciplined and prepared to fight the world's best armies when the armies were ready for them. Rather, Mansvelt's pirates were conditioned to raid a town, then leave. Thus, the pirate reign in Providence was short-lived as the island was quickly recaptured by the Spanish. After this expedition, Modyford was again reprimanded by the King of England and asked to recall all of his pirates and privateers. Once again, Modyford refused.

After learning of a rumour that the Spanish planned to attack Jamaica in retaliation for the sack of Providence, Modyford provided yet another commission to the buccaneers. This time, he gave the commission directly to Morgan to take Spanish citizens prisoner in order to protect the island of Jamaica. Modyford used the excuse of protecting the King's influence in the Americas, but this was most likely simply a guise for his own personal agenda of gaining money and keeping his post as Governor of Jamaica. Nonetheless, Morgan assembled a fleet of ten ships in a way that was quite different from most Admirals of the time. Instead of sending out a flyer and allowing willing buccaneers of the region to come to him, Morgan sailed to the places where the most daring pirates could be found. When he arrived at the ports, he dressed himself in red silk and wore fancy gold and jewels so that he appeared to be extremely successful so that more swashbucklers were drawn to him. Using a word-of-mouth approach, he was able to acquire five hundred of the best pirates in the area.

In order to cover their debts, Morgan and his men decided to aim for a city that harbored vast treasure. Porto Bello in modern-day Panama was the third most important Spanish city in the New World, making it an obvious choice for the buccaneers. Furthermore, Porto Bello was considered the center of Spanish trade in the Americas, as its warehouses contained the goods and valuables of many wealthy merchants. With its enormous concentration of wealth, Porto Bello was extremely well protected by three Spanish forts. However, the French crew refused to take part in this voyage because they did not get along with Morgan's English crew.

In the same fashion as before, Morgan set out to assemble a fleet of buccaneers that would be willing to engage in a bold attack on the Spanish Main and was able to attract nine-hundred men to his eleven-ship fleet. Once gathered, Morgan brought his men to the Isla Vaca, also known as Cow Island, to decide on a city to attack. After deliberation it was decided that the Spanish settlement of Cartagena would be their intended target because of the riches it contained. It was one of Spain's most important cities, and held all of the gold that was in transit from Peru to Spain, so sacking Cartagena would not only provoke the Spanish into an attack while weakening one of their strongest cities, but it would also make for a very large loot.

The night that the final decision to attack Cartagena was made, there was a celebration. During this rum-filled celebration, a few intoxicated sailors accidentally lit a fuse that ignited explosives on board Morgan's flagship, the Oxford, which was originally a gift given to Modyford to help protect Jamaica from privateers like Morgan. However, the ship ended up in Morgan's possession and became his flagship. When the Oxford was destroyed, many men lost their lives, and many others chose to desert seeing the tragedy as an omen of bad luck, so the fleet was decreased to only ten ships and eight hundred men. However, Morgan still continued onto the Spanish Main to attack Cartagena in March 1669 after supplementing his loss with that of another great ship (a French vessel [Le Cerf Volant] of 36 guns; 24 iron, 12 brass), which coincidentally he’d already designed to acquire on the night of the explosion.

In 1683, Morgan was suspended from the Jamaican Council by the machinations of Governor Lynch. Also during this time, an account of Morgan's disreputable exploits was published by Alexandre Exquemelin, who once had been his confidante, probably as a barber-surgeon, in a Dutch volume entitled De Americaensche Zee-Roovers (About the Buccaneers of America). Morgan took steps to discredit the book and successfully brought a libel suit against the book's publishers William Crooke and Thomas Malthus, securing a retraction and damages of two hundred English pounds. The book nonetheless contributed much to Morgan's reputed fame as a bloodthirsty pirate during the time he was in Newport.

When Thomas Lynch died in 1684, his friend Christopher Monck was appointed to the governorship and arranged the dismissal of Morgan's suspension from the Jamaican Council in 1688. Morgan's health had steadily declined since 1681. He was diagnosed with "dropsie", but may have contracted tuberculosis in London, and died on 25 August 1688. He is buried in Palisadoes cemetery, which sank beneath the sea after the 1692 earthquake.

Morgan had lived in an opportune time for privateers. He was able to successfully use the conflicts between England and her enemies both to support England and to enrich himself and his crews. With his death, the pirates who would follow would also use this same ploy, but with less successful results.

Henry had married his cousin, Mary Elizabeth Morgan in 1666, there was no issue and she died in 1696. In his will signed 17 June 1688, he left his Jamaican property to his godsons Charles Byndloss (b.1668) and Henry Archbold on condition they adopted the surname of Morgan. These were the children of his two cousins Anna Petronilla Byndloss (née Morgan), and Johanna Archbold (née Morgan). Their father Colonel Edward Morgan (Lt-Gov. Jamaica 1664-65) was Robert Morgan's younger brother (see early life). To his sister Catherine Loyd (née Morgan) he awarded £60 per annum from his estate ‘paid into the hands of my ever honest cozen (sic) Thomas Morgan of Tredegar’.

On 4 August 2011 archaeologists from Texas State University reported having found what may be one of Morgan's ships off the coast of Panama. The dive was conducted off the Lajas Reef; some sources are stating it was at the mouth of Panama's Chagres River, where a 52-by-22-foot (16 by 7 m) section from the starboard side of a wooden ship's hull was found. The find may be Morgan's flagship, Satisfaction.

Unopened cargo boxes and chests encrusted in coral were found, in addition to the section of hull.

The dives are being led by Texas State University underwater archaeologist Frederick Hanselmann and assisted by the U.S. National Park Service Submerged Resources Center and volunteer divers from Aquarius Reef Base, a joint operation of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and University of North Carolina Wilmington - and in cooperation with Panamanian authorities and colleagues. The finds will stay in Panama.

Resources: Wikipedia

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

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Smell Of Love

  Love is like that time you were nine years old and you had to stay with your grandparents for two weeks for whatever reason where you were conflicted with emotion. On the one hand, it's your grandparents, and you love your grandparents! On the other, they only bathed once every two weeks because they live out in the middle of nowhere, miles from civilization, with no indoor plumbing, and the last time they bathed was the day before you arrived.

Oh sure, the visit starts out great, and you have taken up the practice to clean yourself daily in a nearby creek, but by day four or five, you're hiding under the porch in your newly built fort sleeping with their coon dog, a possum and a skunk. All of you with clothespins on your noses and a horrified look of terror on your faces. OMFG!

Move to the city grandpa and grandma!

Yeah, love is like that, only .... without the clothespins.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Youtube Carroll Bryant Style

Hey you guys, don't forget to check out my Youtube Channel. I have forty video's, and counting. Over twenty songs that I wrote. Don't forget to subscribe. Thanks. Carroll Bryant Youtube.

This is my Elvis tribute.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Bill Clinton: The Presidents

William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton (born William Jefferson Blythe III, August 19, 1946) is an American politician who served from 1993 to 2001 as the 42nd President of the United States. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president from the baby boomer generation. Clinton has been described as a New Democrat. Many of his policies have been attributed to a centrist Third Way philosophy of governance. Before becoming president, he was the Governor of Arkansas for five two-year terms, serving from 1979 to 1981 and from 1983 to 1992. He was also the state's Attorney General from 1977 to 1979.

Clinton was born William Jefferson Blythe III on August 19, 1946, at Julia Chester Hospital in Hope, Arkansas. His father, William Jefferson Blythe, Jr. (1918–1946), was a traveling salesman who died in an automobile accident three months before Bill was born. His mother, Virginia Dell Cassidy (1923–1994), traveled to New Orleans to study nursing soon after he was born. She left Bill in Hope with her parents Eldridge and Edith Cassidy, who owned and ran a small grocery store. At a time when the Southern United States was segregated racially, Bill's grandparents sold goods on credit to people of all races. In 1950, Bill's mother returned from nursing school and married Roger Clinton, Sr., who owned an automobile dealership in Hot Springs, Arkansas, with his brother. The family moved to Hot Springs in 1950.

Although he assumed use of his stepfather's surname, it was not until Billy (as he was known then) turned fifteen that he formally adopted the surname Clinton as a gesture toward his stepfather. Clinton says he remembers his stepfather as a gambler and an alcoholic who regularly abused his mother and half-brother, Roger Clinton, Jr., to the point where he intervened multiple times with the threat of violence to protect them.

In Hot Springs, Bill attended St. John's Catholic Elementary School, Ramble Elementary School, and Hot Springs High School – where he was an active student leader, avid reader, and musician. Clinton was in the chorus and played the tenor saxophone, winning first chair in the state band's saxophone section. He briefly considered dedicating his life to music.

Clinton's interest in law also began in Hot Springs High, when in his Latin class he took up the challenge to argue the defense of the ancient Roman Senator Catiline in a mock trial. After a vigorous defense that made use of his "budding rhetorical and political skills", he told the Latin teacher Mrs. Elizabeth Buck that it "made him realize that someday he would study law."

Clinton has named two influential moments in his life that contributed to his decision to become a public figure, both occurring in 1963. One was his visit as a Boys Nation senator to the White House to meet President John F. Kennedy. The other was listening to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 1963 I Have a Dream speech, which impressed him enough that he later memorized it.

After graduating from Yale Law School, Clinton returned to Arkansas and became a law professor at the University of Arkansas. A year later, he ran for the House of Representatives in 1974. The incumbent, Republican John Paul Hammerschmidt, defeated Clinton in the general election by a 52 percent to 48 percent margin. With only minor opposition in the primary and no opposition at all in the general election, Clinton was elected Arkansas Attorney General in 1976.

Clinton was elected Governor of Arkansas in 1978, having defeated the Republican candidate Lynn Lowe, a farmer from Texarkana. He became the youngest governor in the country at 32. Due to his youthful appearance, Clinton was often called the "Boy Governor", a referent that continues to be used to refer to him during his gubernatorial era on occasion. He worked on educational reform and Arkansas's roads, with wife Hillary leading a successful committee on urban health care reform. However, his term included an unpopular motor vehicle tax and citizens' anger over the escape of Cuban refugees (from the Mariel boatlift) detained in Fort Chaffee in 1980. Monroe Schwarzlose of Kingsland in Cleveland County, polled 31 percent of the vote against Clinton in the Democratic gubernatorial primary of 1980. Some suggested Schwarzlose's unexpected voter turnout foreshadowed Clinton's defeat in the general election that year by Republican challenger Frank D. White. As Clinton once joked, he was the youngest ex-governor in the nation's history.

Clinton joined friend Bruce Lindsey's Little Rock law firm of Wright, Lindsey and Jennings. In 1982, he was again elected governor and kept the office for ten years. Beginning with the 1986 election, Arkansas had changed its gubernatorial term of office from 2 to 4 years. During his term he helped transform Arkansas's economy and significantly improve the state's educational system. He became a leading figure among the New Democrats. The New Democrats, organized as the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), were a branch of the Democratic Party that called for welfare reform and smaller government, a policy supported by both Democrats and Republicans. He gave the Democratic response to President Reagan's 1985 State of the Union Address and served as Chair of the National Governors Association from 1986 to 1987, bringing him to an audience beyond Arkansas. Clinton made economic growth, job creation and educational improvement high priorities. For senior citizens, he removed the sales tax from medications and increased the home property-tax exemption.

In the early 1980s, Clinton made reform of the Arkansas education system a top priority. The Arkansas Education Standards Committee, chaired by Clinton's wife, attorney and Legal Services Corporation chair Hillary Rodham Clinton, succeeded in reforming the education system, transforming it from the worst in the nation into one of the best. Many have considered this the greatest achievement of the Clinton governorship. Clinton and the committee were responsible for state educational improvement programs, notably more spending for schools, rising opportunities for gifted children, an increase in vocational education, raising of teachers' salaries, inclusion of a wider variety of courses, and compulsory teacher testing for aspiring educators. He defeated four Republican candidates for governor: Lowe (1978), White (1982 and 1986), and businessmen Woody Freeman of Jonesboro, (1984) and Sheffield Nelson of Little Rock (1990).

The Clintons' personal and business affairs during the 1980s included transactions that became the basis of the Whitewater controversy investigation that later dogged his presidential administration. After extensive investigation over several years, no indictments were made against the Clintons related to the years in Arkansas.

According to some sources, Clinton was in his early years a death penalty opponent who switched positions. During Clinton's term, Arkansas performed its first executions since 1964 (the death penalty had been re-enacted on March 23, 1973). As Governor, he oversaw four executions: one by electric chair and three by lethal injection. Later, as president, Clinton was the first President to pardon a death-row inmate since the federal death penalty was reintroduced in 1988.

In 1987, there was media speculation Clinton would enter the race after then-New York Governor Mario Cuomo declined to run and Democratic front-runner Gary Hart withdrew owing to revelations of marital infidelity. Clinton decided to remain as Arkansas governor (following consideration for the potential candidacy of Hillary Rodham Clinton for governor, initially favored – but ultimately vetoed – by the First Lady). For the nomination, Clinton endorsed Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis. He gave the nationally televised opening night address at the 1988 Democratic National Convention, but his speech, which was 33 minutes long and twice as long as it was expected to be, was criticized for being too long and poorly delivered. Presenting himself as a moderate and a member of the New Democrat wing of the Democratic Party, he headed the moderate Democratic Leadership Council in 1990 and 1991.

In the first primary contest, the Iowa caucus, Clinton finished a distant third to Iowa Senator Tom Harkin. During the campaign for the New Hampshire primary, reports of an extramarital affair with Gennifer Flowers surfaced. As Clinton fell far behind former Massachusetts Senator Paul Tsongas in the New Hampshire polls, following Super Bowl XXVI, Clinton and his wife Hillary went on 60 Minutes to rebuff the charges. Their television appearance was a calculated risk, but Clinton regained several delegates. He finished second to Tsongas in the New Hampshire primary, but after trailing badly in the polls and coming within single digits of winning, the media viewed it as a victory. News outlets labeled him "The Comeback Kid" for earning a firm second-place finish.

Winning the big prizes of Florida and Texas and many of the Southern primaries on Super Tuesday gave Clinton a sizable delegate lead. However, former California Governor Jerry Brown was scoring victories and Clinton had yet to win a significant contest outside his native South. With no major Southern state remaining, Clinton targeted New York, which had many delegates. He scored a resounding victory in New York City, shedding his image as a regional candidate. Having been transformed into the consensus candidate, he secured the Democratic Party nomination, finishing with a victory in Jerry Brown's home state of California.

Because Bush's approval ratings were around 80 percent during the Gulf War, he was described as unbeatable. However, when Bush compromised with Democrats to try to lower Federal deficits, he reneged on his promise not to raise taxes, hurting his approval rating. Clinton repeatedly condemned Bush for making a promise he failed to keep. By election time, the economy was souring and Bush saw his approval rating plummet to just slightly over 40 percent. Finally, conservatives were previously united by anti-communism, but with the end of the Cold War, the party lacked a uniting issue. When Pat Buchanan and Pat Robertson addressed Christian themes at the Republican National Convention – with Bush criticizing Democrats for omitting God from their platform – many moderates were alienated. Clinton then pointed to his moderate, "New Democrat" record as governor of Arkansas, though some on the more liberal side of the party remained suspicious. Many Democrats who had supported Ronald Reagan and Bush in previous elections switched their support to Clinton. Clinton and his running mate, Al Gore, toured the country during the final weeks of the campaign, shoring up support and pledging a "new beginning".

Clinton won the 1992 presidential election (43.0 percent of the vote) against Republican incumbent George H. W. Bush (37.4 percent of the vote) and billionaire populist Ross Perot, who ran as an independent (18.9 percent of the vote) on a platform focusing on domestic issues; a significant part of Clinton's success was Bush's steep decline in public approval. Clinton's election ended twelve years of Republican rule of the White House and twenty of the previous twenty-four years. The election gave Democrats full control of the United States Congress, the first time one party controlled both the executive and legislative branches since Democrats held the 95th United States Congress during the Jimmy Carter presidency in the late 1970s.

During his presidency, Clinton advocated for a wide variety of legislation and programs, much of which was enacted into law or was implemented by the executive branch. Some of his policies, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement and welfare reform, have been attributed to a centrist Third Way philosophy of governance, while on other issues his stance was left-of-center. On budgetary matters his policy of fiscal conservatism helped to reduce deficits. Clinton presided over the longest period of peacetime economic expansion in American history. The Congressional Budget Office reported budget surpluses of $69 billion in 1998, $126 billion in 1999, and $236 billion in 2000, during the last three years of Clinton's presidency. At the end of his presidency, Clinton moved to New York and helped his wife win election to the U.S. Senate there.

Clinton was inaugurated as the 42nd President of the United States on January 20, 1993. Shortly after taking office, Clinton signed the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 on February 5, which required large employers to allow employees to take unpaid leave for pregnancy or a serious medical condition. This action had bipartisan support, and proved quite popular with the public.

On February 15, 1993, Clinton made his first address to the nation, announcing his plan to raise taxes to cap the budget deficit. Two days later, in a nationally televised address to a joint session of Congress, Clinton unveiled his economic plan. The plan focused on reducing the deficit rather than on cutting taxes for the middle class, which had been high on his campaign agenda. Clinton's advisers pressured him to raise taxes on the theory that a smaller federal budget deficit would reduce bond interest rates.

On May 19, 1993, Clinton fired seven employees of the White House Travel Office, causing the White House travel office controversy even though the Travel Office staff served at the pleasure of the President, who could dismiss them without cause. The White House responded to the controversy by claiming the firings were done because of financial improprieties that had been revealed by a brief FBI investigation. Critics contended the firings had been done to allow friends of the Clintons to take over the travel business and that the involvement of the FBI was unwarranted.

Clinton signed the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 in August of that year, which passed Congress without a Republican vote. It cut taxes for fifteen million low-income families, made tax cuts available to 90 percent of small businesses, and raised taxes on the wealthiest 1.2 percent of taxpayers. Additionally, through the implementation of spending restraints, it mandated the budget be balanced over a number of years.

Clinton made a major speech to Congress regarding a health care reform plan on September 22, 1993, aimed at achieving universal coverage through a national health care plan. This was one of the most prominent items on Clinton's legislative agenda, and resulted from a task force headed by Hillary Clinton. Though at first well received in political circles, it was eventually doomed by well-organized opposition from conservatives, the American Medical Association, and the health insurance industry. However, John F. Harris, a biographer of Clinton's, states the program failed because of a lack of coordination within the White House. Despite the Democratic majority in Congress, the effort to create a national health care system ultimately died when compromise legislation by George J. Mitchell failed to gain a majority of support in August 1994. It was the first major legislative defeat of Clinton's administration.

On January 1, 1994, Clinton signed the North American Free Trade Agreement into law. Throughout his first year in office, Clinton consistently supported ratification of the treaty by the U.S. Senate. Clinton and most of his allies in the Democratic Leadership Committee strongly supported free trade measures; there remained, however, strong disagreement within the party. Opposition came chiefly from anti-trade Republicans, protectionist Democrats and supporters of Ross Perot. The bill passed the house with 234 votes against 200 opposed (132 Republicans and 102 Democrats voting in favor; 156 Democrats, 43 Republicans, and 1 independent against). The treaty was then ratified by the Senate and signed into law by the President.
Clinton's 1994 Omnibus Crime Bill made many changes to U.S. law, including the expansion of the death penalty to include crimes not resulting in death, such as running a large-scale drug enterprise. During Clinton's re-election campaign he said, "My 1994 crime bill expanded the death penalty for drug kingpins, murderers of federal law enforcement officers, and nearly 60 additional categories of violent felons."

The Clinton administration also launched the first official White House website,, on October 21, 1994. It was followed by three more versions, resulting in the final edition launched in 2000. The White House website was part of a wider movement of the Clinton administration toward web-based communication. According to Robert Longley, "Clinton and Gore were responsible for pressing almost all federal agencies, the U.S. court system and the U.S. military onto the Internet, thus opening up America's government to more of America's citizens than ever before. On July 17, 1996, Clinton issued Executive Order 13011 – Federal Information Technology, ordering the heads of all federal agencies to utilize information technology fully to make the information of the agency easily accessible to the public."

After two years of Democratic Party control, the Democrats lost control of Congress in the mid-term elections in 1994, for the first time in forty years.

In the 1996 presidential election, Clinton was re-elected, receiving 49.2 percent of the popular vote over Republican Bob Dole (40.7 percent of the popular vote) and Reform candidate Ross Perot (8.4 percent of the popular vote), becoming the first Democratic incumbent since Lyndon Johnson to be elected to a second term and the first Democrat since Franklin D. Roosevelt to be elected President more than once. The Republicans lost a few seats in the House and gained a few in the Senate, but retained control of both houses of the 105th United States Congress. Clinton received 379, or over 70 percent of the Electoral College votes, with Dole receiving 159 electoral votes.
In the January 1997 State of the Union address, Clinton proposed a new initiative to provide coverage to up to five million children. Senators Ted Kennedy – a Democrat – and Orrin Hatch – a Republican – teamed up with Hillary Rodham Clinton and her staff in 1997, and succeeded in passing legislation forming the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), the largest (successful) health care reform in the years of the Clinton Presidency. That year, Hillary Clinton shepherded through Congress the Adoption and Safe Families Act and two years later she succeeded in helping pass the Foster Care Independence Act. He negotiated the passage of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 by the Republican Congress. In October 1997, he announced he was getting hearing aids, due to hearing loss attributed to his age, and his time spent as a musician in his youth.

In a lame-duck session of Congress after the 1998 elections, the House voted to impeach Clinton, based on alleged acts of perjury and obstruction of justice related to the Lewinsky scandal. This made Clinton only the second U.S. president to be impeached (the first being Andrew Johnson).

Impeachment proceedings were based on allegations that Clinton had illegally lied about and covered up his relationship with 22-year-old White House intern Monica Lewinsky. After the Starr Report was submitted to the House providing what it termed "substantial and credible information that President Clinton Committed Acts that May Constitute Grounds for an Impeachment", the House began impeachment hearings against Clinton before the mid-term elections. To hold impeachment proceedings, the Republican leadership called a lame-duck session in December 1998.

While the House Judiciary Committee hearings ended in a straight party-line vote, there was lively debate on the House floor. The two charges passed in the House (largely with Republican support, but with a handful of Democratic votes as well) were for perjury and obstruction of justice. The perjury charge arose from Clinton's testimony before a grand jury that had been convened to investigate perjury he may have committed in his sworn deposition during Paula Jones's sexual harassment lawsuit. The obstruction charge was based on his actions to conceal his relationship with Lewinsky before and after that deposition.

The Senate later voted to acquit Clinton on both charges. The Senate refused to meet to hold an impeachment trial before the end of the old term, so the trial was held over until the next Congress. Clinton was represented by Washington law firm Williams & Connolly. The Senate finished a twenty-one-day trial on February 12, 1999, with the vote of 55 Not Guilty/45 Guilty on the perjury charge and 50 Not Guilty/50 Guilty on the obstruction of justice charge. Both votes fell short of the Constitutional two-thirds majority requirement to convict and remove an officeholder. The final vote was generally along party lines, with no Democrats voting guilty, and only a handful of Republicans voting not guilty.

Clinton's job approval rating fluctuated in the 40s and 50s throughout his first term. In his second term, his rating consistently ranged from the high-50s to the high-60s. After his impeachment proceedings in 1998 and 1999, Clinton's rating reached its highest point. According to a poll conducted by CBS in conjunction with the New York Times, he finished with an approval rating of 68 percent, which matched those of Ronald Reagan and Franklin D. Roosevelt as the highest ratings for departing presidents in the modern era.

As he was leaving office, a CNN/USA TODAY/Gallup poll revealed 45 percent said they would miss him. While 55 percent thought he "would have something worthwhile to contribute and should remain active in public life", 68 percent thought he would be remembered for his "involvement in personal scandal", and 58 percent answered "No" to the question "Do you generally think Bill Clinton is honest and trustworthy?" Forty-seven percent of the respondents identified themselves as being Clinton supporters. The same percentage said he would be remembered as either "outstanding" or "above average" as a president, while 22 percent said he would be remembered as "below average" or "poor". (For myself, I think Bill Clinton was the best president of my lifetime, and the best since John F. Kennedy.)

As the first baby boomer president, Clinton was the first president in a half-century not to have been alive during World War II. Authors Martin Walker and Bob Woodward state Clinton's innovative use of sound bite-ready dialogue, personal charisma, and public perception-oriented campaigning was a major factor in his high public approval ratings. When Clinton played the saxophone on The Arsenio Hall Show, he was described by some religious conservatives as "the MTV president." Opponents sometimes referred to him as "Slick Willie", a nickname first applied while he was governor of Arkansas and lasting throughout his presidency. Standing at a height of 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m), Clinton is tied with five others as the fourth-tallest president in the nation's history. His folksy manner led him to be nicknamed "Bubba", especially in the Southern U.S. Since 2000, he has frequently been referred to as "The Big Dog" or "Big Dog." His prominent role in campaigning for President Obama during the 2012 presidential election and his widely-publicised speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, where he officially nominated Obama and criticized Republican nominee Mitt Romney and Republican policies in detail, earned him the nickname "Explainer-in-Chief".

Bill Clinton continues to be active in public life, giving speeches, fundraising, and founding charitable organizations. Altogether, Clinton has spoken at the last six Democratic National Conventions, dating to 1988.

In September 2004, Clinton received a quadruple bypass surgery. In March 2005, he underwent surgery for a partially collapsed lung. On February 11, 2010, he was rushed to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City after complaining of chest pains, and had two coronary stents implanted in his heart. After this experience, Clinton adopted the plant-based whole foods (vegan) diet recommended by doctors Dean Ornish and Caldwell Esselstyn.

Clinton has reportedly begun practicing Buddhist meditation in order to help him relax and achieve a healthier lifestyle.

Sources: Wikipedia

This work released through CC 3.0 By-SA - Creative Commons

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Michael Jordan: Sports Legend

He is Air Jordan. He is the best that ever played the game of basketball. The 1980's saw the birth of two MJ's. The first being Michael Jackson, king of pop music, the other was Michael Jordan, king of the court. There will never be another like him again.

He was born Michael Jeffrey Jordan on February 17th, 1963. He is an American former professional basketball player, entrepreneur, and principal owner and chairman of the Charlotte Hornets. His biography on the National Basketball Association (NBA) website states, "By acclamation, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time." Jordan was one of the most effectively marketed athletes of his generation and was considered instrumental in popularizing the NBA around the world in the 1980s and 1990s.

After a three-season career at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a member of the Tar Heels' national championship team in 1982, Jordan joined the NBA's Chicago Bulls in 1984. He quickly emerged as a league star, entertaining crowds with his prolific scoring. His leaping ability, illustrated by performing slam dunks from the free throw line in slam dunk contests, earned him the nicknames "Air Jordan" and "His Airness". He also gained a reputation for being one of the best defensive players in basketball. In 1991, he won his first NBA championship with the Bulls, and followed that achievement with titles in 1992 and 1993, securing a "three-peat". Although Jordan abruptly retired from basketball before the beginning of the 1993–94 NBA season to pursue a career in baseball, he rejoined the Bulls in 1995 and led them to three additional championships in 1996, 1997, and 1998, as well as an NBA-record 72 regular-season wins in the 1995–96 NBA season. Jordan retired for a second time in 1999, but returned for two more NBA seasons from 2001 to 2003 as a member of the Washington Wizards.

Jordan's individual accolades and accomplishments include five Most Valuable Player (MVP) Awards, ten All-NBA First Team designations, nine All-Defensive First Team honors, fourteen NBA All-Star Game appearances, three All-Star Game MVP Awards, ten scoring titles, three steals titles, six NBA Finals MVP Awards, and the 1988 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. Among his numerous accomplishments, Jordan holds the NBA records for highest career regular season scoring average (30.12 points per game) and highest career playoff scoring average (33.45 points per game). In 1999, he was named the greatest North American athlete of the 20th century by ESPN, and was second to Babe Ruth on the Associated Press's list of athletes of the century.

He is a two-time inductee into the Basketball Hall of Fame – in 2009 for his individual career, and in 2010 as a member of the 1992 United States men's Olympic basketball team ("The Dream Team").
Jordan is also known for his product endorsements. He fueled the success of Nike's Air Jordan sneakers, which were introduced in 1985 and remain popular today. Jordan also starred in the 1996 feature film Space Jam as himself. In 2008, he became part-owner and head of basketball operations for the then-Charlotte Bobcats, buying controlling interest in 2010.

Jordan was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Deloris (née Peoples), who worked in banking, and James R. Jordan, Sr., an equipment supervisor. His family moved to Wilmington, North Carolina, when he was a toddler. Jordan attended Emsley A. Laney High School in Wilmington, where he anchored his athletic career by playing baseball, football, and basketball. He tried out for the varsity basketball team during his sophomore year, but at 5'11" (1.80 m), he was deemed too short to play at that level. His taller friend, Harvest Leroy Smith, was the only sophomore to make the team.

Motivated to prove his worth, Jordan became the star of Laney's junior varsity squad, and tallied several 40-point games. The following summer, he grew four inches and trained rigorously. Upon earning a spot on the varsity roster, Jordan averaged about 20 points per game over his final two seasons of high school play. As a senior, he was selected to the McDonald's All-American Team after averaging a triple-double: 29.2 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 10.1 assists.

Jordan was recruited by numerous college basketball programs, including Duke, North Carolina, South Carolina, Syracuse, and Virginia. In 1981, Jordan accepted a basketball scholarship to North Carolina, where he majored in cultural geography. As a freshman in coach Dean Smith's team-oriented system, he was named ACC Freshman of the Year after he averaged 13.4 points per game (ppg) on 53.4% shooting (field goal percentage). He made the game-winning jump shot in the 1982 NCAA Championship game against Georgetown, which was led by future NBA rival Patrick Ewing. Jordan later described this shot as the major turning point in his basketball career. During his three seasons at North Carolina, he averaged 17.7 ppg on 54.0% shooting, and added 5.0 rebounds per game (rpg). He was selected by consensus to the NCAA All-American First Team in both his sophomore (1983) and junior (1984) seasons. After winning the Naismith and the Wooden College Player of the Year awards in 1984, Jordan left North Carolina one year before his scheduled graduation to enter the 1984 NBA Draft. The Chicago Bulls selected Jordan with the third overall pick, after Hakeem Olajuwon (Houston Rockets) and Sam Bowie (Portland Trail Blazers). One of the primary reasons why Jordan was not drafted sooner was because the first two teams were in need of a center. However, the Trail Blazers general manager Stu Inman contested that it was not a matter of drafting a center, but more a matter of taking Sam Bowie over Jordan, in part because Portland already had a guard with similar skills to Jordan, Clyde Drexler. In 2005 ESPN, citing Bowie's injury-laden college career, named the Blazers' choice of Bowie as the worst draft pick in North American professional sports history. Jordan returned to North Carolina to complete his degree in 1986.

During his first season in the NBA, Jordan averaged 28.2 ppg on 51.5% shooting. He quickly became a fan favorite even in opposing arenas, and appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated with the heading "A Star Is Born" just over a month into his professional career. Jordan was also voted in as an All-Star starter by the fans in his rookie season. Controversy arose before the All-Star game when word surfaced that several veteran players, led by Isiah Thomas, were upset by the amount of attention Jordan was receiving. This led to a so-called "freeze-out" on Jordan, where players refused to pass him the ball throughout the game. The controversy left Jordan relatively unaffected when he returned to regular season play, and he would go on to be voted Rookie of the Year. The Bulls finished the season 38–44, and lost in the first round of the playoffs in four games to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Jordan's second season was cut short by a broken foot in the third game of the season, which caused him to miss 64 games. Despite Jordan's injury and a 30–52 record (at the time it was fifth worst record of any team to qualify for the playoffs in NBA history), the Bulls made the playoffs. Jordan recovered in time to participate in the playoffs and performed well upon his return. Against a 1985–86 Boston Celtics team that is often considered one of the greatest in NBA history, Jordan set the still-unbroken record for points in a playoff game with 63 in Game 2. The Celtics, however, managed to sweep the series.

Jordan had recovered completely by the 1986–87 season, and had one of the most prolific scoring seasons in NBA history. He became the only player other than Wilt Chamberlain to score 3,000 points in a season, averaging a league high 37.1 points on 48.2% shooting. In addition, Jordan demonstrated his defensive prowess, as he became the first player in NBA history to record 200 steals and 100 blocks in a season. Despite Jordan's success, Magic Johnson won the league's Most Valuable Player Award. The Bulls reached 40 wins, and advanced to the playoffs for the third consecutive year. However, they were again swept by the Boston Celtics.

In the 1990–91 season, Jordan won his second MVP award after averaging 31.5 ppg on 53.9% shooting, 6.0 rpg, and 5.5 apg for the regular season. The Bulls finished in first place in their division for the first time in 16 years and set a franchise record with 61 wins in the regular season. With Scottie Pippen developing into an All-Star, the Bulls had elevated their play. The Bulls defeated the New York Knicks and the Philadelphia 76ers in the opening two rounds of the playoffs. They advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals where their rival, the Detroit Pistons, awaited them. However, this time the Bulls beat the Pistons in a surprising sweep. In an unusual ending to the fourth and final game, Isiah Thomas led his team off the court before the final seconds had concluded. Most of the Pistons went directly to their locker room instead of shaking hands with the Bulls.

The Bulls advanced to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history to face Magic Johnson and James Worthy and beat the Los Angeles Lakers four games to one, compiling an outstanding 15–2 playoff record along the way. Perhaps the best known moment of the series came in Game 2 when, attempting a dunk, Jordan avoided a potential Sam Perkins block by switching the ball from his right hand to his left in mid-air to lay the shot in. In his first Finals appearance, Jordan posted per game averages of 31.2 points on 56% shooting from the field, 11.4 assists, 6.6 rebounds, 2.8 steals and 1.4 blocks. Jordan won his first NBA Finals MVP award, and he cried while holding the NBA Finals trophy.

Jordan and the Bulls continued their dominance in the 1991–92 season, establishing a 67–15 record, topping their franchise record from 1990 to 91. Jordan won his second consecutive MVP award with averages of 30.1 points, 6.4 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game on 52% shooting. After winning a physical 7-game series over the New York Knicks in the second round of the playoffs and finishing off the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Conference Finals in 6 games, the Bulls met Clyde Drexler and the Portland Trail Blazers in the Finals. The media, hoping to recreate a Magic–Bird rivalry, highlighted the similarities between "Air" Jordan and Clyde "The Glide" during the pre-Finals hype. In the first game, Jordan scored a Finals-record 35 points in the first half, including a record-setting six three-point field goals. After the sixth three-pointer, he jogged down the court shrugging as he looked courtside. Marv Albert, who broadcast the game, later stated that it was as if Jordan was saying, "I can't believe I'm doing this." The Bulls went on to win Game 1, and defeat the Blazers in six games. Jordan was named Finals MVP for the second year in a row and finished the series averaging 35.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg, and 6.5 apg, while shooting 53% from the floor.

In 1992–93, despite a 32.6 ppg, 6.7 rpg and 5.5 apg campaign, Jordan's streak of consecutive MVP seasons ended as he lost the award to his friend Charles Barkley. Coincidentally, Jordan and the Bulls met Barkley and his Phoenix Suns in the 1993 NBA Finals. The Bulls captured their third consecutive NBA championship on a game-winning shot by John Paxson and a last-second block by Horace Grant, but Jordan was once again Chicago's catalyst. He averaged a Finals-record 41.0 ppg during the six-game series, and became the first player in NBA history to win three straight Finals MVP awards. He scored more than 30 points in every game of the series, including 40 or more points in 4 consecutive games. With his third Finals triumph, Jordan capped off a seven-year run where he attained seven scoring titles and three championships, but there were signs that Jordan was tiring of his massive celebrity and all of the non-basketball hassles in his life.

On October 6, 1993, Jordan announced his retirement, citing a loss of desire to play the game. Jordan later stated that the murder of his father earlier in the year shaped his decision. Jordan's father was murdered on July 23, 1993, at a highway rest area in Lumberton, North Carolina, by two teenagers, Daniel Green and Larry Martin Demery. The assailants were traced from calls they made on James Jordan's cellular phone, caught, convicted, and sentenced to life in prison. Jordan was close to his father; as a child he had imitated his father's proclivity to stick out his tongue while absorbed in work. He later adopted it as his own signature, displaying it each time he drove to the basket. In 1996, he founded a Chicago area Boys & Girls Club and dedicated it to his father.

In his 1998 autobiography For the Love of the Game, Jordan wrote that he had been preparing for retirement as early as the summer of 1992. The added exhaustion due to the Dream Team run in the 1992 Olympics solidified Jordan's feelings about the game and his ever-growing celebrity status. Jordan's announcement sent shock waves throughout the NBA and appeared on the front pages of newspapers around the world.

Jordan then further surprised the sports world by signing a minor league baseball contract with the Chicago White Sox on February 7, 1994. He reported to spring training in Sarasota, Florida and was assigned to the team's minor league system on March 31, 1994. Jordan has stated this decision was made to pursue the dream of his late father, who had always envisioned his son as a Major League Baseball player. The White Sox were another team owned by Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf, who continued to honor Jordan's basketball contract during the years he played baseball. In 1994, Jordan played for the Birmingham Barons, a Double-A minor league affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, batting .202 with three home runs, 51 runs batted in, 30 stolen bases, and 11 errors. He also appeared for the Scottsdale Scorpions in the 1994 Arizona Fall League, batting .252 against the top prospects in baseball. On November 1, 1994, his number 23 was retired by the Bulls in a ceremony that included the erection of a permanent sculpture known as The Spirit outside the new United Center.

In the 1993–94 season, the Bulls, without Jordan, achieved a 55–27 record, and lost to the New York Knicks in the second round of the playoffs. But the 1994–95 Bulls were a shell of the championship squad of just two years earlier. Struggling at mid-season to ensure a spot in the playoffs, Chicago was 31–31 at one point in mid-March. The team received a lift, however, when Jordan decided to return to the NBA for the Bulls.

On March 18, 1995, Jordan announced his return to the NBA through a two-word press release: "I'm back." The next day, Jordan donned jersey number 45 (his number with the Barons), as his familiar 23 had been retired in his honor following his first retirement. He took to the court with the Bulls to face the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis, scoring 19 points. The game had the highest Nielsen rating of a regular season NBA game since 1975.

Although he had not played an NBA game in a year and a half, Jordan played well upon his return, making a game-winning jump shot against Atlanta in his fourth game back. He then scored 55 points in the next game against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on March 28, 1995 (his first appearance at Madison Square Garden since retiring). Boosted by Jordan's comeback, the Bulls went 13–4 to make the playoffs and advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Orlando Magic. At the end of Game 1, Orlando's Nick Anderson stripped Jordan from behind, leading to the game-winning basket for the Magic; he would later comment that Jordan "didn't look like the old Michael Jordan." Jordan then returned to wearing his old number. Jordan averaged 31 points per game in the series, but Orlando prevailed in 6 games.

Freshly motivated by the playoff defeat, Jordan trained aggressively for the 1995–96 season. Strengthened by the addition of rebound specialist Dennis Rodman, the Bulls dominated the league, starting the season 41–3, and eventually finishing with the best regular season record in NBA history: 72–10. Jordan led the league in scoring with 30.4 ppg, and won the league's regular season and All-Star Game MVP awards. In the playoffs, the Bulls lost only three games in four series, defeating the Seattle SuperSonics in the NBA Finals to win the championship. Jordan was named Finals MVP for a record fourth time, surpassing Magic Johnson's three Finals MVP awards. He also achieved only the second sweep of the MVP Awards in the All-Star Game, regular season and NBA Finals, Willis Reed having achieved the first, during the 1969–70 season. Because this was Jordan's first championship since his father's murder, and it was won on Father's Day, Jordan reacted very emotionally upon winning the title, including a memorable scene of him sobbing on the locker room floor with the game ball.

In the 1996–97 season, the Bulls started out 69–11, but narrowly missed out on a second consecutive 70-win season by losing their final two games to finish 69–13. However, this year Jordan was beaten for the NBA MVP Award by Karl Malone. The Bulls again advanced to the Finals, where they faced Malone and the Utah Jazz. The series against the Jazz featured two of the more memorable clutch moments of Jordan's career. He won Game 1 for the Bulls with a buzzer-beating jump shot. In Game 5, with the series tied at 2, Jordan played despite being feverish and dehydrated from a stomach virus. In what is known as the "Flu Game", Jordan scored 38 points, including the game-deciding 3-pointer with 25 seconds remaining. The Bulls won 90–88 and went on to win the series in six games. For the fifth time in as many Finals appearances, Jordan received the Finals MVP award. During the 1997 NBA All-Star Game, Jordan posted the first triple double in All-Star Game history in a victorious effort; however, he did not receive the MVP award.

Jordan and the Bulls compiled a 62–20 record in the 1997–98 season. Jordan led the league with 28.7 points per game, securing his fifth regular-season MVP award, plus honors for All-NBA First Team, First Defensive Team and the All-Star Game MVP. The Bulls captured the Eastern Conference Championship for a third straight season, including surviving a grueling seven-game series with Reggie Miller's Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals; it was the first time Jordan had played in a Game 7 since the 1992 series with the Knicks. After prevailing, they moved on for a rematch with the Jazz in the Finals.

The Bulls returned to Utah for Game 6 on June 14, 1998 leading the series 3–2. Jordan executed a series of plays, considered to be one of the greatest clutch performances in NBA Finals history. With the Bulls trailing 86–83 with 41.9 seconds remaining, Phil Jackson called a timeout. When play resumed, Jordan received the inbound pass, drove to the basket, and hit a layup over several Jazz defenders. The Jazz brought the ball upcourt and passed the ball to forward Karl Malone, who was set up in the low post and was being guarded by Rodman. Malone jostled with Rodman and caught the pass, but Jordan cut behind him and swatted the ball out of his hands for a steal. Jordan then slowly dribbled upcourt and paused at the top of the key, eyeing his defender, Jazz guard Bryon Russell. With 10 seconds remaining, Jordan started to dribble right, then crossed over to his left, possibly pushing off Russell, although the officials did not call a foul. With 5.2 seconds left, Jordan made the climactic jump shot of his career. After John Stockton missed a desperation 3-pointer, Jordan and the Bulls claimed their sixth NBA championship, and secured a second three-peat. Once again, Jordan was voted the Finals MVP, having led all scorers by averaging 33.5 points per game, including 45 in the deciding Game 6. Jordan's six Finals MVPs is a record; Shaquille O'Neal, Magic Johnson, and Tim Duncan are tied for second place with three apiece.

The 1998 Finals holds the highest television rating of any Finals series in history, and Game 6 holds the highest television rating of any game in NBA history.

With Phil Jackson's contract expiring, the pending departures of Scottie Pippen (who stated his desire to be traded during the season) and Dennis Rodman (who would sign with the Los Angeles Lakers as a free agent) looming, and being in the latter stages of an owner-induced lockout of NBA players, Jordan retired for the second time on January 13, 1999.

On January 19, 2000, Jordan returned to the NBA not as a player, but as part owner and President of Basketball Operations for the Washington Wizards. Jordan's responsibilities with the Wizards were comprehensive. He controlled all aspects of the Wizards' basketball operations, and had the final say in all personnel matters. Opinions of Jordan as a basketball executive were mixed. He managed to purge the team of several highly paid, unpopular players (such as forward Juwan Howard and point guard Rod Strickland), but used the first pick in the 2001 NBA Draft to select high schooler Kwame Brown, who did not live up to expectations and was traded away after four seasons.

Despite his January 1999 claim that he was "99.9% certain" that he would never play another NBA game, in the summer of 2001 Jordan expressed interest in making another comeback, this time with his new team. Inspired by the NHL comeback of his friend Mario Lemieux the previous winter, Jordan spent much of the spring and summer of 2001 in training, holding several invitation-only camps for NBA players in Chicago. In addition, Jordan hired his old Chicago Bulls head coach, Doug Collins, as Washington's coach for the upcoming season, a decision that many saw as foreshadowing another Jordan return.

On September 25, 2001, Jordan announced his return to the NBA to play for the Washington Wizards, indicating his intention to donate his salary as a player to a relief effort for the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks. In an injury-plagued 2001–02 season, he led the team in scoring (22.9 ppg), assists (5.2 apg), and steals (1.42 spg). However, torn cartilage in his right knee ended Jordan's season after only 60 games, the fewest he had played in a regular season since playing 17 games after returning from his first retirement during the 1994–95 season.

Playing in his 14th and final NBA All-Star Game in 2003, Jordan passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the all-time leading scorer in All-Star game history (a record since broken by Kobe Bryant). That year, Jordan was the only Washington player to play in all 82 games, starting in 67 of them. He averaged 20.0 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. He also shot 45% from the field, and 82% from the free throw line. Even though he turned 40 during the season, he scored 20 or more points 42 times, 30 or more points nine times, and 40 or more points three times. On February 21, 2003, Jordan became the first 40-year-old to tally 43 points in an NBA game. During his stint with the Wizards, all of Jordan's home games at the MCI Center were sold out, and the Wizards were the second most-watched team in the NBA, averaging 20,172 fans a game at home and 19,311 on the road. However, neither of Jordan's final two seasons resulted in a playoff appearance for the Wizards, and Jordan was often unsatisfied with the play of those around him.

Jordan played on two Olympic gold medal-winning American basketball teams. As a college player he participated, and won the gold, in the 1984 Summer Olympics. The team was coached by Bob Knight and featured players such as Patrick Ewing, Sam Perkins, Chris Mullin, Steve Alford, and Wayman Tisdale. Jordan led the team in scoring, averaging 17.1 ppg for the tournament.
In the 1992 Summer Olympics, he was a member of the star-studded squad that included Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and David Robinson and was dubbed the "Dream Team". Jordan was the only player to start all 8 games in the Olympics. Playing limited minutes due to the frequent blowouts, Jordan averaged 14.9 ppg, finishing second on the team in scoring. Jordan and fellow Dream Team members Patrick Ewing and Chris Mullin are the only American men's basketball players to win Olympic gold as amateurs and professionals.

After his third retirement, Jordan assumed that he would be able to return to his front office position of Director of Basketball Operations with the Wizards. However, his previous tenure in the Wizards' front office had produced the aforementioned mixed results and may have also influenced the trade of Richard "Rip" Hamilton for Jerry Stackhouse (although Jordan was not technically Director of Basketball Operations in 2002). On May 7, 2003, Wizards owner Abe Pollin fired Jordan as Washington's President of Basketball Operations. Jordan later stated that he felt betrayed, and that if he knew he would be fired upon retiring he never would have come back to play for the Wizards.

On June 15, 2006, Jordan bought a minority stake in the Charlotte Bobcats, becoming the team's second-largest shareholder behind majority owner Robert L. Johnson. As part of the deal, Jordan was named "Managing Member of Basketball Operations," with full control over the basketball side of the operation. Despite Jordan's previous success as an endorser, he has made an effort not to be included in Charlotte's marketing campaigns. A decade earlier, Jordan had made a bid to become part-owner of Charlotte's original NBA team, the Charlotte Hornets, but talks collapsed when owner George Shinn refused to give Jordan complete control of basketball operations.

In February 2010, it was reported that Jordan was seeking majority ownership of the Bobcats. As February wore on, it emerged that the leading contenders for the team were Jordan and former Houston Rockets president George Postolos. On February 27, the Bobcats announced that Johnson had reached an agreement with Jordan and his group, MJ Basketball Holdings, to buy the team pending NBA approval. On March 17, the NBA Board of Governors unanimously approved Jordan's purchase, making him the first former player ever to become the majority owner of an NBA team. It also made him the league's only African-American majority owner.

Sources: Wikipedia

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

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Plagiarism: The Geraldine Evans Story

Plagiarism is a serious thing. For what does it say of a persons character when they are caught red-handed, and knee deep of plagiarism? Recently, John Walsh, a United States senator from Montana was caught plagiarizing. He tried to use the excuse that PTSD may have played a role in what he did. I scoff at the notion. A man of his education and position within society knows better than to plagiarize.

I'm no expert in the inner workings of the mind and what leads one to copy another person's work of the written word, nor am I going to try. Nor shall I attempt to understand how one may think he or she can get away with such a thing in today's technological world where everything and everything is posted on the internet as a matter of record. It seems to me that with our technology, it would make discovering plagiarism more obvious. It's not a question of "if" a person will get caught doing such a thing, but "when" they get caught. Trust me, if you plagiarize, you will get caught eventually, and then what? What becomes of YOUR reputation and character when that discovery is made?

I think for myself, I believe that people who plagiarize don't even care about their reputations in the first place. They live in a delusional world where they truly believe they are something they clearly are not. In this case, writers. In my opinion, a writer is nothing more than a very deep thinker with a very active brain. Being a writer myself, I often times find myself just sitting and pondering so many things. My brain is always searching for something to say, and how to say it cleverly. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't. Sometimes it pretty good, and sometimes it bombs. But that is the life of a writer. Not everything you write will be a masterpiece.

Speaking strictly for myself, as a writer, I never worry over whether someone out there will try and steal my words. I just figure I don't have much worth stealing. And after meeting author Geraldine Evans, I get the feeling she feels pretty much the same way too. Or at least, she used to feel that way. Geraldine Evans is an author who humanizes her craft with her most humble of ways. She writes what her active brain comes up with. She spends countless hours honing her writing skills and working on her stories. Exactly what a writer should be doing. Not stressing over concerns related to plagiarism. And I now wonder how I would respond to making the discovery that she made - that someone out there is plagiarizing her hard work.

And while I have to continue to wonder how I would respond to such a thing, Geraldine Evans has to deal with this discovery everyday of her life now. And the perpetrator of this act is none other than Karl Jones - a wannabe author who hasn't the author skills to write his own stories, oh no, he has to plagiarize the hard work of Geraldine Evans.

Now, if the name Karl Jones strikes a chord with you it's probably because he does more than plagiarize. He first appeared on my radar a way back, when I broke the story of sexual role playing taking place on a book website known as Goodreads. These sexual role playing groups consist of both adults and minors. With the help of a few people, I was pointed in his direction and discovered that Karl Jones was a convicted child molester. He was, at that time of when I broke the story about him, a member of some of these sexual role play groups, and was an active participator.

Unbeknownst to me at the time however, was the knowledge that he didn't even bother writing his own books, and that he was plagiarizing the work of author Geraldine Evans. And because I broke the story on my "Looking Glass" blog about this pedophile, I felt it was my responsibility to also inform everyone about his plagiarizing ways. But instead of me simply telling you the story of what he did to Geraldine Evans, I thought it best if I allowed her to tell her own story - and to do so right here on my blog.

So, without any further ramblings from me, here is Geraldine Evans herself to tell her story, in her own words, regarding Karl Jones and him plagiarizing her work.



It was just another day – you know the kind of thing – trying to sort out an urgent legal matter with tardy lawyers, heaving about a hundredweight of heavy plant pots away from my back wall so work can be done on a damp problem, wading through the usual bumf in my email inbox.

And then I opened an email from a lady who turned out to be a fan of my novels. She was writing to tell me that a man named Karl Jones had plagiarised two of the books in my Rafferty & Llewellyn mystery series.

My first reaction was one of astonishment that he’d bother! I’m hardly a household name. Surely, I thought, any plagiarist worth his salt and intent on stealing an author’s work would pick on someone other than a midlister like me.

Anyway, I checked this Jones character on Amazon and there he was, with his name as the author on the first two books in my 15-strong series. Clearly, an idle sort of thief because pretty much all he’d troubled to change to conceal his theft was names and places. Beyond that, there was little that’d troubled to alter in my stories. He’d just stolen my words wholesale in a totally brazen manner.

To add insult to injury, the rankings for ‘his’ books were better than mine!

My dander was up now. I’d worked long and hard to get a publishing contract. I wrote a book a year for six long years before I got a publishing deal all while holding down a full-time day job. I was no stranger to 7-day working weeks. How dare this man who lacked the industry and perseverance to do likewise, steal my work?

I was in no position to sue him as I couldn’t afford the expense I’d incur as I thought it likely that I’d end up paying my own legal expenses for a case that dragged on and on (like Charles Dickens’, I too have a horror of ‘going to law’—a law that, too often it seems, punishes the innocent while giving the guilty a mere slap on the wrist). Even if I chose to pursue Karl Jones through the courts, I doubt such an underhand individual would leave money conveniently in an easily-traced bank account. Besides, apart from stealing my work, this man had also stolen a considerable chunk of my time. I felt no inclination to allow him to steal more of it when all I was likely to get for my trouble was a lot of stress and a large bill.

Instead of contacting a solicitor, I immediately wrote a post for’ Café, a place where authors gather, to warn other authors about the multi-published, multi-genre ‘writer’, Karl Jones, as I suspected he might well have stolen other authors’ work, not just mine. I also notified all the retailers about this man.
Fortunately, I’m one of life’s hoarders and was easily able to prove that I had the rights to publish my books by emailing copies of the letters from Macmillan and St Martin’s Press returning my rights in these two books.

I must praise Dan at Draft2Digital (a business that distributes digital books to retailers). The response from D2D was impressively prompt. They immediately asked retailers to remove Karl Jones’s fakes of my work as well as all his other books from their shelves. Amazon turned out to be the slowest to react. They were also the only retailer to ask me to provide proof that I hold the rights in these books (that must be around the fourth time I’ve had to provide such proof to them. Shame they didn’t ask Karl Jones to provide some).
I must also mention that the sympathy and support from every author who commented on my post on kboards was tremendous. The thread to my original post grew a very long tail (here’s the link if you’d like to have a browse: K-Boards Forum

But then fates decided to do what they do best and put a spike in my wheel. My internet connection died shortly after my post on kboards and I was unable to keep up with what was happening. I was only reconnected on Sunday 27 July.

I’ve managed to respond to most of the comments by borrowing a kind friend’s computer for a few hours (thanks Chrissie!). But before my internet connection went kaput, I also received a second email from another Rafferty fan. She sent a link with the name ‘Karl Jones’ on the UK and Eire Paedophile Register. A kindleboarder had posted the same link. But I don’t feel able to comment on that as I have no way of knowing if this Karl Jones is the same one who plagiarised my work. If he is, he’s an extremely unpleasant character whose other ‘P’ crimes are far worse than plagiarising.
As well as sympathy, several kboarders offered more: Carroll invited me to write this blog post about my experience and I was also invited to do a podcast for letteschat (which I’ll be doing live at 8.00 PM New York time on 31 July). Fingers crossed my internet connection cooperates!
One kboarder even offered to organise a whip-round in case I changed my mind and decided to sue and several authors said they’d be happy to chip in. What a lovely gesture. I was moved to tears that people I had never met should offer to help in this way.

Why did this man pick on my work? I’ve no idea. I’m not one of the writing world’s stars. Nor do I earn a fortune. Although many of the public, who read about writers like J K Rowling, imagine all authors earn spectacular amounts, it simply ain’t so. I live in a small terraced house and drive a second-hand car. I often buy my clothes from charity shops and sometimes (especially when my income doesn’t quite stretch to the end of the month) dinner is beans on toast.

I rely on my writing income to live and to pay my bills. I turned indie towards the end of 2010 after refusing to sign the latest contract from my publisher as I thought the demand for the digital rights to my entire back-list was a demand too far and they refused to publish my latest work unless I signed on the dotted line. I’d followed the indie revolution and the blogs of a number of authors who’d already taken the decision to go independent and publish their books on Amazon’s Kindle and elsewhere, so I was aware that digital rights could be a valuable commodity. Why should I sign mine over to my publishers and receive a meagre share of the digital income when I could earn a far greater percentage by publishing myself on Kindle?

After studying the reports of these authors’ progress and sales which they generously shared (Joe Konrath’s posts in particular), I felt encouraged to follow suit. I was fortunate in that I mostly write about series characters and that I have a substantial back-list (fifteen in my Rafferty& Llewellyn series and two in my Casey & Catt series, as well as other, standalone books), so I decided to take my chance and go it alone.

To be frank, I didn’t think I could do any worse by publishing direct with Amazon, Smashwords and the rest of the retailers/distributors than I’d done with various traditional publishers over the years. I’d never earned enough from my writing to be able to give up my day jobs and write full-time. My work was marketed in a minimalist fashion that meant it sank without trace. I was never given the support that would enable me to rise above the mid-list, which meant my sales were as minimalist as the marketing my books had received. It’s the same for the vast majority of authors, not just me (see this post on the Reports of Authors’ Earnings: WriterlyWitterings. Before Kindle, if we wished to be published, we had no other option but to accept these less than generous contracts.

But Amazon changed all that. Imagine my astonishment when within six-eight months of uploading as many of my novels as I was able, time wise, to publish on Kindle, for the first time in my writing life I was actually earning a full-time living. I could scarcely believe it.
Yes, the heady early days on Kindle of large (large for me, anyway!) sales on Kindle when everyone put a Kindle on their Christmas list, have long gone alas and my sales have settled down to a regular, far from enormous number.

I get by—just—most of the time. But after all my years of striving and working 7-day weeks, to have the products of my industry lifted by a man too lazy to write his own books, was galling.
Thankfully, the copies of my books that he stole have been removed from Amazon, Draft2Digital, Createspace and Smashwords and D2D has, as I said, removed Jones’s ‘work’ in its entirety. It might take a little longer for ‘his’ books to be removed from the shelves of Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo and other smaller concerns; it usually takes a little while for such instructions to filter through and my internet access is still intermittant at best so I’ve been unable to check.

Now I must just hope Jones doesn’t start over with a new ‘author’ name and a new email account and begin his plagiarism all over again, as I imagine it was his intention to steal all fifteen books in my Rafferty series.

I don’t know if there’s any sure-fire way of stopping plagiarisers like Karl Jones, but I’m a firm believer in ‘what goes around comes around’. In time, the fates, karma, whatever one chooses to call it, will deliver to Jones the punishment he so richly deserves and when that day arrives, I’ll be the first to applaud.

But until then, it is only by being vigilant that authors can protect their work and hard-won income from predators like Karl Jones. I’ve already made clear that most authors, me included, don’t earn a lot; but we’re doing what we love and getting paid a fair sum for our efforts (which is, for many of us old mid-listers, akin to a miracle). So when we finally achieve the dream we’d worked so hard for—a liveable income—it’s tough indeed when thieves like Jones take the bread from our mouths. My baked bean dinners taste far nicer with a slice of toast, after all.

I urge other authors to check out Karl Jones’s claimed novels, many of which, in various genres (the last time I was able to check), remained on most retailers’ shelves.

I’d like to thank all the readers and authors who voted down his reviews and ‘outed’ him to the world. His name is now well and truly known, but not in a way I imagine he much likes. Thanks also to Carroll for the invitation to write this guest post; it’s helped me to write about my experience as will doing the podcast I have also been invited to do.

Lastly, I’d like to thank the lovely ladies who emailed me with the tip offs about this man’s reprehensible activities. If it hadn’t been for them I’d have carried on in ignorance of his theft and he’d have been able to continue to profit from my labour. Readers—ain’t they just great?!


I understand that Geraldine Evans isn't the first person to have her work plagiarized, and unfortunately, she won't be the last. But if you can go to the K-Boards Forum through the link provided above and give her some support / advice, I know she would be most grateful.

As for Karl Jones, let's hope he rots away in prison like the pedophile monster that he is. Like the plagiarist that he is - as I am getting word that most of his work has now been removed from most of the book sites where he had them listed and posted. That is good news. Especially for Geraldine Evans.

No author should have to spend his or her time dealing with people like Karl Jones, they should be spending their time writing new stories for readers to read. And as for Karl Jones and people like him, if you can't write, find another profession to pursue. There's no shame in conceding to the fact that you're not a writer, but there is a ton of shame for those who plagiarize from writers - and get caught. I hope Karl Jones is now feeling the shame. But I doubt it. People like him have no shame - or morality.