Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Monday, February 26, 2007
Saturday, February 24, 2007
In the cold, dark waters of the Antarctic lurks a creature with eight arms, two super long tentacles and eyes as big as dinner plates. Sound like something out of a science fiction movie? Think again. This sea monster is the real deal. A Colossal Catch!
On February 21, New Zealand fishermen landed a colossal squid the length of a school bus. They had been fishing with long lines for Chilean sea bass in the waters off the coast of New Zealand when they snared the rare squid. With two hours of backbreaking work, the crew maneuvered the creature into a cargo net and hauled it aboard their ship.
Scientists estimate that the animal weighs about a half-ton and is about 40 feet long. That would make this colossal squid the biggest on record. One expert said that if the squid were cut into calamari rings, a food made from squid, they would be the size of tractor tires!
"I can assure you that this is going to draw phenomenal interest," said squid expert Steve O'Shea. "It is truly amazing." A Mysterious Sea Creature".
Scientists call it Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni. First identified in 1925 after two tentacles were found in a sperm whale's stomach, the colossal squid has long been a mystery. The animals are not easy to observe because they can descend to ocean depths of 6,500 feet. What scientists do know from studying the bodies of a half dozen recovered colossal squids is that they are fierce hunters. Razor-sharp, swiveling hooks line their tentacles to attack fish and other prey and to fight off predators. A Mammoth Study.
The recently discovered colossal squid has been frozen to preserve it for scientific study. It will be transported to New Zealand's national museum, Te Papa, in the capital city of Wellington. Experts believe it to be the first adult male ever caught intact. Scientists hope to learn more about the colossal squid's diet, behavior and reproductive patterns.
"(Scientists) will be very interested in this amazing creature," said New Zealand Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton. "It adds immeasurably to our understanding of the marine environment."
Location: Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, north of Yemen.
Area: Total - 2,149,690 sq km,
Land - 2,149,690 sq km,
Water - 0 sq km.
Climate: Harsh, dry desert with great temperature extremes.
Terrain: Mostly uninhabited, sandy desert.
Natural Resources: Petroleum, Natural Gas, Iron Ore, Gold, Copper.
Land Use: Arable Land - 1.67%
Permanent Crops - 0.09%
Other: 98.24% (2005)
Irrigrated Land: 16,200 sq km (2003)
Natural Hazards: Frequent sand and dust storms.
Enviroment current Issues: Desertification; depletion of underground water resources; the lack of rivers or permanent water bodies have prompted the development of extensive seawater desalination facilities; coastal pollution from oil spills.
List of Kings:
King Abdul Aziz,
King Saud, son of King Abdul Aziz,
King Faisal, son of King Abdul Aziz,
King Khalid, son of King Abdul Aziz,
King Fahd, son of King Abdul Aziz,
King Abdullah, son of King Abdul Aziz.
Geography: Saudi Arabia occupies most of the Arabian Peninsula, with the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba to the west and the Persian Gulf to the east. Neighboring countries are Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, the Sultanate of Oman, Yemen, and the Bahrain, connected to the Saudi mainland by a causeway. Saudi Arabia contains the world's largest continuous sand desert, the Rub Al-Khali, or Empty Quarter. Its oil region lies primarily in the eastern province along the Persian Gulf.
Government: Saudi Arabia was an absolute monarchy until 1992, at which time the Saud royal family introduced the country's first constitution. The legal system is based on the sharia (Islamic law).
History: Saudi Arabia is not only the homeland of the Arab peoples--it is thought that the first Arabs originated on the Arabian Peninsula--but also the homeland of Islam, the world's second-largest religon. Muhammad founded Islam there, and it is the location of the two holy pilgrimagecities of Mecca and Medina. The Islamic calendar begins in 622, the year of the hegira, or Muhammad's flight from Mecca. A succession of invaders attempted to control the peninsula, but by 1517 the Ottoman Empire dominated, and in the middle of the 18th century, it was divided into separate principalities. In 1745 Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab began calling for the purification and reform of Islam, and the Wahhabi movement swept across Arabia. By 1811, Wahhabi leaders had waged a jihad—a holy war—against other forms of Islam on the peninsula and succeeded in uniting much of it. By 1818, however, the Wahhabis had been driven out of power again by the Ottomans and their Egyptian allies.
The kingdom of Saudi Arabia is almost entirely the creation of King Ibn Saud (1882–1953). A descendant of Wahhabi leaders, he seized Riyadh in 1901 and set himself up as leader of the Arab nationalist movement. By 1906 he had established Wahhabi dominance in Nejd and conquered Hejaz in 1924–1925. The Hejaz and Nejd regions were merged to form the kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932, which was an absolute monarchy ruled by sharia. A year later the region of Asir was incorporated into the kingdom.
Oil was discovered in 1936, and commercial production began during World War II. This oil-derived wealth allowed the country to provide free health care and education while not collecting any taxes from its people. Saudi Arabia was neutral until nearly the end of the war, but it was permitted to be a charter member of the United Nations. The country joined the Arab League in 1945 and took part in the 1948–1949 war against Israel. Saudi Arabia still does not recognize the state of Israel. On Ibn Saud's death in 1953, his eldest son, Saud, began an 11-year reign marked by an increasing hostility toward the radical Arabism of Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser. In 1964, the ailing Saud was deposed and replaced by the prime minister, Crown Prince Faisal, who gave vocal support but no military help to Egypt in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.
Faisal's assassination by a deranged kinsman in 1975 shook the Middle East, but it failed to alter his kingdom's course. His successor was his brother, Prince Khalid. Khalid gave influential support to Egypt during negotiations on Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai Desert. King Khalid died of a heart attack in 1982, and he was succeeded by his half-brother, Prince Fahd bin 'Abdulaziz, who had exercised the real power throughout Khalid's reign. King Fahd chose his half-brother Abdullah as crown prince.
Saudi Arabia and the smaller oil-rich Arab states on the Persian Gulf, fearful that they might become Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's next targets if Iran conquered Iraq, made large financial contributions to the Iraqi war effort during the 1980s. At the same time, cheating by other members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), competition from nonmember oil producers, and conservation efforts by consuming nations combined to drive down the world price of oil. At the time Saudi Arabia had one-third of all known oil reserves, but falling demand and rising production outside OPEC combined to reduce its oil revenues from $120 billion in 1980 to less than $25 billion in 1985, threatening the country with domestic unrest and undermining its influence in the Gulf area.
At the start of 1996, King Fahd passed authority to Crown Prince Abdullah, after suffering an incapacitating stroke. In 1998 the country's oil income fell by 40% because of a worldwide decline in prices, and it entered its first recession in six years.
In 2000, Saudi Arabia, along with other OPEC nations experiencing a recession, decided to reduce production to raise oil prices. In 2001, OPEC cut oil production three additional times.
Saudi Arabia's relations with the U.S. were strained after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks—15 of the 19 suicide bombers involved were Saudis. Despite the monarchy's close ties to the West, much of the extremely influential religious establishment has supported anti-Americanism and Islamic militancy. In Aug. 2003, following the U.S.-led war on Iraq in March and April 2003, the United States withdrew its troops stationed in Saudi Arabia. The U.S. had maintained troops in the country for the past decade, a source of great controversy in the strongly conservative Islamic country. One of the major reasons given for the Sept. 11 attacks by Saudi terrorist Osama bin Laden was the presence of U.S. troops in the home of Islam's holiest sites, Medina and Mecca. On May 12, 2003, suicide bombers killed 34, including 8 Americans, at housing compounds for Westerners in Riyadh. Al-Qaeda was suspected. Saudi Arabia's commitment to antiterrorist measures was again called into question by the U.S. and other countries. In July, the U.S. Congress bitterly criticized Saudi Arabia's alleged financing of terrorist organizations. While the Saudi government arrested a sizable number of suspected terrorists, little was done to quell Islamic militancy in the kingdom. Several attacks against Westerners took place in 2003 and 2004.
In Feb. 2005, Saudi Arabia held its first elections ever: municipal council elections to choose half of the new council members in Riyadh. The other half continued to be appointed, in keeping with the previous Saudi system. Women were not eligible to vote, and less than a third of eligible voters registered.
The situation of human rights in Saudi Arabia is generally considered to be woeful. Under the authoritarian rule of the Saudi royal family, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has enforced strict laws under a doctrine of Wahabism (a fundamentalist interpretation of sharia, Islamic religious law). Many western freedoms as described in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights do not exist; it is alleged that capital punishment and other penalties are often given to suspected criminals without due process. Saudi Arabia has also come under fire for its oppression of religious and political minorities, torture of prisoners, and attitude toward foreign expatriates, homosexuality, and women. Although major human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have repeatedly expressed concern about the states of human rights in Saudi Arabia, the kingdom denies that any human rights abuses take place. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has ratified the International Convention against Torture in October 1997 according to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Israeli citizens and travelers with Israeli stamps on their passports are forbidden to enter the country. It has been stated that Jews of any nationality are not allowed visas. This is derived from the Muslim world rejection of Israel that in their view is a Western occupation of Palestine
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
George Washington was the first president of the United States of America. He served as president from April 30, 1789, until March 4, 1797 (two terms). His Vic-President was John Adams (1735-1826), who was later voted the second president of U.S.A.
George Washington was born on Febuary 22, 1732, in Westmoreland County, Virginia. Washington's father died when George was 11 years old. He had very little formal schooling, but taught himself to be an expert woodsman, surveyor (a person who determines the boundaries and area of tracts of land), and mapmaker. Washington grew to be over 6 feet tall -- this was very rare in Colonial times.
French And Indian War:
As a young man, Washington joined the Virginia Militia. He and six men traveled 500 miles north to the shores of Lake Erie to deliver a message to the French -- the French were ordered to stop settling land that was claimed by the British.
Washington married Martha Custis in 1759; she was a rich widow who had two children, Martha "Pasty" and John "Jacky." Their home in Virginia was called Mt. Vernon. George and Martha did not have children together.
A Start in Politics:
In 1758, Washington was elected to the House of Burgesses in Virginia (the local govering body of Virginia).
In order to pay for the expensive French and Indian War, the British taxed the Colonists (the Stamp Tax), angering them. In Boston, the Colonists revolted, dumping precious tea into Boston Harbor (this event is called the Boston Tea Party).
In 1775, Washington was chosen as the Commander in Chief of the Colonial Army. In 1776, the Colonists declared their independence from the British. general Washington led ragtag Patriot troops who were poorly trained, barely paid, badly equipped, and outnumbered by the British. Patriot women like Molly "Pitcher", often helped in the battlefields, carrying pitchers of water to cool down the cannons so they could be re-fired, and also nursing the wounded.
Due to the brilliant planning of George Washington and some help from the French late in War, the British were defeated in 1781 after many bloody battles. The Americans were now independent of the British.
The U.S. Constitution:
After independence, the Americans were governed under the articles of Confederation (adopted by the Patriots in 1777), but the country struggled.
1787, Washington presided over the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, during which the U.S. Constitution was written.
The US constitution outlined a representative government with checks and balances among three branches of government : The executive ( the president), the Legislative branch (law makers), and the judical branch ( judges and courts). The constitution was ratified in 1788 -- it went into effect in 1789. The next step was to set up this new, revolutionary form of government.
President of the US:
Washington was unanimously elected President of the United states of America by electors in early 1789 and again in 1792. Both votes were unanimous. John Adams was his vice-presdent. Washington's first inauguration took place in New York City, New York (which was the first capital of the USA, from 1789 to 1790). Washington's second inauguration took place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (it was the capital from 1790 to 1800). Washington refused a third presidential term, saying in his farewell speech that a longer rule would give one man too much power.
During Washington's presidency, the Bill Of Rights (the first 10 amendments to the US Constitution) was adopted (in 1791). The Bill Of Rights guarantees the rights of the American people. In Washington's cabinet were Thomas Jefferson (Secretary of state), Alexander Hamilton (Secretary of Treasury), Henry Knox (Secretary of War), and Edmund Randolph (Attorney General).
Washington Wore false teeth made from hippopotamus ivory.
Washington died on December 14, 1799, at his home, Mt. Vernon, located in Fairfax County, Virginia. After his death, the nation's Capital was moved from Philadelphia to a location on the border of Virginia and Maryland near washington's home, and was named Washington, District of Columbia in his honor.
Monday, February 19, 2007
FRIENDS AND FELLOW-CITIZENS:
1 The period for a new election of a citizen, to administer the executive government of the United States, being not far distant, and the time actually arrived, when your thoughts must be employed designating the person, who is to be clothed with that important trust, it appears to me proper, especially as it may conduce to a more distinct expression of the public voice, that I should now apprize you of the resolution I have formed, to decline being considered among the number of those out of whom a choice is to be made.
2 I beg you at the same time to do me the justice to be assured that this resolution has not been taken without a strict regard to all the considerations appertaining to the relation which binds a dutiful citizen to his country; and that in withdrawing the tender of service, which silence in my situation might imply, I am influenced by no diminution of zeal for your future interest, no deficiency of grateful respect for your past kindness, but am supported by a full conviction that the step is compatible with both.
3 The acceptance of, and continuance hitherto in, the office to which your suffrages have twice called me, have been a uniform sacrifice of inclination to the opinion of duty, and to a deference for what appeared to be your desire. I constantly hoped, that it would have been much earlier in my power, consistently with motives, which I was not at liberty to disregard, to return to that retirement, from which I had been reluctantly drawn. The strength of my inclination to do this, previous to the last election, had even led to the preparation of an address to declare it to you; but mature reflection on the then perplexed and critical posture of our affairs with foreign nations, and the unanimous advice of persons entitled to my confidence impelled me to abandon the idea.
4 I rejoice, that the state of your concerns, external as well as internal, no longer renders the pursuit of inclination incompatible with the sentiment of duty, or propriety; and am persuaded, whatever partiality may be retained for my services, that, in the present circumstances of our country, you will not disapprove my determination to retire.
5 The impressions, with which I first undertook the arduous trust, were explained on the proper occasion. In the discharge of this trust, I will only say, that I have, with good intentions, contributed towards the organization and administration of the government the best exertions of which a very fallible judgment was capable. Not unconscious, in the outset, of the inferiority of my qualifications, experience in my own eyes, perhaps still more in the eyes of others, has strengthened the motives to diffidence of myself; and every day the increasing weight of years admonishes me more and more, that the shade of retirement is as necessary to me as it will be welcome. Satisfied, that, if any circumstances have given peculiar value to my services, they were temporary, I have the consolation to believe, that, while choice and prudence invite me to quit the political scene, patriotism does not forbid it.
6 In looking forward to the moment, which is intended to terminate the career of my public life, my feelings do not permit me to suspend the deep acknowledgment of that debt of gratitude, which I owe to my beloved country for the many honors it has conferred upon me; still more for the steadfast confidence with which it has supported me; and for the opportunities I have thence enjoyed of manifesting my inviolable attachment, by services faithful and persevering, though in usefulness unequal to my zeal. If benefits have resulted to our country from these services, let it always be remembered to your praise, and as an instructive example in our annals, that under circumstances in which the passions, agitated in every direction, were liable to mislead, amidst appearances sometimes dubious, vicissitudes of fortune often discouraging, in situations in which not unfrequently want of success has countenanced the spirit of criticism, the constancy of your support was the essential prop of the efforts, and a guarantee of the plans by which they were effected. Profoundly penetrated with this idea, I shall carry it with me to my grave, as a strong incitement to unceasing vows that Heaven may continue to you the choicest tokens of its beneficence; that your union and brotherly affection may be perpetual; that the free constitution, which is the work of your hands, may be sacredly maintained; that its administration in every department may be stamped with wisdom and virtue; than, in fine, the happiness of the people of these States, under the auspices of liberty, may be made complete, by so careful a preservation and so prudent a use of this blessing, as will acquire to them the glory of recommending it to the applause, the affection, and adoption of every nation, which is yet a stranger to it.
7 Here, perhaps I ought to stop. But a solicitude for your welfare which cannot end but with my life, and the apprehension of danger, natural to that solicitude, urge me, on an occasion like the present, to offer to your solemn contemplation, and to recommend to your frequent review, some sentiments which are the result of much reflection, of no inconsiderable observation, and which appear to me all-important to the permanency of your felicity as a people. These will be offered to you with the more freedom, as you can only see in them the disinterested warnings of a parting friend, who can possibly have no personal motive to bias his counsel. Nor can I forget, as an encouragement to it, your indulgent reception of my sentiments on a former and not dissimilar occasion.
8 Interwoven as is the love of liberty with every ligament of your hearts, no recommendation of mine is necessary to fortify or confirm the attachment.
9 The unity of Government, which constitutes you one people, is also now dear to you. It is justly so; for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquillity at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very Liberty, which you so highly prize. But as it is easy to foresee, that, from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed, to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth; as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of infinite moment, that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national Union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the Palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion, that it can in any event be abandoned; and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.
10 For this you have every inducement of sympathy and interest. Citizens, by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of american, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together; the Independence and Liberty you possess are the work of joint counsels, and joint efforts, of common dangers, sufferings, and successes.
11 But these considerations, however powerfully they address themselves to your sensibility, are greatly outweighed by those, which apply more immediately to your interest. Here every portion of our country finds the most commanding motives for carefully guarding and preserving the Union of the whole.
12 The North, in an unrestrained intercourse with the South, protected by the equal laws of a common government, finds, in the productions of the latter, great additional resources of maritime and commercial enterprise and precious materials of manufacturing industry. The South, in the same intercourse, benefiting by the agency of the North, sees its agriculture grow and its commerce expand. Turning partly into its own channels the seamen of the North, it finds its particular navigation invigorated; and, while it contributes, in different ways, to nourish and increase the general mass of the national navigation, it looks forward to the protection of a maritime strength, to which itself is unequally adapted. The East, in a like intercourse with the West, already finds, and in the progressive improvement of interior communications by land and water, will more and more find, a valuable vent for the commodities which it brings from abroad, or manufactures at home. The West derives from the East supplies requisite to its growth and comfort, and, what is perhaps of still greater consequence, it must of necessity owe the secure enjoyment of indispensable outlets for its own productions to the weight, influence, and the future maritime strength of the Atlantic side of the Union, directed by an indissoluble community of interest as one nation. Any other tenure by which the West can hold this essential advantage, whether derived from its own separate strength, or from an apostate and unnatural connexion with any foreign power, must be intrinsically precarious.
13 While, then, every part of our country thus feels an immediate and particular interest in Union, all the parts combined cannot fail to find in the united mass of means and efforts greater strength, greater resource, proportionably greater security from external danger, a less frequent interruption of their peace by foreign nations; and, what is of inestimable value, they must derive from Union an exemption from those broils and wars between themselves, which so frequently afflict neighbouring countries not tied together by the same governments, which their own rivalships alone would be sufficient to produce, but which opposite foreign alliances, attachments, and intrigues would stimulate and embitter. Hence, likewise, they will avoid the necessity of those overgrown military establishments, which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to Republican Liberty. In this sense it is, that your Union ought to be considered as a main prop of your liberty, and that the love of the one ought to endear to you the preservation of the other.
14 These considerations speak a persuasive language to every reflecting and virtuous mind, and exhibit the continuance of the union as a primary object of Patriotic desire. Is there a doubt, whether a common government can embrace so large a sphere? Let experience solve it. To listen to mere speculation in such a case were criminal. We are authorized to hope, that a proper organization of the whole, with the auxiliary agency of governments for the respective subdivisions, will afford a happy issue to the experiment. It is well worth a fair and full experiment. With such powerful and obvious motives to Union, affecting all parts of our country, while experience shall not have demonstrated its impracticability, there will always be reason to distrust the patriotism of those, who in any quarter may endeavour to weaken its bands.
15 In contemplating the causes, which may disturb our Union, it occurs as matter of serious concern, that any ground should have been furnished for characterizing parties by Geographical discriminations, Northern and Southern, Atlantic and Western; whence designing men may endeavour to excite a belief, that there is a real difference of local interests and views. One of the expedients of party to acquire influence, within particular districts, is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts. You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jealousies and heart-burnings, which spring from these misrepresentations; they tend to render alien to each other those, who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection. The inhabitants of our western country have lately had a useful lesson on this head; they have seen, in the negotiation by the Executive, and in the unanimous ratification by the Senate, of the treaty with Spain, and in the universal satisfaction at that event, throughout the United States, a decisive proof how unfounded were the suspicions propagated among them of a policy in the General Government and in the Atlantic States unfriendly to their interests in regard to the mississippi; they have been witnesses to the formation of two treaties, that with Great Britain, and that with Spain, which secure to them every thing they could desire, in respect to our foreign relations, towards confirming their prosperity. Will it not be their wisdom to rely for the preservation of these advantages on the union by which they were procured? Will they not henceforth be deaf to those advisers, if such there are, who would sever them from their brethren, and connect them with aliens?
16 To the efficacy and permanency of your Union, a Government for the whole is indispensable. No alliances, however strict, between the parts can be an adequate substitute; they must inevitably experience the infractions and interruptions, which all alliances in all times have experienced. Sensible of this momentous truth, you have improved upon your first essay, by the adoption of a Constitution of Government better calculated than your former for an intimate Union, and for the efficacious management of your common concerns. This Government, the offspring of our own choice, uninfluenced and unawed, adopted upon full investigation and mature deliberation, completely free in its principles, in the distribution of its powers, uniting security with energy, and containing within itself a provision for its own amendment, has a just claim to your confidence and your support. Respect for its authority, compliance with its laws, acquiescence in its measures, are duties enjoined by the fundamental maxims of true Liberty. The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their Constitutions of Government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish Government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established Government.
17 All obstructions to the execution of the Laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation, the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels, and modified by mutual interests.
18 However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people, and to usurp for themselves the reins of government; destroying afterwards the very engines, which have lifted them to unjust dominion.
19 Towards the preservation of your government, and the permanency of your present happy state, it is requisite, not only that you steadily discountenance irregular oppositions to its acknowledged authority, but also that you resist with care the spirit of innovation upon its principles, however specious the pretexts. One method of assault may be to effect, in the forms of the constitution, alterations, which will impair the energy of the system, and thus to undermine what cannot be directly overthrown. In all the changes to which you may be invited, remember that time and habit are at least as necessary to fix the true character of governments, as of other human institutions; that experience is the surest standard, by which to test the real tendency of the existing constitution of a country; that facility in changes, upon the credit of mere hypothesis and opinion, exposes to perpetual change, from the endless variety of hypothesis and opinion; and remember, especially, that, for the efficient management of our common interests, in a country so extensive as ours, a government of as much vigor as is consistent with the perfect security of liberty is indispensable. Liberty itself will find in such a government, with powers properly distributed and adjusted, its surest guardian. It is, indeed, little else than a name, where the government is too feeble to withstand the enterprises of faction, to confine each member of the society within the limits prescribed by the laws, and to maintain all in the secure and tranquil enjoyment of the rights of person and property.
20 I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the state, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party, generally.
21 This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.
22 The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty.
23 Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind, (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight,) the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.
24 It serves always to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration. It agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.
25 There is an opinion, that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the Government, and serve to keep alive the spirit of Liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in Governments of a Monarchical cast, Patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in Governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And, there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be, by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.
26 It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution, in those intrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just estimate of that love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart, is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position. The necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of political power, by dividing and distributing it into different depositories, and constituting each the Guardian of the Public Weal against invasions by the others, has been evinced by experiments ancient and modern; some of them in our country and under our own eyes. To preserve them must be as necessary as to institute them. If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way, which the constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for, though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit, which the use can at any time yield.
27 Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connexions with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.
28 It is substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who, that is a sincere friend to it, can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric ?
29 Promote, then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.
30 As a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit. One method of preserving it is, to use it as sparingly as possible; avoiding occasions of expense by cultivating peace, but remembering also that timely disbursements to prepare for danger frequently prevent much greater disbursements to repel it; avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt, not only by shunning occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertions in time of peace to discharge the debts, which unavoidable wars may have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burthen, which we ourselves ought to bear. The execution of these maxims belongs to your representatives, but it is necessary that public opinion should cooperate. To facilitate to them the performance of their duty, it is essential that you should practically bear in mind, that towards the payment of debts there must be Revenue; that to have Revenue there must be taxes; that no taxes can be devised, which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant; that the intrinsic embarrassment, inseparable from the selection of the proper objects (which is always a choice of difficulties), ought to be a decisive motive for a candid construction of the conduct of the government in making it, and for a spirit of acquiescence in the measures for obtaining revenue, which the public exigencies may at any time dictate.
31 Observe good faith and justice towards all Nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and Morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be, that good policy does not equally enjoin it? It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and, at no distant period, a great Nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence. Who can doubt, that, in the course of time and things, the fruits of such a plan would richly repay any temporary advantages, which might be lost by a steady adherence to it ? Can it be, that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a Nation with its Virtue? The experiment, at least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human nature. Alas! is it rendered impossible by its vices ?
32 In the execution of such a plan, nothing is more essential, than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular Nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The Nation, which indulges towards another an habitual hatred, or an habitual fondness, is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable, when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests. The Nation, prompted by ill-will and resentment, sometimes impels to war the Government, contrary to the best calculations of policy. The Government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts through passion what reason would reject; at other times, it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace often, sometimes perhaps the liberty, of Nations has been the victim.
33 So likewise, a passionate attachment of one Nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite Nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest, in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter, without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite Nation of privileges denied to others, which is apt doubly to injure the Nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained; and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens, (who devote themselves to the favorite nation,) facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.
34 As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent Patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practise the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the Public Councils! Such an attachment of a small or weak, towards a great and powerful nation, dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter.
35 Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens,) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake; since history and experience prove, that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of Republican Government. But that jealousy, to be useful, must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defence against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation, and excessive dislike of another, cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots, who may resist the intrigues of the favorite, are liable to become suspected and odious; while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.
36 The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connexion as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop.
37 Europe has a set of primary interests, which to us have none, or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves, by artificial ties, in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.
38 Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people, under an efficient government, the period is not far off, when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality, we may at any time resolve upon, to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.
39 Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor, or caprice?
40 It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world; so far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it; for let me not be understood as capable of patronizing infidelity to existing engagements. I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy. I repeat it, therefore, let those engagements be observed in their genuine sense. But, in my opinion, it is unnecessary and would be unwise to extend them.
41 Taking care always to keep ourselves, by suitable establishments, on a respectable defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies.
42 Harmony, liberal intercourse with all nations, are recommended by policy, humanity, and interest. But even our commercial policy should hold an equal and impartial hand; neither seeking nor granting exclusive favors or preferences; consulting the natural course of things; diffusing and diversifying by gentle means the streams of commerce, but forcing nothing; establishing, with powers so disposed, in order to give trade a stable course, to define the rights of our merchants, and to enable the government to support them, conventional rules of intercourse, the best that present circumstances and mutual opinion will permit, but temporary, and liable to be from time to time abandoned or varied, as experience and circumstances shall dictate; constantly keeping in view, that it is folly in one nation to look for disinterested favors from another; that it must pay with a portion of its independence for whatever it may accept under that character; that, by such acceptance, it may place itself in the condition of having given equivalents for nominal favors, and yet of being reproached with ingratitude for not giving more. There can be no greater error than to expect or calculate upon real favors from nation to nation. It is an illusion, which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard.
43 In offering to you, my countrymen, these counsels of an old and affectionate friend, I dare not hope they will make the strong and lasting impression I could wish; that they will control the usual current of the passions, or prevent our nation from running the course, which has hitherto marked the destiny of nations. But, if I may even flatter myself, that they may be productive of some partial benefit, some occasional good; that they may now and then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit, to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue, to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism; this hope will be a full recompense for the solicitude for your welfare, by which they have been dictated.
44 How far in the discharge of my official duties, I have been guided by the principles which have been delineated, the public records and other evidences of my conduct must witness to you and to the world. To myself, the assurance of my own conscience is, that I have at least believed myself to be guided by them.
45 In relation to the still subsisting war in Europe, my Proclamation of the 22d of April 1793, is the index to my Plan. Sanctioned by your approving voice, and by that of your Representatives in both Houses of Congress, the spirit of that measure has continually governed me, uninfluenced by any attempts to deter or divert me from it.
46 After deliberate examination, with the aid of the best lights I could obtain, I was well satisfied that our country, under all the circumstances of the case, had a right to take, and was bound in duty and interest to take, a neutral position. Having taken it, I determined, as far as should depend upon me, to maintain it, with moderation, perseverance, and firmness.
47 The considerations, which respect the right to hold this conduct, it is not necessary on this occasion to detail. I will only observe, that, according to my understanding of the matter, that right, so far from being denied by any of the Belligerent Powers, has been virtually admitted by all.
48 The duty of holding a neutral conduct may be inferred, without any thing more, from the obligation which justice and humanity impose on every nation, in cases in which it is free to act, to maintain inviolate the relations of peace and amity towards other nations.
49 The inducements of interest for observing that conduct will best be referred to your own reflections and experience. With me, a predominant motive has been to endeavour to gain time to our country to settle and mature its yet recent institutions, and to progress without interruption to that degree of strength and consistency, which is necessary to give it, humanly speaking, the command of its own fortunes.
50 Though, in reviewing the incidents of my administration, I am unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors. Whatever they may be, I fervently beseech the Almighty to avert or mitigate the evils to which they may tend. I shall also carry with me the hope, that my Country will never cease to view them with indulgence; and that, after forty-five years of my life dedicated to its service with an upright zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be consigned to oblivion, as myself must soon be to the mansions of rest.
51 Relying on its kindness in this as in other things, and actuated by that fervent love towards it, which is so natural to a man, who views it in the native soil of himself and his progenitors for several generations; I anticipate with pleasing expectation that retreat, in which I promise myself to realize, without alloy, the sweet enjoyment of partaking, in the midst of my fellow-citizens, the benign influence of good laws under a free government, the ever favorite object of my heart, and the happy reward, as I trust, of our mutual cares, labors, and dangers.
United States - September 17, 1796
My thought about this speech:
George Washington didn't commit any errors at all, and I don't think that making this country and giving freedom to this country is wrong. Britan was taking over all our freedom and George Washington changed that.
Friday, February 16, 2007
Protecting our planet is very important, if nobody was volunteering or helping Earth..
- You wouldn't have clean water to drink.
- You wouldn't have clean air to breathe.
- You wouldn't have much good crops to eat because not many home-owners will know how to plant.
And much more, we have to be very thankful for these people because there will be not much without them.
Recycling is an important way to protect our planet, you can recycle things like rubber, glass, and plastic.
Volunteering is to make a change in a place and or someone. Lets say you volunteer in a school, you can volunteer to be anything as long as it makes a change. And you can make a change but still have fun!
Thursday, February 15, 2007
In 1484 Christopher Columbus tried unsuccessfully to interest King John II of Portugal in voyages of discovery to the west. Columbus then offered his services in leading such an explatory voyage to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of what later became Spain. Queen Isabella in 1492 after the defeat of the last Muslim stronghold in Spain agreed to finance such a voyage and named Columbus as the admiral, viceroy and governor of any lands he should find. On August 3, 1492 Columbus' fleet of three ships left Spain and made landfall in the Bahamas on October 12th, about two months later. The fleet then sailed to the northeast coast of Cuba and turned to eastward to the island of Hispanola, which now contains the countries of Haiti and the Bominican Republic. There Columbus lost his flagship, the Santa Maria. He then returned to Spain to report his findings.
When word of Columbus' discoveries reached Portugal its king charged the Spanish with encroachment into the Portuguese realm. Ferdinand and Isabella then appealed to the Pope in Rome, who was in origin a Spaniard. In 1493 the Pope issued a proclamation (a Bull) which assigned all lands which were more than 100 leagues (345 miles) west of the Cape Verde Islands to Spain and the land east of that line to Portugual. King John II of Portugal was not satisfied with this division, which he felt jeaprodized Portuguese interests in the South Atlantic so he negotiated a treaty with Ferdinand and Isabella 270 leagues (930 miles) farther to the west. This treaty was called the Treaty of Tordesilla.
Columbus returned to Hispanola in 1493 with 17 ships and 1200 colonists. There was dissatisfaction with Columbus' leadership among the colonists and in 1496 Columbus returned to Spain to report his new discoveries and answer the charges brought against him by the colonists.
In 1498 returned on a third voyage in which he explored the area off the north coast of South America. He discovered the Island of Trinidad and the mouth of the Orinoco River. When Columbus went to Hispanola he found the colony in chaos the colonists in rebellion against him. To placate the colonists he granted pardons and gave them land and control over groups of natives. But despite Columbus' efforts to bring calm to the colony King Ferdinand appointed a new governor for the colony, Francisco de Bobadilla. Bobadilla arrested Columbus and sent him in chains back to Spain. Columbus was freed and made a fourth voyage to the Americas but he was not allowed to land on Hispanola.
Meanwhile other explorers were in the area. In 1499 Alonso de Ojeda sailing for Spain visited the mouth of the Orinoco River which Columbus had found on his third voyage. Accompanying Ojeda was an Italian whose presence was to have a profound impact on the region. His name was Amerigo Vespucci. Vespucci in 1501-02 led another expedition to the region of the Orinoco for the King of Portugal. A Portuguese navigator, Pedro Alvares Cabral, had sighted the northeast coast of Brazil in 1500 and the Portuguese king was interested in what else was nearby. Vespucci concluded that the sightings were of a new continent and stated this in letters he wrote about his explorations. Those letters were published and widely read in Europe. A cartographer in Germany, Martin Waldseemuller, assigned the name America to what is now Brazil on his maps in honor of Amerigo Vespucci. So the original America was South America.
(To be continued.)
Philip II and his Spanish-Portuguese Empire
Philip's father, Charles V was the heir of the Habsburg Empire who additionally inherited the Spanish crown. Charles moved to Spain and began governing the Spanish Empire without speaking Spanish. He married a Portuguese princess, the mother of Philip. Philip was born in Spain and thoroughly Castilian in culture. In his old age Charles abdicated and divided the Habsburg Empire between his brother Ferdinand and his son Philip. Ferdinand got basically the Holy Roman Empire and founded the Austrian branch of the Habsburgs and Philip got Spain and its Empire and the Low Countries, what is now Belgium and the Netherlands. The latter was sometimes characterized as The Fatal Inheritance for all the problems it created for Philip.
Philip became King of Spain in 1555. Later the throne of Portugal was vacated by the death of the king and Philip successful claimed the throne of Portugal on the basis of his mother rights. In 1580 Philip began the rule of the joint empires of Spain and Portugal. Philip died in 1598 but the joint monarchy of Spain and Portugal continued until 1640 when the Portuguese declared a Portuguese to be the King of Portugal.
Philip chose in 1561 to make his capital in the geographic center of his kingdom of Spain and Portugal. Madrid was the small town located at that point and it rose to be a great metropolis as a result of its status of capital. Philip built his palace, San Lorenzo del Escorial, about thirty miles from Madrid. Escorial means slag heap, as is found outside of a mine. The Escorial was not a palace of luxury; it more like a giant file cabinet to house the records of Philip's empires. It had 85 miles of corridors, 86 staircases, 1200 doors and 2000 windows. But the Escorial was more than an archive for public records. It had a strong religious character. There were 15 cloisters and numerous religious artifacts that were parts of the bodies of saints. Philip's spartan office adjoined the church altar.
Philip had the Escorial built to collect the information needed to make informed decisions about his empires. He perceived the inefficiencies of his father and previous kings as being due to a lack of information and organization. Philip himself worked very hard to make his system of governance work. He had chronically red eyes from reading so much.
But despite Philip's notable ability and willingness to work all of the time the system did not really work. The empires were too complex and far flung for central control from Madrid. Philip's attempt to gather information delayed the governance of the empire even more that it was under his predecessors. To make matters worse Philip procrastinated as he tried to figure out what his right action should be. One individual remarked upon the great delays in getting any action from Madrid by saying, "If Death is sent to us from Madrid we will live a very long time."
Philp's failures at governance perhaps came from his taking on too many monumental tasks. He took it upon himself to stop the Ottoman Turk invasion of Europe. After several naval defeats his navy finally destroyed the Turkish navy at Lepanto in the Mediterranean in 1571. He also took it upon himself to counter Protestantism. He married Mary Tudor, Queen of England, and was technically the King of England until her death. Perhaps because of Philip's attempted defense of Catholicism in England and the Netherlands he was thoroughly disparaged by English writers and historians.
This literary exaggeration of the faults of Philip and Spaniards in general is part of what is called The Black Legend of the horrors of the colonial Spanish Empire.
The mystery of how the darkest galaxies in the Universe came to exist may have been solved by scientists.
Dwarf spheroidals are galaxies composed almost entirely of dark matter; faint examples have been discovered orbiting the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies.
Scientists believe these dark systems were once gas-rich, but as they became satellites of larger galaxies, most of their visible matter was stripped away.
The study, reported in the journal Nature, may shed light on dark matter.
The scientists used computer simulations to uncover what might have happened 10 billion years ago as a gas-dominated dwarf galaxy hurtled into the orbit of a larger, Milky-Way-sized system.
They found the drag force, or "ram pressure", created as a smaller galaxy moved through the more massive one would have stripped away the dwarf galaxy's interstellar gas.
The model also showed the gravitational tug from the larger system would have wrenched away many of the dwarf system's luminous stars.
The result, said the international team, was a galaxy where most of the visible matter was absent, leaving mainly dark matter behind.
Stelios Kazantzidis, an astrophysicist from Stanford University and an author of the paper, said: "These results are so exciting because they are based on a combination of physical effects that has never before been postulated.
"This is one step toward a more complete understanding of the formation of structure in the Universe, which is one of the fundamental goals of astrophysics."
The researchers believe all luminous galaxies should be surrounded by a few extremely dark matter-dominated spheroidal galaxies.
And, said Dr Kazantzidis, studying them may provide insights into mysterious dark matter.
He added: "Elucidating the nature of dark matter is one of the grandest challenges of modern cosmology.
"In the next several years, numerous experiments will attempt to detect dark matter using dwarf spherical galaxies as targets."