Presidential $1 Coin Program

The Presidential $1 Coin Program is part of an Act of Congress, Pub.L. 109-145, 119 Stat. 2664, enacted December 22, 2005, which directs the United States Mint to produce $1 coins with engravings of relief portraits of U.S. Presidents on the obverse.
From 2007 to 2011, Presidential $1 Coins were minted for circulation in large numbers, resulting in a large stockpile of unused $1 coins. Since 2012, new Presidential coins are only being minted for collectors, in order to reduce the stockpile.

William Jefferson “Bill” Clinton

William Jefferson “Bill” Clinton (born William Jefferson Blythe III; August 19, 1946) is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. 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 of 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.
Born and raised in Arkansas, Clinton became both a student leader and a skilled musician. He is an alumnus of Georgetown University where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Kappa Kappa Psi and earned a Rhodes Scholarship to attend the University of Oxford. He is married to Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has served as the United States Secretary of State since 2009 and was a Senator from New York from 2001 to 2009. Both Clintons received law degrees from Yale Law School, where they met and began dating. As Governor of Arkansas, Clinton overhauled the state’s education system, and served as Chair of the National Governors Association.
Clinton was elected president in 1992, defeating incumbent president George H. W. Bush. As president, Clinton presided over the longest period of peacetime economic expansion in American history. He signed into law the North American Free Trade Agreement. He implemented Don’t ask, don’t tell, a controversial intermediate step to full gay military integration. After a failed health care reform attempt, Republicans won control of Congress in 1994, for the first time in forty years. Two years later, the re-elected Clinton became the first member of the Democratic Party since Franklin D. Roosevelt to win a second full term as president. He successfully passed welfare reform and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, providing health coverage for millions of children. Later, he was impeached for perjury and obstruction of justice in a scandal involving a White House intern, but was acquitted by the U.S. Senate and served his complete term of office. The Congressional Budget Office reported a budget surplus between the years 1998 and 2000, the last three years of Clinton’s presidency.
Clinton left office with the highest end-of-office approval rating of any U.S. president since World War II. Since then, he has been involved in public speaking and humanitarian work. Based on his philanthropic worldview, Clinton created the William J. Clinton Foundation to promote and address international causes such as prevention of AIDS and global warming. In 2004, he released his autobiography My Life. He has remained active in politics by campaigning for Democratic candidates, most notably for his wife’s campaign for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, and then Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2012. In 2009, he was named United Nations Special Envoy to Haiti, and after the 2010 earthquake he teamed with George W. Bush to form the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. Since leaving office, Clinton has been rated highly in public opinion polls of U.S. presidents.

Revealed: US plan to blow up moon with nuclear bomb to win Cold War bragging rights over Soviet Union

Revealed: How the U.S. planned to blow up the MOON with a nuclear bomb to win Cold War bragging rights over Soviet Union

  • Scientists were hoping for giant flash on the moon that would intimidate the Soviet Union
  • Aim of mission was to launch the nuke by 1959
  • Plan was later scrapped due to possible danger to people on Earth

By DAILY MAIL REPORTER and ASSOCIATED PRESS

PUBLISHED: 14:06 EST, 25 November 2012 | UPDATED: 17:37 EST, 25 November 2

It may sound like a plot straight out of a science fiction novel, but a U.S. mission to blow up the moon with a nuke was very real in the 1950s.

At the height of the space race, the U.S. considered detonating an atom bomb on the moon as a display of America’s Cold War muscle.

The secret project, innocuously titled ‘A Study of Lunar Research Flights’ and nicknamed ‘Project A119,’ was never carried out.

Plot: The U.S. was planning to launch an atomic bomb, like Fat Man, pictured above, that would be launched into space in a scrapped plan to blow up the moonPlot: The U.S. was planning to launch an atomic bomb, like Fat Man, pictured above, that would be launched into space in a scrapped plan to blow up the moon

Astronomer Carl Sagan      Leonard Reiffel

Brains of the operation: Astronomer Carl Sagan, left, was involved in the planning of the mission and physicist Leonard Reiffel, right, was the man in charge

However, its planning included calculations by astronomer Carl Sagan, then a young graduate student, of the behavior of dust and gas generated by the blast.

Viewing the nuclear flash from Earth might have intimidated the Soviet Union and boosted U.S. confidence after the launch of Sputnik, physicist Leonard Reiffel told the AP in a 2000 interview.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2238242/Cold-War-era-U-S-plan-bomb-moon-nuclear-bomb-revealed.html#ixzz2E2aDYVjd
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Let it Rain in Missouri

Drought threatens to close Mississippi to barges

Published: November 29, 2012

Drought River Shipping

An empty barge, top, pulls along side a barge filled with soybeans as they prepare to switch places at an Archer Daniels Midland grain river terminal along the Mississippi River Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012, in Sauget, Ill. The potential closure of the river due to low water levels has raised concern for barge companies and others who use the river for shipping with a prolonged shutdown of the river possibly costing billions of dollars in losses.

Jeff Roberson — AP Photo

By JIM SUHR and JIM SALTER — Associated Press

ST. LOUIS — After months of drought, companies that ship grain and other goods down the Mississippi River are being haunted by a potential nightmare: If water levels fall too low, the nation’s main inland waterway could become impassable to barges just as the harvest heads to market.

Any closure of the river would upend the transport system that has carried American grain since before steamboats and Mark Twain. So shipping companies are scrambling to find alternative ways to move tons of corn, wheat and other crops to the Gulf Coast for shipment overseas.

“You can’t just wait until it shuts down and suddenly say, ‘There’s a problem,'” said Rick Calhoun, head of marine operations for Chicago-based Cargill Inc. “We’re always looking at Plan B.”

The mighty Mississippi is approaching the point where it may become too shallow for barges that carry food, fuel and other commodities. If the river is closed for a lengthy period, experts say, economic losses could climb into the billions of dollars.

It isn’t just the shipping and grain industries that will feel the pinch. Grocery prices and utility bills could rise. And deliveries of everything from road-clearing rock salt for winter and fertilizer for the spring planting season could be late and in short supply.

“The longer it lasts, the worse it gets,” said Don Sweeney, associate director of the Center for Transportation Studies at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. “It’s inevitable that it will mean higher prices down the road.”

The focus of greatest concern is a 180-mile stretch of the river between the confluences of the Missouri River near St. Louis and the Ohio River at Cairo, Ill. That’s where lack of rain has squeezed the channel from its normal width of 1,000 feet or more to just a few hundred feet.

The river depth is 15 to 20 feet less than normal, now about 13 feet deep in many places. If it dips to around 9 feet, rock pinnacles at two locations make it difficult, if not impossible, for barges to pass. Hydrologists for the National Weather Service predict the Mississippi will reach the 9-foot mark by Dec. 9.

The situation worsened last week when the Army Corps of Engineers began reducing the outflow from an upper Missouri River dam in South Dakota, where a group of experts said Thursday that the worst U.S. drought in decades had intensified over the last week.

The flow is gradually being cut by more than two-thirds by Dec. 11 as part of an effort to ease the effects of the drought in the northern Missouri River basin.

Lawmakers from Mississippi River states are frustrated with the corps’ action and even requested a presidential emergency declaration to overturn it. So far, the White House has not responded.

On Thursday, Army Assistant Secretary Jo-Ellen Darcy told Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois and some of his colleagues from Iowa and Minnesota that the corps would consider cutting the amount of water held back from the Mississippi.

Darcy also pledged to expedite removal of rock formations south of St. Louis, though that work would take at least two months after a contractor is hired.

To Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, the stakes couldn’t be higher.

“There is going to be a dramatic ripple effect to our economy if the barge traffic grinds to halt, which clearly it will if something is not done to avert this crisis,” she said.

Her Missouri colleague in the Senate, Republican Roy Blunt, acknowledged “friction” between upper Missouri River interests that control the flow and those downstream on the lower Missouri and Mississippi rivers. He said the corps “needs to manage that balance.”

Over the years, parts of the river have occasionally been closed because of low water, barge accidents, dredging, ice and flooding. But this shutdown, if it happens, would affect a pivotal stretch that is used for heavy two-way traffic – shipments going south to the Gulf as well as transports from the Illinois and Ohio rivers headed north to Chicago and Minneapolis.

A two-month shutdown – the length of time that some observers fear given current conditions – would have an estimated impact of $7 billion, according to the river industry trade group American Waterways Operators.

Consider agricultural products. It costs 30 to 35 cents more per bushel to send grain to the Gulf by rail instead of barge – a massive figure when calculating the millions of bushels shipped downriver.

“When you think of all we buy at the grocery store that has grain and corn, consumers could really see it hit them in the pocketbooks,” said Ann McCulloch of the Waterways Operators group.

The Coast Guard controls navigation on the river and decides when to require restrictions or shut it down.

“It’s really played by ear,” Coast Guard Lt. Colin Fogarty said. “The Mississippi River is a dynamic environment.”

River shippers are bracing for the worst, weighing train and truck alternatives to move a staggering volume of cargo, if necessary.

Seven million tons of farm products are shipped via barge in a typical December-January period, along with 3.8 million tons of coal, 1.7 million tons of chemical products, 1.3 million tons of petroleum products and 700,000 tons of crude oil, McCulloch said.

Trains already haul a vast volume of material, but switching from river to rail isn’t that easy, especially on short notice. Cargill, for example, uses 1,300 of its own barges on inland waterways. Finding that much capacity elsewhere is no simple task.

“We’ll look for other sources of transportation to the extent we can. But if you take away this important artery, you can’t just snap your fingers and replace it with trains,” Calhoun said. “There aren’t just trains sitting around. They’re already pretty busy with their business on their books.”

Tractor-trailers can pick up some of the slack. But some cargo, such as coal, just isn’t cost-effective to haul by truck over long distances, said Bob Costello, an economist with the American Trucking Associations.

Businesses operating directly on the river are bound to suffer, too.

George Foster founded JB Marine Service Inc. in St. Louis 36 years ago to make a living fixing and cleaning barges. An extended river closure may force layoffs, he said. He figures many other companies will be forced to cut jobs, too.

“It’s extremely dire,” Foster said. “There’s no way to sugarcoat it.”

Read more here: http://www.bradenton.com/2012/11/29/4297388/drought-threatens-to-close-mississippi.html#storylink=cpy

 

Father William by Lewis Carroll

FATHER WILLIAM

by: Lewis Carroll (1832-1898)

“YOU are old, Father William,” the young man said,
“And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head–
Do you think, at your age, it is right?”

“In my youth,” Father William replied to his son,
“I feared it might injure the brain;
But, now that I’m perfectly sure I have none,
Why, I do it again and again.”

“You are old,” said the youth, “as I mentioned before,
And have grown most uncommonly fat;
Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door–
Pray, what is the reason of that?”

“In my youth,” said the sage, as he shook his gray locks,
“I kept all my limbs very supple
By the use of this ointment — one shilling the box —
Allow me to sell you a couple?”

“You are old,” said the youth, “and your jaws are too weak
For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak–
Pray, how did you manage to do it?”

“In my youth,” said his father, “I took to the law,
And argued each case with my wife;
And the muscular strength which it gave to my jaw
Has lasted the rest of my life.”

“You are old,” said the youth, “one would hardly suppose
That your eye was as steady as ever;
Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose–
What made you so awfully clever?”

“I have answered three questions, and that is enough,”
Said his father; “don’t give yourself airs!
Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?
Be off, or I’ll kick you down-stairs!”
~”Father William” is from The Hunting of the Snark and Other Poems and Verses. Lewis Carroll. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1903.

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

Robert Frost (1874–1963). Mountain Interval. 1920.

1. The Road Not Taken

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth; 5

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same, 10

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back. 15

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. 20

Metcalfe Reiterates Call for Pa. to Exercise States Rights by Rejecting Obamacare Health Exchanges

Metcalfe Reiterates Call for Pennsylvania to Exercise States Rights By Rejecting Obamacare Health Exchanges
11/16/2012
HARRISBURG — House State Government Committee Majority Chairman, State Representative Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler), once again called for Pennsylvania to stand for liberty and oppose the creation of a state health exchange, as called for by Obamacare.

“State health exchanges are a blatant attack on taxpayers and a continued violation of our Constitutional rights,” said Representative Metcalfe. “Pennsylvania needs to stand together with the states that have already opted out of the exchanges to protect our citizens’ freedoms and pockets from this accelerated spending nightmare.”

In July 2012, Representative Metcalfe signed on to a letter with over 40 members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives urging Governor Corbett to opt out of the costly state health insurance exchange and expanded Medicaid provisions.

The full letter to Governor Corbett can be viewed here.

State Representative Daryl Metcalfe
12th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact: Ty McCauslin
tmccausl@pahousegop.com
717.772.9979