“People who make peaceful change impossible, make violent change inevitable.” - J.F.K.
Monday, June 6, 2011
Video of Bashar al-Assad's forces planting weapons on civilians after massacring them on the way to aiding people in Daraa
“People who make peaceful change impossible, make violent change inevitable.” - J.F.K.
Nine miles off the coast of County Kerry in the west of Ireland there are two small rocky islands peeking out of the Atlantic Ocean, home to something quite extraordinary – a 1400 year old monastery which only a handful of people get to see each year.
|"Back before I injured my hip, I thought going to the gym was for wimps." |
Roger Clemens after Bo Jackson hit his 93 MPH fast ball over the right center field fence for his first home run of the 1989 season.
Art Stewart, who became a baseball scout in 1953, still has one of the sharpest minds in the game today.
The former Kansas City Royals scouting chief can easily recite backstories of draft picks of long ago, right down to which scouts were on the trail and to what lengths they went.
One of his favorite memories happened 25 years ago, and Stewart thinks about it every year when the Major League Baseball amateur draft rolls around, as it will tonight in New York City.
And it all began with a phone call from an agent -- two hours before the 1986 draft was to get under way.
"The guy said, 'This is Richard Woods,'" Stewart recalled, "and he said, 'If Bo plays baseball, he wants to sign with the Kansas City Royals.'"
That would be Bo Jackson, who could have been the greatest baseball player ever.
But that's not why Stewart likes to tell this.
To him, it's a scouting story. A tribute, really.
That is, to those who spend more time traveling the back roads than sitting at the family dinner table and size up high school and college players, all in an effort to make their front-office executives well-prepared for draft day.
The Royals, of course, eventually signed the two-sport star to a $1 million contract, but only after drafting Bo in the fourth round.
Most adults over the age of 35 know the rest well: He made his big-league debut three months later, touching off a career in which Bo cracked bats over his massive thighs when he wasn't hitting tape-measure home runs -- or running up outfield walls as if he was Spider-Man -- and was the first athlete to be named an all-star in two major sports, Major League Baseball and the NFL.
If only a hip injury while playing in the NFL playoffs in 1990 hadn't cut short his career ...
But Bo made almost all of those highlights in a Royals uniform, thanks to Stewart believing in one of his scouts and selling the idea to a skeptical boss, general manager John Schuerholz.
"I said, 'I know, John,'" said Stewart, now a senior adviser to the team's latest GM, Dayton Moore. "But I kept telling him, 'Kenny Gonzales has spent seven years getting to know Bo and his mom. They've got to be telling him the truth.'"
The scoutRoyals scout Kenny Gonzales was responsible for several southern states, including Alabama.
He was 41 and a father of three who had grown up in East St. Louis, Ill., and then climbed the small-college coaching ladder before becoming a scout in 1979.
"He was the first one who found Bo when he was a freshman in high school," Stewart said.
Naturally, Stewart is proud of this, since he himself got his start as territorial scout in 1953 for the New York Yankees before joining Kansas City in 1969.
"Kenny found out that Bo's mom worked at the Ramada Inn (in Bessemer, Ala.), and he stayed there all the time," Stewart said "He found out when she took her coffee breaks."
Gonzales shared the story with his sons before he died in 1994. He had gotten a tip from Bo's high school coach before Jackson's freshman year.
"He went the extra mile to get to know Bo," said Colin Gonzales, 27, a Royals scout himself. "He was like that. He would leave Kansas City and stop at every barbecue stand in every town and sit down with their baseball coach."
Said Stewart, "He got to know (Bo's mom) well. And he was getting important information -- and the truth."
The truth was that Jackson's mom wanted Bo to become the first of her eight children to go to college and earn a degree, as the Royals came to learn.
The family held firm, despite the Yankees drafting Bo in the second round in 1982 and again in 1985 after the then-California Angels made him a 20th-round selection.
But even in 1986, no scouting department truly knew Bo's intentions and did not want to burn a high draft selection.
Bo had won the Heisman Trophy in the fall semester at Auburn University, only to be drafted by the NFL's lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Besides that, Bo had not played baseball since late March after the NCAA rule him ineligible for accepting an extra benefit, a ride on the private jet of Buccaneers owner Hugh Culverhouse.
"Bo was pretty much untouchable," said Marty Maier, a former Cardinals scout who also covered the South in the 1980s. "Trying to get a word with him or trying to get information" was difficult.
Draft roomNevertheless, Stewart was uneasy after the phone call, and for several reasons.
» Eight of the first 103 selections belonged to the division rival Angels, with the Royals' fourth selection not until No. 105.
» Stewart also learned the Angels had dispatched future Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson to Alabama to make a sales pitch.
» Plus, Bo had been non-committal after Stewart dropped him off at his hotel following a workout weeks earlier in Kansas City.
"Woods said, 'We appreciate everything,'" Stewart said. "But that was it. He didn't even say, 'You'll hear from us.'"
The first three rounds came and went, and Bo remained on the board.
In the fourth round, the Angels selected Paul Sorrento at No. 103 and the Cardinals took left-hander Mark Guthrie at No. 104.
"I finally said to my people," Stewart said, "'You know, if we blow the fourth-round pick, the franchise isn't going to fold.'
"And so I announced that, 'The Royals take Vincent Edward Jackson, otherwise known as Bo Jackson.' You could've heard a pin drop."
Bo was introduced at a news conference on June 21, and the team also flew in Gonzales.
Owner Ewing Kauffman and his wife were there, and so too was co-owner Avron Fogelman.
When Gonzales entered the room ...
"Bo's mom burst out of the line and wrapped her arms around him. Kenny was 6-1, 190 pounds, and she lifted him off the floor and gave him a big hug," Stewart said. "That's when Fogelman leaned over to Kauffman and said, 'That's what scouting's all about, isn't it?'"
The assault was conducted in two phases: an airborne assault landing of 24,000 British, American, Canadian and Free French airborne troops shortly after midnight, and an amphibious landing of Allied infantry and armored divisions on the coast of France commencing at 6:30 AM. There were also decoy operations mounted under the codenames Operation Glimmer and Operation Taxable to distract the German forces from the real landing areas.
The operation was the largest amphibious invasion in world history, with over 160,000 troops landing on 6 June 1944. 195,700 Allied naval and merchant navy personnel in over 5,000 ships were involved. The invasion required the transport of soldiers and material from the United Kingdom by troop-laden aircraft and ships, the assault landings, air support, naval interdiction of the English Channel and naval fire-support. The landings took place along a 50-mile stretch of the Normandy coast divided into five sectors: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword
The National D Day Memorial
Photos From The Front
Bahraini doctors and nurses charged with "plotting to overthrow the monarchy" for treating protestors; protests & violence continue.
|Bahraini doctors and nurses charged|
Medical staff who treated protesters accused of plotting to overthrow kingdom's monarchy amid reports of more violence.
The 23 doctors and 24 nurses were formally charged on Monday during a closed door hearing in a special security court.
The 47 accused have been in detention since March, when the country declared martial law in order to clamp down on a wave of demonstrations that swept the tiny kingdom earlier this year.
Though the emergency law was lifted last week, Bahraini authorities have warned opposition activists of "consequences" in case of any further challenges to the government.
'Firing on marchers'
On Sunday, Bahraini police clashed with Shia marchers at religious processions in villages across the country, the country's opposition al-Wefaq movement and residents said.
Police used tear gas, rubber bullets, sound grenades and birdshot to break up the marches, which were taking place in several Shia villages around Manama, the country's capital, residents and members of al-Wefaq said.
Residents said that some gatherings were purely religious, while at others marchers shouted slogans against the ruling al-Khalifa family, including "The people want the fall of the regime", a chant that has become the symbol of similar protests in Tunisia and Egypt which dethroned long-time rulers.
In Sitra, residents said that several people were injured and that a house was set on fire.
"We condemn this attack, this kind of attack will make the situation even worse," said Sayyed Hady of al-Wefaq. "This event is so, so normal in Bahrain, we've been doing it for centuries ... the authorities said they won't attack religious events, but this is what they did."
On Sunday, a government official denied that widespread clashes had taken place.
"There are no clashes really, there were some outlaws who caused some problems but these were small incidents that were quickly stopped. The situation is stable and back to normal," he told Reuters.
Journalists have been unable to verify the reports, as police have set up checkpoints sealing many Shia-majority areas. From outside those areas, the Reuters news agency reported that its reporters heard shouting and smelled tear gas.
The Shia villagers, some beating their chests and chanting religious verses, were marching to commemorate the festival of one of their 12 Imams.
Months of unrest
The fresh unrest comes just two days after the country's Formula One Grand Prix was reinstated. The race had been postponed from its original March date due to widespread protests at the time.
As that decision was announced, security forces were engaged in a fresh crackdown, firing tear gas and rubber bullets at activists gathered in Manama for the funeral of a protester they said had been killed by tear gas inhalation.
In March, Bahrain's Sunni rulers asked for military support from its Gulf Arab neighbours to suppress the protests, which have in particular called for democratic reforms and more rights for the country's Shia-majority citizens.
Bahrain is home to the US Navy's Fifth fleet, and as such is a key ally for that country in the region. Saudi and Emirati forces appear to be set to remain the country indefinitely in order to ensure that the protesters do not achieve their goals.
Bahraini doctors and nurses charged - Middle East - Al Jazeera English
|The Glory Hole, Swain Arkansas|
The Glory Hole in the Boston Mountains of the Ozark National Forest in Swain Arkansas.
Dismal Creek flows down a steep slope over boulders and smooth-face stone, then suddenly disappears into a perfectly round hole perhaps three feet wide and down through 12 feet of stone, finally emerging from the top of the bluff shelter below.
The total drop is just over 30 feet. The creek exits from the cave and after a short distance merges with another stream cascading down a steep hillside, creating smaller waterfalls and deep pools on down the valley. Moss covers nearly every rock and tree trunk, and ferns accent the places between stones, creating a natural garden of verdant beauty.