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This Week in Her and History


This Week in History, Dec 15 - Dec 21

Dec 15, 2001
Leaning Tower of Pisa reopens. On this day in 2001, Italy's Leaning Tower of Pisa reopens after a team of experts spent 11 years and $27 million to fortify the tower without eliminating its famous lean. In the 12th century, construction began on the bell tower for the cathedral of Pisa, a busy trade center on the Arno River in western Italy, some 50 miles from Florence. While construction was still in progress, the tower's foundation began to sink into the soft, marshy ground, causing it to lean to one side. Its builders tried to compensate for the lean by making the top stories slightly taller on one side, but the extra masonry required only made the tower sink further. By the time it was completed in 1360, modern-day engineers say it was a miracle it didn't fall down completely.

Dec 16, 1773
The Boston Tea Party. n Boston Harbor, a group of Massachusetts colonists disguised as Mohawk Indians board three British tea ships and dump 342 chests of tea into the harbor. The midnight raid, popularly known as the "Boston Tea Party," was in protest of the British Parliament's Tea Act of 1773, a bill designed to save the faltering East India Company by greatly lowering its tea tax and granting it a virtual monopoly on the American tea trade. The low tax allowed the East India Company to undercut even tea smuggled into America by Dutch traders, and many colonists viewed the act as another example of taxation tyranny.

Dec 17, 1903
First airplane flies. Near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, Orville and Wilbur Wright make the first successful flight in history of a self-propelled, heavier-than-air aircraft. Orville piloted the gasoline-powered, propeller-driven biplane, which stayed aloft for 12 seconds and covered 120 feet on its inaugural flight. Orville and Wilbur Wright grew up in Dayton, Ohio, and developed an interest in aviation after learning of the glider flights of the German engineer Otto Lilienthal in the 1890s. Unlike their older brothers, Orville and Wilbur did not attend college, but they possessed extraordinary technical ability and a sophisticated approach to solving problems in mechanical design. They built printing presses and in 1892 opened a bicycle sales and repair shop. Soon, they were building their own bicycles, and this experience, combined with profits from their various businesses, allowed them to pursue actively their dream of building the world's first airplane.

Dec 18, 1620
Mayflower docks at Plymouth Harbor. On December 18, 1620, the British ship Mayflower docked at modern-day Plymouth, Massachusetts, and its passengers prepared to begin their new settlement, Plymouth Colony. The famous Mayflower story began in 1606, when a group of reform-minded Puritans in Nottinghamshire, England, founded their own church, separate from the state-sanctioned Church of England. Accused of treason, they were forced to leave the country and settle in the more tolerant Netherlands. After 12 years of struggling to adapt and make a decent living, the group sought financial backing from some London merchants to set up a colony in America. On September 6, 1620, 102 passengers–dubbed Pilgrims by William Bradford, a passenger who would become the first governor of Plymouth Colony–crowded on the Mayflower to begin the long, hard journey to a new life in the New World.

Dec 19, 1998
President Clinton impeached. After nearly 14 hours of debate, the House of Representatives approves two articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton, charging him with lying under oath to a federal grand jury and obstructing justice. Clinton, the second president in American history to be impeached, vowed to finish his term. In November 1995, Clinton began an affair with Monica Lewinsky, a 21-year-old unpaid intern. Over the course of a year and a half, the president and Lewinsky had nearly a dozen sexual encounters in the White House. In April 1996, Lewinsky was transferred to the Pentagon. That summer, she first confided in Pentagon co-worker Linda Tripp about her sexual relationship with the president. In 1997, with the relationship over, Tripp began secretly to record conversations with Lewinsky, in which Lewinsky gave Tripp details about the affair.

Dec 20, 1957
Elvis Presley is drafted. On this day in 1957, while spending the Christmas holidays at Graceland, his newly purchased Tennessee mansion, rock-and-roll star Elvis Presley receives his draft notice for the United States Army. With a suggestive style--one writer called him "Elvis the Pelvis"--a hit movie, Love Me Tender, and a string of gold records including "Heartbreak Hotel," "Blue Suede Shoes," "Hound Dog" and "Don't Be Cruel," Presley had become a national icon, and the world's first bona fide rock-and-roll star, by the end of 1956. As the Beatles' John Lennon once famously remarked: "Before Elvis, there was nothing." The following year, at the peak of his career, Presley received his draft notice for a two-year stint in the army. Fans sent tens of thousands of letters to the army asking for him to be spared, but Elvis would have none of it. He received one deferment--during which he finished working on his movie King Creole--before being sworn in as an army private in Memphis on March 24, 1958.



For the first time ever, the New York City Police Department was forced to appear before the New York City Council and answer for their consistent failure to hold dangerous drivers accountable. We thank Jimmy V and Michael V for that victory!

Dear Jimmy V. and Peter V:

Thank you for using your leadership position in the New York City Council to expose the NYPD's consistent failure to hold dangerous drivers accountable and keep New Yorkers safe on our streets. Your probing questions and refusal to accept any excuses made Wednesday's hearing exceptionally productive.

This Week in Her and History


This Week in History, Apr 20 - Apr 26

Apr 20, 1980
Castro announces Mariel Boat-lift. On April 20, 1980, the Castro regime announces that all Cubans wishing to emigrate to the U.S. are free to board boats at the port of Mariel west of Havana, launching the Mariel Boatlift. The first of 125,000 Cuban refugees from Mariel reached Florida the next day. The boatlift was precipitated by housing and job shortages caused by the ailing Cuban economy, leading to simmering internal tensions on the island. On April 1, Hector Sanyustiz and four others drove a bus through a fence at the Peruvian embassy and were granted political asylum. Cuban guards on the street opened fire. One guard was killed in the crossfire.

Apr 21, 753 B.C.
Rome founded. According to tradition, on April 21, 753 B.C., Romulus and his twin brother, Remus, found Rome on the site where they were suckled by a she-wolf as orphaned infants. Actually, the Romulus and Remus myth originated sometime in the fourth century B.C., and the exact date of Rome's founding was set by the Roman scholar Marcus Terentius Varro in the first century B.C. According to the legend, Romulus and Remus were the sons of Rhea Silvia, the daughter of King Numitor of Alba Longa. Alba Longa was a mythical city located in the Alban Hills southeast of what would become Rome. Before the birth of the twins, Numitor was deposed by his younger brother Amulius, who forced Rhea to become a vestal virgin so that she would not give birth to rival claimants to his title. However, Rhea was impregnated by the war god Mars and gave birth to Romulus and Remus. Amulius ordered the infants drowned in the Tiber, but they survived and washed ashore at the foot of the Palatine hill, where they were suckled by a she-wolf until they were found by the shepherd Faustulus.

The Politics of Hate


The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination. Don Williams, Jr.



Weather permitting, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will conduct aerial spraying of mosquito larvicide to help prevent West Nile Virus between 6 AM and 7 PM on Friday, 8/15, and on Monday 8/18 through Tuesday, 8/19.

The spraying will be conducted in parts of the following ZIP codes in The Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island: 10301, 10302, 10303, 10306, 10308, 10309, 10310, 10311, 10314, 10464, and 10475.

In case of inclement weather, the alternate application dates will be Monday, 8/18 through Wednesday, 8/20 during the same time frame.

Friends of Pelham Bay Park


Earthfest 2012: Pond Walk begins!

Help out taking the first steps in developing an accessible Pond Walk at the Playground for All Children!

Join along at the 19th annual EarthFest celebration in Pelham Bay Park on Sunday, April 22nd to give back to the planet and tend to this small but vibrant water body.

Friends of Pelham will join Parks & Recreation staff from 10 am - 12 noon to clear brush and cut back shrubs along the pond's edge as well as remove some of the silt build-up and increase the pond's depth.

City Island Images Receives Award


City Island Images has been selected to receive The 2012 PRSUN Award. Through this award, PRSUN recognizes movers and shakers who have lived up to a business and social mission of informing, empowering, and building community in their personal or professional lives. City Island Images was chosen by nominations that were submitted by the PRSUN online network.

Goodbye, Adios and Zaijian Facebook


While traveling recently throughout China and not having any access to Facebook, I began to realize the lack of benefit and importance that this free online service has to my daily life.

I think that it really is not only a waste of my time, but it is also not necessary to my well being and it is certainly not earning me any money for all the time I have already devoted to the site by loading content. On the contrary, this service is making money off me and hundreds of millions of other users worldwide. There are over 1 billion on Facebook. How can this company make money? Its easy to use a free service if I'm not paying for it. But the fact is the service is produced by me.

The reality here isn’t me receiving enjoyment in the form of a free temporary distraction created by a media company at great expense. This media company happens to be selling our eyeballs to their advertisers. Our accounts are contributing $$$ to Facebook each year.

We’re being sold and we never even knew we were up for grabs. Do you understand why Facebook’s stock value has doubled since its public offering, which some said was unjustifiably high. Advertising isn’t just a way for Facebook to earn a little bit of revenue in between hosting family photos and personal musings. It’s the very purpose of its existence.

BBC News - Social media told to simplify terms and conditions

How many followers, tags, or likes do you need before you wake up? How many Facebook friends do you have? How many of them do you personally communicate with because you are interested in each other? How many of these do you think would visit your personal website to look at your photos, or read your original content?

If you are truly interested in earning money online, then start by choosing a domain, followed by launching your own website. Once this task is completed, start producing original content and posting it, so you too can also generate revenue from multiple advertisers. Please would you kindly try some of mine?



In Washington, DC a portrait of the comedian George Carlin has been unveiled inside The National Portrait Gallery.

Carlin died in 2008 and was chosen by a public vote, edging out Groucho Marx and Ellen DeGeneres as the comedian who most influenced American politics, history and culture.

George Carlin (1937–2008) was an American stand-up comedian known for his blunt and unapologetic approach to taboo subjects, including politics, language, psychology and religion.



Port Authority - PATH service will resume LIMITED rail stops between Newark, New Jersey and W 33rd St in Manhattan. PATH trains will operate from this morning to 10 PM daily, beginning today.

Stops in NYC will include: W 14th St, W 23rd St, and W 33rd St.

For additional regional transportation options and updates, please visit:



The definition of censorship is the control of information and ideas circulated within a society. In the 20th Century, censorship was achieved through the examination of books, plays, films, television and radio programs, news reports, and other forms of communication for the purpose of altering or suppressing ideas found to be objectionable or offensive. The rationales for censorship have varied, with some censors targeting material considered indecent or obscene; heretical or blasphemous; or seditious or treasonous. Thus, ideas have been suppressed under the guise of protecting basic social institutions: Family, Church, and State.

To understand censorship, and the impulse to censor, it is necessary to strip away the shock epithet value that is attached to the word at first utterance. One must recognize that censorship and the ideology supporting it go back to ancient times, and that every society has had customs, taboos, or laws by which speech, dress, religious observance, and sexual expression were regulated.

In Athens, where democracy first emerged, censorship was known as a means of enforcing the orthodoxy. Indeed, Plato was the first recorded thinker to formulate a rationale for intellectual, religious, and artistic censorship. In his ideal state outlined in The Republic, official censors would prohibit mothers and nurses from relating tales deemed bad or evil. Plato also proposed that unorthodox notions about God or the hereafter be treated as crimes and that formal procedures be established to suppress heresy. Freedom of speech in Ancient Rome was reserved for those in positions of authority...etc.