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Dennis Donovan

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Member since: Wed Oct 15, 2008, 06:29 PM
Number of posts: 11,012

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Richard Engel: Moving troops from Syria to Western Iraq creates chaos-ISIS will regroup

Richard Engel ✔ @RichardEngel

Since defense secretary says US troops aren't going home from Syria - where they’ve been EFFECTIVELY fighting ISIS - but moving next door to Iraq to fight ISIS from there, the only results are: 1 creating chaos which helps ISIS regroup & 2 leaving US allies, the Kurds, to die.

9:46 AM - Oct 20, 2019
Posted by Dennis Donovan | Sun Oct 20, 2019, 09:53 AM (6 replies)

42 Years Ago Today; Plane crash claims lives of Ronnie Van Zant, Steve & Cassie Gaines


On October 20, 1977, a Convair CV-240 passenger aircraft ran out of fuel and crashed in a wooded area near Gillsburg, Mississippi. Chartered by the rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd from L&J Company of Addison, Texas, it was near the end of its flight from Greenville, South Carolina, to Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Lead vocalist/founding member Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist and vocalist Steve Gaines, backing vocalist Cassie Gaines (Steve's older sister), assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary, and co-pilot William Gray all died as a result of the crash; 20 others survived.

On October 20, 1977, three days after releasing their album Street Survivors, Lynyrd Skynyrd performed at the Greenville Memorial Auditorium in Greenville, South Carolina, and boarded a Convair CV-240 airplane to take them to Baton Rouge, where they were to perform at Louisiana State University. The plane ran out of fuel near the end of the flight.

Upon realizing that the plane had insufficient fuel, the pilots attempted to navigate to McComb Airport, about 10 miles northeast of the eventual crash site, but soon realized that the plane wouldn't make it. As a last resort, they attempted an emergency landing in an open field about 300 yards from where the plane eventually went down. Despite their efforts, at approximately 6:47 PM the plane skimmed about 100 yards along the top of the tree line before smashing into a large tree and splitting into pieces near Gillsburg, Mississippi.

Early in the flight, witnesses recall that vocalist Ronnie Van Zant was lying on the floor with a pillow as he nursed a mild hangover. Several other passengers passed the time by playing cards. At some point the passengers became aware that something was wrong, and drummer Artimus Pyle recalls entering the cabin and being told by a terrified pilot Walter McCreary to go back and strap himself in. With the gravity of the situation clear, the band sat in silence. Guitarist Gary Rossington recalls hearing what sounded like hundreds of baseball bats hitting the plane's fuselage as it began striking trees. The sound got louder and louder until Rossington was knocked unconscious; he awoke some time later on the ground with the plane's door on top of him. Lead singer/founding member Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist/vocalist Steve Gaines, backing vocalist Cassie Gaines, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary, and copilot William Gray all died in the crash. Most of the survivors had been seated toward the back of the plane. The survivors, all of whom were seriously injured, were transported to different hospitals for treatment and were not immediately aware of the fatalities. Days later, Rossington was informed in hospital by his mother that Van Zant had been killed.

Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1977

Cassie Gaines had been so fearful of flying in the Convair that she had preferred to travel in the band's cramped equipment truck instead, but Van Zant convinced her to board the plane on October 20. Keyboard player Billy Powell's nose was nearly torn off as he suffered severe facial lacerations and deep lacerations to his right leg. Decades later, Powell gave an account of the flight's final moments on a VH1 Behind The Music special. He said Van Zant, who was not wearing a seat belt, was thrown violently from his seat and died immediately when his head impacted a tree as the plane broke apart. Some elements of Powell's version of the events, however, have been disputed by both drummer Artimus Pyle and Van Zant's widow Judy Van Zant Jenness, who posted the autopsy reports on the band's web site in early 1998, while confirming other aspects of Powell's account. Pyle suffered broken ribs but managed to leave the crash site and notify a nearby resident.

Another member of the band's trio of back-up singers (collectively known as the "Honkettes", JoJo Billingsley, was not on the plane; she was home sick and planned to join the tour in Little Rock, Arkansas, on October 23. Billingsley said that she had dreamed of the plane crash and begged guitarist and founding member Allen Collins by telephone not to continue using the Convair. The band's ex-guitarist Ed King said later that he "always knew it wasn't gonna end well" for Lynyrd Skynyrd due to their penchant for drinking and brawling, but he could never have envisioned it ending the way it did, and recalls being overcome with sadness upon learning of the crash.

It was later discovered that the very same aircraft had earlier been inspected by members of Aerosmith's flight crew for possible use in their 1977 American tour, but it was rejected because it was felt that neither the plane nor the crew were up to standards. Aerosmith's assistant chief of flight operations, Zunk Buker, told of observing pilots McCreary and Gray sharing a bottle of Jack Daniel's while he and his father inspected the plane. Aerosmith's touring family were quite shaken after receiving word of the crash, as Steven Tyler and Joe Perry had pressured their management into renting that specific plane for use on their tour.

The doomed flight of October 20, 1977 was intended to be the last Lynyrd Skynyrd would make on the Convair CV-240. "We were flying in a plane that looked like it belonged to the Clampett family," said Pyle, and the band had decided that their status as one of the world's top rock acts warranted an upgrade. After arriving in Baton Rouge, the band planned on acquiring a Learjet to replace the 30-year-old plane, which all in the band's circle agreed was well past its prime.

The National Transportation Safety Board determined that the probable cause of this accident was fuel exhaustion and total loss of power from both engines due to crew inattention to fuel supply. Contributing to the fuel exhaustion were inadequate flight planning and an engine malfunction of undetermined nature in the right engine which resulted in "torching" and higher-than-normal fuel consumption.
—NTSB Accident Report

Rescuers had to cross a 20-foot-wide, waist-deep creek and dig through an overgrown forest, while digging out rescue vehicles that got stuck in the mud. Locals worked with rescue officials and drove victims to the hospital in the back of pick-up trucks. One local resident recalled, "I found someone on the ground alive. When I walked to the other side of the plane, I tripped on another person."

Another resident commended the actions of all those who helped, and highlighted that, "Some of them were out on that highway directing traffic. Some of them went home and got tractors. My wife was home on a CB radio. I'm relaying messages on CB to her, 10 miles away."

Powell, among others, spoke of seeing flames shooting out of the plane's right engine during a flight just days before the crash. The subsequent NTSB report listed "an engine malfunction of undetermined nature" in that same engine as a contributing factor in the crash Pyle told Howard Stern years later in an interview that the fuel gauge in the older-model plane was known to malfunction and the pilots had neglected to manually check the tanks before taking off. In his 2003 book Lynyrd Skynyrd: Remembering the Free Birds of Southern Rock, Gene Odom, a bodyguard for Van Zant who was on board the plane and survived the crash, comes to the conclusion that pilot Gray was potentially impaired and had been observed using cocaine the previous evening; however, toxicology reports from both pilots' autopsies found no traces of alcohol or other drugs. "Crew inattention to fuel supply" was ultimately determined to be responsible for the crash.

After the accident, the NTSB removed, inspected, and tested the right engine's ignition magneto and found it to be operating normally, concluding, "No mechanical or electrical discrepancies were found during the examination of the right magneto." The inspection also determined that, "All of the fuel cross-feed and fuel dump valves were in the closed position."

The accident Report records that the aircraft was both owned and operated by L & J Company, but the lease to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s production company specified that Lynyrd Skynyrd was the operator and therefore was responsible for regulatory compliance (including managing the flight crew). The flight crew were employed by a third party, and the lease period was three weeks. The Report records the FAA as taking legal action against L&J in relation to the operator responsibility, and the Analysis section concludes with a discussion of the safety problem of “how does the system in such a case protect a lessee who is uninformed either by design, by inadvertence, or by his own carelessness”.

The band's record label MCA replaced the album cover of the Street Survivors album as it showed the band surrounded by flames. The site of the crash has turned into a memorial for fans, rescuers and survivors with an oak tree that has been carved with Lynyrd Skynyrd iconography; the site was also the location of a 40th anniversary memorial by survivors and rescuers.

In 2017, surviving members of the band and family of those that died in the crash filed a lawsuit to block production and distribution of a film entitled Street Survivor: The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash. The dispute stemmed from a "blood oath" that was reportedly taken after the crash by survivors to never use the name Lynyrd Skynyrd again in an effort not to capitalize on the tragedy that had befallen the group. The movie was finally released 1 Dec 2017.


Posted by Dennis Donovan | Sun Oct 20, 2019, 09:00 AM (13 replies)

68 Years Ago Today; The Johnny Bright Incident. Racism on the gridiron.


John Bright

The Johnny Bright incident was a violent on-field assault against African-American player Johnny Bright by a white opposing player during an American college football game held on October 20, 1951 in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The game was significant in itself as it marked the first time that an African-American athlete with a national profile and of critical importance to the success of his team, the Drake Bulldogs, had played against Oklahoma A&M College (now Oklahoma State University) at Oklahoma A&M's Lewis Field. Bright's injury also highlighted the racial tensions of the times and assumed notoriety when it was captured in what was later to become both a widely disseminated and eventually Pulitzer Prize-winning photo sequence.

Johnny Bright's participation as a halfback/quarterback in the collegiate football game between the Drake Bulldogs and Oklahoma A&M Aggies on October 20, 1951, at Lewis Field was controversial even before it began. Bright had been the first African American football player to play at Lewis Field two years prior (without incident). In 1951, Bright was a pre-season Heisman Trophy candidate and led the nation in total offense. Bright had never played for a losing team in his college career. Coming into the contest, Drake carried a five-game winning streak, owing much to Bright's rushing and passing abilities.

It was an open secret that Oklahoma A&M players were targeting Bright. Both Oklahoma A&M's student newspaper, The Daily O'Collegian, and the local newspaper, The News Press, reported that Bright was a marked man, and several A&M students were openly claiming that Bright "would not be around at the end of the game." Although Oklahoma A&M had integrated in 1949, the Jim Crow spirit was still very much alive on campus.

During the first seven minutes of the game, Bright was knocked unconscious three times by blows from Oklahoma A&M defensive tackle Wilbanks Smith. While Smith's final elbow blow broke Bright's jaw, he was still able to complete a 61-yard touchdown pass to Drake halfback Jim Pilkington a few plays later. Soon afterward, the injury forced him to leave the game. Bright finished the game with less than 100 yards, the first time in his three-year collegiate career. Oklahoma A&M eventually won 27–14.

Bob Spiegel, a reporter with the Des Moines Register, interviewed several spectators after the game, eventually publishing a report on the incident in the October 30, 1951, issue of the newspaper. According to Spiegel's report, several of the Oklahoma A&M students he interviewed overheard an Oklahoma A&M coach repeatedly say "Get that nigger" whenever the A&M practice squad ran Drake plays against the Oklahoma A&M starting defense prior to the October 20 game. Spiegel also recounted the experiences of a businessman and his wife, who were seated behind a group of Oklahoma A&M practice squad players. At the beginning of the game, one of the players turned around said, "We're gonna get that nigger." After the first blow to Bright was delivered by Smith, the same player again turned around and told the businessman, "See that knot on my jaw? That same guy [Smith] gave me that the very same way in practice."

Photographic sequence
A six photograph sequence of the incident captured by Des Moines Register cameramen John Robinson and Don Ultang clearly showed Smith's jaw-breaking blow was thrown well after Bright had handed the ball off to Drake fullback Gene Macomber, and was well behind the play. Robinson and Ultang had actually set up a camera focusing on Bright before the game after the rumors of him being targeted became too loud to ignore. They rushed the film to Des Moines as soon as Bright was knocked out of the game. Ultang said years later that they were very lucky that the incident took place when it did; they'd only planned to stay through the first quarter so they could have enough time to develop the pictures before the deadline. The sequence won Robinson and Ultang the 1952 Pulitzer Prize for Photography, and eventually made it into the November 5, 1951, issue of Life.

Oklahoma A&M's president, Oliver Willham, denied anything happened even after evidence of the incident was published nationwide. This began a cover-up that would last over half a century; during that time, whenever the story was discussed, the standard response from A&M/OSU was "no comment." The determination to gloss over the affair was so strong that when Robert B. Kamm succeeded Willham in 1966, he knew that he could not even discuss the matter even though he had been Drake's dean of men at the time of the incident.

When it became apparent that neither Oklahoma A&M nor the Missouri Valley Conference, to which both Drake and Oklahoma A&M belonged, would take any disciplinary action against Smith, Drake withdrew from the MVC in protest. The Bulldogs would not return to the MVC until 1956 for non-football sports, and would not return for football until 1971. Fellow member Bradley University pulled out of the league in solidarity with Drake and did not return for non-football sports until 1955; its football team never played another down in the MVC (Bradley dropped football in 1970). The incident eventually provoked changes in NCAA football rules regarding illegal blocking, and mandated the use of more protective helmets with face guards.

Johnny Bright
Bright's broken jaw limited his effectiveness for the remainder of his senior season at Drake, but he earned 70 percent of the yards Drake gained and scored 70 percent of the Bulldogs' points, despite missing the better part of the final three games of the season. Bright finished fifth in the balloting for the 1951 Heisman Trophy, and played in the post-season East–West Shrine Game and the Hula Bowl.

Following his 1952 graduation from Drake, Bright went on to enjoy a 12-year professional football career in the Canadian Football League, retiring in 1964 as the CFL's all-time leading rusher, and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1970.

Recalling the incident without apparent bitterness in a 1980 Des Moines Register interview three years before his death, Bright commented: "There's no way it couldn't have been racially motivated." Bright went on to add: "What I like about the whole deal now, and what I'm smug enough to say, is that getting a broken jaw has somehow made college athletics better. It made the NCAA take a hard look and clean up some things that were bad."

When asked about Smith, whom he had not seen since the incident, Bright said he felt "null and void" about Smith, but added: "The thing has been a great influence on my life. My total philosophy of life now is that, whatever a person's bias and limitation, they deserve respect. Everyone's entitled to their own beliefs."

Wilbanks Smith
Wilbanks Smith received over 1000 letters regarding the incident. Most of the mail was hate mail or death threats, but some was congratulatory and thankful. Smith maintained that he was not racist, the hit was "not a racial incident," and that he had landed "the same hit" on a white player earlier in the game. He never apologized for the incident, but said in 2012 that he was glad the incident had helped to integrate college football, saying "It took me a long time before I could smile about it. But now I can. I think it was a tool [Civil Rights'] organizations used, and it was very effective."

On September 28, 2005, Oklahoma State University President David J. Schmidly wrote a letter to Drake President David Maxwell formally apologizing for the incident. The apology came 22 years after Bright's death. Schmidly, reiterating a conversation earlier in the month over the phone, called the team's behavior that day "an ugly mark on Oklahoma State University and college football."


Posted by Dennis Donovan | Sun Oct 20, 2019, 08:30 AM (8 replies)

46 Years Ago Today; The Saturday Night Massacre


Front page of The New York Times, October 21, 1973, announcing the dismissal of Cox and the departure of Richardson and Ruckelshaus

The Saturday Night Massacre is the name popularly applied to the series of events that took place in the United States on the evening of Saturday, October 20, 1973, during the Watergate scandal. U.S. President Richard Nixon ordered Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire independent special prosecutor Archibald Cox; Richardson refused and resigned effective immediately. Nixon then ordered Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus to fire Cox; Ruckelshaus refused, and also resigned. Nixon then ordered the third-most-senior official at the Justice Department, Solicitor General Robert Bork, to fire Cox. Bork considered resigning, but did as Nixon asked.

The political and public reactions to Nixon's actions were negative and highly damaging to the president. The impeachment process against Richard Nixon began ten days later, on October 30. A new special counsel was appointed on November 1, 1973, and on November 14, 1973, a court ruled that the dismissal had been illegal.

U.S. Attorney General Elliot Richardson had appointed Cox in May 1973 after promising the House Judiciary Committee that he would appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the events surrounding the break-in of the Democratic National Committee's offices at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C., on June 17, 1972. The appointment was created as a career reserved position in the Justice department, meaning it came under the authority of the attorney general who could only remove the special prosecutor "for cause", e.g., gross improprieties or malfeasance in office. Richardson had, in his confirmation hearings before the U.S. Senate, promised not to use his authority to dismiss the Watergate special prosecutor, unless for cause.

When Cox issued a subpoena to Nixon, asking for copies of taped conversations recorded in the Oval Office, the president refused to comply. On Friday, October 19, 1973, Nixon offered what was later known as the Stennis Compromise – asking the infamously hard-of-hearing Senator John C. Stennis of Mississippi to review and summarize the tapes for the special prosecutor's office. Cox refused the compromise that same evening, and it was believed that there would be a short rest in the legal maneuvering while government offices were closed for the weekend.

Archibald Cox

However, on the following day (Saturday), Nixon ordered Attorney General Richardson to fire Cox. Richardson refused and resigned in protest. Nixon then ordered Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus to fire Cox. Ruckelshaus also refused and resigned.[5]

Nixon then ordered the Solicitor General of the United States, Robert Bork, as acting head of the Justice Department, to fire Cox. Both Richardson and Ruckelshaus had given personal assurances to Congressional oversight committees that they would not interfere, but Bork had not. Although Bork later claimed he believed Nixon's order to be valid and appropriate, he still considered resigning to avoid being "perceived as a man who did the President's bidding to save my job". Nevertheless, having been brought to the White House by limousine and sworn in as acting attorney general, Bork wrote the letter firing Cox – and the Saturday Night Massacre was complete.

Initially, the Nixon White House claimed to have fired Ruckelshaus, but as an article published the next day by The Washington Post pointed out, "The letter from the President to Bork also said Ruckelshaus resigned", catching Nixon lying.

The night he was fired, Cox's deputy prosecutor and press aides held an impassioned news briefing and read the following statement from him, "Whether ours shall continue to be a government of laws and not of men is now for Congress and ultimately the American people."

On November 14, 1973, federal district judge Gerhard Gesell ruled firing Cox was illegal absent a finding of extraordinary impropriety as specified in the regulation establishing the special prosecutor's office. Congress was infuriated by what it saw as a gross abuse of presidential power – as were many Americans, who sent an unusually large number of telegrams to the White House and Congress in protest.

Less than a week after the Saturday Night Massacre, an Oliver Quayle poll for NBC News indicated that, for the first time, a plurality of U.S. citizens supported impeaching Nixon, with 44% in favor, 43% opposed, and 13% undecided, with a sampling error of 2 to 3 per cent. In the days that followed, numerous resolutions of impeachment against the president were introduced in Congress, and the impeachment process against Richard Nixon was underway.

However, the House Judiciary Committee did not approve its first article of impeachment until July 27 the following year – more than nine months after the Saturday Night Massacre – when it charged Nixon with obstruction of justice. Two more articles of impeachment quickly followed.

Within two weeks, Nixon had made the decision to resign; following a televised speech in which he announced his intentions, he did so on August 9, 1974.


Despite this, Tricky Dick is NOT the world worst, and most corrupt, POTUS. He lost his crown to present clown.
Posted by Dennis Donovan | Sun Oct 20, 2019, 08:17 AM (1 replies)

Trump Campaign Floods Web With Ads, Raking In Cash as Democrats Struggle


By Matthew Rosenberg and Kevin Roose
Oct. 20, 2019, 3:00 a.m. ET

On any given day, the Trump campaign is plastering ads all over Facebook, YouTube and the millions of sites served by Google, hitting the kind of incendiary themes — immigrant invaders, the corrupt media — that play best on platforms where algorithms favor outrage and political campaigns are free to disregard facts.

Even seemingly ominous developments for Mr. Trump become fodder for his campaign. When news broke last month that congressional Democrats were opening an impeachment inquiry, the campaign responded with an advertising blitz aimed at firing up the president’s base.

The campaign slapped together an “Impeachment Poll” (sample question: “Do you agree that President Trump has done nothing wrong?”). It invited supporters to join the Official Impeachment Defense Task Force (“All you need to do is DONATE NOW!”). It produced a slick video laying out the debunked conspiracy theory about former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Ukraine that is now at the center of the impeachment battle (“Learn the truth. Watch Now!”).

The onslaught overwhelmed the limited Democratic response. Mr. Biden’s campaign put up the stiffest resistance: It demanded Facebook take down the ad, only to be rebuffed. It then proceeded with plans to slash its online advertising budget in favor of more television ads.

That campaigns are now being fought largely online is hardly a revelation, yet only one political party seems to have gotten the message. While the Trump campaign has put its digital operation firmly at the center of the president’s re-election effort, Democrats are struggling to internalize the lessons of the 2016 race and adapt to a political landscape shaped by social media.

Posted by Dennis Donovan | Sun Oct 20, 2019, 07:35 AM (16 replies)

Ted Lieu to Ken Starr: Stop revising history. Stop lying to the American people

Ted Lieu ✔ @tedlieu

Hey #KenStarr: Remember when you conducted all your investigative interviews in the open? Neither does the rest of America.

Stop revising history. Stop lying to the American people.

You only have a scintilla of integrity left. At least try to preserve that.

Nick Givas ✔ @NGivasDC

Ken Starr takes aim at congressional Dems and claims every American should be concerned about their handling of impeachment probe https://www.foxnews.com/media/democrats-impeachment-abuse-ken-starr

8:56 PM - Oct 19, 2019
Posted by Dennis Donovan | Sat Oct 19, 2019, 09:02 PM (5 replies)

Video shows Oregon coach disarming student then embracing him before police arrive (WOW!)


Stunning surveillance footage captured the moment a high school coach in Oregon disarmed a student with a shotgun and then held him in his arms.

Keanon Lowe, a football and track and field coach at Parkrose High School, can be seen walking through the hallways and entering a classroom on May 17.


Posted by Dennis Donovan | Sat Oct 19, 2019, 01:11 PM (4 replies)

"when Americans woke from a slumber of apathy and acquiescence to reclaim the ideals of the nation"

Dan Rather ✔ @DanRather

I believe the Trump Presidency will not only be remembered for its outrages but as a time when millions of Americans woke from a slumber of apathy and acquiescence to reclaim the ideals of the nation.

12:51 PM - Oct 19, 2019

Posted by Dennis Donovan | Sat Oct 19, 2019, 12:55 PM (13 replies)

Richard Engel: US-Turkish ceasefire is NOT holding

Richard Engel ✔ @RichardEngel

A senior US official and the top Kurdish commander both tell @NBCNews that the US-Turkish ceasefire is NOT holding. They say Turkey is using the ceasefire to continue to advance and take territory in and around the border city of Ras al-Ayn.

10:58 AM - Oct 19, 2019

Posted by Dennis Donovan | Sat Oct 19, 2019, 11:39 AM (4 replies)

32 Years Ago Today; Black Monday - Dow loses 22% of value

https://tinyurl.com/owpfzwv (Wikipedia Link)

FTSE 100 Index (June 19, 1987, to January 19, 1988).

DJIA (June 19, 1987, to January 19, 1988).

Black Monday on October 19, 1987 was the date when a sudden, severe and largely unexpected systemic shock impaired the functioning of the global financial market system, roiling its stability through a stock market crash, along with crashes in the futures and options markets. The crisis affected markets around the world; however, no international news event or change in market fundamentals has been shown to have had a strong effect on investor behavior. Instead, contemporaneous causality and feedback behavior between markets increased dramatically during this period. In an environment of increased volatility and uncertainty, investors were reacting to changes in stock prices and to communication with other investors in a self-reinforcing contagion of fear. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) fell exactly 508 points to 1,738.74 (22.61%) In Australia and New Zealand, the 1987 crash is also referred to as "Black Tuesday" because of the time zone difference.

The terms Black Monday and Black Tuesday are also respectively applied to October 28 and October 29, 1929, which occurred after Black Thursday on October 24, which started the Stock Market Crash of 1929.

Posted by Dennis Donovan | Sat Oct 19, 2019, 09:17 AM (3 replies)
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