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Dennis Donovan

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Member since: Wed Oct 15, 2008, 06:29 PM
Number of posts: 10,716

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Freaky Wikipedia "Pic of the Day" - perhaps GRAPHIC for some?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page (main page, towards the bottom)

A computer-generated animation showing the cardiac cycle, which is the performance of the human heart from the ending of one heartbeat to the beginning of the next. It consists of two periods: one during which the heart muscle relaxes and refills with blood, called diastole, followed by a period of robust contraction and pumping of blood, known as systole. After emptying, the heart immediately relaxes and expands to receive another influx of blood returning from the lungs and other systems of the body, before again contracting to pump blood to the lungs and those systems. A normally performing heart must be fully expanded before it can efficiently pump again. Assuming a healthy heart and a typical rate of 70 to 75 beats per minute, each cardiac cycle or heartbeat takes about 0.8 seconds to complete.

Animation credit: Doctor Jana

Queue Sonny and Cher:

Posted by Dennis Donovan | Wed Jul 31, 2019, 08:42 AM (3 replies)

49 Years Ago Today; Black Tot Day for the (UK) Royal Navy - no rum for you!


The grog tub of HMS Cavalier

Black Tot Day (31 July 1970) was the last day on which the Royal Navy issued sailors with a daily rum ration (the daily tot).

In the 17th century, the daily drink ration for English sailors was a gallon of beer (about four litres), although frequently small beer was used with an alcohol content below 1%. Due to the difficulty in storing the large quantities of liquid that this required, in 1655 a half pint of rum was made equivalent and became preferred to beer. Over time, drunkenness on board naval vessels increasingly became a problem and the ration was formalised in naval regulations by Admiral Edward Vernon in 1740 and ordered to be mixed with water in a 4:1 water to rum ratio and split into two servings per day.

In the 19th century, there was a change in the attitude towards alcohol due to continued discipline problems in the navy. In 1824 the size of the tot was halved to one-quarter of an imperial pint (142 ml) in an effort to improve the situation. In 1850, the Admiralty's Grog Committee, convened to look into the issues surrounding the rum ration, recommended that it be eliminated completely. However, rather than ending it the navy further halved it to one-eighth of an imperial pint (71 ml) per day, eliminating the evening serving of the ration. This led to the ending of the ration for officers in 1881 and warrant officers in 1918.

On 17 December 1969 the Admiralty Board issued a written answer to a question from the MP for Woolwich East, Christopher Mayhew, saying "The Admiralty Board concludes that the rum issue is no longer compatible with the high standards of efficiency required now that the individual's tasks in ships are concerned with complex, and often delicate, machinery and systems on the correct functioning of which people's lives may depend". This led to a debate in the House of Commons on the evening of 28 January 1970, now referred to as the 'Great Rum Debate', started by James Wellbeloved, MP for Erith and Crayford, who believed that the ration should not be removed. The debate lasted an hour and 15 minutes and closed at 10:29pm with a decision that the rum ration was no longer appropriate.

31 July 1970 was the final day of the rum ration[5] and it was poured as usual at 6 bells in the forenoon watch (11am) after the pipe of 'up spirits'. Some sailors wore black armbands, tots were 'buried at sea' and in one navy training camp, HMS Collingwood, the Royal Naval Electrical College at Fareham in Hampshire, there was a mock funeral procession complete with black coffin and accompanying drummers and piper. The move was not popular with the ratings despite an extra can of beer being added to the daily rations in compensation.

Measuring out the tot (diorama aboard HMS Belfast)

A special stamp was issued, available from Portsmouth General Post Office, with the slogan "Last Issue of Rum to the Royal Navy 31 July 1970" .

Black Tot Day was subsequently followed in two other Commonwealth navies (the Royal Australian Navy having already discontinued the rum ration, in 1921) 31 March 1972 was the final day of the rum ration in the Royal Canadian Navy; and 28 February 1990 was the final day of the rum ration in the Royal New Zealand Navy.


Here's one I never heard about!
Posted by Dennis Donovan | Wed Jul 31, 2019, 07:33 AM (0 replies)

Jaden Reports Now featured on MSNBC right now


I LOVE this kid!!!! Check him out!!

Jaden Jefferson - BRILLIANT 11 year old!

Posted by Dennis Donovan | Tue Jul 30, 2019, 10:40 PM (3 replies)

I'm not watching the debate...

First off, the fucking election is 15 months away. Secondly, the fucking election is 15 months away!

This bizarre 2 1/2 year election cottage-industry thing that's taken hold in the last 30 yrs is NOT healthy for our democracy (IMO). It only serves the media and other entities that profit off of the extended election cycle.

I'll pay closer attention after 1/1/2020. Until then, it's political masturbation.

Posted by Dennis Donovan | Tue Jul 30, 2019, 08:47 PM (68 replies)

Toby Walsh, A.I. Expert, Is Racing to Stop the Killer Robots (yes, killer robots)


By Claudia Dreifus
July 30, 2019

Toby Walsh, a professor at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, is one of Australia’s leading experts on artificial intelligence. He and other experts have released a report outlining the promises, and ethical pitfalls, of the country’s embrace of A.I.

Recently, Dr. Walsh, 55, has been working with the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, a coalition of scientists and human rights leaders seeking to halt the development of autonomous robotic weapons.

We spoke briefly at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, where he was making a presentation, and then for two hours via telephone. Below is an edited version of those conversations.

You are a scientist and an inventor. How did you become an activist in the fight against ‘killer robots’?

It happened incrementally, beginning around 2013. I had been doing a lot of reading about robotic weaponry. I realized how few of my artificial intelligence colleagues were thinking about the dangers of this new class of weapons. If people thought about them at all, they dismissed killer robots as something far in the future.

From what I could see, the future was already here. Drone bombers were flying over the skies of Afghanistan. Though humans on the ground controlled the drones, it’s a small technical step to render them autonomous.

So in 2015, at a scientific conference, I organized a debate on this new class of weaponry. Not long afterward, Max Tegmark, who runs M.I.T.’s Future of Life Institute, asked if I’d help him circulate a letter calling for the international community to pass a pre-emptive ban on all autonomous robotic weapons.

I signed, and at the next big A.I. conference, I circulated it. By the end of that meeting, we had over 5,000 signatures — including people like Elon Musk, Daniel Dennett, Steve Wozniak.


More scary stuff at link...
Posted by Dennis Donovan | Tue Jul 30, 2019, 06:18 AM (15 replies)

16 Years Ago Today; The last "classic" VW Beetle rolls off assembly line after 65 yr production run


"Última Edición" (Final Edition) in Aquarius Blue (2003).

The Volkswagen Beetle—officially the Volkswagen Type 1, informally in German the Käfer (meaning "beetle" ), in parts of the English-speaking world the Bug, and known by many other nicknames in other languages—is a two-door, rear-engine economy car, intended for five occupants (later, Beetles were restricted to four people in some countries), that was manufactured and marketed by German automaker Volkswagen (VW) from 1938 until 2003.

The need for a people's car (Volkswagen in German), its concept and its functional objectives were formulated by the leader of Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler, who wanted a cheap, simple car to be mass-produced for his country's new road network (Reichsautobahn). Members of the National Socialist party, with an additional dues surcharge, were promised the first production, but the war shifted production to military vehicles instead. Lead engineer Ferdinand Porsche and his team took until 1938 to finalise the design. Béla Barényi is credited with first conceiving the original design for this car in 1925, – notably by Mercedes-Benz, on their website, including his original technical drawing, – five years before Porsche claimed to have done his initial version. The influence on Porsche's design of other contemporary cars, such as the Tatra V570, and the work of Josef Ganz remains a subject of dispute. The result was the first Volkswagen, and one of the first rear-engined cars since the Brass Era. With 21,529,464 produced, the Beetle is the longest-running and most-manufactured car of a single platform ever made.

Although designed in the 1930s, due to World War II, civilian Beetles only began to be produced in significant numbers by the end of the 1940s. The car was then internally designated the Volkswagen Type 1, and marketed simply as the Volkswagen. Later models were designated Volkswagen 1200, 1300, 1500, 1302, or 1303, the former three indicating engine displacement, the latter two derived from the model number. The car became widely known in its home country as the Käfer (German for "beetle", cognate with English chafer) and was later marketed under that name in Germany, and as the Volkswagen in other countries. For example, in France it was known as the Coccinelle (French for ladybug).

The original 25 hp Beetle was designed for a top speed around 100 km/h (62 mph), which would be a viable cruising speed on the Reichsautobahn system. As Autobahn speeds increased in the postwar years, its output was boosted to 36, then 40 hp, the configuration that lasted through 1966 and became the "classic" Volkswagen motor. The Beetle gave rise to multiple variants: mainly the 1950 Type 2 'Bus', the 1955 Karmann Ghia, as well as the 1961 Type 3 'Ponton' and the 1968 Type 4 (411/412) family cars, ultimately forming the basis of an entirely rear-engined VW product range. The Beetle thus marked a significant trend, led by Volkswagen, and then by Fiat and Renault, whereby the rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout increased from 2.6 percent of continental Western Europe's car production in 1946 to 26.6 percent in 1956. In 1959 even General Motors launched an air-cooled, rear-engined car, the Chevrolet Corvair — which even shared the Beetle's flat engine and swing axle architecture.

In the 1999 Car of the Century competition, to determine the world's most influential car in the 20th century, the Type 1 came fourth, after the Ford Model T, the Mini, and the Citroën DS.



Four views.

Though extremely successful in the 1960s, experiencing its greatest sales growth in North America between 1960 and 1965, the Beetle was increasingly faced with stiff competition from more modern designs globally. The Japanese had refined rear-wheel-drive, water-cooled, front-engine, small cars including the Datsun 510 and Toyota Corona, whose sales in the North American market grew rapidly at the expense of Volkswagen in the late 1960s. Honda introduced the N600, based on the space-efficient transverse-engine, front-wheel-drive layout of the original Austin Mini, to the North American market in late 1969, and upgraded the model to the Honda Civic in 1972. The Japanese "big three" would soon dominate compact auto sales in North America. In 1971 Ford introduced its Pinto, which had some market impact as a low cost alternative in the wake of the drop of the US Dollar against the Deutschmark that same year. As the 1960s came to a close, Volkswagen faced increasingly stiff competition from European cars as well. The Beetle was faced with competition from new designs like the Fiat 127 and Renault 5, and more robust designs based on the Austin Mini layout such as the Superminis. German competitors, Ford and Opel also enjoyed strong sales of modern smaller cars like the Ford Escort and Opel Kadett. Volkswagen's attempts to boost the power of their air-cooled motor to meet the demands of higher highway speeds in the late 1960s, then comply with new pollution control regulations, caused problems for reliability and fuel efficiency that impaired the reputation of the aging design. Safety issues with the Beetle came under increasing scrutiny, culminating in the 1972 release of a rather scathing report. During the early 1970s, sales of the Beetle in Europe and North America plummeted.

VW introduced other models to supplement the Beetle throughout the 1960s; the Type 3, Type 4, and the NSU-based and larger K70. None of these models, aimed at more upscale markets, achieved the level of success of the Beetle. The over-reliance on a single model, now in decline, meant that Volkswagen was in financial crisis by 1974. It needed German government funding to produce the Beetle's replacement.

Production lines at Wolfsburg switched to the new water-cooled, front-engined, front-wheel-drive Golf designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro in 1974, sold in North America at the time as the "Rabbit". The Golf eventually became Volkswagen's most successful model since the Beetle. It was periodically redesigned over its lifetime, with only a few components carried over between generations, entering its seventh generation in 2012; the Beetle had only minor refinements of its original design.

The Golf did not kill Beetle production, nor did the smaller Polo which was launched a year later. Production of the Beetle continued in smaller numbers at other German factories until 19 January 1978, when mainstream production shifted to Brazil and Mexico: markets where low operating cost was an important factor. After this shift in production, sales in Europe did not stop, but became very low. Beetle sedans were produced for U.S. markets until July 1977 and for European markets until 1985, with other companies continuing to import cars produced in Mexico after 1985. The Beetle convertible/Cabriolet ended production (as 1979 models) on January 31, 1980.

The last Beetle was produced in Puebla, Mexico, in July 2003. The final batch of 3,000 Beetles were sold as 2004 models and badged as the Última Edición, with whitewall tires, a host of previously discontinued chrome trim, and the choice of two special paint colors taken from the New Beetle. Production in Brazil ended in 1986, then started again in 1993 and continued until 1996.

The Beetle outlasted most other cars which had adopted the rear-engine, air-cooled layout such as those by Subaru, Fiat, and General Motors. Porsche's 356 series which originally used some Volkswagen-sourced parts, continued to use the classic rear-engine layout (which later became water cooled) in the Porsche 911 996 series, which remains competitive in the second decade of the 21st century.

Worldwide end of production
By 2002, over 21 million Type 1s had been produced, but by 2003, annual production had dropped to 30,000 from a peak of 1.3 million in 1971. VW announced the end of production in June 2003, citing decreasing demand, and the final original Type 1 VW Beetle (No. 21,529,464) rolled off the production line at Puebla, Mexico, on 30 July 2003, 65 years after its original launch. This last Beetle, nicknamed El Rey (Spanish for "The King" after a legendary Mexican song by José Alfredo Jiménez) was delivered to the company's museum in Wolfsburg, Germany.

To celebrate the occasion, Volkswagen marketed a final, special series of 3,000 Beetles marketed as "Última Edición" (Final Edition) in light blue (Aquarius Blue) or beige (Harvest Moon Beige). Each car included the 1.6 engine, whitewall tires, a CD player with four speakers, chrome bumpers, trim, hub caps and exterior mirrors, a Wolfsburg emblem above the front trunk's handle, chrome glove box badge, body coloured wheels, tinted glass, a rear parcel shelf, and VW Última Edición plaque.[citation needed]

A mariachi band serenaded production of the last car. In Mexico, there was an advertising campaign as a goodbye for the Beetle. In one of the ads was a very small parking space on the street, and many big cars tried to use it, but could not. After a while, a sign appears in that parking space saying: "Es increíble que un auto tan pequeño deje un vacío tan grande" (It is incredible that a car so small can leave such a large void). Another depicted the rear end of a 1954 Beetle (the year Volkswagen was established in Mexico) in the left side of the ad, reading "Erase una vez..." (Once upon a time...) and the last 2003 Beetle in the right side, reading "Fin" (The end). Other ads also had the same nostalgic tone.

Engine: Fuel-injected (Bosch Digifant) four-cylinder horizontally opposed, 1,584 cc, 50 hp (37 kW), 98.1 N⋅m (72.4 lb⋅ft) @ 2,200 rpm, three-way catalytic converter

Rated fuel mileage: 7.2 L/100 km (32.5 mpg‑US; 39.0 mpg‑imp)
Max cruising speed: 130 km/h (81 mph)

Brakes: front disc, rear drum

Passengers: Five

Tank: 40 L (11 US gal; 9 imp gal)

Colours: Aquarius blue, Harvest Moon beige.

Possibly the only good thing to come from Nazi Germany.
Posted by Dennis Donovan | Tue Jul 30, 2019, 05:29 AM (2 replies)

44 Years Ago Today; Jimmy Hoffa vanishes


Hoffa, circa 1965

James Riddle Hoffa (born February 14, 1913; disappeared July 30, 1975, later declared dead July 30, 1982) was an American labor union leader who served as the President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) union from 1957 until 1971. He vanished in late July 1975, at age 62.

From an early age, Hoffa was a union activist and became an important regional figure with the IBT by his mid-20s. By 1952 he was national vice-president of the IBT, and was its general president between 1957 and 1971. He secured the first national agreement for teamsters' rates in 1964 with the National Master Freight Agreement. He played a major role in the growth and development of the union, which eventually became the largest (by membership) in the United States with over 2.3 million members at its peak, during his terms as its leader.

Hoffa became involved with organized crime from the early years of his Teamsters work, and this connection continued until his disappearance in 1975. He was convicted of jury tampering, attempted bribery and fraud in 1964, in two separate trials. He was imprisoned in 1967 and sentenced to 13 years. In mid-1971, he resigned as president of the union as part of a pardon agreement with President Richard Nixon; and he was released later that year, although barred from union activities until 1980. Hoffa, hoping to regain support and to return to IBT leadership, unsuccessfully attempted to overturn this order.

Hoffa vanished in late July 1975 and was never found. He was declared legally dead in 1982.


Hoffa disappeared on Wednesday, July 30, 1975, from the parking lot of Red Fox restaurant in Bloomfield Township, a suburb of Detroit. He had told others he was going there to meet with two Mafia leaders: Anthony Giacalone and Anthony Provenzano. Provenzano was also a Teamster leader in New Jersey and had earlier been close to Hoffa. Provenzano was a national vice-president with IBT from 1961, Hoffa's second term as Teamsters' president. Anthony Provenzano, once a friend of Hoffa but now an enemy, threatened to kidnap and hurt Hoffa's granddaughter. Hoffa called Provenzano "crazy". In 1973 and 1974, Hoffa talked to him to ask for help in supporting him for his return to power. Provenzano refused to listen and threatened Hoffa by saying he would pull out his guts and kidnap his granddaughters. Hoffa could not afford to take these threats lightly: at least two of Provenzano's political opponents were believed to have been murdered. Others who had spoken out against him had been physically assaulted.

The threats from the mafia that they would get rid of Hoffa were taken very seriously; Hoffa's son is quoted as saying "Dad was pushing so hard to get back in office, I was increasingly afraid that the mob would do something about it." There had been three visits in a short time frame to Hoffa's home at Lake Orion and one trip to the Guardian Building law offices by Anthony Giacalone, an alleged kingpin in the Detroit Mafia, and his younger brother, Vito. Friendly with Provenzano and believed to be related to him, their avowed purpose in coming was to set up a "peace meeting" between Provenzano and Hoffa. Hoffa's son viewed the "peace meeting" overture as only a pretext. He was convinced that Giacalone was "setting Dad up" for a hit. Even Hoffa himself was becoming increasingly uneasy each time that the Giacalones arrived. The meeting would take place at the Machus Red Fox, a suburban Detroit restaurant. The Machus Red Fox was known to Hoffa; the restaurant had hosted the wedding reception of his son, James. Hoffa wrote the date in his office calendar, "TG — 2 P.M. — Red Fox".

On July 30, Hoffa left home in his green Pontiac Grand Ville at 1:15 p.m. Before heading to the restaurant, he stopped in Pontiac to talk to his close friend Louis Linteau, a former president of Teamsters Local 614 in Pontiac, who at the time ran Airport Service Lines, a limousine service. Linteau and Hoffa used to be enemies but had since mended their differences and by the time Hoffa left prison, Linteau became his unofficial appointment secretary. It was well known in both underworld and labor union circles that Linteau acted as a buffer for Hoffa and that if anyone needed a face-to-face meeting with him they needed to contact Linteau first. The dinner meeting between Hoffa and the Giacalone brothers on July 26 where they informed him of the July 30 sit-down was arranged by Linteau. Hoffa stopped by his office to check in before he went to the Machus Red Fox. Linteau was out to lunch when Hoffa stopped by so Hoffa left a message for him before departing.

At 2:15 p.m., an annoyed Hoffa called his wife from a pay phone on a post in front of Damman Hardware, directly behind the Red Fox, and complained, "Where the hell is Tony Giacalone? I'm being stood up." His wife told him that she hadn't heard from anyone. He told her he would be home at 4 p.m. Several eyewitnesses saw Hoffa standing by his car and pacing the restaurant's parking lot. Two men saw Hoffa emerge from the Red Fox after a long lunch and recognized him; they stopped to chat with him briefly and to shake his hand. At 3:27 p.m., Hoffa called Linteau complaining that Giacalone was late. Hoffa said, "That dirty son of a bitch Tony Jocks set this meeting up, and he's an hour and a half late." Linteau told him to calm down, and to stop by his office on the way home. Hoffa said that he would and hung up.

At 7 a.m. the next day, Hoffa's wife called her son and daughter by telephone, saying that their father had not come home. On her way to the house, Hoffa's daughter claimed to have had a vision of her father, who she was already sure was dead. He was slumped over, wearing a dark-colored short-sleeved polo shirt. At 7:20 am, Linteau went to the Machus Red Fox, and found Hoffa's unlocked car in the parking lot, but there was no sign of Hoffa or any indication of what had happened to him. He called the police, who later arrived at the scene. State police were brought in and the FBI was alerted. At suppertime, Hoffa's son, James P. Hoffa, filed a missing persons report.

Years of extensive investigation, involving numerous law enforcement agencies including the FBI, came to no definite conclusion. Giacalone and Provenzano, who denied having scheduled a meeting with Hoffa, were found not to have been near the restaurant that afternoon. Hoffa was declared legally dead on July 30, 1982. The case continues to be the subject of rumor and speculation.

Hoffa's wife, Josephine, died on September 12, 1980. According to her children, she died of the grief caused by the 1975 disappearance of her husband, because her health had declined steadily since then. She is entombed in Michigan.

Claims and developments
In 1989, Kenneth Walton, the head of the FBI's Detroit office, told The Detroit News that he knew what had happened to Hoffa. "I'm comfortable I know who did it, but it's never going to be prosecuted because ... we would have to divulge informants, confidential sources."

In 2001, the FBI matched DNA from Hoffa's hair—taken from a brush—with a strand of hair found in a 1975 Mercury Marquis Brougham driven by longtime friend Charles "Chuckie" O'Brien on July 30, 1975. Police and Hoffa's family had long believed O'Brien played a role in Hoffa's disappearance. O'Brien, however, had previously denied ever being involved in Hoffa's disappearance or that Hoffa had ever been a passenger in his car.

In a first-season episode of the Discovery Channel show MythBusters, titled "The Hunt for Hoffa," the locations in Giants Stadium where Hoffa was rumored to be buried were scanned with a ground penetrating radar to see if any disturbances were present that would indicate a human body had been buried there. They found no trace of any human remains. No human remains were found when Giants Stadium was demolished in 2010.

In the book, I Heard You Paint Houses: Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran and the Closing of the Case on Jimmy Hoffa (2004), author Charles Brandt claims that Frank Sheeran, a professional killer for the mob and longtime friend of Hoffa's, confessed to assassinating him. According to Brandt, O'Brien drove Sheeran, Hoffa, and fellow mobster Sal Briguglio to a house in Detroit. He claimed that while O'Brien and Briguglio drove off, Sheeran and Hoffa went into the house, where Sheeran claims that he shot Hoffa twice behind the right ear. Sheeran says that he was told that Hoffa was cremated after the murder. Sheeran also confessed to reporters that he murdered Hoffa. Blood found in the Detroit house where Sheeran claimed the murder happened was determined not to be Hoffa's.

On June 16, 2006, the Detroit Free Press published in its entirety the so-called "Hoffex Memo," a 56-page report the FBI prepared for a January 1976 briefing on the case at FBI Headquarters in Washington. Although not claiming conclusively to establish the specifics of his disappearance, the memo records a belief that Hoffa was murdered at the behest of organized crime figures who regarded his efforts to regain power within the Teamsters as a threat to their control of the union's pension fund. The FBI has called the report the definitive account of what agents believe happened to Hoffa.

In the book The Iceman: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer, Richard Kuklinski claimed to know the fate of Hoffa: his body was placed in a 50-gallon drum and set on fire for "a half hour or so," then the drum was welded shut and buried in a junkyard. Later, according to Kuklinski, an accomplice started to talk to federal authorities and there was fear that he would use the information to try to get out of trouble. The drum was dug up, placed in the trunk of a car, and compacted to a 4 × 2 foot rectangular cuboid. It was sold, along with hundreds of compacted cars, as scrap metal and was shipped off to Japan to be used in making new cars.

In 2012, Roseville, Michigan, police took samples from the ground under a suburban Detroit driveway after a person reported witnessing the burial of a body around the time of Hoffa's 1975 disappearance. Tests by Michigan State University anthropologists found no signs of human remains. In January 2013, reputed gangster Tony Zerilli implied that Hoffa was originally buried in a shallow grave, with the plan that his remains would later be moved to a second location. Zerilli contends that these plans were abandoned, and Hoffa's remains lay in a field in northern Oakland County, not far from the restaurant where he was last seen. Zerilli denied any responsibility for or association with Hoffa's disappearance. On June 17, 2013, the Zerilli information led to a property in Oakland Township in northern Oakland County owned by Detroit mob boss Jack Tocco. After three days, the FBI called off the dig. No human remains were found, and the case remains open.

Thomas Andretta and his brother Stephen, who reportedly died of cancer in 2000, were named by the FBI as suspects. Both were New Jersey Teamsters and reputed Genovese crime family mob associates. The FBI called Thomas Andretta a "trusted associate of Anthony Provenzano; reported to be involved in the disappearance of Hoffa."

Andretta, who died on January 25, 2019, served federal prison time for racketeering. He repeatedly refused to comment on the case.

In a April 2019 interview, with DJ Vlad, Michael Franzese said he was aware of the location of Hoffa's body, as well as the shooter. Franzese said Hoffa was 100% killed in a mafia related hit, and that the order came down from the commission in New York. When questioned about the location and the shooter all Franzese would disclose was, "I can tell you the body is very wet" and "The shooter is still alive today, but currently in prison."


Posted by Dennis Donovan | Tue Jul 30, 2019, 05:08 AM (4 replies)

54 Years Ago Today; LBJ signs Social Security Act of 1965, establishing Medicare and Medicaid


President Lyndon B Johnson signs Social Security Act of 1965 as former President Harry S Truman looks on

The Social Security Amendments of 1965, Pub.L. 89–97, 79 Stat. 286, enacted July 30, 1965, was legislation in the United States whose most important provisions resulted in creation of two programs: Medicare and Medicaid. The legislation initially provided federal health insurance for the elderly (over 65) and for poor families.

Many politicians were involved in drafting the final bill that was introduced to the United States Congress in March 1965. On July 30, 1965 President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the bill into law.

The concept of national health insurance began in the early 20th century in the United States and then came to prominence during the Truman administration following World War II. Between 1958 and 1964, controversy grew and a bill was drafted. The signing of the act, as part of Johnson's Great Society, began an era with a greater emphasis on public health issues. Medicare and Medicaid became the United States' first public health insurance programs. The legislation was vigorously opposed by the American Medical Association until it had been enacted, following which the AMA cooperated in its implementation.

In 1912 Theodore Roosevelt included social insurance for sickness in the platform of his Progressive Party (United States, 1912). Around 1915 the group American Association for Labor Legislation attempted to introduce a medical insurance bill to some state legislatures. These attempts were not successful, and as a result controversy about national insurance came about. National groups supporting the idea of government health insurance included the AFL-CIO, the American Nurses Association, National Association of Social Workers, and the Socialist Party USA. The most prominent opponent of national medical insurance was the American Medical Association (AMA); others included the American Hospital Association, the US Chamber of Commerce, and the Life Insurance Association of People.

Previous administrations
In 1935, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act, medical benefits were left out of the bill. The committee that Roosevelt appointed to study issues related to Social Security wanted to include health insurance in the bill. However, the committee was concerned that amending the bill to include health insurance would kill the entire bill. Harry Truman took on the idea of national medical care and tried to integrate it into his Fair Deal program. Truman's attempts were also unsuccessful, though during his presidency the fight for national medical care became specific to the aged population.

Once the targeted age was decided, a lengthy debate began over presenting a coherent medical care bill to Congress. The Conservative coalition dominated the House Ways and Means Committee, which complicated attempts to pass social health programs. Wilbur Mills (D-AR), chair of the committee, later played a role in creating the health care program that was integrated into the Social Security Act.

In 1960, the Kerr-Mills Act created the Medical Assistance for the Aged (MAA) program which gave states the power to decide which patients needed financial assistance. The federal government would provide matching funds to the states for the program. Some states did not participate or abide by the Act. Another preliminary bill, the King-Anderson Bill, was introduced in 1962. Under it, some hospital and nursing home costs for patients 65 and older would have been covered. Although this bill was defeated in committee, the vote was narrow (12–11), signaling a shift in attitudes.

Johnson administration
With the election of Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964, Democrats controlled both the Presidency and the Congress, claiming a 2:1 ratio to Republicans in the House and 32 more seats in the Senate. The Democrats in the House Ways and Means Committee shifted away from Southern Democrats, making the committee more sympathetic towards health insurance reform.

Those who had previously worked on the King-Anderson Bill drafted a new bill providing coverage of the aged, limited hospitalization and nursing home insurance benefits, and Social Security financing. Wilbur Cohen, Assistant Secretary for Legislation of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (and later Secretary), pushed the Medicare bill. Cohen convinced Johnson to give the bill high priority, and Johnson declared its importance to his Great Society program. The bill was introduced as companion bills, H.R. 1 and S. 1, given the numbers as the first bill introduced in each House of the new Congress.

House of Representatives
The groups previously opposed to the legislation switched their focus from opposing the bill to creating new versions of it. As a result, three forms of the bill emerged: John Byrnes', the American Medical Association's, and the administration's bill (known as Medicare). Byrnes was a Republican committee member who proposed that doctors' services and drugs be financed; participation in coverage would be voluntary for the aged. If an elderly patient did need the help, his or her financing would be "scaled to the amounts of the participant's Social Security cash benefits" and the financing would come from the government's revenues. The AMA proposed Eldercare, which provided government financing for physician's services, surgical charges, drugs, nursing home costs, x-ray and lab services. When brought back to the Ways and Means committee, three bills were presented: Byrnes,' Eldercare, and Medicare.

When deliberations began in 1965, both AMA members and their suggestions were rejected. Wilbur Mills, the chair of the Ways and Means committee, suggested combining Byrnes' ideas and Medicare. His committee took on the task of drafting H.R. 6675, the bill that ultimately became law. In combining the two bills, John Byrnes's suggestion, which included lower taxes, had to be altered as higher taxes were necessary for the program's predicted costs. The Ways and Means Committee reported favorably on the new bill to the full House of Representatives on March 29 after a straight party committee vote of 17 to 8.

During debate on the House floor, Republicans offered a substitute bill that would have made participation fully voluntary. It was narrowly defeated 236 to 191, with 128 of 138 Republicans in favor of the substitute. H.R. 6675 was passed in the House on April 8, 1965 by a vote of 313 to 115.

The biggest threat to the passage of H.R. 6675 in the Senate came from liberal Democrats who were eager to expand coverage of the bill. As amended and passed in the Senate on July 19 by a vote of 68 to 2, H.R. 6675 would have cost approximately $800 million more than the House-passed bill.

Final passage
The bill went to conference committee where Representative Mills worked to eliminate practically all of the Senate amendments. The bill went through more than five hundred amendments before being passed by majority vote in the House (307–116) on July 27 and in the Senate on July 28 (70–24).

The legislation made two amendments to the Social Security Act of 1935. Title XVIII, which became known as Medicare, includes Part A, which provides hospital insurance for the aged, and Part B, which provides supplementary medical insurance. Title XIX, which became known as Medicaid, provides for the states to finance health care for individuals who were at or close to the public assistance level with federal matching funds.

On July 30, 1965, President Johnson signed the bill, making it Public Law 89-97. The signing took place in Independence, Missouri and was attended by Harry S. Truman. Johnson credited Truman with "planting the seeds of compassion and duty which have today flowered into care for the sick and serenity for the fearful". Implementation of the amendments required extensive data processing and the re-configuration of hospital policies nationwide.


Posted by Dennis Donovan | Tue Jul 30, 2019, 04:52 AM (1 replies)

74 Years Ago Today; USS Indianapolis is sunk by IJN Submarine I-58; 883 killed

https://tinyurl.com/yxhsoe33 Wikipedia

USS Indianapolis (CA-35), 27 September 1939

USS Indianapolis (CL/CA-35) was a Portland-class heavy cruiser of the United States Navy, named for the city of Indianapolis, Indiana. Launched in 1931, the vessel served as the flagship for the commander of Scouting Force 1 for eight years, then as flagship for Admiral Raymond Spruance in 1943 and 1944 while he commanded the Fifth Fleet in battles across the Central Pacific during World War II.

In July 1945, Indianapolis completed a top-secret high-speed trip to deliver parts of Little Boy, the first nuclear weapon ever used in combat, to the United States Army Air Force Base on the island of Tinian, and subsequently departed for the Philippines on training duty. At 0015 on 30 July, the ship was torpedoed by the Imperial Japanese Navy submarine I-58, and sank in 12 minutes. Of 1,195 crewmen aboard, approximately 300 went down with the ship. The remaining 890 faced exposure, dehydration, saltwater poisoning, and shark attacks while stranded in the open ocean with few lifeboats and almost no food or water. The Navy only learned of the sinking four days later, when survivors were spotted by the crew of a PV-1 Ventura on routine patrol. Only 316 survived. The sinking of Indianapolis resulted in the greatest single loss of life at sea, from a single ship, in the history of the US Navy.

On 19 August 2017, a search team financed by Paul Allen located the wreckage of the sunken cruiser in the Philippine Sea lying at a depth of approximately 18,000 ft (5,500 m). On 20 December 2018, the crew of the Indianapolis was collectively awarded a Congressional Gold Medal.


Overhauled, Indianapolis joined Vice Admiral Marc A. Mitscher's fast carrier task force on 14 February 1945. Two days later, the task force launched an attack on Tokyo to cover the landings on Iwo Jima, scheduled for 19 February. This was the first carrier attack on mainland Japan since the Doolittle Raid. The mission was to destroy Japanese air facilities and other installations in the Home Islands. The fleet achieved complete tactical surprise by approaching the Japanese coast under cover of bad weather. The attacks were pressed home for two days. The US Navy lost 49 carrier planes while claiming 499 enemy planes, a 10-to-1 kill/loss ratio. The task force also sank a carrier, nine coastal ships, a destroyer, two destroyer escorts, and a cargo ship. They destroyed hangars, shops, aircraft installations, factories, and other industrial targets.

Indianapolis off Mare Island on 10 July 1945

Immediately after the strikes, the task force raced to the Bonin Islands to support the landings on Iwo Jima. The ship remained there until 1 March, protecting the invasion ships and bombarding targets in support of the landings. Indianapolis returned to VADM Mitscher's task force in time to strike Tokyo, again on 25 February, and Hachijō, off the southern coast of Honshū, the following day. Although weather was extremely bad, the American force destroyed 158 planes and sank five small ships while pounding ground installations and destroying trains.

The next target for the US forces was Okinawa, in the Ryukyu Islands, which were in range of aircraft from the Japanese mainland. The fast carrier force was tasked with attacking airfields in southern Japan until they were incapable of launching effective airborne opposition to the impending invasion. The fast carrier force departed for Japan from Ulithi on 14 March. On 18 March, she launched an attack from a position 100 mi (160 km) southeast of the island of Kyūshū. The attack targeted airfields on Kyūshū, as well as ships of the Japanese fleet in the harbors of Kobe and Kure, on southern Honshū. The Japanese located the American task force on 21 March, sending 48 planes to attack the ships. Twenty-four fighters from the task force intercepted and shot down all the Japanese aircraft.

Pre-invasion bombardment of Okinawa began on 24 March. Indianapolis spent 7 days pouring 8-inch shells into the beach defenses. During this time, enemy aircraft repeatedly attacked the American ships. Indianapolis shot down six planes and damaged two others. On 31 March, the ship's lookouts spotted a Japanese Nakajima Ki-43 "Oscar" fighter as it emerged from the morning twilight and roared at the bridge in a vertical dive. The ship's 20 mm guns opened fire, but within 15 seconds, the plane was over the ship. Tracers converged on it, causing it to swerve, but the enemy pilot managed to release his bomb from a height of 25 ft (7.6 m), crashing his plane into the sea near the port stern. The bomb plummeted through the deck, into the crew's mess hall, down through the berthing compartment, and through the fuel tanks before crashing through the keel and exploding in the water underneath. The concussion blew two gaping holes in the keel which flooded nearby compartments, killing nine crewmen. The ship's bulkheads prevented any progressive flooding. Indianapolis, settling slightly by the stern and listing to port, steamed to a salvage ship for emergency repairs. Here, inspection revealed that her propeller shafts were damaged, her fuel tanks ruptured, and her water-distilling equipment ruined. But Indianapolis commenced the long trip across the Pacific, under her own power, to the Mare Island Navy Yard for repairs.

Secret mission
After major repairs and an overhaul, Indianapolis received orders to undertake a top-secret mission of the utmost significance to national security: to proceed to Tinian island carrying the enriched uranium (about half of the world's supply of uranium-235 at the time) and other parts required for the assembly of the atomic bomb codenamed "Little Boy", which would be dropped on Hiroshima just a few weeks later.

Indianapolis departed San Francisco's Hunters Point Naval Shipyard with its valuable cargo on 16 July 1945, within hours of the Trinity test. She set a speed record of ​74 1⁄2 hours from San Francisco to Pearl Harbor, an average speed of 29 kn (54 km/h; 33 mph), which still stands today. Arriving at Pearl Harbor on 19 July, she raced on unaccompanied, delivering the atomic bomb components to Tinian on 26 July.

Indianapolis was then sent to Guam, where a number of the crew who had completed their tours of duty were replaced by other sailors. Leaving Guam on 28 July, she began sailing toward Leyte, where her crew was to receive training before continuing on to Okinawa to join Vice Admiral Jesse B. Oldendorf's Task Force 95.

At 00:15 on 30 July, Indianapolis was struck on her starboard side by two Type 95 torpedoes, one in the bow and one amidships, from the Japanese submarine I-58, captained by Commander Mochitsura Hashimoto, who initially thought he had spotted the New Mexico-class battleship Idaho. The explosions caused massive damage. Indianapolis took on a heavy list (the ship had had a great deal of armament and gun-firing directors added as the war went on, and was therefore top-heavy) and settled by the bow. Twelve minutes later, she rolled completely over, then her stern rose into the air, and she plunged down. Some 300 of the 1,195 crewmen aboard went down with the ship. With few lifeboats and many without life jackets, the remainder of the crew was set adrift.

Navy command did not know of the ship's sinking until survivors were spotted in the open ocean three and a half days later. At 10:25 on 2 August, a PV-1 Ventura flown by Lieutenant Wilbur "Chuck" Gwinn and his copilot, Lieutenant Warren Colwell, as well as a PBY 2 piloted by Bill Kitchen, spotted the men adrift while on a routine patrol flight. Gwinn immediately dropped a life raft and radio transmitter. All air and surface units capable of rescue operations were dispatched to the scene at once.

First to arrive was an amphibious PBY-5A Catalina patrol plane flown by Lieutenant Commander (USN) Robert Adrian Marks. Marks and his flight crew spotted the survivors and dropped life rafts; one raft was destroyed by the drop while others were too far away from the exhausted crew. Against standing orders not to land in open ocean, Marks took a vote of his crew and decided to land the aircraft in twelve-foot (3.7 m) swells. He was able to maneuver his craft to pick up 56 survivors. Space in the plane was limited, so Marks had men lashed to the wing with parachute cord. His actions rendered the aircraft unflyable. After nightfall, the destroyer escort USS Cecil J. Doyle (DE-368), the first of seven rescue ships, used its search light as a beacon and instilled hope in those still in the water. Cecil J. Doyle and six other ships picked up the remaining survivors. After the rescue, Marks' plane was sunk by Cecil J. Doyle as it was not able to be recovered.

Many of the survivors were injured and all suffered from lack of food and water (leading to dehydration and hypernatremia; some found rations, such as Spam and crackers, among the debris of the Indianapolis), exposure to the elements (dehydration from the hot sun during the day and hypothermia at night, as well as severe desquamation due to continued exposure to salt water and bunker oil), and shark attacks, while some killed themselves or other survivors in various states of delirium and hallucinations. Only 316 of the nearly 900 men set adrift after the sinking survived. Two of the rescued survivors, Robert Lee Shipman and Frederick Harrison, died in August 1945.

"Ocean of Fear", a 2007 episode of the Discovery Channel TV documentary series Shark Week, states that the sinking of Indianapolis resulted in the most shark attacks on humans in history, and attributes the attacks to the oceanic whitetip shark species. Tiger sharks may also have killed some sailors. The same show attributed most of the deaths on Indianapolis to exposure, salt poisoning, and thirst, with the dead being dragged off by sharks.

Navy failure to learn of the sinking
The Headquarters of Commander Marianas on Guam and of the Commander Philippine Sea Frontier on Leyte kept Operations plotting boards on which were plotted the positions of all vessels with which the headquarters were concerned. However, it was assumed that ships as large as Indianapolis would reach their destinations on time, unless reported otherwise. Therefore, their positions were based on predictions and not on reports. On 31 July, when she should have arrived at Leyte, Indianapolis was removed from the board in the headquarters of Commander Marianas. She was also recorded as having arrived at Leyte by the headquarters of Commander Philippine Sea Frontier. Lieutenant Stuart B. Gibson, the operations officer under the Port Director, Tacloban, was the officer responsible for tracking the movements of Indianapolis. The vessel's failure to arrive on schedule was known at once to Gibson, who failed to investigate the matter and made no immediate report of the fact to his superiors. Gibson received a letter of reprimand in connection with the incident. The acting commander and operations officer of the Philippine Sea Frontier also received reprimands, while Gibson's immediate superior received a letter of admonition.

Survivors of Indianapolis on Guam in August 1945

In the first official statement, the Navy said that distress calls "were keyed by radio operators and possibly were actually transmitted" but that "no evidence has been developed that any distress message from the ship was received by any ship, aircraft or shore station". Declassified records later showed that three stations received the signals but none acted upon the call. One commander was drunk, another had ordered his men not to disturb him, and a third thought it was a Japanese trap.

Immediately prior to the attack, the seas had been moderate, the visibility fluctuating but poor in general, and Indianapolis had been steaming at 17 kn (20 mph; 31 km/h). When the ship failed to reach Leyte on 31 July, as scheduled, no report was made that she was overdue. This omission was due to a misunderstanding of the Movement Report System.

Court-martial of Captain McVay
Captain Charles B. McVay III, who had commanded Indianapolis since November 1944 through several battles, survived the sinking, though he was one of the last to abandon ship, and was among those rescued days later. In November 1945, he was court-martialed on two charges: failing to order his men to abandon ship and hazarding the ship. Cleared of the charge of failing to order abandon ship, McVay was convicted of "hazarding his ship by failing to zigzag". Several aspects of the court-martial were controversial. There was evidence that the Navy itself had placed the ship in harm's way. McVay's orders were to "zigzag at his discretion, weather permitting"; however, McVay was not informed that a Japanese submarine was operating in the vicinity of his route from Guam to Leyte. Further, Mochitsura Hashimoto, commander of I-58, testified that zigzagging would have made no difference. Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz remitted McVay's sentence and restored him to active duty. McVay retired in 1949 as a rear admiral.

While many of Indianapolis's survivors said McVay was not to blame for the sinking, the families of some of the men who died thought otherwise: "Merry Christmas! Our family's holiday would be a lot merrier if you hadn't killed my son", read one piece of mail. The guilt that was placed on his shoulders mounted until he committed suicide in 1968, using his Navy-issued revolver. McVay was discovered on his front lawn by his gardener with a toy sailor in one hand, revolver in the other. He was 70 years old.

McVay's record cleared
In 1996, sixth-grade student Hunter Scott began his research on the sinking of Indianapolis for a class history project, an assignment which eventually led to a United States Congressional investigation. In October 2000, the United States Congress passed a resolution that Captain McVay's record should state that "he is exonerated for the loss of Indianapolis"; President Bill Clinton signed the resolution. The resolution noted that, although several hundred ships of the US Navy were lost in combat during World War II, McVay was the only captain to be court-martialed for the sinking of his ship. In July 2001, the United States Secretary of the Navy ordered McVay's official Navy record cleared of all wrongdoing.


Posted by Dennis Donovan | Tue Jul 30, 2019, 04:42 AM (2 replies)

I'm burying my brother tomorrow

My parents were married Dec 1947. My siblings spanned from June 1950 to Feb 1963. I, "the baby" was born September '65.

This picture was taken the summer of 1967. The summer of love.

The jokeyman grabbing his brother's arm died Wednesday morning.

The little shit in the foreground is me @ 2 1/2 yrs old.

I keep focusing on my Mom, in the extreme right of the photo.

Just to make it better one last time.
Posted by Dennis Donovan | Mon Jul 29, 2019, 12:36 AM (45 replies)
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