Monday, April 28, 2008

Cheri Oteri Biography

Cheri Oteri Biography

Cheri Oteri (born Cheryl Ann O'Teari on September 19, 1962) is an American actress and comedian known for her work on NBC's Saturday Night Live.

Early life

Oteri was born in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. She grew up in Upper Darby (also the hometown of Tina Fey, another SNL alum). She went to Archbishop Prendergast High School (on the same campus as Monsignor Bonner High School

SNL career

After moving to Los Angeles at age 25, she worked at A&M Records for four years and eventually joined the famed comedy troupe The Groundlings. It was there that she was noticed by SNL and was hired in 1995 as part of a nearly all-new cast brought in to save the show after its disastrous 1994 season.

Oteri would eventually form a third of the so-called "SNL female power trio" that also included Molly Shannon and Ana Gasteyer and which was responsible, along with Will Ferrell, Darrell Hammond and others, for bringing SNL out of its slump.

On SNL, she was known for playing perky, upbeat, and hyper characters, including cheerleader-wannabe Arianna (one half of The Spartan Cheerleaders), grouchy Queens resident Rita DelVecchio, prescription pill-addicted Collette Reardon who befriends Justin Brown at the Hard Rock Hotel, butch cable access television host "Mickey The Dyke" (appearing alongside Mark McKinney's Chicken Lady of Kids In The Hall fame), the absurdly hyper child bus passenger "Althea McMahonaman," overly perky "Morning Latte" talk show host Cass Van Rye (re-teaming her with "Spartan Cheerleaders" partner Will Ferrell), and Nadeen, a testy employee who constantly orders everyone to "Simmer down now!" Her dead-on impressions of Barbara Walters, Mariah Carey, Robin Byrd and Judge Judy also bolstered her fame

Television and film appearances

Oteri left SNL in 2000. She has notably appeared in several Hollywood movies including Scary Movie, Inspector Gadget, Liar Liar, Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd, Shrek the Third and Southland Tales. She starred in two TV pilots that did not make it to air, Loomis and With You in Spirit. Her non-SNL television credits include guest spots on Just Shoot Me!, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Strangers with Candy. She has also been working with Lost creator J.J. Abrams on a sitcom idea

Death of her father

On April 26, 2008 Oteri's father, Gaetano Thomas Oteri, was murdered in his Nashville, Tennessee home by his roommate, Nashville songwriter Richard Fagan, after an alcohol fueled argument turned violent. The elder Oteri was stabbed in the wrist by Fagan with a pocket knife causing him to bleed to death from a lacerated artery.

Police initially arrested Fagan on Saturday night, charging him with DUI after he was seen driving a vehicle with one tire missing.

Shortly after he made bond on Sunday, a friend of the roommates called police, stating that their door was locked and the house appeared to be in disarray. Repeated attempts to contact Oteri at home during this time were unsuccessful. Oteri was found dead inside by emergency responders after entry was made by the police. Fagan was located shortly afterward and taken into custody.

Fagan is credited as co-writer on hits by singer John Michael Montgomery, including "Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident)," "Be My Baby Tonight," and "I Miss You a Little."


Major Movie Star (2008) (post-production) .... Pvt. Jeter

The Life & Times of Tim (2008) (TV) (voice) .... Various

Surveillance (2008) .... Mom

Shrek the Third (2007) (voice) .... Belle/Actress

The Ant Bully (2006) (voice) .... Doreen Nickle

Park (2006) .... Claire

Southland Tales (2006) .... Zora Charmichaels

Stephen's Life (2005) (TV) .... Principal Ainsley

Smile (2005) .... Linda

Surviving Eden (2004) .... Maria Villanova

Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd (2003) .... Ms. Heller

On the Spot .... Wild Bachelorette (1 episode, 2003)

With You in Spirit (2003) (TV) .... Montana

Curb Your Enthusiasm .... Martine (1 episode, 2002)

The Colin Quinn Show .... Wife (1 episode, 2002)

Ally McBeal .... Melissa (1 episode, 2001)

Loomis (2001) (TV)

Sol Goode (2001) .... Bernie Best

Strangers with Candy .... Hillary (1 episode, 2000)

Scary Movie (2000) .... Gail Hailstorm

Inspector Gadget (1999) .... Mayor Wilson

Lured Innocence (1999) .... Molly

Small Soldiers (1998) (uncredited) .... Globotech Telephone Operator

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997) (uncredited) .... Flight Attendant

Just Shoot Me! (1997-1999) .... Cindy Liar Liar (1997) .... Jane

Saturday Night Live (1995-2000) .... Various

source :

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Hispaniola Island

Hispaniola Island
Hispaniola (from Spanish, La Española) is the second-largest and most populous island of the Antilles, lying between the islands of Cuba to the west, and Puerto Rico to the east. It is located directly within the hurricane belt. The Republic of Haiti occupies the western third and the Dominican Republic the eastern two-thirds of the island. Christopher Columbus arrived in Hispaniola on December 5, 1492, and on his second voyage in 1493 founded the first Spanish colony in the New World on it.

Names of the island

Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo and Bartolomé de las Casas documented that the island was called Haití ("Mountainous Land") by the Taíno inhabitants. Peter Martyr d'Anghiera added another name, Quizqueia (now "Quisqueya"). The term "Quizqueia" had been used only by d'Anghiera and the word has been verified to not have an Arawak structure.

Even if Haití is a Taíno name used by the three historians, it seems that it was not the Taíno name of the island. Haití was the Taíno name of a region in northeastern Dominican Republic (now known as Los Haitises). In the oldest map of the island, made by Andrés de Morales, that region is named Montes de Haití ("Haiti Mountains"). Las Casas wrote that the whole island took the name from that region;d'Anghiera said that the name of one part was given to the whole island.

The three historians wrote always Haití because at that time they didn't use the letter "J" (just like Haina - Jaina), and the last "i" was stressed. It is not correct to use Ayiti; that is a modern word taken from the Haitian Creole language.

When Columbus took possession of the island, he named it as La Española, meaning "The Spanish (Island)". When d'Anghiera wrote in Latin about this island, he translated the name as Hispaniola, a new word. Because Anghiera's literary work was translated into English and French in a short period of time, the name "Hispaniola" is the most frequently used term in English-speaking countries regarding the island in scientific and cartographic works.

The terms Saint-Domingue and Santo Domingo are sometimes still applied when referring to the whole island when both names factually refer to their respective countries

Christopher Columbus arrived on the island during his first voyage to America in 1492. During his arrival he founded the settlement of La Navidad on the north coast of present day Haiti. On his return the subsequent year, following the disbandment of La Navidad, Columbus quickly founded a second settlement farther east in present day Dominican Republic, La Isabela, which became the first permanent European settlement in the Americas

The island was inhabited by the Tainos, one of the indigenous Arawak peoples. The Taino were at first tolerant of Columbus and his crew, and helped him to construct Fort Navidad on what is now Môle Saint-Nicolas, Haiti, in December 1492. European colonization of the island began earnestly the following year, when 1,300 men arrived from Spain under the watch of Bartolomeo Columbus. In 1496 the town of Nueva Isabela was founded.
After being destroyed by a hurricane, it was rebuilt on the opposite side of the Ozama River and called Santo Domingo. It is the oldest permanent European settlement in the Americas. The Taino population of the island was rapidly decimated, owing to a combination of disease and harsh treatment by Spanish overlords. In 1501, the colony began to import African slaves, believing them more capable of performing physical labor.

As Spain conquered new regions on the mainland of the Americas, its interest in Hispaniola waned, and the colony's population grew slowly. By the early 17th century, the island and its smaller neighbors (notably Tortuga) became regular stopping points for Caribbean pirates. In 1606, the king of Spain ordered all inhabitants of Hispaniola to move close to Santo Domingo, to avoid interaction with pirates. Rather than secure the island, however, this resulted in French, English and Dutch pirates establishing bases on the now-abandoned north and west coasts of the island.

In 1665, French colonization of the island was officially recognized by King Louis XIV. The French colony was given the name Saint-Domingue. In the 1697 Treaty of Ryswick, Spain formally ceded the western third of the island to France. Saint-Domingue quickly came to overshadow the east in both wealth and population. Nicknamed the "Pearl of the Antilles," it became the richest and most prosperous colony in the West Indies, and became the most important port in the New World for goods and products flowing to and from Europe


Hispaniola is the second-largest island in the Caribbean (after Cuba), with an area of 76,480 km². The island of Cuba lies 80 km to the northwest across the Windward Passage; to the southwest lies Jamaica, separated by the Jamaica Channel. Puerto Rico lies east of Hispaniola across the Mona Passage. The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands lie to the north.
Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico are collectively known as the Greater Antilles. The Greater Antilles are made up of continental rock, as distinct from the Lesser Antilles, which are mostly young volcanic or coral islands.

The island has five major mountain ranges: The Central Range, known in the Dominican Republic as the Cordillera Central, spans the central part of the island, extending from the south coast of the Dominican Republic into northwestern Haiti, where it is known as the Massif du Nord. This mountain range boasts the highest peak in the Antilles, Pico Duarte at 3,087 meters (10,128 ft) above sea level. The Cordillera Septentrional runs parallel to the Central Range across the northern end of the Dominican Republic, extending into the Atlantic Ocean as the Samaná Peninsula. The Cordillera Central and Cordillera Septentrional are separated by the lowlands of the Cibao Valley and the Atlantic coastal plains, which extend westward into Haiti as the Plaine du Nord (Northern Plain). The lowest of the ranges is the Cordillera Oriental, in the eastern part of the country.

The Sierra de Neiba rises in the southwest of the Dominican Republic, and continues northwest into Haiti, parallel to the Cordillera Central, as the Montagnes Noires, Chaîne des Matheux and the Montagnes du Trou d'Eau. The Plateau Central lies between the Massif du Nord and the Montagnes Noires, and the Plaine de l'Artibonite lies between the Montagnes Noires and the Chaîne des Matheux, opening westward toward the Gulf of Gonâve.

The southern range begins in the southwestern most Dominican Republic as the Sierra de Bahoruco, and extends west into Haiti as the Massif de la Selle and the Massif de la Hotte, which form the mountainous spine of Haiti's southern peninsula. Pic de la Selle is the highest peak in the southern range and the second highest peak in the Antilles and consequently the highest point in Haiti, at 2,680 meters (8,793 ft) above sea level. A depression runs parallel to the southern range, between the southern range and the Chaîne des Matheux-Sierra de Neiba. It is known as the Plaine du Cul-de-Sac in Haiti, and Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince lies at its western end. The depression is home to a chain of salty lakes, including Lake Azuei in Haiti and Lake Enriquillo in the Dominican Republic


The climate of Hispaniola is generally humid and tropical. The island has four distinct ecoregions. The Hispaniolan moist forests ecoregion covers approximately 50% of the island, especially the northern and eastern portions, predominantly in the lowlands but extending up to 2100 meters elevation. The Hispaniolan dry forests ecoregion occupies approximately 20% of the island, lying in the rain shadow of the mountains in the southern and western portion of the island and in the Cibao valley in the center-north of the island. The Hispaniolan pine forests occupy the mountainous 15% of the island, above 850 meters elevation. The Enriquillo wetlands are a flooded grasslands and savannas ecoregion that surround a chain of lakes and lagoons that includes Lake Enriquillo, Rincón Lagoon, and Lake Caballero in the Dominican Republic and Lake Azuei and Trou Caïman in Haiti.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008



Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) is a highly branched, herbaceous, thistle-like annual, usually with many long sharp spines on the leaves.

Plants are 30 to 150 cm tall with globular flower heads (capitula) and commonly, brilliant yellow, orange or red flowers which bloom in July.

Each branch will usually have from one to five flower heads containing 15 to 20 seeds per head. Safflower has a strong taproot which enables it to thrive in dry climates, but the plant is very susceptible to frost injury from stem elongation to maturity


Traditionally, the crop was grown for its seeds, and used for colouring and flavouring foods and making red (carthamin) and yellow dyes, especially before cheaper aniline dyes became available, and in medicines.

For the last fifty years or so, the plant has been cultivated mainly for the vegetable oil extracted from its seeds. In April 2007 it was reported that genetically modified safflower has been bred to create insulin.

Carthamus tinctoriusSafflower oil is flavorless and colorless, and nutritionally similar to sunflower oil.

It is used mainly as a cooking oil, in salad dressing, and for the production of margarine. It may also be taken as a nutritional supplement.

INCI nomenclature is Carthamus tinctorius.

Safflower flowers are occasionally used in cooking as a cheaper substitute for saffron, and are thus sometimes referred to as "bastard saffron." Safflower seed is also used quite commonly as an alternative to sunflower seed in birdfeeders, as squirrels do not like the taste of it.

There are two types of safflower that produce different kinds of oil: one high in monounsaturated fatty acid (oleic acid) and the other high in polyunsaturated fatty acid (linoleic acid).

Currently the predominant oil market is for the former, which is lower in saturates than olive oil, for example.

Safflower oil is also used in painting in the place of linseed oil, particularly with white, as it does not have the yellow tint which linseed oil possesses.

Lana is a strain of Safflower that grows in the southwestern United States, most notably Arizona and New Mexico.


Safflower is one of humanity's oldest crops.

Chemical analysis of ancient Egyptian textiles dated to the Twelfth dynasty identified dyes made from safflower, and garlands made from safflowers were found in the tomb of the pharaoh Tutankhamun.

John Chadwick reports that the Greek name for safflower occurs many times in Linear B tablets, distinguished into two kinds: a white safflower, which is measured, and red which is weighed.

"The explanation is that there are two parts of the plant which can be used; the pale seeds and the red florets."

Safflower was also known as carthamine in the 19th century.

It is a minor crop today, with about 600,000 tons being produced commercially in more than sixty countries worldwide.

India, United States, and Mexico are the leading producers, with Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, China, Argentina and Australia accounting for most of the remainder.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Earth Day

Earth Day

Earth Day is a name used for two different observances, both held annually during spring in the northern hemisphere, and autumn in the southern hemisphere. These are intended to inspire awareness of and appreciation for the Earth's environment. The United Nations celebrates Earth Day, which was founded by John McConnell in 1969, each year on the March equinox, while a global observance originated by Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in, and since January 1970 also called Earth Day, is celebrated in many countries each year on April 22, including the U.S.

History of the April 22 Earth Day

In September 1969, at a conference in Seattle, Washington, U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson announced that in the spring of 1970 there would be a nationwide grassroots demonstration on the environment. Senator Nelson first proposed the nationwide environmental protest to thrust the environment onto the national agenda.” "It was a gamble," he recalls, "but it worked." Five months before the first April 22 Earth Day, on Sunday, November 30, 1969, The New York Times carried a lengthy article by Gladwin Hill reporting on the rising tide of environmental events::

"Rising concern about the environmental crisis is sweeping the nation's campuses with an intensity that may be on its way to eclipsing student discontent over the war in Vietnam...a national day of observance of environmental being planned for next spring...when a nationwide environmental 'teach-in'...coordinated from the office of Senator Gaylord Nelson is planned...." Senator Nelson also hired Denis Hayes as the coordinator.

Each year, the April 22 Earth Day marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. Among other things, 1970 in the United States brought with it the Kent State shootings, the advent of fiber optics, "Bridge over Troubled Water," Apollo 13, the Beatles' last album, the death of Jimi Hendrix, and the meltdown of fuel rods in the Savannah River nuclear plant near Aiken, South Carolina -- an incident not acknowledged for 18 years. At the time, Americans were slurping leaded gas through massive V8 sedans. Industry belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of legal consequences or bad press. Air pollution was commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity. Environment was a word that appeared more often in spelling bees than on the evening news. But Earth Day 1970 turned that all around.

On April 22, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment. Denis Hayes, the national coordinator, and his youthful staff organized massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.

Mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting the status of environmental issues onto the world stage. Earth Day on April 22 in 1990 gave a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide and helped pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

As the millennium approached, Hayes agreed to spearhead another campaign, this time focused on global warming and a push for clean energy. The April 22 Earth Day in 2000 combined the big-picture feistiness of the first Earth Day with the international grassroots activism of Earth Day 1990. For 2000, Earth Day had the Internet to help link activists around the world. By the time April 22 rolled around, 5,000 environmental groups around the world were on board, reaching out to hundreds of millions of people in a record 184 countries. Events varied: A talking drum chain traveled from village to village in Gabon, Africa, for example, while hundreds of thousands of people gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., USA.

Earth Day 2000 sent the message loud and clear that citizens the world 'round wanted quick and decisive action on clean energy. Earth Day 2007 was one of the largest Earth Days to date, with an estimated billion people participating in the activities in thousands of places like Kiev, Ukraine; Caracas, Venezuela; Tuvalu; Manila, Philippines; Togo; Madrid, Spain; London; and New York.

Founded by the organizers of the first April 22 Earth Day in 1970, Earth Day Network promotes environmental citizenship and year round progressive action worldwide. Earth Day Network is a driving force steering environmental awareness around the world. Through Earth Day Network, activists connect change in local, national, and global policies.

Earth Day Network’s international network reaches over 17,000 organizations in 174 countries, while the domestic program engages 5,000 groups and over 25,000 educators coordinating millions of community development and environmental protection activities throughout the year. Earth Day is the only event celebrated simultaneously around the globe by people of all backgrounds, faiths and nationalities. More than a half billion people participate in Earth Day Network campaigns every year.

History of the Equinox Earth Day

The equinoctial Earth Day is celebrated on the March equinox (around 20 March) to mark the precise moment of astronomical mid-spring in the Northern Hemisphere, and of astronomical mid-autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. An equinox in astronomy is that moment in time (not a whole day) when the center of the Sun can be observed to be directly above the Earth's equator, occurring around March 20 and September 23 each year. Although astronomically they occur at the mid-point of the seasons, in most cultures the equinoxes and solstices are considered to start or separate the seasons.

John McConnell first introduced the idea of a global holiday called "Earth Day" at a UNESCO Conference on the Environment in 1969. The first Earth Day proclamation was issued by San Francisco Mayor Joseph Alioto on March 21, 1970. Celebrations were held in various cities including San Francisco, in Davis, California with a multi-day street party, and elsewhere. UN Secretary-General U Thant supported McConnell's global initiative to celebrate this annual event, and on February 26, 1971, he signed a proclamation to that effect, saying:

May there only be peaceful and cheerful Earth Days to come for our beautiful Spaceship Earth as it continues to spin and circle in frigid space with its warm and fragile cargo of animate life. Secretary General Waldheim observed Earth Day with similar ceremonies on the March equinox in 1972, and the United Nations Earth Day ceremony has continued each year since on the day of the March equinox (the United Nations also works with organizers of the April 22nd global event). Margaret Mead added her support for the equinox Earth Day, and in 1978 declared:

"EARTH DAY is the first holy day which transcends all national borders, yet preserves all geographical integrities, spans mountains and oceans and time belts, and yet brings people all over the world into one resonating accord, is devoted to the preservation of the harmony in nature and yet draws upon the triumphs of technology, the measurement of time, and instantaneous communication through space.

EARTH DAY draws on astronomical phenomena in a new way – which is also the most ancient way – using the vernal Equinox, the time when the Sun crosses the equator making night and day of equal length in all parts of the Earth. To this point in the annual calendar, EARTH DAY attaches no local or divisive set of symbols, no statement of the truth or superiority of one way of life over another. But the selection of the March Equinox makes planetary observance of a shared event possible, and a flag which shows the Earth as seen from space appropriate

At the moment of the equinox, it is traditional to observe Earth Day by ringing the Japanese Peace Bell, a bell donated by Japan to the United Nations. Over the years celebrations have occurred in various cities worldwide at the same time as the celebration at the UN. On March 20, 2008, in addition to the ceremony at the United Nations, ceremonies were held in New Zealand, and bells were sounded in California, Vienna, Paris, Lithuania, Tokyo and many other locations. The equinox Earth Day at the UN is organized by the Earth Society Foundation

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Yankee Stadium

Yankee Stadium

Yankee Stadium is a baseball stadium in New York City that is the home of the New York Yankees, a Major League baseball team. Located at East 161st Street and River Avenue in The Bronx, it has hosted Yankees home games since 1923 and has a capacity of 57,545. It was formerly the home of the New York Giants football team, and once hosted dozens of boxing's most famous fights.

Yankee Stadium is one of the most famous sports venues in the United States, due to its primary occupants having won more World Series championships than any other team. Its nickname, "The House that Ruth Built", comes from the iconic Babe Ruth, the baseball superstar whose prime years coincided with the beginning of the Yankees' winning history.

In 2006, the Yankees began construction on a new $1.3 billion stadium in public parkland adjacent to Yankee Stadium. The Yankees are expecting to open their new home in 2009. Once the new stadium opens, most of the old stadium, including all of the above ground structure, is to be demolished to become parkland

History and design

Upon its opening, Yankee Stadium soon came to be known as "The House that Ruth Built", a play on the nursery rhyme "The House that Jack Built", and in reference to the Yankees' star player, Babe Ruth. Ruth's power as a drawing card had enabled the Yankees to build their own stadium in the Bronx after their rivals across the Harlem River, the New York Giants, were threatening to evict them.

In the first game at Yankee Stadium, April 18, 1923, Ruth hit the first home run at the Stadium, a three-run shot to help defeat his former team, the Boston Red Sox, 4-1. Boston Red Sox first baseman George Burns got the first hit ever in Yankee Stadium. The Yankees also won their first World Series during the Stadium's inaugural season, a rare coincidence that would not occur again until the St. Louis Cardinals did it in 2006.

When Tillinghast L'Hommedieu Huston and Jacob Ruppert, the team's owners since January 1915, footed the bill for construction of a $2.5 million stadium, they did so at considerable financial risk and speculation. Baseball teams typically played in 30,000-seat facilities. Huston and Ruppert invoked Ruth's name when asked how the Yankees could justify a ballpark with 60,000 seats.

Many people felt three baseball teams could not prosper in New York City, but Huston and Ruppert were confident the Yankees could outlast the more established Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants of the National League. (This doubt was amplified by baseball's sagging popularity after the 1919 Black Sox Scandal, in which eight Chicago White Sox players were expelled for conspiring with gamblers to fix that year's World Series.)

Huston and Ruppert were undeterred, and they also had little choice but to relocate. In 1920, Ruth's first with his new team, the Yankees drew 1.3 million fans to the Polo Grounds--outdrawing the Giants. In 1921, the Yankees won their first American League pennant (they lost to the Giants in the World Series). This exacerbated Giants owner Charles Stoneham's resentment of the Yankees and precipitated his insistence that the Yankees find another place to play their home games. The Giants derisively suggested that the Yankees relocate "to Queens or some other out-of-the-way place."

Huston and Ruppert explored many areas for Yankee Stadium. Of the other sites being considered, the Hebrew Orphan Asylum, at Amsterdam Avenue and 137th Street in Manhattan, nearly became reality. Consideration was also given to building atop railroad tracks on the West Side of Manhattan (an idea revived in 1998) and to Long Island City, in Queens.

The area Huston and Ruppert settled on was a 10-acre lumberyard within walking distance from, and in sight of, Coogan's Bluff. The Polo Grounds was located on the Manhattan side of the Harlem River, at 155th Street and Eighth Avenue. Huston and Ruppert purchased the site from William Waldorf Astor for $600,000. Construction began May 5, 1922, and Yankee Stadium opened to the public less than 11 months later. When it did, Fred Lieb of the New York Evening Telegram dubbed it "The House That Ruth Built". (Critics of its cozy right field dimensions would sometimes call it "The House They Built for Ruth", although Ruth also lost many homers to the cavernous left and center field area.) New York Governor Alfred E. Smith (who would become the Democratic Party's candidate for president in 1928) threw out the first pitch.
John Philip Sousa led one of his famed marching bands. In 1962 a Rice University Alum John Cox '27 gave Yankee Stadium to Rice University. In 1971 the city of New York forced (via eminent domain) Rice to sell the stadium for a mere $2.5 million. During the period in which Rice owned the stadium, the stadium was painted blue and white.

As originally built, the stadium seated 58,000. For the stadium's first game, the announced attendance was 74,217 (with another 25,000 turned away); however, Yankees business manager Ed Barrow later admitted that this number was likely heavily overestimated. Regardless of what the figure was, it was undoubtedly more than the 42,000 fans who attended game five of the 1916 World Series at Braves Field, baseball's previous attendance record. However, during the 1920s and 1930s, the Yankees' popularity was such that crowds in excess of 80,000 were not uncommon. It was referred to as "The Yankee Stadium" (with the "s" in "stadium" sometimes lowercase) until the 1950s.

The Stadium as it looked during 1928-1936Yankee Stadium was the first three-tiered sports facility in the United States and one of the first baseball parks to be given the lasting title of stadium. Baseball teams typically played in a park or a field. The word stadium deliberately evoked ancient Greece, where a stadium was unit of measure--the length of a footrace; the buildings that housed footraces were called stadiums. Yankee Stadium was one of the first to be deliberately designed as a multi-purpose facility.
The field was initially surrounded by a (misshapen) quarter-mile running track, which effectively also served as a warning track for outfielders, a feature now standard on all major league fields. The left and right field bleacher sections were laid out at right angles to each other, and to the third base stands, to be properly positioned for both track-and-field events and football. The large electronic scoreboard in right-center field, featuring both teams' lineups and scores of other baseball games, was the first of its kind.

As Yankee Stadium owed its creation largely to Ruth, its design partially accommodated the game's left-handed-hitting slugger. Initially the fence was 295 feet from home plate down the right-field line and 350 feet to near right field, compared with 490 feet to the deepest part of center field, nicknamed Death Valley. Because bleacher fans in left-center field were considerably farther away from home plate (460 feet) compared with the right-field bleachers, those who sat in the former were considered "out in left field", another phrase that originated at Yankee Stadium. The right-field bleachers were appropriately nicknamed Ruthville.
Through the 2007 season, Yankee Stadium has hosted 37 World Series, far more than any other baseball stadium. The Stadium has also hosted the major-league All-Star Game three times: 1939, 1960, and 1977. As part of its curtain call, Yankee Stadium is scheduled to host the 2008 All-Star Game.

Yankee Stadium underwent major renovations from 1936 through 1938. The wooden bleachers were replaced with concrete bleachers, shrinking the "death valley" area of left and center substantially, although the area was still much deeper than in most ballparks; and the second and third decks were extended to short right center. Gradually, all of the outfield bench seats were replaced with chair seats in the 1930s and 1940s. In the 1966-67 offseason, the stadium's green exterior was painted white, and the interior was also repainted

1974-75 Renovation/"Yankee Stadium II"

By the late 1960s, Yankee Stadium's condition had badly deteriorated, and the surrounding neighborhood had gone downhill as well. In 1971, CBS, which owned the Yankees at the time, proposed extensive renovations to Yankee Stadium. However, this would require the Yankees to play their home games at Shea Stadium in Queens, the regular home of the New York Mets. The Mets, as Shea's primary tenants, refused to sign off on letting the Yankees play there as well--effectively delaying the renovations. CBS then gave serious thought to building a stadium in the New Jersey Meadowlands before selling the Yankees to George Steinbrenner in 1972.

Finally, in mid-1972, Mayor John Lindsay stepped in and announced the city would buy Yankee Stadium for $24 million (by comparison, it cost $2.4 million to build in 1923 — adjusted for inflation, $6 million in 1972 dollars) and lease it back to the Yankees. Since the city owned Shea Stadium as well, the Mets had little choice but to agree. Yankee Stadium closed on September 30, 1973 for the two-year facelift; the Yankees played the 1974 and 1975 seasons in Shea Stadium.

Since a significant portion of the stadium was demolished and rebuilt, some consider the rebuilt Yankee Stadium a different facility from the pre-renovation stadium. For example, the ESPN Sports Almanac considers the renovated stadium to be "Yankee Stadium II," and the pre-renovated facility to be "Yankee Stadium I". Textbooks on the subject, such as Green Cathedrals, make no such distinction, since much of the original structure was retained and re-used, in contrast to the total demolition of facilities such as Cleveland Stadium or Wembley Stadium, whose in-place replacements were totally new structures.
The most noticeable difference resulting from the renovation was the removal of the 118 columns that reinforced each tier of the Stadium's grandstand. The Stadium's roof, including the distinctive, 15-foot copper frieze that circled its interior, was replaced by the new upper shell; new lights were also added. A white replica of this frieze was built at the top the wall behind the bleachers. The playing field was lowered by about seven feet and moved forward slightly.
Yankee Stadium installed the first instant-replay display in baseball.
All seats in the old stadium were replaced with wider, more modern plastic seats, and the upper deck was expanded upward by approximately nine rows, as modern building techniques allowed them to do so. There appears to be an extra guardrail in the upper seating of the modern stadium where the original runways to the upper level concourse once ran.

A new upper concourse was built above where the old concourse existed and the old exits were closed in by new seating. The old, closed-in upper-deck concourse still exists to this day and is used by stadium employees for transport. A new "loge/ middle-tier" section was also built for the new stadium with far fewer seats to create a larger press box and 16 luxury boxes. About half of the bleachers seats were eliminated; the middle portion was converted to what is today called "the black," a dark, unused area that serves as the batter's eye. A wall was built behind the bleachers, preventing strap-hangers from watching the game perched on the elevated subway platform above River Avenue. All told, the Stadium was reduced to a listed capacity of 57,545.

The Stadium's dimensions were narrowed, leaving the monuments and plaques that today comprise Monument Park behind an inner fence (they had been in fair territory). Also, deep center was significantly reduced to a distance more consistent with modern parks.
Several new restrooms were added throughout the stadium, along with three elevators. The southern border of the Stadium, 157th Street, was closed to cars and became part of the Stadium's property.
The city also seized property on the southern side of this street for a four-story parking garage (about 2,300 parking spaces) to suit the increasingly suburban crowd who the Yankees were hoping to attract. No money was spent to help the residents and business owners of the neighborhood, fueling the sometimes uneasy relationship between the Yankees and their neighbors.

The cost of the 1970s renovations, $160 million, was originally borne by New York City and is now being paid off by New York State. At the time, many referred to Yankee Stadium as the House That Lindsay Rebuilt, because the costly renovations were approved by New York City's Board of Estimate, based on the insistence of Mayor John Lindsay. Lindsay had orchestrated the city's purchase of Yankee Stadium from Rice University (the university in Houston, Texas owned the stadium thanks to a bequeathment from John William Cox '27) and the nine-acre parcel of property the Stadium occupies from the Knights of Columbus, also the recipients of a gift by Cox.

The Stadium reopened on April 15, 1976. More than 54,000 fans saw the Yankees beat the Minnesota Twins, 11-4, and the "new Stadium" hosted its first playoff and World Series games that October.

In the 1980s, the fence was moved in on the left field side, allowing for the retired numbers row that currently exists as a lead-in to Monument Park

Boxing at Yankee Stadium

When Yankee Stadium opened in 1923, the Polo Grounds continued to host boxing matches. But Yankee Stadium soon encroached on that territory. Benny Leonard retained the lightweight championship in a 15-round decision over Lou Tendler on July 24, 1923, in front of more than 58,000 fans. It was the first of 30 championship bouts to be held at the Stadium. (This excludes dozens of nontitle fights.) The boxing ring was placed over second base; a 15-foot vault contained electrical, telegraph, and telephone connections.
In July 1927, the aging former heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey came from behind to defeat heavily favored Jack Sharkey by delivering several questionable punches that were deemed illegal. Sharkey had similarly bad luck in a July 1930 heavyweight championship bout at Yankee Stadium, when his knockout punch to Max Schmeling was ruled illegal; Schmeling won by default. In July 1928, Gene Tunney upheld the heavyweight title against Tom Heeney at Yankee Stadium, and then retired as champion.

Perhaps the most famous boxing match ever was held at Yankee Stadium on June 22, 1938, when Joe Louis, a black American, squared off against Schmeling, a German. With the Nazi Party on the verge of taking over much of Europe, Adolf Hitler followed the rematch carefully, imploring Schmeling to defeat Louis, whom Hitler publicly berated. This left some with a moral predicament: root for the black fighter or for the Nazi. Schmeling had defeated Louis in 1936, but in defense of his title Louis knocked out Schmeling in the first round. This was one of eight championship fights the "Brown Bomber" fought at Yankee Stadium.

College Football at Yankee Stadium

When an ill Ruth could not lead the Yankees to the World Series in 1925, college football took center stage at Yankee Stadium that fall. The fiercely competitive Notre Dame-Army game moved to Yankee Stadium, where it remained until 1947. In the 1928 game, with the score 0-0 at halftime, legendary Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne gave his "win one for the Gipper" speech (with reference to All-American halfback George Gipp, who died in 1920); Notre Dame went on to defeat Army, 12-6. The 1929 game between the two teams had the highest attendance in the series at 79,408.[3] The 1946 Army vs. Notre Dame football game at Yankee stadium is regarded as one of the 20th century college football Games of the Century
Notre Dame played 24 games at Yankee Stadium, going 15-6-3. Army played 38, compiling a 17-17-4 record. New York University played more games there than any other school, 96, using it as a secondary home field from 1923 to 1948, with a record of 52-40-4. Nearby Fordham University played 19 games there, going 13-5-1.

Eight college football games were played at Yankee Stadium on Thanksgiving Day, the first seven by New York University. NYU beat Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie Mellon University) in 1931 and 1932, defeated Fordham in 1936, lost to Oregon State in 1928, lost to Carnegie Tech in 1929, and lost to Fordham in 1934 and 1935. In the eighth game, in 1963, Syracuse University beat Notre Dame, 14-7. This was a rematch following the teams' controversial 1961 game won by Notre Dame, 17-15.

The Gotham Bowl was scheduled to premiere at Yankee Stadium in 1960, but was canceled when no opponent could be found for Oregon State University. The 1961 game was moved to the Polo Grounds, and when just 6,166 people came to Yankee Stadium for the 1962 game, in which the University of Nebraska defeated the University of Miami, 36-24, the Gotham Bowl was never played again.

Starting in 1971, the Stadium hosted the Whitney M. Young Urban League Classic, a game between historically black colleges, often featuring Grambling State University of Louisiana, coached by Eddie Robinson, the first college coach to win 400 games. The Classic helped to spread the fame of Grambling and other similar schools. Yankee Stadium hosted its final Classic during the 1987 season, also the last time a football game was played there. Grambling lost to Central State University of Ohio, 37-21

The Classic has been held at Giants Stadium in New Jersey's Meadowlands Sports Complex ever since, though the Yankees remain a supporter of the event.

Professional football at Yankee Stadium

In 1926, after negotiations failed with the fledgling NFL and the Chicago Bears, Red Grange and his agent C.C. Pyle formed the first American Football League and fielded a team called the New York Yankees based in Yankee Stadium. The league failed after only one year. A second New York Yankees football team, not related to the first, split its home games between Yankee Stadium and Downing Stadium as it competed in the second AFL in 1936 and 1937. A third AFL New York Yankees took the field in 1940 and became the New York Americans in 1941.
The New York Yankees of the All-America Football Conference played their home games at Yankee Stadium from 1946 to 1949.

The New York Giants of the National Football League played their home games at Yankee Stadium from 1956 to 1973. On December 28, 1958, Yankee Stadium hosted the National Football League championship game, frequently called "The Greatest Game Ever Played." The Baltimore Colts tied the Giants, 17-17, on a field goal with seven seconds left. Led by quarterback Johnny Unitas, the Colts won in overtime, 23-17. The game's dramatic ending is often cited as elevating football to one of the United States' major sports.

All-Star Games at Yankee StadiumOn July 11, 1939, Major League Baseball held its seventh All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium, in concert with the World's Fair being held at Flushing-Meadows in Queens. Yankees manager Joe McCarthy loaded his American League team with pinstripes: Bill Dickey (catcher), Joe DiMaggio (outfield), Joe Gordon (second base), Red Rolfe (third base), George Selkirk (outfield), and Red Ruffing (pitcher) were all in the starting lineup. Reserve players included Frankie Crosetti (shortstop), Lou Gehrig (first base), Lefty Gomez (pitcher), and Johnny Murphy (pitcher). The American League won, 3-1, behind a home run by DiMaggio, in front of more than 62,000. This was the second All-Star Game held in New York; the Polo Grounds hosted the event in 1934.

From 1959 to 1962, Major League Baseball held two All-Star Games. On July 13, 1960, Yankee Stadium hosted baseball's second All-Star Game in three days. The National League won both games. In the latter game, Whitey Ford was the starting pitcher. Yogi Berra (catcher), Mickey Mantle (outfield), Roger Maris (outfield), and Bill Skowron (first base) were in the starting lineup; Jim Coates (pitcher) and Elston Howard (catcher) were reserves. The National League won the Yankee Stadium game, 6-0, tying a record with four home runs, including one by hometown favorite Willie Mays. The 38,000 fans who attended the game saw Ted Williams in his final All-Star appearance.

Showcasing its new renovation, Yankee Stadium hosted the All-Star Game on July 19, 1977. With the Yankees defending their 1976 pennant, Billy Martin managed the American League team on his home field. The National League won its sixth consecutive All-Star Game, 7-5, in front of more than 56,000 fans; the senior circuit's streak would reach 11. Reggie Jackson (outfield) and Willie Randolph (second base) started for the American League; Sparky Lyle (pitcher), Thurman Munson (catcher), and Graig Nettles (third base) also made the team. Jim Palmer was the game's starting pitcher because Nolan Ryan refused to play when Martin asked him.

Yankee Stadium is scheduled to host its final All-Star Game in 2008 in honor of its last year before the club moves to New Yankee Stadium.

On July 1, 1939, Max Baer defeated Lou Nova at Yankee Stadium, in the first televised boxing match in the United States. The event was broadcast by television station W2XBS, forerunner of WNBC-TV. (The World Series was not televised until 1947.) On September 27, 1946, Tony Zale knocked out New York native Rocky Graziano for the middleweight crown; it was the first of three bouts between Zale and Graziano.

On June 25, 1952, middleweight champion Sugar Ray Robinson sought his third title against light-heavyweight champ Joey Maxim at Yankee Stadium. More than 47,000 saw Robinson outfight Maxim but lose due to heat exhaustion in round 14 (due to the 104-degree weather). The referee who declared Maxim the winner was the second that night; the first had left the fight due to heat exhaustion.

After its 1970s renovation, Yankee Stadium hosted only one championship fight. On September 28, 1976, a declining Muhammad Ali defended his heavyweight crown against Ken Norton. To that point, Norton was one of only two boxers who had beaten Ali (in 1973); this was their third and final meeting. Norton led for most of the fight, but Ali improved in the later rounds to win by unanimous decision.

Other events at Yankee Stadium

Beginning in 1950, the stadium began holding religious conventions of the Jehovah's Witnesses. The first convention attracted 123,707 people, more in a single day than any other stadium event up to that time. These conventions would continue on until the late 1980s. When room ran out in the stands, the ladies were asked to remove their heels, and people were brought in to sit in the outfield. There was also a makeshift camp nearby where the program was broadcast for hundreds others to listen to. Francis Cardinal Spellman (1957), Pope Paul VI (1965), and Pope John Paul II (1969 as a cardinal, 1979 as pope) and Pope Benedict XVI (2008) all celebrated Mass at the ballpark.
On June 21, 1990, a rally was held at Yankee Stadium for Nelson Mandela upon his release from prison following the end of apartheid in South Africa. On September 23, 2001, Yankee Stadium hosted a memorial service for victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York City.
The first concert ever held there was an ensemble R&B show on June 21, 1969, put together by the Isley Brothers; the first rock concert held at the stadium was on June 22, 1990, by Billy Joel.
It was also the site of two dates of U2's ZOO TV tour in 1992. During one song, Bono paid tribute to the show's setting with the line "I dreamed I saw Joe DiMaggio/Dancing with Marilyn Monroe...". Pink Floyd also performed two sold-out shows at this venue on their 1994 tour in support of The Division Bell album.

On March 10, 2006, Yankee Stadium saw its first and only wedding at home plate. Blind sportswriter Ed Lucas, who has been a member of the Yankee family for over 40 years, got special permission from the Yankees, the City of New York, and Major League Baseball to exchange vows with his fiancée, Allison Pfieffle, on the same spot where Lou Gehrig made his famous farewell speech, among the many notable events.
Over 400 people, including present and former members of the Yankee family were in attendance to see the happy couple united, and the ceremony was broadcast on ESPN, the YES Network, NBC's Today show and other national media outlets. Ed and his bride were introduced years before by longtime friend and baseball Hall of Fame Member Phil "The Scooter" Rizzuto. During the reception at the Stadium Club, Yankee owner George Steinbrenner surprised the crowd with an announcement that he would be picking up the entire tab for the wedding and honeymoon.

National Hockey League (NHL) executives have inquired about the possibility of using Yankee Stadium for an outdoor ice hockey match featuring the New York Rangers in the 2008-2009 season after the successful reception of the Heritage Classic and AMP Energy NHL Winter Classic outdoor games. If approved, it would be the final sporting event at the current stadium

The World Series at Yankee Stadium
Due to the Yankees' frequent appearances in the World Series, Yankee Stadium has played host to more postseason games than any stadium in baseball history.

The Stadium, since its 1923 opening, has played host to 37 of 84 World Series (heading into 2008), with the Yankees winning 26. Sixteen of those World Series were clinched at Yankee Stadium:

New York Yankees, in 1927, 1938, 1947, 1950, 1951, 1953, 1977, 1996, and 1999 St. Louis Cardinals, in 1926 and 1942 Brooklyn Dodgers, in 1955, their only World Championship won in Brooklyn before moving to Los Angeles. Milwaukee Braves, in 1957, the only World Series won by a Milwaukee team. Cincinnati Reds, in 1976 Los Angeles Dodgers, in 1981 Florida Marlins, in 2003
The New Stadium

A new stadium for the Yankees is currently under construction on part of the former site of Macombs Dam Park. The new stadium's design is to incorporate the design of Yankee Stadium from its original 1923 exterior as well as from the 1970s renovation. The new stadium is expected to cost $1.3-billion, and will be 63-percent bigger than the current one; however, capacity will be down slightly, to 53,000 from 56,000. The address will still be the same (161st Street and River Avenue), the seats will be the same color as in the current stadium (blue), and the dimensions of the field will be exactly the same.
As for the current stadium, The above-ground portion is to be completely demolished, with the existing clubhouses, which are underground, remaining in use for replacement park facilities.[9] Three baseball fields are to be built atop the Yankee Stadium field after the Yankees' new stadium opens.[10] These new recreation facilities were designed to alleviate the loss of parkland to the Yankees' new stadium. Monument Park is to be relocated in the new stadium. Some of the parts from the Old Yankee Stadium are being auctioned off at Ebay. Some of these parts include ; seats, bases, or even walls from the stadium. The new stadium will be more convenient for those traveling by train.

The exterior of Yankee Stadium on June 16, 2007. Notice the cranes behind the Stadium.Before building their $1.3 billion stadium, the Yankees secured $425 million in public subsidies and permission to tear down 400 trees and take over 22 acres of public parkland north of the team's East 161st Street home; New York City retains ownership of the Yankees' new tract of land. The public costs include acquiring land for the stadium, building parking garages, tearing down Yankee Stadium, lost rent and parking revenue from Yankee Stadium, and tax breaks.
It does not include a $91 million Metro-North station, which will be paid for entirely by the public (with money shifted from other parts of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's capital-spending budget). Of the stadium's remaining cost, up to 40 percent may be subsidized through reduced revenue-sharing contributions. The Yankees' $200 million payroll is consistently the highest in baseball, making them the largest contributor to the league's revenue-sharing pool. It has been estimated that the Yankees will contribute one-third of their new stadium's cost.

The Yankees' stadium and free-parkland acquisition were proposed in June 2005 without input from the community but with pre-approval from pertinent legislative bodies. The plan was approved within days of its announcement, setting underfunded community groups and parks advocates back from the beginning. Even as fierce opposition mounted, they were left with no room to maneuver to save the neighborhood's parkland. One year after the Yankees' new-stadium news conference, the team cleared all legislative, financial, procedural, and legal hurdles. Construction began in the summer of 2006.
The Yankees expect to begin the 2009 season in their new stadium. As part of Yankee Stadium's last trip around the block, it is scheduled to host the 2008 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, with the final regular season game scheduled to be played September 21, 2008 against Baltimore (coincidentally, the Yankees' city of origin).


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

United States presidential election debates

United States presidential election debates

During presidential elections in the United States, it has become customary for the main candidates (almost always the candidates of the two main parties, currently the Democratic Party and the Republican Party) to engage in a debate. The topics discussed in the debate are often the most controversial issues of the time, and some have said that elections can be won or lost based on these debates.

Presidential debates are held late in the election cycle, after the political parties have nominated their candidates. The candidates meet in a large hall, often at a university, before an audience of citizens. The formats of the debates have varied, with questions sometimes posed from one or more journalist moderators and in other cases members of the audience. Between 1988 and 2000, the formats have been governed in detail by secret memoranda of understanding between the two major candidates; an MOU for 2004 was also negotiated, but unlike the earlier agreements it was jointly released by the two candidates.

Debates are broadcast live on television and radio. The first debate for the 1960 election drew over 66 million viewers out of a population of 179 million, making it one of the most-watched broadcasts in U.S. television history. The 1980 debates drew 80 million viewers out of a 226 million. By 2000, about 46 million viewers out of a population of 280 million watched the first debate, with ten million fewer watching the subsequent debates that year. In 2004, 62.5 million people watched the first debate, while 43.6 million watched the vice-presidential debate


While the first general presidential debate was not held until 1960, several other debates are considered predecessors to the presidential debates. In 1858, former US Congressman Abraham Lincoln and Senator Stephen Douglas toured Illinois and held a series of debates in the election for Douglas's Senate seat, which led up the presidential campaign of 1860 when both were nominated. In 1948, a radio debate was held in Oregon between Thomas Dewey and Harold Stassen, Republican party primary candidates for president.
The Democratic party followed suit in 1956, with a presidential primary debate between Adlai Stevenson and Estes Kefauver. An immigrant and a naturalized citizen who had survived the Holocaust Fred A. Kahn , then a University of Maryland student and Vice-President of its International Club, proposed modern Presidential debates. The press wires carried his proposal nationwide. He received the personal endorsement of the late Eleanor Roosevelt as well as that of the late Governor of Maryland Theodore mc Keldin.
The Student Government Association Council of the University of Maryland then invited both candidates to debate at the University of Maryland. At the time , the Baltimore Sun in August 1956 wrote an article headed "Ïmmigrant Urges Presidential Debates." Both chairperson of both parties were contacted and considered the suggestion which became , in fact, reality four years later with the televised Kennedy-Nixon debates.

Republican candidate Wendell Wilkie had challenged President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to a debate in 1940, but Roosevelt refused. The first general election presidential debate was held on September 26, 1960, between Democratic nominee John F. Kennedy and Republican nominee Vice President Richard Nixon and televised on all networks.
Nixon was generally considered to be the “loser” of that first debate, mainly because he did not prepare for the possibilities and peculiarities of the medium of television. His poor makeup, haggard appearance due to a knee injury and hospitalization earlier in the month, and his grey suit, which blended into the backdrop of the set, contributed to Nixon's poor showing on TV, although his performance came across much better on the radio.
While the consensus on the three subsequent debates was that Nixon clearly performed better and even won in some cases, his TV performance in that first debate haunted him for the rest of the season.

No general election debates at all were held for the elections of 1964, 1968 and 1972, although intra-party debates were held during the primaries between Democrats Robert F. Kennedy and Eugene McCarthy in 1968 and between Democrats George McGovern and Hubert Humphrey in 1972. It was not until 1976 that a second series of televised presidential debates was held during the general election campaign season. On September 23, 1976 the Democratic candidate Jimmy Carter and the Republican incumbent, President Gerald R. Ford agreed to debate on television before a studio audience. A single vice presidential debate was also held that year between Democratic Senator Walter Mondale and Republican Senator Bob Dole.

Since 1976, each presidential election has featured a series of presidential debates. Vice presidential debates have been held regularly since 1984.

The dramatic effect of televised presidential elections was demonstrated by two polls taken before and after the 1976 debate between Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter were taken.[citation needed] Shortly after the second debate, more than half of those interviewed felt that Ford had won, whereas days later the majority felt Carter had won. The reason for this dramatic shift has been attributed to a comment made by President Ford. He said "There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe and there never will be under a Ford administration." For several days, it was not acknowledged that he might have said something wrong. In subsequent interviews, Ford has said that what he was trying to say during that debate was that the Russians will never dominate the spirit of the Eastern Europeans. Moderators of nationally televised presidential debates have included Bernard Shaw, Bill Moyers, Jim Lehrer and Barbara Walters.
Washington University in St. Louis has hosted more debates than any other location, in 1992, 2000, and 2004. The University was also scheduled to host a debate in 1996, but it was later negotiated between the two presidential candidates to reduce the number of debates from three to two.

Debate sponsorship

Control of the presidential debates has been a ground of struggle for more than two decades. The role was filled by the nonpartisan League of Women Voters (LWV) civic organization in 1976, 1980 and 1984. In 1987, the LWV withdrew from debate sponsorship, in protest of the major party candidates attempting to dictate nearly every aspect of how the debates were conducted. On October 2, 1988, the LWV's 14 trustees voted unanimously to pull out of the debates, and on October 3 they issued a dramatic press release:

The League of Women Voters is withdrawing sponsorship of the presidential debates ... because the demands of the two campaign organizations would perpetrate a fraud on the American voter. It has become clear to us that the candidates' organizations aim to add debates to their list of campaign-trail charades devoid of substance, spontaneity and answers to tough questions. The League has no intention of becoming an accessory to the hoodwinking of the American public. The two major political parties had their own loyalists ready to take over the debates and did so in 1988 under the name of the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). The two parties presented the 1988 debates and have done so every election cycle since. The commission has been headed since its inception by former chairs of the Republican and Democratic parties.
In 2004, the Citizens' Debate Commission (CDC) was formed to challenge control by the Democratic and Republican parties and attempt to return the debates to control by an independent, nonpartisan, rather than bipartisan, body. Chief concerns include the CPD's exclusion of third party and independent candidates. This effort was unsuccessful in its first attempt, as the CPD again controlled the 2004 debates. Some critics believe that this was partially the fault of the LWV in becoming increasingly politically aligned with the Democrats on gun control issues, in a break with their tradition of non-partisanship


In 1960 — four debates between Vice President Richard Nixon and Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy.
From 1964 to 1972 — no debates held.
In 1976 — three debates between President Gerald Ford and former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter
In 1980 — one debate between President Jimmy Carter and former California Governor Ronald Reagan, one between Governor Reagan and Illinois Congressman John Anderson
In 1984 — two debates between President Ronald Reagan and former Vice President Walter Mondale
In 1988 — two debates between Vice President George H. W. Bush and Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis
In 1992 — three debates among President George H. W. Bush, Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton and independent candidate Ross Perot
In 1996 — two debates between President Bill Clinton and former Kansas Senator Bob Dole
In 2000 — three debates between Vice President Al Gore and Texas Governor George W. Bush
In 2004 — three debates between President George W. Bush and Massachusetts Senator John Kerry

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Bill Cosby Biography

Bill Cosby Biography

William Henry "Bill" Cosby, Jr., Ed.D. (born July 12, 1937) is an American comedian, actor, television producer, and activist. A veteran stand-up performer, he got his start at various clubs, then landed a vanguard role in the 1960s action show I Spy. He later starred in his own series, The Bill Cosby Show, in the late 1960s. He was one of the major characters on the children's television show The Electric Company for its first two seasons, and created the humorous educational cartoon series Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, about a group of young friends growing up in the city. Cosby also acted in numerous films, although none has received the acclaim of his television work.

During the 1980s, Cosby produced and starred in what is considered one of the decade's defining sitcoms, The Cosby Show, which aired from 1984 to 1992. The sitcom featured an upper-middle class African-American family without resorting to the kinds of stereotypes previously seen among African-Americans in prime-time television. While some argued that The Cosby Show ignored the issues of racial inequity still prevalent in society, many agreed that it showcased positive role models.

Cosby was active in show business in the 1990s, starring in Cosby, which first aired in 1996, and hosting Kids Say the Darndest Things, which began in 1998, as well as making more movies. He has also continued appearing on the stand-up circuit. His material consists mainly of anecdotal tales, often dealing with his upbringing and raising his own family, and he is known for having a clean, family-friendly routine.

His good-natured, fatherly image has made him a popular personality and earned him the nickname of "America's Dad", and he has also been a sought-after spokesman for products like Jell-O Pudding, and the defunct retail chain Service Merchandise

Early life

Dr. William Henry Cosby, Jr. was born on July 12, 1937 to Anna and William H. Cosby, Sr. He was one of four brothers, one brother named James died at 6 years old. During much of his early childhood, Cosby's father was away in the US armed forces and spent several years fighting in World War 2. As a student, he described himself as a class clown. Cosby was the captain of the baseball and track & field teams at Mary Channing Wister Elementary School in Philadelphia, as well as the class president. Early on, though, teachers noted his propensity for clowning around rather than studying.

At Fitz-Simmons Junior High, Cosby began acting in plays as well as continuing his devotion to playing sports. He went on to Central High School, an academically challenging magnet school, but his full schedule of playing football, basketball, baseball, and running track, not to mention his dedication to joking in class, made it hard for him. In addition, Cosby was working before and after school, selling produce, shining shoes, and stocking shelves at a supermarket to help out the family. He transferred to Germantown High School, but failed the tenth grade.

Instead of repeating, he got a job as an apprentice at a shoe repair shop, which he liked, but could not see himself doing the rest of his life.[citation needed] Subsequently, he joined the Navy, serving at the Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, Naval Station Argentia, Newfoundland and at the Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland. Cosby is a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.

While serving in the Navy as a Hospital Corpsman for four years, Cosby worked in physical therapy with some seriously injured Korean War casualties, which helped him discover what was important to him. He immediately realized the need for an education, and finished his equivalency diploma via correspondence courses. He then won a track and field scholarship to Philadelphia's Temple University in 1961, and studied physical education while running track and playing fullback on the football team. However, he had continued to hone his talent for humor, joking with fellow enlistees in the service and then with college friends. When he began tending bar at the Cellar, a club in Philadelphia, to earn money, he became fully aware of his ability to make people laugh. He worked his customers and saw his tips increase, then ventured on to the stage.

Cosby left Temple as a sophomore to pursue a career in comedy. His parents were not pleased, but he lined up gigs at clubs in Philadelphia and soon was off to New York City, where he appeared at the Gaslight Cafe starting in 1962. He was discovered by actor Carl Reiner, who enjoyed Cosby's brand of humor. Later, the university would grant him his Bachelor's degree on the basis of "life experience." Cosby's career took off quickly, and he lined up dates in Chicago, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Washington DC, among others. He received national exposure on NBC's Tonight Show in the summer of 1963 and released Bill Cosby Is a Very Funny Fellow ... Right!, the first of a series of popular comedy albums in 1964. He was able to return to finish his BA from Temple and received an MA and Ed.D. from the University of Massachusetts in 1972 and 1977, respectively. Cosby's Ed.D dissertation was entitled, An Integration of the Visual Media via Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids Into the Elementary School Curriculum as a Teaching Aid and Vehicle to Achieve Increased Learning.

While many comics were using the growing freedom of that decade to explore controversial, sometimes risqué material, Cosby was making his reputation with humorous recollections of his childhood. Many Americans wondered about the absence of race as a topic in Cosby's stories. As Cosby's success grew he had to defend his choice of material regularly; as he argued, "A white person listens to my act and he laughs and he thinks, 'Yeah, that's the way I see it too.' Okay. He's white. I'm Negro. And we both see things the same way. That must mean that we are alike..... So I figure I'm doing as much for good race relations as the next guy."

I Spy

In 1965, Cosby achieved a first for African-Americans when he costarred with Robert Culp in I Spy, an adventure show that reflected cold war America's seemingly never ending appetite for James Bond-style espionage fantasies. But Cosby's presence as the first black star of a dramatic television series made I Spy unique; Cosby and NBC executives were concerned that some affiliates might be unwilling to carry the series.

At the beginning of the 1965 season, however, only four stations--in Georgia, Florida, and Alabama--declined the show. But the rest of the country was taken with the show's exotic locales and the authentic chemistry of the stars, and it became one of the ratings hits of that television season. I Spy finished among the twenty most-watched shows that year, and Cosby was honored with an Emmy award for outstanding actor in a dramatic series, as he would be again for the next two consecutive years. Although ostensibly focused on Culp's character, the show had clearly become a vehicle for his co-star.

Yet throughout the series' three-year run Cosby was repeatedly confronted with the question of race. For him it was enough that I Spy portrayed two men who worked as equals despite their different races; but critics took the show to task for not having a black character engage the racial issues that inflamed the country at that time. Cosby was relieved when the series ended, enabling him to concentrate on his family (he and wife Camille had two daughters by this time) and to return to live performing.

The Bill Cosby Show and the 1970s

He still pursued a variety of television projects: as a regular guest host on The Tonight Show and the star of an annual special for NBC. He returned with another series in 1969, The Bill Cosby Show, a situation comedy that ran for two seasons. Cosby played a physical education teacher at a Los Angeles high school (he had actually majored in physical education at Temple University); while only a modest critical success, the show was a ratings hit, finishing eleventh in its first season.
After The Bill Cosby Show left the air, Cosby returned to his education, actively pursuing an advanced degree in education from the University of Massachusetts. This professional interest led to his involvement in the PBS series The Electric Company, for which he recorded several segments teaching reading skills to young children. In 1972, he was back in prime time with a variety series, The New Bill Cosby Show, but this time he met with poor ratings, and the show lasted only a season. More successful was a Saturday morning show, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, hosted by Cosby and based on his own childhood, running from 1972 to 1979, then from 1979 to 1984 as The New Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. Some schools used the program as a teaching tool, and Cosby himself wrote his thesis on it in order to obtain his doctorate in Education in 1977.

Also during the 1970s, Cosby and other African American actors, including Sidney Poitier, joined forces to make some successful comedy films which countered the violent "blaxploitation" films of the era. Uptown Saturday Night (1974) and Let's Do It Again (1975) were generally praised, but much of Cosby's film work has fallen flat. Mother, Jugs & Speed (1976) costarring Raquel Welch and Harvey Keitel; A Piece of the Action, with Poitier; and California Suite, a compilation of four Neil Simon plays; were all panned. In addition, Cos (1976) an hour-long variety show featuring puppets, sketches, and musical numbers, was canceled within the year. Cosby was also regular on children's public television programs starting in the 70's, hosting the "Picture Pages" segments which lasted into the early 80s.

The Cosby Show and the 1980s

Cosby's greatest television success came in 1984 with the debut of The Cosby Show. For Cosby the new situation comedy was a response to the increasingly violent fare the networks usually offered. He insisted on and received total creative control of the series, and he was involved in every aspect of the series. Not surprisingly, the show had parallels to Cosby's actual family life: like the characters Cliff and Claire Huxtable, Cosby and his wife Camille were college educated, financially successful, and had five children. Essentially a throwback to the wholesome family situation comedy, The Cosby Show was unprecedented in its portrayal of an intelligent, affluent, nonstereotypical African-American family.

Much of the material from the pilot and first season of The Cosby Show was taken from his then popular video Bill Cosby: Himself, released in 1983. The series was an immediate success, debuting near the top of the ratings and staying there for most of its long run. The familiar question of relevance came up again but was more or less drowned out by praise for the series. People magazine called the show "revolutionary", and Newsday concurred that it was a "real breakthrough." Cosby's formula for success, as had been the case throughout his career, was to appeal to the common humanity of his audience rather than to the racial differences that might divide it.

In 1987, Cosby attempted to return to the big screen with the spy spoof Leonard Part 6. Unfortunately, although Cosby himself was producer and wrote the story[1], he realized during production that the film was not going to be what he wanted and publicly denounced it, warning audiences to "stay away".

In the 1990s and 2000s

After The Cosby Show went off the air in 1992, Cosby embarked on a number of other projects, including a notably scripted revival of the classic Groucho Marx game show You Bet Your Life (1992-1993) along with the ill-fated TV-movie I Spy Returns (1994) and The Cosby Mysteries (1994). In the mid 1990s, he appeared as a detective in black and white film noir-themed commercials for Turner Classic Movies. He also made appearances in three more films, Ghost Dad (1990), The Meteor Man (1993); and Jack (1996); in addition to being interviewed in Spike Lee's 4 Little Girls (1997), a documentary about the racist bombing of a Birmingham, Alabama, church in 1963. Also in 1996, he started up a new show for CBS, Cosby, again co-starring Phylicia Rashād, his onscreen wife on The Cosby Show (early on she replaced Telma Hopkins). Cosby co-produced the show for Carsey-Werner Productions.

The show was based on a cynical British program called One Foot in the Grave, but Cosby lightened the humor. It centered on Cosby as Hilton Lucas, an iconoclastic senior citizen who tries to find a new job after being "downsized", and in the meantime, gets on his wife's nerves. Madeline Kahn costarred as Rashād's goofy business partner. Cosby was hired by CBS to be the official "spokesman" for the WWJ-TV during an advertising campaign from 1995-1998. In addition, Cosby in 1998 became the host of Kids Say the Darndest Things. After four solid seasons, Kids Say the Darndest Things was canceled. The last episode aired April 28, 2000. Cosby continued to work with CBS through a development deal and other projects.

His wellspring of creativity became manifest again with a series for preschoolers, Little Bill, which made its debut on Nickelodeon in 1999. The network renewed the popular program in November 2000. In 2001, at an age when many give serious consideration to retirement, Cosby's agenda included the publication of a new book, as well as delivering the commencement addresses at Morris Brown College and at Ohio State University. Also that year, he signed a deal with 20th Century Fox to develop a live-action feature film centering on the popular Fat Albert character from his 1970s cartoon series. Fat Albert was released in theaters in December 2004. In May 2007 he spoke at the Commencement of High Point University.

Personal life

Cosby met his wife Camille Hanks while he was performing stand-up in Washington, D.C., in the early 1960s, and she was a student at the University of Maryland. They married on January 25, 1964, and had five children: daughters Erika Ranee, Erinn Chalene, Ensa Camille, and Evin Harrah, and son Ennis William. His son Ennis was shot to death while changing a flat tire on the side of a Los Angeles freeway on January 16, 1997.
In early 1997, fans were startled when a 22-year-old woman, Autumn Jackson, tried to extort $40 million from Cosby, claiming he was her biological father. He admitted to having a one-time fling with Jackson's mother and had provided money to the family until Jackson turned 18, though he disputed the paternity claim from the start. She was found guilty of extortion and sentenced to 26 months in prison; two accomplices were sentenced to five years and three months. The convictions were overturned in June 1999 on a technicality. The case was retried later, and the convictions were returned.

On November 8, 2006, the media reported that Cosby had settled a lawsuit with a woman alleging he had sexually assaulted her. The woman claimed that Cosby assaulted her at his mansion in Cheltenham in early 2004 after giving her some blue pills. The woman said the pills had rendered her semiconscious, and that the comedian molested her. She said she awoke to find her bra undone and her clothes in disarray. In and around the same time reports surfaced from 12 women alleging that they were sexually assaulted by Cosby, but none of the complainants elected to proceed with criminal charges.

Cosby is an active alumni supporter of his Alma Mater, Temple University, and in particular their men's basketball team, whose games Cosby frequently attends (particularly during the team's glory days under coach John Chaney, who is a close friend of Cosby).

Cosby is a huge Philadelphia Eagles fan. Recently, when both the Eagles' starting and backup quarterbacks were injured, Cosby sent some of his old football gear to head coach Andy Reid, joking he was ready to play if needed.

Cosby also attends many public events, such as the 100th Millrose Games at Madison Square Garden in New York on February 2, 2007.

Cosby enjoys cigars, a hobby he picked up from Groucho Marx, one of his comedy influences.
Cosby is also a noted pen collector, and often frequents several well-known fountain pen stores; he is the spokesperson for Fountain Pen Hospital.

Cosby maintains homes in Shelburne, Massachusetts and Cheltenham, Pennsylvania.
Cosby received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from Carnegie Mellon University at its 2007 commencement ceremony, where he was also the keynote speaker. Cosby received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from Yale University on 2003. Cosby received an Honorary Degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University of Cincinnati during the 2001 graduation season. Cosby received an Honorary Degree in 2003 presented by President William Harjo LoneFight from the Sisseton Wahpeton College on the Lake Traverse Reservation for his contributions to minority education. Cosby received an Honorary Doctorate from West Chester University of Pennsylvania during the 2003 graduation ceremony.

Cosby received an Honorary Doctorate from Baylor University (September 4, 2003 "Spirit Rally"). Cosby received an Honorary Doctorate from Haverford College, May 2002.[2] (Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa) In a British 2005 poll to find The Comedian's Comedian, he was voted amongst the top 50 comedy acts ever by fellow comedians and comedy insiders. He received Kennedy Center Honors in 1998. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002. He received an Honorary Doctor of Music Degree from Berklee College of Music during the 2004 commencement ceremony. Cosby was also a speaker at the school's 60th anniversary concert in 2005. He won the 2003 Bob Hope Humanitarian Award. In 1969, he received the third in a long line of prestigious "Man of the Year" awards from Harvard University's famed performance group, the Hasty Pudding Theatricals

Political views

He was the first major entertainer to cancel an appearance in Cincinnati after a boycott was called in response to the 2001 Cincinnati riots. His support of this cause encouraged other stars to follow. Cosby has been critical of what he sees as the African-American community's acceptance of fatherless single parent households, high crime rates, and high illiteracy rates. He encouraged a more proactive effort from African-Americans to reduce those problems. He expanded upon his remarks in San Jose, California during an event to promote the Read-2-Lead Classic.

The way his speeches were portrayed by popular media provoked a great deal of anger from some African Americans. Cosby was the impetus for the formation of ARISE Detroit! when, in a 13 January 2005, speech at Wayne County Community College he challenged black Detroiters to stop blaming white people for problems they could solve themselves. "It's not what they're doing to us. It's what we're not doing", the entertainer told the audience of nearly 2,000 people. A little more than a year later, ARISE Detroit! was formed to address this issue.

The Pound Cake speech and other comments on moral values

Main article: Pound Cake speechIn May 2004 after receiving an award at the celebration of the 50th Anniversary commemoration of the Brown v. Board of Education ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court's decision that outlawed school segregation, Cosby made public remarks critical of those blacks who put higher priorities on sports, fashion, and "acting hard" than on education, self-respect, and self-improvement. He has made a plea for African American families to educate their children on the many different aspects of American culture (Baker). According to the Washington Times, he has had a long history of endeavors to advance African Americans (DeBose, Brian).

In "Pound Cake", Cosby, whose doctorate degree is in education, asked that African American parents begin teaching their children better morals at a younger age. He directed this address to the leaders in the lower and middle economic classes of the African-American community (see main article). Cosby told reporters of the Washington Times, "Parenting needs to come to the forefront. If you need help and you don't know how to parent, we want to be able to reach out and touch" (DeBose, Brian). Richard Leiby of the Washington Post reported, "Bill Cosby was anything but politically correct in his remarks Monday night at a Constitution Hall bash commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Brown vs. Board of Education decision."

Cosby again came under sharp criticism, and again he was largely unapologetic for his stance when he made similar remarks during a speech in a July 1 Rainbow Coalition meeting commemorating the anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education. During that speech, he admonished blacks for not assisting or concerning themselves with the individuals who are involved with crime or have counter-productive aspirations. He further described those who needed attention as "blacks [who] had forgotten the sacrifices of those in the Civil Rights Movement." The talk was interrupted several times by applause and received praise from leaders such as Jesse Jackson.


In recent years the popular comedian has been parodied on several television cartoons such as The Simpsons, Family Guy and The Boondocks. Bill Cosby has become extensively parodied in the animated short film series House of Cosbys, a series of 5 minute episodes posted on the website of the Los Angeles film festival Channel 101 that chronicle the main character, Mitchell, and his residence filled with cloned Cosbys, each possessing their own unique personality. Also in the cartoon Codename: Kids Next Door, Numbuh 5's father is based on Bill Cosby. Aries Spears does a parody of Bill Cosby on TV's MADtv. Wayne Brady has done impressions of Bill Cosby on TV's Whose Line Is It Anyway?.He also became a lengthy internet meme and fad on popular web site YTMND.


Bill Cosby Is a Very Funny Fellow...Right! (1963)

I Started Out as a Child (1964)

Why Is There Air? (1965)

Wonderfulness (1966)

Silver Throat: Bill Cosby Sings (1967)

Revenge (1967)

To Russell, My Brother, Whom I Slept With (1968)

200 M.P.H. (1968)

Bill Cosby Sings Hooray for the Salvation Army Band! (1968)

8:15 12:15 (1969)

It's True! It's True! (1969)

The Best of Bill Cosby (1969)

More of the Best of Bill Cosby (1970)

Sports (Bill Cosby Album) (1970)

Live: Madison Square Garden Center (1970)

When I Was a Kid (1971)

For Adults Only (1971)

Badfoot Brown & the Bunions Bradford Funeral Marching Band (1971)

Bill Cosby Talks to Kids About Drugs (1971)

Inside the Mind of Bill Cosby (1972)

Fat Albert (1973)

Bill (1973)

At Last Bill Cosby Really Sings (1974)

Down Under (1975)

Bill Cosby Is Not Himself These Days (1976)

Disco Bill (1977)

My Father Confused Me... What Must I Do? What Must I Do? (1977)

Bill's Best Friend (1978)

Bill Cosby: Himself (1982)

Those of You With or Without Children, You'll Understand (1986)

Cosby and the Kids (1986)

Where You Lay Your Head (1990)

My Appreciation (1991)

Oh, Baby (1991)

At His Best (1994)

Hello Friend: To Ennis, With Love (1997)

20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best of Bill Cosby (2001)

The Bill Cosby Collection (2004)

State of Emergency (2008)

Top 10 Things to Know About Term Life Insurance

Top 10 Things to Know About Term Life Insurance
by Sharon Taylor

Obtaining life insurance to protect yourself and your family is very important to your loved ones.

In California, there are many options available for you regarding term life insurance.

If you are thinking about purchasing this type of insurance, or are wondering if you already have enough coverage, the following ten purchasing tips may answer many of the questions you may have.

Buying Term Life Insurance Coverage
  • You should never wait until you are absolutely in dire need of coverage. By the time you actually need it, you may have much more difficulty qualifying for it. This could also cause your premiums to be much higher than you originally anticipated, which is a problem in and of itself. Buy coverage earlier in life and save yourself the worry later on in life.

  • High financial ratings do not affect the level of coverage that you receive. This means you should look for "A" rated companies, but compare the rates offered to you as well, because a better rating does not necessarily mean a better premium or even better coverage.

  • Have you been considering the purchase of $90,000 in this type of coverage, or $200,000 in coverage? Opt for $100,000 in coverage or $250,000 in coverage instead, because it usually does not cost that much more to add this additional coverage. Breakpoints are often offered at $100,000, $250,000, $500,000 and so on.

  • Consider obtaining coverage directly through your company plan, at least for a short-term basis. However, be aware that most life insurance plans are not portable and therefore are lost if you ever leave the company.

Paying for Coverage

  • Shop around online before you meet individually with any specific insurance agent. Many online life insurance companies can be an incredibly useful source of information, and you may find yourself saving a lot of money on your term life insurance premiums if you take the time to shop online before any decisions are made.

  • If you can afford to pay annually instead of on a monthly basis when looking at premiums, opt for that. You can save as much as twenty percent of your premiums if you pay annually rather than monthly. You may still save if you pay quarterly or semi-annually instead, so explore this option with your broker.

Qualifying for California Term Life Insurance

  • If you do not smoke, do not start. And if you do smoke, now would be a very good time for you to quit. Being a smoker simply is not going to help your cause if you are trying to qualify for insurance. Some companies may allow you to re-apply for a nonsmoker rate if you have not smoked in a year, so quit now and reap the benefits of cheaper rates a year from now.

  • Control any blood pressure or cholesterol issues with medication, because insurance providers do not want to see any prevalent health issues going unattended. If you are already controlling a problem such as this, your company will more than likely look at it as a favorable thing.

  • When trying to qualify, prepare yourself beforehand so that your results are favorable.

  • 10 - Your term life insurance company has a unique way of judging your age. If you are closer to 31 than to 32 for example, you will be viewed as 31. If you are closer to the age of 32 than 31, you will be viewed as 32 years old. Premiums can easily increase with age, so if you are looking to purchase and qualify for good insurance, waiting really is not an option!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Rocket Racing League

Rocket Racing League

The Rocket Racing League is a proposed racing league that would use rocket powered aircraft. The formation of the league was announced by Granger Whitelaw two time Indy 500 winning team owner and Peter Diamandis, founder of the Ansari X-Prize, on October 3, 2005, in partnership with the Reno Air Races. According to Diamandis, the purpose of the league is to "inspire people of all ages to once again look up into the sky and find inspiration and excitement."


Projected to be an hour and one half in length, the races would be between proposed X-Racer planes that would use liquid oxygen/kerosene fuel with a burn time of four minutes. The rocketplanes are expected to cost less than US$1 million each. The design is a variant of the Velocity SE FG modified for the purpose of rocket racing. The airframe is derived from a commercially-available kit plane that traces its design heritage to the Rutan Long-EZ, which has been modified to accept rocket power and custom avionics, based on existing test engines. The first prototype flew on October 26, 2007 at the Mojave Spaceport.

The RRL has been called "NASCAR with rockets", and draws heavily on experience from the car racing world. RRL CEO Granger Whitelaw is a venture capitalist and former Indy Racing League team owner. While still in the planning stages, an X-Racer debut is tentatively scheduled for October 2007 at the X Prize Cup, with league competition starting as early as March 2008. If league competition begins, Whitelaw indicated tournament semifinals would be held each September in Nevada, with finals each October in New Mexico at the X Prize Cup competing for a $2 million championship purse.

Races would take place on a race course two miles long, one mile wide, and 1500 feet in the air. A typical race would take about one hour, and fans would be able to see multiple camera views, including cockpit, "on-track," "side-by-side" and wing-angle views.

Additionally, a computer game is planned which will interface with racer position data in real time over the internet, allowing players to virtually compete with the rocket pilots.

The Track

A typical Rocket Race begins with a staggered start. Pilots take off in pairs a few minutes apart, they will be competing against the clock but will maneuver around each other much like NASCAR. The pilots will be guided by a virtual three-dimensional "track" projected in their head-up display. Each racer will have a separate track to follow but the courses will be close together to build the excitement


There are currently six teams registered to compete in the inaugural race season, Rocket Star Racing, Team Extreme Rocket Racing, Canada-based Beyond Gravity Rocket Racing, Bridenstine Rocket Racing, Santa Fe Racing and Thunderhawk Rocket Racing.


XCOR Aerospace flew its XCOR EZ-Rocket rocketplane for several years, the last flight of which occurred in 2005 before the vehicle was retired.

Another attempt to do rocketplane demonstration flying was initiated by Ed Wright circa 2002 when he purchased a surplus Russian MiG-21 jet fighter intending to convert it to rocket power. Though he has formed X-Rocket corporation and is operating high altitude flights with the jet, the rocket conversion has not happened to date.