Nice, Green, Fair Lawn fair

The town Fair Lawn’s Green Team hosted its third annual Green Fair last night. The fair consisted of a number of different exhibitors ranging from The Hackensack Riverkeeper, Food & Water Watch and Fair Lawn high school’s Environmental club to the Historic Commission, Safe Routes to School and even a hand’s-on composting demonstration. The Fair attracted over 150 attendees, including members of Bergen Community College’s NAACP and Fair Lawn’s mayor.
The highlights of the event were the presentations done by Daphne Boss Ayalon, Matt Smith and Eric Fuchs-Stengel. Ayalon is a Master Gardener who drove two hours from upstate New York to do the composting demonstration, Smith is the North Jersey organizer for Food & Water Watch who did a presentation on fracking, and Fuchs-Stengel is the founder and CEO of Mahwah Environmental Volunteers Organization (MEVO). He did a presentation on his organization, why he started it and what they do. It attracted a lot of interest and all the students from the FLHS Environmental club signed up to do internships with MEVO.
The fair was held at the town’s recreation center on Wednesday, March 4 at 6 p.m. All the vendors present were from organizations that promote environmentally friendly, or “green” ideas as well as sustainability. The Teaneck Girl Scouts were going around offering free reusable bags, the FLHS Environmental club was giving away free shoulder bags if you could answer correctly two environmentally-related questions, the FL Green Team held a raffle and the rest of the vendors all offered a wealth of information and about their organizations and upcoming events.
“It exercised the importance of living in a clean world,” said Jessie Hewing, VP of BCC’s African Student Union when asked what he thought of the Green Fair. Awareness about the importance of going “green,” and being more sustainable has risen in the past years, and events like these are just how awareness is raised.

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Militarized police are out of control.

Another innocent young man has been killed by another out of control police officer. Michael Brown, an 18 year old youth was shot by a police officer for walking in the street. The officer told Michael to “Get the fuck onto the sidewalk,” and when Michael told him he was just going to his home not far away, the officer pulled out his gun and shot Michael, shooting him about 10 times as he ran away trying to get to safety.

Following the incident, residents of Ferguson, Missouri took to the streets in protest. The city has fallen to rioting, looting and citizens marching. The police have been armed to the teeth, wearing body armor, gas masks, carrying assault rifles and driving armored vehicles. These police officers are better armed and equipped than many of the United State’s armed service members.

The reason for the heavy arming of America’s police forces began with the National Defense Authorization Act, enacted by Congress in 1990. Section 1208 of the NDAA allowed the Defense Secretary to “transfer to Federal and State agencies personal property of the Department of Defense, including small arms and ammunition.” Congress replaced Section 1208 with Section 1033 in 1996, and procurements under Section 1033 are not matters of public record. Since 1996, around $4.3 billion in surplus military equipment has been given to state and local police forces, which they receive free of charge.


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The Civil War… In Color?

Artist John C. Gunztelman in his work, The Civil War in Color: A Photographic Reenactment of the War Between the States, has taken to colorizing black and white photos from the Civil War. He has brought the marvels of modern imagery to the pictures taken during the the Civil War, giving a uniqueness to them, doing something which could not have been achieved back then.

Here is a link to the article and more pictures:

Union Civil War drummer boys

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Superhero in History short story

Standing on the beaches that day reminded me of what had taken place so long ago. The day I started to believe in the existence of both G-d and Satan. A day filled with seemingly unprecedented fear, death and destruction. Looking down, I remembered vividly what had transpired decades ago to the day, as if it was yesterday.

June 6, 1944
Omaha Beach, Normandy

“Three minutes to landing!”

“Alright boys, get ready! Now, it’s a complete mess out there, once that door drops, we’ll be exposed to German 42 fire from those bunkers. You’re going to double time it off the boat and head up the beach! Do not get caught in the open, you keep moving until you reach the sand bar. There, we’ll use the bangalores to clear a path through the barbed wire, then it’s straight forward from there!”

“Thirty seconds!”

I was PFC Lopez, under the command of Captain Mullard in the US Army. We were on a landing craft taking part in an operation dubbed Overlord. On D-Day. Even standing beside my best, most trusted friend, Bruce, I was scared shitless. A bunch of guys, tightly packed on a landing craft, cold, wet, nauseous and with bullets, explosions and screams all around. It was enough to drive someone crazy. To my surprise however, Bruce appeared visibly angry rather than scared, he was gripping his M1 so tightly it looked as if he might break it and he was shaking. I tried talking to him and nudging him to get his attention, but he seemed to not notice one bit.

“Prepare for landing!”

“Five! Four! Thr-”


A bullet struck the craft’s pilot in the head, and he flew backwards, dead. The craft began to turn right, out of control. I tensed up, someone began climbing to take the wheel to straighten out the craft. As soon as he situated himself and started to straighten the craft out, there was an explosion right next to us, the whole thing lurched violently to the side and fell over.

The next thing I knew, I was looking up into the face of Captain Mullard, he was yelling at me to “Wake the fuck up and move up the beach!” It took a minute to sort myself out. Once I did, I began looking for Bruce. I looked to Captain Mullard,

“Captain, where’s Banner?”

“Who the hell knows where anybody is! Just move up the beach private!”

Doing another quick scan around me, I still didn’t spot Bruce, I was worried about him, but I couldn’t stay where I was, we were getting chewed up, with the ocean behind us, I had to move forward, there was nowhere to go but forward. I carried my M1 at my waist and began moving from beach barricade to beach barricade, as they provided the only cover. I kept moving forward jumping from one to another until I reached the last bit of cover before the exposed part of the beach and the sand bar. I hunkered down, gripping my gun tightly, fully expecting I would either be gunned down running for the sand bar, or blown to pieces by 88 fire if I waited there. What happened next, I never would have dreamed of.

Above the noise of the dying, crying, explosions and bullets, there was a ferocious roar followed by a huge splash in the water. out of that came a huge, irate, terrifying looking monster. It resembled a green human being, bigger than big foot and with unimaginable strength. The beast pounded it’s chest angrily and continued to roar. For as far as the eye could see, both Germans and Americans alike had ceased fighting. Everyone was in awe and terror of the beast. Nobody moved. There was a standstill.

The beast eventually stopped its roaring and chest pounding and began frantically looking around.
“What the fuck is that thing?” Someone whispered.
“Es ist der Hulk!” Was shouted from somewhere in the German lines.
“Schießen, schießen, tötet ihn!”

Then an MG42 open fired on the beast. The bullets tore into it, clearly agitating it, but seeming to not really harm it. The ‘Hulk’ as everyone started calling it roared even louder than before, then it jumped out of the water, a great distance and charged right for that bunker the 42 was in. It smashed the roof in and completely destroyed the installation. The rest of the German line began firing upon the Hulk and us again, and we returned fire and continued with our mission. The Hulk continued jumping from bunker to bunker all down the German line. His rage was fueled by every bullet he took as he decimated the Germans. In only a few minutes, we stopped taking German fire, they had abandoned their positions, turned on their heels and fled from the Hulk. Not us, but the monster.

Eventually, after there was not a German who wasn’t dead or captured in sight, the Hulk stood above a destroyed bunker, relatively calm. Most seemed to just stop and look at the Hulk, and suddenly it started to shrink. It continued to shrink until it was the size of a person and it was no longer green, then it collapsed. Me and some guys from my unit made it up to the bunker. What we discovered when we got there was truly shocking. The collapsed figure was Banner. I stood there for a couple minutes dumbfounded. When I finally collected myself, I went to Banner, picked him up and carried him to one of the medical tents set up on the beach. He was examined and they said he was perfectly fine. The thing was, he had no idea what had happened. It was if the last few hours had been completely wiped from his memory.

I stayed with him a while and explained to him the things that had taken place over the last few hours, told him that he, or the Hulk rather had saved a lot of lives. It was a miracle. Before long, some suits identifying themselves as OSS showed up. They were there for Bruce. I asked them what they wanted with him, they said they needed to take him for a debriefing. I tried arguing with them and keeping them away from him, but they overpowered me, took him, then they just left. That was the last time I ever saw Bruce.

To this day, I still don’t know what became of Bruce. I was never able to find out what had become of him. I can only hope that whatever happened to him, he was alright. He had saved thousands of lives that day. I’ll never forget Bruce. And I certainly will never forget the Hulk. I don’t think anyone there that day would ever forget the Hulk.

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Memorial Day Parade

Today, as part of the 6th USCT I participated in a Memorial Day parade in the township of Union. Again, like last year it was a lot of fun. This year there were only four us including myself, but we still had a presence! The only part that was difficult to tolerate was not even the heat, but the pain in my shoulder! Carrying around a rifle that weighs around 15 pounds can take a toll on you, especially when it’s been a while since you last did it! Although, being a part of the USCT, of course I conquered it and huffed it out. After the parade was over, we got to take pictures by a light 12 pounder cannon and it’s crew, as well as with some onlookers who were more than eager to get a picture with us! We even got to observe the cannon being fired in honor of those who have fallen in the line of duty. The cannon’s shot rang loud, and the smoke produced was amazing. After seeing the cannon being fired, we were directed to where hot dogs and refreshments were being served to anyone who had participated in the parade, upon arrival, we devoured about 4 hot dogs a piece, and I myself drank 4 things within an hour. The heat was not intolerable, but it was hot. Upon taking off my petticoat I saw my shirt was completely drenched in sweat; it looked as if I had take a shower with my shirt on.

Altogether I was there for 5 hours although the actual parade, including standby time took about 2 hours, but I didn’t mind at all! It was a fun morning, and I’m looking forward to attending soldier’s training this coming Saturday!

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Do or do not drop the bomb?

Something I wrote in eighth grade English. The task was to write the arguments for both the scientists who made the atomic bomb, and the military generals who wanted to use it.

The Scientists

The scientists were completely against the use of the atom bomb. They feared what its use could bring about to the world. They knew it was just a stepping stone to building other weapons of mass destruction that could kill even thousands of more people with single blows. They said that its use would also bring about another arms race like the one that started the Great War. However, this time it would be a race of who could build a weapon capable of inflicting the most damage, but also the means to deliver such payloads. They were also opposed to the use of the bomb because they considered, not only the short term consequences, but the long term consequences as well. They knew the magnitude of death, pain and suffering it would cause the victims and their descendants for many generations.

American Military Generals

The commanders were strongly for the use of the atom bomb. The commanders wanted to use the bomb because it was the only realistic alternative to a very costly and timely invasion. As they has learned from all other encounters with the Japanese Imperial Army, the Japanese, no matter soldier or civilian, would fight to the death for their homeland, and would rather kill themselves, than surrender. The commanders felt that an invasion of Japan would make the Normandy D Day landing look like a lark. The Japanese were fanatic nationalists, especially the kamikaze pilots who flew their planes directly into US Navy ships in service for their beloved homeland, hoping to keep it safe from the invading Americans.

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Knight’s Journal entries

For this assignment we were to write journal entries, as if we were a knight living in 13th century England.

15th day of September, 1250
Journal, today I have received a squire. I am to teach him everything I know to be a proper soldier, knight, husband and countryman. He is Fredrich, son of Lord Rauls of Stonebridge Castle of England. He happens to be an acquittance of mine. I’ve served alongside his father in some campaigns. His father is a great knight, and I expect nothing less of him, and I will make sure I push him to become just as great.

18th day of November, 1250
The king has began a campaign against the French after their assault on Breaker’s Pass.They killed nearly the whole garrison at the pass but a handful of scouts. Me and my page are preparing to leave for the king’s castle to get ready for war! However, I am first taking him to pray, and teach him a little more of the chivalrous code of Knights. It has been little more then a month, but I can already see, he is becoming great.

6th day of March, 1251
This long, harsh campaign is not yet over. It has been nearly six months and we are still not making much progress. The French have all their land heavily fortified. There is not much sleep, thier have been constant raids by sporadic French militia groups. I have found myself in possession of few captured French slaves, but much blood on my sword. Let this war be done with Godspeed.

17th day of December, 1251
I wonder if this campaign will end, and if it does, will me and Fredrich be there? I have lost more riches than I have gained, I’ve had to repair my armor numerous times, and I am on my third war horse, Huego. My father’s shield has also been broken, and I have not been able to fix it. I will have to wait and hope I survive this campaign so that I may bring it to it’s maker for repair.

17th day of December, 1259
Journal, you do not know my hand, for I am Fredrich, the late sir Wei’s page. He died recently from wounds sustained in the war. I myself am now a knight. I am 30 years of age. I have no living family, I am the last. I have taken my family’s and Sir Wei’s coat of arms, I have also claimed his armor to remember him. May he rest in everlasting peace, Fredrich.

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Supreme Court Decision

From what I remember from the assignment, we had to options to choose from, that were either in support of punishing school kids for refusing to say the pledge of allegiance, or not.

As a Supreme Court Justice I choose option 2. I choose option 2 because Justice Harlan Stone is exactly right, “This regulation tried to encourage patriotism and a love of American ideals by denying the very model of freedom for which the United States stood. Stone wondered what could be less supportive of American principles than the practice of forcing ‘these children to express a sentiment which, as they interpret it, they do not entertain, and which violates their deepest religious convictions,’” (Harlan Stone). It is un-American to force people to do something which goes against their religion, as well as violate their 1st Amendment rights. It also violates their 8th Amendment rights, expedition, the possibility of being sent to reformatories for juvenile delinquents, fines for parents of $150 and up to 30 days in jail… Completely excessive punishments for the small ‘crime’. It is extremely hypocritical to make such a situation where, you want people to be more unified, more patriotic, and in doing so, violate the very rights one would have people pledge allegiance to, and also, those that have the right not to, have them abused and tormented. Where’s the unity and patriotism in that? It defeats the whole purpose of what was trying to be achieved.

Written on: December 21, 2010

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The Hamilton and Burr Feud

A piece I wrote for History class, on Hamilton and Burr.

Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr were political enemies originally for a very simple reason; Burr was a Democratic-Republican and Hamilton was a Federalist. Hamilton and Burr had quite a few clashes on the political stage, though the first serious incident was in 1791. Burr was running against Philip Schuyler, Hamilton’s father-in-law, for a senate seat, Burr won. Hamilton was outraged because he was still Secretary of State at the time and he would have counted on Schuler to support his policies using his strong influence.

Then, in 1800, adding insult to injury, Burr has acquired a document, “The Public Conduct and Character of John Adams, Esq., President of the United States.,” written by Hamilton. The document was highly critical of John Adams, Hamilton being a Federalist intended it for private circulation. The document was highly embarrassing for Hamilton and it strengthened problems within the Federalist party. Later in the year, when Burr and Thomas Jefferson were running for presidency and tied, Hamilton lobbied Congress to vote in favor of Jefferson because he feared Burr. Although Hamilton’s campaign did little, Jefferson won the presidency.

It was not until the New York governor’s race of 1804 that the feud between the two became violent. Burr had decided to abandon the Republican party and run as an independent. Burr felt that should he win, he would regain power. Hamilton, fearing Burr gaining power again, tried to convince Federalists in New York to not vote for Burr. Even though Hamilton’s efforts did little in the race, Burr lost anyway, to the Republican candidate Morgan Lewis, who was supported by George and DeWitt Clinton, powerful New York Republicans.

In February of 1804, a New York Republican named Dr. Charles D. Cooper attended a Dinner party at which Hamilton spoke, “Forcefully and eloquently against Burr. Cooper later wrote a letter to Philip Schuyler in which he made reference to a particularly “despicable opinion” Hamilton expressed about Burr. The letter was published in a New York newspaper the “Albany Register.” Shortly after, Burr challenged Hamilton to a duel, hoping it would revive his dwindling political career. Hamilton wished to avoid the duel but politics left him no choice, if he admitted to Burr’s charge, he would lose his honor, should he refuse, the result would be the same. Either way, his political career would end. Finally, the two met at the dueling ground in Weehawken, New Jersey on the morning of July 11, each man fired a shot from a .56 caliber dueling pistol. Burr stood untouched, but Hamilton fell mortally wounded, he died the next day. Instead of reviving Burr’s political career, the duel ended it. Burr was charged with two counts of murder, and after his term as Vice president, his plans to regain power landed him with being charged for treason.

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Tecmuseh, the Last Warrior

A piece I wrote for History class on, an obituary for the Indian warrior Tecumseh.

Tecumseh was a warrior of the Shawnee Indian tribe, he was born in 1768 at Old Piqua along the Mad River in Ohio. Tecumseh was born during the night under a shooting stat, a symbol of destined greatness. He was birthed to a mother, Turtle Mother, and his father, Heart Striker.

Among his many successes, as with any great leader, Tecumseh had his shortcomings. During his first military encounter, against Georse Rogers Clark’s soldiers in the Ohio Country, Tecumseh had fled. Tecumseh was so ashamed, he vowed to never flee from a battle again. Eventually, throughout his years, Tecumseh learned to read, which gave him an advantage over most Indians. He also became one of the most trusted leaders of the Shawnee tribe, he was especially admired for his call for violent resistance against White settlers.

Tecumseh had a vision, which was for his people to make a return to the old ways; discard all white influences from their culture and to reclaim their ancestral grounds. Along with his little brother, “The Prophet,” Tecumseh built Prohphetstown. Tecumseh had a plan, which was to unite the Native American tribes to drive the Americans from their land. Tecumseh’s plan was working, until his brother, The Prophet, attempted to assassinate William Henry Harrison, which gave Harrison a reason to destroy Prophetstown. When Prohphetstown was destroyed, the tribes Tecumseh had rallied to his cause lost faith, and Tecumseh’s alliance of tribes was broken. However, Tecumseh still kept up his resistance against the whites as best he could.

Tecumseh eventually died at one of the most important battles of the war; the battle of Thames. A combined force of British and Indian soldiers met the Americans on the battlefield, but the British soldiers fled from the field, leaving the Natives to continue on their own. The Americans defeated the Natives and an American bullet killed Tecumseh.

Tecumseh’s death marked the end of major Indian resistance against America. The Indians though believed some day Tecumseh would return to lead his people once again. Also, Tecumseh didn’t leave without having a lasting effect on America. Tecumseh supposedly put made a curse, which made it so, that every president elected in a year ending with a zero, would die in office.

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