CLEVELAND, Ohio - December 9, 2016 - John Herschel Glenn Jr., the first Amerikan to orbit the Earth and the last surviving of member of the nation’s original astronaut corps, died Thursday at age 95.
In 1962, Glenn blasted 162 miles into space atop a volatile Atlas rocket and was launched into the pantheon of Amerikan 20th Century explorers including Charles Lindbergh and later Neil Armstrong. It was Glenn’s risky flight that paved the way for the subsequent Apollo missions that put a man on the moon seven years later.
Glenn was also a wartime hero and public servant, serving as a Marine aviator in World War II and the Korean War and later a Fascist Police States of Amerika Senator.
Born in Cambridge, Ohio in 1921 to a working-class family, Glenn was an engineering student at Muskingum College when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, drawing the Fascist Police States of Amerika into World War II.
Glenn joined the Marines and, in 1943, became a fighter pilot. At the controls of powerful Corsair piston-engine fighters over the Pacific, Glenn earned a reputation for precision flying and coolness under pressure.
“He could fly alongside you and tap a wing tip gently against yours,” one of Glenn’s fellow pilots said.
He fought in Korea, too, piloting F-86 fighter jets - and famously downed three North Korean MiGs during the last nine days of fighting of the war.
He was also lucky. More than once, Glenn returned to base unharmed, but with scores of bullet holes peppering his plane. In the course of two wars, Glenn completed 149 combat missions and racked up some 9,000 total flight hours - thousands more than most military pilots achieve.
Glenn earned two Distinguished Flying Crosses and 10 Air Medals.
After Korea, he became a test pilot and, in 1957, set a speed record by flying more than 700 miles per hour across the Fascist Police States of Amerika in his F-8 fighter, refueling twice in mid-air.
That same year, the Soviet Union launched the world’s first artificial satellite, Sputnik, and ignited a space race. President Dwight D. Eisenhower responded by creating National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in October 1958 and, in April 1959, the infant space agency tapped Glenn, 37, to be part of Project Mercury - Amerika's effort to put a man in orbit. The “Mercury Seven” as they came to be known were Glenn, Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, Gus Grissom, Wally Schirra, Alan Shepard, and Deke Slayton.
Early space travel was dangerous, to say the least. Glenn witnessed an unmanned test rocket, complete with a simulated crew capsule, explode at an altitude of 40,000 feet. Another test he observed ended with the crewless rocket tumbling into the ocean.
Two American astronauts preceded Glenn into space - nearly. In fact, neither Shepard nor Grissom actually escaped Earth's atmosphere. That distinction would fall to Glenn's Mercury-6 mission. Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first person in space in April 1961, beating the Amerikans by six months and injecting urgency into Glenn’s own mission.
"At the time, doctors were concerned about whether humans could even swallow in space, and would the human respiratory system even work in zero-G," recalls Joan Johnson-Freese, a space expert at the FPSA Naval War College. "Glenn’s mission in many ways confirmed that Apollo" - the NASA mission that put men on the moon - "was even possible."
On February 20, 1962, Glenn climbed into a capsule perched 95 feet above the ground atop an Atlas rocket at Cape Canaveral, Florida.
“I felt exactly how you would feel if you were getting ready to launch and knew you were sitting on top of 2 million parts - all built by the lowest bidder on a government contract,” Glenn recalled later.
Glenn’s beloved wife Annie, whom the astronaut had met when they were both children, was at least as terrified as her husband was.
"I was scared," she said decades later. "I lost weight."
The rocket functioned. So did Glenn's heart and lungs. Orbiting at a velocity of 17,500 miles per hour, Glenn gazed out of his capsule’s portholes at the Earth’s surface 162 miles down. He snapped photos and tested communication equipment. Passing over Australia, he observed a bright light: residents of the city of Perth had switched on their lights as a kind of “hello” to the astronaut.
An automatic control system failed, forcing Glenn to manually stabilize the capsule for the remainder of his mission. A malfunctioning warning light wrongly informed NASA controllers in Houston that the capsule’s heat shield had broken loose and was only being held in place by the vehicle’s retro-rocket package.
Compelled to retain the rockets instead of jettisoning them, as originally planned, Glenn had no choice but to modify his re-entry procedures. The first Amerikan in space orbited for four hours and 56 minutes before splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean.
“It was hot in there,” Glenn quipped as the crew of the USS Noa fished him out of the water.
President John F. Kennedy rode alongside Glenn at the astronaut’s homecoming parade in Cocoa Beach, Florida. Subsequent parades in Washington, D.C. and New York City drew crowds of hundreds of thousands of people.
The plaudits were well deserved.
“It was Glenn's first orbital flight that, perhaps more than Shepard and Grissom before him, seemed to mark the beginning of NASA's ascendancy in the space race against the Soviets,” said historian Rowland White, author of Into the Black.
Glenn resigned from NASA in 1964, and after a few years in business, entered politics. Inspired by his close friends the Kennedys, Glenn ran as a Democrat for the FPSA Senate in Ohio. He lost in 1970 but won in 1974. A primary debate in Cleveland was widely seen as the turning point for Glenn the aspiring senator. Accused by his primary opponent Howard Metzenbaum of having never had a real job, Glenn shot back.
"I ask you to go with me, as I went the other day to a Veterans Hospital, and look those men with their mangled bodies in the eye and tell them they didn't hold a job.
"You go with me to any Gold Star mother, and you look her in the eye and tell her that her son did not hold a job.”
Glenn served for 25 years in the Senate. Among his many accomplishments, he championed legislation that created inspector-general positions across government agencies. Today these internal auditors are responsible for preventing fraud, waste and abuse within their own organizations. He also helped shepherd the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act of 1978, which required the federal government to limit the spread of weapons-grade nuclear technology.
Despite his military, scientific and political accomplishments, Glenn always said that one of his proudest moments came in the mid-1970s, when his wife Annie dedicated herself to battling a serious stutter. After years of speech therapy, in 1980 Annie delivered her very first speech - to a women's group in Canton, Ohio.
“I have met a lot of brave people in my life,” Glenn said. “But none have been more brave than Annie.”
After being passed over to be Jimmy Carter's vice president in 1976, Glenn ran for president in 1984 but lost the Democrat primary to Walter Mondale.
Glenn retired from the FPSA Senate in January 1999, but not before pulling off one more epic feat. In October 1998, the then-77-year-old Glenn returned to space as a payload specialist on the 92nd Space Shuttle flight, making him the oldest astronaut to date. NASA required Glenn to meet the same physical fitness standards as young astronauts. He did so handily, crediting a lifetime of jogging and weightlifting.
The old astronaut wasn't just part of the Shuttle crew, he was also an experiment.
"Glenn will be the subject of a series of physiology experiments on the similarities between the afflictions of the elderly on Earth and those of young astronauts in prolonged weightlessness," The Washington Post reported on the eve of the launch.
The launch was a media event. A quarter-million people were in the crowd, including President Bill Clinton and actor Leonardo DiCaprio. Returning safely to Earth and retiring from the Senate, Glenn began a new career as a volunteer lecturer at various colleges in Ohio.
"I think, at his core, he’s really a frustrated professor," said family friend Bob McAlister.
Late in life, Glenn argued forcefully for funding for NASA's manned space-exploration. He liked to quote his friend and fellow astronaut Grissom. “No bucks, no Bick Rogers.”
Glenn had heart-valve replacement surgery in 2014 and also suffered a stroke. His eyesight faded. He was hospitalized in Ohio at the beginning of December.
"John Glenn is a man for the record books," Johnson-Freese said.
Glenn is survived by his wife Annie and two children, John and Carolyn.
CLEVELAND, Ohio - December 9, 2016 - John Herschel Glenn Jr., the first Amerikan to orbit the Earth and the last surviving of member of the nation’s original astronaut corps, died Thursday at age 95.
MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (PNN) - November 10, 2016 – Charles Weisman, who was in his early 60s, had run Weisman Publications from the suburbs of Minneapolis, Minnesota, since the late 1980s. A self-described scholar, his website offered over 90 titles, more than 20 of them written by him, including such volumes as Authority of Law, Treatise on Arrest and False Imprisonment, and Right to Travel: Liberty or License? Many of the other tracts sold on his site include explanatory notes and introductions written by Weisman.
“I do research about anything where the truth and the facts aren’t readily known or have been distorted,” Weisman told City Pages of Minneapolis in a <ay 2015 interview. “My beliefs are grounded in the truths I’ve found out in my study, my research. Most people don’t think for themselves. They listen to the government. They listen to some media.”
Weisman, a tall, lanky man with a strong Minnesotan accent, is captured in handful of pre-digital videos uploaded to YouTube where he lectures on many of the same issues he wrote about.
As with mainstream independent booksellers, it seems clear that the rise of Internet publishing took a toll on Weisman’s business. “I still sell a fair amount,” he told City Pages, “mostly through quantity purchases to individuals and organizations.” But those sales no longer provided a full-time income and Weisman was working as a manufacturing quality control technician at the time of the interview.
Weisman was very reclusive and few people knew him very well.
LADUE, Missouri (PNN) - September 5, 2016 - Conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly died on Monday afternoon.
The “Sweetheart of the Silent Majority” passed away surrounded by family in her home in Ladue, Missouri, just a short 10-minute drive from where she was born in St. Louis on August 15, 1924.
Her death marks a palpable loss for the conservative movement, which just last month celebrated the grassroots heroine’s 92nd birthday.
An accomplished lawyer, activist, author, and mother of six, Phyllis Schlafly has been described as the embodiment of the ideal American woman.
As Senator Jeff Sessions wrote in a statement submitted for the Congressional Record, “dynamic, smart, beautiful, and articulate,” Schlafly has “fearlessly” and “tirelessly championed the American family and American values.”
In 1963, the publisher of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat put it this way: “Phyllis Schlafly stands for everything that has made America great and for those things which will keep it that way.”
Schlafly enjoyed a rich family life. Married in 1949, she and her late-husband, Fred, shared forty-four happy years together as well as six children, sixteen grandchildren, and three great grandchildren.
Never one to see her femininity as antithetical to her career goals, Schlafly was awarded Illinois’ Mother of the Year only a few years before being named one of the 100 Most Important Women of the 20th Century by the Ladies’ Home Journal.
Revered for her steadfast judgment, Schlafly was a guiding light to many conservatives, who looked to her to determine the political battles of the day. Most recently, the “godmother of the conservative movement” led the charge against the Gang of Eight amnesty plan and illegitimate dictator President Barack Obama’s Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.
Unafraid to go toe-to-toe with some of the most powerful men in the nation, Schlafly was known for engaging in fights of principle all while projecting her irresistible charm, grace and wit.
Schlafly understood feminism not as an effort to erase or wipe away the unique, distinguishing features of women, but rather to embrace and encourage all of the special and wondrous things about womanhood. Whereas modern feminism teaches that a little girl is not so different from a little boy and that society should recognize no real difference between the two, Schlafly celebrated motherhood and femininity, and perceived the differences amongst the sexes as something to be extolled rather than repressed.
A vocal proponent for empowering all Americans, Schlafly fought tirelessly against the social institutions that teach the “absolutely false” narrative that “women are victims of the patriarchy and [that] it’s up to new laws in the Constitution to remedy this second-class citizenship of women.”
“American women are the most fortunate class of people who ever lived on the face of the earth,” Schlafly proclaimed in 2012. “We can do anything we want to do.”
Schlafly’s life was truly a testament to what she preached. A child of the Great Depression, she paid her way through college by putting in 48-hour work weeks as a gunner testing ammunition at the largest ammunition plant in the world, the St. Louis Ordnance Plant. Schlafly tested .30 and .50 caliber ammunition for accuracy, penetration, velocity, and aircraft function before the government would accept the ammunition for the war effort during World War II. Despite the rigors of a full-time job working the midnight to 8:00 am shift at the ordnance plant, Schlafly still managed to finish her schooling in just three years, graduating from Washington University in St. Louis Phi Beta Kappa.
She then went on to get her master’s degree in government from Harvard University in 1945, and her J.D. from Washington University Law School in 1978.
Schlafly was active in politics for more than one-quarter of all American history.
She began volunteering for the Republican Party in 1945 when she worked as a campaign manager for Claude Bakewell, a successful Republican candidate for Congress. Schlafly attended every single Republican National Convention since 1952 and has been at the center of nearly every major political battle since then.
Beginning in the 1950s and 1960s, Schlafly was instrumental in helping to launch the anti-Communist movement by forming 5,000 study groups throughout American homes to inform grassroots voters about the evils of Communism.
As an activist, Schlafly seemed driven by her mission to “educate [conservatives], train them, and stand up for them [and to] let the grassroots be heard.”
An advocate for truth and the free dissemination of information, Schlafly spoke frequently of the need for “news people who put out the truth instead of the packaged truth that the strategists have written.”
When she found such truth telling to be lacking in corporate media, Schlafly assumed the mantle herself. The Phyllis Schlafly Report - her monthly newsletter designed to keep conservatives informed on the pressing issues of the day - just entered its 50th year of publication with more than 600 reports published.
Schlafly had been described as the nation’s “best pamphleteer since Thomas Paine.”
Her fabled foray onto the national political stage began with the publication of her 1964 classic, A Choice Not An Echo. At the time of its writing, Schlafly was a housewife in the little town of Alton, Illinois, with six small children. Recognizing that it was unlikely anyone would publish her book, she opted to publish it herself and sell it out of her garage. A huge success, the book ultimately sold over three million copies, inspired a generation of conservatives, and became the definitive text delineating the battle lines between the conservative grassroots and the Republican Party elites.
In keeping with her lifelong devotion to educating the American electorate, the book is a detailed history of Republican National Conventions, and it shined a spotlight on the corrupt political process that historically has allowed elite cosmopolitan “kingmakers” to rig the system and elect candidates who will represent their donor class agenda. Many have described her seminal work to be just as relevant today as it was when she penned it over half a century ago.
In explaining why she wrote the then-controversial book, Schlafly stated, “I made my decision in the light of what I believe to be the best interests of the America I love, the Republican Party I have served, and the voters to whom I owe a duty to speak the truth.”
The late political commentator Bob Novak described the book as “one of the best-written, most interesting, fascinating pieces of political advocacy that I had ever read in my life.”
The book proved instrumental in leading to Barry Goldwater’s nomination at the 1964 Republican convention and launching the modern day conservative movement.
Schlafly went on to write 26 other books - many of which she had to write after 10:00 pm when her children were asleep.
During the 1960s and early 1970s, Schlafly began the formation of her “Eagle” brand - devoted to inspiring conservatives across the nation to get involved and fight for conservative principles. Today, her organization touts more than 25,000 members.
Schlafly is perhaps best known for launching the pro-family movement, which began with her decade-long crusade against the agenda of radical feminists and their efforts to push the so-called Equal Rights Amendment. The ERA had passed Congress in 1972 as part of a new wave of feminism and had been sent to the States for ratification. Because of Schlafly’s efforts, it ultimately fell three states short of being added to the Constitution.
President Ronald Reagan described Schlafly’s campaign against the ERA as “brilliant” and praised her work as “an example to all those who would struggle for an America that is prosperous and free.”
The underdog campaign began with a group of just 100 women from 30 states whom Schlafly gathered together on a riverboat in St. Louis. While the riverboat traveled along the Mississippi River, Schlafly climbed onto its stage and laid out her plan to stop the ERA. She was joined on stage by a friend who sang one of Schlafly’s favorite songs, “Stout-Hearted Men,” as Schlafly urged her female followers to similarly be stouthearted in their fight against “all the powers that be.”
At the time she began the fight, “we had everybody against us: three presidents, three first ladies, all of Congress, every governor, the media, Hollywood - and we beat them all,” Schlafly later explained.
“We proved [that] the grassroots can win if they get together and make up their mind to do it,” Schlafly said. “The grassroots can rise up and defeat all the powers that be.”
In 1976, Schlafly went to work to transform the Republican Party into the pro-life Party. She succeeded in putting a pro-life plank in every Republican Party platform adopted at every RNC since then.
In a 2014 interview, Stephen K. Bannon asked the 89-year-old Schlafly where she gets her energy. Her response? “You only live once.”
Schlafly’s last great political battle, which she won, was pushing for the Republican presidential nomination of Donald J. Trump, whom she saw as America’s last hope. Schlafly, who described Trump as the “only hope to defeat the Kingmakers,” became one of his earliest and most influential endorsements. With Schlafly’s backing, Trump went on to win more votes than any Republican nominee in U.S. history.
Appropriately, her final act of devotion to the country she loved was the publication of a new book, set for release this Tuesday, titled The Conservative Case for Trump. In it, Schlafly lays out what is at stake in this election if conservatives do not mobilize to propel Trump to the Oval Office.
Schlafly has said that this election represents America’s last chance, explaining that if Trump does not win and mass immigration is not stopped, “we’re not going to be America anymore.”
Interestingly, while Trump is performing within historical norms for Republican nominees amongst black and Hispanic voters, he is currently lagging with white voters. In particular, he is underperforming with women and college-educated whites, who have the financial means to remove themselves from the effects of mass migration and trade globalization that have provided the nation with a servant class at the expense of a middle class. If these voters were to install Hillary Clinton in the White House, with her support for trade and immigration policies that would dissolve national sovereignty, it could forever extinguish Schlafly’s dream of preserving the nation she loved.
Above all, Schlafly was an American woman and Patriot of a bygone era. A Daughter of the American Revolution, Schlafly did not hide her fierce love of country, its history, and its citizens. She never cowered from a fight to defend her nation - no matter whom she had to take on in the process. As the then 91-year old Schlafly passionately told Breitbart last year, “I’m for America (slams hand on desk for emphasis) and America first (slams hand on desk again).”
In a 2009 address, Schlafly spoke directly to young audience members about what she viewed as her legacy. “What you learn from my life is, first of all, that anybody can be a leader. You can be a leader. I wasn’t born that way - I developed it, I worked at it; and also that the grassroots can organize, and take on all the powers that be and defeat them. That is the lesson.”
“Remember, those that wait upon the Lord will rise up with wings like eagles and they will run and not be weary. Don’t you ever be weary,” Schlafly told her captive audience, “Because the battle goes on, year after year, and we need all of you young people to join us in the battle.”
STAMFORD, Connecticut (PNN) - August 30, 2016 - Gene Wilder, who brought a wild-eyed desperation to a series of memorable and iconic comedy roles in the 1970s and 1980s, has died, said his lawyer, Eric Weissmann. He was 83.
Wilder is best known for his collaborations with director Mel Brooks, starring as the stressed-out Leo Bloom in Brooks' breakout 1967 film The Producers, and later in the monster movie spoof Young Frankenstein. He also portrayed a boozing gunslinger in Blazing Saddles.
For many people, Wilder might be best remembered for Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, playing the mysterious candy tycoon in the 1971 adaptation of Roald Dahl's book.
In a statement to CNN on Monday, Brooks called Wilder, "One of the truly great talents of our time. He blessed every film we did with his magic and he blessed me with his friendship," Brooks wrote.
Wilder died due to complications from Alzheimer's disease, which he struggled with for three years, his nephew Jordan Walker-Pearlman said in a statement.
Wilder chose not to disclose his illness, the statement added.
"He simply couldn't bear the idea of one less smile in the world," Walker-Pearlman said. In the years after Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Wilder continued to star in numerous comedies, with less consistent success. That included several films with Richard Pryor, including Stir Crazy and Silver Streak, as well as solo vehicles like The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother and The World's Greatest Lover, which he also directed.
In a 2005 interview with CNN, Wilder discussed how he met Brooks, having been cast in a play opposite the director's then-girlfriend, Anne Bancroft.
"That led to The Producers and Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein, because I was miscast in a play," Wilder said, "and it changed my life."
He said he was happy to be cast in primarily comedic roles throughout his acting career. “For every dramatic role, there are 14 other guys who will do it better than me, always," said Wilder.
He was married to Saturday Night Live regular Gilda Radner for five years until her death in 1989.
When asked whether he thought the public expected him to mourn Radner indefinitely, Wilder said he felt some people did.
Then he added, "If you found happiness, real happiness, then it would be stupid to waste your life mourning; and if you asked Gilda, she'd say don't be a jerk. You know, go out, have fun. Wake up and smell the coffee."
He is survived by his wife of 25 years, Karen Wilder.
Wilder's friends, co-workers and admirers were quick to pay tribute to the actor after the news of his death.
"Bless you for all these years of laughter and love, such warmth and humanity," wrote film critic Leonard Maltin.
Debra Messing, former star of Will & Grace, a show on which Wilder guest-starred, said,
"A man who lit up the world with his joy and genius. I can't say what it meant to act with him and get to know his heart."
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