Ohio Man Receives Prison Sentence for Attempting to Aid ISIS and Plotting a Major Terror Attack in US

H/T Western Journal.

This bastard needs to be shot.

A man will spend two decades in prison years after he attempted to help undercover federal agents he thought were involved with ISIS plan a massacre against a synagogue.

A Holland, Ohio, man named Damon Joseph, who also goes by Abdullah Ali Yusuf, was arrested in 2018 and arraigned in federal court after he accepted firearms that were modified to be inoperable by FBI agents following an investigation.

According to agents, they interacted with Joseph, now 23, after he expressed online support for Islamist terrorists online.

“Beginning in September 2018, Joseph engaged in a series of online conversations with several undercover FBI agents where he repeatedly stated and affirmed his support for ISIS and produced propaganda which he believed was to be used for ISIS recruitment efforts,” the Justice Department said in a news release on Monday.

The DOJ said Joseph indicated he wanted to kill Jews attending at least two synagogues in Toledo.

 

“Over the next few weeks, Joseph stated to an undercover agent that he wanted to participate in an attack on behalf of ISIS. On Dec. 2, 2018, Joseph forwarded a document to the agent that laid out his plans for such an attack on ‘Jews who support state of Israel,’” the department said. “Joseph then stated that he did not necessarily see this as ‘a martyrdom operation’ as his plan accounted for an escape and potential combat with law enforcement.”

“On Dec. 4, Joseph met with an undercover FBI agent and discussed conducting a mass shooting at a synagogue. Joseph identified two synagogues in the greater Toledo area as potential targets and discussed the types of weapons he believed would inflict mass casualties,” the department said. “Joseph made written notes about the firearms he wanted and provided them to the undercover agent, stating he wanted AR 15s, AK 47, Glock handguns and ammunition.”

The man told one federal agent that he hoped to specifically seek out and kill a rabbi.


Joseph was arrested after he accepted a duffel bag of the inoperable weapons. He pleaded guilty in May on counts of attempting to provide resources to a terrorist organization and attempting to commit a hate crime, WTOL-TV reported.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Mark J. Lesko for the DOJ’s National Security Division announced Joseph would spend 20 years in prison in the department’s news release.

“Inspired by ISIS, Damon Joseph planned to conduct a deadly terrorist attack at a synagogue in Ohio. He hoped to cause mass casualties by selecting a time when numerous innocent victims would be present,” Lesko said. “For this conduct, he will now spend 20 years in prison.”

U.S. Attorney Bridget M. Brennan of the Northern District of Ohio said a lifetime supervised release was part of a deal Joseph made with federal prosecutors.

“Today, Damon Joseph was sentenced to 20 years of incarceration and a lifetime term of supervised release for attempting to support ISIS through violent attacks on Jewish congregants, including children, and any first responders who sought to protect and assist them,” Brennan said.

“It is difficult to conceive of a more heinous plot, let alone reconcile that this plot involved violating our country’s solemn obligation to protect the civil rights of every person in an effort to support a foreign terrorist organization.”

Eric B. Smith. the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Cleveland Field Office, said Joseph was radicalized online in only a few months.

“In a matter of months, Damon Joseph progressed from a self-radicalized, virtual jihadist to planning an actual attack on fellow Americans,” Smith said. “Mr. Joseph will now serve time behind bars for his actions.”

“In the name of ISIS, Joseph planned a mass-casualty attack against citizens simply wanting to attend their desired houses of worship, which were two Toledo-area synagogues. Joseph’s terroristic actions are antithetical to a just and free society, and he will serve a lengthy sentence as a result,” he added.

Kildin Island Incident: When a Russian Submarine Surfaced Right Under an American Spy Sub

H/T War History OnLine.

I can only imagine the shock of this accident at sea.

Although the Cold War ‘ended’ with the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the tensions built up over the previous 45 years did not simply fade away. The US in particular was very interested in the circumstances the former Soviet forces now found themselves in. The US Navy was tasked with gathering some of this information. The task would result in an embarrassing collision between two nations’ nuclear submarines.

 

The Cold War had ended, but the spying had not

USS Baton Rouge on a calm day
The Baton Rouge (SSN-689) cruises the ocean on a calm day. (Photo Credit: U.S. Navy – cnrc.navy.mil)

Russia was in political and financial chaos after the Soviet Union fell, but that did not make their military, especially their powerful Navy, any less deadly. The US Navy began studying the movement and communications of the Russian Navy in their ports, by listening for vessels and tapping into Russian communication cables on the seabed.  These operations were known as “Operation Holy Stone.”

In February of 1992, a US Los Angeles-class nuclear attack submarine, the USS Baton Rouge, was near the Russian port of Severomorsk as part of these intelligence-gathering missions. Officially, the US submarine was in this location collecting or placing listening apparatus on the seabed.

The crew continued with their mission in the belief they were completely alone and undetected.

11 February 1992

Russian Submarine that destroyed US sub by accident
The Russian B-276 Kostroma (Photo Credit: Russian Navy)

Around 12 miles from the shore, in an area the US considered international waters, the USS Baton Rouge unexpectedly collided with a Russian submarine, rocking the crew inside. The submarine was the B-276 Kostroma, a 9,000-ton Sierra-class nuclear-powered vessel.

The Kostroma hit Baton Rouge at 8 mph as it was trying to surface. That speed seems slow but carried significant force due to the enormous weight of the submarine. Both submarines suffered extensive damage from the accident but both were able to return to their respective ports.

The Russian submarine sustained damage to its conning tower (pictured above) because of its upward motion. The American submarine received heavy scratches and a torn ballast tank. Fortunately, no one was harmed by the incident, but the situation for Baton Rouge was dangerous as it only had a single hull, which if ruptured would allow water to rush in.

Political reaction

USS Baton Rouge with crew
A starboard beam view of the nuclear-powered attack submarine Baton Rouge (SSN-689) underway near La Maddalena, Italy. (Photo Credit: U.S. Navy photographer – Department of Defense Still Media Collection, courtesy of dodmedia.osd.mil)

Naturally, the event was a major political disaster for the US, which was exposed for still keeping tabs on Russian activity. While the location of the collision was considered international waters by the US, the Russians disagreed and claimed the US had illegally entered their waters.

The US claim that the Baton Rouge was only in the area to manage listening devices wasn’t accepted by the Russians, who believed the two submarines knew of each others’ presence and were playing a game of cat-and-mouse. Further investigations by analysts have supported this idea too, as it seems unlikely that Baton Rouge would have come this close without being detected by Russian anti-submarine systems.

Still, the collision itself was almost certainly an accident. In fact, before returning to their respective ports, the USS Baton Rouge circled around to the Russian sub to see if they needed assistance following the accidental collision.

The event prompted the meeting of US Secretary of State James Baker and Russian president Boris Yeltsin to discuss the situation.

What happened to the submarines?

USS Baton Rouge
USS Baton Rouge in dry dock, shortly after her decommission. (Photo Credit: US Navy photo
#270546 / Darryl Baker)

Once Baton Rouge was back in home waters, the full extent of the damage was assessed, and the decision was made to scrap the vessel. The submarine was due to be refueled which is expensive and long process for nuclear-powered vessels. This, combined with the costs of repairing her damaged hull meant it was uneconomic to keep the submarine in service. She was struck from service in early 1993 and scrapped later in the year at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington.

The Russian submarine did not suffer from the same fate and enjoyed a long career after the event. She was repaired at the Nerpa shipyards in Snezhnogorsk by June 29, 1992. Kostroma received a major refit in 2005, before again returning to service.

One of the most recently known upgrades to the Russian submarine was the addition of an updated Kizhuch sonar complex.

Today, she is in reserve and bears a number “1” kill marker on her conning tower, for her part in Baton Rouge’s accidental defeat.

In 1968, When Nixon Said ‘Sock It To Me’ on ‘Laugh-In,’ TV Was Never Quite the Same Again

H/T Smithsonian Magazine.

The show’s rollicking one-liners and bawdy routines paved the way for “Saturday Night Live” and other cutting-edge television satire

BKDMAJ.jpg
The comedy show Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, starring Dan Rowan and Dick Martin (above), debuted on NBC on January 22, 1968. Moviestore Collection, Alamy Photos

We’re living in a golden age of presidential comedy on television. Presidential candidate Donald Trump hosted “Saturday Night Live” in November 2015, igniting a firestorm of controversy about the benefit the appearance might give his campaign. Hillary Clinton had appeared on the sketch comedy program the previous month, as Bernie Sanders would in February 2016. Impersonations of Trump, Barack Obama, Clinton and others have been the mainstay of late-night comedy for years, not to mention politically-charged monologues from such television luminaries as Stephen Colbert, John Oliver and Samantha Bee.

It may seem normal now, but it hasn’t always been this way. Following the tumult of the Great Depression and World War II, the august institution of the presidency was seen as too dignified to be subjected to anything more than the most mild and bipartisan ribbing, especially on that low-brow medium known as television. That all changed in 1968 when Richard Nixon appeared on “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.”

Fifty years ago this month, “Laugh-In” premiered on NBC, and it quickly became a phenomenon.

Combining fast-paced one-liners, absurd sketches, non-sequiturs, musical performances and celebrity appearances, the show paved the way for television sketch comedies, including Saturday Night Live (producer Lorne Michaels was a Laugh-In writer). It also launched the careers of numerous actors, especially women, including Goldie Hawn, Lily Tomlin and Ruth Buzzi. It introduced catch phrases like “sock it to me,” “verrrry interesting,” and “look that up in your Funk & Wagnalls.”

Perhaps the most long-lasting and influential moment in “Laugh-In”’s incredibly successful five-year run, however, was that cameo appearance by presidential candidate Richard M. Nixon in 1968.

It wasn’t very funny by modern standards, but Nixon’s stilted delivery of the show’s signature catchphrase “sock it to me” was part of a revolutionary effort to reach out to younger voters, taken against the advice of Nixon’s campaign managers.

In 1968, When Nixon Said 'Sock It To Me' on 'Laugh-In,' TV Was Never Quite the Same Again
A record album in the collections of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History features the show’s signature psychedelic design. NMAH

The show’s title, “Laugh-In,” referenced the sit-ins and be-ins of the Civil Rights and hippie movements. “Laugh-In”’s creators Dan Rowan and Dick Martin updated the traditional vaudeville show to give it a modern flare. Like its CBS peer “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,” “Laugh-In” spoke to its politically aware, and socially conscious audience with rapid-fire one-liners.

The memorable set design, the mainstay of the show, was a summer of love-styled joke wall painted with brightly-colored psychedelic designs and flowers. Actors swung open doors to deliver their quips and one-liners, most of them barely able to control their laughs. But it was the faux news segments and the comedy sketches involving bumbling judges and police officers that with a wink and a nod challenged traditional forms of authority.

So why did the straight-laced, establishment candidate Nixon appear on this wild, countercultural program? Nixon had famously flubbed his television personality test in the groundbreaking 1960 Presidential debate, the first ever broadcast on network television. Compared to the young, telegenic John F. Kennedy, Nixon, who was recovering from illness and exhausted from a weekend spent campaigning, looked pallid and sweaty. Eight years later, Nixon, who never again participated in a televised debate, was eager to project a better image on the small screen.

“Laugh-In” writer Paul Keyes, a fervent Nixon supporter and media adviser, convinced the candidate to make the brief cameo while campaigning in Los Angeles. At first, Keyes suggested Nixon could make a reference to the show’s catchphrase “you bet your sweet bippy,” but the candidate wasn’t having any of it.

According to television historian Hal Erickson, Nixon told his advisers that he didn’t know what ‘bippy’ meant, and didn’t want to find out. They settled on “sock it to me,” but producer George Schlatter recalled that it took six takes for Nixon to make it through the phrase without sounding angry or offended. Schlatter remembered running out of the studio with the Nixon cameo footage, fearful that the candidate would change his mind or that his campaign team would try to stop him, but television history had been made.

In 1968, When Nixon Said 'Sock It To Me' on 'Laugh-In,' TV Was Never Quite the Same Again
A lunch box (above: front and back), featuring the stars from Laugh-In, is held in the collections of the American History Museum. NMAH

Nixon’s cameo appeared on the season premiere of “Laugh-In”’s 1968-1969 season, two months before Election Day. The candidate also wisely aired a campaign ad during the episode, spending top dollar for a spot on what was the number one rated program that season.

For his part, Nixon received the standard $210 appearance fee for his work, which went straight into his campaign coffers. His short stint as a Laugh-In guest certainly didn’t swing the election for Nixon, but its boost to his relatability certainly didn’t hurt in a tumultuous election shaped by assassinations, street violence and protest over the war in Vietnam. Fellow presidential candidates Hubert Humphrey and George Wallace were also offered the opportunity to appear on the show, but both declined.

“Laugh-In” reached its zenith of popularity and cultural influence that season, before losing star Goldie Hawn to Hollywood and feeling less fresh as competitors like “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” and “All in the Family further pushed the boundaries of political humor. The show slipped from its number one ranking in its 1968-1969 season to 13, then 22, then 35 by its final season in 1973. The show had ushered in a new era of contemporary and political humor, but then couldn’t keep pace with the rapidly changing face of television.

The Smothers Brothers never scored a guest appearance by a presidential candidate, but their more direct and pointed political satire seemed to better match the mood of the young television audience by 1969.

On their “Comedy Hour,” Tom and Dick Smothers had evolved from gregarious and milquetoast folk singers to important comedic commentators on topics ranging from the Vietnam War and the draft to race issues and civil rights. Challenging the entertainment industry’s blacklist for individuals suspected of communist ties, they invited Pete Seeger back to television to sing “Waist Deep in The Big Muddy,” a thinly-veiled critique of President Johnson’s Vietnam policy.

Their merciless mocking of the political system with Pat Paulsen’s satirical presidential campaign was matched only by its jabs at organized religion with the notorious sermons of comic David Steinberg. But perhaps most brazen of all occurred in the third season when producers tried to air a segment with Harry Belafonte performing his protest song “Don’t Stop the Carnival” against a backdrop of footage of police beatings at the 1968 Democratic Presidential Convention, but the bit was cut before the broadcast.

Battling the CBS censors and landing themselves on Nixon’s list of enemies, the Smothers Brothers didn’t just reference current events; they encouraged their audience to take a stand. “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” may have surpassed “Laugh-In” in contemporary relevance, but it didn’t last as long on air. Amidst controversy, CBS canceled the show during its 1969 season.

Today, it’s hard to imagine a time in which comedy and presidential politics were separate spheres, but 1968 marked a turning point in television and political history. “Laugh-In” writer Chris Bearde recalled receiving a call from President-Elect Nixon in the writer’s room two weeks after the election thanking the show’s cast and crew for helping him get elected. Though George Schlatter took heat from friends for aiding Nixon’s campaign, in recent interviews he has recognized the importance of that moment in television history. “Now you can’t have an election without the candidates going on every show in sight, but at that point it was revolutionary.”

It’s a double cheeseburger world, and we’re just living in it

H/T Chicago Tribune.

I knew the era of the double cheeseburger had officially arrived when I encountered the burger at the downstairs bar of Maple & Ash, a glitzy Gold Coast steakhouse that opened in October. Most steakhouses serve stoic oversized burgers, with imposing beef patties. But this bawdy newcomer had the gall to forgo all of that nonsense and serve a greasy, messy double cheeseburger — so unwieldy I needed to wrap one of the bar’s cloth napkins around my neck to prevent staining my clothes. I loved it.

(To be clear, when I say the era of the double cheeseburger, I’m talking about the modern era of the double cheeseburger. We’ll get into that distinction in a minute.)

 
ADVERTISEMENT

Chicago has always loved burgers, but for many years the trend has been for them to get bigger and fussier. Sure, there is something primally satisfying about digging into a 10-ounce patty of beef, like the kind you score at Kuma’s Corner in Avondale, where they go so far as to put entire bratwursts on top of the beef. But this arms race ignored the very essence of a burger, trading the simplicity of beef and cheese for an excuse to add unnecessary, froufrou ingredients and ridiculous, ill-suited buns.

 
 
 
 
We challenged the chefs behind some of Chicago’s biggest, craziest, messiest burgers to eat the monsters they’ve created. Read the story behind the video here.

The embrace of the simple double cheeseburger by the kind of trend-aware restaurant you may expect to follow the Kuma’s model has been happening over the past few years. It’s hard to say where it started — Edzo’s, the beloved Evanston burger shop, opened in 2009 with a simple double cheeseburger (made, of course, from locally sourced, sustainable meat); M Burger, built into the side of posh restaurant Tru, hit Chicago proper in 2010 with a double on its menu — but one can argue it was West Loop diner Au Cheval, opened in 2012, that began to push the two-thin-patties model into the spotlight

 
 
The Au Cheval burger: the one that influenced it all.

Au Cheval’s burger is currently the most acclaimed in Chicago, with nods from the Food Network, Bon Appetit, Travel + Leisure, Time Out, USA Today, Zagat and this publication, among many others. After its burger blew up, you started seeing the double cheeseburger everywhere. Yet, for all the praise, this style of burger is, at its heart, a straightforward diner classic.

“It’s not a revolutionary idea,” says Au Cheval owner Brendan Sodikoff. “I don’t think we pioneered the idea of a double cheeseburger. I think In-N-Out was doing it, McDonald’s has done it, every other fast casual diner and burger joint in the country has done it.”ADVERTISEMENT

History

Which brings us back to the distinction I promised. This is the new era of the double cheeseburger, but the style has been around for a long time — 70 or even more years, depending on whom you ask. George Motz, author of “Hamburger America,” the definitive work on burger history and culture in this country (currently in its third edition), believes the double cheeseburger came about almost accidentally. “In the very beginning, there was only one size of burger,” says Motz, “If you wanted more burger, the cooks would add two balls to make a bigger patty.” The change, he believes, came when ground beef started to be sold pre-pattied, to help streamline the burger-making process. This regular size made it much easier to stack.

Bob’s Big Boy is credited with serving the first double cheeseburger in 1937. But any burger connoisseur knows that something else lurks in that burger — an extra bun. Between the two patties is third bun, which is the same blueprint that McDonald’s swiped when it created the Big Mac. While Motz notes that the extra bun does help soak up some juices, turning pleasingly soft and saturated, he thinks the extra slice had more to do with economics: “The bun is cheap filler.”

A real double cheeseburger needs no filler. While it’s hard to know who figured it out first, one restaurant that really helped popularize the style was In-N-Out. The much loved California chain launched in 1948 with a double double, which features two beef patties and two slices of cheese, along with lettuce, tomato, onion and a pink-hued sauce, labeled “spread” on the menu, that is very reminiscent of Thousand Island dressing.

Steak 'n Shake, a classic purveyor of double cheeseburgers, was founded in Illinois in 1931.
Steak ‘n Shake, a classic purveyor of double cheeseburgers, was founded in Illinois in 1931. (Kevin Pang / Chicago Tribune)

Of course, other chains produced top-quality double cheeseburgers at the same time too. Steak ‘n Shake (founded in Illinois in 1931) specialized in burgers smashed on a griddle until thin and well browned. While the single steak burger works, the real magic happens with the double.

Another classic double cheeseburger option that also happens to be native to Chicago is the Big Baby, a specialty of the Southwest Side. Along with two patties, a slice of cheese, ketchup, mustard and pickles, each burger gets a tangle of richly caramelized onions.

Thanks to these restaurants and many noble joints like them, the double cheeseburger never truly went away. But the American populace became distracted. We subjected ourselves to all manner of trendy burger mishaps: gorging on oversized patties, losing ourselves in topping craziness, and falling prey to years of subpar fast food in the name of cheapness.

Until now.

If you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet, it’s time. The double cheeseburger not only has a lot of great history behind it, but I can prove it’s more delicious than the standard oversize burger.[Most read] Lawsuit against Dennis Hastert involving hush-money pact is settled before trial »

Burger science

Why does a double cheeseburger taste meatier than most larger burgers? Because double cheeseburgers are the height of ground beef engineering.

When beef interacts with a hot griddle, it develops a beautiful dark brown color. While helping to make the exterior crispy, the heat also develops the Maillard reaction (named for the French physician who first identified the reaction in 1910). This process is responsible for the complex, meaty flavors associated with roasted meats and, if you’re catching my drift, delectable burgers.

Try this: Cook a 1/2-pound patty on a griddle, and you get two nicely browned sides. But if you cook two 1/4-pound patties, you have the same amount of beef but now you suddenly have four browned sides, effectively doubling the Maillard reaction of each bite. As Motz also reminded me, if each patty is salted on both sides (as it should be), you’ll also have twice the amount of seasoning. Adding two slices of cheese instead of one further adds fuel to the savory bomb.

Proportion matters[Most read] Trump Tower penthouse listed for $30M, making it the most expensive actively listed home in Chicago »

If a double cheeseburger bests a single, what stops a triple cheeseburger from taking the crown? This gets to the issue of proportion. The best burgers ensure that you get all the components in each and every bite. If too large, you run the risk of the dreaded burrito distribution dilemma — the sad fate of a poorly constructed burrito when all the components are unevenly spread, leaving you with a bite that is all sour cream. Keeping things compact helps avoid this problem.

You can't talk about the double cheeseburger without talking about In-N-Out Burger, although there are sadly no locations in Chicago.
You can’t talk about the double cheeseburger without talking about In-N-Out Burger, although there are sadly no locations in Chicago. (Karen Tapia / LA Times)

I posed this question to Motz, and he brought the conversation back to In-N-Out. “The double double is pretty perfect,” admits Motz, noting that the proportion of bun to meat is ideal. Plus, he adds, “it’s still very manageable.” Sometimes he can’t help himself, however. “The triple (cheeseburger) isn’t manageable, but it is satisfying.”

Enjoy this day and age. Who knows what the next burger trend will bring. Could be kale patties, ramen buns or some other nonsense. Regardless, none has any chance of being as delicious as an old-fashioned double cheeseburger.

How Harriet Tubman and William Still Helped the Underground Railroad

H/T Biography.com.

A look at the operation of the Underground Railroad.

One was the most famous “conductor” and the other was a notable “station master” — and together they helped guide hundreds of enslaved people to freedom.

The strength of the Underground Railroad — a network of people who helped enslaved people escape to the North — came from those who risked their own safety. Among the ones most tied to the journey to freedom were Harriet Tubman, one of the most famous “conductors,” and William Still, often called the “Father of the Underground Railroad.”

Harriet Tubman escaped slavery and guided others to freedom

Born into slavery in Maryland with the name Araminta Harriet Ross, Tubman herself escaped to freedom, thanks to the Underground Railroad. While enslaved, she suffered regular physical violence and torture throughout her childhood. One of the most severe was when a two-pound weight was thrown at her head, causing her to endure seizures and narcoleptic episodes throughout her life.

She married a free man, John Tubman, in 1844, but not much is known about their relationship except that she took his last name. Five years later, she found herself sick, and when her owner died, she decided it was time to escape to Philadelphia. She started the journey with her brothers but ultimately made the 90-mile trip on her own in 1849.

“When I found I had crossed that line, I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person,” she said of making it into the free state of Pennsylvania, where she took on her mother’s name of Harriet. “There was such a glory over everything; the sun came like gold through the trees, and over the fields, and I felt like I was in Heaven.”

But experiencing freedom wasn’t enough for Tubman — she couldn’t bear the thought of her family being enslaved, so she crossed back in 1850 to lead her niece’s family to Philadelphia. In 1851, she went back to bring her husband across the line, only to find that he was married to another woman and had no desire to move North. Instead, she led a group of escaped bonds people. Those were just two of the trips she made between 1850 and 1860 (estimates range from 13 to 19 total trips), reportedly guiding more than 300 enslaved people to freedom. Among those she saved were her parents and siblings.

The dangers were heightened when the Fugitive Slave Law was passed in 1850, stating that escaped enslaved people caught in the North could be returned to slavery. But Tubman simply worked around that and steered her Underground Railroad to Canada, where slavery was prohibited (there’s evidence one of her stops on an 1851 trip was at the home of abolitionist Frederick Douglass). Her work as a “conductor” (those who guided the enslaved along the Underground Railroad) earned her the nickname “Moses,” which happened to be the actual name of her younger brother.

“I was conductor of the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say what most conductors can’t say,” she proudly said. “I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger.”

William Still helped more than 800 enslaved people escape

Meanwhile, William Still was born into freedom in Burlington County, New Jersey, a free state. His father, Levin Steel, purchased his freedom while his mother, Sidney, had escaped slavery. He was still a young boy when he first helped a man he knew was being hunted by enslaved catchers.

After moving to Philadelphia in 1844, he started working for the Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery as a janitor and clerk. Around this time, he started helping fugitive enslaved people by housing them in the years before the Civil War. His Underground Railroad “station” became a popular stop where he helped shepherd those enslaved to Canada. In the 14 years that he worked the route, it’s estimated that he guided 800 enslaved people to freedom — keeping detailed records along the way.

Although he destroyed many of the notes, fearing it would expose the runaway enslaved people, his children encouraged him to turn them into a book, which he published in 1872 as The Underground Railroad — one of the most accurate records of the historical period

Tubman made regular stops at Still’s station

One of Still’s frequent visitors was Tubman, who made his station her regular stop in Philadelphia. He also reportedly helped financially with some of Tubman’s trips.

And her visits definitely made an impression, since he included her in a passage in his book, following a letter from Thomas Garrett about her bringing incoming visitors.

“Harriet Tubman had been their ‘Moses,’ but not in the sense that Andrew Johnson was the ‘Moses of the colored people,’” Still wrote in his book. “She had faithfully gone down into Egypt, and had delivered these six bondmen by her own heroism. Harriet was a woman of no pretensions, indeed, a more ordinary specimen of humanity could hardly be found among the most unfortunate-looking farm hands of the South. Yet, in point of courage, shrewdness and disinterested exertions to rescue her fellow-men, by making personal visits to Maryland among the enslaved, she was without her equal.”

He went on to praise her success as “wonderful,” noting her multiple journeys into the danger zone. “Great fears were entertained for her safety, but she seemed wholly devoid of personal fear,” he continued. “The idea of being captured by enslaved-hunters or enslaved-holders, seemed never to enter her mind. She was apparently proof against all adversaries.”

The 2019 film Harriet, in which Cynthia Erivo plays Harriet Tubman and Leslie Odom Jr. plays William Still, will dive into the life and spirit of Tubman — and the part that Still played, as they both guided so many on the road to freedom.

5 Iron Age Tools and Innovations

H/T History.com.

New techniques helped make iron stronger—but there were also innovations in the use of gold, silver and stone.

The Iron Age was the period in which the use of iron became widespread in Europe, Asia and parts of Africa. Because the adoption of iron didn’t happen at the same time in every part of the world, there isn’t really one Iron Age, but rather multiple ones across different regions.

“The earliest iron objects in the world…start showing up around 3000 B.C.,” says Nathaniel Erb-Satullo, a lecturer in archaeological science at the Cranfield Forensic Institute in the United Kingdom. But “that’s way before what anybody would call [the] ‘Iron Age.’”

European scholars started using the categories of Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age in the 19th century (A.D.) to try to create a chronology of European artifacts based on their composition. In Europe and Asia, these Iron Ages began around the second and first millennium B.C. Here are some of the inventions and innovations that came out of them.

1. Cast Iron

Artist's reconstruction of casting weapons in the Iron Age. 

Artist’s reconstruction of casting weapons in the Iron Age.

Universal History Archive/Getty Images

The earliest known cast iron dates to China in the 8th century B.C., according to research published in Advances in Archaeomaterials in May 2021. The process of casting iron involves mixing iron with carbon and other alloys, creating an iron alloy that is more brittle, but also harder.

Cast iron played a large role in Iron Age China’s agricultural development. The moldboard plow that emerged in Iron Age China around the third century B.C. used a cast-iron point to push soil away, allowing for the development of contour plowing, which reduced soil erosion.

READ MORE: 10 Inventions From China’s Han Dynasty That Changed the World

2. Quenching

Quenching is another process of making iron harder and more brittle that became important during the Iron Ages in Europe and Asia. Iron by itself isn’t necessarily harder than bronze, but quenching is one of the techniques that helped make iron into steel, which is harder than bronze.

It’s very difficult to tell when quenching began, says Erb-Satullo. He points out that The Odyssey, which the Greek poet Homer composed around the 8th or 7th century B.C., contains a reference to quenching. This comes during the scene in which Odysseus throws a sharpened and heated piece of wood into the cyclops’ eye: “as when a man who works as a blacksmith plunges a screaming great ax blade or plane into cold water, treating it for temper, since this is the way steel is made strong, even so Cyclops’ eye sizzled about the beam of the olive.”

3. Steel Weapons

A sword with iron blade and bronze knob from the Iron Age.

A sword with iron blade and bronze knob from the Iron Age.

Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

Iron swords and daggers didn’t start with the Iron Age. King Tutankhamun was buried with an iron dagger likely made from a meteorite in the 14th century B.C., which is way before scholars would place the beginning of the Iron Age. The key innovation of Iron Age weapons was not that they used iron, but that they eventually used steel produced from new metallurgy techniques.

​​Early iron swords were not necessarily better or harder than bronze ones, but innovations like quenching helped make strong, steel swords that became more common over time. One of the most famous surviving Iron Age steel swords is the Vered Jericho, which dates to the 7th century B.C. in ancient Israel.

Even as iron and steel became more widespread, Iron Age people continued to make bronze weapons and tools, too. In addition, there were new technological developments that used older materials like gold, silver and even stone.

4. Coins

Some of the thousands of coins from the Iron Age found in Somerset, England.

Some of the thousands of coins from the Iron Age found in Somerset, England.

Ben Birchall/PA Images/Getty Images

Gold and silver weights existed during the Bronze Age, but the first coins—i.e., imprinted metal pieces for exchange—seem to have emerged in Iron Age Anatolia, Erb-Satullo says.

The first coins appeared around 600 B.C. in Lydia, a kingdom on the Anatolia peninsula (modern-day Turkey). These coins, imprinted with images like lions, had similar weight and purity, and so may have been used as a form of currency.

The Roman Empire began to produce coins in the late 4th century BC, starting with bronze and later shifting to silver and gold. Coins unearthed in London dating to the first century BC, around the time the Roman Empire invaded the region, show the god Apollo on one side and a charging bull on the other.

5. Rotary Quernstone

Another Iron Age invention that doesn’t directly involve iron is the rotary quernstone. This was a new type of quern, a tool used for grinding grain by hand that has existed for thousands of years, since before 5600 B.C.

The rotary quernstone that emerged in Iron Age Britain around 400 B.C. consisted of two stones on top of each other. The top stone had a hole in it in which a person would pour grain. The user would then rotate the top stone to grind the grain between the stones, and the ground grain would spill out over the sides.

The rotary quernstone took more time to make than other querns, but ​​was able to produce grain much faster.

How McKinley’s Assassination, Spurred Secret Service ,Presidential Protection

H/T History OnLine.

The Secret Service accompanies the president and the First Family everywhere, but it wasn’t always this way.

Today, the president of the United States and the Secret Service are inseparable—literally. Agents of the U.S. Secret Service accompany the president and the First Family everywhere and are particularly noticeable at public events. But it wasn’t always this way. It would take a third assassination of a U.S. president—William McKinley—to prompt Congress to assign full official protection of acting presidents.

The Secret Service was actually established in 1865 as a division of the United States Treasury that was primarily responsible for protecting the assets of the national treasury, safeguarding its currency production facilities and investigating counterfeiting. Beginning in 1894, Secret Service agents were protecting then-president Grover Cleveland, but only on a part-time basis.

Until then, and even in the years after, members of Congress were loath to formally establish a national law enforcement agency, preferring to leave functions related to law and order to individual states. However, it was when Cleveland’s successor, William McKinley, was assassinated in 1901 that momentum for such a federally run agency began to build.

McKinley’s assassination came at a critical time in U.S. history,” notes Cary Federman, associate professor in the Department of Justice Studies, Montclair State University in New Jersey and author of The Assassination of William McKinley: Anarchism, Insanity, and the Birth of the Social Sciences.

“Up until then, there was a general hostility toward centralized power, and remaking the Secret Service as a national police force would, in effect, be taking some law enforcement power away from the states. However, after McKinley was killed, the incident became a factor in establishing the role of the Secret Service in protecting the president. There was a recognition of the president as a target.”

Still, Federman emphasizes that there were other factors as well. Indeed, in the aftermath of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln in 1865 and James A. Garfield in 1881, bills designed to formalize the role of the Secret Service in the protection of the president failed to gain approval in Congress. So what was different about McKinley’s death?

The U.S. had become a dominant player on the international stage.

The fact that McKinley was the third president assassinated while in office over a 36-year period was certainly significant. It was also at this time that the United States began to emerge as an imperial power, and leaders at the national level started to become more concerned about political threats both inside and outside the nation’s borders.

Since the 1870s, anarchists had been staging attacks against governments and law enforcement personnel all over the world, including during the Haymarket Riot in Chicago in 1886. Although there is evidence to suggest that McKinley’s killer, Leon Czolgosz, was more mentally ill than politically motivated, he was labelled an anarchist in the immediate aftermath of his actions.

Theodore Roosevelt, who rose to the nation’s highest office after McKinley’s death, even said at the time, “When compared with the suppression of anarchy, every other question sinks into insignificance.”

According to Federman, Roosevelt was also a “strong nationalist,” meaning he believed in the centralization of powers. That, coupled with the perceived political and social threats facing the country at the time, motivated Congress to act and formalize the Secret Service’s role in protecting the head of state.

The assassination of President McKinley by the hand of an anarchist at the Exposition in Buffalo, NY.

The assassination of President McKinley by the hand of an anarchist at the Exposition in Buffalo, NY.

(Credit: De Agostini/Getty Images)

Fear of foreign threats played a role.

In 1902, within months of McKinley’s death, a Secret Service detail was assigned to guard the president of the United States 24-7-365. And that remains the norm to this day.

“In the popular view of the time, Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth, was ‘one of us,’ a white American,” Federman explains.

“But Czolgosz? He had this ‘mysterious-sounding’ name. Even though he too was American. So yes, while McKinley’s death highlighted this idea of the president as a target, it was really the beginning of the United States being concerned about possible threats against it, both inside and outside the country, from ‘dangerous foreigners.’ That as much as anything else really became the justification for the creation of the Secret Service.”

Fauci Calls for ‘Many, Many More’ Vaccine Mandates

H/T Western Journal.

Why does Fauci have any credibility as he has been wrong every time he opened his pie hole?

Fauci sounds like some third world thug demanding more mandates to force people to comply with his dictates.

Pile enough mandates upon Americans and they will do as they are told, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spoke to CNN’s Jen Christensen on Sunday.

The White House’s chief medical adviser said the spread of the delta variant of COVID-19 is the fault of those who do not listen to experts such as himself.

Fauci said part of the solution to reducing the virus’ spread is for Americans to rely on what he called “trusted public messengers who put aside political ideologies and convince people to get vaccinated.”

The alternative is for them to be forced to do as they are told, he said.

“The other way to do it is to have many, many more mandates,” Fauci said.

“I know that rankles a lot of people,” he told Christensen, “but you’re going to see situations locally — I don’t think you’re going to see centrally derived mandates — but there are going to be mandates where colleges, universities, places of business, large corporations, they’re going to say, ‘If you want to come work for us, you’ve got to be vaccinated.’

“I believe that’s going to turn this around, because I don’t think people are going to want to not go to work or not go to college or not go to a university. They’re going to do it.

“You’d like to have them do it on a totally voluntary basis, but if that doesn’t work, you’ve got to go to the alternatives,” he said.

Last week, President Joe Biden said he would use his rule-making powers to force businesses with more than 100 workers to institute vaccine mandates. Fauci said the administration had to act because of one group.

“We have a really unfortunate situation that we have a pretty hardcore group of people that we’re trying to persuade them — or mandate them, if they’re not persuaded — to get vaccinated,” Fauci said.

He estimated that about 75 million Americans are eligible for vaccinations but have not yet gotten the shots.

“That’s the key to ending this. I mean, that would be the key,” Fauci said, calling those who have decided against the vaccine a “recalcitrant group.”

 

“We have the tools to end this and yet we’re not doing it,” he said.

Fauci, who has been criticized for hiding the full story of whether funds he controlled were steered to a Wuhan lab that could be the source of the coronavirus outbreak, said the reasons for the rejection of the vaccine were “inexplicable.”

“People because of their political bent feel that they don’t want to be told to mask up and they don’t want to be told to get vaccinated,” he said.

Fauci said it was “inexplicable … to have people, because of the divisiveness in society, not wanting to contribute to the solution and by doing that they become part of the problem. But that is, again, the way it is, unfortunately.”

Kroger Issues Warning as Inflation Balloons Beyond Company’s Predictions

H/T Western Journal.

These inflated prices will hit people like myself on a fixed income the worst.

Inflation will be hitting Americans hard in the grocery aisle, as higher production costs mean higher prices for consumers at one top supermarket chain.

Kroger is “passing along higher cost to the customer where it makes sense to do so,” company CFO Gary Millerchip said Friday during a call on the company’s second-quarter earnings, according to Fox Business.

He estimated prices would rise 2 to 3 percent in the final months of the year.

Inflation has been stalking American shoppers as consumer prices have risen. As of July, the Consumer Price Index was up 5.4 percent from a year ago, the biggest year-to-year jump since 2008, according to Fox Business.

Food prices have been a big part of the increase. Beef prices have gone up 14 percent this year.  Pork prices are up 12.1 percent while poultry prices have increased 6.6 percent.

Globally, July food prices were up 31 percent from July 2020, according to Bloomberg, which cited data from the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization.

The Biden administration, which has been trying to soft-pedal talk of inflation, points the finger at processors of beef, pork and poultry.

“Just four large conglomerates control the majority of the market for each of these three products, and the data show that these companies have been raising prices while generating record profits during the pandemic,” Brian Deese, director of the National Economic Council, said last week, according to Fox Business.

In August, Department of Agriculture economist Carolyn Chelius said increases are likely to continue, according to AgWeek.

“We’re predicting beef and veal prices will increase 3-4 percent and pork prices 4-5 percent,” she said. Prices for fresh fruit will rise 5 to 6 percent, she said.

“Meats only make up about 22 percent of food at home prices and although prices have increased a fair amount over the course of 2021 so far and they will drive the price of food at home, there are other categories that haven’t increased that much so far this year such as cereals and bakery products,” Chelius said.

USDA report in August agreed.

“Inflation in 2021 is already nearly 50 percent higher than average annual inflation only halfway through the year. Above-average inflation is expected to continue through 2022,” the report stated.

Food sector analyst Phil Lempert told Fortune in August that the trend is likely to continue.

“We’re going to continue to see price increases, probably for the next two years or so,” Lempert said.

Lempert told Fortune that increases transportation costs are hitting consumers, saying that the cost of refrigerated truck transport has risen by 12 percent.

“That has to be passed on,” he said.

“We don’t have enough truck drivers,” he said. “We’ve been talking probably for three or four years that the truck driver workforce is aging, retiring, and there’s not a lot of people who wake up in the morning who say, ‘I want to be a truck driver.’”

Lempert said that coupled with rising wages, “It is a much bigger problem, and a much more complex problem, than the average consumer realizes or understands.”

Members of Congress Exempt from Biden’s Vaccine Mandate, Average Americans Expected to Comply

H/T Western Journal.

I guess “My Body My Choice” only applies when you are murdering a baby.

If Congress and the judiciary do not have to take the shot then I am not taking this Damned shot.

There is one sure way to get around President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate: Be part of either the legislative or judicial branches of the federal government.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said the mandate does not apply to members of the House, according to Newsweek.

“She’s saying she cannot force Members to be vaccinated, which is true,” a statement from Pelosi’s office said.

The New York Times reported that the vaccine edict issued by Biden does not apply to the federal court system either.

The vaccine mandate has triggered howls of protest.

Republican Rep. Nicole Malliotakis of New York said Biden exceeded his executive authority with the mandate, which relies upon a liberal interpretation of the rule-making powers of the Department of Labor.

“Just like Mayor [Bill] de Blasio has, President Biden is inappropriately mandating businesses to serve as his vaccine police force, requiring that they mandate their employees be vaccinated, tested weekly or face hefty fines,” she said Friday, according to the New York Post.

“This mandate as a condition of employment in both the public and private sectors is wrong, infringes on the rights and freedoms of Americans and strays from the government’s role of informing, educating and encouraging.

This overreach is a step into the dystopian future where the government bulldozes constitutional rights. It will be challenged in court by governors across the nation and I encourage ours to do the same,” Malliotakis said.

Many Republican governors said Biden’s mandate went too far.

 

 

 
 

 

During a Thursday appearance on Fox News, Republican Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota said it “shocked me that the president actually said in his speech today that this wasn’t about freedom and personal choice at all, which I think is indicative of what’s really in his heart and his agenda that he’s got for this country.”

“Listen, this is not a power that is delegated to the federal government. This is a power for states to decide. In South Dakota, we’re going to be free and we’re going to make sure that we don’t overstep our authority. So we will take action. My legal team is already working and we will defend and protect our people from this unlawful mandate,” she said.

Mark Meadows, former White House chief of staff and a board member of America First Legal, said he would “fight back, hold [Biden] accountable, and protect individual rights against these unlawful mandates,” according to Yahoo.

“Joe Biden started the year claiming he wouldn’t mandate vaccines, and 9 months later, mired in failing policies and plummeting poll numbers, his administration is going back on their word,” Meadows said in a statement.

“This overreach is just the latest example — one on a long list of evidence — that this administration will not hesitate to disregard the law in pursuit of their own agenda, even to the point of trampling workers and employers along the way.”