Archive for September, 2009

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The Axelrod – Soros Connection

September 24, 2009

The American Thinker has a piece about this that can be found here. I still think George Soros was behind the financial market craziness in September 2008, which prompted the financial “crisis” of October 2008. I wouldn’t be surprised if he and his minions were behind the oil price hikes of the summer of 2008. All these set the stage for the Obama Presidency. I can’t find the data on this, but I’ve not had the time to wade through all the nuttiness that surrounds Soros on practically every web page that mentions him.

On the other hand, I don’t think Axelrod is as smart and devious as he gets credit for. Someone would have led him into this…and Soros is perfect.

Scary stuff. It’s like a James Bond movie, or Dr. Evil…but he’s real, he has money, he hates Republicans (especially the Bush family) and he really hates Israel.

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“The Righteous Stuff” – Chapter 6

September 18, 2009

The Righteous Stuff

by Jeffrey D. Waggoner

based on characters and situations in the

“Domination of the Draka” novels written by S.M. Stirling

CHAPTER 6

MCPHERSON PLANTATION

OUTSIDE DAMASCUS

SYRIA PROVINCE

DOMINATION OF THE DRAKA

SEPTEMBER, 1943

Newly-minted Centurion Augustus Jaeger strode up to the glossy mahogany main doors to Robert McPherson’s main house as the sun touched the horizon. At least, they called it the “main house,” probably to distinguish it from the three guest houses on the plantation grounds. Any one of the three was larger than Jaeger’s father’s home in East Africa, and the mansion was large even by Draka standards.

Jaeger stopped for a moment before entering the house, turning and looking back over the grounds. There were at least fifty autosteamers on the grass or on the brick driveway; another twenty or so had been parked further down the drive as Jaeger walked up to the house. It was most likely a very large party, and everyone who was important in Syria province would be there.

Jaeger tugged self-consciously at the collar of his dress blacks, took  a deep breath, and walked past the stiff-backed doorserf into the foyer. In keeping with the oversized dimensions of the house, the entrance seemed large enough to play polo in. It was also completely empty, both of people and of furnishings.

“Hello? Is anyone theah?” Jaeger took a few steps inside onto the marble floor, looking around.

“Down on the far end, suh,” said the serf who manned the door, almost causing Jaeger to jump. “They-all be waitin’ for you there.”

I guess I’m just a little nervous, thought Jaeger. It is my first formal party, after all.

Robert McPherson stood just inside an ornate pair of hand-carved wooden doors, greeting his guests as they entered. He was a big, florid-faced man, in his mid-fifties, with thinning sandy hair and light blue eyes. He was dressed in a very conservative tuxedo, with a minimum of lace on the cuffs and with only a single ruby earring in his left ear – but the ruby was about a centimeter and a half in diameter.

Jaeger was always less confident around big men. While he was strong, and wiry, he hated looking up at someone. McPherson seemed to be an extremely confident man, and he had every reason to be; he was fabulously wealthy, even by Draka landowner status; he was a decorated war hero, and he seemed to move in circles most Draka citizenry could only dream about. It had been said that Robert Angus McPherson was one of a handful of men who could tell the Archon what to do, and Jaeger could believe it. While McPherson was smiling, shaking hands, patting friends on the shoulder, all the while talking in a low, sincere voice, he simply radiated power and privilege. Jaeger found himself drawn toward the man in spite of himself.

The light blue eyes turned on Jaeger and seemed to search though to the back of his head.

“Centurion Jaeger, isn’t it?” McPherson said in a remarkably soft voice, oddly free of the usual Draka drawl. He had very little need to speak louder; the room, while floored in marble, only contained about fifty people when it could easily hold three times that many with comfort.

“That’s correct, suh, Augustus Jaeger, Air Forces, currently attached to the Research Division at Odenathus, suh,” said Jaeger, with as little tremor in his voice as he could muster. “Ah really appreciate havin’ the opportunity to attend, suh.”

“We’re glad to have you, Centurion. I’ve watched your progress with the Inkanyamba project. It’s a stone bitch to fly, I assume.”

Jaeger’s eyes narrowed. How to set this up, so I don’t step on myself. “Well, suh, it’s a high performance aircraft. Mebbe the highest-performance we have. When y’all fly somethin’ that fast, and that maneuverable, bad things can happen when the slightest thing goes wrong. It’s mah job ta see what those slightest thing are, and if ah can stay alive in the process, so much the better.”

McPherson chuckled. “Well said, young man. I see why your superiors are so happy with your work, even if you rarely bring a prototype back in one piece!” Before Jaeger could respond, he turned him by a light touch on the shoulder, and pointed at a cluster of low couches in a far corner of the room. “Why don’t you stop over there first, this evenin’. There are a number of younger people like yourself over there, including my daughter, Lillybeth. I’m sure you will enjoy yourself more with them than with the old gray-headed folks like me!”

“Suh, as ah said, ah’m just delighted to be heah. Ah certainly will go seek out your daughter an’ present mah respects.”

McPherson clapped him on the shoulder. “Do more than that, young man! They ah extremely bored here, ah’m sure, and would love to hear of your exploits! You would be doin’ me a great favor!” He turned away, greeting another guest, leaving Jaeger with no recourse except to continue moving in that direction.

The young people were sitting on three overstuffed couches upholstered in muted greens and golds. The couches were arranged in a U shape with the open side away from Jaeger as he approached. Three young women sat on one, two young men on another, and a couple sat close together on the center couch, facing away. Jaeger walked around to the open side just as they burst out in laughter.

“An’ then he ran away, the sissy,” a thin blond woman hooted, clapping her hands. She looked to be about twenty, with her long, straight hair done up on the top of her head. She was wearing a dress that seemed to be all ruffles; a frilly, frothy thing in light blue. She had a straight nose and chin, with a profile that could be called sharp. Jaeger thought she would age into a fierce, haughty woman much like his mother’s friends from the African plantations.

The others laughed with her. The blond girl stopped laughing and turned toward Jaeger with a somewhat predatory look. “Excuse me! And who do we have heah?”

“Augustus Jaeger, Centurion, Domination Air Forces.” Not knowing the real age or marital status of the young woman made it hard for Jaeger to be as gallant as he wanted to. How to refer to her? Or to the rest? He had too little experience with people close to his age who were not wearing a uniform. “Ah’m lookin’ for Miz Lillybeth, if y’all can point her out to me.”

The girl on the center couch spoke up. “That would be me, Centurion. I am Lillybeth McPherson.”

She was sitting back on the couch, ankles crossed demurely. The man next to her had his right arm around her shoulders, somewhat possessively, Jaeger thought. He was tall, definitely over Jaeger’s height by centimeters; he was dark-haired with heavy brows. He seems broad-shouldered and muscular, but not fat. Jaeger wondered briefly if he could handle himself in a fight, then turned to the girl who had spoken.

Lillybeth McPherson was not a short woman herself. Even seated, Jaeger assumed she was at least as tall as he was, if not taller. She, too, seemed about nineteen or twenty. Her auburn hair was pulled back with a blue ribbon, and she was wearing a floral print party dress. She smiled up at him, but made no effort to stand or even offer her hand.

Maybe the customs really are different here, or maybe they’re all testing me, Jaeger thought. Jaeger looked directly at her, focusing on her dark green eyes, and, trying to keep his voice level, said, “I’m delighted to make your acquaintance, mistis. Your father thought I might be entertainin’ to you and your friends.”

“And you might jus’ be, Centurion Jaeger.” She gestured at the others. “This bunch of deadbeats are all tellin’ me the same stories ah’ve heard over and over anyways. By the way, that brayin’ donkey ovah theah is Lucy Winters. Next to her is her ‘friend’-  though we all know what she means by that – Francis Mackenzie. The man-killah is Frannie’s sister, Sarah. An’ that-there is Jack Steuben and Billy Winters, he havin’ the misfortune of bein’ Lucy’s baby brothah. And this…” she leaned her head onto the man’s shoulder “…is Thomas Allen Baird.”

“Nice to meet y’all. You from around heah?” Jaeger directed his question at Baird, but he knew the answer from hearing his name.

“No, ’course not. My family’s from Archona,” he said calmly.

Yeah, and you don’t have to say your father is head of the Tesla Electrical Combine, Jaeger thought. One of the three or four most influential men in the Domination, assuming your thought the current Archon was influential. He wasn’t, always – not as influential as John Allen Baird. As the Domination increased in size and population, the need for radio and televisor communication was increasing dramatically. Baird’s factories were turning out thousands of family radio systems that were often the only lifeline new plantations had with the outside world. They also manufactured hundreds of models of military radios, from the handheld models used by Draka infantry to the versions installed in almost every plane Jaeger tested. They were also manufacturing televisors, but they were too expensive for most plantations to own, as yet. Jaeger didn’t doubt that there were likely several such sets in this plantation house, however.

“Sit down, Centurion, please,” purred the younger Mackenzie. She slid up onto the arm of the couch and patted the spot she had just vacated. She had a clear, pink complexion and raven-dark hair, arrayed in curls that could have been natural, or just very skillful and expensive artifice. She looked to be in her late teens, with minimal makeup, tastefully applied. “Tell us some stories. It’s jus’ soo borin’ here lately. Ya’ll been in combat, hey?”

“I’ve seen some combat, yeah, but Ah’s test-pilotin’ now, workin’ out at Odenathus. In a bit of trouble, lately, that’s for certain-sure. Kinda broke a pretty expensive airplane the othah day.”

“A test pilot!” Sarah Mackenzie clapped her hands. “Why, you must be much braver than these layabouts!” She waved at the other young men seated on the couches, all of whom glared at her. “Billy, he did his two years on a coastal monitor ship, off Angola. Never even saw a submarine! And Jack, he…”

“…was injured in trainin’ and just got out of a support job, here in Syria,” Steuben interrupted. He frowned out from under heavy brows at the young girl, who ignored him completely.

“So what’s it like, flyin’ such dangerous planes?” She almost batted her eyes at Jaeger, leaning over at him, making sure he knew of her obvious interest in him.

Just ’cause she’s a bored rich girl, and I might be amusin’ for a bit, he thought. Well, we’ll just see. “Well, y’all know that experimental planes crash about half the time…”

“Thanks for comin’ to our little party,” Lillybeth said at the door, as other partygoers passed them going out, paying their respects to her father. She was free of Baird for a few moments for the first time all evening. He seemed bored by the formalities of the goodbyes, and had wandered off for another drink as the party began breaking up. He had had little to say, all the way through the evening; he mostly just glared at Jaeger as he entertained the others with stories of his exploits on the Front and as a test pilot. Clearly Baird was concerned that Jaeger would be some sort of competition, thought Jaeger thought that was simple paranoia. Perhaps he thought Lillybeth was only interested in him because of his father’s position. From what Jaeger had seen of him this evening, there was little other reason to be seen with him. He was rich, young, and good-looking, but as a MacPherson surely the young lady had no problem finding appropriate suitors, even in a relatively unsophisticated place like Syria Province.

“Ah’m very glad Ah was invited, and thanks for all the hospitality,” Jaeger responded, looking appreciatively down at her. She still looked as fresh as she did hours ago. Easy, boyo, y’all know ya have a better chance of flyin’ back to the barracks from here than gettin’ that one interested in ya, he thought.

She took both his hands for a moment and smiled. “Perhaps y’all could come back sometime, when it’s quieter, and we could really talk.”

Hmm. Y’all playin’ with fire, boy. “Why, certain-sure, Miss Lillybeth, if your father approves.”

She laughed, a light, musical sound. “Ah don’t think he would be too happy, ’cause he wants me to be some kinda business merger, but he knows Ah have mah own mind!”

Jaeger felt his heart suddenly pounding in his chest, something that didn’t even happen that much when flying untested aircraft or being shot at. “Ah will call on you next weekend, if it’s all right. Ah will certainly call first.”

“Oh, Gus, don’t be so damnably formal!” she lightly swatted at his chest in mock-seriousness, then chuckled. “It’ll be fine. Don’t worry. Ah just really enjoy talkin’ to someone who isn’t mostly concerned with parties and mergers and government all the time.”

“Goodnight, Lillybeth. Ah really enjoyed this evening.” Jaeger knew he had to pull away from her quickly, now, before things got completely out of hand. He walked out the huge main entryway doors and down the marble steps, then turned around on the drive and looked up. She was standing in the driveway, waving, just like it was a motion picture scene. “Next Sunday,” he said to himself. “Fly the planes all week that could kill you, then walk into a house where people could kill you faster on your day off. You’re just a little centurion, and these folks—they can make the Archon sit up and beg.” He returned the wave, then walked down the drive to his motor-pool-issue steamer.

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“The Righteous Stuff” – Chapter 5

September 16, 2009

The Righteous Stuff

by Jeffrey D. Waggoner

based on characters and situations in the

“Domination of the Draka” novels written by S.M. Stirling

CHAPTER 5

ODENATHUS FLIGHT TESTING FACILITY

SYRIA PROVINCE

DOMINATION OF THE DRAKA

MAY, 1943

The runway stretched out on the flat desert ahead of Jaeger for as far as he could see. The sun beat down on the plain, northeast of Damascus, and the temperature was over thirty-five degrees already, at only 0800 hours. He went through the checklist carefully, speaking slowly and carefully to the control tower as he read off fuel and engine information for the engineers listening in to the transmission.

The Inkanyamba was a twin-engine jet interceptor, one of the first in the Domination, and Jaeger was testing one of three prototypes. The plane was almost ready to go into production, and if this round of tests were successful, the first planes should be rolling off the lines by early fall. The interceptor had been tested in a variety of intercept and attack situations, and had shown itself to be stable and durable. Jaeger was happy with the plane, and thought the pilots who would fly it over Germany would have such an advantage over even the Me-165 jets the Nazis were flying that they would have almost complete air superiority. Now it was a matter of seeing where the edge of the design envelope really was.

“Checklist completed. Ready to roll.” Jaeger fastened his oxygen mask, adjusted the straps of his harness, and doublechecked the handle of his ejection seat. It was a new model, designed specifically for the Inkanyamba. It was thought that the plane would be so fast that the solid-fuel rocket on the Hawk or Shark II fighter seats would not be powerful enough. Jaeger thought that might be true, but this Freya-forsaken thing might take his head off, too.

The tower controller’s voice crackled in his headset. “Commence takeoff. All runways are cleah.”

Jaeger eased the throttles forward and released the brakes. He was able to control the plane on the ground with slight taps of the rudder pedals. The jet engines were far back on the fuselage, as were the main wings. Small canard winglets were just visible from his cockpit on either side of the nose of the plane, part of the design stolen from a Yankee design called the Curtis Ascender. Of course, that had been a pusher-prop propeller plane, but the aerodynamics of the design, marginal as a propeller-powered aircraft, were thought by Draka engineers to be so sound that they could use them for a powerful jet interceptor.

Apparently they were right. The plane popped off the runway like the high-performance, overpowered vehicle it was, and Jaeger banked north as he climbed. The flight plan called for a series of speed runs from north to south, first at an altitude of seven thousand meters, then at three, then at fifteen hundred. None of the runs were long – fifty to seventy-five kilometers at the most – because what was gained in speed was lost in range.

At seven thousand meters Jaeger announced to the tower that he was banking back to the south and beginning his speed run. He pushed the throttles forward to fifty per cent power. Mach 0.6. He made few comments on the radio. The Draka were very careful to maintain security in communications, even this far away from any Yankee listeners. Most of the telemetry from the plane was encoded, anyway, and was sent continually to the engineers’ readouts in the tower.

He increased power to sixty per cent. The pitch of the engines’ roar slid upward easily. Seventy per cent. Mach 0.8. Still no real turbulence. The plane was now traveling as fast as any aircraft the Draka might encounter in Europe. Seventy-five per cent. Jaeger keyed the microphone, thinking, Couldn’t we get some voice-activated microphones into test planes sometime soon?

“Gettin’ a little bumpy now.” The mach meter indicated 0.86, and other pilots flying at transonic speeds had encountered the same phenomenon. He pushed the throttles forward to just over eighty per cent.

“Mach zero point nine three.” The nose of the plane wanted to rise. It was taking both hands on the stick to hold it steady. How could he handle the throttles if he had to hold on to the stick? He knew the pilots who had gone supersonic in dives always said that close to Mach one was where it smoothed out again. Could he get it there?

Jaeger pressed his right elbow firmly to the cockpit wall and leaned forward as much as the harness would allow. He could barely brace his right arm against his body enough to quickly slide his left hand to the throttles.

The nose of the plane suddenly shot upward – not far, just enough that Jaeger pushed the throttles forward and then grabbed the stick again with both hands, just before he lost control. When he looked down he saw that he had pushed the throttle levels all the way forward.

The pitch of the engines changed again, and the turbulence disappeared. Mach one point oh-five! In level flight! The mach meter was still climbing, and Jaeger keyed the microphone to tell the controller. Before he had a chance to say anything there was a loud ping! from  behind him and the pitch of the engines dropped suddenly.

Jaeger was slammed violently to the left, the microphone thrown from his hand. There was a sharp crack and he was slammed even harder to the left. He grunted and pulled the stick, pushing on the rudder pedal. The plane went into a spin anyway, and he pushed the stick forward.

Jaeger had had the rules for coming out of a spin drilled into him for years. He knew there was no chance with this plane, still close to supersonic, diving and starting from so low an altitude. He grabbed the latches on both sides of the canopy and pulled with all his strength.

The handles were ripped out of his gloved hands by a combination of centrifugal force and near-supersonic slipstream.  He reached down to the ejection seat handle between his legs and pulled.

With a roar, the solid-fuel rocket motor in the base of the ejection seat fired. Jaeger was frozen in a head-down position by the sudden acceleration, with his hands between his legs. They were pinned in place while the rocket was firing. He never even saw the plane flash past him.

The rocket motor cut off as quickly as it had started. The seat was now floating, and Jaeger could move his head, though painfully. The helmet and faceplate was all that had saved him from breaking his neck, and his neck and shoulder muscles screamed at him as he looked around him. He guessed he was about five thousand meters up, still attached to the seat.

His muscles in agony, he raised his right hand and pressed the harness quick-release button.  Then he kicked backward with his heels at the brace on the bottom of the seat. He fell away from the seat, head down.

Finally, Jaeger was able to spread his arms and legs as he had been taught, then pulled the cord. With a loud snap and a jerk, the parachute opened and he passed out.

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More Random Thoughts

September 16, 2009

This flap about racism and criticism of the President is crap, designed to take the discussion and the 24-hour news cycle away from the health care “crisis” (manufactured, not real) and the Afghanistan crisis (real). I don’t know if it’s Axelrod or Emanuel, but somebody has a plan that says, “Were at Defcon 3! They’re not buying the health care bit! Play the racism card!”

This is typical of the Left, folks. Distract when you need to…call somebody a racist, whatever you need to call them, to distract attention from the real issue at hand.

And from the little bit of news I watched tonight on Fox, it works.

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Random Thoughts…

September 13, 2009

I don’t care how many TV shows you go on, and how much you say it: the majority of the American people are the way they were at the founding of this country. They want to earn a living, take care of their families, and maybe enjoy themselves a little bit. They don’t want anyone – their next-door neighbors, their maiden aunt, or the Federal Government – sticking their nose in their business. We need a Federal government for a few things, like national defense. Still, the American people know that the size and intrusiveness of government is out of control and eventually they will do what is necessary to stop it.

It remains to be seen how soon that happens, and how bad things need to get in the meantime. We may see a Second American Revolution in our lifetimes, folks.

Joe Wilson, R-South Carolina, may have erred in protocol but he was right. Listen to a session of Britain’s Parliament some time if you want to hear spirited responses. And this from the Brits, of all people!

I believe in civility. However, if one side maintains civility and allows the other to overrun them, what good was civility?

I do not believe this faux-drawl of Obama’s, where he drops the ends of words, is on a par with the great orators of history. It is a folksy affectation that will eventually annoy everyone.

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“The Righteous Stuff” – Chapter 4

September 11, 2009

The Righteous Stuff

by Jeffrey D. Waggoner

based on characters and situations in the

“Domination of the Draka” novels written by S.M. Stirling

CHAPTER 4

DELERY HIGH SCHOOL

DELERY’S LANDING, OHIO

OCTOBER, 1942

Susan Louder paced back and forth across the front of her classroom. It was one of those warm, lazy, Indian-summer days, and the kids in her fourth-period American History class were just counting the minutes until lunchtime. Outside she could see the county courthouse, a squarish structure of native limestone with a red tile roof and a clock tower in the center. Ten minutes more, and she and the kids could, mercifully, go to lunch.

“So what can you tell me about the aftermath of the American Revolution, ladies and gentlemen? Anything at all?” She wasn’t really haughty, just frustrated. She took on this job because her husband, like so many, was in the Pacific fighting the Japanese, and his salary as a limestone quarry supervisor had dropped to that of a Marine Corps sergeant. It had made it extremely difficult for her and little Mikey. She had only two years of teacher training, an accelerated program begun to ease the teacher shortage, so while she knew her subject – it was always a hobby of hers, anyway – she was limited in experience with teenagers and how to respond to them.

The class wiggled in their seats, trying the ages-old teenager technique of avoiding eye contact. Alan Northfield was no better than those around him. It was always hard, trying to learn about ancient stuff and people who lived so long ago. Finally, one student made the mistake of looking up.

“Mister Bailey, what can you tell us? We’ve been trying to make sense of how our own Revolution brought us to our current state of affairs. Do you have anything to add?”

Mark Bailey squirmed a little more, then decided to risk an answer. “Ah…well, um, the British loyalists went to Africa, and now they’re the Draka, and we hate them, but they’re our allies, right?” He slid down in his seat, figuring he came up with as much as the teacher would require of him that day.

He was wrong about that, of course. “Well, Mister Bailey, you’re right, of course, but that was sort of an abbreviated version, don’t you think?” She fixed her gaze on him, not letting him get away with so little today. “How about this, instead: why do we ‘hate the Draka’ today?”

Bailey brightened. This was one he understood, and could answer. “Slavery! We hate slavery, and they keep slaves, er…serfs, whatever they call them.”

“That’s one reason, certainly. Once President Douglas freed the last of the slaves here on this continent, we became a mostly slave-free country. And of course the Draka is an entire economy, an entire philosophy, based on slavery. When were the last slaves freed in the United States, though? Does anyone know?” She looked around the room, but saw not only no raised hands, but not even a glimmer of recognition. Like students had for millennia, they sensed a trap, and they were unwilling to be led into it.

“Well, no reason you should know this, I suppose, “ she said with resignation. “You only know what’s in your books, and this little fact was somehow left out. The last of the slaves became free in Cuba, in 1901, almost ten years after it became the forty-sixth state.”

The students looked up, most looking more interested. She pressed onward. “That’s right. There were still plantations in Cuba, left from colonial days, which had slaves that had lived there for generations. Some of the plantation owners were very influential in the government, and managed to negotiate a sort of a compromise. By the end of the ten-year grace period, eighteen slaves remained, total, and were freed. It wasn’t widely known, and the government certainly didn’t make much of it…they were so happy to gain Cuba’s statehood, instead of making it a protectorate, like Haiti or Puerto Rico, that they went along with it.”

Mark Bailey raised his hand. “So the government was willing to ignore a constitutional amendment, just to add a state? Isn’t that illegal?”

“If not exactly illegal, it was at least at odds with what we were telling the world, for certain.” Louder gestured at a map of the western hemisphere pinned to the chalkboard. “Still, Cuba was a rich prize. It has a strategic location, and was already a well-developed resort location for the well-to-do…sort of  a South Bass Island for the very rich.” That brought on a ripple of chuckles from the class. “Today, it’s called the ‘Marseilles of the Caribbean;’ I’m afraid in another generation no one will understand that reference, if the Draka solve the problems in Europe the way I expect they will.”

A boy in the back growled, “They’ll gobble it up, and enslave everyone. I know they will. They’ve been looking for a reason for years.”

The teacher nodded. “That’s the commonly-held belief. I wish I could tell you differently. But which is worse, the Archon or Hitler? No one seems to know for sure. We may have made a deal with the devil…we’ve done it before, but this time it could be that we’ve gone too far. Anyway, that’s the dirty little slavery scandal.”

A short dark-haired girl raised her hand. “But Mrs. Louder, how did you find out about all this?”

Susan Louder smiled. “Because I read, children. Because I read more than I’m required to. Sometimes you learn the most interesting things that way. And because of that…” – groans were heard throughout the room – “…you can begin working on the first draft of your papers on the Revolution. I’d like to see them tomorrow. Now let’s go to lunch.”

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Never Forget…

September 11, 2009

september-11-world-trade-center