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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day!!

To learn more about the history of this day, go here.

Normally, I post messages for our heroes on holidays like this; today, I'd like to encourage you to leave them at Operation Love Our Troops. (By the way, the count stands at nearly 18,000!)

Count is now over 19,000!

In your meanderings today, make sure to check out Valentine's Day at Soldiers' Angels Germany

UPDATE 2 (8:49pm): 42. That's all we need to get to 20,000! If you haven't left your message yet, what are you waiting for? Get on over there!

‘Beanies for Baghdad’ bring smiles to Iraq's future

from ARNews

Sara, a Baghdad youngster, shows off her Beanie Baby, "Courage." The toy was a gift from Maj. Jim Barker, whose letter back home telling his family how much the child loved the toy resulted in the non-profit organization Beanies for Baghdad being founded in May 2003. Spc. Karl Johnson

By Spc. Karl Johnson

"The children's faces just light up when they see you," said Sgt. 1st Class Alan Certain, Company C, 490th Civil Affairs Battalion. "It's amazing to see what an effect a simple toy can have on a kid."

Civil affairs Soldiers pass out the small toys during their missions in central Iraq. Thus far, more than 150,000 of the miniature stuffed animals have been distributed throughout the war-torn nation with the help of Beanies for Baghdad, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping out in the rebuilding effort.

What started as an attempt to get one child to smile turned into a project that helps Soldiers build positive bonds with the Iraqi people as well as the children who are Iraq's future.

"This helps form the beginning of friendships between the children and the Soldiers," said Donna Ward, Beanies for Baghdad project manager. "The hope for a better tomorrow is found in the children of Iraq."

"We're hoping to see an entire new generation of Iraqis who trust that we are their friends and that we're here to help them." said Capt. Darrell Retheford, C-490th CA Batt.

According to Ward, the success of Beanies for Baghdad has just begun. "We have so much more we hope to accomplish," she said. "These little ones didn't ask to be born in the conditions they're growing up in so the program is a way we can make a difference."

"This is a small gesture we as Americans and other countries can do to help our Soldiers sew seeds of friendship. It gives children something to smile about in a war-torn land."

More information about Beanies for Baghdad and how you can help may be found at their Web site,

(Spc. Karl Johnson serves with the 363rd MPAD)

SECURITY DUTY — An Iraqi soldier pulls rooftop security at Combat Outpost Resolve, Iraq, Feb. 14, 2006. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Dennis Gravelle

In Today's News - Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Quote of the Day
"Love of country is like love of woman -
he loves her best who seeks to bestow on her
the highest good."
-- Felix Adler

News of Note
Valentine's Day
Hallmark's card study tugs at the heart strings
Student devours field in chocolate chowdown
Couple relives 1946 honeymoon at Drake

Operation Iraqi Freedom
Role in Iraq Security Shifting
Saddam on Hunger Strike
Iraqi journalists caught in political crossfire
Basra Officials Cut Ties With Brits
Gunmen Kill 11 Iraqi Farm Workers
Iraq suicide bomber kills 10 waiting outside bank

Operation Enduring Freedom
Afghanistan Pressing Pakistan on Taliban
Afghan blast kills four US troops

Homeland Security / War on Terror
Bad Behavior - Moussaoui curses judge
Video: Hearing Gets Underway
Kurdish Group Claims Istanbul Bombing
Britain's Lower House Passes ID Card Bill
EU Seeks CIA Info on Secret Prisons
Draft U.N. report blasts U.S. over Guantánamo
Detainees stuck in legal limbo

Troops on Trial
British arrest 1 in alleged beating case

NSA Eavesdropping
ABA resolution pushes approval for wiretaps

Cartooning Muhammad
Iranian paper launches Holocaust cartoon contest
Why people are dying over cartoons, where to view them
Mixed rules on free speech in Europe
What Muslims see in prophet's image
Pakistan Violence - Mob burns hotel, banks, KFC
Furor unfairly depicts us, Danish leader says

Hamas Rising
Hamas Derides U.S. Over Regime Change Reports
US says "no plot" for Hamas ouster - Video
Palestinian Parliament Strengthens Abbas

Worldwide Wackos
Official: N. Korea Should Give Up Nukes
Russia, France Oppose Iran's Atomic Plan
Iran enriching uranium again

Iraq War Vet Hackett Drops Ohio Senate Race
Abramoff Was 'Casual Acquaintance' of Rove
Duck! Here come the Dick Cheney jokes
Ohio coin dealer charged with embezzlement
Five agencies review Libby case evidence
Hutchinson downplays impeachment role
White House finds humor in hunting mishap

Supreme Court
Scalia Barks at 'Idiots'

XX Winter Olympics
Blown Gate Costs Miller Shot at First Gold

Grocery shopping? Take your rubber gloves!
Going to the dogs
Oddly Enough Blog (from Reuters)
Lovers in Shanghai say it with nose jobs
How can you protect a 30-foot wall from thieves?
Councilman fined $83K for not mowing
New Zealanders refuse to give up 'bra fence'
Closed, locked school doesn't faze 6-year-old

Other News of Note
Thousands Mark Hariri's Assassination
Air marshals face drug charges
Two police chiefs shot to death

Fox News
Cheney Chastised for Breaking Hunting Law (he failed to get a $7 quail stamp)
Iran Confirms Uranium Enrichment Activities
Video: Nuclear Showdown
Entwistle Researched Murder
Bald Eagle May Come Off Endangered List
Witness Testify in Enron Trial
Speedskater Donates $25,000
Australian Smugglers Sentenced to Death
Tearful Plea - Carlie Brucia's killer begs for his life
Video: 'I'm Truly Sorry'

Reuters: Top News
Preval says he won Haitian election
Iran sets new date for atomic talks with Russia - Video
Harvard study blasts education policy
Babies may have abstract numerical sense - US study
Oxford seeks PC users to help map climate change
Apple set to ship notebooks PCs with Intel chips
MovieBeam offers first HDTV online movie rentals
Schools give Blair one of his toughest tests
"Guantanamo", "Winter" put politics center stage
Dow rises 1 pct on retail data
Snowstorm leaves some retailers in the lurch
Buffett to step down from Coke board
Texas Instruments sees $20-$25 handset this year
Levi Strauss posts quarterly profit on flat sales
AstraZeneca pulls Exanta drug after liver injury
Warner Music net nearly doubles on digital sales
Basin Water files for $52 mln IPO
Saker sweetens offer for Foodarama
Morgans Hotel shares down in market debut
Forward Air shares slide after results disappoint
Waste Management quarterly profit rises
Tradestation earnings double, shares jump
Reuters Summit: Hotels, Casino
Demand to keep pace with Vegas boom
Video: Trump CEO Perry on turnaround
Air ticket bid business fading

AP World News
Quake Reconstruction Chief Fired
Two Australians Sentenced to Death
Nepal Government Frees Ex-Prime Minister
World Council of Churches Begin Meeting

The Seattle Times
Millions in Katrina aid squandered
Evacuees lose funding for hotels
Estrogen study may ease fears of heart risk
Fewer shark attacks as humans wise up
Westminster recalls Katrina's lost dogs
Pro-Preval protests erupt in Haitian capital

Chicago Sun-Times
Guard: Jailbreak an inside job
Storm aid spent on massages, tattoo
Bush honors Sox, defends Ozzie's absence
'Rembrandt' of stamps found
Cops probe Nazi graffiti at synagogue
Police to retire star: 1st line of duty death of '06
Kane County offers help to mentally ill criminals
Georgia woman who married 15-year-old boy gives birth
Drinking, nudity at Muncie's Mardi Gras trigger complaints
10 Commandments nixed for city hall

Boston Globe: World
Sentencing in crash roils Russians
Judge withdraws from S. African rape trial
Bid to extend terms stirs anger in Egypt
Colombians said to mask civilian deaths
Don't Ask, Don't Tell Costs Millions
Hybrid Vehicles Could Boost Safety
Pentagon Likely to Cut V-22 Buy

CENTCOM: News Releases




Department of Defense
Officials Update Reimbursement Policy - Story
Rumsfeld Thanks Morocco for Cooperation - Story
Al Qaeda in N. Africa 'Extremely Low Possibility'
Rumsfeld Tours Africa to Strengthen Ties
Defense Budget Reflects Hard Choices - Story

Joint Effort Goal: Stop Terrorists Inflow, IEDs - Story
Iraqi Navy Protects Country’s Oil Platforms - Story
Database Aids Battlefield Communications - Story
Central-South Division Helps Flood Victims - Story
Afghan Engineers Sharpen Skills at Workshop - Story

NATO Troops Learn Lifesaving Techniques
Field Hospital Moves From Tents to Trailers

Embedded Trainers Mentor Afghan Soldiers
U.S. Air Force Drops Supplies to Isolated Village

Mailman Sheds Weight, Gets Age Waiver to Join Corps - Story

Groups Team Up to Send Valentines - Story
Support Takes Circus Center Stage

Forces Capture, Kill Insurgents
Iraqi Army Leads Operation
Province on the Right Track
Reconstruction Progress Made
Fact Sheet: Progress and Work Ahead
Report: Strategy for Victory in Iraq
Iraq Daily Update
This Week in Iraq (pdf)
Multinational Force Iraq
Eye on Iraq Update (pdf)
State Dept. Weekly Iraq Report (pdf)
'Boots on the Ground' Audio Archive
Iraq Reconstruction

IED Kills 4 U.S. Troops
Afghans Evacuated for Treatment
ANP Open Family Response Unit
Afghan Workers Improve School
Afghanistan Update

Nations Oppose Iran Nuke Program
Rumsfeld Recalls Ike's Words
Rumsfeld: Terrorists Fail
U.S., U.K. Officials Praise NATO
Task Force Aids Terrorists Hunt
Fact Sheet: War on Terror
Fact Sheet: Terror Plots Disrupted
Waging and Winning the War on Terror
Terrorism Timeline
Terrorism Knowledge Base

Senate Confirms Edelman to Post
Senior NCOs Wrap Up Conference
Recruiting Momentum Continues
National Guard, Reserve Update

Officials Identify Navy Casualty - Story

Al Azamiyah Al Basrah Al Hillah Al Karkh Al Kazimiyah Al Kut An Nasiriyah Baghdad Baqubah Mosul Najaf Nineveh Tall Kayf

Bost/Laskar Ghurian Herat Kabul Qandahar


Today in History
0842 - Charles II & Louis the German sign treaty
1014 - Pope Benedict VIII crowns Henry II, Roman German emperor
1076 - Pope Gregory VII excommunicates Henry IV
1130 - Jewish Cardinal Pietro Pierleone elected as anti-pope Anacletus II
1349 - 2,000 Jews burned at the stake in Strasbourg, France
1540 - Emperor Charles V enters Ghent without resistance, executes rebels
1556 - Archbishop Thomas Cranmer declared a heretic
1610 - Polish king Sigismund III, Forges Dimitri #2 & Romanov family sign covenant against czar Vasili Shushki
1630 - Dutch fleet of 69 ships reaches Pernambuco, Brazil
1670 - Roman Catholic emperor Leopold I chases Jews out of Vienna
1689 - English parliament places Mary Stuart/Prince Willem III on the throne
1746 - Henry Pelham appointed English premier
1766 - Dutch governor Falck signs Treaty of Batticaloa with rebels
1778 - Stars & Stripes arrives in foreign port for 1st time (France)
1794 - 1st US textile machinery patent granted, to James Davenport, Philadelphia PA
1803 - Apple parer patented by Moses Coats, Downington PA
1848 - James K. Polk becomes the 1st President photographed in office (Matthew Brady)
1859 - Oregon admitted as 33rd state
1862 - Galena, 1st US iron-clad warship for service at sea, launched, Connecticut
1867 - Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection & Insurance Company issues 1st policy
1876 - A.G. Bell & Elisha Gray apply seperately for telephone patents; Supreme Court eventually rules Bell rightful inventor
1879 - Chilean troops occupy Antofagasta
1883 - 1st state labor union legislation; New Jersey legalizes unions
1889 - 1st trainload of fruit (oranges) leaves Los Angeles for the east
1894 - Venus is both a morning star & evening star
1899 - US Congress begins using voting machines
1903 - US Dept of Commerce & Labor established
1912 - 1st US submarines with diesel engines commissioned, Groton, CT; Arizona becomes 48th state
1914 - High Council of Labor forms in Hague, Netherlands
1919 - United Parcel Service forms
1920 - League of Women Voters forms in Chicago
1921 - Little Review faces obscenity charges for publishing "Ulysses," New York; Canadian 5¢ nickel coin is authorized
1924 - IBM Corporation founded by Thomas Watson
1925 - State of emergency crisis in Bayern ends, NSDAP re-allowed
1929 - St. Valentine's Day Massacre in Chicago IL, 7 gangsters killed
1931 - Spanish government of General Damasco Berenguer falls
1936 - National Negro Congress organizes in Chicago
1940 - British merchant vessel fleet is armed
1941 - 1,000,000th vehicle traverses the New York Midtown Tunnel; German Africa Corps lands in Tripoli, Libya
1942 - Japanese parachutists land near oil center in Palembang, Sumatra
1943 - German offensive through de Faid-pass, Tunisia; Soviets recapture Rostov
1944 - Anti-Japanese revolt on Java
1945 - Perú, Paraguay, Chile & Ecuador join the United Nations; 8th Air Force bombs Dresden
1949 - 1st session of Knesset opens in Jerusalem
1950 - USSR & China sign peace treaty
1952 - 6th Winter Olympics games opens in Oslo, Norway
1954 - Senator John Kennedy appears on "Meet the Press"
1956 - Khrushchev denounces Stalin at USSR Communist Party Conference; Indonesia withdraws from Netherlands Indonesian Union
1957 - Georgia Senate unanimously approves Senator Leon Butts' bill barring blacks from playing baseball with whites
1958 - Arab Federation of Iraq & Jordan forms
1959 - $3.6 million heroin seizure in New York, NY
1960 - Marshal Ayub Khan elected President of Pakistan
1961 - Element 103, Lawrencium, 1st produced in Berkeley, CA
1962 - First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy conducts White House tour on TV
1963 - US launches communications satellite Syncom 1
1966 - Australia introduces 1st decimal currency postage stamps
1967 - Latin American nuclear free zone proposal drawn up
1971 - Movie "Ben Hur" 1st shown on television; Richard Nixon installs secret taping system in White House
1972 - Luna 20 (Russia) launched to orbit & soft landing on Moon
1975 - Bomb explodes at annex of Amsterdam metro station
1978 - 1st "micro on a chip" patented by Texas Instruments
1980 - 13th Winter Olympics games open in Lake Placid, NY; US launches Solar Maximum Mission Observatory to study solar flares
1985 - Hostage CNN reporter Jeremy Levin is released in Beirut
1988 - Alfredo Stroessner re-elected President of Paraguay
1989 - Union Carbide agrees to pay $470 million damages for Bhopol disaster; African National Congress (ANC) opens office in Amsterdam; Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini offers $1 million-$3 million bounty on Salman Rushdie's death due to his novel, "Satanic Verses"; World's 1st satellite Skyphone opens
1990 - Perrier recalls 160 million bottles of sparkling water after traces of benzene, a carcinogen, are found in some; Space probe Voyager 1 takes photograph of entire solar system
1991 - Air raid shelter at Baghdad bombed, killing 300
1992 - Cease fire in Somalia begins
1993 - Fire in Linxi department store in Tangshan China, kills 79

1462 - Edzard I Cirksena the Great, earl of East-Friesia (1494-1528)
1483 - Zahir al-Din Mohammed Babur Shah prince/founder Mogols-dynasty
1806 - Lajos Count Batthyány, revolutionary premier of Hungary (1848-49)
1813 - John McNeil, Union Brevet Major General
1817 - Frederick Douglass, African-American abolitionist/lecturer/editor
1819 - James Green Martin, Confederate Brigadier General
1824 - Winfield Scott Hancock, Union Major General
1829 - Alfred Iverson, Jr., Confederate Brigadier General
1847 - Anna Howard Shaw, US suffragette
1898 - Fritz Zwicky, Swiss astronomer (super nova)
1909 - A. Moses Klein, poet (Hath Not a Jew...)
1913 - Jimmy Hoffa Teamsters leader who disappeared in 1975; Mel Allen, sportscaster (voice of the New York Yankees)
1917 - Herbert A. Hauptman, x-ray crystallographer (Nobel 1985)
1921 - Hugh Downs, TV journalist (20/20, Concentration)
1924 - Countess Mountbatten of Burma
1927 - Lois Maxwell, actress (Miss Moneypenny)
1928 - Ben Garrido Blaz (Representative-Guam)
1929 - Matthew G. Martinez (Representative-CA)
1935 - David Wilson, British Governor (Hong Kong)
1937 - John MacGregor, British MP
1940 - 1st Porpoise born in captivity in US (Marineland, Florida)
1941 - Paul Tsongas (Senator-MA); John Butterfill, MP
1944 - Carl Bernstein, Washington Post investigative reporter (Watergate)
1945 - Hans Adam, Prince of Liechtenstein
1945 - William Hill Boner (Representative-TN)
1947 - Judd Gregg (Representative-NH); Pham Tuan, Vietnam, cosmonaut (Soyuz 37/36)
1948 - Raymond Joseph Teller, magician (Penn & Teller)
1949 - Richard E. Neal (Representative-MA)

0869 - Cyrillus Greek, apostle of Slaves
1400 - Richard II, British King (1377-99), murdered at 33 at Pontefract Castle
1405 - Timur/Tamerlan "Lenk" [Crippled], Mongols monarch, dies at about 68
1528 - Edzard I, the Great count of Austria-E Frisia (1494-1528), dies at 66
1779 - James Cook, British explorer, murdered by natives in fracas with Hawaiians
1831 - Vincente Guerrero, Mexican revolutionary hero
1846 - Cornelis F. van Maanen, Dutch supreme court justice, dies at 76
1891 - William Tecumseh Sherman, Union Civil War General (captured Atlanta), dies at 71
1943 - Frieda Reiss, French 11-month-old baby, murdered in Auschwitz
1950 - Karl G. Jansky, Czechoslovakian discoverer of cosmic radio sources, dies at 44
1969 - Vito Genovese, US mafia chief, dies at 71
1975 - Julian S. Huxley, English scholar/director-general (UNESCO), dies at 87
1979 - Adolph Dubs, US ambassador to Afghanistan, murdered
1991 - John A. McCone, Head of CIA (1961-65)
1995 - U Nu, PM of Burma (1948-56, 57-58, 60-62)
1996 - Eva Hart, Titanic survivor, dies at 90

Reported Missing in Action
Hills, John R., USAF (IN); A1E crashed, KIA, body not recovered

Marvin, Robert C., USN (MI); A1H shot down

Dunn, Joseph P., USN (MA); A1H shot down

Elliot, Robert M., USAF (MA); F105D shot down, remains returned December, 1999

McMahan, Robert C., USN (IL); F8E shot down, remains returned September, 1990 - ID'd November, 1990

Clark, Stanley S., USAF (CA); F4D shot down

Stevens, Larry J., USN (CA); A4C shot down