A Hero…


Charlton Heston, Epic Film Star and Voice of N.R.A., Dies at 83

Charlton Heston, who appeared in some 100 films in his 60 year acting career but who is remembered chiefly for his monumental, jut jawed portrayals of Moses, Ben~Hur and Michelangelo, died Saturday night at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif. He was 83.

Charlton Heston had been suffering from Alzheimer’s.

Charlton Heston posed with his Oscar statuette after winning the 1959 Academy Award for best actor for his portrayal of Ben~Hur.

His death was confirmed by a spokesman for the family, Bill Powers, who declined to discuss the cause. In August 2002, Mr. Heston announced that he had been diagnosed with neurological symptoms “consistent with Alzheimer’s disease.”

“I’m neither giving up nor giving in,” he said.

Every actor dreams of a breakthrough role, the part that stamps him in the public memory, and Mr. Heston’s life changed forever when he caught the eye of the director Cecil B. De Mille. De Mille, who was planning his next biblical spectacular, “The Ten Commandments,” looked at the young, physically imposing Mr. Heston and saw his Moses.

When the film was released in 1956, more than three and a half hours long and the most expensive that De Mille had ever made, Mr. Heston became a marquee name. Whether leading the Israelites through the wilderness, parting the Red Sea or coming down from Mount Sinai with the tablets from God in hand, he was a Moses to remember.

Writing in The New York Times nearly 30 years afterward, when the film was re-released for a brief run, Vincent Canby called it “a gaudy, grandiloquent Hollywood classic” and suggested there was more than a touch of “the rugged American frontiersman of myth” in Mr. Heston’s Moses.

The same quality made Mr. Heston an effective spokesman, off screen, for the causes he believed in. Late in life he became a staunch opponent of gun control. Elected president of the National Rifle Association in 1998, he proved to be a powerful campaigner against what he saw as the government’s attempt to infringe on a Constitutional guarantee, the right to bear arms.

In Mr. Heston, the N.R.A. found its embodiment of pioneer values, pride, independence and valor. In a speech at the N.R.A.’s annual convention in 2000, he brought the audience to its feet with a ringing attack on gun-control advocates. Paraphrasing an N.R.A. bumper sticker (“I’ll give you my gun when you take it from my cold, dead hands”) he waved a replica of a colonial musket above his head and shouted defiantly, “From my cold, dead hands!”

Mr. Heston’s screen presence was so commanding that he was never dominated by mammoth sets, spectacular effects or throngs of spear waving extras. In his films, whether playing Buffalo Bill, an airline pilot, a naval captain or the commander of a spaceship, he essentially projected the same image muscular, steely eyed, courageous. If critics regularly used terms like “marble monumental” or “granitic” to describe his acting style, they just as often praised his forthright, no~nonsense characterizations.

After his success in “The Ten Commandments,” Mr. Heston tried a change of pace. Another legendary Hollywood director, Orson Welles, cast him as a Mexican narcotics investigator in the thriller “Touch of Evil,” in which Welles himself played a murderous sheriff in a border town. Also starring Janet Leigh and Marlene Dietrich, the film, a modest success when it opened in 1958, came to be accepted as a noir classic.

But the following year Mr. Heston stepped back into the world of the biblical epic, this time under the director William Wyler. The movie was “Ben~Hur.” Cast as a prince of ancient Judea who rebels against the rule of Rome, Mr. Heston again dominated the screen. In the film’s most spectacular sequence, he and his co~star, Stephen Boyd, as his Roman rival, fight a thrilling duel with whips as their horse drawn chariots careen wheel~to~wheel around an arena filled with roaring spectators.

“Ben~Hur” won 11 Academy Awards, a record at the time, including those for best picture, best director and, for Mr. Heston, best actor.

He went on to star opposite Sophia Loren in the 1961 release “El Cid,” battling the Moors in 11th century Spain. As a Marine officer stationed in the Forbidden City in 1900, he helped put down the Boxer Rebellion in Nicholas Ray’s 1963 epic “55 Days at Peking.” In “Khartoum” (1966), he played Gen. Charles (Chinese) Gordon, who was killed in a desert uprising led in the film by Laurence Olivier’s Mahdi. When George Stevens produced and directed “The Greatest Story Ever Told” in 1965, there was Mr. Heston, back in ancient Judea, playing John the Baptist to Max von Sydow’s Jesus.

He portrayed Andrew Jackson twice, in “The President’s Lady” (1954) and “The Buccaneer” (1958). There were westerns (“Major Dundee,” “Will Penny,” “The Mountain Men”), costume dramas (“The Three Musketeers” and its sequel, “The Four Musketeers,” with Mr. Heston cast as the crafty Cardinal Richelieu in both) and action films aplenty. Whether playing a hard bitten landowner in an adaptation of James Michener’s novel “The Hawaiians” (1970), or a daring pilot in “Airport 1975,” he could be relied on to give moviegoers their money’s worth.

In 1965 he was cast as Michelangelo in the film version of Irving Stone’s novel “The Agony and the Ecstasy.” Directed by Carol Reed, the film pitted Mr. Heston’s temperamental artist against Rex Harrison’s testy Pope Julius II, who commissioned Michelangelo to create frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Mr. Heston’s performance took a critical drubbing, but to audiences, the larger than life role seemed to be another perfect fit. Mr. Heston once joked: “I have played three presidents, three saints and two geniuses. If that doesn’t create an ego problem, nothing does.”

Mr. Heston was catapulted into the distant future in the 1968 science fiction film “Planet of the Apes,” in which he played an astronaut marooned on a desolate planet and then enslaved by its rulers, a race of anthropomorphic apes. The film was a hit. He reprised the role two years later in the sequel, “Beneath the Planet of the Apes.”

    Son of the Midwest

It was all a long way from Evanston, Ill., where Charlton Carter was born on Oct. 4, 1924, and from the small town of St. Helen, Mich., where his family moved when he was a small boy and where his father ran a lumber mill. He attended a one room school and learned to fish and hunt and to savor the feeling of being self reliant in the wild, where his shyness was no handicap.

When his parents divorced in the 1930s and his mother remarried, his stepfather’s surname was Heston, the family moved to the Chicago suburb of Winnetka. He joined the theater program at his new high school and went on to enroll at Northwestern University on a scholarship. By that time, he was convinced he had found his life’s work.

Mr. Heston also found a fellow drama student, Lydia Clarke, whom he married in 1944, just before enlisting in the Army Air Force. He became a radio gunner and spent three years stationed in the Aleutian Islands. After his discharge, the Hestons moved to New York, failed to find work in the theater and, somewhat disenchanted but still determined, moved to North Carolina, where they spent several seasons working at the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Theater in Asheville.

When they returned to New York in 1947, Mr. Heston got his first big break, landing the role of Caesar’s lieutenant in a Broadway production of Shakespeare’s “Antony and Cleopatra” staged by Guthrie McClintick and starring Katharine Cornell. The production ran for seven months and proved to be the high point of Mr. Heston’s New York stage career. He appeared in a handful of other plays, most of them dismal failures, although his performance in the title role of a 1956 revival of “Mr. Roberts” won him praise.

If Broadway had little to offer him, television was another matter. He made frequent appearances in dramatic series like “Robert Montgomery Presents” and “Philco Playhouse.” The door to Hollywood opened when the film producer Hal B. Wallis saw Mr. Heston’s performance as Rochester in a “Studio One” production of “Jane Eyre.” Wallis offered him a contract.

Mr. Heston made his film debut in 1950 in Wallis’s “Dark City,” a low grade thriller in which he played a small time gambler. Two years later, he did his first work for De Mille as a hard driving circus boss in “The Greatest Show on Earth.”

Throughout his career he studied long and hard for his roles. He prepared for the part of Moses by memorizing passages from the Old Testament. When filming began on the sun baked slopes of Mount Sinai, he suggested to De Mille that he play the role barefoot, a decision that he felt lent an edge of truth to his performance.

    Filmography: Charlton Heston

Preparing for “The Agony and the Ecstasy,” he read hundreds of Michelangelo’s letters and practiced how to sculpt and paint convincingly. When filming “The Wreck of the Mary Deare” (1959), in which he played the pilot of a salvage boat, he learned deep-water diving. And he mostly rejected stunt doubles. In “Ben-Hur,” he said, he drove his own chariot for “about 80 percent of the race.”

“I worked six weeks learning how to manage the four white horses,” he said. “Nearly pulled my arms right out of their sockets.”

As the years wore on, the leading roles began to go to younger men, and by the 1980s, Mr. Heston’s appearances on screen were less frequent. He turned to stage work again, not on Broadway but in Los Angeles, at the Ahmanson Theater, where he played roles ranging from Macbeth to James Tyrone in “Long Day’s Journey into Night.” He also returned to television, appearing in 1983 as a paternalistic banker in the miniseries “Chiefs” and as an oil baron in the series “The Colbys.”

Rifles and a ‘Cultural War’

Mr. Heston was always able to channel some energies into the public arena. He was an active supporter of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., calling him “a 20th century Moses for his people,” and participated in the historic march on Washington in 1963.

He served as president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1966 to 1971, following in the footsteps of his friend and role model Ronald Reagan. A registered Democrat for many years, he was nevertheless selective in the candidates he chose to support and often campaigned for conservatives.

In 1981, President Reagan appointed him co-chairman of the President’s Task Force on the Arts and Humanities, a group formed to devise ways to obtain financing for arts organizations. Although he had reservations about some projects supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, Mr. Heston wound up defending the agency against charges of elitism.

Again and again, he proved himself a cogent and effective speaker, but he rejected suggestions that he run for office, perhaps for a seat in the Senate. “I’d rather play a senator than be one,” he said.

He became a Republican after Democrats in the Senate blocked the confirmation of Judge Robert Bork, a conservative, to the Supreme Court in 1987. Mr. Heston had supported the nomination and was critical of the Reagan White House for misreading the depth of the liberal opposition.

Mr. Heston frequently spoke out against what he saw as evidence of the decline and debasement of American culture. In 1992, appalled by the lyrics on “Cop Killer,” a recording by the rap artist Ice T, he blasted the album at a Time Warner stockholders meeting and was a force in having it withdrawn from the marketplace.

In the 1996 elections, he campaigned on behalf of some 50 Republican candidates and began to speak out against gun control. In 1997, he was elected vice president of the N.R.A.

In December of that year, as the keynote speaker at the 20th anniversary gala of the Free Congress Foundation, Mr. Heston described “a cultural war” raging across America, “storming our values, assaulting our freedoms, killing our self-confidence in who we are and what we believe.”

    A Relentless Drive

The next year, at 73, he was elected president of the N.R.A. In his speech at the association’s convention before his election, he trained his oratorical artillery on President Bill Clinton’s White House: “Mr. Clinton, sir, America didn’t trust you with our health care system. America didn’t trust you with gays in the military. America doesn’t trust you with our 21 year old daughters, and we sure, Lord, don’t trust you with our guns.”

He was in the news again after the shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., in April 1999, when he said that the N.R.A.’s annual membership meeting, scheduled to be held the following week in Denver, would be scaled back in light of the killings but not canceled.

In a memorable scene from “Bowling for Columbine,” his 2002 documentary about violence in America, the director, Michael Moore, visited Mr. Heston at his home and asked him how he could defend his pro~gun stance. Mr. Heston ended the interview without comment.

In May 2001, he was unanimously re~elected to an unprecedented fourth term by the association’s board of directors. The association had amended its bylaws in 2000 to allow Mr. Heston to serve a third one year term as president. Two months after his celebrated speech at the 2000 convention, it was disclosed that Mr. Heston had checked himself into an alcohol rehabilitation program after the convention had ended.

Mr. Heston was proud of his collection of some 30 guns at his longtime home in the Coldwater Canyon area of Beverly Hills, where he and his wife raised their son, Fraser, and daughter, Holly Ann. They all survive him, along with three grandchildren.

Never much for socializing , he spent his days either working, exercising, reading (he was fond of biographies) or sketching. An active diarist, he published several accounts of his career, including “The Actor’s Life: Journals 1956~1976.”

In 2003, Mr. Heston was among the recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded by President Bush. In 1997, he was also a recipient of the annual Kennedy Center honors.

Mr. Heston continued working through the 1990s, acting more frequently on television but also in occasional films. His most recent film appearance found him playing a cameo role, in simian makeup, in Tim Burton’s 2001 remake of “Planet of the Apes.”

He had announced in 1999 that he was receiving radiation treatments for prostate cancer.

He had always hated the thought of retirement and once explained his relentless drive as an actor. “You never get it right,” he said in a 1986 interview. “Never once was it the way I imagined it lying awake at 4 o’clock in the morning thinking about it the next day.” His goal remained, he said, “To get it right one time.”

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Thank you AP news and ROBERT BERKVIST
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I am sure that all of you Baby Boomers out there have seen all of Charlton Heston’s movies and it would be hard to pick out one that was truly your favorite. AS they were all so good and he was a master at his craft.

Mr. Heston was a Civil Rights advocate and was very Philanthropic work through out his life time.
I will miss him and will continue to re~watch his movies.

~The Baby Boomer Queen~

King slaying stained Memphis for years…

2209074400_9cf42be901_m.jpg The Motel when Dr King was slain.

In MEMPHIS, Tenn., Joe Warren dropped his head to his hands, sobbing as he remembered back 40 years to the bitter garbage workers strike that drew Martin Luther King Jr. to Memphis and to his death.

Warren, 86, was one of the 1,300 black sanitation workers who walked off the job in 1968 with a strike that tore at the foundation of the city’s white only rule.

“They talked to you like you were a dog, and they worked you like a dog,” he said, his shoulders trembling. “But I couldn’t find a job nowhere else.”

The 65 day strike for the right to unionize ended with a victory for the workers. But King’s assassination stained this Southern city for years, limiting its prosperity and hurting its reputation worldwide.

“It took a decade of growth out of the Memphis regional economy,” said David Ciscel, a University of Memphis economist. “It was a time of fairly rapid growth in the South, and it was a time when Atlanta and Nashville kind of left us behind. People just didn’t want to associate with us.”

The city’s fortunes eventually improved, thanks largely to a young cargo airline named Federal Express that in the early 1980s showed that Memphis could still be a good place to do business. The airline grew into today’s FedEx Corp.

“It rescued Memphis,” Ciscel said.

The sanitation strike and King’s assassination made clear to blacks and whites alike that “the old plantation mentality had to be dumped,” said Michael Honey, author of “Going Down Jericho Road,” a history of the Memphis strike and King’s struggle for economic justice for the poor.

In the 1960s, close to 60 percent of black families in Memphis lived in poverty, Honey said, and few jobs other than manual labor were open to blacks.

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Today the city has a poverty rate of nearly 24 percent overall, almost twice the national figure, and 30 percent among black residents.

But the good jobs, in government and the private sector, are no longer reserved for whites. Memphis, which was 40 percent black in the 1960s, is now more than 60 percent black. It has had a black mayor since 1991.

The strike began in February 1968 after two sanitation workers were crushed by a trash compactor when they climbed in a garbage truck to get out of the rain.

The accident was blamed on faulty equipment, but it inflamed tensions that had festered for years over low wages, poor working conditions and racist treatment of black workers by white superiors.

The garbage workers had to wrestle with tubs and cans of all shapes and sizes, some so heavy it took two or three men to lift them. In the sweltering Memphis summers, the containers were prime breeding grounds for maggots that tumbled onto the workers.

“You’d have to tie a rag around your head to keep them from going down your back. That’s rough work, but you couldn’t say anything or they’d fire you,” Warren said. “We were men, but they treated us like boys.”

Pay ranged from $1.65 to $1.85 an hour for garbage crew members, just above the federal minimum wage of $1.60. Workers got no breaks or overtime pay and could be sent home without full pay when it rained. White supervisors drew full pay, rain or shine.

Looking back on the indignities endured by the workers still brings tears to Warren’s eyes, but the pain is softened by memories of organizing the strike and taking to the streets under the banner “I Am A Man.”

“I had a sign on my front and my back,” he said, “and I was walking around saying, ‘I am a man. I ain’t going to be quiet no more.'”

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King was cut down April 4 by a rifle slug that tore through his jaw and spine as he stood on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel. James Earl Ray, a petty criminal and prison escapee, pleaded guilty to the murder. He died in prison in 1998.

After King’s death, with the National Guard patrolling the streets, worried Memphis residents began calling for an end to racial hostilities.

“In the beginning, there was chaos,” said Fred Davis, one of three newly elected blacks on the 13 member city council in 1968. “But it brought people together who had never talked to each other to try to deal with a community problem.”

Twelve days after King’s death, the strike ended with the city council recognizing the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees as the workers’ union. The workers got a pay raise of 15 cents an hour, promotions based on seniority and the right to file on~-the~job grievances.

Though King’s killer was not from Memphis, the city was seen by much of the rest of the world as a cultural backwater responsible for the murder.

“People in Memphis have always been pretty sensitive of what outsiders think,” said history professor Charles Crawford of the University of Memphis. “It caused a deliberate change, maybe not in the true feelings of a lot of people, but at least in the expressions of them. The black community could see the collapsing of resistance to their aspirations.”

The National Civil Rights Museum opened at the Lorraine in 1991 after private citizens saved it from foreclosure and demolition. It is now a tourist attraction and a shrine to the civil rights movement.

“Most people say the assassination, set the city back hugely in terms of economic development and tourism and all that,” said Honey, the author, who is also a professor of labor and civil rights studies at the University of Washington, Tacoma.

“They’re now trying to turn that minus into a plus by acknowledging what happened and trying to highlight the history of the black freedom movement.”

For many people, Memphis has become “kind of hallowed ground,” Honey added. “It’s a place where important things happened and people want to connect to that.”

2208278331_4ddf44cf96_m.jpg Boarding house across the street from the Lorraine Motel where James Earl Ray fired the shot that killed Dr. King

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Thank you AP News and WOODY BAIRD, Associated Press Writer
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How many of you, red, yellow, black or white could work in these kind of conditions and still feel like a human being…I applaud those of you who fought for your basic human rights and those of your families.

So much tragedy, so many gone, some long gone.

Memphis will be remembered for Dr. King, Dallas forever for President Kennedy and NY for 911.

World peace, should start at home.
~The Baby Boomer Queen~

In WASHINGTON…Protesters blocked traffic and government buildings in Washington, acted out a Baghdad street scene in Syracuse, N.Y., and banged drums in a parade through San Francisco on Wednesday to mark the fifth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

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Protesters blocked traffic and government buildings in Washington, acted out a Baghdad street scene in Syracuse, N.Y., and banged drums in a parade through San Francisco on Wednesday to mark the fifth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

In other, more somber observances, organizers set up a 2 mile display of about 4,000 T~shirts in Cincinnati, meant to symbolize the members of the U.S. military killed in Iraq, while in Louisville, Ky., demonstrators lined rows of military boots, sandals and children’s tennis shoes on the steps of a courthouse.

Laurie Wolberton of Louisville, Ky., whose son just finished an Army tour of duty in Iraq, said she fears the worsening U.S. economy has caused Americans to forget about the war.

“We’re not paying attention anymore,” she said. “My son has buried his friends. He’s given eulogies, he’s had to go through things no one should have to go through, and over here they’ve forgotten. They just go shopping instead.”

On previous anniversaries, tens of thousands of people marched through major U.S. cities, and more than 100,000 gathered on several occasions leading up to the invasion.

Only a few hundred mustered for one of Wednesday’s largest gatherings, in Washington, the crowds’ size perhaps kept in check by a late winter storm system that stretched the length of the country.

Dozens of people were arrested, most of them at demonstrations in San Francisco, Washington and Syracuse.

At the Internal Revenue Service building in the nation’s capital, about 100 protesters led by a marching band gathered at the main entrance. Several jumped barricades and sat down in front of the doors and were immediately detained. The demonstrators said they were focusing on the IRS, among other institutions, because it gathers taxes used to fund the war.

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Brian Bickett, 29, was among the first arrested. The high school theater teacher from New York City said he had never engaged in civil disobedience before.

“We need to find lots of different ways to resist the war, and I decided to try this,” he said.

About 20 protesters were arrested about a block from the U.S. Capitol after blocking traffic. In some cases, police had to drag the protesters off the street.

In Syracuse, police arrested 20 protesters who blocked traffic by creating a mock Baghdad street scene. One person dressed in camouflage lay on the ground. Another was covered in a white sheet with red markings and a woman leaned over as if grieving. They were from a group of more than 100 demonstrators who marched downtown in a steady rain over the lunch hour.

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In Chicopee, Mass., eight people were arrested when they blocked a gate at Westover Air Reserve Base, police said. Five people were arrested In Hartford, Conn., for blocking the front door of a federal courthouse.

On the West Coast, San Francisco police arrested about 100 protesters by early afternoon for blocking traffic and chaining themselves to buildings, police said.

The rallies, which drew hundreds to the city’s busy financial district, were mostly peaceful, though some demonstrators threw glass Christmas ornaments filled with paint at police, said Sgt. Steve Mannina, a San Francisco police spokesman.

Black balloons were tied to trees along San Francisco’s main downtown thoroughfare, and protesters at a table offered coffee, oranges and “unhappy birthday cake” to passers-by.

A few hundred protesters banging drums and waving banners that read “Was it worth it” took to the streets for a parade that blocked morning traffic.

In Anchorage, Alaska, vandals dumped a gallon of red paint on a war veterans memorial, police spokesman Lt. Paul Honeman said.

Demonstrators also converged in Ohio, where more than 20 vigils, rallies, marches and other events were planned.

In New York City, women sang songs and counted out the war dead outside the military recruiting station in Times Square, which was recently the target of a bomb.

87739550_56800dc0a0_m.jpg PINK for PEACE!

Half a dozen war protesters in Miami dressed in black placed flowers outside the U.S. Southern Command during rush-hour Wednesday morning.

Outside a military recruitment office in Washington, protesters were met by a handful of counterdemonstrators, one of several shows of support for the war and the troops.

Colby Dillard, who held a sign reading, “We support our brave military and their just mission,” pointed to some red paint that one of the war protesters had splattered on the sidewalk.

“The same blood was spilled to give you the right to do what you’re doing,” said Dillard, who said he served in Iraq in 2003.

Earlier, about 150 people, mostly with the group Veterans for Peace, marched down Independence Avenue. Many of them carried upside~down American flags, which they said symbolized a nation in distress.

114992671_1b8981987f_m.jpg Veterns for PEACE

Daniel Black, who was stationed in Fallujah with the Marines in 2004, said he came to believe the war was a mistake after he returned.

“The more I read the more it just didn’t add up,” said the 25 year old, a student at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

A couple of miles away at the American Petroleum Institute, protesters chanted “No blood for oil!” and tried to block traffic by sitting in the street and linking arms. At least once, they were dragged away by police.

39232522_56f93c760f_m.jpg Atlanta 1/9/5.Is it worth it Chevron, Exxon, Shell, Bush?

Vandals in Milwaukee damaged the front door of an Army recruiting center and spray painted anti~war graffiti across its front windows. Milwaukee police said the vandalism occurred Monday night or Tuesday.

The Iraq war has been unpopular both abroad and in the United States, although an Associated Press-Ipsos poll in December showed that growing numbers think the U.S. is making progress and will eventually be able to claim some success in Iraq.
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Thank you AP NEWS, Sarah Karush, AP writer and those who contributing to this report: Associated Press writers Karen Mahabir in Washington; Dave Collins in Hartford, Conn.; Laura Wides-Munoz in Miami; William Kates in Syracuse, N.Y.; Marcus Wohlsen in San Francisco; Dinesh Ramde in Milwaukee; Stephanie Reitz in Springfield, Mass.; Will Graves in Louisville, Ky.; and Deepti Hajela in New York.
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Gainesvilee, Florida…Uof F
3285563_0bb0b13a02_m.jpg Matrin Luther King Jr.

Reporting from Gainesville, Florida, and the University of Florida…The Baby Boomer Queen is pleased to report that the peace~niks were on their corner of University and 13th. They varied from age and size but the hearts were all the same. The majority that I saw were Baby Boomers.

There are still those of us who pray for peace and still make a stand for it.

It was interesting to see those that went by with their horns honking, with their fists raised and those that went by with their horns honking and their peace fingers up.

Bring our soilders home…but not in baskets or strechers!

Peace out
~The Baby Boomer Queen~

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~~~~~~~~~~~IMAGINE~~~~~~~~~~~

Quarterback Brett Favre has started every Packers game since Sept. 27, 1992.

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From GREEN BAY, Wisconson, after flirting with retirement for years,Brett Favre means it this time. The Green Bay Packers quarterback quit after a 17 season career in which he dazzled fans with his grit, heart and rocket of an arm.

“I know I can still play, but it’s like I told my wife, I’m just tired mentally. I’m just tired,” Favre told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen in a voice mail message.

Tuesday’s surprise move comes after the 38 year old three time MVP set several league records, including most career touchdown passes, in one of his most successful seasons.

Favre’s agent, Bus Cook, said the quarterback told him of his decision Monday night.

“Nobody pushed Brett Favre out the door, but then nobody encouraged him not to go out that door, either,” Cook said by phone from his Hattiesburg, Miss., office.

Packers general manager Ted Thompson thanked Favre for 16 years of wonderful memories with the team.

“He has had one of the greatest careers in the history of the National Football League, and he is able to walk away from the game on his own terms, not many players are able to do that,” Thompson said in a statement.

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The team scheduled an afternoon news conference with Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy, and said it was unsure when Favre might address the media.

Favre led the Packers to the NFC championship game in January, but his interception in overtime set up the New York Giants’ winning field goal.

“If I felt like coming back, and Deanna (Favre’s wife) and I talked about this the only way for me to be successful would be to win a Super Bowl,” Favre told ESPN. “To go to the Super Bowl and lose, would almost be worse than anything else. Anything less than a Super Bowl win would be unsuccessful.”

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The news was a surprise to teammates.

“I just saw it come across the TV,” Packers wide receiver Koren Robinson said, when reached on his cell phone by The Associated Press.

Added Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle: “For 16 years, Brett Favre brought fun and excitement to Lambeau Field. His talent, energy and enthusiasm for the game will be missed.”

Last season, Favre broke Dan Marino’s career records for most touchdown passes and most yards passing and John Elway’s record for most career victories by a starting quarterback.

He retires with 5,377 career completions in 8,758 attempts for 61,655 yards, 442 touchdowns and 288 interceptions.

In his final season, Favre also extended his quarterback-record streak of consecutive regular season starts to 253 games, illustrating his trademark toughness. Add the playoffs, and Favre’s streak stands at 275.

In the past several offseasons, Favre’s indecision about his football future became a winter tradition in Wisconsin, with Cheeseheads hanging on his every word.

Unlike after the 2006 season, when Favre choked up in a television interview as he walked off the field in Chicago, only to return once again, nearly everyone assumed he would be back next season.

It was a remarkable turnaround from 2005, Favre’s final season under former head coach Mike Sherman, when he threw a career worst 29 interceptions as the Packers went 4~12.

Surrounded by an underrated group of wide receivers who proved hard to tackle after the catch, Favre had a career high completion percentage of 66.5. He threw for 4,155 yards, 28 touchdowns and only 15 interceptions.

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Before the Packers’ Jan. 12 divisional playoff game against Seattle, Favre told his hometown newspaper that he wasn’t approaching the game as if it would be his last and was more optimistic than in years past about returning.

“For the first time in three years, I haven’t thought this could be my last game,” Favre told the Biloxi (Miss.) Sun Herald. “I would like to continue longer.”

But Favre finished the season on a sour note, struggling in subzero temperatures in a 23~20 overtime loss to the New York Giants in the NFC championship game.

Afterward, Favre was noncommittal on his future. McCarthy said he wanted Favre to take a step back from the season before making a decision.

Now, he has to walk away.

“The Packers owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude,” Thompson said. “The uniqueness of Brett Favre his personality, charisma and love of the game, undoubtedly will leave him as one of the enduring figures in NFL history.”

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Thank you AP News, and John Biever/SI for this great write up of a GREAT LEDGEND!

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There you go Baby Boomers…an other great leader and player who has given back what the game gave him.

We will miss you Brett! But, never forget you…

~The Baby Boomer Queen~


Exposure Equals Results

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The key to the success of CodeAmber.org is the vast reach that we have to distribute Amber Alerts.

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William F. Buckley Jr. dies at 82

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From NEW YORK, William F. Buckley Jr., the erudite Ivy Leaguer and conservative herald who showered huge and scornful words on liberalism as he observed, abetted and cheered on the right’s post~World War II rise from the fringes to the White House, died Wednesday. He was 82.

His assistant Linda Bridges said Buckley was found dead by his cook at his home in Stamford, Conn. The cause of death was unknown, but he had been ill with emphysema, she said.

Editor, columnist, novelist, debater, TV talk show star of “Firing Line,” harpsichordist, trans~oceanic sailor and even a good natured loser in a New York mayor’s race, Buckley worked at a daunting pace, taking as little as 20 minutes to write a column for his magazine, the National Review.

Yet on the platform he was all handsome, reptilian languor, flexing his imposing vocabulary ever so slowly, accenting each point with an arched brow or rolling tongue and savoring an opponent’s discomfort with wide eyed glee.

“I am, I fully grant, a phenomenon, but not because of any speed in composition,” he wrote in The New York Times Book Review in 1986. “I asked myself the other day, `Who else, on so many issues, has been so right so much of the time?’ I couldn’t think of anyone.”

Buckley had for years been withdrawing from public life, starting in 1990 when he stepped down as top editor of the National Review. In December 1999, he closed down “Firing Line” after a 23 year run, when guests ranged from Richard Nixon to Allen Ginsberg. “You’ve got to end sometime and I’d just as soon not die onstage,” he told the audience.

“For people of my generation, Bill Buckley was pretty much the first intelligent, witty, well educated conservative one saw on television,” fellow conservative William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, said at the time the show ended. “He legitimized conservatism as an intellectual movement and therefore as a political movement.”

Fifty years earlier, few could have imagined such a triumph. Conservatives had been marginalized by a generation of discredited stands, from opposing Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal to the isolationism which preceded the U.S. entry into World War II. Liberals so dominated intellectual thought that the critic Lionel Trilling claimed there were “no conservative or reactionary ideas in general circulation.”

Buckley founded the biweekly magazine National Review in 1955, declaring that he proposed to stand “athwart history, yelling ‘Stop’ at a time when no one is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who urge it.” Not only did he help revive conservative ideology, especially unbending anti~Communism and free market economics, his persona was a dynamic break from such dour right wing predecessors as Sen. Robert Taft.

Although it perpetually lost money, the National Review built its circulation from 16,000 in 1957 to 125,000 in 1964, the year conservative Sen. Barry Goldwater was the Republican presidential candidate. The magazine claimed a circulation of 155,000 when Buckley relinquished control in 2004, citing concerns about his mortality, and over the years the National Review attracted numerous young writers, some who remained conservative (George Will, David Brooks), and some who didn’t (Joan Didion, Garry Wills).

“I was very fond of him,” Didion said Wednesday. “Everyone was, even if they didn’t agree with him.”

Born Nov. 24, 1925, in New York City, William Frank Buckley Jr. was the sixth of 10 children of a a multimillionaire with oil holdings in seven countries. The son spent his early childhood in France and England, in exclusive Roman Catholic schools.

His prominent family also included his brother James, who became a one term senator from New York in the 1970s; his socialite wife, Pat, who died in April 2007; and their son, Christopher, a noted author and satirist (“Thank You for Smoking”).

A precocious controversialist, William was but 8 years old when he wrote to the king of England, demanding payment of the British war debt.

After graduating with honors from Yale in 1950, Buckley married Patricia Alden Austin Taylor, spent a “hedonistic summer” and then excoriated his alma mater for what he regarded as its anti religious and collectivist leanings in “God and Man at Yale,” published in 1951.

Buckley spent a year as a low level agent for the Central Intelligence Agency in Mexico, work he later dismissed as boring.

With his brother~in~law, L. Brent Bozell, Buckley wrote a defense of Sen. Joseph McCarthy in 1954, “McCarthy and His Enemies.” While condemning some of the senator’s anti~communist excesses, the book praised a “movement around which men of good will and stern morality can close ranks.”

In 1960, Buckley helped found Young Americans for Freedom, and in 1961, he was among the founders of the Conservative Party in New York. Buckley was the party’s candidate for mayor of New York in 1965, waging a campaign that was in part a lark, he proposed an elevated bikeway on Second Avenue, but that also reflected a deep distaste for the liberal Republicanism of Mayor John V. Lindsay. Asked what he would do if he won, Buckley said, “I’d demand a recount.”

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He wrote the first of his successful spy thrillers, “Saving the Queen,” in 1976, introducing Ivy League hero Blackford Oakes. Oakes was permitted a dash of sex, with the Queen of England, no less, and Buckley permitted himself to take positions at odds with conservative orthodoxy. He advocated the decriminalization of marijuana, supported the treaty ceding control of the Panama Canal and came to oppose the Iraq war.

Buckley also took on the archconservative John Birch Society, a growing force in the 1950s and 1960s. “Buckley’s articles cost the Birchers their respectability with conservatives,” Richard Nixon once said. “I couldn’t have accomplished that. Liberals couldn’t have, either.”

Although he boasted he would never debate a Communist “because there isn’t much to say to someone who believes the moon is made of green cheese,” Buckley got on well with political foes. His friends included such liberals as John Kenneth Galbraith and Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., who despised Buckley’s “wrathful conservatism,” but came to admire him for his “wit, his passion for the harpsichord, his human decency, even for his compulsion to epater the liberals.”

Buckley was also capable of deep and genuine dislikes. In a 1968 television debate, when left-wing novelist and critic Gore Vidal called him a “pro~war~crypto~Nazi,” Buckley snarled an anti~gay slur and threatened to “sock you in your … face and you’ll stay plastered.” Their feud continued in print, leading to mutual libel suits that were either dismissed (Vidal’s) or settled out of court (Buckley’s).

The National Review defended the Vietnam War, opposed civil rights legislation and once declared that “the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail.” Buckley also had little use for the music of the counterculture, once calling the Beatles “so unbelievably horrible, so appallingly unmusical, so dogmatically insensitive to the magic of the art, that they qualify as crowned heads of antimusic.”

The National Review could do little to prevent Goldwater’s landslide defeat in 1964, but as conservatives gained influence so did Buckley and his magazine. The long rise would culminate in 1980 when Buckley’s good friend, Ronald Reagan, was elected president. The outsiders were now in, a development Buckley accepted with a touch of rue.

“It’s true. I had much more fun criticizing than praising,” he told the Washington Post in 1985. “I criticize Reagan from time to time, but it’s nothing like Carter or Johnson.”

Buckley’s memoir about Goldwater, “Flying High,” was coming out this spring, and his son said he was working on a book about Reagan.

Buckley so loved a good argument, especially when he won, that he compiled a book of bickering in “Cancel Your Own Goddam Subscription,” published in 2007 and featuring correspondence with the famous (Nixon, Reagan) and the merely annoyed.

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“Mr. Buckley,” one non~fan wrote in 1967, “you are the mouthpiece of that evil rabble that depends on fraud, perjury, dirty tricks, anything at all that suits their purposes. I would trust a snake before I would trust you or anybody you support.”

Responded Buckley: “What would you do if I supported the snake?”
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Thank you AP NEWS and HILLEL ITALIE, AP National Writer
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Even if you did not agree with him…you wanted to read his words.

I think that just about sums it up for William F. Buckley.

He was the true consevative and just as out spoken.

Your words will be missed. R.I.P.

~The Baby Boomer Queen~

Hello Baby Boomers

There is a great clip about Baseball…if you love the game like I do…you should watch it.

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This is another article that can also be accessed if you copy and paste the entire address below into your web browser.
http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/sports/2008/02/09/smith.negro.leagues.cnn

Enjoy…or should I say “PLAY BALL…”
~The Baby Boomer Queen~

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