News Article | April 27, 2017
U.S. President Donald Trump hosted Argentine President Mauricio Macri at the White House Thursday. The two had a cordial visit, but it couldn’t have gone as well as their predecessors’ meet-and-greet in 2003, when Argentina’s then-President Nestor Kirchner presented former President George W. Bush with 300 pounds of lamb meat. Being the U.S. president comes with a lot of perks besides free limo rides, fancy dinner parties, and your very own nuclear football. But another, lesser-known upside are all the cool presents. Foreign dignitaries present presidents with gifts when they meet, and the president returns the favor in kind. It’s an important diplomatic gesture of any visit. Unfortunately, presidents can’t keep most of the good swag they get: Government regulations prevent any federal government employees — yes, including the president — from accepting gifts over $390. So there’s an entire diplomatic choreography around it. The president accepts a gift both he and the gift-giver know he can’t keep and, of course, thanks the visitor profusely. Then, a small obscure office in the State Department, the “Protocol Gift Unit” quietly takes the gift and passes it onto the National Archives. The Archives in turn estimates the gift’s value, logs it into public record, and stores the gift for safekeeping. Many await display in the president’s future library after he retires. They’re usually books, jewelry, paintings, or framed photos. But some are more extravagant — and bizarre. Here are some of the best and weirdest presents that U.S. presidents received in recent years: A jewel-encrusted sword: Former President Barack Obama got a three-foot long sword encrusted with gold and rubies courtesy of the crown prince and deputy prime minister of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Naif bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. But before you add this to your birthday wishlist, know the price: the National Archives appraised this one at a cool $87,900. A ping pong table: In 2012, British Prime Minister David Cameron gave Obama a “custom Dunlop table tennis table with United States and United Kingdom decals, inscription, and paddles.” They even got to break in the table by playing some local British students, but it didn’t end well. “As they would say in Britain, we got thrashed,” Obama said. Crocodile insurance: During a 2011 visit Down Under, the government of Australia’s Northern Territory presented Obama with crocodile insurance. It would’ve given Michelle Obama 50,000 Australian dollars if one attacked Obama. Presumably, his phalanx of heavily armed Secret Service agents could take out any crocs before they reached Obama. But better safe than sorry, right? “I have to admit, when we reformed health care in America, crocodile insurance is one thing we left out,” Obama said. Maybe that’s why Trump wanted to repeal it so badly. A puppy: In 2006, Bulgarian President Georgi Purvanov inexplicably decided to give Bush a puppy. His name was ‘‘Balkan of Gorannadraganov” (Balkan for short). The federal registry report listed Balkan under “miscellaneous” gift option and estimated his value at $430. Bush couldn’t exactly keep him, but couldn’t store him at the National Archives either. So he reportedly bought Balkan from the government and gave him to a family friend in Maryland, where he presumably led a happy, carefree life. (Another useful gift the Bulgarian leader gave Bush: a book, in Bulgarian, titled The Leadership Genius of George W. Bush.) A taxidermic lion and leopard: President of Tanzania Jakaya Kikwete gave President Bush a stuffed lion and leopard in 2008. Because what Oval Office is complete without these? But sadly, he had to follow protocol and hand them over to the National Archives. Roller blades: 2008 was apparently a big year for Bush in the gift-getting department. In addition to the taxidermic wildlife, he got a pair of sweet black roller blades from then-Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende. Balkenende threw in some complimentary wrist guards, knee pads, and elbow pads to make sure Bush was safe next time he bladed around the West Wing, which is really diplomatic of him. (No word if Bush actually did, but we’d like to think so). A really awkward portrait on a carpet: The President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev wanted to go above and beyond when he met President Bill Clinton in 1997. So he commissioned a carpet that depicted Clinton and his wife Hillary. And it’s … well, it’s something. That’s likely the face they had when they first saw the gift. It would’ve looked great in the Oval Office, though. A Komodo dragon. Somehow the leader of Indonesia decided the thing President George H.W. Bush needed most was a giant venomous flesh-eating lizard. When Bush Senior received the dragon, named Naga, in 1990, he regifted it to the Cincinnati Zoo, where it lived a busy and productive life (it fathered 32 baby Komodo dragons) before passing away in 2004. It’s slightly less cuddly than the Bulgarian puppy his son later received, but hey, it’s the thought that counts, right?
News Article | April 21, 2017
It all started with a one-line entry - "Manuscript copy, on parchment, of the Declaration in Congress of the thirteen United States of America" - in the catalog of a tiny records office in the town of Chichester in the south of England. As part of an effort to assemble a database on every known edition of the Declaration of Independence, Emily Sneff, a researcher with the Declaration Resources Project, stumbled upon the listing in August 2015. And though she didn't think much of it at the time, that short description would set her and Danielle Allen, the James Bryant Conant University Professor and Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, on a two-year journey into American history. "I'd found vague descriptions of other copies of the Declaration that turned out to be 19th century reproductions of the signed parchment in the National Archives, so that was what I was expecting," Sneff said, of her initial impression based on the catalog listing. "What struck me as significant was that it said manuscript on parchment." Sneff contacted the archive, the West Sussex Record Office, which was unable to send images of the document online, and instead mailed her a disc with photos of the document. "When I looked at it closely, I started to see details, like names that weren't in the right order - John Hancock isn't listed first, there's a mark at the top that looks like an erasure, the text has very little punctuation in it - and it's in a handwriting I hadn't seen before," she said. "As those details started adding up, I brought it to Danielle's attention and we realized this was different from any other copy we had seen." "We knew we had a mystery," Allen said. "We had a big, big mystery." "There are three key questions we want to answer," she continued. "One is: Can we date this parchment based on the material evidence? Second, who commissioned it and why, and third, how did it get to England?" Allen and Sneff are providing some answers to that mystery with a pair of papers. The first, which is currently in the final revision stage with the Papers of the Bibliographic Society of America, uses handwriting analysis, examination of the parchment preparation and styling, and spelling errors in the names of the signers to date the Sussex Declaration to the 1780s. The second paper, presented at a Yale University conference, argues that the document was probably commissioned by James Wilson of Pennsylvania, who later aided in drafting the Constitution and was among the original justices appointed to the Supreme Court. But the document isn't simply a previously-unknown piece of American history - it also affords Allen and Sneff a unique window into the political upheavals of the early Republic. In the immediate aftermath of its signing, Allen said, there was a period of "breaking news" in which the Declaration was reproduced and printed in a variety of formats as the news spread through the colonies and eventually made its way across the Atlantic to England. "The versions that people would have seen in July and August 1776 were broadsides and newspapers, starting with John Dunlap's broadsides, which was printed on the night of July 4," Sneff said. "Those copies would have made their way across to England as well - there are Dunlap broadsides in their National Archives." But it wasn't until approximately a decade later that the Sussex Declaration was produced, amidst what was one of the most challenging periods for the new nation. "Victory was not sweet," Allen said, describing the post-war atmosphere. "There was financial disaster, the Articles of Confederation were not working...so the 1780s were a period of great instability, despite victory. And this parchment belongs to that decade." Among the chief political debates of the era, Allen said, was whether the new nation had been founded on the basis of the authority of the people or the authority of the states. By re-ordering names of the signers, arguably the most conspicuous feature of the parchment, the Sussex Declaration comes down squarely on one side of the argument. On most documents, Allen said, the protocol was for members of each state delegation to sign together, with signatures typically running either down the page or from left to right, and with the names of the states labelling each group. An exception was made for a small number of particularly important documents - including the Declaration, which was signed from right to left, and which omitted the names of the states, though the names were still grouped by state. "But the Sussex Declaration scrambles the names so they are no longer grouped by state," Allen said. "It is the only version of the Declaration that does that, with the exception of an engraving from 1836 that derives from it. This is really a symbolic way of saying we are all one people or 'one community' to quote James Wilson." Going forward, Allen and Sneff will continue to pursue research into exactly how the parchment reached England from the U.S. Also, they are working on a project in collaboration with the West Sussex Record Office, the British Library and the Library of Congress to perform hyper-spectral imaging on the parchment and other non-invasive studies in the hope of reading some text that appears to have been scraped away at the top of the document.
News Article | April 28, 2017
President Donald Trump and his predecessor Barack Obama spent their first 100 days in office doing starkly different things, and the end of the critical period for Mr Trump has brought frequent comparisons between the two. While they were very different men inheriting very different political and economic climates, comparing the two illustrates their distinct styles of governing and priorities. Mr Obama, who came into office shortly after the 2008 economic downturn, needed to quickly move to stymie a haemorrhaging economy. Mr Trump, on the other hand, inherited a relatively strong economy and was able to focus more closely on his many difficult campaign promises. Here’s a comparison of the two during the time by the numbers. We asked Trump's biggest supporters if they have any regrets Mr Trump and Mr Obama clearly had different priorities when it came to visiting foreign governments. Mr Trump, who had campaigned heavily on domestic issues, started out saying that he planned a lighter foreign trip load than Mr Obama. Mr Trump didn’t have a single out of country trip during his first 100 days while Mr Obama visited nine countries during the time, according to State Department records. Although he frequently criticised Mr Obama for his use of executive orders while in office, Mr Trump relied on them heavily during his first 100 days to try and push through his policy goals. The White House said it will have signed 30 during that time while Mr Obama signed 29, according to the National Archives. Mr Trump has signed at least 28 bills during his first 100 days in office. Mr Obama signed 11. Mr Trump may have signed more total bills during his first 100 days but he has struggled to secure any landmark legislative victories. Although Republicans control both chambers of Congress, the Trump administration has suffered stinging losses in its efforts to deliver on some of its more ambitious campaign promises such as repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. When asked in April to name a single significant legislative achievement, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer couldn’t do it. Mr Obama on the other hand got Congress to pass a $787bn stimulus package and signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to prohibit sex-based wage discrimination, and signed legislation expanding the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. Video not available for syndication Approval rating at the end of 100 days Mr Trump’s approval rating nearing the end of his presidency had sunk below 40 per cent, the lowest in modern polling history, according to Gallup. Mr Obama finished his first 100 days with a 65 per cent approval rating, the highest rating at that time since former President Ronald Reagan. Mr Trump has dwarfed the personal travel costs of Mr Obama. While it is difficult to determine exactly how much Mr Trump has spent on travel to his Mar-a-Lago, Florida, resort – there hasn’t been an official analysis of the costs – an analysis of a similar trip taken by Mr Obama to Florida during his presidency provides a close estimate. The US Government Accountability Office analysed a 2013 trip Mr Obama took to Florida by way of Chicago and determined that the costs, including financing Air Force One and Coast Guard protection, came out to about $3.6m (£2.8m). That itinerary is fairly close to the costs Mr Trump’s frequent weekend trips would likely incur, bringing the estimated costs for private travel during his first 100 days to more than $21.6m. Mr Obama, on the other hand, spent far less time outside of the White House on personal trips during his presidency. His total private trips cost during his two terms was $96.9m, according to an analysis by the conservative non-profit Judicial Watch. That figure, though, also includes several million dollars worth of travel expenses for official presidential trips, including an Earth Day trip to the Florida Everglades in 2015 when Mr Obama discussed climate change, and his historic 2016 trip to Cuba. Number of days on private retreat from the White House Mr Trump frequently takes trips to his Mar-a-Lago resort where he has been seen playing golf. Finishing off his first 100 days, he had spent at least 25 days away from the White House. Mr Obama spent one weekend, or four days, away from the White House on a private retreat during that time. Mr Trump, as a private citizen, frequently criticised Mr Obama for the amount of time he spent golfing. But, during his first 100 days the President has golfed much more than his predecessor during that time. While the exact number is difficult to determine because most of the information comes from pictures of sightings posted online, Mr Trump has spent at least 19 days golfing. Mr Obama didn’t golf at all during that time and didn’t hit the links until four months into his presidency, according to an analysis by the New York Times. Number of tweets sent from their private accounts Mr Trump is known for his prolific tweeting and sent more than 194 tweets from his private account during his first 100 days. Mr Obama’s private Twitter account sent out just one during his presidency, and it didn’t appear to be written by the President himself. Mr Obama became the first sitting president to visit a late night TV show within the first 100 days of his presidency when he visited the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Mr Trump didn’t appear on any late night television shows during his first days.
News Article | April 24, 2017
Lennox Yearwood Jr was on his way to speak at the March for Science in DC, when something bad happened. He tells us: …at the March For Science in Washington DC on Earth Day, I was assaulted, roughed up, and detained by police in the shadow of the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture. It was not part of an action or planned civil disobedience. It was sadly a much more regular event – an interaction between police and a person of color gone very wrong. He continues: I was walking in the rain and carrying an umbrella down Constitution Ave. from the National Archives Building towards the Washington Monument. Constitution Ave. was closed and I was excited to see so many people out for the Science March. As I approached 14th St. on Constitution, the walk sign was on, but there was an MPD officer in the middle of street letting cars proceed across 14th so I stayed on the curb. I waited as the crossing signal turned red and then it turned back to walk, signaling clearance for all of us on the curb to cross, which we started to do. I was the only person of color in the immediate area. The police officer then told everyone to get out of the crosswalk. By then I was about half way across the street. I paused in the middle of the street and then decided it was easier to proceed to the other side of the street, in effect getting out of the crosswalk. The officer then ran up to me, grabbed me forcefully by my jacket and swung me around, slamming me up against a food truck. I yelled, “What are you doing? Stop grabbing me.” He told me to stop resisting, to which I responded that I wasn’t. I dropped my umbrella, and put my hands up. I told him I was there for the Science March. He said he had to detain me because I “could be on drugs.” YES, he really said that. Conspiracy to jay walk. It gets worse. More cops show up, more tension. Eventually it deescalates as Reverend Yearwood’s identity is established. Read the whole account here. From Think Progress: Aside from the humiliation of getting roughed up by the police, Yearwood said he was extremely disappointed that the incident forced him to miss a speech given by Mustafa Ali, who earlier this year resigned as the head of environmental justice at the Environmental Protection Agency after a 24-year career. Ali now serves as senior vice president of climate, environmental justice, and community revitalization for the Hip Hop Caucus. The Hip Hop Caucus, formed in 2004, seeks to connect marginalized communities with civic matters, focusing in particular on environmental issues. The environmental movement historically has been dominated by white men, although more women have claimed leadership positions over the past decade. More at Think Progress I have to say, that I just can’t imagine this happening at the Minnesota March for Science. There is a huge overlap in who shows up at these events in the Twin Cities, and the events cover everything from economic justice to #BLM to women’s’ rights. It is not in the nature of our community to allow someone to be physically harassed by the police at an event like this, without comment or intervention. Our community has been tested in the past and has done OK in this area, especially since the RNC in Saint Paul when the true potential of a city-wide police state was unleashed on our community, we fought back on several fronts, and changed our culture somewhat. I don’t know anything about the DC environmental community but apparently it is in need of some adjustment. Ours, here in the Twin Cities, probably does too, but this? I don’t think so.
News Article | May 17, 2017
A free reception at the museum is planned at 5 p.m. June 20, followed by a moderated panel discussion led by American Legion 100th Anniversary Honorary Committee Chairman Ted Roosevelt IV. Scheduled panelists include former U.S. Sen. James Webb, who wrote, introduced and championed the Post 9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008; VA Deputy Under Secretary for Economic Opportunity Curtis Coy; Student Veterans of America CEO and President Jared Lyon; and American Legion Assistant Director of Veterans Employment and Education John Kamin. The panel discussion will include remarks from National WWII Museum President Dr. Gordon H. "Nick" Mueller and American Legion Executive Director Verna Jones. The event will include a question-and-answer session were audience members will be invited to share the ways in which the GI Bill has influenced their lives and to discuss the future of the benefit for today's veterans. In addition to the cover and signature pages of the original act, on loan from the National Archives, and the speech, on loan from the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, is a pen used by President Roosevelt to sign the bill into law, on loan from The American Legion National Headquarters. Visitors planning to attend the June 20 event are asked to call ahead at 1-877-813-3329 extension 412. The National WWII Museum tells the story of the American experience in the war that changed the world – why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today – so that future generations will know the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn. Dedicated in 2000 as The National D-Day Museum and now designated by Congress as America's National WWII Museum, it celebrates the American Spirit, the teamwork, optimism, courage and sacrifices of the men and women who fought on the battlefront and served on the Home Front. For more information, call 877-813-3329 or 504-528-1944 or visit nationalww2museum.org. With a current membership of 2.2 million wartime veterans, The American Legion, www.legion.org, was founded in 1919 on the four pillars of a strong national security, veterans affairs, Americanism, and youth programs. Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through more than 13,000 posts across the nation. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/american-legion-gi-bill-forum-exhibit-set-for-the-national-wwii-museum-300459597.html
News Article | April 18, 2017
When asked whether President Donald Trump will release his tax returns, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Monday that Trump cannot do so as he is under audit by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). If Trump continues to refuse to release his tax returns in office, he will reportedly become the first American president in 40 years to do so. In the press briefing, Spicer said that Trump had made it clear during the campaign last year about the status of his income tax returns. Trump has used the same explanation about him being under audit by the IRS since early last year, according to reports. Trump is not the first president whose tax returns have created controversy. In the decadeslong history of presidential tax returns, there have been others as well whose tax returns have raised questions. In 1973, when the Watergate scandal was at its peak, tax experts demanded for an audit of the then-President Richard Nixon. The IRS refused, but one of the agency's employees leaked information showing that despite having an income of more than $200,000, Nixon paid only $792.81 in federal income taxes in 1970 and $878.03 in 1971. Nixon also took a huge number of deductions, which included $570,000 for the gift of his vice-presidential papers to the National Archives. He apparently asked his aide to show that transaction as a backdated entry to the previous year. Nixon eventually had to his show his tax returns going back to 1969, and was later hit with a tax bill of $471,431 plus interest. “People have got to know whether or not their president is a crook,” Nixon told reporters in November 1973, amid the scandal over his taxes. “Well, I am not a crook.” He resigned less than a year later. Former President Ronald Reagan’s 1981 tax return showed that he paid taxes at an effective rate of 40 percent. However, Reagan took advantage of the signature tax cuts that he passed when he was in office. In 1987, he gave only 25 percent of his income to the IRS. According to 1987's tax returns, the former president's income that year included not only his presidential salary, but also his income from his movie career and autobiography. In 1994, the then-President Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary Clinton, released their tax returns for several years to silence all those questioning the couple's Whitewater Development Corporation, which was formed in 1978. The real estate venture failed but some claimed it involved illegal dealings by the couple. Three separate inquiries were held but no evidence were found against the Clintons. Then-Senator Barack Obama's tax returns in 2008 reflected a huge spike in charitable donations during his presidential campaign. The New York Times also reported at the time how Obama's income rose drastically from book royalties. Some of Obama's largest donations went to the Trinity United Church of Christ. In 2005 and 2006, the church reportedly received $27,500 from Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle.
News Article | May 11, 2017
As the commemoration of the Centennial of World War I (2014-19) continues, the National World War I Museum and Memorial serves as a fitting place to honor and recognize the men and women who sacrificed their lives while serving their country during Memorial Day weekend. Additionally, the Museum invites the public to “find your World War I connection” and discover how the Great War affected your family through records, photographs and more with a variety of programs throughout the weekend. Admission to the Museum is free for veterans and active duty military personnel, while admission for the public is half-price all weekend (Friday-Monday, May 26-29). The Museum offers several events during the course of the weekend for people of all ages and interests, including a free public ceremony at 10 a.m. on Memorial Day featuring renowned photographer Michael St Maur Sheil. St Maur Sheil’s exhibitions of contemporary photographs of World War I battlefields have been seen by millions of people across the world and are currently featured in the exhibition Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace: The Doughboys 1917-1918 at the Museum. Half-price admission on Friday is courtesy of Sports Radio 810 WHB. Additional support for Memorial Day Weekend activities is provided by Armed Forces Insurance and the Neighborhood Tourist Development Fund of Kansas City, Mo. WORLD WAR I RESEARCH STATIONS When: All Day, Friday-Sunday, May 26-29 Where: Outside J.C. Nichols Auditorium Lobby What: Find your connection to World War I during Memorial Day weekend through research stations at the Museum. With access to multiple databases including, Fold3.com, Ancestry.com, the Museum’s online collections database, the American Battlefield Monuments Commission and the National Archives, discover how the Great War affected your family through records, photographs and much more. FREE to the public. VIETNAM ERA BELL UH-1 IROQUOIS “HUEY” HELICOPTER DISPLAY When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday, May 27 – Monday, May 29 Where: Rectangular Drive at the National World War I Museum and Memorial What: The Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter #243 will provide an iconic Bell UH-1 Iroquois “Huey” helicopter for display. FREE to the public. VINTAGE MILITARY VEHICLE DISPLAY When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, May 27 Where: Southeast Lawn outside the National World War I Museum and Memorial What: The Military Vehicle Preservation Association (MVPA) will display nearly 20 vintage military vehicles from World War II, Korean War and Operation Desert Storm. MVPA members will be available to answer questions about their collection. Availability subject to weather. FREE to the public. FIELDS OF BATTLE, LANDS OF PEACE TOURS When: 10:30 a.m. & 3:30 p.m., Saturday-Sunday, May 27-28; 3:30 p.m. Monday, May 29 Where: Tours begin at Guest Services inside the National World War I Museum and Memorial What: Join award-winning photojournalist and curator Michael St Maur Sheil on a brief walking tour of the special centennial outdoor exhibition Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace: The Doughboys 1917-1918. Hear the stories behind the incredible contemporary photographs. Book purchase suggested and reservation required. Limited space available. FREE to the public. 2017 BATTLEFIELD TOUR: THE TRIP OF A LIFETIME When: Noon, Saturday, May 27 Where: R.A. Long Education Center What: What’s it like to experience the battlefields of World War I in person? Find out details of the upcoming commemorative journey to breathtaking places in Europe with the National World War I Museum and Memorial and Battlefield Tour guide/photojournalist Michael St Maur Sheil. Museum staff will be on hand to answer questions. FREE with RSVP. HANDS-ON HISTORY When: 2 p.m., Saturday, May 27 Where: Near Paul Sunderland Glass Bridge inside the National World War I Museum and Memorial What: History is brought to life during this family-friendly program, where kids of all ages are invited to handle Great War artifacts. 35TH INFANTRY DIVISION BAND CONCERT When: 2 p.m., Saturday, May 27 Where: J.C. Nichols Auditorium inside the National World War I Museum and Memorial What: The Museum proudly welcomes the 35th Infantry Division Band for a rousing concert to commemorate those who have served and perished in our country’s armed forces. Comprised of professional musicians, educators, and college students, the 35th ID Band performs for more than 100,000 citizens annually, sharing the Army’s story with the public through music. FREE to the public. BANK OF AMERICA CELEBRATION AT THE STATION When: 3 p.m., Sunday, May 28 (concert begins at 8 p.m.) Where: North Lawn outside the National World War I Museum and Memorial What: Kick off your summer with the largest free Memorial Day weekend event in the Midwest. The Kansas City Symphony, led by Music Director Michael Stern, performs patriotic favorites against the backdrop of Kansas City's historic Union Station. Celebration at the Station concludes with a fireworks display over the Liberty Memorial at the National World War I Museum and Memorial. FREE to the public. FINDING YOUR WWI CONNECTION When: 2 p.m., Sunday, May 28 Where: J.C. Nichols Auditorium inside the National World War I Museum and Memorial What: Many Americans had family members who served overseas during the Great War. Others had family members who were German or Austrian immigrants affected by U.S. immigration policies during wartime. In this introductory session to WWI research, Dr. Mitch Yockelson will offer some hints and tips on how to go about researching relatives that may have served or been affected during the war. Information on how to request copies of military service files via the National Archives will also be available. Presented in partnership with The National Archives at Kansas City. FREE with RSVP. NATIONAL WORLD WAR I MUSEUM AND MEMORIAL BENEFIT PANCAKE BREAKFAST When: 9-11 a.m., Monday, May 29 Where: Over There Café, inside the National World War I Museum and Memorial What: Enjoy some flapjacks (with hashbrowns and sausage/bacon) in a unique setting during a pancake feed with proceeds benefiting the National World War I Museum and Memorial. The meals are $9 for adults and $5 for children (12 and under) and include a beverage. MEMORIAL DAY CEREMONY When: 10-11 a.m., Monday, May 29 Where: Memorial Courtyard outside the National World War I Museum and Memorial What: A formal public program to include remarks from dignitaries, including U.S. Missouri Fifth District Representative Emanuel Cleaver, II, Kansas City and Missouri Mayor Sylvester “Sly” James (a former U.S. Marine), a keynote address Michael St Maur Sheil, musical performances from the Heartland Men’s Chorus and the 1st Infantry Division Wood Wind Quintet and an Honor Guard presentation from Ft. Leavenworth. FREE to the public. WALK OF HONOR DEDICATION CEREMONY When: 2 p.m., Monday, May 29 Where: J.C. Nichols Auditorium inside the National World War I Museum and Memorial What: More than 100 new Walk of Honor granite bricks will be dedicated during a special ceremony. Entertainment includes a performance from the Heartland Men’s Chorus, remarks from archivist, military historian and author Dr. Mitch Yockelson and an Honor Guard presentation from Ft. Leavenworth. The Walk of Honor, now more than 10,000 bricks strong, is divided into three sections: bricks dedicated solely to those who served in World War I; bricks dedicated to veterans of any military service; and bricks that honor civilian friends, family or organizations. Walk of Honor bricks are dedicated twice each year during Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies. FREE to the public. MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND HOURS AND PARKING The National World War I Museum and Memorial will be open from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Friday-Sunday and from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Monday. To accommodate expected high Memorial Day weekend attendance, a parking shuttle service will be available Saturday, May 27 and Sunday, May 28 from 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. from the West Yards Garage at Union Station and on Monday, May 29 from 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. About the National World War I Museum and Memorial The National World War I Museum and Memorial is America’s leading institution dedicated to remembering, interpreting and understanding the Great War and its enduring impact on the global community. The Museum holds the most diverse collection of World War I objects and documents in the world and is the second-oldest public museum dedicated to preserving the objects, history and experiences of the war. The Museum takes visitors of all ages on an epic journey through a transformative period and shares deeply personal stories of courage, honor, patriotism and sacrifice. Designated by Congress as America’s official World War I Museum and Memorial and located in downtown Kansas City, Mo., the National World War I Museum and Memorial inspires thought, dialogue and learning to make the experiences of the Great War era meaningful and relevant for present and future generations. To learn more, visit theworldwar.org.
News Article | May 9, 2017
In September 2012 the Google Street View car drove slowly along a road in Twickenham, London. It had to reverse when the driver found three wooden bollards blocking its way. The road was not a road at all, it was a cycleway. A cycleway built in – wait for it – 1937. Originally surfaced with red concrete, the cycleway has faded to light pink but the granite kerbs are still in situ and, fooling the Street View navigation algorithms, it looks like a narrow road instead of the normal kind of “crap cycle lane” we are so unhappily used to in the UK. The wide, protected cycleway beside the four-lane Chertsey Road is no freak. It’s one of 80 similar cycleways I discovered while researching the 1930s chapter for my forthcoming book, Bike Boom. Between 1934 and 1940, Britain’s Ministry of Transport would only give fat grants to road-building schemes if they included wide, protected cycleways on each side of the road. The MoT was aided in its cycle-friendliness by plans and guidance supplied by the Rijkwaterstaat, the ministry’s Dutch equivalent. Five hundred miles of such cycleways were planned; I’ve discovered that at least 280 miles of them were built. Some are wholly or partially buried, while others are still used as cycleways but not commonly known to be 80 years old. And some – such as examples in Durham, Sunderland, Manchester and elsewhere – are hidden in plain sight, not listed by local authorities as cycleways. Durham Road in Sunderland, for instance, has the sort of protection at a roundabout it is assumed only the Dutch can muster. The road has cycleways each side, but only one side is marked as a cycleway on official maps, and the roundabout side is not the one so marked. Not even the hive-mind has spotted it – this particular cycleway was built in 1938 yet it’s still waiting to be plotted on OpenCycleMap. Postwar Ordnance Survey maps show that the 18-mile Southend Arterial Road from Gallows Corner in Romford to Southend once had cycleways along its full length (they were known as “cycle tracks” at the time) and this cycleway linked to others in the area. That’s right: before the second world war, Britain had an 18-mile kerb-protected intra-urban cycleway. I’ve found these cycleways by digging – not in the ground, but in dusty archives, including poring over Ministry of Transport minutes held in the National Archives. And once I find a period source telling me a cycleway scheme once existed I use the spin-off from an American military mapping project to take a look at the location. Google Street View is an off-shoot from Google Earth, the descendant of EarthViewer, a CIA-funded project that was used by the US military in war zones from the late 1990s onwards. Google acquired EarthViewer in 2004 and rebranded it as Google Earth in 2005. Archeologists often use Google Earth – and other open-access satellite-imagery services – to find hidden hill-forts and even buried treasure, but this is the first time the satellite and street-level imagery has been used to discover 1930s-era cycleways. And now that I have found at least 80 such schemes I’ve partnered with an urban planner to bring at least some of them back to life. When I first told Urban Movement’s John Dales what I was up to he immediately recognised the potential of these forgotten cycleways. As he says in the above video, they are highly relevant today because the space for cycling that many planners and politicians say isn’t there is there. We created a Kickstarter campaign and within three days it had exceeded its £7,000 target. Up to 420 backers have so far pledged £11,680. Reaching the initial target will enable us to research and perhaps revive a number of cycleways, but by no means all of them. We have until 25 May to get as many pledges as possible – the number of pledges could play an important later role when we start seeking the institutional funding required for national-scale cycleway improvements. The sum raised is not a lot when you consider that remodelling one simple junction can sometimes cost £1m or more. The Kickstarter campaign will pay for the research work and the first plans to local authorities. After that our hope is to attract interest from today’s Department for Transport. And helpfully, the DfT now has quite the heartwarming backstory: long before modern cycle advocates were clamouring to “Go Dutch!”, the Ministry of Transport was actually doing it.
News Article | May 11, 2017
FILE - In this April 17, 1973 file photo, President Richard Nixon speaks during White House news briefing in Washington. President Donald Trump’s surprise firing of FBI Director James Comey drew swift comparisons to the Nixon-era "Saturday night massacre.” Both cases involve a president getting rid of an official leading an investigation that could ensnare the White House, said Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian at Rice University. (AP Photo/Henry Burroughs. File) WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's surprise firing of FBI Director James Comey drew swift comparisons to the Nixon-era "Saturday Night Massacre." Both cases involve a president getting rid of an official leading an investigation that could ensnare the White House. On that Saturday night in 1973, Nixon ordered the firing of the independent special prosecutor overseeing the Watergate investigation, prompting the resignations of the top two officials at the Justice Department. This week, Trump fired the FBI director in the midst of an investigation into whether Trump's campaign had ties to Russian meddling in the election that may have helped send him to the White House. Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian at Rice University, said the comparison was "apt." ''Obviously, there are different circumstances. But it's about a president that's seeming to lurch into abuse of power," he said. Nixon ordered Archibald Cox fired for his continued efforts to obtain tape recordings made at the White House. Cox had said he would not bow to "exaggerated claims of executive privilege" and drop his pursuit of the tapes. Attorney General Elliot Richardson refused to carry out Nixon's order and resigned in protest. Richardson's deputy, William Ruckelshaus, also refused and resigned as well. Finally, Solicitor General Robert Bork, the third-ranking official at Justice, fired the prosecutor. In this case, Trump had the power to fire the FBI director himself. The White House cited a Justice Department official's concerns about the director's handling of last year's investigation into Hillary Clinton's email practices. But Democrats criticizing Trump's stunning move say the two cases are similar because Comey was overseeing an FBI investigation into both Russia's hacking of Democratic groups last year and whether Trump campaign associates had ties to Moscow's election interference. Three U.S. officials say Comey told lawmakers that he had recently asked the Justice Department for more money for the bureau's investigation into Russia's election meddling. "This is Nixonian," Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., declared on Twitter on Tuesday, calling for a "special prosecutor to continue the Trump/Russia investigation." The White House has said there is no evidence of any ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. In his letter to Comey, Trump said that the FBI director had told him "on three occasions, that I am not under investigation." There are some differences. Brinkley noted that the Watergate investigation was further along, while the Russia probe is just beginning. And after Nixon's firings, Brinkley said, a number of Republicans "started going after the leader of their own party" and that has not happened yet in Trump's case. The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum pushed back on the comparison on its official Twitter account Tuesday, writing: "FUN FACT: President Nixon never fired the Director of the FBI." The National Archives and Records Administration later criticized the tweet in a statement, saying it "was not representative of the policies of the Library or the National Archives." The National Archives added that it is "examining the training provided to employees who post to official social media channels as well as reviewing work flows and approval processes to ensure that our social media efforts engage the public in constructive conversations in line with agency policies." Citing personnel rules, it did not say if any employees would be punished for the Tweet. The presidential library system is overseen by the Office of Presidential Libraries, a component of the National Archives. The libraries are funded through federal dollars and private contributions.
News Article | March 1, 2017
New Entity Launches on March 1, 2017 as "Global Public Safety" HANOVER, MD / ACCESSWIRE / March 1, 2017 / Brekford Corp. (OTCQX: BFDI), a leading public safety and security technology service provider of fully integrated automated traffic safety enforcement ("ATSE") solutions, announced that on February 28, 2017 it finalized the sale of an 80.1% stake in its vehicle services business to LB&B Associates Inc. ("LB&B"), headquartered in Columbia, Maryland. Proceeds from the sale were used to retire all long-term debt of the Company, and provide growth capital for expansion of its ATSE business, which provides turnkey solutions to government agencies for automated enforcement of speed, red light, and distracted driving violations. In keeping with the Contribution and Unit Purchase Agreement (the "Agreement") signed by Brekford and LB&B on February 6, 2017, the Company contributed substantially all assets and certain liabilities related to its law enforcement vehicle upfitting business to Global Public Safety, LLC ("GPS"). As of the closing on February 28, 2017, LB&B acquired 80.1% of the units of GPS for $4 million in cash and a $2 million promissory note that will be secured by LB&B's GPS units. Brekford retains ownership of 19.9% of the units of GPS as a minority member. "We are pleased to finalize this important transaction, which will provide necessary growth capital for Brekford's ATSE business," commented Rod Hillman, President and COO of Brekford. "We look forward to implementing an aggressive growth plan to provide our turnkey photo enforcement solutions to government agencies throughout the U.S. and Latin America. Additionally, GPS is positioned for significant expansion of its public safety solutions business under the leadership of LB&B. With an ongoing minority interest in GPS, we will also assist in whatever manner requested to help that business flourish." The sale is in keeping with a definitive merger agreement signed between Brekford and Keystone Solutions, Inc. ("Keystone") on February 10, 2017, with a condition to sell the vehicle upfitting business to a company with the resources to grow the business nationally (https://www.accesswire.com/454965/Brekford-Signs-Definitive-Agreement-to-Merge-with-Keystone-Solutions-Inc.). LB&B has been in business since 1992, and currently operates nationwide providing diversified services such as facilities management, transportation and distribution, security, simulation systems support and training, and base operations support for both federal government and private sector clients. Brekford Corp. provides state-of-the art automated traffic enforcement solutions to municipalities, and other public safety agencies throughout the United States. Its services include automated speed, red light, and distracted driving camera enforcement programs. Brekford's combination of automated traffic enforcement services with a longstanding background and foundation in public safety solutions offers a unique 360-degree solution for law enforcement agencies and municipalities. The Company is headquartered in Hanover, Maryland, and its common stock is traded on the OTC Markets under the symbol "BFDI." Additional information on Brekford can be accessed online at www.brekford.com. LB&B Associates Inc. is a diversified services company operating in over twenty-five states, the District of Columbia, and overseas locations. Its services include facilities management, operations and maintenance, logistics support, simulation systems support and training, base operations support, and commercial support. More than 1,000 associates nationwide have provided a broad range of services to federal agencies, state governments, commercial businesses, the military, NATO, hospitals, churches, research centers, and educational facilities. Key customers include the U.S. Navy, Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, GSA, National Archives, CMS, and DHS. LB&B is headquartered in Columbia, Maryland. Additional information can be accessed online at www.lbbassociates.com. This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of that term in Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Words such as "anticipate," "expect," "project," "intend," "plan," "believe," "target," "aim," "should," and words and terms of similar substance and any financial projections used in connection with any discussion of future plans, strategies, objectives, actions, or events identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements include, among others, those concerning our expected financial performance and strategic and operational plans, as well as all assumptions, expectations, predictions, intentions or beliefs about future events. These statements are based on the beliefs of our management as well as assumptions made by and information currently available to us and reflect our current views concerning future events. As such, they are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause our results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include, among many others: the risk that any projections, including earnings, revenues, expenses, synergies, margins or any other financial items that form the basis for management's plans and assumptions are not realized; a reduction in industry profit margin; requirements or changes affecting the business in which we are engaged; our ability to successfully implement new strategies; operating hazards; competition and the loss of key personnel; changing interpretations of generally accepted accounting principles; continued compliance with government regulations; changing legislation and regulatory environments; and the general volatility of the market prices of our securities and general economic conditions. Readers are referred to the documents filed by Brekford Corp. with the SEC, specifically the Company's most recent reports filed on Form 10-K and Forms 10-Q, which further identify important risks, trends and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements in this press release. Brekford Corp. expressly disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statements.