Monthly Archives: May 2014

SKYWATCH: AMATEURS HACK A SPACECRAFT, NEW DOUBLE MARS CRATER, AND MORE

Latest News

35-year-old ISEE 3 Craft Phones Home

Although its scientific work for NASA ended in the early 1980s, the International Sun-Earth Explorer never quite died — and this week it was revived by a team of volunteers intent on letting it continue exploring interplanetary space.

Quark Nova Spotted in Cas A?

Two elements deep within Cassiopeia A, hint the supernova remnant underwent a quark nova — a theoretical second explosion that leaves behind a quark star — just days after the original supernova.

New, Intriguing Double Martian Crater

A small asteroid slammed into the Martian surface sometime between March 27 and 28, 2012, creating a crater swarm in the ground. The largest pit is 159 feet across.

Exoplanet Portraits: A Tale of New Instruments

Exoplanet missions are shifting their goals from counting to characterizing, with multiple instruments coming online to directly image these alien worlds.

Peering Into Black Holes’ Pasts

Galaxies’ central black holes are surprisingly simple creatures at heart, but they have a complicated past. New studies are starting to remove history’s obfuscating veil.

Observing Highlights

This Week’s Sky at a Glance: May 30 – June 7

The crescent Moon stars in the evening sky: a hairline sliver can be found to the left of dim Mercury tonight and the waxing crescent sweeps past Leo next week.

The Camelopardalids Disappoint

Dynamicists had predicted that Comet 209P/LINEAR would create an active meteor display in the early morning of May 24th. But that’s not what observers across the U.S. and Canada reported.

Tour June’s Sky: Three Planets In View

Days are longest and nights shortest during June. But you can still get an eyeful of celestial sights with our guided audio tour.

Community News

A Tale of Two Star Festivals

Two star parties, including one of the largest in the world, drew thousands of beginners and advanced amateurs alike.

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WORLD NO-TOBACCO DAY: MAY 31, 2014

 

WORLD NO-TOBACCO DAY

Quick Facts

World No Tobacco Day draws attention to the health problems caused by tobacco use.

Local names

Name Language
World No Tobacco Day English
Día Mundial Sin Tabaco Spanish
עולם היום ללא טבק Hebrew
اليوم العالمي دون تدخين Arabic
세계 금연의 날 Korean
Weltnichtrauchertag German

World No Tobacco Day 2014

Saturday, May 31, 2014

World No Tobacco Day 2015

Sunday, May 31, 2015

People, non-governmental organizations and governments unite on World No Tobacco Day to draw attention to the health problems that tobacco use can cause. It is held on May 31 each year.

Hand saying no thanks to a packages of cigarettes offered

World No Tobacco Day focuses on informing people about health problems associated with tobacco use.

©iStockphoto.com/Anneke Schram

What do people do?

World No Tobacco Day is a day for people, non-governmental organizations and governments organize various activities to make people aware of the health problems that tobacco use can cause. These activities include:

  • Public marches and demonstrations, often with vivid banners.
  • Advertising campaigns and educational programs.
  • People going into public places to encourage people to stop smoking.
  • The introduction of bans on smoking in particular places or types of advertising.
  • Meetings for anti-tobacco campaigners.

Moreover, laws restricting smoking in particular areas may come into effect and wide reaching health campaigns may be launched.

Public life

World No Tobacco Day is not a public holiday.

Background

Tobacco is a product of the fresh leaves of nicotiana plants. It is used as an aid in spiritual ceremonies and a recreational drug. It originated in the Americas, but was introduced to Europe by Jean Nicot, the French ambassador to Portugal in 1559. It quickly became popular and an important trade crop.

Medical research made it clear during the 1900s that tobacco use increased the likelihood of many illnesses including heart attacks, strokes, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), emphysema and many forms of cancer. This is true for all ways in which tobacco is used, including:

  • Cigarettes and cigars.
  • Hand rolling tobacco.
  • Bidis and kreteks (cigarettes containing tobacco with herbs or spices).
  • Pipes and water pipes.
  • Chewing tobacco.
  • Snuff.
  • Snus (a moist version of snuff popular in some countries such as Sweden).
  • Creamy snuff (a paste consisting of tobacco, clove oil, glycerin, spearmint, menthol, and camphor sold in a toothpaste tube popular in India).
  • Gutkha (a version of chewing tobacco mixed with areca nut, catechu, slaked lime and other condiments popular in India and South-East Asia).

On May 15, 1987, the World Health Organization passed a resolution, calling for April 7, 1988, to be the first World No Smoking Day. This date was chosen because it was the 40th anniversary of the World Health Organization. On May 17, 1989, the World Health Organization passed a resolution calling for May 31 to be annually known as World No Tobacco Day. This event has been observed each year since 1989.

Themes

The themes of World No Tobacco Day have been:

  • 2009 – Tobacco health warnings.
  • 2008 – Tobacco-free youth.
  • 2007 – Smoke free inside.
  • 2006 – Tobacco: deadly in any form or disguise.
  • 2005 – Health professionals against tobacco.
  • 2004 – Tobacco and poverty, a vicious circle.
  • 2003 – Tobacco free film, tobacco free fashion.
  • 2002 – Tobacco free sports.
  • 2001 – Second-hand smoke kills.
  • 2000 – Tobacco kills, don’t be duped.
  • 1999 – Leave the pack behind.
  • 1998 – Growing up without tobacco.
  • 1997 – United for a tobacco free world.
  • 1996 – Sport and art without tobacco: play it tobacco free.
  • 1995 – Tobacco costs more than you think.
  • 1994 – Media and tobacco: get the message across.
  • 1993 – Health services: our windows to a tobacco free world.
  • 1992 – Tobacco free workplaces: safer and healthier.
  • 1991 – Public places and transport: better be tobacco free.
  • 1990 – Childhood and youth without tobacco: growing up without tobacco.
  • 1989 – Initial observance.

Symbols

Images that symbolize World No Tobacco Day are:

  • Clean ashtrays with flowers in them.
  • Ashtrays with images of body parts, such as the heart and lungs, which are damaged by tobacco use.
  • No smoking signs.
  • Symbols of death, such as gravestones and skulls, with cigarettes.
  • Images of the diseases caused by tobacco use.

These images are often displayed as posters, on Internet sites and blogs, on clothing and public transport vehicles.

World No Tobacco Day Observances

 

Weekday Date Year Name Holiday type Where it is observed
Thu May 31 1990 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Fri May 31 1991 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Sun May 31 1992 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Mon May 31 1993 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Tue May 31 1994 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Wed May 31 1995 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Fri May 31 1996 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Sat May 31 1997 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Sun May 31 1998 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Mon May 31 1999 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Wed May 31 2000 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Thu May 31 2001 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Fri May 31 2002 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Sat May 31 2003 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Mon May 31 2004 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Tue May 31 2005 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Wed May 31 2006 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Thu May 31 2007 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Sat May 31 2008 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Sun May 31 2009 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Mon May 31 2010 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Tue May 31 2011 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Thu May 31 2012 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Fri May 31 2013 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Sat May 31 2014 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Sun May 31 2015 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Tue May 31 2016 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Wed May 31 2017 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Thu May 31 2018 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Fri May 31 2019 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance
Sun May 31 2020 World No Tobacco Day United Nations observance

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HATEWATCH: UTAH MAN FACING HATE CHARGES SAYS THREATENING BLACK CHILD WAS ‘JUST MY OPINION’

Utah Man Facing Hate Crime Charges Says Threatening Black Child Was ‘Just My Opinion’

By DavidNeiwert on May 23, 2014 – 2:07 pm

robert-keller

A Utah man is now facing federal hate crime charges for threatening to kill a black child of a neighboring Caucasian couple. Robert Keller, a 70-year-old resident of Hurricane, wrote to the family to say he would kill the boy if the child remained in his neighborhood.

Keller told KUTV that he didn’t mean anything by it, “All I wanted to do was open their eyes.” “To me, it’s not a threat, it’s my opinion, which I should be allowed to,” he said, trailing off, before concluding with, “Of course, I wrote it down, which was a mistake.”

What Keller wrote down, in a letter to the family last December, was a direct threat. His hate-filled letter – which concluded with “Get this nigger out!” – explicitly warned the parents that he would kill either the boy or the parents if they did not remove him from the neighborhood.

By Keller’s own description the letter read, “If it was my daughter – I think I wrote that I’d slice his throat or something like that.”

Keller told KUTV that he was inspired to write the letter out of fear that the boy might try to date white girls. “I just said, ‘What’s gonna happen later on down the road, when this black kid starts chasing these girls? Which I’ve seen,” he said. “That’s what set me off. I saw him walking down the street with a white gal.”

 

The property manager at the neighborhood where both Keller and the family live was shocked when she read the letter. Tenille Ewing told reporters that the letter “made threats against life,” adding: “It hit home, because it’s my ethnic background.” “It was very shocking to me that people still have that much hate, nowadays,” she said.

Keller was originally charged with interfering with a right to fair housing, a federal offense, in December. But the Department of Justice recently expanded the case to include federal hate crime charges:

The first count alleges that  Keller’s threats interfered with the housing rights of the Caucasian residents to associate in their home with their African-American family member, and the second count alleges that Keller’s threats interfered with the African-American resident’s right to occupy the home.

According to the DOJ, Keller faces “a statutory maximum penalty of one year in prison on each count” if convicted.

SOURCE

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“To me, it’s not a threat, it’s my opinion, which I should be allowed to,” he said….”

Yes, it was just your opinion.

It will be the presiding judge’s opinion to hear the evidence against you (“Of course, I wrote it down, which was a mistake.” What Keller wrote down, in a letter to the family last December, was a direct threat. His hate-filled letter – which concluded with “Get this nigger out!” – explicitly warned the parents that he would kill either the boy or the parents if they did not remove him from the neighborhood), convict you on the federal hate crime charges (“The first count alleges that  Keller’s threats interfered with the housing rights of the Caucasian residents to associate in their home with their African-American family member, and the second count alleges that Keller’s threats interfered with the African-American resident’s right to occupy the home. According to the DOJ, Keller faces “a statutory maximum penalty of one year in prison on each count” if convicted.”), and send you to the Big House for being stupid, hateful, and racist.

Of course, opinions are like assholes…..everybody has one.

Except in your case, Mr. Keller, you pushed your head all the way up past the levator ani muscle to get your opinion known to the rest of the world.

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28 COMMON RACIST ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIORS

You visit a blog and see a discussion going on that peaks your interest. You join in the conversation about the day’s topic which just happens to be about racism. You give your two cents worth, then, bam! pow! blammo! here it comes:

“I’m colorblind.”

“Reverse racism!” Blacks can be racist too!

“I’m not racist, because I have a black friend-lover-husband-co-worker-shoe shine man….etc.”

Challenging and discussing racism brings out the worst in those Whites who believe in a so-called post-racial America.

One person has addressed this all too common scenario with an excellent article on the 28 ways that discussions of race can be derailed.

Developed and written by Debra Leigh, an organizer with the Community Anti-Racism Education Initiative at St Cloud State University in Minnesota, the handout takes on the many forms of derailment that occur when the privilege and habitus of whiteness rears its head in the forms of white guilt, white denial and white defensiveness.

 

derailing

 

To read more on the handout, click the following link:    “28 Common Racist Attitudes and Behaviors”

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SYMPATHY BY PAUL LAURENCE DUNBAR

Sympathy

 

I know what the caged bird feels, alas!
    When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;
When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,
And the river flows like a stream of glass;
    When the first bird sings and the first bud opes,
And the faint perfume from its chalice steals—
I know what the caged bird feels!
I know why the caged bird beats his wing
    Till its blood is red on the cruel bars;
For he must fly back to his perch and cling
When he fain would be on the bough a-swing;
    And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars
And they pulse again with a keener sting—
I know why he beats his wing!
I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
    When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,—
When he beats his bars and he would be free;
It is not a carol of joy or glee,
    But a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core,
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings—
I know why the caged bird sings!
caged canary
Poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar (June 27, 1872 – February 9, 1906). The above poem was published in Lyrics of the Hearthside by Dodd, Mead and Company in 1899.

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INTERNATIONAL DAY OF UNITED NATIONS PEACEKEEPERS: MAY 29, 2014

 

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF UNITED NATIONS PEACEKEEPERS

Quick Facts

The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers is an occasion to pay tribute to people who served in United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operations.

Local names

Name Language
International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers English
Día Internacional del Personal de Paz de las Naciones Unidas Spanish
היום הבינלאומי של כוחות שמירת שלום של האו”ם Hebrew
اليوم الدولي لحفظة السلام التابعين للأمم المتحدة Arabic
UN 평화 유지군의 날 Korean
Internationaler Tag der Friedenstruppen der Vereinten Nationen German

International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers 2014 Theme: “A Force for Peace. A Force for Change. A Force for the Future”

Thursday, May 29, 2014

International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers 2015

Friday, May 29, 2015

The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers is a day to remember those who served in United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operations. They also honor the memory of people who died in the name of peace.

United Nations soldiers stand at the ready.

Many UN workers are remembered for their work in peacekeeping operations.

©iStockphoto.com/ Sean_Warren

What do people do?

Many activities are organized on this day. Activities include:

  • Notes in official UN documents and schedules.
  • Presentations during UN meetings and events.
  • Memorial services and wreath laying events for those who died in peace keeping missions.
  • Presentation of the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal as a way to honor military, police and civilian personnel who lost their lives while working for UN peacekeeping operations.
  • Awarding peacekeeping medals to military and police officers who are peacekeepers.
  • The launch of photographic and multimedia exhibitions on the work of UN peacekeepers.

The events take place in places such as the UN headquarters in New York in the United States, as well as Vienna, Australia, and other locations worldwide.

Public life

The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers is not a public holiday.

Background

The UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) was founded on May 29, 1948. UNTSO’s task was to assist peacekeepers to observe and maintain a cease-fire. This cease-fire marked the end of the hostilities between Israel and the Arab League forces. The hostilities started after the end of the British Mandate of Palestine on May 14, 1948. On December 11, 2002, the UN General assembly designated May 29 as the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers. The day was first observed on May 29, 2003.

The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers is a tribute to people who serve or have served in UN peacekeeping operations. The peacekeepers are honored for their high level of professionalism, dedication and courage. People who died for peace are also remembered.

Symbols

UN Peacekeepers are usually clearly recognizable. They often display the UN flag and the letters “UN” on their clothing, equipment and vehicles. They also wear hats, helmets or other clothing with UN colors.

International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers Observances

 

Weekday Date Year Name Holiday type Where it is observed
Thu May 29 2003 International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers United Nations observance
Sat May 29 2004 International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers United Nations observance
Sun May 29 2005 International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers United Nations observance
Mon May 29 2006 International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers United Nations observance
Tue May 29 2007 International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers United Nations observance
Thu May 29 2008 International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers United Nations observance
Fri May 29 2009 International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers United Nations observance
Sat May 29 2010 International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers United Nations observance
Sun May 29 2011 International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers United Nations observance
Tue May 29 2012 International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers United Nations observance
Wed May 29 2013 International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers United Nations observance
Thu May 29 2014 International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers United Nations observance
Fri May 29 2015 International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers United Nations observance
Sun May 29 2016 International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers United Nations observance
Mon May 29 2017 International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers United Nations observance
Tue May 29 2018 International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers United Nations observance
Wed May 29 2019 International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers United Nations observance
Fri May 29 2020 International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers United Nations observance

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MEMORIAL DAY, MAY 26, 2014: “THE HOUSE I LIVE IN” (1943)

Today is Memorial Day, celebrated across the country to honor those who have given their lives to protect our freedoms.

Once known as Decoration Day, Memorial day got its start at the end of the Civil War.

I posted on that subject  here  and  here.

While we are honoring the many brave women and men who put their lives on the line to protect us from enemies both foreign and domestic, we must also remember the ideals that this country should stand for, and what better way to do that in acknowledging a song that speaks to what America should strive to be.

“The House I Live In”, written by Lewis Allan and Earl Robinson.

According to the website Songfacts, here is the history of the song:

“This became a patriotic anthem in America during World War II. The lyrics describe the wonderful things about the country, with images of the era like the grocer, the butcher, and the churchyard. The “house” is a metaphor for the country.

 

The song was written in 1943 with lyrics by Abel Meeropol and music by Earl Robinson. Meeropol, who wrote it under the pen name Lewis Allan, had very liberal views and mixed feelings about America. He loved the constitutional rights and freedoms that America was based on, but hated the way people of other races, religions, and political views were often treated. His lyrics do not reflect the way he thought America was, but what it had the potential to be. With the country under attack, he wanted to express why it was worth fighting for.

 

 

Meeropol was dogged by the government for his liberal (some would say communist) views. He took a particular interest in the case of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were accused of passing nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union and executed in 1953. Meeropol felt they were wrongly accused, and he and his wife adopted their 2 sons when they were put to death. The sons, Michael and Robert, took Meeropol’s last name (it was easier to be a Meeropol than a Rosenberg at the time), and have spent their adult lives trying to clear their birth parents’ names.

 

 

Meeropol wrote a lot of songs, including “Strange Fruit,” which was about the horrors of lynchings and became Billie Holiday’s signature song. Many songs he wrote were parodies of America, with commentary on racism and political oppression. He wrote several versions of this, including one for children and one that expanded the “house” to mean the whole world, not just America. He also wrote a scathing version about things he felt were bad in the US. The idyllic images were replaced with lines like “The cruelty and murder that brings our country shame.”

 

 

Earl Robinson, who wrote the music, also had very liberal views. During the McCarthy era, he was hounded for being a communist and blacklisted from Hollywood, making it hard for him to find work. Before his death in 1991, he wrote presidential campaign songs for FDR (1944), Henry Wallace (1948), and Jesse Jackson (1984).

 

 

This has been recorded by a slew of artists, including Mahalia Jackson, Paul Robeson, Sonny Rollins, and Josh White. Sinatra’s version is the most famous, as it was used in a short film he starred in with the same in 1945. When Meeropol saw the film, he became enraged when he learned they deleted the second stanza of his song, which he felt was crucial to the meaning. He had to be removed from the theater. With it’s message of racial harmony, the second stanza was deemed too controversial for the film.

 

 

Sinatra loved this song and performed it many times, even as his political views moved from left to right as he got older. As an Italian-American, Sinatra experienced bigotry growing up, but also loved the United States. He once sang this in the Nixon White House and performed it for Ronald Reagan at the rededication of the Statue Of Liberty in 1986.

 

 

This regained popularity among Americans in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. A lot of people found it comforting at a difficult time.

 

 

In 2002, comedian Bill Cosby opened some of his shows with this playing while a light shined on an empty chair. The song had meaning for Cosby not only because of September 11, but also because of his son, who was murdered in 1997 at age 27 when he pulled over to fix a flat tire.”

THE HOUSE I LIVE IN

What is America to me
A name, a map, or a flag I see
A certain word, democracy
What is America to me

The house I live in
A plot of earth, a street
The grocer and the butcher
Or the people that I meet

The children in the playground
The faces that I see
All races and religions
That’s America to me

The place I work in
The worker by my side
The little town the city
Where my people lived and died

The howdy and the handshake
The air a feeling free
And the right to speak your mind out
That’s America to me

The things I see about me
The big things and the small
That little corner newsstand
Or the house a mile tall

The wedding and the churchyard
The laughter and the tears
And the dream that’s been a growing
For more than two hundred years

The town I live in
The street, the house, the room
The pavement of the city
Or the garden all in bloom

The church the school the clubhouse
The millions lights I see
But especially the people
Yes especially the people

That’s America to me

Writer/s: ALLAN, LEWIS / ROBINSON, EARL
Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
Lyrics Licensed and Provided By LyricFind

Personally, I think the late and great Mahalia Jackson’s  version is the best, bar none.

The House I Live In, made in 1945, is a ten-minute short film written by Albert Maltz, produced by Frank Ross and Mervyn LeRoy, and starring Frank Sinatra. 

Made to oppose anti-Semitism and racial prejudice at the end of World War II, it received an Honorary Academy Award and a special Golden Globe award in 1946.

The following video involves singer Frank Sinatra stopping a group of boys who are beating up on a Jewish boy. They fight him because of his religion and the difference it holds to them. Sinatra scolds their behavior and tells them that everyone in America contributes, people the children see on a daily basis, and people they may never meet.

house i live in

The video is archaic by today’s standards, especially the politically incorrect usage of terms like “Jap” by Sinatra. Also, isn’t it funny that the word Nazi is used, but nothing is mentioned of the Ku Klux Klan. Yes, the film was made during the time of World War II, but, the KKK would have been more appropriate instead of the Nazis, since America had its own homegrown groups of domestic terrorists, haters, fascists, racists, and sexists. So easy to point the finger at Nazis, but not at the intolerance in its own backyard. So easy to forget the Detroit Race Riots which happened in the same year the song was written. This attack against the Black community was held up by the Nazis as a sign of racial turmoil in America as the German-controlled Vichy radio broadcasted that the riot revealed “the internal disorganization of a country torn by social injustice, race hatreds, regional disputes, the violence of an irritated proletariat, and the gangsterism of a capitalistic police.”

It is also worth pointing out that of the 25 Black Americans and 9 White Americans killed during the destruction, “no white individuals were killed by police,” according to the Detroit Historical Society, “whereas seventeen African American died at the hands of police violence.”

detroit race riots photo 1

Gordon Coster—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
Not published in LIFE. A soldier guards a group of African American men rounded up following wartime race riots in Detroit, 1943.  SOURCE

In the video short, the boys in the group are seen ganging up on the little Jewish boy, but, nowhere are there any little Black boys in the video. No, much too much to address how this nation has denigrated its Black citizens.

And speaking of sexists, why not show the boys tormenting a little Black girl? The history of life for Black women and girls in this nation certainly has been no bed of roses.

No, play it safe and stick with Americans of European ancestry.

This song is very profound in its love of America. It speaks to what all Americans should work and strive for:  uphold the laws of the U.S. Constitution and do right by those who are their neighbors; those who have contributed so much to America; those who have fought and died for America; those who are of various races, ethnicities, religions, and creeds.

Those who are  Americans.

 

the-united-states-of-america-map

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