Top 10 New Year Traditions

Just as the parties from Christmas begin to dwindle, preparations are started for the celebration of New Year. It is a time when even the least-likely party-goer will ready himself for a night of booze, singing, and food. This list looks at 10 of the most common and interesting traditions of New Year from around the world.


First-footing is an ancient European New Year’s custom that continues into the present in many areas. The first person to enter a home after midnight on the first day of the year should be a male, preferably with dark hair. Blondes may have been associated with Vikings – visitors who never brought good luck. The first-footer should carry a gift, such as a coin for prosperity, bread for food, salt for flavor, or whiskey to represent good cheer. The first-footer can be a resident of the house, but must not be inside during the hour leading up to midnight. No fair stepping outside and coming back in again!


There is an Irish tradition of predicting the political future of the country by checking which way the wind blows at midnight on New Year’s Eve. If the wind is from the west, there is a chance that good fortune will reign that year. If the wind is from the east, however, the British will prevail. Mistletoe was handed out to ward off bad luck, and single women put a sprig of mistletoe under their pillows in hopes of catching a dream about their future husbands. Another tradition peculiar to Ireland is pounding on the doors and windows of the house with bread. This practice was to chase out evil spirits and ensure bread for the upcoming year.


Madeira, a Portugese island, holds a place in the Guinness Book of Records for the most lavish New Year’s party. In 2007, 8,000 fireworks per minute made up the display in Funchal, the capital city, for a total of 600,000 fireworks. Visitors from around the world fill the tiny harbor, where the dazzle is reflected. In 2009, the government is spending 12,000,000 Euros to ensure the most spectacular celebration anywhere in the world. Other famous fireworks displays take place in Rio de Janeiro, Sydney harbor, and, of course, New York City, were visitors watch the descent of the giant six-foot crystal ball marking the last moments of the old year.

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New Year’s is the oldest holiday still being celebrated. The Babylonians celebrated the new year as early as 4000 B.C. At that time, the new year began on the first new moon after the Vernal Equinox. The celebration continued for eleven days, with each day having a different purpose and activity. Then, as now, resolutions were made. A common Babylonian resolution is to return borrowed farm equipment. At this time each year, the king was stripped of all power to undergo a ritual of humiliation, in which he was hit by the priest and separated from everyone for three days to pray. When he reappeared, ceremonies of restoration were performed to ensure that nature would support him during the coming year.

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Austria has one of the most glamorous of New Year’s celebrations. At the Imperial Ball, a tradition of the Hapsburg dynasty that has continued for hundreds of years, dancers wear white gowns and black jackets. At midnight, “The Blue Danube,”is played. The Strauss operetta, “Die Fledermaus, is performed each New Year’s Day. Celebrants dine on suckling pig – considered good luck. The tables are often decorated with candy pigs. Children pour molten lead into a tub of water. A soothsayer then reads the shape of the lead. It is considered bad luck to find that your lead resembles an old woman.


By the Chinese calendar, the year 2009 is actually 4706, a year of the ox. Chinese New Year is celebrated on the second new moon after the winter solstice. In 2010, it will fall on February 14. Firecrackers and noisemakers will chase away evil spirits. The fabulous dragon and lion will dance in the streets. People will wear red, the most auspicious of colors, and red envelopes with lucky money will be given to children. Tangerines are often given for good luck, but odd numbers are unlucky, so the tangerines are given in pairs. The third day of the new year is the day the mice marry off their daughters, so people go to bed early, so they don’t disturb the mice.


It is traditional in Japan to spend a full week preparing for the new year to arrive. The house must be thoroughly cleaned, so that no evil spirits can linger. All debts must be paid. And most importantly, all disagreements must be resolved and forgiven. Before midnight, 108 bells ring, to symbolize the elimination of 108 troubles. With no troubles, disagreements, debts, or disorder to contend with, all are free to welcome in the new year with every expectation of peace and prosperity. The day after New Year’s is First Writing Day, when people write their hopes and dreams for the new year.


For African Americans, New Year’s Day has a special significance, and is often called Emancipation Day or Jubilee Day. On January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing all slaves from bondage, was read in Boston. Today, many African-American families hold “watch services” on January 1. Traditional foods include black-eyed peas, collard greens, ham hocks, and macaroni and cheese. The uniquely African-American celebration, Kwanzaa, continues over seven days starting December 26, so the New Year’s celebration is often part of Kwanzaa’s way of reconnecting people with their African roots. Kwanzaa began in the United States in the 1960s, and is not celebrated in Africa.

“Auld Lang Syne” has been called the most familiar song to which nobody knows the words. But this year, you will! Written by Robert Burns and first published after his death in 1796, the song became an instant standard in 1929 when Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians played it on New Year’s Eve, broadcasting from the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. The title literally means, “Old Long Time.” Roughly translated, here are the words:

Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot, and days of auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne.
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for days of auld lang syne.

We two have run around the hills
And pulled the daisies fine.
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot
Since the days of auld lang syne.

We two have paddled in the stream
From morn till the sun was down.
But seas between us two have roared
Since days of auld lang syne.

So here’s a hand my trusty friend.
Give us a hand of thine.
We’ll take a good-will drink again
For auld lang syne.

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Using a baby to symbolize the new year has been controversial from the beginning. Many cities watch for the first baby of the new year, to shower him or her with gifts from local merchants and lots of media attention. But parading a living baby through the streets brought disapproval from Greek mothers as early as 600 B.C. Egyptians also used a live human baby to symbolize the birth of a new year. Early Christians disapproved of the practice, but its popularity eventually overcame all objections, and the symbol remains one of the most popular. Today’s baby is traditionally a diapered boy with a sash labeled with the number of the upcoming year he represents.

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Top 10 Tips for Wearing White Tie

So, you have been invited to dine with the Queen at Buckingham Palace and the invitation specifies “white tie”. You have no idea what that means or what it entails. Okay, it is unlikely that any of us will be dining with the Queen, but White Tie events do happen quite often and there is a very specific way that you must dress when attending one of these events. This list deals primarily with menswear as it is probably simple enough to tell women that they should wear their finest gown (no skirts, no trousers) when attending. We will start at the head and move down to the feet.


The correct hat to wear to a white tie event is a top hat. The wearing of a hat is optional, but if you do wear one you should also wear an opera cloak or coat. White gloves, scarf and cane are optional extras. According to contemporary sources, the inventor of the top hat, John Hetherington, caused such fright in people when he first wore his hat, that he was taken to court for wearing “a tall structure having a shining luster calculated to frighten timid people”. An authentic top hat should be wider at the top and bottom than the middle, and should have a curved upturned rim.

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Your jacket should be a tailcoat – it must have a cut front that reaches to your waist and there should not be any part of the white vest underneath showing below the front. These coats have a split in the tail and often buttons on either side. The tails at the rear should not fall below your knees. The lapels (peaked) of the jacket should be covered with silk, or even better with grosgrain. In the photograph above, you can see that President Bush is wearing an ill fitting off-the-rack suit because the jacket front is too short. The Duke of Edinburgh (left) is wearing a well fitting suit with the correct length. The photograph on the right is another demonstration of a correctly fitting jacket and vest.


Your bowtie must be hand tied – do not buy a tie on a string or with clasps. It is as easy to tie a bowtie as it is to tie a regular tie – take some time to learn how. A hand tied is distinctively different in appearance and people will know. The tie should be made from cotton pique. You will need to have your neck measured when buying this item as bow ties come in various sizes.

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Your shirt should be made of white cotton with a stiff front made of white cotton pique. The shirt should have no buttons down the front and it should have a single cuff requiring cufflinks (this is called a link cuff shirt, and is not to be confused with French cuffs – double cuffs – which are worn with a dinner jacket). The shirt must have a stiff wing tip collar (normally also made with cotton pique) and you can optionally wear a more formal shirt with a detachable collar. The front of the shirt should be fastened with white (or silver, or diamond) studs, and the cuffs should be fastened with matching cufflinks. The tips of the shirt collar are meant to sit behind the tie.


Your vest must be long enough to cover your waist – you should see no sign of the top of your trousers – including your suspender buttons. This is not usually a problem if you are wearing the correct trousers (unlike President Bush in the photograph attached to item 9). The vest should be made with white cotton pique and it should have three mother-of-pearl buttons – you should fasten all three buttons (contrary to the normal practice on non-formal vests). You can get two styles of vest – one has curving lapels, and the other sharp. Both are equally fine but curving lapels tend to be favored by olden men and can make you look overweight. In the photograph above we see a correctly styled vest, but unfortunately the jacket is too short and should not be worn with the vest in question.

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You must wear suspenders with white tie. They should be button fastened suspenders – they should not have clips on them. You absolutely must not wear a belt at the same time as braces. Remember, suspenders are underwear – they must never be seen. For that reason you are free to wear any color you like. Suspenders are worn over your shirt but under your vest.


The correct trousers for white tie are fishtail trousers. These trousers sit on the waist, not the hips, and the back is higher than the front with a split with buttons (on the inside – same with the front) in order to fasten your braces. An example is seen in the photo above, but you should wear black trousers that are made to go with your jacket. Your trousers should have a double stripe down the outside of both legs (a single stripe is for black tie trousers). The stripes on your trousers should be made of the same material as the facing on your jacket lapels (grosgrain or silk). The trousers should fall to the heel of your shoe at the back – no higher, no shorter.


This is likely to be the most unusual item for most men – you must wear knee high black silk socks. These are readily available on the internet and in upmarket department stores. The best brand is probably Pantherella (as seen above).


When wearing white tie you must not wear patent leather shoes. The correct shoes are opera pumps which have a grosgrain bow on the front (as seen above). If you can not find opera pumps or do not own a pair, you can wear very high quality fine calves skin shoes – these are often sold as dancing shoes. You may also optionally wear formal slippers if you are hosting the white tie event (these are never worn outside of your own home). They are normally made of velvet and have an emblem stitched on the front. Opera pumps take a lot of getting used to if you are new to them as they do look a lot like women’s shoes without the high heel. Opera pumps are usually made of very fine high quality leather – they should not be made with patent leather.


The best type of handkerchief with white tie is fine linen – not silk. If you can not find a fine white linen handkerchief, silk is an acceptable alternative. The handkerchief must be white. The handkerchief should be folded (or puffed) and placed in the front pocket of your jacket so it is visible. If you wish to wear a flower in your lapel instead, you should generally not wear a handkerchief – though this is considered an acceptable practice it is not common. Keep an extra handkerchief in both of your trouser pockets – one for you in case you need it, and one in case you meet a lady in distress. Never use the handkerchief in your jacket pocket – it is for show only. You should also remember that it is considered extremely rude for any person to touch another person’s front handkerchief or tie.

Many thanks to Persephone who very kindly wrote a list of 8 points for ladies who are attending a white tie event. This is her 8 tips in their entirety:

I am a lady, therefore, I would not personally wear white tie. However, my husband does and we have been to several formal (i.e., white tie) functions in Europe and the United States. At least two people wanted to know a bit more about correct ladies’ attire, and with the permission of the Mr Frater, I will elaborate a bit.

1. Dress

As Mr Frater wrote, the dress can be of any colour. If there is an opening cotillion, very common at Austrian balls, regular guests should not wear white as pure white is reserved for debutantes. For a white tie function, especially one that involves dancing (e.g., Vienna Opera Ball in Austria), ladies wear a ball gown. A ball gown can be sleeveless, have short sleeves or even long sleeves (suitable for older ladies). The bodice is figure-hugging, whereas the skirt is full. Suitable fabrics are silks (silk satin, crepe, brocade, taffeta, dupioni, etc.), cotton (cotton satin or sateen, in the summer even cotton muslin) or various blends. A ball gown can be a two-piece ensemble, but the top and skirt must match. Here is an example of a ball gown.

2. Outerwear

The proper outerwear for a ball gown is a cloak. I have a black cotton velvet cloak that I wear during the traditional ball season. During the summer months, a simple silk shawl or a short matching bolero evening jacket (as pictured with the dress above) will suffice. Here’s a vintage evening cloak.

3. Shoes and Stockings

No sandals! Shoes must have closed toes and can be made of leather, satin, silk and in a colour that complements the dress. I usually wear black pumps and then switch into my ballroom dancing pumps. Stockings are a must for a formal event. Sorry, there no ifs and buts.

4. Handbag

A small evening handbag made of satin or silk usually looks best. You can either have one that matches or complements your dress.

5. Jewellery

Wear your tiara if you have one, and your best jewels. Watches are not worn, even if they are covered with diamonds.

6. Gloves

The proper gloves for a sleeveless of short-sleeved gown are opera gloves. For a long-sleeved dress, one may wear shorter gloves. Gloves are measured in buttons, an ancient French standard. The proper length is anywhere from 12 buttons (right above the elbow) to 18 buttons (middle of upper arm). Please avoid the 20 buttons as they look like you’re attending a fetish function or are about to star in a burlesque act. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but there is a time and place for everything. Traditionally, gloves are white, made out of kid leather and have a mousquetaire opening at the wrist, so a lady can eat and drink without completely removing her gloves. Gloves should always be worn when dancing, but hands must never be covered when eating. A lady may sip some champagne/water/wine, etc. while wearing gloves. Also, jewellery such as rings, bracelets, etc. are worn under not over the gloves. If you cannot fit them, don’t wear them if you’re bringing gloves. I see so many ladies who are trying to be elegant, wearing their rings over their gloves and eat dinner with them. I guess they just don’t know any better, but those of us who do, think it looks ridiculous. Kid gloves are expensive ($200+ per pair), but if you treat them well, they will last a lifetime. They may be lined with silk or unlined. Some are even washable. Here’s a great online place. If you don’t want to spend that much money, white or ivory silk is an acceptable alternative. Personally, I would abstain from anything coloured and polyester/nylon/spandex. Many ladies wear them, but they just don’t look very nice.

7. Make up

Tasteful and appropriate for you and the occasion. False eyelashes, eye shadow up to the brows, neon pink lipstick and two-inch neon pink talons are neither tasteful nor appropriate.

8. Hairstyles

Hair is usually in an updo, especially if there is dancing. You can wear your hair down, but many ladies prefer total or partial updos because the tiaras just look and fit better.

This is probably a good time to point out that white tie is evening wear – it should not be worn in the daytime. The same is true of black tie – neither should be worn before 6 o’clock in the evening.

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Top 10 Peaceful Men

Comments on the “Evil People” Lists have often called for a list of great people. I have researched 10 outstandingly good men, many of whom are very famous. I have listed them here. As it was said in The “Top 10 Most Evil Men List”, Evil people are abundant. On the other hand, good is a little harder to find. If you disagree with the list, or have any omissions (of which I’m sure there are many ), please comment. I hope you like this list.


According to the Baha’i religion, Baha’u’llah was born in 1817, a member of one of the great patrician families of Persia. The family could trace its lineage to the ruling dynasties of Persia’s imperial past, and was endowed with wealth and vast estates. Turning His back on the position at court which these advantages offered Him, Baha’u’llah became known for His generosity and kindliness which made Him deeply loved among His countrymen.

This privileged position did not long survive Baha’u’llah’s announcement of support for the message of the Báb. Engulfed in the waves of violence unleashed upon the Bábis after the Báb’s execution Baha’u’llah suffered not only the loss of all His worldly endowments but was subjected to imprisonment, torture and a series of banishments. The first was to Baghdad, where, in 1863, He announced Himself as the One promised by the Báb. From Baghdad, Baha’u’llah was sent to Constantinople, to Adrianople and finally to Acre, in the Holy Land, where He arrived as a prisoner, in 1868.

From Adrianople and later from Acre, Baha’u’llah addressed a series of letters to the rulers of His day that are among the most remarkable documents in religious history. They proclaimed the coming unification of humanity, and the emergence of a world civilization. The kings, emperors and presidents of the nineteenth century were called upon to reconcile their differences, curtail their armaments, and devote their energies to the establishment of universal peace.

Baha’u’llah passed away at Bahji, just north of Acre, and is buried there. His teachings had already begun to spread beyond the confines of the Middle East, and His Shrine is today the focal point of the world community which these teachings have brought into being.

Benjamin Franklin Engraving

Benjamin Franklin, born in Boston, Massachusetts, on January 17, 1706, may, by his life alone, be the most profound statement of what an American strives to be. He attended grammar school at age eight, but was put to work at ten. He apprenticed as a printer to his brother James, who printed the New England Courant, at age twelve, and published his first article there, anonymously, in 1721. Young Benjamin was an avid reader, inquisitive and skeptical. Through his satirical articles, he poked fun at the people of Boston and soon wore out his welcome, both with his brother and with the city. He ran away to New York and then on to Philadelphia at the age of 16, looking for work as a printer. He managed a commission to Europe for the purpose of buying supplies to establish a new printing house in Philadelphia, but found himself abandoned when he stepped off ship. Through hard work and frugality he bought his fare back to Philadelphia in 1732, and set up shop as a printer. He was appointed clerk of the Pennsylvania Assembly in 1736, and as Postmaster the following year. In 1741, he began publishing Poor Richard’s Almanac, a very popular and influential magazine. He was elected to the Pennsylvania Assembly in 1751, and served as an agent for Pennsylvania (and ultimately for three other colonies) to England, France and several other European powers.

He was elected to the Continental Congress in 1775, where he played a crucial role in the rebellion against Gr. Britain, including service to Jefferson, in editing the Declaration of Independence. Franklin, who was by this time independently wealthy and retired from publishing, continued to serve an important role in government, both local and national. He was the United States first Postmaster General, Minister to the French Court, Treaty agent and signer to the peace with Gr. Britain, Celebrated Member of the Constitutional convention (See Work, above). Benjamin Franklin: Businessman, Writer, Publisher, Scientist, Diplomat, Legislator and Social activist was one of the earliest and strongest advocates for the abolition of Slavery, and for the protection of the rights of American aboriginal peoples. He died on the 17th of April, 1790. On that day he was still one of the most celebrated characters in America.


Known as the founder of the Socratic method of questioning, Socrates was a famed social and judicial philosopher. Through his dialogues, his masterful arguments, and his logical method of countering his opponents verbally, he earned a reputation through every household, university and government office in Greece. Born to a sculptor and masonry worker in Athens, he followed his father’s chosen career path successfully for several years before devoting himself to the betterment of his own intellectual being. He had interest in the great philosophers of the day, including Plato and Xenophon. After their meeting, Plato continued writing using Socrates’ voice as the narrator of his works, which showed that logic and sound argument could disarm any opponent.

Socrates claimed to hear voices that told him about his own moral behavior, and would warn him if he were to not meet his own high standards of divine truth and justice. He also concluded that Greece’s wisest persons were not as wise as he, because Socrates claimed he saw his own ignorance. One who realizes he is ignorant will become the wisest of all.

Many Athenians in Greece thought that Socrates was polluting the minds of the city’s youth. They accused him of putting ideas into their heads, counter to the goals of the Athenian government. An argument, recorded in Apology, gives a prime example of Socrates’ argumentative process, where he shows that since the government has not thought about the city’s youth, they cannot be imprisoned for their corruption. This style of questioning begins with regular questioning and carries on until logic reaches a definite point and conclusion. His fame, life, philosophy and logic won him much praise, and is still considered the foundation of the philosophies that spread after him.

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Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15, 1929, at his family home in Atlanta, Georgia. King was an eloquent Baptist minister and leader of the civil-rights movement in America, from the Mid-1950s until his death, by assassination, in 1968. King promoted non-violent means to achieve civil-rights reform and was awarded the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.

King’s grandfather was a Baptist preacher. His father was pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church. King earned his own Bachelor of Divinity degree from Crozier Theological Seminary in 1951, and earned his Doctor of Philosophy from Boston University, in 1955.

While at seminary, King became acquainted with Mohandas Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolent social protest. On a trip to India in 1959, King met with followers of Gandhi. During these discussions he became more convinced than ever that nonviolent resistance was the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom.

As a pastor of a Baptist church in Montgomery, Alabama, King lead a Black bus boycott. He and ninety others were arrested and indicted under the provisions of a law making it illegal to conspire to obstruct the operation of a business. King and several others were found guilty, but appealed their case. As the bus boycott dragged on, King was gaining a national reputation. The ultimate success of the Montgomery bus boycott made King a national hero.

Dr. King’s 1963 Letter from Birmingham Jail inspired a growing national civil rights movement. In Birmingham, the goal was to completely end the system of segregation in every aspect of public life (stores, no separate bathrooms and drinking fountains, etc.) and in job discrimination. Also in 1963, King led a massive march on Washington DC, where he delivered his now famous, “I Have A Dream” speech. King’s tactics of active nonviolence (sit-ins, protest marches) had put civil-rights squarely on the national agenda.

On April 4, 1968, King was shot by James Earl Ray while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel, in Memphis, Tennessee. He was only 39 at the time of his death. Dr. King was turning his attention to a nationwide campaign to help the poor at the time of his assassination.


According to his homepage, the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is both the head of state and the spiritual leader of Tibet. He was born on 6 July, 1935, to a farming family, in a small hamlet located in Taktser, Amdo, and northeastern Tibet. At the age of two the child, who was named Lhamo Dhondup at that time, was recognized as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso. The Dalai Lamas are believed to be manifestations of Avalokiteshvara or Chenrezig, the Bodhisattva of Compassion and patron saint of Tibet. Bodhisattvas are enlightened beings who have postponed their own nirvana and chosen to take rebirth in order to serve humanity.


Nelson Mandela was born in a small South African village, to a local chief and his third wife. He was the first person in his family to receive a western education, and was inspired to study law after witnessing the democracy of African tribal governance at an early age. Mandela became a sought after lawyer in Johannesburg, defending black South Africans against the government’s increasingly unfair treatment, and a key figure of the African National Congress, a political party that sought to unite all Africans and regain their rights and freedom. He participated in boycotts, organized protests, mobilized his people and, in turn, was labeled an enemy of the state: accused of treason, banned from political involvement, disbarred and sentenced to life in prison. Mandela’s incarceration brought international attention to the racial injustices of South Africa’s apartheid government, sparking the rally cry “Free Nelson Mandela” worldwide.

Mandela served 27 years in prison, before his release in 1990, at the age of 72. He was elected the first black President of South Africa, in 1994. Although he retired from political life in 1999, Mandela continues to lend his voice towards issues that affect his country and the world at large, such as the AIDS epidemic, poverty and human rights. He was also instrumental in securing South Africa as the host of the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

Nelson Mandela is one of the world’s greatest, and most admired political leaders. He has been honored with numerous awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize, for he is a shining example of the incredible strength of the human spirit to persevere, in the face of adversity, for the pursuit of freedom.


Born Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, on October 2, 1869, in Porbandar, Kathiawar, West India. He studied law in London, but in 1893 went to South Africa, where he spent 20 years opposing discriminatory legislation against Indians. As a pioneer of Satyagraha, or resistance through mass non-violent civil disobedience, he became one of the major political and spiritual leaders of his time. Satyagraha remains one of the most potent philosophies in freedom struggles throughout the world today.

In 1914, Gandhi returned to India, where he supported the Home Rule movement, and became leader of the Indian National Congress, advocating a policy of non-violent non-co-operation to achieve independence. His goal was to help poor farmers and laborers protest oppressive taxation and discrimination. He struggled to alleviate poverty, liberate women and put an end to caste discrimination, with the ultimate objective being self-rule for India.

Following his civil disobedience campaign (1919-22), he was jailed for conspiracy (1922-4). In 1930, he led a landmark 320 km/200 mi march to the sea to collect salt in symbolic defiance of the government monopoly. On his release from prison (1931), he attended the London Round Table Conference on Indian constitutional reform. In 1946, he negotiated with the Cabinet Mission, which recommended the new constitutional structure. After independence (1947), he tried to stop the Hindu-Muslim conflict in Bengal, a policy which led to his assassination in Delhi, by Nathuram Godse, a Hindu fanatic.

Even after his death, Gandhi’s commitment to non-violence and his belief in simple living: making his own clothes, eating a vegetarian diet, and using fasts for self-purification as well as a means of protest— has been a beacon of hope for oppressed and marginalized people throughout the world.


In about the sixth century B.C., Siddhartha Gautama was born into a royal family. When he was a young adult his experiences with the outside world drove him to seek out a greater understanding of life and spiritual fulfillment. Through seeking guidance and meditation, Siddhartha was said to have achieved Enlightenment. From that point, he was known as the Buddha, which means ‘Enlightened One’. For the rest of his life, the Buddha traveled great distances, teaching people about one path to salvation. After the Buddha’s death, his pupils continued to spread his teachings. Buddhism developed at a time when Hinduism, the most widespread religion in India, had become tightly controlled by priests and the upper classes. Buddhism offered hope and access to spiritual understanding and satisfaction to ordinary people. Throughout the world today, people still follow the teachings of the Buddha.


Master Kong Qiu, as his name translates from Chinese, lived from 551 to 479 BC, and remains the most important single philosopher in Eastern history. He espoused significant principles of ethics and politics, in a time when the Greeks were espousing the same things. We think of democracy as a Greek invention, a Western idea, but Confucius wrote in his Analects that “the best government is one that rules through ‘rites’ and the people’s natural morality, rather than by using bribery and coercion. This may sound obvious to us today, but he wrote it in the early 500s to late 400s BC. It is the same principle of democracy that the Greeks argued for and developed: the people’s morality is in charge; therefore, rule by the people.

Confucius defended the idea of an Emperor, but also advocated limitations to the emperor’s power. The emperor must be honest, and his subjects must respect him, but he must also deserve that respect. If he makes a mistake, his subjects must offer suggestions to correct him, and he must consider them. Any ruler who acted contrary to these principles was a tyrant, and thus a thief more than a ruler.

Confucius also devised his own independent version of the Golden Rule, which had existed for at least a century in Greece before him. His phrasing was almost identical, but then furthered the idea: “What one does not wish for oneself, one ought not to do to anyone else; what one recognizes as desirable for oneself, one ought to be willing to grant to others.” The first statement is in the negative, and constitutes a passive desire not to harm others. The second statement is much more important, constituting an active desire to help others. The only other philosopher of antiquity to advocate the Golden Rule in the positive form is Jesus Christ.


I have ranked Jesus Christ as number one because His impact is far more reaching than any of the other members of this list – with more adherents in the world, by a mile, than any other religious group. Jesus of Nazareth is the founding figure of Christianity, and Christianity is the religion that shaped Europe and much of the world, as a consequence. As the largest religion in the world, there is no doubt that Christianity is still making an impact to this day. The principal sources of information regarding Jesus’ life and teachings are the four canonical gospels. Most critical scholars in the fields of history and biblical studies believe that ancient texts on Jesus’ life are, at least partially, accurate, agreeing that Jesus was a Galilean Jew who was regarded as a teacher and healer. They also generally accept that He was baptized by John the Baptist, and was crucified in Jerusalem on orders of the Roman Prefect of Judaea Pontius Pilate, on the charge of sedition against the Roman Empire. Interestingly, the most peaceful man on this list also said: “Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword.” [St Matthew 10:34]

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10 Recent and Controversial Bans Around The World

From prohibition to books, no matter how much we like to think we live in a free society, there is always something being banned. While many of these things don’t affect us all, many of them do. Furthermore, the whole concept of a minority (politicians) banning things for the majority is repugnant. This is a list of ten things recently banned, which led to controversy.

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Food companies favor trans fats because it allows their products to stay fresh on the shelves longer and it is also made from less expensive oils keeping production costs down. The main concern with trans fats is the body is unable to break down trans fatty acids causing them to build up triggering high cholesterol and in some cases heart disease. In 2003 Denmark became the first country to ban foods containing large amounts of trans fats. Under this ban no more than two per cent of the fats and oils in any food product can contain trans fats. This effectively limits people’s trans fat intake to less than one gram per day. Switzerland followed with a similar ban in 2008.

Interesting Fact: The Center for Science in the Public Interest sued KFC over its use of trans fats in their fried foods. KFC then reviewed alternative oil options saying “there are a number of factors to consider including maintaining KFC’s unique taste and flavor of Colonel Sanders’ Original Recipe”. In 2006, KFC announced that it will replace the partially hydrogenated soybean oil it currently uses with a zero-trans-fat low linoleic soybean oil in all restaurants although its biscuits will still contain trans-fats.


In 2004 the Canadian Health Minister announced the Government’s immediate ban on baby walkers. Between 1990 and 2002, the ministry said, there were 1,935 reports of infants being injured using the walkers. It was determined that young children “do not have the necessary skills, reflexes or cognitive abilities to safely make use of the product”. The most common accident occurs when babies fall down stairs. The ban prohibits retailers from selling, advertising or importing baby walkers. Canada is the only country so far to ban Baby Walkers.

Interesting Fact: Many parents believe that baby walkers teach a child to walk faster; however, studies suggest that it is not true, and they may actually delay walking by two to three weeks.


Because the compact fluorescent (CFL) lasts five years longer and uses about 75 percent less energy it has prompted many countries to enact laws to phase out incandescent light bulbs. Australia passed a law in 2007 that will make it one of the first countries to ban the incandescent light bulbs outright in 2010. Cuba exchanged all incandescent light bulbs for CFLs, and banned the sale and import of them in 2005. The EU agreed to a phase out incandescent light bulbs by 2012. California recently passed a bill that will phase out the bulbs by 2018. New Zealand’s previous government passed legislation to ban the bulbs but the newly elected government threw the ban out due to the outcry the ban caused.

Interesting Fact: CFLs, like all fluorescent lamps, contain small amounts of mercury as vapor inside the glass tubing, averaging 4.0 mg per bulb. A broken compact fluorescent lamp will release its mercury content. This means that safe cleanup and disposing of broken compact fluorescent lamps will differ from incandescent bulbs.


Chewing gum was banned in Singapore in 1992 and was revised in 2004. Incorrect disposal of chewing gum on chairs, tables, floors and on the door sensors of the new metro system led to the ban. Regulations also did not make any provisions for personal use of quantities to be brought into Singapore. Therefore, bringing chewing gum into Singapore, even in small quantities was prohibited. In 2004 the Singapore Government recognized the proven health benefits of certain gums such as sugar-free gum that contains calcium lactate to strengthen tooth enamel. Medical gum was then allowed provided it was sold by a dentist or pharmacist who must take down the names of the buyers. Singapore is the only country with a chewing gum ban.

Interesting Fact: The Chicago-based Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company enlisted the help of a Washington, D.C lobbyist and the chairman of the U.S. House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade, to get chewing gum on the agenda of the United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement. This caused the 2004 revised ban allowing the medical improvement type gum.


In 2005 India became the first country to ban smoking and tobacco on-screen prohibiting all scenes showing the consumption of all tobacco products in movies and television programs. Whenever an actor smokes or consumes a tobacco product on screen, television channels must blur the scene. Films that already contain such scenes must run a scroll at the bottom of the screen, warning of the dangers of tobacco use.

Interesting Fact: Earlier this year the Delhi High Court overturned the Indian federal ban on performers smoking in films saying it is a reality of life and any censorship on its depiction would violate creative artists’ fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression.

Plastic Bags

Somewhere between 500 billion and a trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide each year. In 2002 Bangladesh became the first country to ban plastic bags outright after discovering the bags blocked drains and was one of the main causes of the devastating floods of 1988 and 1998. Another problem with plastic bags is they do not biodegrade in landfills and pose a danger to many marine mammals. Thin plastic bags are now banned in South Africa and thicker ones are taxed. Similar laws exist in many other countries. Australia and the United Kingdom are also considering bans. In the United States the cities of San Francisco and Oakland have banned plastic shopping bags completely and promote reusable and compostable sacks.

Interesting Fact: According to one statistics choosing paper or plastic may just involve choosing which resource to consume. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, the plastic bags used annually in the United States require about 12 million barrels of oil to produce. Paper bags require about 14 million trees. In a landfill, plastic bags take up less space than paper.


The move to ban super skinny or size-zero models came in 2006 after the death of 22-year-old model Luisel Ramos (shown on the right) who died of a heart attack moments after stepping off the catwalk. Ramos apparently was eating nothing but green leaves and diet coke for three months. Reports said she’d been told by her modeling agency that she would have a big future if she would loose a lot of weight. Stylists signed a joint declaration with the Italian government stating that, all models in shows must have a body mass index of 18 and above and must be “full bodied and healthy.” Madrid’s annual fashion show also banned models with a body mass index of less than 18 and there are calls for similar restrictions at London fashion shows.

Interesting Fact: In early 2007, Luisel’s 18-year-old sister Eliana Ramos, also a model (shown on the left) also died of an apparent heart attack believed to be related to malnutrition.

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This is the most recent ban on the list and gained momentum after members of the Bolivian wing of an animal rights group went undercover. They revealed that animals in circuses are confined to cages without room for them to move around and forced to stay crammed in cages for the majority of their lives. The Bolivian Senate agreed to the ban and President Morales signed it into law in July 2009. There are similar bans on animal use in circuses in Austria, Costa Rica, Finland and Denmark where it is prohibited to use certain species of wild animals. Bolivia is the first and only country to ban both wild and domestic animals from traveling circus.

Interesting Fact: The recent attention given to animal cruelty in circuses has prompted Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus to release a fact sheet on how their animals are treated. You can read the fact sheet here.

Obama Smoking

Everyone is familiar with the recent smoking regulations that have affected smokers all over the world. In 2004 Ireland became the first country to prohibit smoking in all indoor workplaces including restaurants and bars. In 2008 a small mountainous kingdom between India and China called Bhutan was the first to ban smoking and tobacco sales outright. Authorities celebrated the ban by igniting a bonfire of cigarettes in the capital city and hanging banners across the main thoroughfare urging people to kick the habit. Violators in Bhutan are fined $232 (more than two months’ salary) The Ban on tobacco has caused an increase in the illegal trade of tobacco products to Bhutan. No other country so far has banned smoking and tobacco outright.

Interesting Fact: The first modern, nationwide tobacco ban was imposed by the Nazi Party. Smoking was prohibited in every German university, post office, military hospital, and Nazi Party office. The Institute for Tobacco Hazards Research was created in 1941 under orders from Adolf Hitler. Major anti-tobacco campaigns were widely broadcast by the Nazis until the end of the regime in 1945.


Sweden was the first country to ban parental spanking back in 1979. It took many years before another country would follow but now a total of 24 countries have passed similar laws. The most recent countries are Venezuela, Uruguay, Portugal, Spain and New Zealand in 2007 (though a referendum is being held to determine whether the anti-smacking bill should be repealed this year since the change of government) and Costa Rica and Republic of Moldova in 2008. There have been many studies done on the results of the Sweden spanking ban. Some studies suggest it has reduced child abuse in the country to almost zero. Other studies show Sweden with a lower rate of child deaths due to abuse than 20 out of 27 developed countries. Another recent report by Sweden suggested that the spanking ban has made little change in problematic forms of physical punishment.

Interesting Fact: In the United States (In all 50 states) it is legal for parents to spank or paddle their children. In 23 states corporal punishment is still legal in public schools. Canada bans corporal punishment for children under two and over twelve years of age, as well as the use of any objects such as a paddle.

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10 Ways Car Dealers Make Money Off You

At some point in our lives, we all have to buy a car. Whether it be brand new or second hand, we usually end up going through a dealer. This list is designed to help you save money by not being ripped off by the little tricks that dealers use to maximize their profit and your loss. Be sure to give other tips for saving on a new car in the comments.


This is the most obvious of ways a car dealer makes a profit. The difference between the dealer cost (invoice) and MSRP is typically 5-10%. This may not sound like a ton of mark-up, but when you consider that you’re dealing with thousands of dollars then the profit margin could be quite significant. For example, a car that a dealer pays $30,000 could generate a profit of around three-thousand dollars. And then multiple that times a few hundred cars a month, and a car dealer could make almost a million dollars a month on mark-up alone.


When a dealer sells a new car (not a pre-owned), the sale is RDR’d to the manufacturer (basically informing the manufacturer that one of their units has been sold). Once this sale has been verified, the manufacturer pays the dealer a set amount of money for “hold-back” and advertising. This amount is listed on the invoice in a less-than-obvious location and is often abbreviated/written in a way that a customer will be unable to figure out the information in the event he sees the actual invoice. For example: if an educated customer will only pay a certain percentage over invoice, then that percentage is calculated by the “invoice” price before any “hold-back” or advertising is deducted. Once the deal is funded and the contract is RDR’d, the manufacturer will send the dealer a pretty substantial amount of money (I’ve seen some “hold-back” and advertising fees as much as $1500).

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When a person trades in a car, the dealer will surely attempt to undervalue the trade to make an immediate profit, and then a profit later when the trade is sold. The immediate profit comes from what is called the ACV (actual cash value). If a trade is really worth $11,500 (ACV) and the dealer only shows the customer $10, 500, then there is an immediate thousand dollar profit from the start. The trick is to know where a dealer gets his appraisal information (the most common are Black Book and Manheim Auction Reports. Dealers will RARELY match Kelly Blue Book and NADA) and work off that number to get a fair value for your trade. The other means the dealer will make a profit is when he sells your trade in. There are many financial and credit factors that can generate a profit from your trade. Simple example: your trade is bought from the dealer for $10,000. The dealer will then send your car through service and detail and make sure it is prepped for retail and safe to drive (he’ll also insure the car in most instances). Your old car will now be put up for sale for $13,999. Now, here’s where many factors come is based on the potential buyers situation. The lenders will “book out” a car based on a standard process (typically, a program called Dealer-Track will provide access to NADA for the banks and the dealerships to see how much a car can be sold for). Banks will loan a certain percentage of the cars loan value based on the customer’s credit worthiness. Let’s say the car “books out” for $13,125 (this is 100%), and the potential buyer has great credit. The lender will loan up to 135% of the cars value for that customer. Which means the dealer can sell the car to that well-qualified customer for over $17,000 and make a nice profit ($7,000). On the other hand, if a person has poor credit, then the banks will loan less than 100% and the dealer will have to take the deal at a lesser profit, or the customer will have to put some cash down to generate a profit the dealer will agree to.

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New and Used cars are “packed.” This is a number that is immediately added to the car (in addition to the already existing mark-up). This is typically money that goes to pay the owner. The amount of pack varies between dealerships, new, used, etc, but I have never seen a “pack” less than $500. I’ve even seen some cars “packed” $1500. Let’s say a dealership sell 250 cars in one month, and the average “pack” is $1000: the owner makes a nice quarter million dollars a month on “pack” alone (3 million a year- not a bad salary).

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This is the biggest farce of them all. This is a dollar amount the dealer says goes to pay for the process of handling your paperwork, tag work, title work, tax work, loaner car, etc. The doc fees will fluctuate from dealer to dealer (I’ve seen $299 to $699). This is a legitimate process that does require paying a handful of people for their work, but- in no way does it cost anywhere close to the amount they’re charging. Most of the paperwork can be done is a few minutes and over the phone, internet, fax, etc. The overage naturally goes into management’s pockets.


Bad bad business practice right here. A “bump sticker” is legitimate-looking sticker that the dealer places next to the manufacturer’s window sticker with a higher priced MSRP than the actual MSRP. The dealer will try and justify this added cost by suggesting the car had some special product applied to the paint or the fabric, or some window etching was done, or they’ll try and itemize all the work that needed to be done to get the car prepped for retail (insurance, gas, detail, service, PDI- [post delivery inspection], etc), or they might try and tell you that this car had additional mark up because it’s a “hot item” and people are paying over retail for that car. It’s all a joke and educationally insulting. The theory is once the “bump sticker” is negotiated away, then the customer will feel that he got a pretty substantial discount, when- in fact- he’s simply paid full MSRP for the car: not a very good deal.


When a customer agrees to numbers, they will have to go the F and I office (Finance and Insurance) to finalize the car deal. This is where all the legal forms are signed, etc. However, this is also where a lot of money is made for the dealership. One of the big money makers in the car business comes from the sale of Extended Service Contracts (extended warranty). I would say nine out of ten extended warranties will cover things that are never likely to break. Additionally, you’ll need to pay a deductible (on top of the $1400 dollars you just paid for the warranty) each time you try and use the warranty. The mark up for this product is typically mandated by the state you live in, but you can expect to pay twice its original value. One good thing about an extended service agreement is that most of them are refundable (prorated based on what you haven’t used). Additionally, a certified pre-owned model is typically a better bet than an extended service agreement (because it’s backed by the manufacturer’s name. Extended warranties are typically backed by the private dealer with a lot less public reputation at stake).


Now this is a product that I strongly recommend you buy: it could turn out to worth its weight in gold. However, you don’t have to pay $599 for it at the dealership when you can get it at your local credit union for $150. Basically, GAP insurance satisfies the car loan in the event of theft or total loss. Your insurance company will only pay ACV for your loss, but GAP insurance picks up the “negative equity” you have remaining on your loan. For example: My car is worth $11,000, but I owe $16,000. In the event of a total loss of my car, the insurance company will only pay my lender $11,000 towards the loan leaving me having to come out of my pocket $5000 to satisfy the loan. However, GAP insurance pays the difference and I’m off Scott free to go buy a new car free and clear of any additional payment on the lost car.


A person with good credit should never have to put a down payment towards the purchase of a new car. However, there are some instances where it may be a necessary (too much negative equity in trade, personal need to lower monthly note, etc). But typically, if a customer is satisfied with their payment, and they don’t have a significant amount of negative equity, then the bank should have no problem lending money to a well qualified buyer. Sometimes a salesman or sales manager will say ‘The lender is requiring 20% down,” or they might say “You’re going to have to pay your taxes in cash. The bank will finance the car, but they will not finance any taxes or fees.” This is a lie. If you can secure your own financing (personal bank, credit union, etc) before you buy, then that would be in your best interest and eliminate a lot of the shenanigans that can happen at the dealership. Additionally, when the sales managers offer is itemized with a down payment and payment listed, the payment- more times than not- can be retained without the requested money down. Down payments usually result in sheer profit for the dealership.


This little gem is another reason car dealers get a bad rap. When a sales manager submits your application to lenders for approval, the lenders will reply with what’s called a “call back.” The “call back” details the requirements for the loan. Example: let’s say the sales manager submits the numbers to a prime lender- we’ll use BB & T- for approval. BB & T will reply with terms (24/36/48/60/72 months), maximum amount financed, stip’s (proof of income, proof or residency, references, etc), and what’s called a “buy rate.” The “buy rate” is the interest rate the lender has approved for the loan- let’s use 7.9%. Well, here’s where the finance manager can steal from you. Typically, the lender will allow the dealership to make 2 points of rate if you’re still ok with the payment. That means the rate you’ve earned is 7.9%, but the dealer can contract you at 9.9% and the bank will pay the dealer the overage from the rate. This puts LOTS of cash in their pockets. Next time you buy a car and finance with one of the dealerships banks ask the finance manager to see the call back from the bank and compare that rate with the interest rate he’s trying to sign you up for. If he refuses, then he’s holding points of rate and he doesn’t want you to see that he’s trying to get you to pay a higher rate.

Contributor: Kay Jay

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20 Famous Last Words

The deathbed can lead people to speak with great honesty and, in many cases, humor. This is a list of 20 last words by famous people.

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1. Pardon me, sir. I did not do it on purpose.

Said by: Queen Marie Antoinette after she accidentally stepped on the foot of her executioner as she went to the guillotine.

2. I can’t sleep

Said by: J. M. Barrie, author of Peter Pan

3. I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis.

Said by: Humphrey Bogart

4. I am about to — or I am going to — die: either expression is correct.

Said by: Dominique Bouhours, famous French grammarian

5. I live!

Said by: Roman Emperor, as he was being murdered by his own soldiers.

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6. Dammit…Don’t you dare ask God to help me.

Said by: Joan Crawford to her housekeeper who began to pray aloud.

7. I am perplexed. Satan Get Out

Said by: Aleister Crowley – famous occultist

8. Now why did I do that?

Said by: General William Erskine, after he jumped from a window in Lisbon, Portugal in 1813.

9. Hey, fellas! How about this for a headline for tomorrow’s paper? ‘French Fries’!

Said by: James French, a convicted murderer, was sentenced to the electric chair. He shouted these words to members of the press who were to witness his execution.

10. Bugger Bognor.

Said by: King George V whose physician had suggested that he relax at his seaside palace in Bognor Regis.

11. It’s stopped.

Said by: Joseph Henry Green, upon checking his own pulse.

12. LSD, 100 micrograms I.M.

Said by: Aldous Huxley (Author) to his wife. She obliged and he was injected twice before his death.

13. You have won, O Galilean

Said by: Emperor Julian, having attempted to reverse the official endorsement of Christianity by the Roman Empire.

14. No, you certainly can’t.

Said by: John F. Kennedy in reply to Nellie Connally, wife of Governor John Connelly, commenting “You certainly can’t say that the people of Dallas haven’t given you a nice welcome, Mr. President.

15. I feel ill. Call the doctors.

Said by: Mao Zedong (Chairman of China)


16. Tomorrow, I shall no longer be here

Said by: Nostradamus

17. Hurry up, you Hoosier bastard, I could kill ten men while you’re fooling around!

Said by: Carl Panzram, serial killer, shortly before he was executed by hanging.

18. Put out the bloody cigarette!!

Said by: Saki, to a fellow officer while in a trench during World War One, for fear the smoke would give away their positions. He was then shot by a German sniper who had heard the remark.

19. Please don’t let me fall.

Said by: Mary Surratt, before being hanged for her part in the conspiracy to assassinate President Lincoln. She was the first woman executed by the United States federal government.

20. Now, now, my good man, this is no time for making enemies.

Said by: Voltaire when asked by a priest to renounce Satan.

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Top 10 Terrible Issues Facing Children Worldwide

Children are the future and it is the responsibility of adults to protect them and ensure that they get the best footing in life. Unfortunately this is not always the case in many nations around the world – including our own! This list looks at ten of the worst situations that children today are forced to face. It is hard to believe that these situations still occur, but learning about them is a good way to start trying to help.


Palestinian children are taught to hate Jews, to glorify “jihad” (holy war), violence, death and child martyrdom almost from birth, as an essential part of their culture and destiny. As captured on an Israeli video documentary produced in 1998, a “Sesame Street”-like children’s program called the “Children’s Club” — complete with puppet shows, songs, Mickey Mouse and other characters — focused on inculcating intense hatred of Jews and a passion for engaging in and celebrating violence against them in a perpetual “jihad” until the day the Israeli flags come down from above “Palestinian land” and the Palestinian flag is raised.

In Madrasas, Islamic schools for study of pure Islamic religion, the culprits are the religious teachers; and the victims include helpless innocent underage students. The sacred teacher-student relationship is given a new definition in these Islamic schools. Following is the bitter experience of a 12 years old madrasa student from Kenya who was rescued during January 2003.

“It was a terrible place, they chain both legs and both arms, sometimes hands and feet together, They beat us at lunch time, dinner time and grab both legs and hands and give us lashes on the buttocks. We sleep in chains, eat in chains, and go to the toilets in chains. Sometimes we are hooked on the roof in chains and left hanging. We have to memorize the Koran and get punished if we cannot recite the Koran in the classroom”.

Chaining incidents are rare in Bangladeshi madrasas. Child torture incidents in madrasas are reported mostly in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Sudan. The number of students are estimated somewhere between eight hundred thousands to one million. They are often run by religious organizations and lure young children mainly from poor families by providing free food and lodging. Some of the schools even provide intensive political and armed training.

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According to UNICEF, 25,000 children die each day due to poverty. Around 27-28 percent of all children in developing countries are estimated to be underweight or stunted. The two regions that account for the bulk of the deficit are South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Some 1.1 billion people in developing countries have inadequate access to water, and 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation. Almost two in three people lacking access to clean water. Some 1.8 million child deaths each year as a result of diarrhea. For the 1.9 billion children from the developing world, there are: 640 million without adequate shelter (1 in 3), 400 million with no access to safe water (1 in 5) and 270 million with no access to health services (1 in 7). 10.6 million died in 2003 before they reached the age of 5 (same as children population in France, Germany, Greece and Italy.) 1.4 million die each year from lack of access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation. 2.2 million children die each year because they are not immunized. Millions of parents in developing countries must daily cope with the fact that their children may not survive the first critical years of life; in many cases, the diseases that threaten their children’s lives are preventable.


Of the 50 million refugees and displaced people in the world, approximately half are children. War is the primary factor in the creation of child refugees. It is also a principle cause of child death, injury, and loss of parents. In the last decade, war has killed more than 2 million children, wounded another 6 million, and orphaned about 1 million. Children also flee their homes because they fear various forms of abuse such as rape, sexual slavery, and child labor. Circumstances of birth also play a role in depriving children of a legal home. Each year 40 million children are not registered at birth, depriving them of nationality and a legal name.

The combined ravages of AIDS and war have created a large pool of orphan refugees and displaced children, particularly in Africa. The toll of Rwanda’s civil war, for example, left orphan children to head some 45,000 Rwandan households, with 90 percent of these headed by girls. “Separated Children” are those under age 18 and living outside their country of origin without parents or legal guardians to care for or protect them. Every year, about 20,000 separated children apply for asylum in Europe and North America. Overall, children account for approximately half of all individuals seeking legal asylum in developed countries. Separated children are not often legally recognized as refugees in western countries. In Europe, for example, where there may be as many as 50,000 separated children at any given time, only an estimated 1-5 percent of those who apply for asylum are granted refugee status.


More than 100 million children do not have access to school. Of the children who enroll in primary school, over 150 million drop out, while user fees, including levies, are still charged for access to education in 92 countries and that such charges have impact on excluding girls. 77 million children worldwide are not able to go to school due to lack of funds. For socially disadvantaged segments of the population like poor inhabitants of cities, AIDS orphans and the physically challenged, any access to education is often particularly difficult to obtain. The consequence of this lack of access to education is that 15 percent of those adolescents between 15 and 24 in third world countries are illiterate.

Location often contributes to a child’s lack of access and attendance to education. In certain areas of the world it is more difficult for children to get to school. For example, in high-altitude areas of India, severe weather conditions for more than 7 months of the year make school attendance erratic and force children to remain at home. Gender also contributes to a child’s lack of access and attendance to education. In 25 countries the proportion of boys enrolling in secondary school is higher than girls by 10% or more, and in five; India, Nepal, Togo, Turkey and Yemen, the gap exceeds 20%. The worst disparity is found in South Asia, where 52% of boys and only 33% of girls enroll; a gap of 10%. Enrollment is low for both boys and girls in sub-Saharan Africa, with rates of just 27% and 22%. Girls trail respectively behind. It is generally believed that girls are often discouraged from attending primary schooling, especially in less developed countries for religious and cultural reasons.

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Neglect is an act of omission, or the absence of action. While the consequences of child neglect can be devastating, it leaves no visible marks. Moreover, it usually involves infants and very young children who cannot speak for themselves. James M. Gaudin Jr., in “Child Neglect: Short-Term and Long-Term Outcomes”, reported that, compared with non-maltreated and abused children, neglected children have the worst delays in language comprehension and expression. Psychologically neglected children also score lowest in IQ (Intelligence Quotient) tests.

Emotional neglect, in its most serious form, can result in the “non-organic failure to thrive syndrome,” a condition in which a child fails to develop physically or even to survive. According to Gaudin, studies have found that, even with aggressive intervention, the neglected child continues to deteriorate. The cooperation of the neglectful parents, which is crucial to the intervention, usually declines as the child’s condition worsens. This shows that it is sometimes not that easy to change the parental attributes that have contributed to the neglect in the first place.

Parental neglectful behaviors include not keeping the child clean, not providing enough clothes for keeping warm, not making sure the child attended school, not caring if the child got into trouble in school, not helping with homework, not helping the child do his best, not providing comfort when the child was upset, and not helping when the child had problems. The prevalence of childhood neglect ranged from 3.2% in New Hampshire, United States, to 10% in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 19.4% in Singapore, and 36.4% in Pusan, Korea.


An estimated 211 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 are working around the world, according to the International Labor Organization. Of these, 120 million children are working full time to help support their impoverished families.

There are millions of children whose labor can be considered forced, not only because they are too young to choose to work, but also because they are, in fact, actively coerced into working. These include child bonded laborers — children whose labor is pledged by parents as payment or collateral on a debt — as well as children who are kidnapped or otherwise lured away from their families and imprisoned in sweatshops or brothels. In addition, millions of children around the world work unseen in domestic service — given or sold at a very early age to another family.

Forced child laborers work in conditions that have no resemblance to a free employment relationship. They receive little or no pay and have no control over their daily lives. They are often forced to work beyond their physical capacity and under conditions that seriously threaten their health, safety and development. In many cases their most basic rights, such as freedom of movement and expression, are suppressed. They are subject to physical and verbal abuse. Even in cases where they are not physically confined to their workplace, their situation may be so emotionally traumatizing and isolating that once drawn into forced labor they are unable to conceive of a way to escape.

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In Thailand, NGOs have estimated that up to a third of prostitutes are children under 18. A study by the International Labor Organization on child prostitution in Vietnam reported that incidence of children in prostitution is steadily increasing and children under 18 make up between 5 percent and 20 percent of prostitution depending on the geographical area. In the Philippines, UNICEF estimated that there are 60,000 child prostitutes and many of the 200 brothels in the notorious Angeles City offer children for sex. In India as many as 200,000 Nepali girls, many under the age of 14, have been sold into red-light districts. Nepalese girls, especially virgins, are favored in India because of their fair skin and young looks. Every year about 10,000 Nepalese girls, most between the age of nine and 16, are sold to brothels in India. In El Salvador, one-third of the sexually exploited children between 14 and 17 years of age are boys. The median age for entering into prostitution among all children interviewed was 13 years.

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The internet is a virtual playground for child predators. It is a place that operates largely outside of the law. While trading in pedophile pornography is illegal, lack of adequate funding means law enforcement officials are able to investigate just two percent of their leads. Also, according to Interpol statistics, only one-half of one percent are ever prosecuted.

On a show that aired September 2, 2008, Oprah Winfrey showed a map that clearly conveyed how fast one pornographic image of a child being molested can spread. From a computer in Washington, DC, the image spread within 24 hours, all across the United States. The demand for new images and videos is so high that authorities report they are tracking increasingly brutal pornography with younger and younger victims.

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Trafficking is the fastest growing means by which people are forced into slavery. It affects every continent and most countries. Currently, children are trafficked from countries such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sudan and Yemen to be used as camel jockeys in the UAE. Furthermore, Anti-Slavery International also has evidence that children are also being trafficked to be used as camel jockeys in other Gulf states including Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and also internally in Sudan. The use of children as jockeys in camel racing is itself extremely dangerous and can result in serious injury and even death. Some children are also abused by the traffickers and employers, for example by depriving them of food and beating them. The children’s separation from their families and their transportation to a country where the people, culture and usually the language are completely unknown leaves them dependent on their employers and de facto forced laborers.

According to UNICEF, over 200,000 children work as slaves in West and Central Africa. Boys are usually sold to work on cotton and cocoa plantations while girls are used as domestic servants and prostitutes. In some cases, children are kidnapped outright and sold into slavery while in others, families sell their children, mostly girls, for as little as $14.


Around the world, children are singled out for recruitment by both armed forces and armed opposition groups, and exploited as combatants. Approximately 250,000 children under the age of 18 are thought to be fighting in conflicts around the world, and hundreds of thousands more are members of armed forces who could be sent into combat at any time. Although most child soldiers are between 15 and 18 years old, significant recruitment starts at the age of 10 and the use of even younger children has been recorded.

Easily manipulated, children are sometimes coerced to commit grave atrocities, including rape and murder of civilians using assault rifles such as AK-47s and G4s. Some are forced to injure or kill members of their own families or other child soldiers. Others serve as porters, cooks, guards, messengers, spies, and sex slaves.

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Top 10 Most Expensive Cars in the World

It is almost everyone’s dream to own a flash car, but only the super wealthy can own the flashest. This is a list of the ten most expensive cars in the world. You may be surprised to know that Rolls Royce is not on the list, nor is Bentley, Ferrari, or Lamborghini. Exclusions from the list are cars that exist as prototypes or special one-off makes. Ratings are based on US dollars.

10. Maybach 57 S $367,000


DaimlerChrysler revealed the Maybach 57 S at the 2005 Geneva Motor Show. It uses a 6.0 L version of the V12 engine manufactured by Mercedes-AMG. Power output is 604 hp (450 kW) and 738 ft·lbf (1000 N·m), providing a sub-5 second sprint to 60 mph (97 km/h). It also rides 0.5 in (13 mm) lower on 20 in (508 mm) wheels. The North American unveiling was at the Los Angeles Auto Show in January 2006. The S stands for “special” and not for “sport”.

9. Maybach 62 $385,250


The Maybach 62 includes many luxury features such as fully-reclining rear seats, Maybach 4 zone climate control, tinted, infrared-reflecting laminated glass all round, AirMATIC dual control air suspension, display instruments in rear roof liner (showing speed, time and outside temperature), folding rear tables (left and right), BOSE Surround Everywhere sound system and a refrigerator compartment.[1] The Maybach 62 also includes an array of additional features such as Cockpit Management and Navigation System (COMAND), which includes DVD navigation, CD changer in rear seats, DVD players and TV tuners front and rear, two rear LCD TV screens including remote control and two sets of headphones, automatic closing doors.

8. Porsche Carrera GT $440,000

Porsche Carrera Gt

The development of the Carrera GT can be traced back to its successors, the 911 GT1-98 and LMP1-98 racing cars. The Carrera GT is powered by an all-new 5.7 litre V10 engine producing 612 DIN (605 SAE) horsepower (450 kW) whereas the original concept car featured a 5.5 litre version rated at 558 hp (416 kW). Porsche claims it will accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (62.5 mph) in 3.9 seconds and has a maximum speed of 330 km/h (205 mph), although road tests indicated that in reality the car could accelerate from 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds and 0-100 mph in 7.0 seconds. The interior is fitted with soft leather. BOSE audio system and navigation systems are available as options. In typical Porsche fashion, the ignition is to the left of the steering wheel.

7. Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren $457,250


The Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren is a German supercar jointly developed by Mercedes-Benz and McLaren Automotive. It is assembled at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, England. DaimlerChrysler owns 40% of the McLaren Group. Classified as a supercar and compared to cars like the Porsche Carrera GT and Ferrari Enzo, the presence of the automatic gear box, front mid-engined arrangement and its driving characteristics lead some commentators to classify the SLR McLaren as a Super GT whose closer rivals are the Aston Martin V12 Vanquish and Ferrari 599 GTB. One of the goals of the SLR was to combine both supercar and GT characteristics.

6. Koenigsegg CCR $545,568

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The Koenigsegg CCR is an automobile and supercar made by Koenigsegg. Designed and manufactured in Ängelholm, Sweden, it debuted at the 2004 Geneva Auto Show. It briefly held the world speed record for a production car. The CCR took the record from the McLaren F1, which held the record for over 12 years of 386.7 km/h, set on the 9 km straight track at the VW Ehra facility in Wolfsburg, Germany. The CCR ran on the Nardò/Prototipo track, a circular track with a circumference of 12.5 km. This means that the car is driven in a constant turning motion, which makes the exercise and speed even more impressive. The steering wheel at this speed is kept at around 30 degrees of constant angle, a fairly sharp angle for the speed. On the same track, the F1 managed an unofficial record of 372 km/h.

5. Saleen S7 Twin Turbo $555,000

Saleen S7 Twin Turbo 1 - 800X600

The Saleen S7 is a limited edition, hand built coupe developed jointly by Saleen, Hidden Creek Industries, Phil Frank Design and RML, and produced solely by Saleen in Irvine, California. It is the first car produced by Saleen not based on an existing design and is considered to be the first true American production certified supercar. The S7 debuted on August 19, 2000 at the Monterey Historic Races. At this time the car was normally aspirated with 550 horsepower. In 2005, the S7 was replaced by the S7 Twin Turbo, which featured a more powerful twin-turbo system that boosted engine power to 750 horsepower (760 PS/559 kW) and the top speed to an estimated 250 mph (402 km/h).

4. LeBlanc Mirabeau $645,084


Mirabeau is the newest car from Wysstec GmbH and Leblanc cars. It’s a new proposal for a racecar and prepared to FIA/Le Mans standards .The fact that it is street legal, is almost unbelievable. To reach the maximum of lightweight building and race feeling the car interior is optimized for maximum of speed and acceleration. There are some special options, including leather interior and a sequential gearbox. Power comes from Koenigsegg’s V8, the same engine found in the CCR. It is equipped with a Lysholm Screw Compressor, which has several advantages to the common centrifugal compressor.

3. SSC Ultimate Aero $654,400


The American-built SSC Aero TT is a supercar built by Shelby Super Cars (SSC) in order to rival the new Bugatti Veyron with speeds of over 250 mph (400 km/h) and a 0-60 mph time of just 2.78 seconds (for the Ultimate Aero TT version). The company and vehicle are the brainchilds of Jerod Shelby, who spent over seven years designing the Aero. The car is the world’s fastest production car at 255.83 mph (411.707 km/h), a speed reportedly achieved on September 13, 2007 in West Richland, WA. The results of this test, if verified by Guiness World Records, will give the SSC Aero the world’s fastest production car title. The Aero’s styling includes the use of flip doors similar to the ones found on the Mercedes-McLaren SLR, and the Ferrari Enzo, to name a few. It uses carbon fiber and titanium extensively throughout the car, keeping the weight down to 1233 kg (for the standard Aero). For the Ultimate Aero, weight is further reduced to 1179 kg by marking the navigation system, 10-speaker audio/CD/DVD system, video/DVD screen, and back-up camera as optional equipment; and removing air-conditioning and any trunk space altogether.

2. Pagani Zonda Roadster F C12S 7.3 $667,321


The Pagani Zonda is a supercar produced by Pagani in Italy. It debuted in 1999 and continues through the present, with production proceeding at roughly 25 cars per year. As of December, 2005, 60 Zondas had been built. It is a mid-engined 2-seat coupe and convertible. Construction is mainly of carbon fiber. The Zonda Roadster F debuted at the 2006 Geneva show. It is similar to the coupe, but with a removable carbon fibre roof and canvas side curtains weighing just 11 lb (5 kg). Production of the Roadster F is suggested at 25 units. The Roadster F is able to maintain chassis rigidity without any gain in curb weight by eschewing conventional thinking by not strengthening the sills – a process which would have needed more than 35 kg of reinforcement. Pagani instead uses racecar thinking, materials and construction techniques, strengthening the firewall structure of the chassis tub together with billet alloy braces that connect the points where the roof rails would have joined. The windscreen is also strengthened for safety reasons. These techniques enable the Roadster to have virtually the same weight as the coupe – 1230 kg (2712 lb).

1. Bugatti Veyron 16.4 $1,192,057


The Bugatti Veyron 16.4 is currently the most expensive street-legal full production car in the world, with in excess of 1001 horsepower, in either the metric or SAE scale, with its top speed of 253.81 mph (408.47 km/h). The Bugatti Veyron reached full production in September 2005. The car is built by Volkswagen AG subsidiary Bugatti Automobiles SAS in its Molsheim (Alsace, France) factory and is sold under the French Bugatti marque. It is named after French racing driver Pierre Veyron, who won the 24 hours of Le Mans in 1939 while racing for the original Bugatti firm. After the release of the car, it has been reported that while each Veyron is being sold for $1.2 million, the production costs of the car are approximately £5 million per vehicle. This is not the price to produce one vehicle, but rather the cost of the entire Veyron project divided by the number of vehicles produced at that time. As Bugatti, and therefore Volkswagen, are making such a loss, it has been likened by automotive journalist Jeremy Clarkson and his Top Gear programme team in their story on it to the Concorde, in that both were huge achievements, but the car will probably, like the plane before it, be discontinued after proving to be an economic failure.

Sources: Forbes, Wikipedia

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10 Terrible Bigots in Modern History

History is full of people who were just plain bigots. The disease of racism and bigotry is a universal one, affecting people of every race, religion, nation, etc. The following list is the top ten of these men who, through ignorance, are at the forefront of bigotry.

Fard Muhammad

The founder of a group of black Muslims which became the Nation of Islam (NOI) in Detroit, Michigan in 1930. Muhammad’s theology was a blend of 50% theosophy, 50% traditional Islam, and 100% crazy. Muhammad taught his followers that the Earth was over 76 trillion years old and at the time before the creation of Adam, there was one continent called “Asia”. He also taught a very bizarre view of the origin of the human race, and this is where the bigotry comes in.

Muhammad taught that long ago, God created blacks as the first humans, while white people were the result of an experiment by a renegade black scientist named “Yakub” to be a slave race to the blacks. As such, whites are not fully human (Louis Farrakhan, the Nation’s current leader, has stated that “White people are potential humans…they haven’t evolved yet”). This teaching continues to influence NOI beliefs and preaching to this day. Most recently in 1993, former NOI spokesman, the late Khalid Abdul Muhammad, referred to Jews as “bloodsuckers” and advocated the murder of all white South Africans who would not leave the country in 48 hours

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The founder of the modern American automotive industry was also the 1920s king of American anti-Semitism. Henry Ford is best known for being the inventor of the assembly line method of manufacturing automobiles, but he was also an avid fan of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, the famous Russian anti-Semitic forgery. He was so convinced of its authenticity that he published it in serial form in his newspaper, The Dearborn Independent. He later took the Independent’s Articles and published them as a book, “The International Jew: The World’s Foremost Problem”. In it, Ford blamed the Jews for everything from pornography to alcoholism to communism and beyond. The book proved to be rather popular, and was especially so in 1930s Germany; so much that Adolf Hitler himself awarded Ford a medal, and Ford is the only American mentioned in “Mein Kampf”. The book has recently proved to be popular with Islamic radicals, who use it in their preaching against Israel by portraying the country as part of a Jewish plot to destroy Islam.

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Samuel Bowers was the Imperial Wizard (leader) of the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, a particularly violent branch of the Klan that was active in Mississippi during the Civil Rights Movement. He formed the group in 1963 and within a year were active in most counties in Mississippi. Bowers believed that the Klan must fight back violently against the movement for black equal rights. As such, his group became famous for giving, as one modern Klansmen, C. Edward Foster, on a recent History Channel documentary about the Klan put it, “bricks, bombs and bullets, not bullshit”.

In 1964, during the civil rights campaign known as “Freedom Summer”, the group murdered several civil rights workers, white and black, most famously James Chainey, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, an event which became the basis for the movie “Mississippi Burning”. In 1966, under Bowers’ orders, Klansmen firebombed the home of Vernon Dahmer, who had been registering blacks to vote, and in 1967 they targeted Jewish establishments in a series of bombings.


Born Hulon Mitchell Jr., Yahweh ben Yahweh is the leader of the appropriately named Nation of Yahweh, a religious group adhering to Black Hebrew Israelism, the belief that blacks are the true descendants of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. While usually a rather harmless belief, ben Yahweh took it one step further; he declared that he was the Son of God and the Messiah, and that he was sent by God to vanquish white people and Jews, referring to white people as “white devils” in the same manner as the Nation of Islam once did. He was later imprisoned in 1990 for conspiracy in relation to 23 gruesome murders that took place in the Miami area involving members of the group.

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Little is known about Jack Chick, a reclusive fundamentalist Christian preacher operating out of Rancho Cucamonga, California, and what little can be gleamed about him is only available on the website of his publishing house, Chick Publications. What is known is the proliferation of tiny, hand drawn comic books, called “Chick Tracts” which he uses to evangelize. The subjects of the tracts range from relatively typical to downright bizarre, but are best known for a particularly vicious brand of anti-Catholic bigotry, and anti-evolution.

Chick’s tracts portray the Catholic Church as sinister and conspiracy bent, especially in regards to Protestant Fundamentalists and himself in particular. He portrays Church belief and practice as being born out of ancient paganism, and depicts demons as infesting every aspect of Catholic life, as though Catholics secretly worship Satan. He frequently refers to the Church as the “Whore of Babylon”, “Antichrist”, insinuates the Church created Nazism as a means to exterminate Jews, and portrays Catholics as foul-mouthed, angry, abusive and prone to drunkenness.


Ian Paisley is a Northern Ireland politician and leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) as well as being the Moderator (leader) of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster, as well as being a member of British Parliament and of the Northern Ireland Assembly for the constituency of North Antrim. Like Chick, Paisley is well known for his vicious anti-Catholicism.

Paisley frequently refers to Roman Catholicism as “popery” and founded the European Institute of Protestant Studies to promote his own particular brand of anti-Catholicism. In 1988, he attacked Pope John Paul II at the European Parliament (of which he was a member), shouting “I Denounce you as the AntiChrist!” at the Pontiff while holding up a sign accusing him of being the Antichrist, causing him to have to be manhandled out of the hemicycle by several other MEPs. In 1963, Paisley organized a protest against the lowering of flags following the death of Pope John XXIII. He also stated that seat no. 666 in the European Parliament is reserved for the Antichrist and praised Slobodan Milosevic for fighting a “Vatican conspiracy” to destroy the Serbian Orthodox Church.


This is the only group that is on this list. The Mexica Movement is an organization of “indigenous” activists with some very unique goals. The group views (erroneously) all the indigenous groups on the American continent, from the Mayans in Mexico to the First Nations of Canada, as being one single ethnic group of a nation called “Anuhuac”, similar to white supremacist groups believing whites to comprise a single nation. Consequently, the group supports the repatriation of all whites back to Europe, and I can only assume that this will include force if no one wants to go.


William Joseph Simmons was a former preacher from Georgia who, in 1915, founded the second Ku Klux Klan after the collapse of the original Klan following the end of Reconstruction. He formed the Klan as a fraternal organization dedicated to defending American values. Unfortunately, his version of American “values” was odious.

The new Klan retained it’s predecessor’s anti-black attitudes, and added a whole host of new ones; the new Klan added Catholics, Jews, and immigrants to its list of enemies. The new Klan fought long and hard against immigration and black equal rights, eventually numbering over 20 million members, until financial woes, government investigations and news stories of high profile scandals brought the organization crashing down.


An aerospace engineer by trade, Richard Butler graduated to racism and neo-Nazism when he founded the Aryan Nations in the 1970s. The group was founded on a blend of racist neo-Nazism and Christian Identity, an interpretation of Christianity which holds whites as the “true Hebrews” of the Bible and blacks and other minorities as soulless “mud people” created with the other beasts of the field, as well as viewing Jews as the descendants of Satan through Eve, promoting the idea through their religious arm, the Church of Jesus Christ-Christian. The group preached racial separatism and hatred of all non-whites, and was accused of attempting to foment a race war. They even attempted to forge an alliance between them and al-Qaeda based on both of their hatred of the American government and Jews.

Following Butlers death in 2003, the group collapsed as financial ruin from lawsuits brought them to their knees, and culminated in the group’s compound being given to the plaintiffs in one case.

Adolf Hitler

The only one on the list to achieve political power. Hitler rose up the ranks of the National Socialist German Workers Party, or Nazi Party in the 1920s and early thirties. As the Weimar Republic was coming apart the seams, Hitler was elected Chancellor in 1933, and promptly positioned himself as “der Fuhrer” or “The Leader”. His rule was characterized by harsh anti-Semitic policies. Jews were forbidden to marry “Aryan” Germans, display the national colors, etc. Later, Jews and other “undesirables” were forcibly relocated to ghettos and later to concentration camps, leading to the Holocaust. During his rule, millions died in these camps, as the Nazis pursued a policy of deliberate racial extermination which was only brought to an end by the defeat of Germany in World War II.

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Top 10 Coolest Santas

The visage of the Jolly Red-Suited man has been around for a long time, and many, many different versions for almost as long. Few icons have represented the Holiday of Christmas quite like the happy-go-lucky Santa Claus (aside, of course, from Jesus, himself) and few have had the impact that the droll elf has had. Over the years, many films and TV specials have been made featuring St. Nick, each portrayed in its own different way. Here are ten of the finest examples of how cool Santa can be.

10. Bill Goldberg (Santa’s Slay)


Bill Goldberg plays the devil’s son, who lost a wager with a angel and was forced to spend 1000 years playing Santa. Now the wager of that time has run out, and Mr. Santa isn’t so joyful anymore. He makes up for lost time and starts to kill people. And really, how incredibly cool does WWE Wrestler Goldberg look as the holiday elf? BAD ASS.

9. Paul Giamatti (Fred Claus)


As Nick Claus, later on the eponymous Santa, Paul Giamatti really embodies, and quite perfectly looks like, the jolly old fat man. Sure, it’s all suit and make-up, but in the facial expressions and mannerisms lie the real persona. Though I still see him as a masturbating wino in Sideways, Giamatti really pulls it off.

8. Richard Attenborough (Miracle on 34th Street)


Six-year-old Susan has doubts about childhood’s most enduring miracle – Santa Claus. Her mother told her the “secret” about Santa a long time ago, so Susan doesn’t expect to receive the most important gifts on her Christmas list. But after meeting a special department store Santa (who is convinced he’s the real thing) Susan is given the most precious gift of all – something to believe in. Sure, it’s a remake, and for the most part those really suck, but just look at the guy! Now THAT is a Santa!

7. Tim Allen (The Santa Claus)


Scott Calvin (Allen) reads The Night Before Christmas…then receives an unexpected visitor on his roof. When he’s startled by Scott’s calling out and falls, the Santa impersonator disappears, leaving only an 8-reindeer sleigh and a suit with instructions to put it on if it’s owner is involved in an accident. Scott does, and is transported around the town dropping gifts through chimneys, until he’s taken to the North Pole and informed by a group who claim they’re elves that he is now Santa. For actually being a relatively thin fellow, Allen looks surprisingly convincing as Father Christmas.

6. Jack Black (Saturday Night Live)


In a hilarious Debbie Downer sketch, Rachel Dratch, in her most sob-storied, rotten-lived best, portrays Downer on Christmas morning. Jack Black as Santa (wonderfully done, by the way) attempts to get past Debbie’s neuroses by asking repeatedly what she really wants for Christmas, only to be blocked at every corner by her constant hypochondriacal issues.

5. Ed Asner (Elf)


Though Will Farrell steals the movie as Buddy, the elf, Ed Asner does a fine job as the portly man in red. He arrives only at the end, in a ruined sleigh, to explain to Buddy that the Christmas spirit is going to need to be refurbished in the city in order for him to fly again. He looks really cool as Santa, too, especially considering he’s kind of a grumpy ass.

4. Santa (Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer)


At first, Santa is a skinny jerk who croons madly about being the King of Jingle-Ling to Rudolph’s family, just moments after telling Donder that his son is a shiny-nosed freak. He let’s the father deer know, in no uncertain terms, that he is a failure of a father for producing such an abomination of an offspring. Well, as it goes, old Saint Nick eats his shitty words as he requires Rudolph’s assistance to guide his fogged-in sleigh. Take that, fatty!

3. The Grinch (How The Grinch Stole Christmas)

Grinch Santa

When the Grinch, annual loather of the poor little Whos down in Who-ville, decides to finally take matters into his own hands by raping the town of its Christmas celebration, he chooses to do so dressed as ‘Santy Claus’. By slicing up a curtain and attaching some white fluff, the Grinch looks really nothing like Santa to the human eye, but to Cindy Lou Who, he apparently does. Nice suit though.

2. Billy Bob Thornton (Bad Santa)


As the most obnoxious of all Mall Santas, Billy Bob, with his lanky and bony build, really looks nothing like the Jolly Fat Man. He’s drunk, rude, mouthy and a thief, but he is as cool as it comes when it comes to what matters: women and good old-fashioned Holiday Cheer.

1. Santa (Coca Cola)


This is it: the one and only. The popularity of the Santa Claus as we know him comes from an ad campaign from the Coca Cola Corporation in which the well established Victorian English image of Father Christmas was spread worldwide.

Contributor: StewWriter

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