Norman Ernest Borlaug (3.25.1914 – 9.12 2009)
"The Man Who Saved A Billion Lives", was an American agronomist, humanitarian, and Nobel laureate who has
been called "The Father of the Green Revolution".
Borlaug was one of six people to have won the
Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom
and the Congressional Gold Medal. He was
awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India's second
highest civilian honor.
Borlaug received his Ph.D. in plant pathology
and genetics from the University of Minnesota in 1942.
He took up an agricultural research position in Mexico,
where he developed semi-dwarf, high-yield,
disease-resistant wheat varieties.
During the mid-20th century, Borlaug led the
introduction of these high-yielding varieties combined
with modern agricultural production techniques to
Mexico, Pakistan, and India. As a result, Mexico
became a net exporter of wheat by 1963. Between
1965 and 1970, wheat yields nearly doubled in
Pakistan and India, greatly improving the food security
in those nations. These collective increases in
yield have been labeled the Green Revolution, and
Borlaug is often credited with saving over a billion
people worldwide from starvation. He was awarded
the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 in recognition of his contributions to world peace through increasing food
supply. Later in his life, he helped apply these methods
of increasing food production to Asia and Africa.
Nobel Peace Prize (1970)
Presidential Medal of Freedom (1977)
Public Welfare Medal (2002)
National Medal of Science (2004)
Congressional Gold Medal (2006)
Padma Vidhushan (2006)
The Enron scandal, revealed in October 2001,
eventually led to the bankruptcy of the Enron
Corporation, an American energy company
based in Houston, Texas, and the dissolution
of Arthur Andersen, which was one of the five largest
audit and accountancy partnerships in the world.
In addition to being the largest bankruptcy
reorganization in American history at that time,
Enron was attributed as the biggest audit failure.
Enron was formed in 1985 by Kenneth Lay after
merging Houston Natural Gas and InterNorth. Several
years later, when Jeffrey Skilling was hired, he developed
a staff of executives that, through the use of accounting loopholes, special purpose entities, and poor financial reporting, were able to hide billions in debt from failed
deals and projects. Chief Financial Officer Andrew Fastow
and other executives not only misled Enron's board of
directors and audit committee on high-risk accounting practices, but also pressured Andersen to ignore the issues.
Shareholders lost nearly $11 billion when Enron's stock
price, which hit a high of US$90 per share in mid-2000, plummeted to less than $1 by the end of November 2001.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
began an investigation, and rival Houston competitor
Dynegy offered to purchase the company at a fire sale
price. The deal fell through, and on December 2, 2001,
Enron filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 of the
United States Bankruptcy Code. Enron's $63.4 billion
in assets made it the largest corporate bankruptcy in U.S. history until WorldCom's bankruptcy the following year.
Many executives at Enron were indicted for a variety
of charges and were later sentenced to prison. Enron's
auditor, Arthur Andersen, was found guilty in a United
States District Court, but by the time the ruling was
overturned at the U.S. Supreme Court, the firm had
lost the majority of its customers and had shut down. Employees and shareholders received limited returns
in lawsuits, despite losing billions in pensions and stock
prices. As a consequence of the scandal, new regulations
and legislation were enacted to expand the accuracy of financial reporting for public companies. One piece of legislation, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, expanded
repercussions for destroying, altering, or fabricating
records in federal investigations or for attempting to
defraud shareholders. The act also increased the accountability of auditing firms to remain unbiased
and independent of their clients.
The Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002
(Pub.L. 107-204, 116 Stat. 745, enacted July 29, 2002),
also known as the 'Public Company Accounting Reform
and Investor Protection Act' (in the Senate) and
'Corporate and Auditing Accountability and
Responsibility Act' (in the House) and more
commonly called Sarbanes–Oxley, Sarbox or SOX,
is a United States federal law that set new or
enhanced standards for all U.S. public company
boards, management and public accounting firms.
It is named after sponsors U.S. Senator Paul Sarbanes
(D-MD) and U.S. Representative Michael G. Oxley (R-OH).
The bill was enacted as a reaction to a number of
major corporate and accounting scandals including
those affecting Enron, Tyco International, Adelphia,
Peregrine Systems and WorldCom. These scandals,
which cost investors billions of dollars when the share
prices of affected companies collapsed, shook public confidence in the nation's securities markets.
The act contains 11 titles, or sections, ranging
from additional corporate board responsibilities
to criminal penalties, and requires the Securities
and Exchange Commission (SEC) to implement
rulings on requirements to comply with the law.
Harvey Pitt, the 26th chairman of the SEC, led the
SEC in the adoption of dozens of rules to implement
the Sarbanes–Oxley Act. It created a new, quasi-public
agency, the Public Company Accounting Oversight
Board, or PCAOB, charged with overseeing, regulating, inspecting and disciplining accounting firms in their
roles as auditors of public companies. The act also
covers issues such as auditor independence,
corporate governance, internal control assessment,
and enhanced financial disclosure. The nonprofit arm of Financial Executives International (FEI), Financial
Executives Research Foundation (FERF),
completed extensive research studies to help
support the foundations of the act.
On October 31, 2002, Fastow was indicted by a federal grand
jury in Houston, Texas on 78 counts including fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy. On January 14, 2004, he plead
guilty to two counts of wire and securities fraud, and agreed
to serve a ten-year prison sentence. He also agreed to
become an informant and cooperate with federal authorities
in the prosecutions of other former Enron executives
in order to receive a reduced sentence.
Prosecutors were so impressed with his performance
that they ultimately lobbied for an even shorter sentence
for Fastow. He was finally sentenced to six years at
Oakdale Federal Correctional Complex in Oakdale,
Louisiana. On May 18, 2011, Fastow was released to a
Houston halfway house for the remainder of his sentence.
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room is a
2005 documentary film based on the best-selling
2003 by Fortune reporters Bethany McLean and
Peter Elkind, a study of one of the largest business
scandals in American history. McLean and Elkind
are credited as writers of the film alongside the
director, Alex Gibney.
The film examines the 2001 collapse of the
Enron Corporation, which resulted in criminal trials
for several of the company's top executives; it also
shows the involvement of the Enron traders in the
California electricity crisis. The film features
interviews with McLean and Elkind, as well as
former Enron executives and employees,
stock analysts, reporters and the former
Governor of California Gray Davis.
The film won the Independent Spirit Award
for Best Documentary Feature and was
nominated for Best Documentary Feature
at the 78th Academy Awards in 2006.
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston
Joseph William Kittinger II
Felix Baumgartner (born April 20,1969) in Salzburg, Austria. When he was a little boy, he dreamed about flying and skydiving. In 1999 he claimed the world record for the
highest parachute jump from a building when he jumped
from the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
On 25 July 2003, Baumgartner became the first person to skydive across the English Channel using a specially
made carbon fiber wing. Alban Geissler, who developed
the SKYRAY carbon fiber wing with Christoph Aarns,
suggested after Baumgartner's jump that the wing he
used was a copy of two prototype SKYRAY wings sold
to Red Bull (Baumgartner's sponsor) two years earlier.
Baumgartner also set the world record for the lowest
BASE jump ever, when he jumped 95 feet (29 m) from
the hand of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de
Janeiro. This jump also stirred controversy among
BASE jumpers who pointed out that Baumgartner cited
the height of the statue as the height of the jump even
though he landed on a slope below the statue's feet,
and that other BASE jumpers had previously jumped
from the statue but avoided publicity.
He became the first person to BASE jump from the
completed Millau Viaduct in France on 27 June 2004
and the first person to skydive onto, then BASE jump
from, the Turning Torso building in Malmö, Sweden
on August 18, 2006. On December 12, 2007 he became
the first person to jump from the 91st floor observation
deck of the then-tallest completed building in the world,
Taipei 101 in Taipei, Taiwan
Francis DeSales Ouimet
"Francis Ouimet" (May 8, 1893 - September 2, 1967)
was an American golfer, who is frequently referred
to as the "father of amateur golf" in the United States.
He won the 1913 U.S. Open, and was the first American
elected Captain of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club
of St Andrews. He was inducted into the
World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974.
Ouimet was born to Mary Ellen Burke and Arthur Ouimet
in Brookline, Massachusetts. His father was a
French-Canadian immigrant, and his mother was an
Irish immigrant. When Francis was four years old, his
family purchased a house on Clyde Street in Brookline,
directly across from the 17th hole of The Country Club.
The Ouimet family grew up relatively poor, and found themselves near the bottom of the economic ladder,
which was hardly the position of any American golfer
at the time. As far as the general public was concerned, amateur golf was reserved for the wealthy, while
professional golf provided competition and income
for former caddies, prohibited by the USGA from caddying
after the age of 16 or lose their amateur status.
Ouimet found an interest in golf at an early age
and started caddying at The Country Club at the age
of nine. Using clubs from his brother and balls he
found around the course, Ouimet taught himself
the game. Soon enough his game caught the eye of
many country club members and caddie master Dan MacNamara. It wasn't long before Ouimet was the
best high school golfer in the state. When he was a
junior in high school, his father insisted Francis drop
out and finally begin to do "something useful" with his life.
He worked at a dry-goods store before a stroke of good
luck helped him land a job at a sporting goods store
owned by the future Baseball Hall of Famer George Wright.
In 1913 Ouimet won his first significant title at age 20,
the Massachusetts Amateur, an event he went on to win five
more times. He participated in the U.S. Amateur at the
Garden City Golf Club in New York in early September, losing
in the quarterfinals to the eventual champion, Jerome Travers.
Soon after he was asked personally by the president of the
United States Golf Association, Robert Watson, if he would
play in the national professional championship, the U.S. Open,
which had been postponed to mid-September from its
original June dates to allow for the participation of British
golfers Harry Vardon and Ted Ray. The event was played
at the course Ouimet knew best, The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts. Ouimet originally declined to play, having just returned from an absence from work to play in the
National Amateur. His participation in the Open was
soon arranged, however, with the cooperation of his employer.
It was Ouimet's first appearance in the championship.
After 72 holes of play finished in a three-way tie, Ouimet
went on to an 18-hole playoff the next day in rainy conditions,
and won the Open over Vardon and Ray. Ouimet's victory
after an 18-hole playoff against Vardon and Ray was widely
hailed as a stunning upset over the strongly-favored Brits,
who were regarded as the top two golfers in the world. He
was the first amateur to win the U.S. Open, the biggest
crowds ever seen in American golf followed the playoff, and
his achievement was front-page news across the country.
Ouimet's U.S. Open success is credited for bringing golf
into the American sporting mainstream. Before his surprising
win over Harry Vardon and Ted Ray, golf was dominated by
British players. In America, the sport was restricted to
players with access to private facilities. There were very
few public courses (the first, Van Cortlandt Golf Course in
The Bronx borough of New York City, opened in 1895).
Ten years after his 1913 victory the number of American
players had tripled and many new courses had been built,
including numerous public ones.
'Abraham Lincoln' (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865)
was the 16th President of the United States, serving from
March 1861 until his assassination in 1865. He led the country
through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis — the
American Civil War — preserving the Union while ending slavery and promoting economic and financial modernization. Reared in a poor family on the western frontier, Lincoln was mostly self-educated. He became a country lawyer, an Illinois state legislator, and a one-term member of the United States
House of Representatives, but failed in two attempts at a
seat in the United States Senate. He was an affectionate,
though often absent, husband and father of four children.
After deftly opposing the expansion of slavery in the
United States in his campaign debates and speeches,Lincoln
secured the Republican nomination and was elected president
in 1860. Following declarations of secession by southern slave
states, war began in April 1861, and he concentrated on
both the military and political dimensions of the war effort,
seeking to reunify the nation. He vigorously exercised
unprecedented war powers, including the arrest and detention
without trial of thousands of suspected secessionists.
He prevented British recognition of the Confederacy by
skillfully handling the Trent affair late in 1861. He issued his
Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 and promoted the passage
of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution,
Lincoln closely supervised the war effort, especially the selection of top generals, including the commanding general Ulysses S. Grant. He brought leaders of various factions of his party into his cabinet and pressured them to cooperate. Under his leadership, the Union took control of the border slave
states at the start of the war and tried repeatedly to
capture the Confederate capital at Richmond. Each time
a general failed, Lincoln substituted another until finally
Grant succeeded in 1865. An exceptionally astute politician
deeply involved with power issues in each state, he reached
out to War Democrats and managed his own re-election
in the 1864 presidential election.
As the leader of the moderate faction of the Republican party,
Lincoln came under attack from all sides. Radical Republicans
wanted harsher treatment of the South, War Democrats
desired more compromise, and Copperheads despised him —
not to mention irreconcilable secessionists in reconquered areas. Politically, Lincoln fought back with patronage, by pitting his opponents against each other, and by appealing to the American people with his powers of oratory. His Gettysburg Address of 1863 became the most quoted speech in American history. It was an iconic statement of America's dedication to the principles of nationalism, equal rights, liberty, and democracy. At the close of the war, Lincoln held a moderate view of Reconstruction, seeking to speedily reunite the nation
through a policy of generous reconciliation in the face of
lingering and bitter divisiveness. However, just six days after the surrender of Confederate commanding general Robert E. Lee, Lincoln was shot and killed by Confederate sympathizer
John Wilkes Booth at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C.
His death marked the first assassination of a U.S. president.
Lincoln has been consistently ranked by scholars as
one of the greatest U.S. presidents.
|CONSTITUTION||DECLERATION OF INDEPEDENCE||THE BILL
United States Public Debit
The United States public debt is the money borrowed by the federal government of the United States through the issue of securities by the Treasury and other federal government agencies. US public debt consists of two components. Debt held by the public includes Treasury securities held
by investors outside the federal government, including
that held by individuals, corporations, the Federal Reserve System and foreign, state and local governments.
Debt held by government accounts or intragovernmental
debt includes non-marketable Treasury securities held in accounts administered by the federal government that are owed to program beneficiaries, such as the Social Security Trust Fund. Debt held by government accounts represents
the cumulative surpluses, including interest earnings, of
these accounts that have been invested in Treasury
securities. Public debt increases or decreases as a
result of the annual unified budget deficit or surplus.
The federal government budget deficit or surplus is
the difference between government receipts and
spending, ignoring intra-governmental transfers.
However, some spending that is excluded from the deficit (supplemental appropriations) also adds to the debt.
Historically, the US public debt increased during wars
and recessions, and subsequently declined. For example,
debt held by the public as a share of GDP peaked just
after World War II (113% of GDP in 1945), but then fell
over the following 30 years. In recent decades, however,
large budget deficits and the resulting increases in debt
have led to concern about the long-term sustainability
of the federal government's fiscal policies.
On 30 November 2012, debt held by the public was approximately $11.553 trillion or about 72% of GDP.
Intra-governmental holdings stood at $4.816 trillion,
giving a combined total public debt of $16.369 trillion.
As of July 2012, $5.3 trillion or approximately 48% of
the debt held by the public was owned by foreign
investors, the largest of which were China and
Japan at just over $1.1 trillion each.
The national debt has increased from $10.6 trillion to $16 trillion,
or 50 percent, since President Obama took office.
The national debt will increase from $16 trillion to $25.4 trillion
in 2022, or 59 percent, under President Obama’s budget plans.
Every man, woman, and child in the United States owes more
than $50,000 as his or her share of the national debt.
Every taxpayer owes more than $140,000 as his or her share
of the national debt.
There are zero nations in the Eurozone that have a per
person debt greater than that of the United States.
The national debt is greater than the annual output of
the entire U.S. economy.
In the last four years, the national debt has increased by
more than it did in the previous 17 years.
Total US Unfunded Liabilities are estimated at $144 trillion,
roughly $1.2 million per taxpayer.