Tuesday, May 31, 2011

This Day In History

May 31 1889
Relentless rain and inadequate maintenance causes the South Fork Dam to fail, unleashing a 35-foot-high wall of water on Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Then 2,209 people are entombed beneath a pile of debris half a mile wide.

May 31 1921
After a white woman claims that a black man had grabbed her arm in an elevator, the largest race riot in U.S. history breaks out in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Marauding whites set fire to the exclusively-negro Greenwood district, leveling its 35 city blocks of black-owned businesses. The official death toll is reported as 36, but later historians estimate it was more like 300.

May 31 1963
Nun Nu Thanh Quang, a Buddhist monk, immolates himself at the Dieu de Pagoda in Hue, Vietnam.

May 31 1996
Timothy Leary dies quietly in his sleep, thereby failing his intended mission of suiciding live on the Internet. On a brighter note, a longstanding Moody Blues prophecy is fulfilled.

May 31 2005
Actor Christian Slater is arrested in New York City after a woman complains of ass-grabbery to police. Slater denies everything and is charged with third-degree sexual abuse.

Monday, May 30, 2011

This Day In History

May 30 1942
Returning home from a night of drinking and reminiscing about the recent death of John Barrymore, movie star Errol Flynn flips on the lights and is horrified to discover Barrymore's corpse propped up in a living room chair. Some of Flynn's friends had given a funeral director $200 to borrow the body for a couple of hours.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

This Day In History

May 22 1957
A B-36 bomber accidentally drops a 10 megaton hydrogen bomb over an uninhabited area near Albuquerque, New Mexico. The conventional charges detonate on impact, leaving a radioactive crater 12 feet deep and 25 feet wide.

May 22 1968
The nuclear submarine U.S.S. Scorpion sinks to the bottom with all 99 aboard perishing, after it is reassigned to a spy mission and begins to head towards the Canary Islands. Navy Warrant Officer John Walker (a mole) had certainly reported enough to the KGB to allow them to read the Scorpion's encrypted transmissions. For reasons yet unknown, Navy officials of the U.S. and Soviet Union agree not to discuss the circumstances of this incident or the sinking of a Soviet sub the same year.

May 22 1981
Peter Sutcliffe is convicted of murdering 13 women in the Yorkshire Ripper trial. In the words of the presiding judge: "It is difficult to find words that are adequate in my judgment to describe the brutality and gravity of these offences and I say at once I am not going to pause to seek those words. I am prepared to let the catalogue of crimes speak for itself."

Friday, May 20, 2011

This Day In History

May 20 1989
Attempting to clear Tiananmen Square of student activists and quell 100 million others protesting throughout the country, China declares martial law in Beijing. Two weeks later, after they continue to loiter in the Square, thousands of students are massacred by government troops.

May 20 1999
The dissolving body parts of eight people are discovered inside six plastic barrels sitting in an abandoned bank vault in Snowtown, Australia.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

This Day In History

May 18 1980
The body of Ian Curtis, lead singer of dirge band Joy Division, is discovered hanging in the kitchen by his wife. Curtis killed himself on the eve of Joy Division's U.S. tour. His surviving bandmates go on to form New Order.

May 18 1980
After a 5.1 magnitude earthquake in Washington state, 57 people are killed in an avalanche of volcanic mud in the eruption of Mount St. Helens. The volcano spews out 200 million cubic yards of of pumice, ash, and debris which covers 24 square miles of the valley below.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

This Day In History

May 17 1924
Two youths discover a human skull on the banks of the Leine in Hanover, Germany. And although two more skulls are found a month later, police ignore it until a sackful of bones turn up on the riverbank. Dragging the Leine yields another 500 bones, belonging to about 27 victims. Eventually, police arrest Fritz Haarmann for the crimes. He would lure runaway boys back to his apartment, where they would be raped, killed, and cut into steaks. Then the unlicensed butcher would sell the meat as beef on the black market. All told, he killed between 40 and 50 boys.

May 17 1965
Magazine The Nation publishes Hunter S. Thompson's first-hand experiences with the Hell's Angels motorcycle club. The bikers would eventually stomp Thompson when they demanded payment for his time spent. A year later, Random House published his book Hells Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs.

May 17 1974
During a gun battle with members of the Symbionese Liberation Army, the LAPD fires tear gas into their Watts hideout. The canisters ignite a fire which soon consumes the house. Three other SLA members, including kidnapped heiress Patty Hearst, watch the events unfold on TV in their motel room down the street from Disneyland.

May 17 1980
A three-day race riot breaks out after an all-white jury acquits four white Miami police officers of killing Arthur McDuffie, a black insurance salesman. The cops had beaten him with their flashlights and billyclubs, and he died in the hospital. 18 fatalities and more than $100 million in property damage are the final result.

Monday, May 16, 2011

This Day In History

May 16 1984
Intergender wrestling champion and conceptual comic Andy Kaufman pretends to die of lung cancer. In order to make it really convincing, Andy underwent months of radiation therapy and six weeks of psychic surgery in the Philippines. And he never made any more public appearances.

May 16 1986
In the most notorious retcon in the history of television, Pam Ewing wakes up to find her husband Bobby in the shower -- no small feat, considering he's been dead for a whole season. In order to revivify Bobby's character, the Dallas writers resorted to dismissing the entire preceding year as nothing more than Pam's protracted dream.

May 16 1990
Sammy Davis, Jr. dies of throat cancer in Beverly Hills. After the legendary Rat pack singer/entertainer is buried with $70,000 in jewelry, the family discovers that Mr. Bojangles was broke and left millions of dollars in unpaid back taxes. His widow then orders the body exhumed so they can repo the jewelry.

May 16 1990
Attached to a ventilator and swimming in antibiotics, Muppet creator Jim Henson dies of a severe case of pneumonia in a New York hospital. In keeping with his express wishes, no one is permitted to wear black at Henson's funeral service, which features 5,000 fans waving painted butterflies and a live band playing "When the Saints Go Marching In."

Sunday, May 15, 2011

This Day In History

May 15 1985
Graduate student John Hauser loses most of his right hand in a UC Berkeley computer room when he opens an innocent-looking box attached to a looseleaf binder. It is the second device left in this building from the Unabomber. In fact, the engineering professor who applies the tourniquet to Hauser's arm was the victim in the previous attack, three years prior.

May 15 1997
Federal prosecutors in the Unabomber trial file the necessary paperwork requesting the death penalty for Ted Kaczynski.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Man Found Dead after Minivan Explosion on Merritt Parkway

FAIRFIELD -- A Bridgeport man died in an explosive van fire late Wednesday on the Merritt Parkway in Fairfield, State Police said.

The victim was identified Thursday afternoon as 50-year-old Omar Valencia, of Bridgeport.
State police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance said Fairfield firefighters found Valencia's body in the brush near the parkway about 70 feet from the van, which had exploded into flames as Valencia was traveling southbound on the parkway near exit 46.

Vance said the cause of the fire does not appear suspicious.

Connie Wocell, a Papurah Road resident who called the fire department just after 11 p.m. to report the fire, said she was asleep in her house and was awakened by a screaming sound.
Wocell said she has seen and heard coyotes in her yard, which is about four yards away from the parkway and partially blocked from the road by woods, and thought the screaming sounded like that. But then Wocell looked out one of her picture windows and saw flames.

"I heard the screaming and that was almost instantaneously followed by a huge explosion, like a bomb," Wocell said by phone. "That set the dogs barking and I heard what sounded like car horns, so I jumped up to see what was going on and saw the car was on fire. It was such a huge inferno."

Wocell said she did not hear anyone talking or see any people after the explosion and did not hear any additional screaming.

"It didn't make any sense," she said. Wocell said she did not see any other car in the area or hear a crash before the screaming and explosion. She said she could hear many more explosions as tires and other vehicle parts caught fire.

Firefighters arrived on the scene and found a 1997 Chrysler Town and Country minivan fully involved in fire, Assistant Fire Chief George Gomola said. Magnesium was exploding and burning, and the tires and gasoline tank had erupted.
After firefighters extinguished the vehicle blaze and brush fire, which took about 10 minutes, they discovered the male victim's body. There were no other occupants of the vehicle found after the fire was put out, Gomola said.

A source indicated that there were footprints, apparently the victim's, visible in the grass from the van to where the body was found.

Adding to the confusion, an elderly woman driving past the fire became distracted and struck another vehicle that had pulled over in the right lane in front of the burning car so the driver of that car could try to help, Gomola said. The woman was injured and taken to St. Vincent's Medical Center to be treated for minor injuries. The stopped Mitsubishi was not occupied at the time of the accident.

Investigators cleared the scene by around 9:30 a.m. and the minivan was taken by flatbed to the state police Troop G barracks in Bridgeport.

In a statement Thursday morning, acting First Selectman Sherri Steeneck thanked firefighters for "their professionalism and hard work."


Monday, May 9, 2011

This Day In History

May 9 1950
L. Ron Hubbard publishes the first edition of Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. This follows on the heels of a feature article in the pulp sci-fi magazine Astounding Science Fiction. A book review in the The New Republic describes the work as "a bold and immodest mixture of complete nonsense and perfectly reasonable common sense, taken from long-acknowledged findings and disguised and distorted by a crazy, newly invented terminology." The subsequent movement goes on to become one of the scariest, most powerful pseudo-religious cults in modern history.

May 9 1979
Northwestern University graduate student John Harris opens a cigar box left sitting on a table in the Technological Institute. The resulting blast only manages to inflict minor lacerations and burns. It is later determined to be the second explosive device fabricated by the Unabomber.

May 9 1980
35 people are killed in Tampa, Florida when the Liberian cargo ship Summit Venture smashes into a supporting pier of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Seven vehicles, including a Greyhound bus, topple into the water 150 feet below.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

This Day In History

May 8 1902
Mt. PeleƩ erupts on the West Indies island of Martinique. A wall of superheated ash and rock cascades down the slopes, slamming directly into the community of Saint Pierre. The shockwave and intense heat even manage to destroy twenty ships in the harbor. Only two of the town's 28,000 residents survive the cataclysm.

May 8 1991
In a room at Little Rock's Excelsior Hotel, Arkansas Governor
Bill Clinton exposes his penis to state employee Paula Jones and propositions her to perform fellatio. In her civil deposition, Jones will later claim to have witnessed certain "distinguishing characteristics" of the governor's genitalia, the precise nature of which soon becomes the subject of much speculation. For her trouble, Jones eventually receives an out-of-court settlement for $850,000 and a nude pictorial in Penthouse magazine.

May 8 1998
Former Senator and onetime Presidential candidate Bob Dole tells television interviewer
Larry King that he participated in the Viagra impotence drug trials, and thoroughly enjoyed himself in the process. Dole's name soon becomes synonymous with erectile dysfunction.

May 8 1999
Dana Plato, who played Kimberly Drummond on Diff'rent Strokes, dies in Oklahoma of an overdose of Valium and Loritab. Just the previous day, Plato had appeared on the Howard Stern syndicated radio program claiming to be clean and sober.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

This Day In History

May 7 1959
Small-time boxing promoter Don King is arrested in Cleveland on suspicion of drug dealing. His criminal record includes a 1955 arrest for arson, a 1954 arrest for murder, and others.

May 7 2001
Ronnie Biggs, England's escaped "Great Train Robber," returns to face the music after 35 years as a fugitive. After serving just fifteen months of a 30-year sentence, Biggs escaped from prison and fled to Brazil, where he avoided extradition by fathering the baby of a 19-year-old stripper. Partially paralyzed by a couple of strokes, Biggs returns to England for one last pint of beer before he dies. Instead he is taken into custody at Heathrow airport and promptly sent to Belmarsh prison to serve out the remainder of his sentence.

Friday, May 6, 2011

This Day In History

May 6 1853
Ignoring signals, a train travels through an open drawbridge and into the Norwalk river in Connecticut, killing 46 passengers. The engineer and crew jumped clear, not warning the others of their fate.

May 6 1937
Zeppelin Hindenberg explodes at Lakehurst NJ, leaving 36 dead and others seriously burned. Official cause of the explosion is listed as "St. Elmo's Fire," although it probably also involved the flammable silver paint the Germans used to coat the thing.


May 6 1993
Disgruntled postal worker Mark Richard Hilburn (recently fired) enters the Dana Point, CA post office and shoots two former coworkers, killing one.

May 6 1993
Disgruntled 27-year veteran Lawrence Jasion enters the garage area of the Dearborn, Michigan post office and whips out a .38 revolver. He proceeds to kill mechanic Gary Montes and wound two other coworkers. Before anyone can react, Jasion then blows his brains out. The Dearborn office was infamous for its authoritarian policies.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

This Day In History

May 5 1955
An internal CIA memo emphasizes the need for a drug that creates a state of "pure euphoria" and no letdown. From this springs Operation Midnight Climax, in which CIA brothels were set up in San Francisco, and their customers surreptitiously dosed with LSD by prostitutes. Operative George Hunter White observed reactions behind a two way mirror, purely in the interest of science.

May 5 1982
Secretary Janet Smith in the computer science department at Vanderbilt University is injured when she opens a package from the Unabomber.

May 5 2000
"On May 5 of the year 2000, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn will be aligned with the earth for the first time in 6,000 years.
On that day the ice buildup at the South Pole will upset the earth's axis, sending trillions of tons of ice in the water sweeping over the surface of our planet." -- 5/5/2000: Ice -- the Ultimate Disaster

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

This Day In History

May 4 1970
28 Ohio National Guardsmen kill four students and wound nine others at Kent State University. The Guardsmen had read them the riot act, but the students refused to disperse. So they shot them.

May 4 1991

Bing Crosby's son Dennis Crosby puts a shotgun to his head, ending his life in a boarding house in California. A younger brother, Lindsay, had also killed himself with a shotgun two years earlier.

May 4 2001
After dinner at Vitello's in Studio City, film and television actor Robert Blake remembers that he left something at the restaurant. When he returns to the car, he discovers his wife, Bonnie Lee Bakley, slumped over in the passenger seat. She had been shot in the head by person or persons unknown. Bakley later dies of her injury. One year later, Blake is charged with the murder.

Only In Connecticut HAHAHA

State cops: Owner of construction company Tasered after driving drunk on Merritt
TRUMBULL -- An owner of one of the state's largest construction companies was arrested after police said he was driving drunk in his Cadillac and plowed through a construction site on the Merritt Parkway, forcing workers to leap out of the way to avoid being hit.

Police said that when they finally caught up with David Brennan officers had to Taser him to get him under control.

Brennan, 45, of Sconset Drive, Fairfield, was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, reckless driving, running from police, first-degree reckless endangerment and resisting arrest. He was released after posting a $10,000 bond pending arraignment in Superior Court on May 10.

Brennan is an owner of John J. Brennan Construction of Shelton.

According to State Police, last Tuesday night Trooper Edmund Vayan was parked in a construction area in the right lane southbound near exit 48 on the Merritt Parkway when he heard some loud thuds coming from behind his patrol car. He said he looked in his rear view mirror and saw the headlights of a car traveling toward him knocking down the construction barrels and cones blocking the lane.

The car, a 2009 silver Cadillac, veered around Vayan's police car at the last minute and then continued driving along the closed lane at about 80 miles per hour, state police said.

They said construction workers began diving out of the way as the car sped through the construction zone, barrels and cones flying.

The trooper pursued the Cadillac as it sped along the parkway. As it reached the Fairfield rest area other troopers who were waiting for it, dropped stop sticks into the Cadillac's path blowing out two of its tires. But instead of slowing, police said the car accelerated, careening across the roadway.

Eventually police said they were able to box the Cadillac in with their patrol cars and bring it to a stop. But police said Brennan, who smelled of alcohol, refused officers' orders to surrender and they had to Taser him. As Brennan was being taken away police said he kept mumbling that it was his birthday. When police asked Brennan why his car had a Florida registration they said he replied that he claims residency in Florida to get discounts at Disney World.

HAHAHAHA!! I needed a good laugh.

Dead Body Found at Bridgeport Holiday Inn

BRIDGEPORT -- Police are investigating an untimely death at the Holiday Inn on Main Street Tuesday afternoon, according to police spokesman Tim Quinn.

The death is being treated as a likely drug overdose, police said.

It was not immediately known where the body was found or who discovered it. Police are waiting to release further details pending notification of next of kin of the person who died, Quinn said.

Earlier in the day police responded to an untimely death in a Bishop Avenue apartment building, police said. In that incident, police received a report from a person living in an apartment below the deceased, who discovered blood dripping through the ceiling. The body was found in the apartment's bathroom and it was not immediately known how the person died, but foul play was not suspected, police said.

At Sentencing Will DiMeo Apologize?

CT Post- Barbara Caggiano doesn't recall Christopher DiMeo apologizing to her and her family and even if he did, it wouldn't have made a difference.

"I mean, what was he going to say? `Hey I'm sorry I killed your son-in-law, now please forgive me?' " Caggiano said.

On Aug. 26, 2005, DiMeo was sentenced in New York to life in prison without release for the December 2004 murder of Thomas Renison during the robbery of Renison's Glen Head, N.Y., jewelry store.

On May 6, DiMeo is to be sentenced in Superior Court here for the Feb. 2, 2005, murders of Fairfield jewelers Tim and Kim Donnelly.

As in New York, DiMeo will be receiving a prison term of life without the possibility of release.

As a result of the jury's verdict, Judge Robert Devlin's hands are tied. He can only sentence DiMeo to life without the possibility of release and nothing DiMeo may or may not say at the hearing can affect that.But as he did in New York, DiMeo is expected to say something to Donnelly family members in the courtroom.

DiMeo made a long scripted-sounding speech during the New York sentencing hearing characterized in court by Senior Assistant State's Attorney Joseph Corradino as a remorseless "tale of woe."

"First off and most importantly, I would like to express to Mr. Renison's family, that I'm very sorry for the extreme and ultimate loss that I have caused them," he began. "I know that to hear words could never help diminish the severe pain that I've caused; but I hope at the same time that me serving the rest of my life in prison gives them some sort of closure. I also know that nothing I say or do could ever change the pain they feel. All I can tell them is that my apology is sincere and heartfelt."

Then DiMeo launched into a nearly 900-word speech about his poor upbringing and the dangers of using heroin.

But for Caggiano, and her family, it made no difference.

"What he said didn't give me any closure, I'll never have closure," she said. "It's just lucky that the police got him when they did or he would have killed more people."

Bridgeport drug kingpin Russell Peeler Jr. was in the same position as DiMeo as he stood before Devlin in December 2007 to be sentenced to death for ordering the 1999 murders of 8-year-old Leroy "B.J." Brown and his mother, Karen Clarke. But he didn't apologize.

"This whole process has been a farce!" Peeler shouted. "I had nothing to do with killing these people. He (former State's Attorney Jonathan Benedict) opened up his checkbook to prosecute me. I had nothing to do with killing these people ... This prosecutor, Mr. Benedict, is the wickedest person ever."

But his statement had no effect on the sentence; Peeler sits on death row.

Benedict and others say while it is a criminal's right to have their say, it may only mean something to the family of the victim.

"If the jury has found for death, or even in cases where the jury has reached a decision for life without parole, it's an automatic punishment," Benedict said. "So what the defendant has to say at the time of sentencing is interesting, but it can in no way affect the outcome."

He said it would be interesting to see whether DiMeo does say something at his sentencing hearing. "He could say something that conceivably could help the victims' family with closure,'' he said, "but I don't expect it."

New Study Regarding Spring Babies... Very Interesting!

Season of Birth May Affect the Rest of Your Life
Yahoo News- The season in which you are born may affect everything from your eyesight to your eating habits and overall health later in life, according to a blossoming field of research. The latest study shows that spring babies are more likely to suffer from anorexia nervosa as adults.

"We found an excess of anorexia births in the spring months compared to the general population," said study researcher Lahiru Handunnetthi, of the Wellcome Trust Center for Human Genetics. "The idea is that there is some sort of risk factor that varies seasonally with anorexia."

The researchers found that eight out of every 100 people born between March and June had anorexia compared with 7 percent of those without anorexia. This is a 15 percent increase in risk for those born during these spring months.

Previous studies have found similar links between spring births and various disorders, including schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis and even Type 1 diabetes. It's possible these diseases are linked to some environmental influence during gestation or the first few months of life, though researchers aren't sure what that could be.

The leading candidates including vitamin D levels, infections that come and go seasonally, changes in nutrition, and even possibly weather fluctuations, Handunnetthi told LiveScience.

These changing environmental factors seem to influence a wide array of conditions:

A study from 2003 published in the Journal of Nutrition showed that African-American babies born in the summer and fall were smaller than those born at other times. Also, babies of African-American and Puerto Rican decent gained less weight in their first four months if they were born in the fall.

Babies born in the fall have a 9.5 percent risk of having food allergies, up from 5 percent for babies born in June and July. Those babies born in November or December were also three times more likely to suffer from eczema and wheezing. That study was published in 2010 in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Moderate and severe nearsightedness, or the inability to see well at long distances, is highest for babies born in the summer months, suggests research published in April 2008 in the journal Ophthalmology.

Birth month might even affect your biological clock, a mouse study published in 2010 in the journal Nature Neuroscience showed. Mice born in the winter were less able to adapt to a summer light cycle, which could be related to the increased risk of mental health disorders in humans born in the winter, the researchers speculated.

Leukemia has also been linked to being born in the spring, with a peak in April.

Birth month has even been linked to longevity, which could be because of these other adverse health effects. Studies in Austria and Denmark have found that those born in the fall live longer than people born in the spring.

"When we look at diseases we need to identify the risk factor that led to them," Handunnetthi said. "In general, risk factors could be environmental or genetic. Genetic risk factors you are born with and can't really change. If you identify environmental factors you can mediate them to carry out prevention studies."

These environmental causes are still unclear, though some of these birth-month effects may be related. "Perhaps a risk factor is playing a part that is common to all these conditions but we don't know that yet," Handunnetthi said.

Slain Stamford Man Suffered Blunt-Force Trauma

The Daily Stamford- Stamford police found the bloody and battered body of 30-year-old Leonel Antonio Rios-Hernandez on Monday night in the bedroom of his Daly Street home.

“It was a very bloody crime scene,” Stamford Police Capt. Richard Conklin said. The victim appeared to have suffered blunt-force trauma to his head and body. Police were waiting for more information from an autopsy to be performed Wednesday. The autopsy was originally scheduled for Tuesday but had to be pushed back a day, Conklin said.

The investigation did not get off to a good start, Conklin said, because many of the people interviewed spoke Spanish. Officers had a difficult time communicating. Police are following up on leads after speaking with many family members, friends and business associates.

Officers also canvassed the area around Daly Street and collected evidence for forensic testing as well. The investigation remains open.

Anyone with information about Rios-Hernandez’ death is asked to call the Stamford Police Detectives Bureau at 203-977-4417 203-977-4417 .

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

This Day In History

May 3 1963
Eugene "Bull" Connor directs security forces in Birmingham, Alabama to unleash police dogs on civil rights protesters, and then blast them with high-pressure fire hoses. Unfortunately for segregationists, television networks bring the footage to a shocked national audience. In the wake of the overwhelming public response, President Kennedy quips that Connor "has done more for civil rights than almost anybody else."

May 3 1988
The White House confirms stories that President Ronald Reagan's travel and public appearances are scheduled around astrological data furnished by a mystic in San Francisco. The astrologer also supplies input to the timing of critical international events, such as a recent arms control summit in Iceland.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

This Day In History

May 1 1776
Adam Weishaupt founds the Bavarian Illuminati, the secret society which controls your mind as part of its plot to overthrow organized religion and control the global economy. If you don't believe it, ask yourself what novus ordo seclorum is doing on your dollar bill.

May 1 1997
Sportscaster Frank Gifford is caught on video having sex with TWA flight attendant Suzen Johnson at the New York Regency Hotel. On the tape, Johnson is heard moaning: "Oh, God that's so good. Oh my, you're so big. I knew you would be -- I just knew you would be." A tabloid paid Johnson $75,000 to fornicate with Gifford, and she later goes on to pose nude in Playboy for a six-figure check.

May 1 2003
Commander in Chief George W. Bush rides shotgun aboard a Navy S-3B Viking jet, lands on the USS Abraham Lincoln, marking the first time a president has boarded an aircraft carrier by plane. Underneath a large "Mission Accomplished." sign, he announces that major combat operations in Iraq have ended.