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Archive for February 14th, 2009

The History of Valentine’s Day

Every February, across the country, candy, flowers, and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. But who is this mysterious saint and why do we celebrate this holiday? The history of Valentine’s Day — and its patron saint — is shrouded in mystery. But we do know that February has long been a month of romance. St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. So, who was Saint Valentine and how did he become associated with this ancient rite? Today, the Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred.

One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men — his crop of potential soldiers. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were often beaten and tortured.

According to one legend, Valentine actually sent the first ‘valentine’ greeting himself. While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl — who may have been his jailor’s daughter — who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed ‘From your Valentine,’ an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories certainly emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic, and, most importantly, romantic figure. It’s no surprise that by the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France.

While some believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial — which probably occurred around 270 A.D — others claim that the Christian church may have decided to celebrate Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to ‘christianize’ celebrations of the pagan Lupercalia festival. In ancient Rome, February was the official beginning of spring and was considered a time for purification. Houses were ritually cleansed by sweeping them out and then sprinkling salt and a type of wheat called spelt throughout their interiors. Lupercalia, which began at the ides of February, February 15, was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.

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Goldfrapp- Ooh La La

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Love seems the swiftest, but it is the slowest of all growths. No man or woman really knows what perfect love is until they have been married a quarter of a century.
Mark Twain’s Notebook



Robert Palmer – Bad Case Of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor) (Live)

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Obama: Stimulus a ‘major milestone to recovery’

RAW STORY
Published: Saturday February 14, 2009

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Barack Obama early Saturday hailed a 787-billion-dollar economic stimulus plan passed by Congress, calling it “a major milestone on our road to recovery.”

“This is a major milestone on our road to recovery, and I want to thank the members of Congress who came together in common purpose to make it happen,” Obama said in his weekly radio address.

He promised to sign the package into law “shortly.”

The comments came after the US Congress late Friday approved a 787-billion-dollar package of tax cuts and fresh spending to salvage the broken US economy, handing the president his biggest yet political victory.

The Senate voted 60-38 to pass the measure hours after it cleared the House of Representatives by a lopsided 246-183 margin, setting the stage for Obama to sign the measure into law before his self-imposed February 16 deadline.

Obama expressed confidence that the plan “will save or create more than 3.5 million jobs over the next two years, ignite spending by business and consumers alike, and lay a new foundation for our lasting economic growth and prosperity.”

The legislation, a product of hard-fought negotiations this week, allocates 120 billion dollars to infrastructure spending, including monies for highways, trains and expanding broadband Internet access.

It also features nearly 20 billion dollars for renewable energy and 11 billion to modernize the US electrical grid — steps former vice president Al Gore warmly endorsed weeks ago as a major downpayment on Obama’s strategy for fighting climate change.

The bill includes tax cuts — expected to benefit 95 percent of US families — and tens of billions of dollars for extending unemployment benefits, bolstering healthcare for the least well-off and funds to help cash-strapped states avoid cuts in services like education.

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The following video was posted to WhiteHouse.gov on Feb. 14, 2009.

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