Day by Day

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Ann Coulter Gives Good Column



How can you be forgiven taxes you haven’t paid for two years? And qualify for the earned income tax credit at the same time? Plus be part of an affirmative action program for admittance to U.S. colleges with lower grades and scores than American citizens? In addition, get to pay the in-state tuition rate, while American service members stationed on orders by their government outside of their home state have to pay the out-of-state rate? How can you be forgiven the commission of the felony identity theft for stealing a Social Security number? And, of course, become instantly qualified for all sorts of government benefits?

If you haven’t already figured out the answers to the above questions, please go to Ann Coulter’s column Se Puede Get Two Years Tax-Free! at Human Events Online. Even if you have figured out the mystery, please check out her column anyway. Ann Coulter always gives good column.

Country & Western - Telling Life's Stories

I grew up in the Rock 'n Roll generation, but Country and Western has always been my kind of music. I think I know why.

I think it’s because Country music is for grownups. Rock has been, and always will be, adolescent. Other forms of popular music feature roll playing. Sinatra having us pretend we are social sophisticates. Andy Williams sickening me with “Moon River, wider than a mile…I’m crossing you in style some day,” and “June, Moon, Spoon” too. Ella Fitzgerald, a great songstress of banal lyrics.

There’s the key. It’s the lyrics, stupid! A song is a story, packaged in a way that deeply stirs our emotions.

When I’m alone, I’m often driving with tears in my eyes, listening to Country music on my Ipod. And most of the time, the music is not sad, and often it’s very happy. But the tears flow nevertheless, because tears are my tribute to beauty.

Country performers are usually great musical craftsmen. The Statler Brothers polished their harmonies for years singing gospel music, and then applied it to great story-telling like “the Class of '57 had its dreams.” George Jones, sometimes with Tammy Wynette, portrayed adult love, loss, and longing in a way few ever have. “I know you’re tired of following, my elusive dreams and schemes…”

Hank Williams, Sr., celebrating the Cajuns of Louisiana with Jambaya (On the Bayou):

“Goodbye Joe, me gotta go, me oh my-o,
I got to go pole my pirogue down the bayou,
My Yvonne, the sweetest one, me oh my-o,
Sonofagun, we’ll have big fun, on the bayou.”

And, “Hey Good Lookin' (What cha got cookin'?).” Then a whole lot more.

Loretta Lynn, being a young mother:

“They say to have her hair done Liz flies all the way to France
And Jackie's seen in a discotheque doin' a brand new dance
And the White House social season should be glittering and gay
But here in Topeka the rain is a fallin'
The faucet is a drippin' and the kids are a bawlin'
One of them a toddlin' and one is a crawlin' and one's on the way”

Forgive me when I say, in my humble opinion, Loretta Lynn had a lot to say, and said it a lot better, than all the legions of rock ‘n roll songwriters dedicating their efforts towards the celebrations of lovesick adolescents.

Often I listen to Folk music too, from whence came County music. To the heart tugging eloquence of the Irish, who when they’re not glorifying drinking whiskey, tell many of the most interesting stories ever put to music.

My love of their stories began over fifty years ago, with the first haunting words, “Oh Danny Boy, the pipes, the pipes, are calling.” You could write a novel, make a movie, an opera, a Broadway musical, from the story line of that haunting song.

The same can be said for humorous Irish songs, like “The Mountains of Mourne.”

“Ah Mary this London’s a wonderful sight
With the people here working by day and by night
They don’t plant potatoes, nor barley, nor wheat
But there’s gangs of them digging for gold in the street.”

All of these songs have elements – mature insight, humor, religious conviction, appreciation of mortality, of honor, of loyalty, liberty, freedom – not the sorts of things that make sub-teenage girls, or wannabe gangstas, put their mother’s or father’s hard earned money down to buy a recording of a song written and performed with almost a total absence of musical talent or redeeming social value. It’s throw-away music, music that is so eminently forgettable that it won’t even make it to elevator-music immortality.

At least to be elevator music a song has to have a recognizable, catchy melody. The lack of such pretty much defines today’s popular music. To those who don’t, won’t, would never listen to country & western or folk music, it’s your loss. It’s music that makes you laugh, makes you cry, puts a smile on your face, a tear in your eye. It tells the story of life.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

They Also Served

The military family serves too, and often pays a higher price than the soldier, sailor, or airman. I know that many times in my Air Force career, when my responsibilities were the most demanding – long hours, challenging work, extended family separations – I honestly was having the time of my life. It didn’t take long for my late first wife, Marilynn, to catch on. When I would try to get out of a doing a house project for her by pleading how tired I was, how hard I was working, she would look me in the eye: “You love it, don’t you?” The way she said it, it wasn’t a question. She knew. She knew me. She knew that I loved my job, enjoyed the company of fellow students at first, and later in my career, fellow workers, and that I would rather be working long hours on the job than at home. Since Marilynn was able to see through me, I ended up doing both.

For her part, she was both a hard worker and very adaptable. During our early married years my Air Force pay didn’t always stretch enough to fit each month's needs. Without some help every now and then from Pop and Mom, we would have come up short a few times. While I was going to Indiana University for Russian training, I walked past the Bloomington high school on West 2nd Street every day on my way home to pick up the empty soda bottles that the students tossed behind the fence and redeem them for the deposit. During one tight period, when we had just arrived in Maryland for my classes at the National Security Agency, we had spaghetti for every meal for two weeks.

Marilynn had Bruce, our oldest son in California while I was attending a radio intercept school in Texas. Later, I was stationed in Turkey for six months before we saved up enough from her job and my Air Force pay to pay for Marilynn and Bruce to join me in Turkey.

When Marilynn was pregnant with our third son, Jeffrey, she spent three months in California taking care of Bruce and Scott while I was in Officer Training School in Texas. Just before my commissioning date, she drove with the two boys all the way out from California to Texas, then we all drove in a rush to Michigan where I enrolled in the Michigan State University MBA program. There Marilynn set up her ninth household in six years, and soon Jeffrey arrived.

A year later, we were off for what turned out to be five years in England, our first real settled assignment in over seven years of married life. We came back from England to Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, not far from St. Louis, Missouri. We had a good almost four-year assignment there, although Marilynn spent many anxious hours with Jeffrey in the Air Base Hospital because of his asthma attacks.

Marilynn was very active in the Officers’ Wives Club, and one of her good friends, Janey, was also the wife of my ultimate boss, Colonel Leuthold. When Janey heard of Jeffrey’s asthma problem, she and Marilynn worked together to get us our next assignment, Hawaii. Janey was confident that Hawaii would be wonderful for Jeffrey’s health, and bless her heart, she was right.

We began preparations for our move to Hawaii. I did a for-sale-by-owner on our house, we arranged that half our household goods would be shipped to Hawaii, and the other half we would take to California in a rental truck for storage in one of my father-in-law’s garages. As we packed and got everything ready for the big move, Marilynn noticed some swelling and prominent blood vessels on the side of her right breast. Since she was only 33 years old, we weren’t very concerned, but she made an appointment for an examination. I was in my office at Base Accounting & Finance when she walked in looking distraught, then began sobbing uncontrollably. A large tumor had been found, and a needle biopsy indicated it was malignant.

We consulted two surgeons, and agreed on a modified radical mastectomy to remove the breast tissue but not the underlying muscles so that Marilynn would retain the full range of motion and strength in her right arm. Within days following the operation, with an open sixteen inch incision on her chest, Marilynn and our youngest sons, Scott and Jeffrey, flew to California. Then her mother Priscilla, with our oldest son Bruce in one car, and Dilly dog and I in the truck towing the other car, set off for California. We made a detour to Offut Air Force Base, Nebraska, on the way. One of Marilynn’s younger sisters had divorced her husband, also an Air Force officer, and we had agreed to pack up some of her things on the way and bring them along to California.

After a couple of weeks in California, we flew on to Hawaii. We lived the first seven weeks in the Reef Hotel on Waikiki while we waited for our house on base. During this period, Marilynn went to Queens Hospital in Honolulu almost on a daily basis for radiation therapy. After we moved into our house on Hickam Air Force Base, Marilynn started six months of chemotherapy at Tripler Army Hospital, the large pink building on the hillside across from Honolulu International Airport. At Tripler, Marilynn also had a second mastectomy, this time as a precautionary measure.

After four years in Hawaii, the Air Force arranged a compassionate reassignment for me to Travis Air Force Base in northern California, and we were able to live just a couple of blocks away from her parents’ home in Vallejo, California.

I soon retired from the Air Force, with over 21 years of service, rather than take another assignment and move Marilynn away from her family. After another six months of chemotherapy, and then a three-year period of slowly declining health, the cancer began aggressive spreading and growth, and just two months after our 25th anniversary, Marilynn died in January 1988 at age 43, almost ten years after her initial treatment.

Through it all, in sickness and in health, from being poor to living comfortably, watching our sons grow, sometimes joyously sometimes struggling as we moved them away from old friends and into the unknown, Marilynn’s strength and support enabled me to do my duty to my country. There are a lot of people who are not in the military, but who struggle every day to make it possible for our guys and gals in the armed services to get their jobs done.

On Memorial Day, and on a lot of other days too, I think of them. They get no medals. No band plays. We’ll never have a day to honor them.

They also served.

To Bruce, Scott, and Jeffrey. Like your Mother, you bear the scars of service too, but there are stars in your crowns, and somewhere medals await.

Monday, May 29, 2006

California School Exit Exam Not Needed


Just in time for graduations, my buddy Sam way down south in Garden Grove reminds me that Bill Clinton signed the Americans With No Abilities Act during his last term. He did it as a special favor to Monica, who got down on her knees and thanked him.

Congress Passes Americans With No Abilities Act, The Onion, June 24, 1998, Issue 33-24.

“WASHINGTON, DC—On Tuesday, Congress approved the Americans With No Abilities Act, sweeping new legislation that provides benefits and protection for more than 135 million talentless Americans.

The act, signed into law by President Clinton shortly after its passage, is being hailed as a major victory for the millions upon millions of U.S. citizens who lack any real skills or uses.”

Nowhere is this act more important than in California, where in many school districts a quarter or more of the Seniors (12th Graders), who have otherwise passed requirements for graduation, cannot pass the state exit exam that is set to measure English achievement at the 10th grade level, and math and algebra at an 8th grade level.

At the moment, there are 47,000 students, roughly 10 percent of California Seniors, who have not passed the exit exam. Arturo Gonzalez, a lawyer for the students, said that he would seek an injunction immediately since it was un-American that students should be expected to know anything to get their diplomas.

It is well known in liberal and academic circles that formerly, racist and elitist employers required proof of educational achievement as a condition before hiring.

Mr. Gonzalez should be reminded that, thanks to the Americans With No Abilities Act, no one cares anymore.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Butcher, Baker



Tonight I’m reading the Mendocino County Historical Society Newsletter, Volume 44, Number 4. You can join by sending $20 ($25 for a couple) to 603 West Perkins Street, Ukiah, CA 95482. Each month I eagerly look forward to the latest issue.

A couple of months ago I wrote, You Gotta Ring Them Bells, a risqué and ribald story set in Philo, in the hot Anderson Valley about an hour by car over narrow, twisting roads from our cool northern California coast. In this month’s newsletter, there was a short article about the apple-growing Gowan family of Philo, which of course reminded me of another story about my own family.

After we completed the basement, and later the house, in Point Arena in 1955, I remember a flat-bed truck stopped in front. It was driven by Cecil Gowan, and as I found out in the newsletter, the year before the Gowans had started a business in Philo, Gowan’s Oak Tree, selling apples. He had loaded his truck with boxes of apples, and drove over to the coast to sell them door-to-door off his truck. Mom bought a box, and that night we started a new family project that we did regularly for several years – we baked apple pies.

Brother Ron and I sat at a table at the back of the kitchen and used an ingenious device that peeled and cored the apples while all we had to do was turn a handle. We then quartered the apple, and sliced the quarters into apple pie pieces. Then we added sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, flour, and margarine, and stirred it all together.

At this point, Mom added the skill factor. She prepared the pie crusts in the pie tins (I think eight at a time), added the filling, placed and trimmed the upper crust, and then baked them. We repeated this process until we had twenty-four freshly baked pies, which we then wrapped all but one in tin foil and put in the deep freezer.

We would have the chosen pie for dinner that night, and one of the frozen ones for each succeeding dinner until we ran out of pies, usually in about twenty-four days. When we ran out of pies, Mom would call the Gowans and ask them to please bring by a box of apples on their next trip to the coast. It usually wasn’t long before we were making the next batch of pies.

At about this time, 1955, we started doing our own butchering. We had already been raising calves for beef for several years, but we had left the slaughtering and butchering up to the meat markets downtown – Uneda Meats, operated by Bill and Delia Hay, and if memory serves me, the other meat market was run by Garth and Alice Rawls.

How did Uneda Meats get its name? Delia Hay was from Italy, and had a thick Italian accent. When she and Bill opened the meat market, Delia would greet customers, “You needa meat?”

Almost fifty years later in New York I burst out laughing. A Uneda Taxi had just driven by.

Pop would kill the beef with a well aimed rifle shot to the head, and then we used a block and tackle to hang the carcass from a platform we built between two limbs of a cypress tree in our hedge row. Using an incredibly sharp skinning knife made for him by Arnold Cremonini, our Point Arena town blacksmith, Pop gutted and skinned the carcass, then used the knife and a hack saw to cut it in half. We then carried each side of beef to a rack mounted high in our back porch over the basement steps, wrapped it in burlap, and hung it from the rack to cool and age for about a week.

The first time we did our own butchering, Pop borrowed a government bulletin about beef inspection and grading. On its center page there was a picture of a side of beef, surrounded by labeled pictures of different cuts of beef with lines pointing to where on the side the cut came from. Brother Ron and I stood by the hamburger grinder, a large machine powered by a third of a horsepower electric motor. Pop started cutting and sawing. As he finished cutting off a steak, he would compare it to the picture. If it looked right, he passed it to Mom to wrap and label for the freezer. If he thought it didn’t quite pass inspection, he tossed it to us to make hamburger. We ended up with quite a bit of very high quality hamburger that first time, until Pop got a feel for making steaks and roasts instead of hamburger.

Mom packed all the steaks and roasts for freezing, but Ron and I got to wrap and label the hamburger. By the time we finished that evening, we had filled our old chest freezer almost to the top.

We also raised chickens, rabbits, sheep, pigeons, and on one occasion a pig. Although we lived in town, I doubt if our lives would have been much different if we lived outside of town on a farm. There’s not much more you could do on a farm than Pop had us doing in town.

Previous Point Arena stories:

The Great Point Arena Fire of 1954 - Everyone likes to help
Pete Bjornavik, a Point Arena character - Fun to be around
Gopher Capital of the World? - There's a bit of larceny in all of us
1960 NCAA Basketball Championships - Thanks, "Chub" Ohleyer - A very generous man
Sweethearts Dance 1960 - Bad weather makes a special memory
Number, Please? - Personal connections before the dial telephone
Puddles the Pup - A big part of the best childhood in the whole world
You Gotta Ring Them Bells - Some wedding nights you don't forget, but you try!
After The Summer of 1954 - 7th and 8th grade, 60 students, one great teacher
The House We Built - Brother Ron and I dug the basement in 1954, with help from "Prince"
The Old High School - When we came to Pt. Arena in 1949, we lived in one big room of an abandoned high school building

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Tower Of Babel Is A Democratic Goal






The Biblical lesson of the Tower of Babel has been lost on Democratic Senate Minority Leader - Democratic Senate Minority Leader, that sure has a nice ring to it - Harry Reid. In case some of us have forgotten, a brief summary:

According to the narrative in Genesis Chapter 11 of the Bible, the Tower of Babel was a tower built by a united humanity to reach the heavens. Because man had it in his heart to be like God, God stopped this project by confusing their languages so that each spoke a different language. As a result, they could no longer communicate with one another and the work was halted. The builders were then scattered to different parts of Earth. This story is used to explain the existence of many different languages and races.

"...they could no longer communicate with one another and the work was halted." I think if we ever let the likes of Harry Reid and other Democratic multiculturalists back in power, the United States will soon be a nation of many tongues, cultural divisions, ethnic jealousies - why should we stop at English and Spanish? How about Chinese, Tagalog, Serbo-Croatian? Soon the work of continuing to be the greatest nation the world has ever known will be halted because we will no longer be able to communicate with one another.

Have you ever spoken to someone in a foreign language? Many of us have. I was a Russian linguist for a couple of years in my Air Force career, and studied German in high school. The main impression I have of my conversations with others in their language was that we were communicating on a very basic level. We were not getting into deep philosophical discussions, or going deeply into the issues of the day. In other words, we were not really communicating, not in the way that builds bridges to understanding and directs efforts to a common goal.

All Things Beautiful does a beautiful job of illustrating how a country without a national language struggles just to hold together as a country, with no hope of ever finding a common path to greatness.

Hollywood Taught Us About Drug Addiction


Many of you, most of you I hope, learned about drug addiction the same way I did. That's right. Not by being an addict, but going to the movies. Everything I know about drug addiction I learned from Hollywood.

I saw honest, smart, hardworking men and women, in a moment of weakness, take their first snort, hit, drag, injection, because a "friend" told them, "Try some of this, you'll feel real good." We all wanted to scream, shout at the movie screen, "No, don't do it!" We all knew that the road was all downhill from there, because Hollywood has shown us so many times how poor innocents are hooked, can't resist, and drugs lead them into a wasteland of addiction, despair, depravity, and crime. They have no choice. It's the physical dependence, the horrible withdrawal, they are truly hooked, there's no way out.

Except, that's not true. What we saw was Hollywood dramatizing drug addiction to sell movie tickets. It's really the simple tale of bright hopes tragically perverted by insatiable craving for drugs, or the miraculous recovery from addiction because of devoted friends and loved ones. Tragic loss, miraculous redemption, the stuff of Hollywood dreams. Unfortunately, not the stuff of real life. For that you have to go to an excellent Fraters Libertas post, Suck It Up Degenerates. There you will find that most addicts were criminals before becoming addicts, and that the quality of withdrawal displayed depends more on the audience than the drug.

This post reminds me of my Freshman year of college, at Humboldt State, Arcata (near Eureka) in northern California. The year was 1960, and one of my first assignments in Honors English (I amazed myself when I was picked for Honors English, a two semester course combining Freshman English and Speech with both an English and a Speech professor) was a paper and speech on a subject of my choosing. I chose "decriminalization, not legalization, of drugs." My points were that criminalization of drug use drove the addicts underground and away from help from the medical and mental health care providers; criminalization made drugs far more expensive and drove addicts to crime to feed their addiction; and that the enormous profits made by organized crime from the drug trade resulted in corruption of police and the judiciary. Here, 46 years later, the only things that changed are that the profit and corruption are much worse than what we felt was rampant criminality back then.

As I said, not much has changed except one thing. Because of Hollywood, I felt then that drug addiction started as curiosity, an adventure, and then went sour and led to crime. Now I realize that most addicts start out in crime, and take drugs because of a "strong adversarial stance to the world caused by the emotional, spiritual, cultural and intellectual vacuity of their lives." In other words they're losers already, not victims. This realization wouldn't have changed my thoughts back then about decriminalization of drugs. I still think it's a good idea, but now mostly from the stand point of drying up this criminal cash cow.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Congressional Power Makes Idiots Of Republicans Too

To The Speaker of the House, The Honorable, Imperial, Etc., J. Dennis Hastert

Dear Speaker,

I used to think, and often say, that it took a village of Democrats to raise a bunch of idiots. Now I find it only takes a position in Congress to get the job done. At one time, the Democrats owned Congress. Since Democrats have no guiding principles, the power went to their unprincipled heads and they did all sorts of foolish and arrogant things. Bill Clinton unleashed Hillary to dazzle America with HillaryCare, which simply depicted how government could take an essential program like health care and turn it into a monument to bureaucratic ineptitude. During all this, Republicans stood by their principles, and in a period when the Democrats made headlines almost daily with their arrogant abuses of power for personal benefit, Newt Gingrich and the Republicans struck with a statement of principles, the Contract With America.

With the desperation of Bill Clinton for a new intern, Americans were all over the Contract With America. At the same time Americans rallied to the Contract, they showed they were tired of the Democrats who made "two major missteps -- the failure in 1994 to offer any theme or message around which to rally and the failure over a 25-year period to fashion an approach uniting the middle and underclass wings of the party. They seem no closer to such a message now."

Speaker Hastert, when you make a big stink about the FBI seizure of subpoenaed documents from the congressional office of Rep. William Jefferson, a subpoena that Congressman Jefferson had ignored for eight months, you are saying that you and your colleagues are above the law. In essence, you are saying that you are all Democrats now.

We saw all this happening soon after Newt led the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994. Very quickly he became personally and professionally out of touch with the American voter, and almost single-handedly sunk the Republican Revolution just as it was being launched. Fortunately, Bill Clinton and Monica reminded Americans again, just in time, how feckless and reckless the Democrats are when they are in a position of responsibilty.

To paraphrase Coach Vince Lombardi, who said "fatigue makes cowards of us all," apparently Congressional power makes idiots of Republicans too.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

France - One Step Away From Socialist Paradise

Robert Samuelson, the only reason I continue my Newsweek subscription, wrote The Politics of Make-Believe, April 3, 2006 edition, and summed up France's impending step into socialist paradise thusly:

"This cannot continue indefinitely. In 2005, France's labor force was 2.7 times as large as its 65-and-over population; by 2020, it's projected to be only twice as large. France's policy is to have a shrinking share of its population, working short hours, pay for rising pension and health costs. In 2004, the average retirement age was 59. Average taxes are already about 50 percent of national income; effective marginal rates (the rates on additional income) can hit 60 percent. How much higher could these go without crushing work incentives? Sooner or later, France will have to adopt policies that lower unemployment, lengthen work hours, raise retirement ages and cut promised benefits."

Don't look now - I know I don't have to tell Liberals that, they won't anyway - but we could be going the way of France if the Democrats regain power. We are getting older, too. Social Security, as now structured, is not sustainable. In less than two decades, Social Security will have to fall back on its Trust Fund. One problem with that. The only things in the Social Security Trust Fund are United State government IOU's made out to the United States government. The name of that tune is the "Raise Taxes Big Time Polka." And the next tune after that is "We Just Flushed Our Economy Down The Toilet Blues."

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Liberal Urban Legends About Iraq

(Click on cartoon to enlarge it)
The following Liberal Urban Legends persist no matter how thoroughly they are debunked. The president misled the country in order to justify the Iraq war; his administration pressured intelligence agencies to bias their judgments; Saddam Hussein turned out to be no threat since he didn't possess weapons of mass destruction; and helping democracy take root in the Middle East was a postwar rationalization.

Time and time again, researchers and writers have proven each of these Liberal alegations against the President are false. Many of the Liberals -- Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, even Nancy Pelosi -- who are spouting the above charges against President Bush were saying the opposite under President Clinton, and were even making the same charges against Saddam as the President just prior to the start of war.

All this evidence of Liberal perfidy has been aired repeatedly, and just as repeatedly ignored. Now there is an excellent article, Revisionist History - Antiwar myths about Iraq, debunked. By Peter Wehner, in the 23 May 2006 Opinion Journal from the Wall Street Journal Editorial Page. It too will be ignored by many, but let us not aid the willfully ignorant. We owe a debt to truth to try to plant it and to help it grow in the most barren of soils, the editorial rooms of the Main Stream Media.

Monday, May 22, 2006

The Best Of Times


Alice and I frequently marvel about how good it is to live in these times. We wonder, are we the only ones who realize how good we have it? We are clearly winning the war in Iraq, yet most citizens think we are losing because the Main Stream Media are so incompetent. Our economy is strong, by far the most powerful and dynamic the world has ever seen, yet Liberals hold out the enemic economies of the socialist welfare states of Europe as models of what we should be.

What is going on? How can reality be dumped on its head and this gloom about our lives and future prevail? Where can we find what is really happening?

Surprisingly, a writer for the Main Stream Media, Michael Barone at US News and World Report, has looked outside the box filled with gloom and doomers and has reported (Heard the Good News?) that things are now as good or better than they have ever been. World economic growth, driven by the powerful engine of the United States economy, is surging. Armed conflicts are down dramatically in terms of numbers and savagery since the end of the Cold War. The war in Iraq is being conducted at a far lower cost in lives and dollars than previous wars such as World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

Now if we could just get professionalism into our journalistic ranks, as we already have in the ranks of our military and business organizations, we might stop being cheated out of enjoying this wonderful world and the great times we are living.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Alice's Project Completed!









(Please click on the photos to enlarge. These photos show the beams of the sunroom being placed by a huge crane extended over our house, Alice and her daughters and grandkids on the deck, and in the pool in the sunroom.)

For almost a year, Alice worked tirelessly to add the new deck and sunroom with swim-in-place pool to our house.

The deck was designed by Ralph Matheson, engineered by Kurt Menning, and the iron work by Kentucky John.

The sunroom was provided by Dave and Darla Paoli of Fort Bragg, Lindal Cedar Sunrooms, and the pool by Endless Pool.

Alice served as the master contractor, hiring Greg Chamberlin, Joseph Arthurs, and Jose Luna for construction, Mike Nelson for the electrical, Dave Hall for the plumbing, Charles Hunnicutt for the tile work, Home Depot the indoor-outdoor carpeting, and Darren Maahs for the painting.

The deck was completed first, with Greg, Joe, and Jose doing most of the work, Bobby Baker the excavation, Scott Ignacio and the Spa Guys installing the hot tub, concrete from Bed Rock, and crane work by Leighton Nelsen.

Alice's daughters and their families were here for Mothers' Day, and thoroughly enjoyed the pool and hot tub - plus beach walks and kite flying. Buddy's little sister, Duchess, ran into the sunroom and jumped on the bubble cover, apparently thinking it was a solid floor, and had the honor of the first doggy swim in the pool. Buddy doesn't seem interested in diving in, just like he avoids getting wet in the ocean. He and I haven't been in the pool yet. We're happy with our morning two to three mile jogs.

Next project, adding stone facing to the driveway retaining wall.

Plus Alice is anxiously waiting for me to design and install one of the most prodigious drip systems ever seen, second only to the ones I put in on our ranch in Livermore fifteen years ago.
The most fun part of the project will be putting a drip system in the sunroom itself, where Alice and her landscaper, Kathy Bienhof, have already planted a jungle in pots.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

An Experiment Using Liberal Specimens


I am conducting an experiment of sorts, using Liberals as my laboratory specimens. A couple of days ago I unexpectedly received an email from a friend who never emails me, since I’m a conservative and she’s not. This email was about illegal immigrants, and some of its points I agreed with, and some I didn’t.

Among her points were: without cheap Mexican labor, lettuce and other products would become very expensive. Also, it was wrong to have the Mexican flag flown over the American, but the American flag should be flown upside down because the United States is a nation in distress.

This was my response:

“One point among many. When labor becomes too expensive, we mechanize the process. Cheap Mexican labor has just delayed the inevitable.

Second, we are not in a state of distress. That is truly rhetorical overkill. There are, and always will be, problems we must face and attempt to solve with some degree of competence, compromise, and cooperation. No one will ever be totally satisfied. However, if we are honest in assessing our circumstances, we will conclude that we live in the most free, prosperous, and vibrant country that has ever existed. And still admittedly far from perfect, just closer than any other. Those who hold up as shining examples the welfare states of Europe are blind to the high unemployment, high taxes, and barriers to business formation and growth, and to the fact that their population demographics make their social benefit programs unsustainable. Look to France for an example of what we don't want to be.

We are not anti-immigrant. But the key element of our greatness as a nation is that we are a nation of laws in conformance with our Constitution, and if we don't think a law is good, we get rid of or change it. We don't just ignore it. And continually rewarding illegals by giving amnesty for breaking our laws is not a good way to discourage law breakers.”

I then provided links to three of my recent posts: Making the Army of Reconquista; The Reconquistadores; and "Heartless" Capitalism is the Most Compassionate.

I concluded with this offer:

“And please feel free to wander through my archive folders, particularly the January through May 2006 ones. I have stories about life in Point Arena fifty years ago, and a variety of other topics, not all political by any means.”

I then launched my experiment. Instead of just sending a reply to her, I hit the “reply all” button, so that my response would go to both its author and to all others she had sent her original email. A day later I sent this additional response to her email, and again sent it “reply all.”

“Charles Krauthammer wonders why border security has been dismissed as a concern only to conservatives in the current debate over immigration reform. It's a question that organized labor might want answered as well:

Bush's enforcement provisions were advertised as an attempt to appease conservatives. This is odd. Are conservatives the only ones who think that unlimited, unregulated immigration is a detriment to the republic? Do liberals really believe in a de facto policy that depresses the wages of the poorest and most desperate Americans, African Americans most prominently among them? Do liberals believe that the number, social class, education level, background and country of origin of immigrants -- the kinds of decisions every democratic country makes for itself -- should be taken out of the hands of the American citizenry and left to the immigrants themselves and, in particular, to those most willing to break the very immigration regulations the American people have decided upon democratically?

And is it just conservatives who think the United States ought not be gratuitously squandering one of its greatest assets -- its magnetic attraction to would-be immigrants around the world? There are tens of millions of people who want to leave their homes and come to America. We essentially have an NFL draft in which the United States has the first, oh, million or so draft picks. Rather than exercising those picks, i.e., choosing by whatever criteria we want -- such as education, enterprise, technical skills and creativity -- we admit the tiniest fraction of the best and brightest and permit millions of the unskilled to pour in instead.”

Following the Charles Krauthammer quote, I added this:

“Charles Krauthammer shows that illegal immigration is a concern to us all - except the Democratic Party, who are only concerned with prostituting our immigration laws to get more votes for Democrats. That is what amnesty for illegal immigrants means - votes for Democrats. Votes from recent Latino immigrants who are now citizens, votes for Democrats from the illegal immigrants who want citizenship as a reward for breaking immigration law, and future votes from the enormous number of instant citizens created when illegal immigrants have children in the United States.

Mexico has been in a state of distress for a very long time now, and only the safety valve of illegal immigration to the United States has kept Mexicans from revolting against their corrupt and incompetent leaders. By our inaction on border control, we have only succeeded in keeping corrupt Mexican governments in power, and in perpetuating Mexican poverty and misery. The Flag of Mexico is the one that should be flown upside down.”

The results of my experiment thus far have been limited, but interesting nevertheless. One fellow sent me a very thoughtful response, and I replied to the points he raised.

One woman, in anguish and pleading “for the love of God,” implored me to never, ever again, traumatize her Inbox in this way.

Another fellow emailed: “Please tak (sic) me off this list!! I get plenty of this B.S. in the I.C.O. [Strong Ox note: ICO is the Independent Coast Observer, our local weekly newspaper] and don't want it on my e-mail.”

I can hear it now: “Oooooooooo, yuck, do you see the crap this conservative spread on my email?! Gross!”

Several seem to have deleted my emails without reading them. Others at least opened them, although that doesn’t mean they weren’t also immediately deleted. Apparently liberal email Inboxes are sensitive, sacred places, not to be profaned by conservative heresies. I have lurid images in my head of the cleansing rituals liberals must perform on the ICO each time one of my letters is printed. Plus they must have exorcisms for Inboxes to return them to a state of liberal purity and grace.

I’ll update this as (hopefully) more responses come in, probably Monday after everyone goes back to work and checks their emails. I hope the three responses aren’t all I get. That would be terribly disappointing.

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Arrogance Of Immigrants

When did it start? Why haven’t I noticed the arrogance of immigrants until just the last couple of months?

First, what do I mean about the arrogance of immigrants? When someone becomes an immigrant, and then expects the host country to change to conform to the immigrant’s beliefs and desires, that is arrogance. And when the host country conforms, that is cowardice, it is stupidity, it is self loathing, it is despicable.

Do I have any examples of immigrant arrogance? Glad you asked.

An Islamic mufti in Copenhagen, Shahid Mehdi, sparked outrage a couple of years ago after stating in a televised interview that women who do not wear headscarves are "asking for rape." That’s right, this arrogant bastard is telling his Danish hosts that Danish women are asking to be raped because they won’t conform to Muslim standards of modesty. Since over half of recent rapes in Denmark have been by Muslim men (who are less than a tenth of the Danish population) and eighty percent of the rape victims have been non-Muslim women, the good Muslim mufti says that of course it is the fault of the women – first, no headscarves, then it will be they wore dresses that exposed their legs, then that they wore pants that defined their bottoms, or swimsuits that displayed their figures, or sweaters that outlined their breasts – what is a good Muslim male to do? Rape them, of course. Wouldn’t you?

Demanding citizens of the host country conform to Muslim standards of female modesty is one example of immigrant arrogance. Another is threatening death to anyone who offends Islam in any manner or form. Death threats against the Danish cartoonists are one example, but more serious was the actual murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, and the death threat (fatwa) on Ayaan Hirsi Ali for voicing views critical of Islam. Her film Submission, directed by Theo van Gogh, made her a target of the Hofstad Network, an Islamist terrorist organization.

Mexican illegal immigrants have perhaps been emboldened by the arrogance of Muslim immigrants to their hosts. The indigenous peoples of Mexico and Central America, descendents of some of the cruelest and most savage cultures in history, the bloody Mayan and Aztec, lay claim to all North America. A very weak claim, since their cultures never ventured permanently north of the Rio Grande. If they had, they would have murdered and subjugated the Native American tribes they encountered, just as they murdered and subjugated all the other tribes they encountered until the Spanish came and murdered and subjugated them. Now they have Atzlan and La Raza, their own racist organizations, dedicated to taking over the American Southwest and imposing a culture, the Spanish, that is truly alien to North America. In fact, the backwardness and poverty of Mexico and the Central and South American countries are vestiges of the arrogance and cruelty of Spanish Conquistadores. Now the Reconquistadores want to spread their ignorance and poverty to the United States, so we can be just like Mexico.

It is the height of both ignorance and arrogance that the Reconquistadores claim their gardening, dish washing, crop picking, burger flipping, housekeeping and bed making, and other forms of unskilled labor during the last couple of decades are what made the United States great, and that these skills qualify them to take over and run the place. If they are so good, and so valuable, their abilities could be put to best use in Mexico, the land they love and respect so much once they leave it.

The Great Point Arena Fire Of 1954

The pert and perky mayor of Point Arena, a city of 500 and a strong contender for the title of smallest incorporated city in California, explained the recently and finally approved General Plan for her city at our Rotary Club weekly luncheon at St. Orres. Towards the end of her talk, she spoke briefly of the value and importance of volunteers in getting city projects accomplished.

As she spoke, my mind drifted back to Point Arena. As I recall, it was the summer of 1954. I was walking down the Main Street hill towards downtown, and just at the bottom of the hill next to Disotelle’s Bar and Restaurant I heard the fire alarm go off on the city fire station across the street. The volunteer firemen rushed to the fire station and fired up the engine of the city’s old tanker fire truck. I heard a couple of them shouting back and forth that the fire was up the hill and almost all the way to the west end of town on Lake Street, at the Hedden home just before the high school.

A couple of tourists came over, and asked me if I knew where the fire was. I indicated it was north, up the hill, then past the elementary school, west about a half mile, to a driveway to the right just before the high school. As I was finishing my verbal description of the route to the fire, which I had embellished with pointing and hand gestures, the fire truck pulled out the firehouse and turned – south. The people I had answered looked at me, and over all the noise -- the motor racing, the siren screaming, the horns blasting -- indicated that the fire truck was “going the wrong way!”

Since I could no longer be heard, I held up my hands in a “relax” gesture and shook my head “no.” In the meantime, the fire truck had labored to the south end of town, past Soldani’s to the old abandoned creamery building, and was slowly turning around. “Watch this!” I shouted.

Slowly, but noisily, it’s speed increasing imperceptibly, the fire truck, with a full load of water in its tank, had reversed its course and was now heading north on Main Street coming back into downtown, its engine at its peak revolutions per minute, probably in second gear. As it roared through town, it would have been an awesome sight if its speed matched its noise. It passed where I was standing again, started up the hill at its top speed in second gear, and I started running up the hill on the sidewalk. I caught up with the fire truck a little more than half way up the hill, not long after its driver had downshifted into low, and pulled ahead of it and beat it to the top of the hill by five or ten yards.

A crowd had assembled downtown, watching and cheering the fire truck on. A few yelled, “Can we help? Do you need us to push?” And, of course, “Get a horse!” As Main Street leveled out by the elementary school, the fire truck picked up speed, and caught up and passed me before I got to the left turn onto Lake Street. It continued to accelerate up Lake Street, and if the sound had any meaning, it would have been going about eighty miles an hour. Sonny Buti was sure they were doing better than twenty-five miles an hour before they had to slow down to turn right into the Hedden driveway, but other people thought that Sonny had just been caught up in all the excitement. “That thing couldn’t hit twenty if we drove it off the bluff!”

“Good idea,” someone yelled.

As I ran down the driveway to the Hedden house, the excitement level was already sky high. The fire truck had stopped in front of the house, and a hose connected to the truck’s water tank had been run in through the front door, down the hall, and out to the back porch where the fire was burning, well fed by cans of old paint. It didn’t take long before the combination of old pump, old fittings and connections, old hose, and overeager firefighters ran the truck out of water with the fire still producing prodigious amounts of smoke. So then garden hoses were hooked up to the Hedden’s water tank, which also was quickly drained. Still smoke poured out of the porch.

At about this time energetic volunteers, including several high school girls, had gone into the house, up the stairs, and started to pass furniture, clothing, and other household treasures out of the bedroom windows and toss or lower it to helpers below. The more the mature and experienced among the firefighters tried to discourage this, the more frantically the volunteers lowered and threw things from the upper floor windows.

No more water could be pumped from the well, because the power had been turned off to protect the firefighters and others from electrocution. At this point we spontaneously formed a bucket brigade, using whatever buckets and other containers were at hand to pass water from a big cattle watering trough to pour on the fire. This seemed to work, although the fire may have already been dying from the cumulative effects of all the water already splashed on the back porch, plus the remainder of the old paint being removed before it could ignite.

At first, the shouts that the fire was out seemed to drive the crews upstairs and in front into an even higher level of frantic activity. However, after a brief period of hyper-activity, suddenly everyone stopped. Then all the people who had been evacuating things just quietly wandered off, leaving the tired firefighters to clean up and help the Heddens put everything back inside.

As the years passed, the fire grew, the danger heightened, the heroics multiplied, and then it was all forgotten. Almost all forgotten, anyway.

Previous Point Arena stories:

Pete Bjornavik, a Point Arena character - Fun to be around
Gopher Capital of the World? - There's a bit of larceny in all of us
1960 NCAA Basketball Championships - Thanks, "Chub" Ohleyer - A very generous man
Sweethearts Dance 1960 - Bad weather makes a special memory
Number, Please? - Personal connections before the dial telephone
Puddles the Pup - A big part of the best childhood in the whole world
You Gotta Ring Them Bells - Some wedding nights you don't forget, but you try!
After The Summer of 1954 - 7th and 8th grade, 60 students, one great teacher
The House We Built - Brother Ron and I dug the basement in 1954, with help from "Prince"
The Old High School - When we came to Pt. Arena in 1949, we lived in one big room of an abandoned high school building

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Liberals Squemish About Patriot Days


Under the category, It's Never Too Late, I belatedly ran across a blog post from almost a year ago that included a letter Alice wrote that SactoDan Blog featured.

He wrote: "Thankfully, there is some common sense in the area. Alice Combs of Gualala writes: "As I was walking between the marvelous Patriot Days exhibits I came upon a lady holding a sign that stated ''Make Peace- Not War''. I asked her if that meant she thought we should have made peace and allowed the Brits to rule us. She didn't answer the question and said that we took the Indian's land. I responded that some of the Indians were assisting the Brits, and again I asked her if she thought we should have made peace and allowed the Brits to rule us. She still wouldn't answer the question and said ''you figure it out''.

SactoDan concluded: "I figured it out. Peace and Love are great things, but sometimes you have to fight. Alice's question to the lady with the sign and her lack of an answer is a metaphor for the fact that there is nothing behind the sign."

Monday, May 15, 2006

It's A Gig

(This is the second installment of "You're In The Air Force Now")

“It’s a gig.” The three little words Airman First Class (A1C) Lucius M. Spence, Jr., and A1C James Colbert, drilled into our heads our first day of basic training. One or more gigs were awarded for infractions involving our uniforms, the way we made our bunks, the way we cleaned our area, the list seemed endless. And our surroundings seemed unreal, even more so because of our arrival on Friday, August 3, 1962, which meant that we would be a “rainbow” flight for four or five days until we could be sent to Base Supply to have uniforms issued to us, an unusually long period. Basic trainees wore their civilian clothes plus pith helmet, web belt, and canteen, until Air Force gear could be issued, hence we were called “rainbows” because we were so colorful.

Except me. I wore black slacks and a white shirt. I soon split the slacks all the way down one inseam from the strenuous physical activity for which they were not intended. Marching around for three days wearing pants with a split inseam further added to the unreal sense. Then on our third day, Sunday, we heard that Marilyn Monroe was found dead in her home.

On Monday, still a rainbow, I was sent with a couple of other basics to take a mysterious test. The test was in a made-up foreign language, and I had no idea what it was about, or why I was taking it. Out of such a trivial event, the entire course of my life changed. Unbeknownst to me, I had scored very high on the preliminary tests in Santa Rosa and Oakland. To the Air Force, high scores meant that I was a candidate for foreign language training, and the mysterious test I was taking was measuring my language aptitude. When the tests were completed, I returned to by basic trainee flight just as ignorant and confused as when I left that morning.

The next day we went to the Green Monster and received our military clothing issue. First we were issued a duffel bag and two laundry bags, then we moved sideways down a long counter to fill the duffel bag with the rest of our gear. At one station we received two pairs of brogans, at another one pair of low quarters (black shoes), then four pairs of wool socks, four pairs of cotton socks, six white t-shirts, six undershorts, two towels, a blue uniform suit (pants and coat), one overcoat (horse blanket), two long-sleeve blue shirts, two blue neckties, blue hat with brim and insignia, two blue belts with two brass buckles, two pairs of US insignia, two flight caps, two fatigue caps, two short-sleeve tan (505) shirts, two tan (505) pants, two pairs of green fatigue pants, and (for me) two battleship grey fatigue shirts that did not match the fatigue pants or anything else in my bag.

All of these things were issued to us with little or no input from us. I’m sure the supply clerks thought they knew better than we did what our sizes were. They were probably right. We soon found out that the real reason we were given all these things was not to wear them, but to organize them in our foot lockers perfectly folded or rolled, polished and cleaned, and to keep them at all times in inspection order. Or “it’s a gig.”

(For a very interesting, detailed, and sometimes humorous description of Air Force Basic Training, go to this post by Kihm Winship, who went through basic about six years later. With my usual luck, I had an outstanding Training Instructor, A1C Lucius M. Spence, Jr., who soon was the Honor Graduate of the last Air Force Officer Candidate School. As a result of his disciplined, thoughtful leadership, my basic trainee flight was spared demeaning punishments and physical abuse. I am ashamed to say that basic was actually fun, one of the periods of my life when I never felt more alive, when I and my fellow basics met and overcame physical and mental challenges and hardship, and experienced the comeraderie and joy that comes from shared, memorable experiences.)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

You're In The Air Force Now


Airman Basic Combs, Michael B., AF 19741871
I arrived for Air Force Basic Training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas, on the 3rd of August, 1962. As I stepped from the bus that transported me and my six responsibilities from the airport to the training center, I asked myself, “What am I doing here?” I know I wasn’t the first to question fate at the threshold of military basic training, and I'll bet I wasn’t the last.

My reasons for enlisting in the Air Force were probably about the same as for a lot of other guys. First, there was the sacred and the profane, both centered on my love for, lust for, my high-school sweetheart Marilynn. We had been going steady for four years, since about the time of my 16th birthday and her 14th. The first three years we were totally well behaved. We weren’t even kissing. Then the kissing started, and soon we were constantly scheming of ways to be alone together.

The next big reason for enlisting was, after completing two years of college, I needed to make a lot of money during the summer of 1962 to be able to afford my third year of college, which was to be my first year at San Jose State. Marilynn got a maid job at Donner Lake Lodge, on old Highway 40, and I got a job washing dishes there while I tried to get on a construction crew building the new Interstate Highway 80 between Reno and Sacramento. The starting wages were high, over $4 and hour, but I never got a job because I could never swing union membership. I spent about half of the summer earning 95 cents an hour, plus room and board, washing dishes. What little I made I spent on gas for my old 1955 Mercury, to drive to construction sites and the union hall between shifts, and to pay for the occasional motel room for Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Actually, I am sure we came up with a more creative name than Smith. We always had a suitcase, and I turned my Point Arena High School class ring backwards to try to make it look like a wedding band.

The final straw crash landed after I gave up on getting Highway 80 work, and Marilynn’s parents expressed serious concern about us being together so much so far from home. I drove to Santa Rosa and slept on the floor of brother Ron’s apartment while I made a last desperate attempt at saving the summer from being a total financial disaster. My gas tank was empty, and I budgeted ten cents each day for a generous bowl of mashed potatoes and gravy. Since I had to walk, not drive, to look for work in Santa Rosa, after a couple of days my walking search for work took me down the city block where the Army, Navy, and Air Force recruiters had small street-front offices.

As I walked slowly past, a thought flashed that the military pays, houses, and feeds its people, making three points that at that moment really focused my attention. I stopped, then entered the Army recruiting station. I soon had the same feeling I had when I bought my 1955 Mercury off a used-car lot. I moved on to the Navy recruiter, and after I answered some questions about college, and took a short test, I found that I would retire in thirty years as an Admiral. It seemed too good to be true, so I moved on to the Air Force. I answered Technical Sergeant P. T. Neely’s questions, and took another test. After he scored the test, Sergeant Neely explained an Air Force program called AECP, the Airman Education and Commissioning Program.

With my two years of college and my test scores, I was qualified for an Air Force program that would send me to college full-time to complete a degree, after which I would be commissioned a Second Lieutenant and serve a minimum of six years on active duty.

Now they were talking my language! I quickly calculated – five weeks in basic training, then off to college for the fall semester. Plus marry Marilynn then, and we could legally do every night the pleasant activity I was now missing so much. “Sergeant Neely, sign me up! Sir!”

After Sergeant Neely advised me that I could save the “Sir” for officers, he also informed me I would have to get my parents’ consent because I was only 20 years old. Marilynn, who was 18, could get married and do just about whatever she wanted without her parents’ consent, but even though I was two years older I still needed my parents’ consent.

I borrowed gas money from Ron, and drove home to Point Arena to have Mom and Pop sign my Air Force enlistment papers. Reluctantly, they signed. I returned to Santa Rosa and Sergeant Neely put me on a bus to the Oakland Induction Center. I overslept on the bus, and ended up changing in Fairfield for a bus back to Oakland, where I was put up in a hotel room for the night. The next morning I passed a physical, took some more tests, was sworn in, and since I was the oldest, or most educated, or something, I was put in charge of six other guys for the trip to Lackland. Off we went by bus to San Francisco International Airport, and then my first plane trip took me and my six charges to San Antonio and Lackland to begin our new lives.

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Four Whoresmen of Global Warming


A long time ago, in a land far far away – it was called California, and the time was the 1950’s BGW (Before Global Warming) -- we had weather. It’s hard to believe after all you read now, but weather wasn’t invented when Global Warming was discovered. Even when I was a young boy, almost 60 years ago, I remember people talking about the weather. And about how nobody was doing anything about it. Then they’d laugh.

Today weather is not a laughing matter, and everyone is supposed to be doing something about it. Who is supposed to do what, and where and when to do it, are constantly discussed. Since the “why” is already answered -- If we don’t do something about Global Warming, mankind is doomed – “why” isn’t discussed. “When” really isn’t discussed either: “We have to do something about Global Warming now, because if we wait, it’ll be too late.” Actually, if the Global Warming crowd is right, it is already too late. Fortunately, they’re wrong.

What proof have I that weather existed before the discovery of Global Warming (BGW for the rest of this post)? Drought on the southern plains caused the Dust Bowl, which lasted about ten years, right up until I was born in 1942. How do I know about it? John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath. The drought of 1934 was the worst in U. S. history. How could they have allowed that BGW?

The only Category 5 hurricanes to hit the United States occurred in 1935 and 1969. The 1935 hurricane hit the Florida Keys, and was the strongest ever recorded. How could that happen 70 years BGW? And although many hurricanes have hit New England, the 1938 one was the strongest. Maybe if we had named them they would get more respect.

For sheer devastation in many forms worldwide – hurricanes, droughts, freezing cold, unrelenting rain and floods, the Eighties can’t be beat. Considering only hurricanes, the period 1941 to 1950 produced the most major hurricanes to hit the United States.
In terms of deadly hurricanes, the worst hit Galveston in 1900, killing over 8,000 people, and two hurricanes in 1893 killed about 4,000 in Louisiana and Georgia/South Carolina combined. Hurricane activity occurs on a thirty-year cycle, and seems worse now only because of the lull preceding it, and the huge number of people and structures that invaded the hurricane threat area during the period of low activity. All of this BGW.

What about Katrina, you may ask? When it hit New Orleans, it was just a piddling Category 3, and only became the worst disaster to hit a major US city because some levees had been poorly constructed almost half a century ago (Democrats in charge back then, naturally). The current leaders of Louisiana and New Orleans continued traditional Democratic ineptness by messing up disaster preparedness planning and their “first responder” duties.

The Four Whoresmen of Global Warming, Al “Chicken Little” Gore, John “Screw the First Amendment” McCain, Harry “True Believer” Reid, and Barbara “Average Temperature is Higher than my IQ” Boxer, would like us to do what no rational American would do, flush our lifestyle and turn back the clock on progress, while requiring no such sacrifices on the part of China and other developing countries. It’s not enough that we wait for other countries to catch up. We have to make ourselves as miserable as they are now – less heating, less air conditioning, less travel, less prosperity – the United States too can be a Socialist Heaven!

Why should we? What will Global Warming do? When will it all happen? And where will it end? The answer to all these questions can be summed up simply. The world is going to be warmer by 1.25 degrees Fahrenheit in 2050. No Big Deal.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Plan To Destroy America

Richard D. Lamm was a Democrat who served as governor of Colorado for twelve years from 1975 to 1987. Two years ago he gave a speech on the perils of multiculturalism, a third person account of which has been circulated widely on the Internet. My niece Nikki sent me a copy, and I was intrigued. I don’t believe in ESP or crystal balls, but if what I read was true, Governor Lamm was able to read today’s headlines over two years ago.

I went to Snopes.com, the Urban Legends clearinghouse people, to see if it was true, and found it was. When Snopes checked with Governor Lamm in mid-June 2005, he confirmed he had given the speech, and provided an “updated” version.

I have a plan to destroy America, by Richard D. Lamm

I have a secret plan to destroy America. If you believe, as many do, that America is too smug, too white bread, too self-satisfied, too rich, lets destroy America. It is not that hard to do. History shows that nations are more fragile than their citizens think. No nation in history has survived the ravages of time. Arnold Toynbee observed that all great civilizations rise and they all fall, and that "an autopsy of history would show that all great nations commit suicide." Here is my plan:

i. We must first make America a bilingual-bicultural country. History shows, in my opinion, that no nation can survive the tension, conflict, and antagonism of two competing languages and cultures. It is a blessing for an individual to be bilingual; it is a curse for a society to be bilingual. One scholar, Seymour Martin Lipset, put it this way:

The histories of bilingual and bicultural societies that do not assimilate are histories of turmoil, tension, and tragedy. Canada, Belgium, Malaysia, Lebanon-all face crises of national existence in which minorities press for autonomy, if not independence. Pakistan and Cyprus have divided. Nigeria suppressed an ethnic rebellion. France faces difficulties with its Basques, Bretons, and Corsicans.

ii. I would then invent "multiculturalism" and encourage immigrants to maintain their own culture. I would make it an article of belief that all cultures are equal: that there are no cultural differences that are important. I would declare it an article of faith that the Black and Hispanic dropout rate is only due to prejudice and discrimination by the majority. Every other explanation is out-of-bounds.

iii. We can make the United States a "Hispanic Quebec" without much effort. The key is to celebrate diversity rather than unity. As Benjamin Schwarz said in the Atlantic Monthly recently: “...the apparent success of our own multiethnic and multicultural experiment might have been achieved not by tolerance but by hegemony. Without the dominance that once dictated ethnocentrically, and what it meant to be an American, we are left with only tolerance and pluralism to hold us together.”

I would encourage all immigrants to keep their own language and culture. I would replace the melting pot metaphor with a salad bowl metaphor. It is important to insure that we have various cultural sub-groups living in America reinforcing their differences rather than Americans, emphasizing their similarities.

iv. Having done all this, I would make our fastest growing demographic group the least educated - I would add a second underclass, unassimilated, undereducated, and antagonistic to our population. I would have this second underclass have a 50% drop out rate from school.

v. I would then get the big foundations and big business to give these efforts lots of money. I would invest in ethnic identity, and I would establish the cult of victimology. I would get all minorities to think their lack of success was all the fault of the majority - I would start a grievance industry blaming all minority failure on the majority population.

vi. I would establish dual citizenship and promote divided loyalties. I would "celebrate diversity." "Diversity" is a wonderfully seductive word. It stresses differences rather than commonalities. Diverse people worldwide are mostly engaged in hating each other-that is, when they are not killing each other. A “diverse," peaceful, or stable society is against most historical precedent. People undervalue the unity it takes to keep a nation together, and we can take advantage of this myopia. Look at the ancient Greeks. Dorf's World History tells us:

The Greeks believed that they belonged to the same race; they possessed a common language and literature; and they worshiped the same gods. All Greece took part in the Olympic Games in honor of Zeus and all Greeks venerated the shrine of Apollo at Delphi. A common enemy Persia threatened their liberty. Yet, all of these bonds together were not strong enough to overcome two factors . . . (local patriotism and geographical conditions that nurtured political divisions . . .)

If we can put the emphasis on the "pluribus," instead of the "unum," we can balkanize America as surely as Kosovo.

vii. Then I would place all these subjects off limits - make it taboo to talk about. I would find a word similar to "heretic" in the 16th century - that stopped discussion and paralyzed thinking. Words like "racist", (or) "xenophobe" that halt argument and conversation. Having made America a bilingual-bicultural country, having established multiculturalism, having the large foundations fund the doctrine of "victimology", I would next make it impossible to enforce our immigration laws. I would develop a mantra - "that because immigration has been good for America, it must always be good." I would make every individual immigrant sympatric and ignore the cumulative impact.

viii. Lastly, I would censor Victor Davis Hanson’s book Mexifornia — this book is dangerous — it exposes my plan to destroy America. So please, please — if you feel that America deserves to be destroyed — please, please — don't buy this book! This guy is on to my plan.

"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum." — Noam Chomsky, American linguist and US media and foreign policy critic. (And complete idiot - Smart Ox)

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Winning The Last War

Generals always do a damn good job of winning the last war. Now some retired generals are criticizing President Bush and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, whining that we needed more troops on the ground in Iraq As if more troops on the ground wins a war against terrorists. We had massive numbers of troops on the ground (and in the air, and on the sea) in Vietnam, never lost a battle, and lost the war. The Powell doctrine of overwhelming force is the only way to go in conventional warfare, but has never succeeded in wars against terrorism. Ask the Soviet Union about Afghanistan.

In an attempt to have it both ways, the Liberals have called on their defense experts (excuse the typo, I meant “expert” -- he has a day job at Burger King) to conclude more troops were needed, while sticking to their position that large numbers of troops in Iraq created more terrorists in the Middle East.

In World War II, Brigadier General Robin Olds, USAF (Retired), a junior officer at the time, suggested to the generals how the bombing of Europe could be done more precisely with fighter bombers at a huge reduction in lost aircraft and aircrews, reduced loss of civilian lives, vastly reduced collateral damage to German churches and historical structures, huge savings in fuel, bombs, aircraft maintenance, and other scarce resources, and he was totally ignored – ignored until 20 years later, when he proved his concepts in Vietnam.

Robin Olds, at the time an Army Major, argued that 70 P-51 fighters armed with 500 pound bombs could do as much damage as 1,000 bombers. Olds concluded that the massive bombing raids used against German factories usually resulted in only 50 percent of the bombs landing within 3,300 hundred feet of the target, and little loss of German war production.

In spite of the demonstrated ineffectiveness of World War II bombers, and the proven efficiency of modern fighter bombers, the old-school generals have hung on to dinosaurs like manned bombers, and we still hear of absurdities like enormously expensive modern bombers flying sixteen-hour missions from bases in Kansas to bomb Iraq.

When a few retired generals get whiny, you know they had their toes stepped on. In the old days military fossils court martialed Billy Mitchell when he showed how bombers could revolutionize warfare. Now the mossbacks try their challengers in the Court of Public Opinion, which for too long has been dominated by the leftist Main Stream Media.

Now, thanks to the Internet, we can finally fight back.