Saturday, June 30, 2012

All we are saying is, Give evolution a hand

“(E)volution … needs some help.”

Wait, wait, wait. Just. A. Minute.

I thought Evolution was sacrosanct, immutable, unarguable. Sacred, holy, untouchable as fact and all that.

So … How can Evolution need “some help?”

Context. “If global temperatures rise, can forests still flourish in their current ranges?” (“Future Forests,” National Geographic, July 2012, p.31.)

If you consider climate change an ongoing part of Earth’s Evolution, why does it matter what forests can or cannot do? If Earth and everything on it is ruled by Evolution, people should not interfere.

The focus of the article is “Some scientists think not,” on present-range forest continuation and, as good modern scientists, not only do they think they can do something to help forests, they also intend to.

The mentioned scientists are participating in “assisted migration.” That’s right. “Assisted migration.” Of trees.

The magazine notes that “the controversial approach presumes ‘evolution can’t keep up with the rate of climate change, so it needs some help,’ says project head Greg O’Neill.”

What they’re doing is, planting certain kinds of trees in places the trees do not grow. At least not yet grow. But if “global temperatures rise,” maybe those certain kinds of trees will grow, replacing present native trees.

What kinds of trees are some scientists assisting maybe to grow somewhere else?

“British Columbia has already extended the legal range in which timber companies can plant western larch seedlings. Other seedlings, including Douglas fir and lodgepole pine, are being tested at sites spanning 1,700 miles, from Canada’s Yukon to California.”

Oh. Timber companies are involved. Environmental scientists (one assumes) and timber companies.

Back when I was a newspaper reporter, we worked on the theory “follow the money and find the answer.” And don’t be surprised when studies match what check signers wanted.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Kill them all

A reporter with a Texas newspaper where I worked in 1976 said her father took the family to Afghanistan a few years before when he was named to a Fulbright Fellowship medical team. The reporter and her younger sister were blonde.

"We couldn't go out of the house," she said. Afghan men threatened to stone the girls. A short time after arriving in Kabul, the girls were sent back to Texas. Otherwise, she said, they would have been killed.

Natasha Smith, British journalist, on election celebration in Cairo:

“I have been forced to leave Cairo prematurely following a horrific sexual and physical attack in Tahrir Square.

“Men began to rip off my clothes. I was stripped naked. Their insatiable appetite to hurt me heightened. These men, hundreds of them, had turned from humans to animals.

“Hundreds of men pulled my limbs apart and threw me around. They were scratching and clenching my breasts and forcing their fingers inside me in every possible way. So many men. All I could see was leering faces, more and more faces sneering and jeering as I was tossed around like fresh meat among starving lions.”

CBS reporter raped in Cairo

“Lara Logan thought she was going to die in Tahrir Square when she was sexually assaulted by a mob on the night that Hosni Mubarak’s government fell in Cairo.

“Ms. Logan, a CBS News correspondent, was in the square preparing a report for ‘60 Minutes’ on Feb. 11 when the celebratory mood suddenly turned threatening. She was ripped away from her producer and bodyguard by a group of men who tore at her clothes and groped and beat her body. ‘For an extended period of time, they raped me with their hands,’ Ms. Logan said in an interview with The New York Times. She estimated that the attack involved 200 to 300 men.”

“’What really struck me was how merciless they were. They really enjoyed my pain and suffering. It incited them to more violence.’”

Sometimes, crazy doesn't seem all that bad

“Okay, I'm just gonna say it out loud. There are times when going crazy looks attractive. And I'm not talking about becoming charmingly eccentric. I've already got that covered nine ways to Sunday. No, I'm talking about purposely emigrating to the land of lunacy. That special psychological zip code where The Ancient Laws of Behave Yourself no longer apply. My "reasoning" is simple. It takes a great deal of effort to sustain a conservative, trustworthy persona. Surrendering that effort would involve, from a Freudian perspective, a conscious dismantling of the super ego - that part of the psyche entrusted with enforcing parental and socially approved actions. And therein lies the allure of going full frontal wack-a-doodle. The constant energy required to pass as normal would suddenly become available for doing and saying whatever pleases me in the moment. Imagine it. The id and libido completely unbound by any and all moral or cultural restrictions. Hmm... Probably won't need the shrink anymore... might need a lawyer.” – Chuck Lorre, 13 Oct. 2011.

(Thought about it. Didn’t know how to come back. Thought, too, after cerebral aneurysm in 1986 – How do I know I won’t wake up tomorrow in a hospital a week after the aneurysm? Huh? Answer that, Bucko.

(I also thought how good it would be to have an on/off switch. Things are bad, announce, “I’m going away now. Please turn me back on in 12 hours.” Or 24 or in a week; however long you need.)

Actress has accident

Producer writes new rules.


Following Kaley Cuoco's horseback riding injury, I've instituted new rules governing acceptable leisure activities for the cast of The Big Bang Theory.

1. No friggin' horses. This includes those found on merry-go-rounds and in front of supermarkets.

2. The only motorcycle you can get on is the one you're accidentally crushing in your big-ass, air-bagged SUV.

3. All cast member motor vehicles must adhere to U.S. Army guidelines for attacking Kandahar. (Galecki's Tesla is a terrifically fuel efficient vehicle but is essentially a hundred thousand dollar go-cart. From now on it is only to be used for backing down his driveway and retrieving mail.)

4. The only permissible boating activity at Comic-Con is in your hotel room bathtub.

5. Alcohol should only be ingested at home, and while seated in a big comfy chair. Wild and carefree dancing that celebrates your incredible and well-deserved success is only allowed on New Year's Eve, and only with a sober celebrity parasitic flunky to lean on.

6. And finally, sexual acts must be performed while horizontal. Certain high-risk Kama Sutra positions might be allowed, but only after consultation with Chuck Lorre. Like with dancing, a spotter might be required.

4 November 2010

Read the fine print!

One of the better ‘Read this before believing’ notes at any web site.

“Disclaimer: A carbon credit is a generic term for any tradable certificate or permit representing the right to emit one ton of carbon dioxide or the mass of another greenhouse gas with a carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) equivalent to one ton of carbon dioxide. The hydration equilibrium constant Kh (at 25 °C) of carbonic acid is [H2CO3]/[CO2] = 1.70×10−3: Hence, the majority of the carbon dioxide is not converted into carbonic acid, but remains as CO2molecules not affecting the pH. It is an amphoteric substance that can act as an acid or as a base, depending on pH of the solution. Do you always read the small-print? Usually the folderol in the disclaimer is boring as hell! Daphne Tremayne is a fictitious character in the book Biodiesel: A Novel by George H. Monahan. That's not really a picture of her. In fact, everything at this website is satirical. Instead of wasting your time surfing the net, why not spend a few bucks and read Biodiesel: A Novel available on Come on, cheapskate! Stomp down a big Carbon Footprint and buy your copy today! Don't wait for the movie. Move it., slowpoke! Why aren't you on right now buying the book?”

Linked from

(My disclaimer: I have nothing to do with sales of the book mentioned in the other disclaimer; I just thought the thing was funny enough to spread around.)

Chinese, North Koreans – Who’s to know?

“Perhaps the most startling example of a de facto Chinese veto power over Hollywood content is the upcoming ‘Red Dawn.’ A remake of the 1984 film about teenage partisans resisting a Soviet invasion of the U.S., the new film was shot with Chinese soldiers conquering America. Financial problems caused MGM to shelve the movie for years, and then came the news: The studio had ordered the filmmakers to replace the Chinese invaders in post-production. ‘Red Dawn’ would now revolve instead around a North Korean conquest of the United States.

(I guess if the Cubans can take over half the US, anybody can.)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

While searching for 1916 Atlantic Battleplane


‘Would Convince Public of
Humanity and Efficiency
Of Gas Warfare’

‘Report Only 2 Percent of Gas
Casualties During World
War Resulted Fatally’

“State College, Pa. (Jul. 6) – AP – Bombardment of some city of 10,000 population with tear gas as a means of convincing the public of the humanity and effectiveness of gas warfare, was suggested tonight by Dr. Harry N. Holmes, professor of chemistry at Oberlin College, Ohio, in an address before the Institute of Chemistry of the American Chemical Society.

“Dr. Holmes declared that gas warfare, though brutal like all warfare is really less brutal than other forms of fighting.

“As proof that the general feeling that gas warfare is ‘devilish, brutal and should be abolished,’ is erroneous Dr. Holmes said that the Surgeon General of the United States reports that in the American army during the World War, 24% of all the casualties caused from wounds and other agencies than gas died, while only 2 percent of the gas casualties resulted fatally.”,366791

Hey, there is good news

Record number of Sockeye salmon expected.

“Since Bonneville Dam outside Portland was built in 1938, there have been plenty of times there weren't 38,000 sockeye salmon swimming over the fish ladders in a whole year. But on Monday that many passed the Columbia River dam, and another 41,000 swam over the dam on Wednesday — a rate of nearly 30 a minute. That bought the total so far to 290,000.

“A record run of more than 400,000 of the Columbia Basin's farthest-swimming salmon are expected to return this year, almost all of them wild fish bred in rivers, instead of the hatcheries that produce most Northwest salmon.”

Also: “Though poor ocean conditions have been blamed for a nosedive in chinook salmon in Alaska this year, sockeye have done well, not only in the Columbia, but in Canadian and Alaskan rivers as well.”

Question: Is there a correlation?

Peanut allergies, ADD/HD, autism … and Olympic poverty

Things over-diagosed/emphasized.

“The Olympic spirit died sometime back in the 1930s when Hitler politicized what the founder of the modern Olympics, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, envisaged as an apolitical celebration of health and athleticism. Stalin continued Hitler's work. With the dictators' politicization came another body blow to old Pierre's Olympic Ideal, the end of amateurism. All athletes from totalitarian countries and from nationalistic countries were essentially professional athletes. Now there is no distinction between an amateur and a professional, and the crass commercialization that has come to dominate the Olympics is appalling. Moreover, in America, the sentimentalization of Olympians is positively sickening. Is there not one athlete who made it to the Olympics from the land of milk and honey, with a silver spoon in his mouth, with parents who adored him, and one voluptuous break after another? Did every member of the United States team have to overcome hardship, rejection, episodes of poverty, and diseases almost too horrible to mention — but not quite? We the public are regaled with stories of what one prima donna athlete after another suffered or thought they suffered.”

The runner/swimmer/shot putter – whatever – made up hisher mind in hisher poverty-singlemom-drug household that one day heshe would be an Olympic runner/swimmer/shotputter, and, by golly, he/she was good enough.

Wait, wait, wait! What about competition BAD, sharing GOOD? What about “We don’t keep score”?

And then, in keeping with world peace and stuff, there is the Olympic torch relay, whose “roots lie in Nazi Germany. Carl Diem, the secretary-general of the 1936 Berlin Games, pitched the event as a way to infuse the Games with pageantry and buff the mythic image of the Third Reich. That year, on its way from
 Greece to Germany, the flame passed through Yugoslavia, Hungary,
 Austria and Czechoslovakia — all of which would be annexed or occupied within a few years.",8599,1932160,00.html#ixzz1z7aI6tqy

‘World awaits latest in hunt for Higgs particle’

‘World?’ 6.8 billion?

"’We too are holding our breath,’ says Pauline Gagnon, a Canadian physicist on one of the teams, in her latest blog.”

Don’t hold your breath too long. You will turn blue.

Oreo pride

Kraft Food posted a multicolored-filled Oreo cookie on its Facebook page a few days ago, with the caption "Proudly support love!"

Well, good for Kraft and its decision to undermine American morality. What's left of it, anyway.

Everybody's queer, right?

OMG! Did he say queer?

Yeah, I did.

A couple of things. A graduate school friend mentioned an American literature short story course, reading and discussing stories. One story was by Ernest Hemingway. The professori skipped the story. Well, my friend thought, we'll probably pick it up later. Didn't happen. So he asked the professori why the class had not read and discussed the story. The professori's reply: "I don't like Hemingway." To replace the Hemingway short story, the professori handed out copies of a story concerning a man who seduced women who wore prosthesis and then stole whichever artificial limb his target used.

I knew the professori. She and another Ph.D. of the same gender announced to the university their establishment of a home together, said announcement an invitation to celebrate the arrangement at their home. I considered going, then decided it would be better for them and for me if I stayed away. OK, mostly better for me. The couple had the at least outward backing of other faculty, and had I attended and commented on my opinion of same-gender households – Well, I did have grades to consider.

The same literature professori told a class that no writer who was not lesbian or gay every wrote anything worth reading.

As Captain Blackadder said, "Oh, the university education."

The other thing is this: “As a company, Kraft Foods has a proud history of celebrating diversity and inclusiveness. We feel the OREO ad is a fun reflection of our values.” – Basil T. Maglaris, Kraft spokesman.

Hey, Basil! As a consumer, I don’t have to buy your products!

(Basil? Can’t you hear Sybil Fawlty? “Basil! What have you done now?”)

The ad reportedly says: “Proudly support love!”

Well, to use someone else’s phrase, “What’s love got to do with it?” Supporting “gay pride” means it’s OK to have sexual relations with someone of the same gender. Folks, that is not OK.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

When a friend drops out

After several years of being in contact again, Priscilla’s best friend from high school seems to have dropped away somewhere.

Priscilla and Fran were in the same high school organizations, shared the same likes and dislikes, and were four years in the Tiger band. They were best friends their first two years of college, too, but separated into different lives at marriage.

Fran had three husbands – maybe four. All beat her. One left her for another man. Her last divorce was more than twenty years ago.

Fran is quite artistic. She makes stained glass and designs things. She doesn’t have much sense of things other than art and music.

Priscilla and Fran got back in contact about ten years ago. By then, Fran’s parents were dead. She inherited the house, a mid-century style brick in what had been a well-to-do area of a small, rural, incorporated town that had no businesses other than services.

Fran had never held what would be called a steady job. She was an artist and for a time lived on stained glass creations and money left by her parents. After a time, though, reality encroached. Fran ran out of money and fell behind in property taxes and the various taxing entities threatened to take her house and several acres. She got that straightened out by finding a lawyer and a loan. She got a job not in keeping with her talents as an artist, but the job brought in a check so she could maybe pay taxes and the loan.

Priscilla called Fran when in town. They talked and sometimes had lunch. Then Fran stopped answering her phone. Priscilla left messages, but Fran did not return the calls.

Not too long ago, Priscilla drove by Fran’s house. Fran was not at home. A week later I went with Priscilla to the town. When we got near, she said, “Before we go to Mother’s, I want you to see Fran’s house.”

We left the interstate and took a state highway and then a county road. Priscilla turned onto a street. To the right was a wooded area, trees and thick underbrush. Then, Priscilla turned into a barely perceptible driveway. The trees and underbrush were growing on Fran’s lot. From the street, the house was not visible.

We got out of the car and walked to the house. Pine needles covered the roof of the housed and most of the driveway. Brush was cleared just enough for a car to fit on the driveway and a path to the front porch. Priscilla knocked on the door. We waited. She knocked again, and when no one answered, we left.

If you saw the house and the overgrown lot you would think no one lived there.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Abandoned Russian churches

For an idea of what happens when government replaces religion, search “abandoned churches Russia.”

Here is a favorite (although the picture might have been tuned):

The left part of the picture indicates a long white bluff and a river below. The place has good grass. I mentioned to Priscilla the place needs a tractor and plows of various kinds – turning plow, disc, harrow, drill seed planter and so forth. She said, “It needs cows.” OK, those, too.

If the Bolsheviks had not tried to do away with religion, the churches might still be whole and celebrating today.

While doing the search I ran across a picture that mentioned Kotlas. That was a new one. A search for Kotlas shows a town in southeast Archangelsk Oblast.

Wikipedia says: “During the 1930s, Kotlas became a place to which kulaks were deported and made to work in the forestry industry. It was managed by the Kotlaslag division of Gulag. Later, it hosted all possible categories of people repressed during the Stalin era. A significant population of Poles existed in the area, with whole Polish villages resettled here in 1920s and 1930s.

“Labor camps existed within the territory of the city until 1953. Besides logging and paper industry, the occupation of inmates were plant, housing, bridge, and railroad construction. Most of camps were unguarded barrack settlements. In addition, Kotlas was a major transit point for deportees transferred further to the north and east, since it was a railroad terminus.”

Kulaks, according to Lenin, were “bloodsuckers, vampires, plunderers of the people and profiteers, who fatten on famine.” (“Comrade Workers, Forward to The Last, Decisive Fight!”)

For more on “all possible categories of people repressed during the Stalin era,” there are a number of searches that will link to the millions deported, imprisoned and outright murdered in the name of Soviet liberation.

A side note: After reading Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago, I did a little checking and determined that 95 million Russian/Soviet citizens died from war and famine/starvation/exile between the 1905 revolution and Stalin’s death in 1953. That time includes World Wars I and II, the civil war, the purges and various arrests and executions after the last world war.

There is no reason for a Russian to trust government.

Phu Bat 2

Phu Bat is -- or was, I don’t know these days -- a small city on the coast of the South China Sea, population around 15,000. National Route 61 connected Phu Bat with Nha Trang to the north and Cam Ranh Bay to the south. Regional Highway 13 ran into town from the western mountains.

The 15,000 population did not include American soldiers and airmen, civilian engineers, representatives of the U.S. government and civilian volunteer organizations. You might think that there weren’t all that many American civilians in Vietnam. The books you read or the movies you saw most likely didn’t mention civilians other than State Department employees and CIA spies and killers.

Reality was, every department of the government had people in Vietnam, and Phu Bat was no exception. State and Labor, Interior and Justice, Agriculture and Post Office, Transportation and Treasury, each and every one intent on bringing civilization to the indigenous peoples.

The way the government saw it, if the indigenous peoples really believed in freedom and democracy, they wanted to be just like us, right?

So to make the indigenous peoples just like us, every American had his, or her, job to do, from the Labor Department people who organized pedicab unions, to the Post Office representatives, who taught the locals that neither wind nor rain nor sleet nor snow nor dark of night, etc. Okay, they left out the sleet and snow part, maybe added nor mortars nor ambushes will keep these couriers from their appointed rounds.

The State Department guys we figured were really spooks in disguise, although everybody was a spook of one kind or another.

Treasury people tried to keep the local economy from inflating out of control, attempting to stabilize the currency and all that. They were fighting a losing war, though. See, your South Vietnamese basically is a capitalist, believing that if you put in a little money on this end, you get more money at the other end. And, like good capitalists everywhere, the South Vietnamese types believed in cheating everybody.

Concepts of Vietnamese capitalism, with a bit of Confucianism added in, ran smack into ideas of American fair play. Americans had a sort of theoretical understanding of Confucianism -- the part of a place for everything and everything in its place -- but almost none of the whole.

Also, in trying to convince merchants of the evils of rampant inflation, Treasury people faced basic Oriental manners. Treasury people did not understand that merchants would show agreement when discussing economic theory, but at the same time hide their true thoughts. In short, Treasury people were told what they wanted to hear, then were surprised when actions did not match words. The funny part is, the Treasury Department people actually believed Vietnamese and Chinese merchants were telling the truth in negotiations and conferences.

Justice had its work, too, trying to set up an American-style police department and a court system.

Interior wanted to convince the local woodcutters not to destroy virgin forests; Agriculture brought in new kids of rice, gasoline-powered tillers to replace water buffalo, and diesel generators to supply electricity to villages.

Transportation Department people did do a good job on repairing district and regional highways, although forgetting that graveled roads and paved roads made movement of VC supplies much easier than before.

There were American women in Phu Bat, too. Round-eyes with the American Red Cross, YWCA and the Health Department. Their jobs were different, but all with one goal in mind -- civilizing the indigenous peoples.

The Red Cross girls -- Doughnut Dollies -- went where American soldiers were. Large base camps, artillery fire bases, Special Forces outposts -- anywhere GIs were stationed, Doughnut Dollies in teams of two or three would come out and supply a day when guys could remember crisp white blouses and blue skirts, blue eyes and green eyes and gray eyes, catch a small wisp of perfume, study brown hair and blonde hair, red or black. In the 407th Truck Company, I saw the Doughnut Dollies only when the women came onto the compound to catch a helicopter somewhere. The women from the YWCA and the Health Department I saw only when driving through town.

Other than the Doughnut Dollies, American civilians had little to do with us. We -- the military -- were an impediment, an obstacle between their good deeds and the indigenous peoples. Getting a helicopter to take American civilians somewhere or a truck to a village -- then the civilian departments needed us. Otherwise, as far as they were concerned, we should just stay out of the way and let them get on with winning the war.

(Phu Bat is a fictitious town between Cam Ranh and Nha Trang. On a previous post I said the fictitious Phu Bat was north of Nha Trang; actually it is south.)

Death from a thousand cuts

A few slices here, a few there, and soon civilized society is dead.

That’s dead, dead, dead. Killed by over-educated so-called researchers who look to verify their existence and make a few bucks in the process.

“The APA claimed, ‘Not a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents.’"

(What is the meaning of “disadvantaged in any significant respect”? Access to internet? Going to the right school? Officially approved diet? And, how trustworthy is a statement: “Not a single study …”? If one bends information, regarding those studied, then it is possible to find “Not a single study …” Otherwise, not likely.

(This one I find specifically significant, because reporters and researchers march in common step: “ …the homosexual-parents studies are ‘biased toward well-educated, privileged, white women with high incomes.’" Think about this: When was the last time you saw a TV interview with a low-income redneck gay or lesbian couple? Or two gay inner-city gay black men raising a child?

(Researchers are like politicians, modern journalists and entertainers. Each knows where money comes from, and each will bend whatever facts and rules necessary for the money.)

Linked from

These are the modern times, the progressive times; enlightened with information are we all. The old ways are dead. Vive la education!

Friday, June 22, 2012

We were not as rich as we thought

The presumed wealth of the 1990s wasn't all smoke and mirrors, just a mirror reflecting our greedy/hopeful inner selves.

Again, cost/price is not a true measure, and value is a slippery thing.

(Story has one of those charfs to back up the thesis. Scary, that where we should be is about where we are.)

Linked from

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Admire their chutzpah

Checking on goings on in Moldova and other parts of the world.

In Moldova, proposed amendments to the “entrepreneurship licensing law” would increase by 30 percent on production and/or storage of alcohol, ethyl spirit and beer and importation of tobacco. Also fuel at filling stations.

(Wondering how many government finance officials of countries in Eastern Europe are saying, “Hey, at least we’re not Greece or Spain. Or Italy. Or Portugal. Or Ireland.”)

Way back in December, Transnistria’s “largest Obnovleniye [Renovation] Republican Party” expelled two members “for their sharp criticizing of party leader Anatoly Kaminsky …” On Wednesday the party replaced the two men with “MP Galina Antiufeyeva, chairwoman of the Transnistrian supreme soviet standing committee for state building, local self-governance, human rights and freedoms, state security and defense.”

(More chutzpah, but from a different country. A standing committee for “human rights and freedoms” and “state security.”)

Tax $$$ help rich, educated, white folks

Many times in discussing (arguing against) government’s increasing role and purpose, I have maintained that government has two jobs: (1) maintain order; and, (2) protect property.

Those are the only reasons for a government’s existence. When a government inserts itself or tries to insert itself into anything other than order and protection, it acts illegally.

And, generally ineptly. To wit: ‘Washington, DC’s Capital Bikeshare: Tax $$$ for Rich, Educated, White Riders.’

Is anybody shocked? Raise your hand if you are surprised that providing rental bicycles in an urban setting is a program used almost exclusively by college-educated white folks. Aha. That’s what I thought.

Who would have thought that poor, dropout, dark-skinned urban peoples would not rent bicycles to get around town? Well, government types, maybe. More likely, bureaucrats and lawmakers never considered who would use rental bikes and who would not, or at least never spoke their thoughts.

The bike rental thing is only another example of a thing most people do not consider or do not talk about: All programs aimed at helping poor, dropout, dark-skinned urban peoples exist to keep said peoples out of educated, white suburbs; i.e., in their place.

Proponents of such programs might argue aid plans constitute a form of order. You won’t hear that reasoning from the Progressive types, though. For a Progressive to admit that would mean admission of another fact: Racism.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I dig rock'n'roll bayonet training

On the road to Little Rock last week and I popped in a CD British invasion type, called Mod Rock or something, somebody word-playing or maybe didn’t know those are separate beings, as in the John Lennon pseudo interview in Help, winsome reporterish girl asking, “Are you a Mod or a Rocker?” and Lennon replying, “I’m a mocker.”

The songs were pretty good, 1963-67, of the best of times/worst of times decade. Some had it worse than others – Vietnam in person vs. Vietnam in protest, VC guerrillas or DC cops; sucking some PX beer on small times off with guys your age who, like you, wear jungle fatigues or sucking MJ smoke with a cute thing wearing a mini-skirt or tight jeans, after a hard day of sign-carrying in the continuing struggle against baby killers and other Enemies of The People; going out into the heat every day, busting jungle, watching for people who want to kill you or going to class every day and saying that if we just talked about things we would fix all the shit that’s wrong with the world and getting good smiles from cute things in mini-skirts or tight jeans. Yeah, at times the world sucks.

The CD has a sing-along quality, if you are of an age and still remember all the words. A couple of the songs I specifically remembered because of place and time – Bus Stop heard at Fort Meade in summer 1966, Sunday afternoon riding around that part of Maryland with Gene Johnson and we did our best at ridding the world of a six-pack of whatever beer we had bought at a liquor store in Boomtown; and Sunshine Superman, played on a Vietnamese radio station in December 1966 and the DJ was a sweet-sounding young woman who dedicated all songs to brave allies saving the Vietnamese people from godless Communists. It was to chuckle at, but not to disparage through laughter.

Singing along with some of the songs became remembering other things, related things if you’ve been there.

“There are two kinds of bayonet fighters! The quick and the dead!”

Vertical butt stroke, horizontal butt stroke. Short thrust and recover, MOVE! Long thrust and hold, MOVE!

And you have to yell while butt stroking or thrusting – “YAHH!” or something. If you have to stick somebody with a bayonet at the end of a rifle, chances are you won’t do it silently. And, yelling produces more impetus.

Here’s the deal: You have to BELIEVE in what you are doing. You have to BELIEVE that your bayonet is all that stands between you and death. The quick and the dead, Soldier! The quick and the dead. You have to BELIEVE!

Hand-to-hand combat, you’re squared off against a friend. You learn the fighting position, hand movements, foot and leg movements. Kick, strike, throw, take the enemy’s leverage and use it against him. You’ll throw some and your friend will throw some and you’ll both look like you know what you’re doing. And you yell a lot.

The end.

Monday, June 18, 2012

If he hadn’t started every call with ‘Mr. Hoover …’

TEXARKANA — A federal judge says a Texarkana man accused of calling the local FBI office more than 14,000 times over the course of a year is not competent to stand trial.

A grand jury indicted Larry Donell Turner on one count of making harassing communications. Prosecutors allege that Turner called the Texarkana FBI about 40 times per day throughout 2011.

An indictment says that amounted to 14,108 calls — or 659 hours.
The Texarkana Gazette reports that prosecutors requested the evaluation for Turner. At a hearing Friday, U.S. District Judge Harry Barnes found Turner incompetent, based on the report.

Turner’s attorney, John Stroud, said Turner has complied with treatment so far and has shown improvement in his behavior. The judge ordered that Turner be sent to a hospital for treatment.

Calling Jedgar …

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Phu Bat

Rick told Jake how Major Pancik got to be executive officer of 407th Truck Company in Phu Bat.

“Before he got here, he commanded some ash and trash stateside battalion,” Rick said.

Rick and Jake were on perimeter duty, occupying a sandbagged bunker on the airfield’s northwest perimeter. Likelihood of VC or NVA sappers coming through the wire was somewhere between slim and non-existent, but for appearance sake, all bunkers were manned between 30 minutes before sundown and 30 minutes after sunrise.

“Something like the 45th Messkit Repair Battalion,” Rick said. Rick and Jake had drawn short straw on bunker assignment, which, in the unusualness of things that made Phu Bat SOP, meant they got first choice. The bunker was dug in almost underneath a big tree that shaded the bunker and ten meters all around. The tree looked like an oak, but it was some other kind, some foreign, Vietnamese tree.

“The 45th, or whatever it was, was at Fort Meyer,” Rick said. He took a Budweiser from the Coleman cooler and the church key that was attached to the handle with a small chain. The wind changed direction, blowing in easy from the bay. The sun was above the western hills, now about 10 minutes from going down. Rick punched two holes in the can.

“Before Pancik got to the 45th, the NCOs and officers pitched in a few dollars each and set up a coffee and donut stand in headquarters building. They made enough money to buy more coffee and donuts, pretty soon started selling sandwiches.” Rick took a short swig, then continued. “Well, with selling sandwiches, they had a good stash of what they call petty cash. All off the books, of course.”

“I’ve heard the terms,” Jake said.

“Sure,” Rick said. “Anyway, when Pancik was assigned there, the sergeant major explained how things worked, and Pancik said he didn’t have any problems with the petty cash fund as long as inspectors didn’t find out, and as long as he could deny he knew it existed. But, our good major is a little greedy.”

“You got that right.”

“Yeah. What he started doing was, he’d stop by the sandwich stand and ask the Spec Four or Pfc. if he could cash a twenty-dollar check. Whoever was running the stand that day would always say, ‘Yes, sir.’ I mean, what else is a Spec Four or Pfc. going to say? Battalion commander asks something like that, you say, ‘Yes, sir.’ Then, Pancik would check his pockets and find out he forgot his check book. ‘Just let me have twenty, and I’ll pay it back tomorrow,’ he’d say.”

“But tomorrow never came.”

“Oh, it did,” Rick said. “But not the way the major figured.” He settled into the story then, grinning. “There was a second lieutenant got assigned to the battalion. A by-the-book second lieutenant. He found out Pancik was taking money, but he -- the lieutenant -- was in the same position as the Spec Four or Pfc. There wasn’t shit he could do.”


Rick nodded. “Yeah, there’s a ‘but.’ Seems like this second lieutenant had an older brother, a major in the IG office at the Pentagon.”

“Ah-ha,” Jake said.

“You got it. The lieutenant told his brother, the IG major conducted a surreptitious investigation, off the books. He took the information to his boss, a full-bull colonel. The colonel did some checking around of his own. Course, they couldn’t court-martial the major for stealing twenty dollars five or six times.”

“They could have,” Jake said. “But it wouldn’t look good for the army.”

Rick slapped his knee. “Now you’re thinking like a soldier. The upshot was ...”

“Major Pancik gets transferred here, as executive officer.”

“Riiight,” Rick said, nodding. “And as purchasing officer, with five thousand dollars a month overwrite authorization.” He grinned. “Ain’t the army wonderful?”

(I made up the name Phu Bat, but it turns out there is a town by that name, in North Vietnam, SE of Hanoi. My Phu Bat is north of Nha Trang and home of the 407th Truck Company.)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The things that mattered

A long time later, I would think:

There was about the place a savagery that took all who entered, a tempestuous rage that clawed at the calm hearts of reasonable men. On some, the depravity fell as a light cloak, to be discarded when the sun of civilization again touched their shoulders. On others, the claws sank deep, darkening hearts and minds, freeing the barbarity that had so long drooled inside.

John held down the gook and said, "Kill him! Kill him, goddammit!" and I slid my knife beneath the gook’s ear and into his brain. It was an easy thing to do, a reasonable action of the time. That I threw up what was in my stomach made the event no less necessary. That John threw off the gook and fell to his hands and knees, cursing what we had done, made the killing no less reasonable. By then we had thrown up or thrown off all that was unnecessary. There were things that mattered and things that did not, and of those that did not matter, we gave little thought.

I cannot remember the things that did not matter. To live mattered, and all the words and pictures and reasons that made survival our only goal.

We thought of young women, daydreamed about girls we had known, and we put the thoughts into words, although the words did no justice to our dreams. Even those of us who in lives past, unnecessary lives, had the ability to speak our thoughts, now discovered our words lacked explanation.

We would say, "There was this girl . . . " and talk of eyes and breasts and legs, but even in our own minds we couldn't see her, not even a rational picture, only a dim, faceless figure that could have been any girl. We could speak of, say, a 1966 GTO convertible, baby blue, leather seats, 389-CID, four-in the-floor, and those to whom we talked knew. They had seen pictures of the car we described.

There were other pictures, other words. Experts of food never eaten, of whiskies and liquers never tasted, we described to each other restaurants never visited, of tables with white cloths and chairs padded soft. In those restaurants in Baltimore or Chicago or Dallas, the waiters and waitresses were mannered and sought only to please the customers.

We lied to each other, but those lied to knew the meaning of the words. In a sense, our tales transcended truth. We spoke in dreams, in hopes, of those things we wanted most, and when those dreams became, in our words, things we had once possessed, each of us understood.

Girls and women we talked of most. Our girls were tawny brown, ebony black, creamy white, with hair blonde or brown or auburn or black as midnight sky. Their eyes were green or blue or brown or black, their breasts perfect and carried high. All those girls were slim waisted. Their legs were long and their thighs round and soft to our touch.

Had those girls been there, in reality and not in our minds, we would have stared, afraid to touch. We would have stood outside their aura, basked in the smiles they gave us, sniffed the scent of purity. What we wanted was to have them near, to be near them.

To lie between their legs was, had we admitted truth to ourselves, secondary to simple nearness. What we would have done was hold their hands, touch our dirty scaled fingers to their clean skin.

Lust played no part in our dreams. There was passion, but that would have been eased had we the opportunity to only rest beside the girl in our dreams, feel her arms around us, know that when she stroked our temples and said, "It's okay," she spoke truth.

It all seems so easy now, so logical, because it was done. There was no thought to it, no conscious decision made; rather a reaction to an action. When I had the opportunity to think about what we had done and what was done to us, I remembered it in terms of that physics class in high school, one of Newton's laws, that for every action there is an equal but opposite reaction. And that was the way things were. The gooks fired, we returned fire. On ambushes, we waited, and when the gooks sometimes came down the trails, we blew them away with Claymores and killed them with machine guns and rifles and grenade launchers, just as they killed our friends with mines and mortars and machine guns and rifles. In that, we all were equal.

It was easy and logical, easier now to think of than to do, but equally logical then and now.

A girl died in first grade

A girl died in first grade. Nobody ever said what she died from. She was at school on Friday but not on Monday, and on Tuesday, first thing, the teacher said, “Mary died Sunday. The funeral is at two o’clock Thursday at the Methodist Church. We will get on a school bus and go to the funeral.”

Everybody was quiet when the teacher said Mary was dead. We all were of an age to know somebody who had died, grandparents or aunts or uncles, old age or car wrecks or accidents at work or in the fields. But nobody was supposed to die at six years old. The shock was too much to talk about or even think about, for a while anyway.

At first recess that morning, near the swings, Jimmy Holliday said it was a sad thing, Mary dying. “I claimed her,” Jimmy said. That’s what a boy said about a girl he decided was his girlfriend, “I claim so and so.”

Bobby Bradford was there by the swings, too, and when Jimmy said what he said, Bobby said, “I claimed her first.”

“No you didn’t,” Jimmy said.

“I did, too,” Bobby said. “I claimed her two weeks ago.”

Bobby and Jimmy got close to each other and doubled up their fists and stuck out their chins and swelled up their chests, all rooster-like. Then one of the teachers said, “What are you boys doing over there?” Bobby and Jimmy settled down and went to the jungle gym and climbed to the top and had a contest to see who could hang longest by his hands.

It was a strange thing, Bobby and Jimmy threatening to fight over which one had claimed Mary first. Neither one of them had ever said that much about Mary when she was alive and now when she was dead, they said they claimed her. Maybe they were trying to make Mary’s dying a part of them, or maybe they were just trying to understand and by claiming to have been closer to Mary than they really were, they could look at what had happened and figure out at least a little.

I don’t remember trying to understand anything. Maybe I figured that was the way things were. Maybe what I was thinking at the time has all gone away over the years.

Like everybody else, I knew a little about death. Momma’s mother and her father had died the year before, when I was five. Grandma died first and Poppa about six months later. I remember Momma and Daddy coming back from Poppa’s funeral. It was raining that day, a cold rain, and I was on the front porch when Momma and Daddy drove up in the Model A Ford. They hadn’t let me or my older sister Carolyn go to the funeral. I remember the sound of the Model A when Daddy and Momma drove into the yard and every time after that when hearing a Model A, I remembered standing on the porch and the rain on the tin roof.

On Thursday morning, the morning of the funeral, right after taking roll, the teacher called two other boys and me to her desk. We went up and stood there. The teacher said, “You boys are wearing overalls. Overalls are not proper wear for going to a church. When the rest of the class goes to Mary’s funeral, you three will go to Mrs. Tomlin’s second grade class.”

We three mumbled “Yes, ma’am” and went back to our desks.

I don’t remember feeling shame because of my clothes, but remembering might have changed over the past 60 years. I remember what the teacher said. I remember mumbling “Yes, ma’am” with the two other boys and walking back to my desk. The fact was, my mother bought overalls for me because overalls didn’t cost as much as blue jeans, certainly not as much as slacks. For me, my parents could not afford any clothes other than overalls. Overalls lasted longer than blue jeans or slacks. They were made that way.

That Thursday afternoon, around one-thirty, the teacher told the other two boys and me to go to Mrs. Tomlin’s room. Everybody else lined up and marched to the hall and out the door and onto the bus.

On convicts: Jefferson sort of fudged his figures

Maybe the future president just didn't want to admit to the number of convicts populating his Great Commonwealth of Virginia.

“The Malefactors sent to America were not sufficient in number to merit enumeration as one class out of three which peopled America. It was at a late period of their history that the practice began. I have no book by me which enables me to point out the date of its commencement. But I do not think the whole number sent would amount to 2000 & being principally men eaten up with disease, they married seldom & propagated little. I do not suppose that themselves & their descendants are at present 4000, which is little more than one thousandth part of the whole inhabitants.” – Thomas Jefferson, 1786.

Reply: “Jefferson should have known better. The British were sending nearly 1,000 convicts to America each year around the time he wrote the Declaration of Independence, and about half of them ended up in his own home state of Virginia.”

Nixon wins!!

I didn’t like Nixon as president. It was the times, and if you weren’t alive then … It was the worst of times and it was the worst of times.

A good line from the column: “(A) lynching was in progress and Nixon had no exercisable rights.”

Works for me

An idea from the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy realm: Let’s decriminalize drugs and criminalize soft drinks.

Linked from maggiesfarm, which links to

on the supposed ridiculousness of Republicans arguing against Bloomberg’s anti-biggolp cups in NYC.

Yesterday someone (I didn’t get the link) opined that obesity among US is a direct result of “Smoking will kill you.” Instead of inhaling tobacco, US citizens swallow not-healthy foods and drinks.

And!!! How about the government operating under the Laws of Robotics? (Asimov’s laws were fiction, sure, but then so is much of government’s arguments for itself as supreme.)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Military parades for homosexuals?

“WASHINGTON (AP) — Last summer, gays in the military dared not acknowledge their sexual orientation. This summer, the Pentagon will salute them, marking June as gay pride month just as it has marked other celebrations honoring racial or ethnic groups.

“Details are still being worked out, but officials say Defense Secretary Leon Panetta wants to honor the contributions of gay service members.
"’Now that we've repealed 'don't ask, don't tell,' he feels it's important to find a way this month to recognize the service and professionalism of gay and lesbian troops,’ said Navy Capt. John Kirby, a spokesman.”

(1). Why?

(2.) If the military truly wants “to find a way … to recognize the service and professionalism of gay and lesbian troops,” then the Pentagon should, without hesitation, begin an investigation of heroic deeds performed by soldiers in all wars, engagements and actions from the Civil War until today, determine which DSC and MOH awards were given to personnel who might have been homosexual, and then upgrade applicable DSC awards to MOH and further recognize possible homosexuals awarded the MOH. This would be in keeping with “other celebrations honoring racial or ethnic groups,” since being homosexual is the same as being black, Hispanic, Asian-American, or a woman, those minorities* having special months set aside for recognition of their contributions to the American Way of Life.

(* There are more women than men in the US, but, hey, why let facts stand in the way of assigning victim status.)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Grats and charfs or something

Showing things are/were/won’t be as bad as Globule Warning/Climactic Chu-Ching experts say/said/will postulate.

(All the science is difficult to understand, but I can read a grat and a charf.)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The criminal transported

Several postings ago is Priscilla's great-grandfather-times-five, Martin Johnston, Revolutionary War soldier. Here is an ancestor of mine:

“To all to whom these presents shall come Greeting I James Waller Esq.r Clerk of the Peace for the County of Midd(lesex) do hereby Certify that at the General Sessions of the Peace and Sessions of Gaol Delivery of Newgate holden for the County of Midd in the Month of Febry last and at Several Preceeding Sessions … Thomas Merriman the Younger ... (was) for several Offences and Felonies whereof … stand(s) Convicted Ordered and directed to be Transported to some of his Majesties Colonies and Plantations in America for the following Terms to wit … for the Term of Seven Years And I do further Certify that all the said Persons above named were by the said Court Conveyed Transferred and made over to Andrew Reid and James Armour of London Merch.ts and their Assigns or the Assigns of one of them for the Respective Terms aforesaid in order to … being Transported accordingly Given under my hand the tenth day of March 1749

“Ja.s Waller”

(The document lists about 40 English subjects, many of whom -- or their descendents -- became American citizens. In a book of passenger manifests until 1775, Thomas Merriman and Thomas Merriman Jr. are listed as having been delivered for servitude in Virginia in 1750.)

Dreams as an art form

Changing colors

A young man stands in a foyer of marble columns and a marble floor decorated in white squares and black squares. The columns are no more than three feet apart, and there are many of them, as far as the young man can see to his front and to his left and right.

At his two o’clock is a wide marble staircase. He steps onto the staircase.

Now the young man is in a large room. At his two o’clock is a large bed. A young woman sits in the bed, her back and shoulders against the padded headboard. The bed sheet is gathered at her waist. She is naked from the waist up. She reads a book. On the far side of the room, a painting hangs on the wall. The painting is three feet wide and two feet high. It is blue. The young woman looks up from her book. She sees the young man. The bottom left corner of the painting becomes green.

The young man walks to the bed. He says, “Do you know who I am?”

The young woman replies, “You are Lute.”

“Luke, as in the apostle?” the young man says.

The young woman answers, “No. Lute, as in the musical instrument.”

The painting steadily changes colors -- the blue pushed by the green until each color occupies half the painting, then yellow forming on the lower left corner, the yellow pushing the green.

The young man says, “Do you know where I am going?”

The young woman says, “Yes.”

The lower left corner of the painting now is orange. The young woman lifts the edge of the sheet. The corner of the painting becomes red. The young woman says, “But you will stay with me for a time.”

Woke up.

Saving Christine Bacon

There were English people, crowds of English people, and a woman named Christine Bacon.

At one point I was in a room that had a large painting on the far wall, the painting from a dream about three years ago. The painting began to change shape, all the figures in the painting becoming like a Dali painting, everything misshapen, but you can tell what the objects are.

I walked down a long, narrow hallway, the left side with paintings on the wall and recesses, the right side blank. The right side began moving toward the left side, squeezing. I ducked into a recess. The walls met, then the right side retreated.

I made my way down the hall, then ducked into a recess when the right side moved again. I did that two more times, and the last time I ducked into a recess, the recess opened behind me and a pneumatic arm from the other side of the wall pushed me through the door.

I fell into darkness, toward a swirling disc that looked like the one from The Twilight Zone. As I fell, I knew I had to save Christine Bacon and that I would write a book called “Saving Christine Bacon.”

Then there were crowds of English people again, blunt-nose cars, narrow sidewalks and streets, street lights and traffic, buildings from art deco drawings, dirigibles flying overhead.

I was in a crowd, people drinking and loud conversation, women in long white form-fitting dresses. There were other things, but I don’t remember what they were.

Woke up.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

We need to hire more … Oh.

From Census Bureau numbers, as extrapolated by Red State:

1960 -- 1.4 million public school teachers taught 36.3 million primary and secondary students. This represented a ratio of one teacher per 25.8 pupils.

2009 -- 3.2 million teachers - a 129 percent rise - taught 49.3 million students - a 36 percent rise. This represented a ratio of one teacher per 15.6 students.

1985 -- the average public school primary and secondary school teacher earned $23,587 a year, or $49,309 adjusted for inflation. In 2011, he or she earned $54,220, a ten percent increase. (Do those figures translate into a real increase of $5,000 over a 26-year period?)

Pharaohnic rap??

In the July-August edition of Archaeology magazine’s article on discovery of a chantress’s tomb and Pharaohnic music: “Some scholars have suggested it may have sounded like an ancient ancestor of rap.”

Following that perspicacious statement is an example of lyrics, recorded on a temple wall in Luxor: “Hail, Amun-Re, the primeval one of two lands, foremost one of Karnak, in your glorious appearance, amidst your (river) fleet, in your beautiful Festival of Opet, may you be pleased with it.”

(Microphone sounds: Chh, chh, chh, chh, psst, psst, psst, and etc.)

Anybody who thinks the Luxor lyrics sound like "ancient ... rap," raise your hand. That's what I thought.

Here is Pharaohnic rap:

Moses go into Pharaoh hood,
Pharaoh don’t be treatin’ him good,
Brother Aaron throw down a stick,
S**t, Pharaoh’s sorcerers do that trick.
Make a snake.

Come on, Moses, tell me true,
You say I be listenin’ to you
Just ‘cause you a Jew?
Make a snake.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Thieves in charge

History shows later-copying countries become wealthy faster than do originating countries.

“Every economy that has moved peasants to an export-orientated manufacturing economy has had rapid economic growth. Great Britain industrialized at about 1 percent per annum. It was slow because all the technology needed to be invented for the first time. During the 19th Century US economic growth – once started – ran about twice the rate of the UK. They copied the technology which was faster than inventing it. Later economies (eg Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Korea) went later and faster. As a general rule the later you industrialized the faster you went – as the ease of copying went up. In the globalized internet age copying foreign manufacturing techniques and seeking global markets is easier than ever – so China is growing faster than any prior economy.

“This fast economic growth – which would happen in a more open economy – is creating the fuel for the Chinese kleptocracy.”

Ray Bradbury


“For Bradbury, it was the politicians who ‘have no romance in their hearts or dreams in their heads’ that ultimately kept America earthbound.”

(If a man has no romance or dreams, he is a cipher, a human form stumbling in the dark, entranced by illuminated signs, following directions flash-imprinted.)

Another: “’I think our country is in need of a revolution,’ Bradbury told the L.A. Times. “There is too much government today. We’ve got to remember the government should be by the people, of the people, and for the people.’ He told Time a week later, ‘I don’t believe in government. I hate politics. I’m against it. And I hope that sometimes this fall, we can destroy part of our government, and next year destroy even more of it. The less government, the happier I will be.’”

Bradbury also was “(a) curmudgeonly opponent of the Internet and its products …”

Linked from maggiesfarm.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A soldier of the Revolution

Martin Johnston was an ancestor of my wife, Priscilla.

“Pension application of Martin Johnson W436

“Transcribed by Will Graves

“State of Kentucky

“Martin Johnston of Clark County and State aforesaid came before me James Clark one of the Circuit Judges for the State aforesaid this 20th day of June 1818 and made the following statement upon oath for the purpose of obtaining a pension under an Act of Congress entitled an act ‘to provide for certain persons engaged in the land and naval services of the United States in the Revolutionary War.’ Being first sworn [he] makes the following statement: That he is at present a citizen of Clark County and State of Kentucky – that he is by birth a Virginian. That he was two years a soldier in the war of the Revolution on Continental establishment. That on the 9th of February 1776 in Culpeper County Virginia he enlisted for the period of two years in Captain John Thornton's Company, Third Regiment, Virginia line in the Continental establishment. That he faithfully served the two years and was on the eighth day of February 1778 duly and regularly discharged at the Valley Forge Pennsylvania which discharge was issued by General Woodford which discharge he has lost or misplaced so that at this time he cannot find it. He further states that he is about 61 years old and from infirmity he is incapable of labor and that by reason of his reduced circumstances in life, he is in need of sustenance from his Country for his support. The said Johnston further states that he can prove that he was a soldier as aforesaid by his Excellency James Monroe President of the United States who was part of the time Lieutenant of the company in which he belonged and was present with him at the battle of Trenton where the said Monroe was wounded.

“S/ Martin Johnston”

Martin Johnston is listed as a “Chapter Patriot” at the Elisha Witt chapter of the Kentucky Daughters of the American Revolution.

“1758 Feb 1: Born MARTIN JOHNSTON or JOHNSON, Rev War Pension File W436, served in the VA Line, was a son of William & Sarah JOHNSTON & was born l Feb 1758 in VA. He lived in Culpeper County, Virginia when he enlisted, and married there to Nancy WRIGHT on 7 Mar 1779 (she was born 27 Mar 1762). He applied for his pension on 20 Jun 1818 in Clark Co KY, where he died on 3 Jul 1820.
“His widow applied there on 25 Nov 1839, and declared that they had three children: (1) William Johnson b 11 Sep 1780 & m 22 Dec 1800, Elizabeth LAURENCE, who was born on 2 Nov 1781; in 1840 they lived in Clark Co KY & she (the widow) had lived with them since 1820.”

In her application for widow’s pension, Nancy Wright Johnston stated that Martin Johnston, following his discharge from the Continental Army, was a member of the Virginia militia and as such participated at the Battle of King’s Mountain.

Martin Johnston was 18 when he enlisted in 4th Company, 3d Virginia Line. Capt. John Thornton was company commander. In addition to future president James Madison, Johnston also served with future Supreme Court Justice John Marshall. He was a farmer, Martin Johnston, as were many of his descendents, to my wife’s mother’s brother, Murray Raley. The direct Johnston descendents in the 1850s arrived in Texas, first settling near Fort Worth. Later descendents moved from Texas to the Indian Territory, where my wife’s maternal grandmother, Cora Raley, was born in 1897. The family moved back to Texas in 1910, for a time settling in Hopkins County, later moving to western Arkansas.

To those who want US to be like THEM

“United States spends 14.8 percent of GDP on welfare programs and has not reached the welfare expenditures level of European socialist countries. France spends 28.5 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on welfare, Spain 21 percent, Greece 24.3 percent, Italy 24.4 percent, and Portugal 21.1 percent. There are European nations that spend more on welfare, such as Denmark (29.2 percent), Sweden (28.9 percent), Germany (27.4), and Belgium (27.2) but the economic situation in these countries is substantially different. (Statistical data source: as quoted in Forbes)”

(Gates of Vienna has the best lead of any blog: “At the siege of Vienna in 1683 Islam seemed poised to overrun Christian Europe. We are in a new phase of a very old war.” Remember, too, that in 1453, the Ottoman caliphate captured Constantinople, capital of Christian civilization in the East. That battle was about 800 years after Muslims burst out of Arabia and took North Africa, the Middle East, Persia, Serbia, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Montenegro, Macedonia, Ukraine, and etc. and etc.)

Defending Jerusalem

Nehemiah 4:7 -- But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the people of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem’s walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry. 8 They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it. 9 But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.

4:13 -- Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows. 14 After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”

Where jobs should be

“Where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government. Oftentimes, cuts initiated by, you know, governors or mayors who are not getting the kind of help that they have in the past from the federal government,” he said. “And so, you know, if Republicans want to be helpful, if they really want to move forward and put people back to work, what they should be thinking about is how do we help state and local governments.”

Linked from maggiesfarm.

(Highlight: “put people back to work” “help state and local governments.” Will there come a time when 40 percent of workers support 100 percent of the population? If so, and if 60 percent of voters vote, government serfs elect more fillers of the trough. Why slap the hand that passes out the money?)

Passing along some propaganda

Arctic Sea ice could be gone by September 2012.

reference to 2007 National Geographic story.

So let's all watch for the news stories announcing the end of Arctic ice. I'm holding my breath.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Why I would not have been a good Army cook

Bobcook: I know the recipe says do it this way, but what if we add this and take away that and add this and chili powder and just a little cayenne pepper?

Oldcook: Let me see if I understand. You want to take a recipe that was perfected when Jesus was at the reception station and change it around and, whatever the result, take it to the bush and serve it to 100 or more soldiers as their only hot meal of the day?

Bobcook: Well, since you put it that way …

(What I learned after a few years: Make sure they get fed, make sure they get paid, make sure they have clothes to wear , everything else is gravy.)

Just another day in paradise

The Labor Department, Fox News says, “recently order(ed) reporters to use government-issued software and other equipment to access Bureau of Labor Statistics reports …”

(The government wouldn’t try to control information … Nah.

(Come on, now. We are in Obamarama times. You expect something else?)

Linked from

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

‘Republicans Bungle the Battle Over Light Bulbs’

“As Bloomberg points out, bulb makers such as Royal Philips Electronics and General Electric have already worked to make bulbs more efficient. In fact, like any other corporate endeavor in the known universe, they're in favor of greater efficiency. They also see the benefit to giving the Energy Department the ability to enforce efficiency standards, as it would prevent lesser foreign products from negatively impacting the business.”

(Pay no attention to anything in that paragraph, save this: “They also see the benefit to giving the Energy Department the ability to enforce efficiency standards …” Why? Because the big companies want regulation that will drive others out of competition. Didn’t the big bulb companies pitch the not-incandescent bulb to begin with?

(It’s such a small thing, right? Why would anybody protest using an energy-saving device? Because the choice should be mine, not the government’s. That is the thing most Progressives do not understand, perhaps cannot understand.)

(And another thing: Why is it that the bulb announcing “Five-year life” goes out after a year? Maybe that’s the way the Energy Department enforces efficiency standards.)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Don't these people have anything better to do?

Well ... No.

‘Springsteen favored to write new US anthem: poll’

“Twenty-two percent of Americans think veteran rocker Bruce Springsteen should compose a new US national anthem to replace ‘The Star-Spangled Banner,’ suggests an online poll released Monday.

“That's more than the 19 percent who think country legend Dolly Parton is up to the task, or the 18 percent who favor soulman Stevie Wonder, according to the poll for the CBS current affairs show ‘60 Minutes’ and Vanity Fair magazine.

“Eleven percent named venerable singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, 10 percent favor movie soundtrack composer John Williams, eight percent voted for rapper Jay-Z and five percent named pop diva Madonna.

“Pollsters telephoned a random sample of 1,026 adults nationwide between April 27 and 30 for the poll, which had a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

“Based on a poem by Francis Scott Key describing the British naval bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland during the War of 1812, ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ has been the official US national anthem since 1931.

(Let’s recap: 22 percent is more than 19 percent, more than18 percent, more than 11 percent, more than 10 percent, more than 8 percent and more than 5 percent.

(Let’s recap, Part 2: “Twenty-two percent of Americans think …” No, 22 percent of 1,026 adults said in a poll … My guess is, the “think” part played no role in the poll.

(Let’s recap, Part 3: Responses indicate the thought level of the 1,026.)

Monday, June 4, 2012


“It’s a policy designed to guide people toward a certain kind of behavior. This talk of ‘freedom’ is absurd. No one’s freedom is being taken away.” –Newsweek columnist Michael Tomasky, quoted in a Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy blog,

Why is it that writers in the Northeast and on the West Coast know how the rest of the country should live and what we should think, but we aren’t intelligent enough to figure it out by ourselves?

Here’s the deal: Obese people are going to get diabetes and other bad things and they will die and that will happen no matter how much socialibs make us pay for somebody else’s insurance, no matter how much sugar and processed foods we don’t eat. Obesity is a sign of a rich, very rich, country. The fact that obesity seems endemic throughout the industrialized/internetted world indicates a rich, very rich, world.

Was a time when Harvard and Yale were divinity schools, concerned with preaching gospel. The new preachers of liberal-social education have taken another tack, bent on removing our liberties one step at a time.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

More on paying for newspaper reporters

"The fact of the matter is philanthropic institutions have provided millions of dollars over the years to help journalists do their work. Journalists have an unfortunate habit of not acknowledging that," says Charles Lewis, head of the nonprofit Fund for Independence in Journalism. From 1989 through 2004, he served as founding executive director of the Center for Public Integrity, which "raised and spent $30 million [on journalism projects] in the years I was there."

In Chicago, “NBC Owned Television Stations' partnerships with four nonprofit news organizations” resulted in several stories. But, what does “nonprofit news organizations” mean? Does it mean reporters, editors and camera operators don’t get paid? Not at all. Nonprofit means the organizations are not in business to make a profit. Nonprofit means the organizations do not have what most of us consider “normal” advertising. Like PBS intros, “This program was made possible by grants from …”

We all pretty much suspect that a for-profit newspaper won’t go after stories that might upset its largest advertisers. So why would we trust stories written by reporters who are paid by a nonprofit or conglomeration of nonprofits?

If someone outside the newspaper pays a reporter’s salary, the reporter is producing propaganda.