I just remembered one more thing about that fellow in the nursing home with my Mother. He won a Bronze Star.
I gathered that like many Vietnam Vetrans he got very little support from the VA for his disabilities.
I just remembered one more thing about that fellow in the nursing home with my Mother. He won a Bronze Star.
I gathered that like many Vietnam Vetrans he got very little support from the VA for his disabilities.
For the past year there has been a harmless old guy with a yen to dance with the ladies at my Mother’s care facility. At the few occasions I’ve been with my Mother at a musical preformance he always seeks out a couple women to dance with some of whom rebuff his advances. He always has a gentle not quite vacant smile spread from ear to ear.
I’ve also gotten to know a woman whose children were in my Morgan Park Geography classes back in 1986. It was only last week that I put the two of them together as they stood in the hallway near my Mother’s room. The woman gently discouraged him from pursing one of his occasional dance partners a lady who appears to be my age and suffering from early onset Alzheimers.
The wife told me she blamed Vietnam for his state. He’d been in the 101st Airborne during the Tet Offensive when I was a Junior in high school. She blamed PSTD for his condition and Agent Orange which was slathered on US soldiers and Vietnamese alike. Today’s Vietnamese blame its lingering effects for high rates of infant birth defects.
We talked about the Veteran’s Administration which she felt gave her husband short shrift and when I mentioned that today’s Iraq and Afghanistan vets might face similar indifference in the future (as the war is forgotten and we come to resent its ongoing costs) she pointed out that at least today’s veterans have been welcomed home as heroes. That’s true, I guess, but somehow I still find it small comfort.
This post was prompted by the event last week at my Mother’s care facility. That will be the brief subject of the succeeding post with was prompted by this posts preceding post. One of the challenges of a blog is putting information in an order which make sense as a reader goes backward in time reading older posts.
In 1968 I was on the Mankato High School Swim team. I’d started swimming with the team the last couple of weeks of the previous year at the behest of my friend Steve Skelly.
I got to be a fair swimmer that year and one of the reasons why was that a girl was given permission to swim with our boy’s team. This was before Title Nine required schools to offer girl sports and Jan C. was not satisfied to swim with the YMCA girls team in town. I didn’t give my coach the credit he deserved at the time for his forward thinking although I’m sure it raised plenty of eyebrows at the time. Having Jan in the pool swimming laps with us boys made me determined not to let her lap me. I’m sure she had a similar affect on the other guys.
One of the other people in the pool was Randy a kid from California whose family had some Minnesota connection which allowed him to stay for his senior year in Mankato. Like Jan and me he was new to the team. He was also a year older than me and we got to know each other well enough so that when he asked Jan to go to some dance, maybe the Spring Prom, we joined forces and drove together.
He graduated that Spring and would be heading back to California but before he did he invited me to go up to a lake in Northern Minnesota with his family when they came to pick him up. We went to a Green Lake although just which one it was I have no idea as there must be dozens of them. Randy’s was a family with boys and I got along with them all pretty well. The following year after I graduated from High School my Dad took us on one of a half dozen cross country camping trips of my youth through the west coast and a few miles from Randy’s home. I prevailed on my Dad to let me call Randy and lucked into dropping by his family’s home for a short visit. I can’t recall whether Randy was present or not and if I just met briefly with his younger brothers. I have only one indelible recollection from that visit. On the wall of the living room was a large Marine Corps emblem. It might have included at screaming eagle bearing Semper Fi or USMC in a banner clutched in its talons. Randy’s Dad was a marine and probably a WW II warrior. I think I got the impression that Randy felt he owed it to his Dad to follow in his footsteps.
A year or two later Randy was a newly minted marine and came for one last visit to Duluth. Like most college campuses Mankato had a strong whif of anti-Vietnam War attitude about it. There were already a few Veterans at the school and many of them were unsympathetic to the war. I too was anti-war but I kept my attitude about the war separate from the soldiers sent to fight it. As I recall Randy was in uniform when I invited him up to lunch in the Student Union. I know he felt conspicuous in a college setting although no one said or did anything to make Randy feel unwelcome. I was curious to know what he thought of being a marine. He didn’t seem to think of the experience as highly as his Dad had. Randy joked about being called repeatedly by his Drill Instructors whatever it was they were yelling at recruits in that Era’s bootcamps. Puke’s maybe or worse.
We may have exchanged a Christmas card after that visit but my association with Randy pretty much ended there. We were headed into different paths of life. I have the feeling he escaped Vietnam just as I escaped being drafted but I can’t be sure.
If, as I speculated recently, all the books, news, magazines and video materials I’ve been reading are a sneaky way for me to avoid returning to my book they at least have the salutory affect of reminding me about the importance of keeping clear eyed vision. I’ll deal a little of that out in a post later today one my favorite subject the Red Plan and the future of the Duluth Schools. But for now I’ll retreat to my reading last night from the book Barbarous Years.
The title of this post is part of that book’s subtitle. After a tough slog through chapter one on the nature of the Early American (Indian) tribes of the Atlantic seaboard prior to the first British invasion I’ve managed to get page 100. The last chapter was pretty gripping much like a slasher film.
I’ve long known that the early British “settler” of Virginia dropped like flies. I didn’t know all the details until last night. Much is still left to my imagination but the numbers make D-Day casualties look like a picnic. (more…)
I just got back from an overnight flight from Duluth. I was pleased to see my home intact as we drove up 21st and pleased to see my troublesome elephant still holding a Confederate flag albeit a badly sun-faded one.
I’m not sure most folks would consider the Twin Cities all the great an alternative at the end of February let alone for a single evening but we wanted a break in our routine. It didn’t hurt that neither Grandma or Papa had a smidgen of sleep the night before with our delightful little grandsons joining us in bed just after midnight. They wiggle a lot. (more…)
Its eleven PM the night after I began the above named post. I’ve watched two more great hours of the British series The Hour. This season is every bit as engrossing as the first season. But now on to ramble and postpone sleep for another hour despite the likelihood that my grandsons will wake me early tomorrow.
I suggested that my sculpture and not movies would launch this late night ramble. Yeah, and I found more unexpected back up on the Daily Dish which I will link to before I go to bed.
I mentioned that my sculpture led to a single pro and con email. I’ve posted the pro in full. I won’t do the same with the con. I opened it the moment it came in my in box and just skimmed it. It was full of outrage which was over the top. The lead sentence gives a fair hint at its author’s appoplexy:
“Can you imagine a Duluth where a DFL mule was displayed sporting the Stars and Bars? The city would be in an uproar. But slandering a symbol of conservatism is a cause to celebrate? Perhaps a more appropriate sculpture would be one of the DNC Donkey sporting a swastika.”
I was delighted (more…)
Author Harold Holzter makes a strong case for the Cooper’s Union speech being the event that made him President. You could read Doris Kearn’s Goodwin’s book and not come to that conclusion. You would be right to say that had it not been for the Lincoln Douglass Debates, Cooper’s Union would not have happened. You could go back further and say that had Lincoln not seen the slave markets of New Orleans on his one visit to the City in his youth he would never have become President either. But he did become President and he had to grapple with ideas that were foreign to all but a very few Americans and reshape America’s beliefs in the process. What was at the core of this change is what makes me love Groundhog’s Day. Not reinvention, for America was not reinvented by the Civil War. It was redemption. Thomas Jefferson felicitous claim for human rights was hoisted upon Abe Lincoln’s shoulders and given new life. And that is what Harold Holtzer’s book begins to explain. It is a story in part of Abraham Lincoln the historian. (more…)
To say Dina Martina is an acquired taste is a little like saying horseradish is an acquired taste. I first tasted horseradish in Shrimp dip in grade school. I loved it without realizing just what it was that gave the sauce its kick. I acquired my enjoyment of Dina just as quickly. So maybe its not all that acquired.
I remember reading a review of Farlie’s book, Bite the Hand that Feeds You,” because it was such a great title. In 1980 he wrote this about the new conservative drift of the GOP under Ronald Reagan and the Moral Majority:
“The America which Europe fears is the America of the Reaganites. The America once of the Scopes trial; the America of prohibition; the America of ignorant isolationism. The America then of ‘‘better dead than red’’; the America of McCarthyism; the America of the last fundamentalists of the 1950s. The America now of the new evangelicals; the America of the Moral Majority; the America of a now ignorant interventionism; the America which can see homosexuals as a conspiracy; feminists as a conspiracy; perhaps even women as a conspiracy.
The America of fear. For it is in fear that the ungoverned and the unfree are doomed to live. And there was this America in control at Detroit. It is time that we reminded ourselves, and said aloud and more often, that it is from these people that nastiness comes. It is time that we pointed out to the neo-conservatives that democracy has never been subverted from the left but always from the right.
No democracy has fallen to communism, without an army; many democracies have fallen to fascism, from within. The Reaganites on the floor were exactly those who in Germany gave the Nazis their main strength and who in France collaborated with them and sustained Vichy. If the neo-conservatives cannot sniff danger, surely the rest of us can be alert.”
The GOP that is currently attempting to take down war hero and Republican dove Chuck Hagel is simply an amped up version of the party Farlie described thirty years ago. It is the deleterious inspiration for my latest snow sculpture which I should be able to finish tomorrow.
It’s not done but I can show you the little modeling clay model I perched on top of the Rebel flag to guide my sculpting.
I can’t guarantee it will even make it through the night since I’ve just given my detractors a head’s up. The sun will decompose it in a few days although it should be cold enough to remain through the weekend. I can imagine an ignorant Republican knocking it down as an insult to the Party. It is. I can also imagine an ignorant person knocking it down because they are too dimwitted not to realize it in no way exalts the Confederate battle flag.
A dozen cute titles have occured to me. The GOP whistles Dixie is one. That’s ironic because one of the last wonderful anecdotes about Abe Lincoln is telling a jubilant crowd that he instructed a band to play Dixie at War’s end. I could also call it the Ascension of John Wilkes Booth – Republican martyr.
This year I have sculpted my two most meaningful sculptures. The Angel was deeply felt and this one reflects the frustration of my adult life. Forty frustrated years of working towards and pining for a rational Republican Party.
No sooner had I finished episode six and gotten the message that two more hours of House had done by partner in than my little bugger approached the door of my office with his big Mater the tow truck pillow in one hand. I crawled in bed with him – his lower bunk bed not mine until a minute passed and he told me he needed a drink of water. Water became a potty break became a little request that I sit in the chair beside him and NOT in his bed and then a minute before slumber took over.
I’m not much like the character that Spacey portrays. He broke the teacher’s union president by taunting him into punching out the Congressmen which is, evidently, a federal offense. The Screen writer decided that the provocation would not win the union rep any sympathy. I thought it would have had it been skillfully described to a public curious why he would punch the lights out of the Congressman. Oh well, I wasn’t the screen writer.
Kevin Spacey’s character is described by his cold blooded wife. He offered her power and adventure not children. He wouldn’t have gotten my kick out of babysitting two grandson’s solo.
I haven’t posted much for the past few days. I’ve taken in lots of interesting things and I’ve been doing some mental coalating and a page of notes for blog posts staring me in the face. I won’t post them but here are some examples:
A. Shakespeare’s plays, not the highest rated of their time, survived only because he and his partners were shrewed businessmen. I wonder how America would have progressed had they not been there for Abraham Lincoln to memorize.
B.That reminded me of something I had read thirty years ago in a Isaac Asimov history of Greece. I recall Asimov saying that a Roman General recovered Arisototle’s books after they had been hidden underground. Turns out that’s not quite what happened. We may owe their recovery to a book collector:
To protect the books from theft, Neleus’s heirs concealed them in a vault, where they were damaged somewhat by dampness, moths and worms. In this hiding place they were discovered about 100 BCE by Apellicon, a rich book lover, and brought to Athens. They were later taken to Rome after the capture of Athens by Sulla in 86 BCE. In Rome they soon attracted the attention of scholars, and the new edition of them gave fresh impetus to the study of Aristotle and of philosophy in general.
The Arabs probably had an equal hand in saving Aristotle so that St. Thomas Aquinas, among others, could us them to undergird Catholic theology.
A book lover in the 1500′s was the principal hero in the book Swerve when he got hold of another ancient book on the stoics.
I also recalled reading a tidbit from twenty years ago about a massive wave of destruction for ancient Chinese texts some 2000 plus years ago.
Over the years I’ve read a half dozen books on similar episodes of censorship. The Black Sea dwells on the reshuffling of the many ethnic populations around the Coast of the Black Sea.
There is much more but this is already far too much.
Today I decided to build my third snow sculpture of the year. I made great progress probably because it relates to something that has been a burr under my saddle for almost as long as I’ve kept track of the books I’ve read – the take over of the Republican Party by the ghost of John Wilkes Booth. Pisses me off. It was accomplished by the kind of guys like the one Kevin Spacey is portraying so brilliantly. People interested in power over truth.
I flatter myself when I muse that this has been the biggest obstacle to my progress in the world of politics. This and my stubborn refusal to become a DFLer when I wanted to run for local office back in 1976. Lincoln did read widely. His Republican successors include far too many who have not followed his example.
I shrugged off the fatigue that should have put me in bed at 9:30 and prepared to edit the third installment of Putrescence. I wrote it last night but I was operating on fumes after 1500 words and decided it would be better to read it before posting something incoherent. I crawled into bed and lay wide awake for another four hours until I got up with the sun in my face.
As I started to take a crack at editing it an hour ago I tried to look up a famous quote from Lincoln’s law partner Herndon. Herndon was also one of Lincoln’s early biographers. When I tried to google the quote I ran across this short piece in the Atlantic by a noted Lincoln scholar who wrote about Herndon’s struggle with the biography and his knowledge of the all too human Lincoln.
Like Herndon I’ve been wrestling with just what to tell in a book I’ve been laboring over for six years. I shouldn’t feel bad. Herndon still hadn’t written his Lincoln biography twenty years after commencing his research.
The jist of this Atlantic piece is that Herdon originally believed that Lincoln was so important that posterity required that he be to portrayed warts and all. This was a very un-18th Century attitude because Herndon was a bit of a free spirit. The book he eventually wrote did not rake up much muck. (which makes me wonder at the truth and provenance of a reported Herdon anecdote I’ve waved in front of my loyal readers a couple times).
Although Herdon did not write the tell all book he first contemplated I agree with him and others that learning about Lincoln’s pre Presidential foibles would do little to shake the public’s faith in his genius.
My wife just finished the Kearns-Goodwin history that I have lauded previously befor her book club met this morning. All four of the book clubbers agreed heartily that Lincoln was a great man. The movie Lincoln got him right.
So to did another movie I saw yesterday get its subject right. The subject was Franklin Roosevelt arguably the 20th Century’s most important President. However, Hyde Park on the Hudson was a small picture which explains its low 40% favorable Rotten Tomatoes score. It wasn’t about the FDR that contended with the Depression or battled Adolph Hitler. It was the story, based on a play, about the private Roosevelt who despite his crippled legs managed to pursue several dalliances simultaneously. I’ve agreed with both pro and con reviews of the movie but I did enjoy it. FDR, as portrayed by Bill Murray, was hardly heroic but I agreed with the reviewer who said Murray was spot on.
Even though FDR comes across as a man taking advantage of his presidential aura to work his wiles on women the story within a story of the inexperienced new King of England paying FDR an overnight visit suggested Roosevelt’s importance to the age. One historian noted that while FDR did not have a first class intellect he had a first class temperament. So did Abe Lincoln. If someone was to produce a Lincoln on the Hudson movie it wouldn’t change my mind about where he ranks among our Presidents.
…and leave a lot of droppings in the GOP’s coup.
I find it ironic that the GOP which in the Reagan years once vilified (correctly) the Democrats for being a bunch of special interests is now suffering the same fate having become a party of its own special interests. This point was brought home by two stories in the press today on how the public has retreated from two central guideposts of the GOP cannon.
From the DNT’s first Page – “Support for legal abortion continunes to grow”:
As if to further bolster the argument that liberalism is having a resurgence in the United States, the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows that, for the first time ever, a majority of Americans – 54 percent – now believe abortion should be legal all or most of the time. Even more broadly, a full 70 percent believe that Roe v. Wade – the controversial decision that, 40 years ago, guaranteed a woman’s right to an abortion, at least in the first trimester of pregnancy – should not be overturned.
Darned DNT doesn’t have their story on its site. I got this from the Christian Science Monitor (A paper that my Dad subscribed to for years) The DNT’s story mentions that ten years ago rather than 54% it was only 44 percent of the public that believed abortion should be legal. More critically the number of Republicans who feel intensely about this issue is shrinking.
The other poll issue was on page three and was about making it easier for illegal immigrants to enter the US. Once again the DNT’s story is only in newsprint. This comes from ABC:
“More than 6 in 10 Americans now favor allowing illegal immigrants to eventually become U.S. citizens, a major increase in support driven by a turnaround in Republicans’ opinions after the 2012 elections.(the story goes on to say that two years ago instead of 60% support it was only 47% support.
Two more GOP special interests that have taken a big hit are the NRA’s no compromise Second Amendment enthusiasts and the religious lobby that wants to keep gays closeted or make them normal. Expect the GOP’s Global warming and science deniers to fall from grace next.
I’ve waited for this all to happen since 1992 when I made my first break with the GOP and ran a quixotic independent campaign for Congress. I returned to the fold afterwords for about ten years but was kept on the margin by the new leaders of the party that were happy to go to conventions and explain that folks like me were the worst butchers in the history of the world. I guess they were accommodationists because after publicly announcing that I was worse than Papa Stalin, Adolph Hitler and Mao combined they were always very nice to me.
As my buddy (who seems to have given up emailing me) often says I’ve got my undies in a bunch over Republicans when Democrats can be expected to overreach with their rhetoric. It makes me think that before I die I should start attending GOP caucuses again (since my political future went over the cliff twenty ago) on the off chance that I can bring a little Lincoln pragmatism back to the party.
I have some personal theories about both parties and their excesses during my lifetime. I think that the GOP was overrun by College Republicans who all majored in business and decided that ethical considerations were a waste of time when short term tactics like stomping out independent thinking would lead to better election results and paychecks. In this regard they were as amoral as the mortgage industry’s specialists who approved unjustified home loans or Vatican priests who preferred to cover up and pay off the victims of clergy sexual abuse.
The book I hope to write someday will chronicle a different age when a similar sort ran the DFL in Northern Minnesota – political hacks with their hands out for government dollars.
Thus it was and ever shall be. Don’t believe me? Watch Spielberg’s Lincoln and enjoy the comic performance of James Spader as the 13th Amendment’s amoral, arm-twisting lobbyist.
I’m ready for a new set of racketeers to take over America. I just hope we get a long interim where idealists reign before they succumb to the pleasures of power.
I was rather surprised to bump into this blog about what is happening at the moment in Mali a huge North African nation that is witness to the latest depredations of Al Quaeda.
Much like the video We are the world which was taped with dozens of Western music artists this one shows the following video of Mali’s famous musicians singing against the incursions of the Islamists.
The thing I found interesting is the fact that the verse is being sung in at least four of Mali’s indigenous languages. This unity despite ethnicity reminded me of the message in the book I’ve been reading “Black Sea.” That message is that muti-culutural life can be so easily stamped out. (more…)
I’ve had the chance to see two really excellent series recently. Downton is OK but I really loved Call the Midwife. Pulled tears out of me every episode.
Tonight I watched the second of three episodes on American Experience on the Abolitionists. When I saw the first last week I thought it would be a one hour program. When it ended close to 20 years before the Civil War I knew I was in for more. It was great and tonight’s follow up was every bit as good. I’ve drunk in a lot of history from this period but much that was reported fleshed out a lot of new territory and gave wonderful context.
Woke up early. Laid in bed thinking about things from my past: specificially the 1960′s, Junior High, a friend’s sexual indiscretions. After an hour and a half decided I should find out what time on Saturday the Miller Dwan Fitness Center would open. Got out of bedroom and ignored cat that was pestering me for breakfast an hour before scheduled feeding – Still meowing at my feet. Hush up cat.
Googled fitness center hours. Found a website on “city’s” One post suggested 7AM. Will have to wait and see if I still feel like swimming an hour from now. Took quick look before going on at the Website’s stem on Duluth.
Found this unknown historical tidbit from someone inquiring about a murder at Central High in 1966. Did a google search of Otter Creek later.
As someone remarked. Times were different then.
A girl I met in junior high disappeared after graduating from high school in Mankato, Minnesota. Her skull was found in a farm field a few years later by kids who played with it a little while before it occurred to anyone to alert the police.
I’m periodically subjected to stories about ex UMD professor Jim Fetzer. Today the DNT told us that Fetzer’s latest research strongly suggests that the Sandy Hook Massacre was caused by Israel’s MOSSAD their equivalent to the CIA.
I once wrote about Jim in my old Reader Weekly column. That was before he endorsed the claim that the CIA knocked down the World Trade Towers in addition to killing off President Kennedy. I had to follow this up with a second column.
Its all science, the former Philosopher of Science assures us, adding that: “… I can’t imagine why any university would want to discourage its faculty from exercising their independent thought and critical reasoning ability.”
As one of my columns makes clear Jim was a former neighbor of mine and when I prepped him for a big debate on evolution in town I found out a little about him which I too have subjected to some independent thought and critical reasoning.
Jim told me he was raised in a home with an unhealthy and slavish adherence to Biblical fundementalism and he rebelled against this.
This along with the subsequent bouts of publicity make it quite clear that Jim Fetzer is in the employ of domestic subversives and/or foreign agents. These agents are intent on discrediting liberals who are a threat to the conservative agenda. Hence Jim has dedicated the majority of his adult life making liberals look unhinged. The more JFK assassination groupies he enrolls in his fanciful theories and the more ink he generates for his scientific analysis the more the public as a whole will regard liberals as wackos.
I suspect that the CIA could be the ultimate paymaster behind Fetzer’s work but unlike Jim I’m a little more circumspect. I could easily see Roger Ailes, Rupert Murdoch or the Koch Brothers underwriting his efforts. Heck, its probably a whole cabal of folks allied with Dick Cheney, Halliburton and Exxon. He was probably recruited for this Manchurian Candidate style when he was a young marine.
Trust me on this, You can take comfort in all the scientific reasoning I’ve applied to this conclusion.
George Romney wasn’t writing to his son. He was writing to Barry Goldwater objecting to what would become the South’s take over of the Republican Party.
First, as to your remarks in Jamaica concerning the possible realignment of the Republican and Democratic parties into “conservative” and “liberal” parties. Whatever the circumstances of the statement, you have indicated that you believe that might be “a happy thing.” I disagree.
We need only look at the experience of some ideologically oriented parties in Europe to realize that chaos can result. Dogmatic ideological parties tend to splinter the political and social fabric of a nation, lead to governmental crises and deadlock, and stymie the compromises so often necessary to preserve freedom and achieve progress. A broad based two party structure produces a degree of political stability and viability not otherwise attainable.
Here’s the whole letter. I recommend it to Mitt.
Andy Sullivan has a post on one of my frequent plaints – that today’s GOP is really driven by the ghost of the old Confederacy. How this came to be is fascinating and it took place in my adulthood much to my chagrin as might be deduced by the title of this blog.
I’ve been looking forward to Spielberg’s Lincoln biopic for a few months. Its been in the works since before Doris Kearns Goodwin began her decade long effort to write her Pulitzer winning Team of Rivals. I only got around to reading the book this summer since I was so busy fighting the Red Plan when the book was published.
After seeing a trailer for the movie I bought the “best book” on the Republican radical Thaddeus Stevens. That book has not been as gripping and not survived my preoccupation with undoing the damage to my second home from an unscrupulous nincompoop “contractor.” I’ll no doubt see the movie without the benefit of the book behind me.
The trailers for the new movie show a fearsome Lincoln that was hard for me to reconcile with the Lincoln I’ve read about through the years. He was driven but is far more famous for being rumpled, droll and melancholy. The fierce Lincoln didn’t register with me. I don’t think I have to worry about the movie if this article from the Smithsonian can be believed. Kearns Goodwin said she felt she was really seeing Lincoln on the screen. That’s high praise. I’m encouraged and can’t wait to watch the movie, which apropos one of Lincoln’s quotes, seems to point true North while directing the audience around the swamps in the way to get there.
Amen, David Brooks:
First, let me describe what moderation is not. It is not just finding the midpoint between two opposing poles and opportunistically planting yourself there. Only people who know nothing about moderation think it means that.
Moderates start with a political vision, but they get it from history books, not philosophy books. That is, a moderate isn’t ultimately committed to an abstract idea. Instead, she has a deep reverence for the way people live in her country and the animating principle behind that way of life.
Its not “conservatives” who have purged moderates (RINOs) from the Republican Party. Its Radicals who have purged conservatives. And Mitt Romney owes them big time for overlooking his convenient recent apostasies in their mad rush to get Hussein out of the White House.