No Gun Ri

Today, the day after Memorial Day, the DNT had two stories that converged for me.

The first was a long Washington Post story about how returning vets find Americans generally clueless about the conditions in Iraq. The story itself says this is just an echo of past wars. I heard about it during and after Vietnam. The movie “Best Days of our lives” hinted at this truth after World War II and my Grandfather surely felt it recuperating in the hospital after World War I.

Entertainment about cops and murderers can fill up an entire night of throw away television programing which can be forgotten after the nightly news. Ten months of killing of being killed in a war zone is much different.

Robert E. Lee the peerless Confederate General said: “Its a good thing that war is so terrible or we should grow too fond of it.” Maybe that’s true for the Generals and politicians. I’m not so sure if that’s true of the soldiers or civilians in a war zone.

The other story was about No Gun Ri an incident that took place in 1950 the year I was born. When I looked for it on the Internet I found it first on two South Korean newspapers above another story about how the Koreans are making a movie of the incident/incidents. Apparently there was an official American policy to shoot any Korean approaching American lines because the Americans couldn’t tell the difference between refugees and infiltrators. Even though we saved the South Koreans from the fate of North Korea they are taking a harsh view of our military  necessity fifty-seven years ago. I wonder how the Iraqies will feel about us fifty years from now?

When the story first surfaced in 1999 the U.S. military denied it then described it as a case of soldiers panicking. Its always easier to blame the grunts (look at Lyndie England) but the policy came from the top; from the General Lee’s of the Korean War.

Meanwhile, the folks back home are too busy stuffing their face with empty calories to bother worrying about the people defending them abroad or so the returning soldiers seem to think.

Filling up the empty nest

After four years on his own our son is moving back for the summer. The nexus of his lease ending and making plans for next fall put him on a collision course with bumming with friends, moving home, or living on the streets. I’m glad to say his old room beckoned and he moved his stuff back during our gardening mania. It’s the temporary end to our empty nesting.

I asked him to leave his bed alone until he moves back on the first of June. For the past week it’s been the place where I’ve been sorting documents relating to the Boyd Scandal. I’ve got to move it somewhere else but since my daughter’s bed is full of the stuff related to the Duluth Schools Endowment I’ve got nowhere to put the Scandal stuff. God forbid that I would put it in files. However tidy that would be it would threaten to put it out of my mind.

Except for the bed my son’s room is packed with four years of stuff. I won’t be able to help my son move it out of his room until I clean up the attic today. I can’t get into the attic until I move the mattress and bed spring that he brought back away from the door to the attic. And the attic is so cluttered from a winter of haphazard storing that it has to be cleaned up first. Then there’s cleaning the garage and the basement workroom…. There’s just no end of chores standing in my way of getting this Boyd book written.

At least the garden is finished and after last nights thunderstorms we should have four or five days of glorious weather. I just hope I’m not tempted to go agate hunting.

New tidbit to the Boyd story

After four days of uninterrupted gardening its good to get back to something else. Even if I stayed up way past my bedtime, golly its a quarter past midnight, I’ve added an interesting new tidbit to the Boyd story I’ve been working on.

Tidbits is what they are. I’m not ready for an entire chapter yet but I’ve got intriguing bits to start with. It will be interesting to see how I pull them all together in the end. This time a Republican features in the story.

Memorial Day

A little before 6AM I got up and raised the flag over our front yard. It was foggy and the harbor fog horn was blowing. Most Memorial Days past we’ve been out of town so our flag has had to wait for Flag Day or July Fourth to be unfurled. Its supposed to be sunny through the morning and then we’ll get a good chance at thunderstorms.

The paper has Memorial Day stories about the Purple Heart medal and the Langhorst family who lost a son in Iraq. I learned one thing new from the paper. My Grandfather got his purple heart in 1932, years after he was wounded in WWI. The US gave thousands of the medals to World War One’s wounded retroactively when it decided to reintroduce the medal that George Washington designed for the first American War.

The Trib also has pictures of the 96 Minnesotans who have died in Iraq. The proper etiquette for flags on Memorial Day is to begin the day by raising them only to half staff. This is meant as a tribute to the people who have sacrificed, for the nation.

There were other troubling stories in the paper. One covered the Marine unit that apparently killed two dozen Iraqies indescrimately after a marine had been killed in an attack. Another was about how Iraqies have been so numbed by their travails that they seem indifferent to the massacre. Finally there was the story about the tribal chief who stuck his neck out to help Americans fight terrorists and was just gunned down for his troubles. Its a good thing our President has finally shown some humility. I hope he didn’t get a scolding for it from the Vice President.

All I’ll have to dodge today is dust and pine needles. Four days of gardening has slowly transformed the yard for the summer. We have eight tomato plants two eggplants, peppers and rhubarb and what seems like thousands of flowers. I hope its a sunny summer.

The new George Bush

If I hadn’t already lost all patience with the President for his first five years of swaggering I could almost like him now.

A strangely humble President Bush joined Prime Minister Tony Blair in a White House press conference yesterday. (Tony’s political career has been wrecked because the Brits didn’t like Bush’s swagger either) Bush almost sounded like the man who campaigned for President in 2000 by saying that the United States should act on the world stage with humility. Instead America has been humiliated. The humble pie Bush confessed that saying such things as “Bring it on” really hadn’t been helpful.

I’m not sure this new more honest tack will help him keep support for the war. The 70% of Americans who think the war was a mistake will not change their minds. The 30% that is sticking with Bush may actually miss his swagger.

About that Grams letter

I’m not sure who Gregg Schweiger is. I’m surprised I’ve never met him because he’s been writing hard core Republican letters-to-the-editor for years. At any rate he’s the first person to weigh in on the looming Grams/Oberstar race. Here’s a pretty typical paragraph.

“Oberstar apparently believes the 8th Congressional District is his until ‘death do us part.’ But he is only in his 70s. He could live to be 100. He rides those bike trails, and they’re keeping him in good shape.”

Schweiger better not use that picture of Jim with the bicycle or he too will no doubt be asked to stop.

Focus on Focus on the Family

If you would like to join dishonest Christians writing fake letters to the editor you can do it at James Dobson’s Focus on the Family. Give them the information that they ask for and then they can use computer power to generate fake letters to the editor.

If you’d like to see how the letters are written but you don’t want to join Focus on the Family you can click this link which will let you in behind the scenes to the fake letter generator.

Rototilling

Its a beautiful day in Duluth, Minnesota and my wife is taking the day off to garden. He rented a rototiller and I’m planting tomatos along our back fence with the southern exposure. Beefsteak. Hope they live up to the name. No posts for a while although I’ll have something to say about the first pro-Grams letter to the editor I read this morning.

Cartoon missing . Common Sense also

I thought the DNT’s in house editorial cartoonist had it about right today but since his toon hasn’t been put in the DNT’s website I can’t link to it. It showed the City Council in a little boat going over the edge of a waterfall called bankruptcy all agreeing to hire an expensive lawyer to investigate the Mayor’s release of confidential information a year ago to the Publisher of the DNT.

Some locals would like treat this as being analogous with the leaks in the Bush Administration but national security is not exactly an issue for the City Council.

The confidential information just showed that a charity/interest group intended to discourage gambling had taken public money for this purpose then spent it in ways which were antithetical to its cause while its leader made beaucoup bucks.

I’ve never heard of anyone who wasn’t glad to have this information released with the possible exception of the charity’s CEO.

My bet with Will

I had lunch with my old buddy Jerry and Will Munger Jr. today. We got talking about the race for Congress in the 8th District and I said that Oberstar was lucky that Grams picked such a crumby year for Republicans to run against him. When he asked me how much Oberstar would win by I predicted that it would be less than 60%.

Will asked how come. I said that Grams would campaign hard name recognition and money and that Oberstar was a poor campaigner. I said that prognosticators who kept pointing out that Oberstar hadn’t gotten less than 65% of the vote since his 59% showing in 1992 didn’t appreciate how weak his opponants had been since 1992. Off hand I can’t remember a single one of his more recent challengers.

Will bet me a dinner that Grams wouldn’t get more than 40% of the vote. I told him that I’d be willing to bet that Oberstar wouldn’t get 60%. I pointed out that the difference was that I expected there could be an independent candidate in which case neither Grams or Oberstar would make that percentage. Will said he’d probably lose the bet. I hope so. I’d like a free meal.

As for 1992. I remember that election very well. I was an independent candidate running aginst both the Republican, Phil Herwig, and Oberstar. I got 7 percent of the vote and a fellow named Floyd Henspetter got 3%. I stopped running when the local Ross Perot people got mad at me. I’d listed my party as the “Perot Choice” party. I hadn’t asked anybody’s permission so that riled them up. this year I figure an independent candidate could do even better. Its likely to be an anti-incumbent election.

George Pal not George’s Pal defeats the Screwball Army

The growth of information available on the Internet continues to amaze me. A few years ago I don’t think I could find this little factoid. Now there are numerous references to it. This is what I was looking for:

In the late 1950’s I would go home from school for lunch. I had an hour, a real “lunch hour.” It was long enough to grab a bite to eat and watch Topeka’s local kid’s afternoon TV show with the puppet “Charlie Horse.” It was mostly a stream of old cartoons introduced by Charlie. They were cartoons from the 30’s and 40’s like Bonzo, Felix the Cat and Betty Boop.

I recall an stop action cartoon in which an army of nuts and bolts goes on a rampage. I was perfectly aware that it represented the Nazis because the echos of WW II were still so close. A number of years ago I saw snippets of it again on some PBS program but until I typed in “stop action” and “cartoons” I had no clue how to find out about it. That’s changed. The cartoon had the improbably title: “Tulips shall bloom” because it was set in Holland. The nuts and bolts are the “Screwballs Army” but they lose when the rain falls. Sounds like the Eastern campaign.

I was hoping to find the animation imbedded somewhere but for the time being I could only find this page with pictures and a brief plot description of the toon.

For my money it sure beats some of the toons like the Smurffs and He Man from my children’s cartoon Era.

The official source for all the blather of the eccentric Harry Welty – Duluth School Board member, off and on, since 1995. He does his best to live up to Mark Twain's assessment: "First God created the idiot. That was for practice. Then he invented the School Board."