7/28/14

The Red Baron and Casper the Ghost

So this morning on the way in to the Smile Hi, we saw the Red Baron doing his crop dusting thing off Road 24.5. The Red Baron is a red low-wing monoplane, like an Air Tractor 502, though I'm not certain of exactly what it is.

But it is similar enough to the Lockheed YO-3 QuietStar, sometimes called 'Casper' by the troops, that it gave me one of those instant remembrances. I hesitate to call it a 'flashback,' as that often has a negative connotation.

During the last half of 1970, two Caspers were stationed at Binh Thuy, in Can Tho province. These things were so quiet, that all you could hear was a slight flutter from the prop as it approached, and maybe a slight 'rushing' noise from airflow over the wings, and that would be as it passed overhead, only a couple of hundred feet up. In addition to this silent operation, the Caspers also had a night vision periscope in the belly, which the pilot could use to observe the ground.

There were a couple of crews of local "freedom fighters" possessed of a Soviet M1938 120mm mortar, and a Chinese copy of the US M20 75mm recoiless rifle. Both crews had developed the annoying habit of lobbing in a couple of dozen rounds in the wee hours of the morning, to see what they could stir up. Among the things they did blow up were the chow hall and the water purification plant. The chow hall was not seen as much of a loss, but the water plant most certainly was.

The US Navy had a squadron of OV-10's at Binh Thuy, the Black Ponies. Unlike USAF OV-10's, which were used almost exclusively in a FAC role, the Black Ponies were shooters, and they were armed to the teeth. The two Caspers arrived, and they and the Black Ponies hatched a scheme ... the Caspers would go up about sunset, and the Black Ponies would rotate through starting about thirty minutes later. A couple of Ponies would be on station throughout the night.

We were sitting on the roof of the radar van the evening all this came to pass. We caught the movement of the Casper launching, but of course heard nothing. He turned and came back over the radar site, which was located right at the extreme edge of the perimeter, right where the tanglefoot and other wire and booby trap encumbrances began. Though he passed about a hundred feet overhead, we heard nothing but the aforementioned flutter and rushing noise. Whispering Death, you might say. A while later a couple of Black Ponies went up.

We were running Arc Light strikes along the Cambodian border (possibly in the same area where John Kerry had spent his Christmas fighting off the Commie hordes), so we went back to that. But we had the Ponies and Caspers up on one of the radios. About 1 in the morning the Casper picked up some movement and got a solid ID on the recoiless rifle crew. This was perhaps a thousand yards out from the perimeter, over toward the river. The 'river' was the Bassac, which drains the Ton Le Sap in Cambodia, and runs parallel to and south of the Mekong as that river empties out in the South China Sea.

The night was a black as the inside of a water buffalo. But we had some idea of where the Caspers and Ponies were, so we looked out that way. Shortly, we saw a dribble of brilliant white 'sapphires' tinged with blue fall out of the sky down to the ground ... and then the ground lit up like the 4th of July. These were the 2.75" rockets fired by the Ponies. Thus endeth the recoiless rifle crew.

Some people went out the next day and recovered the recoiless rifle and a bunch of rounds, and what was left of the crew. The VNAF who ran the base (it was actually a Vietnamese base, not US) hung the corpses up by their feet out in front of the main gate, on the main road. I'm not so sure this was a way to win anyone's hearts and minds, but it did seem to put the mortar crew off, as they never bothered us again. The recoiless rifle was put on display over by base HQ, along with other such memorabilia from previous engagements.

So thanks and a tip of the hat to the Red Baron for triggering what, some 44 years later, and a bit clouded by all those years, was one of those "Say, that reminds me of the time ..." moments.

Historical references:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_YO-3

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binh_Thuy_Air_Base (if you enlarge the aerial photo of the base, you can barely discern the radar site, top left, a blob just off the perimeter road.)

http://www.blackpony.org/enhfl110run.jpg (a Pony armed and ready to roll)

And a pretty good blurb on the Chinese recoiless rifle, including a short clip of it being fired, possibly in Afganistan or Iraq: It remains a very popular item in the arsenals of 'freedom fighters' everywhere.

http://www.5rar.asn.au/weapons/75mm_recoilless.htm

7/10/14

Dopes

Here's an op-ed from an Obamanian drug policy adviser, Kevin Sabet.

What we here at Blogger Central find most interesting is ... this thing is published on CNN. The only thing that would be more amazing would be if it were on MSNBC. But if it were, it wouldn't be noticed. Does anyone watch MSNBC any more?

We wander afield ...

Here's the piece:

Colorado's troubles with pot

There is one excerpt we just have to share:

In fact, more than 450,000 incidents of emergency room admissions related to marijuana occur every year, andheavy marijuana use in adolescenceis connected to an 8-point reduction of IQ later in life, irrespective of alcohol use.

Heh heh heh ... based on observations of our local weed proponents, I'd say that estimation of IQ degeneration is a bit on the conservative side.

The Wall

The Repubs are making noises again about The Wall.  Not that Wall. This Wall:

Return of the Fence

The GOP is sounding a clarion call to renew the efforts to build a Wall, to keep all the illegals out.

(Note that the term 'illegal' is in some quarters being cloaked in the horror of 'the n-word,' but that hasn't reached Blogger Central quite yet.)

The Repubs, ever the students of history, want to build a wall from sea-to-shining-sea, down south.

Apparently this is because such things have always worked so well in the past. There's Hadrian's Wall, for example. Or perhaps they are looking at the successes of our good friends and benefactors, the Chinese, with their Great Wall?

Or perhaps the Berlin Wall, a study in reverse psychology?

Let's not forget the Antonine Wall, and the various Limes of Rome.

There are lots of walled cities throughout history. I believe most of them are in ruins, though some serve very well as very nice tourist destinations.

Then there's the Grogan Wall, and the Gates of Alexander. Still there, in bits and pieces, left lying there by the barbarians as they passed through.

More recently, we all no doubt remember McNamara's Wall: MUSCLE SHOALS/IGLOO WHITE. I remember that one very well, because, as Elmer Keith said, "Hell ... I was there!"

The list goes on ... I suppose, though, our wall would work, because, well, that was then and now is now, and we have, like drones, and even better sensors, and lots and lots of munny that we don't need for anything else.

We could call ours "Socrates' Wall". Because, as Socrates said: “Sometimes you put walls up not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to break them down.”

I wonder ... if the Mexican government, joining forces with the governments of the various Central American countries, were to build a Wall along the border to keep people *in,* would John Boehner then stand before that wall, oh, down in El Paso, and say something dramatic like "Ich bin ein Ciudad de México-er!" to tumultuous cheers from his Republican compatriots?

Or is it simply that the GOP, having no better idea than the rest of us what to do about this mess, are simply playing to the emotions of a pile of people, who, ignorant of history, want to doom us to repeat it?




5/14/14

The Tabares Building

The Tabares Building continues to occupy the various governmental processes about town. At the last city council meeting, Councilman Frank Mckenzie had some comments, which we present here, as there was no mention of these comments in the Tribune-Democrat article on the meeting:

McKenzie said he is sorry that he missed the joint meeting between the City Council and the Urban Renewal Board. He said he would like to address the Urban Renewal Board and make some comments and go on the record concerning the Plaza Building.

“Since I’ve been on Council, a year ago, Urban Renewal voted a majority vote to tear that building down. And the next meeting here we voted also to tear it down and we directed Rick to set out to get that done. I think that’s correct.

Then I attended an Urban Renewal meeting where Rainy Melgosa came in and presented another plan after the feasibility plan. And if I remember correctly at that meeting she was told to go to the SBDC Director to complete that plan. And I don’t believe that ever happened. She had some health problems so that didn’t happen. But we still got a vote to tear it down out there.

Now the next thing, in reading the Urban Renewal minutes that I’m kind of confused about – in my recollection when the Council voted to return the grant application, we did so because the grant application had been extended way out and time was running out.

And so we turned it back. So I don’t think that some of the things that are in the Urban Renewal Minutes present that quite clearly. I wanted to make that clear at that time,because I think that if you guys were to continue on, in my mind, on the path that you voted to go, that going back and searching for more funds – I don’t know why that would be a problem.

My biggest question is – to me it is just a real dilemma – as I read through this and you are now struggling over to rescind the vote – who votes on it? Boards turn over all the time. I doubt that you are going to find an attorney who says you’ve got to get the people who voted last time to vote again. How many times do you vote? Or do you have to vote that this is the last vote? This is really perplexing to me. I though democracies worked that you voted and the majority rules. I don’t see how this keeps going on. And it’s very confusing to the community. People I talk to want to know how does this happen.

And I guess, lastly, and I’m not trying to pick a fight, I am just trying to get some clarification. But I just can’t believe that, after having toured that building, (and I’ve also been through T O’s and the Mason building) and Urban Renewal owns the worst one. I think we have a liability there and I guess my biggest question is how come when you guys take a vote, and you take a vote three times, how do you get to keep voting? Just because you change board members, how do you get to keep voting?” 

Sandra Leonard answered that it didn’t take three votes to take the building down – it took two votes to take the building down. The third vote was on funding for the building and that’s where they are in an impasse. The board can’t agree on using Urban Renewal money to take the building down now. But there is still a majority vote to take the building down.

McKenzie asked Ms. Leonard about a statement she made in the Urban Renewal Minutes “we need to talk to an attorney if we want to change the focus of how the vote went.” McKenzie asked how do you change the focus of a vote. Leonard said the word “change” was a poor choice of words.

She said she did talk to an attorney about making sure that whatever direction they go, the board was proceeding legally and with Roberts Rules of Order.

Mayor Horner said that part of the reason the grant was turned back in was we were getting questioning from the State, especially the State Historical Preservation Office, wanting to know where our plan is. They accused us of only demolishing buildings and said they want to see a plan before they would okay a grant. He went on to say he didn’t think they would give us a grant anyway since we don’t have a plan.

McKenzie said he thought it was a demolition grant. The Mayor said no, it was a grant from DOLA that could have been used either way.

Mestas said we should stop talking about the Plaza Building until we finally have the money to tear it down. The subject gets brought up over and over – it needs to be taken off the table until Urban Renewal can decide something definite.

For those who have not been keeping up with this on-going theater, here is the background:

Kit Carson Redux?

Urban Renewal v. Tri-County Motors

Tabares Building Part 1 

Tabares Building Part 2

Tabares Building Part 3 

Tabares Building Part 4 

Tensions

4/8/14

From the Party of American and Family Values ...

Married Congressman 'sorry' after bagged kissing staffer on camera

"There's no doubt I've fallen short and I'm asking for forgiveness. I'm asking for forgiveness from God, my wife, my kids, my staff, and my constituents who elected me to serve. Trust is something I know has to be earned whether your (sic) a husband, a father, or a congressman. I promise to do everything I can to earn back the trust of everyone I've disappointed,” McAllister said in a statement.  

Having been caught, he is now sorry. Well, there's nothing like getting bagged on camera to bring the zipper up quickly and get the ol' "Forgive Me!" shuck and jive a-goin'.

Nice bit of 'buckpedaling' there. Getting caught certainly does wonders for one's 'moral stance,' doesn't it? 

McAllister campaigned as a Christian conservative. 

Yup. Well, perhaps he and Mike "When we as a nation feared God" Huckabee can huddle together in 'prayerful reconcilation' or somesuch ...

And here's the Grip and Grope.

3/10/14

Tom "Ol' 1Y" Tancredo

Well, Tancredo has tossed his hat in the ring.

First he was a Republican, then he wasn't, now he is ... and he is a-shootin' for the guvnership.

Since the Republicans insist on feeding us stale re-hash, here's a re-hash of reasons why we have no intention of voting for any of the Republican offerings, particularly this one:

Jumped ship too late?

Tancredo and 'the threat'

The Republicans' Chernobyl

Among other things, Ol' 1Y is what we call a 'Chickenhawk.' He never served in the armed forces of these United States; he got himself classified as "1Y" during the Vietnam war. That happened because he claimed he was depressed. So far as I know, he has never said why he was depressed, or what it was that depressed him. Perhaps it was the thought of going to Vietnam? Huh. I'll bet a lot of other guys wish they had thought of that one.

So he never served. That in itself is not all that big a deal. There are lots of people who never served in uniform. But Tancredo,  you see, is one of those guys who now claims "I wish I had had the opportunity to serve ..." and who now supports quite enthusiastically the Bush/Obama wars. He's glad to send your kids off to war ... but he was, like, you know ... too depressed himself. Tancredo is one of those saber-rattling, flag-waving, super-patriot Chickenhawks.

That's what the Republican party is offering us. That's what the 'Christian' Right is offering us.

When the Colorado Republicans can ...well ... if the Colorado Republicans can ever get themselves organized and present a slate of candidates that can actually provide some adult leadership, we might consider voting for a Republican candidate. But for the foreseeable future, that isn't going to happen, and the Republicans will continue to self-destruct, state-wide and on the national political scene. And we will hold our noses, and vote Democrat.


3/4/14

RNC Chairman Priebus and Mike "When we as a nation feared God" Huckabee

By way of demonstrating just how out of touch the RNC - and Republicans in general - are with the increasingly dissatisfied masses ...

RNC Chair Reince Preibus: "Mike Huckabee Could Be A ‘Model For A Lot Of People’ In The GOP"

In his comments about this time last year ...

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus told reporters on Friday that former Arkansas Governor and talk show host Mike Huckabee could be “a model for a lot of people in our party.” Priebus made the comment as he was attempting to clarify a statement from earlier this week in which he expressed support for Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) who recently came out in favor of same-sex marriage after he discovered his son was gay.

That one opens a few doors.

First, we here at Blogger Central are of the opinion that there are already entirely too many people in the GOP who are just like Huckabee, and therein lies much of the GOP's problem.

Apparently Preibus and by extension the Republican Party faithful agree with Huckabee in American Values - or why I could vote for Obama. Here we see Mike Huckabee state, rather unequivocally, that he thinks Americans should be held at gunpoint in order to hear the pseudo-intellectual drivel spewed out by Brother Dave Barton. I'm afraid that that doesn't wash with all those quotes from the Constitution the Republicans and the Tea Party are so fond of slinging about. In fact, their 'agreeance' gives me pause to wonder if they've ever actually read the Constitution, much less actually thought about it.

Huckabee sank to new lows - Pat Robertson lows - when he said the Newtown shooting occurred because we have 'systematically removed God from our schools.' That's a tired old drum he's beating, and it's something that Huckabee, Preibus, and the rest of the Republican Righteous Right just don't get. No one has removed God from our schools, systematically or otherwise. What has been removed from our schools is the opportunity for people like Huckabee to jam his verson of God down the throats of our kids. Huckabee's arrogance hit a nerve with Rachel Held Evans, who blogged, quite uncharacteristically, "Bullshit!" in response. We here at Blogger Central agreed wholeheartedly:

Mike Huckabee: Bullshit!

Huckabee Responds

This  sort of thinking is why we cannot accept the Republican Party as it now stands. What will it take for them to see the writing on the wall? To see just how far out of touch they are with all but the far right of their own party? They continue to offer no alternatives to the Democrats. As distasteful as so many of our Democrat 'leadership' may be, the Republicans offer little or nothing in acceptable opposition.

Meanwhile, Rob Portman discovered afresh that "Christian" love that is the bedrock of the Party of American Values:

Rob Portman's approval rating drops

Portman was against gay marriage before he was for it. He is for it because he discovered that his son is gay, and he wants his son to have the same opportunities as his other children. That doesn't wash with the Republican faithful. Perhaps Portman is supposed to disown his son? Tie him to a fencepost and toss rocks at him? Have him kidnapped and whisked away for 'reprogramming' at the hands of some "Christian" counsellor? Dropped off his Christmas card list? What is it that the Republicans want fathers to do about their gay sons? Resign from the party? Give us some of those Christian-love filled pointers here.




Ken "The Buckpedaller" Buck

So Ken Buck is going to make a run for Cory Gardner's seat.

You remember Ken Buck. He's the fellow whose waffling led to our coining the term 'Buckpedalling.'

If you don't remember, here it is:

"Buckpedallin' Ken"

But wait! There's more!

Ken Buck v. Veterans

Ken Buck and Amendment 62

Is this really the best the Colorado Republicans can do? A replay of their previous meltdowns?

Why not bring back that perennial fave, Tom "Ol' 1Y" Tancredo?

Yet another opportunistic weasel  (6th story down from the top)

The Democrats are continuing to look like the only choice. It's going to be another 'hold your nose and vote' election cycle.

And then we have the Otero Republicans, who also seem bent on keeping the same proven combination. They still have the same slate of officers running their show as the last go-around.

Hitting a nerve?

Do these people not listen? Do they not learn from past mistakes? When are they going to pull their heads out and offer us some viable alternative to the Democrats?

2/26/14

Arizona and 'religious freedom'

The pot's boiling over with Arizona's Senate Bill 1062 awaiting its fate at the hands of Governor Jan Brewer.

Though the bill was put forth by three Republican senators - Yarbrough, Worsley, and Barto - and then passed the Arizona ledge thusly:

It passed the Senate on a party-line vote, 17-13, with Republicans in support. Since then, three GOP senators, including Worsley, have said they regret their votes and have asked Brewer to veto the bill.

Note that Worsley, who was one of the bill's sponsors, now wants Brewer to veto it. We can only wonder if perhaps Worsley suddenly remembered that pesky little obstruction to government, the Constitution. Both of 'em. The Federal and the state.

In the Arizona house, it was a little different:

The bill passed the House, 33-27, with mostly GOP support. Three Republicans joined with all 24 Democrats to vote against it.

Three Repubs jumped ship on that one.

You can read the entire article here:

Q&A: An overview of Arizona service-denial bill.

You'll note they call it what it is - a 'service-denial' bill. Whatever it is, it is not a 'religious freedom' bill.

Some of the more prominent Republicans have started pushing Brewer to veto the bill. Some of the headlines on news articles leave out that 'prominent' part and give the impression that the Republicans in general are against the bill.

That is not true. The bill was sponsored by Republicans, and it was passed by Republicans.

Those 'prominent' Republicans may have actually been giving some thought to all the polls and data that shows voters jumping off the Republican ship port and starboard. Just Google on that, and you'll see the data. Supporting a Constitutional abomination like SB 1062 is a sure way to even further alienate the more rational in the voter pool. While this bill is a 'Christian' Right wet dream, we here at blogger central can only wonder how supporters of this bill are going to explain their thinking to Jesus.

How self-professed 'Christians' can claim that such hatefulness is in keeping with that New Commandment thing is beyond me. Of course, these are people who believe in a six day creation and who deny the truth of science ... so why should we be surprised at this kind of thinking?






1/3/14

Gun control

In what will certainly be gun control advocates' new least favorite study, Quinnipiac University’s Mark Gius found not only that states with restrictive concealed weapons laws had higher gun-related murder rates, but that assault weapons bans had no significant impact on murder rates at the state level.

The study by economist Mark Gius, published in Applied Economics Letters, sought to “determine the effects of state-level assault weapons bans and concealed weapons laws on state murder rates,” using extensive data from a thirty-year period, 1980-2009. In the abstract for the study, Gius sums up the findings:

"Using data for the period 1980 to 2009 and controlling for state and year fixed effects, the results of the present study suggest that states with restrictions on the carrying of concealed weapons had higher gun-related murder rates than other states. It was also found that assault weapons bans did not significantly affect murder rates at the state level. These results suggest that restrictive concealed weapons laws may cause an increase in gun-related murders at the state level."

Gius notes that these results are consistent with previous research, specifically citing the work by John R. Lott and David B. Mustard.

The conclusion(s)? Well one of them might be that in states where every Tom, Dick, and Harriet might have a gat up his/her sleeve, it's better to be polite.

"An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life." - Robert Heinlein

 The study:

An examination of the effects of concealed weapons laws and assault weapons bans on state-level murder rates

12/8/13

Sam Frankmore

We have a gallery from this year's Sam Frankmore meet over on FaceBook:

Sam Frankmore 2013


11/22/13

Fifty years ago today

Fifty years ago today I was working in the warehouse at the base exchange on MCAS Cherry Point.

I had been accepted to the naval apprentice program over at what was then called the 'O&R', for 'Overhaul and Repair', the Navy's largest aircraft repair facility on the east coast. At the warehouse, I was making $0.95/hour. Yep. Ninety-five cents. An hour. It was considered pretty good pay for non-skilled labor.

I had pushed out a load of goods to re-stock the men's clothing section. The military uniform store was right next to the double doors for the warehouse. Music had been playing over the PA system in the store; I remember it was the old "She ain't got no yo-yo ...".

The music stopped, and the announcement was made that President Kennedy had been shot, and that he was dead. We all stood there in total silence. You could hear a pin drop in the store. I remember a Marine major gave an audible sigh, and went to the counter in the uniform store and asked if they had any mourning bands. These were black bands worn on a uniform, much as the black bands cops wear over their badges. They didn't.

I looked over at the ladies who worked in the men's clothing department, and they were huddled together sobbing. Then the announcement was made for all military personnel to report immediately to their units - because ... who had killed the president? Why? Was it the prelude to an attack? This was at the height of the Cold War, and the Cuban missile crisis and other Soviet shenanigans were fresh in our minds. TV coverage was non-stop; all three networks held up regular programming to cover the event. I remember the Oswald shooting, too.

"She ain't got no yoyo" was actually quite popular on most Marine bases; the Marines still had a large garrison contingent in Japan. The song was really "Shina no Yoru," or "China Night." It sounded like "She no got no yo-ohyooooh!" It's a Japanese song written in the late 1930's, after Japan had invaded China. Itwas first recorded by a female recording artist named Watanabe Hamako and later by Yamaguchi Yoshiko who recorded under the stage name of Shirley Yamaguchi.

And when I started the apprentice program, my hourly pay went to $1.95/hour, and LBJ started cranking things up in Vietnam, and the Sixties were, like, wow, man ... they were On!

Huh. Here it is: "Shina No Yoru." It was also the title of a Japanese propaganda flick, showing the kindliness of the Japanese occupying forces toward the Chinese.

However, they didn't play that at Kennedy's funeral. They played Chopin's Funeral March: Chopin's Funeral March.

11/14/13

Solving the ObamaCare woes

OK, I admit that I'm just a dumbass hick from the sticks, who fails utterly to understand all the wonderful things that President Obama is doing for me personally, to help me wend my stupid way through life ...

But just what is this:

Administration officials say President Obama will direct insurance companies to offer Americans whose health plans were canceled by the Affordable Care Act the option of renewing those plans without change. WATCH LIVE on Fox News and FoxNews.com at 11:35 a.m. ET 

The O is going to direct private companies to do this?

Or else? Or else what? We have a composite reaction from the multitudes:

Apparently, here's how it works. You've heard the expression "... there's an App for that?"  Well, The O believes "... there's an executive order for that."

Don't have congressional approval? No worries, rule by fiat. Doesn't pass constitutional muster?  Screw 'em, here's my executive order.

We know what he's trying to do, but his arrogance seeps through and instead of "I'll direct the government agencies responsible for enforcement to back off temporarily, meet with the Congress and work with them to provide a legal respite to the requirements of the ACA and ask the insurers to bear with us during this period of uncertainty and not issue cancellation notices to any of their policyholders due to the ACA."

Had Bush made that same statement, he'd have been painted as a dolt.  Is the O simply stupid? Or insufferably arrogant? Or perhaps both?

OTOH ... Insurance companies are obviously running dog capitalist pig extortion operations and must be directed by Dear Leader in order to properly redistribute the wealth.

An update from FauxNews:

Obama's insurance plan 'fix' stirs confusion, ridicule at state levels

But we all know that Faux is out to 'get'  The O ... so how about this one, from CNN:

The health care fix won't work


11/12/13

A famous La Juntan

Well ... maybe not so famous, as I have never heard anyone in The Smile Hi mention Wendell Fertig.

Not even those whose great-grandaddies played poker with T.T. Woodruff and Chuck Denney and Bat Masterson.

Fertig was born in La Junta in 1900. He grew up here, and graduated from high school here, and then he went to the School of Mines.

And then he went to the Philippines:

Wendell Fertig

Fertig was basically shafted due to Army politics. Nonetheless:

By late 1944, Fertig commanded a force estimated at between 25,000 to 40,000 effectives, with most sources agreeing on 36,000—the equivalent of an Army Corps—with 16,500 of them armed.[82][83] Officers with responsibility for corps command usually hold the rank of major general. In addition, Fertig created and help administer the civilian government of Mindanao while at the same time conducting the guerrilla war against the Japanese. The USFIP killed at least 7,000 Japanese soldiers and, while a constant drain on Japanese resources, they also prevented the Japanese from fully utilizing Mindanao's resources in support of its war efforts. At one time, the Japanese committed approximately 60,000 troops in an attempt to crush guerrilla resistance on Mindanao, troops that were desperately needed elsewhere. Throughout the entire Philippines, the guerrillas managed to tie down a Japanese army of 288,000 troops, of which approximately 43,000–60,000 were on Mindanao, depending on the time period.[84]

After the war, examination of Japanese records indicated that the Japanese high command felt that 24 battalions of troops would be needed to guard rear areas against guerrillas once the American invasion of the Philippines began. Since seven divisions were slated to resist the invasion, this resulted in a ratio of one rear-area soldier to every three front-line troops. Ultimately, the Japanese concluded that, "It is impossible to fight the enemy and at the same time suppress the activities of the guerrillas."[85]

While summarizing Colonel Wendall Fertig's contributions to the American war effort and his leadership of the USFIP on Mindanao, Keats (1990) states:

...apart from his insistence on honesty and justice, and the idea that the guerrilla army be a process of a responsible civil government, his fundamental contribution to Mindanao was his concern that the reward for performance should always be increased responsibility. In his command, demonstrated competence was the sole means to promotion, and no man was denied an opportunity to prove himself. This concept built a nation in North America, and it built another on Mindanao... It was Fertig, more than any other man, who gave the Filipinos of Mindanao increasing reason to believe in themselves. This, rather than a military victory, was Fertig's triumph.[86]

(excerpted from Wiki article)

The Fertigs lived at 302 Lincoln. Fertig's parents arrived in La Junta in 1888. Fertig's father, Welby, was the water service foreman for the Santa Fe for 33 years.

Wouldn't it be nice if there were some sort of historical plaque or other such marker, memorializing this La Juntan's  remarkable contribution toward the defeat of the Japanese in World War II?

11/4/13

Government efficiency

I had a question about SNAP.

So I went to the website for that program.

I used the search function.

It returns with:

Unknown error.

So I sent an email to the webmaster to let them know of this 'issue.'

I had an almost instantaneous response:

Delivery has failed to these recipients or groups:

webmaster@fns.usda.gov (webmaster@fns.usda.gov)

The e-mail address you entered couldn't be found. Please check the recipient's e-mail address and try to resend the message. If the problem continues, please contact your helpdesk.

11/3/13

Prayer at city council meetings

Here we go again:

Atheist to get her day at the Supreme Court

That would be the US Supreme Court.

Here's the deal:

The justices on Wednesday will hear arguments over whether Greece, New York, may continue sponsoring what it calls "inclusive" prayers at its open sessions, on government property.

Stephens and co-plaintiff Susan Galloway have challenged the policy, saying virtually all of those invited to offer legislative prayers over the years were Christians.

"It's very divisive when you bring government into religion," Stephens told CNN from her home. "I don't believe in God, and Susan is Jewish, so to hear these ministers talk about Jesus and even have some of them who personally question our motives, it's just not appropriate."

She's right. It is not. However, that has never discouraged the Christian Right from trying to ram their particular, and too often peculiar, interpretations of 'Christianity' down the throats of everyone else in the nation.

We can expect the religious right to get the wind up over another atheist trying to ruin our 'Christian' Nation. They'll go on, in usual manner, about how our Founders intended this to be a 'Christian' Nation ... and of course, as usual, they will be wrong. That's never stopped them before, and it won't now.

Back the day of the Founders, there was little concern about atheists; there was no concern about Muslims ... or any other non-Christian religion for that matter. Their concern was Christian-on-Christian persecution. A cursory examination of the history of religion in this country demonstrates that very well.

It was 'Christians' who were the main threat to religious freedom back in those days, and it remains so today.

It's time to give it a rest and MoveOn. We have way too many people who believe in way too many different things for town councils to be endorsing, however obliquely, any religion at all.

Pray on your own time.


11/1/13

Benefits

It's good to see that someone is benefiting from Obamacare:

http://money.cnn.com/2013/11/01/smallbusiness/sex-workers-obamacare/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

Meanwhile, we have The ObamaCare Six:

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/11/01/internal-notes-indicate-only-6-people-signed-up-for-obamacare-on-first-day/

Six, in a nation of over 300 million souls ... of course, Jay Carney believes that we have veritable avalanche of seekers just waiting in the wings. And, for those whose wildly increased insurance premiums under ObamaCare are going to drive them deeper in to the poorhouse:

http://money.cnn.com/2013/11/01/news/economy/food-stamps-families/index.html?hpt=hp_t1

though CNN screwed the pooch with this interview. As you can see from the comments, she isn't getting a lot of sympathy. Of all the people in this country who truly could use some food stamp help, CNN picked this one?

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/11/01/deep-cuts-to-country-food-stamp-program-start-friday/

Knowing

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/11/01/one-month-healthcaregov-horrors-time-for-obama-apologize-meet-with-republicans/

Interesting tidbit. The author is completely wrong, of course. It's not nearly that bad.

A local wage-earner was told this week that he can expect rate hikes in their health insurance in the immediate future that will be just a bit more than double what he is now paying. The 'new' plan will have the mandatory maternity care included. That they do not need maternity care coverage is beside the point. When he asked me, somewhat rhetorically, why he has to pay for maternity care when 'maternity' ain't gonna happen, for various reasons, some pharmaceutical and some surgical, I told him "you have to pay for it so everyone who does need it can afford it. you see."

He doesn't.

See? It's small-minded people like that who are dragging the whole thing down.

Looks like they may be on food stamps after the premium hike.

No ... wait ... food stamps are being reduced ...

I really admire the leadership our beloved president is providing.

He does know he is providing that, doesn't he? Or is that something else he didn't know about.

10/31/13

Stonehenge Bread and other delights

OK, here's another one. This one rivals our Toasting Bread:This is a good one. It rivals our Toasting Bread:

Part 1

3 tblspoons brown flax seed
1/4 cup oat bran
3 tblspoons polenta or cornmeal
1/4 cup Red Mill Meusli
3 tblspoons honey
3 tblspoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup boiling water

Part 2

2 cups bread flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup rye flour (dark is best)
2 tblspoons roasted wheat germ
1 1/2 tblspoons gluten
1 1/2 tspoons salt (TEAspoon; not TABLEspoon)

Part 3

1 tblspoon yeast, or 1 tblspoon plus 1/2 tspoon bread machine yeast

Put all the ingredients in Part 1 together in a bowl and let the grains soften by soaking for 15 minutes.

While that is taking place, add all the ingredients in Part 2 to the bread machine.

Add the mess from the bowl and let it cool a bit before adding the yeast. Make sure it is not too hot or the yeast will suffer.

Set the crust on medium; set on the Whole Wheat cycle; make sure it's set for 1 to 1 1/2 pound loaf, and hit Start.

Remove immediately at the end of the baking cycle and place on a rack. Let cool to room temperature before slicing.

NOTE: 1 1/4 cups water is almost certainly going to result in a dough ball that is too dry. Add water a tablespoon at a time during the first knead cycle till you get a nice, sticky dough ball typical of a good whole wheat recipe.

This stuff, with butter and a good jelly or jam (specifically, a high grade orange marmelade) will cause your eyeballs to roll back in your head in gustatory ecstasy. It will also earn you the approval of your proctologist.

See also:

Hungarian Fennel Bread

Patriot Bread

Sour Cream Rye Bread

Farmstyle Cottage Cheese Bread

Honey Cornmeal Buttermilk Bread

and ... last but not least ...

Fusion Burgers and Camel Dung

for that one, you have to come up with a nan bread.

10/3/13

Where is Putin?

Oh ... c'mon. Where's Putin when you need him?

Raz-putin pulled the O's shorts out of the fire on the last Red Line ... let him do his magic on this one, too.

Obama: Only one way out - my way