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.