Category Archives: History

The Cost of Living with Trump

According to CNBC  Trump’s tariff on steel and aluminum will add $1,800 to the cost of a Toyota Camry sedan, assembled in Kentucky. A similar cost would occur for a Tundra pickup truck and around $2,900 on a Sienna minivan. To some degree the same will happen to all automobile costs because so many materials and parts are imported.

Trump loves to brag about the economy and takes major credit for it. He mostly points to the rising stock market and falling unemployment rates. What he doesn’t mention is the stagnation of wages  for the working class, the shortage and rising cost of housing, the skyrocketing cost of education, the in-affordability of medical care, and the enormous tax breaks he’s given to the super wealthy.

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A Little Political Science & History

I watched the attached video and had no problem whatsoever seeing the parallels and similarities between Mussolini and Hitler as compared to the rise of Donald Trump.

I’m not saying they are a perfect match or that the times are exactly the same. But, I do believe that Trump craves total control, has contempt for intellectuals, fears opposing political parties and ideologies, wouldn’t hesitate to stomp out the free press, curtail free speech, align himself with the military, and wouldn’t turn down an enabling act if offered one.

I don’t live my life in fear of Trump but I do keep aware of how close he comes to walking in the footpaths of Il Duce and the der Führer.

Jump Jim Crow; A Lesson in History

In my lifetime been a witness to much of the efforts to weaken or eliminate segregation in America. Unfortunately, I’m now witness to the reemergence of those forces that contributed to American segregation in the first place. I came across this short video covering  the highlights of post Civil War race relations and I think we all might benefit from a refresher course.

How about a little Russian History lesson?

On July 16, 2018 Donald Trump claimed that what Vladimir Putin says is more truthful than whatever is said by America’s entire intelligence community. He endorsed a leader, a nation, and an international viewpoint that no American president or government has ever endorsed. No American government has ever viewed Russia as an ally, a friend, a co-equal, or a friendly force in world politics. In fact, for the past 80 years America and Russia have been diametrically opposed, often at the threat of open military hostility.

Unlike Belgium, Norway, Holland and France, who were directly and almost immediately swallowed up by Hitler’s armies, the Soviet Union entered a 1939 non-aggression pact with Hitler that swung open the doors of Eastern Europe. The Soviets have to share some of the blame for the outbreak of WWII and total blame for the eventual invasion of their homeland by Hitler’s forces.

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In pursuit of a more perfect union & other things

I took an afternoon nap, watched a little news, and found myself angry enough that I just have to hold a little American History class. This nation is not and has never been perfect. But our basic documents give us goals and a purpose to believe in. The Declaration of Independence addresses the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of liberty. It also speaks to all men being created equal. The main document, the US Constitution speaks in its Preamble the reasons we formed a government. It clearly states that one reason is to create a more perfect union. While we at times have made great progress with all these things, we have also failed miserably. Mixed in with all that is bright and shiny are some pretty damned dark and shameful events.

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Orange County, California

I lived in Southern California in the 1960s and went to college and taught for a year in Orange County. At the time the word on the street was, Orange County is the most conservative in America. We didn’t have Google back then so I really didn’t know but much of what I witnessed agreed with common beliefs.

California is having their primary elections today and in recent weeks much has been said about the Democrats being able to flip conservative Orange County. Out of curiosity I did a little snooping and found more than one article refuting the conservative claims.

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It’s a New World That’s Coming

By the spring of 1969 I had two more classes to take to fulfill my requirements. I needed to take public speaking and a literature elective. Public speaking was required of all students seeking a career in teaching. I was so fearful of it I put it off till the very end. Turned out I feared for not, I loved it.

The literature class I decided on was Science Fiction Literature. Both classes were summer classes and I quickly learned that Catholic nuns went to school in the summer and they were serious about getting all the As. The other lesson was that literature teachers who are serious fans of Sci-Fi also take summer classes.

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BJs are OK Today

I remember being one of those loyal Democrats who for a short time tried to support Bill Clinton getting blown and enjoying a fine smoke afterwards.

When the red sphinctered Republicans accused him of having sex with that woman I pointed out that even Eisenhower got his socks knocked off a few times while overseas. There’s a long history of presidents having sex in places other than the second floor of the White House.

There’s also a long history of men lying about their sexual exercises to keep their wives happy and in the dark. When the GOP finally got down to asking him if he had engaged in sex with Monica, Clinton messed up by saying it depended on how one defined sex. That’s when I stopped supporting Clinton and the aroma of family valued impeachment heat wafted over the great DC Swamp. Well, the self-righteous impeached, the wise men of the Senate refused to convict, and William Jefferson Clinton became member two of the Andrew Johnson Boys Club.

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The Southern Way of Life

My father’s family was centered in Northwestern South Carolina. I was born in Charleston, SC and lived for several years of my early life in Columbia. My Uncle and Aunt owned a grocery store in the heart of a large black Columbia neighborhood and on several occasions I spent the summer with them and my cousins.

At the time segregation was the rule and the rule was total. I was too young to understand why the rules but I soon learned what the rules were. The last summer I spent in SC was 1954 and I was fourteen. They say things are different today but I not always convinced of that.

Back then it was common to hear Southerners talk about The Southern Way of Life and that Yankees and liberals were determined to interfere with it. I came across the following video and as I watched it I was taken back to the 50s and it all was so familiar. While I never heard my family members talking like this it wouldn’t surprise me if in private they supported the basics of the Southern Way.

Mississippi; what’s wrong with it?

If your state is possibly the poorest, least educated, most conservative state in the nation; well, that’s what’s wrong with it. It also doesn’t help if your state’s flag still includes a version of the Confederate flag. Having too many of the people portrayed in the attached video also doesn’t speak well.

I’ve been to Mississippi many times and things are slowly changing. The state and local governments have done some amazing things in creating a blues and music based tourist economy. But despite the steps forward there are too many people who would take it back to the pre civil rights era. Mississippi’s overwhelming support of Donald Trump is a strong statement to this.

Couple of years ago I heard a black Mississippi judge speak of the new Mississippi. The fact that he was black and a judge speaks to things new. Unfortunately there’s too much old in Mississippi.

Greenfield’s Presidential Dog

The news reported recently that the Trump family was the first to occupy the White House and not own a dog. While I think that is a win-win for dogs I do have a story about presidential dogs. This was originally published on an earlier version of my website but I think it’s time to bring it back for a second reading.

Feller, an adorable 5-week-old puppy, arrived at the White House as a gift in a giant crate, December 1947.
Feller on the White House lawn.

“Feller, a beautiful blond Cocker Spaniel, was an unsolicited 1947 Christmas gift to President Truman. The Trumans elected to give the puppy to the White House physician, Brigadier General Wallace Graham. Dog lovers around the country attacked the President as being anti-canine. Dr. Graham, soon tiring of the press and publicity, decided to get rid of the dog. He had Truman’s Naval Aide, Adm. James K. Foskett, take Feller to Shangri-La (Camp David). As the camp was not open to the press this seemed to end the Feller story, until now. The Admiral left Feller with the chief-in-charge, Quartermaster Chief George A. Poplin. When Poplin was transferred, Charles G. Ross, President Truman’s secretary, came to camp and told Poplin to leave the dog there. Poplin was relieved as chief-in-charge by Damage Control Chief Ralph O. Loften, who in turn was relieved by Chief Boatswain Robert W. Lyle. In 1953, while Chief Lyle was being transferred to Italy, he sought permission from Naval Aide Admiral Robert L. Dennison to take Feller. Permission was granted, provided that no mention be made that the dog once belonged to Truman. Robert gave Feller to his father, Archie Otis Lyle, who owned a farm just outside Greenfield, Ohio. There Feller lived for many happy years until he died of old age.

As a note of interest, when it became known by the camp crew that a member of the Truman family was to visit Shangri-La, Feller would be taken to a pet groomer in Thurmont just to be looking good in case the Trumans wanted to see him. They never did ask about the dog.”

52 Years Today

Fifty-two years ago today John Lewis, Martin Luther King, and a number of other civil rights leaders and marchers set out to march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge into Selma, AL. On arrival they were violently set upon by city police, state troopers, police dogs, water cannons, tear gas, and nightsticks. Unfortunately there were those, then and now, who argue that the wrong side, Lewis’, won.

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The Time for Protest

Many of you know I’m a huge fan of Playing for Change. The effort to bring the world’s people together through the universal language of music. I cut my liberal teeth on the protest music of the 1950s and 60s and PforP just today released a new video containing a y. If ever the need for continued protest was appropriate, this is it.

Enjoy, pat your feet, clap your hands, and then somehow join the resistance movement. We have a long way to go!

And They Will Climb Over It

A lot has been said about building walls in the past year or so. Trump made building a wall along the Mexican-American border a major part of his campaign. And he seemed to convince large numbers of his believe anything base that Mexico was going to pay for it.

The US-Mexican border at San Ysidro, CA. One of the busiest crossings on earth.

The proposed purpose of the wall is to protect Americans. Protect Americans by keeping all those raping Mexicans out of our country and to stop the flow of thugs and drugs. Before the first shovel of dirt is turned some things need to be considered.

First, the US-Mexican border is 1900 miles long. That’s 600 miles longer than the Great of China which failed to keep the Chinese from falling to the hordes of Mongol warriors who eventually brought down the Song Dynasty in the 13th century.

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Video Tour of McClain High School

The included video was shot by students of the Radio and TV class at McClain High School in Greenfield, Ohio. McClain is where I graduated from and where I taught American History and Government for twenty-six years.

It was built for and gifted to the people of Greenfield by early twentieth century industrialist, Edward Lee McClain and literally is a one of a kind public school. In the late 1990s, when older public schools were being demolished and replaced with new modern facilities, the state of Ohio exempted McClain because of its historical importance.