Tag Archives: HISTORY

Drugs; The Great Equalizer

By whatever name they’re called there are 3,142 counties in the United States. Every single county in the U.S. registered an increase in drug-related mortality between 1980 and 2014. And that rise was statistically significant in 99.8 percent of counties.

The tragedy of these facts and figures is that the obvious failure of what has become known as the War on Drugs can be traced at least back to the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act of 1914. The war got heated in 1971 under Nixon and again in the 1980s with Reagan. 

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Roller Coaster Days

For at the past week life has been like an emotional roller coaster. At one moment I find myself elated and confident about my nation’s future, followed by my cart roaring out of control down the steel tracks and I am screaming at the top of my voice.

On the down side the nation’s pseudo president hires an ideological war hawk, John Bolton, to head a department charged with providing for our security. Bolton has a life’s track record of favoring war over peace. He has openly called for the unilateral preëmptive nuclear strike by the United States against North Korea and Iran. Seeming ignorant of the cost in human lives to our allies in South Korea and Japan. Also of the loss of tens of thousands of American military person stationed in Asia.

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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.

Blind Williams – Philadelphia Busker

I love blues, I love folk music, and I love the simple music of the people. Here’s a video of an old Philadelphia street performer named Blind Connie Williams singing an old Gospel. Take my Hands Precious Lord. I love his guitar playing and the tenor of his voice.

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Guns and What I Won’t Do

When I was a kid my uncle Homer owned a single shot, bolt-action, J.C. Penny .22 rifle. I would often borrow it and go “plinking” at a trash dump on Wolf Rd. Firing the weapon required opening the chamber with the bolt lever, inserting a cartridge, closing the chamber, and cocking the rifle by pulling back a firing pin mechanism. Very simple, very reliable, very accurate, and very very slow.

Some years ago I traded for a Remington semi-automatic .22 rifle with a tubular magazine that held maybe 10 rounds of long-rifle ammo. The rifle required one trigger pull per round but you could very rapidly empty the magazine. Reloading was pretty slow, nothing like ripping out an empty clip and slamming a full one in.
I’m not sure I ever fired this weapon and later gave it to my grandson along with a .22 nine round revolving target pistol.

When I was in the Navy, and later the Air Force Reserves, I got to fire a variety of weapons and became “qualified” with a couple of pistols. I fired a Garand M1 rifle, a Browning BAR, a Thompson sub-machine gun, a 38 pistol along with a .45 semi-automatic pistol. In boot camp I carried a Springfield 1903 five shot bolt-action rifle. The only one I ever actually fired was a rental I used for my one and only deer hunting experience. My boot camp 1903 didn’t even have a firing pin and the barrel may have been plugged.

I currently own a single shot .16 gauge shotgun and two revolver pistols and though I know how to use them I am not practiced.

I say all this to demonstrate that I’m not firearms ignorant and I’m not opposed to owning guns, hunting, and shooting sports. I basically support the 2nd Amendment but strongly believe, as does the Supreme Court, that it comes with limits. Government has the right to restrict many aspects of gun use and ownership. This said, however, the NRA and other groups deny the Founding Fathers meant there should be limits. They radically oppose any limits on all things gun related.

In the past few years I have wrestled with my feelings about the most controversial of all guns, the AR-15 and I’ve finally arrived at a conclusion. These “assault style” weapons are no different from the simple .22 semi-automatic I gave my grandson. You could go to a gun shop and buy the gun I gave my grandson and fewer critics would complain. But you buy that same weapon made to look like a military rifle it immediately gets labeled an assault rifle and the critics go nuts. The real difference between the civilian and the military weapons is the rate of fire. The military version has a firing option the civilian doesn’t; it can fire (depending on the model) in full-automatic or burst-automatic. Burst function lets the rifle fire three rounds with each pull of the trigger. Full-automatic will fire as long as you hold the trigger in or until you shot all the bullets. The civilian versions are legal to buy, own, and use. The military versions are mostly illegal.

These are some of the basic facts we all need to be aware of. But, in the words of Paul Harvey there is a “rest of the story.” The truth is that any semi-automatic weapon, pistol or rifle, is deadlier than single-shots because they have a much higher rate of fire. In the time it took me to shoot my uncles J.C. Higgins and reload, a ten-round semi-automatic could easily have ten bullets in the air. They could also be reloaded in less time than with my uncle’s gun.

I’m going to make a major compromise with the gun crowd and publicly state that I won’t support a ban on any gun that is currently legal. I won’t support the government coming to your door and defrocking you of your manhood unless there is reason to think you’ve broken a law. But, here’s what I won’t do:

  • I won’t support the NRA in any way as long as they remain the radical organization they have become. When the ammosexuals decide they are ready to give up protecting the sale of cop-killer ammo and arming the insane, maybe we can begin talking.
  • I won’t support the current loopholes in gun registration and sales. I demand that thorough background checks take place on each and every gun sale in the nation, even private sales. Private sales would have to go through a licensed broker who would perform the background check.
  • I won’t support the current manufacturer and sale of any device that increases a weapon’s rate of fire. Example the bump stock that was used by the Las Vegas shooter to turn his AR-15 into a fully automatic weapon.
  • I know it is controversial but I won’t support any legislation that bars the registration of all firearms.
    I won’t support any legislation that bans waiting periods before buying a gun.
  • I will not support the continued ownership of any clip or magazine that holds more than ten rounds of ammunition. All such devices should be totally outlawed and all violations should carry a heavy penalty. General George Patton called the Garand M1 the best weapon of war ever invented. It was the rifle that won WWII, it was a semi-automatic, and it only held eight rounds. With a ten round clip a person can target shoot, hunt, protect their families, and partly get their testosterone fueled rocks off. And unfortunately, they can still wipe out a school hallway.
  • I won’t support the sale of any firearm or ammunition via the mail or the Internet.
  • I won’t oppose reasonable legislation that limits the amount of ammunition one can purchase.
  • I won’t support the increase of age to buy a gun. I will always believe that if being eighteen is enough for voting and military service it should be enough to buy a beer or a gun. Turning eighteen should come with all the rights of an adult.
  • I won’t support any decision to permit people with mental issues, a history of violence, a history of serious crime, and other issues that may threaten the public safety to purchase or possess a firearm.
  • I won’t support the arming of teachers. These people want to be educators and mentors to the young, not armed guards. As a retired teacher I’ve tried to imagine myself as a fit thirty year old with a weapon. Regardless of training I can’t help but think of all the things that would make that a bad idea. I doubt I could pull the trigger on a student without some delay or hesitation that would only worsen the situation. After all, if four trained sheriff deputies in Parkland, FL couldn’t do it, what makes me think the caring and loving English teacher, Ms. Jones, could do it?

This is my list at time of writing. It is subject to be added to and/or amended. I believe, however, that this is a list of sensible and reasonable gun laws. It doesn’t take away a “good person’s” gun but together it does relieve what I believe the worst truths about guns in America…there are simply too many guns and they are far too easy to acquire.

Oh, one more item for the list…I won’t vote for any politician, regardless of party, who disagrees with me and/or accepts money from the firearms industry or the NRA!

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.”

Recent Random Ramblings

  • Trump is the first occupant of the White House who has been given carte blanche to make shit up while providing zero evidence.
  • It’s been said that Trump Tweets while sitting on the toilet each morning. I’m thinking his most angry, ridiculous, and outrageous Tweets come from those times when he is the most constipated.
  • If Obama did tap Trump’s phones it suggest a federal judge saw sufficient evidence of wrongdoing to justify a warrant.
  • In one February Ohio week we had the highest temperature ever recorded, followed by plummeting temperatures and spitting snow, and finishing up with a tornado that left a 7-mile track through Highland County.
  • Old Chinese proverb, “Be wary of autocratic rulers with goofy fucking haircuts.”

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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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More Random Thoughts

Being a political junkie and having Trump in the White House makes it almost impossible to have a random thought that is not political. Consider this a warning.

  • I just spent four hours shredding documents in what is supposed to be a paperless society.
  • I’m becoming paranoid about Trump being paranoid.
  • Since January 20, 2017 I’ve had a solid reason to get out of bed and turn on the TV. Unfortunately I’m getting to be a historical eyewitness to the Trump directed meltdown of America.
  • The older you get the less you are aware of popular culture. Driving past a multiplex I didn’t recognize a single movie title on their bill board.
  • I’ve often wondered what should be the measure of having too much money. Possibly it’s being able to afford to rent a rocket to take you beyond the moon and back.
  • All presidents should stop using war widows and victims of violence as political props in their speeches.
  • Politicians need to immediately stop putting party before people. They should begin and end any legislative thought by asking if the consequences honestly serve the betterment of the general population.

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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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Remembering Nannygate?

Clinton’s nominee for Attorney General, Zoe Baird.

Nannygate took place in the 1990s during the Clinton administration. On two occasions president Clinton nominated people to federal positions only to be forced to withdraw their names because both were found to have hired illegal immigrants to work in their homes. The appointments were for Attorney General and the people were Zoe Baird and Kimba Wood. The GOP went nuts when they learned during the confirmation hearings that Baird had employed an illegal from Peru to baby sit her children.

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