Tag Archives: HISTORY

The Dream

Teach your children, and maybe yourself, some important American history today. Do some reading about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Watch the video of King’s entire I Have a Dream speech.

You might even read the attached article about King.

Click the button for a great article about King. 



WE LOVE TO BOMB: Researchers have estimated, probably on the light side, that during the last year of Barack Obama’s administration the US military dropped 26,171 bombs on seven different nations. Continues to leave open the question of the worth of Curtis LeMay’s aerial bombardment as a workable strategy.

A Few Notes on History Repeating

I was listening to a TV discussion this afternoon and one of the subjects talked about was how we are having to deal with things that most of us thought were long gone into the pages of history. As a history major in college I was required to take a class in historiography, which includes theories of why things change. One idea that most are familiar with is that history repeats itself.

There are other theories but what we’re seeing unfold today has elements that were common in the decades between the two world wars. Throughout much of the world there was a huge increase in militarists and nationalists groups. In Japan the military came to power and pushed for military solutions to Japan’s problems. In Italy and Germany people turned to dictatorial leadership and its promise of resolving the effects of the First World War and the Great Depression.

I grew up and became educated after these things had occurred. In my time most of us came to believe we’d seen the last of fascism, Nazis, genocide, and religious and ethnic wars. My generation grew up in the post war prosperity of the 1950s, got an education,  a decent job, and went on to out do our parents. I suppose we thought it would always be that way, if not get even better.

Well, it wasn’t to be. Changes in business practices and rapidly changing technology turned against the middle-class prosperity I had witnessed. Millions of jobs went where labor was cheaper, became obsolete, or are now performed by robots. The good “people” jobs remaining in America now go to those who have a high degree of technical skill. What’s left are low paid, low skilled, and too few.

So here we are, back to those days when jobs are few, education expensive, young adults are still living at home, and whole parts of America is in ruins. The same feelings of despair that turned Germans to fascism in the 1930s have given rise to right-wing extremists in 2016’s America. Both Hitler and Trump are the products of people feeling desperate.

Next time you’re wondering what causes our story to change, add desperation and despair to the list. But keep in mind that history repeats itself so the good times may someday return. I just hope we don’t have to endure what the world witnessed that last time so many became desperate.

FOOTNOTE: Since I wrote this piece both Putin and Trump have began talking about increasing each nation’s nuclear arsenal. From out of nowhere the world is suddenly knocking on the door of another nuclear arms race and the weapons makers are seeing their stock values hit the roof. It’s good to be a war monger!

In an attempt to end on a happier note reading this article I’m reminded of the bit they did on Hee Haw about, Gloom, Despair and Agony On Me!

The Man Who Saved Jimmy Wise

If you read either of the stories I republished yesterday about Greenfield’s USS Arizona survivor, Jim Wise, you’ll understand the significance of this story from Stars and Stripes. It’s the story of two brothers who served on board the Arizona and on December 7, 1941, one lived and the other lost his life.

On its own the story is plenty interesting. But add in one of the brothers mentioning having saved the life of a man from Greenfield, Ohio, it takes on a whole deeper dimension. I don’t know if Jim Wise or his family ever knew who pulled him out of the Arizona but now, 75 years later, they do.

Click button to read Stars & Stripes story about Arizona. 

FOOTNOTE: Jim Wise is not mentioned by name but he was our only person on the Arizona so it has to be him. Also, as of yesterday there were only five remaining survivors of the attack on the USS Arizona.

Remembering Pearl Harbor and James Louis Wise

Originally published on December 7, 2011. Republished here in honor of the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

70 years ago today a young man from Greenfield, OH survived and suffered from a tragedy that would forever mark his life and end the lives of so many of his friends ans shipmates. James Louis Wise, Seaman First Class, of Greenfield, was serving aboard the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii when the air forces of the Japanese Empire began their early Sunday morning bomb runs on the just arising soldiers and sailors of America’s military establishment in the Pacific. It would mark the beginning of America’s entry into the Second World War and a personal war Wise would deal with the rest of his life.

No one of my generation doesn’t know the significance of December 7, 1941. I hope such is true of today’s generation. Have a discussion with your kids today.

USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

Let’s Get Ready to Duck & Cover

Here’s a short version of a very long, complicated, and dangerous story. At the end of WWII a civil war broke out in China between the communist forces of Mao Tse-tung and the established forces of Chiang Kai-shek. Chiang wasn’t a good buy but he wasn’t a communist so we supported him. The eventual winner of this conflict was the communist dictator, Mao Tse-tung.

In order to save himself and what remained of his army, Chiang Kai-shek left mainland China and occupied the island of what we know as Taiwan, which had been a province of China. The mainland Chinese government still insists that Taiwan belongs to them.

In this dispute over Taiwan the US sided with Chiang and offered military and economic assistance. For may years the US officially considered the nation of China to be Taiwan and literally ignored the presence of the mainland. We used our power to seat Taiwan in the UN’s China seat. If you looked at a world map showing only those nations the US recognized, the entire mainland of China might have been colored blue, as if it were just ocean.

Continue reading Let’s Get Ready to Duck & Cover

Update on Welch, WV

A few days ago I wrote a piece about the future of coal in WV and mentioned the community of Welch, WV, the county seat of McDowell County. I know just a little about Welch because of once having some amateur radio friends in the area and by selling the local school system a bunch of computers back in the early 1990s.

The assistant superintendent of schools told me that Welch was one of the most economically depressed areas of WV and a large percentage of the residents were on some sort of welfare or relief. There was so much welfare money coming into the county that K-Mart built a brand new store on the edge of town to keep the money from going to Walmart in neighboring Bluefield and Princeton.

Continue reading Update on Welch, WV

Lots of Hands

hands-across-americaHaving recently written a piece about demonstrations and riots it got me thinking about something the family participated in that was a little more legal and family friendly, the 1986 event called Hands Across America.

On May 25, 1986 we loaded up the station wagon and headed to someplace near London along US 40. There we donated some money to help fight hunger in Africa and joined hands with 6.5 million other people in an unbroken line stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

Supposedly there were plenty of hands to make the stretch and together we raised $34 million for charity. I don’t think we came close to ending hunger or solving any world problem. But, we did give our kids a lesson in helping out, introduced them to a major world issue, had a reason to go to the Dairy Queen for a sundae, and make a memory that has lasted for thirty-years.

Sittin’ Here Thinkin’ About Riots

Sitting here reading the bitches and complaints from those who really don’t like it when Americans exercise their rights to protest. My conclusion is that there can be a million person march against racism and if one guy sets fire to a garbage can the bitchers and moaners instantly label the whole event a riot of morons, goons, and unpatriotic thugs.

Anyway it got me thinking about an anti-war protest I took part in back in the 60s. It went without incident but many of the protest marches and demonstrations of that era didn’t. Especially following the killing of four students at Kent State in Ohio. Cal-State Fullerton, where I was just finishing my degree, wasn’t immune from it. Most were peaceful but one, on February 9, 1970, turned ugly.

Continue reading Sittin’ Here Thinkin’ About Riots

You’re Gonna Change or I’m Gonna Leave

Prior to the Democratic convention my son tried to convince me that the DNC was involved in a conspiracy to keep the nomination away from Bernie Sanders. I’m not much into conspiracy theories and didn’t pay much attention. I still tend to believe that Bernie wasn’t the party’s nominee because he simply didn’t get enough votes.

Whichever, he didn’t win the nomination, Clinton did, and the Democrats lost their asses. In the days after the election my son and I have talked a lot about the results and I think we agree that Sanders would have taken Trump had he been the Democrat in the race. We also agree that we’d like to see the Democratic party reform itself more along the progressive lines of Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. That it should become the true party of the working classes of Americans. That Sanders won in twenty-three states is proof enough there is a place for progressive politics in America.

Continue reading You’re Gonna Change or I’m Gonna Leave

Sorry Amber!

On Wednesday after the presidential election I ran into a former US Government student at the dentist office. We didn’t discuss politics but she did recall my telling her after the 1992 Clinton victory that regardless of how much you disagreed with the president-elect, the people had spoken and the office demanded your respect and support.

When I said that I meant it. But never did I imagine anyone like Donald Trump being elected to the White House. Trump’s choice challenges so much of what I’ve held true about American democracy, American politics, the two-party system, and the basic intellect of the American people.

I’m no rookie when it comes to losing elections. My good friend and fellow Democrat, John Baal, and I many times commiserated with a six-pack over getting our political butts kicked. Being a liberal Democrat is a lonely life in Southern Ohio.

Continue reading Sorry Amber!