Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Daily Show- Jon Stewart & Robin Williams Skewer McCain & Palin



Ladies and gents, its been a long day...and frankly I don't feel up to writing...and a laugh or two was in order.

So.....check out this episode of The Daily Show, where Jon Stewart talks about the RNC and the "Voyeur Scandal", Michael Steele, Sarah Palin, John McCain....and the amazing Robin Williams is his special guest.




See you next month!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

THE PACIFIC, Episode Three- The Saviors of Guadalcanal

James Badge Dale (center in teeshirt) as Robert Leckie

Spoiler Alert...if you haven't seen Episode Three of THE PACIFIC, advance at your own risk!

Part Three of HBO's The Pacific shows an abrupt departure from the storytelling style of its companion piece Band of Brothers. In BOB the audience received little information about the personal lives of the men in Easy Company. We knew where some of them came from through conversations with other characters; we knew some were married, others not, and we got a smattering of personal history. BOB was about the story of one unit, Easy Company, and how their wartime experience in Europe spanned most of the significant events from Normandy to the occupation of a conquered Germany. Most episodes of BOB dealt with an action in which Easy Company participated, as we saw some characters we got to know a little cut down and replaced by new ones, and old stalwarts marching on to VE Day.

The Pacific's story is told mainly through the eyes and experiences of John Basilone (Jon Seda), Robert Leckie (James Badge Dale), and Eugene Sledge (Joe Mazello), as well as several secondary characters. Consequently we learn more about these characters in three episodes of The Pacific then we do in ten hours of BOB. And since it deals with individuals rather than a particular military unit, the action does and will move from location to location more readily than BOB, and some characters may not appear at all in certain episodes- Eugene Sledge is no where to be found in the third episode The Pacific- Saviors of Guadalcanal.

After being evacuated from Guadalcanal in January, 1943, the Marines are shipped to Melbourne in the Southern part of Australia for some R&R. Its summer in Melbourne, and when the transport docks they are greeted by throngs of thousands of Australians waving flags, carrying signs and banners greeting them, cheering them to the music of John Phillip Souza....Australians regard the American Marines as saviors of their country, and are treated as heroes by the populace.

Many of Australia's fighting men are serving in North Africa, and there is a shortage of young men in the country, and many beautiful, young, single women. The Marines are billeted at a cricket ground, but MP's look the other way when many of Marines go AWOL....it was time for a break, featuring booze and babes, after their ordeal in the Solomon Islands.

Leckie is partying with his buddies when he meets Stella (Claire Van Der Boom, pictured left), a beautiful Australian of Greek ancestry. He gets her address, and comes by her house the next day. Stella is the only child of loving and warm parents from the old country, who take an immediate liking to the young American. Over the next few weeks Leckie and Stella fall in love, and he becomes regarded almost as a new member of the family by Stella's mother and father. One day while siting in the back garden eating roast lamb provided by Leckie, Stella's father reads that Stella's friend from childhood, Alexi, was killed in combat. That triggers something in Stella- she realizes that the odds of Bob Leckie making it through the war unscathed may be long. She decides to break up with Bob Leckie- losing him in battle would be too much for her to take, and it would be even more devastating to her parents- particularly her mother- who had grown to love Leckie as their own.

Bob Leckie goes on a drunken bender after the breakup with Stella. He had lived through hellish months on Guadalcanal before attaining several weeks of heaven with a beautiful woman and her wonderful family, only to see it slip away through no fault of his own. He gets into a profane and violent confrontation with Lt. Corrigan. He ends up in the brig overnight- the next day he finds that he is being shipped out.

Meanwhile Sid Phillips (Ashton Holmes) has struck up a romance with a lovely young woman named Gwen, who is constantly under the watchful eye of her protective grandfather. Sid finally "touches the merchandise" shortly before he receives his orders to ship out. You get the feeling it was the first time for both.

During his stay in Melbourne Basilone and JP Morgan get into a a small brawl with an Australian soldier who mocked their toast to dead buddy Manny Rodriguez in a pub. Basilone and Morgan continue to drink it up and party hard. The next day a hung over Basilone is told by Lt Col Chesty Puller that he has to pull it together and be a better example to his men; Basilone was being awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Several days later, after the medal ceremony, Puller tells Basilone that his next assignment was to rotate back to the United States- he was needed to sell war bonds, to put a human face on the war effort. Basilone says goodbye to old friend Morgan; in the final scene of the episode Basilone is looking out the window of a plane flying over the Golden Gate Bridge.

Watching the ending of this episode I thought about Basilone, being a sort of hero surprised by his celebrity much like the flag raisers of Iwo Jima, and how both were used to sell war bonds on tours conducted nationwide. And I remember hearing stories of the old timers who lived in those days, the ones who manned the home front. You bought war bonds, because you were expected to do so. You had gasoline, meat, and butter rationed, as with many other things. There was a sense of unity in the country, and of common purpose.

Maybe that was an America of which we may never see the likes of again.

Update- For Those Who Want To Know...."Did Bob Leckie Get Back With Stella And Marry Her?"

I was just looking at some of the queries to this blog....and the most popular one was "Leckie-Stella". A lot of people, myself included, wanted to know if Bob and Stella had a reunion and a happy ending.

Well....I'm not going to tell you. That would be one spoiler too many. But If you want to know more about Bob and his family after the war, check this article at NorthJersey.com, and this video at HBO.com for the answer....did Bob Leckie marry Stella?

Update May 19, 2010

For those who are still curious about the identity of "Stella" and what happened to her, I included the answer to your question in the bottom of the blog entry for Episode 10; Home & Beyond. You might be surprised.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Hutaree Militia- Is There More Behind The Madness?



For the past couple of days I've been writing a tongue in cheek parody called "Life In the Totalitarian State", done for laughs and for my own amusement, and maybe yours as well.

But it seems there are more than a few people out there who indeed TRULY believe that the United States has become a dictatorship, and it appears some are ready to take up arms against their own country.

Nine members of the Hutaree, a self described Michigan based "Christian militia group" have been arrested in a series of raids held by the FBI. Allegedly, members of the group intended to ambush and kill members of law enforcement, and then attack their funeral entourages with homemade bombs. Then they supposedly wanted to carry on the fight using IED's to protect them in "rally points".

The FBI raids were carried out in Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio.

The members of Hutaree believe in the return of the Anti-Christ, a figure from the Bible's Book of Revelations who's appearance would trigger an apocalyptic battle between good and evil before the prophesied "End of Times".

It is believed that the Hutaree would use the initial attacks to trigger a larger battle against the United States government.

Along with Hutaree leader, David Brian Stone, eight others were arrested, including Kristphor Sickles, an Ohio based militia leader who is also known by the pseudonym Pale Horse. Sickles once called for an armed march on Washington (that never materialized) and has trained with his group at Camp Stasa, once the training site of the Michigan Militia.

Below, from TPM.com, why the connection with Sickles and the Michigan groups may be significant.

Pale Horse's alleged involvement with the Hutaree is significant because it suggests an overlap between the Christian militia group and the broader militia movement. That broader movement appears since yesterday to have been trying to distance itself from the Hutaree, telling reporters that at least one Michigan Militia member, of Islamic descent, has been working with the Feds as they target the Hutaree.

It also is significant because both the timing and the script of the Pale Horse videos -- "our country is in peril," for instance, and the call for the march on Washington -- suggest that Sickles may be motivated less by an "End Times" theology or a fear of the anti-Christ than by more immediate and political concerns.

Below, the video featuring "Pale Horse" in his rebuttal to the mainstream media, taken from his You Tube site.

The second video is "Pale Horse" being interviewed by right wing talk show host (and conspiracy theorist) Alex Jones.





They may seem crazy....but crazy scary. Its a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation for the government- leave them alone, and there's probably violence and death in the cards. To be proactive and try to prevent a problem, the Feds will probably find these arrests used as a propaganda tool for the paranoid delusions of these types.....remember Ruby Ridge? Or Waco?

I hope I'm wrong...but I think there's some rough times ahead.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Life In The Totalitarian State; Day Six; Legalizing Pot in California....AND DC?

Some conservative pundits have stated that the enactment of the HealthCare Reform Bill would lead to socialism and totalitarianism in the United States. This is my on going diary charting life under the boot of American totalitarianism.

Well, its been six days since the signing of the healthcare reform bill, and more signs that the country is going to hell in a handbasket.

Today, Palm Sunday, I went to mass....and the crucifix on the altar was draped with a red cloth!!!! And the priest was wearing red vestments as well. It can only mean one thing....even the Catholic Church (US version only) has....well, do I have to spell it out for ya?

And then this bit of news from the Washington Post....California could be legalizing pot this year...and the District of Columbia could be next!.

It could be a plot- what if marijuana was legalized in DC. If you think that things moved slowly in Congress before, just wait. Orrin Hatch bobbing his head up and down listening to MOTORHEAD. John Boehner going before the House and saying in a monotone, "Hell no you can't...oh- I said this before? Really? Cool....ahhh what was I so pissed off about? Oh....okay- anybody see my smokes?....heheheeheh!"

Not to mention the proliferation of BASKIN AND ROBBINS, BEN AND JERRY'S, and Häagen-Dazs franchises sprouting up on the National Mall opposite the Capitol!

Can you imagine a government office reduced to THIS???? Check out this video...



WOW!!! On second thought, man....this this totalitarian stuff might not be so bad after all....

Gotta stop.....I forgot what I was going to say.

Anybody remember what I did with those SNICKERS?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Life In The Totalitarian State; Day Five; Town For Sale In Washington State



Some conservative pundits have stated that the enactment of the HealthCare Reform Bill would lead to socialism and totalitarianism in the United States. This is my on going diary charting life under the boot of American totalitarianism.

Its down to this folks....things are getting so bad in the Brave New World that a family in Washington State has put an ENTIRE TOWN UP FOR SALE!!!

For a cool half million $$$ Wauconda, Washington can be yours.

Check out this video.



Hey....a spaghetti saloon! Who knew there were paisans in the Great Northwest? I wonder if they have linguine with white clam sauce, calamari with marinara, or even cannolis for dessert?


In other news....no sign of the storm troopers who were supposed to knock down our doors after the healthcare bill passed....and my wingnut neighbor had SEAN HANNITY on his radio outside yesterday, keeping us all "informed" whether we wanted to be or not.

In fact...nothing unusual has happened at all...except that Butler(!) and West Virginia (after 51 years) are in the 2010 Final Four.

Be careful out there!!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Together Again...Johnnie and Sarah, Redux


Reunited.....because it felt so good...(NOT)....the first time.

John McCain, in a fight for his Senate seat from upstart JD Hayworth, had the once and former Governor of Alaska...and his running mate in 2008...do some stumping with him today on the campaign trail.

Sarah Palin and John McCain...."Together Again".

Yes....just when you thought it was safe to come out....HELL NO!!!!

They did their usual schtik today, bashing President Obama, Democrats, Nancy Pelosi, the nefarious "Big Government", and some others drawn from the chapters of the GOP's GREATEST HITS.

There's only one thing wrong....didn't they audition together previously?

It didn't work out very well, did it?






To be brutally honest....the role John McCain is trying to play now of being more conservative than the self proclaimed "Consistent Conservative" Hayworth isn't working, it looks rehearsed, phony, and he just isn't comfortable being an attack dog.

And Sarah Palin....what else is there to say? Vapid is too mild a word in describe the less than one term former governor. Her material is getting a little old, and her shrill voice, resembling fingernails on a blackboard, is enough to make one choose waterboarding over listening to her speeches.

It is cashing in time for Palin....if McCain didn't pick her out of obscurity in September 2008, she'd still be doing her "governor- thing" in Alaska, at much less than the seven figures she's pulling in as the Sweetheart of the Right. It wasn't so bad losing in '08 for Sarah Palin...she got a book deal, big time speaking fees, a gig on FOX Noise....and her own reality show on TLC. The only person who made out better than Sarah Palin after the McCain-Palin loss was Tina Fey

So if you want to hear what these two icons in the Grand Obstructionist Party have to say, be my guest. I couldn't make it through either video.

Better yet....just listen to Ray Charles sing TOGETHER AGAIN on the PLAYLIST.

Life In The Totalitarian State; Day Four- Dog In "Red State" Attacks Police Car


Some conservative pundits have stated that the enactment of the HealthCare Reform Bill would lead to socialism and totalitarianism in the United States. This is my on going diary charting life under the boot of American totalitarianism.

The first indication that the rebellion has indeed begun was evident when a pit bull mix in Tennessee attacked a police car, damaging the front bumper and tires.

The dog, named "Winston", must now wear a a special tag that says "Potentially Dangerous", and MUST attend "obedience and canine good citizen classes".

Hmmmm.....probably he's being reprogrammed with socialist doctrine, don't you think?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Daily Kos: Cantor's story unravels



Republican House Minority Whip Eric Cantor has accused Democratic leadership of "fanning the flames" in the wake of at least ten acts of vandalism or menacing threats geared at Democratic lawmakers after the passage of the Healthcare Reform Bill this weekend.

Cantor also stated that his office in Richmond was fired on when a a bullet struck a window last week.



But there is a problem with this story...the police have said that the window was struck with a downward spiral, meaning it was shot into the air, and it minimizes the chances that Cantor's office was the intended target.

I guess its time for a new "Magic Bullet" for the 21st Century.

(DISCLAIMER!!!!.....In no way am I advocating indiscriminately  shooting bullets, arrows, slingshots, etc into the air in the vicinity of Congressmen or any elected official, or any other creature living or dead. Amen)

READ MORE....from Daily Kos

The Pacific Episode 2; Guadalcanal


After a delay of several days, its time for my overdue take on this Sunday's episode of HBO's The Pacific. I did get a bit sidetracked by all the other news going on, and I wanted to get a chance to see the the second episode one more time. Though it deals with a period of only a few days of the Battle of Guadalcanal, I wanted to see it again to get a better feel for just what the Marines of the First Division were up against at Guadalcanal. A second viewing helps to grasp the enormity of the task at hand, what they did, and of the heroism of the First.

By October, 1942 the US Marines at Guadalcanal were cut off- the Navy had to move out after being repelled by a Japanese attack. They were alone, short of food and ammunition, suffering from the brutal tropical heat and humidity, insects, malaria and digestive tract infections- and were being harassed by Japanese attacks around the clock. After Robert Leckie (James Badge Dale) and his fellow Marines survive a Japanese assault, John Basilone (Jon Seda) and his men are sent by LT.Col.Chesty Puller to defend the perimeter around Henderson Field to keep it from falling back into Japanese hands. They are also ordered, if they are defeated, to go into the jungle and continue to fight as guerrillas, if need be.

On the night of October 24-25, 1942. Basilone and his men of C Company were vastly outnumbered, yet held their positions and repelled the Japanese attack. Basilone manned machine guns in the attacks, then repaired jammed guns, and went back through the jungle to get more ammo. He killed several Japanese in hand to hand combat and with his side arm, and returned to his men. One of his hands was badly burned when he touched the hot barrel of the Machine gun, but he fought on.

Below, his his citation, from the Arlington National Cemetery Website.

For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous gallantry in action against enemy Japanese forces, above and beyond the call of duty, while serving with the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division in the Lunga Area. Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, on 24 and 25 October 1942. While the enemy was hammering at the Marines' defensive positions, Sgt. Basilone, in charge of 2 sections of heavy machineguns, fought valiantly to check the savage and determined assault. In a fierce frontal attack with the Japanese blasting his guns with grenades and mortar fire, one of Sgt. Basilone's sections, with its guncrews, was put out of action, leaving only 2 men able to carry on. Moving an extra gun into position, he placed it in action, then, under continual fire, repaired another and personally manned it, gallantly holding his line until replacements arrived. A little later, with ammunition critically low and the supply lines cut off, Sgt. Basilone, at great risk of his life and in the face of continued enemy attack, battled his way through hostile lines with urgently needed shells for his gunners, thereby contributing in large measure to the virtual annihilation of a Japanese regiment. His great personal valor and courageous initiative were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

One source claims that Basilone killed 38 Japanese in that battle, another says the number was close to 100. While watching this sequence I noticed the battle, which lasted all night, was condensed into roughly eight minutes. Still, the portrayal of Basilone's action was accurate given the constraints of time. The next morning Basilone is told by Puller that he would be putting Basilone in for a medal. Basilone goes looking for his friend Manny Rodriguez, who stayed behind as a runner for Puller. Manny's body is found, laying dead in the jungle by Basilone.

Meanwhile back in Alabama, young Eugene Sledge( Joe Mazello) is told by his physician father that he no longer has a heart murmur. Gene tells his father that he will be enlisting, though his father has concerns about what war will do to his son.

By January 1943 the Japanese evacuate Guadalcanal, and some of the Marines are transported off of the island. The episode ends with Leckie and his friends finding out while drinking coffee in the galley of the transport that the Marines of the First Division at Guadalcanal were considered heroes back in the United States.

This morning while reading the print edition of The Star-Ledger I checked out letters to TV critic Alan Sepinwall, and one talked about the scope of The Pacific, and how it neglected the role the Army played in the theater. And it is a valid criticism- the series won't deal with the war in New Guinea or the Philippines, or in China, Burma, or many of the other fronts. Nor will it talk about the role of the Army Air Corps, and the Naval aviators or naval battles- the scope of the Pacific war was just too enormous and cost prohibitive to reproduce in a limited TV series. Much like Band of Brothers concentrated on one group in a series of battles in the European war, it was not the whole story of victory in Europe. "Brothers" didn't deal with the campaigns in North Africa or Italy, and of course, the first turning point in Europe was the German defeat in the Eastern Front by the Soviets.

And The Pacific does limit its story to the three main characters, Basilone, Leckie, and Sledge, and the war waged by Marines island hopping in tiny specs in the ocean, all the way to the Japanese home islands. What this series does is open the door to people who were too young to feel the direct impact of the war, and gives them a start in a search for the history of the war in the Pacific, in all its vast scope, tragedy, and triumph. For a more comprehensive view of World War II, I suggest Ken Burns' The War, shown on PBS several years ago and available on DVD.

Episode Three is coming up Sunday night, with Basilone getting the Congressional Medal of Honor and national celebrity status.

Life In The Totalitarian State; Day Three


Some conservative pundits have stated that the enactment of the HealthCare Reform Bill would lead to socialism and totalitarianism in the United States. This is my on going diary charting life under the boot of American totalitarianism.

I had a bad night last night, sleepless with much tossing and turning. I was pondering this question....

When the Republicans in Congress get a bill passed over the objections of congressional Democrats, its called "the majority rules".

When Democrats in Congress get a bill passed over the objections of of congressional Republicans, its called "totalitarianism".

Is that because...in a particular instance...a bill passed with not one Republican in either the House or Senate voting for it?

In other news...the sun came out this morning, the earth is still rotating on its axis, and "Octo-Mom" has yet to give birth to a few more kids. And still no sign of those storm troopers who are going to bash down our doors.

But its early.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Return of The Home Shopping Queen!

After a hiatus of many months, our old friend "Queen Bea", the Home Shopping Queen, has returned to the internet and has posted her first entry since last June, with some interesting news about what she's been up to.

Its good to get her back....and in an email she kidded me about my "communist" blog!

Now if I'm a commie.....then Obama is a socialist- yeah, I know; 64% of the Republicans out there already think he is...yesterday's news.

So QB's old fans...drop by her blog and give her a "welcome back".

The Tea Party's Last Stand On Healthcare....The Elephants March Backwards

Above- Question; "How is this elephant like Bette Davis?"....Answer; "They both said 'What a dump!!!'"


Its better late than never in showing this video. Its from one of the last Tea Party Anti-Healthcare reform rallies last week in Washington, and is from the NewLeftMedia You Tube Channel.

After seeing this you might get angry, or you might feel sad....but I'll guarantee one thing- some of these protesters will have you laugh at some of their "WTF" answers and ideas.

Be careful where you step!

A backward marching pachyderm might have been there first!


Right Wing Blogger Calls On Supporters To Vandalize Democratic Party Offices

Above- Rachel Maddow

Mike Vanderboegh, an Alabama based blogger, survivalist, and militia leader, has called on his readers to throw bricks through the windows of local Democratic Party headquarters throughout America to send a message to the Democratic elected officials, voters and supporters.

At least five incidents of windows or doors being smashed by bricks, some with messages attached, have been reported by Democratic field offices from New York to Arizona in recent days.

Vanderboegh, who writes an anti government blog called Sipsey Street Irregulars, has been reported to be on Social Security disability.

Below, a report from Rachel Maddow on The Rachel Maddow Show.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Life In The Totalitarian State; Day Two


Some conservative pundits have stated that the enactment of the HealthCare Reform Bill would lead to socialism and totalitarianism in the United States. This is my on going diary charting life under the boot of American totalitarianism.

On the second day of the totalitarian takeover the sun came out, the birds were singing, and the flowers bloomed.

And I was left to ponder the allegory that will perplex future historians of American history.....

When there is a Republican President and the Democrats in Congress challenge him, those congressmen are obstructionists.

When there is a Democratic President and the Republicans in Congress challenge him, those congressmen are patriots.

This is very confusing.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Harris Poll; 24% of the Nation's Republicans Say Obama Is The Anti-Christ


Commentary

I had MSNBC on this afternoon, listening to David Shuster with the results of the latest Harris Poll....and to say this least, the results were really mindblowing.

In the past I have tried to refrain from "broadbrushing" the Republican Party and its membership- I have Republican friends and family; my late and beloved grandfather-and his brothers- all loyal GOP voters. But after listening to these results, and seeing them with my own eyes, I'm starting to wonder- just how many sane people are left in the GOP?

So here's some of the results, taken from Jon Avlon's blog in The Daily Beast. It deals with Republicans' thoughts about President Barack Obama.

* 67 percent of Republicans (and 40 percent of Americans overall) believe that Obama is a socialist.
* 57 percent of Republicans (32 percent overall) believe that Obama is a Muslim
* 45 percent of Republicans (25 percent overall) agree with the Birthers in their belief that Obama was "not born in the United States and so is not eligible to be president"
* 38 percent of Republicans (20 percent overall) say that Obama is "doing many of the things that Hitler did"
* Scariest of all, 24 percent of Republicans (14 percent overall) say that Obama "may be the Antichrist."

I'm trying to figure out how a President, under who's watch the nation's financial institutions were bailed out and who's officers are raking in millions of dollars in bonuses, could be called a socialist. And today's signing of the healthcare reform act will be a windfall for the nation's insurance companies, with no public option as a fallback for the nation's uninsured.

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who is a socialist (and proud of it), was just on with Ed Schultz. The Senator more or less told the viewers that in no way, shape or form is Barack Obama a socialist. Sanders gave the example of Denmark, which is indeed socialist. In that country the citizens pay NOTHING for healthcare, and the tuition for the nation's university.....zero. As Senator Sanders explained, most American really have no idea what a socialist is.

And he's right.

Barack Obama is no more a socialist as I am the Fifth Beatle.

Nor is he a Muslim...nor is he foreign born. Then there are the 38% of the respondents to the poll who say Obama " is doing many of the things that Hitler did".

I guess that should send shockwaves to the throngs of Jewish and gay supporters Mr. Obama has....not to mention advisers, particularly Rahm Israel Emanuel, his chief of staff. Incidentally- Emmanuel's father was born in Jerusalem, and was a member of the Irgun. You'd think he's know the Resurrection of Der Fuhrer when he saw it.

And no, Obama did not burn down the House of Representatives (as Hitler did the Reichstag) and blame it on enemies of the state. He is not accompanied around the nation with Brown Shirts. No political opponents have disappeared in the darkness of night. Labor unions are still legal, and the last I've heard there have been no organized book burnings. We have yet to annex Canada (just the English speaking provinces) or invade a defenseless neighbor (the Bahamas, maybe?).

The Obama critics seem to know even less about fascism than they do socialism.

As for the President being "the Anti-Christ".....I don't know. If he were really the son of the Prince of Darkness (and I don't mean Ozzie), do you really think he would have put up with all of that crap from John Boehner for this long? He would have dispatched him to that Great Celestial Tanning Booth months ago.

Granted, I've played some of the above for laughs....but the results of this poll- and the belief of some extremists on the right that the President is a threat, and as stated in Avlon's blog, a "domestic enemy"...there is some very scary stuff starting to happen in America. And its not from Obama...its from those who toss around these lies and half truths, and those who sadly believe them.

I agree with Republican blogger David Frum, who's lamenting that the GOP's elected officials are no longer calling the shots in their own party....its the voices of the Limbaugh's and the Beck's, and the mega beast called Fox News. There is no room for moderation in the GOP of the 21st century; to even considerate working with Democrats would lead to a raking over the coals by Limbaugh, Beck, and the rest. The tone of discourse has taken on an ugly racial edge recently- and I believe much of the Obama hatred comes from the color of his skin, not from his ideas or policies. Not all, of course, but we're starting to see the poison bubble to the top.

Before the Republican Party can even consider "taking back America", they have to take back there own party from the extremists who have taken over, who's only agenda is to keep the hate alive, and offering no constructive ideas other than creative ways to keep saying "no".

Life In The Totalitarian State; Day One


Some conservative pundits have stated that the enactment of the HealthCare Reform Bill would lead to socialism and totalitarianism in the United States. This is my on going diary charting life under the boot of American totalitarianism.

At about 11:15am EDT President Barack Obama signed the healthcare bill into the law of the land.

It is now 6:21 PM.

Nothing has happened....except its raining again.

Beaming Obama signs historic $938 billion overhaul | General Headlines | Comcast.net

It will be shown again and again through various media outlets throughout the day....but I thought I'd save it for posterity on my blog just as well.

The most far reaching bit of legislation in 40 years is signed into law by the President of the United States.

Click below for more.

Beaming Obama signs historic $938 billion overhaul | General Headlines | Comcast.net

Keith Olbermann's Special Comment- The GOP May Have Met Its Waterloo



Between watching some news, some basketball, and catching up on the latest episode of DAMAGES I did catch the return of Keith Olbermann to COUNTDOWN.

He gave a SPECIAL COMMENT worthy of the attention of all, but particularly by conservatives and Republicans, and their failure to "smell the coffee".



Keith Olbermann,COUNTDOWN,Keith Olberman Special Comment March 22 2010, Republicans,conservatives,Tea Party,Republican Waterloo,Healthcare Reform

Monday, March 22, 2010

MORNING JOE- Healthcare Reform Passage and The Leadership of Barack Obama



On MSNBC's Morning Joe 60 MINUTES Lesley Stahl joins hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, and panelists Harold Ford, Mark Halperin, Sam Stein, and Pat Buchanan on a discussion about the passage of the healthcare reform bill in the House, and of the management and leadership of President Barack Obama.


Op-Ed Columnist - Fear Strikes Out - NYTimes.com


New York Times Op-Ed columnist Paul Krugman talks about the passage of healthcare reform, and how the politics of fear was trumped by an appeal to that of "our better angels"

Op-Ed Columnist - Fear Strikes Out - NYTimes.com

Progressive Eruptions: CONSERVATIVE DAVID FRUM TALKS ABOUT THE HEALTH CARE FIGHT AND THE CONSEQUENCES FOR THE GOP



Conservative columnist and former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum blogs about President Obama and the Democrat's win on healthcare reform and how it has become the "Waterloo" of the Republicans and the Conservative movement. It is reproduced on the Progressive Eruptions blog, with my thanks.



Progressive Eruptions: CONSERVATIVE DAVID FRUM TALKS ABOUT THE HEALTH CARE FIGHT AND THE CONSEQUENCES FOR THE GOP

PASSAGE!


Thank you, House Democrats!!!

Rather than me pontificating about this monumental legislation, I'll link some voices from the press for their reactions.

I will have some final words later.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

WHAT IF.....The "Second Coming" Had Occurred, And Somebody Forgot To Text You At The Rally?



There was one imagine that has burned inside me since seeing it several days ago. It concerns what happened when pro-healthcare reform people rallied at the same time as anti-reform Tea Baggers in front of the offices of Representative Mary Jo Kilroy in Columbus, Ohio . I first saw this on Shannyn Moore's blog last week, and Bill Maher showed the most disturbing snippet last week on Real Time. It originally was posted on The Political Carnival.

Look at the video below, and take note of the treatment by the protesters of 60 year old Robert Letcher who has Parkinson's Disease. The video has gone viral, and you can read more about the incident in the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch .



While sitting in church this morning and listening to Gospel concerning Jesus forgiving the woman who had committed adultery, and telling the mob who who came to stone her to death, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone", and being reminded in the homily that as children we are taught that "God is everywhere", I had a thought or two.

Let us forget that the man in the video with Parkinson's, Mr. Letcher, was a former engineer with a doctorate form Cornell. Let us suspend our disbelief, and say this was a man with no traceable past- we know nothing of him, other than he claimed to be seriously ill with Parkinson's, and wanted to see the passage of the healthcare reform bill.

What if you, me, or the protesters on either side didn't know Robert Letcher from Adam?

Christians are told, and believe, that "Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again".

But what if Christ did come back....and did so in the form of a 60 year old man with Parkinson's Disease, confronting an angry mob in a city in Ohio where he was mocked, and had money thrown at him, and insulted by the alleged good people who "want their country back"?".

Ridiculous you say? Blasphemous?

We are often hit with the old cliche of God working in mysterious ways....if he could appear as a burning bush, or pillar of fire, why couldn't the son of God come back as man in late middle age with a painful  and unfortunate condition of Parkinson's?

Doing so might be the ultimate test of the compassion- or the lack of- by mankind.

What if it were a test....and once again, the human race failed?

Is this too much to handle, to impossible to fathom? Okay....let's make our fictionalized person an angel, or the personification of a living human saint Would that make the harsh treatment anymore less cruel? At what point is it OK to treat your fellow man like trash?

The bottom line....its never acceptable.

Buddhists live by a creed that we should treat each individual as if they were a deity, and respect that which is holy in them. Its not that much different as the Judeo-Christian belief of an ever present God.

Its sad that the men who mocked and threw money at Robert Letcher last week in Columbus didn't take the time to see what is good and holy in a man suffering from a condition that for the grace of God that they never have to experience. These were men claiming to be driven to wanting to save their country.....but instead they became motivated by fear and hatred, and became worse than the monster of "big government" they were trying to slay.

And I wonder how they are spending their Sunday afternoon?

First Full Day of Spring and Maybe A New Day For America


Time to wish all a happy first FULL day of spring, and hope that all can enjoy some of the wonderful weather today. Its quite a contrast from the damaging nor'easter of a week ago in this neck of the woods.

But of even more significance is today's long awaited vote on healthcare reform in America. Today CBS Sunday Morning did the best job I have seen yet in presenting what's at stake....and I'd think the Democratic leadership could have used its media connections to produce something of similar quality to use to explain reform to the American people.

The bottomline is this- if the vote wins, it may be a new day for healthcare in America, and a boost to the economy, and a monumental achievement for the Obama presidency....he will have accomplished something tried or floated by former Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton.

But if it fails....this beautiful spring day may be remembered in the same ignominy as the day of the Dred Scott decision- and the Obama presidency will be crippled, if not marginalized altogether.

This is not a perfect bill by any stretch....but it is a start. And it is something America needs for its future as well as its present.

And as I type this...I'm too nervous to even watch the vote.

To all members of the House; do the right thing.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Tea party protesters hurl racial insults at Georgia Rep. John Lewis - BostonHerald.com



For a long time Tea Party organizers have denied the racism of some of their members. But this afternoon Congressman John Lewis, a man nearly beaten to death while fighting for civil rights in Alabama decades ago, felt the wrath of Tea Party protesters.

He was called the "n-word" by some in the crowd protesting the healthcare reform bill set to be voted on tomorrow morning.

Also....Congressman Barney Frank was allegedly called a gay slur and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn was allegedly spit on by a Tea Party protester. Mother Jones magazine's website has pictured the Confederate "Stars 'n Bars" at today's protest.

READ MORE...from the BostonHerald.com

NJ Dem Adler Said To Vote NO On Healthcare Reform; A Profile In Courage It Is Not


Commentary

In a column written by Tom Moran of the STAR-LEDGER (Newark, NJ) yesterday, it was revealed that Congressman John Adler, a freshman Democrat who road the coattails of the Obama whirlwind into office in 2008, will vote "NO" on the House version of the healthcare reform package.

Adler represents the Third Congressional District of New Jersey, which includes much of Burlington and Ocean Counties, and some of the more affluent suburbs of Camden County. Adler claims that healthcare reform should consist of preventative care, tax credits for the purchase of health insurance, and he has voiced his opposition to a single payer option . Adler's district was held by Republicans for nearly a century...when he held town meeting in Toms River last week it allegedly became an anti-healthcare reform rally.

District Three is one of the most conservative areas of the nominally blue state of New Jersey. It consists of many retirees in the shore communities, as well as those who can afford the steep price real estate in a district where more people have an ocean or bay view than anywhere in the state. Adler says he is going to vote his conscience.....but there is a caveat. A very big one.

His name is John Runyan. Yes, the former Philadelphia Eagle's offensive lineman. Runyan has gotten the blessing of the Republican sugar daddies to run against Adler for the Third District's Congressional seat. Runyan claims to be against more government spending (excepting the military) and for "legitmate" spending on projects in the Third District. In the Runyan story on Philly.com Runyan never gave specifics. He is against the Democratic healthcare bill but for the purchase of insurance from across state lines. Runyan is pro-nuclear energy, was unspecific regarding beach replenishment, and claims he needs to do more research on the district he wants to represent in Congress. He has been a professional football player his entire life, and this is his first run for public office. He last played for the San Diego Chargers last season.

And though he is a political novice, if I were a betting man, I'd put my money on John Runyan to beat John Adler in November.

Also, in my opinion, I don't see John Adler's probable "no" vote tomorrow as a matter of conscience, or acquiescing to his constituents wishes....its about winning in November, holding on to his seat in Congress, and giving himself two more years representing one of the reddish districts in Blue Jersey.

Its not about political courage- his "no" vote is all about John Adler's political survival.

But let's bottom line this....even if Adler votes "no" Runyan is going to beat Adler in November; the Third is Eagle country; more people know John Runyan down there than the name of their own Congressman. The guy is a hero in South Jersey. and if the healthcare bill goes down to defeat tomorrow- and the Dems are scrambling for every possible vote- do you think Obama, Biden, the Clintons, or any Democratic heavy hitters will lift a finger to help Adler in the fall?

I think there's a better chance of Angelina breaking up with Brad and running away to Rio with yours truly.

If Adler had a change of heart and voted "yes" on the bill....in all likelihood the district would go back to the Republicans. But before you can say "Hobson's Choice", think of this.....the one vote of John Adler may cast "for" might be the vote that saves the lives of the 45,000 people in a single year. That number, 45,000, is the number estimated of those who die in a given year because they do not have health insurance.

That number is more than times the amount of military personnel killed in Iraq since that the start of that war seven years ago.

Why is it that those lives lost in Iraq are venerated while those lost each year in our hospitals, clinics, and hospices are treated like marginalized numbers, and are penny pinched, and are mere pawns in a political game of wins and losses?

How can we treat the lives of OUR countrymen so shabbily...and breast beat about "good conscience"?

John Adler....ten years from now....would you rather say that your vote saved the lives of nearly half a million people, or would you prefer a few more years in Washington?

You sir...have a chance to do something great, one which you may be celebrated for.

Or you can continue the naive and delusional charade you are fronting for your constituents, and for yourself.

I'm but one voice....do the right thing. Please.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Regressive Is The Opposite Of Progressive


Commentary....and Some Necessary Ranting

I just got done listening to the latest rant of a particular commentator on that news network that sounds like "lox"....you know, the crazy guy who's last name rhymes with "______ wreck" (insert "train" in the blank) and his latest salvo against "the progressive agenda". I used to get angry about this stuff, but instead, I had an eureka moment.

To be against something or a particular concept, it stands to reason that an individual must stand for the polar opposite, or forever hold his piece.

I got this idea from watching an old episode of THE TUDORS, from the trial of Sir Thomas More. Rather than take an oath making Henry VIII the head of the church in England, More maintained silence, neither for or against. His silence, More maintained, implied his consent rather than making him take an oath that he believed would have condemned his soul to hell.

Forget that it really didn't work out for Sir Thomas....he was found guilty anyway and beheaded (if the jury found More innocent they would have all been drawn and quartered at Henry's behest). It was a brilliant concept employed by More.

Silence would indicate "just go with the flow"....things are just great, thank you. No need for a change.

However, to be vehemently and vocally opposed to a certain movement, theory or doctrine should indicate that the protester has must have a better idea; as going in the other direction.

Therefore, to be against "Progressivism" one must therefore be in favor of "Regressivism".....going backwards instead of forward. If you desire neither "regression" or "progression", one must maintain silence to imply consent to the status quo- you believe things are alright the way they are.

By extension....opponents of Progressivism who merely like things the way they are should just shut up. And those who view Progressivism as a "cancer to the moral fiber of this nation" and want it destroyed must stand for its polar opposite....let's go backwards.

(Readers....if a certain commentator can get on the air with a chalkboard to sell his theories of the evils of progressivism with circles, arrows, pictures and his peculiar stream of consciousness thoughts, just bear with me....OK?).

So....that being the case, Tea Party protesters who see Progressivism as a danger and must be stopped must be in favor of going in the opposite direction; they are indeed true Regressives.

So....what do these Regressives really want?

Well...here's what I think....

THE REGRESSIVE AGENDA!!!!!

They still want to have 500 channels on television- but would demand all stations be in black and white instead of color.

And speaking of "black and white".....why should the government spend money on those pesky inner city schools?

They want what Herbert Hoover wanted for America, with a twist...."A chicken in every pot....and a 44 Magnum under every pillow". You can't be sure when a deer, bear, or some kind of wildlife might break into your home. Or maybe even somebody who's name ends in a vowel.

All males who do not wear an American flag pin will be exiled to San Francisco.

Every school in America will have the official photograph of Jesus writing the Constitution of the United States. To say that photography didn't exist in those days is another progressive lie.

Ronald Reagan will be pictured on the $100 bill....and also on the $1, $2, $5, $10, $20 and $50. FDR, JFK, LBJ....on the nickel, dime, and quarter. Small change. An American Indian returns on the penny, and an oil derrick will be on the silver dollar- however, it would now be worth 99.9 cents.

There will be no more talk of gay marriage....nor of civil unions. Or any unions at all, for that matter. Who needs them? Unions I mean.


Global warming? With all of these snow storms this winter....in The South? Are you kidding me?

All pubescent girls will be encouraged to attend one of President Palin's Abstinence Camps.

Olbermann, Maddow, Moor, and Letterman....subject to "reprogramming" (See A CLOCKWORK ORANGE).

Healthcare reform....take you vitamins, wash your hands, avoid too many SNICKERS...above all, don't get sick.

Military service.....Regressives have better things to do than serve in the armed forces, like complain about taxes, and hip hop, and those Godless Progressives. There's enough high school dropouts and minorities out there... let them deal with deserts, road side bombs, Stop-Loss, and the apathy of too many of our citizens.

Taxes....Regressives prefer a flat 10% income tax. But they really DON'T want a tax at all. Jesus never talked about taxes when He wrote the Constitution. I know that's true; because the Bible- and Pat Robertson- told me so.

If you've read all of the above and got mad as hell....you've just been punked! But if you laughed, you just may be a Democrat.

There may be one or two of you who read this schtick so far and don't "get it"....well, its just my way of trying to make a point. When the Becks, Hannitys, Limbaughs, Bachmans, and Palins of the world rail against this imaginary "progressive agenda" to destroy America, its just as ridiculous and laughable as the stuff I said about conservatives, Tea Baggers, and "Regressives"....its painting "The Others" with a broad brush and making them the enemy. That's what people like them do to maintain power and control.

They use division and the hatred of their audience towards individuals or concepts to exercise power. Its as American as Joe McCarthy- and what makes what these people are doing worse is the tacit endorsement from the power structure that employs them, the Republican Party or Fox News.

It wasn't always that way....when Joe McCarthy went on his Red baiting witch hunts in the 1950's he had people in his own Republican party who stood up to him- namely Senator Margaret Chase Smith of Maine, and President Eisenhower, who despised McCarthy for his attacks against his comrades in the Army. When McCarthy went after General George Marshall, Ike started working behind the scenes to expose McCarthy...and Edward R. Murrow of CBS News ultimately took him down on an episode of SEE IT NOW.

Maybe I'm just getting older...but putting on the tube everyday and watching otherwise good people going crazy because some irresponsible political or media demagogue has them whipped into a frenzy in order to maintain their little fiefdom of control is starting to wear on me a bit; probably more so than at any time in my life.

Maybe the only way to fight that kind or recklessness is to mirror it, and throw it back it the faces of those who dished it out.

A heavy doses of irony is their just desserts.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Hey Kids! It's BUSTED BRACKET TIME!


After giving myself the day off yesterday from blogging to do some St Pat's celebrating, I had intended to spend this day railing against Tea Bag protests against health care reform....or possibly talking about the implosion at Seton Hall of the basketball program and the firing of head coach Bobby "Gonzo" Gonzalez....or of the "Day of Reckoning" cutbacks of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie....or the news of the split of Sandra Bullock with hubby Jesse James for his alleged cheating (hey Jesse..you deserve a smack on the head...she's SANDRA BULLOCK for crying out loud. Better plead insanity).

But the big news of the day- the thing that trumps everything else- is that its the first day of the NCAA men's basketball tournament. In my eyes, this is the best American sports  event because it encompasses the entire country.

So this morning I finally made out my brackets, after delaying it several days. I picked my Final Four, and my national champion, and everything else in between.

You can get a good view of my picks by clicking the bracket above .....and you'll know why I say that anyone who bets sports is out of their mind. March Madness is just that......and it didn't take long before my bracket was busted.

As a matter of fact, it was mangled  with the first result of the day.

Take a look....In the South Region I picked #2 seed Notre Dame to beat Old Dominion today...... and to win in the second round, into the Sweet Sixteen, then the Elite Eight, and on to the Final Four, and on to lose the national championship to Kansas.

Adios amigo....one game, one upset; ODU beats Notre Dame by one, 51-50. I figured Notre Dame was playing well at the end of the year, and though Luke Harangody was banged up a bit the Irish were playing some of their best basketball of the year. So I'd go with this dark horse six seed to make it all the way to Indianapolis for the championship game.

Fageddaboutit!

OK...I know, I don't know what I'm doing....but I don't think I was alone in  picking ND to win in the first round. Hats off to ODU.

For the record, of the first eight games I got  four game right (Villanova over Robert Morris, Kansas State over North Texas State, Baylor over Sam Houston State, and St. Mary's over Richmond), three wrong (ODU-ND, BYU over Florida, Murray St. over Vanderbilt) and one outcome pending as I type this....Butler (my pick) leads UTEP by 17.

The Villanova- Robert Morris game was one that I saw most of, though I did have to leave for an appointment before the OT. The Wildcats are lucky to have survived by three, 73-70 in a game where a 15 seed gave a two seed  all they can handle. Great job by Robert Morris- they can hold their heads high- thise guys played a helluva game.

Well...almost time for the Night Shift. Since I have no dog in these fights (relax, its only an expression) I'll be following the fortunes of the Ohio University Bobcats because my niece was a grad. At 7:25EDT the 14 seed Cats meet the Georgetown Hoyas, seeded #3 in the Midwest region.

If they pull this off, Athens, Ohio will have more heavy duty partying than at anytime since my niece and her friends left...(sorry Jen; its an old joke your Mom used to tell).

Update at 9:37 PM....and the Ohio U Bobcats- a 14 seed- have upset the third seeded Georgetown Hoyas 97-83!



Un....believable!!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St Patrick's Day 2010!


And a HAPPY ST PATRICK'S DAY to one and all!!! Let's kick off this party with some music, featuring Schmitty The Weather Dog!!!!




May you find a treasure trove of Harp Lager....or Guinness should you desire....at the end of yer rainbow, lads and lassies!!!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

THE PACIFIC, Episode One- Some Notes


I wanted to get into a discussion of the first episode of HBO's The Pacific yesterday, but there was the small problem of starting the cleanup after the nor'easter that battered the mid-Atlantic over the weekend. Actually it was better to sit back and view it a second time,and collect my thoughts about the episode, its historical significance, and maybe even a different spin on the episode and the commentary of others.

I posted several comments on Alan Sepinwall's What's Alan Watching? blog about my take on Episode One, and found some of the comments there quite interesting- but I'll get back to that shortly.

The first episode introduced us to the main characters; Marine Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone (Jon Seda), new Marine enlistee Robert Leckie (James Badge Dale), and young Alabaman Eugene Sledge (Joe Mazello). Sledge wants to join the military and be part of the war effort, but his physician father told him after an examination that he still has a heart murmur, that would disqualify him from service. His best friend Sid Phillips (Ashton Holmes) joined the Marines about the same time Leckie did, and Leckie and Phillips end up in the same company headed to the Solomon Islands and Guadalcanal in August, 1942.

Basilone, who did a stint in the Army before re-enlisting as a Marine, and his buddies Manny Rodriguez (Jon Bernthal) and JP Morgan (Joshua Bitton) had been told previously in a briefing by Lt.Col. Chesty Puller that they too were on their way to Guadalcanal.

Leckie, Phillips and their company are part of the early assault on Guadalcanal. When they hit the beach they find no resistance at all, only other Marines who were there first. The Japanese were building an airfield on the island, but it was captured by the first wave of Marines as the Japanese retreated into the jungle. The field became known as Henderson Field, and the Marines had to secure it and Guadalcanal from the Japanese who surely would try to retake the airstrip.

Leckie's company starts a long march in silence across the fields and jungles of the island, but did not engage the enemy. They did come upon bodies of dead and mutilated Marines along the march. While hunkering down for the night in torrential rain one of their own is shot and killed by a fellow Marine when the man was looking for a place to urinate.

The company finds themselves cutoff from the US naval fleet when they are repelled by the enemy and forced back to sea. Soon the company is attacked by swarms of Japanese in a night time attack, with dozens of Japanese soldiers running into entrenched Marine machine gun fire. The fight lasts all night; the next day dozens of dead Japanese soldiers lie on the beach and in the water. The Marines are horrified by the amount of death around them. One Japanese started to motion that he is wounded and needed help; when two medics approach him, he pulls the pin from a grenade, blowing all three of them up.

Then a small group of Japanese soldiers attack the company and all but one are cut down. After the Marines saw two of their own blown up by a wounded Japanese they decide no prisoners- they start using the Japanese soldier for target practice. The soldier throws down his weapon, but seems hysterical and not about to surrender. While the Marines are trying to wound the soldier as often as they could, Leckie takes out his sidearm, and kills the soldier.

Leckie later goes through personal belongs of the man he killed. He finds a small black and white photo of the man with a woman in a book he is carrying...he also finds a tiny homemade doll of a woman in traditional Japanese dress. Leckie threw the photograph into the Marine's campfire.

The next day reinforcements arrive, led by Chesty Puller. Among them are Basilone, Rodriguez, and Morgan. The episode ends with a reading of aloud of a letter from Sledge to his friend Phillips. When it was revealed that it was Phillips birthday, the Marines sang a scatological version of "Happy Birthday" to Phillips as the picture faded to black.

Some commented on other forums about the first episode's lack drama, and there were periods of silence where nothing was seemingly happening. And maybe that was one way the writers wanted to make clear that the Pacific theater was a different kind of war than that fought in Europe and North Africa. The Japanese were there first; they knew the terrain, and the Americans had to slowly get the feel of where they were and what was in front of them. The Japanese used the jungles and the night to their advantage- the war in Europe was usually fought in daylight (with exceptions) while the Pacific war raged 24 hours a day.

You can't talk about the war in the Pacific without talking about the role race played in it. The Japanese believed they were "spirit warriors" superior to others, who served a living god, their emperor. The code of Bushido was used by the Japanese war party in much the same way as the myth of Aryan superiority was incorporated by the Nazis; the chivalry of ancient Japanese knighthood was corrupted into a belief of showing no quarter to your enemy, and asking none for yourself. There could be no surrender for the Japanese spirit warrior, because it was dishonorable. And those the spirit warrior vanquished weren't deserving of mercy; In the Japanese conquest of China entire civilian populations were slaughtered, men, women, and children...the "Rape of Nanking" in which 300,000 Chinese were murdered during a six week period (December 1937- Jan 1938) is regarded as the worst single atrocity of World War II by many historians. The Japanese warlords regarded Americans as a mongrel nation because of its different cultures, and cowardly...surely they would surrender quickly to the "spirit warriors".

The shock of Pearl Harbor and the fear of an imminent invasion from Japan caused the United States government to strip thousands of Japanese Americans of their basic rights as US citizens and sent them to interment camps throughout the United States. This was without precedent in American history, and few Americans of German or Italian decent were subject to similar extreme treatment.

Early in the 20th century the Japanese were well regarded in the United States, as they were seen by many as trying to Westernize and be more like Americans and western Europeans, while Chinese, Koreans, Indo-Chinese, and other Asians were regarded as primitive. In his book The Imperial Cruise author James Bradley tells of President Theodore Roosevelt's affection and enthusiasm for the Japanese, regarding them (in Bradley's words) as "honorary Aryans". Teddy Roosevelt went so far as to broker a peace agreement between Japan and Russia to end the Russo-Japanese War at Portsmouth, NH in 1905; the Russians didn't know of TR's friendship with the Japanese ambassador, nor of TR's secret plan to set up a "Japanese Monroe Doctrine" in Asia, where the Japanese would be the primary power in Asia and Oceania, getting the European powers to keep "hands off Asia". With an unofficial partner in this concept with the United States, both emerging Pacific powers would dominate the region.....but in effect, it set the two budding military giants on a collision course to war 35 years later.

When Pearl Harbor was attacked and the American fleet destroyed, the "honorary Aryans" became "Yellow Monkeys", or buck toothed sub-humans with Coke Bottle glasses. The caricatures were widely distributed by the press, and done with the consent of the United States government. The hatred ran deep for the Japanese, much more so than for the Germans in the European war.

In the European theater the war was a series of attacks, counter attacks, retreats, and advances...and repeat. In most cases, when a combatant surrendered they were taken to a POW camp. There were atrocities involving POW's, but in Europe that was the exception, not the rule.

The Pacific war was different. It was more like a small war involving a small piece of turf in the middle of an ocean....surrender was not an option. The heat, humidity, insects and disease was as much an enemy as the guys you were shooting at. There were few jubilant civilians to cheer you for liberating them, and no 48 hour passes to Paris or Amsterdam. And after you job was done, you got to do it again on another island.

The European war was like getting heavy dose of hell. The Pacific war was like opening the gate to hell and having it locked behind you with no way out.

I commented on Alan's blog about one or two of the posters who talked about "potty mouthed" Marines....and the very thought made me laugh out loud. Some people obviously never got the memo that this is the way guys (and some women) talk in the service. Though a movie like FULL METAL JACKET was over the top (Pyle blowing away his DI in boot camp), the language directed at and the treatment of men in boot camp (or basic training) was closer to the mark than the silly cartoonish stuff in STRIPES, for example (a funny movie....but a realistic depiction of life in the military...no way!).

In closing....I watched the first episode of THE PACIFIC with my Dad, who'll be 83 in about three weeks, and a veteran of the Pacific theater.

Dad is having some memory problems....often he can't remember what he had for lunch, or which doctor he has his appointment with on a given day.

But when the scene came in Episode One where the Marines were about to land on Guadalcanal, he turned to me and said...."After Pearl Harbor, we only had three aircraft carriers left".

Sixty-eight years later, and the old vet could still remember that fact.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Floods and Storm Damage in NJ; State of Emergency is Declared by Governor

Above- uprooted tree crunches playground in the Nor'easter of March 2010; Bicentennial Park, East Brunswick, NJ


New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has declared a state of emergency while the state deals with flooding, downed trees and powerlines, and other storm damage from a powerful nor'easter that hit the state over the weekend and is still being felt today.


Here in my home town of East Brunswick we have been instructed to boil our drinking water until notified otherwise because of flooding that has occurred in water treatment plants. Eleven towns in all have been affected by this "boil your water" instruction.

As many as 24,000 East Brunswick residents lost power during the storm, some for as long as 12 hours. Service to most has been restored. During the height of the nor'easter on Saturday and into Sunday morning our lights flickered numerous times and there were power surges, but we were among the lucky ones. As many as 300,000 people may be without power in the tri-state area, and as many as 500,000 lost power at some point this weekend.

So far, we've had about seven inches of rain since Friday night, and its still raining lightly as I type this. The storm is expected to make a full exit by the early morning of March 16.

The town of Bound Brook, about six miles from here on the Raritan River, has been inundated by waters in the worst flooding since Hurricane Floyd in 1999.

See the video below, courtesy of 6SpeedVert on YouTube, of the flooding in Bound Brook.



Two people were killed in New Jersey by a falling tree in New Jersey on Saturday- and CNN has said that at least seven people have been killed by the storm in the affected areas.


Personally, this is the most damaging storm I have ever seen in this area. During hurricane season storms have hit Central New Jersey but have fallen apart once it hits the colder waters of the Atlantic offshore. Conventional wisdom was that hurricane force winds would lessen inland....but this storm defied that logic; we had measured gusts up to and exceeding 75 mph, as you would see in a Category One storm.

For more news and photos of the Nor'easter of March 2010 see nj.com and mycentraljersey.com.

Update 3:55PM March 15, 2010

The rain was letting up, and I took some photos of storm damage during a walk around the neighborhood. Since we are on high ground, there was no flooding, but dozens of trees snapped or were uprooted. We aren't out of the woods yet; there are many trees leaning that weren't doing so last week- a strong spring or summer thunderstorm could topple them.

Below, some neighborhood pics...









Remarkably, there appears to be little property damage to homes from falling trees, though its a real mess out there. One person has a mature evergreen leaning dangerously close to his house, tethered to a telephone pole (last photo above). About an hour ago a tree removal company cut the tree down before there was a worst case scenario.

The "boil water" mandate is still on locally, and it appears it will be in effect for the foreseeable future.
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