Tuesday, September 12, 2017


9/11 is over. I purposefully did not post anything about the anniversary of the attack yesterday. Why not?

We are all aware of the events of that tragic day. It was a horrible day and deserves remembrance, but I think, and I sure don't have an answer for this, I think our nation is grieving--and rightly so--but it seems to me every year on this date we rip a band-aid off of a physical and psychic wound.

I do not see how we can possibly heal as a nation when we do this. Maybe it is too soon. Heck, we still remember Pearl Harbor Day, 76 years distant, so what do I know?

I certainly am not suggesting we forget the events of that day, nor do I lay fault for any who feel a need to express their grief. What I fear is people using the day as a political soapbox or to raise a dagger of fearmongering.

All I am saying is I think we need to find a different way to honor and remember those we lost. 

What do you think?

Thursday, August 17, 2017

What moral equivalence?

I don't know about the rest of you, but I felt a sick feeling in my stomach as I watched all those men (and a scant few women) marching, chanting with their arms raised in a fashion best reminiscent of the Nazis. I am certain you share my feelings of horror watching these thugs marching down Charlottesville's sidewalks, torches in hand, chanting "my land, not yours. No more Jews." 

What the hell? My paternal Grandfather Robert Mappin answered the call, served, fought and was injured in WWII's Battle of the Bulge. My friend Beth's father served as well. My ex-wife's father joined the Army at age 15. Like so many of our parents, aunts and uncles and grandparents--and millions of others--they served to defend the principles we have long held dear. 

Equally galling was listening to Mr. Trump's saying "both sides are the same, both sides are to blame." Instead of calling out the Neo Nazis and white supremacists, he called some of them "good people" defending their beliefs. A President's duty is to take a stand against hate and intolerance. 

Our men and women fought against the Axis Forces, the ultimate tool of death and hatred. For Mr. Trump to compare white supremacists and Neo Nazis to freedom fighters is beyond outrage. 

A moral equivalence? 

After being pressured by Congress and thousands of Americans to say more, to take a firm stand, it took Trump two full days to denounce the homegrown terrorists. 

All was good, right? No. Mr. Trump took a stand against hate... And then, the next day, he practically retracted it all, repeating his original rants, laying the blame on both sides. 

I think every man and woman who has served in our Armed Forces felt incensed seeing these behaviors displayed by these thugs in Charlottesville. Is this what we fought for, served for, to see such an insidious movement gaining a toehold here on our very shores? Makes me ill.  

Have we learned NOTHING? 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The voice of our childhoods

June Foray died yesterday.

She was 99 years old, just two months shy of being 100. For the younger generation, who will surely say, "who?" I feel a little sad for you all.

For those who remember Tweety bird's grandmotherly owner, yes her (June). For those who remember the "Flintstone's" first Betty Rubble (I do not), yes, that was June. Duddley Doo-Right's girlfriend Nell? Yep, her too! 

BUT her main claim to fame was her voicing the classic Rocky the Flying Squirrel--of "Rocky and Bullwinkle" fame... oh, and she was also the voice of Rocky's Russian nemesis, Natasha. AND she was the voice of Cindy Lou Who in the classic animated "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."

I imagine Ms. Foray did more voices than any of us can remember. In her 2009 aptly titled autobiography “Did You Grow Up With Me, Too?” she detailed her lifelong love of animation and film.

Foray was married to Bernard Barondess from 1941 to 1945. She was married to Hobart Donavan from 1954 until his death in 1976.

The world will be a little sadder knowing Foray is no longer with us.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Twitter? Or is it Twit-in-Chief

I find it a mixture of amusement and horrifying disdain that so many people are willing to side with the current inhabitant who is destroying our White House... and our country.

This morning, the Donald's twitter feed announced the military's new policy that would turn out or away transgender citizens wanting to serve in our nation's Armed Forces. 

Why should I even be surprised? The Donald has diligently worked to undo every policy from the Obama Administration.

1) What could a man who had five deferments from military service during the Vietnam War possibly know about serving one's country? Sorry, Donald, but going to a military academy as a youth does not make you an expert on serving one's country.

2) A lot of people are arguing that the military should not be subject to a "damned liberal social experiment." Hmmmm, I am sure a lot of people used that very argument when President Harry "the buck stops here" Truman desegregated the Armed Forces back in the 1950s. In retrospect, that seems to have worked out pretty well for us. I have a good many friends who benefitted his foresight.

3) 18 other countries have wrestled with AND resolved this issue long ago, so why do we always have to be the last nation to come to our senses?

4) I have a good friend who served our Navy well who joined when he was 19 years old. The Navy drummed her out of the service when they discovered he was a transgender woman. His Commanding Officer, his Lead Petty Officer and Chief all testified what a good Sailor she was. 

Didn't matter, regulations are regulations. The thousands of dollars spent on her training was all for naught and the Navy lost a good Sailor... Point is, there are a lot of good people serving OR who want to serve who now are looking at this prospect as a dim dream (in my humble opinion, the only confusion here should be the pronoun disagreements).

5) For obvious reasons, I have a strong belief that minorities, be it women, transgender, gay, lesbian, Muslim faith, Blacks, Hispanics and anyone else who want to serve our country should be allowed to do so.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Our history refined... truth be known

I am watching PBS' American Experience: The Great War. I used to think President Wilson a pragmatic pacifist, and a horribly racist man. While watching part II, I have discovered his administration was most expert at public manipulation that I suspect the Trump administration has emulated closely.

Prior to America's involvement in World War I, public sentiment was overwhelmingly against U.S. involvement. Once it became clear that mindset could not survive, Wilson's administration launched a public affairs effort to change the hearts and minds of Americans' attitudes.

Almost overnight, our government's stance changed from its isolationist, pacifist to one of aggressive participation. Propaganda posters and millions of leaflets were posted everywhere. To maximize the effort, the leaflets were published in English and 18 foreign languages.

Worse, President Wilson acted aggressively to squash public dissent with the passage of anti-espionage and sedition laws. Wilson would not permit public opinions that would endanger his efforts to bolster our military's ability to wage war.

It became clear to Wilson a strong effort to grow our military would be necessary. At the time, prior to our involvement in the "war to end all wars," the U.S. Armed Forces was ranked 18th in military might.

Conscription laws (the draft), long unpopular in our country (look at what happened during the Civil War--riots, imprisonment, and even public hangings were used to force those who wished not to fight or succumb to government policy).

Wilson's racist beliefs visibly manifested itself on the military registration card. The bottom left-hand corner had a tear-off section with the instruction that it be torn off IF the applicant was of African-American descent, thus formalizing (for the first time) a strictly segregated Army.

Blacks were seen as a problem. The thinly veiled belief was the fear made clear in a statement made by a US Senator from Mississippi that "once you draft a Negro man and give him a gun and tell him to fight with it, it is one short step for him thinking he should fight for his rights at home."

Pacifists and Conscientious objectors were characterized as unpatriotic and called "slackers." A movement to demonize Americans of German descent, even those whose ancestors had lived here as far back as the Revolutionary War, was put for both in public sectors as well as in government housing. German-Americans were forced to register letting the government know where they resided, worked and worshiped.

Encampments were created to house people who the government considered a threat to national security.

Does any of this sound familiar to today's readers?

The documentary is sobering. History books all t often white-wash our nation's past. One group shot photo showing the first battalions look like a lot like today's GOP (all white, all male).

I find all of this very troubling because 1) History classes in elementary and high school have not taught these events (or spent much time focusing on these particulars. 2) The documentary shows how easy we have been steered into war, and 3) How easy nationalism has shaped our behaviors and how we have treated minorities in times when our nation faced adversity.

The documentary is available for purchase... or go to your local library. I strongly urge you to watch this documentary to see our involvement in WWI and to see just how easy our government has found it to manipulate the public into going to war.