Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Reflections on Pearl Harbor

Today marks 75 years since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, that brought the United States into World War II. That makes it a good time to reflect on that attack. And the best way to do that may be through some contemporary analysis reported in the 1985 book Reflections on Pearl Harbor by William H. Ewing, now out of print.

Admiral Chester W. Nimitz was appointed as Commander of the Pacific Fleet in the aftermath of the Pearl Harbor attack. The story I have read is that President Franklin Roosevelt reached him while he was attending a concert on the day of the attack, and appointed him that day to his new post.

Transportation, in particular, was not as rapid then as it is now. It apparently took more than two weeks for Admiral Nimitz to arrive at his new post. What happened very shortly after his arrival is described in an excerpt from Reflections On Pearl Harbor by William H. Ewing, reported online in 2011.

When Nimitz landed at Pearl Harbor on Christmas Eve, 1941, there was such a spirit of despair, dejection and defeat--you would have thought the Japanese had already won the war. On Christmas Day, 1941, Adm. Nimitz was given a boat tour of the destruction wrought on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese.

Afterwards, someone asked him, ‘Well Admiral, what do you think after seeing all this destruction?’ Admiral Nimitz's reply shocked everyone: ‘The Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attack force could ever make, or God was taking care of America.

Nimitz explained:

Mistake number one: The Japanese attacked on Sunday morning. Nine out of every ten crewmen of those ships were ashore on leave. If those same ships had been lured to sea and been sunk, we would have lost 38,000 men instead of 3,800.

Mistake number two: When the Japanese saw all those battleships lined in a row, they got so carried away sinking those battleships, they never once bombed our dry docks opposite those ships. If they had destroyed our dry docks, we would have had to tow every one of those ships to America to be repaired. As it is now, the ships are in shallow water and can be raised. One tug can pull them over to the dry docks, and we can have them repaired and at sea by the time we could have towed them to America. And I already have crews ashore anxious to man those ships.

Mistake number three: Every drop of fuel in the Pacific theater of war is on top of the ground in storage tanks five miles away over that hill. One attack plane could have strafed those tanks and destroyed our fuel supply.

That's why I say the Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attack force could make, or God was taking care of America.

I have read elsewhere that the Japanese chose to attack on a Sunday morning to insure the maximum number of capital ships would be in port and at anchor (see Mistake number one above) and that preparedness in their other attack locations would be similarly degraded. This may suggest the "double-edged sword" nature of so many decisions. It may also relate to the Pearl Harbor attack being a late addition (approved by Emperor Hirohita on November 5) as part of the broader attack that opened World War II's Pacific War.

There was also what might be called Mistake number four: Either through a failure of intelligence or the Japanese need to proceed with their overall attack as planned regardless of inopportune circumstances at a single location (especially that of a late addition to the plan), all the US aircraft carriers were at sea at the time of the attack. Thus the carriers, which had to be the number one target of Admiral Yamamoto's attack plan, were preserved and able to successfully prosecute the Pacific War. After all, the Japanese attack demonstrated (if a demonstration was needed) the effectiveness of aircraft carriers.

All this provides a different window on the Pearl Harbor attack, and should be food for thought on today's 75th anniversary of that attack.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Worth Passing On

Donald Trump & Carrier

President-elect Donald Trump called the head of Carrier Air Conditioning's parent company and had a "heart to heart" talk with him. With that and some additional serious negotiations, the Carrier plant in Indiana will remain open instead of moving to Mexico, saving 1,000 jobs.

If President-elect Donald Trump could do that without yet being in office, why couldn't President Barack Obama do anything like it?

Looks like it's because Donald Trump actually gives a damn.
He cares.

Not even in office yet, and he's saving jobs.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Reflections on the Election

Before Election Day, everything seemed so clear. Hillary Clinton would be elected president and Donald Trump would be exiled to the wastelands and never heard from again. But then Election Day came, and everyone's expectations were turned upside down.

That caused Shock. Consternation. Horror. The Hillary partisans in the blue cities reacted badly. And that brought about some immediate aftereffects.

Another quick side effect was in the financial markets, where the market futures took an immediate dive. The market gurus said the financial markets would be devastated and would never recover. But we know how that turned out.

There was one more thing that apparently passed unnoticed on election night. A glass ceiling was shattered — just not the one the Left expected. It was the one shattered by Kellyanne Conway.

Meanwhile, on the other side.

Now the election is over and we're done with all those political comercials filling all the radio and television broadcast time. And now we will see over the coming weeks the unfolding of a new era. We'll just have to see how different it is from the old one.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Veterans Day 2016

This is from a year ago, but I didn't see it till two months later. I thought this would be an appropriate date to bring it back up.


MAN WALKS INTO CHICK-FIL-A: Is Completely Blown Away When He Saw This for Veterans
By Bill Callen | Top Right News

Chick-fil-A, the same fast-food outlet has once again proved a positive to the world. This time it did so by unveiling an amazing Veterans Day tribute that left Georgia resident Eric Comfort in complete shock.

According to a Facebook post he published on Monday, when he walked into a local Chick-fil-A, Comfort discovered a "Missing Man Table" that contained a single rose, a Bible and a folded American flag, as well as a plaque within which was the following explanation: "This table is reserved to honor our missing comrades in arms. The tablecloth is white - symbolizing the purity of their motives when answering the call of duty. The single red rose, displayed in a vase, reminds us of the life of each of the missing and their loved ones and friends of these Americans who keep the faith, awaiting answers. The vase is tied with a red ribbon, symbol of our continued determination to account for our missing. A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears endured by those missing and their families who seek answers. The Bible represents the strength gained through faith to sustain those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God. The glass is inverted - to symbolize their inability to share this evening's toast. The chair is empty - they are missing."

After the story went viral, the store manager, Alex Korchan, explained to WSB that his team members had set up the table because they "wanted to honor veterans." Furthermore, he revealed that he planned to offer free meals to all veterans and their family members this Veterans Day between the hours of 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Korchan also put up a poster so that customers could write in the names of loved ones who they have lost. "We've had a lot of people who have come in and seen it and been touched by it," Korchan continued. "It's been special to see."

PLEASE SHARE this article if you admire what Chick-Fil-A has done to honor our vets…

Happy Veterans Day

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Comey Sends Another Letter

After recently announcing the reopening of the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation, FBI Director James Comey has now announced he atill won't recomment pressing criminal charges against Hillary Clinton et al. All this after having outlined Hillary's criminal behavior in his press conference in July.

I have been mystified since July over the discrepancy between the facts summarized and the recommendation made. Maybe this explains it:

These Speak For Themselves

This speaks for itself. And it shows who is guilty of rank hypocrisy.

This one speaks to the kinds of people who are for and against one of the presidential candidates.

It's also notable that the haters leave the area of any rally they have a complete trashy mess, while the supporters leave a clean field.

Do you really want to put the country in the hands of more people who are dishonest, act like kindergarden children, and can't even pick up after themselves? I'd rather vote for some actual legitimate human beings.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Best Reason . . .

Ruben Navarrette summarizes this year's presidential race rather succinctly in his column in today's Albuquerque Journal. He says

The best reason to vote for Clinton is not because you believe that she cares about you or will keep her promises; it's to stop Trump. And the best reason to vote for Trump is not because you believe that he'll change a system that made him rich and famous or will keep his promises; it's to defeat Clinton.

As for me, I remain "Never. Never." I've chosen this path because I see the truth in the meme I read recently that described Trump as representing "everything that is wrong with our culture" and Clinton as embodying "everything that is wrong with our government."

That about covers it.

Cartoonist Michael Ramirez sums up how Navarrette and a large part of the country's population feel.

This additional Ramirez cartoon puts the choice we face a little bit differently.


That-s pretty close to what Thomas Sowell said (quoted here):
Voting for an out of control egomaniac like Donald Trump would be like playing Russian roulette with the future of this country. Voting for someone with a track record like Hillary Clinton's is like putting a shotgun to your head and pulling the trigger. And not voting at all is just giving up.
As Sowell also says, "Nobody said that being a good citizen would be easy."

Consider carefully. After all, one of these two people will end up living in the White House next year. Are you going to vote for a chance at life or for a guaranteed disaster?

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Time to Grow Up

As Margaret Thatcher once said "The problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people's money."

Also, related, Winston Churchill said (paraphrased, I suspect)

  • If you are 20 and not a Liberal, you have no heart.
  • If you are 40 and not a Conservative, you have no brain.
It's definitely time for folks to grow up.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Progressives vs. Conservatives

The state of the nation seems very much like this:

The labels on this cartoon say Mondernism and Tradition, but they really are Progressives and Conservatives. The Progressives really don't comprehend the strength and stability Conservatives provide — strength and stability the Progressives really rely on.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

How to Balance the Federal Budget

This might well do it.

Of course, the remaining federal employees will be overworked — at least until other changes are made.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Willful Blindness

Just one of the areas where President Barack Obama and his administration deliberately close their eyes to reality. I wish we had an adult in the Oval Office.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Wells Fargo, A Criminal Organization

This is part of a firmly established pattern, so no further comment is necessary.

UPDATE: This is important, and oh so true!

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Media Surrender

Subtitle: Media For Hillary

Last week, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump confirmed his belief that President Barack Obama was born in the United States, and noted that the original story had come from the 2008 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.

The major media outlets — including the AP, Reuters, the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, ABC, NBC, and CBS — quickly produced their agreed view on the issue. (The Wall Street Journal cites here the varying wordings of that agreed viewpoint by the AP, Reuters, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and CNN. I heard the reporting by ABC, NBC, and CBS myself, and read the AP account in the Albuquerque Journal.) The way the agreed media story was put in the Albuquerque Journal is this:

WASHINGTON – After five years as a promoter of a lie about Barack Obama’s birthplace, Donald Trump abruptly reversed course Friday and acknowledged the fact that the president was born in America. He then immediately peddled another false conspiracy.

“President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period,” Trump declared, enunciating each word in a brief statement at the end of a campaign appearance. “Now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again.”

But as the GOP presidential nominee sought to put that false conspiracy theory to rest, he stoked another, claiming that the “birther movement” was begun by his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. There is no evidence that that is true.

“Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it,” Trump said.

While the question of Obama’s birthplace was pushed by some bloggers who backed Clinton’s primary campaign against him eight years ago, Clinton has long denounced it as a “racist lie.”

If memory serves, Hillary started denouncing it as false about the time she was named to be Obama's Secretary of State.

Note that this agreed media story on the issue appeared in the media's news stories, not just in their editorials.

This writer suspects that Trump picked up legitimate discussions of and questions about Obama's birth that were running around the country (no, not just "some bloggers") in 2008. Some questions continued for a time even after the White House finally released a copy of the original long-form birth certificate because of perceived discrepancies in it.

But, frankly, that's not of concern. What is of concern is that the media have agreed on a single viewpoint, across news and editorial departments and across organizations, that is at odds with the verifiable facts — both as stated currently and as can surely be verified in news reports from 2008. Multiple members of Hillary's 2008 campaign, including her senior advisor and close confidant Sidney Blumenthal, are the ones who took this story to various reporters — a story that was supported by Obama's own statement in a collegiate biography that he was born in Kenya. Indeed, Blumenthal's deep involvement in spreading this story may be the reason President Obama absolutely forbade the hiring of Blumenthal in the State Department by Secretary Clinton, and order Hillary followed in its letter but not in its intent as he was clearly still working for her at the time of the Benghazi Attack.

But I'm reasonably sure of this:

It's not a conspiracy. It's worse. It's a consensus.

Perhaps the actual issue for this presidential campaign is that Donald Trump was gullible enough to really believe what he read in the media in 2008.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

What is Hillary Really Like?

Hillary Rodham Clinton showed her true colors early in the Administration of President William Jefferson Clinton. (She had done so back in Arkansas as well, but not nearly so publicly or on the national public record.) This former First Lady, former New York Senator, and former Secretary of State engineered what would become known as Travelgate:

It was the first big case in which she showed poor judgment, a cool willingness to mislead, and a level of political aggression that gave even those around her pause. It was after this mess that her critics said she’d revealed the soul of an East German border guard.

The Clinton White House was internally a dramatic one, as George Stephanopoulos later recounted in “All Too Human,” his sharply observed, and in retrospect somewhat harrowing, memoir of his time as Mr. Clinton’s communications director and senior adviser. He reported staffers and officials yelling, crying, shouting swear words and verbally threatening each other. It was a real hothouse. There was a sense the gargoyles had taken over the cathedral. But that wouldn’t become apparent until later.

What showed up in Hillary's Travelgate actions? She took vindictive actions that were intended in part to funnel government funds to her friends and associates. Those actions included, in that case, not only the dismissal of all the members of the White House Travel Office, who had worked for a series of presidents both Democrats and Republicans, and having criminal charges lodged against them which she knew to be fabricated and false. She made a long series of false statements, attempting to hide her mendacity behind a long series of changing stories. And she misused and subverted a whole series of government files and departments.

All of which could have been ripped from this year's current headlines. It just goes to show that absolutely nothing has changed.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

An Interesting Coincidence — Or Is It?

Bataan survivor Dwight Cable, formerly a Sergeantt in the 515th Coast Artillery (Anti-Air) of the New Mexico National Guard, died last month as previously noted. But there is a coincidence that's not noted in the Albuquerque Journal article about Dwight, or in his obituary — one that makes one wonder if there are ever really any coincidences.

Dwight was born at home, in an apartment at 5622 S Ellis Avenue in Chicago IL on December 16, 1916. (Babies were normally born at home, not in hospitals, in those years.) That apartment was right across the street from the west stands of the University of Chicago's Stagg Field, home of one of the founding members of the Big Ten Conference. (The Chicago Maroons dominated that conference until the University dropped its football team after the 1939 season.) That apartment building has long since been torn down.

The Nuclear Energy sculpture at the University of Chicago
The importance of the Stagg Field Stands in Dwight's story is that a squash court in the space under them was the location of the first man-made self-sustaining controlled nuclear reaction — the first operational nuclear reactor, which went "critical" on December 2, 1942. Henry Moore’s “Nuclear Energy” sculpture now stands on the exact spot. (This article provides more information.) Producing that self-sustaining nuclear reaction was a key step in the development of the atomic bombs which were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6th & 9th of 1945, respectively.

The Prisoner of War camp commandants in Japan had standing orders that, when the Allied invasion of the home islands began, they were to kill all the prisoners. The atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, ending World War II, avoided the need for an invasion and thus saved the lives of Dwight and the other POWs being held in Japan. So the research carried out across the street from Dwight's birthplace came to be used "across the street" from his internment camp — a use that saved his life.

Another coincidence. The apartments where Dwight was born were eventually torn down and replaced by a University of Chicago laboratory building, the Enrico Fermi Institute for Nuclear Studies. A laboratory in that building was used by one of Dwight's nephews. As best as that nephew could determine, the location of his laboratory was at the very location (though in the basement) of the apartment where Dwight was born. It really is a small world.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Peter Lindberg, MD

New Mexico has lost a brilliant, talented, and exceptionally experienced oncologist, Dr Peter Lindberg. He graduated from medical school in 1965 and continued practicing through the early part of this year (2016) when he began treatment for his own esophageal cancer. He and his wife Mary enjoyed life together for 56 years. Dr Lindberg died very early yesterday, September 13, 2016.

A memorial page is available online on the website of the Prostate Cancer Support Association of New Mexico providing a lot of information about Dr Lindberg's life. The Peanuts cartoon described in the memorial page can be seen here.

Dr Lindberg will be greatly missed.

UPDATE (Sept. 23): Dr Lindberg's obituary has been published in the Los Alamos Daily Post. It is also being printed on September 25th in the Los Alamos Monitor and can be seen (with poor formatting) on legacy.com.

UPDATE (Sept. 27): Dr Lindberg's obituary was published today in the Albuquerque Journal. We all are still greatly distressed that he is gone.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

9/11/2001 -- Never Forget!

Our own generation's "day which will live in infamy."

It's the day we were attacked by uncivilized barbarians. We saw some of what they caused.
Their successors are even less civilized than they were. We hadn't thought that possible.

No, we must never forget!

And we must especially think on these things today, on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 Attack.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Bagpiper

Time is like a river. You cannot touch the water twice, because the flow that has passed will never pass again. Enjoy every moment of life. As a bagpiper, I play many gigs. Recently I was asked by a funeral director to play at a graveside service for a homeless man. He had no family or friends, so the service was to be at a pauper's cemetery in the Nova Scotia back country. As I was not familiar with the backwoods, I got lost and, being a typical man, I didn't stop for directions.

I finally arrived an hour late and saw the funeral guy had evidently gone and the hearse was nowhere in sight. There were only the diggers and crew left and they were eating lunch. I felt badly and apologized to the men for being late.

I went to the side of the grave and looked down and the vault lid was already in place. I didn't know what else to do, so I started to play.

The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around. I played out my heart and soul for this man with no family and friends. I played like I've never played before for this homeless man. And as I played "Amazing Grace", the workers began to weep. They wept, I wept, we all wept together. When I finished, I packed up my bagpipes and started for my car. Though my head was hung low, my heart was full.

As I opened the door to my car, I heard one of the workers say, "I never seen anything like that before, and I've been putting in septic tanks for twenty years."

Apparently, I'm still lost... it's a man thing.

Monday, September 5, 2016

The Choice We Face

"Voting for an out of control egomaniac like Donald Trump would be like playing Russian roulette with the future of this country. Voting for someone with a track record like Hillary Clinton's is like putting a shotgun to your head and pulling the trigger. And not voting at all is just giving up." As Sowell also says, "Nobody said that being a good citizen would be easy."
        — Thomas Sowell