Monday, December 31, 2007

Ducks win Sun Bowl

The Oregon Ducks won the Sun Bowl, New Years Eve Day in El Paso, Texas beating University of Southern Florida 56 to 21. Congratulations to Mike Bellotti and and the team for the win and for breaking the 4 bowl losing streak for the Ducks. "All's well that ends well." Thanks Ducks.

( To see pictures from game in slide show click on title for a link... includes trophy presentation)

Battle of Midway

Since I posted on this blog, a few days ago, an entry on Torpedo Squadron 8, I have recieves some emails from Nancy of McMinnville whose uncle was one of the men who died when the U.S. Navy torpedo bombers attacked the Japanese aircraft carriers and all but one crew members died in the attack when they were shot down by the Japanese.

A brief summary of the battle from Wikipedia:

The Battle of Midway was a naval battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II. It took place from June 4, 1942 to June 7, 1942, approximately one month after the Battle of the Coral Sea, about five months after the Japanese capture of Wake Island, and six months after the Empire of Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor that had led to a formal state of war between the United States and Japan. During the battle, the United States Navy defeated a Japanese attack against Midway Atoll, losing one aircraft carrier and one destroyer, while destroying four Japanese carriers and a heavy cruiser.

The battle was a decisive victory for the Americans, widely regarded as the most important naval engagement of the Pacific Campaign of World War II

The Japanese plan of attack was to lure America's remaining carriers into a trap and sink them.[4] The Japanese also intended to occupy Midway Atoll to extend Japan's defensive perimeter farther from its home islands. This operation was considered preparatory for further attacks against Fiji and Samoa, as well as an invasion of Hawaii
(To read more click on the title for a link)

Nancy of McMinnville was kind to share some pictures she took when she visited Midway Island as part of the 65th year commemoration of the battle. She also has one of the original copies of the documentary movie director John Ford made for the families of the members of Torpedo Squadron 8.

She also suggested two good books on the battle of Midway:

If you're ever interested in reading about the BOM, a couple good starter books are Midway: The Incredible Victory by Walter Lord. The foreword of that book contains the famous quote "They had no right to win. Yet they did...." It's engraved on one of the monuments at Midway, and it was thrilling to see it in person.

The second book is A Glorious Page in Our History by Robert J. Cressman, Steve Ewing, and a few other guys.

Thanks, Nancy.... people like your uncle who died at Midway have kept us free.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Which Way Oregon Ducks?

Before this blog is taken over by Presidential politics, I thought I would write once more about my beloved Ducks! Tomorrow, December, 31st, the Ducks play Southern Florida in the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas on CBS TV at 11 AM PST. Which Way Ducks?

Oregon has lost their last FOUR Bowl games.

2006 Las Vegas Bowl Oregon 8 vs BYU 38 LOSS

2005 Holiday Bowl Oregon 14 vs Oklahoma 17 LOSS

2004 NO BOWL

2003 Sun Bowl Oregon 30 vs Minnesota 31 LOSS

2002 Seattle Bowl Oregon 17 Wake Forest 38 LOSS

In that same time period our "Friends" the Oregon State Beavers have WON four of their last four Bowl games. Before the Beavers' 21-14 win in the Emerald Bowl this week, Riley coached Oregon State to wins in the 2006 Sun Bowl, the 2004 Insight Bowl, and the 2003 Las Vegas Bowl.

So which way Ducks? I will be watching!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

"Showdown for Hillary in John Wayne country

From the London Telegraph Newspaper:

He was arguably the greatest hero in the history of American cinema, a leader of men who beat the bad guys and symbolised patriotic values

But here in the birthplace of John Wayne, in the snowy wilds of an Iowa winter, the US is picking another leader - a president to command the respect of modern America and deal with the world's villains, who have swapped Stetsons and Colt 45s for suicide bomb belts.......

At the Wayne birthplace museum, tour guide Glenna Finney, 67, has no time for Mrs Clinton, or the memory of her husband's White House dalliance with Monica Lewinsky.....

"People here expect you to have manners. A decent name is to be treasured. How will President Clinton be remembered? Not for any of the good things he did. Where was his decency?

"There's nothing badly wrong with this good old America that John Wayne couldn't have fixed. It was Mid West values that made him so strong. I'm looking for someone who offers leadership, honesty and integrity."

In Des Moines, Iowa's state capital, drivers tooted their horns on Friday as John Strong, 66, a former soldier, brandished a banner reading "Veterans Against Hillary". He has become a familiar sight at campaign events in the city, accompanied by a Halloween effigy of Mrs Clinton in a witch's hat.

He said: "I don't mind her being a woman, but she is weak on national defence and she's very condescending and nasty. She is part of the liberal elite and she is a fake when she says she cares about regular people."......

To read the rest click on the title for a link.

"Mrs. Clinton is the most dramatically polarizing, the most instinctively distrusted, political figure of my lifetime."

Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal on Hillary Clinton: central problem with her candidacy. My central problem is that the next American president will very likely face another big bad thing, a terrible day, or days, and in that time it will be crucial--crucial--that our nation be led by a man or woman who can be, at least for the moment and at least in general, trusted. Mrs. Clinton is the most dramatically polarizing, the most instinctively distrusted, political figure of my lifetime. Yes, I include Nixon. Would she be able to speak the nation through the trauma? I do not think so. And if I am right, that simple fact would do as much damage to America as the terrible thing itself.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

"Pack the Pit"

Tomorrow my son and I are driving to Eugene for an Oregon Duck Basketball Game. What with week night games it makes it impractical to buy season tickets when you live in Medford and it is difficult to get single game tickets for the Pac-10 games on week-ends.Therefore I try to make it up for a game during the Holidays when the students are gone and there are extra ticks for sale. I want to take my son to one more game before they replace MacArthur Court with a new arena. Some time ago I remarked on this blog that I had a poster hanging in my office of the "Kamikaze Kids" who played for coach Dick Harder when I was a young law student in the early 1970's just after I got out of the Army. As a result of that post Julie of Springfield sent me a poem she wrote of that era in Oregon Basketball that expresses the feelings we had and have better than I ever could. With her permission I am posting her poem.

"Back Then.."

Looking back on my youth, the best times I had
Were the U of O games that I shared with my dad.

When I was young, back in '75,
I remember the ducks really came alive!

My dad used to work for the great U of O
And Dick Harter's ducks I sure grew to know.

The "Kamikaze Kids" - (I think there were four)
Is what they were called 'cause they dove on the floor.

We had reserved seats, and if mom said "Alright"
Then I got to go while she stayed home for the night.

Yes, they were wild! Those were the days!
It was great to be part of the kamikaze craze!

There were the civil war games, where the whole crowd would cheer,
And "SIT DOWN RALPH" was sometimes all you could hear.

One of the best parts, was after the game,
We'd all go to Farrell's, win or loose, just the same.

I think the best part of all, was the thrill of Mac Court!
Just being in "The Pit" had a magic of some sort!

Who doesn't remember the great Ronnie Lee?
And there was Bruce Coldren - he wore "thirty three."

The "printing department" used to be my dad's trade.
And when Bruce Coldren walked in, a request my dad made.

So that on my twelfth birthday I was given a letter!
It was signed by Bruce Coldren! What could be better?

Stu Jackson was a BIG name, back in my time.
Nowadays LUKE Jackson is truly sublime.

"Greg Ballard" is another great name we all knew.
I called him "Mr. Rebound" and he wore "forty-two."

At the Valley River Inn, I remember one night,
All of a sudden he came into sight!

He didn't know me, But as we all dined
I picked up a napkin and his autograph he signed!

I was so honored! I thought I would die!
But I tried to act cool - I really did try!
And there was Mike Drummond. He was the shortest of all.
He wore number 10 at just five foot ten inches tall!

Of all the great players, that came and that went,
We can't help but remember the great Ernie Kent!

He was one of "The Kids", and he wore "thirty five".
He was one of the best and that ain't no jive!

I was so very happy, when I heard his name
As the new Oregon coach of the basketball game!

So now that I've turned the big forty years old
I felt a great need for my memories to be told.

Oregon Duck basketball was more than a game.
The players were family and I knew them by name.

Those were great times, and although in the past,
While looking back now, they sure went by fast.

I'm all grown up, and have kids of my own,
And my love of the ducks I have vividly shown!

This new generation now cheers for new guys.
There are plenty of players they can idolize!

Have you seen Ian Crosswhite or James Davis play?
Jordan Kent may pass up his father one day!

They watch Andre Joseph, and watched Freddie Jones, too.
And one of "the Lukes" always knew what to do!

Though this new generation may look up to "Rid"
My dad was my hero when I was a kid.

I think I will take my son to Ferrell's after the game. I know they have changed it's name but I loved the place too.

Huckabee's Son hangs a dog and father tries to cover it up as Arkansas Governor

This investigative news story from Newsweek's Michael Isikoff:

One issue likely to get attention is his handling of a sensitive family matter: allegations that one of his sons was involved in the hanging of a stray dog at a Boy Scout camp in 1998. The incident led to the dismissal of David Huckabee, then 17, from his job as a counselor at Camp Pioneer in Hatfield, Ark. It also prompted the local prosecuting attorney— bombarded with complaints generated by a national animal-rights group—to write a letter to the Arkansas state police seeking help investigating whether David and another teenager had violated state animal-cruelty laws. The state police never granted the request, and no charges were ever filed. But John Bailey, then the director of Arkansas's state police, tells NEWSWEEK that Governor Huckabee's chief of staff and personal lawyer both leaned on him to write a letter officially denying the local prosecutor's request. Bailey, a career officer who had been

To read the rest of the story click on the title for a link. If true, I will not be voting for Huckabee for President or even Vice Prescient.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Torpedo Squadron 8

(The last of Torpedo Eight's TBDs, T-16 (BuNo 1506), flown by LCDR John C. Waldron with Horace Franklin Dobbs, CRMP, in the rear seat, taking off Hornet on 4 June 1942.)

The John Ford DVD documentary I received for Christmas with the Ford At Fox Collection (see post below) had on it a "special feature" the Documentaries John Ford made during World War II while he was in the U.S. Navy. They include the well know Academy Award winning documentaries on Pearl Harbor and on the Battle of Midway. It also included a little known, and not distributed, documentary called "Torpedo Squadron 8" a documentary made only for the family's of the squadron members who died in the Battle of Midway. Torpedo Squadron 8 (VT-8) was a United States Navy squadron of torpedo bombers operating from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet. It was an emotional experience watching this color documentary, last night for the first time, showing these young American navy flayers taken shortly before their deaths. So young ... so "boy next door" joking and smiling." I've seen a few excerpts from the documentary in the Documentary "John Ford Goes to War" but until now no one has seen the entire film except the producers and a few families on the home front.

Ford was on the island of Midway during the battle in 1942 and personally supervised, or himself filmed, the action there. Others of his crew were at sea aboard carriers. A good deal of color footage was shot. By happenstance, some of the footage focused on the pilots and crew members of Torpedo Squadron 8 who all except one died a few hours later. Some of the shots showed them as a group, and others showed them as individuals, going about their business, laughing and joking around their airplanes. The Navy men flew obsolete torpedo planes, called Devestators. Because of what Clausewitz called "the fog of war," they arrived at their targets unescorted by fighters and all of the torpedo planes were shot down. There was only one survivor. Of course Ford knew this when he was assembling the film, so among the opening credits is a plaque reading, "In Memoriam." Releasing a film like this for general distribution was out of the question in wartime, so, as I understand it, Ford saw to it, or tried to see to it, that copies of the film went only to the families of Torpedo Squadron 8. (from the IMDB)

Now 65 years later it's available on DVD in the Ford At Fox Collection.

From Wikipedia:
The squadrons first and best-known combat mission came during the Battle of Midway on 4 June 1942. Flying the vulnerable Douglas TBD Devastators, Commander John C. Waldron's 15 planes were all shot down during their unescorted torpedo attack on four Japanese aircraft carriers. The squadron did not destroy any enemy aircraft with their rear .30-caliber machine guns, nor did they damage any of the Japanese carriers.

All members of Torpedo Squadron 8 who flew from the Hornet on that day perished in the action, with the exception of Ensign George Gay.

A separate detachment of six TBF Avengers from Midway Island saw two survivors, Ensign Albert K. Earnest and CDR (then Radioman 2/c) Harry Ferrier.
A List of Fallen:

Lt. Commander John C. Waldron
Lt. Raymond A. Moore
Lt. James C. Owens, Jr.
Lt.(jg) George M. Campbell
Lt.(jg) John P. Gray
Lt.(jg) Jeff D. Woodson
Ens. William W. Abercrombie
Ens. William W. Creamer
Ens. Harold J. Ellison
Ens. William R. Evans
Ens. Henry R. Kenyon
Ens. Ulvert M. Moore
Ens. Grant W. Teats
Robert B. Miles, Aviation Pilot 1c
Horace F. Dobbs, Chief Radioman
Amelio Maffei, Radioman 1
Tom H. Pettry, Radioman 1
Otway D. Creasy, Jr. Radioman 2
Ross H. Bibb, Jr., Radioman 2
Darwin L. Clark, Radioman 2
Ronald J. Fisher, Radioman 2
Hollis Martin, Radioman 2
Bernerd P. Phelps Radioman 2
As well L. Picou, Seaman 2
Francis S. Polston, Seaman 2
Max A. Calkins, Radioman 3
George A. Field, Radioman 3
Robert K. Huntington, Radioman 3
William F. Sawhill, Radioman

Failure of the Hornet's captain and air group commander to provide proper coordination led to the disaster[citation needed], though in fairness, VT-3 from Yorktown (CV-5) and VT-6 from Enterprise (CV-6) fared little better. Of all 41 torpedo planes which sortied that day, only six survived. However, it is possible that the act of drawing away the Japanese Zero fighters during the doomed attack allowed a subsequent wave of American dive bombers to later sink three of the four Japanese carriers.

To see pictures from that documentary click on the title above for a link to a web site where the web site creator obtained a copy of the documentary from the daughter of John C Waldron the squadron commander who was killed with the rest of his squadron.

Herman Wouk in his novel "War and Remembrance" has listed the members of torpedo squadron 8 and two other torpedo squadrons from the U.S.S. Yorktown and U.S.S. Enterprise and said this about the naval aviators that attacked the Japanese aircraft carriers that day

"So long as men choose to decide the turns of history with the slaughter of youths--- and even in a better day, when this form of human sacrifice has been abolished like the ancient superstitious, but no more horrible form--- the memory of these three American torpedo plane squadrons should not die. The old sagas would halt the tale to list the names and birthplaces of the men who fought so well. Let this romance follow the tradition. These were the young men of the three squadrons, their names recovered from an already fading record."

Wouk then lists the names and home town of all of the crew member in the three squadrons with those who died outlined in black. It is the most haunting section of his great novel.

All together, these three torpedo Squadrons lost 33 pilots and 45 radiomen-gunners that day. The slow obsolete American torpedo planes were slaughtered by Japanese Zeroes and AA fire. Herman Wouk had this to say:

"In a planned coordinated attack, the dive-bombers were supposed to distract the enemy fighters, so as to give the torpedo planes their chance to come in. Instead the torpedo planes had pulled down the Zeroes and cleared the air for the dive-bombers. What was not luck, but the soul of the United States of America in action, was this willingness of the torpedo plane squadrons to go in against hopeless odds. This was the extra ounce of martial weight that in a few decisive minutes tipped the balance of history."

The Japanese lost four aircraft carriers and the U.S. lost the Yorktown in this naval battle fought from the air. The Japanese attack on Midway failed and it was the turning point in the war in the Pacific.

Christmas and John Ford

We had a nice Christmas at the Wickre home and it was even a "White Christmas". Late Christmas Day it started snowing and it stuck and it was "White" all over on the drive to work this morning. As I type this I see the snow coming down outside my office window. We have the "kids" home for Christmas. On Christmas Eve my mother- in-law, brother-in-law and my sister joined us for dinner and we, in the Wickre tradition, opened most of our gifts around the tree. Santa still came Christmas morning for the "kids" and we went to see the new movie "National Treasure: Book of Secrets" with Nicolas Cage at Medford's Tinseltown. It was a fun movie filmed at historical locations in London, Paris, Washington DC and Mount Rushmore. It was fun seeing places we have been and no movie can be bad that is, in part, filmed at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. My big present from my wife was the large DVD set called "Ford at Fox" a set of 21 DVD's with 24 movies Directed by John Ford for Fox Studios. Some of them are silent films he did in the 1920's all the way up to his classics such as "How Green is My Valley" and "My Darling Clementine." The set included a Documentary on John Ford and a large coffee table like book on the man and his movies. A must for John Ford buffs. Last night I watched the Documentary. My wife,the kids and I also made a "Pact" on where and how we will celebrate Christmas next year. Two years ago we met at Disneyland and spent Christmas Day there and had a blast. Next year, it will be a place a little farther South East. I think "Walt" would approve. One caveat to the "Pact" is if the Ducks get into the Rose Bowl we will go back to Disneyland for Christmas.

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Night Before Christmas

NORAD ( North American Air Defense Command) is reporting from their headquarter in Colorado Springs that they have picked up a flying object entering United States air space coming in from the North. F-15 fighter jets have been scrambled to intercept and identify.

Update: the F-15 have identified an object that looks like a fat old man in a red suit in a sleight driven by reindeer and he appear to not be a treat and the F-15 have returned to base. Watch for updates on FOX NEWS! You can also track Santa on the NORAD site by clicking on the title for a link....honest.


Home for the Holidays

Saturday night we went out to the Jackson County/Medford International Airport to pick up our daughter who flew in from Washington DC. Now both our son and daughter are home for Christmas. Friday night before she arrived my wife, son and I went to the South Medford vs Sunset basketball game. South is ranked #1, Sunset is ranked # 3in the state and it was a very tough game which South Meford was lucky to win. Saturday my son and I went out for a pizza and watched the Las Vegas Bowl on TV before we picked up his sister. Sunday we went to see the movie "Charlie Wilson's War" (see review below) and then all four of us played the game "Trivial Pursuits" on the dining room table. It took about four hours for me to win the game. Of course, the questions are at least 20 years old so I had an unfair advantage being a "baby boomer" and all. It was fun for all four of us to be together again sitting at the dinning room table laughing and joking. We of course talked politics all day. My sister arrived from Portland Sunday night and dropped off her Christmas gifts and then she went back to her motel room after we gave her a tour of our home improvement projects. I also went for a walk with her and her dog in the light rain.She still likes to go to bed early. It's wonderful having the house full again even if we have to "schedule" the shower times. We are all getting together for lunch today. What a wonderful time of year. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Charlie Wilson of the Movie :"Charlie Wilson's War"

The book on which the movie is based has a lot more information about the Democratic congressman from Texas than the movie. A few of my favourite passages from the book:

"The Texas congressman had first gone to the Alamo when he was six years old. He had been there many times since, and each time it had left him teary. Most Americans can't understand what the Alamo means to Texans. It's like Masada to the Israels. It sums up what it means to be a man, what it means to be a patriot, what it means to be a Texan. Jim Bowie, Davy Crockett and all who stayed with Travis that day paid the ultimate price, but they had bought time for Sam Houston to mobilize the Texas army to defeat Santa Anna. that is what brave men did: win time for others to do the right thing......

Charlie Wilson, after all, is bona fide hedonist, But he is also guilty of concealing his other identity. It's only when he's alone and everyone else is sleeping that the other Charlie Wilson surfaced. It's a nightly affair. Usually at about three or four A.M. he finds himself awake and turns to his library..... it is to the biographies and histories of Winston Churchill that Wilson always returns on these night journeys to read again and again about the man who was cast into the political wilderness, written off as an alcoholic alarmist, and then when all was los ,rose to the occasions to save his country and his civilization from the darkness of Hitler....

The painting over his bed, his one steady nightly companion.... The painting-- a lone pilot in the cockpit of a Spitfire, patrolling the night skies of London-- had hung over his boyhood bed in tiny Trinity, Texas, at a time when the Nazis were sweeping across Europe..... The young boy with the huge imagination had already become obsessed with the war and with the magical voices coming out of the RCA radio.... Murrow from London under the Blitz and particularly Winston Churchill. It was a voice from far away, heard on a radio in a tiny town in the back of beyond. But those ringing, defiant words of Churchill, mocking Hitler and infusing a nation with the will to fight on, no matter what the cost, never to be conquered, would leave Wilson forever struck by the power of one man's spirit to change history."

I have a review of the movie below. If you like the movie also read the book. Charlie Wilson is a true patriot. Not bad for a Republican to say about a Democrat.

Review: "Charlie Wilson's War" ***** (5 out of 5)

They moved up the release date for "Charlie Wilson's War" so the Wickre family went today, rather than Christmas Day, and did we get an early Christmas Gift! It is a wonderful movie. It's funny, informative and moving all at the same time. Our daughter, in 2005, gave me the book autographed by both the author, George Crile, and by former Congressman Charlie Wilson. She has met the former congressman on several occasions. I could not put down the book and it's one of my all time favorites. Whenever a movie is made out of a book, you love, there is always the danger the movie will not capture the magic of the book. Not this time! The movie has captured the book's magic. Of course, there is much more in the book but the movie found the same spirit and is true to it. Run, don't walk to your nearest movie house and see this movie. People who know both Charlie Wilson and the other characters feel the movie has done them justice.One of my fears was that the "Liberal" folks who made this movie would insert their own bias. I didn't see it, if it is there. This movie is a TRUE story and I loved it. When they are shooting down Soviet helicopter in the movie I wanted to cheer. The movie shows how bigger than life folks can overcome the bureaucracy of Congress and the CIA to do great deeds. It seems like people from Texas aren't afraid to attempt bold acts that the more timid are afraid to attempt. I some times wish I had been born and grew up in Texas. I will get this movie on DVD as soon as it is released. I hope there is a "Directors Cut" with expanded and deleted scenes. I may go to this movie again before it moves to DVD. It gets my vote for "Best Picture."

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Bubble Christmas Lights

I love Bubble Christmas Lights. When I was a little kid in the early 1950's one of my favorite things to do at Christmas was watch the bubble lights on our Christmas tree ... "bubble". Gradually as the 1950's led to the 1960's the bubble lights would burn out one by one. By the late 1960's we had a metallic tree with a color wheel shining on it.(what where we thinking?) Sometime in the 1980's I had a yearning for a return to the bubble lights of my youth. I searched and searched and they were very hard to find. I finally found a string and we have been stringing it on our mantel for the last 20 or so years.. This year I put them on our tree and it really takes me back to my youth and they look great. We even went down to the store and bought more. They are now very easy to find. Some of them would not 'bubble" so I went "on line" and found out if you let them warm up and then unscrew them and shake them upside down they will start to bubble and it worked. Now I have 15 or so bubble lights on our tree and they are all bubbling. Merry Christmas

Marvin & Violet Wickre

They are my adopted parents. They are gone now but not forgotten. Today would have been my dad's birthday. He was born during World War I. Both of my parents were from South Dakota. My Mom grew up in the small town of Waubay and my Dad a few miles east in the town of Webster. They came of age during the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl years. My Mom was German/French and my Dad was Norwegian. They were both life long Lutherans. After high school my Dad joined the CCCs (Civilian Construction Corps) and worked on Mount Rushmore, something for which he was very proud. My Mom went into nurses training but had to quit due to an illness. She had a very weak heart and was told she would not live beyond her twenties.She spent her entire life proving them wrong. My parents were married before the start of World War II and after Pearl Harbor, because he was 4-F, they moved to Ogden Utah to work at, of all places in Utah, a U.S. Navy Supply Depot. After the war they adopted two babies (my sister and I) and opened a heating company and later a sewing machine store in Ogden. They both worked together and when they became ill they went broke.In those days you did NOT file for bankruptcy but just worked harder to pay your bills. They then moved to Boise Idaho and then in a few years to Roseburg Oregon. They were both very good sales people and could aways find jobs in retail commission sales. From time to time they even went door to door in sales. In the late 1950's they bought a Sewing Machine Store in Coos Bay, Oregon and operated that store together until they retired in the 1980's. It was called The Coos Bay Sewing Center. They never missed having a booth at the Coos County Fair in Myrtle Point where they sold sewing machines. My dad was a born salesman.... he never knew a stranger. My mom was a dynamo who hosted a sewing show on the local Coos Bay TV station called "Needle Notes." Even though neither had been to college they put their two children through college and paid the entire tuition and other cost. My mother, at lunch time, would fix lunch for all the store employees at no charge ... every day. They worked six days every week and only took Sundays off. My Dad was a Conservative Republican and my Mom was a Democrat who voted for Kennedy.(Mom you are forgiven) In their later years they were active in the Good Sam Club and the Shrine. Even though they spent most of their adult life away from South Dakota they were true to their roots and would return often to Webster and Waubay for their class reunions and to visit relatives. On the way they would always stop at Mount Rushmore.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas at Arlington National Cemetery

"Rest easy, sleep well my brothers.

Know the line has held, your job is done.

Rest easy, sleep well . . . "

Mike Bellotti to UCLA? UPDATE: NO

The newspapers and the Internet are rampant with reports that University of Oregon head football coach Mike Bellotti is in negotiations with UCLA about becoming their new head coach. We shall soon find out....... tick tick tick ....quite frankly I am ambivalent about his decision. If he goes, I hope for Mike's sake, he gets a load of money from UCLA.

UPDATE: Preliminary word from my sources is that Bellotti has turned UCLA down.


Statement from University of Oregon football coach Mike Bellotti

Release: 12/21/2007

Ducks' 13th-year head coach to continue at Oregon.

“I have a great job at the University of Oregon and believe we have
built a special football program here. That has been made possible
because of the outstanding people I work for, the caliber of people I
work with, the players who are here now as well as the level of
players we are recruiting.

“The primary issues that have always been important to me are the
quality of life, my family and the opportunities to win. The
University of Oregon has always offered me all of those things.

“UCLA wanted to present to me a scenario that would offer all those
things and asked if I would listen. That’s as far as it ever went. I
never considered it an interview, merely an opportunity for them to
provide me with some information and insights into their program.

“I was approached by them on several occasions and finally agreed to
allow them to come to Eugene and speak with me.

“You’re always flattered when others want to talk to you but that’s
because of the success we’ve enjoyed based on our players, our
support staff and our administration. I have been, and continue to
be, 100 percent committed to the University of Oregon and our pursuit
of a national championship.”


Merry Christmas from John McCain

With a political campaign going on full speed during the Christmas season it is easy to become cynical. However the following email I received from John McCain touched me.

My Christmas Story

As a POW, my captors would tie my arms behind my back and then loop the rope around my neck and ankles so that my head was pulled down between my knees. I was often left like that throughout the night.

One night a guard came into my cell. He put his finger to his lips signaling for me to be quiet, and then loosened my ropes to relieve my pain. The next morning, when his shift ended, the guard returned and retightened the ropes, never saying a word to me.

A month or so later, on Christmas Day, I was standing in the dirt courtyard when I saw that same guard approach me. He walked up and stood silently next to me, not looking or smiling at me.

After a few moments had passed, he rather nonchalantly used his sandaled foot to draw a cross in the dirt. We stood wordlessly looking at the cross, remembering the true light of Christmas, even in the darkness of a Vietnamese prison camp. After a minute or two, he rubbed it out and walked away.

That guard was my Good Samaritan. I will never forget that man and I will never forget that moment. And I will never forget that, no matter where you are, no matter how difficult the circumstances, there will always be someone who will pick you up and carry you.

May you and your family have a blessed Christmas and Happy Holidays,

John McCain

I don't know whether he will win the Republican nomination or not but I do know John McCain is a true American patriot.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Real " Man of the Year"

Michael Barone on Time Magazine's 2007 "Person of the Year:"

Time magazine has chosen Vladimir Putin as the person of the year. This strikes me as an odd choice. Yes, Putin has been an important player on the international stage; yes, he has frustrated American efforts to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons; yes, he has been more intransigent on asserting Russian power on the "near abroad," the former Soviet republics, which, like Ukraine, Georgia, and the Baltics, seek to take a different course. But he has been doing these things for years, and he has made no important advances, at best incremental progress, in calendar year 2007.

In contrast, Time's fourth runner-up for person of the year, Gen. David Petraeus, has made an enormous difference this past year. With the help of many others (which is true of any leader), he has turned around the military situation and the political situation (if not at the top-down national level, then at the bottom-up local level) in Iraq. What seemed to be an imminent American defeat has been transformed into an imminent American success. And Petraeus has done more than any other person to turn that around.

It's hard to avoid the conclusion that Time didn't name Petraeus as the person of the year because its editors didn't want to spotlight and honor American success.....

David Petraeus, No. 4 on Time's list, has made a much greater—a huger—difference. But Time doesn't want to acknowledge that, because to do so would be to admit that George W. Bush is not an ignorant tyrant and that the United States is not on the losing side of history. Better to elevate Vladimir Putin to a significance he does not deserve. Shame.

To read the rest of Michael Baron's column click on the title for a link. Time Magazine should be ashamed!

Linda and Dana Sweatt

This is a picture of my very good friends Linda and Dana Sweatt of North Bend, Oregon. Dana and I have been friends since Junior High School . We graduated in the same class from North Bend High School, Home of the Bulldogs,. Dana is the chronicler of our class and keeps track of everyone and is prime organizer of our Class reunions. Dana is retired from the United States Postal Service. He is a good guy even if he is a "Liberal."

Merry Christmas to the Sweatts and Go Bulldogs!.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Christmas TV Special

What ever happened to the old fashioned family Christmas special on Broadcast TV? Tonight I left FOX NEWS in search of the "Christmas Special" to get me in the Holiday spirit. You know, the one where people sit in front of a big fire and sing the standard Christmas Carols. Where are the current Andy William's, Bing Crosby's and Perry Como's. The only thing I could find was a show called "Clash of the Choirs" That is sure to get me in the Christmas spirit! (sarcasm) . If I want competition I will stay with "Hannity and Colmes" on FOX NEWS! I want a warm fire and fake snow and "We wish a Merry Christmas" and of course the show must end with "Silent Night!" After watching "Clash of the Choirs" for 10 minutes it made me sick...... I checked our local TV guide to see If there had been any real Christmas Specials on broadcast TV networks channels ( NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX) in the last 7 days and could not find one other than the cartoons "Frosty the Snow Man" and "Frosty Returns." Heck, I would settle for the Osmond Family Christmas Show. Yes, I know there are Christmas shows on the cable TV channels but what about The broadcast channels? Where is Bob Hope when you need him!

News magazines are dinosaurs in the age of the internet and 24 hour Cable News

Who really cares who Time Magazine names as "Man of the Year". I can remember a time when I would eagerly anticipate the mailman delivering my weekly subscription of Time, Newsweek or U.S. News and World Report. When they would arrive, I would devour them cover to cover. This was in an era when the only others source of news was the 5 o'clock new on TV and the local newspaper. No more. I ended my subscription to my last news magazine, Newsweek, a few year ago and have never regretted it. By the time I got it in the mail it was "old news" and I had read it on line. Now I get my news off of cable TV, FOX NEWS, C-SPAN, the Internet and a few newspapers. If a news magazine does have a story worth reading I get it off the Internet.

PS Al Gore has demanded that Time Magazine do a recount on the voting for "Man of the Year" er "Person of the Year."

Joanne Herring of Movie: "Charlie Wilson's War"

Joanne Herring is a wealthy conservative socialite from Houston,Texas who in the 1980s helped U.S. Representative Charlie Wilson ( Tom Hanks) persuade the American government to train and arm resistance fighters in Afghanistan to fend off the Soviet troops. These events inspired the book Charlie Wilson's War; Herring is portrayed by actress Julia Roberts in the 2007 film adaptation. During part of this time she dated Congressman Charlie Wilson.

In watching the previews to this movie I though Julia Roberts may be overplaying the part; but, click on the title for a link to Joanne Herrings own web site and judge for your self. A remarkable woman.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Movie: "Charlie Wilson's War"

Martin Frost, a former congressman from Texas, has written a movie review of the Movie, "Charlie Wilson's War" about another Congressman from Texas he worked with on Capitol Hill. He starts out the review by saying:

Some times truth is stranger than fiction.

My guess is that a significant number of people who see the new movie, “Charlie Wilson’s War,” about the exploits of my former Congressional colleague from Texas, Charlie Wilson, will walk out of the theater shaking their heads thinking that Hollywood made all this up. It simply couldn’t be true.

Well, folks, it is true. All of it. Congressman Charlie Wilson, a member of the House Appropriations Committee for much of his 24 years in Congress representing a rural district in East Texas, single handedly convinced Congress during the 1980’s to appropriate hundreds of millions of dollars to finance a covert war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. The money went to provide weapons for Afghan rebels who drove the Soviet Army out of their country, humiliating one of the two greatest armies in the world and contributing to the collapse of the Soviet Union a few years later.

What makes the story even more incredible is that Charlie Wilson was a rake — a fun-loving Congressman who liked whisky, beautiful women and, allegedly, an occasional dose of recreational drugs.

Tom Hanks plays Charlie and, if anything, portrays him in a somewhat subdued way. If Hanks had really come over as outrageous as the real Charlie Wilson, absolutely no one would have believed the story. ......

Later on in the movie review former Congressman Frost writes:

Several things make this a great movie: (1) it is true; (2) it does not try to hide the fact that Charlie Wilson had large faults that probably would have made it impossible for him to accomplish something like this today (20 years later); and (3) Hanks, Roberts and Hoffman have real star power and play their roles perfectly. Hoffman is simply brilliant in almost any role and this has to be the best performance of Julia Roberts’ career.

Charlie pulled this off in the era before 24-hour cable news. CNN was in its infancy. FOX and MSNBC didn’t even exist. Charlie’s foibles probably would have been exposed in great detail in the new media environment and he might have been driven from public office before he could ever have performed this great service to the country.

It is certainly possible that the Soviet Union ultimately would have collapsed even if it wasn’t humiliated in Afghanistan, but Charlie Wilson’s successful personal war may have accelerated the timetable.

He ends the review with:

The real tragedy of all of this was that the United States walked away from Afghanistan after the Soviets were driven out. We refused to provide vital educational and developmental aid to the new government which eventually was replaced by the extremist Taliban.

Charlie tried to persuade Congress to provide this economic aid after the military aid was successful, but even he couldn’t accomplish that. The movie shows this effort and concluded with a quote from Charlie about how we lost a golden opportunity to avoid Muslim extremism. He was right then just as he was right in helping drive the Soviets out of the country.

This is the type of movie that should be seen by people of all ages because it is truly an inspiring story. However, there is enough nudity and profane language that it couldn’t come close to a "G" rating. The nudity really wasn’t necessary to the story but you couldn’t eliminate the strong language. It wouldn’t have been credible in a sanitized version.

So here it is — warts and all. "Charlie Wilson’s War" is a wonderful story, well told. I loved the movie and I am one of the people who believe that Charlie Wilson is a great American.

Martin Frost served in Congress from 1979 to 2005, representing a diverse district in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. He served two terms as chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, the third-ranking leadership position for House Democrats, and two terms as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Frost serves as a regular contributor to FOX News Channel and is a partner at the law firm of Polsinelli, Shalton, Flanigan and Suelthaus. He holds a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Missouri and a law degree from the Georgetown Law Center.

To read the rest of the movie review click on the title for a link.

The Wickre family will see the movie Christmas Day.

"No time for critics of the war to go wobbly"

Paul Greenberg, Pulitzer winning editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has a wonderful column today tweaking the nose's of the anti war left in America. A few quotes:

A specter is haunting the Democratic Party. The long-awaited defeat of American forces in Iraq, on which so many critics of this administration have built their fondest hopes, seems to have been delayed again and - unsettling thought - may not even materialize. Even the dreaded word, Victory, is being whispered.

Who would have thought it? Besides, of course, that dwindling minority of Americans who never gave up on the valor of America's armed forces - and the flexibility of their commanders, including their much-despised commander-in-chief. (This president's ratings in the polls have dropped almost as low as Harry Truman's during the Korean War.)

The turnaround in Iraq, aka The Surge, is proving embarrassing for the kind of critics of the war who dare not admit being embarrassed. To do so would be to entertain the unthinkable thought that they might, just might, have been wrong.

This is no time for critics of the war to go wobbly. Their outward confidence in American defeat must be preserved, at least till next November. Even if all the indicators they used to cite as evidence that the war was lost have begun to go in the opposite direction:

The number of enemy attacks has fallen month after month since the Surge began to take effect.

Mortar and rocket assaults in Iraq, however highly publicized and bloody awful in themselves, are down to their lowest rate in almost two years.

The number of civilian deaths has fallen dramatically. Iraqi refugees are returning in growing numbers despite continuing risks. Once again they're voting with their feet, this time in favor of a better, not worse, Iraq.

This new strategy in Iraq is really an old one. It amounts to the systematic application of classic counter-insurgency tactics under a new commanding general in Iraq, David Petraeus, who wrote the Army manual on the subject. The results have been dramatic, and quicker than anyone might have hoped: .........

Those who urge an immediate withdrawal from Iraq have already written the sad history of that war, if a bit prematurely. Why should Democratic leaders trouble to revise it now, after having convinced so many Americans that defeat is unavoidable? It's so much easier to pretend that nothing has changed than to take new facts into account. It would be embarrassing. Better to stick with denial.

Even when the Surge was still an untried plan, even before it was formally announced, the Democratic Party's leadership was almost uniform in assuring the country it would never work:

"Surging forces is a strategy that you have already tried, and that has already failed," Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, the leaders of the Democratic majorities in both the Senate and House, confidently predicted in a January letter to the president. And they were but two members of the whole, partisan chorus in Congress. There were many others. For notable example:

"A 'surge' of American troops will do nothing." -Chris Dodd, December 24, 2006 ........

"The surge has led to nothing but a surge in Americans dying." -Bill Richardson, June 19, 2007........

"Today a majority of the Senate sees that the surge is not working. Š Do we change course now or wait until September? Š I believe the answer is clear." -Dianne Feinstein, July 17, 2007 .......

"The reports that you provide to us," Hillary Clinton told Gen. Petraeus directly on September 11, 2007, "really require the willing suspension of disbelief."

But even the consistently vitriolic John Murtha, perhaps the harshest congressional critic of the administration's conduct of this war, let it slip just last month: "I think the Surge is working." .......

But he quickly backtracked,......

It would be as foolish to proclaim victory in Iraq now as it was for all these politicos to proclaim defeat for so long. But something has changed and is changing in Iraq. That much is clear. Yet these leaders of the opposition remain in denial.

How strange: Those who long have been critical of this president and commander-in-chief for being so rigid, so inflexible, so unaffected by the changing facts on the ground, can't seem to recognize how flexible this same George W. Bush is finally proving. By now this "inflexible" president has changed his secretary of defense, his commanding general in the field, and the whole American strategy in Iraq - while his critics don't seem to have changed at all.

My first though on reading the column was to stand up and cheer....... but upon sober refection the fact so many Americans want us to fail in the Iraq war is very sad.

To read the entire column click on the title for a link

Monday, December 17, 2007

"Anti Bush Overreaction" by Stuart Taylor Jr

Would you violate the law to stop this? How about "Waterboarding"?

Stuart Taylor Jr has a thoughtful article on the issue of the War on Terror an how we deal with those prisoners of that war. To read the entire article click on the title for a link Below are some quotes from that article.

Interrogation: Anti-Bush Overreaction
By Stuart Taylor Jr., National Journal

Monday, Dec. 17, 2007

Imagine that U.S. forces capture Osama bin Laden or a high-level lieutenant in Pakistan next month and hand him over to the CIA, amid intelligence reports that a massive new Qaeda attack on America may be imminent.

Does Congress really want to make it unlawful for the CIA to threaten to slap Osama bin Laden (if he is captured) in the face?

Should it be illegal for CIA interrogators to try to scare the man into talking by yelling at him? By threatening to slap him? By pretending to be from Egypt's brutal intelligence service? What about turning up the air conditioner to make him uncomfortably cold? Or denying him hot food until he talks, while giving him all the cold food he can eat?

These methods would all apparently be illegal under a rider that the House-Senate conference committee added to the annual intelligence authorization bill. It would bar the CIA from using any interrogation practice not authorized in the Army field manual's rules for military interrogators. This would mean prohibiting almost all forms of coercive interrogation, including many potentially effective techniques that come nowhere near torture and are now clearly legal.

We've come a long way since September 2002, when Nancy Pelosi, then a House Intelligence Committee member and now the speaker, listened without a peep of protest while being briefed about the CIA's use of waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods on Qaeda leaders.

Now almost all Democrats (and some Republicans) denounce waterboarding as illegal torture. They are probably right -- although you can bet that after the next 9/11 they will backtrack faster than you can say "unprincipled." ..........

But it would be irresponsible in the extreme for Congress to do this. And Bush is right to threaten a veto. .....

If Congress binds the CIA to provisions such as this, it will not only be prohibiting a light slap in a Qaeda leader's face; it will also be prohibiting a threat to slap him. This, even though threats clearly fall outside the legal definition of torture, with the exception of threats specifically intended to cause fear of "imminent" death and "prolonged" mental harm.

Does Congress really want to make it unlawful for the CIA to threaten to slap Osama bin Laden (if he is captured) in the face? Or to put him through the indignity of being served MREs until he cooperates?

This is not to say that the CIA should be free to subject all its detainees to any and all interrogation methods short of torture, and of the "humiliating and degrading treatment" prohibited by Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions. But the CIA should be able to come a lot closer to that line than the military.

So instead of binding the CIA to the Army field manual, Congress should require it to make public its own list of permitted and prohibited interrogation techniques, perhaps with a classified appendix to avoid giving terrorists a road map for resisting. Congress should then codify the CIA manual as law, with any changes that Congress may consider necessary.

This CIA manual should allow yelling, threats, and other intimidation techniques that clearly do not rise to the level of torture or violate Geneva's Common Article 3

Leading experts on the laws of war have also suggested persuasively that Congress should make a special provision for emergencies, allowing the president to authorize specified interrogation techniques for specified detainees that may violate Geneva -- but not the torture ban. To ensure political accountability, the president should be required to give the Intelligence committees a written finding detailing both his justifications and the authorized techniques.

What about the hypothetical "ticking bomb" scenario, or other dire circumstances in which illegal torture appears to be the only chance of averting catastrophe? Consider former CIA interrogator John Kiriakou's astonishing account in interviews aired by ABC News on December 10 and published in the next day's Washington Post.

Captured Qaeda lieutenant Abu Zubaydah successfully resisted various high-pressure interrogation tactics for weeks in 2002. Then the CIA waterboarded him. He broke after about 35 seconds, and soon was sharing information that, Kiriakou claimed, may have disrupted dozens of attacks and saved many lives.

But as Kiriakou added, the waterboarding also probably amounted to torture. So unless we choose to disregard Kiriakou's account, we have five choices in cases such as this: 1) We should evade the law by pretending that this was not torture, as Bush has done; 2) We should make torture legal in such cases; 3) We should imprison the interrogators (or the superiors who gave them orders) for crimes, on the ground that they should have stood by and waited for the possibly preventable mass-murder attacks that they expected; 4) We should imprison them for crimes even if we think they did the right thing; 5) The president should pardon them. I would choose Option 5. But the question now before Congress is much, much easier: Should it be illegal for CIA interrogators even to threaten the likes of Zubaydah with waterboarding, or with any unpleasantness at all?

-- Stuart Taylor Jr. is a senior writer and columnist for National Journal magazine, where "Opening Argument" appears. His e-mail address is staylor@nationaljournal

The President should pardon them now before Congress spends the next two years in a "witch hunt" and the further emasculation of our intelligence agencies.

Home for the Holidays

Last night about 10;30 I went out to the Jackson County International Airport to pick up our son who is home from graduate school for the holidays. Next weekend we will return to the airport to pick up his sister. It was good to see him, beard and all. A beard is a handy thing to have to fight the cold winters in North Dakota. He was able to sleep last night in his "old room" which his mother has repainted and redecorated since his last visit last summer. He even has a new bed. As soon as he landed we started talking Presidential politics. I do believe he knows more than I do on the subject and loves it as much. I raised him right!

In preparation for his return home I put up our outdoor lights on Saturday. 22 strings of lights, two light up Santa's, a light up snow man, two light up reindeer and two light up holiday candles. This year I tried to restrain myself and not put up every string of lights we own to avoid the comparison to Chevy Chase in National Lampoon's "Christmas Vacation." Sometimes less is better....... did I say that?

It will be a fun three weeks before he returns to school to complete his Masters Degree in History. "There is no place like home for the Holidays." I love this time of year!

"Man of the Year:" General David Petraeus

National Review's Man of the Year. Here is what they said:

Time magazine hasn’t announced its pick for “man of the year” yet, but we certainly know ours: Gen. David Petraeus, commander of the multinational force in Iraq and architect of the surge strategy that is turning the tide in the war. Petraeus formulated a brilliant counterinsurgency plan. He executed it with care and diligence. And when much of the country didn’t want to notice the security gains that the surge had wrought, he took the national media spotlight to defend his strategy and his honor. In all this, he was nothing less than masterly.

When Petraues testified on Capitol Hill in early September, much of the media and the Left simply refused to believe that violence in Iraq was down. The Government Accountability Office’s comptroller general had appeared before Congress to ask why the Pentagon was reporting much lower numbers of Iraqi civilian deaths than the GAO had (answer: the GAO assessment was based on incomplete figures). And the day Petraeus’s testimony began, ran its infamous “General Petraeus or General Betray Us?” ad. It said that “every independent report on the ground situation in Iraq shows that the surge strategy has failed”; that Petraeus “is constantly at war with the facts”; and that the general “is cooking the books for the White House.” Throughout his testimony, Petraeus continued to suffer slanders from members of Congress who cared about politics more than truth. Hillary Rodham Clinton stopped just short of calling him a liar, saying that to believe his report required “a willing suspension of disbelief.” ***********

For making victory in Iraq look possible again, and for pulling a nation back from the brink of civil war, Petraeus deserves the praise and thanks of all Americans. With or without a Time cover, he is the man of the year.

(To read the entire editorial click on the title above for a link)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Vote for Romney

Ever since I gave up on John McCain I have been undecided on who I wanted to be our next President.

I still like and respect John McCain and would like him to be our next president. I just don't see him making it because he has alienated too many Republicans over campaign fiance reform and the immigration issue. I also disagree with him on those issues but can overlook them. Many Republicans can't.

For a while, I leaned toward Rudy Giuliani because I feel he is a leader who could take on Hillery. In the past few weeks there have been just too many questions raised about his finances and ethical missteps regarding the spending of public money to "taxi" his then girlfriend. There are also questions about his lobbying efforts. I am afraid if he gets the nomination too much time will be spent on these side issues.I also think Hillary Clinton is vulnerable on these same type of issues but Giuliani would have difficulty exploiting them because of his problems. He also is much more liberal than I am and most Republicans.If he gets the nomination I will vote for him and he still has a good chance of winning the nomination.

Mike Huckabee is too populist for my taste. His comments about Romney's religion were off base and mean and I think "code" to the religious right. I don't think he can win the general election. He may if he cleans his act up be a VP choice.

Fred Thompson gets in a good quip every now and then but does not have the energy to campaign for President. He looks old and tired. I have followed his career since Watergate and have never been impressed. He is a good actor and I enjoyed him in the movies where he should return. I like his campaign aid Rich Galen and I think Thompson is thoughtful on some of the issues that face us such as Social Security. I would certainly vote for him if he got the nomination.

This brings me to my choice, Mitt Romney. He is less conservative than I am but maybe the United States needs a break from candidates from the Right and Left. He has tireless energy and has impeccable character and a good family life. He is smart, and a very competent administrator. He handles himself well in the debates and has a good grasp of the issues. I think he is the type of person many American want to take over the leadership of this country. Someone who stresses competency over ideology. He is the right man for the time. Hopefully during his 8 years in office the Conservative Movement can develop some leaders to carry on after he leaves. As National Review said in it's editorial endorsement:

"Romney is an intelligent, articulate, and accomplished former businessman and governor. At a time when voters yearn for competence and have soured on Washington because too often the Bush administration has not demonstrated it, Romney offers proven executive skill. He has demonstrated it in everything he has done in his professional life, and his tightly organized, disciplined campaign is no exception. He himself has shown impressive focus and energy."

National Review also pointed out that unlike Huckabee he can unite the Republican/conservative base:

"Unlike some other candidates in the race, Romney is a full-spectrum conservative: a supporter of free-market economics and limited government, moral causes such as the right to life and the preservation of marriage, and a foreign policy based on the national interest. While he has not talked much about the importance of resisting ethnic balkanization — none of the major candidates has — he supports enforcing the immigration laws and opposes amnesty. Those are important steps in the right direction.Uniting the conservative coalition is not enough to win a presidential election, but it is a prerequisite for building on that coalition. Rudolph Giuliani did extraordinary work as mayor of New York and was inspirational on 9/11. But he and Mike Huckabee would pull apart the coalition from opposite ends: Giuliani alienating the social conservatives, and Huckabee the economic (and foreign-policy) conservatives. A Republican party that abandoned either limited government or moral standards would be much diminished in the service it could give the country."

Romney's Mormon religion has been brought up as an issue but as I stated below, on this blog, I believe he answered that in his speech at College Station in Texas. I also think it is important to point out that Romney has lived outside Utah most of his life around non Mormons. He grew up in Michigan where his father was Governor and would serve alcohol at political functions( he didn't drink himself). Mitt is from Massachusetts and was able to serve as governor of that state. Some Mormons tend to be isolated from people of other faiths but this is not a problem for Mitt and he has clearly thrived in the secular business world and in politics. If his religion was going to be a problem it would have already surfaced before this. I like the man and I like the way his religion has made him a better person and good family man.

As the primaries develop I may again change my mind but If I were voting today I would vote for Mitt Romney and hope he wins the Republican Nomination.

Nurse Ratched Part II

********The Nurse Ratched metaphor has been uses a second time in two days. See post below for first use. Today, Peggy Noonan, uses the metaphor in her Wall Street Journal column about the failing Hillary Clinton Campaign in Iowa.
This thought occurs that Hillary Clinton's entire campaign is, and always was, a Potemkin village, a giant head fake, a haughty facade hollow at the core. That she is disorganized on the ground in Iowa, taken aback by a challenge to her invincibility, that she doesn't actually have an A team, that her advisers have always been chosen more for proven loyalty than talent, that her supporters don't feel deep affection for her. That she's scrambling chaotically to catch up, with surrogates saying scuzzy things about Barack Obama and drug use, and her following up with apologies that will, as always, keep the story alive. That her guru-pollster, the almost universally disliked Mark Penn, has, according to Newsday, become the focus of charges that he has "mistakenly run Clinton as a de facto incumbent" and that the top officials on the campaign have never had a real understanding of Iowa.
This is true of Mrs. Clinton and her Iowa campaign: They thought it was a queenly procession, not a brawl. Now they're reduced to spinning the idea that expectations are on Mr. Obama, that he'd better win big or it's a loss. They've been reduced too to worrying about the weather. If there's a blizzard on caucus day, her supporters, who skew old, may not turn out. The defining picture of the caucuses may be a 78-year-old woman being dragged from her home by young volunteers in a tinted-window SUV.

This is, still, an amazing thing to see. It is a delight of democracy that now and then assumptions are confounded, that all the conventional wisdom of the past year is compressed and about to blow. It takes a Potemkin village.

A thought on the presence of Bill Clinton. He is showing up all over in Iowa and New Hampshire, speaking, shaking hands, drawing crowds. But when he speaks, he has a tendency to speak about himself. It's all, always, me-me-me in his gigantic bullying neediness. Still, he's there, and he's a draw, and the plan was that his presence would boost his wife's fortunes. The way it was supposed to work, the logic, was this: People miss Bill. They miss the '90s. They miss the pre-9/11 world. So they'll love seeing him back in the White House. So they'll vote for Hillary. Because she'll bring him. "Two for the price of one."

It appears not to be working. Might it be that they don't miss Bill as much as everyone thought? That they don't actually want Bill back in the White House?

Maybe. But maybe it's this. Maybe they'd love to have him back in the White House. Maybe they just don't want him to bring her. Maybe they miss the Cuckoo's Nest and they'd love having Jack Nicholson's McMurphy running through the halls. Maybe they just don't miss Nurse Ratched. Does she have to come?

For you young people who don't know "Nurse Ratched" ,according to the Internet encyclopedia Wikipedia "Nurse Ratched" was:

A fictional character from Ken Kesey's 1962 novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. She was portrayed by Louise Fletcher in the 1975 film version in an Academy Award-winning role.....

A cold, sadistic tyrant, Nurse Ratched has become the stereotype of the nurse as a "battleaxe." She has also become a popular metaphor for the corrupting influence of power and authority in bureaucracies such as the mental institution in which the novel is set.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

"Nurse Ratched"

Carolyn Washburn was the "moderator" of the Republican Debate yesterday in Iowa and is an Editor of the main newspaper in that state. This is what Rich Galen of the Fred Thompson campaign said about her in his Internet blog

The moderator of the affair was an editor (or perhaps THE editor) of the Register.

Whether she unilaterally decided upon the rules (30 second answers, 15 second answers, show-of-hand answers) or whether she was a victim of debate-rules-by-committee, she will go down in political history as the woman Fred Thompson slapped down when he refused to raise his hand in response to a question on global warming, and then refused to answer "yes or no" on that complex issue.

Her make-up made her look like she was one fright-wig shy of appearing on a 1950's Saturday morning children's show and her stern demeanor made her sound like a prison matron in one of those women-in-cages drive-in movies which were so popular during my dating years - also in the 1950's.

Click on the title for a link to Galen's blog. Fred Barnes of FOX NEWS described her as "Nurse Ratched" a character in Oregon author, Ken Kesey's, novel and movie "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."

US Surge Working in Iraq !

From USA Today Newspaper editorial:

"Congressional Democrats, meanwhile, seem lost in a time warp. They could try to impose new benchmarks that acknowledge the military progress. Instead, too many seem unable or unwilling to admit that President Bush's surge of 30,000 more troops has succeeded beyond their initial predictions. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who in the spring declared the war lost, said last week that "the surge hasn't accomplished its goals." Anti-war Democrats remain fixated on tying war funding to a rapid troop withdrawal. Yet pulling the troops out precipitously threatens to squander the progress of recent months toward salvaging a decent outcome to the Iraq debacle.

What's needed is acknowledgment that the surge is achieving what was intended: not complete military victory but enough stability to make political compromise possible."

One of the biggest critics of the War in Iraq has been USA Today.... nice of them to acknowledge the surge is working.

Track Town USA

An announcement in today's Eugene Register Guard newspaper:

The city of Eugene has a new slogan: “Track Town, USA ... Forever.”

It’s an appropriate moniker, especially in light of Wednesday’s announcement by Craig Masback, the CEO of USA Track & Field, that Eugene has been designated the host city for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials.

Thus, not only will the road to the Beijing Olympics travel through historic Hayward Field this summer at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials, but the road to the 2012 London Olympics will follow the same route.

In addition, Eugene will play host to the U.S. Outdoor Track & Field Championships in 2009 and 2011, and the NCAA Championships in 2010, thereby ensuring that a major track and field meet will be held in the Eugene-Springfield community for the next five years.

“Eugene, the University of Oregon and Hayward Field are sacred ground for our sport,” said Masback, as he delivered a short address to a standing-room only crowd in Heritage Hall at the Bowerman Building.

“The opportunity to come here for multiple years provides a generation of our athletes the thrill of visiting and competing in a setting that is unequaled around the world ... and let me assure you, the world will be watching.”

"A Family Duty"

Click on the title above for a link to a Washington Post profile of John McCain and his family's service to America. A few quotes from the lengthy article:

About an hour before kickoff, the white-haired man in the crew-neck sweater pulls out his cellphone and calls his son. "Hey, where are you, Jack?" he says. "I'm at the game."

Jack, a 21-year-old Naval Academy midshipman whose formal name is John Sidney McCain IV, has just marched onto the field at Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium with hundreds of classmates, wearing dark overcoats and white scarves.

It is the morning of the Army-Navy game, and the midshipman's father, John Sidney McCain III, a senator from Arizona and candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, is besieged in the Navy hospitality suite.

People want snapshots. People want autographs. People want to introduce their children. But the person McCain really wants to see is not here. And for a few moments on a sunny Saturday in December, the quest for the White House seems less urgent than the search for Jack.

John McCain's life has always been framed by his legendary Navy forebears -- the father and grandfather who were illustrious admirals; the tough, passionate men whose code and calling McCain was preordained to share. He is a product of almost 80 years of family service, which included his 5 1/2 years of torture and deprivation in North Vietnamese prison camps.

Now, at 71, as he seeks the Republican nomination for the second time, the dutiful Navy son who was tempered in one war has become father to sons who may be tempered in another.

Jack is a junior at the academy -- the fourth John S. McCain to attend the school, and the latest to carry the weight of the family legacy there. A younger son, James, 19, known as Jimmy, is a lance corporal in the Marine Corps and has been serving in Iraq for five months. Their father has been among the most ardent supporters of the struggle in Iraq, despite what it has cost him politically and, more important, what it could cost him personally.

Click on the title for a link to read the rest! What a wonderful American story!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Great White Fleet

It's easy to forget that great men do not just appear at one point in history for which we remember them. An example is found in the story of The Great White Fleet

The Great White Fleet was a United States Navy force that completed a circumnavigation of the world from December 16, 1907, to February 22, 1909 by order of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt. It consisted of four squadrons of four battleships each, with their escorts. Roosevelt sought to demonstrate growing American military power and blue-water navy capability.

The fleet was put to sea on the voyage of more than 43,000 miles by order of President Theodore Roosevelt, who wished to demonstrate to his country and the world that the U.S. Navy was capable of operating globally, particularly in the Pacific. This was extraordinarily important at a time when Japanese-American relations were becoming more tense. The Japanese Imperial Navy had recently shown its competence in defeating the Russians in the Russo-Japanese War, while at the same time the U.S. Navy fleet in the Pacific was relatively small.

In the twilight of Roosevelt's administration, the president dispatched a fleet consisting of four U.S. Navy battleship squadrons and their escorts, on a world-wide voyage of circumnavigation from December 16, 1907, to February 22, 1909. With their hulls painted white except for the gilded scrollwork with a red, white, and blue banner on their bows, these ships would come to be known as the Great White Fleet. The Atlantic Fleet battleships only later came to be known as the "Great White Fleet."

Among the junior officers of the battleship fleet were Ensign Harold R. Stark, Midshipmen William F. Halsey, and Raymond A. Spruance.

Ensign Stark went on to become the Admiral Stark, Chief of Naval Operations just prior to WWII and Commander, U.S. Forces European coordinating the Normandy invasion for U.S. Forces.

Midshipmen William F. Halsey sailed onboard the USS Kansas for the world cruise. He rose to become Vice Admiral Halsey, Third Fleet at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor and later in 1945 to Fleet Admiral Halsey. We remember him as "Bull Halsey" who was a real warrior in the fight with Japan in World War II and who commanded aircraft carriers in the Pacific during the war.

Midshipman Spruance went on to become Rear Admiral Spruance commanding a cruiser division. He led two aircraft carriers, during the Battle of Midway changing the course of the war with Japan. After the Midway battle, he was given command of the Fifth Fleet and while onboard USS Indianapolis (CA-35), directed the campaigns that captured the Gilberts, Marshalls, Marianas, Iwo Jima and Okinawa and defeated the Japanese fleet in the June 1944 Battle of Philippine Sea.

What midshipman at Annapolis today will 30 years from now stand in the breach when free men are required to make another stand against the forces of evil in this world.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Bill Moos a Husky?

Former Oregon Athletic Director Bill Moos may get his wish to become the Athletic Director as the University of Washington. Bill Moos in 2004 as Oregon Athletic Director publicly sought the Husky job after Barbra Hedges quite. The University of Washington instead hired Todd Turner who today was fired/resigned and who is a candidate to replace him... you got it.... Bill Moos. The Seattle Times says:

Potential candidates could include:

*Former Oregon athletic director Bill Moos, who now lives in eastern Washington but would have to forfeit a $1.85 million 10-year non-compete deal made when he left the Ducks.

Oregon fans were very upset when Moos publicly angled for the job because when he came to Oregon he said he wanted to make the University of Oregon the premier athletic department in the Northwest. Then, when Moos angered Phil Knight of Nike and when it was obvious Phil Knight would not donate money for a new basketball arena until Moos left Oregon paid Moos $1.85 million to leave. He left and Phil Knight donated $100 million to the University of Oregon Athletic Department and Oregon is moving forward in building a new basketball arena.

Yes, give us our $1.85 back or excuse the obligation and you Huskies can have him.

National Review Endorses Romney

National Review, the magazine I grew up with as a Conservative just endorsed Mitt Romney for President. Is it time for conservative to rally to Romney? I still am undecided but am inching toward Romney IF he can win in Iowa. National Review while influential does not have the influence it had when it was almost alone as the conservatives only source of conservative news and analysis. Now there are so many other sources.... but I still give it's endorsement a great deal of weight. To read the editorial click on the title above for a link. I particularly like the analysis on why they did not endorse the other candidates. Some quotes from the editorial endorsment:

Our guiding principle has always been to select the most conservative viable candidate. In our judgment, that candidate is Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts. Unlike some other candidates in the race, Romney is a full-spectrum conservative: a supporter of free-market economics and limited government, moral causes such as the right to life and the preservation of marriage, and a foreign policy based on the national interest. While he has not talked much about the importance of resisting ethnic balkanization — none of the major candidates has — he supports enforcing the immigration laws and opposes amnesty. Those are important steps in the right direction.

Uniting the conservative coalition is not enough to win a presidential election, but it is a prerequisite for building on that coalition. Rudolph Giuliani did extraordinary work as mayor of New York and was inspirational on 9/11. But he and Mike Huckabee would pull apart the coalition from opposite ends: Giuliani alienating the social conservatives, and Huckabee the economic (and foreign-policy) conservatives. A Republican party that abandoned either limited government or moral standards would be much diminished in the service it could give the country.

Two other major candidates would be able to keep the coalition together, but have drawbacks of their own. John McCain is not as conservative as Romney. He sponsored and still champions a campaign-finance law that impinged on fundamental rights of political speech; he voted against the Bush tax cuts; he supported this year’s amnesty bill, although he now says he understands the need to control the border before doing anything else.

Despite all that and more, he is a hero with a record that is far more good than bad. He has been a strong and farsighted supporter of the Iraq War, and, in a trying political season for him, he has preserved and even enhanced his reputation for dignity and seriousness. There would be worse nominees for the GOP (see above). But McCain ran an ineffectual campaign for most of the year and is still paying for it.

Fred Thompson is as conservative as Romney, and has distinguished himself with serious proposals on Social Security, immigration, and defense. But Thompson has never run any large enterprise — and he has not run his campaign well, either. Conservatives were excited this spring to hear that he might enter the race, but have been disappointed by the reality. He has been fading in crucial early states. He has not yet passed the threshold test of establishing for voters that he truly wants to be president......

He still has some convincing to do with other conservatives. Romney has been plagued by the sense that his is a passionless, paint-by-the-numbers conservatism. If he is to win the nomination, he will have to show more of the kind of emotion and resolve he demonstrated in his College Station “Faith in America” speech.

For some people, Romney’s Mormonism is still a barrier. But we are not electing a pastor. The notion that he will somehow be controlled by Salt Lake City or engaged in evangelism for his church is outlandish. He deserves to be judged on his considerable merits as a potential president. As he argued in his College Station speech, his faith informs his values, which he has demonstrated in both the private and public sectors. In none of these cases have any specific doctrines of his church affected the quality of his leadership. Romney is an exemplary family man and a patriot whose character matches the high office to which he aspires.

More than the other primary candidates, Romney has President Bush’s virtues and avoids his flaws. His moral positions, and his instincts on taxes and foreign policy, are the same. But he is less inclined to federal activism, less tolerant of overspending, better able to defend conservative positions in debate, and more likely to demand performance from his subordinates. A winning combination, by our lights. In this most fluid and unpredictable Republican field, we vote for Mitt Romney.

Favorite Movies about Christmas

I am a sucker for movies about Christmas. This time of year my wife is always watching those, non stop, Christmas movies made for TV on the Lifetime and ABC Family TV cable channels. I will be watching FOX NEWS on the TV in the room where I am and will walk by the TV my wife is watching and will watch a few minutes and I am hooked. It's fun to watch these TV movies because you see actresses and actors who you haven't seen for a while, because they are on the down hill slide in their careers, and will work cheep. One in a while you will see a movie made before an actor became famous. I have gotten so I remember movies they showed last year and the year before. However my favorite movies about Christmas are the classics that were originally shown in theaters. The following is my list of my favorite movies about Christmas. I decided the test for a movie to make the list is have I purchased it on DVD. Here is the list in order of preference in reverse order.

4. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)

Stars Chey Chase in a very funny movie. I see a lot of me and my family in this movie, trying to have the "perfect" Christmas. The scenes with the old folks who come over for Christmas eve dinner reminds me of Uncle Herman and Mrs Hills and others who my folks would invite over for Christmas. They are all gone now but the memories remain.

3. Meet Me in St Louis (1944)

A Judy Garland classic. About an upper middle class family in turn of the century St Louis ( young folks the one in 1900). The movie focus in on a group of young people (They didn't call them teenagers then) who are excited about the coming of the Worlds Fair to St Louis and their trials and loves. The dad, who is a lawyer, gets a job at a prestigious firm in New York and causes a crisis that hits it's boiling point at Christmas. Garland sings "Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas" that is a show stopper and is one of those moments you never forget.

2. White Christmas (1954)

What can I say, Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney in a movie about two GI's from World War II that want to help out the general of their division who is now the owner of a lodge in New England that has fallen on tough times. Crosby and Kaye are Broadway writer and producers who decide to put on a Christmas show at the lodge and have it shown nationwide on TV on something like the Ed Sullivan Show. Rosemary Clooney has never looked better. A classic 1950's movie that says a lot about the times and in glorious color. of course, Bing sings "White Christmas."

1. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

The Jimmy Stewart, Frank Capra classic about a guy who gives up his dream of college and travel to stay in his small home town and makes it a better place. I never tire of this movie. The Christmas decorations in this movie remind me of the decorations we had when I was a kid. Next to The Duke, Jimmy Stewart was and is my favorite.