Friday, July 31, 2009

Jack Kemp will receive the Medal of Freedom, one of our Nation's highest honors.

Announced by the White House today. Well deserved.I just wish it were not awarded posthumously.

Jack Kemp, who passed away in May 2009, served as a U.S. Congressman (1971 – 1989), Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (1989 – 1993), and Republican Nominee for Vice President (1996). Prior to entering public service, Kemp was a professional football player (1957 – 1969) and led the Buffalo Bills to American Football League championships in 1964 and 1965. In Congress and as a Cabinet Secretary, Kemp was a self-described "bleeding heart conservative" who worked to encourage development in underserved urban communities. In the years leading up to his death, Kemp continued seeking new solutions, raising public attention about the challenge of poverty, and working across party lines to improve the lives of Americans and others around the world.

Reunion with an old friend with a new look

A few months ago I renewed my library card at the Jackson County Medford Library and renewed an old friendship that dates from my first days living in Medford some 35 years ago. When I first moved to Medford, as a young attorney straight out of the University of Oregon School of Law, in Eugene, I started regularly going to the old Carnegie Library given to the people of Medford in 1911.It was located between my law office and the Courthouse. In those days there was no Internet so on my way back to my office from the Courthouse and Justice Building I would stop and read the out of town newspapers . I kept up on the Oregon Ducks by reading the Eugene Register Guard and would keep up on politics by reading Time, National Review, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. I would also check out books on history and biographys. With the advent of the Internet and the opening of Barnes & Noble in Medford my stops became less frequent. Then in 2004 they build a new library downtown and it was no longer on my way back from the Justice building or the Courthouse. I walked the seven or so blocks to the new library during my lunch hour a few times, to view the new building, but never checked anything out. Also the Library is not open on Sunday one of my few free days so I would drive by on my way home but would not stop.

All of that changed a few months ago when my wife suggested we stop by on a Saturday afternoon and check out a book or two. We first found out that our old cards had expired and got new ones. I also found out this was not the library I remembered. Things other than a new building had been added.

First, was the "card catalog" had been replaced with computers that were available on the Internet. Now, they had computers before they moved the library in 2004 but I still enjoyed the old card catalog I had used when I was in school. I quickly learned you could search the library and it's many branches here in Jackson County from the comfort of home or office via the Internet. Better yet, you could request a book , CD or DVD be put on reserve. If it were checked out to someone else you could put a hold on it. No longer would I go to the library and take potluck. They notify me by email when the item is available and I go to a special section of the library and pick it up "self serve" under "W" for Wickre. Some items are available right away. When I requested Bill O'Reill's book, "Bold Fresh Piece of Humanit," I was 35 of 35 on the list. Each few days I would check back online as I moved up the list until I got an email telling me it was ready for me to pick up. In the "old days" I would have given up and bought it at Barnes & Noble or Costco.I just found and read a John Wayne Biography by his daughter Aissa. Probably the only biography on the Duke I had not read.I also found an read a biography on Merian Cooper the producer of several John Wayne /John Ford movies including "The Searchers"

Second, the library now has a great selection of CD music. I still remember when they only had a few scratched records!

Third, the library now has a good select of DVD movies and documentaries. I just got done watching the 6 hours of "Liberty - The American Revolution" (1997) that was originally broadcast on PBS. This weekend, I will beat the heat in my basement movie room, watching the 14 hour mini series "Horatio Hornblower" based upon C.S. Forester's novel of British naval warfare during the Napoleonic Wars. I also found several movies that are also on my Netflix Queue which I can check out from the library for free to supplement what I get from Netflix.

Fourth, they have "self serve" computer check out. No more waiting in line for a sometime snooty clerk.

Fifth, they now have something new which I don't like. "Rent a cop" at the door! However, I guess it is a sign of the times and is necessary but I still don't like it.

Finally, the library is in a beautiful building which if fun to "poke around" in on a hot Saturday afternoon or lunch hour .

"Are the Top Journalists Insiders or Outsiders?"

Dr. Larry Sabato, the Robert Kent Gooch Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia, has an interesting column today on Real Clear Politics about Walter Cronkite. He quotes Frank Mankiewicz, who was Bobby Kennedy's press secretary, as writing on July 25th in the Washington Post:

"In the late 1960s [presumably 1967], just after he returned from a long visit to Vietnam, Cronkite had sought a meeting with Sen. Robert Kennedy. The meeting was understood to be off the record, and no one else was present. Cronkite began with an acknowledgment of Kennedy's desire not to run for president but pleaded with RFK to change his mind and to announce his intention to seek the White House right away, even though the election was more than a year off...[R]un against [Lyndon] Johnson, Cronkite urged, to show people there will be a way out of this terrible war.

In 1972 Mankiewicz was George McGovern's political director in George McGovern's losing 1972 Presidential campaign. Mankiewicz is quoted as writing in the same Washington Post article:

"Armed with a poll showing Walter Cronkite to be the most trusted man in America, I proposed that [McGovern] put forward Walter Cronkite for vice president. My idea met with instant, and unanimous, disapproval. He'd never accept, and we'd look bad, colleagues said...Decades later...McGovern [told] Cronkite that his name had been proposed...but was rejected because we were certain he'd turn us down. "On the contrary, George,"...Cronkite replied, "I'd have accepted in a minute; anything to help end that dreadful [Vietnam] war."

Dr. Sabato find it strange that the anchor of CBS News was "willingly became an active player in national politics, choosing a personal favorite for president and directly attempting to induce a prominent politician to run for the White House."

Sabato jumps to the present and writes:

How about the anchors and hosts at ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN? What about the White House reporters who have frequent, one-on-one, off-the-record chats with the presidential press secretary and the chief of staff? Are they ever asked to offer strategic and tactical advice--or do they volunteer it?--when the cameras are not on, and there are no witnesses? Is this happening now in the Obama administration and did it happen in prior Democratic and Republican administrations?

Usually these could be seen as impertinent questions, but not after the Cronkite revelations.

To read Dr Sabato's column click on the title for a link.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

No 2009 Printed Oregon Football Media Guide!

I just received an email from the Oregon Athletic Department, set forth below, advising me there would be no printed football media guide this fall. I can understand the reasons, what with tight budgets and the recession , but one of the highlights of my Augusts, along with getting my season tickets was receiving my media guide in the mail. I have collected all of them for the last 20 some years and have others going back to 1967.

July 29, 2009

Dear James A. Wickre:
Beginning with the 2009 fall sports seasons, printed media guides will no longer be produced for any Oregon Duck sport due in part to continual budget re-evaluations. Digital versions will be available for all fans on and various events will still have the game day programs which contain game and player information.
Prior to the football season, an informational e-mail will be sent to you containing a link to the digital media guide and game day materials.
Our records indicate that you purchased 1 Media Guide valuing $20 for the 2009 Football Season. Please choose one of the below options and reply to by September 30, 2009.
1) Donate the value of your media guide to the Duck Athletic Fund to support our student athletes. Shortly after September 30th you will receive a tax receipt for your donation.
2) Apply the value of your media guide towards your 2010 Football Season Tickets. The credit will show up on your 2010 renewal statement.
If we do not hear from you by September 30th the value of your media guide will be donated to the Duck Athletic Fund.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact us at 1-800-WEBFOOT.
Thank you for your support, and GODUCKS

The World's Smallest Political Quiz.

So, you think you know where you stand, politically. Think again.
The results from this short test may surprise you and give you some food for thought.

You'll be asked just 10 questions, and then it instantly tells you
Where you stand politically. It shows your position as a red dot on a
"political map" so you'll see exactly where you score.

The most interesting thing about the Quiz is that it goes beyond the
Democrat, Republican, and Independent.

The Quiz has gotten a lot of praise. The Washington Post said it has
"gained respect as a valid measure of a person's political leanings."

The Fraser Institute said it's "a fast, fun, and accurate assessment of a
person's overall political views." Suite University said it is the
"most concise and accurate political quiz out there."

Click on the title above for a link.

I took the Quiz and ended up a Libertarian on the Conservative side of the scale. I actually consider myself a "Fusionist."

I agree with this description of "Fusionism" from Wikipedia:

Fusionism is an American political term for the combination or "fusion" of libertarians and traditional conservatives as well as social conservatives in the American conservative movement. It is also known as libertarian conservatism.


The strategy was advocated and named "fusionism" by National Review editor Frank Meyer, who believed that the holders of various disparate conservative beliefs should work together to combat the threats of Cold War communism, increasing government power domestically, and what was seen as a decline in civil society (especially during the Great Society era of the mid-1960s). In many ways, fusionism can be considered as a revival of classical liberalism.

Fusionism saw its height during the presidency of Ronald Reagan, who had brought together the divided factions after Gerald Ford's loss in the 1976 election. Rich Lowry has argued that Reagan maintained a fusionist 'sweet spot' of both ideological flexibility and respect for conservative principles. In the immediate aftermath of the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994, fusionism was also at its height. Fusionist impulses began to decline during the presidency of George W. Bush. The social conservative element of the Republican Party was seen on the ascent (at least with respect to domestic politics), leading to increased domestic spending on "moral" issues that angered fiscal conservatives and libertarians........

Prominent Fusionists

Barry Goldwater – Republican Senator and U.S. presidential candidate
Frank Meyer – editor of National Review
Ronald Reagan – fortieth president of the United States
Jack Kemp - Congressman and NFL quarterback

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

"Some Like It Hot"!!!

It's projected to be 108 degrees today in Medford, Oregon. The hottest day of the summer so far. My wife in the summer opens up all the windows and doors of our house early in the morning to cool the house off to save on air conditioning costs.She has always been the frugal one in the many years of our marriage. Well, this morning she gave up because it was warmer outside at 6 am than it was in the house. It was 72 at 6 AM! Pass the ice tea please! "Hot time summer in the city......"

Sunday, July 26, 2009

"We've Figured Him Out" by Ben Stein

As President Barack Obama's poll rating head south, Ben Stein explains why in The American Spectator:

Why is President Barack Obama in such a hurry to get his socialized medicine bill passed?

Because he and his cunning circle realize some basic truths:

The American people in their unimaginable kindness and trust voted for a pig in a poke in 2008. They wanted so much to believe Barack Obama was somehow better and different from other ultra-leftists that they simply took him on faith.

They ignored his anti-white writings in his books. They ignored his quiet acceptance of hysterical anti-American diatribes by his minister, Jeremiah Wright.

They ignored his refusal to explain years at a time of his life as a student. They ignored his ultra-left record as a "community organizer," Illinois state legislator, and Senator.

The American people ignored his total zero of an academic record as a student and teacher, his complete lack of scholarship when he was being touted as a scholar.

Now, the American people are starting to wake up to the truth. Barack Obama is a super likeable super leftist, not a fan of this country, way, way too cozy with the terrorist leaders in the Middle East, way beyond naïveté, all the way into active destruction of our interests and our allies and our future.

The American people have already awakened to the truth that the stimulus bill -- a great idea in theory -- was really an immense bribe to Democrat interest groups, and in no way an effort to help all Americans.

Now, Americans are waking up to the truth that ObamaCare basically means that every time you are sick or injured, you will have a clerk from the Department of Motor Vehicles telling your doctor what he can and cannot do.

The American people already know that Mr. Obama's plan to lower health costs while expanding coverage and bureaucracy is a myth, a promise of something that never was and never will be -- a bureaucracy lowering costs in a free society. Either the costs go up or the free society goes away.

Mr. Obama knows Americans are getting wise and will stop him if he delays at all in taking away our freedoms.


There is his urgency and our opportunity. Once freedom is lost, America is lost. Wake up, beloved America.

Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He writes "Ben Stein's Diary" for every issue of The American Spectator

Click on the title for a link to the full American spectator post

The American Debate: Why Obama can't pull an LBJ

Dick Polman of the Philadelphia Inquirer has a good column on why Barack Obama can not pull an LBJ and get Congress to pass a government take over of health care like LBJ did when he got through Congress "The Great Society Programs." Click on the title for a link.

103 Degrees in Medford, Oregon Today

Saturday I did my yard work before it go too hot and then spend the day inside putting together a scrap book of our trip to Washington DC, New York City and Lexington Kentucky. See full trip journal below earlier in July. Today, Sunday, is one of those great days when you have nothing planned in the middle of Summer! How about some ice tea? "Made in the shade." I love Summer !

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Lt. Brian Bradshaw, United States Army

Lt. Brian Bradshaw, 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, was killed in Afghanistan on June 25.That is the same day Micheal Jackson died. Since that date there has been a constant drumbeat of news stories about the singer. His musical CD's are featured in stores along with special magazine editions that are a tributes to his life. When I was in New York and Washington DC vendors were selling his picture on just about every corner.

Enough has been said about Michale Jackson, today, I want to write about Lt. Brian Bradshaw of Steilacoom, Washington.He was a 2007 graduate of Pacific Lutheran University. His father said his son joined the Army and went to Afghanistan "to try and help people" and to make the lives of the people there better. The Seattle Times reports:

Paul Bradshaw said he talked to his son by telephone on Father's Day.

"He said that where they were at you couldn't recognize if they were making a difference, but they had made friends in that area."

The danger was obvious, his father said, but whenever his son spoke about it "he was worried about all his men ... not himself."

"He would be tired when he called us," his father said. "But ... he was always upbeat. He was very happy when we sent packages. What he asked for was things to give away to local children there.

"When they were out on patrol they would take crayons, colored pencils and books and toys to give to the children."

Lt. Bradshaw came from a military family. His father is a retired National Guard helicopter pilot; his mother is a retired Army nurse.

He was killed by a roadside bomb. The following letter was published by the Washington Post about his trip home:

Dear Bradshaw Family,

We were crew members on the C-130 that flew in to pick up Lt. Brian Bradshaw after he was killed. We are Georgia Air National Guardsmen deployed to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom. We support the front-line troops by flying them food, water, fuel, ammunition and just about anything they need to fight. On occasion we have the privilege to begin the final journey home for our fallen troops. Below are the details to the best of our memory about what happened after Brian’s death.

We landed using night-vision goggles. Because of the blackout conditions, it seemed as if it was the darkest part of the night. As we turned off the runway to position our plane, we saw what appeared to be hundreds of soldiers from Brian’s company standing in formation in the darkness. Once we were parked, members of his unit asked us to shut down our engines. This is not normal operating procedure for that location. We are to keep the aircraft’s power on in case of maintenance or concerns about the hostile environment. The plane has an extremely loud self-contained power unit. Again, we were asked whether there was any way to turn that off for the ceremony that was going to take place. We readily complied after one of our crew members was able to find a power cart nearby. Another aircraft that landed after us was asked to do the same. We were able to shut down and keep lighting in the back of the aircraft, which was the only light in the surrounding area. We configured the back of the plane to receive Brian and hurried off to stand in the formation as he was carried aboard.

Brian’s whole company had marched to the site with their colors flying prior to our arrival. His platoon lined both sides of our aircraft’s ramp while the rest were standing behind them. As the ambulance approached, the formation was called to attention. As Brian passed the formation, members shouted “Present arms” and everyone saluted. The salute was held until he was placed inside the aircraft and then the senior commanders, the sergeant major and the chaplain spoke a few words.

Afterward, we prepared to take off and head back to our base. His death was so sudden that there was no time to complete the paperwork needed to transfer him. We were only given his name, Lt. Brian Bradshaw. With that we accepted the transfer. Members of Brian’s unit approached us and thanked us for coming to get him and helping with the ceremony. They explained what happened and how much his loss was felt. Everyone we talked to spoke well of him - his character, his accomplishments and how well they liked him. Before closing up the back of the aircraft, one of Brian’s men, with tears running down his face, said, “That’s my platoon leader, please take care of him.”

We taxied back on the runway, and, as we began rolling for takeoff, I looked to my right. Brian’s platoon had not moved from where they were standing in the darkness. As we rolled past, his men saluted him one more time; their way to honor him one last time as best they could. We will never forget this.
We completed the short flight back to Bagram Air Base. After landing, we began to gather our things. As they carried Brian to the waiting vehicle, the people in the area, unaware of our mission, stopped what they were doing and snapped to attention. Those of us on the aircraft did the same. Four soldiers who had flown back with us lined the ramp once again and saluted as he passed by. We went back to post-flight duties only after he was driven out of sight.

Later that day, there was another ceremony. It was Bagram’s way to pay tribute. Senior leadership and other personnel from all branches lined the path that Brian was to take to be placed on the airplane flying him out of Afghanistan. A detail of soldiers, with their weapons, lined either side of the ramp just as his platoon did hours before. A band played as he was carried past the formation and onto the waiting aircraft. Again, men and women stood at attention and saluted as Brian passed by. Another service was performed after he was placed on the aircraft.

For one brief moment, the war stopped to honor Lt. Brian Bradshaw. This is the case for all of the fallen in Afghanistan. It is our way of recognizing the sacrifice and loss of our brothers and sisters in arms. Though there may not have been any media coverage, Brian’s death did not go unnoticed. You are not alone with your grief. We mourn Brian’s loss and celebrate his life with you. Brian is a true hero, and he will not be forgotten by those who served with him.

We hope knowing the events that happened after Brian’s death can provide you some comfort.

Capt. James Adair
Master Sgt. Paul Riley
GA ANG 774 EAS Deployed

He was 24.


UNDER the wide and starry sky
Dig the grave and let me lie:
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.

This be the verse you 'grave for me:
Here he lies where he long'd to be;
Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.

Robert Louis Stevenson. 1850–1894

It is comforting to know that this nation still produces such men.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"Arrogance" by John Stossel

John Stossel of ABC News 20/20 on Obama's governmental takeover of health care.

It's crazy for a group of mere mortals to try to design 15 percent of the U.S. economy. It's even crazier to do it by August

Like the politicians, most people are oblivious to F.A. Hayek's insight that the critical information needed to run an economy -- or even 15 percent of one -- doesn't exist in any one place where it is accessible to central planners. Instead, it is scattered piecemeal among millions of people. All those people put together are far wiser and better informed than Congress could ever be. Only markets -- private property, free exchange and the price system -- can put this knowledge at the disposal of entrepreneurs and consumers, ensuring the system will serve the people and not just the political class.

Who will save us from these despots? What Adam Smith said about the economic planner applies here, too: The politician who tries to design the medical marketplace would "assume an authority which could safely be trusted, not only to no single person, but to no council or senate whatever, and which would nowhere be so dangerous as in the hands of a man who had folly and presumption enough to fancy himself fit to exercise it."

Click on the title for a link to the entire column by John Stossel

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"Barack Obama's Brazen Dishonesty" by Rich Lowry

From the National Review blog: "The Corner:"

Maybe I'm naïve, but I continue to be shocked by Obama's willful and blatant dishonesty on health care. Again today, he said, "If you like your current plan, you will be able to keep it. Let me repeat that: If you like your plan, you'll be able to keep it." This is just not true. The Lewin evaluation of the House bill says 80 million people would lose their employer coverage under the plan. Obama can't admit the truth here or it would be devastating for his case. So he keeps up with the same rote prevarication. And right before that line, he said this, "Americans will be able to compare the price and quality of different plans, and pick the plan that they want." Also, untrue. As Jim Capretta discusses here, the Democrats are erecting "firewalls" precisely to limit people's choices. And earlier in his remarks, Obama said, "Health-care costs are the biggest drivers of our deficit. Nobody disputes that." Yet again, not true. In 50–80 years, if it's not under control, health-care inflation will be the largest driver of our deficit, but in the medium term it is the aging of the Baby Boomers (who will keeping aging even if ObamaCare passes). It is a sign of how weak Obama's position is on health care that he can't argue for it honestly.

Click on the title for a link to another article Rich Lowry wrote today on Obama and health care proposals.

Oregon's 2009 Fooball Schedule

One of the fun things about summer is reading the football magazines that sprout up on newsstands this time of year and to dream about the coming season. Below is the University of Oregon Ducks 2009 season football schedule. So far at least six games will be televised on network or cable TV and it is anticipated more games will be picked up for TV as the season progresses.

Thu, Sep 03, Boise State at Boise, Idaho 7:15 PM ESPN

Sat, Sep 12 Purdue Eugene, Ore. 7:15 PM FSN

Sat, Sep 19 Utah Eugene, Ore. 12:30 PM ESPN

Sat, Sep 26 California Eugene, Ore. 12:30 PM ABC

Sat, Oct 03 Washington State Eugene, Ore. TBA

Sat, Oct 10 UCLA at Los Angeles, Calif. TBA

Sat, Oct 24 Washington at Seattle, Wash. TBA

Sat, Oct 31 USC Eugene, Ore. 5:00 PM ABC, ESPN or ESPN2

Sat, Nov 07 Stanford at Palo Alto, Calif. TBA

Sat, Nov 14 Arizona State Eugene, Ore. TBA

Sat, Nov 21 Arizona at Tucson, Ariz. TBA

Thu, Dec 03 Oregon State Eugene, Ore. 6:00 PM ESPN

43 Days till the Boise State Game. Time for revenge! GO DUCKS!--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Winston Churchill: "The Valient Years" TV 1960

In 1960 ABC TV in the United States broadcast the 26 episodes of a documentary called "The Valiant Years" about Winston Churchill and his leadership during World War II. Each episode was 30 minutes and as I remember they were broadcast weekly on the West Coast at 10pm on Sunday night. The documentary was black and white and was originally produced by the BBC. The documentary relied on World War II film footage and had Richard Burton as the voice over of Winston Churchill. As a young kid growing up in Coos Bay/ North Bend, Oregon I loved the series and did not miss an episode. Back then my parents were very strict and had I had to go to bed at 9 pm. However, because of my passion for the subject matter I was able to get a special waiver that let me watch the show. I even remember that "Metrical," a diet shake that came in a small can, was the sponsor.

Two summers ago I was able to travel to London and took a tour of the bunker where Churchill and the British Cabinet conducted the war. Those ringing speeches of Churchill, as read by Richard Burton, still rung through my head as I walked the dark passages of that underground bunker.

The following excerpt of a speech was delivered by Winston Churchill to the House of Commons of the British Parliament on the 4 June 1940. The speech was given shortly after he took over as Prime Minister on the 10 May, in the second year of the Second World War and after France had fallen or was falling to the Nazi Germans and England stood alone against the German might:

Even though large parts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the Old

While at the bunker in London I purchased, at the gift shop, a CD of recordings of most of Churchill's famous speeches from World War II. He doesn't have the great voice of Richard Burton but I love those speeches.

(Click on the title for a link to more info on the TV series on the IMDB)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Obama will Destroy Your Heath Care Options!

Obama has promised there will be a private heath insurance option if his health care plan is adopted. However, this is the same man who promised to only take public financing for his campaign; but, changed his mind when it became politically expedient. On public vs private health insurance the devil is in the detail and he and the Democrats in Congress WILL destroy your private insurance option. As a self employed person I have had private insurance coverage since I was young and healthy.I knew one I became sick or old it would be difficult to purchase health insurance. I don't like big health insurance companies and their high premiums but I like government programs even less. Where do you get better service at your doctors office or at the local Social Security office or the post office? Would you rather go to your local Department of Motor Vehicle office or to your local grocery store or auto supply store. If I don't like the service I get at Safeway I go to Costco. But, if I get bad service at DMV or Social Security where do I go? Today, the Washington Times pointed out how Obama and the Democrats in Congress will destroy your option to purchase private insurance in an editorial:

Don't mark his words. "[I]f you are happy with your plan, and if you are happy with your doctor, we don't want you to have to change," President Obama promised on the ABC News Health Care Forum late last month. The reality of the market is less accommodating.

Many rules proposed in the Democrats' health care reform plan will ensure that private health insurance won't be around for long. Take increased cost shifting, in which the government pays hospitals and doctors below cost. This results in private insurance picking up those losses. Private insurance also will find it difficult to compete against the subsidized rate charged for government insurance.

Another change proposed by Mr. Obama and the Democrats is forbidding insurance companies from considering pre-existing conditions when granting insurance or determining what to charge. By itself, this means that most people will not want to pay for insurance when they are healthy but instead will wait to buy it only when they "need" it. After all, there's no reason to pay premiums when you're healthy if there is no deterrent to picking up coverage later, when you are sick.

Mr. Obama's proposed plan to force everyone to get insurance will not solve this problem unless the government ensures that all insurance companies provide exactly the same coverage and quality of service. Otherwise, people will get the cheapest coverage available to fulfill the mandated requirement and wait until they get sick to purchase better care. In short order, high-quality insurance will be driven out of the market because it will be too expensive for most people given cheaper short-term options.

We already see this phenomenon with Medicaid, where pre-existing conditions do not exclude people from joining the government program. Because anyone can join at any point regardless of pre-existing conditions, 14 million of the currently "uninsured" are in practice covered by Medicaid. These millions are eligible but don't sign up until they are sick because they don't have to.

It's easy to see where things are headed. With more and more rules on how health insurance can and cannot be offered, the industry will head toward a government one-size-fits-all system.

Don't like the Washington Times..... how about the Mayo Clinic:

Although there are some positive provisions in the current House Tri-Committee bill – including insurance for all and payment reform demonstration projects – the proposed legislation misses the opportunity to help create higher-quality, more affordable health care for patients. In fact, it will do the opposite.
In general, the proposals under discussion are not patient focused or results oriented. Lawmakers have failed to use a fundamental lever – a change in Medicare payment policy – to help drive necessary improvements in American health care. Unless legislators create payment systems that pay for good patient results at reasonable costs, the promise of transformation in American health care will wither. The real losers will be the citizens of the United States.

Obama is trying to rush his nationalization of health care through because he knows that once you learn the details you will call your Congressman. Once he gets it through there will be no going back. Have you ever heard of the government ending a program...... me neither.

Samuelson: "...much of the stimulus' potential benefit has been squandered "

Newsweek economist Robert Samuelson is at it again:

The program crafted by Obama and the Democratic Congress wasn't engineered to maximize its economic impact. It was mostly a political exercise, designed to claim credit for any recovery, shower benefits on favored constituencies and signal support for fashionable causes. As a result, much of the stimulus' potential benefit has been squandered.
To read the rest click on the title for a link

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Favorite Moment at Autzen Stadium

In the "Dog Days" of summer it seems like a long time till the first Oregon Duck football game. Moseley's blog over at the Eugene Register Guard is marking time by having fans post their favorite moments at Autzen Stadium. For me there is no contest it's "The Pick" by a mile!

On October 22, 1994, Oregon football changed. The 1994 season didn't start out that way. Oregon lost to Hawaii, Utah and Washington State. There were only 25,000 fans at Autzen for Utah. At that game I looked around the parking lot and wondered "where is everybody?." The Ducks had beaten U$C in LA but we thought it was a fluke. Then came the Washington game in Eugene on October 22. I didn't want to drive three hours from Medford, Oregon to Eugene to watch another Washington "blow out" of the Ducks. I had been there too many times before. In those days with two teenage children at home my kids took turns going to the games with me as we had two season tickets. It was my daughter's turn and so we drove to Eugene. I always like to park on the campus side of the Willamette River and take the footbridge over to Autzen. On a nice day it's a wonderful walk over the river and through the woods to Autzen. I parked on Franklin Blvd. and walked by the New Oregon Motel. It was full of Husky fans in their purple. We had also stopped by the book-store on campus and it was full of Husky fans. We got to the game and took our seats and the game started. Washington was ranked the # 9 team in the nation. Oregon kept it close. Oregon was leading by four points when Washington scored to go ahead 20 - 17 with 7:44 minutes to play. The game seemed to unfold as it had so often. "nice try"..." a moral victory" ... "close but no cigar". NOT THIS TIME. Danny O'Neil Oregon's QB led the Ducks on a 98 yard drive to regain the lead. It will forever be known as "The Drive." The Ducks now led 24-17 with 2:40 to go in the game. Washington then started their own drive and advanced to the Duck 8 yard line with 1:09 to play. With each yard the Huskies made, every Duck fan knew that Washington would score and win the game as they had so many times before. "So close, but no cigar." Then there was a play that will live forever in every Duck heart. Washington had plenty of time to give the ball to heralded tail back Napolean Kaufman. Instead, QB Damon Huard threw the ball in the flat toward Dave Janoski. Kenny Wheaton the young Oregon CB timed the throw perfectly and stepped in front of the Washington receiver and intercepted the ball and ran it all the way back for another Duck touchdown to win the game 31-20. I was standing watching the play with my daughter. We both began to jump up and down!!! We then hugged as we both jumped up and down!!!. It was redemption! My daughter and I will always have that moment in time. On my dying day I will remember it. The play became known as "THE PICK". It is shown on the big screen at every Oregon game just as the team comes on the field. Jerry Allen the radio broadcaster's call of the play has become a favorite of Duck fans "KENNY WHEATON'S GOING TO SCORE....KENNY WHEATON'S GOING TO SCORE" I have a the framed print of the play hanging in my office.(See picture above) After the game the many Husky fans looked crushed. The three hour trip back to Medford was like floating on air. Oregon went on to win the Pac 10 Championship that year and the entire family went to the Rose Bowl. It was the Ducks first time since 1958. Lets Go Ducks!

Click on the title above for a link to a YouTube video with Jerry Allen's call on the radio broadcast. It still sends shivers down my back. It was Jerry Allen's finest moment. After that Duck Football changed!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Summer of 1969 (Updated)

It's been 40 years since the Summer of 1969 but it's a summer I will never forget.

1. It was the summer I graduated from the University of Oregon with a BS in Political Science.

2. It was the summer I was drafted into the United States Army with a reporting date in September.

3. It was the summer I signed up for Army Officer Candidate School and went to the Portland Armed Forces Examination Station, three times, for physical examinations. The first time was for an OCS physical. The second, the Coos Bay Draft Broad sent me back because they couldn't find the first until I had made the trip back to Portland on a bus and was put up at the YMCA in downtown Portland. I reported to the Examination station and they then found the first physical. I did have a good time running around downtown Portland the night before. The third was when I reported for duty in early September.

4. It was the only summer in the last 50 years that I did not work in a formal job. My parents belived in hard work and got me a summer job as soon as they could get a waiver from the State under the child labor laws. In retrospect they did the right thing but I didn't think so that first summer.

5. It was the summer of Chappaquiddick. On 19 July 1969,Teddy Kennedy attended a party on Chappaquiddick Island in Massachusetts. At about 11:00 PM, he borrowed his chauffeur's keys to his Oldsmobile limousine, and offered to give a ride home to Mary Jo Kopechne, a campaign worker. Leaving the island via an unlit bridge with no guard rail, Kennedy steered the car off the bridge, flipped, and into Poucha Pond. He swam to shore and walked back to the party -- passing several houses and a fire station -- and two friends returned with him to the scene of the accident. According to their later testimony, they told him what he already knew, that he was required by law to immediately report the accident to the authorities. Instead Kennedy made his way to his hotel, called his lawyer, and went to sleep.*

Kennedy called the police the next morning. By then the wreck had already been discovered. Before dying, Kopechne had scratched at the upholstered floor above her head in the upside-down car. The Kennedy family began pulling strings, ensuring that any inquiry would be contained. Her corpse was whisked out-of-state to her family, before an autopsy could be conducted. Further details are uncertain, but after the accident Kennedy says he repeatedly dove under the water trying to rescue Kopechne, and he didn't call police because he was in a state of shock. In versions not so kind, it is widely assumed Kennedy was drunk, that he was having an affair with Kopechne, and/or that he held off calling police in hopes that his family could fix the problem overnight.

6. It was the summer my parents moved their retail sewing machine and fabric store which was across the street from the Tioga Hotel in Coos Bay, Oregon two blocks down the street to the same block as the Egyptian Theater. I spent several weeks helping them get ready for the move and the actual move. I also did a lot of painting in the new store to help get it ready. I brought a small color TV down to the new store as I worked so I could watch news story's on Teddy Kennedy and so I could watch the first man on the moon.We didn't have 24 hour news on TV in those days but the special coverage of the trip to the moon was interspersed with the Chappaquiddick story.

7. It was the summer the first man, an American, walked on the Moon! The Apollo 11 mission was the first manned mission to land on the Moon. It was the fifth human spaceflight of Project Apollo and the third human voyage to the Moon. Launched on July 16, 1969, it carried Mission Commander Neil Alden Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins, and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin Eugene 'Buzz' Aldrin, Jr. On July 20, Armstrong and Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the Moon, while Collins orbited above.* I watched on that small color TV and cheered that we had beat the Russians.

8. It was the summer of Woodstock and the YAF Convention in Saint Louis, Missouri. I remember reading about Woodstock as I flew to Saint Louis to attend the National Convention of Young American For Freedom. (YAF) It was my last fling before I entered the Army. At the convention there was a large split between the traditional conservatives of the William F Buckley stripe and the Libertarians of the Ayn Rand stripe that continues to this day. Can you say "Ron Paul."

Many of my summers since then have blended together in my mind but in 1969 my life was changing and so was America. In 1969 Peter Paul and Mary had a #1 hit with "Leaving on a Jet Plane" a cover of a John Denver Song. The lyrics of that song were very relevant to me as I left on a jet plane for basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

However, in the long run the landing on the moon will make this summer historicaly important. Long after the last baby boomer has died and no one remembers Wookstock; and Chappaquiddick is a minor political footnote; people will remember the walk on the moon.

*Copied from Internet sources.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Dire Warning on Economy and Democrats Health Care Plans

The Director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget office made this dire prediction today:

Under current law, the federal budget is on an unsustainable path, because federal debt will continue to grow much faster than the economy over the long run. Although great uncertainty surrounds long-term fiscal projections, rising costs for health care and the aging of the population will cause federal spending to increase rapidly under any plausible scenario for current law. Unless revenues increase just as rapidly, the rise in spending will produce growing budget deficits. Large budget deficits would reduce national saving, leading to more borrowing from abroad and less domestic investment, which in turn would depress economic growth in the United States. Over time, accumulating debt would cause substantial harm to the economy.


The current recession and policy responses have little effect on long-term projections of noninterest spending and revenues.


On the Democrats new health care plans he said on his blog:

According to our preliminary assessment, enacting the proposal would result in a net increase in federal budget deficits of about $1.0 trillion over the 2010-2019 period. When fully implemented, about 39 million individuals would obtain coverage through the new insurance exchanges. At the same time, the number of people who had coverage through an employer would decline by about 15 million (or roughly 10 percent), and coverage from other sources would fall by about 8 million, so the net decrease in the number of people uninsured would be about 16 million or 17 million.


He also said in testimony before a Senate Committee:

"The point I made earlier this morning is that it raises future federal outlays more than it reduces future federal outlays."

"The coverage proposals in this legislation would expand federal spending on health care to a significant degree and in our analysis so far we don't see other provisions in this legislation reducing federal health spending by a corresponding degree."

This is getting very scary.

Summer Music

As the temperature hovers around 100 degrees here in Medford, Oregon, I thought it would be fun to list songs about Summer that would have to be included in any album of Summer Music. I love Summer and I love songs about Summer so here is my list.This may take a few days so come back often as I update the list.

1. Theme to A Summer Place - by Percy Faith
2. Theme to A Summer Place - by The Letterman

No album would be complete without both versions of this music from the 1959 movie of the same name. According to Wikipedia: "The 1960 hit "Theme from A Summer Place" (composed by Max Steiner and recorded by Percy Faith and His Orchestra) enriched and improved on a secondary musical theme of the film; it remains a classic of its era. A vocal version, with lyrics by Mack Discant, was a hit for The Lettermen in 1965"

3. Theme to Summer of 42

Haunting theme to a 1971 movie about young teenage boys "coming-of-age" at a small beach town on Nantucket island on the east coast during World War II. According to Wikipeia: "Legrand's theme song for the film, "The Summer Knows", has since become a pop standard, being recorded by such artists as Peter Nero (who had a charting hit with his 1971 version), Frank Sinatra, Andy Williams, and Barbra Streisand."

4. Green Leaves of Summer - by the Brothers Four

The Brothers Four were an early 60's folk group formed at the University of Washington (ugh)and had a hit with this cover from music from John Wayne's movie The Alamo in 1960.

5. A Summer Wind - by Frank Sinatra

According to Wikipedia: "a 1965 song, with music by Henry Mayer and lyrics by Johnny Mercer. A cool, nostalgic tale of a fleeting romance, it is most known for a 1966 recording by Frank Sinatra that is informed by what NPR called "a majestic sadness." It is largely forgotten that singer Wayne Newton had the first national chart hit (1965). The Sinatra version originally appeared on his Strangers in the Night album, and hit number one on Billboard magazine's Easy Listening survey.

By the 2000s, it was one of Sinatra's most-used recordings in various contexts, including a mid-2000s television ad campaign for Mastercard and Major League Baseball.

6. Lazy, Craze Days of Summer - by Nat King Cole

This is one of my favorites. It really gets you into the spirit of summer in this 1963 hit

7. Here Comes Summer- by Jerry Keller

According to Wikipedia:it "was a 1959 song, which was written and performed by Jerry Keller. The song was produced for Keller by Richard Wolf. It reached #14 on the Billboard Hot 100,"

Love the lyrics :

" Here comes summer
Almost June the sun is bright
Here comes summer
Drive-in movies every night
Double features
Lots more time to hold her tight
Oh let the sun shine bright on my happy summer home"

8.Sealed With A Kiss - by Bryan Hyland

Teenage "love lost" during the summer in this 1962 hit

"So we gotta say goodbye for the summer
baby I promise you this
I'll send you all my love
every day in a letter
Sealed with a kiss"

9. Summertime Blues - by Eddie Cochran

a 1958 song about the trials and tribulations of a teenager during the summer.

10. Surf City - by Jan & Dean

No summer album would be complete with out a Jan & Dean song. "Two girls for every guy" caught my attention so many years ago in 1963.

11. Surfin' USA - by The Beach Boys


12. All Summer Long- by the Beach Boys

I could fill this summer album up with Beach Boys songs but limited myself to the two listed above. They even have a classic album called "Endless Summer." In fact, the "Endless Summer" album should be a companion to this as it so expresses the feelings of Summer.

13. A Summer Song - By Chad and Jeremy

A sweet song about summer from 1964

14. Here comes the Sun - by The Beatles

One of my favorite Beatles songs

15. Summer in the City- by The Lovin' Spoonful

With the temperature hovering around 100 in Medford this 1966 hit song is very appropriate. "hot time summer in the city back of my neck getting hot and gritty"

16. Summer Breeze- by Seals and Croft

Mellow song from 1973

17. Our Last Summer- by ABBA

On soundtrack to movie Mamma Mia from summer of 2008. One of the best songs from the movie and play.

18. Summer Nights- by John Trivolta & Olivia Newton John

From the movie "Grease" in 1978. I can't belive I put a John Trivolta song on my list!

19. Surfer Girl- by the Beach Boys

Yes, I know I said I would limit my Beach Boys selection to 2 but I just had to add this third song.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Lack of Political Diversity at the University of Oregon Part I

Every one who knows me knows I am a big fan of the University of Oregon. I graduated from the UofO and bleed green and yellow. However, it makes me sad that the University lacks political diversity. This was true when I was a student in the 1960's and it is true today. Recently a student statistically proved the lack of political diversity in a column in the student newspaper the Oregon Daily Emerald. He writes:

Among the full-time faculty of the University departments of journalism, law, political science, sociology and economics, there are 111 registered Oregon voters. Two of them are Republicans.

That’s what I discovered last week, via the public voting terminal at the Lane County Voting Office. I spent two hours there, with a spreadsheet full of names generated from the various department Web sites. It was a laborious process, but I was in no hurry. In fact, I even took a break to eat a sandwich and muse on the gorgeous summer weather outside. There would be plenty of time to continue the long, winding procession of faculty down the screen.

When I finished, there were 98 Democrats, nine Independents, two Republicans and two members of the Pacific Green party staring back at me. Both of the two Republicans were in the School of Law, and one of them was University President Dave Frohnmayer. I wondered, as I came across his name marked red in a sea of blue, if he was aware of the monolithic politics of University faculty. Did it irk him? Did it belie the diversity standards that his tenure had ushered in? …

That’s not to say there isn’t a range of political viewpoints on campus. But those on the right of University faculty are basically Social Democrats, with the left represented by an anti-capitalism that flirts openly with Marx. When conservatism does enter the picture, it’s only as a punching bag for students and professors, a tired act that became all too frequent during the presidential election. …

As a student, I want a campus full of professors not only from different ethnic and racial backgrounds, but different political backgrounds as well. I want Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Marxists, Independents and anyone with a halfway decent idea that doesn’t incorporate hate. That’s what true diversity means to me. I want that more than free football tickets, a new basketball arena or pretty much anything else a University could offer. In exchange for paying $20,000 in tuition a year, I think I deserve it.

Don’t you?

(Click on the title for a link to the column)

Both of my children were raised to be Ducks. However, when it came time to go to college they both at least partially chose other schools because of the lack of political diversity at the UofO. We found other good colleges such as Claremont McKenna College in Southern California and Willamette University in Salem Oregon where they received a great education in a diverse political atmosphere. At Claremont McKenna the Government Department even has some Republicans. Willamette University also has at least one in it's Political Science Department. What with scholarships these private Liberal Arts colleges were comparable in cost to the UofO.

The lack of political diversity at the University of Oregon has a chilling effect on political discussion as demonstrated by some professors response to the column quoted above. See part II below.

Lack of Political Diversity at the University of Oregon Part II

After the student column appeared in the Oregon Daily Emerald, as quoted above, the student in the Christian Science Monitor describes the response he received from professors at the University of Oregon

A professor who confronted me declared that he was “personally offended” by my column. He railed that his political viewpoints never affected his teaching and suggested that if I wanted a faculty with Republicans I should have attended a university in the South. “If you like conservatism you can certainly attend the University of Texas and you can walk past the statue of Jefferson Davis everyday on your way to class,” he wrote in an e-mail.

I was shocked by such a comment, which seemed an attempt to link Republicans with racist orthodoxy. When I wrote back expressing my offense, he neither apologized nor clarified his remarks.

Instead, he reiterated them on the record. Was such a brazen expression of partisanship representative of the faculty as a whole? I decided to speak with him in person in the hope of finding common ground.

He was eager to chat, and after five minutes our dialogue bloomed into a lively discussion. As we hammered away at the issue, one of his colleagues with whom he shared an office grew visibly agitated. Then, while I was in mid-sentence, she exploded.

“You think you’re so [expletive] cute with your little column,” she told me. “I read your piece and all you want is attention. You’re just like Bill O’Reilly. You just want to get up on your [expletive] soapbox and have people look at you.” …

“You understand that my column was basically a prophesy,” I shot back. I had suggested right-leaning ideas weren’t welcome on campus and in response the faculty had tied my viewpoints to racism and addressed me with profanity-laced insults. …

Political disagreement is crucial to vibrant discourse, but not in the form of caricatures, slights, or mockery.

Students should never come under personal attack from faculty members for straying from the party line. The fact that they do shows how easily political partisanship can corrupt the elements of higher education that should be valued the most.


(Click on the title for a link to the Christian Science Monitor article.)

Imagine how the professors comment would have been viewed if you substitute "African American" for "Conservative" and "Howard University" for "University of Texas." In any case my guess is there are not that many Republicans at the University of Texas either.Maybe at Texas A&M but not in Austin!

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Democrats’ War on the CIA Continues by Marc Thiessen

From National Reviews "the Corner" blog on disclosure of CIA's plans to kill al-Qaeda operatives:

That Congressional Democrats are outraged by this program speaks volumes about the state of their party on national security. The fact that the CIA was trying to kill al-Qaeda operatives should not be a point of outrage — it should be a point of pride.
These latest attacks on the CIA will only serve to put the agency even further on the defensive when we really need the on the offensive against the terrorists. The men and women of the CIA were vilified after 9/11 for failing to connect the dots and stop the attack. Now they are being vilified for doing what was necessary to connect the dots and stop the next 9/11.

With these actions the Obama administration and Congressional Democrats are making another terrorist attack more likely. This is irresponsible, dangerous, and Americans may die as a result.

The only problem with the CIA program is they didn't kill any, as far as I can tell, al-Qaeda operatives!

To read more on the article click on the title for a link



Sunday, July 12, 2009

Remembering Tony Snow's life

Tony Snow died a year ago today! Dana Perino, his successor as Gorge W Bush's Press Secretary has written a nice remembrance over at Click on the title for a link.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Back in Medford, Oregon

My wife and I, early this week, got back to Medford, after a two week trip to Washington D.C., New York City and Lexington Kentucky. We went on the trip to see out two adult children and had a wonderful time.We saw both of their residences for the first time. We were given a tour of the U.S. Capitol by out daughter, got to go on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, went to a Capitol Hill Reception in a room full of famous politicians from both parties, saw two New York Broadway plays (Mamma Mia & South Pacific) and went on a tour of a bourbon distillery and horse racing track in Kentucky. We spent the 4th of July in Washington DC and saw the fireworks and the parade. I checked in on the Lincoln Memorial and on July 4th spent some time with Thomas Jefferson at the Jefferson Memorial.

More details can be found in my day by day journal posted below.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Trip Journal, Day 1: "From Medford, Oregon to a Capitol Hill Reception in One Day"

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Back in March my wife and I decided it was our turn to visit our adult children back East. We have not been back there together since 2001 or 8 years ago. We individually have gone back since then but not together. Quite frankly we missed them and we are not getting any younger.We were able to get some relatively inexpensive airline ticket through United Airlines. In addition, our daughter had bought a condo and we wanted to see it.

We had a 6 AM flight out of Medford, but were awoken at midnight and then again at 1 AM with messages from United that the Medford to Denver flight was delayed so they had switched our flight to Delta from Medford to Salt Lake City and then on to Reagan National Airport near Washington DC. The flights were OK but due to the last minute switch we did not get isle seats from Salt Lake to DC. I read my book on the Civil War "Gods and Generals" written by the son of the author of "The Killer Angels" about Gettysburg.

We arrived on time at Reagan National Airport AND all our luggage made it. Our daughter met us in the luggage area and we walked to her car for a trip strait to Capitol Hill for a bipartisan reception.

We went though security and she parked her car in a parking garage under a House of Representatives office building next to the Capitol. We went to her office and met some of her coworkers and then on the the fancy reception. Fortunately I had brought my sports coat so I didn't look like a total hick.The reception was a political junkies dream. There were leaders of both political parties there having a good time with lots of political jokes. If you follow politics you would have seen a number of people you could identify. I don't want to go into too much detail but it was a very high powered group. The food was great and it was a fun event. We got to meet a number of our daughter friends and associates. We were able to put faces to names she talks about when she calls or comes home.

After the party we drove to her condo a few block from the Capitol and unloaded our luggage. She then gave us a tour of her condo. Since buying it around the first of the year she has become quite a "handy women". She has completely repainted it and her work shows. There are still some details that need to be worked on but we were both impressed. She even bought a sofa with a hide-a-bed so we could stay with her. Without giving too much detail the condo complex is quite unique and very nice. I also liked her big flat screen TV.

It had been a long day .... from the familiar easy going world of Medford, Oregon to the high powered world of Washington DC.

That hide-a-bed felt very good!

Trip Journal, Day 2: "Nice Day in Washinton DC"

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Our daughter had to work so she gave us a key to her condo and we slept in. We then walked down to the Eastern Market Metro Station and took the Metro to downtown DC and walked over to the National Portrait Gallery. This is a very large building that takes up an entire block and has a large glass covered court yard in the middle. The building has three floors of gallery's and you see them by walking in a rectangle pattern around the central courtyard. My main purpose in wanting to go, was to see the exhibit of original Abraham Lincoln photos; but, I found so much more.I was planning on spending just an hour or so but we ended up spending at least 5 hours.The building itself is very interesting. It was originally the Patent Office. It was used for Abraham Lincoln's 2nd Inaugural Ball in 1864. A few years ago it was completely redone and the glass covered courtyard was added. I saw original portraits of Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone. There are portraits of the major generals of the Civil War. The Lincoln exhibit was very interesting. They also have most of the official portraits of all of the Presidents of the United States. We had a nice lunch in the courtyard and spent time and money in the bookstore and the gift shop.

After we left the gallery we walked by Ford's Theater where Abraham Lincoln was assassinated and took a tour of the home across the street where the President was taken to be treated. He lived through the night and died in that house the next morning.

"Now he belongs to the ages” a phrase uttered by Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton upon Lincoln’s death

We then took the Metro to the Capitol where our daughter picked us up and took us to dinner at a nice Pizza place on Barracks Row.

Barracks row is an area on Capital Hill where the US Marine Corps Commandant lives and where the Marine Band members live. Across the street are some nice restaurants and shops.While at the restaurant our daughter received a blackberry email that Michael Jackson had died. By the time we left the restaurant the folks on the street ware "a buzz" with the news. In the days to come the street vendors in Washington DC and in New York City had all kinds of Jackson memorabilia for sale. I can't say I understood the outpouring of grief. I was more grief stricken when I heard Billy Mayes had died later in our trip. I really enjoyed his sales pitches on TV.I have not liked Michael Jackson's music since he left The Jackson 5.

Trip Journal, Day 3: "New York City or Bust"

Friday, June 26, 2009

My wife has never been to New York City. When we first told our daughter we were coming to visit her in Washington DC she suggested we take a week end and the three of us go to New York City and see a Broadway play or two. My wife and I though that was a great idea. Our daughter then made all the arrangements. She got tickets for the Broadway revival of South Pacific, and Mamma Mia. She got our hotel reservations and made reservations on the Bolt bus that runs between Washington DC and New York City.

On Friday morning she had a taxi pick up, the three of us, at her condo and take us to the bus pick up point in downtown DC. We then had a 4 hour trip to New York City. We arrived near Penn Station and then got a taxi to take us to our hotel at the Sheraton New York Towers in the theater district near Times Square and The ED Sullivan Theater where the David Letterman Show is produced. There were a lot of touist everywhere!

We checked into the Sheraton and got a 17 floor room with a great street view. We then took off to see Times Square, where ABC's Good Morning America is broadcast, then on to Rockefeller Center and NBC where Saturday Night Live is produced.

We then went to FOX NEWS my favorite! I looked for Sean Hannity or Bill O'Rilly but could find neither on the street out front. We then walked up to Central Park and walked through a small section of it.

We then walked to the Plaza Hotel where they filmed the end to the Movie "The Way We Were" which is "our movie." It was one of the first movies my wife and I saw when we started to date. We walked across the street, and to our daughters embarrassment, I gave my wife a kiss where Streisand and Redford hugged at the end of the movie. We got a great picture of it but my wife will not let me post it.

Like the corners of my mind
Misty water
-colored memories
Of the way we were
Scattered pictures,
Of the smiles we left behind
Smiles we gave to one another
For the way we were

We then walked down to Tiffany's and looked in the window Audry Hepburn looked in, in "Breakfast at Tiffany's". We walked into the store and looked around for a short time. As a kid growing up in Coos Bay, Oregon this movie and Audry Hepburn made a big impression on this then adolescent boy. I have a very large poster of her as your walk down the steps to my movie room. We then had a nice dinner at a sidewalk cafe and went back to the hotel to get ready for Mamma Mia. While in the room a big thunder storm hit New York City and it rained just like at the end of "Breakfast at Tiffany's." I could see the yellow taxis down on the wet streets.

Two drifters off to see the world.
There's such a lot of world to see.

From "Moon River"

The Storm ended just in time for us to walk a block or two to the Broadway Theater where we saw the Musical "Mamma Mia." Last Summer we saw the movie at the Cinema Center here in Medford. For Christmas my wife ask for and received the blu ray DVD of the Movie and the entire family watched it at Christmas. The play was well done without the great scenery of the movie. However, the energy of the audience at the Broadway play made up for it. It was obvious that many in the audience had seen the play many times and clapped and sang along. The ending where the cast dresses up like ABBA and sings some songs was outstanding with the audience standing up and swaying to the music. It was electric and a lot of fun.

After the play we walked back to Times Square to see the lights before we headed back to our hotel. A full and fun day in the "Big Apple."

Trip Journal, Day 4: "Saturday in New York"

Saturday, June 27, 2009

We got up fairly early and had breakfast at a nice sidewalk cafe near the Sheraton New York Towers and then took the subway down to Battery Park at the tip of Manhattan.The subways in New York are "the pits" compared to the Metro in Washington DC. Lots of deferred maintenance and decaying infrastructure. We went to Battery Park to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. We also saw the globe that was in the courtyard of the World Trade Center. It's battered but that is a sign of honor.From there we walked up to Wall Street and saw where George Washington took the oath of office as President of the United States for the first time. We then saw the New York Stock Exchange. From there we walked by the location of the World Trade Center. Still a hole in the ground but they are working on it. We still need revenge!We then took the subway to Greenwich Village. As we were walking to Washington Square Park I got a "Go Ducks" from a passerby who saw my Oregon hat. The park has the big arch for which it is famous but it also has a lot of green areas where you can sit in the shade. We sat down on a park bench for about 30 minutes and listened to the live jazz music being played by a group. How appropriate. For the first time I felt I was in the real New York City. There were less tourist and we felt like we were sitting with the residence of the city. Lot of people walking their dogs. We then walked down Bleecker street where there was a long street fair. As a fan of Bob Dylan and the early 60's folk scene being on Bleeker street and 4th street ( "Positively 4th street") was a thrill. We even walked by The Bitter End nightclub. We then took the subway back to the Sheraton to rest up for "South Pacific"

About 5 PM we took a cab to Lincoln Center for the play. We had reservations for dinner at O'Neals across the street and enjoyed dinner there although it was expensive. There was a large play crowd there and many looked like native New Yorkers. The service was very good. While at O'Neals there was quite a rain storm which was over by the time we walked back to the Lincoln Center. In addition to South Pacific there was a ballet performance at another theater there and it was fun watching how "dressed up" the folks were that were going to the ballet. I though back to Tom Wolf's book "Bonfires of the Vanities."

The musical "South Pacific" is my second favorite musical second only to "1776". This is a revival of the show that fist played on Broadway in the late 1940's after World War II and stared Mary Martin. I have the movie on DVD and just recently purchased the Blu-ray DVD and love it. This revival was very good. Of course they can't recreate the scenery of the movie but I was impressed by what they could do on a stage. I love the music and have been known to sing it in the shower "Some enchanted evening...... " or "There is nothing like a dame"

The musical is based upon a book by James Michener who was in the South Pacific during World War II. At the end of the musical the following passage from Michener's book "Tales of the South Pacific" were projected on the stage screen:

They will live a long time, these men of the South Pacific…. They, like their victories, will be remembered as long as our generation lives. After that, like the men of the Confederacy, they will become strangers. Longer and longer shadows will obscure them until their Guadalcanal sounds distant on the ear like Shiloh and Valley Forge.”

Some 64 years after the end of World War II as members of "The Greatest Generation" die off Michener's prophecy is coming true.

After the play the night was beautiful and we walked the 14 or so blocks down Broadway and took one more peek at the lights of Times Square. A very nice night to be with my two dates.

As a Fathers Day gift our daughter bought me the CD soundtrack to the new Broadway revival of "South Pacific".