Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Missouri Governor Impresses Me

My wife and I watched  very little television during our visit to Branson but  of course we were concerned about the tornado destruction of Joplin, Mo.  I turned to the memorial ceremony for the tornado victims and caught the governor speaking.  For a moment I thnought I was listening to a minister before realizing it was Governor Jay Nelson.  He was certainly politically incorrect as he invoked God and Jesus Christ in his message, which could be summed up as "Love Your Neighbor."  He referred to the parable of the Good Samaritan as he told of people from Tuacaloosa driving all night and sleeping in the open to come to Joplin and provide badly needed  help. .His eloquence was exceeded only by his heartfelt sincerity of caring.

We Return from Restfull Trip to Branson.

Jen and I have returned from Branson, Mo., where we saw a few shows, drove around a bit, shopped a little, but mostly  rested.  We did not read a newspaper,never touched a computer,  watched only a few minutes of television and let the world go on.  The long drive there and the long drive back were the only stressful parts  of the trip.  Awaiting us at home was a stack of mail to go through and bills to pay.

I turned on the computer  at 4 this afternoon and clicked on Drudge and I'm back in the world and its craziness and problems--riots on Long Island, teen gangs hit Boston beach,  feds go wild in buying limousines, food stamps up 39 per cent under Obama, double dip recession is still here, and Obama honors war dead and their families by playing golf on Memorial Day.  I'm ready to return to Branson.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Remember Memorial Day Monday, May 30

Remember those who gave their lives for this country and its freedoms.  This day is more than the beginning of the summer season;  it commemorates those who fought and died in the various wars the United States has waged. American men and women are still being called on to serve and sometimes die in Afghanistan and other countries in the Mideast.   Take a few moments to remember them and to pray for their families.  I realize there are differences of opinion  as to how and when the observance began but Congress established the last Monday in May as the official day and this year we observe it Monday.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Long Ago Editorial Brings Fire from Officials

I was sitting at my typewriter when the door to the Guardian-Journal burst open and in came the president of the town's only bank, the state senator and the state representative from our area.  They were noticeably angry and demanded to "see Hightower  right now."  Mr. Hightower  was the owner and publisher of the newspaper,  Not only was I ignored but so was Mrs. Hightower, who was seated at her desk opposite me.

They came to complain about an editorial I had written and that was published in the most recent issue.  I had taken the state administration to task for failing to maintain the shoulders on US Highway 79 from Minden through Homer and Haynesville to the Arkansas state line.  We had just had another fatal accident, caused when the car hit a hole on the shoulder adjacent to the highway.  The car flipped over and several fatalities resulted.

Let me digress to give a little history of the construction of this federal highway.  An engineer who worked on the project said that Huey Long discovered that by making the pavement 18 feet wide instead of the standard of 20, more miles of highway could be built with the same amount of concrete.  That narrowing by two feet made driving hazardous.  Trucks with dual wheels would slip off the pavement and dig holes in the dirt shoulders. When a car veered off the pavement and hit a hole it could cause an accident, especially if the driver panicked and tried to immediately steer the car back on the pavement.  The highway could have been made much safer and saved lives by hardsurfacing the shoulders, not a very expensive project and one that cried out to be done.

Mr. Hightower stood firm in supporting me.  If they wanted an apology of some kind they didn't get it. If they wanted me fired they didn't get it.  They said several miles of roads in Claiborne parish had been blacktopped and we agreed it they would give us a list we would be happy to print it as a news story.

I wish I could say the state very soon thereafter hard surfaced the shoulders.  It did not, although I believe the officials did their best to get it done.  It was years later that the shoulders were surfaced and passing lanes were added.  If that situation arose today and I was again the editor, I would take pictures of the worst places and run them week after week, each time blasting the state administration for failure to act.  That was then and printing pictures was expensive and problematic for a weekly newspaper printed by letterpress.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Just a little talk with Jesus makes it right

I am very late in commenting on this but here goes.  I attended a gospel sing at the church Saturday night. I thought it was to be singing by the congregation but a quartet, called Disciples, performed for donations. I was unacquainted with most of their songs but at least four were old familiar songs.  Two were by Gaither  -- "He Touched Me" and  "Victory in Jesus."  Just a coincidence  we sang "He Touched Me" Sunday. The quartet was at its best when they sang "In the Garden," which shows the old familiar hymns are the best.

"Just a Little Talk with Jesus Makes it Right" was the other familiar song.  This may be the most popular singing convention song of all time. Words and music were written by a black man.  It has been recorded by many, many artists.  One web site has it available by 50 singers and vocal groups.  The lyrics have been altered by some singers but the message remains clear and true.  Sometimes the best message is as simple as that -- a little talk with Jesus can make it right.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Reid, Pelosi Get Waivers to Obamacare

Remember who led the fight to inflict Obamacare on this nation?  Senator Reid and Cong Pelosi, following the bidding of Obama,  slammed it down our throats with not a vote to spare, granting all kinds of favors to win votes.  If it is such a good thing why have hundreds of waivers been granted to friends of the Obama administration?  Human and Health  (HHS) granted 204 waivers in April alone.  All of Nevada, Reid's home state, was granted a waiver, while 38 waivers were granted in that month alone for Pelosi's district, especially for  hotels, night clubs and restaurants.

Obamacare is great -- for everyone except the scoundrels who forced it upon us.   This is just one of many disasters Obama and his crowd  are imposing on us.  Blow a kiss to Obama when you pay $50 for the light bulb  mandated by Obama.  That's right, no mistake, the bulbs will cost 50 dollars each.  Obama supporters will probably get them free.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I'm Trying Not to Curse But La Tax Filing Is Making It Difficult

We went back to working on our Louisiana income taxes Sunday afternoon.  Finally decided pay for the software to do the state return.  That helped, after doing it three times.  But again the state would not let us E-file, coming up idiotic reasons.  We had the same problems last year, but this year we already had a password.  The state mess would not accept it.  We tried a new password and the response was you cannot use a new password; you already have one.  I say kick every state senator and representative in the tail until our tax code makes sense and  E-filing is possible.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Oh, for a Simple Louisiana Income Tax Code

I can remember when filing you state income tax was easy and uncomplicated.  List your income, subtract federal income taxes, look up your tax on the tables, and pay what was owed or get a refund.  For most individuals state income taxes were almost insignificant.  We didn't spend time envying the states that have no income tax.

Now, the state takes your money away but gives you a long list of ways you may get some of it back. For instance there are refundable tax credits (about 20) and non-refundable tax credits (about 50).  There are all kinds of education credits, green energy refunds, and dozens of others.  Why can't we make our tax code simpler and fairer?  Ask your state senator or representative and see him squirm and never answer.

Friday, May 13, 2011

A Long Ago Protest at LSU Remembered

Some are praising them; others are calling them thugs -- the thousand or so who gathered on the LSU  campus to protest -- successfully -- the burning of the American flag.  I'm aware there have been many protest gatherings, some on serious matters,  others trivial during the last 50 years on the LSU campus, but this triggered a long buried memory of a protest in the late 1940's when I was a student.  

A  somewhat risque (at that time) magazine not affiliated with the  university but distributed on the campus devoted an issue to Stormy,  a noted  stripper "exotic dancer" on Bourbon Street in New Orleans.  As a response the administration banned or forbid the sale of the magazine on LSU property.  Stormy announced that in support of the magazine staff she was going to come to LSU and perform her Bourbon Street show. Most people did not take her seriously, but lo and behold, around noon she had a stage set up in front of the Field House. Her band began to play and she began to dance.  Among her shocked  audience were University High students, some who -- in this more innocent age -- stared  stunned as if aliens had landed.  Acting spontaneously, a group charged the stage, destroying it and chasing Stormy and her band to the lake.  Stormy was frightened and began crying.  My roommate told me a former classmate not only had his instrument, a clarinet  I think, damaged but lost two teeth. I don't remember if campus police were involved but security of some kind allowed Stormy and her band members to leave  without further trouble.
Stormy continued her "profession" and her fame spread like that of  Blaze Starr, whose career and relationship with Earl Long were made into a movie.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Lions Club Disbands After 50 Years

The Lions Club of which I am a member voted Monday to disband, ending 50 years of service to the community.  I have been a member of this club for only a few years while some of those voting to end the club were members 40 years or more.  This saddened me although it was understandable.  Several members have health issues and most members are up in age.  Service organizations like the Lions, American Legion, VFW, are finding it difficult to recruit younger members who want to serve.  If this continues the nation will suffer.

This club has donated many thousands of dollars to send crippled children to summer camp. It has collected thousands of pairs of glasses, paid for examinations and eyeglasses for needy persons, supported the eye bank, helped with cancer drives and served in many other ways.  Disbanding of this club will leave a hole in serving needs of the community.  I voted to keep the club operating and am sad to see it close.

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Mother's Day I Would Like to Forget

I have long been a track and field fan, so when I was working in Baton Rouge, I really looked forward to attending the Southeastern Conference championship meet at Bernie Moore stadium. When I was a student at LSU, the SEC championship meets had been in Birmingham.

A problem arose.  It was Mother's Day, the time restaurants are overwhelmed with families taking mom out to eat.  Jen's mother had prevailed on her to work  that day and Jen persuaded a very reluctant me to help. Lunch hour went on and on but we finally were free to catch the last minutes of the meet.  We left in Jen's car, which began to have troubles,  a broken belt. When that was replaced the meet was over.  To this day I have never seen an SEC track meet. A side note -- LSU has a great team this year.

Hand out Blankets if Church Is to Be Kept so Cold

Greeters at the church need to hand out blankets with bulletins if the temperature is to be lowered like it was this past Sunday.  Men  usually dress casually in the summertime, but with the church being so cold coats are needed now instead of wintertime.  I was so cold I was miserable.  They say they have to keep it cold for the comfort of the choir members, who are wearing robes over their clothes. Let them leave off the robes and dress casually during the summer. I know I will take a coat next Sunday.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Sunday Is Sixty-Sixth Anniverary of Victory in Europe Day

B. M. Butters, a former shipmate, sent me some old pictures he had made years ago on the Pickens. Even  if I could see real clear pictures of my shipmates, I doubt I could name any of them.  After leaving the Pickens to be discharged, I never again saw a shipmate.

However, I am reminded that Sunday, May 8, is VE Day, the 66th anniversary of Germany's surrender and the end of World War II in Europe.  I was in the South Pacific at the time and I cannot remember if we knew about it at the time and whether we celebrated in any way.  The battle for Okinawa, with all its casualties, was going on and General McArthur (I shall return) was still battling the Japanese in the Philippines.  The United States was gearing up to invade Japan.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Bread Made from Weevil Leavings Would Stink up the Ship

I didn't think about it at the time but now it is obvious that I was sent on more than my share of working parties.
Several times I was called upon to spend all night at a depot in Guam loading on food supplies.  Though surrendered by canned foods like fruits and turkey, I could get access because I would forget to bring my knife that had a can opener blade.  I particularly remember one occasion.  We were told to take to the boats some burlap bags of flour.  I called to the attention of the officer in charge that the flour was filled with adult beetles and larva, thus unfit for consumption.  His response was "load it on!"  No matter how many weevils were sifted out, the bread stunk while being baked and was inedible.  Often I would see what we had to eat for supper, turn around and just hope maybe beans or dehydrated eggs would be served at breakfast.  After I got home and was telling about how poor our food was most of the time, my mother  said they did without many things but would be cheerful because they took comfort in the belief that servicemen were being well fed.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Recovering from an Angina Attack

I feel very tired but am grateful that I am this well after suffering one of the worst angina attacks I have ever had.   A few minutes before noon the pain began.  I took a nitroglycerin tablet but the pain worsened.  I waited a couple of minutes and took another plus an aspirin.  At this point I was supposed to call 911 but decided to give nitroglycerin one more chance.  Eventually, the pain lessened and finally abated.  I was dizzy from low blood pressure so I sat on the couch, soon going to sleep for about two hours.  This is happening when my cardiologist of more than five years has resigned from ArkaLa Cardiology, leaving me to find another doctor.

Just a Note to Mark Two Big Happenings

Tornadoes of record speed and destruction killed hundreds and destroyed cities in the South the past two weeks.  Many homes and other buildings  were left as piles of sticks.   This destruction cannot be undone and no one can be brough tback to life, but the generosity of American people must respond with donations to the Red Cross, your church, or some other reputable entity. Later, volunteers can clear debris and help in reconstruction.

Osana ben Laden has been killed, almost l0 years since he masterminded the attack on the trade center in New York.  I join in the satisfaction that he has been eliminated, bringing in a small way  closure for families who lost loved ones in the dastardly attack.  However, I don't feel like celebrating in the way many are doing.  I remember when Japan surrendered and people celebrated by getting drunk and acting like fools. I was on liberty in San Francisco at that time and felt a prayerful thanks that  the war was over and we would not need to invade Japan. I was disgusted with the way people acted, cut my liberty short, and returned to the ship.