Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I've Got A Secret

Back in the glory days of television, panel shows were very popular in daytime and evening. One of these was "I've Got a Secret." where the panel members would question a guest in an effort to discover the secret. One day Faye Emerson, a panelist, said one of her favorite memories was as a child chewing sugar cane in  Louisiana.

Some one in Homer got the idea of getting exposure for the town by getting on the show with the secret being "I've brought sugar cane for Faye Emerson." Surprisingly, the show bought the proposal with some changes.  Homer would prepare a little bag of sugar cane for everyone in the studio  audience and Miss Meadpws would be surprised by a gift of stalks of cane.  That's the way it played out, and Homer got publicity while areas of the state that grew much cane watched jealously.

Now, for the rest of the story.  For some reason Jen and I were mentioning this show and a similar one, "What's My Line?"  From somewhere deep in my memory the cane incident came to mind, but I did not recall the panelist. Jen suggested I look it up and I searched for cast of the show and immediately knew the person when I saw Faye.  I then researched her to learn she was born in Elizabeth, La, on a plantation.  From there I researched the show and plain as could be the cane incident was listed as part of a show in 1953.Other members of the cast were Bill Cullen, Jane Meadows and Henry Morgan.  Guests were the doctor who brought Emerson into the world, Olympic champions, and Boris Karloff. Noted was that 40 pounds of sugar cane was presented to Faye Emerson.  In my mind I can still see her look of surprise.

Longtime friend passes

A longtime friend, James Carroll Farrar, passed away this week from cancer, heart problems, and relared health issues.  For the past two decades a major league baseball scout, James Carroll had a long career in coaching baseball and football in high schools.  A highlight of his career was serving as baseball coach for Centenary College.

Actually, we had not met in quite a few years.  My last memory of seeing James was at an annual meeting of the Shreveport Chamber of Commerce where we exchanged some teasing remarks.

I had been acquainted with James for a few years when he introduced football to small Sibley High School.  He and his team had just returned from their opening game with Smackover, Ark., and were enjoying cheeseburgers and milk sharks at the Purple Cow in Homer when I asked him about the game.  Of course, Sibley had been beaten badly.  I asked, "James Carroll, didn't they take it easy on you later in the game? Didn't they substitute,  taking out their first team?"  He answered, "No, they didn't substitute to make it easier.  They would run eleven, rest eleven, run eleven, rest eleven.  They never took it easy on us."

James Carroll was a great guy, always interesting to talk with.  He joins many of my friends of that time.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hey, I'm back in time for Halloween

If you have noticed I haven't blogged in several days, blame the computer; it has been ill and is not yet fully recovered.

The interest of the nation is on Hurricane Sandy and its catastrophic damage throughout the Northeast and along the Atlantic coast.  I know all of us have those affected in our prayers.  With the most important presidential election ever only a week away, I will have comments later after the attention on the storm has become less intense.

Today let's talk about Halloween coming up Wednesday.  Do the witches you know prefer worn or new brooms or just broom sticks as their mode of transportation?

Halloween never meant much to me as a kid and as an adult I don't think of it as a holiday except that my grandkids get excited and enjoy it so much.  They like wearing a costume, and they enjoy the decorations and love the candy.

No one could enjoy Halloween more that my daughter Jessica when she was four or five.  She rated Halloween more fun than Christmas.  The Boy Scouts had a haunted house for several years and she was part of the cast.  Later, the scouts got the help of a 4-H club and the American Rose Society and carried on a haunted trail for several days, climaxing with the night of Halloween.  A cast of at least 80 was required to present the ride and the event became too demanding to continue.  Although now 22 and a student at Duke seminary, Jessica has decorated her apartment and held a Halloween party.  She still really enjoys the holiday.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Partying with the Obama's

Not even the Kennedy's could stage parties like Obama, who recently had not one but two million dollar parties.  The one for Beyonce cost $4700 per person.  I wonder why I have not been invited to one of these events. My invitations must have been lost in the mail.

I can't do the math

Joe Biden, known  for his gaffes, is saying on the campaign trail that Romney is proposing a 500 trillion, yes that's 500 trillions, tax cut for 120,000 families.  Like Obama, my math knowledge is on about a seventh grade level so I am unsure about my calculations that this amounts to over four million dollars per family. I invite any of you to check and correct me if necessary. 

Naval discharge and road building

I have had no reason to remember my discharge from the navy in the spring of 1946 but oddly my recent research into Huey Long's career brought events around my discharge, especially my trip home from New Orleans, to mind.  I traveled by train to New Orleans but hitch hiked back, along with a man I had  never met allthough he lived two or three miles west of us on the Bellvue road.

We caught a ride with a man who turned out to be an engineer and an interesting person to talk with. Some way Huey Long came up and I expressed my dislike for Long and his machine.  The engineer countered with praise of Long's road building program, declaring that the state had almost no decent roads until Long took over.  One of the things he said that stuck in my mind was that Long made concrete roads 18 feet wide rather than the standard 20 feet, thus getting more miles of road paved for the same money.

At that time and until the past two weeks was I interested enough to check on what the engineer claimed. I went to a site friendly to Long and discovered that Long had indeed converted miles of dirt roads to concrete or gravel.

In 1928 the state had 300 miles of paved roads, only 60 miles of which was maintained by the state. Long launched his building  program and by 1932  the state had 5,000 miles of new paved and gravel roads. Four years later 9,700 miles of new roads and  111 bridges had been built .  It  was possible to go from Shreveport to New Orleans in a day,  Before, it took at least three days,  and three nights in a hotel to make the trip.

"Who made the decision not to save my son?"

First they refused pleas for more security.  Next after the attacks on the consulate they refused cries for help.

They, Obama and his group  watched as the ambassador and other Americans were murdered by Islamic terrorists. They let our people die while they went on with their lives and lied and lied and lied to the American people.  They even apologized to the terrorists.  More and more information about this crime is slipping past the Obama administration's denials and lies, their refusal to comment on the emails which prove that while they called it a demonstration in anger over a film they had knowledge in two days that the attack by the terrorists was pre-planned. 

Some day the father of the Seal will get the answer to his question:
"Who made the decision not to save my son?"

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Why the lies and deception?

What has Obama and his administration gained by the lies the White House and State Department told to deceive the American people?  E-mails reveal that two hours after the attack on Benghazi Obama and the State Department knew terrorists attacked and murdered  our ambassador and three other Americanss; yet, two weeks later the official line was that a mob angered at a film was responsible for a demonstration that turned violent.

We should not be surprised by the deception.  Obama has told a number of lies in the debates even though he had to know they would be exposed the day after the debates. Did he count on the news media to refuse to expose him?  The bias of the media wasn't strong enough to prevent even CBS from taking note of the E-mails and commenting on how they exposed his attempt to deceive.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Time for another book on Huey Long?

I was reminded that you can't get far away from reminders of  Huey Long in Baton Rouge when  we passed by the sign for the Huey P. Long Field House on the LSU campus Saturday. More than 70 books have been written about the "Kingfish" but it's time for another one, this time a factual account of Long and  his machine, with emphasis on matters like the Win or Lose Oil Company and who continues to benefit from it. I was only eight or nine when that corporation was founded but I can still hear my dad describe it correctly, "They (the Long bunch) win and we (citizens of Louisiana) lose."   Long's first dividend from the company was equivalent to one million dollars today.

Write a book on Huey Long and win awards.  My former history teacher at LSU,  the late T. Harry Williams, wrote the definitive biography, "Huey Long." and received the Pulitzer and the National Book Award.  My old professor was too kind, in my opinion, and devoted too little space to the Win or Lose Oil Company.

The most famous novel on Long's career was "All the King's Men," written by LSU English professor Robert Penn Warren.  He won the Pulitzer for 1947, and a movie based on the book won three Academy Awards in 1949, including for best picture. Among other books written on Long was "Kingfish, the Reign of Huey Long." 

Long was at the height of his dictatorial powers when he was assassinated in 1935.  The empire he built collapsed after his death, and some of those involved in corruption were sent to prison.

Monday -- a stressful day

We returned Sunday night from Baton Rouge and our visit with Jessica, who flew back to North Carolina that night.  Jen went with Jessica to the installation of Cynthia Fierro Harvey as the new Louisiana bishop of the United Methodist Church.  Jessica, in her first year of seminary at Duke, was able to spend a few minutes with the new bishop.  It is never too early to play politics.

I did not post Monday, which was a stressful day.  I  met with the cardiologist after an absence of 14 months and a heart cath. Actually, I saw two cardiologists, neither of whom paid attention when I told them about my dizzy spells.  Instead, they changed one type of medicine and made an appointment for November 7, two weeks from now.  They want to see if the new medicine has any effect.  I continue to take meds for high blood pressure but the new prescription takes the place of the one I have been taking for angina.  I told them that I have not been bothered by angina pains in the past 30 days but I have suffered from dizzyness accompanied by low blood pressure.

That visit was stressful enough but it was followed by a meeting of so-called church leaders to get financial pledges for 2013.  Then came the  presidential debate, which I found disappointing; I am waiting on more answers and explanation about the attack on Benghazi which resulted in the murder of our ambassador and three others.  We had only recently learned that the United States had a drone observing the attack for about six hours but did not send any help.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Student loans could become disaster

 A matter that has concerned me for years, but especially recently, is the huge debt that has been amassed in the student loan program as a whole and the personal debt crushing some students.  Figures are not exact, but it appears that the total debt of the program exceeds one trillion dollars.  That is greater than the total for credit card debt, long considered a danger to the economy.
The program has been mishandled from the beginning.  Students should have borrowed the minimum they required for school, earning funds by working in the summers and spare time at school.  None of any loan should have been used to buy a car or live in a lavish style.

 I personally know former students who got by without loans, working when they could get any type of job, sometimes having barely enough food to get by, eating Ramen noodles and  Vienna sausage or some other low cost food.

I am not suggesting that students should starve, but they must borrow as little as possible to get by, keeping in mind always that the  loan must be paid.  Oh, I know some students never intend to pay their loans completely.  Some have gotten Pell grants plus a maximum loan, had a great time for a couple of years, flunked out, and  went back to welfare.  There will always be some who take advantage of any program. I believe the majority of students want to pay their loans but find the present economy  makes getting a job very difficult.  Today's student must keep that in mind if he plans to borrow.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Good news for the economy?

I don't think so.  Take a look at these headlines from Drudge:

Welfare has soared 32 per cent in the last four years and now costs over one trillion dollars.

Jobless claims rose by 46,000.

Under President Obama for every seven dollars brought in to the government eleven dollars was spent.

(Don't you believe we need to try to make some changes?)

Off to Baton Rouge

Jen, Josh and I will leave Friday afternoon for Baton Rouge to spend the weekend with Jessica and also see some other relatives. We'll figure a way to get to a TV to see LSU play Texas A&M in a game starting at the crazy time of 11 a.m .

The game conflicts with the installation of Cynthia Fierro Harvey as bishop of the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church.  The ceremony will take place at ll a.m. Saturday, October 20, at First United Methodist Church of  Baton Rouge on North Boulevard.  Jessica, in her first year of  Seminary at Duke University, would like the opportunity to meet the bishop.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My take on the debate

As far as giving the voters a better idea of what to expect depending upon who is elected, the debate failed miserably.  The only new matter since the first debate was the murderous attack on Benghazi. Obama lied but Cindy Crowley, the moderator, jumped to his support.  At this time she went from being biased for Obama to a member of his team.

Some of you know that I have written more than a dozen times calling for us to use our oil, natural gas, coal and other sources of energy to make this nation self-sufficient, which in addition to improving national security would boost the economy and create jobs.  Romney was absolutely right when he said that Obama has issued far fewer drilling permits and has caused a decline in production of oil and gas on government land.

Is this just a coincidence or an evidence of bias by Crowley?  She allowed Obama four more minutes, several times cutting off Romney and calling on the president to speak.She interrupted Romney 28 times, calling on Obama for time only 9 times.  This was just a more extreme practice followed  in all three debates, including that for vice-president.

Expect the unfairness to continue with the next liberal moderator.  The American people are beginning to recognize the truth and the lies and can distinguish the difference.  We are still demanding the truth about Benghazi and until we get it we'll keep demanding an answer from Obama who won't always have a moderator to protect him and his lies.

(While the media spinsters are trying to make Obama the debate winner "on points," polls taken after the debate find voters giving Romney a big edge on jobs, taxes, health and foreign policy.  Gallup has just now released a poll of likely voters which has Romney at 5l and Obama at 45.)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Waldo memory of Dad's

I wonder why when we used to visit in Waldo, Ark. that Dad never had as go by the big house in which he lived for about 15 years.  He often talked about the years from about 1900 to 1917  being a great time to live in America, especially in a small town.  We visited the log cabin in Claiborne parish where he was born but we never got a picture of it. I have a postcard on which are pictured  Dad, Uncle Perry and some field hands harvesting  sugar cane on their farm at Waldo.

One complaint Daddy had about the farm at Waldo was that it was bisected by a railroad, resulting in them being disturbed by the sounds and lights of trains.  When a train reached a certain point it would be pointing directly at the house.  One night Daddy was partially awakened by the train light shining through a window.  He started yelling "fire" and got his brother Henry up and to a window.  He said  "jump' and Uncle Henry, still not fully awake, jumped out the window.  Daddy was right behind him but was enough awake now not to jump.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Compassion to me in the navy

As this new type and cause of meningitis spreads in the nation, it is only expected that my thoughts would revert to the time I suffered with bacterial meningitis.  If I ever wrote  a book on my experiences in the navy the chapter on my time in the hospital would be a long one.  However, I prefer to remember the compassion and help given me freely by a group of comrades.

It was the last day of radar school.  Our seabags were packed and our hammocks with the  thin mattresses were lashed around them.  We were ready for whatever came next,  except that I was extremely depressed and could not understand why.  Grades had been posted and I was one of the top four, thus being promooted to seaman first class.  We were loaded into a bus and transported to Camp Elliott, there to await orders.   We were taken to a hut, one of a line, all of them with no running water or facilities.  A call came telling  us to sign up if we wanted to go on liberty. I responded, thinking a movie might get me out of my depression.

I threw my gear on a top bunk, not even spreading the hammock out to give me a place to lie; instead I lay on the bare wire.  As I began to feel extremely ill, I called for water.  No one had a cup or glass, but one guy took an envelope to the end of the row of huts where there was a faucet.  He raccd back to give me the few drops that the envelope contained.  For hours I called for water and the hut-mates ran over and over again to bring me envelopes of water.  That went on until I fell asleep or lost consciousness. The next morning the master of arms came, cursed me, and jerked me from the bunk, knocking me to the deck.  He dragged me, protesting all the way, to the master of arms shack, planning to send me to the brig.  Instead, I went to sick bay where I got a pitcher of water.  That's another story; this is about the compassion some young men showed to a human being -- me.

Jessica's devotional

I asked Jessica to send me the devotional she had provided Christ United Methodist Church. Her devotional, which I found inspiring, can be located as a comment on my post Thursday, October 11.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Playing the blame game

Joe Biden stunned the country when  he claimed he did not know that the consulate at Benghazi had called for more security.  This came after security people had told Congress of them seeking to beef up security and being denied by the state department, whose officials admitted they had turned down the pleas.

Now we are being told Biden spoke only for himself and President Obama, that  Hillary Clinton's state department had not informed them. Could the reason be that Obama only made 44 per cent of the intelligence briefing since he took office, attending 536 of 1225.?  Hell, he played many more holes of golf than that.

The White house blames the state department and intelligence (especially CIA) and the state department has to join in blaming intelligence for the screw-up that got four Americans murdered.  Oh, I forgot, the Obama campaign blames Romney-Ryan.

My thoughts on the V-:P debate

In assessing the debate the smirks, interruptions, goofy laughs and in general rude behavior of Joe Biden have as much weight as the points made by the participants and the moderator.  Each candidate made some factual mistakes but each may have accomplished what he set out to do.  Biden apparently wanted to dominate to make up for Obama's lackluster performance in the debate with Romney.  Ryan  sought to stay on his goal of comparing Romney's plans for the economy and foreign relations with what he termed failures by Obama.

In the long term a debate between two vice presidential candidates is not expected to have much effect on the upcoming election.  However, two amazing statements by Biden could have some effect.

Biden blamed intelligence for the screw-up of falsely blaming a video on you-tube for the attacks on Benghazi.  While the president of Libya quickly said the attack on Benghazi was pre-planned and carried out by terrorists Obama and the state department were a week later still blaming the film.

Another startling statement by Biden was that the consulate did not asked for security help.  Two security officials were emphatic that  requests  for added security were made. Two state department officials confirmed the requests were made and they turned them down.

Will the media continue to allow the Obama administration to avoid telling the truth to the American people?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Longs and anti-Longs-- rivals for over 50 years

For more than 50 years Louisiana was divided, politically and individuals, into Long and anti-Long factions. Although Huey Long had been dead for many years. Edwin Edwards still was the choice of the Long supporters.  Present  Governor Jindall can be considered the first to belong to neither faction, although he comes closest to being an anti-Long.

One would have to have lived during the 1930's to understand how deeply the division was.  I remember going to class the Monday after Sam Jones was elected and seeing a teacher (Mrs. Baskerville) dancing with a student in celebration.  Despite all the corruption of the Long faction (some going to jail) Jones was the first anti-Long elected since Huey Long served as governor and then senator.

Dad came home from town once, upset at what a woman had said about her support of Huey Long. She declared that if Long beat her up and stripped her naked she would crawl to the polls and vote for him. Despite being poor farm people, our family was anti-Long from the beginning and never changed.

As relief from considering the horrible mess Obama has made in domestic and foreign affairs, I will write more about Huey Long in coming days.  Whatever opinion one has of him, we have to understand Long was one if the most influential men of the 20th century in Louisiana, and to some extent nationally.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

I pay for my curiosity

I was a small child but old enough to know better. Black leaf 40, a nicotine product used for many years in agriculture,  had been placed in tunnels made and inhabited by gophers.  I decided to check out an opened tunnel hoping to see a gopher.

I paid for my curiosity; I breathed in the fumes and was immediately unconscious but regained my senses by the time I had been taken to the house.  Like most children, I followed the answer to a question by another "why."  That characteristic got me in trouble with teachers in elementary school but did me well as a newspaperman later.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Hey, it's cold!

Just a few weeks ago we were suffering from days that registered temperatures over a hundred degrees. Now we are having record setting cold for this time in October.  Here in Shreveport official temperature has been in the 40's, encouraging some people to take advantage of the fireplace.  I checked the Farmers Almanac to learn  that November will be wet and cold.   Get ready, the Almanac is never wrong.

Again, I ask for the truth

We learn more and more about events leading up to the Benghazi attack, but the Obama administration still refuses to explain why the consulate was so poorly protected even though Ambassador Stevens asked for more security.  Susan Rice, who continued to say it was a spontaneous demonstration even after it was proven to be a planned attack, now says it was all the fault of the intelligence community.                   

Striking back, intelligence blames the White House.  Obama, who did not attend the briefing the day before
the attack, remains silent hoping it will go away with the cooperation of the media.

In the meantime the Obama administration goes merrily on ignoring problems such as the backlog of veteran's disability claims, which have increased 179 per cent under Obama.  I cant understand why Congress does not raise more hell when they can't get answers from people like Susan Rice and Hillary Clinton.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Preachers can be wrong

If they carried out their threat, some 1400 pastors today  endorsed political candidates in violation of tax law, challenging IRS to do something about it.  Churches and other non-profit organizations are given tax exemptions with the requirement that they not engage in politics.  These ministers say they want to be able to endorse and oppose candidates and participate fully in political affairs.

Ministers have the same rights as any citizen.  They can vote and if they desire they can participate in political discussions at the coffee shop. From the pulpit they can condemn gambling, drinking, snuff dipping, or any other so-determined vice.  They can endorse same-sex marriage or oppose it, but there is a line they are not permitted to cross.  If they endorse or oppose a candidate based on his stand on same-sex marriage or any other issue, the church they pastor is to lose its tax exemptions.

All rights carry with them responsibilities. Freedom of religion is a precious right that is rare in this world and is always in danger. Keep in mind that the power to tax is the power to destroy.  The IRS will most likely ignore the actions of these misguided ministers, but this may not be true always.

As for me, if I am in a congregation where the pastor uses the pulpit to support or oppose a candidate, I will get up and leave, never to return as long as that minister is the pastor.  (Not that I am expecting that to happen.)

Friday, October 5, 2012

"Share the Wealth" not new idea

The speech reached millions of Americans, many of them mired in poverty, and promised to take money from the wealthy to provide every family a sufficient income to buy a house, a car and a radio.  No, the speaker wasn't from Obama nor from Franklin Roosevelt. Senator  Huey Long outlined his "Share our Wealth" program. in a 30 minute speech February 23, 1934.

Under this program the wealthy would be allowed 5  million dollars, the remainder would be confiscated and distributed.  Millions of people joined Share our wealth clubs and millions wrote letters in support.  It is widely believed that Roosevelt added New Deal programs in response to Long.

So Obama is not the first to support a "fair" distribution of  wealth.  As far as I know, he was the only person of national stature to bring up the possibility of violence against those who "want to protect their stuff."  This particular speech was made on King's birthday and when Obama was a student. How much of this he subscribes to now remains to be seen as the campaign proceeds.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A few words on the debate

During the presidential debate Wednesday, October 2, Mitt Romney  had to continue to correct the misstatements President Obama kept making about Romney's proposal on taxes.  Today, the Obama campaign was making those false statements again.  With the help of the news media, Obama can continue telling an untruth over and over again and not be called on it.

Unable to defend its poor record on the economy, the Obama campaign keeps saying Romney has "kept secret" his plans for restoring the economy and creating jobs.  During the Republican primary debates, Romney was accused of having a plan that was too detailed and too complicated, unlike the simplicity of Cain's "9-9-9 plan."

Not too complicated but specific enough, here is part of Romney's plan as I understand it:

Take advantage of our wealth in coal, oil and natural gas; drill in more areas, produce more, put millions to work, and restore the nation to self-sufficiency in energy.

Reduce the taxes on corporations and encourage them to bring their mony from overseas back home to expand and create jobs.

Repeal harmful and needless regulations that keep industry from growing.

Replace Dodd-Frank and get banks lending again.

Do away with Obamacare and its high costs on individuals and companies.  Companies are afraid to add employees and doctors and hospitals may retire and close because of requirements.

Encourage congress to agree on taxes before January 1 in order for companies to plan and hopefully hire.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Are you real? Squirrel tails?

A card addressed to my daughter Jessica came in the mail offering to buy squirrel tails with prices ranging from 16 cents to  28 cents each if they are premium and in a lot of 1,000.

I never thought about there being a market for squirrel tails, certainly not that some one would garner enough to make a profit selling them.  The company  provides a long list of instructions of how to handle the tails, but will accept them either "dried or green."     

Squirrels have been scarce in our backyard this summer, probably because we didn't plant a garden and the fig tree bore a poor crop. When we had a couple of apple trees, the squirrels would begin taking bites our of them while they were small and immature so that we seldom got any apples.  The squirrels did hicikory nuts the same way.

We caged our tomatoes, making them more difficult for the squirrels.  Our large fig tree usually bears a crop large enough for both us and the squirrels.

I'm not a hunter and have never killed a squirrel unless I hit one with my car accidentally. I've eaten my share though, in mulligan stew.           

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Obama and his records

Record poverty; record unemployment; record people on welfare and food stamps; record deficit; record national debt.

Do you want more of this?  I do not.

October and its beauty

Oh, what a beautiful October day!  The sun was bright and comfortable this morning, although as the day wore on the temperature rose beyond the comfort zone

October is, along with May, our most enjoyable month weather-wise.  It is great for the gardener, who sees his hard work pay off as he collects tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, okra and other vegetables.  Not for me though, as I didn't garden.

Fall flowers are decorating gardens and yards, providing color to gladden the eye and heart.  Not for me though as my flower beds are nothing but grass.

I refuse to accept that I will no longer have a vegetable garden or flower beds.  Maybe, they'll be on a smaller scale, but I am going to figure a way to have  them both.