Thursday, May 30, 2013

Yes -- school's out for the summer.

Children laughing, running excitedly -- you're right, school is out for the summer.  Some have mixed emotions like a fifth grade girl I talked with.   She called it an iffy situation -- she likes school except for bullying that goes on.

Students will almost certainly get their report cards mailed to them; at least that has been the policy for many years. That's different from the way it was done when I attended school. We would have a day off while teachers  compiled the grades and then we would return to school long enough to turn in our books and pick up our report cards.

I was always happy to see the school term end although my summer was going to be a time of hard work in the hot weather.  It used to seem to me that June l was hotter than May 31 every year.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sequester -- what do you mean, sequester?

Those of us still awaiting enough points to be discharged from the navy often talked about our plans for when we were out and home.  One friend, from St. Louis, had a simple goal, get a civil service job and live happily ever after.  Some of us argued that he should have a grander ambition.  Now, I am convinced he was right and we were wrong.  Why worry,  let the government take care of you.

The sequester was supposed to cut expenditures and stop creating unnecessary jobs. It is not working that way -- the feds are advertising to fill 2700 high paying jobs that in total will cost 792 million dollars.  With a government job you are fixed for life,

You thought the post office had money troubles?  The post office is trying to hire with a starting pay of 21 dollars an hour -- no high school education required.  The answer to our economic problems is to give everyone a government job.

Tomatoes for a flower pot

Jen brought in a handful of grape tomatoes, our first fruits from gardening.  The tomatoes are from a plant in a flower pot.   This is the first year in many that I haven't a garden, only a few tomatoes in flower beds. It is hard to accept that I am unable to do gardening or yard work.  It is better that I give thanks for what I am able to do.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Will we have riots like Sweden?

We could, although it is not likely.  Sweden has taken pride in its liberal welfare policy, providing modern housing, cradle to grave health care and other financial benefits to the needy, especially immigrants.  However, most of the immigrants have refused to accept Swedish culture.  Religion has played a part, also.

When I say we can avoid riots, I do not mean it is certain that we won't have troubles, not as long as we have a large part of our population depending on a variety of welfare programs.  The danger is wrapped up in the word "entitlements."  Some people act as if they are entitled to the fruits of another person's work.

Everyone has the right to life and liberty and the right to pursue happiness but no guarantee they will catch it.
None of these comments are original with me but I subscribe to them all.

There is no such thing as a free lunch.  Some one has to produce or there is nothing to share. There is no  such thing as the "right" to anything produced by another person.  Both parties must benefit  or no voluntary exchange can take place. 

That's about all the economics we need to know.

Remembering the fallen heroes

Memorial Day, a time set aside for us to remember and honor those brave men and women who in all wars have paid the ultimate sacrifice in defending our nation and our way of life.  What better way to recognize those heroes than by committing our nation to caring for those who came home wounded physically and in many instances hurt mentally and emotionally.  We cannot do more for  those who fell on the battlefields than honor them but we can take care of our wounded heroes.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

What Memorial Day means

Memorial Day weekend has begun with many taking advantage of the three days to begin  summer activities. That's fine, but let us remember what Memorial Day means.  It is a day we recognize those who gave their lives in wars beginning with the  War Between  the States and now honoring those who died in all wars since.

Memorial Day should not be confused with Veteran's Day.  Again, Memorial Day is the day we remember the men and women who died while serving, while Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, living or dead.

Some cities will hold parades and some people will decorate graves with American flags. Many churches will have special Sunday services to mark the day.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Terrorism is terrorism

Prime Minister David Cameron declared it was terrorism -- the murder of a British soldier by two Islamists yelling  "Allah Akbar"  on a London street.  He didn't call it a demonstration about a video or even simply criminal violence unlike Mr. Obama's description of the Benghazi attack and the Fort Hood massacre.

I am highly disturbed and angry that Nadal Hasan,  who yelled "Allah Akbar" as he murdered 13 and wounded others at Fort Hood, has been paid $278,000 while awaiting trial.  Yet, because Obama refuses to admit the attack was terrorism, his  victims have been denied the benefits they are entitled to receive. What more can Obama do to damage our country? 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Jessica comes home Saturday

Wow!  How often do we ask where time has gone.  It doesn't seem possible that a year ago we were attending Jessica's graduation from LSU in Baton Rouge and going from there to Dallas to attend my nephew's wedding. 

I am looking forward to Jessica coming home Saturday to spend a few days with us before going back to Birmingham, Mich. to take up her duties there as a summer intern.  While here she will attend as a delegate the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church.

For the second consecutive year I have failed to call attention to May 8 being the 68th anniversary of World War II victory in Europe.  The war  with Japan was not over, the battle for Okinawa still being waged.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

We weep for the tornado victims

Scenes of destruction in Oklahoma tear us apart.  We can only pray for the victims and their families and make financial contributions.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Remembering shellback initiation

USS Pickens in spring of 1945.  More than a month has passed since we left Okinawa and returned to the Saipan area.  I remember very little about this period of idleness.  The battle for Okinawa was still going on but we had no way to make a further contribution.  Rumors began to circulate as to what our next  action would be.  One such rumor was that we were going to Australia, where supposedly women were abundant, attractive and willing.

Instead, we got orders along with other transports  to go to Tulagi in the Solomon Islands, which included Guadalcanal, and was the area of a battle between the Allies, mostly Americans, and the Japanese in August 1942. A visit to Tulagi -- for what purpose I don't remember -- divided our crew into two groups  -- those who had previously crossed the equator and claimed the title shellback,  and those of us who had not, known as polywogs.

The shelbacks began meeting to plan an initiation for the polywogs.  Some of the more aggressive polywogs struck at the shellbacks, interrupting their planning sessions.  The boldest strike  was flying the polywog flag on the highest mast.  The admiral raised holy hell, ordering our captain, a polywog, to take down the flag immediately. 

I still have memories of the initiation and will write about it later.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

I hate the phone even more

If you've read this blog before, you know that I hate the telephone. This goes back to when I edited a weekly newspaper and as I was working  hard to get the paper ready to go to press, the phone would ring constantly with statements like, "Grandma visited last week and she wants her name in the paper.:" Part of that time I was mayor and I would get the call if garbage wasn't picked up, or "There's a dog under my house; come get him."

At least then we did not have to suffer electronic calls.  Several times I have a call on the land line phone and when I answer the taped call will say, "All our representatives are busy, please wait." I have learned to hang up immediately.  If I don't I will hear a selection of numbers. This happens nearly every day.  I wish there was a way to levy a penalty or fine on the organization responsible for the calls.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Are you ready for IRS to decide your medical care?

If the power to tax is the power to destroy (and it is), then how do we describe the power of the Internal Revenue Service, which can confiscate your house and all you possess now, in the future, and forever?

The powers of the IRS can be used (as Obama did) to reward  friends and punish enemies.  We now know the Obama campaign for re-election utilized a number of dirty tricks, including getting leaks from IRS  to attack Romney.

However, we haven't seen anything yet.  Obama will soon turn 15,000 IRS agents on America to enforce provisions of  Obamacare,.  Taking your money is bad but controlling your medical care is much worse.  Not only will the IRS have a voice in what health plan your employer or you have, be sure the IRS will dertermine who gets a needed operation and who does not.  Eventually, if Obamacare is fully carried out, the IRS may decide who lives and who dies.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Just information about church Jessica will serve

Jen returned Sunday night from Birmingham, Michigan, after she and Jessica had an  enjoyable but exhausting weekend.  The pastor and various members helped them move into the apartment, took  them on tours of the church and community, and, above all, fed them.

Judging from the bulletins and other printed material Jen brought back, this is a very active church, serving people's needs in Detroit as well as locally.  First United Methodist Church is a large church with 3,200 members.  Each Sunday morning the church has three traditional services and one contemporary service. Congregations attending the traditional services enjoy music from three choirs.

I was surprised to learn, but pleased, that a Friday night program for middle school children is attended by 650 children and 65 volunteer adults.

I talked with Jessica and was told she is looking forward to her summer as an intern. She learned that the church has sponsored an intern every summer for a number of years.  The church considers this program a teaching opportunity for the members and a learning opportunity for the intern.

Pastor of the contemporary service is a Nazarene and the administration pastor is an Episcopal priest. That says something for ecumenism.

Monday, May 13, 2013

And there on the fence

The only ads I read are for groceries because I'm not buying, but   I was caught on an ad showing a young girl wearing jean shorts that appeared to be wrinkled, dirty and badly worn. I guess they are the style; Japanese once were paying big money for worn, faded and holey jeans.

Poor as we were I never wore pants with holes to school -- patched, yes.  And I always had a nice pair to wear to church.  And that brings to mind a tale.

Verses to Issac Watts' great hymn "Alas and did my Savior bleed" were changed --drastically -- but sung to the same music.   I remember very little of it but one verse included these words "there on the fence where I tore my Sunday pants and the burden on my heart rolled away."  I tried to jump a barbed wire fence while wearing my Sunday pants and, yes, tore my Sunday pants.  Thankfully, I can't recall the punishment  that followed.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Thoughts on sugar cane and syrup mills

It was a catch-22-- the best place to grow sugar cane was some fertile bottom land, but this land was next to the road and the cane was accessible to being stolen.  We had very minor problems with other crops being stolen. Sometimes some one would cross the field and steal a water melon or some corn roasting ears, but  I don't recall anybody stealing cotton or digging up potatoes.  For some reason cane was looked at differently. People figured we wouldn't miss a stalk or two but if enough of them acted on that feeling we could suffer a significant loss.  Once we discovered 20 stalks gone at one time.

When we were making syrup visitors would drive five miles to our mill to drink cane juice.  That was too fast for me; I preferred to chew the cane.

Dad and his brother, my Uncle Perry, joined in some operations, including buying farm machinery and especially operating the syrup mill.. When Uncle Perry was killed accidentally, Dad lost heart and no longer kept the mill.  He had just bought a new copper pan but never used it, donating it to a scrap metal drive in World War II.

That did not mean we stop growing cane and making syrup.  We contracted with another mill a few miles away.  I was hauling a load of cane to that mill, having to deal with everyone I met begging for a stalk of cane.  As I passed one house a guy I went to school with dashed out the door yelling, "Give me some cane." I handed him a stalk and he yelled, "I said give me some CANE!"  I gave him another stalk and he yelled again.  I ignored him and got the mules to speed up.

As I said, people looked at cane as if it belonged to everyone.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Long road trip ahead for Jen and Jessica

Jen flew to Durham, N.C, last night, getting a day of rest to prepare for her and Jessica to make the long drive to .Birmingham, Michigan.They plan to leave at 6 Saturday morning.  In a few days Jessica will take up her duties with the First United Methodist Church  there..  She will come home this month for several days and will serve as a delegate to the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church.

My grandchildren spoke to me briefly this morning; Oliver kept looking at the  phone for my picture.  We've spoken on Skye in the past.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Gallup survey -- People not happy wiith health care

At least one-forth of the people responding to a Gallup survey on health care could not afford needed surgery because of finances. For those earning around 35 thousand, the number was 39  per cent who could not pay for the surgery they needed.

As a regular Gallup panel member, I took  part in the survey which asked questions on health care in the nation and other questions about personal state of health.  My replies were very depressing.

The survey also polled panel members on immigration.  In general, respondents were not in favor of making immigration easier or more attractive with more benefits.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Lies about Benghazi exposed

Barack Obama is not the first president to lie to the American people but the totality of screw-ups at Benghazi and the deliberate lies to save Obama's re-election campaign are unprecedented. It began with the refusal to increase security at Tripoli and Benghazi, ignoring intelligence that an attack was coming,  not allowing  help to be sent and continued to creating talking points that were false and designed to protect Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Do not expect any of the perpetrators to face criticism from the news media, much less having to answer for their crimes. The Democrats it appears would see the nation destroyed before admitting the "mistakes" by
Clinton and Obama.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

I won one million dollars (I bet)

My Gmail has been selected as a Publishers Clearing House winner of one million dollars.  All I have to do to get the money is to send my name and address.  That's what it said; what I would need to do after sending in my  name and address is unknown. It may surprise everyone when I inform you that I did not respond and will thus lose the million dollars. I couldn't believe I won; I'm too good lucking to be that lucky. I can't have everything.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

You can't sit while singing "Standing on the Promises"

     Standing on the promises I cannot fall,
     List'ning every moment to the spirit's call.
     Resting in my Savior as my all in all,
     Standing on the promises of God.

 I agreed that I would stay seated during church services this morning, avoiding the strain of moving up and down.  I did this faithfully except I went to the altar and stood for communion.

But then our final hymn was  "Standing on the Promises."  You cannot sit and sing that song -- so I stood and sang.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

"One man likes to push a plough--"

A high school girl is not only expelled but  arrested for making a bottle smoke in science  class ; a high school track team is disqualified after winning a relay because a member pointed to the sky -- just two incidents of many crazy over re-actions by school officials nearly everywhere.  Makes me think that maybe my teachers won't so bad.

Which brings to mind Miss Smith.  She was possibly the best teacher in the school although many would disagree.  Note, I didn't say best liked.  She said nice things to and about me in a geography class, commenting that I had a wide range of knowledge. But in typing she constantly found fault with me. Once she said, "You are here to type; you're not pushing  a plow."  One boy spoke up, "That's all you know; you don't push a plow -- the mule pulls it."  His support didn't help me.

Miss Smith could walk into a classroom and all talking would cease immediately.  She could look at you, not say a word, and you would shrink down in your chair.

She had high academic standards.  One of my sisters was taking shorthand at 120 words a minute and that wasn't good enough for an  "A."  My sister was competing for honors and the stress gave her shingles. Most girls competing for top grades avoided classes taught by Miss Smith. Still, it was a mark of honor to say "I survived Miss Smith."

Friday, May 3, 2013

Soluth Carolina, again, first to secede

No, I am not referring to the secession petitions all 50 states have filed with the Obama administration.
That was begun by Louisiana.  What I am calling secession is the  vote by the South Carolina House of Representatives to criminalize the enforcement of Obamacare.

That phrase by Nancy Pelosi that "we must pass it so we can know what's in it" will come back to haunt the Democrats who pushed Obamacare through.  Those Democrats facing campaigns for re-election are trying to distance themselves from the law.  Every day we hear about some problem such as millions will see their health premiums increase and millions of others will lose all their health protection. Nearly half of Americans don't even know Obamacare is  law.  What a rude awakening they will have.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Pickens rests while Okinawa battle goes on

Our job done, the USS Pickens left Okinawa and returned to Saipan.  Meanwhile the battle raged until June22, with enormous casualties on both sides and the civilian population.

When two Marine and two Army divisions landed  Easter Sunday, they faced 155,000 ground, naval and air troops.  To those who thought Japan still had a chance to win the war, Okinawa was their last chance. We heard Tokyo Rose voice that opinion, forecasting fierce fighting for the island, saying if Japan lost all possibility of victory was gone but  the Japanese would continue fighting.

The Navy was very hard hit with 5,000 killed; the Army and Marines had 8,000 killed and 36,000 wounded.  Japan had 107,000 killed and 24,000 buried in caves. Civilian  casualties were at least 42,000.

We on the Pickens were unable to make any additional contribution. I remember very little about this time.I ask  shipmates to share their memories of this period.  I know we radarmen tried to further our education. We chipped paint and painted the deck of the radar shack a restful green.  During inspection the adminral said it was attractive but not regulation and must be replaced.

The fun of medical tests

No, medical tests are no fun, bu what's worse, the tests or all the waiting?  Depends of the tests, I suppose. My son Jason took me to Willis Knighton North Wednesday morning. I told him to leave and come back when tests were completed because the tests would take several hours. He chose to wait. I had a stress test and an ultra sound test of the carotid artery.

I am in two minds about tests. You hope the tests will show that you are healthy with no problems, but on the other hand you hope to find the cause of your problems and  an easy solution.

Jessica completes first year at Duke Seminary

Time moves along; it seems like only a couple months since we watched as Jessica was graduated from LSU.  She is now one-third through seminary. Jen will fly to North Carolina next week, and then she will drive with Jessica to Birmingham, Michigan.  Jen will fly back home as Jessica begins her service with the Methodist Church. Jessica will be back in Louisiana briefly to attend as a delegate to the Louisiana Conference of the United  Methodist  Church.