February 2010


20 Feb 2010 02:45 pm

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Alexander Haig when he was a cadet at West Point

Four star General Alexander Haig was a great man. He died today at the age of eighty five. He was a genuine patriot who will be missed.

Be Thou at peace General Haig and tell President Reagan hi for me.

19 Feb 2010 01:09 pm

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My great grandfather and his horse and buggy. His horse was named Bob.

No worries back then about sudden acceleration or loss of steering.

Oh wait.

A sting by a bee or a wasp could have done some damage and caused a great deal of acceleration.

As much as I love horses I don’t want to go back to the horse and buggy, nor do I want to ride a bicycle everywhere.

I love cars.

I really do.

Cars with power. Cars that are large enough to protect my family. Cars that are reliable and comfortable.

The only foreign car I have ever owned was a Volkswagon van and I didn’t love it.

I have never been a Toyota customer, I don’t like teeny little cars and can’t stand the name of one of it’s most well known vehicles, the “Camry.” Who came up with that whiny name? In fact, I’ve always had a problem with the names of Toyota’s cars.

But that’s the least of the car maker’s problems.

The Toyota company is knee deep in recalls and invitations to testify before congress. I find this news article suspect, however.

I have to wonder if the Obama administration might be going after Toyota for political reasons.

In Japan, some Toyota executives have privately questioned whether the U.S. government’s majority ownership of GM has colored the Toyota investigation. GM is Toyota’s largest competitor, both in the U.S. and overseas. One senior Japanese auto executive in the U.S. described the probe as “60% political,” and asked whether federal regulators were “trying to help GM by vilifying Toyota.”

Recall Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood’s outrageous statement telling Toyota owners not to drive their cars.

Will Americans one day be driving a government prescribed car, except for the very elite?

I love my 2009 Pontiac Vibe. It’s sad that after 2010, there will be no more Pontiacs.

17 Feb 2010 04:14 pm

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Dr. Amy Bishop shot her brother, Seth dead when she was twenty one years old, went on to graduate from college, marry, have children and get a doctorate at Harvard.

A great deal of achievement there but bodies of people left in her wake.

An attack over a booster seat at an IHOP. Bishop was questioned in an attempted mail bombing investigation.

A UAH professor told the Chronicle of Higher Education today that he became concerned about Amy Bishop’s mental health “about five minutes after I met her.”

The professor, who asked not to be named out of concern for his safety, told the Chronicle he “expressed his opinion that Ms. Bishop was ‘crazy’” during a meeting of the tenure review committee.

His remark made it back to Bishop, and she filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging gender discrimination. The professor’s remark was going to be used as possible evidence in that case.

Bishop is related to the acclaimed novelist, John Irving.

Amy Bishop, who is accused of killing three colleagues at the University of Alabama and who penned novels in her spare time, is related to famed novelist John Irving.

Bishop is the second cousin of Irving, a New York-based publicist for the author confirmed today. Irving is writing a novel and declined to comment about his relationship with Bishop’s family, except to say he is a cousin of Judith Bishop, who is Amy’s mother, said the publicist Anne Tate, who works for Random House in New York.

Bishop used her relationship to Irving and her PHD from Harvard to try to impress members of the Ipswich book club.

The Boston Globe has obtained a draft of Bishop’s unpublished novel.

Acquaintances of Bishop,a Harvard-trained neurobiologist said she was a regular member of the Hamilton Writer’s Group in the late 1990s when she lived in Ipswich and saw writing as her ticket out of academia.

Was Bishop an academic fraud?

Did she try to “cheat her way to tenure?” Evidence presented in this article suggests she most certainly did.

Evidence strongly suggests that Dr. Bishop used her husband, her family and by all appearances the sham ‘Cherokee Labsystems’ to fabricate a record of recent accomplishments. Her use of essentially an online vanity publisher further diminishes her professional stature.

It should have been no surprise to Dr. Bishop that the University easily saw through the smoke and mirrors and that she would not receive tenure. But an oversized ego can be blinding.

It seems clear that Dr. Bishop re-wrote the rules for herself. Rather than face the reality that she needed to conduct real research and publish substantial, scholarly work in peer reviewed journals, Dr. Bishop tried to cheat her way to tenure. And, when that failed, it appears Dr. Bishop premeditated a new plan: if you don’t accept what I publish, you will perish.

There has been very little mention in the press about Bishop’s political leanings but there is this:

A family source said Bishop, a mother of four children - the youngest a third-grade boy - was a far-left political extremist who was “obsessed” with President Obama to the point of being off-putting.

13 Feb 2010 04:01 pm

Do you know where your Valentine is?

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I made this Valentine for my then boyfriend, Bob when he was a plebe at West Point. We married two weeks after he graduated from West Point.

I don’t claim that this Valentine sealed the deal but it didn’t hurt. After all, ours was a long distance relationship for the four years he was at West Point. We both took advantage of every form of communication that was possible back then. Phone calls, letters and special missives helped us to stay in touch. There were no facebook, twitter, cell phones or text messages back then.

In fact, Bob could not use the phone at West Point very much at all when he was a plebe. The cadets were not allowed phones in their rooms. When Bob was a firstie he was allowed to call me more often, and I told him to call collect. My parents were shocked when they saw the phone bill but I was good for it.

But, it was the specially made Valentine that made an impression I think. When Bob graduated from West Point and moved out of the barracks I found the Valentine in his army footlocker. He had thrown everything else away but the very amateur Valentine.

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When I was fifteen I discovered the writer Thomas Hardy through the movie, Far from the Madding Crowd. The film, starring Julie Christie, Alan Bates, Peter Finch and Terrence Stamp absolutely captivated me.

Julie Christie starred as Bathsheba Everdene, a highly spirited, independent young woman who had inherited a large estate from her uncle and become very wealthy. She had earlier rejected the attentions of the honest, reliable shepherd, Gabriel Oak, played by Alan Bates.

On an impulse, Bathsheba sends a Valentine, sealed with red wax, anonymously to the richest farmer in the county, William Boldwood, played by Peter Finch. On it she writes, Marry Me.

This impulsive act causes heartache and tragedy for both Bathsheba and Boldwood.

The movie inspired me to read all of Thomas Hardy’s books but Far From the Madding Crowd taught me at that early age about steadfast, faithful and selfless love. I witnessed that kind of love everyday with my own parents but seeing it displayed in a movie and reading about it through the richness of Hardy’s prose embedded the eternal ideal in my heart.

When I began to date at the age of sixteen, the young men had to embody the attributes of Gabriel Oak. Very few did.

My West Point cadet did and continues to do so.

For all things having to do with Valentines Day, check out my niece, Marlane’s blog.

Happy St. Valentines Day!

08 Feb 2010 11:15 pm

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Yes I do.

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Apparently, a weapon of mass destruction was found in Iraq the other day. I heard it from my son last night while we were watching the Super Bowl. The only article that I could find about it was this slightly snarky piece in the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail. Why can’t we get this news from our own news media?

I know. I know. Dumb question.

06 Feb 2010 03:19 pm

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I love studying the Founders.

To me, it is amazing that these men, representing 13 diverse colonies, had the guts to join together, match wits, discuss ideas and take what they knew about the history of the world to form such a brilliant structure for government: a representative government responsible to the will of the people, a Republic, not a direct Democracy, not a king, and not an oligarchy, but a Republic, whereby, cool heads could, at a distance from a direct majority, (which could quickly overwhelm a minority of citizens) render sound governance.

The three branches of government, separate but equal, and then, blessedly, the Bill of Rights.

But first, there was the Declaration, which read the riot act to King George.

In the above video, Too Late to Apologize: A Declaration there is subtle history interwoven throughout. King George eats grapes, which at the time was considered a fruit only for the rich.

There are glimpses of the bucolic American land, with Thomas Jefferson playing his violin up in the rafters of his barn, he was a farmer after all. There is the revolving silver tea service, foreshadowing a revolution with tea as its tipping point.

Then, of course, there is the musket held in the hands of the soldier. Not subtle, but it embodies the military force led by George Washington which fought against one of the best armies in the world and beat it.

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The title, “Too Late to Apologize” which is a parady of “Apologize” by OneRepublic, a remix by Timbaland, has more than one meaning. The founders knew that by writing the Declaration that they had crossed the rubicon, that there was no going back, and they had to “hang together or hang separately.”

In the 21st century most Americans believe that there should be no going back to the days of taxation without representation and with the growth of the Tea Party movement, Democrats and Republicans who signed the stimulus and voted for big government are beginning to understand that it is, indeed, too late for them to apologize.

At the website of TJ and the Revo: Too Late to Apologize: A Declaration, there is an explanation of the goals of the video.

The following video is an anachronistic daydream asking the question, “If pop producer Timbaland had sought to build consensus around declaring independence, what might he have produced?”

They have succeeded.

Sissy Willis writes...

A must view. Rousing music, sublime production values and compelling performances blend 18th- and 21st-century perspectives into the perfect historically-aware antidote to the “ideas” of clueless North Carolina education “leaders” who are proposing to revamp the state’s 11th-grade curriculum by skipping the Revolution and Civil War and covering U.S. history “only from 1877 onward”:

There’s more.

Sissy responds in her comments to a cranky old man….

Music is surely a matter of taste, but your resistance may have caused you to overlook the rich mix of historical references, both musical and visual, in “Too Late to Apologize.”

A couple of examples: The music interweaves instruments and instrumentations of the two eras. You may have missed strains of the musical language used in the soundtrack of the HBO “John Adams” series.

Visually speaking, you may have missed the candlelit dining room’s dark green curtains, period molding and other direct references to Independence Hall as depicted in Howard Chandler Christy’s painting of the Signing.

Or how about that image (second one down in blogpost) of the fiddling Thomas Jefferson on a high cliff overlooking a picturesque American landscape in the manner of the Hudson River School, directly referencing Asher Durand’s Kindred Spirits?

Is it time for a new American revolution? One wonders. But a reminder of the glory of the first is definitely required.

04 Feb 2010 11:46 pm

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Desperate Blanche Lincoln sought to distance herself from President Obama Wednesday in an “audience” (discussion) with Obama and Senate Democrats.

Lincoln, who faces a tough reelection fight, asked Obama to push back against “people at the extremes” of both parties, especially against Democrats “who want extremes.”

She also took a swipe at Obama’s White House, referencing a constituent who “fears that there’s no one in your administration that understands what it means to go to work on Monday and make a payroll on Friday.“

Blanche wants Obama to push back against extreme Democrats?

Dear me.

I’m wondering who in the White House gave Lincoln permission to go after Obama with her stinging payroll comments. A cynical minded person who has watched Lincoln’s not so centrist voting record has to consider the back story. It’s doubtful that her remarks were unscripted.

It’s ironic, actually, because Mrs. Lincoln has never had a job outside government her whole adult life.

Blanche Lincoln has also never had to make a payroll.

After graduating from college, Lincoln served as a staff assistant for U.S. Representative Bill Alexander, a Democrat from Arkansas’s 1st congressional district.[11] She remained in Alexander’s office until 1984.[8] In 1992, Lincoln defeated Alexander (who had become a major figure in the House banking scandal) in the Democratic primary, by a margin of 61 to 39 percent. She subsequently won the general election, beating Republican Terry Hayes with 70% of the vote. Her election to the House coincided with the election of fellow Arkansan, Bill Clinton, as President of the United States.

She was reelected to a second term under her married name, Blanche Lincoln, and served in the House of Representatives until 1997. Lincoln chose not stand for reelection in 1996; she was pregnant at that time.

In 1998, Lincoln returned to politics and ran for the Senate seat being vacated by incumbent Senator Dale Bumpers. She defeated her Republican opponent, Fay Boozman, the brother of future congressman John Boozman, by a margin of 55%-42%.

If Lincoln’s remarks were an attempt to win back the “boobus Arkansasus” she has very little hope.

But there will be change.