Thursday, April 17, 2014

WWII vs. A Website

Click on picture to enlarge.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A few political things slipped in

Blog postings will be very limited due to the on-going challenges from my lung transplant, which is not doing well. So I have to delete 90% of incoming non-personal email unread, due to time and energy. But a few things caught my eye.

I remind everyone I don't have time for Facebook or Linked-In, so poking, tagging and posting there doesn't get anything to me.

Say, no time like the present to support charity and get copies of my books:
They say these things go up in value after the author is gone. They might get to be worth the paper they are printed on. ~Bob

Book Recommendation: Dark Invasion: 1915: Germany's Secret War and the Hunt for the First Terrorist Cell in America by Howard Blum 
this interesting history was a birthday gift from my brother, Tom. Except for the Zimmerman Telegram, I knew almost nothing about Germany's sabotage campaign against a "neutral" United States in WWI. It included many ship and ammo plant bombings and a couple of attempts at germ warfare--which killed some people. Well written and well researched, this one is for the history buff.

Nevada Cattle Rancher Wins ‘Range War’ With Feds. By Nick Sorrentino
Excerpt: This is the power of social media. This is the power of personal video cameras. This is the power of citizen journalists. And the next time Senator Feinstein calls for “licencing” only “legitimate journalists,” that the 1st Amendment only extends to people who work at the New York Times, Washington Post, or MSNBC, remember this moment. This is how the bullies with the power, the cronies and their allies, are turned back. (I wouldn't say this is over. When you cross the Big Government, you and your kids can end up dead. See Wako and Ruby Ridge. Big Government liberals automatically see the government as right. There are arguments, especially that Bundy doesn't own that land. If his claim predates the Federal Government, then the Indians' claim predates his. Limited Government conservatives, like me are likely to come down on the ranchers' side. There are arguments. The government's "protect the turtles" argument stinks when Senator Reid-connected lobbyists want the land for a solar project, which is no better for the turtles than, say cattle grazing or Reid's home, which is reportedly in tortoise [yes, I know the difference] land. ~Bob)

I recommend everyone go to NCPA.org and subscribe both to Dr. Goodman's free blog and their free daily policy digest. Thy do good work and deserve your support. ~Bob. Excerpt: Have you ever wondered why poor people are poor? It’s not as though there aren’t plenty of role models around. Millions of people live highly successful, productive lives in this country. So why don’t people at the bottom of the income ladder copy the behavior of those several rungs above them and better their lot in life? If this question doesn’t really interest you, that’s understandable. What’s not understandable is why it is not an interesting question for those who regard inequality of income the burning issue of the day. For example, when is the last time you saw a Paul Krugman column on why poor people are poor? When Krugman writes about poverty, he can’t get more than a few sentences into the piece without launching into an attack on Republicans for being racists and indifferent to the plight of the poor. And that’s on a good day. When he’s in a bad mood, he depicts Republicans as actually delighting in the suffering of the poor. What motivates Krugman more: Concern for the poor? Or hatred of Republicans? You decide.

BREAKING: Emails Show Lois Lerner Fed True the Vote Tax Information to Democrat Elijah Cummings. By Katie Pavlich
Excerpt: New IRS emails released by the House Oversight Committee show staff working for Democratic Ranking Member Elijah Cummings communicated with the IRS multiple times between 2012 and 2013 about voter fraud prevention group True the Vote. True the Vote was targeted by the IRS after applying for tax exempt status more than two years ago. Further, information shows the IRS and Cummings' staff asked for nearly identical information from True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht about her organization, indicating coordination and improper sharing of confidential taxpayer information.

Worth Reading: Statistical Frauds of the Left: Liberals’ “war on women” consists of talking points to excite the gullible. By Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: It is a statistical fraud when Barack Obama and other politicians say that women earn only 77 percent of what men earn — and that this is because of discrimination. It would certainly be discrimination if women were doing the same work as men, for the same number of hours, with the same amount of training and experience, as well as other things being the same. But study after study, over the past several decades, has shown repeatedly that those things are not the same.

The "77 Cents on the Dollar" Myth
Excerpt: It is a myth that a woman makes 77 cents on every dollar earned by a man, say Andrew Biggs and Mark Perry of the American Enterprise Institute. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report, "Highlights of Women's Earnings in 2012," full-time wage and salaried female workers had median weekly earnings of $691, compared to male median earnings of $854 (an 81 percent gap). That might seem to support the 77-cents-on-the-dollar claim, until you look at what else BLS said. While this was a comparison of "full-time" workers, what actually qualifies as "full-time" varies within that designation. Men were nearly twice as likely to work more than 40 hours a week than women were, and women were almost twice as likely to work only 35 to 39 hours per week. Taking that into account shrinks the pay gap -- women working 40-hour weeks earned 88 percent of male earnings.

War on Women: DSCC Pays Women $.70 per $1.00 for Men. By Heather Ginsberg 
Excerpt: The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) has been working to make the midterm election season a nightmare for Republicans across the country by blaming them for inequalities in pay between men and women. Many know the commonly touted statistic that women earn 77 cents on every dollar men make. Well according to a new analysis of salary information from the DSCC, the group only pays women 70 cents for every dollar men make.

3 myths on our natural gas boom: The reality is that the new energy explosion helps us all. By Mark P. Mills
Excerpt: For all the coverage America's energy boom has gotten, there are still a lot of common assumptions about the oil and natural gas business that are flat out wrong. We know the good news: Oil and gas production is rising so fast that U.S. dependence on imports will soon disappear. Growth in natural gas has made America the world's largest producer and could soon make us a huge exporter. In the past half-dozen years, America's hydrocarbon juggernaut has boosted our economy by hundreds of billions of dollars. To keep the boom going, the federal government needs to keep out of the way, even as pressure grows to tighten energy-industry regulation. That's why it is important to unbundle three myths about the boom:

American Birthright
http://www.jdpendry.com/2014/04/07/american-birthright/
Excerpt:  I will not be forced into silence while freedom slips away. If you are a member of America’s conglomeration of identity-Nazis who believe anyone who thinks differently from you must be destroyed, please take notice. In the same way you are acting, the historical Nazis began their reign of terror. This is a battle for my birthright. I am an American. I will win this fight. You have had your say, shown your true colors too often. Sadly, it is your cause, whatever it might be, that loses. It is the leadership you follow that has lost it for you.

Excerpt: Eich broke the rules of the game. Suddenly everything appears in another light. Just days after being named CEO of Mozilla, Brendan Eich was forced out because he is an opponent of same-sex marriage. After declining opportunities to recant his views, he “voluntarily” decided to step down. Responses have been all over the map. (I don't have a problem with gay marriage. The threat to America in marriage is not gays getting married, it is straights having kids and not getting married, contributing to poverty, ct\rime, welfare spending and drugs. But i have a problem with people trying to bully others out of speaking their views. At the time he contributed, a guy named Obama had the same views. Should the left force Obama out of his job? ~Bob)

Advocate for "Women in Tech" Accused of Raping His Wife. By Daniel Greenfield
Excerpt: Dana Contreras, a man, married his wife Melissa in 2007. Then he had surgery to mutilate himself so that he could pretend to be a woman. Then despite not going to college, got a top job at Twitter where he became an advocate for transgender issues, but then things didn’t go so well.

Excerpt: There’s a great tradition of Socialists doing and saying different things. Especially the wealthy Medea Benjamin kind. While Medea Benjamin pushes BDS on her Facebook page, her investment page looks rather different.

The Joy of Thinking: Shmuel Trigano. By Nidra Poller
Excerpt: Thirty-seven years later, Shmuel Trigano finds himself once more in a linguistic-cultural-geographic conundrum. The French language, which has lost nothing of its vibrant beauty and capacity for expression, is losing its territorial scope. And Jews in France are tottering on the edge of a familiar precipice. The same Muslim population that forced them to flee Arab lands has now created such a hostile environment in France that many envisage another exodus. The French language once practiced by fine minds all over the world is becoming a backwater, a trap for thinkers whose work is not easily translated and marketable. We who are enduring this difficult period in contemporary French history have the privilege of reading their works in the original; it isn’t a golden age, but there’s some silver in it.6

Anti-Immigration Euro-Skeptic Parties May Be On the Rise: Geert Wilders Once Again Endures a Firestorm of Criticism. By Jerry Gordon
Excerpt: The leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party, Nigel Farage, given current trending opinion polls, may be poised to surpass the Labor party. It alleged in a UK Telegraph report that Lady Thatcher’s unofficial biographer considers Farage’s immigration and EU stands “closely aligned” with her views. A decade ago this writer was on a weekly international Radio America panel with Farage where as the lone UKIP Member of the European Parliament he boosted these views. These opinion polls prior to the May European Parliamentary  elections reflect the ascendency of the anti-immigration Euro skeptic parties in many EU countries. 

Excerpt: Today I’m going to get personal. The reason? To see if readers have had similar experiences. There were about 450 students in my high school graduating class. I don’t remember a single one I would call “poor.” Only one would I call “rich.” All the rest were squarely within the 20 yard lines. Socioeconomically, we were all very much alike: solidly middle class. We went to school together, played sports together and socialized with each other. Since my school was segregated by law at the time, all of the students were white. Now let’s run the tape forward and approach the time of normal retirement. At this point I made five observations.  First, I made a rough calculation that between 5% and 10% of our class was earning about half the class income. Obviously, my calculation was far from precise, but I believe that the inequality of income within my high school class was similar to the inequality we observe in society as a whole. Second, I have no idea why this happened. The highest earners in my class were not necessarily the ones with the highest grades or test scores.

Excerpt: Paul Krugman has written another one of those columns where almost every single sentence is wrong. But he did get one thing right: The crucial thing to understand about the Affordable Care Act is that it’s a Rube Goldberg device, a complicated way to do something inherently simple. The biggest risk to reform has always been that the scheme would founder on its complexity. Have you ever wondered why ObamaCare is burdened with so much complexity? Here’s the answer: Barack Obama. Obama? Yes, the president himself. He campaigned on the promise that he would put partisanship aside and unite the country behind sensible answers to pressing problems. Then he didn’t.

The Democrats’ Fixation On ‘Disparate Impact’ Denigrates Minorities: No such thing as "race neutral" outcomes. By John Rosenberg  
Excerpt: The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights has had a busy week or two trying to stamp out equal treatment of minorities. First, the Miami Herald reports, it “has quietly revived an investigation of Florida’s Bright Futures scholarships,” which are awarded in part on the basis of SAT or ACT scores. Inside Higher Ed points out that critics of Bright Futures, and all programs that rely on similar tests, regard those tests as discriminatory because “on average, black and Latino students’ scores lag behind those of whites and Asians students.” State Rep. Erik Fresen, the Miami Republican who chairs the Florida House education subcommittee on appropriations, replies to charges of bias by insisting that “Bright Futures, from its inception, has always been race, gender and creed blind…. [T[he program is unbiased and based only on the merit of individual students.” That, of course, is precisely why the Obama administration, which regards  color- and gender-blindness as simply Jim Crow dressed up in modern garb, objects to Bright Futures. An Office for Civil Rights spokesman stated in an email to the Miami Herald that OCR was “investigating allegations that the state of Florida utilizes criteria for determining eligibility for college scholarships that have the effect of discriminating against Latino and African-American students on the basis of national origin and race.” ... Apparently the Obama administration regards “diversity” as compelling for colleges, but not academic merit. (We keep seeing this again and again.  If the statistics on some minority don't match up- that is, their percentage in the population and their percentage in either something good (graduating college) or something not so good (expulsion from school) are not the same number, or very close- then that is prima facie evidence that there has been discrimination against them.  In other words, it must be impossible that the actions of individuals in the minority could be different from the actions of everyone else. That such an idea runs totally against the common experience of diverse groups of humans just doesn't get acknowledged.  Jews make up maybe 3% of the population, but are a much higher proportion of doctors and lawyers.  Blacks make up 13% of the population, but are a much higher proportion of professional athletes in basketball and football.  Women are half the population, but make up 75% of veterinarians and only 15% of mechanical engineers. There is no way to force-fit people into equal boxes in any system, and trying to do so just makes one hell of a mess.  The Dept of Education is one of the federal agencies whose existence I have to wonder about; that is, do we really need this bureaucracy at all, can we demonstrate that its activities really serve society well?  Right now it looks more like they are going to bring more damage to the system, that will serve no one well in the end. --Del)

The Racist, Discriminating Democratic Party. By  Ronn Torossian 
Excerpt: The Democratic Party, the party of slavery, which openly practices the only form of discrimination that is acceptable today in American politics – class warfare – and discrimination against the successful, yesterday, for the third time in recent weeks, wrongly accused the Republican Party of racism. (Actually, the democrats also support race-based discrimination, as long as they can appeal to interest groups on the basis of diversity, in affirmative action, or against Asians at the universities. ~Bob)

America’s New Anti-Strategy : Our allies and our enemies have seriously recalculated where the U.S. stands. By Victor Davis Hanson
Excerpt: It was not difficult to define American geopolitical strategy over the seven decades following World War II — at least until 2009. It was largely bipartisan advocacy, most ambitiously, for nations to have the freedom of adopting constitutional governments that respected human rights, favored free markets, and abided by the rule of law. And at the least, we sought a world in which states could have any odious ideology they wished as long as they kept it within their own borders. There were several general strategic goals as we calculated our specific aims, both utopian and realistic.

Roland Martin: Attacks on Black Conservatives Too Personal. By Aaron Stern
Ecerpt: When Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon turned conservative pundit, compared the United States to Nazi Germany last month, he was quickly criticized in mainstream and liberal media outlets, including by the Daily Beast's Joshua DuBois, who wrote that Carson was no longer a role model for black children because he "sold out to the right." Carson gets plenty of attacks like that whenever he speaks out against liberal causes, but he rarely gets public support from groups like the NAACP. (Whites who criticize Mr. Obama are racists, and Blacks who do so are of course "Uncle Toms", or Oreos, or sell-outs.  These are the standard attacks made to suppress criticism, and the mere facts and logic just don't matter.  While not every criticism of Mr. Obama or Democrat policies is fair or accurate, no one and no Party can be above all criticism, and personal attacks on individuals who levy criticisms is inappropriate. --Del)

A Halo for Selfishness. By Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: The recent Supreme Court decision over-ruling some Federal Election Commission restrictions on political campaign contributions has provoked angry reactions on the left. That is what often happens whenever the High Court rules that the First Amendment means what it says -- free speech for everybody. When the Supreme Court declared in 2010 that both unions and corporations had a right to buy political ads, that was considered outrageous by the left. President Obama called the decision "devastating" and said it "will open the floodgates for special interests."

Excerpt: Attorney General Eric Holder must be suffering from a sort of amnesia. He is upset at supposed divisiveness and rudeness directed at him when testifying before Congress, and suggests not too subtly that he and President Obama have been accorded inordinately harsh treatment (fill in the blanks why). Aside from the fact that he seemed to have relished the combat with Representative Gohmert in quite unprofessional tones (“you don’t want to go there, buddy, alright?”/ “good luck with your asparagus”), he seems to forget what former attorney general Alberto Gonzales once endured both in the liberal media and before Democrats in Congress, not to mention the films, comic routines, novels, and op-eds that focused on the idea of assassinating President George W. Bush, a shameful chapter in our history, which I think Eric Holder was largely mum about at the time.

Dude! Casual marijuana use linked with brain abnormalities, study finds
Excerpt: Casual marijuana use may come with some not-so-casual side effects. For the first time ever, researchers at Northwestern University have analyzed the relationship between casual use of marijuana and brain changes – and found that young adults who used cannabis just once or twice a week showed significant abnormalities in two important brain structures. The study’s findings, to be published Wednesday in the Journal of Neuroscience, are similar to those of past research linking chronic, long-term marijuana use with mental illness and changes in brain development. 

Worth Reading: The Boston bombing and the ‘Islamophobia’ scam. By Robert Spencer
Excerpt: When Islamic jihadists set off two bombs last year at the Boston Marathon, murdering three people and wounded 260, maiming some for life, they brought to fruition not only their own plot, but the whole enterprise of making Americans think that there is a big problem of “Islamophobia” in this country. As this grim anniversary of the April 15, 2013 bombings approaches, it is useful to recall what the ongoing drumbeat over “Islamophobia” is really all about: enabling Islamic jihad murder.

More than 100 schoolgirls kidnapped by Islamic terror group Boko Haram
Excerpt: Heavily armed men have kidnapped more than 100 girls from a secondary school in northeast Nigeria’s Borno state and torched the surrounding town, a day after a deadly bombing in the African state’s capital. (Well, the Holy Qur'an permits sex with slave girls. It's their culture--don't be Islamophobic. ~Bob)

Worth Reading: Equality in Discipline. By Walter E. Williams
Excerpt: George Leef, director of research for the North Carolina-based John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, authored a Forbes op-ed article titled "Obama Administration Takes Groupthink To Absurd Lengths." The subtitle is "School Discipline Rates Must Be 'Proportionate.'" (http://tinyurl.com/mxnlg9h). Let's examine some of the absurdity of the Obama administration's take on student discipline.

Worth Reading: More Puzzling Obamacare Numbers. By Megan McArdle
Excerpt: I mean, I could tell a story about how the exchanges make a trivial contribution to solving the problem of the uninsured, but a lot of uninsured people who are afraid of the individual mandate bite the bullet and sign up for that employer-sponsored insurance they’ve been declining because their share of the premium is $150 a month. Where the existence of the exchanges causes a lot of companies to dump their retirees onto the individual market in order to pick up some subsidies. Where people who already had individual policies take one look at the new premiums they have to pay and decide it’s better to just sign up for their spouse’s insurance, even if they have to pay the whole premium for the additional coverage. It’s not a particularly flattering story for Obamacare, but it’s a story you can string together from these data.


Excerpt: Media outlets in Australia and New Zealand today reported that two Australian nationals, including one who was a New Zealand citizen as well, were killed in a US predator drone strike in Yemen on Nov. 19. Last year's airstrike took place in Yemen's eastern Hadramout province, a known jihadist haven, and targeted al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) fighters driving in the Ghayl Bawazir area near Mukallah, the provincial capital.

The Unknown Killer: Pulmonary Fibrosis

The Unknown Killer:
Pulmonary Fibrosis
Robert A. Hall

It comes on us as silent as the night,
And steals a breath and then another breath,
Until it smothers out another life,
To claim a hundred lives with every day.

It still remains the killer hardly known,
That takes you softly by the throat at first,
And whence it comes no doctor yet can say,
Nor how to pry its grip from off your lungs.

And so we laugh and do the best we can
To live our lives as fully as we wish,
And hold them dearly even as they fade—
It makes the colors ever more intense.

We see the haunted looks of those we love,
And understand their helpless dread and fear,
If we are losing all, they’re losing us,
And there is naught that we or they can do.

But if our time is short, so is all life,
So still we take the gift of every dawn,
And each of us must thank the God we know,
For every breath and every day of life.

If we must cope with tanks and pills and cough,
And struggle for the very breath of life,
We want to leave our mark upon the hunt,
To kill this thing before it comes for you.


Permission granted to reprint this blank verse, iambic pentameter poem.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I'm home from the hospital

I was released from the VA hospital Monday evening, got home about 8:00 pm, in time for my 68th birthday today (4/15/14). Happy tax day to all my readers. I have oral antibiotics and a 24/7 IV drip with two antibiotics running. Added another nebulizer treatment four times a day (now 7 total, about 15 minutes each), but it helps bring up mucus by making me cough, thus easing the breathing. Feeling weak and shaky, but better than when I went in. The next couple of weeks should bring clarity. Thanks for all the well wishes, thoughts and prayers. "I intend to fight it out on this line if it takes all summer." (Extra credit if you know the quote without Google.)

The blog postings will be very limited due to the on-going challenges from my lung transplant, which is not doing well. So I have to delete 90% of incoming email unread. I will continue to post health update, but I know they are boring and will not be offended if you skip them.

From a Marine buddy from 1965:

Dear Bob,
You're the ONLY politician I've ever wanted to have get better, health-wise. I'd like them ALL to get better at serving the public. I'd pray for you, but I don't want God to judge you by your associations.  --John P.


~Bob

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Bob Hall's life Story

I wrote this for the Collingswood (NJ) High School Class of 1964 50th Reunion May 10, 2014, since I can't attend. I post it for anyone interested. ~Bob

*****

I grew up in southern New Jersey and my parents divorced when I was young. My dad remarried when I was eight. He, my step-mother and my two brothers moved to Connecticut when I started 10th grade, so I lived with my grandmother in Parkview Apartments (sleeping on a pullout couch) while I finished high school in the Class of 1964
.
I was very patriotic and I wanted to serve my county, so in 1964 on my 18th birthday I took the bus to the Federal Building in Camden, registered for the draft, and then walked down the hall past the Army, the Navy, the Air Force and into the Marine Recruiting Office. A SSgt asked, “How can I help you, son?” I said, “Where do I sign?” – and in August I was off to Parris Island. Fortunately for me, the Marines sent me to electronics school in San Diego to be a Radio Relay Tech, which wasn’t my choice - I wanted to be in the infantry. After a year of school, the Corps sent me to the 10th Marines, and artillery regiment at Camp Lejeune--with no Radio Relay gear! My outfit was going on a six-month cruise in the Caribbean but I volunteered for Vietnam. At first I was told they didn’t have orders for me, but when I requested to meet with my regimental commander,  orders came through—along with a promotion to Corporal. I was on Okinawa at first, then with HQ, 26th Marines at Khe Sanh in Vietnam until September 10, 1967. My tour ended before the Tet Offensive and the Siege of Khe Sanh, so I was lucky again. I say the NVA were scared to attack while I was there!

I had intended to be a career Marine, but when I came back from the war I was convinced it had been screwed up due to the politicians. I decided to go into politics so I could “fix things.” (I w 22!) My parents were now living in Massachusetts, so I went home to live with them while I attended college. I had been a “D” student all through high school and had terrible attendance at CHS - I tell people I graduated in the top 95% of our class. I applied to Mount Wachusett Community College, after being turned down by Fitchburg State, and scored in the 98th percentile on the SAT exams. I worked all through college at least 20 hours a week—one semester for 35 hours a week, while taking six courses, getting A’s in 5 of them, and at the same time I was student council president and Lunenburg campaign organizer for a congressional candidate. I also played first board for the chess team and was school champion.

I transferred to the University of Massachusetts, where I served on the student senate, graduating in June, 1972 with a BA in Government. Being a Vietnam Vet in college in those days wasn’t a problem for me because few care to cross Marines. I ran for state senator in the Third Worcester District of Massachusetts that November and beat the incumbent by nine votes out of 60,000 cast, with the last town to come in putting me ahead at 6:30 am. This was the first time a Republican had been elected in that district since 1938. Fitchburg State then had to come to me for help with their budget, and while I always helped them, I never let them forget that they had turned me down for admission in 1968.

I won my second election in 1974 by 10,000 votes, carrying every city and town in the district. My third time running in 1976 I was nominated by both the Republicans and the Democrats, defeating a Democrat in his primary on write-in votes. I have a Worcester Telegram political cartoon from that election of me debating myself in the mirror. I think I have always had good political instincts, and thanks to the Marines, I have a disciplined work ethic. My 50-year old debt to my Marine drill instructors, Sergeant William Harris, Sergeant Michael Martin, and Sergeant Ezekiel Owens, Jr. continues to grow—they gave me the priceless gift of self-discipline. (I was very saddened to learn of Sgt. Owen’s death in December of 2013.)

In 1977, I rejoined the Marine Reserves, so during the week I was a state senator serving in the Massachusetts State House and on weekends I was a Corporal sweeping the floors. By 1983, I was a Staff Sergeant, but had to leave the Reserves due to conflicts with my new career. I also went back to college at night while in the senate, and in 1980 I received an M.Ed. degree in history.

I served five two-year terms as a state senator, but I was burned out by 1980. I was spending 95% of my time on trivia and getting re-elected and 5% on what I was supposed to be doing, so I decided not to run again. My parents had moved to Florida and I was sick of winter so I  didn't run for reelection in 1982, and moved to Florida myself.

I was hired to be the Executive Director of the Florida Psychological Association in Tallahassee. At the time, the Association was being clobbered because they had lost their licensing law. Essentially anyone could move to Florida and apply for an occupational license for $25 - people were getting their hamsters "licensed" as psychologists. Although I knew very little about association management, they wanted my political experience. The only office equipment they owned was a stapler! When I left 10 years later they owned a debt-free office building, and membership had tripled.
           
I got into Scottish Country Dancing in Tallahassee and met my wife Bonnie when she came to one of the classes I was teaching. She was a widow with two teenagers and I was a 46-year-old bachelor. None of my friends gave it more than three months but we’ve been together for 21 years. The Teens were tough--payback i guess, but I now have a 13-year-old granddaughter, Britnye, who i love dearly. I proposed and we were married 18 days later in a full Scottish wedding with bagpipes, dancing, two Celtic singing groups, Scotch and haggis. During this time I also designed the Leatherneck Tartan for US Marines. It’s registered in Scotland and is being worn worldwide by Marines.

From 1982 until I was forced to retire in 2013, I worked for a several associations as executive director, a couple of which were turn-around situations. Every one I’ve worked for had more members and was stronger fiscally when I left than when I arrived. I moved to Madison, WI to work for the American Association of Cosmetic Dentistry in 2002, then moved in 2008 to the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons in Illinois, y last association.

One of my passions is writing. I’ve published hundreds of articles and opinion pieces, plus some short fiction and poetry. I’ve also published 11 books, mostly through Amazon. (http://tartanmarine.blogspot.com/2010/07/new-book-published.html) All author royalties from my books go to charity, including the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund and the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation. I produce a conservative political blog (The Old Jarhead Blog, www.tartanmarine.blogspot.com) and get as many as 5,000 page views a week. Two of my books are poetry. One is Old Jarhead Poems. The Marine Corps Heritage Foundation gave it the Robert A. Gannon Writing Award for Poetry in 2012. I met the Commandant, several other generals and many Marine heroes at the dinner—a thrill for an old SSgt. My three secrets of good writing are to 1) Read a lot. 2) Write a lot. 3) There is no such thing as good writing, there is only good re-writing.

I was diagnosed in 2006 with early stage pulmonary fibrosis, which got my attention because my mother died from it when she was 69, but I continued to work, pulling an oxygen tank behind me for over three years, and never missed a day due to feeling sick. In March, 2013 it took a dive and I was using 10 to 15 LPM of oxygen from Oscar the Oxygen Tank just to walk slowly. I retired as AAHKS Executive Director on October 1, 2013, though worked from home as an advisor until November 30. On December 23, 2013, I received a right lung transplant through the VA. I did great for six weeks but now there are some problems with the new lung, so I had debridement surgery three times and a stent put in between March 3 and March 13 when they released me again, and have another scheduled for April 11, so it is doubtful that I can travel to NJ for the reunion. I wrote the administration of both the VA and the University of Wisconsin Hospital that there was not one professional on the staff who I wouldn’t be willing to have take care of me in the future. However, there are factors in play beyond the skill of the best team. One in five lung transplant patients die in the first year, one in two in the first five years, so I'm not out of the woods and likely never will be--this is a life long management situation. But at the rate I was declining in December before I received the lung, I doubt I'd have been here now--so I'm playing with "House Money." As a history major, I know that at 67 I've lived longer than 99% of the people ever born. Because I was born in the USA, with a free market, property rights economic system, I've also lived better than 99% of the people ever born. So I have no complaints, whatever comes.

I'm sorry I can't be with you, but such is life--and I'm glad to still be here.


~Bob

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Update from the VA Hospital—the news is sub-optimal

Update from the VA Hospital—the news is sub-optimal

Or, in Jimmy Carter’s wonderful phrase after the hostage rescue mission to Iran ended in disaster, right now my lung transplant from 12/23 is an “incomplete success,” despite doing so well the first six weeks.  As you may know, I was de-saturating on my oxygen levels, so they put me back on O2 on Tuesday, April 1. But on Tuesday, April 8, I de-saturated to 76% just walking 15 feet with O2 at 5 LPM (90% and above is normal), so they ordered me to the VA ER and stuck me back inside. I’ll be here through at least Monday, so no political blog posts until I’m out a few days and get organized. I will, alas have to delete hundreds of emails when I get to them, but will try to read personal messages. Please hold all other email, unless you just have time to waste.

The doctors are fairly grim. They have not given up, but it’s clear they think they are losing this war. The transplant management pulmonologist said that, by “Very bad luck, you have fallen into that 2% of cases where there is so much slough (sluff—dead cells) that it will be a challenge to fix.”  This was the case with the lung transplant patient they lost three years ago. Sough is the result of the tissue not getting enough blood and dying, they don’t know why, how or where. The hope is that by debriding it, healthy tissue will grow. But in my case, I’m getting a lot of scar tissue and the slough is also in the small bronchial tubes, where it is hard to debride. And slough is the perfect breeding ground for infection—I have pneumonia again, so I'm on a ton of antibiotics. He also said there is no chance of getting another lung. In my age group, the prognosis would be very poor and it’s a question of allocation of scarce resources, due to lack of donors. So one to a customer. We make this one work, or….

The transplant coordinator said that, “No one is throwing in any towels, but given your decline over the past ten weeks, if you reach a point where you want to talk to the palliative care team about end-of-life options, we will set it up. We want to meet your needs. This doesn’t mean you are giving up, just that you can make decisions now and know the options if you reach a point where you need them.”  This makes sense, little as I—or Bonnie—wanted to hear it.

On Friday, I had my surgical bronchoscopy.  Dr. Maloney did aggressive debriding of the slough, took out the mucus-clogged stent and replaced it, sucked out the junk and ballooned it five times, three in the small bronchial tubes where the biggest problem is. He said there is also healthy tissue under some area where there was slough, so that was good. His plan is to do a clean-out bronch this next week and another surgical bronch the following week. At that time, he will take out the stent and we will see how the lung does without it. If well, we may get back on track. If not…. He doesn’t say this will fix my problem, but at least he is still in the fight and has a plan, for now.

I remain confident in my healthcare team, who are top notch down through CNAs. But there are no guarantees and some things are in the hands of God.

This is all I know at this time, so there’s no use everyone sending me questions. If I learn new info, I will post it. As always, I thank everyone for the support, good thoughts and prayers. I will continues to go forward.

Semper Fidelis,

~Bob

Sunday, April 6, 2014

More Political News & Comment

Gen. Carl Mundy, 30th Commandant of the Marine Corps, dies
Excerpt: According to a biography curated at the United States Marine Corps History Division, “General Mundy was noted for his emphasis on ‘people issues’ and core values of honor, courage, and commitment. During his tenure, ‘From the Sea’ became the Navy-Marine Corps joint strategic concept, wherein the Navy and Marine Corps reoriented doctrinal focus toward littoral warfare.” (General Mundy was probably the most articulate of any Commandant that I can recall. --MasterGuns. Semper Fi, Sir. ~Bob.)

Worth Reading: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3. By Charles Krauthammer
Excerpt: When has a secretary of state been involved in so many disastrous, self-initiated negotiations? First, John Kerry convenes — against all advice and holding no cards — Geneva negotiations to resolve the Syria conflict and supposedly remove Bashar al-Assad from power. The talks collapse in acrimony and confusion. Kerry’s response? A second Geneva conference that — surprise! — breaks up in acrimony and confusion.

Worth Reading: Syria Is What Happens When Islam Wins. By Daniel Greenfield 
Excerpt: It’s not however money and weapons that splits Muslims over Syria. Money and weapons are only the symbols. What they represent is Islam. And what Islam represents is the intersection between identity and power.

Worth Reading: Hail To The Chef - Stinkburger Meister. By Andy Weddington
Excerpt: A few days ago President Obama spoke before a friendly crowd at the University of Michigan. A dopey speech merits dopey comment.

U.S. secretly created ‘Cuban Twitter’ to stir unrest
Excerpt: In July 2010, Joe McSpedon, a U.S. government official, flew to Barcelona to put the final touches on a secret plan to build a social media project aimed at undermining Cuba’s communist government. (I wish the media was anywhere near as good at uncovering secrets about Benghazi, the IRA political targeting, Fast &and Furious, the number of Obamacare signups who have actually paid or who didn't have insurance before the ACA was lied into existence, or Obama's hidden school records, as they are at splashing national security secrets for our enemies to read. ~Bob)

Why Is the U.S. Military Averaging More Than a Mission a Day in Africa? By Nick Terse
Excerpt: Last year, according AFRICOM commander General David Rodriguez, the US military carried out a total of 546 “activities” on the continent—a catch-all term for everything the military does in Africa. In other words, it averages about one and a half missions a day. This represents a 217 percent increase in operations, programs and exercises since the command was established in 2008.

Obama Told Military Leaders: Accept Gays In Military Or Step Down Admiral Said
Excerpt: In a meeting with the heads of the five service branches in 2010, President Obama offered the leaders a choice: Support my efforts to end the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, or resign, the Commandant of the Coast Guard said. In a video obtained by BuzzFeed via a Freedom of Information Act request, Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Robert Papp revealed that Obama was unwilling to compromise with service leaders over DADT during a meeting in 2010. (I recall reading somewhere that a retired Marine Colonel said that General Amos told him essentially the same thing. Not that I ever doubted that the service chiefs were given that order. --MasterGuns. I think the issue of putting women into combat units like infantry is a far bigger issue and will casus much larger problems than gays. They will have to lower standards to get enough women to satisfy liberals who never served and would stroke out if one of their kids joined. That means lost fights and dead Americans, all in the name of PC. Always a hard choice when you are given orders that conflict with what you think is best for the troops, service and country. Do you resign out of principle, or do you hang on and do the distasteful in hopes you can moderate the policy a bit or make things better a little? ~Bob.)

Obama gives rosary blessed by Pope Francis to Nancy Pelosi. By Ben Johnson
Excerpt: During their first-ever meeting last week, Pope Francis gave President Barack Obama a blessed rosary. Yesterday, Obama gave that rosary to Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi. (Won't catch him clinging to religion. ~Bob)

Muslim Cleric Urges Homeless Women to Become Sex-Slaves. By Raymond Ibrahim 
Excerpt: Now, the same Islamic cleric who issued this last “rape fatwa” has issued another fatwa urging destitute women in war torn Syria to become the “right hand possessions” of any man willing to support them—basically, to sell themselves into sex-slavery.

The Obama EPA’s Heinous Human Experiments. By Matthew Vadum 
Excerpt: President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency has been subjecting unknowing human guinea pigs to high levels of carcinogens and potentially lethal pollutants in order to justify tough new air quality standards.

Worth Reading: Hayek Quote. By Jonah Goldberg, The Goldberg File
This reminded me of a great line from this wonderful video essay on Hayek's "On the Use of Knowledge in Society" over at the Marginal Revolution University. It's arguably Hayek's most important contribution -- which is saying a lot. ... So here's Hayek: "The peculiar character of the problem of a rational economic order is determined precisely by the fact that the knowledge of the circumstances of which we must make use never exists in concentrated or integrated form but solely as the dispersed bits of incomplete and frequently contradictory knowledge which all the separate individuals possess. The economic problem of society is thus not merely a problem of how to allocate "given" resources — if "given" is taken to mean given to a single mind which deliberately solves the problem set by these "data." It is rather a problem of how to secure the best use of resources known to any of the members of society, for ends whose relative importance only these individuals know. Or, to put it briefly, it is a problem of the utilization of knowledge which is not given to anyone in its totality." (If only Progressives got it--but they keep wanting to put their best and brightest in charge of making economic decisions for you. ~Bob)


Obama’s Stand-up Routine Is Laughable Indeed: Too bad the joke is on his youthful audience. By Jonah Goldberg
Excerpt: President Obama was doing his favorite thing this week: talking to crowds of adoring young people who already agree with him while acting like he persuaded them about something. They also seemed to give Obama the impression that he’s a really funny guy.

Why every world map you're looking at is WRONG: Africa, China and India are distorted despite access to accurate satellite data


Mr. Scam Man song

Report: 13K In Maryland Lost Insurance Thanks to Obamacare and Never Got It Back
http://politicaloutcast.com/2014/04/report-13k-maryland-lost-insurance-thanks-obamacare-never-got-back/#Ikow532yRuqePz2O.99
Excerpt: The head of the Maryland Health Insurance Exchange testified Thursday before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that only 60,000 people have signed up for Obamacare through the state’s exchange - 13,000 less than the number of individuals reported to lose their insurance due to Obamacare. (Probably more than 13k lost it, because many of the 60k who signed up were, so they claim, the uninsured who the law was aimed at. ~Bob)

What Happens When Teachers, Delivery People And Fast Food Workers Don’t Care Anymore… By Michael Snyder
Excerpt: One of the big problems in America today is that a lot of people simply do not seem to care about what they are doing anymore. The level of sloth, laziness and apathy that we are witnessing in this country is absolutely mind-numbing. Of course this is not true of everyone. There are still many Americans that are extremely hard working. But overall, it really appears that people are not taking as much pride in their work as they once did. Some of the examples that I am about to show you are quite funny. 

Obamacare’s unhealthy peer pressure on millennials: Health care law puts the squeeze on young adults
Excerpt: Kids, ask your mom about it. Wives, talk to your husbands about it. Lonely single females, talk to your cat about it, or have a cup of hot cocoa with your pajama-clad hipster friend. But whatever you do, don’t actually take it upon yourself to learn about Obamacare or do the math to realize what a bad deal health care reform is.

Marine Kyle Carpenter to receive Medal of Honor
Excerpt: William Kyle Carpenter, 24, a medically retired corporal, will become the service's third Medal of Honor recipient of the nation's highest combat valor award from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which date to October 2001. 

Jackson Diehl: Kerry's dangerous Mideast delusions
Excerpt: During a tour of the Middle East in November, Secretary of State John F. Kerry portrayed the region as on its way to a stunning series of breakthroughs, thanks to U.S. diplomacy. In Egypt, he said, "the roadmap" to democracy "is being carried out, to the best of our perception." In Syria, a peace conference would soon replace the Assad regime with a transitional government, because "the Russians and the Iranians . . . will make certain that the Syrian regime will live up to its obligation." Last but hardly least, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was on its way to a final settlement — by April. "This is not mission impossible," insisted the secretary of state. "This can happen." Some people heaped praise on Kerry for his bold ambitions, saying he was injecting vision and energy into the Obama administration's inert foreign policy. Others, including me, said he was delusional.

Excerpt: We have what amounts to a national police force. The FBI is severely constrained by statute as to what kind of crimes for which they can intervene. The EPA, Education Department, NOAA and most other agencies have few, if any restrictions and can bend and shape the law to interpret a mandate just about any way they wish. Congress has had hearings on police powers for individual agencies but the broad problem of militarizing the federal government has not been examined.

Pelosi: Dems Proud Of ObamaCare

Excerpt: If they start campaigning on this, there might not be a democrat left after Election Day!
Check it out: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told State of the Union’s Candy Crowley Sunday morning that Democrats were openly embracing the success of the Affordable Care Act, and that the candidates who were distancing themselves from the law were the exception.

Oppressed by the Ivy League: What Dartmouth's president should have told bullying students.
Excerpt: Academia has been obsessed over identity politics for two generations, so there's some justice in the newest addition to the matrix of oppression: an Ivy League education, according to the Dartmouth College students who this week took over the president's office.
On Tuesday Dartmouth's finest seized the main administration building and disrupted college business. The squatters were allowed to remain until Thursday night, when the dean of the college negotiated and signed an exit settlement assuring them the non-dialogue would continue. (And we thought that the days of campus radicalism and obnoxiousness were in the past? No way, Jose. The demands now are really serious, just look over the article below. When did the students get granted the final authority on one happens on campus and how the school is run? [College health plan has to cover sex-change operations- WHAT???] It's way past time to tell these kids to take a hike, hit the bricks, follow the road, and don't come back until you've had major reworking of your head's wiring. Imagine graduating all thse rabid demanders out into society. I'm sure they would do SO well in job interviews...... for the New Weathermen! --Del)

Excerpt: Prof. KC Johnson, best known for his investigative work regarding abysmal university and faculty handling of the Duke Lacrosse case, has a post at Minding the Campus regarding a disturbing appointment at Dartmouth‘Why Have a Hearing? Just Expel Him’: “Why could we not expel a student based on an allegation?” That astonishing question was posed at a conference on how colleges respond to sexual assault issues by Amanda Childress, Sexual Assault Awareness Program coordinator at Dartmouth. According to Inside Higher Ed, Childress continued: “It seems to me that we value fair and equitable processes more than we value the safety of our students. And higher education is not a right. Safety is a right. Higher education is a privilege.” Give Childress credit for candor–even the campus spokespersons for increasing the number of guilty findings in campus tribunals usually aren’t so bald in their disdain for basic principles of due process. (OK, rape statistics from US colleges are both shocking and infuriating. Apparently it has become all too common for the guys to ply a girl with a few drinks, then get into "petting" and then slide a lot further to the initiation of good old sex, even if the lady is not happy about it or even protesting vigorously. This is a scandal, and really makes you wonder what in hell is wrong with these guys, but the next sad truth is that too often the system has not brought the victim any real satisfaction of justice being done. Part of this is in a way no one's fault. When the forced sex happens in a place with no witnesses, and the girl had been to the party and had been drinking, it ends up in a "he said/she said" situation, and that's very hard to take into court. (And it must be said that sometimes the girl really wasn't protesting, but decided later that she was raped, not seduced, and now it's an unfair attack on the guy.) Getting to the unvarnished truth in these situations is near impossible, and in our criminal system, you are innocent until proven guilty. Do we really want to move away from that ideal? The answer for some people is Yes. Personally, I would rather see a lot of emphasis on getting the women to understand the hazards of drinking and hanging out with a bunch of pickled guys, and a lot of emphasis on getting the men to understand that engaging a woman in sex under any circumstances other than she being fully awake, rational, and expressing definite willingness, is a big No-No. And lastly, if a woman wakes up feeling raped, you go to the police, NOW, and start things moving. Schools should be involved in these matters only when it's clear what role they can play. --Del. One wonders if they would be for expelling a student based on an allegation of theft or cheating? Suppose the student was a minority? ~Bob)

The real "War on Women," ignored by the left and their media sycophants. ~Bob. Excerpt: Monday night at Fox, I had the pleasure of meeting Qanta Ahmed through our mutual friend, Brooke Goldstein (of the Lawfare Project). Dr. Ahmed is a British- and U.S.-educated medical doctor from Pakistan. She is also a believing Muslim, and has been deeply involved in Honor Diaries, a film that exposes honor killings and other systematic abuse and inequality that women face in Muslim-majority societies. Today, Dr. Ahmed has an important article on our homepage about the film and the campaign to suppress it now being waged by the Muslim Brotherhood’s professional Islamic grievance industry.

Muslim backlash against film will hurt women, says 'Honor Diaries' team
Excerpt: The film showcases nine Muslim women who speak about their experiences with honor practices, forced marriage at young ages and the denial of education. Some of the women are victims or have family members who were victims and describe the painful and up-close realities they endured. The film weaves the experiences of honor violence victims together with commentary from activists and experts.

Eric Holder defends using Justice Department airplane for 27 personal trips. By Nick Sorrentino
Excerpt: There is a culture of privilege which runs deep through our government. And its nothing new, though it does seem to have been taken up a notch with this administration. Why shouldn’t Eric Holder fly where he pleases on the taxpayer dime? Don’t the taxpayers know that he’s a big shot, the chief cop of the universe. We should be happy we can help him fly where he wants for personal reasons. (Questioning black politicians' abuses of power is now racist. ~Bob)

Excerpt: Dreary crime news all this week. In Detroit a caucasian tree trimmer is driving home when a Black youth steps off the curb and onto the street, and is hit by the tree trimmer's truck. The White Driver stops to render aid and to call for help. Some fifty urban Blacks attack the driver and beat and kick him senseless and leaves him to die in the street. He is now in a medically induced coma, in critical condition, and his chances to live are dicey. Two days ago, here in Phoenix, a 67 year old man walks up to the 7-11 in his neighborhood, buys a six pack of beer, and in a spirt of charity, offers a can of cold beer to two hispanics just entering the store. The two Mexicans follow the guy out of the store and, apparently offended at being spoken to by a gringo, follow the old guy down the street. The Mexican in the passenger seat jumps out, runs over to the old man begins pounding on the back of the old man's head until he crashes to the sidewalk and lays inert and unresponsive. He too is in the hospital in critical condition.

Muslim cleric arrested with grenade in Eastleigh denied bail
Excerpt: A Muslim cleric and his wife allegedly found with two grenades during a swoop in Nairobi’s Eastleigh estate following a terrorist attack in which six people were killed have been denied bail.

Burnings and beheadings strike fear in south Thailand
Excerpt: The recent burning and beheading of female victims in Thailand’s southern Muslim provinces marks a renewed campaign of terror by insurgent groups, according to a Human Rights Watch statement released today. At least three Thai Buddhist women have been killed and mutilated by insurgents since February, according to HRW.

Islamist suicide bombers kill 15 in oil field attack in Nigeria
Excerpt: SUSPECTED Islamist suicide bombers killed 15 civilians in a failed attack on a state oil company facility in northeast Nigeria, when soldiers at a checkpoint opened fire on their explosive-packed vehicles, the military said today.

What Happened to Chicago’s Murder Rate After Illinois Upheld Concealed Carry and Why it Matters
Excerpt: This week, Chicago police announced that the city’s first quarter murder rate was the lowest since 1958. Check it out: In July of 2013, Illinois became the last state in the union to enact a concealed carry law. In January of this year, the state began accepting applications for permits. This week, Chicago police announced that the city’s first quarter murder rate was the lowest since 1958.

Nancy Pelosi: We've Finally Filled The George Bush Jobs Hole
Excerpt: The latest jobs report contained a politically important fact for Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) -- America finally replaced the jobs lost from the "Bush economic policies," the House minority leader said Friday, blaming Republicans for the slow pace of recovery. Pelosi's declaration came shortly after the Labor Department announced the U.S. economy added 192,000 jobs in March, in the latest sign of ongoing job growth too tepid to bring down the unemployment rate. But private payroll employment did pass a milestone Democrats wanted to commemorate. (Has all that Botox gone to her brain? --JB)

Democrats try to make the Koch brothers the new face of the GOP. By Kathleen Parker
Excerpt: For the uninitiated, the brothers are libertarian billionaires whose vast industriesin petroleum, asphalt, natural gas liquids, coal and ethanol employ 60,000 people. More to the point, they are spending gobs of their own money to sway politics toward free-market principles and away from current government expansionist trends. For this, they have been targeted by Democrats, who are not exactly penniless when it comes to advancing their own politicians and policies. 

Leaked Recording: Russian Ambassadors Discuss Invasion of Miami & California
Excerpt: A few days ago, Ben Swann reported on an audio recording of Turkish leaders planning a false flag operation in Syria. In February, Assistant US Secretary of State Victoria Nuland's phone conversation, regarding the political crisis in Ukrainewas leaked, for which she issued an unrepentant apology. Yesterday, reports surfaced of a conversation between two Russian Ambassadors that discussed a possible future invasion of the United States and Eastern Europe. (Too much Vodka. ~Bob)

$6 Billion Goes Missing at State Department

Excerpt: The State Department has no idea what happened to $6 billion used to pay its contractors. In a special “management alert” made public Thursday, the State Department’s Inspector General Steve Linick warned “significant financial risk and a lack of internal control at the department has led to billions of unaccounted dollars over the last six years.