Friday, August 28, 2009

Edward Gibbon; Roman Empire/US parallels; Yankee Stadium; Giant Stadium

"The Senators . . . . were obliged to provide daily entertainments at an immense expense. . . . "

The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon, volume 1, p. 118. (Modern Library edition).

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

USS West Virginia; Clifford Olds; Ronald Endicott, Louis "Buddy" Costin; Ted Kennedy

One of the most chilling and horrifying stories I have ever read is a true story.

We all know what happened on December 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor. We know the story of the Arizona. We have seen photos of the Arizona Memorial. We have seen movies dedicated to the loss of the Arizona and the other ships that day. But what you may not have heard is the story of Clifford Olds and his shipmates on board the USS West Virginia. That story is told on the pages of Briefly, Clifford Olds and two of his shipmates were trapped in the lower decks of the battleship West Virginia ("WeeVee") when the attack started. The West Virginia was hit by numerous Japanese torpedoes and sank quickly:
The choicest of targets, she took 9 torpedo hits December 7, 1941. Her port side was literally blasted off. The USS Oklahoma, just ahead of the WV, suffered similar wounds and immediately capsized, but BB48 was of a more advanced water-tight construction. The fast thinking of Lt. Claude Ricketts (THE hero of this ship) prevented the Battleship from turning over. Instead, she settled in the mud on an even keel. This was accomplished by closing all hatch compartments and counter-flooding the starboard side of the ship in a procedure called "set zed". Every sailor knew fate could place them in a doomed area to be drowned like rats. Old Timers would tell 17 and 18 year old "boots" that if that time came "just inhale water quickly and get it over". This, the "grizzled Ones" claimed, was preferable to a slow death in a pitch-black void. For Clifford Olds(20), Ronald Endicott(18), and Louis "Buddy" Costin(21), this would tragically come to pass. Trapped in the forward fresh water pumping station known as area A-111, their fate was sealed when "set zed" was announced after the first Japanese torpedo struck shortly before 8am. Sinking straight down rather than "turning Turtle" enabled hundreds to escape. Those in the lower compartments were drowned, but Olds, Endicott and Costin were alive and well in their air-tight compartment at the bottom of the ship. They did not know what had happened, nor the extent of the carnage above them. Above deck, the Captain was disemboweled by a bomb blast and the Arizona's explosion 50 yards aft rained "Dante's Inferno" onto the WeeVee.

Over 100 died in every way possible. BB48 sank into the Harbor amid burning oil. She burned for 30 hours. When her fires were extinguished late Monday Dec. 8, Guards were posted on the shoreline of Ford Island, next to "Battleship Row". Jittery over rumors of invasion, Sentries at first didn't hear the noise. WeeVee Marine Bugler Dick Fiske recalls: "When it was quiet you could hear it...bang, bang, then stop. Then bang, bang, pause. At first I thought it was a loose piece of rigging slapping against the hull". Then I realized men were making that sound-taking turns making noise". After that night, no one wanted guard duty, but someone had to do it. Bang, bang. It went on for 16 days, slowing in frequency until Christmas Eve. Then silence. The adjacent Oklahoma was upside down and holes were drilled in her bottom to allow a precious few to escape their coffin. The pressure of water inside the hull, pushing up on air pockets, meant as soon as the hull was breached, little time was left before remaining air escaped. Shipmates often drowned in front of rescuers eyes before a hole could be made large enough for escape. Cutting torches ignited trapped gasses and exploded, killing more. Jack-hammers jammed and men drowned while looking at a small hole of light. Knowledgeable Mates quickly learned to "rip open" hull plates fast to insure victims survival. A macabre Naval "C-section" with the same purpose.

Olds, Endicott and Costin were sitting on the harbor floor completely surrounded by water, 40 feet down. Cutting through the side of the hull for rescue was out of the question. The smallest of holes in a pressurized compartment would cause a "blow-out", something Submariners knew well. Besides, considering the destruction and carnage above, the problems of three men didn't amount to a "hill of beans" to busy Navy Brass. All Sailors know they are expendable after "set zed". Concerned Shipmates pin-pointed their banging as coming from the bow section, but could do nothing. Clifford Olds' friend Jack Miller had a sinking feeling Olds was trapped. He knew the pump station well, as Cliff would often invite him there for "bull sessions". It was so air-tight, they often closed the hatch and dared people to hear them cursing wildly inside.

Late spring 1942 found Navy salvage teams finally getting to work on the WV. An Inventive series of tremic cement patches were fitted to her port side, and enough water pumped out to partially float the once grand ship. BB48 was nudged across the Harbor into drydock and the grim task of finding bodies began. For Commander Paul Dice, compartment A-111 was expected to be like the rest: Put on gas masks, place some goo into a bodybag and let the Medical boys worry about identification. They had seen it all, but this compartment was different. Dice first noticed the interior was dry and flashlight batteries and empty ration cans littered the floor. A manhole cover to a fresh water supply was opened. Then he saw the calendar. It was 12"x14" and marked with big red Xs that ended December 23. Hardened salvage workers wept uncontrollably as they realized the fate of these men. Word quickly spread among salvage crews: Three men had lived for 16 days to suffer the most agonizing deaths among the 2800 victims at Pearl Harbor.
emphasis added

The point is, these three men lived in an airtime room for 16 days underwater, while those above could not get to them. It would take months, as recounted above, for the salvage and rescue workers to raise the ship and reach their level. Read the whole thing.

USS West Virginia with crew members trapped below in the dark

Why do I write of this now? Why not wait until the next anniversary of Pearl Harbor? Because I cannot sit still while network hagiographers wax eloquent over Ted Kennedy and Republican apologists minimize the issues as mere "philosophical differences." Ted Kennedy's most famous crime, Chappaquiddick, was not a mere "philosophical difference." After reading of the "slow death in a pitch-black void" sufferred by the three young sailors barely younger than Mary Jo Kopechne, one cannot help but wonder about the person who would willingly subject someone to this fate.

Yes, it was an accident that the car went off the bridge. But it was no accident that Kennedy refused to demand help from every home in the vicinity while there was a chance to save the woman who most likely lived in an air pocket for hours. It was no accident. It was pure political calculation. Ted Kennedy calculated his political future and his ability to avoid blame while Mary Jo Kopechne slowly suffocated in a dark cramped space.

After Pearl Harbor, we did not rest until every Japanese ship that took part in the attack was sunk and the empire of Japan lay in ruins. Millions would die before we made peace. But for Ted Kennedy after Chappaquiddick, life continued on as before. He retained his power and his freedom. He is now an icon of the leftist establishment in this country.

As Kennedy's worst actions are dismissed as mere "disagreements," we must remember what is at stake. Kennedy advocates socialist/totalitarian policies. His policies infringe on our very core freedoms. We would not mourn the passing of a third world dictator. We should not do so merely because the totalitarian happens to have been born in the United States and is supported by a well funded totalitarian movement.

Ted Kennedy's fate is between Kennedy and God. I wish him the best in that regard. But we are under no obligation to pretend that the past did not happen. We must not create an idol where evil existed. History must not change because the establishment wills it. The king cannot compel a lie.

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Woodstock 40th anniversary; New York Times coverage; Ayn Rand; Nightmare in the Catskills

This weekend marks the 40th anniversary of "Woodstock." We are supposed to celebrate "peace," "love" and other stuff in honor of this anniversary. Debbie Schlussel has the real story:
I really don’t care that the “greatest names in rock of the day” performed there. So what? And who cares if Jimi Hendrix played there? Look what happened to him just over a year later. Dead of a drug overdose and too much alcohol. Typical of the Woodstock idiots. They, the rockers, and the hippies, yippies, and other numbskulls making up the boomer generation at this infest-o-fest brought us free love . . . and STDs and AIDs, single mothers and baby mamas, and a whole new hipness to out-of-wedlock births that has brought us crime waves, sensitive men a/k/a wimps, and a whole lot of other problems. Their sexual mores brought us sky-high divorce rates and a rate of out of wedlock mothers–40%–that rivals many Western democracies.

They are the liberals who voted for Barack Obama and not too long before him, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter. They are the ones who made today’s consideration of socialized medicine possible.

Apparently Debbie didn't get the MSM/DNC memo (or she got it but was able to ignore it like the rest of us should).

In 2007 [in the immediate aftermath of the Virginia Tech shooting], I wrote in detail about the changing way we view news stories after the initial event. I chronicled how the MSM/DNC line develops, after which all of the MSM/DNC outlets learn to stick to their story:
Years from now, we will forget that we were in the dark for so many days or hours in the immediate aftermath of the killings at Virginia Tech. MSM/DNC becomes more polished the more time passes in the wake of any news item. As various parts of the MSM/DNC "get their story straight," the MSM/DNC line becomes standard and can be reduced to a few soundbites. That is why immediate coverage of any major story is interesting. We have the chance the catch the MSM/DNC off guard.

The same is true of Woodstock. On August 18, 1969, the New York Times published an editorial highly critical of the gathering entitled "Nightmare in the Catskills." By the next day, the Times had apparently received the MSM/DNC memo and changed their position. Today, the Times' original editorial has disappeared down the memory hole. Other MSM/DNC outlets fell into line quickly also.

The definitive piece on Woodstock was written by Ayn Rand four months later. She not only summarized the social implications of the gathering but she chronicled facts that have been lost to history. Debbie Schlussel has summarized the negative consequences created by the participants, consequences from which we suffer today. Those consequences were easily predictable for anyone who had read Rand's piece - "Apollo and Dionysus."

In particular, Rand chronicled the hardships created for neighboring farmers and small businessmen by the Woodstock event:
Richard C. Joyner, the operator of the local post office and general store on Route 17B "said that the youngsters at the festival had virtually taken over his property - camping on his lawn, making fires on his patio and using the backyard as a latrine
Clarence W. Townsend, who runs a 150-acre dairy farm . . . was shaken by the ordeal. "We had thousands of cars all over our fields," he said. "There were kids all over the place. They made a human cesspool of our property and drove through the cornfields. There's not a fence left on the place. They just tore them up and used them for firewood" . . .

"My pond is a swamp [said Royden Gabriele, another farmer]. I've got no fences and they used my field as a latrine. They picked corn and camped all over the place. They just landed wherever they could . . . We pulled 30 of them out of the hay mow smoking pot . . . If they come back next year I don't know what I'll do," Mr. Gabriele said. "If I can't sell, I'll just burn the place down."
The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution, p. 71 [Signet edition] (quoting New York Times, August 20, 1969)

As Rand wrote, "No love - or thought - was given to these victims by the unsanitary apostles of love." Ibid.

The apostles of love have been enabled for decades since that event (much in the way summarized by Eugene Lyons in the Red Decade (referring to the 1930's)). The enabling and coddling has led that generation to give us the unsustainable welfare state of today with no thought of the consequences. As revealed by a New York Times interview with participants the following week, the participants had no thought of consequences for their own basic needs at the festival:
Q: What about food?
A: We brought a bag of carrots. And some soda.
Q: Did you expect to be able to buy more there?
A: We never really thought about it.
[As quoted by Rand, p. 73.]

In the same way, these same people are now supporting Obamacare without thinking about what will happen when they are denied medical treatment under the system of rationing that may soon be enacted.

No living, eating or sanitary facilities were provided; . . . "Festival food supplies were almost immediately exhausted . . . and water coming from wells dug into the area stopped flowing or came up impure. A heavy rain Friday night turned the amphitheater into a quagmire and the concession area into a mudhole. . . Throngs of wet, sick and wounded hippies trekked to impromptu hospital tents suffering from colds, sore throats, broken bones, barbed-wire cuts and nail puncture wounds. Festival doctors called it a 'health emergency,' and 50 additional doctors were flown in from New York City to meet the crisis." [There will be no "50 additional doctors" flying to our rescue under Obamacare - Salt.]
According to the New York Times (August 18), when the rainstorm came "at least 80,000 young people sat or stood in front of the stage and shouted obscenities at the darkened skies [a precursor to the anti-Christianity that pervades today's culture? - Salt] as trash rolled down the muddy hillside with the runoff of the rain. Others took shelter in dripping tents, lean-tos, cars and trucks . . . Many boys and girls wandered through the storm nude, red mud clinging to their bodies."
Rand, pp. 69-70

Has it ever occurred to you that it is not an accident, but the psychological mechanism of projection that has made people of this kind choose to call their opponents "pigs?"
Rand, p. 75

Who will the leftists shout obscenities at when they cannot receive medical treatment under Obamacare? The thought of such a scene makes it tempting to support Obamacare - except for the fact that I will suffer also.
Drugs were used, sold, shared or given away during the entire festival. Eyewitnesses claim that 99 percent of the crowd smoked marijuana; but heroin, hashish, LSD and other stronger drugs were peddled openly. The nightmare convulsions of so-called "bad trips" were a common occurrence. One young man died, apparently from an overdose of heroin.
Rand, p. 70

There is much more to Rand's article, especially the discussion of the attitudes of the participants, and their expectations of happiness without work and life without thought.

These details (especially the destruction of neighboring property) have largely been ignored in today's MSM/DNC memorials to the event. So have the subsequent disputes among the organizers of the event (over money). That the event was organized by wealthy heirs who spent the next few years fighting over money does not fit the MSM/DNC theme of peace, love and utopia that we are all expected passively to accept. Woodstock has become another object of worship among the MSM/DNC. Leftists expect their history books to treat Woodstock much the same way that Christianity treats the "Sermon on the Mount." They fail to realize that as more of the leftist agenda becomes law, civilization will continue to collapse. With the end of civilization comes the end of higher learning, including the faithful recording of history (even propaganda). Propaganda itself depends on the existence of the civilization that the left seeks to destroy.

As the left becomes more politically successful, the gods of leftism will fade into the memory hole along with the rest of our knowledge. By passing Obamacare, cap-and-trade, the stimulus bill, etc., the left relegates itself (and the rest of us) to oblivion. Future generations will know little or nothing of Woodstock, the first African-American President, the first hispanic Supreme Court justice, the Vietnam protests and other landmarks of leftism. They will know only that the greatest civilization ever to exist somehow collapsed, leaving them to struggle on a daily basis for their very survival.
Visit counter added August 16, 2009

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Red Decade; Eugene Lyons; youth groups as cannon fodder.

Eugene Lyons 1941 book, Red Decade, described how totalitarians of the 1930's used "youth movements" as pawns much like the demagogues of today. Young people have become cannon fodder in political wars, much like other minority or pressure groups. They are reduced to pawns in the game of conquest played by the MSM/DNC:
The glorification of Youth is a modern development. It puts a premium on lack of experience, mental fuzziness and intuition as against intelligence and maturity. I watched both Italian Fascism and German Nazism at close range in their formative stages. It is not generally appreciated to what a large extent they were bothy Youth movements. Demagogues who knew what they wanted used the energies and emotional drives of young people who had not the remotest notion what they really wanted. In both these countries, Youth was deliberately mobilized to beat civilization into a pulp.

Watching the Youth movements in this country against the memory of Italy and Germany, I have been struck by the similarity of the procedures. American Youth was no longer descriptive of an age group passing through adolescence - its organized and regimented minority had become a sloganeering political lobby, a bigger and louder pressure group, competing with elders for handouts and privileges as though it were a permanent class rather than a period of biological transition. The more articulate and capable were making professions and careers as Youth leaders. Partly through sentiment and largely for political advantage, politicians flattered the Youth lobbies and catered to their pretentious self-importance. It was inevitable that the most rigidly organized, disciplined and purposeful minority would take over this Youth racket and use it for its own purposes - and for a long time the elders, from the President of the United States down, were content to applaud the antics instead of exposing the influences and motives behind the whole show.

Those who should guide young people are content to follow, leaving that function to crackpot "champions of Youth" or political demagogues aiming to capture the campus and the youth. A lopsided liberalism has led teachers to believe that Youth must be given complete independence, that its preferences are inviolable. The result is that young people are set adrift just when they need and crave steering; the first group with a plausible and exciting program takes them over.
[p. 205, 1971 edition]

Lyons has touched on many issues in this brief segment. Various youth groups (so long as they support leftists causes) are treated as oracles of wisdom instead of those with much to learn. They are accumulated as parts of "coalitions" in league with minorities, unions and others whose only value is their votes and their ability to intimidate political opponents .

It is the youth, themselves, that suffer the most. Generations have been lost as political ideology has captured and exploited youth for decades in schools and through television and popular culture.

Long ago someone should have pointed out that young people have much to learn and do not necessarily possess the wisdom that we traditionally ascribe to ethnic pressure groups. In fact, Eugene Lyons did point this out 68 years ago. We simply have to rediscover his words.

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Saturday, August 01, 2009

Record cold in New York City all summer long

Like a squirrel storing nuts for the winter, I am saving links to articles about the record cold so I can use them the first time the MSM/DNC seizes upon some warm day in January or some heat wave as evidence for the hoax known as "global warming." In New York City, residents are enjoying the "coolest June and July since either 1903 or 1881 . . . "
This was the sixth coolest July on record. The high was 86 on July 17. For June and July, the average as of Thursday was 70.6, the third coolest. As of the end of the day Thursday, the average temperature in July was 72.6, nearly four degrees below normal.

“A monthly departure of four degrees below normal is very significant,” said Gary Conte, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

The relatively cool first half of summer in the Northeast and Upper Midwest has had far-reaching effects.

In New York, Con Ed produced 5.5 percent less power in June than the year before, never appealed for special conservation protocols and reported no blackouts or brownouts. Daily peak use, which reached 10,934 megawatts on Tuesday, was well below this summer’s projected high of 11,945 megawatts. Many electric bills have shrunk by 6 percent or more.

Attendance at city beaches through July 28 was down 30 percent, from 7.3 million to 5.1 million.

From July 1 to 28 in 2008, the Emergency Medical Service answered 134 heat-related calls. This year, there were 41. In 2008, the office of the chief medical examiner blamed the heat for nine deaths, all in June. This year, not a single heat-related death has been reported.

The threshold for opening cooling centers for the aging and other vulnerable New Yorkers was never reached. Nor was the 90-degree trigger requiring that carriage horses be stabled.

Of course, it is likely that the "experts" of the global warming religion will tell us to "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" as they urge us to surrender our industries. "Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?" they seem to ask with every denial of the obvious.

Click on the "global warming" label below for links to weather data throughout the United States over the past decade and half (or more).


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