July 21, 2014
I question why I started this blog sometimes; after all, I rarely have much to say about the previous week and while I do have a lot to say politically, I wonder how many people read my blog entries on Wednesdays. But I write this blog because I write and I write because I am a writer – I just don’t seem to get as much writing done as I would like.
Last Tuesday I saw the surgeon again and I got some bad news. My arm is not healing very well. It has been almost a year since I had the surgery putting the rod in my arm because of the break last Labor Day (September 2, 2013). There is still a gap in the humerus that hasn’t healed and it should have healed by now even allowing for my age and my diabetes. So, I now have a bone stimulator in my arm for three hours a day and if that does not work then I will have to undergo surgery again. This will be something like major surgery: my arm will be opened up and the rod removed, a piece of bone will be removed from another part of my body (probably my hip) and grafted onto my arm and everything sealed back up. I was in the hospital and rehabilitation for almost two months after my surgery and I don’t doubt but that if this happens I will be in for a lot longer. And I wonder what this will do to my ability to walk and otherwise move around if the area where the bone is taken from does not heal as my arm hasn’t.
Last Thursday I attended my VFW Post monthly meeting and the new administration does not excite me. The Post has a canteen for the benefit of the members and a Canteen Manager is needed to operate it on behalf of the Post on a daily basis. There isn’t a manager officially now and the proposed new manager is one that has ruined it in the past. Plus the administration is spending money without Post approval and against the bylaws. I may have to start getting more involved and I don’t want to do that. With all else that I am doing and with my diabetes blood sugar testing limiting my ability to eat and drink in the afternoon I can’t spend a lot of time there. I’d be limited to the morning so that I won’t eat or drink after the cut-off time for me to fast for my evening test and if I were to try to show up in the evening after my blood sugar test then I would miss the people I’d want to interact with. I fought for over seven years to get the Post on good footing, and never succeeded, but over the last year the Post has turned itself around to a large extent. And now, it looks like it is back to a failing Post again.
Another point about the Post administration that bothers me is that I spoke up at the meeting about the plight of the veterans who served in Thailand during the Viet Nam war and the Post Chaplain jumped all over me. I don’t know what got her knickers twisted (if you’ll pardon the expression) but I didn’t like it. I’ll try again at the August meeting and if she starts in again, I’ll be better prepared. One of the members of the Udorn Research Group, the reunion group for Udorn veterans, mentioned that he wouldn’t join the VFW because the combat veterans treated the support veterans like dirt and I told him that in my twenty-five years as a member I had never run into such treatment. Now I wonder if I can honestly say that ever again. Probably I can since the Chaplain is a woman and women were not in combat duty slots in Viet Nam. But I don’t have to like being abused like that simply because she was in Viet Nam and I wasn’t. Bases in Thailand got attacked and GIs died as a result. I spent many a night guarding the perimeter of Udorn as a result and I got sprayed with the chemicals used to kill the vegetation just like the troops in Viet Nam did. I got health problems as a result just as they did and I believe I deserve the same level of treatment as they get.
If you wish to do so please pray for: Katharine the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Bishop of Arizona, Steve and the other clergy of Grace-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; for those in the military especially those in combat zones especially Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Donna Heath, Frederick Jenning, Jordan S. Marks, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Brian; for those in need especially Katharine Bernard, Catharine Brown, Jay Elliston, Oma “Sam” Guard, Jordan, Chelsea, Hayden, Conner, Bethany, Justin, Steve Mattrix, Christine Nelson, Suzanne Nystrom, Danielle Phillips, Doree Ramey, Barbara Reynolds, Susan Southwick, Heather Williams, Ed, Lee, Betsy Bret Harte & her family, William Brown, Betty Jo Elliston, Donna Guy, Francesca Jarvis, Tony Jones, Julie LaRue, Maribel Ortiz, Peggy Southwick, James, Janet, Jerry & Rondy, Karl, Kirk, Brenda & Gus, Leah, Leona, Lisa, Maria, Maureen, Monica & Cassie, Nichole, Nick & Emily, Patty, Ruth, Terry, Zara; for animal companions in need; for those who have died especially Annita Harlan, Gus Lindauer; for animal companions who have died especially Bosco Shinn, Liberty. I also ask that you pray for the millions of Jews, Christians and now Hindus who have been murdered, driven from their homes and otherwise persecuted by Muslims throughout the world.
What I’m reading: D&D books and the occasional Nero Wolfe.
What I’m watching: Dogfights by the History Channel. I had watched them when I was renting DVDs from Blockbuster and I have now bout both seasons. I can’t watch as much as I’d like but I enjoy the program.
What I’m reading: I got some done on Magic in the Monastery but not a lot. It has been so long since I did anything on it I am reading it in order to get myself acquainted with it again and so I can pick up where I left off without problems.
July 17, 2014
In 1989 there was the “Great Alar Scare” which claimed dangers for alar that are still not proven and are controversial. Dozens of others such stories and campaigns can be found usually in one of two forms: Something is dangerous or We are going to run out of something and society is going to collapse and everyone will face ruin.
Fracking is the latest in a long line of scare stories and campaigns. Opponents of fracking bring forth a slew of scare stories and the media, in a rush to sell advertising, never checks to determine if the scare stories have any validity. “Fracking makes your water burn” is a story that ignores that the areas where water burns or has a funny smell are areas where this has been happening for decades, back to the 1930’s, long before fracking came into widespread use. “Fracking causes earthquakes” ignores the fact that we know how many small earthquakes are happening now, we don’t know how many were happening in the past since the equipment to detect them wasn’t in place until recently; and the earthquakes are small enough that most people won’t feel them and the tremors can’t be detected at a great distance because the tremors get attenuated over distance. And so forth.
Those who predict catastrophe are often, perhaps usually, proved wrong but the news organizations never learn and when someone with a track record of always being wrong makes a prediction or claim of catastrophe then the news organizations jump on it as if that person was the most accurate oracle ever to exist. As I said, this sells advertising and advertising pays for a lot of salaries and fancy benefits. Plus, there are some news organizations that will bring forth these scare stories and pretend that they are real because they have an agenda.
I don’t mind a news organization having an agenda, indeed I think they all do to one degree or another. I do want them to tell me what that agenda, what that bias is up front and stop pretending that they are something more than human and thus always unbiased.
July 14, 2014
It is beginning to look like Tucson will have a real summer rainy season this year. It is raining now and so far this month Tucson has had slightly more than the average rainfall. Not enough to erase the deficit from a lack of a winter rainy season but enough to hint that we will get some real rain this season.
I like the idea of rain and I welcome it but the change in weather does make my arm hurt more. I saw the surgeon last Tuesday and got some bad news. The break in my arm is not healing properly. So I’ve started on a bone stimulator and I hope that works since the remaining option is what amounts to major surgery. What would happen is that my arm would be opened up and the metal rod removed and a bone graft (taken from my hip probably) would be done, and then the whole thing would be wrapped and closed up. I was in the hospital and a recovery center for almost two months when I had the surgery to install the rod, my guess is that I’d be in the hospital or recovery for at least three months if this happens and I may never walk right again. Needless to say, I don’t want this to happen.
That was the first bit of bad news I got last week. On Wednesday I learned that the Arizona Attorney General’s Office is investigating the Pima County Election Integrity Commission on a complaint from the Pima County Administrator. As a result I read up on the Open Meeting Law and as near as I can determine the complaint is invalid. However, it seems that another provision in the Arizona Revised Statutes prevents the County from paying for our defense so I am looking at an unexpected expense of I have no idea how much or how long. If the Attorney General reads the law as I do it won’t be long but we are talking lawyers here so there is no telling if the law would be read in an intelligent manner.
I keep telling other veterans to join as many veterans service organizations as they can and I had planned on joining two this month but now I am not sure. I definitely want to join and get my presence in more than just the VFW but with this lawsuit and having to pay for a lawyer, I’m not sure I can afford it. I’ll probably go with one at least and consider the second carefully.
There wasn’t a meeting of the Pima County Libertarian Party last week. The restaurant where we normally meet was closed with no explanation.
If you wish to do so, please pray for: Katharine the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, for Kirk the Bishop o Arizona, and Steve and the other clergy o Grace-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; for those in the military especially those in combat zones especially Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Donna Heath, Frederick Jenning, Jordan S. Marks, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Brian; for those in need especially Katherine Bernard, Jay Elliston, Oma “Sam” Guard, Steve Mattix, Christine Nelson, Suzanne Nystrom, Danielle Phillips, Georghan Polk, Doree Ramey, Barbara Reynolds, Susan Southwick, Heather Williams, Ed, Lee, Betsy Bret Harte & Mkay Zeeb, Betty Jo Elliston, Donna Guy, Francesca Jarvis, Tony Jones, Julie LaRue, Betty Lindauer, Maribel Ortiz, Peggy Southwick, Alberto, Jerry & Rondy, Joel, Karl, Kirk, Brenda & Gus, Leah, Leona, Maureen, Monica & Cassis, Nichole, Nick & Emily, Ruth; for animal companions in need especially Ziggy, ZsaZsa, Zak Harry; for those who have died especially Annita Harlan, Gus Lindauer, Thomas Z. Spitzer; for animal companions who have died especially Bosco Shinn, Liberty. I also ask that you pray for the Benedictine Chapter of St. Mary of the Annunciation. I also ask that you pray for the millions of Jews, Christians and now Hindus who have been murdered, driven from their homelands and otherwise persecuted by Muslims throughout the world.
What I’m writing: I go nothing written this last week. I was too busy with other stuff.
What I’m watching: I watched the late news and an occasional new program through the week but nothing else.
What I’m reading: Other than the Arizona Revised Statutes, not much. I finished off a very interesting book on the Battle of Midway but haven’t started on anything new.
July 10, 2014
I’m going to revisit an idea I visited in an early post: Ethnic Labels. And add some to what I wrote back then.
Ethnic labels can unite or divide. I am an American of Scottish decent as explained by my great-grandfather who emigrated here from Scotland. I feel a connection to others of a similar background, as well as all the other backgrounds my ancestors gave me. As I mentioned back then, my ancestry covers all the British Isles, Scandinavia, Western and South-Western Europe, the Middle East, and North-West India (if the anthropologists are right about the origin of the Gypsies). My background is so mixed that American is the best way to describe me – I do say that I am a “Pure-Blood American Mongrel” quite often. And, again, if he anthropologists are right, we all can race ourselves back to Africa. Not by a listing in Ancestry.com but through our genetic code.
But ethnic labels divide when used to set one group against another. Scots and Irish hate each other even though the Scots came from Ireland, north-east Ireland from a region then known as Scotia. And various American tribal nations are enemies and have been for who knows how long. Germans and Poles, Serbs and Croats, everywhere ethnic labels (and religious ones as well) are used to generate hate. If you are of the wrong ethnic (or religious) label you can be discriminated against and even killed with impunity in many parts of the world.
I was born under the political jurisdiction of the USA – I am a Native American which gives me citizenship by right of birth. Using the term Native American as an ethnic label in any way that does not include me is a violation of Federal Law. One cannot attempt to deprive someone of their citizenship rights due to their ethnic background. And that is what using the term Native American as a limited ethnic label does.
Celebrating an ethnic background can be fun and a way of connecting to others. Denigrating someone because their ethnic background is not part of your orgy of self-hatred is not fun nor is it something that should be allowed. Something that especially should not be allowed is for Native American citizenship (by right of birth) to be limited to certain ethnic groups.
July 7, 2014
This is one of those years where the 4th of July and Independence Day are on the same day. Yeah, old joke and bad joke. But I like bad jokes, some day I’ll ell one so bad that people will throw things at me. Hopefully, I don’t get hurt, but once that happens I’ll have to come up with a new goal – I’ve only had this one for most of my life.
White shirts and I don’t get along too ell. I seem to always spill or drop something on them and make a stain. At the present I just have three white shirts, two polo shirts with the VFW logo and Post identification, and one with the various VFW patches on it. That one was the one I wore today since this is the Sunday closest to Independence Day and my church celebrated – so I carried the American Flag during the service. I also got to read the first lesson (from Genesis, where the servant of Abraham found a wife for Jacob) lead the reading of he Canticle and start off the Prayers of the People. The first reader is normally the one who starts off the Prayers of the People and since the choir is off for the summer the Psalm is not sung but recited – and today, instead of a Psalm, we read from the Song of Solomon. Anyway, to make a long story short (too late!), after the service the vestry made Sundaes for the congregation and chocolate syrup got onto my shirt. Even wiping it off right away did not prevent a stain. I’ll have to take he shirt to the dry cleaners and I might as well take a bunch of other stuff as well. Luckily I can afford this, I still have some money even after paying all my bills for the start of the month.
The Monsoon rainy season has started, and I hope Tucson gets a real rainy season this year. Tucson averages about twelve inches of rain a year but for the last several we have been in a drought and haven’t kept to that average. Even this year we are about two and a half inches behind where we should be. And it has been months since it has rained, sometime early in February as I remember. The winter rainy season was almost nonexistent. California is in a drought as well but California has a way to alleviate their problem, one that Arizona does not have. California can put desalinization plants on the coast and provide drinking water – Arizona has no such option. However California has ruled that out and instead takes Colorado River water from Arizona and Nevada and Mexico. The river water is supposed to be divided into four parts with each state and Mexico getting one part but California got a Federal Judge many years ago to give California an extra part thus making five fourths that get given out. I forget the name of the case but it is in the record. Someone needs to get that case overturned. Not that Arizona is much better mind you. Population growth is huge and the increase in population is driving water use sky high. When I was first assigned to DMAFB in 1971 I was told at my incoming briefing that the population growth of Pima County was 22 people per day on average. And that was with a poor economy. I don’t know the figure for now but I believe it is much larger. If we used every drop of Colorado River water to just recharge the water table we still could not keep up with the drain on the water table. Something, but I don’t know what, should be done.
I have to call my brother Dan tomorrow and schedule lunch. I promised him I’d buy him lunch since he helped get me home after my colonoscopy a couple of weeks ago. I don’t see either brother that lives here in Tucson as often as I should so this will be a treat.
If you wish to do so please pray for: Katharine the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Bishop for Arizona, Steve and the other clergy of Grace-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; for those in the military especially those in combat zones especially Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Donna Heath, Frederick Jenning, Jordan S. Marks, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Brian; for those in need especially Katherine Bernard, Catherine Brown, Richard Cameron, Alysha Collins, Jay Elliston, Oma “Sam” Guard, Joyce Henderson, Jordan, Chelsea, Hayden, Conner, Bethany, Justin, Christine Nelson, Suzanne Nystrom, Danielle Phillips, Doree Ramey, Barbara Reynolds, Susan Southwick, Heather Williams, Ed, Lee, Betsy Bret Harte & Mkay Zeeb, William Brown, Maryann DeMerritt, Racquel Diaz Dominguez, Betty Jo Elliston, Donna Guy, Annita Harlan, Francesca Jarvis, Robert Jonas, Tony Jones, Julie LaRue, Maribel Ortiz, Rich Parks, George Rosenburg, Byron Scott, Vicki Sharp, Peggy Southwick, Jerry & Rondy, Karl, Leah, Maureen, Monica & Cassie, Nichole, Nick & Emily, Ruth; for those animal companions who have died especially Bosco Shinn and Liberty. I also ask your prayers for the millions of Jews and Christians who have been murdered, driven from their homelands and otherwise persecuted by Muslims throughout the world. Please also pray for the Benedictine Chapter of Saint Mary of the Annunciation.
What I’m reading: Not much, catching up on required reading for the Election Integrity Commission, the occasional Nero Wolfe and some D&D 3.5 stuff.
What I’m watching: I’m finishing off Mythbusters Season 7.
What I’m writing: Working on my D&D 3.5 campaign, I haven’t gotten work done on anything else since one or more of the players are asking me question that I have to research and a fair number of the questions won’t be relevant for months, if ever. But I have to stop what I’m doing, do the research and answer the question.
July 3, 2014
In a way this is somewhat personal but it is primarily the politics of the issue that I want to address. If the change does go through I will benefit but so will thousands of other veterans who are in the same basic situation.
Change.org has a petition, link: http://chn.ge/TG1Iay, that deserves more signatures than it has. For those of us who served during the Viet Nam War two categories exist: Those who are presumed to have exposure to Agent Orange and other tactical herbicides and thus get automatic approval for VA claims regarding certain diseases and medical conditions and those who do not have that presumption and thus have to fight the system to gain benefits we have earned. This is even though the Federal Government has admitted that these tactical herbicides were used on every US military installation in Thailand. The VA seems to automatically disapprove of any claim (or at least the vast majority of them) and fight to deny the claim until the veteran is dead. And widows and surviving children are similarly abused. You have, I presume, seen reports about rampant misconduct in the VA system that has resulted in the deaths of dozens, if not hundreds, of veterans and this treatment of veterans of Thailand, Laos & Cambodia, seems to be part of that pattern.
I have read that the veterans of South East Asia are dying at a rate similar to the veterans of WW II and Korea due, in large part, to the toxic mix of chemicals we were exposed to in the field, on the flight line, in the shops and where we slept, ate and played. I haven’t been able to verify this, nor the claim that there are less than 750,000 Thai vets left, since it is so hard to get the data from the Government.
Cleaning agents that were later proven to be toxic and thus banned were routine in the military and we were never told about any dangers – we were told that these were what we were to use and shut up and do it. Chemicals that were routinely used throughout all military installations are now banned because of their toxicity. Chemicals that have resulted in hazardous cleanup sites were the norm for the military.
Getting “boots on the ground” acceptance for those of us who were in Thailand is a start. My goal here is to get other people aware that the chemical cocktail that military members were routinely exposed to has crippled many veterans as well as their children from the genetic damage done to the veteran and perhaps spouses as well given that that toxic cocktail could easily been present on the veteran when coming home and thus damaged the spouse.
It will be hard to verify but the veterans who served from about 1950 to about 1990 were routinely exposed to chemicals that the Government would fry you for using now – but the Government hides from anyone who might need to know why their health, and that of their families, is deteriorating so bad and so fast. Plus, who knows what the veterans of Desert Shield and Desert Storm were exposed to, both our chemicals and Sadam Husain’s. We have poisoned our military personnel and are hiding the fact so the we don’t have to deal with the problem – just wait for us to die.
June 30, 2014
Sunday evening and I have a request of anyone reading his post. Please go to HTTP://CHN.GE/TG1Iay and sign that Change.org petition. I will benefit from changing the status of Thailand veterans but more importantly thousands of other veterans who served in Thailand and are now suffering will have their status changed and will be on the same level playing field as those who served in Viet Nam itself. We in Thailand were sprayed, not from C-123’s granted, but sprayed none the less and with the same chemicals.
I just had my eyes checked and I am getting cataracts. So far the cataracts are minuscule so my eyesight is no affected and nothing needs o be done but when I do need to have cataract surgery it is going o be a disaster. I have a phobia about needles (at least everyone else says it is a phobia, I think I is a rational reaction) and another one about my eyes. Trying to get eye drops into my eyes is a fight. When the surgery has to be done it is going to have to be under general anesthesia or else I’ll have to be strapped down and my eyes somehow fixed in place; and then I’ll still try to struggle and I’ll be screaming in error. Hopefully it won’t need to be done for decades and maybe by then there will be a way that the procedure can be done that will not scare the hell out of me.
I once read that the days pass slowly but the months pass quickly for old people and the reverse is rue for young people. I guess I am getting old, I’m only 64, as here it is almost the start of July and it seems to me that this year has just started. Of course, days pass quickly for me also, so who knows what that combination really means. Maybe I’m not as old as some people say. I feel like I did back in my 40’s and maybe even earlier. I am getting decrepit though. Not only with my diabetes but my knees and back, my arm not healing as fast as it should and so forth. Getting decrepit I do mind. It amazes me that so much of my life has passed. When I went on the retired list in 1987 I was told by a clerk, who was reading from a pamphlet, that 50% of military retirees died within seven years, 50% of the survivors died within twenty years and 50% of those survivors died before starting to collect Social Security. I cheated a bit since I took Social Security early, when I was 62, but it looks like I’ll survive to properly collect Social Security. I don’t know where that pamphlet came from nor where the data came from since no one else has heard of it when I mention this to other military retirees but I like the fact that I seem to have beaten a lot of odds.
If you wish to do so, please pray for: Katharine the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Bishop of Arizona, Steve and the other clergy of Grace-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; for those in the military especially those in combat zones especially Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Donna Heath, Frederick Jenning, Jordan S. Marks, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Brian; for those in need especially Katherine Bernard, Catherine Brown, Richard Cameron, Alysha Collins, Jay Elliston, Oma “Sam” Guard, Joyce Henderson, Jordan, Chelsea, Hayden, Conner, Bethany, Justin, Christine Nelson, Suzanne Nystrom, Danielle Philips, Doree Ramey, Barbara Reynolds, Susan Southwick, Heather Williams, Ed, Lee, Betsy Bret Harte & Mkay Zeeb, William Brown, Maryann DeMerritt, Racquel Diaz Dominguez, Betty Jo Elliston, Donna Guy, Annita Harlan, Francesca Jarvis, Robert Jonas, Tony Jones, Julie LaRue, Maribel Ortiz, Rich Parks, George Rosenburg, Byron Scott, Vicki Sharp, Peggy Southwick, Jerry & Rondy, Karl, Leah, Maureen, Monica & Cassie, Nichole, Nick & Emily, Ruth; for those who have died especially Adam F. Wolff, David H. Stewart, Brandan J. Garabrant; for animal companions who have died especially Bosco Shinn, Liberty. I also ask that you pray for the millions of Jews and Christians who have been murdered, driven from their homelands and otherwise persecuted by Muslims throughout the world. Please pray also for the Benedictine Chapter of St. Mary of he Annunciation.
What I’m watching: I finished Rome and am finishing off the DVDs of Mythbusters that I own, I have up through Season 7.
What I’m writing: Working on my D&D campaign. I should perhaps try to get some work done on the GURPS campaign I started but I’ll focus on D&D for now.
What I’m reading: The Path of Centering Prayer by David Frenette. I have Open Mind, Open Heart by Thomas Keating and this is a follow-up or more advanced version of the techniques Father Keating put forth in his book.
June 26, 2014
Censorship is the government, through one of its agencies, limiting speech in its many forms. Most often today such censorship is done be government-run schools and seeks to prevent anyone from speaking out against unlawful government control of American life. Look at the various speech codes promulgated by various state universities and look at the refusal of those same government-run universities to allow certain people to speak to heir students.
In the 1920’s and 1930’s Nazi Brown Shirt thugs worked hard to prevent anyone whom they believed that Hitler would disagree with from speaking – from shouting the person down to lethal violence. Today the descendants of those Brown Shirts have not yet moved past shouting down people but only because, I think, the Government supports them and they do not yet need to do such violence.
Colleges used to be, before the left-wing took them over, bastions of discussion about issues, intent on examining the issues and discovering the truth where the truth could be discovered. Today colleges are about presenting one side of an issue and preventing anyone from even possibly pointing out where they might be wrong.
Look at who is doing this censoring and you always find the political left in charge of preventing a free discussion of ideas, of preventing free speech. In all my research I have yet to discover any right-wing organization that opposes free speech like those on the left wing. Indeed, I find as a general rule that right-wing organizations welcome discussions on various issues and welcome those that oppose them. Go to a right-wing organization and speak against something they hold dear and they will listen and even think you afterwards. Try that with a left-wing organization and you will get shouted down and vilified.
It isn’t hard to do the research and discover the truth of what I’m saying but that then brings he question: Why isn’t this reported more? I have to conclude that the various news organizations like the censorship being done based upon its victims. Were the victims be someone that the news organizations cared about then it would get reported more and outrage be flamed into being. Journalists claim to be politically neutral but the evidence is against that claim else there would be more outrage on their part about his government-sponsored censorship. Self-interest should require heir being on the side of the victims given that the news organizations may be future victims but politics seems to rule here. Pastor Niemoller and his famous warning seems lost to history as far as they are concerned.