Sunday, January 21, 2018

Should Pardons Have Been Granted?


I've posted a bit on Burn's and Novik's documentary on the Vietnam War.  During the documentary a couple of people where interviewed who had fled to Canada during the war.  One renounced his citizenship later on, to his regret.

I also recently reported on laws and the Federal government ignoring them, which is sort of related to this, although not purely.

As most people know, there were a series of pardons, not all at the same time, that are connected with this.  It didn't happen all at one time, as people sometimes recall. President Ford first offered conditional amnesty to draft evaders.  Then, on this day, forty years ago, President Carter pardoned those who evaded the draft.  Those who deserted the armed forces, however, and those who were convicted of acts of violence while protesting, were not pardoned for those offenses.

This all followed, of course, President Ford's pardoning of Richard Nixon.  Yes, I know that these things are in no way whatsoever related.  Except, I suppose, in terms of the era in which they occurred.

I've been very surprised, quite frankly, about how much this still impacts me, oddly enough.  I was 14 years old when Carter pardoned the draft evaders. As a kid I didn't think he should.

I still don't.

For that matter, I don't think Nixon should have been pardoned either.

Let's take these up separately.  As Nixon's pardon happened first, let's take it up first.

Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace on August 9, 1974.  While he resigned in disgrace, as a result of the fallout of the coverup of Watergate, his resignation did spare the country an impeachment trail, which was at least in part his motivation. At least that was noble on his part, as that trial would have been destructive in the extreme, even more so than the trial of William Clinton which has been destructive enough.

 A confident looking Gerald Ford.  His Presidency was afflicted by problems not of his own making.

He was subsequently pardoned on September 8, 1974 by Gerald Ford.  President Ford believed that this would help bring about healing in the nation after the turmoil that the entire Watergate episode brought.  Maybe it did.

The text of that pardon reads as follows:
By the President of the United States of America a Proclamation
Richard Nixon became the thirty-seventh President of the United States on January 20, 1969 and was reelected in 1972 for a second term by the electors of forty-nine of the fifty states. His term in office continued until his resignation on August 9, 1974.

Pursuant to resolutions of the House of Representatives, its Committee on the Judiciary conducted an inquiry and investigation on the impeachment of the President extending over more than eight months. The hearings of the Committee and its deliberations, which received wide national publicity over television, radio, and in printed media, resulted in votes adverse to Richard Nixon on recommended Articles of Impeachment.
As a result of certain acts or omissions occurring before his resignation from the Office of President, Richard Nixon has become liable to possible indictment and trial for offenses against the United States. Whether or not he shall be so prosecuted depends on findings of the appropriate grand jury and on the discretion of the authorized prosecutor. Should an indictment ensue, the accused shall then be entitled to a fair trial by an impartial jury, as guaranteed to every individual by the Constitution.
It is believed that a trial of Richard Nixon, if it became necessary, could not fairly begin until a year or more has elapsed. In the meantime, the tranquility to which this nation has been restored by the events of recent weeks could be irreparably lost by the prospects of bringing to trial a former President of the United States. The prospects of such trial will cause prolonged and divisive debate over the propriety of exposing to further punishment and degradation a man who has already paid the unprecedented penalty of relinquishing the highest elective office of the United States.
Now, THEREFORE, I, GERALD R. FORD, President of the United States, pursuant to the pardon power conferred upon me by Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution, have granted and by these presents do grant a full, free, and absolute pardon unto Richard Nixon for all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has committed or may have committed or taken part in during the period from January 20, 1969 through August 9, 1974.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eighth day of September, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and seventy-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and ninety-ninth.
But it also allowed a President who had acted very badly  in office to get away with his crimes.  Indeed, the criminal extent of his activities may be broader than commonly remembered, as the documentary noted above explored.  We recall, of course, his cover up of the Watergate break in.  What is not nearly as well remembered, however, is that Nixon was also seemingly in contact with elements outside of official channels during the ongoing negotiations over the Vietnam War during his 1968 campaign and his activities may well have been treasonous.  He was called out privately, and obliquely, on these activities by Lyndon Johnson but he was never called to account on them.  Had he been subject to a Federal Grand Jury following his resignation he may well have been.

A better thing to do would have been to leave the possibility, and maybe the fact, of prosecution hanging over his head.  No man is above the law, we're told.  Nixon wasn't, and he paid for his crimes through his resignation, but judicial process was thwarted. The pardoning was a mistake.  By letting Nixon off the hook there's been an implicit understanding that a President really doesn't need to overly worry about being called to account for illegal actions.  Indeed, had Nixon been made to pay for his crimes through criminal prosecution it would have served not only as a lesson that no man is above the law but, moreover, that even Presidents in office can be called into account.  Since Nixon's resignation we've seen Iran-Contra, undeclared wars, and the of course we have the turmoil going on now, all of which might have been deterred had Nixon served as an example of what can happen.

So Ford blundered in pardoning him.

And so too, in my view, was the pardoning of the draft evaders by Jimmy Carter on this day in 1977 an error.

Prior to this event there had been another action by Ford leading up to it.  On September 16, 1974, President Gerald Ford, in a way sort of following up on closing the books on Watergate, started to close them on the Vietnam War, by issuing a conditional amnesty for draft evaders. The amnesty order, or text, provided:
By virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States by Section 2 of Article II of the Constitution of the United States, and in the interest of the internal management of the Government, it is ordered as follows:

SECTION 1. There is hereby established in the Executive Office of the President a board of 9 members, which shall be known as the Presidential Clemency Board. The members of the Board shall be appointed by the President, who shall also designate its Chairman.
SEC. 2. The Board, under such regulations as it may prescribe, shall examine the cases of persons who apply for Executive clemency prior to January 31, 1975, and who (i) have been convicted of violating Section 12 or 6(j) of the Military Selective Service Act (50 App. U.S.C. § 462), or of any rule or regulation promulgated pursuant to that section, for acts committed between August 4, 1964 and March 28, 1973, inclusive, or (ii) have received punitive or undesirable discharges as a consequence of violations of Article 85, 86 or 87 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (10 U.S.C. §§ 885, 886, 887) that occurred between August 4, 1964 and March 28, 1973, inclusive, or are serving sentences of confinement for such violations. The Board will only consider the cases of Military Selective Service Act violators who were convicted of unlawfully failing (i) to register or register on time, (ii) to keep the local board informed of their current address, (iii) to report for or submit to preinduction or induction examination, (iv) to report for or submit to induction itself, or (v) to report for or submit to, or complete service under Section 6 (j) of such Act. However, the Board will not consider the cases of individuals who are precluded from re-entering the United States under 8 U.S.C. 1182(a) (22) or other law.

SEC. 3. The Board shall report to the President its findings and recommendations as to whether Executive clemency should be granted or denied in any case. If clemency is recommended, the Board shall also recommend the form that such clemency should take, including clemency conditioned upon a period of alternative service in the national interest. In the case of an individual discharged from the armed forces with a punitive or undesirable discharge, the Board may recommend to the President that a clemency discharge be substituted for a punitive or undesirable discharge. Determination of any period of alternate service shall be in accord with the Proclamation announcing a program for the return of Vietnam era draft evaders and military deserters.
SEC. 4. The Board shall give priority consideration to those applicants who are presently confined and have been convicted only of an offense set forth in section 2 of this order, and who have no outstanding criminal charges.

SEC. 5. Each member of the Board, except any member who then receives other compensation from the United States, may receive compensation for each day he or she is engaged upon the work of the Board at not to exceed the daily rate now or hereafter prescribed by law for persons and positions in GS-18, as authorized by law (5 U.S.C. 3109), and may also receive travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, as authorized by law (5 U.S.C. 5703) for persons in the government service employed intermittently.

SEC. 6. Necessary expenses of the Board may be paid from the Unanticipated Personnel Needs Fund of the President or from such other funds as may be available.

SEC. 7. Necessary administrative services and support may be provided the Board by the General Services Administration on a reimbursable basis.

SEC. 8. All departments and agencies in the Executive branch are authorized and directed to cooperate with the Board in its work, and to furnish the Board all appropriate information and assistance, to the extent permitted by law.

SEC. 9. The Board shall submit its final recommendations to the President not later than December 31, 1976, at which time it shall cease to exist.
The White House,
September 16, 1974.
The fact that Ford did this so hard on the heels of his pardon of Nixon was not coincidental, in my view.  He was shutting the doors on the entire Vietnam War era.  They'd slam shut for good when Saigon fell with the US refusing to offer aid to the Republic of Vietnam in April of the following year.

While its not really clear from the text, what Ford's order did was to grant amnesty to evaders who hadn't fled the country and hadn't engaged in acts of violence against the US as long as they did two years of public service.   In context, it split the competing desire to put the war behind the country but also not to dishonor those who reported for duty as the law required.  While I'm not thrilled about that either I think that Ford's action do bear up under the test of time here.

Ford's conditional amnesty did a couple of significant things.  It essentially recognized a deep felt opposition to the war as legitimate, but also recognized that national service was likewise legitimate. The two year service obligation was accordingly inserted to recognize that, allowing those who had evaded the draft peaceably to come up from under the weight of the crime, but also acknowledging that a debt of service was owed in an equal length to that for conscripted soldiers who served.  It also refused to acknowledge violence against the United States or to forgive those who fled the country.

On that last item, whether intentional or not, it credited the long American history of protesting a governmental action but being willing to take your lumps.  Going back at least as far as the Mexican War there had been those who refused to acknowledge a governmental action in war but had been willing to go to jail for it, Thoreau being a prime example.  Martin Luther King had followed that tradition  during the Civil Rights Movement resulting in the famous book Letters From A Birmingham Jail.  The gist of it was that if you protest you have to be willing to accept the implications of the protest.  Men who fled to Canada didn't do that.

 Jimmy Carter, a legitimately decent person but not a very good President in all sorts of ways.

Ford of course lost his bid for reelection and Jimmy Carter came in.  On this day in 1977 granted an unconditional pardon to draft evaders. This was his first day in office. As sweeping as that was, the pardon did not apply to deserters and there's never been a pardon that did.  Still, Carter's actions were excessively broad in my opinion.  His short text read:

Acting pursuant to the grant of authority in Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution of the United States, I, Jimmy Carter, President of the United States, do hereby grant a full, complete and unconditional pardon to: (1) all persons who may have committed any offense between August 4, 1964 and March 28, 1973 in violation of the Military Selective Service Act or any rule or regulation promulgated thereunder; and (2) all persons heretofore convicted, irrespective of the date of conviction, of any offense committed between August 4, 1964 and March 28, 1973 in violation of the Military Selective Service Act, or any rule or regulation promulgated thereunder, restoring to them full political, civil and other rights.
This pardon does not apply to the following who are specifically excluded therefrom:

(1) All persons convicted of or who may have committed any offense in violation of the Military Selective Service Act, or any rule or regulation promulgated thereunder, involving force or violence; and

(2) All persons convicted of or who may have committed any offense in violation of the Military Selective Service Act, or any rule or regulation promulgated thereunder, in connection with duties or responsibilities arising out of employment as agents, officers or employees of the Military Selective Service system.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this 21st day of January, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and seventy-seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and first.
The pardon undercut Ford's understanding that there was such a thing as legitimate dissent, but that there was such a thing as illegitimate action in legitimate dissent.  By accepting that people who fled the results of their actions could simply evade them, and by excusing everyone from any kind of service, Carter made a mockery of the service to a degree, of those who complied with the law.  In the end, people who simply didn't go, for whatever reason, were off the hook.

The impact of this, we'd note, has been somewhat permanent.  The rift the draft caused has never fully healed and the concept that those who left were simply let off the hook continues to make those who reported for duty look, to a degree, like schmucks.  The action basically elevated evaders to a certain species of hero, which if they fully evaded without the threat of judicial process, they really weren't, although that threat did exist at the time it must be noted.  And the idea that Canada is a liberal refuge has persisted, which has impacted Canadian politics, in my view, in a way that hasn't done Canada any favors.

Carter was an awful President and his poor decisions commenced right from day one. He is a compassionate man, however.  In this instance, that did not serve him well while in office.

Churches of the West: Traditionalist Anabaptist In Wyoming?

Churches of the West: Traditionalist Anabaptist In Wyoming?:

Starting at some point about six or so years ago, which means its actually probably more like ten years ago as things that occurred about that time seem more recent to me than they really are, I started running into some type of traditionalist Anabaptist from time to time here in Wyoming.
The first ones I ran into were at the rest stop outside of Waltman.  There was a travel trailer there with a flat tire that was being repaired and the people with it were outside of the trailer.  In my naivete, as I didn't expect to run into Anabaptist here, I thought at first "oh. . . reenactors", as the women were all wearing what appeared to me to be very traditional 19th Century style dresses with sun bonnets and the men were wearing straw broad brimmed hats, blue shirts, and jeans; and sporting that type of beard which lacks a mustache.  Very quickly I realized, however, that they weren't reenactors, they were some sort of community of Anabaptist adherents or perhaps a family of Anabaptists traditionalist.
Now, for those for whom this term is a mystery, what I'm referring to is Christians who are members of a traditionalist Anabaptist denomination, such as the Amish, traditionalist Mennonites, or Hutterites.  The most famous of these groups is, of course, the Amish, but there are some Mennoites in Colorado and Nebraska and there are Huttertites in Montana and the prairie provinces of Canada.

Now, while these groups are all Anabaptist, they are not all the same, and I don't want to suggest that they are.  That is not my intent at all.  And while it is my understanding that all Amish are traditionalist in the sense I'm using it (which would likely be grating on their nerves and be regarded as singularly unfair by them), and I think that this is also the case for Hutterites, it is not true for Mennonites.  Indeed, there are Mennonite congregations that are not distinct in dress and which are not otherwise traditionalist such as limiting the use of technology over time.   I'm frankly unclear on which denomination the group I've been seeing belongs to, and that's what I'm curious about.
I've noted above the first instance in which I encountered them.  The second time was, oddly enough, in Sam's Club. There were a group of women who met the description set out above, except I see that their head covering is a simple covering, not a sun bonnet, buying huge lots of flour and other baking goods.  Since then I've run into them here and there, most recently at the past two gun shows here in town.
On the first of those occasions two men and a boy were present selling old farm equipment.  A woman was present selling baked goods, and seemed to be married to one of the men.  The men were all dressed as described save for wearing cowboy boots, which causes me to lean towards Hutterites.  This past weekend they were back but it was two different women and a different man, and they were all selling baked goods. The man was wearing heavy work boots.
The presence of traditionalist Anabaptists in Wyoming would be a new thing and I'm curious.  Does anyone know who they might be, what group they're actually in, and where their community or communities are located?

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Perhaps no one but a hunter can understand how intense an affection a boy can feel for a piece of marsh.

Perhaps no one but a hunter can understand how intense an affection a boy can feel for a piece of marsh…. I came home one Christmas to find that land promoters, with the help of the Corps of Engineers had dyked and drained my boyhood hunting grounds on the Mississippi river bottoms…. My hometown thought the community enriched by this change. I thought it impoverished.

Aldo Leopold.  Draft foreword, A Sand County Almanac, in Companion to a Sand County Almanac.

A Hundred Years Ago: 1918 Advertisement for Skookum Apples

A Hundred Years Ago:  1918 Advertisement for Skookum Apples

Shipping apples all the way to France for your soldier?

Poster Saturday. 17?

At some point during World War Two the Coast Guard apparently targeted 17 year olds eager for service.

Blog Mirror: Yakama Nation's First Bison Hunt In West Yellowstone

Yakama Nation's First Bison Hunt In West Yellowstone

Reintroducing, in a way, that missing natural activity.

Best Post of the Week of January 14, 2018

The best post of the week of January 14, 2018.

You can't (or shouldn't) ignore history and you don't get to make it up.

 In which we take a look at the history of the Church. . . the real history, not the one that some folks like to make up.


The 25th Amendment to the United States Constitution and our Cheery Belief that Age just Doesn't Matter

In which we look at age and politics.

Cultural habituation and personal hypocrisy? A personal pondering.

 In which we look at our own attitudes on age.

There have been what I thought were Hutterites, but which are maybe Amish, at the last two gun shows here. . . .

In which we look at the relentless and aimless, advance of technology in everything.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Patriarch Tikhon of Moscow issues his Anathma Against The Communists. January 19, 1918

By the power given to Us by God, we forbid you to approach the Mysteries of Christ, we anathematise you, if only you bear Christian names and although by birth you belong to the Orthodox Church. We also adjure all of you, faithful children of the Orthodox Church of Christ, not to enter into any communion with such outcasts of the human race: 'Remove the evil one from among you' (I Corinthians 5.13).”

There have been what I thought were Hutterites, but which are maybe Amish, at the last two gun shows here. . . .

they've been selling farm supplies and and backed goods.

So what's that have to do with anything?

Maybe not much.  But they're linked in my mind due to something that's slowly bothering me.

And that is, I don't think we're capable of handling the technology we're creating.

Now, this isn't quite in the "the robots will kill us" vein that some have recently proposed, although I do find artificial intelligence to be disturbing.  This is more in the vein of, contrary to our common cheery belief about ourselves, we're a lazy species that will do nothing if given the option, and that ends up killing us.

Indeed, this is one of the aggravating things about the now popular Universal Basic Income ideas floating around here and there, and now being given a test run in Finland.  The idea is that we give everyone a UBI, funded by taxing others, and that this means that people won't have to work those grunt jobs that they otherwise do, and will spend their time doing wonderful things including advancing themselves so that people who would have spent their lives picking rags in a parking lot will become nuclear physicists.

No, they won't. They'll spend their time, in short order, watching Lisa Vanderpump's latest moronic spoutings on television, even if they think they should get up and turn it off.

There's plenty of proof this world wide, including in our own backyards.  Canada has granted what amounts to a UBI to First Nations groups for quite some time and now is facing a complete destruction of some of the cultures of those groups.  Freed from the need to hunt and fish in their native lands, they do nothing.  To the extent any culture remains, it mostly remains in the hands of women, to a diminished degree, as women always end up bearing the role of raising children no matter what.  A recent study of one such group determined that the loss of knowledge in just a few short years was so extensive that it wouldn't even be possible to urge a resumption of prior native behaviors as the group had completely lost the knowledge of how to hunt and fish in their traditional way.  A complete, and benevolent, cultural destruction.

Here in the US the Los Angeles Times recently asked the question to its readers hypothetically as to one one out of five Californians lives below the poverty line.   Noting that one out of three American welfare receipients lives in California, and that California has generous welfare provisions, the Times concluded: 
The generous spending, then, has not only failed to decrease poverty; it actually seems to have made it worse.
Likewise, if you happen to practice law at all, you'll see the actual manifestation of studies in the US that demonstrate that people who acquire assistance usually go from being horrified by it and wanting off to acclimating themselves to it quite rapidly.  Men and women who first go on assistance and who desperately want off, in a period of months, go to adjusting their lives so as to be stay on it.

I'll note here that I'm not making a moral judgment in regards to this, or at least not in the fashion that it might at first seem.  I wouldn't regard myself as a exception to this rule.  If I suddenly had sufficient assets that I didn't have to work, I wouldn't.  I'd like to think that if I did that I'd spend my time tending my garden, going fishing, and going hunting, but people being who they are, for all I know, I'd spend it watching Hogan's Heroes reruns on television.  There's an instinctual element to this.  

Of course, having worked pretty hard my whole life, and being pretty acclimated to it now, maybe I'd have the opposite problem by this point and be one of those people who find they can't retire.  A couple of fellows that I knew fairly well who retired from very different jobs, but who had always worked their whole lives, ended up going back to work simply because of that. They were so acclimated to it that they couldn't find themselves at peace not working.  Of course, as I have livestock, I'll never really retire anyway.

Anyhow, all of this is why I think that people like the Amish were and are on to something, but I don't think of it in the same fashion that they do.  They eschew technology that the feel makes people proud, and its a human's duty to be humble before God.  I'm not denying that it is a duty to be humble before God, and I think the example of human behavior following World War Two, as every European based society in the Northern Hemisphere became wealthy, is plenty evidence of how badly societies and cultures will act once they figure that they are petty gods,, but that's not quite might point. 

I'm concerned that our technological evolution is so pointless, and by that I mean with out a defined point or direction, that the goal is simply to make things more and more efficient to the point where our ultimate fate is to get fat on the sofa.

What's this have to do with the gun show?

Well, this past week I read that the Wyoming Game and Fish Department was debating some technological advances in hunting and fishing equipment.  They should indeed do that.

One of the advances they were considering concerned advances in crossbows.

I'll confess that I know nothing about crossbows and I'm not a bow hunter, which perhaps makes me a hypocrite in this category as I'm comfortable, obviously, with firearms and a truly "go back" purist would urge the use of bows. But that shows part of the problem here.

Bows came in, here anyway, in the 1970s.  They were part of a movement started by the late Fred Bear who espoused bows as he believed that an increase in the human population would mean one day that everyone would have to go back to bows. Frankly, that strikes me as an example of retroactive justification of your own likes, but whatever.  Anyhow bow hunting came in during that time.  I  think almost all of the younger hunters I know, and quite a few of them my age (and not very many older than me) have taken it up in order to "extent the season."

 One heck of a bow hunter.

One thing that has happened as that's gone on is that bow technology has dramatically improved and that was, frankly, a good thing.  Not too many people could be comfortably lethal, I think, with an old style long bow or an old style recurve bow. Some could, but not many.  The modern compound bows are pretty darned lethal.

But crossbows?

Before we deal with them, let's discuss black powder rifles.

 Bill Williams, 19th Century Mountain Man.

Wyoming doesn't have any designated "primitive" rifle seasons, but a lot of states do.  And I thought they were pretty neat. The problem is, however, that technology and engineering combined to defeat the rules that were originally introduced, and that's the problem that I have with crossbows as well.  Originally the thought was that there should be special seasons, like there are for bowmen, in which the hunter went out with a rifle that resembled one of the old muzzle loading rifles that prevailed before 1865.  They do indeed require skill to use, and you normally, with most of them, get but a single shot.

But, engineers have gone out and made what are basically bolt action rifles that take a preformed charge. These aren't primitive at all, they're just weird rifles designed to circumvent the rules. They're everywhere, however, and I see them all the time as a 4H Shooting Sports leader.  I don't like them.

And that's my concern with crossbows.

Crossbows were always a way to get more effective bow, but they're not a hunting weapon.  They were a weapon of war as they could shove a bolt (arrow) through armor.  But sure enough, as they have a stock, and as they can be made relatively  high tech, engineers have gone out and designed hunting variants.  Most states have banned them for that purpose, but Wyoming has not.

I think it should.  Bow hunting is supposed to be a sport of close range skill.  If you don't have the skill, don't insist on going on during bow season. For that matter, for states with special black powder seasons, I'd limit them to historic black powder type rifles as well.

Which takes me on to the most recent technological developments on modern rifles.

In our super rich high tech society we now see developments coming on which completely defeat any human skill in hunting, or at least shooting.  At that point, a person has lot connection with what they're doing.  And for that matter, I think they should be banned. Scopes that lock in and control the firing, which basically  have been designed but which are currently highly imperfect, probably have a place in war, but hunting is the opposite of war.  Most people most places support the concept of going into the field to gather your own game, but most don't want it to be automatic.

But automation is what we're striving for in everything. We're seeking to replace the farmer with an automatic tractor, for example. 

And we take humans out of the equation, we render ourselves completely pointless and will render our lives worthless.  We'll do nothing but eat and breed.

A smart species would ponder this a bit before getting there.  And then not get there.

There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm.

There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.

Aldo Leopold  A Sand County Almanac.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Cultural habituation and personal hypocrisy? A personal pondering.

Great Depression era occupation education poster.
I've been thinking. Tomorrow it will be 28 years to the day that I've been in the service. 28 years in peace and war. I don't suppose I've been at home more than 10 months in all that time. Still, it's been a good life. I loved India. I wouldn't have had it any other way. But there are times when suddenly you realize you're nearer the end than the beginning. And you wonder, you ask yourself, what the sum total of your life represents. What difference your being there at any time made to anything. Hardly made any difference at all, really, particularly in comparison with other men's careers. I don't know whether that kind of thinking's very healthy, but I must admit I've had some thoughts on those lines from time to time. But tonight... tonight!
Col. Nicholson, to Col. Saito, Bridge on the River Kwai.

I obviously have a lot of thoughts about how things ought to be.  People who have a lot of thoughts on how things ought to be are naturally subject to the query on how well they've applied them, themselves.  Naturally, with so many thoughts, we must have gotten things pretty much right ourselves, right?
Why do you observe the splinter in your brother's eye and never notice the great log in your own?  And how dare you say to your brother, "Let me take that splinter out of your eye," when, look, there is a great log in your own?

I note this as a person could rationally question me on some of those things, and I do indeed question myself on some of them.

 NCHS Assembly, 1981.

I'll be frank that if you had spoken to me in May of 1981, when I was a freshly minted 17 year old graduate from NCHS, and asked me where I hoped to be in, let's say, ten years career wise, you would have met with some hopes and expectations, but they would have been very ill formed at best.  Indeed, for the last couple of years of high school, and high school was only three years long at that time (9th Grade was part of junior high) I'd have told you that I wanted to be a game warden.

For my junior and senior years of high school I meandered towards that end.  When I'd been younger than that I'd wanted to be an Army officer.  But that desire had waned over time and probably had pretty much completely waned by the time I actually entered high school.  If that thought had seriously remained at that time I likely would have entered high school JrROTC, which I didn't.  I still had thoughts of joining the service to experience it, but even those were slacking up.  I ultimately did, but in the form of joining the Army National Guard which was partially in order to simply experience something that every older male I knew had experienced, and additionally in order to be true to myself.  It's one of the career decisions, if that's what itw as, that I've never had any second thoughts or regrets about.
Me in 1986 as a Sergeant in the Wyoming Army national Guard in South Korea.  If you saw a photo of me from high school compared to this, you'd be amazed as I look so much older in this photograph even though, at this time, I was only five years out of high school and just out of my college undergraduate.  Joining the Army National Guard was one of the best post high school decisions I made.

Anyhow, during high school I pretty much lost the desire for an Army career and pondered what it was that I wanted to do. Writing, as in being a journalist, occurred to me, but never enough to stick.  I'd have opted for being a farmer or a rancher in a heart beat, but I was a more realistic person back then than I was to be later and I could tell that there wasn't a way to make that happen.  So it seemed to me that being a game warden was the best option for an outdoor person such as myself.

Soon after I graduated, however, I changed that goal based on a singular piece of advice from my father, which was his simple observation that there were a lot of people around here with degrees in Wildlife Management who didn't have jobs, which was quite true.

It's odd that this had such an impact as he only noted it once, and that in response to a query as to what my plans for college were.  With that simple comment, I decided to change my intended major to geology.

That change was motivated by the fact that, as my mother often noted, I was good at science and my father, a dentist, undoubtedly was very good at it.  Geology, I reasoned, was an outdoor career and that would be the next best thing to being a game warden.

That would prove to be a type of mistake, maybe.  Geology was a really hard field of study, much much more difficult than my later one of law, and frankly I never developed a real love for it.  My goal was mostly for an outdoor career, and geology takes place all outdoors.  I did stick with it, however, which is something I've proven to be really good at post high school for good or ill.

I was pondering changing field by the time I was graduating from Casper College.  This was because, by that time, the market for geologist was tanking and we knew it. When I started in geology in the fall of 1981 the market was so hot that graduates with AS degrees were going right to work. By the time I graduated in 1983 it was so cold that a person needed a graduate degree in geology to find work.  As I was completing my AS degree I really didn't know if I wanted to go on all the way to getting a MS degree.

The simple recommendation that I should consider a career in an "analytical field" as I had an "analytical mind" caused me to consider a career in the law.  That suggestion was made by Casper College history professor Jon Brady whom, I later learned, had a JD.  That same suggestion was made to another Casper College graduate who also now practices law.

Showing, I guess, how simple suggestions can indeed have huge impacts.

Anyhow, as I was graduating with a BS degree in geology it was pretty clear that I wasn't going to get a job so I pondered what to do next.  I thought very seriously about returning to my first goal and going on for a degree in Zoology.  I also thought about going on for a Masters Degree in geology, basically on the "now I have no choice" line of thinking.  And I decided to apply to law school because I had never known an unemployed lawyer and it seemed to me that most of the professionals I knew got to go outdoors a lot and they all seemed to have a lot of interests, most of which didn't have much to do with their lines of work.  I was pretty naive.

One of the things I was naive about was the process of getting into law school, which I knew entailed taking the LSAT but which I didn't realize had the dreaded test status.  Indeed, I didn't know that the test for graduate school, the GRE, had that status either.  I took both.  I was admitted to graduate school at the University of Idaho Department of Geology and to Law School at the University of Wyoming.  I don't remember now how many geology departments I applied to (I know that one was UW,  and that it was nearly impossible for a UW BS graduate to get into our own geology department as they figured it defeated academic diversity) but I know that UW was the only law school I applied to.  I didn't think I'd get in and I didn't want to waste my time applying all over, let alone studying for the LSAT. I scored high on both the LSAT and the GRE (which I also didn't study for) as it turned out.

I took one last run at becoming a game warden, however.  Just after I graduated with my bachelors a friend of mine and I went down to Cheyenne and took the Game Warden's Exam.  Oddly, while my friend had a BS in Biology and I did not, I passed and he didn't.  They didn't offer the test again for years, which his common for the Wyoming Game & Fish, but about three years into my law school career, which would be about six years after I took the test, the Wyoming Game & Fish offered me a summer position.  I would have had to quit my job as a lawyer to take it.  I actually seriously considered it, but I'd just become engaged and I feared that taking a part time job that paid peanuts and giving up a stable law job wasn't wise.  As I've been a lawyer now for nearly 30 years the stability and wage part of that was correct.  Still,  "there are times when suddenly you realize you're nearer the end than the beginning. And you wonder, you ask yourself, what the sum total of your life represents. What difference your being there at any time made to anything. Hardly made any difference at all, really, particularly in comparison with other men's careers."

Anyhow, I've done a lot of odd work over the years.  True, I've been a lawyer since Blackstone was a pup, but I've also raised cattle my entire married life.  I worked on a drilling rig when I was a student.  I was a Sergeant in the Army National Guard.  And because I've seen a lot of blue collar type work, and because my family was always close to agriculture, I've never really accepted the common American view that success is defined by ever increasing wages represented by ever more significant occupation of degreed professions.  My father, who held a DDS, didn't think that way either, although my mother at least somewhat did.  My parents believed that my getting a college degree was important as they knew that my prospects would be poor otherwise, and they quietly encouraged me in that direction, particularly early on in my college career when I questioned it.  At one time, for reasons I can't even recall now, I seriously thought of just quitting after a semester and finding a town job, a decision that, given our economy, would have been a disaster.  And I also at one time asked my father if he could ask a rancher friend of his that he knew well if they might have an opening for a cowboy for the same reason.  I'm sure he never asked. By the time I was in UW those sorts of fleeting flights of discouraged thought had fled and after a semester at UW I knew that I would graduate with a BS in Geology.

So, what's the point of all of this?

Well, even though I've always told myself that I don't think that just because a persons' parents have a college degree or degrees that their children must, and even though I have always maintained that the sons and daughters of dentists and lawyers don't have to have even more strenuous academic degrees I've apparently absorbed enough of that simply by living in the culture, and more particularly by being in a setting in which that kind of thought is constant, that I find I do think that way to at least a degree.

The way that this comes up is this.

One of my son's friends determined to major in Wildlife Management.  He is a big outdoorsman and that was his motivation.  I just found out that, at the end of this Semester, he's going to stop with his AS and work on becoming an electrician.

Now, at the same time, I employ a runner, the daughter of immigrants, who has as her career goal becoming an electrician.

And I oddly find myself thinking that the latter person's goal is great, while the former person's change of plans is sad.

Now, why is that?

I'm not entirely sure myself.

Some of it, I'm pretty sure, is a latent tinge of regret of the "road not taken" type.  That's not a complaint, but frankly I never see a game warden around here and don't envy their jobs a bit.  Now, I have never done that job, and so my envy may well be misplaced.  One game warden who was around here for years and who rose up high in the department, and has now passed away, once told me that he recommended that people who like outdoor activities not take up the field, but get a "good job" (always an elusive category) that allowed them to have time to be outdoors.  Another young warden, however, recently told me that she found time to hunt and fish, and one some time ago spent a lot of time with me talking about shotguns, about which he knew more than a little bit, and obviously found time to use.  Anyhow, having traveled sort of a similar road, in that I know his parents were worried about him finding work, and I suspect that he's about to get engaged, I find that maybe I'm vicariously repeating my past.  It's not that I regret getting engaged all those many years, we're still together after all those many years, but it's like seeing your own past sort of repeat.  If I could go back and get a warden's job, after having been in court for 30 years and having handled a pile of cases and trials I think I'd do it.

Which is easy to say.  Maybe your feeling would always be the other way around and you'd never pass a television show about the law and not wonder. . .I know that in mentioning this idly to a fellow lawyer friend of mine, who has a very German work ethic as, well, he's German he dismissed it instantly, having the same opinion as Jon Brady, noting; "with your inquiring mind you are only suitable for the law and the clergy. . and you couldn't have become a clergyman".   Therefore, he noted, in his Germanic analytical view that my position in the law was a natural and mandatory, the Roman Collar being the only other option, which isn't an option, as I'm married.  I wasn't married, I'd note, at the time I became a lawyer but that's really besides the point as I'm not called to the pulpit.  I'd also note that he has the very distinct German view, related to the American one but even more pronounced, that a child of a professional must become some sort of professional or an engineer.  To do otherwise is an absolute failure.

Well, who knows about all of that.

On the other hand, maybe an element of this is sort of the ingrained American Capitalist/American Dream Imperative.  The next generation must always "do better" because, it must.

Whatever that means.

There's no intrinsic reason to measure success in life in such a fashion.  In the deepest terms possible, a successful life has to be measured with a metaphysical yard stick, not a physical one, and certainly not one based on money or status.  And I believe that.  So it surprises me to find that I have a bit of the more conventional American (I guess) yardstick.

I started pondering this the other day actually before I was aware of the information above actually when I was reminded of the death of a lawyer in Cheyenne that I did not know well, but another lawyer who was with me did.  He was going to visit his grave site in Guernsey on his way home.  I hadn't realized that the deceased lawyer was from Guernsey, but he was.

Indeed, I learned that he was a highly devout Catholic and daily communicant, that he'd grown up in Guernsey and Wheatland, married his high school sweetheart and had three children. Two of the children, an obituary I saw, were physicians.

Now that started me to think a bunch of various thought on this topic.  For one thing, it's interesting how he retained a connection to Guernsey, a small railroad/military/farming town in Wyoming.  He wanted apparently to be buried there. Does that signal a connection with a person's hometown that's deeper than the one they lived  during their careers?  Maybe.  Indeed, just today I saw an obituary of a man who had grown up in Oklahoma but spent all his post service career in Wyoming.  The internment was in Oklahoma.  It must have remained dear to him.

Anyhow, that struck me.  It's interesting how often a person's career takes him away from what he loves, maybe for most of a person's life, and its often the case that the "better" that career is, the more likely that is.  Of course, in my case, that's not true.  I live in the town I grew up in, and over the years five of my co-workers (now down to two) share that distinction.  And part of that is because I do love the region, and the state, and the outdoors here.  If I were from Guernsey and moved to Cheyenne to work, would I think the same thing?  It's not really far, but I wonder.

The same obituary, however, as noted had the two out of three children who were doctors. Those individuals were, of course, residents of Cheyenne in their youth, not Guernsey. Are they metaphysical successes, as the late lawyer mentioned above was?  Well, I don't know, but I often wonder about things like that.  People will "brag on" their children's careers, but sometimes that's all there is to brag about in that context (I'm not saying that about these people, I don't know them).  That is, I've known people who I admired for one reason or another but who had one or more children that had high paying careers but which I'd otherwise regard as failures, often because money was all they cared about.  Still, in my line of work I very often hear about children of lawyers who become lawyer or doctors and its' hard not to pick up the view that this is some sort of mandatory norm.

Of course it isn't.  I've sort of known to sheriff's officers whose fathers were physicians or dentist.  As we're not in medieval guilds, we are free to go the path we'd like to, and indeed it seems we should irrespective of real or imagined social expectations.

Indeed, I'm sure that I never lived up to any social expectations myself.  When I graduated from high school and entered college I remember, at one point very early on, telling one of my friends who was going on into engineering that I wasn't too sure I'd make it through college.  I'm not sure why I thought that. My friend scoffed and said that if anyone was going to make it through college out of our group, I would. That proved partially correct.  Out of our close group of friends, two did not graduate although I'd regard all of them as successful.  The one that spoke those words dropped out when he married after nearly four years in university to go to work, and ultimately ended up a business owner, now retired.  Another who planned on being a dentist took a summer job in an electrical shop and never looked back, now being one of the owners of that establishment.  The third could never find work in his chosen academic field, music, and went on into computers, which he was always good at, but acquired a MBA on the way.  I guess my path diverted too.  I didn't become an employed geologist and ended up a lawyer instead. Shades of Truckin' there, I suppose:
Truckin', like the do-dah man. Once told me "You've got to play your hand"
Sometimes your cards ain't worth a dime, if you don't lay'em down,
Sometimes the light's all shinin' on me,
Other times I can barely see.
Lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip it's been.
* * *
Truckin', up to Buffalo. Been thinkin', you got to mellow slow
Takes time, you pick a place to go, and just keep truckin' on.

Truckin. . . something that I'm sure most people who know me never expected to see here.

Hmmmm. . . ..

Or maybe not.

There is a Boarding House. . .glimpses of the earlier world.**

Well anyhow.

Who knows.  It's interesting how you acquire a set of views and standards but sometimes those are pretty heavily impacted by those people you are around one way or another.  My egalitarian father impacted my views very heavily on and those are the ones I think I retain.  Living in a different world however, I've clearly picked up a lot of "American" views whether I sought to or not.

I guess everyone hopes for something along the lines of the final scenes for Wil Andersen, the tough cowboy figure in the movie The Cowboys, in which he observed.
Wil Andersen:  Every man wants his children to be better than he was.  You are.
It's funny how we often don't really grasp what we think of that ourselves, however.  People 's standards are often expressed one away and manifested in another, or even expressed in diametrically opposed ways from time to time.

Takin Care Of Business. . . the slacker anthem of the Baby Boomers. . . a generation that went on to exceed their parents in materialism and dedication to it, and to complain that millennials were slackers.
*My father very rarely gave any career type advice, or any life type advice for that matter.  In fairness to him, I grew up really fast as a teenager as my mother was extremely ill and for much of that time I basically was without a mother in practical terms and it was just me and my father.  One of my very good friends today takes the position that I basically never had a childhood and went right to being an adult. That's not true, and in actuality I did have a childhood, but my teen years were highly accelerated from those years to my adult ones because that's the way life made it.  I don't have regrets about that as life isn't fair and people who bitch about a thing like that are expecting more than a person can reasonably expect.

I'd additionally note, however, that this was the same in some ways for my father.  His father died when he was in his late teens and he went right to being a responsible adult.  In some ways his career decisions were a little compelled by my Irish American grandmother who couldn't stand for the thought of her oldest highly intelligent son working in the Post Office for the rest of his life, which was basically my father's plan after he went to work there following my grandfather's death.  He started off in engineering, as he was a natural at math, but switched to dentistry following the example of an older brother in law who took that up following his return from the Submarine service during World War Two.  My father was really good at everything medical but, like almost all of the local dentist and doctors of that generation, he was sort of  dispossessed agriculturalist at heart, something that had a pretty big impact on me.

Anyhow, given that he sincerely felt that a person had to find their own way, and because he'd had to find his own way himself, he just basically didn't give life advice.  When he did, it tended to be in the rare form of a simple observation, such as noted above, and you really listened to it as it was in fact so rare and he knew so much.

**Old Soldiers Never Die.  Another glimpse of the earlier world, based musically on There Is A Boarding House.

Industry Stopped. The Industry Vacation of 1918

This week in 1918 the United States was day one into an ordered five day industry work stoppage east of the Mississippi, where most American industry was in fact located, something absolutely phenomenal for a nation at war.

The phenomenal move was brought about by a coal shortage and what that meant for food transportation and heating homes.  As American industry was coal fired the thought and hope was that a few days off would give the government time to address the crisis, which was indeed becoming a crisis.

So, as the country started to see some of its first casualties in Europe, the news at home wasn't exactly cheery.

106th Engineers, Colonel Lytle Brown, commanding, Camp Wheeler, Ga., Jan. 18th, 1918

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Mesa Verde, 1918.

A panoramic photograph of Mesa Verde from 1918.

I've been to this location a couple of times, many years ago.  It's very impressive indeed. And you could stand in these same locations today and see largely the same views.

But, imagine how much harder it was to visit in 1918.

Tourist did come. . .but what an expedition, even in minor terms, that then was.

124th Infantry (formerly Second Florida), Col. Walter S. McBroom, commanding, Camp Wheeler, Ga., Jan. 16th, 1918

A Nation Of Immigrants

Sometime over this past week President Trump may have called some foreign nations from which we receive some immigrants a vulgar name.  He denies it, and while it seemed pretty clear at first that it had happened, some in the room don't recall him saying it either. 

At any rate, this has thrown immigration into the spotlight and, as predictable, a political figure appeared on Meet The Press and repeatedly used the common phrase "We're a nation of immigrants".  I had to give a Republican figure credit for noting a study which found that if we let everyone in the country who wanted in, it would increase our population by 700,000,000 immigrants.

And that's something we should pause and consider.

Not because it's going to happen overnight, but rather because our official policy is unending large scale immigration partially because "we're a nation of immigrants"

I've written recently on immigration here on our post Everyone is wrong about American Immigration Policy.  I know that nobody is going to follow my advice on this, but the idea that we must have immigration because "we're a nation of immigrants" is simply stupid.

It might be true, unless of course you are a Native American in which that statement must be a bitter one indeed, but just because a nation was something isn't a defense to anything.  We were a nation of slaveholders as well, which doesn't justify slavery.

And in real terms a nation has to consider immigration in the context of what its trying to do, and if it can do it.  Ireland, for example, couldn't take in the number of immigrants that we do, but Russia surely could.  How long can we take in immigrants at the current rate before the nation suffers in some fashion because of it, and what rate is sustainable or unsustainable?

Whatever the answer to those questions are, that fact that most of the people in this country descend from immigrants isn't really relevant to the current discussion.  In any sense.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Wyoming Equality Day/Martin Luther King Day

Today, for Wyomingites, is both Wyoming Equality Day and Martin Luther King Day for 2018.  A state, and a Federal holiday, both celebrating the same basic inherent right.

State and Federal employees get the day off and there will be recognitions of the day around the state. A few non governmental employers provide the day off as well.  I note some churches provide the day off for their employees.

How about you?  Did you work the day?

Sincere ignrance and conscientious stupidity.

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.

Martin Luther King, Jr.
Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
Read more at:
Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
Read more at:

The 25th Amendment to the United States Constitution and our Cheery Belief that Age just Doesn't Matter

The 25th Amendment to the United States Constitution has been getting a lot of discussion recently.  It states:
Section 1. In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.
Section 2. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.
Section 3. Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.
Section 4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.
Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.
A personal comment or two.

 My mother, as a young woman.

My mother was highly intelligent.  I can legitimately say that she may have been a genius.  She was never tested for that, but then her mother had pulled her out of school, along with her sisters, at age 16 in order to go to work. All the girls were sent to work as the Great Depression was raging in Canada at the time and my grandfather's occupation as a real estate broker wasn't paying all the bills and it certainly wasn't leaving anything spare to send the boys to university.  It was a harsh decision, and my mother resented it for the rest of her life, but my grandmother, faced with seven teenagers to feed, several boys to provide for who had to be educated so that they could grow to support families of their own, and a beloved husband who (we'd now realize) suffered from anxiety issues that made him inclined to drink, had no other choice. So she did what she felt she had to do.

This isn't about that, however.

While she was pulled out of school, she later went on to graduate college and she was extremely intelligent.  My father was undoubtedly a genius, but my mother wasn't far behind, if behind at all.

As I've alluded to here before, at some point, in her 40s she began to be afflicted with an illness that severely, for a time, impacted her state of mind.  She recovered largely, but never fully, some time after that, by which time she must have been in her 50s and approaching her 60s.  She'd live another 30 years and for more of that time was much better off, her state of mind having have largely recovered.  Late in life, however, she began to suffer dementia.  I suppose we all endured that for a period of about five years before she died in her early 90s, a fairly early death actually for her family.

The point of this is this.  I know a lot of people in their 80s and 90s whose minds never dim.  I've even met a person or two near 100 who remained perfectly mentally agile.  But we can't guarantee that with anyone, including ourselves.  And yet we keep electing people to office as if this is the case.

Theodore Roosevelt was one of the most intelligent and mentally agile Presidents we've ever had.  We read about him here from time to time in our tracing of events in the time period this blog focuses on.  He was 60 years old at the time of his death and those who knew him well noted that in his last year he was declining rapidly, including in his mental abilities.  This was attributed at the time, and still is in large degree, to his reaction to the death of his son Quentin, but there it is.  Woodrow Wilson, who we also have been reading about a great deal here, was just slightly older than Roosevelt and died at age 66.  He died of a stroke, the second one he had, with his first one being in office, so perhaps my citing this example is a bit unfair as medical science has advanced a great deal since that time.

Ronald Reagan died of Alzheimer's, the horrific disease that causes dementia.  He was 70 years old when he took office, which seemed ancient at the time, and 74 when he took office the second time, completing his office at age 74.  Although its furiously debated, some people, including one person I knew with a highly medical mind, maintained that towards the completion of that last term he was suffering from Alzheimer's.  I recall hearing that from that individual repeatedly, based simply on remote televised observation, and then low and behold he actually did have it later on.

Based upon my limited up close and person experience with the dementia of old age, the signs appear to some degree, often subtly, well in advance of it really setting in hard.  My mother indeed was able to cope with the onset and disguise it for a long time through highly developed habits until it simply couldn't be hidden anymore. At that point, the decline set in.

The reason that I'm mentioning all of this is not to argue that President Trump has dementia.  Some are arguing that, but I'm not.  I don't know his mental or physical state at all.  I do feel that there are odd outbursts and habits that concern me, however.  I also feel, however, that he tends to come across as a brash New Yorker and they often have mannerisms that irritate nearly anyone who is not from the East Coast.  And I know that he's been a very rich man for a very long time, which is a condition which can insulate a person from ever having to correct their more annoying personal habits.  So, I'm not saying that the 25th Amendment should be invoked to depose the President.  Not at all.  Indeed, I'm sure it won't happen.

But I do think that this is one more example of how American culture, heavily under the wheel of the hands of the Baby Boom generation, is playing with fire.  Donald Trump is 71 years old now.  Just a little older than Reagan was when he took office.  Hillary Clinton is presently 70 years old.  We have members of the United States Supreme Court who are in their 70s or 80s.  Statistically, we already should have had a Supreme Court Justice or an older President who has had dementia set in hard, given the ages we seem to be dealing with.  We won't get so lucky as to be able to avoid that forever.

Page Updates 1918

Updates to Pages for 2018

January 15, 2018.  Old thread on Quotes About Agriculture converted to a page.

THIS law of nature

THIS law of nature, being co-eval with mankind and dictated by God himself, is of course superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times: no human laws are of any validity, if contrary to this; and such of them as are valid derive all their force, and all their authority, mediately or immediately, from this original.

William Blackstone

The 2018 Wyoming Legislative Session.

Another one of our trailing posts.

It hardly seems possible, but the 2018 Wyoming Legislative session is soon to begin and bills are now being filed in earnest.

As we know from following prior sessions, most of the bills introduced won't make it to the floor, and that is particularly true this year as this is a budget, not a general, session. So in order to see the light of legislative day, there will have to be 2/3s support from the body to even consider a bill.  That will happen for just a few.

Anyhow, let's see what's in the hopper so far.

1.  Aviation topics.


Okay, there are none, but there were some being considered. They seem to have died off for the time being but there was some serious examination of potentially subsidizing air travel between the smaller communities in the state.

I frankly wish this would happen.  It's not going to happen this session, but maybe its not dead. To my surprise, it was better received than I would have supposed.

2.  Opiate Crisis

President of the Wyoming State Senate Eli Bebout has indicated he wants to focus on the Opiate Crisis this legislature and form a body to study it.  In response, a well known physician interviewed by the Casper Star Tribune has said there is no Opiate Crisis in Wyoming.

I don't know if there's a crisis or not, but the abuse of prescription opiates has been going on big time for a long, long time.  For that reason, I've been skeptical of the "crisis" term nationally, as it seems to be one of those crises that occur when people suddenly notice a bad situation that's been going on for a long time.

Which doesn't need that it doesn't need to be addressed.  It does.  Nationwide.

3.  Don't change that clock.


One legislator, for the second time, has introduced a bill into committee to keep Wyoming on Daylight Savings Time year around.

Frankly, I hate the fact that we play with the clock and I'd like to keep us on standard time year around.  So I am kind of sympathetic with this bill, although I think it odd to keep us on the fake Daylight Savings Time rather than standard  time.  There's some logic in his position, however, as it turns out, to my surprise, that we're only on standard time for four months out of the year. Bizarre.

Anyhow, I'm sure that this bill will also go nowhere and there's already criticism of it by another legislator.

Well, so much for now. We'll be back.

January 15, 2018.


Sunday, January 14, 2018

Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives. January 14, 1918.

Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives.  Palestinian woman in foreground.  January 14, 1918.

Cheery Sunday Morning News. . .

from the New York Times, and just on the eve of the 1918-1919 Influenza Pandemic
The influenza season is just getting started in the United States, and it already promises to be more severe than usual. Hospital emergency rooms are filling up with flu sufferers, and pharmacies have reported medicine shortages. Twelve children had died as of last month. To make matters worse, in Australia, which experienced its flu season four to six months ago, the current vaccine appeared to be only about 10 percent effective against this year’s dominant strain.
Yet as bad as this winter’s epidemic is, it won’t compare with the flu pandemic that is almost certainly on the horizon if we don’t dedicate energy and resources to a universal vaccine.
Influenza pandemics occur when a novel animal flu virus acquires the ability to infect humans and they, in turn, transmit it to other humans. The 1918-19 Spanish flu epidemic (which despite the name may have originated in the American Midwest) killed 50 million to 100 million around the globe. Accounts at the time described people falling ill in the morning and dying that night.