Monday, October 31, 2016

Dark Money

The Casper Star Tribune is running a series on "dark money", that being money of organizations that they can spend on political campaigns and which isn't attributed to a candidate.

It's well worth reading.

One legislature complained to me a couple of sessions ago about how organizations, and he had in mind one, were ruining or had in fact ruined Wyoming's politics by flooding the system with money.  The Tribune makes the point that this can cause legislators to be representing interests other than their constituents. 

Today's article addresses the Wyoming Liberty Group, an organization that is sometimes described as conservative but which also clearly has some libertarian views.  They've been a major player in the state the past few years.  They also have a voice outside their own blog locally in that Chuck Gray, a local Republican candidate who has been rather brash in his hard right views, has a radio show on his father's station (Gray is only in his mid 20s and would be an unlikely public figure but for that) features their people frequently.  According to the Tribune the founder of the group is retiring and its being taken over by a "mainstream" Republican, but given the disintegration of the GOP over the past year, in part because of the rise of extreme positions such as those held by the WLG, what that even means in the modern context must be open for question. Anyhow, it's ending, apparently, some of its more controversial actions.

This year it is asking for legislators to pledge they won't raise taxes, which most are refusing to sign on to.  Perhaps legislators are regaining some independence of thought.  Certainly with the national example of what can happen, they'd be wise to do so.

Monday at the Bar: Courthouses of the West: Jefferson County Courthouse, Port Arthur Texas.

Courthouses of the West: Jefferson County Courthouse, Port Arthur Texas.:

This is the courthouse for Jefferson County, Texas, in Port Arthur.

This courthouse is one of the many public works projects courthouses Built during the Great Depression.  As the sign for the courthouse notes, it was built in 1935 and 1936, at time during which the fortunes of Port Arthur frankly look to have been better than they currently are.

The Wyoming Tribune for October 31, 1916: Wyoming Guard returning?

On the last day of October, the Wyoming Tribune was reporting rumors that the Wyoming and Colorado National Guard would be returning to Wyoming to muster out.

A big Russian offensive in the war was big news, and the Tribune was campaigning for the Republican candidates.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Wyoming Tribune for October 30, 1916. War in Europe and a special on outrages in Mexico

The Tribune, which always angled towards the sensational, was in peak form for its Monday October 30, 1916, edition.

Sunday Morning Scene: Churches of the West: Our Lady of the Pines Catholic Church, Story Wyoming

Churches of the West: Our Lady of the Pines Catholic Church, Story Wyoming

This is Our Lady of the Pines in Story, Wyoming. This Catholic Church is served by the parish in Sheridan, Wyoming.

This church is in a spectacular mountain setting.

Ruins of the Chateau of Contalmaison, October 30, 1916.

LOC Title:  Photograph shows ruins of the chateau at Contalmaison, 30 October 1916. It was captured by the 23rd Division on 10th July 1916 during the Battle of the Somme during World War I. (Source: Flickr Commons project, 2015)

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Poster Saturday. The Australian Referendum

This poster relates to the October 28, 1916, non binding referendum on whether Australia should introduce conscription. The "no" vote narrowly prevailed and Australia did not enact conscription during World War One.

Given the popular image of Australia in both wars, it would be a surprise to learn that there was always a strong working class element in Australian politics that were less than keen on the wars and Australian manhood did not volunteer for the wars uniformly.  By 1916 Australian enthusiasm for the war was falling off and sufficient volunteers were not coming in.  This does not take away from the valiant effort of the Australian soldiers during the war, but the concept that all Australians share in their heroism is just flat out a myth.

And so it was during World War Two as well. During the Second World War soldiers severing overseas were volunteers for much of the war.  Quite a few mustered Australians were at first liable only for service at home, and only late in the war did that change. At least some of the conscripted units were rather poor in combat due to the poor attitudes of the troops in them.  Australian dock workers were so left leaning that the U.S. Navy found them unreliable and had to rely on its own manpower for longshoremen duties for part of the war.

Again, this isn't to suggest that Australia didn't fight valiantly in both World Wars, but rather to note that Australian internal politics have always been sharply divided between the left and the right with the parties on the left generally not keen on overseas involvement.  Social factors, such as retained Irish nationalism in some quarters, played into things as well.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Holscher's Hub: USS Texas. The only surviving dreadnought in the world.

USS Texas. The only surviving dreadnought in the world. San Jacinto Battlefield State Park, Texas.

Keeping with our theme of the 1910s, we're reposting our Holscher's Hub post of photographs of the USS Texas, which was commissioned in 1914 and went right to a mission of the coast of Mexico at the time.

These are photographs of the USS Texas. The date stamp, fwiw, is in error. These were taken in  October, 2016.

The  Texas is the last Dreadnought on earth.  One pre dreadnought battleship exists, a Japanese example, and several post dreadnought battleships. But these ships, which formed the backbone of every major fleet in the world in the early 20th Century, are down to this example.  She was launched in 1912 and commissioned on 1914. A major ship in her day, while she served all the way through World War Two, and provided support to amphibious landings in Europe and the Pacific, she was
already somewhat antiquated at the time of her commissioning.  Super dreadnoughts, like the Arizona, were already being launched prior to her commissioning.  Still, she was a ship of many firsts, including being the first US ship to mount anti aircraft guns.

 San Jacinto Monument as viewed from the USS Texas.