Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 exits, and 2017 begins

“The old order changeth, yielding place to new,
And God fulfils himself in many ways,
Lest one good custom should corrupt the world
Tennyson, The Passing of Arthur.

I know that years, as a measurement of time, are somewhat arbitrary in their calculation.  Why not have them run from June 1 to May 31, for example?

Well, we don't.  And being a calculating species, the calculations mean something.

I can honestly say that while I doubt it would be apparent to many people who know me, unless they know me very well, 2016 was one of the hardest years of my adult life.

It started off, I suppose, sometime mid winter, maybe even in December 2015. I've completely lost track of it but some time ago we had to move my mother from what I'd call a nursing home into an assisted living facility.  I thought she's like that better, and maybe in the end she did, but that was hard.  Anyhow, sometime in the middle of the winter things really began to change.  Her already impaired memory rapidly began to decline.  And then her health followed.  This was followed by endless trips to the emergency room until an honest doctor informed us the end was really here and we could just best prepare for it.  At that time, we supposed it to be days, but it became weeks, as her tough old physical self refused to go where her mind had already gone.

My mother, as a young adventuresome soul.

My relationship with my mother had been strained since some point in my early teens but one of the odd twists of fate that occurs in life is that my father, who stuck with her in a way that truly did honor to their Catholic marriage vows, died just as an earlier condition of her began to stabilize.  He was 62 years old at the time, nine years older than I am now, and that had been a hard thing for him. That left me and my mother in that relationship and in a lot of ways it repaired itself as a result.  Later that left me and my wife with dealing with the devastating decline in her health and mental status and we carried the ball on that, helped by my father's fantastic siblings, for years.

She finally passed away in April.

You will hear people guiltily proclaim such things to be a relief. I don't know that I've felt that in any sense so much as a vacuum, and its hard to describe.  I'm an only child and now the framework of my early life is gone in a temporal sense.  In a other worldly sense it seems more real than ever, however.  To some degree the burden of my mother's illnesses has gone and the mother I had back before I was 13 is strangely present.

In another, however, I feel like I lost both parents this year.  I hadn't really realized it but the need to take up where my father had left off when he died kept me from fully feeling the impact of his loss even though we were very close.  Filling his shoes at home was a huge job, and I never did it adequately by a long shot, but it took up a lot of the space that grief would have filled.  Now that its gone, the grief came in late with it. 

Me and my father at the local fish hatchery, about 1966.

January through April, therefore, was a nightmare.  Weeks thereafter weren't much better as we dealt with all the things that a death brings along.  It was a hard winter and spring.

Death didn't stop there, however.  Just before my mother died, her brother Mark died.  I didn't really know Mark and I'm not sure if I ever met him.  He was the sibling of my mother's that I knew the least about. She was quite close to her brothers and sisters but for whatever reason Mark is one that I just heard less about.  I only talked to him once in recent years and at that time it was quite clear that he was very confused, not a good sign, so old age was catching up with him.  My mother, in a state of decline, reacted not at all to it really, which I suppose was a good thing.

Locally, just as my mother started to decline one of the male relatives in my extended family did as well.  He was really the last of my father's generation or near generation of my collection of local male relatives left alive. My Uncle Bob died some time ago as had my Uncle Bill.  My Uncle Frank is very much alive be he is quite a bit younger than my father.  Joe was a contemporary of Bill's and like him a World War Two veteran.  With him, it seems to me, the last of the giants of my youth have passed on and those of us left behind can hardly measure up to them.

As if that wasn't enough two more death visitations hit before the year ended, indeed within the last few weeks. One was the death of the husband of a high school colleague of mine.  This is the second time she's lost a husband. This one passed when a blood clot developed following knee surgery, and therefore it was unanticipated.  A true tragedy that left her with two distraught teenage daughters.

The second was the odd news that my grandmother's estate in Quebec is winding down.  It's been open since the 1970s. That seems nearly impossible in the American context but it had something to do with providing money from the sale of her house in Montreal to support an uncle in a nursing home.  He's still in the nursing home so something must have been worked out, but its odd to think of.  This year, as my mother became increasingly ill, she was asking about her own mother and if she was still alive.  Now, in an odd way, her mother's estate has come back to visit us after her daughter passed on, the third of her daughters to do so.

In the spring my son graduated from high school.   That is of course a happy event, but it's hard not to be a bit self reflective about it, particularly in a year like this.  I'm not going to go into it in depth, but what it does bring to me how very, very fast we grow up and into adulthood, and for that matter how fast adulthood passes us by. At age 53 the horizon of my time here on Earth is clearly visible. That doesn't bother me all that much but it does make me realize how very poorly I compare to my father and his role as my father.  I wish I'd been that good of father to my children, but I haven't been and I'm well aware of it.

Some of that is occupational and some of it isn't.  I've come to be very much aware of that this past year as well.

Occupationally I've worked now for nearly 27 years as a trial attorney, and I'm using the term advisedly, i.e., "trial attorney".  Plaintiff's lawyers have appropriated that term as if they're the only trial attorneys that there are, but that's complete bs. There's no trial without a defense and plaintiff's lawyers are no more or less trial lawyers than defense litigators are. For that matter, I've long thought that the real trial lawyers out there are the state's prosecutors and the public defenders, both of whom are in trial all the time.

Anyhow, civil litigators, which may be a better term for trial attorneys, don't make the best spouses and parents, I think.  It's a really stressful occupation and it follows a person home everyday.  Additionally, and as I've tracked continually on this blog, civil litigators travel constantly and this means that you aren't there a lot.  I've missed birthdays of my children, spouse and late mother, via travel.  I was out of town in a trial when my daughter became quite ill as a young child and I was in trial when the outside water line froze.  All this means that my wife had to do double duty quite a few times, including times when my mother was quite sick, and that's a hard and unfair thing.  Additionally an occupation that trains you to interrogate and argue and which regards those as virtues will impact your personality at least to some degree, and probably not universally in a good way.  Looking back on it, it's pretty clear to me that my own father was much more patient and caring than I have been in the same role.  He wasn't a lawyer and he was always there.

Of course, it's easy to pin the blame on something other than on ones self, and maybe that's just it, frankly.  Probably my father was just flat out a better person than I am.  I certainly cannot be one of those people who laments the faults of his father, to be sure, as mine are much more manifest than his.  My personality may be such that I would tend to exhibit a lot of these traits no matter what, who knows?

Anyhow, given the passing of my remaining parent and the arrival in adulthood of my son, these defects have been quite glaring, in my view.  I have pondered those a fair amount.

I noted travel above and this year has had some unique travel incidents that added to the general gloom of the year.  In January 2016, just after the turn of the year, I had my 2007 Dodge D3500 develop a critical exhaust problem which required me to seek assistance immediately, which in this case meant driving all the way back to Casper in sub zero weather without stopping and, moreover without slowing down too much.  Quite the adventure that only those with diesel particulate filters would be familiar with.  The exhaust system of that now old truck had to be rebuilt.  In late summer I went to my mother's old house to pick up my son, who now lives there while attending college, so that we could go to Cody.  I had a pretrial hearing that morning and he was coming along.  It was early, early, and as he didn't come to the door, I briefly waited and then decided to go to the door and knock. Even though I have never done this before, I forgot to set the parking break and left the truck in neutral.  As I was at the front door, I heard a rolling sound and . . . to make a long story short it rolled down the block as I ran after it until what was going to happen was obvious.

 Sigh. . . .

And what was going to obviously happen is that it was going to hit a house.  Yes, a house.  But, oddly enough, or perhaps not, it executed a nice backwards right turn and swung off to the side of a sides street, hitting a tree and bouncing into a Subaru, which it destroyed.   My truck was pretty badly damaged but workable and I drove it to Cody that day, but not before I was made a little late by a really long delay as a real jerk of a policeman investigated the thing.  It's the second time a member of my family has had to interact with Officer Crabby who is, frankly, an asshole to deal with even when you fully admit its your fault.  He needs to retire. . . to Syria.

Anyhow, that was a bad deal but I have a lot of vehicles and so it wasn't a huge inconvenience when I was down to my Jeep, which I drive most days anyhow.

It was inconvenient when, a couple of weeks later while my Dodge was in the body shop I hit an elk with the Jeep.  Uff.


It had to be hauled into town. We were lucky that I was driving really slowly at the time, but it sure did the damage. So, at that point, I had a Jeep and my Dodge D3500 in the body shop.  Before the Jeep came out, sure enough, my wife's Tahoe went in for some fender damage it sustained in a parking lot.

No sooner had the D3500 come out of the shop and the check engine light went on.  This meant it had to go into the garage, which it did. While there it was determined that it needed a new clutch, which isn't cheap for a big truck of that type.  Went it came home it went back out in the field, hunting, next weekend and the check engine light came back on with an exhaust warning.  Usually the diesel particulate filter will burn off but it wouldn't, so it had to go into the deisel shop for that.  It was there for a long time while they worked on the exhaust and when I got it out they warned me right away that it might need new injectors but they didn't do them as they were pricey.  Well, I didn't even make it home before the light went back on. Sure enough, I needed new injectors.

To cap it off, early this month I drove to Pinedale in arctic weather and the light went back on. Fortunately, this time, it was something really minor and was back out of the shop within a day.

At some point in this vehicular saga my wife suggested that maybe I should consider looking for a new truck.  I bought this one new in 2007.  I'm really disinclined to do that as I like the truck and if I were to do it I'd have to buy a really pricey one to get the same thing I have now, a 1 ton manual transmission truck.  I'm down to Dodges, really, which is okay as that's what I like anyhow, but it's clear the options for manual transmissions are dwindling.  That actually argues for getting a replacement now, while I can, but I drive the Jeep most days and have a foolish notion in my head that at age 53 I won't ever need to buy another vehicle.

Indeed, I started the year off hoping to finish improving the Jeep to where I want it to be, which would have required adding an external tailgate rack to it and adding a winch but I gave up on that due to all the vehicle expenses.  Maybe next year. And with all the money that's now gone into the D3500, I'm keeping it.  It only has 140,000 miles on it and I figure it's good for at least another 140,000.  Besides, somewhere in this mix I'd bought new tires for it and I hardly have any miles on them.  I do regret not switching out to higher walled tires, however, as I've always found that this truck doesn't have the clearance it should.  Now that it's old, and I've done a lot of work to it, however, I'm going to definitely get higher walled tires next time around.

That's because I get that truck stuck in the snow nearly every year and have this year, while elk hunting, which of course I did this year. This is so routine for me, however, that it's not in the list of unfortunate events.  I do that every year.

Which was on one of the few days this year I was able to go hunting.


I've complained about this already, and if you ask my wife she'll tell you that I'm wrong, that I went hunting every weekend during big game season, but that just isn't true.  It isn't true as, for the first time in my life, I didn't draw an antelope tag.  I also didn't draw a deer tag, but of course I could and did go general.  I drew elk tags, however.

This is a matter of some frustration and part of it is my fault. I could have and should have put in for landowners tags for antelope, but I didn't.  I didn't as I wanted to be able to range over the entire area, not just the place the landowners tags pertained to, which is ironic as last year I shot an additional antelope on that very land.  But neither my son nor I drew.  Very disappointing.  And frankly it makes me a bit miffed, which I generally am not, on how licenses are apportioned.

We went general deer, but that was frustrating as Rob's goons followed us all over to make sure that we didn't step foot on private land, which I will remember next general election when he's running for reelection.  We never did, but we could have gotten a deer but for that.  But we also could have gotten one if I hadn't been so busy.

Now, a person with work in an area that's having a big down turn cannot or should not complain about being busy and I'm really not, but that was part of it.  I didn't have the time to devote to it this year like I normally do. That was a big part of my lack of success for elk as well, which I've already lamented. Added to that, when the weather finally turned to where t he elk hunting got good my son was in finals so that meant I was doing it as a solo project. That's not easy, but it also was an odd thing I hadn't really experienced since I was his age.  Indeed, it made me look back at that period when I was in university and he was here.  I kept wondering why he wasn't getting out for big game. Well, now I know, too late to appreciate it.

Being busy has, this year, added to my waist line. My weight routinely varies by about five pounds and I haven't gained weight, but I have gained girth.  This doesn't make me fat, but going into 2017 I need to do something about that.  My trousers are tight and I don't like that.  This is due, again in part, to being really busy.  If you are getting up early, working all day, and coming home tired at night you likley aren't going to get a lot of exercise.  And I'm not one of those people who feels comfortable going to a hotel gym.  Wait, I'm not one of those people who feels comfortable going to any gym.  This has never been a problem for me as I'm not a heavy eater, but when you are not getting a lot of exercise during the day it can start to become one.  This year I need to loose a few pounds, which is not all that easy to do really.

Somebody who has lost a few pounds is my son, which is due to the effect of living outside the house.  My wife is a good cook and its always easy to eat more of anything if you aren't the one cooking.  Now that he's living outside the home, in my mother's old house, he's cooking for himself and he's not bad, but like a lot of single adult men, you just don't feel like whipping up three big squares a day.  One will do, and that tends to be a single course meal generally.  I well recall it from when I moved to Laramie and lived on my own, although I have to say that we weren't exactly doing much fancy eating at home at that time anyhow.

As noted, he's now living in my mother's old home here in town while he attends college, which is working out well.  However, the house itself turned out to be one of the years events.  

My mother loved her house and when she became ill I kept it.  I feared, and I am certain that I am right, that if I had sold it it would have killed her.  I rented it out for awhile but for much of that time it was empty as a busy person has little time to be a landlord.  Well, neglect on my mother's part of certain things and the long passage of time of all kids mean that certain things needed to be worked upon, and one of those things was, the plumbing.  In a major way.

The plumbing line, in the basement.

This was totally unanticipated and not a very pleasant experience.  Fortunately insurance paid for a lot of the work. Thank goodness for insurance.

And then there was politics.

That may seem to be an odd thing to add to all of this, but I think a lot of people felt a bit out of sorts this year due to the election. The General Election turned out to be truly surreal and we're still feeling it.  The Presidential election turned out to be a sort of revolution with the voters saying no to the establishment of both parties, and for good reason, but in a sort of scary way.  Nobody ever knows where revolutions end up once they start, and we don't know yet.  Some turn out really well, such as the American Revolution.  Some turn into freaking disasters, like the French Revolution.  As the revolution isn't over, we don't know where it ends up.

Even locally it was bizarre and it continues to be. Odd gaffs kept one candidate from being reelected but didn't keep another from being elected.  Candidates and even reelected politicians resigned on an untimely basis messing up the polls and the results of the polls.  A body of the Wyoming legislature launched off on one of their occasional "don't tell me what you want, we know better than you" efforts, which hasn't fully played out yet.  It was a truly odd year.

It strikes me that all of these things are simply life.  It's just that they all occurred in a single year.  But then, they probably weren't all that bad.  The truck didn't go through a house, by the Grace of God.  The elk didn't end up in the window of the Jeep.  Insurance covered the plumbing.  So, all in all, it was probably a better year than I imagine.  

Still, I'm hoping for a better 2017.

Best Post of the Week for the Week of December of December 25, 2016

2016 exits, and 2017 begins

An introspective entry.

State student population drops

So reports the Tribune.

This is, of course, no surprise.  Particularly as a recent Tribune report noted that the population of the state had declined, albeit not by much, last year.

This is caused, of course, by the decline in the oil industry we've been experiencing over the past couple of years.  If prices stabilize at their current levels, which it seems likely they will, this decline will likely stabilize as well.

It comes, of course, at the tail end of a school construction boom that anticipated an increasing student body, not a declining one. So, what the ultimate impact of that is will be yet to be seen. We note, of course, that that the local school district has determined to close one older grade school, a decision which would not seem unrelated to this story. And given as school construction, along with highway construction, has been a major economic engine in the state, and that's winding up, this remains as a story whose full impact is very much unknown.

The Company Office.

Recently some interesting items have popped up due to the posting of 1916 newspaper front pages.  Here's one:
Lex Anteinternet: The Casper Weekly Tribune for December 29, 1916: ...:

The news about the Ohio Oil Company, at one time part of the Standard family but a stand alone entity after Standard was busted up in 1911, was not small news.  Ohio Oil was a major player in the Natrona County oilfields at the time and would be for decades.  It would contribute a major office building to Casper in later years which is still in use. At one time it was the largest oil company in the United States.  In the 1960s it changed its name to Marathon and in the 1980s moved its headquarters from Casper to Cody Wyoming.  At some point it began to have a major presence in the Houston area and in recent years it sold its Wyoming assets, including the Cody headquarters, and it now no
longer has a presence of the same type in the state.
We've touched on this before, but seeing the name of the Ohio Oil Company featured so prominently on the front page really reminds of the extent to which the oil industry has become concentrated in large cities over the past few decades.

The Ohio Oil Company was part of Standard Oil.  It had major assets in Wyoming so it came to be headquartered in Casper and remained here all the way into the 1980s, by which time it was Marathon.  It is an eccentric example in that it moved its headquarters to Cody Wyoming at that time where it had major assets.  Now, however, its in Houston, which is the hub of the oil industry.

Today oil companies tend to have their headquarters in places where they've always been.  Houston, Dallas, Tulsa and Oklahoma City.  Not Casper, except for regional companies. This makes sense and I'm offering no criticism whatsoever.  Indeed, it's odd to think now, that a major company like the Ohio Oil Company once had its headquarters here.

This has been driven by the market, but it's also been driven by the advance of technology and transportation.  In earlier eras, especially early on, getting to the fields from the company office could be pretty difficult. Not now, however, or at least to the same extent.  Today flying from Houston or Oklahoma City to Casper, and then out to nearby fields, is easily accomplished within a single day. This would not have been true, to say the least, in 1916.  The net effect is that a lot of headquarters have moved, some to Denver, but some all the way to Texas and Oklahoma.

That may seem like a minor item, but if you are seeking employment it isn't.  When my mother came to Wyoming from Alberta in the late 1950s she found a job right away with the Pan American Petroleum Company. I don't know that Pan American Petroleum was headquartered here but they had a big building here. They were incorporated in 1916, so they fit well into the story of the year we've been looking at fairly intensively, and I've discussed them a bit here before. They had production all over North America, including Mexico (so they likely were impacted by what's about to occur south of the border, the Mexican nationalization of oil).  Their large office building is still here, and was recently remodeled, but of course they are not.  They don't exist at all, as they were merged with Amoco in 1954 which was purchased by British Petroleum in 1998.

BP had a late presence here as well, thanks to buying out Amoco. That gave them the Standard Oil Refinery which is no longer as well.

We often think of the oil industry around here.  But when we think of it, we don't think much of how at one time the companies had substantial office presence here.  That's been quite a long term change driven, I suspect, by improvements in transportation and technology.  If that's correct its somewhat ironic in that what some claim, that technology and transportation are allowing for greater decentralization are not providing to be correct, at least in so far as that pertains to the energy industry, and by my observation, many others.

The Cheyenne State Leader for December 31, 1916. Going out on a belligerent note.

And so 1916 would not go out on a peaceful note.

Carranza was unhappy that the protocol did not require a UW withdraw, the Allies were not tempted by peace.  The Army was taking a position contrary to what supposedly the Administration was taking, if reports were accurate, in that it wanted to withdraw the expedition in Mexico.

A bizarre  headline was featured on the front page indicating that  "churchmen" were opposing "premature peace" in Europe, with the promise that details would be provided the following day.

Friday, December 30, 2016

A Shoelace Story. A Distributist Lament.

I have a pair of dress hoes that have light tan laces.

Big deal, you no doubt say.

Well, they're broken.

Well, that happens. Go buy some, right?

Hence the problem.

 Alas, poor shoelaces. . .

For years, when this occurred, i just walked over to one of  the two downtown shoe repair shops or Wolfords, the downtown locally owned shoe store.

They're all gone now.

And now I don't know where to go to get laces.

I tried Walmart, which I dislike, but they don't carry shoelaces for dress shoes. So no luck there.  I guess I'll try Penny's at the mall, or maybe Kohls, which is nearby the mall.  Both are clear across town, but if they don't have them I'll find myself actually having to order shoelaces, of all things, on the net.

And so we have the irony of retail consolidation 

We're always told that this makes things more convenient for everyone.  The big box stores and retail chains do drive out the smaller locally owned stores. But at the same time, choice diminishes along with that, oddly enough.

Now, if you live in a big city, or even a larger one, this is no doubt not true. 

But if you live in a smaller one, or a smaller town, it definitely is. The retail choices decrease with the competition from big box stores.

And so you are left with the net.  Even for shoelaces.

And of course for shoes.

Dress shoes have been a problem for me ever since 1990.  That's when I graduated from law school. At that time I had two pair of dress shoes and both of them were U.S. Army "low quarters".  I.e., the black dress shoe worn by soldiers with their Class A uniform.  I wore those as dress shoes quite a bit for a long time, although I haven't done so now for quite awhile and one pair is mysteriously missing. Anyhow, I thought they were fine but even early on I knew I needed another pair and my father took me up to Penny's where we ordered one.  My feet, at size six, are so small that about the only shoes I can ever find locally are cowboy boots and athletic shoes, the latter of which I very rarely wear.  Even Wolfords almost never had shoes my size and I don't blame them.  It'd be pointless for them to stock shoes just for me and as more and more men have switched to fairly casual shoes there likely wasn't much of a market for small sized men's shoes.  It did give me the feeling, however that they were likely in their declining days as a store, Wolfords that is.

Anyhow that means that I've pretty much had to mail order dress shoes for a long time, and of the four pair I've acquired since 1990 (all still in use) all of them came through the mail.  Two pairs are H.S. Trask shoes that are made from buffalo hide, including the one depicted above, and they're as tough as nails.  They'll ultimately wear out, maybe, from the inside, not the outside, as the outside leather is indestructible.  The shoelaces aren't, however.

Hence the problem.

Friday Farming: The Stock Raising Homestead Act of 1916

Recently I've been posting the centennial of certain events as they occur.  Yesterday one such landmark passed by, that being the centennial of President Wilson signing into law the Stock Raising Homestead Act of 1916.  I noted that event here:
Today In Wyoming's History: December 29, 1916. Stock Raising Homestead Act of 1916 becomes law.
Today In Wyoming's History: December 29:
Abandoned post Wold War One Stock Raising Homestead Act homestead.
1916  The Stock Raising Homestead Act of 1916 becomes law.  It allowed for 640 acres for ranching purposes, but severed the surface ownership from the mineral ownership, which remained in the hands of the United States.

The Stock Raising Homestead Act of 1916 recognized the reality of  Western homesteading which was that smaller parcels of property were not sufficient for Western agricultural conditions.  It was not the only such homestead act, however, and other acts likewise provided larger parcels than the original act, whose anniversary is rapidly coming up.  The act also recognized that homesteading not only remained popular, but the 1916 act came in the decade that would see the greatest number of  homesteads filed nationally.

Perhaps most significant, in some ways, was that the 1916 act also recognized the split estate, which showed that the United States was interested in being the mineral interest owner henceforth, a change from prior policies.  1916 was also a boom year in oil and gas production, due to World War One, and the US was effectively keeping an interest in that production.  The split estate remains a major feature of western  mineral law today.
I've noted the Stock Raising Homestead Act of 1916 before, but having noted it in series, in association with the horrific events of World War One, the onset of Prohibition, the reelection of President Wilson and the Punitive Expedition has put this into focus.  This change in the homestead laws, allowing stockmen to claim a square mile, 640 acres, rather than a mere 40 acres.

40 acres had been the Eastern standard for a yeoman farmer, but in the west agriculture was based on animal husbandry, not farming, and a lot more than 40 acres was necessary.  Indeed the unrealistic 40 acre size of homesteads had contributed to the development of two competing systems that ultimately attempted, unsuccessfully, to sort itself out violently in the Johnson County War.  The Stock Raising Homestead Act of 1916 recognized this unreality and tried to make homesteading entries a bit more realistic in size, although they still were about half the size that they really needed to be in order to be realistic.  Still, at that size entrants could more realistically adjust.  It should be noted that a prior attempt, the Desert Lands Act, had been tried in 1877, so this wasn't the first effort at fixing the unrealistic size of the original Homestead Act.

In this sense the Stock Raising Homestead Act was a necessary revision.  In other ways, however, it was a bit late.  It came on the cusp of a massive, World War One inspired, boom in homesteading, but most of the homesteads would fail. That had always been the case, but the peak of homesteading of this era would have a fairly spectacular fall in the end. For the most part, at least in the Rocky Mountain West, that failure was cushioned by assistance from local banks and also from neighboring ranches of more substantial size acquiring the smaller units through purchase.  In a few instances, such as in the Thunder Basin, the Federal Government would come in to purchase back the smaller units that came in too late.

To some extent the Stock Raising Homestead Act reflected the end of an era, although that was not obvious at the time.  It would really only remain in effect for sixteen years, at which time further entrance was withdrawn.  It has had a lasting impact, however, in that it established the concept of a spit estate with a reservation in favor of the Federal Government, a feature of Western lands ever since.

The Cheyenne State Leader for December 30, 1916: Discussions breaking down.

In spite of an accord having been signed last week, this week it looked like the agreement with Mexico might be going nowhere.

Grigori Rasputin Murdered.

Russian mystic and controversial friend of the Imperial household, Grigori Rasputin, murdered.

Rasputin was such a controversial figure during his lifetime, and lived in a land that remains so mysterious to outsiders today, that almost every aspect of his life is shrouded in myth or even outright error. To start with, contrary to what is widely assumed, he was not a monk nor did he hold any sort of office of any kind within the Russian Orthodox Church.

Rather, he was a wondering Russian Orthodox mystic, a position in Russian society that was recognized at the time.  His exact religious beliefs are disputed and therefore the degree to which he held orthodox beliefs is not really clear.

He became a controversial figure due to his seeming influence on the Emperor and Empress, who remained true monarchs at the time, and therefore his influence was beyond what a person might otherwise presume.  Much of this was due to his ability to calm or influence bleeding episodes on the part of the Crown Prince who was a hemophiliac.  Ultimately concerns over his influence lead to his being assassinated although even the details regarding his death are murky.

He was 47 years old at the time of his death.

HMS Resolution commissioned

The HMS Resolution was commissioned on this date in 1916.  She would serve through both World Wars and survived being torpedoed during the Second World War.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Reaping what she sowed.

Ariana Grande has a Problem with our culture's reductive view of women, and she's not going to be silent about it anymore.
Or so a news story on the net reported.

Later the net was reporting that she was reacting to pushback she was receiving from her comments.

Well, I'm sorry, but people like Ariana Grande are part of the Problem.  I agree that our culture has a reductive view of women. Pop Tarts who appear in videos displaying their butts in spandex and singing about sex contribute to that reductive view.  Indeed, Ariana usually has her wares on display so she's effectively prostituting her image for her career, which also contributes to that.  And if she's pushing back, she needs to wake up on that.  She's pushed herself in everyone's face already and she's pushing a view of the relationship between men and women, musically, that's deeply flawed.

Here's how this apparently came about.

Grande is dating somebody, I don't know who because I don't know who most of these people are.  Some fan of that guys commented in a lewd manner about what we was presumably doing to the aforementioned Grande.

Yes, that's inexcusable and indeed it is an objectification.

However, Grande, who has a decent voice, has made a career in part out of dressing like a tramp.  That objectified herself.

And most recently she released a song, along with another female artist whose wares on are display, all about illicit sex with a male of poor reputation.  Indeed, the gist of the story is that this illicit activity has gone so far its impaired her walk. 

Well then, if this is a song released to the general public for its consumption the general public has a right to feel that Grande endorses this sort of activity.  Complaints at this point about what a male friend is presumed to be doing to her are quite misplaced.  It can't be said that she deserves the commentary, but she can't really defend her self on it either.

But those who defend women can, both about the comment, and about Grande.

I've long maintained that the single biggest block to women obtaining equality is that their sisters prostitute their images.  It only takes one Ariana Grande, or Miley Cyrus to wipe out the work of a 1,000 Hope Solo's or (dare we say it) Hillary Clinton's, or Condoleezza Rice's.  Worse yet, it only takes one song like Side To Side to pervert the expectations of legions of teenage boys and not a few teenage girls.

So, Grande, you brought this on yourself.  And worse yet, you brought it on millions of girls and women as well.

Everyone ought to be ashamed.
If his sowing is in the field of self-indulgence, then his harvest from it will be corruption;
Galatians, Chapter 6.

The Casper Weekly Tribune for December 29, 1916: Carranza official arrives in Washington, land for St. Anthony's purchased, and the Ohio Oil Co. increases its capital.

While a protocol had been signed, a Carranza delegate was still arriving to review it.  Keep in mind, Carranza had not signed it himself.

Also in the news, and no doubt of interest to Wyomingites whose relatives were serving in the National Guard on the border, Kentucky Guardsmen exchanged shots with Mexicans, but the circumstances were not clearly reported on.

In very local news two locals bought the real property on North Center Street where St. Anthony's Catholic Church is located today.  The boom that the oil industry, and World War One, was causing in Casper was expressing itself in all sorts of substantial building. As we've discussed here before, part of that saw the construction of three very substantial churches all in this time frame, within one block of each other.

The news about the Ohio Oil Company, at one time part of the Standard family but a stand alone entity after Standard was busted up in 1911, was not small news.  Ohio Oil was a major player in the Natrona County oilfields at the time and would be for decades.  It would contribute a major office building to Casper in later years which is still in use. At one time it was the largest oil company in the United States.  In the 1960s it changed its name to Marathon and in the 1980s moved its headquarters from Casper to Cody Wyoming.  At some point it began to have a major presence in the Houston area and in recent years it sold its Wyoming assets, including the Cody headquarters, and it now no longer has a presence of the same type in the state.

Today In Wyoming's History: December 29, 1916. Stock Raising Homestead Act of 1916 becomes law.

Today In Wyoming's History: December 29:

Abandoned post Wold War One Stock Raising Homestead Act homestead.

1916  The Stock Raising Homestead Act of 1916 becomes law.  It  allowed for 640 acres for ranching purposes, but severed the surface ownership from the mineral ownership, which remained in the hands of the United States.

The Stock Raising Homestead Act of 1916 recognized the reality of  Western homesteading which was that smaller parcels of property were not sufficient for Western agricultural conditions.  It was not the only  such homestead act, however, and other acts likewise provided larger  parcels than the original act, whose anniversary is rapidly coming up.   The act also recognized that homesteading not only remained popular, but the 1916 act came in the decade that would see the greatest number of  homesteads filed nationally.

Perhaps most significant, in some ways, was that the 1916 act also  recognized the split estate, which showed that the United States was  interested in being the mineral interest owner henceforth, a change from prior policies.  1916 was also a boom year in oil and gas production,  due to World War One, and the US was effectively keeping an interest in  that production.  The split estate remains a major feature of western  mineral law today.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

And now the secondary impacts begin. . . the pool again.

The Casper Swim Club, the amateur  youth team, has suffered 75% attrition in its membership, its reporting.

The reason? 

Pool time.

It hasn't been able to get adequate pool time with the School District down to one pool.  With recent renovations to that pool, moreover, its now a 25 yard pool rather than a 25 meter pool.

Not that this wasn't predictable.

Says something in and of itself.

From the Wyoming Department of Transportation's website:

The Wyoming Department of Transportation has exceeded the maximum map loads per day for the High Bandwidth Map.

We are currently in the process of developing a new map to address this issue and will have a version available for the public to test drive in early 2017.

In the meantime, you will be redirected to in 15 seconds...

Monday, December 26, 2016

Movies In History: Brooklyn

This is a film I'd hoped to catch in the movie theater but didn't.  I wish I had.

Poignant might be the best description for the film.

This movie surrounds the story of Eilis (Saoirse Ronan, herself born in Brooklyn to Irish parents but raised in Ireland), a young Irish woman who immigrates to the Brooklyn, New York in the 1950s.  The movie follows her experience including living in an Irish boarding house, meeting an Italian American suitor, and a return trip to Ireland.

In some ways this is an usual modern example of a "small story" movie, very well done, of a type we rarely see anymore.  The 1950s Marty comes very much to mind.

It might seem odd to see a film like this on this blog, but this movie has a close attention to detail that makes it not only charming but well worth watching.  Eilis finds herself in an alien world that's only barely alien to us.  It's an urban tale about immigrants and children of immigrants that a huge number of Americans will personally recognize.  It also shows a world only barely removed from our own but in some ways quite a bit more real.  Eilis immigrates out of a type of poverty but not of the street kind we think of.  Ireland remains a strong call to her, so much so that she wonders in one scene why a group of older Irish poor men have not returned to Ireland.  The very close supportive connection with the Catholic Church for Irish and Italian communities is quite accurate.  The torment over a personal decision while back in Ireland might seem, for that reason, an accuracy departure but for those who know the legalities of what's depicted accurately it isn't.  The need to live in a boarding house for her, and in an apartment with his family for the Italian American man she meets is completely accurate for the era. 

This film is well worth viewing and portrays an era, or rather the end of an era, in the United States that we still sense but don't really dwell on too closely quite well. 

Movies In History: The Imitation Game

This is a movie that I considered seeing at the theater when it came out but which, for one reason or another, I didn't.  I happened to catch it recently on Netflix.

First let me say its a good move and I enjoyed it.  Secondly let me say that people shouldn't take their history of Benchly Park, MI6's code breaking operation during World War Two, and the British work on code breaking from this film.

The film is a fictionalized account of the story of Alan Turing, the British mathematician who was a central figure in breaking German ciphers associated with the German use of a the military Enigma machine.  The story, if taken at the 30,000 foot view, gives a rough approximation of what occured in that endeavor, but only if taken at that view.

That doesn't make The Immitation Game a bad movie by any measure, except perhaps as the straight historical one.  Turing truly was central to the story of breaking the codes associated with Enigma and with the construction of the Bomba, a proto-computer that allowed the British to break an appreciable percentage of Engima coded messages.   The portray of Turing's character seems to be on,. and the story is loosely, although I'd emphasize loosely, portrayed correctly albeit in a ficationlized and very simplified fashion.  And that's the problem for a person who is historically minded.

An accurate story of these events would be supremely interesting, but quite complicated, and slightly disappointing.  The effort involved by Turing, and others, was so supremely cerebral that it would frankly be extraordinarily difficult to depict in film.    And the story of British code breaking is much more complicated than simply that of Enigma.  The British broke, for example, another German cipher based on wire telegrammetry that didn't involve Turing and actually was nearly completely simply due to the mental deductions of the character who broke it.  The use of Ultra, as the broken code information was called, was also highly complicated and not accurately portrayed in the film.  Soviet penetration of Benchly Park was much more extensive than the film would allow and not at all winked at by MI6 as suggested. 

In short, it is a much more complicated, and interesting, story than set out in this film.

One thing that should perhaps be mentioned is that it does seem, to the extent I'm familiar with it, that the film got the story of Turing's homosexuality correct.  That has little to do with his code breaking, of course, but it is an element of his personality and that part of the story seems to have been done correctly, to the extent I'm aware of his personal story, which isn't all that much.

So, a decent film worth viewing, but don't take it as an in depth history of MI6 or Benchly Park.

Lex Anteinternet: Viewing Milestone

This ran on October 25, 2016:
Lex Anteinternet: Viewing Milestone: Sometime yesterday this blog went over the 200,000 views mark.  Pretty remarkable in some ways.

On the other hand, this blog has been around for quite awhile, so perhaps not.   While there are a few postdated entries here, the actual first post came on May 1, 2009.  200,000 views in seven years isn't exactly an Internet sensation by any means.  Of course, early on the blog was very inactive and therefore its not surprising that it received little in the way of readership. 

It's readership has picked up a lot this year.  It has ups and downs, but starting in March it really picked up. That was the anniversary of the Punitive Expedition and we started posting a lot on that.  Searches on that, perhaps, might explain it.  The frequent insertion of newspapers from 1916 also seems to have had a marked impact.  Given that we were basically running some things in "real time", so to speak, we also started linking some of those threads into Reddit's 100 Years Ago Today subreddit, which also had quite an impact.

Indeed, an impact of 100 Years Ago today is that the longstanding list of most viewed threads changed nearly completely.  Only one of the threads on the all time top ten, the one on hats, was on that list before Reddit impacted the list and changed it nearly completely.  Posts on Arminto, Wyoming, young Queen Elizabeth II in Canada and the Niobrara County courthouse left the top ten, presumably for all time.  Most of those thread would have about half of the views they'd need to be on the top ten list, even though some of them had been on it for years.

Indeed, some of the newer threads on the list have gone over 1,000 views in a day, pretty remarkable when we consider that getting about 500 used to guarantee that the thread would be on the top ten list.  Right now, the site gets over 15,000 views per month.  Prior to March of this year, the all time high had been September 2014 which had seen 5,000 views that month.  In February 2015 the number was back down to a little over 2,000 per month.  March of that year brought it back up to a little over 4,000 and it hovered around that for a long time.  March 2016 brought it back up to nearly 5,000.  Last month in had a little over 19,500.  It's had just over 16,000 this month, with the month nearly over, so my guess is that September 2016 will be a peak for some time.

Thanks go out to everyone who reads the blog.  Special thanks go out to everyone who has commented on a thread.  This blog remains mostly a learning exercise, so I particularly enjoy any engagement we receive.
Some time to today the blog went over 250,000 views.

Everything I said in the post above remains true, except the number of monthly views.  The past couple of months its been averaging about 20,000 views per month and this month might actually top out at 30,000.  As before, I thank everyone who bothered to stop in her and read the blog.

I hope that some of the interest continues after the close day by day tracking of the Punitive Expedition and the events surrounding it, including the day to day life of 100 years ago, drops off.  We're approaching the end of the American expedition in Mexico, although quite a bit of close attention to the upcoming centennial of events in 1917 shall remain.  I also hope that folks who have comments of any kind add them, I very much enjoy reading them as I'm sure those who stop in here do as well.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

USS Arizona heads into New York Harbor, December 25, 1916

The USS Arizona heads into New York Harbor following sea trials.

Brother Albert Chmielowski dies on this day at age 71.

Albert Chmielowski, a Polish painter whose concern for the poor lead him to become a Franciscan monk died at age 71.

Chmielowski was born to a wealthy family and studied agriculture in order to step into the role of managing his family's estates.  Drawn to politics he joined in the Polish uprising of 1863 in which he lost a leg.  Following the Polish defeat he relocated to Belgium where he developed an interest in painting.  In 1874 he returned to Kraków, Poland where his interest in politics and the poor ultimately lead him into the Franciscan order in 1887.  By that time his identification with the poor had already lead him to a voluntary life of poverty.  He founded the Brothers of the Third Order of Saint Francis, Servants of the Poor in 1891.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Lex Anteinternet: The Hornet's Nest: TheRussian Bear in Syria is st...

Lex Anteinternet: The Hornet's Nest: TheRussian Bear in Syria is st...:  American Committee for Relief in the Near East poster from World War One.  The tragedy of the Middle East just keeps going on and on. ...
One thing that I haven't clarified on this is that the attacker in Germany turns out to be Tunisian. The poor Pakistani guy who was arrested just happened to be there.  Talk about a nightmare for him.

The Tunisian attacker seems to have spent most of his time in Europe in Italy, where he was a troublemaker but not an Islamic troublemaker. This shows, perhaps, the propensity for extreme causes to attack the messed up, sort of like the SA attracted thugs who gave their allegiance to Nazism, but who were thugs first.

This also stands out as an item of both curious reporting and good Italian police reaction.  In reporting, the US news seemed baffled about how the attacker could travel "so far" across "so many borders". Really? The EU has open borders amongst members so that should be no more difficult than traveling across state lines. And for that matter, Milan isn't really all that far from Berlin.  Sort of like driving from Denver to Oklahoma City. 

Italian police stopped him and when it went badly they came out on top in a gun battle. That speaks favorably for their reaction abilities and marksmanship.

Lex Anteinternet: Coal and Oil stabalizing, maybe, but does it help?...

Lex Anteinternet: Coal and Oil stabalizing, maybe, but does it help?...: I haven't been reporting on the price of coal and oil for awhile as in some ways not much has been going on.  But enough has been to at ...
Maybe it does, or maybe something else is going on.  According to the Tribune, local retailers are finishing the year out with a really strong finish.  Better, apparently, than even Black Friday.

The Mexican American Commission actually comes to an agreement.

On this day the commission, which had seemed to have reached an agreement back in November, actually reached one.

They agreement provided that the US would leave Mexico within forty days.

This agreement would not be signed by Carranza, but it didn't need to be.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Coal and Oil stabalizing, maybe, but does it help?

I haven't been reporting on the price of coal and oil for awhile as in some ways not much has been going on.  But enough has been to at least put in a little.

On coal, the price of coking coal, it has been noted, is up, which generally reflects increased industrial output.  That's been noted in reports on local coal but Wyoming's coal isn't of the coking grade so that likely doesn't mean much.  On the other hand coal producers are coming back out of bankruptcy and the situation at least appears relatively stable.

A report in the Tribune today states that its unlikely that oil shall exceed  $55/bbl in 2017, which if true means not much will be going on in terms of new exploration in the US.  It needs to rise above that for anything to really happen. 

On other combined news its reported that Wyoming's unemployment rate has improved but that the state's population dropped last year.  Those are really part of the same story.

The Cheyenne State Leader for December 23, 1916: Stock Raising Homestead Act passed

While it only merited a single paragraph, it did make the front page.  The Stock Raising Homestead Act of 1916 had passed.

This was a major change in the homesteading laws in that it was the first of two homestead acts that recognized the stock raising and arid nature of the West. Rather than grant 40 acres, as the original Homestead Act had, it allowed for 640, an entire section.  It would be signed into law by President Wilson on December 29.

While we do not associate this period with homesteading it was actually the height, and close to the finish, of it.  A large number of entries were being taken out, and soon a large number would fail in the post World War One agricultural crash and drought.

The Wyoming Tribune for December 23, 1916: Carranza loses cities.

The Wyoming Tribune reported that Carranza was losing cities, suggesting he was losing the civil war in Mexico.  At the same time, the paper reported that people were being generous to Pershing's command in Mexico.

Fred Sawkins - December 23, 1916

The Massive Decline in Violence (shout out to 100 Years Ago Today Subreddit)

The purpose of this blog has been, and remains, to explore all things, technology, culture, society, etc, of the approximate 1890 to 1920, more or less (adding, probably, something like 50 years on either side of that).  I stray from that a lot, as any reader very well knows, but I tend to come back to it.

Recently I've been running 1916 is century delayed real time so often that a person could be excused for thinking it was the 1916 day by day blog, or something like that, but it isn't.  I've been doing that do the centennial of the Punitive Expedition.  Once that story basically concludes the near day by day entries will slow down as well, to the likely relief of everyone who stops in here, but some of the newly added features that are basically slice of life type entries will likely keep on keeping on, maybe.

Anyhow, in keeping with this, I've found that there are a couple of other sites that run 1916 in delayed real time, one of which is Reddit's 100 Years Ago Subreddit.  I like it, and I post quite a few of the entries here that are posted on the centennial of their happening as links there.  But I read those entries over there was well.

Recently one of the moderators of that Subreddit posted an end of the year item noting that the murder rate in 1916 in the US was 145% of today's.


Now, this shouldn't surprise the readers here, but I still wonder to what degree we fail to appreciate that violence has really declined.  Massively, in fact.

We have run a lot of items on this before, including, Violent society? andPeculiarized violence and American society. Looking at root causes, and not instrumentalities.  So this should not  be a surprise to readers here.  But what an impressive statistic.

And how interesting in terms of how we look at the world we live in. In terms of violence, in spite of spectacular examples to the contrary, this is about the best era there is to live in, unless of course you are a victim, in which case, no doubt, that's no comfort at all.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Wind Power approaches maturity.

Coincident to my posting this:
Lex Anteinternet: Today In Wyoming's History: December 19: A Very B...: Today In Wyoming's History: December 19 : 2016  A recorded gust of wind reached 88 mph on the base of Casper Mountain, a new record 14...
the Tribune reports that wind power is now the cheapest form of electrical generation in some regions now.

The cost per kilowatt of generating electricity from wind has long been one of the main points of its critics. But, as tends to be the rule, costs go down as a technology advances.  That's now happened with wind which in turn means that wind generation has joined hydroelectric, coal, gas and nuclear as viable means of generating electricity on an industrial basis.  Wind, therefore, will not be going away in the power generation field.

Today In Wyoming's History: December 19: A Very Blustery Day

Today In Wyoming's History: December 19:

2016  A recorded gust of wind reached 88 mph on the base of Casper Mountain, a new record 14 mph higher than any previously recorded gust in that location.  Clark Wyoming reported a blast of 108 mph.  It was a very blustery day.

The Casper Weekly Press for December 22, 1916: Wars everywhere

The Casper Weekly Press issued on December 22, 1916 warned that "Uncle Fears War". The papers were full of war warnings which, looking back, not only proved accurate but also can't help to call to mind that Woodrow Wilson had just been elected for keeping us out of war and yet the news was headed rapidly, and accurately, in the other direction.

In terms of other wars, the Casper paper reported that Villistas had killed 50 Constitutionalist soliders, hardly a large number by European standards but a scary one for a nation that had been worried about the direction the war in Mexico was taking for months.

In other grim news, two died in a refinery fire in Casper.  There is at least one famous refinery fire in Casper's history but it's not this one.  I can't find any details about it.

Finally the American Automobile Association, which I didn't even know existed that long ago, came out in support of a concrete highway across Wyoming. Such an improved highway remained quite a few years in the state's future at that time, but it's interesting to note how people were already pondering it.

First flight of the Sopwith Camel, this day in 1916

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Cheyenne State Leader for December 21, 1916: Mexican raid into Arizona threatened.

The terrible fire at the Inter-Ocean was still very much in the news, but we also learned that there was concern over a potential raid into Arizona by some Mexican bands.  Of course, the Wyoming Tribune had reported on this yesterday.

President Wilson's peacemaking efforts also hit the news.

The Irish Canadian Rangers sail for Europe.

The Irish Canadian Rangers set sail from Halifax, Nova Scotia, on this day in 1916.

The unit had been formed from and sponsored by Montreal's Irish Canadian community (of which my ancestors were part).  It was centered around the Montreal Polo Club to some extent.  In spite of diligent efforts it was never up to strength and additional recruiting efforts would take place in Ireland itself to attempt to bring it up to its full allotment.


The unit would note end up being deployed in France as a unit, but instead would ultimately be used to provide replacements to other units.

Mid Week at Work: Big Metal Bird: Episode 5 – Aircraft Heavy Maintenance

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Hornet's Nest: TheRussian Bear in Syria is stung in Turkey, and an Islamic radical strike in Berlin

 American Committee for Relief in the Near East poster from World War One.  The tragedy of the Middle East just keeps going on and on.

Yesterday brought us two terrible news stories that relate to the ongoing disaster in the Middle East.

The first of them was the assassination of the Turkish Ambassador to Turkey by a Turkish policeman.  Before he was shot down himself he claimed his act to be an act of vengeance for Aleppo and Syria in general.

Time will tell if he was part of a larger movement, or merely enraged to extreme violence by the  Russian participation in the war.  Anyway you look at it, and saying something that you are not supposed to, this was pretty predictable.

Here on this blog, from the very onset of the war in Syria, I've taken the position that getting involved in the Syrian mess would be a huge mistake.  I've thought that we should take on ISIL, but I have also thought all along that people who thought that there was a nice way in and out of Syria were delusional.  Recognizing that I would have simply stepped back from there except to take on the specter of ISIL which grew as time went on.

Russia, lead by neo-Tsar Vladimir Putin, took the opposite course and in so doing reverted to a heavy handed type of warfare the world has not really seen since World War Two.  Nations simply do not bomb cities into oblivion anymore.  It isn't done, as it isn't right.  A person can (and quite a few do) go back and debate the morality of what occurred in the Second World War, but everyone accords that this is not allowable now.

Russia's mere presence in Syria is an odd thing, quite frankly, and in some ways we can take a little of the blame for that.  Delusional in our own right, we supplied arms to factions that we knew little about and which had (as I noted here all along) no chance of winning. But even poor combatants can lengthen a war and make it worse.  That may well be what we achieved and as that occurred the forces we really opposed grew in strength there.  In the end a Syrian government that was always fascistic but which looked somewhat to the West turned to the only friends it could find, Russia and Iran, and Russia took the role in that civil war that Germany did in the Spanish one, with similar results.

Well, he would live by the sword will die by it, and now inflicting violence on Syria has been revisited on a Russian diplomat in Turkey.  The Russians will react badly, but this won't end there.  Putin is one of those characters who can read the signs in his own times, but can't seem to read history accurately.

In terms of not reading history accurately, President Obama, while he played out the combat in this region masterfully (and contrary to the way I would have gone about it) may deserve a bit of blame as well for drawing lines in the sand he wasn't prepared to enforce.  It would have been better to draw no lines at all, but perhaps that was not possible.  At least one commentator has noted that drawing "red lines" and then doing nothing about them probably taught Putin that he could steal cyber secrets and nothing would happen to him.  I suspect that was a lesson badly learned, as something will likely happen now.

In a lot of ways, quite frankly, Russia is a paper tiger.  It's a mere shadow of the USSR with large scale suppressed internal opposition and an involvement in two internal wars. The USSR could not endure an arms race with the West and Russia can't either.  I don't know what the US will do to counter Russia (and with Trump coming in its really difficult to tell, to say the least) but mounting a counter electronic attack would likely be pointless.  They have a lot of hackers, but we depend on computers a lot more than they do.  

But they do depend on oil for their economy.  They are vulnerable there. The US domestic oil industry has been crying for assistance in the wake of the crashed prices and that same phenomenon has hurt Russia.  Closing Russian oil experts would devastate Russia, and it wouldn't hurt us a bit.  It would hurt Europe however.  Still, there may be an avenue there, if cooperation for the effort could be amassed.

Beyond that, a nation involved in two smouldering wars can't really afford to have their opposition really supplied.  Getting into Syria now would be an error for us, but backing the Ukraine to a much greater degree may not be.  Even simply training and supplying a good Ukrainian army is a problem for Russia.

Of course we'll see what actually occurs.

What did occur also yesterday  is that another Islamic attack occurred in Europe, this time in Berlin.  The suspect in the bus assault is Pakistani, so he falls outside of the region, for Europe, that we'd expect this to occur, but that may show the power of Islamic extremism to attract the Islamic dispossessed everywhere.  The sad fact is that this is not going to be the last of this.

On a more positive note, however, while the story has been barely noted, exposure to European culture and an open society is corroding Islamic adherence amongst the refugee population at large at the same time its attracting some to violence.  Priests in Germany and France have noted that in some places their pews are now full. . .with Arab refugees who have converted or are converting to Christian faiths.  A faithful people, in the free market of ideas, that faith is going away from Islam.  And even here in the US a couple of weeks ago a nominally Islamic Washington Post reporter announced that he was being baptized a Catholic, as was the former Miss USA who was the first Muslim to obtain that title.  

Changes in the wind.

Stabbed In The Back. . . . a self deluding thesis

First of all let me note the following.

Russia is not our friend (Romney, who was widely derided when he was the Presidential candidate for noting that, was close to correct, to a degree).  

And the Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee's emails, their attempt to do so on the Republican ones, and their general behavior in these regards is so abominable that it must be addressed.  Indeed, while I haven't researched it, I wonder if it technically amounts to a causi belli, although it will not come to that.

Anyhow, some history.

By the fall of 1918 the German war effort was shot. They were incapable of winning the war.

Everything the Germans had calculated on, and gambled on, had failed.  The United Kingdom did not collapse due to a submarine blockade before the United States effectively fielded an army in Europe.  The Micheal Offensive did not break the Allied lines and take Paris, throwing France out of the war.  The introduction of poisonous gas had not proved to be a battlefield tide turner, or even particularly effective.  The surrender of the Russians under Lenin did not turn out to release a flood of men and supplies as German avarice required the deployment of German assets to keep on at nearly full strength.  Backing the Communists in Russia had helped turn the tide in the East but then had gone right to the German navy yards were it was having the same effect as it had in Russian ones.

They had lost.

They still hoped to secure a satisfactory diplomatic resolution, and in fact they actually did, but it wasn't the one they hoped for.

And soon, psychologically, they refused to accept it.

Which is just what the Democrats are doing about the 2016 election right now.

What German society did is well known.  By November 1918 they had no choice at all but to accept Allied terms. Those terms, in spite of the way they have been repeatedly portrayed, were not really all that harsh. A big part of this is that Germany had slid into a revolution at home, which strangely gets underplayed in the English language histories.  Just as in Revolutionary Russia, in Revolutionary Germany idle sailors betrayed their employers and became an unruly dangerous uniformed mob. As things disintegrated at home the Germans had to deploy its army on its own territory against its own people, a situation which would keep on keeping on after the war with the Allies ended.

By the late 1920s, however, they'd convinced themselves they hadn't actually lost the war at all, and certainly not through their own actions.  It was somebody else's fault. And that somebody became, in their imaginations, the Jews, a fairly absurd proposition anyway you look at it. But an absurd proposition that was used to launch the political career of a figure who emphasized the very worst elements of German culture and who attacked the best elements of it.

What does that have to do with the Democrats?

Well, the Democrats lost this election through their own ineptness, just as the Germans lost the Great War through their own fault and miscalculations.  I would have thought they would have won, but not because of their great campaign, but because Trump seemed to be incapable of winning. The Democrats, as we've explored already, ran a person well out of her own time, who wasn't likeable, emphasizing, where they emphasized anything, failed positions, while insulting some of their base.

Now, and here's where the stab in the back comes from, we know about some of those insults due to leaks.

It is now known that the Russians penetrated the Democratic National Committee and swiped their emails.  That's a criminal act, but we also know that t he Russians tried the same with the Republicans and failed as the Republican firewall worked. Why didn't the Democratic one work? 

And the Russian release of information, it's worth noting, did not release anything that wasn't true.  It's hard to complain, or should be hard to complain, about the truth of your own views being released.  If DNC operatives detested the Catholic Church, for example, they detested us.  The Russians letting us know that doesn't mean it isn't true. Rather, they were embarrassed by the truth.

But not so much, apparently, that they now feel they need to change at all. They don't.  They've propped up the same old, same old for their leaders and they, or at least those organs that support them, are crying about the Russians. "Stabbed in the back".  Donna Brazile and Leon Panetta were both on over the weekend  on the news shows addressing the email situation and neither of them would acknowledge that the problem, for their campaign, wasn't that emails were stolen, but what the stolen emails said.  Brazile went so far as to claim the emails were "weaponized" but if they were weapons, they were handgrenades with the pins pulled out before they were tossed out the cyber window. The real problem with them is that they let voters see how the Clintonites actually thought.

I think that its time to put Putin and his cronies in a corner.  We can't pretend that it isn't a crime, and frankly it creeps up on being nearly an act of war. 

But that doesn't mean it actually influenced the election.  I highly doubt that, to say the least.  At most they tended to confirm what the confirmed already thought.  That doesn't excuse it, but nor will there be any excuse for the Democrats to run repeat elections in 2018 and 2020, which right now is exactly where they are headed.

The Wyoming Tribune for December 20, 1916: Troops Rush to Forestall Border Raid (and a truly bizarre comparison made in the case of a Mexican American militia)

A story of a near raid in the Yuma era with a rather bizarre comparison between a claimed Mexican American militia and the KKK.   Apparently the authors there had taken their history from D. W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation rather than reality.

It's rather difficult, to say the least, to grasp a comparison between a Mexican militia of any kind and the KKK which wouldn't exactly be in the category of people sympathetic to Mexican Americans.  And it's even more difficult to see the KKK used as a favorable comparison.  Cheyenne had a not insignificant African American, Hispanic, and otherwise ethic population associated with the Union Pacific railroad and I imagine they weren't thrilled when they saw that article.

Apparently the "war babies" referred to in the headline were stocks that were associated with Great War production, which logically fell following the recent exchange of notes on peace. As we saw yesterday, the Allies weren't receptive to them, so I'd imagine they those stocks rose again.