Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Updated For 2011...Just Thinking

Saved 30 bucks on postage and 50 bucks on cards over three years... made the attached GREETING for less than a 5'er.

Have A Very Merry Christmas!

~~~ And ~~~


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Reality Of Health Care Legislation-H.R. 3200

(Click here to view Adobe PDF document House Health Care Bill-H.R.3200)

Yesterday, President Obama stated in a New Hampshire town meeting that he does not support a “single-pay” government controlled health care system. "Single-pay" is a health care system similar to the present British and Canadian health program. And the very necessary follow-up question was missing-in-action. Mr. President, does that mean that you would veto a congressional bill that establishes the framework for a “single-pay” healthcare system? Obama is not currently the most important person framing heath care legislation and the resulting debate. Rather, the Democrat-controlled committee staffers and the Congressional committee system membership authored this bill. Specifically, Members of Congress Mr. Dingell, Mr. Rangel, Mr. Waxman, Mr. Miller of California, Mr. Stark, Mr. Pallome, and Mr. Andrews are the current sponsors and Ms. Pelosi is in the cat-bird seat regarding H.R. 3200––e.g., “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009”. The text of this bill can certainly provide citizen readers with the message of what congress is trying to do; and whither they tend. And many alarm bells are loudly ringing.

Liberal critics of those citizens presently asking tough questions about Congressional activities on health care propose that we may not know what we are talking about. They suggest that there are several House bills pending in various development stages and that none of these have been brought before the full House for approval. Also noted is the fact that the Senate has not yet acted on health care legislation. This is all true. For goodness sake it is elementary––and it is in the U.S. Constitution––all revenue bills must originate in the House of Representatives. The House typically and significantly amends important legislative bills before the Senate acts on them. And the Senate will certainly approve a different set of amendments. Then a conference committee of Senators and Representatives will form and meet to iron out and resolve the legislative differences between the House and Senate versions. But a person of average intelligence can take a bill, read it, and determine the sense of Congress--and conclude if something fishy is underway. Indeed––this is what many middle-American citizens are now doing countywide––many are asking deep, considered, and legitimate questions about the general congressional plan on health care. Organized rebellion is the surest way to inform and communicate to federal officeholders who––after all––were elected to represent us in this republic. By the time a health care bill reaches the certain legislative conference committee, it may be too late for public input.

Be advised that I believe the whole truth is not presently being pitched by the federal administration or by the opposition "that great right wing" (Rush, Hannity, et.al.). Unlike many congressmen, I have attempted to read the proposed health-care act…and I’ve concluded that honest attempts by citizens to read the 1017-page bill will not in itself provide necessary comprehension to understand the proposal’s full impact––much less to vote on it. It is a cheap shot by some to say to members of congress..."you have not even read the bill"...and a cheap shot even if true. I submit that H.R. 3200 cannot be read and understood as a standalone document, since nearly every page in every section references some other prior act of congress, existing law, procedure, ruling, practice, or section governing conduct of various federal agencies, or the greater health-care administrative bureaucracy––including, but not limited to, the Internal Revenue Code. Citizens need to be well informed in the majority of existing federal health-care law, agency policy and procedures to accurately gage the bill’s real impact. This proposal appears to be a massive and shameful legislative collage of techno-speak... there is no way our elected representatives can grasp the full impact without a lengthy brief––or some other kind of detailed primer. The present congress is really scaring me––due mainly to what many reputable economists view as the unknowable financial macro-economy burden of the proposed health-care bill H.R. 32oo––a.k.a., “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009.” Here is but one glaring example of the nonsense buried in this bill––please refer to page 203, line 13-18, where it is written:
“4) NOT TREATED AS TAX IMPOSED BY THIS CHAPTER FOR CERTAIN PURPOSES. —The tax imposed under this section shall not be treated as tax imposed by this chapter for purposes of determining the amount of any credit under this chapter or for purposes of section 55.”
Please tell me with a straight face that this paragraph is both logical and honest. Members of Congress need to act either individually or in some coalition of members to rewrite the proposed bill…and remove it from the present inept committee system responsible for a hideous and apparent anti-capitalist creation.

Many concerned Americans would strongly appreciate the appointment of a truly independent "blue ribbon" commission comprised of respected non-politician medical experts, health insurance experts, and economic experts to meet, analyze, and comment on the validity of congressional bills like H.R. 3200-"America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009"––and on President Obama's overall health care initiative. Their written product should be about 25-pages in length, written in plain language, such that the panel’s opinion can be read and understood by average Americans within a couple of days. I call on the administration to stop the jive and authorize production of such a “white paper” for better understanding and citizen benefit.

Don't what to tick off Liberals, sooooooooooo.... For moderate Republican, Democrat and Independent Citizens Only Click HERE to view an "Analysis of the July 15 draft of The American Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009" by the Levin Group (Adobe pdf).

Friday, July 10, 2009

A Few Days Following Independence Day...

Following the Constitutional Convention of 1787, a lady bystander asked Doctor Benjamin Franklin what form of government we have. Doctor Franklin replied “A republic, madam, if you can keep it.” And the question today… Just how many contemporary U.S. Citizens are concerned about the present state of our republic?

It is indisputable that many U.S. Citizens and current U.S. legal voters do not comprehend the fundamental fact that our federal government is not a democracy. Our United States federal government is a republic––and it always has been. The Founding Father’s republic has evolved into an “unequal representative democracy”––a liberal-republic that presents citizens with many stunning examples of a strongly skewed representative-democracy. Voter fraud in American elections has certainly always existed at some level. But a real problem exists when federal-government-funded fraud by such left-of-center “community action groups” like ACORN generally support only Democrat candidates and actively backed the Obama presidential candidacy last year using federal tax dollars. Name one Republican elected official that the “non-political” ACORN supported. ACORN’s action is clearly government-funded cheating masquerading as simple community outreach. A few corrupt votes can tilt an election…and the entire direction of our county. Look no further than the last Minnesota U.S. Senate race for confirmation. The state of this new republic, without substantive checks-and-balances, is precisely what Dr. Franklin and his Constitutional Convention contemporaries feared most about the equality in representative-democracy. Too much power––almost dictatorial in KINGLY nature––centralized in federal government. The influence held by a single vote varies significantly and unequally across America by geographic location. Progressive politicians and political scientist may argue the semantics of statements written here. By carefully parsing public comment with half-truth, these liberal-progressives confound and blur federal government activity using misleading jargon and fancy political techno-speak. Clearly, their purpose will overwhelm common citizens––Middle Americans––and cause many concerned loyal citizens to simply tune-out. This has happened in many Middle American homes.

Fair-minded liberal Democrats must surely acknowledge that the Chicago Political Machine is both ethically challenged and flatly corrupt in many cases. And the current president is a product of this Chicago Political Machine, a man who “earned his stripes” in the trenches of a Chicago political quagmire. Yet somehow the stench of Chicago politics has not followed the new president to the White House. The new vice president earned his bones in the U.S. Senate, representing the small population of Delaware (45th of 50 in population). Few could rationally argue that Mr. Biden would be Vice President without the prior support of a plurality of Delaware’s relatively tiny population. Mr. Biden’s documented ethical indiscretions were first discovered in the 1960’s, during his first year at Syracuse Law School. There he was cited for plagiarism, summarily flunked-out of a required law school course, and subjected to a dismissal review by Syracuse faculty. As U.S. Senator, Mr. Biden has also been cited in several instances for using materials from other’s speeches without attribution––both acts of technical plagiarism and blatant dishonesty. Liberal Biden defenders––please tell us with a straight face––that our current VP has no trouble with honesty and truth. The present Speaker-of-the-House of Representatives is in reality only one of 435 elected US Representatives, sent to Washington by the people of San Francisco, California’s 8th Congressional District. It can be rationally argued that San Francisco’s congressional district is likely the single most left-wing-liberal congressional seat in the United States. It can’t be creditably stated that the current Speaker’s aggregate political stance in any way represents Middle American political thought. Further, the Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate hails from the lightly populated state of Nevada, a state with considerably less than one percent of total U.S. Population. Senators are supposed to represent their state, and in this Senator Reid may do an adequate job. But Senator Reid too––with his frequent leftist flip-flops and public political gaffs (like his inept April 2007 "This war is lost." comment) ––in very few ways represent current Middle American political opinion.

For goodness sake, take some time and read or re-read America's founding documents--The United States Declaration Of Independence and The United States Constitution. A clear and present leadership crisis exists in contemporary American federal government, a dangerous collage of non-representative liberal-leftist-activist. While Benjamin Franklin and his colleagues left unwritten a constitutionally mandated one-man-one-vote equality concept, their exquisite production does specify explicit constitutional principles embodied by a truly representative republican form of government. The Framers collective objective was that equal representation is both vital and necessary in a successful republic. Federal liberal activism has slowly and steadily become the Washington norm…and our current crop of federal politicians are surely poised and ready to consume the principles of Dr. Franklin’s republic.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Knight In Shining Armor at Little Round Top

The O’Rorke family immigrated to the United States from County Cavan, Ireland when Patrick Henry “Paddy” O’Rorke was still an infant. Settling in Upstate New York, the community of Rochester became Paddy O’Rorke’s hometown throughout his formative youth. His scholarly prowess was legendary and is still recalled with fond affection by Rochester-area educators. Paddy O’Rorke left Rochester in 1857 to accept a cadetship appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point. He graduated West Point in June 1861—at the top of his class. First assigned to the Army Corps of Engineers, Second Lieutenant O’Rorke showed rare skill and brilliant talent as an Army engineering officer. Paddy O”Rorke saw considerable Civil War combat during the summer of 1861 and into 1862. Serving with General McDowell’s Army, his first combat occurred during the Manassas Campaign at the Battle of Blackburn’s Ford and the First Battle of Bull Run. Confederate fire killed his horse under him while riding into battle at Bull Run. Leading up to the Battle of Gettysburg, Paddy O’Rorke was additionally recognized for gallant and meritorious service during the significant Battles of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville.

Colonel Patrick Henry O'Rorke was Commanding Officer of the noble 140th Infantry Regiment New York State Volunteers throughout the first half of 1863. The 140th New York became one of the best regiments in the Army of the Potomac––due largely to Colonel O’Rorke’s good discipline and training methods––military traits instilled and reinforced in the manly and good character of his Upstate New York Volunteers. In early afternoon of July 2, 1863, Colonel O’Rorke was leading the 140th New York to support heavy Gettysburg fighting near the Wheatfield––when he was spotted by General G. K. Warren--who urgently rode to his dear friend Paddy, requesting he instruct the 140th New York to turn-aside and defend Little Round Top. Colonel O’Rorke promptly understood the critical nature of General Warren’s pleading and ordered the 140th New York to the summit of lightly protected Little Round Top “on-the-double-quick”. This intelligent, articulate and promising twenty-six-year-old colonel was Killed-In-Action later in the afternoon of July 2, 1863, instantly slain by a Confederate sharpshooter with a shot through the neck. He had coolly jumped-up on a rock and shouted his last order…“Down this way, boys!” Colonel O’Rorke was at the front of his 140th New York Regiment, rushing downhill off Little Round Top summit in what some have called a charge. This critical 140th New York movement backed the heavily engaged and nearly overrun Union forces of the brave 16th Michigan Infantry Regiment––and ultimately reversed a nearly successful right flank break-through by the bold Texas 4th and 5th Regiments. A monument to Colonel O’Rorke is placed on the summit of Little Round Top where colonel fell. Some years later, members of the 140th Regiment of New York State Volunteers dedicated this monument in ceremonies to the memory of their beloved colonel.

Several written historical judgments state that Colonel Patrick Henry O’Rorke, among other leaders, were as vital to the successful Union Army defense of Gettysburg’s Little Round Top as was the notable Colonel Joshua Chamberlain. This statement is not in any way intended to diminish the very significant contribution of Colonel Chamberlain’s 20th Maine to the Union defense of Little Round Top. But Colonel O’Rorke died from wounds suffered in combat July 2, 1863 on Little Round Top. Obviously, Colonel O’Rorke did not have Colonel Chamberlain’s near 50-years post Gettysburg longevity to frequently write, speak, and even promote the courageous exploits of his regiment. Fighting men of the 20th Maine would have almost certainly been overrun by the tenacity and superior force of Texas 4th and 5th troops––from the high ground right flank on Little Round Top––had it not been for Colonel O’Rorke and his 140th New York’s quick and direct action to fight-back and repulse the Confederate advance on northwest incline of that rocky hill. Some observers––including General Ellis Spear––then second-in-command of the 20th Maine on Little Round Top, accused Chamberlain of “historical dishonesty” in some of his early 20th century writings. There can be no doubt that Colonel Patrick Henry O’Rorke and Colonel Joshua L. Chamberlain––among many other leaders––were each important liberators of Little Round Top. Brian A. Bennett concludes in his book The Beau Ideal of A Soldier and a Gentleman: The Life of Col. Patrick Henry O'Rorke from Ireland to Gettysburg “…the exploits of Patrick Henry O'Rorke have been overshadowed on the pages of history by the actions of others on that rocky slope.”

As the anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg approaches, please remember that righteous and honorable Civil War hero Patrick Henry O’Rorke, Colonel of the courageous troops of the 140th Infantry Regiment, New York State Volunteers--men who each hailed from Rochester and Greater Monroe County of the State of New York.

Approches to Little Round Top, 1863

Other references:
Brian A. Bennett, "Sons of Old Monroe: A Regimental History of Patrick O'Rorke's 140th New York Volunteer Infantry"

Jeremiah E. Goulka, "The Grand Old Man of Maine––Selected Letters of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain"

Garry E. Adelman, "The Myth of Little Round Top–Gettysburg, PA"

Ellis Spear, "The Civil War Recollections of General Ellis Spear"

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Memorial Day Remembrances at
Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery

Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery

A highlight of my mid-April visit to San Diego was those reverent hours spent at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery. What a magnificent and respectful place indeed. It seems appropriate to share a few photos taken during time on that hallowed ground. My words are insufficient to pay Memorial Day appreciation to these solemn memorial lands. But Rita C’s written words as captured here from her pen—better express those feelings experienced regarding a visit to this sacred place…

“The Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery has a beauty and tranquility that leaves peaceful hopefulness in the hearts and minds of visitors. Situated on the Point Loma Peninsula—just a few miles from Downtown San Diego, the national cemetery has breathtaking views of the bay and ocean on both sides. Walking the grounds creates a feeling that time has stopped, the cool green of the lawn and trees, the clear blue of the skies and ocean, and the purity of the white headstones lining and defining the landscape. Here veterans slumber in hallowed ground, reminding us that we all share a common destiny.”

As I walked among the thousands of white gravestones, my eyes caught a striking and unforgettable sight. There in a central location—side by side—lay a US Army 3-Star General and a US Army Private. Veterans are certain to know that few people can rationally argue that these two honorable men did not frequent the same social circles during their short time on earth. But they now share essentially the same ground forever...into whatever comes to them in the unknown here after. This observation and these thoughts presented me with a very peaceful and strongly balanced reality experience.

Note: Click article title for redirect to the official government Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery Web Site.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Support Governor Paterson's Job Cuts

My fifty years experience in both public and private employment has convinced me that nearly any company, firm, or agency can reduce their workforce by at least ten percent without significantly impacting productivity or services. Force reduction by targeted layoffs of unproductive workers or unnecessary programs can actually increase the aggregate organizational productivity. I refer to programs where the original mandate is essentially met, or cases where programs have no "sunset" stipulation. Programs without sunset will typically seek survival by finding an expanded purpose...a mode that fosters classic government waste. Closing certain correctional facilities housing non-violent "offenders" is just one example of a logical place to cut programs. I support Governor Paterson’s plan to cut state jobs by 9,000––and indeed would even encourage a deeper reduction.

Note that I’m retired from both private and public employment…and a current member of New York State PEF Retiree organization. I DO NOT support public union activity to retain unnecessary employees or unnecessary programs.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Preservation of The Wilderness Battlefield

Today I’ve joined with the non-profit Civil War Preservation Trust to help save one of America’s most important Civil War battlefields. The Virginia lands where the Battle of The Wilderness was fought--May 5 and 6, 1864--are currently under a commercial development attack. The mega-retailer Walmart has launched a plan to build another 141,000-square-foot SuperCenter on a large plot of land located less than 2500 feet from the historic The Wilderness Battlefield. This when there are presently four existing Walmart stores all within twenty miles and an easy commute of The Wilderness Battlefield. Great success of Walmart SuperCenters in any location is a matter of record and fact. And the presence of this business historically generates additional business that feeds off the shopping appeal of Walmart. The Herkimer, New York Walmart SuperCenter was constructed on an abandoned factory site, and Walmart’s business operations have yielded additional business activity that currently surround Walmart including such stores as Agway, The Dollar Store, Taco Bell-KFC, Applebee's, Rite-Aid, McDonald’s, et al. Indeed, all of this new business activity is good for Herkimer County. But business activity that a new Walmart generates is unwelcome and will potentially destroy the rural beauty of the historic The Wilderness Battlefield.

The Battle of The Wilderness was the first time General Grant faced General Lee as opposing commanding Generals-of-the-Army. This battle was a horribly blind and vicious fight where the surrounding heavy woodlands blazed with many fires ignited by the explosive discharge of weaponry from opposing forces. Many of the wounded soldiers were burned alive where they lay by the wildfires. Battle causalities totaling 29,000 men killed, wounded, or missing-in-action resulted from the ensuing forty-eight hours of fierce and brutal combat. Those incredible 1861-1865 military services and sacrifices offered by the War of the Rebellion combatants must be forever respected and fittingly honored.

My reading on the activities of several regiments of New York State Volunteers (NYSV) during the “War Of The Rebellion” has recently focused on the gallant 121st Infantry Regiment of NYSV. The 121st NY was formed in July 1862 by orders from New York Governor Morgan to a committee representing New York State's Twentieth Senatorial District. The Honorable Richard Franchot, U.S. Congressman from Otsego County, chaired this State Committee of local activist from district townships. Committee members were empowered to immediately provision and form the new regiment. Regimental enlisted volunteers were residents mainly from the various townships of Herkimer and Otsego Counties. Representative Franchot was named colonel of the new regiment, and resigned and honorable discharged in late September 1862 to resume his congressional duties.

During the Battle Of The Wilderness, with Lieutenant Colonel Olcott commanding, the ten combat-hardened companies of the 121st NY Infantry fought this confusing and disorganized battle in a heavily wooded setting. The two-day battle found the regiment in frequent close contact and often hand-to-hand-combat with those "Johnnie-Rebs". Action was capably described by fellow Second Brigade soldier Isaac O. Best in his written account, “History of the 121st New York State Infantry.” It is not my purpose here to disclose the many heroic exploits of the 121st NY Regiment, except to report that commanding Colonel Olcott was shot in the head and taken prisoner by Rebels, the captains of both Company A and C were captured and taken prisoner, that following the battle about 100 men from the 121st NY were missing-in-action (some perhaps later found as burned corpses), and that about half of the regiment was either killed, wounded, or missing during the fog of combat. Several soldiers of the 121st NY were captured sent to the southern hell-hole Andersonville. So the lands surrounding this sacred The Wilderness Battlefield is soaked with the blood of many Herkimer and Otsego County residents who answered President Lincoln’s call to defend the Union. These brave and principled men voluntarily enlisted with the noble 121st Infantry Regiment of New York State Volunteers. This is why the lands around The Wilderness Battlefield must be preserved and forever honored as hallowed ground.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

How to Simulate Submarine Life
In The Privacy Of Your Home

1. Obtain a large dumpster. Paint exterrior charcoal-black, weld all the covers shut except one which can be bolted closed from the inside. Coat the interior with one-gallon diesel fuel. Hitch it to the back of your ol’ lady's mini van. Gather twelve friends and bolt yourselves inside and let your ol’ lady pull it around for several weeks while she does the errands.
2. Sleep on the shelf in your closet. Replace the closet door with a curtain. Three hours after you go to sleep, have your ol’ lady whip open the curtain. Shine a flashlight in your eyes, and mumble, "You got the next watch, oops, sorry…wrong rack".
3. Don't eat any food that you don't get out of a can, a box, or have to add water.
4. Paint all the windows on your car black. Drive around town at high speeds with your ol’ lady standing up in the sunroof shouting course and speed directions to you.
5. Renovate your bathroom. Build a wall across the middle of your bathtub and move the showerhead down to chest level. When you take showers, make sure you shut off the water while soaping.
6. Repeat back everything anyone says to you.
7. Sit in your car for six hours a day with your hands on the wheel and the motor running, but don't go anywhere.
8. For proper air quality put lube oil in your humidifier instead of water and set it to "High".
9. Don't watch T.V. except movies in the middle of the night. Also, have your family vote on which movie to watch, and then show a different one. Get six copies of The Sound of Music and show it at least every other night.
10. Don't do your wash at home. Gather your neighbor’s clothes along with yours, pick the most crowded Laundromat you can find, and do the neighborhood laundry in a single washer and dryer. Make sure that 12% of the laundry is lost and 20% of the finished laundry is incorrectly distributed to the wrong neighbor.
11. Leave lawnmower running in your living room six hours a day for proper noise level. (For Engineering Divisions)
12. Have the paperboy give you a haircut.
13. Take hourly readings on your electric and water meters.
14. Sleep with your dirty laundry.
15. Bug juice becomes your favorite after work refreshment. Goes much better with a shot of torpedo gilly.
16. Invite at least 85 guests to a party, but don't have enough space, chairs, or food for them…and have no beer available within 500 miles.
17. Buy a trash compactor and use it once a week. Store up garbage in the other side of your bathtub.
18. Wake up every night at midnight and have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on stale bread, if anything. (Optional--canned ravioli, cold soup, or cherry peppers)
19. Make up your family menu a week ahead of time without looking in your food cabinets or refrigerator.
20. Set your alarm clock to go off at random times during the night. When it goes off, jump out of bed and get dressed as fast as you can, then run out into your yard and break out the garden hose. Have the ol’ lady yell, “this is a test” after about ten minutes.
21. Once a month take every major appliance completely apart, scrape off any gunk, and then put them back together.
22. Use 18 scoops of coffee per pot and allow it to sit for 5 or 6 hours before drinking.
23. Invite at least 85 people you don't really like to come and visit for two or three months.
24. Store your eggs in your garage for two months and then cook a dozen each morning. Toss out the sulfur-smelling, dark green eggs only.
25. Have a fluorescent lamp installed on the bottom of your coffee table and lie under it to read books.
26. Periodically check your refrigerator compressor for "sound shorts".
27. Put a complicated lock on your basement door and wear the key on a lanyard around your neck.
28. Lock-wire the lug nuts on your car.
29. When making cakes, prop up one side of the pan while it is baking. Then spread icing really thick on one side to level off the top.
30. Every so often, yell "Emergency Surface", run into the kitchen, and sweep all pots/pans/dishes off of the counter onto the floor. Then, yell at your ol’ lady for not having the place "stowed for sea".
31. Put on the headphones from your stereo (don't plug them in). Go and stand in front of your stove. Say (to nobody in particular) "Stove manned and ready". Stand there for 3 or 4 hours. Say (once again to nobody in particular) "Stove secured". Roll up the headphone cord and put them away.
32. Write a controlled work package to change the oil on your car. Setup a card system of weekly tasks so you don't forget to change your oil or fill up the gas tank. Make sure you make a lengthy record of your car upkeep and get your ol' lady to sign-off your worksheet.
33. Periodically sleep on the kid’s teeter-totter; then give twenty bucks to a homeless person to put the board in motion every half hour while yelling “standby for angles and dangles” into an empty number ten tin can.

Great link: http://www.queenfish.org/noframes/acronym.html

Thursday, February 12, 2009

My ride on USCGC Sapelo (WPB 1314)

In late 1989, made a trip to Adak, Aleutian Islands, Alaska -- compliments of the U.S. Navy -- to participate in a large multi-service military exercise called PACEX-89.  A couple of U.S. Coast Guard 110-foot Island-Class Patrol Boats had sailed to Adak to participate in this exercise as Coast Guard representatives. Coast Guard crews affectionately call this class of patrol boat the "110'ers." One night after dinner at Naval Air Station Adak Officers Club, I was introduced to Commanding Officer USCGC Sapelo (WPB 1314). A conversation ensued, and the discussion eventually brought an invitation to join his crew at sea the next day aboard the 110-foot Patrol Boat Sapelo.  I've got to report these many years later those hearty Coast Guard 110'er crews... those windy Bering Sea waters north of Adak Island Finger Cove Piers are typically very rough in late fall days. Most of the U.S. Navy ships remained at anchor or tied up to the pier this stormy day... but Sapelo departed on schedule from Finger Cove and proceeded to sea. What a ride it was indeed.  Been to sea on most things that float from aircraft carriers on down to Norfork-based YTB tugs boats, albeit mostly under water on submarines.  And Sapelo's crew navigated her safely back to Finger Cove piers that evening, I'm not too ashamed to report being a bit green-about-the-gills. That firm footing offered by Adak Island piers are a welcome sight is to mild a statement. Departing Alaska following the PACEX-89 military exercise found me with a high degree of added respect for the men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard, especially those who crew those small Island Class 110-foot patrol boats. I’ll call these crews new age "Rough Riders." A respectful tip-of-the-hat to the crews of Island-Class Coast Guard Patrol Boats.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

World War II U.S. Navy Machinist Mate Anthony “Tony” Rella

Tears welled-up in his eyes the first time we talked about his ship. And it was with obvious pride the day when Tony Rella presented me with several documents to read. On Sunday morning December 7, 1941, Tony was a member of the ship's crew aboard USS NEOSHO (AO-23) moored on “Battleship’s Row,” Ford’s Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. NEOSHO (pronounced "nee-OH-sho") arrived in Pearl Harbor from the West Coast the day before, fully laden with fuels. Most of her cargo fuel was off-loaded throughout Saturday evening. During the Japanese surprise attack that Sunday morning, Captain Phillips and NEOSHO’s gallant crew navigated her to safer waters through the intense shelling and exploding bombs -- past the burning ships and the human slaughter that forever marks that awful day. Tony’s ship was totally undamaged; avoiding great peril as her crew expertly sailed the explosive fume laden NEOSHO past those many heavily traumatized and sinking ships of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Countless acts of unrecognized heroism certainly occurred that day, and just as certain Tony was heavily involved with his responsibility to bring his ship through the devastation. Tony was immensely proud of his service to his Country and his Navy. His active membership and strong participation with the Central New York Pearl Harbor Survivors Association was a source of particular personal pride.

USS NEOSHO was a Fleet Oiler (a tanker) tasked to deliver lifeblood oil and gas to the Pacific Fleet. Tony and the crew affectionately called her “Fat Girl.” Without the support of crews and ships like NEOSHO, the fleet and it’s aircraft simply could not operate. Work aboard Fleet Oilers proved hazardous for all and deadly to some. Loading of airplane and diesel fuel, a high tempo of operations, and a heavy demand of maximizing their cargo deliveries placed each ship’s crew in life and death situations. Tony was a U.S. Navy Machinist Mate, the kind of sailor who maintains much of the ship’s support equipment…the small engines, the pumps, the compressors, the hydraulic systems, and the ventilation, air & water systems. Tony did his job with high professionalism, whatever had to be done to keep and maintain this equipment in top operational condition. Any ship would be dead-in-the-water in relatively short order without the productivity of guys like Tony. But surviving the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor is only part of Tony’s NEOSHO record.

In early May 1942, USS NEOSHO sailed into the Coral Sea north of Australia, in direct service to the American Pacific Fleet. The NEOSHO and her escort ship had been left behind in a “safe area” while the vital American Aircraft Carriers USS YORKTOWN and USS LEXINGTON sought out the Japanese Fleet. On May 7th, just as the major fighting began at the Battle of the Coral Sea, Japanese dive-bombers and torpedo airplanes found and hit NEOSHO and her escort ship, sinking her single escort USS SIMS (DD-409) with multiple bomb hits around midday. Burning and immobilized, the NEOSHO began listing sharply in the rough seas. The horror that followed over the next several days was still on Tony’s face as he talked about these events. Many of Tony’s shipmates lay dead or dying. On confused orders to abandon ship, a large group of shipmates boarded lifeboats and were swept away by the heavy seas, never to be seen again. NEOSHO was sinking as her able crew hung on and battled to save her. They expected rescue soon, but that rescue did not come for over four days. The crew had all but lost faith that rescue would ever come…but then finally a rescue ship appeared on May 11th. There were 293 men aboard NEOSHO just before the attack at the Battle of the Coral Sea. Of these, 184 men died while 109 survived. Just fifteen SIMS crew-members survived her tragic combat sinking, but two of these surviving sailors died from wounds within a few days of their rescue.

Tony Rella was honorably discharged from active duty following WWII as a Chief Petty Officer. He was enormously proud of his Pearl Harbor Survivor Medal, an award that took our government over fifty years to authorize. I’ve always been bothered by the military “awards and commendation” process. So many acts of heroism go unrecognized by the military. Tony, and many guys like him, volunteered to serve before America entered WWII. It was not politically correct in some sectors of American society to volunteer for military service in 1938 thru 1940, with the currents of war increasing as Tony’s naval service began. Then, as now, a vocal minority of misguided Americans were posturing an increasing isolationist view. Several of these appeasers are now marked by history as misguided cowards. Unlike Tony, some Americans had turned a blind-eye to the terrible world events unfolding in Europe and the Far East. But Tony’s heroism stands as a matter of fact and official record. His military service was then -- and is still -- worthy of several significant combat awards that somehow went unwritten, never to be awarded and presented during his lifetime.

The words of General Dwight D. Eisenhower may sum it up best -- “History does not entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid.” Anthony “Tony” Rella passed away October 25, 2007, we each lost an unsung hero on Tony’s passing that day.  Tony…you Sir are fondly remembered and sadly missed. By honorable naval tradition…

“Fair Winds and Following Seas.”


Many background facts presented in this posting were taken from Mr. Del Leu’s web site (www.delsjourney.com). This significant research was published to honor the memory of his late Uncle Bill Leu, and to honor the heroic crew of USS Neosho. Del’s work assisted in the preparation of Tony Rella’s obituary. Shipmate Bill Leu, who passed away in 2003, was also a Pearl Harbor and Neosho survivor...and served with Tony Rella aboard Neosho. Significant background information also came from an article "Fat Girl" published 2/6/1943 in the “Saturday Evening Post” magazine -- and other related papers -- that Tony supplied to me.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Man In The Right Place

A new company bgC3 LLC (www.bgc3.com/) was formed last year by billionaire Bill Gates. The firm's placard, bgC3, is thought to probably stand for Bill Gates Company 3--and the new firm has been touted by some writers as another possible Microsoft. Please get a grasp on reality. That Gates is some kind of genius who propelled the globe and all of its lemmings to the information age is incredibly naïve. Most any 1977-era technologist engaged in developing small computing devices centered around the 8-bit microprocessors was conversant with and actively using Digital Research's CP/M operating system (see www.digitalresearch.biz/CPM.HTM).

Simply put, what Gates did was to engage capable technologists and slick negotiators, some of these holding unscrupulous business skills, to eventually acquire unconditional rights to the unauthorized cloned upgrade of CP/M operating system produced by Seattle Computer Products (SCP). SCP's operating system, named SCP-DOS as later upgraded to 86-DOS, sports a virtual copy of CP/M user commands and a strikingly similar applications programming interface. To the user, that makes 86-DOS, PC-DOS and MS-DOS "look and feel" essentially identical to CP/M (see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Kildall).

The CP/M & clone 86-DOS operating system combination were the essential products developed completely outside Microsoft that became the baseline for Microsoft DOS (see www.digitalresearch.biz/GATES41.HTM). Without the acquisition of this fiddled clone of the CP/M operating system, the Gates led Microsoft would likely be just another capable group of software development tool providers. Gates is an aggressive and sometimes predatory procurement artist, whose leadership style smacks of strong antitrust tendencies. He fortuitously surrounded himself with superior technical, business, and legal personnel in a collection of talent that cultivated a successful Microsoft. It was this team of working engineers, technologists and technical management business people who made Microsoft successful. But there is a point where predatory behavior becomes dangerous even to the predator.

To deny that Bill Gates is just another smart and very lucky man, a forceful marauder in the right place at the right time, is simply amazing. Gates is a man with important connections, who sometimes used marginal or downright unethical and illegal business practices to acquire technology and smother competition. Presiding Judge Jackson in the 1998-2000 antitrust case United States v. Microsoft states that Microsoft executives had "...proved, time and time again, to be inaccurate, misleading, evasive, and transparently false. ...Microsoft is a company with an institutional disdain for both the truth and for rules of law that lesser entities must respect. It is also a company whose senior management is not averse to offering specious testimony to support spurious defenses to claims of its wrongdoing." Solid business ethics are important in a company's formative years...and executive leadership in a younger Microsoft firm apparently had no firm foundation in business ethics. Bill Gates' technical business history for distorting the truth, even while under oath, is a matter of official judicial system record...

"bgC3"--another Microsoft for the “genius” Bill Gates? Right! There is a bridge for sale in Brooklyn for anyone who might actually believe that story.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Remembering American Civil War Soldier
1st Lieutenant William Kirkland Bacon

My annual Memorial Day visit to pay respects to American war veterans found those hero's gravestones bathed in the warm afternoon sun. The unadorned, seemingly forgotten gravesite of twenty-year-old 1st Lieutenant William Kirkland Bacon was discovered during that visit in late May to Forest Hill Cemetery, Utica, NY. Barely visible, the monument inscription reads: “William Kirkland Bacon: Late Adjutant of the Twenty-Sixth Regiment of New York State Volunteers, slain at Fredericksburg, December 16, 1862.”

Adjutant William Kirkland Bacon was affectionately known as “Willie” to his family and friends. Willie’s military life can be summarized by stating that in late April 1861, as he finished his sophomore year at Hamilton College--and following the attack on Fort Sumter--he answered his country’s call by enlisting as a private with Company A of the notable Fourteenth Regiment of New York State Volunteers (NYSV). Company A was the first contingent of Central New York Oneida County residents to volunteer for Union Civil War military service. The Fourteenth New York was first posted to protect and defend Washington D.C., where the regimental officer community recognized Willie’s quick intelligence, attainments, and talents. Later in 1861, Willie accepted a transfer to the Twenty-Sixth Regiment NYSV as Military Clerk. A vacancy occurred several weeks later and Willie was offered an officer’s promotion and assignment as the Twenty-Sixth New York Regimental Adjutant. Now a commissioned officer, Willie engaged in several skirmishes and a couple of major battles leading up to December 1862 at Battle of Fredericksburg. In combat during the Second Battle of Bull Run (Second Manassas), August 30, 1862, Willie suffered his first wound, wounded-in-action to the left leg. Confederate fire hit him just above the heal while leading a party of Company F fighting men. The shot's impact knocked him from his wounded horse, and Willie struggled to painfully walk from the battlefield with aid provided by a few of his “Boys”. Unable to walk without assistance, he eventually made his way to an Alexandria, VA Union Army hospital. Willie’s father, William Johnson Bacon of Utica, found him in Alexandria about a week later and accompanied him to his boyhood home in Utica for convalescent leave. In October 1862, after six weeks rest and medical recuperation, Willie returned to his regiment with his painful Manassas combat wound still not fully mended.

Then, at mid-afternoon, Saturday, December 13, 1862, during savage combat at the Battle of Fredericksburg--and while leading front-line Union fighting men from General John F. Reynolds' Corps--Willie was mortally-wounded-in-action by Confederate fire to his upper left leg. With his leg shattered, and under heavy fire, two of his boys removed Willie from the battlefield. There a wagon ambulance delivered him and other wounded soldiers to a rear medical facility. His left leg was amputated later that evening (very high on the leg near the pelvis). Willie was drugged with available painkillers, and without much doubt he never regained a fully conscious state. He died early Tuesday morning on December 16, 1862, just two months short of his twenty-first birthday.

Adjutant William “Willie” Kirkland Bacon was born to a prominent Utica, New York Family, where his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were lawyers and all served in elected state office in Massachusetts and New York and as U.S. Representatives. Willie’s father, The Honorable William Johnson Bacon, served nearly two decades as an elected New York State Supreme Court Judge. Willie was the only son of Judge William and Mrs. Eliza Kirkland Bacon. Adjutant Bacon’s middle name--Kirkland--honors his beloved mother’s maiden name. Mrs. Bacon’s father was the Honorable General Joseph Kirkland, a well-known Utica-area lawyer, the first mayor of the new city Utica, and a New York State and federal elected politician. The Bacon family was emotionally crushed by Willie’s Civil War combat death at Fredericksburg, and never fully recovered from their deeply shared grief on his passing. No military medals were evidently ever awarded to recognize Adjutant Bacon’s heroism. Medals of Honor were awarded to enlisted personnel only at the time of Willie’s 1862 Civil War combat death. Furthermore, it was rare that medals for heroism were awarded to officers posthumously. In fact, many senior Union generals--including then Commanding General Burnside--felt that medal awards emulated too strongly the practices of European Aristocrats. A 1932 congressional award re-authorization, The Purple Heart, recognizes combat-related wounds or death for military service on or after April 5, 1917--and just in this new millennium finally recognizes those who perished as POWs. Published words in letters and books seems to be the preferred method to recognize officers killed-in-action during the American Civil War. One such letter, as sent to Willie’s father from Brigade Commander, General Zealous B. Tower states “…My short acquaintance with Adjutant Bacon prepossessed me greatly in his favor. It is a pleasing duty to inform you that in this battle your son was distinguished for gallant services at the head of his regiment. At Fredericksburgh he was conspicuous for manly bravery and cool determination, till he fell mortally wounded on that never to be forgotten battle-field.”

Bacon Post No. 53 of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) was chartered in Utica, NY, October 24, 1867. G.A.R. Post 53 was named to honor the memory and Union Civil War service of 1st Lieutenant William Kirkland Bacon. Medal of Honor (MOH) recipient Joseph Keene—who won the MOH for valor at the Battle of Fredericksburg––annually joined former comrades from the 26th Infantry Regiment NYSV for many years on "Decoration Day", holding memorial exercises at the grave of William Kirkland Bacon. They each held a warm affection for Willie Bacon…"their Little Adjutant."

A memorial book authored by Willie’s father Judge Bacon, "Adjutant Bacon: Memorial of William Kirkland Bacon, late Adjutant of the Twenty-Sixth Regiment of New York State Volunteers" served as a major reference for this log-of-remembrance. Judge Bacon’s work is preserved by Goggle digitizing and is available by Internet search.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Greed and Dishonesty by
Stock Market Manipulators

For goodness sake! A blind man can see that unprincipled and rampant naked-short-sellers, masquerading as good-for-the-market hedge fund management, are manipulating current stock markets. Out of control market speculation is a significant cause in the present inability of the stock markets to operate correctly. Investment seems to be the forgotten market purpose--while driving stock price down in a loose confederation of short selling more the rule. Money is selfishly extracted--not by investment--but rather by sucking the life blood from business. Immediate controls are necessary on these money-hungry stock short-sellers and hedge-fund operators. Several corrective steps have been mentioned over the past few months to corral these callous and deceitful market thieves. Here are just a couple of rational changes that will immediately yield a more honest and effective stock market:

1. Immediately place the up-tick rule in effect. Short sellers can not sell stock they don't own when that stock is losing value. Short sells are allowed only when the stock price is gaining.

2. Eliminate “naked short selling”. Short selling should be backed by legitimate “borrowed” stock…where trading rights to that short stock is paid for by a non-returnable and significant lending fee. Audit and investigate more aggressively...and institute very significant penalties for proven naked short selling.

These and other appropriate oversight should be directly implemented by swift action of the Securities and Exchange Commission--or by Executive Order of President Obama should that be required. More market regulation is urgently needed! So far the new president's administration has paid little more than a healthy quanity of lip service to a stock market out of control. Immeditate executive action is both required and necessary. Investors should personally look at the hedge fund cabal. Clearly, too much money concentrated in too few hands. Absolute unchained collaboration with strong anti-trust implications is apparent. No wonder hedge management spends big dollars on federal lobbyist to help preserve their unregulated status. If they had to deal with full transparency in the light of day they would move like cockroaches for shadowy protection under rocks.

Scum will always float to the surface...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Satire on Digital TV Transition

To delay the Federal Communication Commission’s Digital TV transition mandate is very plausible--considering the financial mess that congress and the administration has generated. And yet such delay is just another example of an unbelievable lapse in government wisdom. Most of the “Great Unwashed” will simply put off those personal steps necessary to make an in-house DTV transition--for a period equal to any proposed delay. And to heck with those dumb little government converter coupons. Just send everyone another government check--call it a “converter stimulus check”. Funding might well be cut from the just authorized--$350 Billion Bush Administration’s Troubled Asset Relief Program. Or perhaps some of the forthcoming $825 Billion Obama 2009 Stimulus Package could be used to buy free converters for everyone. A billion here--or a billion there--that is just chicken feed. And DTV converters should be purchased only from American firms--that is if any could be found. And when an American converter firm is not found, use some more of those federal funds to build a factory. Think of it! An instant domestic high tech job creation program building DTV converters, a mandated emphasis to “Buy American” might be placed on components for DTV converter manufacturing, and all while rejuvenating a domestic electronics industry we let slip through our hands decades ago. Then the responsible people who have properly prepared for DTV transition could join hands...while singing “Kumbayah”. Together, we shall hold high hopes that recipients of converter stimulus checks spend the free cash on Digital TV Converters--rather than Coors. That free federal money worked so well for our economy last time. Now this is a government take over of personal responsibility at its finest!

Friday, January 16, 2009

New York State’s Troubling Budget Shortfall

Simply put, immediate state legislative steps must be taken to reduce New York State spending. Increasing taxes and fees on already overtaxed state residents will directly result in a significant population and business migration to locations without the ridiculous financial burden imposed by New York State’s sales tax, property tax, school tax, and extravagant state fee structures. Marginal business will simply cease to be going concerns…and fold up shop. There will be no billion-dollar bailout for small business. An elementary principle in basic economics is the “Law of Diminishing Returns”. Typically applied to manufacturing & agricultural production--the law can logically extend to government taxes and fees. Beyond some point--further increases in taxes and fees--will rationally result in a smaller tax base and smaller treasury revenues--particularly when many residents and businesses have alternatives to live and do business elsewhere outside of New York State. Here are seven commonsense state legislative initiatives that should be immediately implemented:
  • There should be no new NYS taxes and no new fees.
  • Current NYS tax rates should not in any way be raised.
  • Current NYS fees should be frozen at January 1, 2009 levels.
  • No new or expanded NYS spending programs should be approved.
  • No increase in current state agency budgets, not even as adjusted for the present very low inflation rate.
  • Cut unclassified NYS employees, contract employees, and consultant services by 25% on or before September 30, 2009. Any state programs impacted by fewer consultants--and/or less employment other than by civil service classified employees--should be delayed, extended, or terminated.
  • Effective October 1, 2009, offer current classified NYS employees over age 50 a rational early retirement incentive program; where employee physical age plus years of state service = 76 or higher, employees may retire--at their descretion--from state service within their current tier without early retirement penalty. The agency shall hold the item vacant for a period of not less than twelve months.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Hawk's Front Yard Visit

Saw a feathered blob sitting in the front yard yesterday, just looking around on top of the snow about 200 feet from the front of our house. Watched it for a while through field glasses--and finally identified it as a probable Cooper’s Hawk--or possibly a young Red-Tailed Hawk. The hawk just sat there in the snow for perhaps 10 minutes or more--then I realized it was in process of killing something. I think the hawk must have knocked a Mourning Dove out of the air--then pounced on it for the kill--with those powerful talons. Signs of the struggle were very localized to the spot where the hawk was first seen. Our urge to run outside and drive the hawk away was suppressed. It is not our intention to provide a buffet for hawks…but they struggle for survival in winter too. We watched as most of the dove's feathers were plucked out--and then as the predator ate practically the whole thing. Very interesting...never have seen anything like it before. After the hawk finished dining, went down to checkout the spot--just a bunch of feathers and some spots of blood--not much evidence of the dove remained. We feed birds in the back yard area, where all the local feathered residents enjoy the seed, suet, and table scraps. Three American Crows (Moe, Larry & Curly) join us for daily breakfast, complemented by many Gold Finches, Chickadees, Dark-Eyed Juncos, many Sparrows, Tufted Titmice, Cardinals, White-breasted Nuthatch, Mourning Doves, Downy Woodpeckers, Blue Jays, etc.--all the standard feathered species found here in the Upper Mohawk River Valley.