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Posts by untenured

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  • Obama signs Ted Cruz bill into law, but says he won´t enforce it

    04/19/2014 7:58:05 AM PDT · 60 of 62
    untenured to Nachum
    Where have I seen this before? Oh yeah...

    "He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

    He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them."


    04/16/2014 10:01:27 AM PDT · 8 of 11
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson

    Count me among those relieved that Princess Elizabeth, despite lacking what it takes for “triumphant beauty,” nonetheless is “in no danger of being neurotic.”

  • Who Are the REAL Kings (and Queens) of Cool? Exhibition of 100 Coolest Americans

    04/11/2014 3:50:02 AM PDT · 95 of 95
    untenured to nickcarraway

    Joe DiMaggio then, Derek Jeter now.


    04/03/2014 9:41:40 AM PDT · 13 of 33
    untenured to Tax-chick
    I had not heard of the incident. Here is Wikipedia's account of the events:

    In 1944, Helen Duncan was gaoled under the Witchcraft Act on the grounds that she had claimed to summon spirits. It is often contended, by her followers, that her imprisonment was in fact at the behest of superstitious military intelligence officers who feared she would reveal the secret plans for D-Day. She came to the attention of the authorities after supposedly contacting the spirit of a sailor of the HMS Barham, whose sinking was hidden from the general public at the time. After being caught in the act of faking a spiritual manifestation, she was arrested during a seance and indicted with seven punishable counts: two of conspiracy to contravene the Witchcraft Act, two of obtaining money by false pretences, and three of public mischief (a common law offence). She spent nine months in prison.

    Although Duncan has been frequently described as the last person to be convicted under the Act, in fact, Jane Rebecca Yorke was convicted under the Act later that same year. The last threatened use of the Act against a medium was in 1950. In 1951 the Witchcraft Act was repealed with the enactment of the Fraudulent Mediums Act 1951, largely at the instigation of Spiritualists through the agency of Thomas Brooks MP.

  • Climate Change Takes Its Toll on Baby Deer in France

    04/02/2014 10:07:11 AM PDT · 6 of 75
    untenured to Oldeconomybuyer

    So global warming is almost literally killing Bambi. Why am I not surprised to read this?

  • Democrat Senator Pulls Resolution To Honor Cesar Chavez After GOP Adds Border Security Language

    04/01/2014 12:31:57 PM PDT · 27 of 32
    untenured to cpdiii
    Chavez is one of the good guys.

    He was a complicated man, with some unattractive qualities in addition to his victories. You might want to read the article below to get a sense of that:

    "The Madness of Cesar Chavez".


    04/01/2014 10:33:17 AM PDT · 14 of 20
    untenured to untenured

    Oops, 1944.


    04/01/2014 10:32:17 AM PDT · 13 of 20
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson
    I did not know that in 1947 Cairo still had a chief rabbi. No need of one now, of course.

    Interesting too about the strikes in the UK, which have been off and on both there and here for awhile now. I don't know if there was much contemporaneous coverage of what is now depicted as a US domestic war boom. But unions' willingness to act so aggressively both here and in the UK certainly suggests one.

  • Kerry wants terror chief freed in exchange for Israeli spy

    04/01/2014 8:54:39 AM PDT · 2 of 26
    untenured to Dave346

    So the bargain is that a convicted terrorist and a convicted US traitor both get out of jail. I’m having trouble seeing this as a U.S. win.

  • Is Democrat Leland Yee a Full-Blown Gun-Runner for Russians and Islamic Terrorists?

    03/28/2014 10:24:24 AM PDT · 46 of 63
    untenured to SeekAndFind
    This is perhaps the most remarkable story in all my years of watching American politics. A leadership figure in the senate of America's most populous state is charged with being a major arms trafficker. (That he is pro-gun control is just lagniappe.)

    I'd expect this in Equatorial Guinea (or in Russia for that matter), but I have a naive disposition to think that we're not like that. That it is not a bigger story is testimony to how useless/biased/timid the legacy media is in this country. If only a young female intern were involved.


    03/28/2014 5:29:34 AM PDT · 9 of 16
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson
    Ernie Pyle from Anzio:

    IU Archives
    Pyle in the wreckage of his room in the Public Relations Office in Nettuno.

    WITH THE ALLIED BEACHHEAD FORCES IN ITALY, March 28, 1944 – When you get to Anzio you waste no time getting off the boat, for you have been feeling pretty much like a clay pigeon in a shooting gallery. But after a few hours in Anzio you wish you were back on the boat, for you could hardly describe being ashore as any haven of peacefulness.

    As we came into the harbor, shells skipped the water within a hundred yards of us.

    In our first day ashore, a bomb exploded so close to the place where I was sitting that it almost knocked us down with fright. It smacked into the trees a short distance away.

    And on the third day ashore, an 88 went off within twenty yards of us.

    I wished I was in New York.


    When I write about my own occasional association with shells and bombs, there is one thing I want you folks at home to be sure to get straight. And that is that the other correspondents are in the same boat – many of them much more so. You know about my own small experiences, because it’s my job to write about how these things sound and feel. But you don’t know what the other reporters go through, because it usually isn’t their job to write about themselves.


    There are correspondents here on the beachhead, and on the Cassino front also, who have had dozens of close shaves. I know of one correspondent who was knocked down four times by near misses on his first day here.

    Two correspondents, Reynolds Packer of the United Press and Homer Bigart of the New York Herald-Tribune, have been on the beachhead since D-day without a moment’s respite. They’ve become so veteran that they don’t even mention a shell striking twenty yards away.


    On this beachhead every inch of our territory is under German artillery fire. There is no rear area that is immune, as in most battle zones. They can reach us with their 88′s, and they use everything from that on up.

    I don’t mean to suggest that they keep every foot of our territory drenched with shells all the time, for they certainly don’t. They are short of ammunition, for one thing. But they can reach us, and you never know where they’ll shoot next. You’re just as liable to get hit standing in the doorway of the villa where you sleep at night, as you are in a command post five miles out in the field.

    Some days they shell us hard, and some days hours will go by without a single shell coming over. Yet nobody is wholly safe, and anybody who says he has been around Anzio two days without ever having a shell hit within a hundred yards of him is just bragging.


    People who know the sounds of warfare intimately are puzzled and irritated by the sounds up here. For some reason, you can’t tell anything about anything.

    The Germans shoot shells of half a dozen sizes, each of which makes a different sound of explosion. You can’t gauge distance at all. One shell may land within your block and sound not much louder than a shotgun. Another landing a quarter mile away makes the earth tremble as in an earthquake, and starts your heart to pounding.

    You can’t gauge direction, either. The 88 that hit within twenty yards of us didn’t make so much noise. I would have sworn it was two hundred yards away and in the opposite direction.

    Sometimes you hear them coming, and sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you hear the shell whine after you’ve heard it explode. Sometimes you hear it whine and it never explodes. Sometimes the house trembles and shakes and you hear no explosion at all.

    But I’ve found out one thing here that’s just the same as anywhere else – and that’s that old weakness in the joints when they get to landing close. I’ve been weak all over Tunisia and Sicily, and in parts of Italy, and I get weaker than ever up here.

    When the German raiders come over at night, and the sky lights up bright as day with flares, and ack-ack guns set up a turmoil and pretty soon you hear and feel that terrible power of exploding bombs – well, your elbows get flabby and you breathe in little short jerks, and your chest feels empty, and you’re too excited to do anything but hope.

    Ernie Pyle
    Source: Ernie's War: The Best of Ernie Pyle's World War II Dispatches, edited by David Nichols, pp. 236-38. Pictures courtesy of The Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

    03/19/2014 9:37:28 AM PDT · 14 of 14
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson

    Hilarious message from the PM on Mar. 19. Even with civilization under siege everywhere, he still finds time to correct perceived misuse of English.

  • Does Ron and Rand Paul Hate What Ronald Reagan Stood For? (Vanity)

    03/13/2014 3:40:42 PM PDT · 25 of 35
    untenured to Din Maker
    Based on what I know (including memory of his presidency), Reagan had the following tripartite belief system, united by his belief in the dignity of the individual as God's highest creation:

    1. Economic freedom. Government intervention in the economy is almost always a mistake, period.

    2. Traditional mores. By the time he ran for president in 1976 he was pro-life to the core. He was for returning prayer to the schools (something, BTW, we never hear about any more). He loved America because America was worth our love and sacrifice, and wasn't ashamed to say so.

    3. Anti-communism. Communism was both a threat to America's continued existence and to the rights and dignity of people all over the world. It had to be defeated.

    So what would he make of some of our modern controversies? How would he have reacted to 9/11? Devastating retaliation to be sure, but would he have tried to do all the democracy-building, à la Pres. Bush? I think he did believe that liberty was the aspiration of all people, which experience has taught me is probably not true. But the Cold War was central to his foreign-policy vision, and I don't know what he would've wanted to do with American power in a post-Soviet world.

    Gay marriage? Such a thing would have been unimaginable in 1989 when he left office, so I'm not sure it's possible to conclude anything from his writings and speeches. He might have accepted it as a matter of state law on federalist grounds. But he might also have viewed it as a violation of God's law, and therefore unacceptable. Would he have made it a central issue, the way abortion and school prayer were for him? Who knows?

    He almost certainly would have been anti-amnesty (which may be a minority view now), because the law matters, and he was burned in 1986. But he wasn't worried about immigration per se, the "invasion," the way some nativists have been in the last two decades. I think he saw legal immigration as a validation of the American idea.

    I know in his day he opposed "socialized medicine," and I think he would've thought the ACA a profound threat to the American experiment. He'd probably campaign energetically for full repeal, and replacement with something far more market-oriented. He'd be disappointed, I think, with the increasing get-along-to-go-along attitude and lack of vision of the current GOP. This would have been huge for him.

    Other people who remember his public life may have different interpretations, and I'd be glad to hear them.


    03/12/2014 9:36:44 AM PDT · 10 of 11
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson

    Fascinating profile of Einstein, who apparently was seen as an eccentric genius back then too. It also seems to give the lie to the idea that we often hear that he was bad at math when he was young.

  • Kids react to Rotary Phones...

    03/03/2014 10:54:40 AM PST · 50 of 79
    untenured to greene66
    Reminds me of the old “Bell” telephone signs that used to be on commerical buildings, indicating an available pay-phone below or nearby. Like on old country stores and such.

    To show you how hard the future can be to predict, the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey" has a scene where someone is making a video call from the space station, and it's in a booth with that Bell sign on it. (The station had a Howard Johnson's too.) People assume the future will just be a linear extrapolation of the present.

  • The Ambivalent Superpower

    02/28/2014 12:08:39 PM PST · 7 of 13
    untenured to DoodleDawg
    1. Be the world policeman. 2. Continue the modern entitlement state. Continue the current regime of crony capitalism and an anti-growth tax system.

    Choose any two.


    02/23/2014 11:22:02 AM PST · 11 of 15
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson
    Didn't get a chance until today to post a Pyle column that appeared on 2/21/1944.

    02/23/2014 11:20:28 AM PST · 28 of 28
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson
    On 2/21/1944 one of Ernie Pyle's several columns about Buck Eversole appeared:

    Buck Eversole: One of the Great Men of the War

    IN ITALY, February 21, 1944 – The company commander said to me, "Every man in this company deserves the Silver Star."

    We walked around in the olive grove where the men of the company were sitting on the edges of their foxholes, talking or cleaning their gear.

    "Let’s go over here," he said. "I want to introduce you to my personal hero."

    Courtesy photo
    Buck Eversole

    I figured that the lieutenant’s own "personal hero," out of a whole company of men who deserved the Silver Star, must be a real soldier indeed.

    Then the company commander introduced me to Sgt. Frank Eversole, who shook hands sort of timidly and said, "Pleased to meet you," and then didn’t say any more.

    I could tell by his eyes and by his slow and courteous speech when he did talk that he was a Westerner. Conversation with him was sort of hard, but I didn’t mind his reticence for I know how Westerners like to size people up first.

    The sergeant wore a brown stocking cap on the back of his head. His eyes were the piercing kind. I noticed his hands – they were outdoor hands, strong and rough.

    Later in the afternoon I came past his foxhole again, and we sat and talked a little while alone. We didn’t talk about the war, but mainly about our West, and just sat and made figures on the ground with sticks as we talked.

    We got started that way, and in the days that followed I came to know him well. He is to me, and to all those with whom he serves, one of the great men of the war.


    Frank Eversole’s nickname is "Buck." The other boys in the company sometimes call him "Buck Overshoes," simply because Eversole sounds a bit like "overshoes."

    Buck was a cowboy before the war. He was born in the little town of Missouri Valley, Iowa, and his mother still lives there. But Buck went West on his own before he was sixteen, and ever since has worked as a ranch hand. He is twenty-eight, and unmarried.

    He worked a long time around Twin Falls, Idaho, and then later down in Nevada. Like so many cowboys, he made the rodeos in season. He was never a star or anything. Usually he just rode the broncs out of the chute for pay – seven-fifty a ride. Once he did win a fine saddle. He has ridden at Cheyenne and the other big rodeos.

    Like any cowboy, he loves animals. Here in Italy one afternoon Buck and some other boys were pinned down inside a one-room stone shed by terrific German shellfire. As they sat there, a frightened mule came charging through the door. There simply wasn’t room inside for men and mule both, so Buck got up and shooed him out the door. Thirty feet from the door a direct hit killed the mule. Buck has always felt guilty about it.

    Another time Buck ran onto a mule that was down and crying in pain from a bad shell wound. Buck took his .45 and put a bullet through its head. "I wouldn’t have shot him except he was hurtin’ so," Buck says.


    Buck Eversole has the Purple Heart and two Silver Stars for bravery. He is cold and deliberate in battle. His commanders depend more on him than on any other man. He has been wounded once, and had countless narrow escapes. He has killed many Germans.


    He is the kind of man you instinctively feel safer with than with other people. He is not helpless like most of us. He is practical. He can improvise, patch things, fix things.

    His grammar is the unschooled grammar of the plains and the soil. He uses profanity, but never violently. Even in the familiarity of his own group his voice is always low. He is such a confirmed soldier by now that he always says "sir" to any stranger. It is impossible to conceive of his doing anything dishonest.

    After the war Buck will go back West to the land he loves. He wants to get a little place and feed a few head of cattle, and be independent.

    "I don’t want to be just a ranch hand no more," he says. "It’s all right and I like it all right, but it’s a rough life and it don’t get you nowhere. When you get a little older you kinda like a place of your own."

    Buck Eversole has no hatred for Germans. He kills because he’s trying to keep alive himself. The years roll over him and the war becomes his only world, and battle his only profession. He armors himself with a philosophy of acceptance of what may happen.

    "I’m mighty sick of it all," he says very quietly, "but there ain’t no use to complain. I just figured it this way, that I’ve been given a job to do and I’ve got to do it. And if I don’t live through it, there’s nothing I can do about it."

    Ernie Pyle
  • The Etymology of Funk ( The music and the term)

    02/23/2014 4:24:17 AM PST · 18 of 29
    untenured to lee martell

    After seeing them last year I’ve become a fan of Austin’s Mingo Fishtrap, who have a lot of funk to their sound. You might check them out; I know they are on iTunes.

  • The Golden Gated Communities: Northern California Today is Detroit in the 1960's

    02/17/2014 9:25:25 AM PST · 19 of 69
    untenured to SeekAndFind

    San Francisco is a fortress city. Parts of it are beautiful, although almost no one can afford to live in those parts. But every time I go there I am staggered by the number of people living in sleeping bags on the street - one small block can easily have 15-20. New York and LA are like that, although maybe slightly less so. Wherever the left rules, opportunity for those most in need of it dies, and the much lamented “inequality” becomes most manifest.


    02/15/2014 11:40:52 AM PST · 12 of 18
    untenured to Tax-chick
    It sounds very contemporary!

    That the primary police response was to return the young ladies to their parents and request that they "provide better guidance" has a certain archaic quaintness.


    02/04/2014 9:55:16 AM PST · 8 of 20
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson
    Letters to home from Ernie Pyle, dated 2/4/1944 and 3/30/1944:

    I've Had It

    IU Archives
    Former IU President Herman B Wells, Ernie Pyle’s Aunt Mary and General Omar N. Bradley unveil a plaque dedicated to Pyle.

    Feb. 4, 1944

    Dear Lee -

    Stars & Stripes this morning carried a two-column piece about Ray Clapper being killed. I’m just floored by it. Somehow it had never occurred to me that anything would ever happen to him. What a waste of intelligence and character – as the whole war is. It gives me the creeps.

    The whole thing is getting pretty badly under my skin, Lee. I’ve got so I brood about it, about the whole thing, I mean, and I have a personal reluctance to die that is always in my mind, like a weight. Instead of growing stronger and hard as good veterans do, I’ve become weaker and more frightened. I’m allright when I’m actually at the front, but it’s when I pull back and start thinking and visualizing that it almost overwhelms me. I’ve even got so I don’t sleep well, and have half-awake hideous dreams about the war.

    I’ve really been sick with this cold, but I think I might have kept the columns going anyhow except I was just so low in spirit, I didn’t have the will to struggle against them when my deadline was so close and I felt so lousy. I’m writing again now, with much difficulty, and will start sending them again in a day or two.

    I’ve almost reached the point where "I’ve had it," as soldiers and fliers say when they can’t take it any longer. I’d quit it and come home for good except I don’t suppose I could live with myself if I did, and would gradually go nuts. If I can just see the European war out I think I might feel justified in quitting the war. It was only by a miracle that some correspondents on the beachhead landing weren’t killed.

    That front-page play The News gave the Capt. Waskow piece was the damndest thing I ever saw. I’m enclosing an original copy of the piece, in case you should ever be reprinting it, as there were a few words garbled in transmission.

    It looks now as though I might not leave for England up to as late as March 10. I’d counted on more or less wasting two weeks getting there, but it looks now as if I could probably get through in four or five days, which will allow me to stay here that much longer. Figure I might as well stay here as long as I can, for the weather should soon turn nice here, and there’ll be more action here until the invasion actually starts. I’m more or less committed to do a couple of weeks with the heavy bombers here, although I find the Air Corps colorless and anti-climactic after the infantry.

    ….Guess that’s all there is just now. Probably I’ll be feeling more chipper in a few days.


    Italy – March 30

    Dear Papa & Auntie -

    I’m afraid I’ve let quite a bit of time slip by this time without writing. But I had thought I’d be in England before now, and kept putting off writing until after the trip. But I can’t ever seem to get finished with certain pieces of writing I’ve planned, so have just delayed going from day to day. The way it looks now, I’ll probably leave in four or five days, as I still have about that much work to do here.

    I’m back from the beachhead now. As you’ve doubtless read, I had some pretty narrow escapes up there, and I hope it didn’t worry you too much when you saw it in the paper. Our worst one was when they bombed our house. We got two 500-pounders right alongside the house. I was sleeping in a room alone, and it blew two of my walls in. I had just jumped up to look out the window, and had been out of bed about two seconds when the whole wall blew in and covered my bed with about a thousand pounds of brick and stone. I was very lucky.

    A couple of other times I had "88" artillery shells hit within a few feet of me, but fortunately the ground was muddy and the mud absorbed the fragments. When I went to the beachhead I had only planned to stay about five days, but I found it so interesting (despite the danger) that I wound up by staying three and a half weeks.

    My anemia is much better. The Army continued giving me shots while I was at the beachhead, and they ran a blood count up there, and found it almost back up to normal. And I’ve been feeling much better too.

    I haven’t heard from you for quite a while, since I expect you are sending the letters to England now….

    Had a long letter today from Lester Cowan, who is making the movie of my book. He says they have already started shooting on the outdoor scenes. They won’t have the script completely written till about May 15. Then he wants Lee Miller and Lowell Mellett to come out to Hollywood and go over it with him. Also he will fly a copy to me in England, so I can approve or change it. I don’t expect the picture will be ready for release until fall. I understand Jimmy Gleason is to play my part.

    Lee writes that they have already sold 225,000 copies of the book, and the column is running in about 270 papers now. I get quite a lot of mail from readers – it has been running about 100 letters a week, I guess. Of course I can’t take the time to answer them, but it’s nice to get them anyway.

    Guess that’s about all there is to write. Are you still using your walker, Papa? I’m glad that spring will soon be with you. I’ll write again just as soon as I get to England….

    Ernie Pyle

    02/04/2014 9:50:35 AM PST · 7 of 20
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson

    Interesting remark by Gen. Marshall on p. 8 about “vehement protests” against the use of flame throwers. I wasn’t aware of anything going on during those years that is like modern post-Vietnam antiwar attitudes.

  • Obama Administration Picks Up Another Journalist

    01/22/2014 3:31:14 PM PST · 7 of 12
    untenured to kcvl

    I thought they meant “picked up and interrogated.”

  • Dr. Eric Topol Wireless Med (the future of better and cheaper healthcare)

    01/21/2014 5:27:58 PM PST · 4 of 5
    untenured to doug from upland

    Doug, that is potentially awesome. I am a type I diabetic and would love to be able to test my blood sugar noninvasively whenever I want. Unfortunately, they didn’t mention the app that does that.


    01/21/2014 10:04:32 AM PST · 9 of 11
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson
    Reading the article about the POW camps reminded me of an article written by an economist named R.A. Radford who had been taken prisoner by the Germans in Italy. Soon after the war ended, he wrote the article for an economics journal about economic life in POW camps. Cigarettes were money, and there was inflation, deflation, central planning, collusion and all manner of economic phenomena. The problems the inmates faced were real, although of a different sort than Milo Minderbender's shareholders confronted.

    01/20/2014 9:32:59 AM PST · 10 of 13
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson
    I neglected to post this Pyle column on schedule. It is a modest tribute to the air corps.

    With the Air Force

    IN ITALY, January 18, 1944 – It has been more than a year since I last spent any time with our Air Forces overseas. So now for a little while I’ll try to tell you what a gigantic thing our "air" has become in this theater.

    In the past year I have written so much about the ground forces that they have become an obsession with me. They live and die so miserably and they do it with such determined acceptance that your admiration for them blinds you to the rest of the war.

    To any individual the war is seldom any bigger than the space of a few hundred yards on each side of him. All the war in the world is concentrated down into his own personal fight. To me all the war of the world has seemed to be borne by the few thousand front-line soldiers here, destined merely by chance to suffer and die for the rest of us.

    All over the world other millions are fighting too, many of them under conditions as wretched as our infantry faces in Italy. But it is easy to forget them in your intentness upon your own hundred yards.

    But now, remembering once again, this column will do its stuff with the Air Forces. We may break it up with a short nostalgic jump back to the infantry now and then, but on the whole for the next few weeks we’ll be learning about the flying men.


    You have to make some psychological adjustments when you switch from the infantry to the Air Forces. The association with death is on a different basis. You approach death rather decently in the Air Forces.

    You die well-fed and clean-shaven, if that’s any comfort. You’re at the front only a few hours of the day, instead of day and night for months on end. In the evening you come back to something approximating a home and fireside.

    In the Air Forces you still have some semblance of an orderly life, even though you may be living in tents. But in the infantry you must become half beast in order to survive.

    Here is the subtle difference between the two: when I’m with the infantry I never shave, for anyone clean-shaven is an obvious outsider and apt to be abused. But in the Air Forces if you go for three days without shaving you get to feeling self-conscious, like a bum among nice people, so you shave in order to conform.


    I’m now with a dive-bomber squadron of the 12th Air Force Command. There are about fifty officers and two hundred fifty enlisted men in a squadron.

    They all live, officers and men too, in a big apartment house that the Italian government built to house war workers and their families. It looks like one of our own government housing projects.

    It is out in the country at the edge of a small town. The Germans demolished the big nearby factories beyond, but left the homes intact. When our squadron moved into this building it was their first time under a roof in six months of combat.

    Now our airmen have wood stoves in their rooms, they sleep in sleeping bags on folding cots, they have shelves to put their things on, they have electric light, they eat at tables, sitting on stools, and have an Italian boy to clear the dishes away.

    They have an Italian barber, and their clothes are clean and pressed. They have a small recreation room with soldier-drawn murals on the walls. They can go to a nearby town of an evening and see American movies, in theaters taken over by the Army. They can have dates with nurses. They can play cards. They can read by good light in a warm room.

    Don’t get the wrong impression. Their life is not luxurious. At home we wouldn’t consider it adequate. It has the security of walls and doors, but it is a dog’s life at that.

    The toilets don’t work, so you have to flush them with a tin hat full of water dipped out of an always filled bathtub. The lights go out frequently and you have to use candles.

    It’s tough getting up two hours before daylight for a dawn mission. The floors are cold, hard tile. There are no rugs. Some of the windows are still blown out.


    And yet, as the airmen unblushingly admit, their life is paradise compared with the infantry. They are fully appreciative of what the infantry goes through. There has recently been a program of sending pilots up to the front as liaison officers for a few days at a time. They come back and tell the others, so that the whole Air Corps may know the ground problem and how their brothers are living up there in the mud.

    It has resulted in an eagerness to help out those ground kids that is actually touching. On days when the squadron dive-bombs the Germans just ahead of our own lines it isn’t as academic to them as it used to be. Now the pilots are thinking of how much that special bomb may help the American boys down below them.

    It is teamwork with a soul in it, and we’re fighting better than ever before.

    Ernie Pyle

    Source: Ernie's War: The Best of Ernie Pyle's World War II Dispatches, edited by David Nichols, pp. 200-02.

  • Mumbai loses its appetite for Irani cafes

    01/18/2014 10:05:19 AM PST · 6 of 6
    untenured to DeaconBenjamin

    Thanks for posting this. The tribal solvency of commerce is a favorite subject of mine.


    01/15/2014 9:53:27 AM PST · 14 of 19
    untenured to untenured

    Or, above is one. :)


    01/15/2014 9:53:03 AM PST · 13 of 19
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson
    Another Ernie Pyle column, this time excerpts from a profile of the cartoonist and soldier Bill Mauldin.

    Bill Mauldin, Cartoonist IN ITALY, January 15, 1944 – Sgt. Bill Mauldin appears to us over here to be the finest cartoonist the war has produced. And that’s not merely because his cartoons are funny, but because they are also terribly grim and real.

    Mauldin’s cartoons aren’t about training-camp life, which you at home are best acquainted with. They are about the men in the line – the tiny percentage of our vast army who are actually up there in that other world doing the dying. His cartoons are about the war.

    Mauldin’s central cartoon character is a soldier, unshaven, unwashed, unsmiling. He looks more like a hobo than like your son. He looks, in fact, exactly like a doughfoot who has been in the lines for two months. And that isn’t pretty.

    Mauldin’s cartoons in a way are bitter. His work is so mature that I had pictured him as a man approaching middle age. Yet he is only twenty-two, and he looks even younger. He himself could never have raised the heavy black beard of his cartoon dogface. His whiskers are soft and scant, his nose is upturned good-naturedly, and his eyes have a twinkle.

    His maturity comes simply from a native understanding of things, and from being a soldier himself for a long time. He has been in the Army three and a half years.


    Bill Mauldin was born in Mountain Park, New Mexico. He now calls Phoenix home base, but we of New Mexico could claim him without much resistance on his part. Bill has drawn ever since he was a child. He always drew pictures of the things he wanted to grow up to be, such as cowboys and soldiers, not realizing that what he really wanted to become was a man who draws pictures. He graduated from high school in Phoenix at seventeen, took a year at the Academy of Fine Arts in Chicago, and at eighteen was in the Army. He did sixty-four days on KP duty in his first four months. That fairly cured him of a lifelong worship of uniforms.

    Mauldin belongs to the 45th Division. Their record has been a fine one, and their losses have been heavy. Mauldin’s typical grim cartoon soldier is really a 45th Division infantryman, and he is one who has truly been through the mill.

    Mauldin was detached from straight soldier duty after a year in the infantry, and put to work on the division’s weekly paper. His true war cartoons started in Sicily and have continued on through Italy, gradually gaining recognition. Capt. Bob Neville, Stars and Stripes editor, shakes his head with a veteran’s admiration and says of Mauldin: "He’s got it. Already he’s the outstanding cartoonist of the war."


    Mauldin works in a cold, dark little studio in the back of Stars and Stripes’ Naples office. He wears silver-rimmed glasses when he works. His eyes used to be good, but he damaged them in his early Army days by drawing for too many hours at night with poor light.

    He averages about three days out of ten at the front, then comes back and draws up a large batch of cartoons. If the weather is good he sketches a few details at the front. But the weather is usually lousy.

    "You don’t need to sketch details anyhow," he says. "You come back with a picture of misery and cold and danger in your mind and you don’t need any more details than that."

    His cartoon in Stars and Stripes is headed "Up Front . . . By Mauldin." The other day some soldier wrote in a nasty letter asking what the hell did Mauldin know about the front.

    Stars and Stripes printed the letter. Beneath it in italics they printed a short editor’s note: "Sgt. Bill Mauldin received the Purple Heart for wounds received while serving in Italy with Pvt. Blank’s own regiment."

    That’s known as telling ‘em.


    Bill Mauldin is a rather quiet fellow, a little above medium size. He smokes and swears a little and talks frankly and pleasantly. He is not eccentric in any way.

    Even though he’s just a kid he’s a husband and father. He married in 1942 while in camp in Texas, and his son was born last August 20 while Bill was in Sicily. His wife and child are living in Phoenix now. Bill carries pictures of them in his pocketbook.

    Unfortunately for you and Mauldin both, the American public has no opportunity to see his daily drawings. But that isn’t worrying him. He realizes this is his big chance.

    After the war he wants to settle again in the Southwest, which he and I love. He wants to go on doing cartoons of these same guys who are now fighting in the Italian hills, except that by then they’ll be in civilian clothes and living as they should be.

    Ernie Pyle

    Source: Ernie's War: The Best of Ernie Pyle's World War II Dispatches, edited by David Nichols, pp. 197-99. Pictures courtesy of The Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

    There is a website of Mauldin cartoons, and below is one:
  • Top US leadership feels diplomat row with India 'most stupid thing to do'

    01/11/2014 10:38:20 AM PST · 19 of 51
    untenured to Moorings; Former Proud Canadian
    There is what you're entitled to do, which I'm not disputing, and what you ought to do. India by all means ought to communicate, through traditional channels, the right of their diplomats to be treated in accordance with convention. That they expelled a US diplomat, for example, is perfectly reasonable. But the Indian people, led by their opportunistic politicians, have deeply absorbed the discourse of "humiliation," which all nations just barely on the outside looking in seem to do. This discourse, in the form of making up for previous humiliations and the demand for respect, is also very common in contemporary China. (Think also about the bluster of Theodore Roosevelt, or the desire for respect of Wilhemite Germany.)

    I get it, and they appear to be right about what in the grand scheme of things is a completely inconsequential matter, but there are bigger things afoot. It's too bad no one's politics seems to allow for seeing it.

  • Top US leadership feels diplomat row with India 'most stupid thing to do'

    01/11/2014 9:42:56 AM PST · 3 of 51
    untenured to MBT ARJUN
    She told the official, 'You have lost a good friend.'

    Ms Khobragade, like most people, probably exaggerates her importance. Nonetheless, it is unfortunate that a country would make major decisions about international relations on the basis of an event like this. But countries on the rise but not yet there always seem to be the most hypersensitive.


    01/10/2014 9:46:02 AM PST · 9 of 16
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson
    First Ernie Pyle column in awhile, the archive describes it as his most famous:
    The Death of Captain Waskow

    AT THE FRONT LINES IN ITALY, January 10, 1944 – In this war I have known a lot of officers who were loved and respected by the soldiers under them. But never have I crossed the trail of any man as beloved as Capt. Henry T. Waskow of Belton, Texas.

    Capt. Waskow was a company commander in the 36th Division. He had led his company since long before it left the States. He was very young, only in his middle twenties, but he carried in him a sincerity and gentleness that made people want to be guided by him.

    "After my own father, he came next," a sergeant told me.

    "He always looked after us," a soldier said. "He’d go to bat for us every time."

    "I’ve never knowed him to do anything unfair," another one said.

    I was at the foot of the mule trail the night they brought Capt. Waskow’s body down. The moon was nearly full at the time, and you could see far up the trail, and even part way across the valley below. Soldiers made shadows in the moonlight as they walked.

    Dead men had been coming down the mountain all evening, lashed onto the backs of mules. They came lying belly-down across the wooden pack-saddles, their heads hanging down on the left side of the mule, their stiffened legs sticking out awkwardly from the other side, bobbing up and down as the mule walked.

    The Italian mule-skinners were afraid to walk beside dead men, so Americans had to lead the mules down that night. Even the Americans were reluctant to unlash and lift off the bodies at the bottom, so an officer had to do it himself, and ask others to help.

    The first one came early in the morning. They slid him down from the mule and stood him on his feet for a moment, while they got a new grip. In the half light he might have been merely a sick man standing there, leaning on the others. Then they laid him on the ground in the shadow of the low stone wall alongside the road.

    I don’t know who that first one was. You feel small in the presence of dead men, and ashamed at being alive, and you don’t ask silly questions.

    We left him there beside the road, that first one, and we all went back into the cowshed and sat on water cans or lay on the straw, waiting for the next batch of mules.

    Somebody said the dead soldier had been dead for four days, and then nobody said anything more about it. We talked soldier talk for an hour or more. The dead man lay all alone outside in the shadow of the low stone wall.

    Then a soldier came into the cowshed and said there were some more bodies outside. We went out into the road. Four mules stood there, in the moonlight, in the road where the trail came down off the mountain. The soldiers who led them stood there waiting. "This one is Captain Waskow," one of them said quietly.

    Two men unlashed his body from the mule and lifted it off and laid it in the shadow beside the low stone wall. Other men took the other bodies off. Finally there were five lying end to end in a long row, alongside the road. You don’t cover up dead men in the combat zone. They just lie there in the shadows until somebody else comes after them.

    The unburdened mules moved off to their olive orchard. The men in the road seemed reluctant to leave. They stood around, and gradually one by one I could sense them moving close to Capt. Waskow’s body. Not so much to look, I think, as to say something in finality to him, and to themselves. I stood close by and I could hear.

    One soldier came and looked down, and he said out loud, "God damn it." That’s all he said, and then he walked away. Another one came. He said, "God damn it to hell anyway." He looked down for a few last moments, and then he turned and left.

    Another man came; I think he was an officer. It was hard to tell officers from men in the half light, for all were bearded and grimy dirty. The man looked down into the dead captain’s face, and then he spoke directly to him, as though he were alive. He said: "I’m sorry, old man."

    Then a soldier came and stood beside the officer, and bent over, and he too spoke to his dead captain, not in a whisper but awfully tenderly, and he said:

    "I sure am sorry, sir."

    Then the first man squatted down, and he reached down and took the dead hand, and he sat there for a full five minutes, holding the dead hand in his own and looking intently into the dead face, and he never uttered a sound all the time he sat there.

    And finally he put the hand down, and then reached up and gently straightened the points of the captain’s shirt collar, and then he sort of rearranged the tattered edges of his uniform around the wound. And then he got up and walked away down the road in the moonlight, all alone.

    After that the rest of us went back into the cowshed, leaving the five dead men lying in a line, end to end, in the shadow of the low stone wall. We lay down on the straw in the cowshed, and pretty soon we were all asleep.

    Ernie Pyle Source: Ernie's War: The Best of Ernie Pyle's World War II Dispatches, edited by David Nichols, pp. 195-97. Pictures courtesy of The Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

  • Al Gore: ‘Entire North Polar Ice Cap Will Be Gone in Five Years’

    01/08/2014 11:46:30 AM PST · 71 of 73
    untenured to Foolsgold

    2014 Bump.

  • Was Colonialism a Positive Force?

    12/18/2013 9:17:28 AM PST · 38 of 56
    untenured to untenured

    Oops, discussion of “it,” not “out.”

  • Was Colonialism a Positive Force?

    12/18/2013 9:15:44 AM PST · 37 of 56
    untenured to James C. Bennett

    Where online did you find the figure (not the data on which it was based) though? I am wondering if you got it from a website where there is some discussion of out. The source code only has an imgur address for the figure.

  • Was Colonialism a Positive Force?

    12/18/2013 8:24:31 AM PST · 25 of 56
    untenured to James C. Bennett

    What a fascinating chart! Where did you get it? (My middle-aged eyes can’t make out the source in gray at the bottom.)

  • Dem Pollster Shocked to Find No Racism in Tea Partiers, So They Invent Some

    12/11/2013 6:22:23 AM PST · 14 of 17
    untenured to muir_redwoods
    Possibly from “Taxed Enough Already”

    And from the Santelli CNBC rant that I thought launched the term. I think "Tea Party" once had a distinctive meaning - people who think the federal government spends far too much money doing far too many things - but now just seems to mean "movement conservative." But if others know better I am happy to be corrected.

  • NYT: My, many of these ObamaCare premiums aren’t really as low as they seem, are they?

    12/09/2013 7:39:17 AM PST · 7 of 35
    untenured to 2ndDivisionVet

    So the ACA was based on the premise that it is possible to allow people who didn’t have any health insurance, let alone health insurance that paid most of their health-care expenses, to get such insurance; that people with high expected health costs could have others pay them; that monetary costs of health insurance would go down; and that no one else with prior insurance arrangements would have to give up anything. I suppose this was supposed to come out of some magic box full of outrageous insurance-company profits and “administrative waste.” How did we get to be such a credulous country?

  • Venetia Burney, the 11 year old girl who named Pluto

    12/07/2013 6:05:20 PM PST · 15 of 23
    untenured to lee martell

    When I was a child I learned that Pluto was chosen because it started with “Pl,” which were the initials of the astronomer Percival Lowell.

  • The Best Five Minutes in Situation Comedy

    11/29/2013 8:24:51 PM PST · 100 of 194
    untenured to untenured

    Oh, and Johnny Fever’s paranoid rant about the “phone cops.”

  • The Best Five Minutes in Situation Comedy

    11/29/2013 8:20:00 PM PST · 94 of 194
    untenured to yarddog
    Bob Newhart waking up next to Suzanne Pleshette...on the second show.

    The 12th precinct after they eat those brownies Wojo brought in.

  • Need Freeper Analysis of Longevity Rates in Developed Nations

    11/24/2013 10:51:11 AM PST · 25 of 29
    untenured to LS
    We do have lower life expectancy, but arguably for reasons that don't implicate our health care system. We have more crime and drive much more, e.g. Follow the links here to see research that indicates that when you adjust for those two factors alone the US has the world''s longest LE.

    And this does not take account of high US obesity, which perhaps only tangentially implicates the health care system. While I don't have data handy, you might also want to look into the heroic efforts the US makes to save premature infants. This means that many stillbirths in Europe are infant mortality here, which drives up our IM rates and lowers our LE, but for noble reasons.

  • Professor: Students Held Sit-In After Complaining Grammar And Punctuation Corrections Were Racist

    11/23/2013 11:46:38 AM PST · 87 of 120
    untenured to afraidfortherepublic
    If it makes you feel better, objective pronouns and the subjunctive are well- and oft-used in my household, including by the children. :) More generally, I think we just have to accept that the language changes, partly for reasons of laziness and social decay. The good news is that people who use it properly, and are more likely to be fun to be around, are now easier to spot.

    BTW, I didn't mean to ping you to post 86; sorry about that.

  • Professor: Students Held Sit-In After Complaining Grammar And Punctuation Corrections Were Racist

    11/23/2013 11:42:36 AM PST · 86 of 120
    untenured to getmeouttaPalmBeachCounty_FL; afraidfortherepublic
    "Is," because as a pronoun "what" needs a referent, and here the referent is not the plural entity "people" who are responsible for my being bothered, because it has yet to be established that I am in that state. The referent for "what" is "the condition that you are about to learn has caused me to be bothered," and that condition is "the existence of people whose English is so poor."

    I perhaps for completeness could've written "What bothers me is the subset of people whose English is so..." or "What bothers me is that there are people whose English is so..."

  • Professor: Students Held Sit-In After Complaining Grammar And Punctuation Corrections Were Racist

    11/23/2013 10:18:54 AM PST · 65 of 120
    untenured to afraidfortherepublic
    Actually, I teach economics, not English. :)

    I look at it from the perspective of language being a tool to help us convey information. It needs rules, like any standard. But it also must be flexible enough to allow the expression of as many ideas as possible. (Think about Orwell's Newspeak as the opposite of this.)

    I don't actually see any fundamental harm if someone says "He yelled at Brian and I," although that does break the rules as you and I understand them, and I certainly would not say it myself and would mark it on a student paper. I think what is happening in your examples is that linguistic competition is stripping out that which is unneeded. Eventually, people may use objective and subjective pronouns interchangeably without anyone caring. But at any moment in history an individual using the King's English lets other people know that he is serious about communicating effectively, so it is important.

    But there is always linguistic change. No one says "thou" and "thee" any more. Few know the meaning of the adjective "ruth" anymore, even though it is obvious once we see "ruthless." OTOH, "Google" as a verb is now growing in usage. So as I said change per se doesn't bother me. What bothers me is people whose English is so incompetent that they can't communicate what they wish to communicate. They are the people who most need to get drilled in the rules.

    BTW, for language nerds, a really cool new tool is Google Ngrams, which allows the user to trace changes over time in the use of any phrase in books that Google has scanned. For example, you can enter "if i was going," which most of the time is probably a misuse of the subjunctive. This phrase has been getting more popular since the early 1960s, which I think will accord with the belief of many Freepers that this was when civilization began to come apart. :)

  • Chemistry set Kickstarter looks to recapture the wonder of days gone by

    11/23/2013 9:48:18 AM PST · 30 of 101
    untenured to AdmSmith

    To change topics a little bit, can anyone recommend a good current chemistry set for a homeschooled 15-year-old? I’d like it to accommodate the experiments likely to be found in a standard high-school chemistry textbook.

  • Professor: Students Held Sit-In After Complaining Grammar And Punctuation Corrections Were Racist

    11/23/2013 8:55:31 AM PST · 8 of 120
    untenured to ilovesarah2012
    Two things:

    1. I would bet that the "Graduate School of Education & Information Studies" is already one of the most left-wing, pro-"diversity" parts of UCLA, and that is saying something. So that the demonstration occurs here is instructive.

    2. Language evolves like a lot of social institutions, so I don't mind acknowledging new usage patterns, such as this one. But every term I teach a first-year writing-intensive course, and about 20% of my students simply cannot write an intelligent paragraph. One reads it and has no idea what was meant. The problems do not just involve grammatical rules, although those are legion, but seemingly randomly chosen words and word sequences. It simply has to be read to be believed, and I was shocked when I first started teaching that one could graduate high school writing like that. Some of these graduate students probably fall into this category. I am irritated to have to be the bearer of the bad news that some people just cannot use the English language well enough to get a college degree, but have to because those are the students I am presented with.

  • Sex in the Senate: Bobby Baker's salacious secret history of Capitol Hill

    11/20/2013 8:31:28 AM PST · 9 of 18
    untenured to lowbridge

    I’ve often wondered if we wouldn’t be better off if we simply legalized bribery of politicians as taxable income.

  • Inslee signs 777X legislation; Machinist vote looms

    11/11/2013 4:45:55 PM PST · 3 of 32
    untenured to mdittmar

    So taxpayers have to pay to give special privileges to Boeing, so Boeing’s unionized workers can continue to benefit from their own special privileges. That’s about the state of things in contemporary crony America.