Free Republic 3rd Quarter Fundraising Target: $85,000 Receipts & Pledges to-date: $68,580
Woo hoo!! After accruing the balance of the monthlies we're now over 80%!! Less than $17k to go!! Let's git 'er done!! Thank you all very much!!

Posts by untenured

Brevity: Headers | « Text »
  • What Would Aliens Actually Look Like? We Asked 7 Experts

    08/15/2014 5:57:20 PM PDT · 33 of 73
    untenured to EveningStar

    Just as an aside, how can someone be an “expert” on aliens?

  • Starving the Soul on Campus When Computer Science Replaces the Classics

    08/15/2014 3:35:13 PM PDT · 11 of 29
    untenured to SeeSharp
    There is nothing dismal about economics, unless you count the way economic concepts are twisted to promote government policies.

    Thank you. Economics, taught properly, is as good for the soul as anything on the liberal-arts side of the quad.

    As a college professor I can tell you that in my economics-principles classes (a) 80% of the students are eager to learn, beyond just things that seem more directly vocational; the stereotype of the mindless time-punchers who just want to be entertained or stare at their phones is misplaced; but (b) about 30% of them simply cannot write a proper paragraph, and so simply do not belong in college. Remedial work is largely useless. As wonderful as the classics are in the hands of a good teacher, these students are nonetheless simply in the wrong place.

  • Who rules America? [Great, but unsurprising, read]

    08/13/2014 9:49:20 AM PDT · 16 of 33
    untenured to upchuck
    The analysts found that when controlling for the power of economic elites and organized interest groups, the influence of ordinary Americans registers at a "non-significant, near-zero level.

    Fallacy of construction. All Americans are members of multiple "organized interest groups." There is no such thing as "ordinary Americans" in opposition to "economic elites." Everyone plays the game, including such nominally wholesome groups as farmers and "working people."

    Does anyone seriously want to deny that environmentalists and government workers, to take two examples, are people who are not the "economic elites" the authors have in mind yet significantly influence government policy?

    The professors' homework is to read Federalist 10.


    08/12/2014 6:40:31 PM PDT · 33 of 50
    untenured to RedMDer
    Paris: A letter is sent by the French national railway, S.N.C.F. (Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Français), demanding payment of 200,000 Francs from the regional government of Haute-Garonne in southern France for transporting Jewish detainees from concentration camps to the border with Germany. The letter warns that interest will be charged if the payment is not made on time. (Peter Kilduff)



    08/11/2014 7:33:48 AM PDT · 11 of 34
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson; henkster
    An Ernie Pyle column is published today, under the title "A Slow Cautious Business."

    IU Archives
    Pyle shares cigarettes.

    ON THE WESTERN FRONT, August 11, 1944 – I know that all of us correspondents have tried time and again to describe to you what this weird hedgerow fighting in northwestern France has been like.

    But I’m going to go over it once more, for we’ve been in it two months and some of us feel that this is the two months that broke the German Army in the west.

    This type of fighting is always in small groups, so let’s take as an example one company of men. Let’s say they are working forward on both sides of a country lane, and this company is responsible for clearing the two fields on either side of the road as it advances.

    That means you have only about one platoon to a field. And with the company’s understrength from casualties, you might have no more than twenty-five or thirty men in a field.

    Over here the fields are usually not more than fifty yards across and a couple of hundred yards long. They may have grain in them, or apple trees, but mostly they are just pastures of green grass, full of beautiful cows.

    The fields are surrounded on all sides by immense hedgerows which consist of an ancient earthen bank, waist-high, all matted with roots, and out of which grow weeds, bushes, and trees up to twenty feet high.

    The Germans have used these barriers well. They put snipers in the trees. They dig deep trenches behind the hedgerows and cover them with timber, so that it is almost impossible for artillery to get at them.

    Sometimes they will prop up machine guns with strings attached, so they can fire over the hedge without getting out of their holes. They even cut out a section of the hedgerow and hide a big gun or a tank in it, covering it with brush.

    Also they tunnel under the hedgerows from the back and make the opening on the forward side just large enough to stick a machine gun through.

    But mostly the hedgerow pattern is this: a heavy machine gun hidden at each end of the field and infantrymen hidden all along the hedgerow with rifles and machine pistols.


    Now it’s up to us to dig them out of there. It’s a slow and cautious business, and there is nothing very dashing about it. Our men don’t go across the open fields in dramatic charges such as you see in the movies. They did at first, but they learned better.

    They go in tiny groups, a squad or less, moving yards apart and sticking close to the hedgerows on either side of the field. They creep a few yards, squat, wait, then creep again.

    If you could be right up there between the Germans and the Americans you wouldn’t see very many men at any one time – just a few here and there, always trying to keep hidden. But you would hear an awful lot of noise.

    Our men were taught in training not to fire until they saw something to fire at. But that hasn’t worked in this country, because you see so little. So the alternative is to keep shooting constantly at the hedgerows. That pins the Germans in their holes while we sneak up on them.

    The attacking squads sneak up the sides of the hedgerows while the rest of the platoon stay back in their own hedgerow and keep the forward hedge saturated with bullets. They shoot rifle grenades too, and a mortar squad a little farther back keeps lobbing mortar shells over onto the Germans.

    The little advance groups get up to the far ends of the hedgerows at the corners of the field. They first try to knock out the machine guns at each corner. They do this with hand grenades, rifle grenades and machine guns.


    Usually, when the pressure gets on, the German defenders of the hedgerow start pulling back. They’ll take their heavier guns and most of the men back a couple of fields and start digging in for a new line.

    They leave about two machine guns and a few riflemen scattered through the hedge, to do a lot of shooting and hold up the Americans as long as they can.

    Our men now sneak along the front side of the hedgerow, throwing grenades over onto the other side and spraying the hedges with their guns. The fighting is very close – only a few yards apart – but it is seldom actual hand-to-hand stuff.

    Sometimes the remaining Germans come out of their holes with their hands up. Sometimes they try to run for it and are mowed down. Sometimes they won’t come out at all, and a hand grenade, thrown into their hole, finishes them off.

    And so we’ve taken another hedgerow and are ready to start on the one beyond.

    This hedgerow business is a series of little skirmishes like that clear across the front, thousands and thousands of little skirmishes. No single one of them is very big. But add them all up over the days and weeks and you’ve got a man-sized war, with thousands on both sides being killed.

    Ernie Pyle
  • Dropping Atomic Bombs on Japan Was Imperative

    08/09/2014 7:11:59 PM PDT · 6 of 22
    untenured to gaijin

    I second that recommendation. IIRC the book was written by a panel of Japanese who actually interviewed everyone who was still alive who knew what happened after Japan rejected the Potsdam demands. It is riveting and authoritative on what it took to get Japan to surrender, especially in the final days.

  • Paging Doctor Carson: The rise of Ben Carson and the GOP’s fractured flock of 2016

    08/09/2014 5:01:20 PM PDT · 19 of 33
    untenured to JohnBrowdie

    Indeed. We generally get the politicians we deserve.


    08/07/2014 2:33:35 PM PDT · 50 of 56
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson
    In the Hopkins telegram, we appear to have that rarest of things, an on-the-record linguistic singularity. "Abyssiniate" is found nowhere online except in this wire. A 2008 doctoral dissertation from the University of Nebraska has this to say about the malapropism/coinage:

    The Allied invasion of southern France was finally approved on 2 July. Not knowing whether he would get the landing craft necessary for placing his forces ashore, Lieutenant General Alexander M. Patch began final planning and rehearsals for what was called ANVIL and he was given the go ahead to land between Toulon and Nice on 15 August. But Churchill, who had never favored an invasion of southern France and sought to use those forces for further landings in Italy or in the Balkans continued to argue against it. He failed to convince Ike to call off the southern invasion, and Eisenhower told him that if it was a political issue, he would have to appeal to directly to Roosevelt. He did so in a message to the President’s close aid Harry Hopkins only a week before the invasion was to begin. Opening up with compliments regarding American forces and their quick movement into Brittany as well as east into central France, the Prime Minister complained that, “I’m grieved to find that not even splendid victories and widening opportunities do not bring us together on strategy.” He went on for another five pages on the reasons for canceling or diverting what had now been renamed DRAGOON. Hopkins would have none of it and answering for the President who was at his Hyde Park home at the time, he replied to Churchill that it was far too late to shift things now, and that the way north “will be much more rapid than you anticipate. They have nothing to stop us.” He went on to add, “The French will rise and abyssiniate [sic] large numbers of Germans, including, I trust, Monsieur Laval.” While the word abyssiniate is not in the dictionary, Hopkins apparently meant to imply that the Wehrmacht would suffer the same fate as Italian Dictator Mussolini’s stalwart troops had in the Horn of Africa the year before.

    I would wager it's still not in the dictionary.

  • Vanity: Need Ideas for English Paper

    08/06/2014 12:42:35 PM PDT · 144 of 168
    untenured to beaversmom

    Sorry, with any luck that will teach me to read the thread before posting. But probably not. :( The topic you chose was an interesting one though.

  • Vanity: Need Ideas for English Paper

    08/06/2014 12:28:11 PM PDT · 142 of 168
    untenured to beaversmom
    Some ideas, phrased as questions:

    1. Can a society without individual morals/self-discipline remain a free society?

    2. Has the expansion of government made self-government impossible?

    3. Is the Constitution still relevant for our times?

    4. Is today's immigration like the immigration of yore?

  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to evict ashes of Alan Freed, DJ who gave birth to rock 'n' roll...

    08/05/2014 1:48:55 PM PDT · 27 of 31
    untenured to a fool in paradise

    Interesting. On this particular excerpt Freed calls himself “Alan Freed, the king of the moondoggers.” The song is from the late 70s, and that excerpt is preserved on the version I downloaded from iTunes a few years ago.

  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to evict ashes of Alan Freed, DJ who gave birth to rock 'n' roll...

    08/05/2014 1:25:26 PM PDT · 24 of 31
    untenured to Political Junkie Too

    Ian Hunter’s “Cleveland Rocks” has at the beginning a brief excerpt from a broadcast of “The Moondog Show.”

  • Haircut 100 - Love Plus One

    08/03/2014 4:25:18 PM PDT · 13 of 14
    untenured to MD Expat in PA

    Thanks, I stand corrected. According to Wikipedia, Gary Numan also had some other commercial success.

  • Haircut 100 - Love Plus One

    08/03/2014 1:40:07 PM PDT · 7 of 14
    untenured to SamAdams76
    With the video age upon us, you had many "one hit wonders" who only made it because they had snazzy videos to go with their one or two good songs.

    Thomas Dolby ("Blinded by Science") and Gary Numan ("Cars") anyone?

    Peter Gabriel always seemed to have the best videos though.


    08/02/2014 7:35:30 PM PDT · 59 of 60
    untenured to Tax-chick
    Maybe your daughter's friends would impress you more in more difficult circumstances.

    Thank you for pointing that out.


    08/01/2014 7:53:31 PM PDT · 53 of 60
    untenured to Tax-chick
    I don't know about that assessment. My 13-yo daughter has friends who, facing considerably less danger, seem to be considerably less impressive than the 14-yo Anne Frank. Anytime you point the critical lens at yourself it bespeaks a certain wisdom. Because of all the waste of what ultimately never was, I can understand why the diary is such a popular school assignment.

    BTW, today is also the 100th anniversary of the German declaration of war on Russia, which began the 31-year death of the European era in world history. The coroners of history ruled it a suicide.


    07/31/2014 6:03:12 PM PDT · 58 of 65
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson
    The Gestapo man directly responsible is Alois Brunner. He is the commander of the Drancy transit camp, north of Paris.

    According to many accounts, Brunner made it to Syria, where as a Nazi he was welcomed by Syrian authorities. Mossad managed to get letter bombs to him that took out an eye and multiple fingers, but he was thought to still be alive in the early part of the last decade. He was unrepentant, indeed proud to the last about the genocide of the Jews.

  • Fla. mom arrested for allowing 7-year-old son to walk to park alone

    07/30/2014 7:01:44 AM PDT · 46 of 78
    untenured to Darksheare
    Flipside, these days you don’t know if some creeper is in that park hunting your kids.

    The creepers were there back then in about the same quantity as now. Only now have we been trained by the social-hypochondriac state and media to suppose that they're everywhere, and Action Must Be Taken. A people in constant fear are a people easily controlled.


    07/26/2014 3:30:54 PM PDT · 32 of 40
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson; henkster
    I'm on vacation, so a little slow. This is an Ernie Pyle column from 7/25/1944.


    From time to time Pyle turned his attention from the infantry to the units that helped supply or support the infantry.

    In Praise of Ordnance

    IU Archives
    Pyle and Marine PFC Urban Vachon

    IN NORMANDY, July 25, 1944 – One of the things the layman doesn’t hear much about is the Ordnance Department. In fact it is one of the branches that even the average soldier is little aware of except in a vague way.

    And yet the war couldn’t keep going without it. For ordnance repairs all the vehicles of an army and furnishes all the ammunition for its guns.

    Today there are more vehicles in the American sector of our beachhead than in the average-sized American city. And our big guns on an average heavy day are shooting up more than ten million dollars worth of ammunition. So you see ordnance has a man-sized job.

    Ordnance personnel is usually about six or seven percent of the total men of an army. That means we have many thousands of ordnancemen in Normandy. Their insignia is a flame coming out of a retort – nicknamed in the Army "the flaming onion."

    Ordnance operates the ammunition dumps we have scattered about the beachhead. But much bigger than its ammunition mission is ordnance’s job of repair. Ordnance has two hundred seventy-five thousand items in its catalog of parts, and the mere catalog itself covers a twenty-foot shelf.

    In a central headquarters here on the beachhead a modern filing system housed in big tents keeps records on the number and condition of five hundred major items in actual use on the beachhead, from tanks to pistols.

    We have scores and scores of separate ordnance companies at work on the beachhead – each of them a complete firm within itself, able to repair anything the Army uses.

    Ordnance can lift a thirty-ton tank as easily as it can a bicycle. It can repair a blown-up jeep or the intricate breech of a mammoth gun.


    Some of its highly specialized repair companies are made up largely of men who were craftsmen in the same line in civil life. In these companies you will find the average age is much above the army average. You will find craftsmen in their late forties, you’ll find men with their own established businesses who were making thirty to forty thousand dollars a year back home and who are now wearing sergeant’s stripes. You’ll find great soberness and sincerity, plus the normal satisfaction that comes from making things whole again instead of destroying them.

    You will find an IQ far above the average for the Army. It has to be that way or the work would not get done.

    You’ll find mechanical work being done under a tree that would be housed in a fifty-thousand-dollar shop back in America. You’ll find men working sixteen hours a day, then sleeping on the ground, who because of their age don’t even have to be here at all.

    Ordnance is one of the undramatic branches of the Army. They are the mechanics and the craftsmen, the fixers and the suppliers. But their job is vital. Ordinarily they are not in a great deal of danger. There are times on newly won and congested beachheads when their casualty rate is high, but once the war settles down and there is room for movement and dispersal it is not necessary or desirable for them to do their basic work within gun range.

    Our ordnance branch in Normandy has had casualties. It has two small branches which will continue to have casualties – its bomb-disposal squads and its retriever companies that go up to pull out crippled tanks under fire.

    But outside of those two sections, if your son or husband is in ordnance in France you can feel fairly easy about his returning to you. I don’t say that to belittle ordnance in any way, but to ease your worries if you have someone in this branch of the service overseas.


    Ordnance is set up in a vast structure of organization the same as any other Army command. The farther back you go the bigger become the outfits and the more elaborately equipped and more capable of doing heavy, long-term work.

    Every infantry or armored division has an ordnance company with it all the time. This company does quick repair jobs. What it hasn’t time or facilities for doing it hands on back to the next echelon in the rear.

    The division ordnance companies hit the beach on D-day. The next echelon back began coming on D-day plus four. The great heavy outfits arrived somewhat later.

    Today the wreckage of seven weeks of war is all in hand, and in one great depot after another it is being worked on – repaired or rebuilt or sent back for salvage until everything possible is made available again to our men who do the fighting. In later columns I’ll take you along to some of these repair companies that do the vital work.

    Ernie Pyle
    Source: Ernie's War: The Best of Ernie Pyle's World War II Dispatches, edited by David Nichols, pp. 314-16. Pictures courtesy of The Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana
  • Susan Sarandon reveals 1980s romance with David Bowie

    07/26/2014 6:37:48 AM PDT · 52 of 55
    untenured to SamAdams76
    If it makes you feel better I have "Candy O," "Let's Go" and "The Dangerous Type" on my phone.

    Speaking of going downhill, that album was the high-water mark for The Cars. But Bowie came back strong with "Let's Dance," an album that among other things introduced Stevie Ray Vaughan to the world beyond Austin. Bowie also did alright hot-wife-wise.


    07/25/2014 7:41:15 PM PDT · 28 of 40
    untenured to Tax-chick
    I’ve just started a book by Chaim Potok, “Old Men at Midnight.” One of the first characters introduced is a teenaged boy who is the sole survivor of the Jewish community of over 4,000 people, from a village near Crakow.

    In 1991 I traveled to Oświęcim, Poland, or as it was known in German, Auschwitz. I was traveling through Europe and on the way there had hooked up with a very generous Jewish couple from Florida, and benefited from their hired translator. There I met the town's only remaining Jew, a man who lived in what used to be the synagogue and remembered the war, but was crazy at that point. It was a haunting experience I will never forget.

  • Doctors: Government-Run Health Care Driving Us Out of Business

    07/25/2014 5:50:51 AM PDT · 12 of 18
    untenured to BilLies
    I would guess the real question is not the percentage of independent doctors, but the number of total doctors, before and after.

    Not entirely. Once herded into big organizations like hospitals, medical professionals are easier to regulate and control, and less likely to introduce disruptive commercial innovations that threaten government's powers over health care, and hence over a once-free people.

  • What Is a Progressive

    07/14/2014 6:09:23 AM PDT · 3 of 29
    untenured to don-o

    A progressive is someone who thinks he can solve social problems better than society can.


    07/13/2014 8:12:51 PM PDT · 16 of 19
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson; henkster
    Ernie Pyle sees combat himself.

    The quiet heroism of the troops getting ready for battle impressed Pyle.

    Anticipation is the Worst

    IU Archives
    Pyle with Bob Hope during World War II.

    IN NORMANDY, July 13, 1944 – Lt. Orion Shockley came over with a map and explained to us just what his company was going to do.

    There was a German strong point of pillboxes and machine-gun nests about half a mile down the street ahead of us.

    Our troops had made wedges into the city on both sides of us, but nobody had yet been up this street where we were going. The street, they thought, was almost certainly under rifle fire.

    "This is how we’ll do it," the lieutenant said. "A rifle platoon goes first. Right behind them will go part of a heavy-weapons platoon, with machine guns to cover the first platoon.

    "Then comes another rifle platoon. Then a small section with mortars, in case they run into something pretty heavy. Then another rifle platoon. And bringing up the rear, the rest of the heavy-weapons outfit to protect us from behind.

    "We don’t know what we’ll run into, and I don’t want to stick you right out in front, so why don’t you come along with me? We’ll go in the middle of the company."

    I said, "Okay." By this time I wasn’t scared. You seldom are once you’re into something. Anticipation is the worst. Fortunately this little foray came up so suddenly there wasn’t time for much anticipation.


    The rain kept on coming down, and you could sense that it had set in for the afternoon. None of us had raincoats, and by evening there wasn’t a dry thread on any of us. I could go back to a tent for the night but the soldiers would have to sleep the way they were.


    We were just ready to start when all of a sudden bullets came whipping savagely right above our heads.

    "It’s those damn twenty-millimeters again," the lieutenant said. "Better hold it up a minute."

    The soldiers all crouched lower behind the wall. The vicious little shells whanged into a grassy hillside just beyond us. A French suburban farmer was hitching up his horses in a barnyard on the hillside. He ran into the house. Shells struck all around it.

    Two dead Germans and a dead American still lay in his driveway. We could see them when we moved up a few feet.

    The shells stopped, and finally the order to start was given. As we left the protection of the high wall we had to cross a little culvert right out in the open and then make a turn in the road.

    The men went forward one at a time. They crouched and ran, apelike, across this dangerous space. Then, beyond the culvert, they filtered to either side of the road, stopping and squatting down every now and then to wait a few moments.

    The lieutenant kept yelling at them as they started: "Spread it out now. Do you want to draw fire on yourselves? Don’t bunch up like that. Keep five yards apart. Spread it out, dammit."

    There is an almost irresistible pull to get close to somebody when you are in danger. In spite of themselves, the men would run up close to the fellow ahead for company.

    The other lieutenant now called out: "Now you on the right watch the left side of the street for snipers, and you on the left watch the right side. Cover each other that way."

    And a first sergeant said to a passing soldier: "Get that grenade out of its case. It won’t do you no good in the case. Throw the case away. That’s right."


    Some of the men carried grenades already fixed in the ends of their rifles. All of them had hand grenades. Some had big Browning automatic rifles. One carried a bazooka. Interspersed in the thin line of men every now and then was a medic, with his bags of bandages and a Red Cross arm band on the left arm. The men didn’t talk any. They just went.

    They weren’t heroic figures as they moved forward one at a time, a few seconds apart. You think of attackers as being savage and bold. These men were hesitant and cautious. They were really the hunters, but they looked like the hunted. There was a confused excitement and a grim anxiety on their faces.

    They seemed terribly pathetic to me. They weren’t warriors. They were American boys who by mere chance of fate had wound up with guns in their hands sneaking up a death-laden street in a strange and shattered city in a faraway country in a driving rain. They were afraid, but it was beyond their power to quit. They had no choice.

    They were good boys. I talked with them all afternoon as we sneaked slowly forward along the mysterious and rubbled street, and I know they were good boys.

    And even though they aren’t warriors born to the kill, they win their battles. That’s the point.

    Ernie Pyle

    07/07/2014 1:02:41 PM PDT · 21 of 26
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson

    In the story about “Ghost Arms” there are vague shades of Lt. Minderbender, whom we will get to know a little better a few years after the war.

  • Why dads don’t belong in the delivery room, and other lessons of childbirth learned by a father

    07/04/2014 9:29:02 PM PDT · 14 of 91
    untenured to waxer1
    Fathers should not be forced or otherwise in the delivery room. I never allowed my husband anywhere near the delivery room. I felt this was a private moment between me and my babies.

    I find that a remarkable sentiment. (I am a father of two.). My wife wanted me there, and had she not there would have been trouble between us, the babies being our blessing and our responsibility jointly. My life would be much poorer had I not been there.

  • Despite Academia's Best Efforts, Reagan Tops in Poll of Modern Presidents

    07/03/2014 5:59:14 PM PDT · 5 of 20
    untenured to Kaslin

    I often wonder if the 1980 Reagan could be elected in today’s America.

  • Liberals: "Today the Supreme Court of the United States Just Raped Every American Woman"

    06/30/2014 7:55:06 PM PDT · 18 of 70
    untenured to Politicalkiddo

    Exactly, the ignorant throwing around of “rape” betrays their ignorance, in more ways than one. They’re all men, BTW.

  • Illinois mom elated after defeating powerful union in Supreme Court

    06/30/2014 2:55:38 PM PDT · 3 of 39
    untenured to jazusamo

    Kudos to her for standing up. My only regret is that the ruling appears not to extend to all public employees.

  • The left loses their minds over Hobby Lobby decision

    06/30/2014 2:05:00 PM PDT · 42 of 85
    untenured to SeekAndFind

    Those Scotusblog Twitter replies are pretty witty.

  • Ancient Earth Remnant Is Inside Earth, Study Says

    06/28/2014 7:19:23 PM PDT · 16 of 65
    untenured to 2ndDivisionVet
    A team from Harvard University presented a study this month that remnants from an ancient Earth exists, right now, inside contemporary Earth.

    Ruined by liberalism, no doubt,

  • 5 Suggestions to Make Soccer More Palatable for American Audiences

    06/18/2014 10:32:05 AM PDT · 159 of 201
    untenured to 1rudeboy
    I actually saw a knockout-stage game (can I call it a playoff game?) at the Rose Bowl in 1994, Romania vs. Argentina. As an event it was a lot of fun, not least because I had a broken ankle and got to sit in the close-in handicapped seating. :)

    But if Disney wants to (further) increase the appeal of the game to Yanks, it seems to me they ought to make the TV presentation of it more Yank-friendly.

  • 5 Suggestions to Make Soccer More Palatable for American Audiences

    06/18/2014 10:18:49 AM PDT · 150 of 201
    untenured to SeekAndFind

    I actually like the WC as spectacle, although not so much as sports competition. The one thing that really irritates me is the insistence of announcers on using terms from England when in American sports they are different. In the U.S. we guard, not mark. We play on a field, not a pitch. And it’s “zero” or “nothing,” not “nil.”


    06/17/2014 9:32:52 AM PDT · 16 of 39
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson
    The last D-Day-related column from Ernie Pyle. In my view it is the best in the whole series to this point.

    IU Archives
    Photo of a painting of Ernie Pyle at a soldier’s grave.

    NORMANDY BEACHHEAD, June 17, 1944 – In the preceding column we told about the D-day wreckage among our machines of war that were expended in taking one of the Normandy beaches.

    But there is another and more human litter. It extends in a thin little line, just like a high-water mark, for miles along the beach. This is the strewn personal gear, gear that will never be needed again, of those who fought and died to give us our entrance into Europe.

    Here in a jumbled row for mile on mile are soldiers’ packs. Here are socks and shoe polish, sewing kits, diaries, Bibles and hand grenades. Here are the latest letters from home, with the address on each one neatly razored out – one of the security precautions enforced before the boys embarked.

    Here are toothbrushes and razors, and snapshots of families back home staring up at you from the sand. Here are pocketbooks, metal mirrors, extra trousers, and bloody, abandoned shoes. Here are broken-handled shovels, and portable radios smashed almost beyond recognition, and mine detectors twisted and ruined.

    Here are torn pistol belts and canvas water buckets, first-aid kits and jumbled heaps of lifebelts. I picked up a pocket Bible with a soldier’s name in it, and put it in my jacket. I carried it half a mile or so and then put it back down on the beach. I don’t know why I picked it up, or why I put it back down.

    Soldiers carry strange things ashore with them. In every invasion you’ll find at least one soldier hitting the beach at H-hour with a banjo slung over his shoulder. The most ironic piece of equipment marking our beach – this beach of first despair, then victory – is a tennis racket that some soldier had brought along. It lies lonesomely on the sand, clamped in its rack, not a string broken.

    Two of the most dominant items in the beach refuse are cigarets and writing paper. Each soldier was issued a carton of cigarets just before he started. Today these cartons by the thousand, water-soaked and spilled out, mark the line of our first savage blow.

    Writing paper and air-mail envelopes come second. The boys had intended to do a lot of writing in France. Letters that would have filled those blank, abandoned pages.

    Always there are dogs in every invasion. There is a dog still on the beach today, still pitifully looking for his masters.

    He stays at the water’s edge, near a boat that lies twisted and half sunk at the water line. He barks appealingly to every soldier who approaches, trots eagerly along with him for a few feet, and then, sensing himself unwanted in all this haste, runs back to wait in vain for his own people at his own empty boat.


    Over and around this long thin line of personal anguish, fresh men today are rushing vast supplies to keep our armies pushing on into France. Other squads of men pick amidst the wreckage to salvage ammunition and equipment that are still usable.

    Men worked and slept on the beach for days before the last D-day victim was taken away for burial.

    I stepped over the form of one youngster whom I thought dead. But when I looked down I saw he was only sleeping. He was very young, and very tired. He lay on one elbow, his hand suspended in the air about six inches from the ground. And in the palm of his hand he held a large, smooth rock.

    I stood and looked at him a long time. He seemed in his sleep to hold that rock lovingly, as though it were his last link with a vanishing world. I have no idea at all why he went to sleep with the rock in his hand, or what kept him from dropping it once he was asleep. It was just one of those little things without explanation that a person remembers for a long time.


    The strong, swirling tides of the Normandy coastline shift the contours of the sandy beach as they move in and out. They carry soldiers’ bodies out to sea, and later they return them. They cover the corpses of heroes with sand, and then in their whims they uncover them.

    As I plowed out over the wet sand of the beach on that first day ashore, I walked around what seemed to be a couple of pieces of driftwood sticking out of the sand. But they weren’t driftwood.

    They were a soldier’s two feet. He was completely covered by the shifting sands except for his feet. The toes of his GI shoes pointed toward the land he had come so far to see, and which he saw so briefly.

    Ernie Pyle

    06/16/2014 9:45:44 AM PDT · 10 of 13
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson
    An Ernie Pyle column today, telling it like it was:

    The Horrible Waste of War

    IU Archives
    Pyle and Captain Lonnie Thompson at the Anzio Beachhead in Italy.

    NORMANDY BEACHHEAD, June 16, 1944 – I took a walk along the historic coast of Normandy in the country of France.

    It was a lovely day for strolling along the seashore. Men were sleeping on the sand, some of them sleeping forever. Men were floating in the water, but they didn’t know they were in the water, for they were dead.

    The water was full of squishy little jellyfish about the size of your hand. Millions of them. In the center each of them had a green design exactly like a four-leaf clover. The good-luck emblem. Sure. Hell yes.

    I walked for a mile and a half along the water’s edge of our many-miled invasion beach. You wanted to walk slowly, for the detail on that beach was infinite.

    The wreckage was vast and startling. The awful waste and destruction of war, even aside from the loss of human life, has always been one of its outstanding features to those who are in it. Anything and everything is expendable. And we did expend on our beachhead in Normandy during those first few hours.


    For a mile out from the beach there were scores of tanks and trucks and boats that you could no longer see, for they were at the bottom of the water – swamped by overloading, or hit by shells, or sunk by mines. Most of their crews were lost.


    You could see trucks tipped half over and swamped. You could see partly sunken barges, and the angled-up corners of jeeps, and small landing craft half submerged. And at low tide you could still see those vicious six-pronged iron snares that helped snag and wreck them.

    On the beach itself, high and dry, were all kinds of wrecked vehicles. There were tanks that had only just made the beach before being knocked out. There were jeeps that had been burned to a dull gray. There were big derricks on caterpillar treads that didn’t quite make it. There were half-tracks carrying office equipment that had been made into a shambles by a single shell hit, their interiors still holding their useless equipage of smashed typewriters, telephones, office files.

    There were LCT’s turned completely upside down, and lying on their backs, and how they got that way I don’t know. There were boats stacked on top of each other, their sides caved in, their suspension doors knocked off.

    In this shoreline museum of carnage there were abandoned rolls of barbed wire and smashed bulldozers and big stacks of thrown-away lifebelts and piles of shells still waiting to be moved.

    In the water floated empty life rafts and soldiers’ packs and ration boxes, and mysterious oranges.

    On the beach lay snarled rolls of telephone wire and big rolls of steel matting and stacks of broken, rusting rifles.

    On the beach lay, expended, sufficient men and mechanism for a small war. They were gone forever now. And yet we could afford it.

    We could afford it because we were on, we had our toehold, and behind us there were such enormous replacements for this wreckage on the beach that you could hardly conceive of their sum total. Men and equipment were flowing from England in such a gigantic stream that it made the waste on the beachhead seem like nothing at all, really nothing at all.


    A few hundred yards back on the beach is a high bluff. Up there we had a tent hospital, and a barbed-wire enclosure for prisoners of war. From up there you could see far up and down the beach, in a spectacular crow’s-nest view, and far out to sea.

    And standing out there on the water beyond all this wreckage was the greatest armada man has ever seen. You simply could not believe the gigantic collection of ships that lay out there waiting to unload.

    Looking from the bluff, it lay thick and clear to the far horizon of the sea and beyond, and it spread out to the sides and was miles wide. Its utter enormity would move the hardest man.

    As I stood up there I noticed a group of freshly taken German prisoners standing nearby. They had not yet been put in the prison cage. They were just standing there, a couple of doughboys leisurely guarding them with tommy guns.

    The prisoners too were looking out to sea – the same bit of sea that for months and years had been so safely empty before their gaze. Now they stood staring almost as if in a trance.

    They didn’t say a word to each other. They didn’t need to. The expression on their faces was something forever unforgettable. In it was the final horrified acceptance of their doom.

    If only all Germans could have had the rich experience of standing on the bluff and looking out across the water and seeing what their compatriots saw.

    Ernie Pyle
  • Peter King: Ted Cruz, rand Paul Trying to Appeal to ‘Lowest Common Denominator’ Voters

    06/13/2014 8:10:37 AM PDT · 24 of 30
    untenured to SeekAndFind

    Rep. King appears not to know what “lowest common denominator” means.


    06/12/2014 9:24:05 AM PDT · 10 of 37
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson
    First of several Ernie Pyle reports from Normandy.

    NORMANDY BEACHHEAD, June 12, 1944 – Due to a last-minute alteration in the arrangements, I didn’t arrive on the beachhead until the morning after D-day, after our first wave of assault troops had hit the shore.

    By the time we got here the beaches had been taken and the fighting had moved a couple of miles inland. All that remained on the beach was some sniping and artillery fire, and the occasional startling blast of a mine geysering brown sand into the air. That plus a gigantic and pitiful litter of wreckage along miles of shoreline.

    Submerged tanks and overturned boats and burned trucks and shell-shattered jeeps and sad little personal belongings were strewn all over these bitter sands. That plus the bodies of soldiers lying in rows covered with blankets, the toes of their shoes sticking up in a line as though on drill. And other bodies, uncollected, still sprawling grotesquely in the sand or half hidden by the high grass beyond the beach.

    That plus an intense, grim determination of work-weary men to get this chaotic beach organized and get all the vital supplies and the reinforcements moving more rapidly over it from the stacked-up ships standing in droves out to sea.


    Now that it is over it seems to me a pure miracle that we ever took the beach at all. For some of our units it was easy, but in this special sector where I am now our troops faced such odds that our getting ashore was like my whipping Joe Louis down to a pulp.

    In this column I want to tell you what the opening of the second front in this one sector entailed, so that you can know and appreciate and forever be humbly grateful to those both dead and alive who did it for you.

    Ashore, facing us, were more enemy troops than we had in our assault waves. The advantages were all theirs, the disadvantages all ours. The Germans were dug into positions that they had been working on for months, although these were not yet all complete. A one-hundred-foot bluff a couple of hundred yards back from the beach had great concrete gun emplacements built right into the hilltop. These opened to the sides instead of to the front, thus making it very hard for naval fire from the sea to reach them. They could shoot parallel with the beach and cover every foot of it for miles with artillery fire.

    Then they had hidden machine-gun nests on the forward slopes, with crossfire taking in every inch of the beach. These nests were connected by networks of trenches, so that the German gunners could move about without exposing themselves.

    Throughout the length of the beach, running zigzag a couple of hundred yards back from the shoreline, was an immense V-shaped ditch fifteen feet deep. Nothing could cross it, not even men on foot, until fills had been made. And in other places at the far end of the beach, where the ground is flatter, they had great concrete walls. These were blasted by our naval gunfire or by explosives set by hand after we got ashore.

    Our only exits from the beach were several swales or valleys, each about one hundred yards wide. The Germans made the most of these funnel-like traps, sowing them with buried mines. They contained, also, barbed-wire entanglements with mines attached, hidden ditches, and machine guns firing from the slopes.

    This is what was on the shore. But our men had to go through a maze nearly as deadly as this before they even got ashore. Underwater obstacles were terrific. The Germans had whole fields of evil devices under the water to catch our boats. Even now, several days after the landing, we have cleared only channels through them and cannot yet approach the whole length of the beach with our ships. Even now some ship or boat hits one of these mines every day and is knocked out of commission.

    The Germans had masses of those great six-pronged spiders, made of railroad iron and standing shoulder-high, just beneath the surface of the water for our landing craft to run into. They also had huge logs buried in the sand, pointing upward and outward, their tops just below the water. Attached to these logs were mines.

    In addition to these obstacles they had floating mines offshore, land mines buried in the sand of the beach, and more mines in checkerboard rows in the tall grass beyond the sand. And the enemy had four men on shore for every three men we had approaching the shore.

    And yet we got on.


    Beach landings are planned to a schedule that is set far ahead of time. They all have to be timed, in order for everything to mesh and for the following waves of troops to be standing off the beach and ready to land at the right moment.

    As the landings are planned, some elements of the assault force are to break through quickly, push on inland, and attack the most obvious enemy strong points. It is usually the plan for units to be inland, attacking gun positions from behind, within a matter of minutes after the first men hit the beach.

    I have always been amazed at the speed called for in these plans. You’ll have schedules calling for engineers to land at H-hour plus two minutes, and service troops at H-hour plus thirty minutes, and even for press censors to land at H-hour plus seventy-five minutes. But in the attack on this special portion of the beach where I am – the worst we had, incidentally – the schedule didn’t hold.

    Our men simply could not get past the beach. They were pinned down right on the water’s edge by an inhuman wall of fire from the bluff. Our first waves were on that beach for hours, instead of a few minutes, before they could begin working inland.

    You can still see the foxholes they dug at the very edge of the water, in the sand and the small, jumbled rocks that form parts of the beach.

    Medical corpsmen attended the wounded as best they could. Men were killed as they stepped out of landing craft. An officer whom I knew got a bullet through the head just as the door of his landing craft was let down. Some men were drowned.

    The first crack in the beach defenses was finally accomplished by terrific and wonderful naval gunfire, which knocked out the big emplacements. They tell epic stories of destroyers that ran right up into shallow water and had it out point-blank with the big guns in those concrete emplacements ashore.

    When the heavy fire stopped, our men were organized by their officers and pushed on inland, circling machine-gun nests and taking them from the rear.

    As one officer said, the only way to take a beach is to face it and keep going. It is costly at first, but it’s the only way. If the men are pinned down on the beach, dug in and out of action, they might as well not be there at all. They hold up the waves behind them, and nothing is being gained.

    Our men were pinned down for a while, but finally they stood up and went through, and so we took that beach and accomplished our landing. We did it with every advantage on the enemy’s side and every disadvantage on ours. In the light of a couple of days of retrospection, we sit and talk and call it a miracle that our men ever got on at all or were able to stay on.

    Before long it will be permitted to name the units that did it. Then you will know to whom this glory should go. They suffered casualties. And yet if you take the entire beachhead assault, including other units that had a much easier time, our total casualties in driving this wedge into the continent of Europe were remarkably low – only a fraction, in fact, of what our commanders had been prepared to accept.

    And these units that were so battered and went through such hell are still, right at this moment, pushing on inland without rest, their spirits high, their egotism in victory almost reaching the smart-alecky stage.

    Their tails are up. "We’ve done it again," they say. They figure that the rest of the army isn’t needed at all. Which proves that, while their judgment in this regard is bad, they certainly have the spirit that wins battles and eventually wars.

    Ernie Pyle, pictured in Normandy not long after the invasion of Europe. Pyle (left) is shown with Gordon Gammack (center) of the Des Moines Register and Tribune and Don Whitehead of the Associated Press.

    IU Archives

    Ernie Pyle
  • [VANITY] A Different Outcome to World War II - Attention WWII Buffs

    06/08/2014 9:22:33 AM PDT · 18 of 147
    untenured to taxcontrol
    Now had Hitler not invaded Russia, that could have been an entirely different story.

    I don't think he could have not invaded Russia. The need to destroy "Jewish Bolshevism" (and "Jewish Anglo-American capitalism," for that matter) was integral to his worldview.


    06/06/2014 10:10:34 AM PDT · 40 of 43
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson
    Two things:

    1. Remarkable from 2014 that the brother of a paratrooper has to go all the way to Times Square to find out if the invasion is really happening ("City Reacts...").

    2. Love him or hate him (and IMHO he damaged the country irreparably in many ways) FDR had a gift for saying the right thing at the right time, as in his radio prayer (post 9).

  • Rolling Stones to Perform in Israel Despite Pressure From Pink Floyd Members to Cancel

    06/04/2014 7:37:15 PM PDT · 33 of 60
    untenured to plain talk

    Interesting, IIRC Blues Traveler opened for the Stones in 1997.

  • Reagan, Then and Now: Commentators and politicians are underestimating him — again. (Craig Shirley)

    06/04/2014 3:25:35 PM PDT · 9 of 15
    untenured to The Man; painter

    Reagan long talked, as in his first inaugural, about the idea that the individual has a moral stature independent of politics, and if he is left unmolested can do great things. But once government gets beyond its essential functions of preserving order and begins to plan people’s affairs for them it is a destructive force. This is a powerful idea; has Sen. Cruz really expressed it much? (I did a brief lazy search and didn’t come up with anything.)

  • Reagan, Then and Now: Commentators and politicians are underestimating him — again. (Craig Shirley)

    06/04/2014 2:57:37 PM PDT · 3 of 15
    untenured to neverdem
    If we look to the answer as to why, for so many years, we achieved so much, prospered as no other people on Earth, it was because here, in this land, we unleashed the energy and individual genius of man to a greater extent than has ever been done before. Freedom and the dignity of the individual have been more available and assured here than in any other place on Earth. The price for this freedom at times has been high, but we have never been unwilling to pay that price.

    It is no coincidence that our present troubles parallel and are proportionate to the intervention and intrusion in our lives that result from unnecessary and excessive growth of government. It is time for us to realize that we are too great a nation to limit ourselves to small dreams. We are not, as some would have us believe, loomed to an inevitable decline. I do not believe in a fate that will all on us no matter what we do. I do believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do nothing. So, with all the creative energy at our command, let us begin an era of national renewal. Let us renew our determination, our courage, and our strength. And let us renew; our faith and our hope.

    We have every right to dream heroic dreams.

    Are there any politicians who talk like this anymore?


    06/04/2014 9:49:37 AM PDT · 18 of 28
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson; PeterPrinciple
    Looking back, there are several striking things in today's paper.

    1. There is a remarkably accurate account of Auschwitz/Birkenau, although on p. 7. Yet more testimony to how much was known. When I went there in 1991 I was told that most of the killing of people straight off the trains in gas chambers was actually in Birkenau. I am sad to report that it was in a dilaipdated state in 1991, the remaining barracks full of graffiti, some of it anti-Semitic.

    2. It is five months before the Presidential election, and there is no breathless horse-race coverage. The story about Dewey and the West is no big deal. How I wish we could return to that.

    3. That columnist Douglas S. Freeman is personally praised by FDR seems no big deal. Now, the DC/NYC media circus would be in high gear talking about what it all means, press bias, etc.

    4. One doesn't hear much talk of "hillbilly singers" in 2014.

    Oh and, the shape of things to come. A photo of Romans waiting for the Allies to arrive. The source site says it is actually from June 5:


    05/31/2014 5:49:57 PM PDT · 41 of 53
    untenured to 21twelve
    That's probably not the origin of "going to the dogs." Google Ngrams has references all the way back to the 1840s.
  • U.S. and China square off at Asia security forum (Hagel warns China - Drudge Headline)

    05/31/2014 8:09:55 AM PDT · 10 of 23
    untenured to Ernest_at_the_Beach

    Interesting. Some of the Chinese-language press coverage I’ve read suggests that the Chinese response, which was prepared in advance, was not well-received by attendees from other East Asian countries. It was seen as bluster, and reflective of an increasingly arrogant Chinese approach.


    05/24/2014 11:33:56 AM PDT · 14 of 17
    untenured to Tax-chick
    I did, but the author is an economist and so am I, so I'm probably more prone to liking it. Parts of it are a little technical, but most of the math is relegated to the appendix.

    It is definitely a striking and clever argument - surname persistence at high rungs of society tells us that social mobility is not zero but is remarkably slow, everywhere (welfare-state Sweden, Industrial Revolution Britain, post-1949 China).

    I wouldn't read it if you're looking for a page-turner. Prof. Clark is a pretty dry writer. (He also, based on this and previous work, seems to think genetics are more important in life outcomes than mainstream writers do.) But it was extremely interesting.


    05/24/2014 10:49:51 AM PDT · 12 of 17
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson
    Papandreou is a name we will hear a lot of in postwar Greek politics - his son and grandson would go on to serve as PM. It reminds me of a book I recently read, The Son Also Rises, about how a few family names have remarkable persistence in leadership circles (political and otherwise) in countries around the world.

    05/22/2014 9:28:48 AM PDT · 20 of 39
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson
    It's interesting to watch the "exile armies" of French and Poles so involved in the Italian fighting. My amateur impression is that fighting for the nation was common in ancient Greece and Rome (think Pericles' funeral oration), but once European wars became squabbles among kings their armies (including mercenaries) became more like private property.

    Certainly by the time of the French and American revolutions the idea of fighting and dying for the nation was back, but I don't know of any circumstance like this - large-scale use of foreign nationals, organized as national units after their homelands were conquered, in the campaign against the enemy.

  • PM Orban calls for autonomy for ethnic Hungarians beyond borders (including in Ukraine)

    05/13/2014 6:44:58 AM PDT · 10 of 14
    untenured to Freelance Warrior
    But Hungary has suffered much from history anyway.

    To hear all of them tell it, who hasn't in that part of the world?

  • What if race is more than a social construct?

    05/10/2014 2:10:09 PM PDT · 41 of 267
    untenured to Sherman Logan; Balding_Eagle
    It does not shy away from from noting the effect of differential IQ between racial groups, but that is by no means the focus of the book.

    Thank you for noting that, and for actually bothering to read the book. It must also be said that in the famous Ch. 13 on g and race the statistical modeling was, IMHO, weaker than elsewhere in the book.