Friday, October 24, 2008

Banking with Charlize

One of the oldest Hollywood legends is that Lana Turner was 'discovered' at Schwab's Drugstore soda fountain. That legend must've been very popular with the Schwabs management- since it might attract business from 'discoveree' wannabes, as well as people who appreciate Lana Turner wannabes.

I remembered that story a hile back when I read that when Charlize Theron first arrived in Hollywood, she went to a local bank, and tried to cash an out of state check- which the management refused to do. Ms. Theron proceeded to pitch a *major* conniption fit- until a man approched her, and informed her that she was an agent. And wonder of wonders, he actually was- and the rest is history.

Ms. Theron is an extraordinarily beautiful woman with a great deal of talent, and apparently just about everyone seems to like her- except I suppose, the tellers at that bank, who, by this time, are probably *heartily* sick of Charlize Theron wannabes who go ballistic when they can't get cash for an out of state check.

Wood County, Ohio

A while back I told the story of Wood County, Ohio's county seat of Wooster. Oops, my bad. Actually Wooster is the county seat of *Wayne* County, Ohio. The county seat of Wood County is Bowling Green. Many years ago, I had a job interview there. I learned that the school colors of Bowling Green State University are dark brown and burnt orange. Go figure.

During my short stay in Bowling Green, I unsuccessfully searched for a bowling alley- so I did not get a chance to fulfill an ambition I'd had since my days in Boy Scouts, many, many years before:
'Let's go bowling in Bowling Green
in Bowling Green, in Bowling Green
Let's go bowling in Bowling Green
with a green bowling ball!'

Gloria Steinem (Rated R)

Political Content Advisory- you *have* been warned- contains MATURE content

I'm glad I have some familiarity with English/English venacular (as opposed to American/English). That way, I get to say that Gloria Steinem is a complete and utter TWIT, instead of some other vowel to fill in tw*t.
I recently read an account by Senator James Webb, that he and Steinem were both attending the same seminar on Sept. 11, 2001. Webb states that upon heaing of the attacks, he said that the United States needed to do whatever was necessary to find those responsible and eliminate them. Webb reports that Steinem then said to him, as if speaking to a small child, 'When did violence accomplish anything?'
OK, that settles it: Gloria Steinem is a complete ignoramous as far as power politics is concerned.
1. Why is the United States an independent country?
2. Why is Florida US territory?
3. Why is California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Nevada, and Utah part of the United States?
4. Why is America one country, not two?
5. What eliminated slavery from the United States?
6. Why are Guam and Puerto Rico US territories?
7. Why is the Hollenzollern family no longer the reigning as the Royal Family of Germany?
8. How did we get rid of Hitler?
9. Why is South Korea an independent country?
Mark Twain once said, 'It isn't ignorance that's dangerous- it is people who know things that just ain't so' By that standard, Gloria Steinem is VERY dangerous. What strikes me as especially INEXCUSEABLE about that comment is that she comes from a Jewish family. OK, Biblical scholars,
1. How did the Israelites make it out of Eygpt. Passover- Angel of Death-Red Sea- Pharoah's Army?
2. How did David get to be King of Israel?
3. What's Purim?
4. What happened during Channukah?
5. How has Israel managed to survive the last 60 years?
Am I running up the score here? Gentle Readers, do you now understand why I can't take GS seriously?
As egregious as that was, I thought her conduct in defending Bill Clinton was a whole lot worse. There is an old legal maxim that all good dogs are entitled to *one* bite. If, however, your dog bites a second time, then you've got a problem. According to Ms. Steinem, every boss is entitled to one grope. She wrote a column in the New York Times stating that Clinton's alleged conduct towards Kathleen Wiley was -grabbing her hand and placing it on his crotch- was *not* sexual harassment- as long as he desisted as soon as she objected. Paula Jones? *Same* *thing*. No, I'm NOT making this up. If an employer, (A Governor of Arkansas) calls a state employee into a hotel room, drops trou, weinee-wags in her face and demands that she fellate him, no, that is NOT sexual harrassment- according to Gloria Steinem.
I am SO glad she cleared that up. By GSs standards, if Bill Clinton took the precaution of taping Juanita Brodderrick's mouth shut before raping her, well, that would not be sexual harrassment.
It's too bad that Ted Bundy was a one-time Young Republican. If he'd been a democrat, is there any question but that GS would have defended his conduct? (Let's see here, blungeoning women unconscious, murdering them and then practicing necrophilia, well, they did not *object* so that can't be sexual harassment) Thank you, Gloria Steinem!

Jack Lucas

Jack Lucas led a life worthy of Ripley's Believe It or Not.

He was a big atheletic 13 year old kid when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. A few months past his 14th birthday, he lied about his age, and joined the United States Marines. It took the Marines a while to wise up to his deception- they were about to send him home, but he said, 'If you do, I'll just join the Army' So, they put him to work driving a truck in Hawaii for the next few years. They one day he *stowed*away* on a Navy transport. He turned himself in to avoid being classified as a deserter- and volunteered to join in the battle the Marine unit onboard as about to fight. The Marine officers on the transport did not know his age- he had turned 17 a few days before, so, liking his attitude, they let him. Feb. 19, 1945, he and 75,000 other Marines went ashore on a little piece of hell called Iwo Jima.

A couple of days later, he was sharing a slit trench with some other Marines when *two* Japanese grenades landed in the trench. Lucas threw himself on top of the grenades. He then caught a bit of a break. One of the grenades was a dud. The other was not. The explosion left 250 shrapnel fragments in his body, and his buddies left him for dead. Amazingly, he was still alive- although his injuries required surgery 26 different times. Jack Lucas lived to be tyhe youngest Medal of Honor winner in the history of the United States Marine Corps. After receiving the Medal of Honor from President Truman, Lucas went back to high school, to finish his senior year. (I wonder if, on the first day of class, his teacher asked him to write an essay on 'What I Did on My Summer Vacation'?)

I would have thought that that would have been enough excitement for one lifetime- but no. Jack Lucas decided that he wanted to overcome his fear of heights- so he joined the Army, and volunteered to become a paratrooper. One day, as he put it, 'He was the last guy out the plane, but the first to reach the ground'. Both his parachutes failed. Jack Lucas survived the fall. (I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall, when he had a talk with the parachute riggers: 'I wish to make a complaint...')

Jack Lucas died this past summer at the age of 80. If he were still around I think I'd ask him to pick out a lottery ticket number for me.

Just the Facts

While Iraq is definitely a hot button issue, everybody chill out for a minute. Here are the monthly totals of American military dead in Iraq. Draw your own conclusions:


Jan 83

Feb 81

Mar 81

Apr 104

May 126

Jun 101

Jul 80

Aug 84

Sep 66

Oct 38

Nov 37

Dec 23


Jan 40

Feb 29

Mar 39

Apr 52

May 19

Jun 29

Jul 13

Aug 19

Sep 25

A few days ago, my dear ol' 88 year old Dad was opining about Iraq (he knows everything about everything, because he reads the New York Times. He can access all the latest information about Manhatten, but couldn't tell you what movies are playing a two miles away). I said, 'Dad, have you talked to anybody who has *served* there?' Well, no, actually. Whenever I see someone in uniform (usually down at the Franklin County Courthouse) I ask them if they've been to Iraq, and what their outlook on the situation is. (It is very easy to determine who has been there- soldiers who have served in a combat zone wear a unit patch on their RIGHT shoulder). I'd encourage everyone who wants to know what is going on, to do the same- and draw your own conclusions.

A Fateful Cab Ride

As some of you know, my older brother Bruce and I do not get along *at**all*, for reasons too numerous to mention. However, there is one incident that stands out in my mind, even now, almost 25 years later. Clear back in May, 1984, my dear old Grandmother Drysdale breathed her last, just four months short of her 99th birthday, and my three brothers and I all assembled to attend the funeral in Severy, Kansas. That took so doing on my part, because I was onboard the USS LaSalle at the time. We were making a port visit to Karachi, Pakistan at the time. So I got up at the crack of dawn to catch a flight from Karachi, to Frankfurt, then on to Memphis, Oklahoma City, and finally Wichita, well past dark. I think I covered 10 time zones that day. Can you say "jetlag"?

Anyhow, a few days later, Bruce and I shared a cab ride back to my Dad's house, before Bruce was drive back to Athens, Ohio, here he lives. I, momentarily having the totally misguided idea that we could act like brothers, I put my hand on Bruce's shoulder- and he swatted it away *hard*. And, like an *idiot*, I said 'hey, Bruce, what's the matter?' and tried again- and he swatted my hand again- *hard*. Needless to say, if I live another 24 years I will *never* make that mistake again.

Much, much later, I asked my father what the hell had that been about, and Dad said, 'Well, Bruce told me that on the ride back from the airport you were talking with driver' At this point my father harrumphs and adds, 'That doesn't strike me as a particularly good use of time'Uh-huh. Thanks, Dad. Whereas you'd condemn Hindus for regarding some people as 'untouchables', that's just your attitude towards anybody without a college degree.

Ironically enough, I actually remember the conversation. I was in my Navy uniform, and the cabbie was a Navy vet, so we did a little bit of the, 'You're Navy too? What ship were you on? What's your rate? Where were you? Persian Gulf? No kiddin'?' That sort of thing. Of course, for Bruce Albert Mitchell, the very *thought* that anyone of *his* station should be subjected to listening to the words of someone in the *service*- well, I *never*!

It is ironic that as a defense attorney, I have to have civil conversations with some *extremely* unsavory characters, some other people who have *severe* mental problems- and some with both. I'd also like to say that I am good friends with several people I met while I was in the service, and I regard them as the salt of the earth.

I've seen Bruce twice in the past ten years. I wish I'd seen him less, I regret that I ever met him, and the next time I see him, I hope it will be at his funeral, which I look forward to attending, only to make absolutely *certain* that that s**t is actually dead. No, I'm NOT joking.Kent

Kanye West

I do not like Kanye West. I do not like him one bit. He sings a song called 'Heartless'; I think all his 'music' should be on an album called 'Talentless'.

However, I think there is a lesson to be dran from that 'artist' Recently, he posed as on a magazine cover- as Christ on the Cross. I guess he be keepin' it real, showin' what an oppressed genius he be, jes anudder Opressed milyunaire in AmeriKa. Uh-huh. When I saw that, I said to myself, well, no matter- it's not like my opinion of him could *get* any lower. Then I thought- why doesn't he do something similiar, mocking muhammed. I'll *tell* you why: because if he did, there is a very real possibility that some irate muslim would KILL his totally untalented ass, that's why!

I think I see a pattern here: many years ago, Martin Scorsese made a film called 'The Last Temptation of Christ', in which I understand, the thought occurs to Jesus, might be nice to marry Mary Magdalen and have a family. I have not seen the film, so I can't comment on how Scorsese handled that. Some Christians got riled and picketed movie theatres. Hoever, nobody killed Martin Scorsese.The same year, Anthony Quinn made a film called 'Muhammed, Messenger of God'. I've seen it, and it is a very favorable treatment of Muhammed and the beginnings of Islam. The film never shows Muhammed- we see his camel, his sword, and other actors address Muhammed while facing the camera- as per sharia law- no depicting the Phrophet. Well, a group of Muslims took hostages and killed a couple of people, demanding that the film be destroyed.

OK, that's my bottom line- there are some fundementalist Christians I do not care for at all- but they don't go around killing people- and I'm familiar with some fundementalist muslims who do!

Chesty's Reputation

Thirty-seven years after his death, Lewis Burwell "Chesty" Puller remains a legend in the United States Marine Corps. He won the Navy Cross five times, an achievement no other Marine has ever matched. I never met General Puller, but I once met a man who knew him, and I'll never forget the experience. Back in 1992, I was going through a rough patch, and to make ends meet, I spent some weekends walking door to door, circulating petitions. I stopped at one house where I noticed that the car in the driveway had a bumpersticker that read, 'US Marine First Division 50th Reunion 1942-1992' I thought, holy cow! The guy who answered the door as a greyhaired old guy. After getting his signature, I asked him, 'Sir, did you ever meet Chesty Puller?'

He said, 'All the time. I worked at Division headquarters.'

I said, in the most respectful, serious way I possibly could, 'Sir, was that guy *half* as tough as they say he was?'

He looked me square in the eye, and said, '*Tougher*'

Trojan Women/Melos

I recently got a lesson in the value of a liberal education. Ohio State's theatre department put on a production of Trojan Women 2.0. Euripides wrote it in 415B.C. It tells the story of the fate of the women of the city of Troy after the Greeeks utterly destroyed that city at the end of the Trojan War. Over 24 centuries later, it is *heartbreaking* to watch. Hecuba was the Queen of Troy, but she's lived to see her husband and all her sons killed- and all her daughters raffled off as the spoils of war to the victorious Greeks. Andromache, widow of Hector, Troy's greatest warrior, is to be the trophy of the son of Achilles- the man who killed her husband. And, oh, yes, Andromache- ah, about you infant son- he could lead a Trojan revival, so say goodbye, because the Greeks are going to throw him off the walls of Troy.

The story that relatively few people would know is that Euripides wrote that play as a protest of the Athenian conduct of the Peloppenesian War. Just the year before, Athens had sent an expedition to a previously neutral island city/state of Melos, and told the Melians to either join the Athenian alliance (Translation: turn over the key to the city treasury to the Athenians or face a terrible fate.)

A few memorable quotes: after the Melians said that they would appeal to the gods for help, the Athenian reply was 'We have as much right to expect Divine Favor as you. Of men we know, and of the gods we believe, one rules wherever one can.' The other quote that stays with me is 'The strong do what they will; the weak endure what they must' (That was true centuries before Athens was founded, and I don't see that changing the next two and half millenia)

Melos refused the Athenian ultimatum and the city fell to the Athenian siege. Now remember, the Melians spoke the same language as the Athenians and worshipped the same gods.So what happened after they surrendered? All males past puberty were killed; the women and children were sold into slavery. As I watched Trojan Women, it occurred to me that went that play debuted, there were no doubt men in the audience who had killed Melian men, and who had bought or sold Melian women and children as slaves. Mindboggling.

I think General Sherman was on to something when he said, 'War is hell.'


PS A shoutout to my EXCELLENT history Professor Williamson Murray who introduced me to Thucydides and the Melian dialogue. Many thanks, Professor.

Irony at Appomattox

A while back, I posed the question, which two American Presidents were once POWs. Only one person got the answer: George Washington, who was briefly a prisoner of the French at Fort Dusquene (near modern Pittsburgh), and Andrew Jackson, who as a young boy, was a prisoner of the British during the War for Independence. A British officer told Jackson to shine his boots; Jackson indignantly refused. The officer struck Jackson across the face with his sabre; Jackson carried the scar for the rest of his life. And he did *not* shine those boots.

Anyone who was paying attention during history class knows that General Lee surrendered to General Grant at Appomattox to end the Civil War in April 1865. OK, which family owned slaves. Oh, irony, irony, irony! Robert E. Lee's father-in-la was a very wealthy man who owned a great many slaves, who by the provisions of his will (he died in 1858) ere to be manumitted in 5 years. So, ironically enough, Lee's slaves were freed on New Year's Day 1863- the same day the Emancipation Proclamation was due to take effect. (If not for the will's provisions, they would have had to have waited until the Union Army got to them.)

General Grant's in-laws owned many slaves in Missouri, who did not gain their freedom until the end of 1865. The General's wife owned one slave as a maid- so at the time of Appomattox, the Confederacy's General, a non-slave owner, surrendered to the Union General whose wife still owned a slave.

During my research, I came across one other interesting bit of trivia: in the late 1850s, through his in-laws Ulysses Grant owned one slave, a man named William Jones. At that point in his life, the Grants were in *extremely* bad shape financially; selling jones would have brought in some *badly* needed cash. Grant simply set Jones free.Kent

OJ Simpson










Of course, OJ being sent away for the rest of his life ruins his plan to get married again. Yep, he was going to take another stab at it. And I'm sure his family will miss him at Thanksgiving. He won't be there to carve up de white meat.

Chatting with Ms. Leg

Way back in December, 1975, I went shopping with my then-gal pal, Donna Larimer. (I have made plenty of mistakes in my life; refraining from marrying her was not one of them) We stopped by one store's jewelry counter, and I noticed that the woman behind the counter happened to be an extraordinarily tall lady. I'm slightly under 6'3', and this gal was way taller than I was, maybe 6'6' or something like that. Anyhow, as Donna walked around the jewelry counter (probably looking for the wedding band she wanted me to get for her), she came to the spot where sales people would step through to get behind the counter, looked down, did a doubletake, and gasped, 'You're not standing on top of anything!' No, indeed she wasn't.

I think I said something nice like, gee, it must be nice to be universally admired, I mean, just about everybody looks up to you, ma'am. (I did get her to smile) Anyhow, the three of us had a nice chat for a few minutes. And then Donna and I shopped and shopped and shopped and shopped, and finally Donna says, 'Gee, what do we do now?' And I said, 'Well, we could go back and chat with Ms. Leg' For about the next minute, I caught hell. As in WHO did I think I was, and WHY did I have to act like such a jerk, and HOW could I be so insensitive, and WHAT was I thinking of, and WHERE do I get off saying something like that, and WHEN was I going to get some cetera, et cetera, et cetera. When Donna stopped long enough for me to get a word in edgewises, I said, 'Donna, did happen to notice that that lady was wearing a nametag?' 'No' 'Well, she was. And guess what her nametag said?' Yep, it was Ms. Leg. (Actually I think it was with two 'G's.)

Obnoxious Coworkers II (Rated R)

A PS regarding Liz Pederson:

What color to you have to be, to become a Christian Scientist? Any color at all. So if I say (as I quite emphatically do) that Christian Science is rubbish (I once dated a Christian Scientist who, upon finding a lump on her breast, she would read 'Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures' until it went away. I disagreed. Very strenuously. I prevailed. It was benign. We broke up. Years later she managed to get some idiot to marry her. They had a kid. Kid got a high fever. She read SHWKTS until the kid was brain damaged.) Does saying that CS is rubbish make me a racist? Hell, no!

What color do you have to be a Mormon? Any color at all. (In 1978, the head of LDS church had a Divine Revalation that blacks could be full members of the Church.) If I say that the Book of Mormon completely fails the giggle test (I've read it cover to cover- all the Mormons I've ever met are decent people, but how they take that book seriously is completely beyond me), does that mean I'm a racist? No, it doesn't.

What color do you have to be to become Catholic? Any color at all. If I say that for ten centuries Catholics have bred themselves for stupidity and that The Church will not live down the conduct of pedophile priests in Bush Alaska (and elsewhere) in this century or in the next, or that the failure of Pius XII to show even a shred of physical courage in the face of the Nazis makes me doubt that ANYONE in Christendom takes seriously the idea of Eternal Life, and that Henry VIII had the EXACTLY the right idea about how to tax Church property- does that make me a racist? No, it doesn't.

What color do you have to be to become a muslim? Any color at all. If I can that muslim suicide bombers apparent ability to seriously believe in an Eternal Afterlife means I find them a HUNDRED times scarier than Catholic, and woebetide EVERY country in Western Europe if they don't take drastic action on immigration REAL SOON (i.e., Forceable Repatriation) cuz the most common name for newborn baby boys in Belgium and in Britian is now MUHAMMED- does that make me a racist? No, it doesn't.

However, when I made the points listed in the paragraph above, guess what LP called me. Since she is gay, I shall always regret that I did not say, look, Liz, that is both very insulting and very false. So don't call me a racist, and *I* won't call you a *cocksucker*.


Obnoxious Coworkers

A friend of mine with a primarily blue-state outlook, has told me that her red-state coworkers sometimes annoy her immensely, partly because of their inability to ever acknowledge the possibility that anyone could possibly hold an opposing point of view. V., I totally feel your pain. With colors reversed, that is exactly the situation I went through for five years in Bethel. For example, I can understand that people find Texas' record on capital punishment in general, and George W. Bush's actions while Governor deeply troubling...especially the case of Karla Fay Tucker. (Every bit as horrific as Bill Clinton's treatment of Rickey Ray Rector).

Incidentally, if you believe that as a born-again Christian Karla Fay Tucker was destined to spend eternity in Heaven after death (I quite emphatically do NOT), wasn't W. doing her a huge favor by approving her execution? I mean, really, where would you rather spend 30 years or so- Heaven or a Texas prison? OK, in six years as Governor, W. signed off on 152 executions...that's 25 a year. Texas' population is a bit over 20 million. OK, so George W. Bush's Texas was hell on earth. So, what would you call a place with a per capita rate of executions ten or twenty or a hundred times higher? Pop quiz: who was it who said, 'All that we need to execute a man is to show that it is necessary to execute him. It is that simple.'? Hint: it was not George W. Bush. Well, actually, it was 'Che' Guevera. In 1960, Cuba had a population of about 6.5 million. In 1963, after 4 years of communist rule, the Cuban government announced that they executed 2,875 people after trial, and 4,245 without trial. By my math, the a Cuban had more than a hundred times better chance of being executed by Castro's government than a Texan had of being executed by George W. Bush's.

If you're wondering why I bothered doing those calculations, it's because a coworker in Bethel, my one-time boss, John Cashion, had a poster from a coffeeshop on his wall- that contained an exerpt from Castro's eulogy for Che Guevara. Hmmm...why didn't he have one of Lawrencia Beria too?

Next story: back in '04, we got a new attorney named Liz Pederson, who happens to be gay (that's neither here nor there). First day, a group of us have lunch. The subject of Iraq comes up. Things rapidly get heated. Using my amazing powers of diplomacy, I think, I know what I'll do- I'll change the subject. Let's talk about dogs instead. I'd just read an article about American soldiers adopting Iraqi dogs (since Arabs regard dogs as 'unclean', some of those pooches have enjoyed a dramatic improvement in their standard of living). So I say, 'You know, American soldiers have always been kind to dogs...' And Liz Pederson interrupts and says, 'Oh YEAH! They kill CHILDREN, but they're kind to dogs!' Four years later, I still regret that I did not break a chair over her head. And say, 'Gee, Liz, if any American soldier killed a child, it must have been that those soldiers were gay...because everybody knows gays kill children. I mean you've heard of John Wayne Gacy, Jeffrey Dahmer, Wayne Williams, and the original Bluebeard. All gay, all killed children.'

In case any slow learners are reading this, if I had made that statement, I would have been being horribly unfair- every bit as horribly unfair as Liz Pederson slandering every person who has ever worn an American uniform. (That November, I refrained from asking her why she was supporting a Child Killer for President...or maybe she only slurred American soldiers and not sailors.) Pop Quiz: Since I was in the Navy, announcing that you're gay gets you a honorable discharge; you're not getting back in. Does anybody want to guess what the Navy's policy on homosexual conduct as back during WWII? Anybody what to guess?

About a week after that lunch incident, I overheard Liz comment that someone she knew was in Iraq, and the general effect of her words that he and his buddies probably were enjoying themselves, because that way they could do all the drugs they wanted to. I managed to check my initial urge to break a chair over her head, and instead said, in as calm and level a voice as I could manage, 'Uh, Liz, you are off by one hundred eighty degrees.' (I think that is a very diplomatic way of saying 'YOU ARE COMPLETELY WRONG')

I kept my cool, and told her that in the mid70s, drugs were a TERRIBLE problem- there was a plane crash on a carrier that killed something like 20 crewmen- autopsies showed that more than half of them had cannabis in their system. When I as in Language School at Monterey '80-'81 we were having a bunch of people getting busted for pot. In 1983 the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Heywood came out with a really strict program of testing, and the percentage of pot users declined further. By the time I was teaching onboard US Navy ships with the Program for Afloat College Education '88-'90 and '93-'95, drug tests were so common that the chance of getting away with using pot was just about nil- one strike and you're out the door. If even *one* man in a four hundred man crew tested positive, it was an unwelcome surprise. (This is where obnovxious left wingers are totally schizophrenic. They make really bad jokes about service people using drugs. 30-plus years ago, those jibes had foundation, but when you point out that drug use is now certain to bring an other-than-honorable discharge, and maybe some brig time, they get all weepy for the poor druggie. No sympathy from me at all. And they won't get any from the rank and file either.) I managed to get along tolerably with Liz, making allowance for the fact that a racist, sexist, homophobic, fascist is anyone who disagrees with her.

Patrick Chavis

I am vehemently opposed to Affirmative Action. And 'Doctor' Patrick Chavis is one of many reasons. Back in the early 70s, the University of California Medical School had a quota of 16 seats reserved for minority applicants. A man named Allan Bakke sued the Medical School over that policy, and in 1978, the US Supreme Court ruled in his favor. However, the Court ruled, in a splintered opinion, that schools can consider race in admissions. (Translation: being black counts for a FULL LETTER GRADE- see the Supreme Court decision on the University of Michigan's law school admissions policy.) Of course, if you mention this fact, lefties will scream 'racist' as you until they're blue in the face.

One of the 16 applicants admitted instead of Alan Bakke was a man named Patrick Chavis. His grades and test scores were FAR lower than Bakke's but his skin was the right color, so he got in. Needless to say, he was a left-wing icon. Senator Edward Kennedy made a speech praising him. The New York Times Magazine section did a ten-page puff piece on him in 1995, even putting him on the COVER. I well remember that the concluding paragraph, the snarky comment that Dr. Allan Bakke, 'had not exactly set the world on fire' as a physician. Of course, I would be willing to bet that Alan Bakke has never been sued for malpractice. If he had, is there any doubt that the NYT would have put that news on the front page for a week running? Ah, but Patrick Chavis...well, he did not set the world on fire, but he did get sued for malpractice TWENTY-ONE TIMES. He once signed up for a seminar on doing liposuction, and (a subsequent investigation showed) only attended two of the three days of classes. Two years after the New York Times magazine put him of the cover, the California Medical Board suspended Chavis' license, finding that he'd been guilty of 94 different counts of malpractice, including killing a patient named Tammaria Cotton in a botched liposuction. 'Dr.' Chavis was murdered in 2002; the case is still unsolved. Strangely enough, neither Ted Kennedy nor the New York Times had any comment on Chavis' license suspension.

The Miracle of A5714

As many of you know, I'm quite fond of Can-You-Top-This stories from history. That being said, I think it would be difficult to top the too strange to be believed but not too strange to be believed story of Robert Max Widerman. Back in 1942, 16-year-old Robert was in a VERY bad situation: he and a dozen other members of his family- all French Jews- were on a train to Buchenwald. He was destined to be the only survivor. Only after the war, when he came home with a blue A5714 tattooed on the inside of his left forearm, did he learn that a few of his 13 siblings had survived. Despite all that he'd suffered, he went back to what he'd done before the war: singing and acting, and managed to achieve considerable success. He learned English, made it to America, and married Eddie Cantor's daughter. And he changed his name to Robert Clary. The irony about Mr. Clary's career that simply beggars the imagination is that his greatest professional success was playing 'Corporal Louie LeBeau'- a prisoner in a German POW camp in the television comedy Hogan's Heroes. Mr. Clary is still with us; he turned 82 last March.

Robert Clary with Bob Crane.

Antoinette Frank (Rated MATURE UN-PC)


Just a few days ago, I as working with my collaborator, Kenneth Nichols, on the screenplay I've been futzing around with for a couple of years now. One of my plot devices is that a small of Marines, having come upon a small girl who is one of few survivors of an ethnic clensing massacre, and not knowing her name, one guy says, 'I got it. Let's call her Anne Frank'.

To which the Team Leader says, 'Freakin' A!'

I know I will never forget the name Anne Frank.

And after what I read earlier today, I know I will NEVER forget the name Antoinette Frank. Just wondering: am I the only person who enjoyed watching the police drama, Homicide: Life on the Street? Does anybody remember the episode "The Saigon Rose"? Well, knock me over with a feather- that episode as, in very large part, based on an actual incident that happened in New Orleans.

As I pointed out in an earlier posting, I am VEHEMENTLY OPPOSED to Affirmative Action. If somebody can do the job, fine;they should get it regardless of race, creed, national origin, or sexual orientation, etc, etc. Most affirmative action advocates will NEVER admit, that lowering standards for a favored groups has a price tag...witness Antoinette Frank.

It seems that the New Orleans Police Department got the word on 'diversity, diversity, diversity' from the Feds. So, back in 1994, when Antoinette Frank, a black woman applied to be a New Orleans cop, she was in. Never mind she lied on her application about her psychological problems and family history...and got caught in those lies. A twofer is a twofer. A bit more than a year after joining the force, she was on trial for committing an armed robbery and a triple murder--WHILE ON DUTY. One of the people killed was her partner...who was moonlighting as a security guard at the resteraunt Frank and her boyfriend chose to rob. Frank has spent the past 14 years on Louisiana's Death Row.

Just wondering: until reading this, had ANYBODY heard that story? This is the sort of thing the mainstream media does NOT like to cover.

Mispronouncing a River

You wouldn't expect that you could get in much trouble for mispronouncing the name of a river. I've done it myself. For example, when I was a little kid, I did a lot of reading, and I guessed that the name of the river floing through London should rhyme with 'Ames,' Iowa. No such luck. The 'Thames' is pronounced 'temz.' Go figure.

Now, the Niger is the third largest river in Africa. It follows a boomerang course, flowing north, then east, then south, through Niger, then Nigeria. Back in 1972, Joseph A. Walker wrote a play entitled 'The River Niger,' which won an Obie as the top Broaday show of the year, and later a movie starring Cicely Tyson, and James Earl Jones. One day, my dear ol' mother, may she reast in peace, asked me about that play. Apparently she'd read about it, but had not heard anyone else discuss it. And Mom mispronounced the name of the river. Uh-oh! I was totally aghast. I said, 'Mom, it is called 'The River NIGER!' That's Niger! With ONE G! NI-GER! NOT the way you were pronouncing it!' "Are you sure?" 'Yes, Mom, I am sure! I am totally, 100% sure! Trust me on this one- it's 'Niger'!' I am SO glad I managed to make that correction before dear ol' mom committed a major gaffe.

P.S. All things considered, I'm grateful for the fact that my mother never met the activist, Niger Innis.

Spreading it Around

On November 30, 2003, I helped my Greataunt Hazel Blecha celebrate her 109th birthday. I had a great visiting with my second cousins, and saw some really interesting places in Des Moines, Iowa. (Yes, Des Moines, Iowa. Who knew?) When it came time to leave, it occurred to me that there was a very real chance I would never see her again, so I decided to give her a really great goodbye. (Greataunt Hazel managed to surprise me, her doctors and just about everybody else by sticking around for another 2 years and 11 months.) She was in a wheelchair in the dayroom of the Assisted Care Facility she was living in, so I knelt down, and smooched her on the forehead, oh, about a dozen times, and then maybe about a dozen times more.


At that point, the lady sitting in a wheelchair next to her, looked over at me, and said, 'Ya wanna spread that around a little?' And I thought to myself, why do women have to be living in a nursing home before they take such a helpful, cooperative attitude?

Meeting Senator Gore

When I was on my way to my very first assignment as a PACE Professor in early November 1988, I got onboard a flight to London (where I would catch a flight to Bahrain, and get onboard the USS Josephus Daniels). Who did I see but Senator Al Gore and his wife Tipper. (As I recall, Gore as on his way to give a speech at the Oxford Union.) Before I took my seat, I stepped over to the Senator, told him that I thought he'd run a good campaign and that the Democrats would have done a lot better if he'd been on the ticket. He smiled at that. Then I complimented Tipper on the work she'd done restricting youth from hearing profane record lyrics, and then I managed to shut up and take my seat. End of story.

That much is the truth, the truth and nothing but the truth. I like to *imagine* that about 3 years and 8 months later, when Bill Clinton on the Democratic nomination, Senator Gore called him up, and said, "Congratulations on winning the nomination, Bill. But Kent Mitchell says, "you'll do better with me as your VP."

He would reply, "Well, if Kent Mitchell says so..."

I can't prove that theory, but I will point out that Al Gore was on the Democratic ticket for the next three Presidential elections after 1988, and in all three the Dems did better than they did with Dukakis/Bentsen.


Alaska Tales I

As someone who lived in Alaska for a bit over five years, I watch the press coverage of Sarah Palin with a mix of amusement and disgust. As in, are Lower 48ers such complete ignoramouses? Well, as any Alaskan will tell you, Lower 48ers have an amazing blind spot when it comes to anything north of Seattle. Several years ago, a Canadian comedian filmed a series of clips of him asking Americans (frequently at Ivy League colleges) questions, i.e.

'Will you sign a petition protesting the Canadian practice of disposing of senior citizens by placing them on ice floes?' 'Should the Government of Saskatchewan allow a controlled rhinocerous hunt?' 'Should Canada have a Navy since it is a landlocked country?' (I have known some Canadian sailors, and they are a fine bunch of fellows), 'What is your feeling on Canada adding a ninth year to its educational system? To Canada completing its one-thousandth mile of paved road? To Canada's first Afro-Canadian Prime Minister?'

Alaskans were laughing twice as hard as the Canadians. (I saw that comedian say in a later interview that the only Americans who were wise to him, and got the joke, were people in uniform...that figures.)

My dear old Dad would frequently send me clippings from the Sunday New York Times, imparting their wisdom about "What Should Be Done About Alaska." I got in the habit of sending him clippings from the Anchorage Daily News, which would, without exception, have responded to the NYT editorial with a column saying, "look at what those Fidiots in New York are saying now!" For anyone who is interested, 35 years ago, the New York Times as predicting the imminent onset of a New Ice Age and opposed the construction of the TransAlaskan pipeline on the grounds that it would lead to the extinction of Alaskan caribou. So the US Senate voted, tied, and the Vice President of the United States, Spiro Agnew, cast the deciding vote. (Yes, Agnew later resigned in disgrace, but he hit a home run that day.) Over 35 years later, the caribou population has QUADRUPLED. The reason almost all Alaskans loathe the New York Times, is you'll never convince Alaskans that the NYT does not long to make all Alaska a giant park with no human inhabitants except those whose ancestors were there prior to 1867...or maybe 1492. In contrast, I favor demolishing all manmade structures on Manhattan, Staten Island and Long Island, thus restoring those places to their original pristine state.

I have now lived long enough to have been around for Troopergate I and Troopergate II. Troopergate I was the report by members of Bill Clinton's State Trooper security detail that he as partial to sneaking out of the Governor's Mansion for late night trysts in his limo. Well! I mean, the very idea that WJC would...hmmm... I'm sure that's just as baseless as the FBI agent's account that JC liked sneaking out of the White House for evening trysts...hmmm. Sounds like his standard operating procedure, doesn't it?

Troopergate II is the report that Governor Palin asked the State Director of Public Safety to fire her ex-brother-in-law, and when the DPS refused, fired him. As Governor, Palin had the right to fire the DPS for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason at all. Most of the press reports state that it as quote a nasty divorce endquote. Only a few reports mention that that ex repeatedly threatened Palin's sister. I know of few people scarier that an angry man with daily access to firearms.

Granted, Governor Palin did NOT handle that problem like a True Alaskan would. If someone makes credible threats of violence against a True Alaskan's family, that TA will get a 12 guage shotgun, load the magazine with three shells of deer load and three shells of double 0 buckshot, empty the magazine into the threat at close range (repeat if necessary) then, if it is wintertime, dump the body through a hole cut in river ice, or, in summer, dump the body where the bears will dispose of it.

There is nothing funnier to an Alaskan than a gun conrol advocate who thinks they are ever going to have success in Alaska. Never mind the fact that the strictest gun control laws in America *were* in the District of Columbia (go ahead, look up how DC ranks in crime statistics). First off, in the case of a real emergecy, when seconds count, the State Troopers might be hours aay (or if a blizzard is on, more than 24 hours) Secondly, while Lower 48ers like to make jokes about Alaskans shooting moose, for a family of ten out in the Bush, shooting a moose can take care of half the grocery budget for several months.

I once represented a sixty year old Yup'ik guy who was accused of shooting a musk ox. Yes, I have seen crime scene photos of a dead musk ox. Those critters became extinct in Alaska about a hundred years ago, so the Fish & Game people loaded up a herd from Greenland, and shipped them through the Panama Canal- I suspect they didn't much enjoy the trip- and set them up on Nunavik Island. A couple wandered off the island on the pack ice, to the mainland, and ere doing fine til my client shot one. Seeing as how every game warden in Alaska was monitoring them, he might as well have taken a shot at George W. So I ask my client why he shot the musk ox' He reply was 'I got tired of eating caribou'. He pled out in return for time served, a fine, and probation. Gee, if we'd gone to trial, maybe I could have convinced a jury that my client finally snapped after enduring years of sexual abuse by the musk ox.

I've seen columns in that claim Alaska has the highest rate of rape of any of the 50 states- which entirely true- and that Sarah Palin is to blame for that. Moose nuggets! Oh sure! All Governor Palin needed to do as make a televised address, and say, 'Women and girls of bush Alaska- stop getting so drunk that you're passed out on the floor!' That would have solved everything-or at least two/thirds of the rape cases in rural Alaska. If getting high BACs as an Olympic event, I think Yup'iks would sweep the medals. One of my first trials in Bethel, I represented a teenage kid who'd been riding a snowmachine, with a BAC of .297.

I suppose I should mention that in Alaska we had Troopergate 1.5. The first Native American head of the AST was just about to retire when he got into a total Fatal Attraction situation. He'd been having an affair, then tried to break it off. His girlfriend took exception to this by sneaking into his house, shooting him to death, shooting and wounding his wife, and then fatally shooting herself. Bill Clinton is lucky he stayed in Arkansas.


*Note: The original version of this article distributed via e-mail erroneously asserted that the Troopergate II probe of Palin's actions was conducted by a "Democratic controlled" body. Twelve people on the commission voted, 8 Republican and 4 Democrat. I regret the error.

Dogs' Names and Owners

As I have pointed out before, Man made Dog in his own image. I think it is frequently true that a dog (and the dog's name) can tell you a great deal about the owner. For example, a good friend of mine is a retire Marine who has three dogs: Freedom, Liberty, and Independence (also known as 'Indy'). How everlovin' patriotic can you get!?!?

I remember one client who had dogs whose names struck me as downright scary. She had two pit bull puppies she named 'Felony' and 'Misdemeanor'

Lordy, lordy, lordy!

Mrs. Henderson's Story (Political Content Advisory)

NOTE WELL: this is a treat story. If political content is going to offend you, hit "DELETE" RIGHT NOW!

More than ten years ago, I had a weekend gig circulating petitions to put liquor iniatives on local ballots. The irony is that I'm a teetotaler, but what the heck; it improved my cashflow situation a bit.

One day, I walked up to a house that had a car out front with a bumper sticker that read 'Proud Parent of a United States Marine.' I saw from the voter registration printout I had that it was the Henderson residence. When I spoke with the Lady of the house, I kidded her that if she ever checked into a hotel near a Marine base, she might try saying, 'Yes, we're the Henderson's- and please, no special treatment.' (Probably wouldn't work. After all, a Marine aviator named Henderson won a posthumous Medal of Honor at Midway. Henderson Field on Guadacanal was named for him.)

As I looked into the house, I saw a framed picture of a young Marine sergeant shaking hands with President George H. W. Bush (aka #41). Mrs. Henderson told me that her son had worked on the security detail at Camp David, and that he'd been there through parts of both the Bush (41) and Clinton administrations. I asked if they had one of him shaking hands with President Clinton. Uh...well, yes, but their son asked them not to display it. Mrs. Henderson then told me that while everybody in the Marine detachment thought #41 was OK, and they all just loved Barbara Bush, they did not like the Clintons at all- largely because they got the very strong impression that the Clintons did not like them. Indeed, Mrs. Henderson told me, a one point, the Marines finishing their tours at Camp David told their Officer-in-Charge they would just as soon not do the usual 'Grip n' Grin' with the Commander-in-Chief. So they all received a direct order from the brass- you will shake hands with the President, whether you want to or not.

On one level, that's a pretty sad story, on the other hand- there are quite a few countries in the world where, if the members of the military do not like the Head of State, he is in serious danger of very rapidly being out of a job, or being dead. Not here. 232 years of American history, we've never had a coup.

Bush doing the "grip-and-grin" with a brave, young Marine.