Tuesday, November 30, 2010
The central goal of WikiLeaks is to prevent the world's most powerful factions -- including the sprawling, imperial U.S. Government -- from continuing to operate in the dark and without restraints. Most of the institutions which are supposed to perform that function -- beginning with the U.S. Congress and the American media -- not only fail to do so, but are active participants in maintaining the veil of secrecy. WikiLeaks, whatever its flaws, is one of the very few entities shining a vitally needed light on all of this. It's hardly surprising, then, that those factions -- and their hordes of spokespeople, followers and enablers -- see WikiLeaks as a force for evil. That's evidence of how much good they are doing.
Glenn Greenwold writing in Salon.
It seems to me that if folks (our government) had been acting honorably in the first place WikiLeaks would not have had anything to report on anyway.
Monday, November 29, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Ed Johnson sent me this and since it brought tears to my eyes I thought that itshould bring tears to yours also.
Get out your history books andopen them to the chapter on World War II. Today's lesson will covera little known but very important hero of whom very little was everreally known. Here is another important piece of lost US history,which is a true example of our American Spirit.
Makes ya proud to put this stamp on your envelopes........
Bill Mauldin stamp honors grunt's hero. The post office getsa lot of criticism. Always has, always will. And with therenewed push to get rid of Saturday mail delivery, expect complaints to intensify.
But the United States Postal Service deserves a standing ovationfor something that happened last month: Bill Mauldin gothis own postage stamp.
Mauldin died at age 81 in the early days of 2003. The end of hislife had been rugged. He had been scalded in a bathtub, whichled to terrible injuries and infections; Alzheimer's diseasewas inflicting its cruelties. Unable to care for himself afterthe scalding, he became a resident of a California nursing home,his health and spirits in rapid decline
He was not forgotten, though. Mauldin, and his work, meantso much to the millions of Americans who fought in World War II, andto those who had waited for them to come home. He was a kid cartoonistfor Stars and Stripes, the military newspaper; Mauldin's drawingsof his muddy, exhausted, whisker-stubbled infantrymen Willie and Joewere the voice of truth about what it was like on the front lines.
Mauldin was an enlisted man just like the soldiers he drew for;his gripes were their gripes, his laughs their laughs, his heartachestheir heartaches. He was one of them. They loved him.
He never held back. Sometimes, when his cartoons cut too closefor comfort, superior officers tried to tone him down. In onememorable incident, he enraged Gen. George S. Patton, who informedMauldin he wanted the pointed cartoons celebrating the fighting men,lampooning the high-ranking officers to stop. Now!
"I'm beginning to feel like a fugitive from the' law of averages."
The news passed from soldier to soldier. How wasSgt. Bill Mauldin going to stand up to Gen. Patton? It seemed impossible.
Not quite. Mauldin, it turned out, had an ardent fan:Five-star Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, supreme commander of theAllied forces in Europe . Ike put out the word: Mauldin draws whatMauldin wants. Mauldin won. Patton lost.
If, in your line of work, you've ever considered yourselfa young hotshot, or if you've ever known anyone who has feltthat way about him or herself, the story of Mauldin's youngmanhood will humble you. Here is what, by the time he was23 years old, Mauldin accomplished:
"By the way, wot wuz them changes you wuz
Gonna make when you took over last month, sir?"
He won the Pulitzer Prize, was featured on the cover ofTime magazine. His book "Up Front" was theNo. 1 best-seller in the United States .
All of that at 23. Yet, when he returned to civilian lifeand grew older, he never lost that boyish Mauldin grin,never outgrew his excitement about doing his job, neverbig-shotted or high-hatted the people with whom he worked every day.
I was lucky enough to be one of them. Mauldinroamed the hallways of the Chicago Sun-Times in thelate 1960s and early 1970s with no more officiousnessor air of haughtiness than if he was a copyboy.That impish look on his face remained.
He had achieved so much. He won a second Pulitzer Prize,and he should have won a third for what may be the single greatesteditorial cartoon in the history of the craft: his deadline rendering,on the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated,of the statue at the Lincoln Memorial slumped in grief,its head cradled in its hands. But he never acted as if he wasbetter than the people he met. He was still Mauldin, the enlisted man.
During the late summer of 2002, as Mauldin lay in thatCalifornia nursing home, some of the old World War II infantry guyscaught wind of it. They didn't want Mauldin to go out that way.They thought he should know he was still their hero.
"This is the' town my pappy told me about."
Gordon Dillow, a columnist for the Orange County Register,put out the call in Southern California for people in the area tosend their best wishes to Mauldin. I joined Dillow in the effort,helping to spread the appeal nationally, so Bill would not feel so alone.Soon, more than 10,000 cards and letters had arrived at Mauldin's bedside.
Better than that, old soldiers began to show up just to sit with Mauldin,to let him know that they were there for him, as he, so long ago,had been there for them. So many volunteered to visit Bill thatthere was a waiting list. Here is how Todd DePastino,in the first paragraph of his wonderful biography of Mauldin, described it:
"Almost every day in the summer and fall of 2002 they came toPark Superior nursing home in Newport Beach, California,to honor Army Sergeant, Technician Third Grade, Bill Mauldin.They came bearing relics of their youth: medals, insignia,photographs, and carefully folded newspaper clippings.Some wore old garrison caps. Others arrived resplendentin uniforms over a half century old. Almost all of them weptas they filed down the corridor like pilgrims fulfilling somelong-neglected obligation."
One of the veterans explained to me why it was so important:"You would have to be part of a combat infantry unit to appreciatewhat moments of relief Bill gave us. You had to be reading a soakingwet Stars and Stripes in a water-filled foxhole and then see one of his cartoons."
"Th' hell this ain't th' most important hole in the world. I'm in it."
Mauldin is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Last month,the kid cartoonist made it onto a first-class postage stamp.It's an honor that most generals and admirals never receive.
What Mauldin would have loved most, I believe, is the sight of thetwo guys who keep him company on that stamp.
Take a look at it.There's Willie. There's Joe.And there, to the side, drawing them and smiling that shy,quietly observant smile, is Mauldin himself. With his buddies,right where he belongs. Forever.
What a story, and a fitting tribute to a man and to a time thatfew of us can still remember. But I say to you youngsters,you must most seriously learn of and remember with respectthe sufferings and sacrifices of your fathers, grand fathers andgreat grandfathers in times you cannot ever imagine today with all you have. But the only reason you are free to have it all is because of them.I thought you would all enjoy reading and seeing this bit of American history!
Saturday, November 27, 2010
That was an indicator that a fireball sun was about to pop up. I waited a bit more and I saw just the tip of the fiery sphere, and I quickly rushed a mile or so down the gravel road to incorporate a windmill into the shot as more of the sun peeked over the horizon.
I then went down the road some more, and by the time I saw a silo and a grain bin that I wanted to be in the shot, the full sun was out, and peeking out from behind a grove of trees. In a period of eleven minutes I had captured four variations of the morning sunrise, and it was a wrap.
By then I had earned some breakfast so I hit McD's and continued shooting some other landscapes I had on my agenda. So far this season we have not had any snow on the ground to drastically alter the contrast of sunrise or sunsets, or landscape images, but fear not....it will be here soon!
Friday, November 26, 2010
Scott, Tom and Emily and I had lunch at Black Market Pizza. They helped me move a piece of furniture up from Des Moines to my home. It was really great to see them and have a chance to visit. I can't believe how tall Emily has gotten. The kids are now at an age where you can enjoy a conversation with them. I think it has something to do with them being able to look you in the eye. I found out today that Scott and I have something in common. He loves to take pictures also. He showed me some great photos that he carries on his phone. Now we have to get him to become a blogger so that he can share his wonderful photos with the world. Or else he can send a bunch of them to me like my friend Bob does and I can publish them.
"Why so cheap," she asked the pet store owner.
The owner looked at her seriously and said, "Look, I should tell you first that this bird used to live in a house of Prostitution and sometimes it says some pretty vulgar stuff."
The woman thought about this, but decided she had to have the bird anyway. She took it home and hung the bird's cage up in her living room and waited for it to say something. The bird looked around the room, it looked at her, and then said, "New house, new madam."
The woman was a bit shocked at the implication, but then found it kind of amusing.
When her 2 teenage daughters returned from school, the bird saw them enter and said, "New house, new madam, new girls."
The girls and the woman were a bit offended but then began to laugh about the situation considering how and where the parrot had been raised.
Moments later, the woman's husband came home from work.