The recent hysteria over Yemen has caused me to give you all this little piece of the latest draft of my memoir. This is a minimalist statement of what happened in my Yemen years. There, was much, much more. pl
“Lang was Defense and Army Attaché (DATT/ARMA) in the Yemen Arab Republic for three years (1979 to 1982). The embassy was small and lodged in a multi- story mud and palm log building in the middle of Sanaa. The ambassador lived there surrounded by beautiful gardens and many servants. Lang and Marguerite established themselves in a rambling white masonry house about a mile from the embassy. It was surrounded by a ten foot wall topped with broken glass. Water was provided by trucks that filled and refilled tanks on the roof. In time Marguerite’s garden rivalled that of the embassy. There was a guard, an aged Yemeni tribal, who although in his eighties had a large and ever growing family. His name was Ahmad. He had every Saturday off and spent it at home somewhere making more babies. He and one of his wives produced a new one during the Langs’ time in Sanaa. When asked by Lang how he managed that he replied, “Clean living, fasting in Ramadan and effort every Saturday.” Ahmad was very solicitous of the memsahib’s welfare and guarded the place like a lion during Lang’s frequent absences in the field. Ahmad lived in a little whitewashed building by the front gate.
The office consisted of Lang, his US Army sergeant and a driver who was an employee of the embassy, but in reality was a major in the Yemeni National Police. His assignment was surveillance of the American military attaché. His name was Abdullah al-Shami. He was a substantial person whose help was always generously given when it was requested and sometimes when it was not. He knew that Lang’s work required him to “poke around” the country in places that were frequently unsafe because of banditry or some other sort of local warfare. When Lang needed to go somewhere that was probably insecure he formed the habit of asking Abdullah’s opinion. If the answer was positive, they went there together. If the answer was not, he went alone when Abdullah was away. Abdullah spoke reasonably good English having been a driver for several British officers at Aden when the United Kingdom possessed South Yemen, but Lang asked him when they first met to speak nothing but Arabic to him and he always did. From time to time he gave Lang a verbal report as to what sort of grade his Arabic deserved. Abdullah was a wonderful companion on field trips across the mountain and desert country. On some occasions, parties of tribesmen halted their Land Cruiser truck or Peugeot 504 on country roads to demand tribute or the vehicle. Lang and Abdullah were armed with sub-machine guns in the car and Browning 9 mm. automatic pistols in hidden holsters. These were formidable but Abdullah never waved a firearm at the “bandits.” He always walked back to the car’s trunk and picked up two axe handles. With those in their hands they would approach the offending group. Abdullah then greeted them in a friendly way but if the tribesmen were aggressive he would open his jacket to show his pistol and declare, “oh sons of donkeys, do you want to see blood?” The tribesmen were always taken aback and inevitably settled for canned groceries brought as trade goods. On one occasion Lang fired a magazine from an old M-3 “grease gun” sub-machine gun into a river bank when it was clear that there would be no violence. He had bought the weapon at a local arms bazaar. The strike of the .45 ACP bullets astounded the audience and on an impulse Lang handed the gun to the leader as a gift. The stocky little man in native dress embraced him. As they drove off Abdullah laughed in delight. In the mirror the chieftain could be seen standing by the track holding the weapon above his head. For the rest of his time in Yemen Lang and Abdullah knew they were safe in that little valley. On longer journeys to the south they often “staged’ through there and slept in the village after dining on a sheep or goat they had brought to these people as a token of friendship. Their safety was ensured by the tribal Arab’s duty to offer hospitality and protection to friends.
Abdullah’s “cover” as a driver wore thin at times. On the road, policemen sometimes saluted him and addressed him as “major.” When that happened, Lang would pretend to be looking out the window at the barren countryside. Abdullah lived in a small building in the back yard of the Lang’s large house and he, too, went home on the weekends.
Pat Lang was not the cookie pushing type of attaché. He was not someone who particularly liked cocktail parties although he attended many.
Yemen at that time was a lot like Arizona in the 1870s, a country inhabited by savage, heavily armed tribesmen and run by politician soldiers much like the Mexican military “brass” in the film, “The Wild Bunch.”
The USSR had a 500 man military mission in N. Yemen and another of similar size in communist South Yemen. This military mission was commanded by a Tank Corps major general who liked Americans. He had been a 17 year old lieutenant in 1945 and had been among the Soviet armored men who had met the US Army at Torgau on the Elbe in Germany. He had never gotten over the experience and when he discovered that Lang was friendly, a useful relationship developed that drove the State Department people in the embassy to lecture Lang to the effect that he should keep his distance so that the Yemenis would not think he found the Soviets acceptable company. He told them that he was there to collect information and the Soviets had the information he needed. The CIA station chief laughed and said that he was quite right.
The Communist Chinese also had a very big embassy in Sanaa. It was heavily manned with Middle East trained “spooks” who spoke beautiful Arabic. The Red Chinese also had 2,000 construction workers in North Yemen employed in continuing road projects begun earlier by the US all over the country. They were most helpful in reporting what the Soviets were "up to."
There were tribal wars of varying size all over the country. Some were against other tribes. Some were against the government, and some others were in combination with the government against yet other tribes. The variety was endless.
To make the ”stew” even richer, there was a coalition of leftist political groups called the National Democratic Front waging a major war against the North Yemen government. This “front” brought together; Communists, Baathists, Socialists, and just plain dissident folks who had a variety of motives. As an example, North Yemeni forces killed several NDF guerrillas who were found to be second generation Americans from Michigan. One of them had a copy of a pamphlet by Tom Paine in a pocket along with his US passport when he died. The year was 1978. The USSR supported both sides in this war between north and south largely because Ali Abdullah Salih, the Yemeni president, displayed great skill in playing the Soviets, the US and the UK off against each other to make sure that happened. Salih, the British MI-6 station commander, and Lang often went hunting together. The British fellow introduced Pat to Salih. The president often laughed aloud with the Western spies and rejoiced at the ease with which their countries were duped. He said he placed the Britisher and Lang in a different category as being people as devious as he and unlikely to be believed if they "ratted’ on him.
The United States had a six man military mission in North Yemen and a USAF team busy teaching the Yemen Air Force to fly F-5s fighters that the Saudis had bought for them. Assisting the TAFT was a worthless group of Saudi Air Force Pilots whose specialty seemed to be crashing aircraft and a Taiwanese Air Force group seconded to the Saudi Air force to maintain the F-5s.
The US military training groups were confined by directive to execution of training tasks. Lang was not. Jobs always seemed to grow and change to match what he could and wanted to do. He used the Red Chinese to collect against Soviet activities, used the British embassy to collect against tribal activities and the French embassy for collection against the internal activities of the Salih government. French intelligence had two of Salih’s ministers on their payroll.
Lang was an experienced case officer and had a secondary task in Yemen of assisting CIA in recruiting from the diplomatic community. To that end and for his own reporting to DIA, he cultivated the Soviet intelligence people from the GRU and KGB in their embassy as well as the Soviet military mission in general. Many of these came to the house for; cookouts, sit down dinners, movies, card games and the like.
At a steak and shrimp grill party one night, the Soviet general asked if he would like to accompany a counter-guerrilla operation conducted by 8th Yemeni Commando Brigade. He said he reckoned Lang was better at this than his own men. They had been assigned from the 106th Soviet Airborne Division and that he was sure Lang knew more Arabic than they. He had a KGB minder with him that night and the man’s wife held her sides laughing while the spook husband choked on his steak. The general laughed as well and said to ignore him.
Lang asked DIA and was given permission. This trip to the field was often repeated and developed over time into a relationship with the Soviet commando advisers in which “Westerners” supposedly banded together against the wily NDF. After a while Lang wore Yemeni uniform in the field as did the Soviets. The Soviet advisers with this outfit were almost all non-Russians. They were Azeris, Armenians, Georgians, Chechens, etc. Their home division’s permanent station was in the Trans-Caucasus Military District. Lang could talk to the Yemenis on these expeditions and the Soviets could not. The commando brigade made use of the American built F-5s as well as various Soviet provided jets for close air support on the laurel covered mountainsides in the southeast. They also had armed MI-8 helicopters in support of operations. The Yemeni pilots were dangerous to their own soldiers as well as to the targets, and it was soon agreed that Lang would vector the air support onto the targets supposedly because he had much experience in this. The 8th Commando Brigade killed many NDF fighters and lost a good many men as well. Yemenis are real fighters no matter what side they are on.
Lang’s US general officer boss came to visit. Ironically, The Red Chinese ambassador told the man that Pat Lang was a hero of the struggle against Soviet hegemonic ambitions and those of the running dog friends of the Soviets as well. Pat supposed the Chinese ambassador did not know how much Lang had managed to embed himself in the Soviet advisory effort.
The Langs were sorry to leave Yemen. It had been a grand game.” pl
It will be interesting to learn how many of you believe this story.
This article has been found to be entirely spurious and the product of a malicious group operating from Tel Aviv who describe themselves as "American Zionists." pl
"The female skeleton has been identified thanks to DNA testing, as Virginia Dare, the first English child born in the Americas. The DNA of the skeleton which was found in October, was compared to that of modern day descendants of Governor John White, her grandfather. The test confirmed that the bones were indeed with more than 99.8% certainty, those of Ms. Dare. Four of the others corpses have also been identified through the same process by the scientists, including that of the girl’s father Ananias Dare, a tiler and bricklayer from London. The other identified skeletons are those of Arnold Archard and his son Thomas, as well as the young John Sampson. The last two skeletons have not been identified yet, as the researchers were unable to collect any valid DNA samples from the skeleton." Worldnews
The nice Indians, innocent children of the forest free, born in Rousseau's "state of nature" kept slaves? Surely that cannot be.
It is amusing to read some of the comments on this article. The efforts to absolve the Indians of the sin of slaveholding are pathetic in their self deception and naivete. The basic argument for that effort is that the Indians were nice slaveholders unlike the bad White slaveholders both North and South of a later day. These nice Eno Indians, could, of course, have freed their British captives any time after the establishment of the Jamestown colony, but they did not. The skills of the captives were useful and so they kept them.
The Roanoke, Jamestown, Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies are usually spoken of as though they were the first substantial contacts that the East Coast Indians had with Europeans, but that is not the case. European fisherman had been in contact with the Indians on a regular basis for a long time. The cod fishery was well exploited and the fishermen habitually set up "factories" ashore to prepare their catch for shipment home. That contact had disastrous results for the Indians who contracted what we would consider to be mainly "childhood diseases" that killed most of the members of the east coast tribes.
Some Indians sailed back to England, Portugal, etc. with the fishing fleets, and later returned to America. At Plymouth several Indians walked into the colony early on seeking employment. They all spoke English having learned the language from the fisher folk. pl
I confess to the guilty pleasure of watching "Wicked Tuna" on the National Geographic Channel. I once fished a bit, in my case for lobstah on the Maine coast. "Wicked Tuna" and "The Deadliest Catch" about crab fishing in the Bering Sea, they speak to me.
But, "Wicked Tuna" IS a guilty pleasure. These giant apex predators, as fast as racehorses are beng hunted to extinction in both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans to satisfy the gluttony of Japanese businessmen. A big fish on the dock at Gloucester, Massachusetts can easily being a fishing crew of three a $10,000 price. The fish are packed in ice and flown immediately to the Japanese raw fish market. Imagine what the price is in that market. The US government is trying (along with other governments) to save the species through regulation of fishing but it is a hopeless task. With prices so high why would working class fishermen desist from whatever frantic activity they can manage?
In the news this week is the heartening tale of the return to viable numbers of the "California Blue Whale." Bravo! Bis!
I call here for a total moritorium on the hunting of the Bluefin Tuna. Let there be a 20 year ban in this fishery. Let the governments help the fishermen transition to fisheries that are sustainable.
This is a re-enactment drill team from the "Regiment Saintonge." This was one of the seven French infantry regiments who fought at Yorktown and without whose service and courage Cornwallis would never have surrendered. Anthony Wayne's Continentals and these men captured these two strong redoubts in night bayonet attacks. There are a whole lot of these fellows out in the woods at Yorktown in their military cemetery. These were the French king's soldiers and their units passed into history at their own revolution. Among the men were people from all over France, Rhinelanders from Zweibrucken (Deux Ponts), Irish of course, Poles and a scattering of European professionals of one kind or another. Are their graves decorated on the 4th of July? I hope so. Here is a list of their dead buried in Virginia's soil. They are listed by regiment. pl
"Unlike most other nations, the United States does not have a sports ministry. The USOC was reorganized by the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act, originally enacted in 1978. It is a federally chartered nonprofit corporation and does not receive federal financial support (other than for select Paralympic military programs). Pursuant to the Act, the USOC has the exclusive right to use and authorize the use of Olympic-related marks, images and terminology in the United States. The USOC licenses that right to sponsors as a means of generating revenue in support of its mission." Wiki on USIOC
IMO the Congress of the United States should act to create a sports ministry or an agency with the same function within the present government of the US. I don't know how many countries make their Olympic teams scrounge for money to train, travel and live but the US should not be among them.
It is absurd that the strongest power on earth does not seriously spot and groom the young for world class competition. It is equally absurd that working class families should undergo severe financial hardship in supporting athletes who will bring glory to the United States.
As to practicalities:
I would suggest application of the funds resulting from the present licensing of logos, etc to the new program as well as an ability for tax paying Americans to make a small contribution to this program in the income tax process. This is now possible with regard to the raising of funds to support federal election campaigns. IMO many Americans would gladly contribute $5 for such a purpose.
The Department of Defense has many installations that either will be abandoned to the developers or that are presently empty. I suggest that some of these could be rehabbed and dedicated to the tenancy of the US Olympic Committee. Governor's Island in New Youk Harbor might be one such place for summer sports. Another could be found in the Rocky Mountains or Alaska. pl
Where were you when you heard JFK had been murdered?
I was sitting at the bar in the officer's club at Fort Greely, Alaska. I was eating a reindeer burger (cheaper than beef up there). I was a lieutenant and in Alaska for a course in arctic warfare. The black and white TV set suddenly stopped playing an episode of Ozzie and Harriet and the news reader announced that Kennedy had been shot in Dallas. He did not say that the president had died. Ozzie and Harriet resumed. I had another draft beer and contemplated. It was minus 45 degrees Fahrenheit outside and the wind was blowing as usual. The thought of standing in the cold and wind to wait for a post bus to take me and a friend back to our billet was just too much, just too much. The newsman came back on and told us all that Kennedy had died. There was complete silence in the bar. Not a word was said.
The next day there was a ceremony of remembrance held in front of the post headquarters. The sun was shining brightly. The storm flag was at half staff. It was frozen as solid as a plank. It beat itself against the staff so strongly that it seemed to share our grief. All military personnel were mustered in arctic kit (white) and on cross country skis. I remember how cold the ski poles were even through many layers of insulation. The post commander, a colonel, read a statement from the new commander in chief and Taps sounded over the PA system. At the last note, the first gun was fired in the beginning of a 21 gun cannon salute to the old commander in chief.
What had been a bright day was instantly transfomed into a dense fog. This is called arctic fog. It is caused by a sudden precipitation of ice crystals in the atmosphere. The gun did that.
IMO the case was overcharged in the matters of "aiding the enemy" and the espionage statute. I think Manning is too trivial a person for that to have been his goal. Nevertheless, the BBC and other unfriendly propaganda organizations are drooling over the chance to bash the US for prosecuting a sworn member of the US Army for having massively broken his oath of enlistment and all the undertakings that he made to safeguard classified information.
He felt the army reveled in its role of killing? What did he think he was joining when he voluntarily enlisted, the Boy Scouts? I think that you Australians and Canadians and Brits would feel quite different if this were one of your "soldiers." Do you think that your people do not kill and keep secrets?
IMO opinion he will receive twenty years, will be given a dishonorable discharge and transfered as a civilian prisoner to the Federal Bureau of Prisons where he will do "hard time."
In the spirit our enduring lightheartedness here, ( I am weary of Egypt, Syria, Palestine, etc.) I offer you the spectacle of a hunt by "professional" hunters and trappers from West Virginia (something like Auvergne in France) for the supposed large bipedal primate known variously in the US and Canada as Sasquatch. In Ohio it is the "Grassman."
This stalwart crew pursued the beast in Perry County in eastern Ohio, a place much like their own. Their chatter abut traps, lines of least resistance, the need for running water, etc. rings true to an old hunter.
Their adventure is recorded on the "Destination America" channel on a program called "Mountain Monsters."
Basilisk and I have decided to volunteer to join the group. We would fit right in. TTG and Alan Farrell could as well but would have to "fill out" some. pl
Some Frenchman in Henry V refers to the English king as "the king of half an island." That was true then and may be yet again, but between the 15th Century and this one the position included; Emperor of India, Defender of the Faith (the new one) Ruler of the Cinque Ports, and of the Dominions Beyond the Seas, etc.
All right. The job has been downsized.
There is a lot of talk in the fluttery press here and there about the modern inclinations of Will and Kate. There is a good deal of discussion of nannies and the possibility that the Duke of Cambridge will be in the diaper changing bidness. Hmmm! I doubt that will be true after the first one.
The monarchist fifth column here in the United States is in full voice. Bless them! Are people out in the commonwealth as excited as the royalists are in the US?
Since we are so concerned with the intimate doings of our former imperial masters, I think that the least we colonials can do is suggest a name for the child. I will welcome suggestions. My own thoughts run to Dwayne, Canute, Ted (for the bear), pl
"The New Market Day ceremony is an annual observance held at VMI in front of the monument "Virginia Mourning Her Dead," a memorial to the New Market Corps, sculpted by Sir Moses Ezekiel, VMI Class of 1866, who was a veteran of the battle. The names of all of the cadets in the Corps of 1864 are inscribed on the monument, and six of the ten cadets who died in the battle are buried at this site. The ceremony features the roll call of the names of the cadets who lost their lives at New Market, a custom that began in 1887. As the name of each cadet who died is called, a representative from the same company in the modern Corps answers, "Died on the Field of Honor, Sir." A 3-volley salute is then carried out by a cadet honor guard, followed by Taps played over the parade ground. To culminate this ceremony, the entire Corps passes Virginia Mourning Her Dead in review." wiki
It was moderately warm yesterday and I tried something new on the grill. Planking fish is remarkably easy to do. First you soak the plank overnight in water so that it won't burn. Then you put oil on the plank and the fish, season it and cook it 30 minutes or so using the indirect method. That means no fire directly under the plank. This results in a wonderful dish, moist, flaky flavorable. The method allows you to cook the fish without having to turn it over. I recommendt this . Next time I am going to put the smoke box in the grill when I do this. pl
"A lake monster or loch monster is a purported form of fresh-water-dwelling megafauna appearing in mythology, rumor, or local folklore. A well-known example is the Loch Ness Monster. Lake monsters' depictions are often similar to some sea monsters. They are principally the subject of investigations by followers of the study of cryptozoology and folklore." wikipedia
I sure hope that Champ, Nessie and the rest are out there somewhere beyond the horizon of our dreams. pl
"Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats."
Ratty is definitely on to something. To be on the water in any kind of craft can be therapeutic. IMHO the sound of the surf can only be equalled by the sound of the wind in the pines. Both together… heaven. One of the saddest things I often saw on the streets of D.C. was the herds of young, ambitious suits with ear buds in their ears, eyes and thumbs glued to their smartphones, and totally oblivious to their surroundings. It is no wonder so much self serving and destructive idiocy is produced in Washington. As I said last year, I think we deserve a break... or at least a little vicarious diversion from the madness of politics.
I once again invite the SST Committee of Correspondence to follow this year's running of the Everglades Challenge which begins this Saturday morning. I discovered this event several years ago and have put participating in it on my bucket list. The event is organized by a colorful group of adventurers who call themselves the Water Tribe. The Everglades Challenge is an unsupported, expedition style adventure race for kayaks, canoes, and small sailboats. It starts at Fort DeSoto in Saint Petersburg, Florida and ends at Key Largo. The distance is roughly 300 nautical miles depending on one's course selection. There is a time limit of eight days. Updates on the progress and tribulations of the participants will be posted on the Water Tribe forums. The boats are tracked by SPOT satellite. Their progress can be seen on this tracking map.
This year I will follow the progress of ChuckTheDuck and Lugnut in their John Welsford designed Walkabout. Both Lugnut, named after his love of the lug sail rig, and ChuckTheDuck, proprietor of Duckworks Magazine, have completed this challenge several times. Baring any catastrophe, these salty veterans should complete this year's race handily. I am especially interested in their boat. The Walkabout is a 16 foot rowing-sailing dingy with a balanced lug mainsail and a spritsail mizzen. Welsford designed the Walkabout with cruising the Maine Island Trail in mind. That would be sweet. I bought a set of plans several years ago. I take them out now and then, unroll them, study them and dream. One of these days, I have to decide on a design and start building.
If I was rolling in dough, I'd commission the Rappahannock Boat Works, less than twenty miles away from me by backcountry road, to build a steam launch for cruising the Cheasapeake Bay. I could imagine myself steaming up the Potomac, sipping on a good rum and harassing the political beasts lurking the riverbanks… just like Charlie Allnut.
In honor of the approach of Christmas festivities and such like that I offer this recipe which I "inherited" from a friend's grandmother down in Southside Virginia. Over the years I have tinkered with it a bit here and there and would welcome suggestions. I won't necessarily take them, but I WILL welcome them.
The culinary influence of the South seems to be growing. "Miz Paula's" show on the cooking channel is an example, but sometimes people don't know where the dishes come from.
I once had a friend (Northern) express surprise when informed that "Biscuits and Gravy" are not a new thing developed in LA. Oh, well.
Remember: After it is all cooked, including baking, put it in the refrigerator over night. It is ALWAYS served cold. SLICE IT THIN!!!!
"A country ham can be hung up in your basement indefinitely before it is
re-hydrated. Pay no attention to any signs of mold, etc.
To cook a dry-cured country ham from Madison County in God's own
Commonwealth, you first take it out of the net bag, then soak it in a
big cauldron in which the ham will be covered with cold water. You soak
it for anything from 10 to 18 hours, depending on how much salt you want
to get out of it. I would recommend about 15 or 16 hours, changing the
water 2 or 3 times.
Throw the water away, fill with new water to cover the ham. In the
water put a medium sized quartered onion studded with six or eight
cloves, a dozen black pepper corns, half a dozen Allspice berries, a bay
leaf, a quartered apple, and some cider. I would put in a cup of
Bourbon whiskey, but maybe you won't. Incidentally, the alcohol will
all cook away, so all that will be left is the taste. Bring the water
to a boil, and then reduce the heat so that the ham simmers in all this
wonderful stuff. Simmer 20 minutes a pound plus another twenty minutes
to be sure. Take it out of the pot and let cool until "just warm."
Skin it with something like a really sharp "boning" knife. Work the
blade parallel to the surface of the ham to take off the skin and then
the thick layer of fat underneath. Take the fat off in thinnish
layers. You will be surprised at how much fat there is. Be careful you
don't get into the meat underneath. The fat is translucent. The meat
is, well, not translucent. Once you get all the fat off, score the ham
lightly and stud with cloves. Coat this marvelous object with a glaze.
We use one made of real maple syrup, brown sugar, dry mustard, and a cup
of Bourbon whiskey. Remember. The alcohol will be gone after cooking.
Put the ham in a preheated 350 degree oven for an hour. Let it cool
completely and you are ready to carve.
The ham has two flat sides and two curved sides. Using a very sharp ham
slicer with a long, narrow blade, slice some very thin slices off the
less curved of the two curved sides to make it flat. Then stand the ham
on that side and start carving off the more curved side. Start down
near the hock by making a vertical cut to the bone, then slice paper
thin slices, working your way toward the big end of the ham and
gradually inclining the knife so that after a while you are cutting
long, very thin slices that are six or eight inches long.
This ham will keep in the refrigerator two or three months, wrapped in
aluminum, and is an endless source of sandwiches (turkey and country ham
is one great possibility), snacks, etc. Make sure you slice it as near
to paper thin as you can manage. Otherwise, the full flavor of the ham
will overwhelm you."
"... research by a British historian, Professor Stephen Ellis, has unearthed fresh evidence that during his early years as an activist, Mr Mandela did hold senior rank in the South African Communist Party, or SACP. He says Mr Mandela joined the SACP to enlist the help of the Communist superpowers for the ANC's campaign of armed resistance to white rule.
His book also provides fresh detail on how the ANC's military wing had bomb-making lessons from the IRA, and intelligence training from the East German Stasi, which it used to carry out brutal interrogations of suspected "spies" at secret prison camps. " The Telegraph
I suppose that the chapter on him in "Lives of the Saints' will have to be revised... pl
"Humans were present in North America at least one thousand years before Clovis and these earlier peoples probably had no technological or genetic similarity to the iconic Clovis Culture," adds the prof's colleague Thomas Stafford. "The Clovis First debate has ended. The theory is now dead and buried." The Register
Sigh, first there was Kennewick Man, then Clovis Man, Mound builders, etc., and now this. If we believe this, then European settlers were just another wave of the several groups of colonizers who successively occupied the Americas, pushing aside previous comers as they went.
Maybe Custer didn't "die for our sins." Maybe he was just a jerk.
Hey, Maureen, there's our great great..... grandpa chatting with Samoset. pl
Does anyone have any thoughts on the U. Va crisis? I notice that every single member of the university's Board of Visitors is a business person. This is true whether the member was appointed by Kaine or McDonnell. What is happening at Chrlottesville appears to be part of a state wide effort to convert the state's many fine colleges and universities into trade schools to support industry and the business community generally. The process has had a certain elegant simplicity Wealthy business people give a lot of money. They then are appointed to governing boards. Afer that they begin to agitate for "pragmatic" reforms. This generally means attacks on the Humanities. These are deemed to be "dreaming of the past" rather than studies in which critical, independent thinking is nurtured and fed on the experence of mankind. .English departments are converted into institutions that de-emphasize literature and teach rhetoric (reading, writing and public speaking). History and Philosophy are marginalized. If such desiderata are fulfilled, then the money continues to flow in. In short the business community and the moneyed class are buying the universities just as the same people are buying political power with the help of the Citizen's United SCOTUS decision.
This is part and parcel of the ongoing barbarizing of America. Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects are the tocsins of this process plus anything taught in the Business Schools.
Well, the Nazis were good at STEM subjects. So were the Soviets. Are American universities destined to become enablers of wealthy barbarians?
"The study finds that 8.4 percent of all current U.S. marriages are interracial, up from 3.2 percent in 1980. While Hispanics and Asians remained the most likely, as in previous decades, to marry someone of a different race, the biggest jump in share since 2008 occurred among blacks, who historically have been the most segregated.
States in the West where Asian and Hispanic immigrants are more numerous, including Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico and California, were among the most likely to have couples who "marry out" - more than 1 in 5. The West was followed by the South, Northeast and Midwest. By state, mostly white Vermont had the lowest rate of intermarriage, at 4 percent.
In all, more than 15 percent of new marriages in 2010 were interracial." NY Daily News
Good. Race in its sexual dimensions has always lurked in the background as one of the great "dividers" in America. IMO Yankees are actually more uptight about it than Southerners. There used to be a lot of people of mixed Black/White descent in the South, especially in the cities. When I was doing societal research for "Strike the Tent," I frequently saw women who were quite dark looking at records in which there were photographs of light skinned people. When asked they often said that these were their ancestors. The circumstances that led to many mixed race pregnancies died out in the 20th century. Some really light skinned people simply "went white" like Dinah Shore. Others reproduced with darker people and the whole populaton tended to get darker in the African-American world.
Now the tide is running in the other direction. IMO the American of the future is going to look a lot like Soledad O'brien and Harold Ford. Good! pl
The History Channel ran this six hour production this week. I was in what should properly be called the Second Indochina War. I was there for two years. I was not a REMF. To some extent I am still there.
I salute my brothers, those of us still around. This film is a beginning of justice, but just a beginning.
The single most obvious deficiency in the production was any mention at all of the massive and persistent COIN effort waged at various levels of intensity for ten years.
Another was the early fatal political decision by the United States to accept French re-colonization of Indochina after WW2. The USS through OSS had a good relationship with the Viet Minh and Ho Chi Minh. the Japanese had dispossessed France of governance in SE Asia. A French expeditionary force had to be landed to suppress Ho's government. The Truman Administration accepted that in the interest of assembling a coalition in Europe to face the USSR, then engaged in taking over eastern Europe. From that error all else followed.
Oh, yes, if you run into me. Don't thank for my service. pl
"I remember the first time I was thanked by a stranger for my military service. It was February 2006, and I was on the way home for mid-tour leave with a planeload of other troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. Our plane stopped in Bangor, Maine, like thousands of similar flights before and after ours. One by one, garbed in dusty camouflage, we walked into the terminal." Philip Carter
In the context of the way Americans treated soldiers of my generation, the "problem" of an excess of "thankingness" is amusing in a sick, stupid way.
Farther down the page in today's Post, a psychiatrist explains that soldiers want to tell their story to the people they meet. I think that is profoundly true. It is also true, I think, that civilians in general do not want to listen to soldiers. To listen is too difficult for them. To do so would require actually abandoning the selfish little parameters of their lives for a few minutes or hours. That is beyond their level of interest. It is so much easier to offer "the thanks of a grateful nation."