Memorial Day 2017


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They say that nobody hates war more than the soldier who has lived through one. Still, it can be said in truth that nobody hates war more than the children of the soldier who dies at war. The same thing can be said about somebody whose brother died at war, or someone who lost their spouse, their son or daughter or a friend.

That should give us a pretty long list of people who hate war as much as the soldier who lived through one. I lost my father when I was 9 years old to the Vietnam War. That’s a hole in my life that won’t go away, ever. It might crust over like a scab but it’s there and sometimes something picks at the scab and some of the pain surfaces. Losing a loved one to war is something I wish on no one meaning nobody else anywhere should lose a loved one to war.

I’m pretty sure that the only morally justifiable war is one of defense and military success will best be found in the wars that never start but I don’t know what it will take to stop our current crop of chicken hawks from beating the drums of war. Just know that they probably have nothing or no one to lose and nothing but money and power to gain.

Even as the orphan of one who died at war, I along with countless others have no experience that puts into context the horrors battle weary soldiers have seen and experienced but here’s the worst of it; it’s what war made these people do to others on the battlefield, it’s what they had to become in order to survive that should curb our enthusiasm to send someone else’s kids to go to war.

Memorial Day is a day we pay our respects to those who fought and died in war but the best way to honor these men and women is to find a way to end war.


Scam artists and mental exercise.

This is a fun guy to follow.



Blogger’s Note:  The first time I took one of these calls I was terrified.

I spent the better part of my thirties in a briar patch of debt.  I didn’t owe a lot, but I wasn’t making a lot, paid child support and owed a lot of different companies (mainly utilities) small amounts.  Then I went into default on my student loans which, if you’re not familiar with the caste system of credit, is less preferable than being declared “dead”.  I have since fought my way back to mediocre credit, but I still get calls from credit companies demanding money for debts I’ve challenged or paid off years ago.  I also have scammers calling me posing as creditors.

I’ve gotten over the fear after some research into how they work.  Now…(Answer call)

Me: Yes?

Dude: May I speak with Mr. Jason Smith, please?

Me: (immediately know where this is going)…

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Today I met a Struggling Single Mom From Honduras With 4 Kids

Kindness Blog

Today I met a Struggling Single Mom From Honduras With 4 KidsAs a police officer, I don’t make much money, but I meet people on a daily basis that struggle more than I do.

Tonight while on shift I saw the family mentioned in the title pull over into a Walmart parking lot with what looked like a sign. Usually that means they are begging for money which means at some point or another I would get a call about it. So I pulled up to find that the mom was actually holding a road map instead. I asked her if everything was okay before I started heading out, but when I spoke she looked to her 5 year old daughter.

I want to note here that every conversation I had with the mother was translated by her 5 year old daughter (incredibly smart). A majority of the conversation I had with the child.

The mom had 4 kids. 2 boys…

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Happy Birthday, Dad


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Today, October 30th, would have been Dwight Hoelscher’s 83rd birthday so I’m celebrating and reflecting on the 43 years when he was my Dad.

I don’t want to confuse my friends who saw me post a month ago about the death of my Father in Vietnam 50 years ago. You see, I have a Father and a Dad and I long ago emptied out the contents of my bosom and put a reserved sign there for both Tom and Dwight and that’s where they have resided for many years.

How they came to know each other and become friends is a cool story but before I take you there, let me say that I am proud that each man had the stature and character to be accepted by the other as a friend.

Dwight’s mother, Erna, was born in 1898 and raised in New Haven, Missouri, a small farming community along the Missouri River about 40 miles west of St. Louis. She was a Freitag and was born on the farm and in the house that is now owned by David Freitag.

New Haven is where my mother grew up and the community is a town of neighbors. One story I romanticize and make out to be much more than it was has a basis in truth.

One of Dwight’s cousins, Duthiel Borcherding was a waist gunner on a B-24 Liberator when it was shot down over Holland and he with the other crew members became POW’s for the next 15 months until the war ended.

Anyway, I put myself in Dutch’s shoes and can see him being mustered out of the Army in St. Louis and then on the bus ride home gazing out at the fields, smelling the rich, freshly plowed soil, corn a foot high along this stretch and summer wheat getting started and then, just smell the alfalfa.

He doesn’t know what to expect when he gets to his bus stop in New Haven. It’s not even a depot or a bus station where he gets off. The driver pulls in to the Skelly Gas station owned by Dwight’s Uncle, Louis Hoelscher, just long enough for Duthiel to grab his suitcase and step out of the bus where there’s just one person to greet him on his return from that terrible war and those awful stalags. That one person was a little tow headed girl, Marilyn Held, two months into her ninth year, and she greeted him with an enthusiasm fit for a returning veteran and POW.

So Dwight has a deep connection to New Haven, Missouri what with so much family there; all the aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents to visit when his family came in from Mascoutah, Illinois and it was during one of those visits later that summer that the 13 year old boy who was to become my stepfather met or became aware of the 9 year old girl who was to become my mother.

Let’s speed things along and move forward to about 1960 in Arizona. After finishing high school in Mascoutah, Dwight moved with his family to Long Beach, California, graduated from Whittier College and then went to seminary school and eventually graduated from Claremont School of Theology. Mom said God dragged poor Dwight kicking and screaming to seminary school but I think she was kidding.

Anyway, Dad’s strong suit was as a youth minister and he was installed as Youth Minister at the First Congregational Church in Prescott, Arizona. It was about this time (1960) when Marilyn, already married to my father, Tom Tolliver, and with three small children moved, with her young family to Scottsdale, Arizona so Tom could finish his engineering degree at Arizona state University. Tom was also a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force and was going to school on the Air Force’s dime.

With all this on their plate Tom and Marilyn had enough left over to volunteer to work with their church youth group at their home church and with the Northern Arizona Youth conference.

That’s what brought the three inmates of this story together again, for the very first time.

“So where are you from in Missouri?” Dwight asked Tom. “Oh you wouldn’t know the place. I grew up in the county seat of Franklin County,” my father replied.

“Oh, I know about Union, Missouri,” my dad told my father, “So who’s your wife,” he continued.

“Well, that’s the daughter of the Doctor for New Haven, Missouri.”

“Are you telling me that that is Marilyn Held?” Dad asked…And that’s how they all got to be good friends.

I first met Dwight in New Haven on the Fourth of July, 1965. My father was going to ship out to Vietnam in a month or so and Dwight stopped by while on his way to an exchange program that would keep him in Germany until October. He tried to talk my father out of going to Vietnam.

“Don’t go Tom. I have a bad feeling about this war. It’s not right. You could resign your commission and fly for an airline or somewhere.” (Actually he probably couldn’t since he wasn’t rated for multi-engined big stuff but then, what do I know?)

And the rest is history so they say. They said their goodbye’s and exactly ten weeks later my father, Tom was killed in a freak accident as a passenger on a C-130 transport plane taking him to his duty station.

It’s hell for a nine year old boy to lose his father so suddenly and so tragically and it’s hell being a single man of 36 taking on a wife and instant family of four kids aged 13 to 3. Especially when the former nine year old is now the 13 year old and hormones and puberty and all that good shit starts kicking in.

It wasn’t the Brady Bunch, I’ll tell you that much even though we did add a fifth kid to our asylum.

So let me tell you about my Dad. He was a great youth minister first of all, and there are a number of my Facebook friends that were there 45 years ago. Our high school and junior high youth groups had Sex Education classes for about 4 weeks. We had encounter groups on racism. We had cultural interchanges going deep into the Navajo Reservation to a boarding school where we got from the Navajo boys and girls much more than we could presume to give them.

Then he was called to our church in Fresno not as an Associate,or youth minister, but as the Senior Pastor. Actually he was the only pastor and he stepped to the plate and hit it out of the park. At least in my opinion he did.

If you’re thinking of becoming a minister because you think they only have to work one hour a week go become a ditch digger or something with extreme manual labor; it’ll be easier. He was a first string starter now and he still visited the sick and the elderly regularly like clockwork and if he had to be there for someone…well, ask Doug Link about that.

I mentioned it was hell losing my father but what I realized with my Dad was a sense and appreciation of continuity. You see, Dad was confirmed by his father who was a minister. In fact, his father was his ordaining minister. I like that Dwight was my confirming minister. I like that he and my father were friends. I like the connection between us and New Haven. I love that we were both Cardinals fans and I’m glad the Cardinals were the winners of the last World Series of his life.

After we lost mom in 1992, for a number of years when tax season was over, we’d take off around the first of May and go on road trips together for three or four weeks at a time as Dad and son, and as friends and at times I was privileged to serve as a peer and clear up some questions that were bothering him.

I always believed a minister often is bothered by a doubt or a question of whether the seeds he casts about him in his ministry ever take root and flourish. I spent the rest of his life assuring him that they did take root.

Happy birthday Dad. I love you and I miss you.

Fifty Years Gone…


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On 18 Sep 1965, 19 days after arriving in Vietnam, Captains Tom Tolliver and David Benson were passengers on a C-130A Hercules, Tail # 55-038 on their way to the 20th TASS at Da Nang, when the C-130 crashed into the water attempting to make a visual approach to land at Qui Nhon air base in low clouds and rain. The C-130A, 35th Troop Carrier Squadron, call sign “Abner 79,” had taken off from Tan Son Nhut AB at Saigon with five crew members, five passengers, and 27,900 lbs of cargo on a tactical emergency mission to Qui Nhon air Base, RVN, 233 miles to the northeast on the coast. It was an hour and 10 minute flight at 11,000 feet. Starting at 500 feet altitude, the aircraft made a steep left turn to final approach to runway 36 with low clouds and rain causing reduced visibility. When the pilot rolled the wings level on final, he immediately hit the water in landing attitude 500 yards short of the coast near the end of the runway. The aircraft skipped once or twice and came to rest about 200 yards from the coast on the runway centerline. The water impact caused the aircraft to lose all four propellers, all landing gear, and all wing pylons and the fuselage broke in two approximately in line with the propellers. The aircraft sank up to the wings in seconds with the nose completely submerged. The pilot in the left seat and navigator escaped out the pilot’s left window. The pilot in the right seat and the flight mechanic were recovered from the nose section 4 days later. Three passengers survived although they have no knowledge of how they exited the aircraft. The cargo had broke loose, carrying the loadmaster out of the aircraft with it. The aircraft sank in 25 feet of water about 42 minutes after the crash.

Two crew members and two passengers were fatally injured. They were Capt. Fred R. Tice, Pilot in Command but in the copilot seat; FM Walter O. Tramel, Flight Mechanic; Capt. Thomas J. Tolliver, Passenger; and Capt. David E. Benson, Passenger.

Rescue personnel around the C-130 Hercules # 55-038 that crashed at Qui Nhon Bay, South Vietnam September 18, 1965.

Rescue personnel around the C-130 Hercules # 55-038 that crashed at Qui Nhon Bay, South Vietnam September 18, 1965.

That’s a matter of fact description of my father’s death along with three others in a far off place and a time long since gone.

Much was changed that day. From that point on I could only know and bond with my father through second hand information and “artifacts” from his life. As bad as that would be for any child to have to do we were blessed with an abundance of what historians call primary documents that allowed us to put together a story that was pretty full.

We have his attendance records from Sunday School at Zion Church in Union, Missouri where he grew up. He had near perfect attendance from the crib through confirmation and some were even signed by his own mother, a grandmother I never met.

We also have all his transcripts from high school to his Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Arizona State University. Looking at his transcripts next to his career trajectory as a senior pilot and pilot instructor in the U.S. Air Force AND a family man and father of at first, one child, then three children in the midst of all this and you get a feeling that someone special was building a great life.

Because he was killed in the Vietnam War we can’t know what he would have done with his training had he come home but there are indications he was being groomed for the space program and NASA; not necessarily as an astronaut although he flew everything from a Cessna to the most advanced fighter interceptor in the Air Force inventory. He probably would have been an R & D guy and someone to liaise with manufacturers for the space program.

A look at some of his course work gives us a clue: Tom earned A grades in most of the technical courses, including Analytical Geometry, Calculus, Differential Equations, Engineering Mechanics, Electrical Networks, Thermodynamics, Engineering Statistics, Engineering Measurements, Rocket Propulsion, Rocketry, Human Factors of Space Travel, Technical Communications, Mechanical Orbits and Trajectories, Mechanical Engineering Lab, Fluid Mechanics, and Heat Transfer.

I could speak more to the effect it had on our lives losing our father and maybe I will sometime but I want to put up his biography as published in “Flight to the Future Vol. II” but Richard Pierson Lt. Col. USAF Ret. and Colonel Billie Parker USAF Ret. Both men went through pilot training with my father as member of Class 55N. They were friends and together with these gentlemen my brother Tom and I put together a neat history and solved some mysteries surrounding our father.

Among everything he had with him when he was killed were some three inch audio tapes plus one he mailed to us from the Philippines. He’d arranged it so we could send audio mail to each other. Pretty cutting edge stuff, huh? These were carefully stored and somehow Tom ended up with one and I the other.  Playing these back after so much time could have disastrous results so Tom sent them to an audio lab to safely recover whatever there was to listen to.

All we could do was wait. Would we hear our voices from fifty years ago or would we end up like Geraldo Rivera at Al Capones’ vault. It was pretty emotional waiting and it was very emotional when the CD’s came in. One had what our father sent put down as four tracks. He made it and sent it well before August 30, 1965 because on the four tracks we made for him my mother gives the date as Saturday, September 4, 1965 and this gives rise to a bit of a mystery because the tape couldn’t have been mailed to him on that coming Monday, September 6, 1965 because it was Labor Day. The earliest it could be mailed was on the 7th from a small rural town all the way to Vietnam. I don’t know how fast mail was to our soldiers so we can’t know if he even heard our greetings. He had less than two weeks to live.

I’m posting the contents of both tapes at a later date or maybe on Facebook or YouTube because of size issues. When I get them uploaded you’ll have a chance to hear our voices from 50 years ago, mid-western Missourah drawl and all. I hadn’t forgotten that dad was pretty softspoken and in listening to him Elvis comes to mind. My brother, Tom and I think mom made notes or scripted herself because there are very few ah’s or uh’s. On track two you can hear my squeaky voice taping a very technical description of my new glasses. For a minute I wondered why the Hell I did that but then thought , “I wanted to communicate on his level” that’s all. I hope it will be worth the wait. It’s definitely NOT Al Capones’ vault.

The running time for each approaches tape 30 minutes so some endurance is an asset.

Click here for the biography of Capt. Thomas J. Tolliver as it appears in Flying into History: Meet the Heroes of Air Force Flying Class 55N (Volume II)

Tolliver, Thomas biography final 16 Aug 2014

Editorials We Have To Put Up With


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The following is an “Editorial” written by the publisher of La Prensa Hispana, Mr. Al Vasquez. I am putting it here in its entirety and then have a few comments to make by way of a letter to Mr. Vasquez. Try to keep from hurling.

This is a link to the whole newspaper and the, ahem, “editorial”

La Prensa Hispana Noticias en Ingles y Español para Indio, Ca Publicado el 06182015

The Retreat of Conservative Thought

The recent uproar caused by Rachel Dolezal’s resignation from the leadership of the Seattle, Washington, NAACP because she was not really black is exemplary of how naive and befuddled America has become. As Americans we have fallen victims to historical narratives which are not only false, they are affecting the logic of otherwise intelligent people. Now would have been a perfect time to clarify historical facts, undo the falsehoods assigned to conservatives and place race and today’s race baiting by so called progressives under the spotlight.

Not one report on this entire issue has mentioned a white conservative by the name of Moorfield Storey, not one reporter has mentioned a white woman by the name of Mary White Ovington or Oswald Walling or Dr. Henry Mascowitz. They were all white conservatives who along with 53 other whites and 7 African Americans came together on February 12th, 1909 to found the NAACP. For those of you a little foggy on historical recollections, February 12th is Lincoln’s birthday. And; for those recalcitrant liberals who insist the date was coincidental, let me mention the fact the founding of the NAACP was announced in Springfield, Illinois where Lincoln is buried.

You can refuse to acknowledge Republicans led the charge for the NAACP and believe Democrats and the liberal party have always been in the lead for Black or minority inclusion into our society; but, keep in mind it was a Democrat who assassinated Lincoln because he freed the slaves and it was Democrats who stonewalled civil rights legislation for years until 1964 when Republicans were able to dominate the vote. It is not with glee and satisfaction I point this out, only with a sense of concern we are losing sight of reality and as a nation have totally succumbed to talking points and propaganda organized by the left. We no longer think for ourselves or delve into the facts. We are vulnerable to easy interpretations, corrupted explanations of the truth and have become accustomed to being channeled into splinter groups which identify us as voters and set us up for the connivance of political predators. Liberal politicians more so than others exploit blackness, exploit Latinos, exploit the poor, exploit feminine sentiments, exploit youth, exploit governmental handouts, exploit immigration and they will exploit your American sentiments to the point we are beginning to doubt ourselves and our capabilities. Our national leaders apologize for our past successes and intentionally pave the way for rogue nations to get an edge, to barge into the head of the line. Human rights, nuclear proliferation have no value when your principle objective is to demean and reduce America to 3rd world levels. Where is the logic in allowing Iran to acquire a nuclear bomb when they have adamantly voiced the fact their intent is to wipe us and Israel off the map. Where is the logic?

This entire fiasco with Rachel Dolezal’s resignation because she is not a real black woman is begging for us to revisit sanity and understand the very first National Executive Director of the NAACP, Moorfield Storey, was white. Why is it forbidden in today’s world for her to be white in a position of leadership for the NAACP? The stated objection is “she pretended to be black to gain acceptance”. In reality, according to her mother, she felt black since a child, she related to black culture, she wanted to look black, and she married into a black family.

Those who believe or studied past lives theory will quickly recognize the fact she was probably a black individual prior to rebirth and very similar to sexual orientation, her previous life imprinting was not totally erased with her rebirth.

As conservative minded individuals, we must remember, when we retreat, someone else writes the rules. We have historically retreated. It is our fault rules have been rewritten in someone else’s favor.


Dear Mr. Vasquez,

When I mentioned to some friends that I was going to write to you about some of your editorials, some who are acquainted with you told me not to bother. They said you were an arrogant asshole and a no good son of a bitch and I would be wasting my time.

I had to go for it though, if nothing else than to correct some of your statements. They were made out of either ignorance on your part or they are outright lies. I can’t tell just yet as I am still trying to figure you out. One thing I want to know is where did you learn to fabricate history?

Up above, you said: As Americans we have fallen victims to historical narratives which are not only false, they are affecting the logic of otherwise intelligent people. Now would have been a perfect time to clarify historical facts, undo the falsehoods assigned to conservatives and place race and today’s race baiting by so called progressives under the spotlight.

That’s all well and good but you immediately bend the historical narrative to suit your purpose. There is nothing about Mary White Ovington that was conservative nor were any of the other founders of the NAACP. She may have been a Republican (and thus a conservative?) in your dreams and fantasies but she was in fact, a socialist, having joined with them in 1905. She wrote for radical journals and newspapers such as, The Masses, New York Evening Post, and The Call. In fact, that’s where the group started, with The Call.

In 1908 she read an article by Mr. Walling, another known socialist, entitled “Race War in the North” in The Independent. Walling described a massive race riot directed at black residents in the hometown of Abraham Lincoln, Springfield, Illinois that led to seven deaths, 40 homes and 24 businesses destroyed, and 107 indictments against rioters. Walling ended the article by calling for a powerful body of citizens to come to the aid blacks. God, how embarrassing is that? Calling a Socialist a conservative Republican.

The only possible Republican among the names you mentioned might be Dr. Henry Mascowitz who was a civil servant and thus a possible recipient of patronage. And Moorfield Storey, the first president of the NAACP was a Mugwump which were a group of dissatisfied Republicans who bolted from the party to support Democrat Grover Cleveland for the presidency.

Also, it’s nice you know that February 9th 1909 was the hundredth anniversary of Lincoln’s birth and that Springfield, Illinois is where he was buried. Your civics teacher couldn’t throw that one past you. But you must have seen that part above about the massive race riot directed at Black residents in SPRINGFIELD that Walling wrote about that got the whole ball rolling. You did get that memo right, Al?

There was nothing conservative about any of the founders of the NAACP and nothing that shows that Conservative Republicans led the charge to set things right for Black Americans not that I am saying that Democrats had much to do with founding the NAACP either. So yeah, I refuse to believe Republicans led the charge to forming the NAACP because the evidence says otherwise; again, for the most part the founders were socialists and progressives.

You are so hot and bothered about the identities of Republicans and Democrats and how they each sit on the Liberal vs. Conservative spectrum and you’re hell bent on casting Democrats as the liberal spawn of Satan and to do that you are either a.) Willfully fabricating history or b.) Colossally ignorant.

Both are unethical things to do. Especially for a publisher who wants to be respected instead of being seen as a fool. You have a responsibility to your readers, Al. And if you are fabricating your history and your statements to fool Latinos into fearing the Democratic Party and seduce them into the Republican Party then you are no better than a Judas Goat, Al. I’ll give you a hint. It scrapes lower than all the pundits at Fox News and you have to look up to see the bellies of such snakes as Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and even Rush Limbaugh. I say that because you obviously look up to those assholes.

Do you know what a Judas Goat is Al? That’s the goat whose job is to keep the flock calm as he leads it to slaughter. Why are you trying to beguile the people into voting for the very party that abuses them and will continue to screw them over? So what makes you tick Al? Why do you act the fool trying to recruit new Republicans? I guess it’s about Occam’s razor which means we should once again, follow the money. (See Al? I can use big words too and try to also appear to be the smartest one in the room.)

You seem to have no idea about how to define Republicans and Democrats and the way they were historically so you paint both with a broad brush and ignore nuances in each and you do this from their beginnings to now. This is especially true since Republicans of today do not resemble the party of Lincoln in any way. Hell, they don’t even resemble the party of Reagan or even Goldwater.

Here’s the history as it should be taught. The Election of 1860 was really the second time out for the Republican Party on a national scale and their main objectives were to stop the expansion of slavery into the territories and modernize the economy and on the latter point they converted many free soil northern Democrats. They had almost no presence in the southern states.

The clouds of sectional war had lurked on the horizon and would have come sooner if not for a series of compromises at the various eleventh hours. By 1860 the Democrats were split along regional lines; so badly split that the party essentially ran three candidates for president giving Lincoln the White House on less than 40% of the popular vote. He still would have won in the Electoral College though, even if Democrats ran only one candidate.

Here’s something else for you to know Al; voter turnout for that election was 81.2% highest ever to that point.

Anyway, after the election and well into the hostilities the Democrats were of two factions up north. They were the War Democrats who supported the Union and the Peace Democrats who wanted out of the war even to the point of allowing the south to go her own way.

The Confederacy had no use for political parties at least for the duration and so there were none so when you say something like, “keep in mind it was a Democrat who assassinated Lincoln” people get stupider for having read such bullshit.

Al, I gotta ask you. When you write this stuff or read it over do you catch yourself blurting out, “Al Vasquez, you’re a goddamned liar?” Does that happen to you? Because it happens to me and that’s just what I yell out when I read your tripe.

Listen closely now. Even though John Wilkes Booth was of voting age by 1860 there is no indication that he voted for any Democrat or anybody ever. In fact, on November 6, 1860 he was nowhere near his home precinct in Maryland. He was in fact, in Philadelphia recovering from a self-inflicted gunshot to his thigh.

In the mid 1850’s he dabbled with the Know Nothing Party (Anti-immigrant, anti-Catholic and pro slavery) but if you have special knowledge that Booth was a Democrat you are the only one with that information, anywhere, so stop with the “assassinated by a Democrat” bullshit because  you’re scaring the children with your galactic stupidity.

I’m going to take a break and then come back dismantle the rest of your assertions…Okay, I feel better now. You know, reading your stuff; suffering the fool if you will, can sure be tiring but let’s soldier on to your assertion that Republicans championed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. First let’s go back to the 1870’s and the end of reconstruction when the southern states wrote acceptable constitutions to gain readmission as “loyal” states. Republicans virtually abandoned the region leaving Democrats able to pass poll taxes, intelligence tests and other barriers to the ballot box effectively disenfranchising the blacks and most poor whites in the region. But guess what, since Negros at the time gained citizenship while only gaining the vote for about a minute what happened was they were now counted as one whole person instead of 3/5 of a man when the Constitution was written. This gave the southern states a LOT more seats in the House of Representatives which they used to great advantage for a number of years.

Now we all know that the bill for the Civil Rights Act originated with President Kennedy who called for civil rights legislation in June 1963. We also know that it eventually passed in 1964 with the Senate voting 73-27 to pass it and the house gave 289 yeas to 126 nays. That’s about 70% of the House in favor. You say the Republicans championed the cause but if you look at how the votes were cast by region and even an idiot, Al, will realize that not a single southern Republican voted for the bill’s passage. Not one vote from a southern Republican. And if you look at only northern Democrats; 94% of the Dems in the House voted for passage and 98% of northern Democratic Senators voted yes.

There was a backlash that was seen in the presidential election of 1964 when Goldwater won the Deep South states…and Arizona. The southern Democrats jumped ship and became Republicans which that party used to great advantage ever since. The south acts like it’s still fighting the Civil War and Republicans are leading the charge especially now that we have a Black President.

So stop with trying to rewrite history to beguile innocents into the crazy, ignorant and, yes, evil the Republican clown car now represents. You’re on the wrong side of history Al, you’re on the wrong side of your people and you ought to know better. Shame on you.

Deep Purple Rocking Fantasy Springs


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Okay, I went to last night’s (September 15) Deep Purple concert totally straight so let’s see how much of it I can recall.

One thought I had was, “Damn, there are sure a lot of OLD long hairs here. Almost feel like I’m at a near geriatric war protest. Where did they come from?”

After the usual buildup of tension and anticipation (for the concert to start not from expecting one or more of the old long hairs to stroke out.) the hall went dark except parts of the stage. Then a pre-recorded fanfare started playing and building up as the band came on stage blending with the music and emerging headlong into “Highway Star”…great opening tune.

First thing I noticed was, “Holy shit! I forgot Ian Paice was a left handed drummer playing a kit setup for lefties. I mean Ringo is left handed but plays a right handed drum set.

So Paice is a rarity because I can’t think of anyone else who plays a left handed drum set and I’m pretty good at Rock Trivia if I must say so myself.

Anyway, the band segued from into “Apres Vous,” “Hard Loving Man” and finished with “Strange Kind of Woman” before they even said hello.

After the hellos they played a whimsical “Vincent Price” followed by “Contact Lost” and then “Uncommon Man.”

“The Well-Dressed Guitar” featured Steve Morse by himself for most of the song which sort of evokes Santana’s “Europa.” I gotta confess that it was so beautiful that tears came to my eyes. Sometimes…sometimes things in this world are so beautiful that you just gotta cry.

Let me say this about Steve Morse, the guitar player who took over after Ritchie Blackmore’s final exit and Don Airey, who took over the ivories when Jon Lord retired. These guys aren’t just replacements; they are fully integral parts of the longest incarnation of Deep Purple.

They aren’t clones of those who left but they showed they could do Blackmore’s and Lord’s parts note for note while bringing their own talents to bear. Steve Morse has a background that includes country, swing, jazz and, gulp, fusion. Some of you may remember when he played that FrankenTele with the Dixie Dregs. He totally shreds and is smoooooth. DAMN. And he clearly is enjoying himself. doing call and response challenges with Ian Gillan who loves scat singing.

He’d do the same thing with Don Airey and they clearly had fun challenging each other. Airey brings a pop or rock influence to his playing where Jon Lord used to have you feel like you were being blown out of a cathedral during the classical period..

Right after “The Well Dressed Guitar, Ian Paice got his drum solo during “The Mule.” Then they played “Lazy,” “Hell to Pay,” a keyboard improv by Airey. Then they finished with “Perfect Strangers,” “Space Truckin'” and yep, “Smoke on the Water.”

We called them back for an encore of “Hush” and finally “Black Night.”

I was worn out after that. The show was eminently satisfying.It is in the top 5 concerts that I’ve ever seen and as they left the stage at last I just yelled “THANK YOU DEEP PURPLE.” And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.

Before He Was Murdered, Bobby Kennedy Gave Us…Reason

Just after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis and only two months to the day before he himself was brought down by an assassin’s bullet Bobby Kennedy gave a speech about the the “mindless menace of  violence in America.”

The words are truth and chilling but there is beauty in them too. Read this slowly and often. We need the reminder.

City Club of Cleveland, Cleveland, Ohio
April 5, 1968

This is a time of shame and sorrow. It is not a day for politics. I have saved this one opportunity, my only event of today, to speak briefly to you about the mindless menace of violence in America which again stains our land and every one of our lives.

It is not the concern of any one race. The victims of the violence are black and white, rich and poor, young and old, famous and unknown. They are, most important of all, human beings whom other human beings loved and needed. No one – no matter where he lives or what he does – can be certain who will suffer from some senseless act of bloodshed. And yet it goes on and on and on in this country of ours.

Why? What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr’s cause has ever been stilled by an assassin’s bullet.

No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders. A sniper is only a coward, not a hero; and an uncontrolled, uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of reason.

Whenever any American’s life is taken by another American unnecessarily – whether it is done in the name of the law or in the defiance of the law, by one man or a gang, in cold blood or in passion, in an attack of violence or in response to violence – whenever we tear at the fabric of the life which another man has painfully and clumsily woven for himself and his children, the whole nation is degraded.

“Among free men,” said Abraham Lincoln, “there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet; and those who take such appeal are sure to lose their cause and pay the costs.”

Yet we seemingly tolerate a rising level of violence that ignores our common humanity and our claims to civilization alike. We calmly accept newspaper reports of civilian slaughter in far-off lands. We glorify killing on movie and television screens and call it entertainment. We make it easy for men of all shades of sanity to acquire whatever weapons and ammunition they desire.

Too often we honor swagger and bluster and wielders of force; too often we excuse those who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of others. Some Americans who preach non-violence abroad fail to practice it here at home. Some who accuse others of inciting riots have by their own conduct invited them.

Some look for scapegoats, others look for conspiracies, but this much is clear: violence breeds violence, repression brings retaliation, and only a cleansing of our whole society can remove this sickness from our soul.

For there is another kind of violence, slower but just as deadly destructive as the shot or the bomb in the night. This is the violence of institutions; indifference and inaction and slow decay. This is the violence that afflicts the poor, that poisons relations between men because their skin has different colors. This is the slow destruction of a child by hunger, and schools without books and homes without heat in the winter.

This is the breaking of a man’s spirit by denying him the chance to stand as a father and as a man among other men. And this too afflicts us all.

I have not come here to propose a set of specific remedies nor is there a single set. For a broad and adequate outline we know what must be done. When you teach a man to hate and fear his brother, when you teach that he is a lesser man because of his color or his beliefs or the policies he pursues, when you teach that those who differ from you threaten your freedom or your job or your family, then you also learn to confront others not as fellow citizens but as enemies, to be met not with cooperation but with conquest; to be subjugated and mastered.

We learn, at the last, to look at our brothers as aliens, men with whom we share a city, but not a community; men bound to us in common dwelling, but not in common effort. We learn to share only a common fear, only a common desire to retreat from each other, only a common impulse to meet disagreement with force. For all this, there are no final answers.

Yet we know what we must do. It is to achieve true justice among our fellow citizens. The question is not what programs we should seek to enact. The question is whether we can find in our own midst and in our own hearts that leadership of humane purpose that will recognize the terrible truths of our existence.

We must admit the vanity of our false distinctions among men and learn to find our own advancement in the search for the advancement of others. We must admit in ourselves that our own children’s future cannot be built on the misfortunes of others. We must recognize that this short life can neither be ennobled nor enriched by hatred or revenge.

Our lives on this planet are too short and the work to be done too great to let this spirit flourish any longer in our land. Of course we cannot vanquish it with a program, nor with a resolution.

But we can perhaps remember, if only for a time, that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short moment of life; that they seek, as do we, nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and in happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.

Surely, this bond of common faith, this bond of common goal, can begin to teach us something. Surely, we can learn, at least, to look at those around us as fellow men, and surely we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and to become in our own hearts brothers and countrymen once again.

Kennedy recited these lines by Aeschylus on announcing the death of Martin Luther King, Jr.

“He who learns must suffer. Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, and against our will, comes wisdom by the awful grace of God.”