Thursday, September 26, 2013

The U S Park Service :A Legion of Heroes

A while ago, when a crazed gunman was shooting up the Washington Naval Yard, a member of the US Park Police killed the man before he could raise the death toll above 12. If you don't live in Washington DC, you're probably don't know very much about the US Park Police. Originally created by George Washington, they are a ubiquitous police agency in our nation's capital.
This is because it's hard to walk around Washington without tripping over a memorial. A federal entity, they've been protecting the predecessors of our national parks since 1791.
The park policeman who took the gunman down is just one more hero who's part of this government force. They are men and women who deserve our gratitude. Thank you.
The men and women of the Park Service, who maintain our national parks all over the country are also doing great things in frightening time of Trump by telling us what the records tell us about climate change and the environmen. They are speaking truth to power at a time when that narcissistic sociopath wants to decide for us what the truth is. He believes in "alternate truths"and wants us to believe only him. Thank God for the Park Servic 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

My friend, Rachel

In many ways, America offers people chances to connect with another culture. If you're very lucky, you can become friends with people who have a completely different background than you have.
My friend, Rachel (I'm using a different name to protect her privacy) is a very religious Persian Jew. She immigrated to America and then her husband died. She brought up three children on her own and they all have college degrees.
I'm  a Christian who is descended from two Mayflower pilgrims. I have a daughter whose grandparents were in the Holocaust. My wife and stepdaughter are both Chinese and in medicine. My father died when I was seven, and there were many days I would have traded being a Mayflower descendent for more food.
Because I'm disabled, Rachel's barbershop is halfway in a five block walk. Yesterday, we were talking about Yom Kippur and she talked about how it was important not to complain  too often to God. I wrote out my cell and home numbers and then wrote "rich, friend " I told her to call me any time she wanted so she could complain to me. I didn't tell her how many times I've complained to God, or his son.
We talked about values and how America has  changed. I told her how every time I gave a test at the University the statistics told me 70% of these students had already cheated in college. She talked about how hard it is to trust people, these days.
In these conversations we haven't managed to solve the world's problems. However, I do come away refreshed and feeling warmer. These contacts, especially in a brutal place like West Los Angeles, are really hard to find. And it's really hard to find someone with a pure heart like Rachel.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Wire Services Blew It on Announcing Putin intent to "Strike" US on Syria

The wire services really blew it when they said that Putin would "strike" at the US if we bombed Syria. However, everyone who's ever worked for a wire service knows about the rowback. At the moment the Associated Press is saying that Putin will continue to supply arms to Syria, but is saying that the Dow Jones news service is the one that's saying Putin would strike against the US if they bombed Syria.
Wire services never admit they were wrong. In a book that was hard to find 40 years ago, Deadline Every Minute, a wire service announces that Charles de Gaulle, French Pres., was killed at the airport. But they don't admit they were wrong. First they have him injured. Then they have them escaping injury. It takes the rest of the day to say there was no attack on de Gaulle at the airport.
Wire services had apparently picked up the Dow Jones newswire story about Putin's threat, failing to remember that Rupert Murdoch, who owns Dow Jones, doesn't care whether something is true or not when he publishes it. So other wire services got pulled into this and had to get out of a bad situation.
It just takes a while

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Let's stop the confusing Terminology. Syria used Poison Gas

For some reasons, newspapers and television stations aren't using the word poison gas. They talk about chemical weapons as if  majority of the American people know what that means. But we don't.
People who know history realize France was the first country to use poison gas in World War I. But it was more an irritant than a killer. Soon, the Germans began to use chlorine gas (at the second Ypres) and it was an agent of death.
Some of those who survived this killer lived the rest of their lives in British government nursing homes. Some others went unscathed. However, poison gas became a reviled weapon of warfare.
They say the poison gas used in Syria was Sarin, the gas that killed Japanese in that subway incident. It's a gas that affects nerves and makes people, including children, choke to death.
I don't believe we should attack Syria, because the US seems to screw up everything it does in that region of the world. But perhaps, people could make better decisions if we use the word poison gas.