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It’s Veterans Day…

I’ll be clear, here. I am not a veteran of our armed forces. When my eligibility would have occurred I got a 1 Y on my physical and was never allowed in (I was also married with a child and in college at the time.)

What I do remember every Veterans Day, however, is my Uncle Butch (Marine Sgt. Irving B. Tchakirides, my father’s younger brother), who died on his third tour of duty in Viet Nam… a victim of American fire as it happens. Many times I have gone to DC to see his name on the Viet Nam Wall and to remember how much I liked him, along with my other uncles, as a child.

So I wish a Best Veterans Day to the memory of my Uncle Butch and hope that someday we won’t have to think about losing our young men in wars we never should have been in.

 

Arthur Ochs (Punch) Sulzberger, former NY Times publisher, dead at 86.

 

Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, known to his colleagues as “Punch“, the fourth publisher of the New York Times, is famous for his decision to publish the Pentagon Papers and to promote a radical redesign that set a new standard for newspapers in the last quarter of the 20th century, has died at age 86, after a long illness.

Sulzberger was publisher of the Times from 1963 to 1992 and chairman and chief executive of the parent company from 1973 to 1997. These titles were passed on to his son, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., the fourth generation of his family to head the paper.

Publishing the Pentagon Papers were the defining moment of three decades of transformation at the Times under Sulzberger. He also automated the Times’ production, unified the Sunday and daily news operations under one editor and  divided the paper into four brightly written sections.

Hampered by dyslexia, he was an indifferent student who daydreamed in class. His grades were so poor that he repeated the first year of high school. In 1943, the 17-year-old joined the Marines. His desire to prove himself on the battlefield was thwarted by his father, who arranged a transfer to Gen. Douglas MacArthur‘s staff as driver and jack of all trades. After World War II, Sulzberger earned a degree at Columbia University in 1951. He served in the Korean War as a public information officer.

 

A salute to Ronald Searle who has died at Age 91…

Nigel Molesworth

As a young teenager I became a regular reader of Ronald Searle‘s wonderful illustrated books about Nigel Molesworth (especially Down With Skool!) and the other British schoolboys at St. Custards and the schoolgirls of St. Trinians who turned up in comic films as well.

From the London Telegraph:

…behind the humorist illustrator was a man of much darker vision who could find sharp things to say about global poverty, paedophilia or the war on terror, and could plumb the depths of an almost Boschian disgust with the cruelties and excesses of his fellow man — as seen for example in a sketch entitled In Fashion, featuring maimed and wailing women walking down a catwalk. In this more Swiftian guise, Searle was credited with influencing many leading artists and illustrators, including Gerald Scarfe .

Much of Searle’s work was profoundly influenced by his experiences during the war. As he himself often explained, his experience of the “horror, the misery, the blackness” of a Japanese prisoner of war camp had “changed the attitude to all things, including humour”.

Ronald Searle

British illustrator Ronald Searle went to art school in Cambridge and during WWII was working as a draftsman with the Brisits Army and Singapore. His unity was captured by the Japanese and spent 3 and a half years as a prisoner, unltimately ending up as a slave laborer in 1943 on the Burma Railway.

…he rejected what he called the “jolly good chaps” account given in David Lean’s film Bridge on the River Kwai for providing a false picture of camaraderie in the face of adversity. Searle had been sent to work on the railway in 1943 after he and two other inmates had begun producing a magazine to boost the morale of the prisoners. “It upset the extremely conservative mentalities of our own administration — the commanders and the chaplains,” he recalled with some bitterness. “When the time came for the Japanese to say we want groups to be sent up north, the English chose the troublemakers.” For Searle, the bridge remained the place “where I lost all my friends”.

Searle was also known for posters, animations and other illustrations. The opening credit animation for Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines was Searle’s work.

Thoughts on Pearl Harbor Day

Seventy years ago the United States was attacked by the Japanese and we were plunged into what became World War II…and we stayed in some form of military activity for decades thereafter. Korea, Cuba, Viet Nam, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan… even times of peace have been warlike.

However, Pearl Harbor Day makes us realize that we were vulnerable to someone else’s plans (as did 9/11) and we became a defensive nation as a result.

I’d like to think that here in the 21st Century it was going to get better, but I don’t really think it will. Just think of the fun we’ll get into if Gingrich becomes President.

Marshal Dillon rides off into the sunset…

James Arness, Gunsmoke‘s Matt Dillon, has died at age 88. Arness (family name Aurness which he never legally changed) and his actor older brother, Peter Graves (who died in March 2010), came to Hollywood after WWII where James ended up in the performing group that surrounded John Wayne. Wayne became Arness’ mentor and when the Matt Dillon part came up he convinced him to take it. He kept the role for 19 years … plus came back a decade later to do a few made for television Gunsmoke movies.

Arness was also a private pilot whose exploits buzzing the Gunsmoke set were legendary.

His was a great career, the major part being one of the greatest characters in the best days of Television dramas.

Frank Buckles, America’s Last WWI Veteran Dies

He was 110 years old and lived here in Jefferson County, WV (Charles Town, actually). Frank Buckles was the last surviving WWI Vet in the USA.

Buckles said he had lied about his age in 1917 when he was 16 so he could enlist. The Army sent him to France, where he drove ambulances and motorcycles. After the armistice, he helped return German prisoners of war to their country.
In 1941, he was working in Manila for the American President Line, a shipping company. When the Japanese invaded the Philippines during World War II, Buckles was captured and spent 3 1/2 years in a prisoner-of-war camp before he was rescued by American forces when they retook the Island nation.
David DeJonge, a Michigan filmmaker, is producing a documentary on Buckles’ life titled “Pershing’s Last Patriot: The Story of Frank Woodruff Buckles, America’s Last Veteran of World War I.” It will be narrated by actor Richard Thomas.

Anderson Cooper Grills Rich Iott on his Nazi Dressup…

Have you been following this? John and I discussed it on the radio show last Friday. Ohio Congressional candidate Rich Iott has a rather unusual hobby of dressing up as a member of the 5th SS Wiking Panzer Division, a unit in the German army during World War II.

Interviewing him, Anderson Cooper got Iott to state really unfortunate excuses for his activities. Cooper pointed out that one member of the 5th was recently charged with the murder of 58 Jews. Iott replied: “The war on the eastern front was extremely brutal on both sides. Nobody was lily-white, that’s for sure. Horrible things that happened on both sides.”

Iott has been scrubbed from the Republicans‘ Young Guns website since revelations about his reenacting surfaced.

Thanks to Talking Points Memo.

If we CAN learn from History, we ought to listen to Krugman…

In his piece in the NY Times this morning, Paul Krugman compared the situation Obama is in now with the situation FDR was in in 1937… and how similar the public response was (and how misdirected.)

Here’s a clip:

The story of 1937, of F.D.R.’s disastrous decision to heed those who said that it was time to slash the deficit, is well known. What’s less well known is the extent to which the public drew the wrong conclusions from the recession that followed: far from calling for a resumption of New Deal programs, voters lost faith in fiscal expansion.

Consider Gallup polling from March 1938. Asked whether government spending should be increased to fight the slump, 63 percent of those polled said no. Asked whether it would be better to increase spending or to cut business taxes, only 15 percent favored spending; 63 percent favored tax cuts. And the 1938 election was a disaster for the Democrats, who lost 70 seats in the House and seven in the Senate.

And then came World War II and the miracle occurred.

From an economic point of view World War II was, above all, a burst of deficit-financed government spending, on a scale that would never have been approved otherwise. Over the course of the war the federal government borrowed an amount equal to roughly twice the value of G.D.P. in 1940 — the equivalent of roughly $30 trillion today.

Had anyone proposed spending even a fraction that much before the war, people would have said the same things they’re saying today. They would have warned about crushing debt and runaway inflation. They would also have said, rightly, that the Depression was in large part caused by excess debt — and then have declared that it was impossible to fix this problem by issuing even more debt.

But guess what? Deficit spending created an economic boom — and the boom laid the foundation for long-run prosperity.

We don’t have a similar miracle waiting in the wings for us. In fact, our military is more than overspent and tired out after the decade of Iraq and Afghanistan. And we are broke!

The odds of the Repiglicans, who will be voted in to Congress by short-sighted middle- and lower-class folks, increasing our expenditures on jobs and government-financed recovery are minimal.

But it turns out that politicians and economists alike have spent decades unlearning the lessons of the 1930s, and are determined to repeat all the old mistakes. And it’s slightly sickening to realize that the big winners in the midterm elections are likely to be the very people who first got us into this mess, then did everything in their power to block action to get us out.

But always remember: this slump can be cured. All it will take is a little bit of intellectual clarity, and a lot of political will. Here’s hoping we find those virtues in the not too distant future.

And here’s hoping it doesn’t take a World War.

(Don’t tell her the dog’s real name is Santiago!) (via HYSTERICAL RAISINS)

Are there any politicians who don’t lie about their history? This is another big one from Hysterical Raisins:

(Don't tell her the dog's real name is Santiago!) From POLITICS DAILY: Arizona Governor Jan Brewer finds herself under scrutiny after telling a newspaper that her father “died fighting the Nazi regime in Gemany.” In actuality, Brewer’s father, Wilford Drinkwine, passed away from lung disease in California, ten years after World War II had ended. Brewer’s comments were made to The Arizona Republic [actually, it’s The Arizona Guardian] newspaper, and came as she was discussing her state’s polarizi … Read More

via HYSTERICAL RAISINS