On a day where there is much conversational buffalo to consume, the US Army released its 1300 page two-volume report on the lessons it has learned in the Iraq War.
Many of them are repeats of lessons long ago learned in other conflicts but then forgotten because that’s what we do. Then we fight another war and release another set of lessons learned that get put on the shelf and covered with dust.
We never learn and we repeat them again. And again. And again.
Everything that is wrong with the NFL – and therefore the nation – was on display yesterday during the Conference Championships and the aftermath.
We old-timers remember a day when what happened yesterday would not have happened. People talk about how “great” Quarterbacks are today. Pish. I guarantee you that there is no way in hell that Staubach, Namath, Starr, Hart, Tarkington, Tittle, Stabler, Griese or even Bradshaw would have allowed what happened yesterday to happen. The reason that it did happen was because of what a fellow by the name of Joe Pisarcik, derisively nicknamed “Not-Broadway Joe” by his own Offensive Coordinator did on November 19, 1978.
And because of what happened to him that day in the Meadowlands of New Jersey, Quarterbacks quit being Quarterbacks and became automatons. Which is why Drew Brees should have said, “Are you insane?” yesterday, but instead threw the ball into the ground, killing the clock and saving the Rams season.
In 1944, a submarine slid sideways into the Manitowoc River near where it empties into Lake Michigan. As she kissed the water, some 1500 miles to the west, a young man who wanted to be a farmer heard the clarion call of his country, left his home in Ogden, Utah and joined the US Navy. After a detour through Connecticut and New Guinea, he would arrive in Manitowoc and report aboard that new submarine.
Commissioned in September, the USS Kraken (SS-370) would sail down the Mississippi River, through the Panama Canal and on to the Pacific Ocean where Wendall would make all four combat patrols of USS Kraken, and eventually leave the Navy after the war ended. He would return to Ogden and become well involved in farming. Kraken would be decommissioned and placed in reserve until she was needed again.
The United States Submarine Veterans exists “To Perpetuate the memory of our shipmates who gave their lives in the pursuit of their duties while serving their country. That their dedication, deeds and supreme sacrifice be a constant source of motivation toward greater accomplishments. Pledge loyalty and patriotism to the United States of America and its Constitution.”
In 1982, almost 38 years after she touched the waters of Lake Michigan, Kraken was scrapped. Last year, Wendall passed away, after a long and fruitful life.
I just thought that you might like to know their stories…
In Washington, D.C., the shutdown has paralyzed parts of the government. Meanwhile, business and life goes on for commercial enterprises, including the making and selling of Beer.
But (insert ominous music here) the government is closed and cannot be bothered to regulate the commercial free speech that it has decreed is required in order for the Beer Brewers to label and sell their product.
So… if the government is required to approve speech, is it really free speech?
Washington State has something that no other State has. Well… other States have them, but not like ours.
We keep our civilly committed sex offenders locked away – even after they’ve served their sentences – on an island in the Puget Sound. The whole thing is arguably unconstitutional, but also touches that point of our society where the overall safety of citizens meets the rights of the accused (and in this case, convicted).
There is a bigger issue here in that there is only so much room on McNeil Island, and there are more Sex Offenders than space.
To be clear here, we aren’t talking about the 19-year-old kid who had sex with his 17-year-old girlfriend. These are – as Washington State classifies them – Level III offenders (because there is no Level IV). They are “likely to re-offend” despite their sentences being served along with whatever efforts were made at rehabilitation. These are the worst of the worst of the worst.
The State of Washington has established LRA’s (Less Restrictive areas) so that Level III Offenders – those who are “likely to re-offend” – can be placed in neighborhoods.
Now, one of those LRA’s in my general area. And at least four Level III offenders are roaming about…
In June of 2017, I was stunned by how many people who had never been to sea on a Warship and never stood a deck watch felt the need to inform me that there was no way that the USS Fitzgerald collision was not a terrorist attack. You see, with all that equipment there was no way in hell that they didn’t see the CRX Crystal coming, and if they didn’t it was because the Russians had hacked them. “It was an attack, Dave!” they screeched.
There’s an old saying, Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity.
The Navy, which tried to suppress the report on the collision, has at last been compelled to admit what every sailor already knew. There was no attack. There was a failure of leadership.
In the parlance of Boot Camp, nothing was up to and touching.
Maybe it’s just me, but this whole thing about religion really bugs me. My whole attitude towards other peoples imposition on my beliefs was born in my youth, when I still belonged to the Christian faith, and my denomination was decidedly in the minority both in physical presence and in general beliefs. In my younger and angrier days, I would have – and did – argued with anybody about the virtues of what I had been taught. There was little room for opposing beliefs, let alone similar beliefs. And looking back at it all these years later, I am both sad and happy. Sad because potential friendships – of which I already had very few – were ruined. Happy because it taught me a lesson that I have carried with me for a long time.
That lesson is simple: there are no religious tests. Period.
Not in life, not in friendships, not in relationships and certainly not in government.
But like so many things, the very people who most loudly crow about being tolerant and believing in freedoms are the very people who most attack others over their beliefs.
It’s happened before. Al Smith was once a viable candidate for President of the United States. He supported the repeal of prohibition and was strong on individual liberty. He was also Roman Catholic. John F. Kennedy would end up winning the Presidency, but not before he had to take time out from the campaign and remind everybody that his religious beliefs did not extend to his governing ideals. Mitt Romney was whispered about. Judges have been attacked.
Now, with the campaign not even officially underway, th