Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Driving to Denali State Park

The trip Saturday to Denali State Park was relatively uneventful - the changes in Wasilla since we first did this route in 1978 are large, but not more so than other cities in the world since then. 
Joe Miller people were waving their signs in Wasilla.  And we have three more months until the primary!

Tourists were packaged in buses, trains, and RV's.

The State Troopers were pulling over speeders and our windshield was streaked from our windshield wiper.

And, of course, there was highway construction.  

A patch of newly paved highway with wide shoulders.

And even some highway that looked vaguely reminiscent of the old days.  

We stopped at Mile 135 to one of the worst cloud covers of Denali we've ever seen. (We've been relatively lucky at this spot over the years.)  But the walk to the viewpoint at the relatively new stop was still good for our legs and a view of the Chulitna and the clouds covering Denali.

From there it was a short ride to the State Park.  I'll post pictures of that in another post. 

Denali (aka Mt. McKinley) as Most Tourists See It

We spent a few days this weekend at Byers Lake Campground with some other returned Peace Corps volunteers from Anchorage and Fairbanks.  I'll break this up into a couple of posts.  This one will be short and sweet.

Here's the viewpoint at mile 135 where, on a clear day, you have the best view of Denali from the highway.  But the mountain makes its own weather and most tourists never see much or anything of the mountain.  I always wanted to make a post card for tourists who didn't get to see the mountain.  It might look something like this one below. 

The sign shows the Alaska Range's highest peaks, and the real thing is dressed in clouds.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What's worse? Idle or Busy Hands?

My book club has divided David Copperfield into three parts (it's about 900 pages).  So here's a thought from Charles Dickens. 

David has reunited with his aunt and been placed at a new school and lives now with Mr. Wickfield.  The headmaster of the school, Dr. Strong, has recently married and his wife's family has been taking advantage of his generous manner and has been imploring him to find a place for his wife's cousin.  He's just asked Mr. Wickfield if there was any progress in finding him a placement.

"...What does Doctor Watts say?" he added, looking at me, and moving his head to the time of his quotation:  "'Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to do.'"

"Egad, Doctor," returned Mr. Wickfield, "if Doctor Watts knew mankind, he might have written, with as much truth, 'Satan finds some mischief still for busy hands to do.'  The busy people achieve their full share of mischief in the world, you may rely upon it.  What have the people been about who have been the busiest in getting money, and in getting power, this century or two?  No mischief?"

Dickens wrote David Copperfield about 1850, but still has passages that resonate well today.  

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Famous People Born in 1910

In January 2008 I put up a post on famous people born in 1908. I had been looking to write about things that happened in 1908, but found the list of people much more interesting. I added more information about each person than the original site had. I did the same thing in January 2009. It got a little more elaborate. This year when I looked up the old site, it had changed its format and finding people born in a single years was more difficult, so I found another site. But it had lots, lots more names. And we were getting ready to go to Juneau, and so I never finished the post. But we're still in the first half of the year, so here's my post on famous and/or important people born 100 years ago.
[Update Nov 13, 2011:  There's now also a Famous People Born in 1911.]  [I seem to have skipped 1912.  There are four parts for 1913.   Here's  1914, and two parts for 1915]

It appears that one person on the list is still alive: economist Edward Coase. Johnny Wooden, the great UCLA basketball coach died at 99 this year on May 31.

I would also note that in 1910 Mark Twain, William James, O. Henry, Robert Koch, Florence Nightingale, King Edward VII, Leo Tolstoy, Winslow Homer, Henri Rousseau, and Mary Baker Eddy died.

The ones with bios and pictures are in order of death, from the youngest to the oldest. 

Django Reinhardt
Gypsy jazz guitarist  23-Jan-1910 - 16-May-1953
Born in Liberchies, Pont-à-Celles, Belgium, Reinhardt's Gypsy nickname "Django" was Romani for "I awake."
He spent most of his youth in gypsy encampments close to Paris, playing banjo, guitar and violin from an early age, and professionally at Bal-musette Halls in Paris. He started first on the violin and eventually moved on to a banjo-guitar that had been given to him and his first known recordings (in 1928) were of him playing the banjo. ( Text and photo above from )
A fire in 1928 burned his left hand and right side badly
Django was bedridden for eighteen months. During this time he was given a guitar, and with great determination Django created a whole new fingering system built around the two fingers on his left hand that had full mobility. His fourth and fifth digits of the left hand were permanently curled towards the palm due to the tendons shrinking from the heat of the fire. He could use them on the first two strings of the guitar for chords and octaves but complete extension of these fingers was impossible. His soloing was all done with the index and middle fingers! Film clips of Django show his technique to be graceful and precise, almost defying belief. . . [You can see this in the video below.]
Django was influenced by jazz recordings of Eddie Lang and Joe Venuti, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. This new music found a place deep in Django's heart. It provided the perfect vehicle for his prodigious talent for improvisation. Django rarely if ever played a solo the same way twice. Numerous recordings prove this to be true. His creative genius was not only that of the master improviser, but also that of the composer, and he can be credited with numerous pieces with beautiful melodies and sophisticated, subtle harmonic structures. However, Django could not read or write musical notation and he was at the mercy of others that could to get his ideas down on paper. . .
1934 proved to be the most important year of his life. [You can read it all at redhotjazz.]

Eero Saarinen
Architect   20-Aug-1910 - 1-Sep-1961

From Wikipedia:
Eero Saarinen, who was born in Hvitträsk, coincidentally shared the same
birthday as his father, Eliel Saarinen [1]. Saarinen emigrated to the United States of America in 1923 at the age of thirteen. [2]. He grew up within the community of the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where his father taught. Saarinen studied under his father at the Cranbrook Academy of Art where he took courses in sculpture and furniture design. He had a close relationship with fellow students Charles and Ray Eames, and became good friends with Florence (Schust) Knoll. Beginning in September 1929, he studied sculpture at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris, France.[3] He then went on to study at the Yale School of Architecture, completing his studies in 1934. Subsequently, he toured Europe and North Africa for a year and returned for a year to his native Finland, after which he returned to Cranbrook to work for his father and teach at the academy. He became a naturalized citizen of the U.S. in 1940. Saarinen was recruited by his friend, who was also an architect, to join the military service in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Saarinen was assigned to draw illustrations for bomb disassembly manuals and to provide designs for the Situation Room in the White House .[citation needed] Saarinen worked full time for the OSS until 1944.[3] After his father's death in 1950, Saarinen founded his own architect's office, "Eero Saarinen and Associates". 

The first major work by Saarinen, in collaboration with his father, was the General Motors Technical Center in Warren, Michigan. It follows the rationalist design Miesian style: incorporating steel and glass, but with the added accent of panels in two shades of blue. The GM technical center was constructed in 1956, with Saarinen using models. These models allowed him to share his ideas with others, and gather input from other professionals. With the success of the scheme, Saarinen was then invited by other major American corporations to design their new headquarters: these included John Deere, IBM, and CBS. Despite their rationality, however, the interiors usually contained more dramatic sweeping staircases, as well as furniture designed by Saarinen, such as the Pedestal Series. In the 1950s he began to receive more commissions from American universities for campus designs and individual buildings; these include the Noyes dormitory at Vassar, as well as an ice rink, Morse College, and Ezra Stiles College at Yale University. Both the Morse and Ezra Stiles Colleges at Yale have received criticism from students for failing to fulfill basic dormitory needs.[Wikipedia]
He served on the jury for the Sydney Opera House commission and was crucial in the selection of the internationally-known design by Jørn Utzon.[Photos from]

Jimmy Dodd
Mickey Mouse Club host  28-Mar-1910 - 10-Nov-1964

(Photo from ultimatedisney.)
If you weren't around in the 1950s you won't understand the impact Jimmy Dodd had on kids.  The Mickey Mouse Club was the biggest kid show around, and you can see on the video below, it was pretty basic.  And Jimmy Dodd was the lead Mouseketeer.  This was before the first Disneyland opened in Anaheim.

I don't know that many people knew much about who Jimmy Dodd was.  The most complete bio I found of Jimmy Dodd was at originalmmc.  Here's just a bit and you can see a lot more at the link.

His parents divorced while Jimmie was a small boy, and for several years he and his mother lived with her sisters, none of whom ever married. Jimmie's father lived two houses away, and had switched jobs to being a salesman in a music store. . .

The easy access to instruments and scores provided by his father's store stimulated Jimmie's lifelong interest and affinity for music. From his father he may have also picked up his positive attitude and the inclination for acting, both being key requisites for a successful salesman. Jimmie's deep religious faith developed at a much later time, but may have had its early grounding in the household dominated by his maiden aunts. . .

Jimmie appeared in 77 films prior to 1955, in most of which he had uncredited roles. One of his larger parts was a recurring role as Lullaby Joslin in the 'Three Mesquiteers' films for Republic Pictures. Other memorable pictures he played in were Flying Tigers (1942), Corvette K-225 (1943), Janie (1944), Night and Day (1946), Buck Privates Come Home (1947), and Kidnapped (1948).

Jimmie also wrote songs during the forties (Nashville Blues, Rosemary, Amarillo), and in 1946 joined ASCAP with Meet Me In Monterey. The songwriting income, though small, became more important as the advent of television after the war greatly reduced the number of films being made. Jimmie's health was precarious, and in 1951 he was hospitalized for a grave illness. The hospitalization and long recovery left Jimmie and Ruth in a financial crunch, that was only relieved by a $1000 prize for writing the song Washington, the official song of the District of Columbia.
 But the two years before the Mickey Mouse Club started he had only one extra film bit and one TV appearance each year, and he and Ruth were again in tough straits financially. It was at this point that he and Ruth became "born-again" Christians, after joining a Hollywood-based Christian Professional group.

Soon afterwards, a tennis partner of his named Bill Justice, a long-time animator at Disney, called him and said the studio needed someone to write a song about a pencil. Jimmie dashed off the song and sent a demo record of it over to the studio. He was hired by Disney executive Jimmy Johnson, and assigned to write songs for cartoons and the Disneyland show. Producer Bill Walsh knew Jimmie would be an excellent host for the Mickey Mouse Club, but to cinch it he had to get Walt Disney to think it was his own idea. So he had Jimmie perform The Pencil Song for Walt, who immediately suggested Jimmie as a host for the show. (Mouseketeer fans can get the rest here.)
The video is a bit long (6 minutes) and goes beyond Jimmy Dodd and on to the Disneyland television show, but it also has some key parts from the Mickey Mouse Club. 

Georges Pire
Religion   10-Feb-1910 - 30-Jan-1969
Activist monk, Nobel Prize recipient
Georges Charles Clement Ghislain Pire (February 10, 1910-January 30, 1969), born in Dinant, Belgium, the first child of Georges and Berthe (Ravet) Pire, assigned his life to action in striving to achieve understanding among peoples of the world, to eliminate poverty and hopelessness in the emerging nations, to alleviate the lot of the refugees of the post-World War II period. His refugee work may well have stirred memories of his own childhood, for when he was four and a half, he and his family fled from Belgium before the advancing German troops in 1914, spending four years in France and returning to find their home a charred ruin.

In Dinant where his father was a civic official, Georges Pire studied classics and philosophy at the Collège de Bellevue and at eighteen entered the Dominican monastery of La Sarte in Huy, Belgium, where he took the name Henri Dominique and said his final vows on September 23,1932.

He continued his studies at the Collegio Angelico, the Dominican university in Rome, was ordained in 1934, and granted the doctorate in theology in 1936. After a year of study in the social sciences at the University of Louvain in Belgium, he returned to the monastery at Huy to teach sociology and moral philosophy.

In 1938, the Reverend Father Pire began his long service of organizational work for the unfortunate by founding the Service d'entr'aide familiale [Mutual Family Aid] and Stations de plein air de Huy [Open Air Camps] for children. During and after World War II the stations were more than camps; they were missions that fed thousands of Belgian and French children. . .

Constantly supplementing his duties as curé of La Sarte, Father Pire decided early in 1949 to study the refugee problem. He visited the camps for refugees in Austria, wrote a book, Du Rhin au Danube avec 60,000 D. P., and founded an organization, Aid to Displaced Persons.

There were three levels of action in Father Pire's work for the refugees. There was, first, his «sponsoring» movement in which interested people could «sponsor» a family of refugees, sending parcels and letters of encouragement; by 1960 there were some 18,000 sponsors. On a second level there were his homes for the aged, four of them, all situated in Belgium: at Huy (1950), Esneux (1951), Aertslaer (1953), and Braine-le-Comte (1954).

It was evident, however, that the refugees needed to have the opportunity to put down roots, to gain economic independence, to achieve psychological wholeness. Consequently, Father Pire conceived the idea of building small villages for them, to be located on the outskirts of a city where these communities would be free to grow, not in the center of a city where they might degenerate into ghettoes. Using private contributions from the «hearts of men», he constructed seven «European Villages», each for about 150 people: at Aix-la-Chapelle, Germany (1956); Bregenz, Austria (1956); Augsburg, Germany (1957); Berchem-Sainte-Agathe, Belgium, (the Fridtjof Nansen Village, 1958); Spiesen in the Saar (the Albert Schweitzer Village, 1958); Wuppertal, Germany (the Anne Frank Village, 1959); Euskirchen, Germany (1962). All seven of these villages still exist, each now housing about twenty D. P. families.
[Pire bio from and photo from philatelydominicanorder]

Dizzy Dean
Baseball  16-Jan-1910 - 17-Jul-1974

During the 1930s, baseball fans flocked to stadiums across the United States to get a peek of Dizzy Dean, the anchor of the St. Louis Cardinals' pitching staff. Dean was a dominant pitcher, to be sure—with his intimidating fastball, Dean hurled his way to four consecutive strikeout titles (1932-1935) and had four seasons with 20 or more wins. Over his career, Dean struck out 1,163 batters in 1,967 innings. Along with his fastball, Dean served up plenty of shenanigans, making him one of baseball's premier gate attractions. Once, he brought a black cat into the stadium and pretended to put a hex on the rival team. Other times, he joked around on the loudspeaker before the game. Dean was also a beloved braggart. Time and again, Dean predicted the impossible, then stepped to the mound and made it come true. To spectators suffering from the hardships of the Depression, the fun-loving, fastball-pitching Dean served as a beacon of hope. He was the uncultured country boy made good, a hero who had somehow escaped the hardships they could not.  (Sketch by Lisa Frick  and photo from

In 1934, Dean's kid brother, Paul, joined the Cardinals' pitching staff. Dean bragged about his little brother's talent and predicted that they would win 45 games between them. Dizzy Dean won 30 that season, while his little brother won 19, for a total of 49. The Cardinals also won the pennant and ended up in the World Series playing the Detroit Tigers. Once again, the immodest Dizzy Dean spouted off, saying that he and his kid brother would win the series for the Cardinals. Again, he was right. The Dean brothers each won two games apiece in the series, giving the Cardinals the championship. It was a phenomenal season for Dizzy Dean, who led the National League in wins (30), complete games (24), shutouts (7), and strikeouts (195). He was named the National League Most Valuable Player (MVP), as well as World Series MVP.

Stats from 

Samuel Barber

9-Mar-1910 - 23-Jan-1981

American composer Samuel Barber often confuses critics. He founded no school; he stuck to no one style. As a public figure, he seemed aloof from the various critical fights of American music: tonal vs. atonal, Igor Stravinsky vs. Arnold Schoenberg, and old-guard vs. modern. Almost all the other big names of American modernism – Aaron Copland, Roy Harris, Walter Piston, David Diamond, Leonard Bernstein, Virgil Thomson, Roger Sessions, and Milton Babbitt – allied themselves with particular camps. Barber seemed just to write music, and, in so doing, became controversial, someone to be attacked or defended.

Barber distinguished himself as a melodist. Almost everything he wrote has at least one gorgeous tune or memorable theme. This alone got him into trouble in certain circles as a stick-in-the-mud or even as a panderer to the vulgar. However, his gift also genuinely puzzled people. There is nothing in a Barber piece that instantly proclaims the composer, as a Copland, Ralph Vaughan Williams, or Serge Prokofieff work surely does. His melodic emphasis led certain critics to label him "neo-Romantic," a word that doesn't mean all that much. Almost nothing he wrote could have been produced in the Romantic era. The harmonies are too complex and sometimes extremely dissonant, the approach to form is as modern as Igor Stravinsky's, and the orchestration is usually quite experimental. That his music sounds full and rich simply means that the experiment succeeds. [From]

Samuel Barber  "Adagio for strings"  Agnus Dei
Uploaded by dauphins631.

Jean Genet
Novelist  19-Dec-1910 - 15-Apr-1986

Theatre of the Absurd
This French writer, a dramatist and convicted felon, became one of the leading figures in the avant-garde theater. Genet' depicted the world of male prostitutes, convicts, pimps and social outcasts, the dark side of society which knew by his own experience. For a long time he was so addicted to theft that he stole diamonds from his hostesses at a literary reception. However, Genet's life changed radically when such prominent figures as Jean-Paul Sartre and Jean Cocteau clamored successfully for his parole. He subsequently escaped his criminal past and embarked on a new career as a writer, who glorified homosexual love and lawbreaking. "O let me be nothing but beauty alone! Quickly or slowly I will go, but I will dare what must be dared. I will destroy appearances, the casings will be burnt off and will fall from me, and I will appear there, some evening, on the palm of your hand, calm and pure like a statuette of glass." (from The Thief's Journal, 1954) [The rest is at kirjasto. Photo from Leninimports.]

Scatman Crothers
Jazz Musician  and Actor  23-May-1910 - 22-Nov-1986

His father was a cobbler and the proprietor of a second-hand clothing store. At the age of 14, Crothers began teaching himself to play both drums and guitar, and to sing in the scat style later made popular by Louis Armstrong and others. Still in his teens, Crothers landed a job entertaining customers at one of the local speakeasies, a place frequented by Chicago mobsters trying to lie low. He received no salary at the roadhouse, but the lavish tips made him "the richest kid in high school," Crothers recalled in a 1981 Jet article.

Scatman learned music and played drums in various jazz and novelty groups in the late 20s and 30s. In the 1930's, he played with T-Bone Walker and Louis Armstrong, and formed a big band in 1936, getting the nickname "Scatman." Sam "The Man" Taylor began working with Scat Man Crothers and the Sunset Royal Orchestra in the late '30s. Scatman moved to L. A. in 1944 and began recording. His wide repertoire then included love songs, bebop, blues, swing, scat, and old jazz. . .
It was in the 1970s that Crothers finally broke through as a fixture in the big leagues of the entertainment industry. In 1970 Crothers played the voice of Scat Cat in the animated Walt Disney feature The Aristocats. That work led to further cartoon voice work. . .

To anybody who watched much television in the 1970s and early 1980s, very few faces or voices were more familiar than those of Scatman Crothers. Crothers is best remembered for his portrayal of Louie the Garbage Man on the NBC series Chico and the Man, but through his constant appearances on television talk shows (Johnny Carson show 18 times), dramas and sitcoms, and in such movies as One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and The Shining, Crothers became one of the period's most visible cultural icons. He achieved this fame after toiling in near-anonymity for more than 50 years. During that time, he performed as a drummer, guitar- /banjo-/ukeleleist, singer, songwriter, and actor in entertainment settings ranging from prohibition-era speakeasies to high-tech 1980s movie studios. (There's a lot more at  The photo is from )

Jean Anouilh

23-Jun-1910 - 3-Oct-1987

Prolific French playwright, whose works ranged from high drama to absurdist farce. Anouilh's career spanned over five decades. Although he cannot be linked with any particular school or trend, he partly adopted Sartre's existentialist views and was also influenced by the way Louis Jouvet and Jean Giraudoux created theater. Anouilh hated publicity, and remained reclusive all his life. Often his unsuccessful protagonist, idealistic and intransigent, is in conflict with the world of compromise and corruption. . .
Anouilh's early works were realistic and naturalistic studies of a sordid and corrupt world. Under the influence of such writers as Giraudoux, Cocteau, and Vitrac, Anouilh found a new angle into writing. Also classical French theater and the Italian dramatist Pirandello shaped his work. He often used the theater as the setting of his plays and struck a balance between farce and seriousness. "Thanks to Molière," Anouilh once said, "the true French theatre is the only one that is not gloomy, in which we laugh like men at war with out misery and our horror. This humor is one of France's messages to the world."

Anouilh grouped his plays under adjectives descriptive of their dominant tone: "black" (tragedies, realistic plays), "pink" (fantasy dominates), "brilliant" (combination of pink and black plays in aristocratic environments), "jarring" (black plays with bitter humour), "costumed" (with historical characters), "baroque," and mes fours (my failures). These adjectives occurred in the titles of each of his collections of plays. (From kirjasto .  Photo from passionsbuehne)

A. J. Ayer
29-Oct-1910  -  27-Jun-1989

If you need to write a philosophy essay on A. J. Ayer you will need to include something about his objections to logical positivism and his Language, Truth and Logic. However you may want to include in your essay the fact that A. J. Ayer died twice. His first and temporary exit from this world occured shorlty after Ayer choked on a piece of Salmon. Apparently his personality changed post death, his wife remarked "he has got much nicer since he died". A. J. Ayer is notable in the 'Beyond Death Experience' community for being a notable Atheist that has reported experiences beyond death. This fascinating snippet of fact isn't going to make much of a dent into your philosophy essay on A. J. Ayer so how about using some of the A. J. Ayer resources below. If you haven't read Ayer's Language, Truth and Logic try the study guide or condensed version.

A. J. Ayer was not only a brilliant philosopher but also a gifted teacher and broadcaster. He was made a fellow of the British Academy in 1952 and knighted in 1970. An interest outside of philosophy was collectiing. Ayer collected stamps, cards, clocks and other collected items. Those that knew A J Ayer knew him as a fun, gregarious and sometimes unsual character. At a formal birthday party, a young Alfred 'freddie' Ayer jumped onto the table and ran down the length of it to grab a slice of birthday cake. Another childhood prank included pulling André Citroën's (after whom the famous car was named) chair away just before he sat down. [From; photo from unc]
Ayer was born into a wealthy family of continental origin. His mother, Reine Citroën, was from the Dutch-Jewish family who founded the Citroën car company in France. His father Jules Ayer was a Swiss Calvinist financier who worked for the Rothschild family.
He grew up in St John's Wood, London. He was educated at Ascham St Vincent's Preparatory School and Eton, and then won a classics scholarship to Christ Church, Oxford. He served as an officer in the Welsh Guards during World War II, working for the SOE. He was a noted social mixer and womanizer, and was married four times, including to Dee Wells and Vanessa Lawson (mother of Nigella Lawson). Reputedly he liked dancing and attending the clubs in London and New York. He was also obsessed with sports, a noted cricketer, and a keen supporter of the Tottenham Hotspur football team.
Ayer was a well-known social figure in his time, and his circle of friends included many famous people in public life, amongst them Cyril Connolly, Graham Greene, George Orwell, E.E. Cummings, Meyer Schapiro, Arthur Koestler, Bertrand Russell, Stuart Hampshire, Stephen Spender, W. H. Auden, Philip Toynbee, Isaiah Berlin, Hugh Gaitskell, Roy Jenkins, Michael Foot, Richard Crossman, Jonathan Miller, Angus Wilson, Alan Bennett, Alice Thomas Ellis, Jane Fontaine, Iris Murdoch, V. S. Pritchett, and Christopher Hitchens.[3]
In Language, Truth and Logic (1936), Ayer rejected atheism, as he understood it, on the grounds that any religious discourse was meaningless [2]. However, in later years Ayer, abandoning strict logical positivism, did refer to himself as an atheist [3] and stated that he did not believe in God [4]. He followed in the footsteps of Bertrand Russell by debating with the Jesuit scholar Frederick Copleston on the topic of religion. [From Wikipedia]

You can read the intro to Language, Truth and Logic

Joseph Alsop

11-Oct-1910 -  28-Aug-1989

Alsop was an influential journalist for 50 years.  A great nephew of Theodore Roosevelt, he had strong opinions and while basically Republican, he supported John F. Kennedy, and was also a strong supporter of the Vietnam War.  He used his society connections well.  See his New York Times obituaryWikipedia Profile,  a letter from Noam Chomsky, and this post from Open Salon (where I got the photo) for different views of Alsop.

Kenneth E. Boulding
18-Jan-1910 - 18-Mar-1993

While Boulding may not be a household name, this is someone whose work on systems theory  I used as readings in my classes.  So he's in.

Kenneth Boulding never knew any boundaries: born in Liverpool, he ascended class prejudice to a distinguished undergraduate career at Oxford - publishing his first paper (1932) while still there. Not bothering to pick up his B. Litt., Boulding proceeded to America. A meeting with Schumpeter on the transatlantic crossing led him to spend some time at Harvard before proceeding on to Chicago - where, under the influence of both Knight and Schultz he wrote a series of other papers on capital theory (pro-Knight, contra Austrians). Not bothering to pick up a Ph.D., Boulding went off to Scotland as an assitant lecturer at Edinburgh. In 1937, Boulding crossed back over to America, to Colgate this time, where he wrote his monumental two-volume textbook, Economic Analysis - the epitome of the Neoclassical- Keynesian Synthesis - before proceeding on to roam around the country: to work for the League of Nations at Princeton, at Fisk University in Tennessee, Iowa State College at Ames (where he wrote his famous 1944 paper on liquidity preference and his 1950 Reconstruction of Economics on stock-flow distinctions), University of Michigan (where he set up his "Center for Research in Conflict Resolution") - with intermediary stays at Stanford (where he set up the famous "Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences") and the International Christian University in Japan (from whence arose his first work on "evolutionary" economics (1970)) - before finally settling at the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1967. [Text and photo from newschool homepage.]

The geographically-unbounded Boulding was also intellectually unbounded - perhaps a legacy of his early mentor and greatest influence, Frank Knight. His early work on opportunity cost, capital theory, international trade (collected in five massive volumes) and his 1941 textbook were exercises in mostly conventional economics - which earned him the prestigious J.B. Clark Medal of the AEA in 1949 (and the Presidency in 1968).

However, his 1944 paper and his 1950 book were attempts at reconstructing a balance-sheet approach to economics in an almost Post Keynesian vein. His work on fusing biology and economics in evolutionary economics (1970, 1978), were already intimated in his influential 1956 tract, The Image. He insisted on bringing in more aspects of economic behavior into economic life. Of his tripartite classification of economic activity - exchange, threat and grants - only the first he felt had been dealt with by economic theory (and even then, inadequately). The latter two, after much resistance, are only now being considered seriously in economics.
Click the link for  "Reflections on What Makes Kenneth Boulding Great"

Daniel I. Arnon
14-Nov-1910 - 20-Dec-1994

Daniel I. Arnon, who added significantly to the understanding of plant photosynthesis, died on Tuesday in Berkeley, Calif. He was 84 and lived in nearby Kensington. . .

In 1973 Dr. Arnon won the National Medal of Science for "his fundamental research into the mechanism of green plant utilization of light to produce chemical energy and oxygen and for contributions to our understanding of plant nutrition."

A major contribution was his role in explaining the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, the "energy messenger" within living cells. In photosynthesis, such synthesis consists of using light energy to hitch an additional phosphate group (formed of phosphorus, hydrogen and oxygen) to adenosine diphosphate to form energy-rich ATP. The process is a key element of photosynthesis, upon which most life on earth is directly or indirectly dependent.(From his NY Times obituary.  For much more on his scientific contributions see NAP.)

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar
19-Oct-1910 - 21-Aug-1995
 Born in Lahore (then India), moved with his family to Madras, then to Cambridge University on scholarship and joined the University of Chicago in 1937.  The photo and the bio are from the Noble Prize (Physics 1983) website: 
After the early preparatory years, my scientific work has followed a certain pattern motivated, principally, by a quest after perspectives. In practise, this quest has consisted in my choosing (after some trials and tribulations) a certain area which appears amenable to cultivation and compatible with my taste, abilities, and temperament. And when after some years of study, I feel that I have accumulated a sufficient body of knowledge and achieved a view of my own, I have the urge to present my point of view, ab initio, in a coherent account with order, form, and structure.

There have been seven such periods in my life: stellar structure, including the theory of white dwarfs (1929-1939); stellar dynamics, including the theory of Brownian motion (1938-1943); the theory of radiative transfer, including the theory of stellar atmospheres and the quantum theory of the negative ion of hydrogen and the theory of planetary atmospheres, including the theory of the illumination and the polarization of the sunlit sky (1943-1950); hydrodynamic and hydromagnetic stability, including the theory of the Rayleigh-Bénard convection (1952-1961); the equilibrium and the stability of ellipsoidal figures of equilibrium, partly in collaboration with Norman R. Lebovitz (1961-1968); the general theory of relativity and relativistic astrophysics (1962-1971); and the mathematical theory of black holes (1974- 1983).
Mother Teresa
26-Aug-1910  -  5-Sep-1997
Photo from wizardtrivia and text from

Mother Teresa was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in Skopje*, Macedonia, on August 26**, 1910. Her family was of Albanian descent. At the age of twelve, she felt strongly the call of God. She knew she had to be a missionary to spread the love of Christ. At the age of eighteen she left her parental home in Skopje and joined the Sisters of Loreto, an Irish community of nuns with missions in India. After a few months' training in Dublin she was sent to India, where on May 24, 1931, she took her initial vows as a nun. From 1931 to 1948 Mother Teresa taught at St. Mary's High School in Calcutta, but the suffering and poverty she glimpsed outside the convent walls made such a deep impression on her that in 1948 she received permission from her superiors to leave the convent school and devote herself to working among the poorest of the poor in the slums of Calcutta. Although she had no funds, she depended on Divine Providence, and started an open-air school for slum children. Soon she was joined by voluntary helpers, and financial support was also forthcoming. This made it possible for her to extend the scope of her work.

On October 7, 1950, Mother Teresa received permission from the Holy See to start her own order, "The Missionaries of Charity", whose primary task was to love and care for those persons nobody was prepared to look after. In 1965 the Society became an International Religious Family by a decree of Pope Paul VI.

Today the order comprises Active and Contemplative branches of Sisters and Brothers in many countries. In 1963 both the Contemplative branch of the Sisters and the Active branch of the Brothers was founded. In 1979 the Contemplative branch of the Brothers was added, and in 1984 the Priest branch was established. . .

Jacques Cousteau
Scientist   11-Jun-1910 -  25-Jun-1997

Infoplease gives a short overview:
Jacques Cousteau was the most famous undersea explorer in the world, known by his dozens of books and films from the 1950s until his death in 1997. The co-inventor of the aqualung (an underwater breathing apparatus) in 1943, Cousteau also pioneered techniques in underwater photography and explored the oceans of the world aboard his vessel Calypso. His filmmaking career included three Oscars, frequent television specials and the series, The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau (1966). In his later years Cousteau devoted himself to educating the public on environmental issues, and working with the Cousteau Foundation, founded in 1973 to further marine research and exploration.
A little more from notablebiographies:
Although Cousteau was a sickly child, who the doctors told not to participate in any strenuous activity, he learned to swim and soon developed a passionate love for the sea. He combined this love with an early interest in invention and built a model of a marine crane when he was eleven years old.

In school Cousteau was bored and often misbehaved. He was even expelled at one time. In 1930 Cousteau entered France's naval academy, the Ecole Navale, in Brest. He graduated three years later and then entered the French navy. In 1936 he was given a pair of underwater goggles, the kind used by divers. Cousteau was so impressed with what he saw beneath the sea that he immediately set about designing a device that would allow humans to breath underwater.

This project was put on hold during World War II (1939–45; a war in which England, the Soviet Union, and the United States clashed with Germany, Japan, and Italy). Cousteau became a gunnery (heavy guns) officer and was later awarded the prestigious Legion d'Honneur for his work with the
French resistance, a military group fighting against the occupying German army.
Even during the war Cousteau turned his attention to the world below the sea. In 1942 he designed the Aqua-Lung, an early underwater breathing device. Cousteau then helped remove mines from French seas left over from the war. One of these minesweepers (boats used to remove mines from the bottom of the ocean) would become Cousteau's research ship, the Calypso. (Find the rest at  notablebiographies; picture by Dick Strandberg from incwell.)

E. G. Marshall
Actor   18-Jun-1910 - 24-Aug-1998
Juror #4, 12 Angry Men

While some websites list him as born in 1910, the ones I'm more likely to trust (and did longer bios) list him as born 1914.  So consider this a preview for the 1914 list.

Akira Kurosawa
Film Director   23-Mar-1910 - 6-Sep-1998

From Kirjatsu:
Japanese film director, considered with Kenji Mizoguchi and Yasujiro Ozu among the greatest of Japanese modern film makers. Kurosawa also collaborated on the scripts of most of his films and edited or closely supervised the editing. Several of Kurosawa's works were adaptations of Western literary works, including Dostoevsky's The Idiot, Gorky's The Lower Depths, Shakespeare's Macbeth (adapted into Throne of Blood) and King Lear (reworked as Ran). The director Steven Spielberg called once Kurosawa "the pictorial Shakespeare of our time."
"I once asked Akira Kurosawa why he had chosen to frame a shot in Ran in a particular way. His answer was that if he he'd panned the camera one inch to the left, the Sony factory would be sitting there exposed, and if he he'd panned an inch to the right, we would see the airport - neither of which belonged in a period movie. Only the person who's made the movie knows what goes into the decisions that result in any piece of work." (Sidney Lumet in Making Movies, 1995)
Akira Kurosawa was born in Tokyo. His father, Isamu Kurosawa, was a veteran army officer who turned athletic instructor. His mother, Shima, came from an Osaka merchant family. She was forty years old when Kurosawa was born. Isamu took often his whole family to the movies, and later Kurosawa said, that his father's attitude toward film encouraged him to become a director. In 1923 Kurosawa entered Keika Junior High School. He began taking Japanese calligraphy lessons and became captain of the school's kendo club. For his father's disappointment, he was not interested in formal training in arts. He also failed to pass the entrance examination of an art school he applied. . .
Kurosawa gained international fame with his great series of films in the 1950s and 1960s, which mixed Eastern and Western styles and established him as one of the world's leading film makers. In 1951 Kurosawa's Rashomon won the first prize at the Venice Film Festivals and a Special Oscar. The production company had been first rather reluctant to submit the film, fearing incomprehension. John McCarten's review in the New Yorker (December 29, 1951) consolidated early fears: "Perhaps I am purblind to the merits of Rashomon, but no matter how enlightened I may become on the art forms of Nippon, I am going to go on thinking that a Japanese potpourri of Erskine Caldwell, Stanislavski, and Harpo Marx isn't likely to provide much sound diversion." The dark tale of a rape of a woman and murder of her husband has been interpreted as a philosophical examination of the nature of objective truth. The Finnish film critic Peter von Bagh wrote in Elämää suuremmat elokuvat (1989) that Rashomon is about narcissism, about ways by which people deceive themselves. Kurosawa himself has said that he wanted to return with this work to the beauty and heritage of the silent film.  [Go to Kirjatsu for the whole bio.]

Gus Hall
Activist   8-Oct-1910   13-Oct-2000

Long-time American Communist Party leader. Hall was born Arvo Gus Halberg on October 8, 1910, in the Mesabi Iron Range of Minnesota. His parents were Finnish immigrants who were involved in the IWW and would later be charter members of the Communist Party in 1919. His father, Matt Halberg, recruited him into the Young Communist League (YCL) when he was 17. Working for the YCL, young Arvo traveled to mining towns in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. In 1931, he spent two years at the Lenin Institute in Moscow, learning the political ideology of Joseph Stalin and other Soviet leaders of that period. In the 1934 Minneapolis Teamsters strike (led by Trotskyist Farrell Dobbs), Hall was one of the young activists involved. During this period, he became blacklisted and could not find a job, forcing him to change his name to Gus Hall.

The YCL moved Hall to Ohio where he led the 1937 "Little Steel" strike of Warren-Youngstown. He became a staff member of the Steel Workers of America, and ran for mayor of Youngstown, Ohio, on the Communist Party ticket. He volunteered for the US Navy during World War II and was elected to the Communist Party's National Committee while in the Pacific in 1944. He became a close aide to Eugene Dennis and was consequently elected to the National Executive Board in 1946.

Under the anti-communist Smith Act, Hall was indicted in 1948 and convicted one year later to a five-year prison term. He fled to Mexico and was elected the Communist Party's National Secretary in 1950. In Mexico City, US authorities apprehended Hall in 1951 and was given three additional years of prison time. Upon his release in the 1960's, he became the General Secretary of the Communist Party and worked to rebuild the party after years of devestating decline. He ran for President in 1968 with Charlene Mitchell, but received only 1,075 votes.

As he rebuilt the Communist Party, Hall retained many characteristics of the Party's Stalinist past, and entered the New Left to gain young activists with the YCL (now known as the "W.E.B. DuBois Clubs"). He managed to draw in many young militants with the help of the likes of Charlene Mitchell and Angela Davis. [There's a little more here.]

William Hanna
Cartoonist  14-Jul-1910  22-Mar-2001

The son of a construction superintendent for the Sante Fe railway stations, William Hanna was obliged to move around quite a bit as a youngster. Influenced by the preponderance of professional writers on his mother's side of the family, Hanna gravitated towards the creative arts in high school. He played saxophone in a dance band, then majored in journalism and engineering at Compton (California) Junior College. While looking for work in the early stages of the Depression, he landed a backstage engineering job at Hollywood's Pantages Theatre. Hanna's brother-in-law, who worked for a Hollywood lab called Pacific Title, tipped him off to a job opening at the Harman-Ising cartoon studios. From 1931 onward, Hanna contributed story ideas to Harman-Ising's Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series, produced on behalf of Leon Schlesinger and Warner Bros. He also wrote the music and lyrics for several of the catchy tunes heard in these animated endeavors. When Harman-Ising moved to MGM, they took Hanna along as a story editor. And when MGM formed its own animation department in 1937, Hanna was hired by department head Fred Quimby.  [More at fandango]

Sarah McClendon
Journalist  8-Jul-1910  8-Jan-2003
White House Reporter FDR to GWB
 From her NY Times obituary:
First mocked in an almost all-male press corps, then scorned as a vocal crank and finally honored as a pioneer, Ms. McClendon was the nation's longest-serving White House reporter, from 1944 to the early days of the current Bush administration. She became celebrated for questions at presidential news conferences that included local concerns in Texas, her home state, and government lapses overlooked by others.

In the 1950's, she identified herself successively as the representative of so many of her small-town newspaper clients that Dwight D. Eisenhower once demanded to know, ''Do you get fired every week?''

Helen Thomas, the veteran White House correspondent recalled: ''She made the veins stand out in Eisenhower's head, because he would get so mad. Sometimes people thought her questions were off the wall, but other times, she hit them right in the eye.'' . . .
She was a single, working mother when that was rare, and on the day of her first Washington assignment she had to plead with a baby sitter to stay overtime. The sitter agreed, and Ms. McClendon made her deadline.

Robert K. Merton
4-Jul-1910  -  23-Feb-2003

From his Columbia University Obituary [photo from same link]:
Merton, who lived in Manhattan, was an institution at Columbia, joining the faculty in 1941 and helping to build one of the most prominent sociology departments in the world through the relentless pursuit of subtle patterns in society. By concentrating on "middle range" theory -- rather than grand scale or abstract speculation -- Merton established concepts that reached into everyday life. He coined the phrase "self-fulfilling prophecy," developed the idea of role models and created, with his colleagues, the "focused interview" that was used in "focus groups" -- now a staple of contemporary business albeit a distortion of Merton's intention.

Merton generated many of his ideas through human interaction and observation. The skillful logic of his findings once inspired Eugene Garfield, an information specialist, to write, "So much of what he says is so absolutely obvious, so transparently true, that one can't imagine why no one else has bothered to point it out."

In 1942, Merton gained much attention when he described the "ethos of science," and the consequences of these values for the behavior of scientists within institutional settings. He portrayed scientists as individuals who had regular motivations, desires and fears, thus offering insight into some of the most elusive and creative minds the world has known.

Often, Merton's work had consequences that pushed beyond the walls of academia, including his study of successfully integrated communities, which helped shape the case of "Brown v. Board of Education," and led to the Supreme Court's ruling to desegregate public schools. His extraordinarily influential work on social structure and anomie built upon research on anomia by the French sociologist Emile Durkheim and sought to explain that deviance results from the existence of social structures that dangle universal goals but do not offer all members the opportunity to achieve them.

Ronald H. Coase 

29-Dec-1910 - apparently still living as of June 2010

From the beginning of his bio at the Library of Economics and Liberty:
Ronald Coase received the Nobel Prize in 1991 “for his discovery and clarification of the significance of transaction costs and property rights for the institutional structure and functioning of the economy.” Coase is an unusual economist for the twentieth century, and a highly unusual Nobel Prize winner. First, his writings are sparse. In a sixty-year career he wrote only about a dozen significant papers—and very few insignificant ones. Second, he uses little or no mathematics, disdaining what he calls “blackboard economics.” Yet his impact on economics has been profound. That impact stems almost entirely from two of his articles, one published when he was twenty-seven and the other published twenty-three years later.  .  .

Here are some more from the original list.  At first I just left the links on the website I got the list from, but those bios are pretty limited, so I started finding more interesting links. 

Joy Adamson Naturalist
20-Jan-1910  - 3-Jan-1980
Born Free

Momofuku Ando
5-Mar-1910  -  5-Jan-2007
Inventor of instant noodle soup

Paul A. Baran
8-Dec-1910 - 26-Mar-1964
Marxist economist

Kitty Carlisle
3-Sep-1910 - 18-Apr-2007
 A Night at the Opera

Christopher Cockerell
4-Jun-1911 - 1-Jun-1999

Cyril Cusack
26-Nov-1910 - 7-Oct-1993
Gone to Earth

Orval Faubus
Governor of Arkansas, 1955-67

Paul J. Flory
19-Jun-1910 - 9-Sep-1985
Studied polymers

Red Foley
Country Musician
17-Jun-1910 - 19-Sep-1968
Country crooner, wrote Old Shep

Abe Fortas
Judge  19-Jun-1910  -  5-Apr-1982
US Supreme Court Justice, 1965-69

Erich Gimpel - This link takes you to a fascinating story.
25-Mar-1910 - 1996
Agent 146

Paulette Goddard
Actor and for a time Charlie Chaplin's wife
3-Jun-1910 - 23-Apr-1990
Reap the Wild Wind

Louis Henyey  - The numerical technique he developed for the solution of the equations of stellar structure, known worldwide as the Henyey method, resulted in breakthroughs in research and has since become the standard tool in the field.
3-Feb-1910 - 18-Feb-1970
Henyey method

Miguel Hernández
30-Oct-1910 - 28-Mar-1942
El rayo que no cesa

Sitting upon the Dead

Sitting upon the dead
fallen silent these two months,
I kiss empty shoes
and make an angry fist
with the heart's hand
and the soul that drives it. . .

Sammy Kaye
13-Mar-1910 - 2-Jun-1987
Swing and Sway with Sammy Kaye

Tjalling C. Koopmans
Nobel Prize winning Economist
28-Aug-1910 - 26-Feb-1985
Linear programming

Frank Loesser
29-Jun-1910 - 28-Jul-1969
Guys and Dolls

Diosdado Macapagal
Head of State
28-Sep-1910 - 21-Apr-1997
9th President of the Philippines

Archer J. P. Martin
Nobel Prize winning Chemist
1-Mar-1910 - 28-Jul-2002
Partition chromatography

Max Miedinger
24-Dec-1910 - 8-Mar-1980
Designed the Helvetica typeface

Jacques Monod
Nobel Prize Physiology or Medicine
9-Feb-1910 - 31-May-1976
Operon theory of genetic control

Bonnie Parker
1-Oct-1910 - 23-May-1934
Bonnie and Clyde

Louis Prima
7-Dec-1910 - 24-Aug-1978
King of the Swingers

Edwin O. Reischauer
15-Oct-1910 - 1-Sep-1990
US Ambassador to Japan, 1961-66

Abraham Ribicoff
9-Apr-1910 - 22-Feb-1998
Senator and Governor from Connecticut

Lillian Roth
13-Dec-1910 - 12-May-1980
I'll Cry Tomorrow

Bayard Rustin
17-Mar-1910 - 24-Aug-1987
Organized the 1963 March on Washington

Paul Turan
28-Aug-1910  -  26-Sep-1976
Hungarian mathematician

Robert F. Wagner, Jr.
20-Apr-1910  - 12-Feb-1991
Mayor of New York City, 1954-65

T-Bone Walker
28-May-1910 -  16-Mar-1975
Highly influential blues guitarist

Howlin' Wolf
10-Jun-1910  -  10-Jan-1976
Blues guitarist

John Wooden  I wrote about Johnny Wooden as part of a post on recent deaths in early June.
14-Oct-1910 - 31 May 2010
Winningest-ever college coach

Jane Wyatt
12-Aug-1910 - 20-Oct-2006
Father Knows Best

Joseph Yablonski
Labor Leader
3-Mar-1910 - 31-Dec-1969
UMW executive, murdered

Saturday, June 26, 2010

"16 bull noses and one pork chop"

I went to a hearing on fixing Tudor and Lake Otis a while back and signed up for their email updates.  This one came today:

The intersection is closed for the weekend!

 Earth Stone, the concrete sub contractor, is scheduled to install about 3000ft. of median curbs, 16 bull noses and one pork chop over the weekend.  Arctic Electric will install mast arms with new signal heads.  The traffic signals will still be operated by the temporary signals.  QAP will be paving asphalt pathways and the pipe crew will be installing the Oil and Grit Separator System on the south of Lake Otis.  Once the intersection opens up on Monday, the traffic will be divided by the medians in all four directions and all four corners will have free right turns.

As usual, all business accesses are open.  Please stop and talk to the flaggers for direction.

St. Mary Church access will be maintained thru Lake Otis South and Tudor West.  Chris and Lori’s wedding traffic can use both entrances on Saturday.

Use Elmore or Tudor East to access businesses on Tudor East (Sutton’s Green House, Diamond Animal Clinic, Frontier Plaza mall, Tudor Med Plaza, KFC and the Subway…)

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Please contact me for any questions or concerns.

Have a great weekend!

Chong M. Kim, P.E.
Project Engineer
AK DOT/PF Construction
Office: (907) 646-2300
   Cell: (907) 244-8521
   Fax: (907) 646-2332

From trafficsafetyindia we learn that:
Frontier Bullnose crash barriers have proved their ability on the harsh Indian highways and internal city roads. They have excellent night time visibility. When crashed into, the water inside takes the impact of the vehicle thereby acting as a life saver.[There's a lot more information on the site.]

And from the California Metropolitan Transportation Commission:

Pork Chop Islands are triangular islands placed adjacent to free-right turn lanes.  They separate right-turning vehicles from through lanes and they provide a refuge for pedestrians to cross the free-right lane before crossing the through lanes. 

There were three pictures of "pedestrian refuge islands" the pork chop being a type of PRI.  I'm not sure this is a pork chop since none of the pictures were labeled as such, but this one looks a bit like Juneau.  This California site had lots of information including advantages and disadvantages and costs.

I guess by Monday we can go see for ourselves 16 bull noses and one pork chop.

Artist Rie Muñoz Talks About Painting a Raft of Ducks

I met Alaskan artist Rie Muñoz in the House Chambers in Juneau in April.  She was there with her granddaughter observing her daughter-in-law, Juneau Representative, Cathy Muñoz at work.  I described a print of hers we've had a long time and she told me about the day she made it. 

Friday, June 25, 2010

Full Circle Farm - CSA - First Pick Up

We got our first box of fresh, semi-local produce today.  We signed up to receive a box every two weeks.  The one we chose is a little different from most CSAs (Consumer Supported Agriculture) because the food isn't all local.  Some comes from the Pacific Northwest.

When I went to pick up the box yesterday about 4:30pm at the CH2MHill Building (we could go through a lot of possible interpretations about what it means that a CSA distributes its food at the company that took over from VECO, but I'll leave that for readers to do) I couldn't find anything.  It turned out that the distribution was in the cafe, but it was locked up and no one seemed to have a key.  I was told they closed at 3pm but the pickup was supposed to be from noon to five. 

I looked through the glass and saw a little white sign about Full Circle Farm  , and I could even see two boxes under the counter.  But I couldn't get in.  Phone calls later confirmed we could get it this morning.

J went and it's a little worse for having sat all night in the box, but looks ok.  Our partner in this is coming over soon and we'll divide the food up.  Here's the list of what we got.

J and our partner did most of the arrangements here, so I'm still figuring this out.  I don't know if it's all organic or not, I'll have to check it out.  And also figure out how much the equivalent food might have cost at the market.  This comes to $41 every two weeks.  I know it's a lot more than I would get for that at Rainbow Foods in Juneau, but what about Sagaya here.

Just posting this as a news item, I don't know enough yet to make any judgments.

Wait... here's a Yelp review.  The other two are similar.
Penny A.
Girdwood, AK1/21/2009
I have priced out the cost of purchasing the same amount of organic produce at the grocery store and have definitely found these boxes to be an excellent deal IF you use all of the ingredients!  Sometimes stuff included is really wilted in which case FCF is good about making corrections by adding extra to the next box or issuing a credit.
Sometimes it was a delightful treat to get our box and others it felt like a burden on my shoulders: all of this food that I had to cook and prepare!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

“All these men, I’d die for them. And they’d die for me.”

This is the quote that Lucian K. Truscott IV took issue with from the Rolliing Stone article on Gen. MacChrystal.  In a NY Times editorial he writes about his 1967 meeting at West Point with Will Lang, a reporter who did a Life Magazine cover story about his grandfather, Lucian K. Truscott Jr., in WW II. 

His complaint is that
For too long, the Army has been led by sentimental men, by peacocks in starched fatigues and strutting ascetics surrounded by public relations teams. But the Army doesn’t need sentimental generals; it needs generals who can give the kind of difficult and deadly orders that win wars.
It's an interesting opinion piece (and short so read it yourself), but I'm not sure that he, given his source of 'truth' is his grandfather, isn't also being sentimental.  His is one perspective to ponder, but certainly not the only one.

There seem to be no shortage of opinions, but if you read the original Rolling Stone article you can form your own.  It does sound like MacChrystal thought a bit too highly of his own abilities.  When he says (about the people in DC without Afghan combat experience) that they don't have a clue, he seems to not be considering that he, without DC combat experience, may not have a clue of their world and that his world is just one of many, many worlds the President has to make decisions about. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Knife Sex and Penmanship

It was the knife sex that caught my eye. Is it the penmanship that makes it look like an x or is it just my prurient brain?  (That's a rhetorical question.)  Anyway, one advantage of biking and walking is that you get to see these little novellas about modern American life posted here and there.

Truman's Firing of MacArthur as Background to General McChrystal's Trip To Washington

As General McChrystal flies to DC, summoned to meet the President after speaking poorly of the President, Vice President, and the Ambassador to Afghanistan to the Rolling Stone magazine, it might be useful to recall another general, 60 years ago, who also spoke his mind to the press. 

Does the relationship between General Douglas MacArthur and President Harry Truman sixty years ago tell us anything about Obama and McChrystal?  I would note here, that this post is all based on the account in  William Manchester's American Caesar:  Douglas MacArthur.  

 Of course, historical precedents can be tricky.  While some parts of a situation may be analogous to our present dilemma, there may also be factors that are very different.  So read this with care.  It is, I would say, instructive to consider all the unknowns and hidden issues that we can know about the 1950 situation in hindsight, that are obviously taking place today, but we won't know about for many years.  [This is probably going to be a little less proofread than normal.  I've been working on this a good part of the day and I'm losing my concentration.  I'll try to clean it up a bit later.]

It was June 24, 1950 in Washington DC when word came in that North Korea had launched an all out attack on South Korea. The Communists had declared victory in mainland China the previous year. MacArthur had been the General who had forged victory in the Pacific and was now in Japan where, since the end of the war in August 1945, as Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP) he had conducted the occupation and democratization of Japan with cultural sensitivity and respect.  He was a highly intelligent and independent general and had tangled with other generals and US presidents before. In 1948 he dabbled in presidential politics in the Republican primaries with poor results. 

After Kim Il Sung's North Korean army  had taken Seoul, MacArthur's responsibility was expanded to cover Korea.    His immediate call for more troops had been rejected by the Joint Chiefs who were more concerned about Europe.  There were press reports that cited General Chiang Kai-shek  of Formosa (Taiwan) misquoting MacArthur about his intentions for China.  The State Department's roving envoy Averell Harriman was sent by Truman to make sure MacArthur understood the Administration's position.  Harriman reassured Truman
"he was convinced that the Supreme Commander was loyal to 'constitutional authority' . . . and he felt that 'political and personal considerations should be put to one side and our government [should] deal with General MacArthur on the lofty level of the great national asset which he is." [Manchester, p. 566]
But within the week, MacArthur got further instructions from the Secretary of Defense regarding Formosa and the mainland.
The General tartly replied that he fully understood the presidential determination 'to protect the Communist mainland.'  That was insolent.  If Washington meant to take a hard line with him, this was the time to do it.  Instead Truman encouraged him by altering his stand on Formosa [more in line with what MacArthur wanted. (p. 567)
The reason for Truman's policy change was political, not military.  He was trying to ward off Republican attacks that he was soft on Communist China at the expense of Formosa.  Immediately after this MacArthur was invited to send a message to the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) convention. Manchester continues:
Whitney tells us, 'MacArthur decided that this was an excellent opportunity to place himself on the record as being squarely behind the President.'
It was an excellent opportunity to remain silent.  U.S. policy in his theater was changing so swiftly that even those close to the oval office had trouble keeping up with it, and a General halfway around the globe, anxious to see in it what he wanted to see, had no business interpreting it for veterans or anybody else. [p. 568]
The message he sent strongly argued that
"Nothing could be more fallacious than the threadbare argument" that "if we defend Formosa we alienate continental Asia"
and continued with a lecture on Oriental psychology and
"The geographic location of Formosa is such that in the hands of a power unfriendly to the United States it constitutes an enemy salient in the very center"
The Administration got copies of the speech three days before it was to be read to the VFW meeting, but it was already being printed in Life, and the U.S. News and World Report and in England.
As Wayne Morse later pointed out, its impact could hardly have been greater had it already been delivered in person.  And the timing, from the President's point of view, could not have been worse.  He had just proposed that the U.N. investigate the Formosa situation in the hope of reducing the areas of conflict in the Far East.  He felt that "General MacArthur's message - which the world might mistake as an expression of American policy - contradicted this". . .[p. 569]
An angry President Truman toyed with relieving MacArthur of his command (but leaving him in Command of Japan) but did not want personally hurt MacArthur.  He demanded a retraction of the message before it was delivered.
MacArthur instantly complied, but he was, he said, "utterly astonished" . . . "My message was most carefully prepared to fully support the President's policy position.  My remarks were calculated only to support his declaration and I am unable to see wherein they might be interpreted otherwise."  He was hurt and angry, and with some justification.  He was capable of impudence and provocation, but in this instance his only sin was taking Truman's pronouncements on Formosa at face value.  The President was following one course in the United Nations and another in fencing with his critics on Capitol Hill.  MacArthur, believing that the administration was determined to keep the island out of hostile hands as a link to the U.S. defense system, had unintentionally embarrassed the chief executive in the world forum.  He was wrong to have said anything - the contretemps over his trip to Taipei should have taught him that - but right in his paraphrasing of what the White House was telling the American people.  He was a casualty of rough politics, a loser in a game whose rules he never mastered.  [p. 570]

Since he couldn't get more soldiers right away, he started a buddy program pairing US troops with ROK (Republic of Korea) troops.  But these troops were being pummeled by the North Korean troops and MacArthur came up with a plan to bring in a force behind enemy lines and cut off their supplies and take back Seoul.  His target was Inchon and everyone else said this was impossible.  He was given a reluctant green light and he pulled it off to everyone's surprise.  (For Alaskans, I would note that he crossed from Japan to Inchon on the Mount McKinley.)

But as MacArthur's UN troops routed the North Koreans and retook Seoul, he rubbed Washington the wrong way again when in the bombed out National Assembly Chamber, he reinstalled the ROK President Rhee, not a particular favorite in Washington, .
But these victories led to new policy dilemmas.  Should he stop at the 38th parallel, the dividing point between North Korea and the ROK, or should he go on north to reunite the two Koreas?  His directives were vague as Washington and the UN debated this.  Would China and Russia be provoked to enter the fray?
"...on September 27 [barely a week after landing at Inchon] he had been directed to "conduct military operations north of the 38th Parallel leading to "the destruction of the North Korean armed forces."  Just two restraints were imposed upon him.  He was forbidden to send aircraft over Sino-Russian territory, and only ROK troops could approach the Yalu.  In forty-eight hours he replied, tacitly accepting these limitations and proposing to capture Pyongyang with the Eighth Army, land X Corps at the east-coast port of Wonsan, and, after wide sweeps to effect a "juncture" of the two.  The White House agreed, but then, having committed itself, Washington felt uneasy over its own temerity.  MacArthur also had reservations.  He wanted a firmer mandate, and the day after the Seoul ceremony the new secretary of defense, George Marshall, gave it to him in an "eyes only" cable:  "We want you to feel unhampered tactically and strategically to proceed north of the 38th Parallel."  The General replied, "Unless and until the enemy capitulates, I regard all Korea as open for our military operations."
Marshall agreed, and the issue seemed resolved.  It wasn't quite.  When MacArthur submitted a directive he planned to issue to the Eighth Army on October 2, launching the coming offensive, Marshall wired him:  "We desire you to proceed with your operations without any further explanation or announcement and let actions determine the matter.  Our government desires to avoid having to make an issue of the 38th Parallel until we have accomplished our mission."  This, according to a SCAP aide, made MacArthur "raise his eyebrows."  It plainly intimated that the United States intended to present its allies with a fait accompli.  [p 584]
Now the Chinese started making statements that they wouldn't stand by idly if MacArthur crossed the 38th Parallel.  The UN called for the unification of the two Koreas. Mao's foreign minister, Chou En-lai broadcast that
The UN resolution was illegal. . . American soldiers were menacing Chinese security, and "we cannot stand idly by .  .  . The Chinese people love peace, but, in order to defend peace, they will never be afraid to oppose aggressive war."  That afternoon Mao's divisions began to slip over the Yalu to prepare a counterattack.  Meanwhile McArthur's men, unaware of the Chinese buildup, continued to roll forward over the disintegrating units of Kim's (Il Sung) army. [p. 587]
Truman called for a meeting with MacArthur and flew all the way to Wake Island to confer with him for two hours.  There was much debate about what was said at the meeting and whether it even should have been held.  It allowed both Truman and MacArthur to make claims about what they had said and the press to make their own claims.  Manchester suggests it was to boost Truman's flagging political popularity, but he also writes that
MacArthur affected to reject that interpretation.  He would write in his Reminiscences:  "Such reasoning, I am sure, does Mr. Truman an injustice.  I believe nothing of the sort animated him, and that the sole purpose was to create good will and beneficial results to the country." [p. 588]
A new problem arose.
Eventually paranoiacs exhaust their credibility.  MacArthur had long since lost his.  The Joint Chiefs were undismayed therefore, when, in the autumn of 1950, he began claiming that his "strategic movements" were being betrayed to the Communists.
This time, however, his suspicions may have been justified.  That fall the first secretary of the British embassy to the United States was H.A.R. "Kim" Philby.  The second secretary was Guy Burgess.  And the head of England's American Department in London was Donald Maclean. . . It is a shocking fact that all three men were Communist agents. [p. 596]
 In any case, the Chinese managed to hide two hundreds thousands of troops in North Korea, and while MacArthur saw victory in sight, his army walked into the Chinese trap.
American and British newspapers gave their readers the impression that UN forces had been ingloriously crushed, which was true, and had suffered staggering casualties, which was not at all true.  Indeed, MacArthur's Korean retreat was one of his most successful feats of arms. . . .And the price the Chinese had paid for the ground yielded to them was shocking.
Unfortunately, the General couldn't bring himself to leave it at that. [p. 611]
 MacArthur gave stories to various news outlets defending his actions and rejecting all blame.  Manchester's account basically agrees with MacArthur's assessment, but says he should have let others do the defending.  Nevertheless, Truman again leaves him in place.  However, a general directive is sent out to all agencies including the military banning all but minor issues being discussed with the press without prior approval from higher up.  It was clear that this was aimed at MacArthur, who didn't take long to violate it. 

Another important development occurs when General Ridgeway goes to Korea to replace General Walker, who was killed, as commander of all UN ground forces.   He began to win battles and make assessments that challenged MacArthur's stories of defeat if not given permission to go for all out victory.   This changed Washington's confidence in MacArthur and his indispensability.    

Basically, there was a disagreement between MacArthur who believed that he should be allowed to win or he should withdraw.  The White House asked him to maintain the status quo - a divided Korea pretty much back, geographically, to the way it was before hostilities erupted.  Politically, this was echoed by hard line Republicans who said that Truman had lost China and was about to lose Korea versus the Democrats and Europeans who saw Korea as of minor importance geopolitically and wanted to avoid war with the most populous nation in the world.

In the end, it seems that MacArthur, then 70, decided to go over the President's head and appeal to the US public.  He issued stories to three different media that challenged the administration's position.  After conferring with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Truman ordered MacArthur relieved of his duties.  When word came that MacArthur might resign first, the poorly worded memo was rushed to Tokyo.  Manchester writes,
Here, as so often in his feisty administration, he had done the right thing, in this case avoiding the hazards of a general war, in the wrong way.  Because he insisted that MacArthur be fired, instead of permitting him to retire gracefully, millions questioned the President's motives.  [p. 644]

Because the current situation involves a General who has gone to the press with his grievances with the Administration, doesn't mean that it is the same situation as with General MacArthur.  However, we can learn lesson relevant to today, by reviewing the MacArthur situation.  One thing is clear, that military and political considerations cloud every decision.  Uncertainty as to the strength and intentions of allies and enemies makes decisions difficult.  And miscommunication among the President and his General played a big role. 

MacArthur was a much more formidable and well known figure than McChristal is.  And MacArthur's comments were focused on policy differences rather than personal evaluations of individuals.