Saturday, May 2, 2015

Baby Boomer: ‘I’m not going gently into that good night’

Good Day World!

I’m here to tell you that baby boomers are not going gently into the good night (line from Dylan Thomas poem)  just because we’re in our sixties.

Have you heard the phrase “Sixty is the new forty” yet?

Why is it that when people reach a certain age, they're considered "over the hill?”

That's not so, according to new research, which is helping re-define how we look at aging.

Increasingly, people over 60 feel more like 40, and now they have the science to back them up.

"Your chronologic age - that is, the number of birthdays you have - isn't your biologic or what we call real age," said Dr. Michael Roizen, chief medical wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic.

The new research argues that since life expectancy continues to rise, age 60 should not be considered old.

It's more "middle age," because for many, there's a lot of living left to do after age 60, even embarking on second or third careers.

One example in fashion trends:

While many people try to hide their gray hair, spending hours eradicating the signs of advancing age, going gray may no longer mean reaching out for the dye bottle as "granny hair" is in vogue.

How about that? If the younger members of our society really want to be “cool” then they have to copy baby boomers – in action and fashion!

You know…growing old is really a matter of the mind. Not the body.

As Dylan so succinctly put it, "Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Friday, May 1, 2015

Presidential Hopeful Bernie Sanders draws ‘line in the sand’ between him and Clinton

                                           Good Day World!

Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders wants to be the next president of the United States.

On Thursday he declared "we're in this race to win" and highlighted key areas he'll seek to differentiate himself from Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential primary.

If you’re like me, you don’t know a lot about this feisty politician.

Here’s Sander’s voting record.

Sanders is a self-described democratic socialist, and has praised Scandinavian-style social democracy.

Sanders runs for office as an independent but caucuses with the Democratic Party and is counted as a Democrat for purposes of committee assignments.

He was the only independent member of the House during most of his service and is the longest-serving independent in U.S. Congressional history. Since January 2015, Sanders has been the Ranking Democratic Member on the Senate Budget Committee.

Sanders is a vocal advocate about the ramifications of global warming.

In a speech on the Senate floor on July 26, 2012, Sanders addressed claims made by fellow Senator Jim Inhofe: "The bottom line is when Senator Inhofe says global warming is a hoax, he is just dead wrong, according to the vast majority of climate scientists.”

Sanders supports the DISCLOSE Act, which would make campaign finances more transparent and ban U.S. corporations controlled by foreign interests from making political expenditures.

Sanders has been a leader in calling for media reform and opposes increased concentration of ownership of media outlets, as well as being a contributing author for OpEdNews.

He appeared in Orwell Rolls in His Grave and Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism, two documentaries on the subject.

The only question now; “Is Bernie Sanders too far to the Left to attract a majority of voters?”


The Bernie Sanders record: A progressive social media star and pragmatic legislator

An unconventional campaign launch for an unconventional candidate: Sanders 2016

Bernie Sanders: Obama sounds like Bush and Clinton on trade

Bernie Sanders through the years

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Veteran’s Picks for Music About the Vietnam War


Good Day World!

As my regular readers know, I’m a Vietnam/Cambodian veteran (1970). Lately, I’ve been looking to music to portray parts of my life experiences.

I’ve selected the following 15 Vietnam-related songs to share my story as a Vietnam veteran. It wasn’t easy keeping the list to just 15.

I could have done more, but the ones I selected should do the job. I hope you enjoy them.

Here’s my story put to words,music, and videos.

Country Joe & the Fish – Vietnam Song asks the question, “what are we fighting for?”

Canned HeatGoing Up the Country live Woodstock 1969 I’m going to leave the city… and get far away!” This song was tied into the hippie movement, but was also an anthem for Vietnam veterans. Don’t watch/listen to this video if you’re offended by nudity. This video has uncensored pics from Woodstock.

The Rolling Stones - Paint it Black this video/song has special meaning to me.

This song was blaring on a boom box as I rode in a Huey on my way to Cambodia.

I was part of an operation that resulted in angering many Americans who thought the war was being extended into Cambodia. It wasn’t a declaration of war on Cambodia – we were just chasing the NVA across the border where they had set up headquarters.


The Doors - Unknown Soldier video shows Vietnam clips from 1968. The Doors are one of my favorite groups. “Make a grave for the unknown soldier…”


Creedance Clearwater Revival - Run Through The Jungle – video shows clips from Casper Aviation Platoon that served in the 173d Airborne Brigade during the Vietnam War from 1965 –1971.

Buffalo Springfield - For What It's Worth - video shows the band (circa 1967), and clips from the Sunset Strip Teen Riots in November of 1966.

Barry McGuire - Eve of Destruction – “Your old enough to kill, but not voting…” This video has some great photos representing the times.

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Fortunate SonThis is a well known Vietnam war protest song . Pictures in the video are Iraq/Vietnam war and protest pictures.

Kingston Trio - Where Have All the Flowers Gone?When will they ever learn? Where have all the young men gone? They’re gone as soldiers…” Another really strong anti-war song that makes me nostalgic.

Black Sabbath – War Pigs I was lucky and got to see Black Sabbath in concert at the Great Western forum in 1971 – shortly after getting out of the Army. They played this tune then. Also, Grand Funk Railroad rocked my night! What memories!

Mark Maysey - This is My RifleI love this one. Sure reminds me of boot camp at Ft. Ord, California where I repeated that chant in as loud a voice as I could muster: “This is my rifle – this one is my gun – one is for killing –the other for fun.” 

Edwin Starr – WARthis 1970 Motown Time Capsule video shows clips from the times. “Soul Brothers” constituted more than half of the fighting forces in Vietnam.

John Schumann, Redgum - I WAS ONLY 19 - This song really spoke to me, I was 19 when I fought in Vietnam and Cambodia. The video portrays the Australian young men who fought in Vietnam along side of us. It also mentions Agent Orange, and talks about PTSD.

Mitch Townly – The Wallthis video tribute is for all my brothers who died in that nasty Vietnam War. Sometimes I remember my squad like yesterday…

Jason Billington – The Eagle Cried - Written and recorded by US Army Major J Billington. This song was written in honor of the sacrifices of Vietnam veterans, who did not receive the hero's welcome that they deserved when they came home from the fight. It was performed at the 13th Combat Aviation Battalion Reunion at Fort Rucker, Alabama, held on May 15, 2010.

Time for me to walk on down the road…


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

NRA Members Aren’t Always Aware That Their Cash Contributions Support Politicians

Good Day World!

The law makes a hard distinction between solicitations for elections and other solicitations, in part because many Americans don’t like donating to politicians.

An NRA member might contribute to the organization because he admires its work on behalf of hunters. He might also contribute to an environmental group because he wants to preserve forests.

But this same donor may vehemently oppose the candidates endorsed in federal elections by both the NRA and the environmental group. As a result, the law makes it clear that when these groups are soliciting for electoral purposes they must disclose that fact to potential donors.

The NRA has been ignoring that law for years by taking donations that were intended to support the group and using them for political agendas.

Federal law also says a PAC’s solicitation must “expressly state that the contribution will be used in connection with a Federal election” and that contributions are purely voluntary.

And it requires a soliciting PAC to collect information about donors, including profession or job affiliation. But the NRA impudently ignores those requirements.

NRA solicitations through its corporate and PVF websites have arguably violated all  state statutes. And because of the way the NRA has structured its PAC, any state attorney general with an interest in investigating these apparent violations would have authority to subpoena all relevant NRA records dealing with its nationwide fundraising operations.

That however seems unlikely, because few politicians have the balls to go after the most powerful special interest group in the country.

The complete story, reinforced with factual records, is told in this investigative Yahoo news story:

The NRA’s brazen shell game with donations by Alan Berlow for Yahoo News

Time for me to walk on down the road….

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Observations on a World Gone Crazy

Protests turn violent in wake of Freddie Gray death

Good Day World!

Growing up in the 1950’s, I never heard of multiple gangs organizing to “hunt and kill” cops. Not to say there were no gangs back in those days. There were. Most notably, The Mafia.

But none of them went out of their way to target cops across the country. Perhaps they had more sense than today’s gangs.

While Baltimore burns, and looters overrun businesses in protest of the killing of an unarmed black man – Freddie Gray – the notorious Black Guerilla Family, Bloods, and Crips formed a partnership to "take out" law enforcement officers.

Welcome to a world gone crazy.

Shootings at schools have become all too commonplace in the 21st century. Stories of children murdered in classrooms and cafeterias across the country have become too common.

In some cases brave teachers stop armed students before they can kill someone. But school doesn’t seem like a safe place anymore.

Mass killers step into movie theaters with semi-automatic weapons, slaughtering audiences; a teenager and his brother plant bombs, causing death and mayhem, during the Boston Marathon; and U.S. counterterrorism officials are increasingly concerned that the Islamic State is growing in popularity in America.

Just three examples of how crazy the world is now.

Other things I never thought I’d see, climb out of social media, and the TV:

Teen murders 9 year-old during sleep over.

ISIS Wannabes: Inside the Minds of Jihadis Born in the USA.

It seems like the world is getting more violent, and crazy every year. As an observer for over six-decades, I have to say things aren’t getting better. We seem further away from world peace than ever.

America is sliding back into an era of racial unrest, and our politicians are so polarized they can’t agree if the sky is blue or green. No matter what advancements we’ve made in technology, our society is still coming apart at the seams.

Time for me to walk on down the road… 



Monday, April 27, 2015

No Compromise Politics in Congress is Screwing Americans

Good Day World!

I think it’s safe to say that most Americans are tired of a Congress that barely functions because of bipartisan polarization.

For example, remember Grover Norquist? He’s the clown that came up with The Pledge, which dates back to 1986.

Republicans looking for anti-tax support of any kind have slavishly signed The Pledge for years, promising to NEVER raise taxes.

This senseless affirmation of NO COMPROMISE when it comes to taxes was most recently signed by Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz.

The only other Republican candidate in the race, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, has not yet signed the pledge. He did sign it when he was running for the senate in 2009.

Still undeclared presidential candidate Jeb Bush's spokesperson, Kristy Campbell, told ABC News in February, "If Governor Bush decides to move forward, he will not sign any pledges circulated by lobbying groups."

I have to extend kudos to Jeb for that move. While many Republicans sign it at both the state and federal level, Bush didn't sign it as governor of Florida either.

His father, George H.W. Bush, raised taxes after pledging during his campaign that he wouldn't. No surprise, he lost his re-election to Bill Clinton.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has also never signed it, but Americans for Tax Reform, Norquist's organization, says that Christie gave and kept a verbal commitment to follow it.

Governors Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal and Rick Perry have all signed and kept the pledge, according to Americans for Tax Reform.

It’s obvious, to anyone with common sense, that when a politician says their not going to compromise on some issues, it’s going to cause problems for everyone involved down the line.

A good politician understands the importance of a fair compromise in order to get things done. Look at our congressional history and you’ll see how compromise created important laws that benefited all Americans.

It can be done. But, not by signing pledges that destroy any chance of negotiating.

It’s time for me to walk on down the road…     


Sunday, April 26, 2015

To My Surprise, My Father Once Worked For Lockheed’s Secretive Skunk Works

Good Day World!

I had an interesting conversation with my father recently, and discovered that he worked for the highly secret Skunk Works at Lockheed from 1953-56.

I knew he was a Journeyman Machinist who worked for Lockheed, Northrop Grumman (parts for the Convair F-102 Delta Dagger – photo left), and General Dynamics (where he retired).

It turns out that he worked on a lot of highly classified parts for all three of the companies that he worked for. For some reason, I was never quit aware that he did such specialty work.

(Editor’s Note:  The term Skunk Works became official in 1955. Up until then Lockheed called the research team’s department “Advanced Development Projects.”) 

He was a journeyman machinist. His job involved creating master dies for various parts of experimental aircraft.

A die is a specialized tool used in manufacturing industries to cut or shape material mostly using a press.

Like molds, dies are generally customized to the item they are used to create. Products made with dies range from simple paper clips to complex pieces used in advanced technology.

In 1955, the Skunk Works received a contract from the CIA to build a spy plane known as the U-2 with the intention of flying over the Soviet Union and photographing sites of strategic interest.

In the conversation with my father, he indicated that he created dies for several parts on the U-2 Spy Plane.

During the entirety of the Cold War, the Skunk Works was located in Burbank, California on the eastern side of Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport(34.200768°N 118.351826°W)


In 1943, the U.S. Army’s Air Tactical Service Command (ATSC) met with Lockheed Aircraft Corporation to express its dire need for a jet fighter to counter a rapidly growing German jet threat.

One month later, a young engineer by the name of Clarence "Kelly" L. Johnson and his team of young engineers hand delivered the XP-80 Shooting Star jet fighter proposal to the ATSC.

Quickly the go-ahead was given for Lockheed to start development on the United States' first jet fighter effort.

It was June of 1943 and this project marked the birth of what would become the Skunk Works® with Kelly Johnson at its helm.

The formal contract for the XP-80 did not arrive at Lockheed until October 16, 1943; four months after work had already begun. Kelly Johnson and his team designed and built the XP-80 in only 143 days, seven less than was required.

What allowed Kelly to operate the Skunk Works so effectively and efficiently was his unconventional organizational approach. He broke the rules, challenging the current bureaucratic system that stifled innovation and hindered progress.

His philosophy is spelled out in his "14 rules and practices."

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Blog Break Until Presidential Election is Over

I finally hit the wall today. I can't think of what to say about all of the madness going on in this country right now. I'm a writer...