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The rich are always going to say that, you know, just give us more money and we’ll go out and spend more and then it will all trickle down to the rest of you.  But that has not worked the last 10 years, and I hope the American public is catching on.
    —     Warren Buffett
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On This Day In:
2021 Hold That Thought
Got Love?
2020 Everyone I’ve Ever Met
A Secret Chord
2019 A Big “IF”
2018 Silence Presence
2017 Feeling Small Standing In Front Of My Shelves
2016 Show Willing
2015 If He Only Knew…
2014 Dared To Love
2013 Strong Kung-Fu
2012 Two Tribes
2011 Made Any Assumptions Lately?

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Thoughts

Once again another 9/11 rolls around and my thoughts return to the innocents in the attack at the World Trade Center, at the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania.  I remember (and celebrate) the courage of those first responders who gave their lives trying to save others simply because it was their job and what they’d chosen to devote their lives to.  I roll forward to those who spent weeks and months in the toxic rubble clearing the site(s) and looking for anything which might bring some closure to those who lost family and friends that day.  I think of the government which told them it was “safe” to work there and then delayed assistance when the workers started experiencing toxin related illnesses.  Finally, I think of those who did their sworn duty and went half a world away to keep our homeland safe(r).  The killed.  The injured.  The traumatized.  Those to whom we still owe a debt of honor (and gratitude) which “some” – with the increasing distance of history – are unwilling to fulfill.
To all of you:  “You are in my prayers.”  And, as trivial as it may seem to those who’ve sacrificed so much more than I have:  “Always remembered.”
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On This Day In:
2021 Current Heroes (II)
Glued To The TV – 3,000 Miles Away
2020 Current Heroes
I’m Mid-West Born, But California Raised
Appropriated To Her Being
2019 All In Good Time
Day 13: Pause & Resume
Ghrelin And Leptin
2018 Gratitude And Warmth
Remembering Loss, Sacrifice And Service
Making Little Ones Out Of Bigger Ones
2017 Never Forget
2016 It’s All Greek To Me (Well, Latin Actually)
2015 Truism
2014 Thank You
2013 Really
2012 Ordinary Five Minutes Longer
2011 The Wealth Of Sons (And Daughters)

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Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness.  Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
    —    George Santayana
From:  “The Life of Reason
[In less than 70 days, we (the U.S.) will be having our “mid-term” elections.  This is typically a referendum on the sitting President and his / her policies.  It sometimes results in a change in majority party in the House of Representatives, the Senate – or, less frequently, both.  At the moment, both are “controlled” by the Democrats, but it is generally believed the Republicans will “flip” both come November.  I believe this will almost certainly happen if Democrats fail to get off their “duffs” and vote – much as they failed to do in the Presidential election of 2016 – which resulted in the election of Trump to President, to Republican control of both sides of Congress (House and Senate) and, ultimately, to Republican control of the Supreme Court.  (How has that worked out for us, folks?)
Elections have consequences!  Register early.  Confirm your registration.  Talk to your friends and family.  Ask them to register AND to vote.  And you VOTE, too!!  Elections are NOT won by the majority of the people.  They are won by the majority who VOTE.  Make your voice heard:  VOTE!    —    kmab]
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On This Day In:
2021 You Really Are
What You Want
2020 So Far The Only Burden Shifted Has Been The Cost
Rockin’ The Hammond
2019 The Powers Of Mind
Day 10: Into Double Digits
2018 Up For Progress
Day 1.5: Done (For Now)
2017 And Second By Second
2016 Bakeries And Coffee Shops
2015 Spirit Not Form
2014 Sometimes Even Kneeling Seems Insufficient
2013 Hobgoblins
2012 Got Sleep?
2011 Not Another Barren Corner

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The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present.  The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion.  As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew.
    —     Abraham Lincoln
[Does history repeat itself or is it simply that the more things change, the more things stay the same?    —    kmab]
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On This Day In:
2021 To Trust Providence
Exactly
2020 I Am Learning
Plus Plus
2019 Day 2: All Things Considered
The Path To Reward
2018 Ryan, McConnell & The Republican Controlled Congress
The Proud Dad
Day 35: Five(5) Weeks Completed!
2017 Serving Is Proving Harder Than Winning For #DumbDonald
2016 Come Again…
2015 At Five
2014 Touching The Past
The Supreme Question
2013 Children Will Judge
2012 Liar, n.
2011 Freedom To Doubt

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I would encourage us all, African Americans, Asians, Latinos, Whites, Native Americans to study history.  I long for the time when all the human history is taught as one history.  I am stronger because you are stronger.  I am weaker if you are weak.  So we are more alike than we are unlike.
    —    Maya Angelou
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On This Day In:
2021 We Are More Alike
Make It Real
2020 One Lesson In Diversity
2019 And Yet, I Believe
2018 Beats
First Step: Starting Cleansing (Again)
2017 Effective Stimuli
2016 Dave’s Not Here, Man
2015 Blink
2014 The Struggle To Educate America Continues…
2013 On Elections
2012 Warm Smiles
Pick Your Poison
2011 Straight Shooters

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Stay Dedicated To The Task…

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
    —     Abraham Lincoln
Excerpt from:  “The Gettysburg Address
[The italics in the text / quote were added by me.    —    kmab]
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On This Day In:
2021 Happy 4th of July 2021!!
Self-Control, Liberty And Law
2020 Happy 4th of July 2020!!
2019 Happy 4th of July 2019!!
2018 Happy 4th of July 2018!!
People Got to Be Free
2017 Happy 4th of July 2017!!
2016 Red, White And Blue BBQ
Happy 4th of July 2016
IMF’d (Marathon / Binge)
2015 Happy 4th of July 2015!!
2014 Happy 4th of July 2014!!
2013 Patriot Act, Anyone?
2012 Five Lost Wars
2011 Worth Fighting For
2010 Still Learnin’ Hard…
4th of July 2010

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All the old history was written for the amusement of the ruling classes.  The lower classes couldn’t read, and their rulers didn’t care about remembering what happened to them.
    —     Francis Zappa
As quoted by his son:  Frank Zappa
From his book:  “The Real Frank Zappa Book
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On This Day In:
2021 Together Forever
Think It Over
Small But Fun
2020 Still Learning
2019 Almost Hallmark
Beyond All Reason
2018 Daydreams And Wanna-Be’s
Or Work For #45
2017 Summer Pale
2016 Ain’t It Funny
2015 At Both Ends
2014 Whiner(s)
2013 Just Passing Through
2012 Dog-gone Heaven
2011 Occasional, Sad Results

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Image of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Arlington National Cemetery
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

As we gather around our dinner and picnic tables
enjoying the freedom you sacrificed your lives to provide for us,
a grateful nation
remembers
and prays for you and your families…
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On This Day In:
2021 How Trump Won The Fringe Right
Hold My Hand
2020 I’d Include Health Care
2019 Accustomed To It
2018 Booking My Trip Into The Expanding Universe
2017 Fear Instead Of Convictions
2016 Memorial Day – 2016
2015 A Handful Of Reviews
And You Can Quote Me
2014 Get Wisdom
2013 Enjoying The View?
2012 Adam’s Rib
2011 I’m Sure I Remember That…
Memorial Day, 2011

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The wars of the late nineteenth century – the American Civil War, for example and the Franco-Prussian War – were wars of the railway, the telegraph, breech-loading small arms and tinned rations.  The seas were dominated by the ironclad.  At the beginning of the twentieth century the Russo-Japanese War show to any who cared to learn the dominance on the battlefield of the spade, barbed wire and automatic weapons.  The First World War rammed home the same lesson, in a war in which the internal combustion engine, artillery, the submarine, air power and armoured vehicles became the dominant features.  The Second World War was one of worldwide mobility on land and sea and in the air, of total mobilization of population and industrial reserves, of sea power and of air forces.  It ended in the shadow of the nuclear weapon.  The Third World War was widely expected to be the first nuclear war – and perhaps the last.  It turned out in the event to be essentially a war of electronics.
    —     General Sir John Hackett (et al)
From his book:  “The Third World War: August 1985
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On This Day In:
2021 The Correct Answer Will Be In The Form Of A Question
Listen Up
2020 Testing To Open The Economy Safely
2019 Or Thought I’d Thought
2018 Go And Dare
2017 And Wealth A Poor Substitute For Ability
2016 Neither Darkness Nor Shadows
2015 It Took Roots
2014 Hard Evidence
2013 Full Participation
2012 Roving (Again)
Ooops, Again
2011 Why Not?

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Russia is still contending with the collapse of the Soviet Union.  Russia can meddle in Ukraine at the margins, but threats to fully invade and occupy a country of more than 44 million people aren’t credible.  That big a move would cost too many Russian lives and too many rubles for a chronically weak – and weakening – Russian economy.  In recent months, Belarus provided the latest example of the post-Soviet demand for fundamental change and the need to shoot people to keep protests under control.  In the most recent presidential election in Moldova, a Harvard-educated economist toppled a pro-Kremlin incumbent.  Last year, Turkey’s backing for Azerbaijan dealt a humiliating defeat to Russian ally Armenia in a region that Russia once dominated.  Beijing is increasingly competing for influence with Moscow among the former Soviet Central Asian states.
    —     Ian Bremmer
From his opinion piece:  “The Risk Report: What game is Putin playing?
Appearing in:  Time Magazine;  dtd:  21/28 June 2021
[It seems the “threat” of invasion was a little more “credible” than Mr. Bremmer believed (the editorial was from 2021).  IF the West continues to support Ukraine and IF Putin doesn’t resort to tactical nukes, it appears Mr. Bremmer will ultimately be proven correct that Russia bit off it bit more than it could chew (let alone conquer).    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2021 Or Faith In A Creator…
It Seemed The Taste Was Not So Sweet
2020 Nearer My God To Thee, By George
I’ve Got To Keep Working On It
2019 Laugh With Me
2018 Both Sides, Mr. President?
2017 Republicans Better Wake Up
2016 Truth Telling
2015 To Be Effective In The Modern World
2014 A Little Cover
2013 Binding
2012 Lift
2011 Another Good Movie, Another Excellent Book
miSFits
I’m Just Not Sure

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History is not an exact science.  And ‘the historian of the future’ is as much artist as scientist or academic.  But the futurologist cannot be taken lightly.  He bases his conclusions on perceived trends, and his predictions themselves may possibly have some effect on the future:  in helping either to prevent his predictions coming true or to realize them.
    —     General Sir John Hackett (et al)
From:  “The Third World War: August 1985
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On This Day In:
2021 Maybe He Agreed With His Mum
Come To Me, You’ll See
2020 Imagine Existence
Posing As Action
2019 Voices Of The Past
2018 Sunrises, Rainbows And Newborn Babies
2017 Untold Agony
2016 Just Borrowed
2015 Warning
2014 Always More Productive
2013 Is Not
2012 Loosely Translated
2011 Your Opinions Are Not My Facts

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[Another LONG post…  You’ve been warned!  (LoL)    —    KMAB]
The Third World War:  August 1985  (1978©)   —   book review
This review is for the fictional portrayal (as a “future history”) of a “realistic” invasion of NATO allied European countries by the Warsaw Pact in August of 1985.  The book was “written” primarily (et al) by (Ret.) British General John W. Hackett in consultation with a number of experts gathered to discuss how such an invasion might occur, what might lead up to it and what might be the end-of-war results.  The “advisors” were listed as:  John Barraclough (Air Chief Marshal), Kenneth Hunt (Brigadier), Ian McGeoch (Vice-Admiral), Norman Macrae (a deputy editor at “The Economist“), John Strawson (Major-General), and, Bernard Burrows (British Diplomatic Service).
The book was a best-seller in England back in 1978.  It was published in the U.S. in early 1979 as a hardback and then released as a paperback in 1980.  I initially read the paperback version.  I believe it was shortly after I was released from the Active Reserves, but my memory isn’t that precise anymore.  In any case, this review is of a re-reading of the book after my reading of “2034: A Novel of the Next World War” earlier this year.  (review here:  A Novel War).  The author of that book, (ret) Admiral James Stavridis, cited this book as a primary inspiration for his work.  This prompted my re-interest in the original…
During my (almost) two years in the Reserves I was assigned to a unit which tested and evaluated the readiness of National Guard units from California, Arizona and New Mexico.  The officers would establish “war-game” scenarios for the Guard officers and I (as an NCO) would embed with the line units to evaluate actual field performance.  We were artillery evaluators, so I watched Guard batteries fire cannons / howitzers, but I gained an understanding of scenario development and large scale tactical war-gaming.  This led to a post-service interest in military style board games which carried on for most of the ’80s.  I lost interest when gaming shifted to computers and became “mostly” shoot-em-up’s instead of (IMHO) about strategy.
Basically, the plot of this book is the leaders of the USSR feel their position as a superpower is being threatened by political and economic factors which are worsening (for them).  They feel there has been a significant / progressive decrease in NATO’s readiness over the last decade and this may be their last / best opportunity to remove a potential military threat (NATO) and further subjugate the buffer countries of Eastern Europe who are members of the Warsaw Pact.  The plan is a crushing invasion of Western Europe (West Germany and the low-lands) which leaves the USSR in command up to the border of France.  The invasion fails because in the years between the book’s publishing (1978) and the date of the “future-history” event (August 1985), Europe (specifically Great Britain) comes to its senses and reverses the general military decline of the late ’60s to ’70s.  The NATO forces are able to slow the advance of invasion (without the use of tactical nuclear weapons) and allows reinforcements to arrive from the U.S. just in the nick of time.
In a striking foreboding of the current (2022) invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the invasion portrayed fails because of (in no particular order of importance):
1)  an inability to dominate the air despite superior numerical assets;
2)  a failure of logistics (fuel and ammunition) by the Warsaw Pact, (it is believed the invasion will take less than two weeks AND there will not be enough time for the U.S. to resupply NATO forces);
3)  resistance by the native forces (in this case, the West German army / reserves) is surprisingly effective;  and,
4)  the centralized command and control characteristic of authoritarian political systems, does not promote the flexibility / initiative of junior officers (and NCOs) to seize military opportunities when they arise, so opportunities for significant breakouts are lost.
When the war quickly (the “war” lasts weeks) devolves into a war of attrition, failure is viewed as inevitable and hard-liners in the Politburo decide to consolidate their gains for future armistice negotiations by the use of a limited (against only one city) nuclear strike.  The result, however, is not fear and negotiation, but instead, fury and retaliation via a similar limited nuclear strike by Great Britain and the U.S. against a Russian city;  (and like falling dominoes) the Warsaw Pact allies turn on the USSR to avoid nuclear annihilation;  the Soviet military / security services stage a coup, over-throw the hardliners, and cease further combat;  the non-Russian border states (the “-stans”) declare independence from the USSR;  and, the rest of the world struggles with the effects of a new world order.  The “war” is barely a month old before it is over.  Because the book is written as a “recent” history of past events, it does not attempt to forecast / describe long term results of the war except to relate the world has to deal with unaccounted for Soviet nuclear weapons / warheads and large stocks of conventional weapons scattered around the global (mainly Africa).
Is this a “good” book?  Is it realistic as a predictor of future conflict (lethality, if not participants)?  Is it entertaining or interesting?  Do I recommend this book?  With the exception of the final question, the answer to all of these is (are):  yes to so-so…
The book is not a “good” novel.  There are no specified individual characters driving the action, so you cannot (as a reader) identify and grow with anyone.  In this sense, although fictional, the book is written with more of an academic or journalistic feel.  It is very much an military style “after-action” report.  If you are comfortable with this writing style, you will enjoy the writing / book.  If you are not, you will not.  I did.  Was the book able to realistically describe combat and the results (devastation) of war?  Yes!  Although, saying this, there was an obvious Western bias of vivid description of the destruction of the British city and virtually nothing about the similar (or much worse) destruction of the Russian city.  (Very much:  “Yeah, we took out one of theirs as payback…”)  Is the book entertaining or interesting?  This is the toughest question because every reader’s tastes varies so much… I was not “entertained”;  but, I did find the book interesting.  I particularly “enjoyed” the parts the authors get terribly wrong, because as a reader I (we) have 40+ years of hind-sight.  There is no China – Japan alliance;  the Shah is no longer in charge of Iran (or, rather, wasn’t in 1985);  South Africa did not fall to external forces;  and, East Germany did not resist consolidation with West Germany after the fall of the USSR.
Final recommendation:  strong recommendation.  I think most veterans (particularly my age group) will find this book relatable.  I think most civilian “military” readers / historians – and quite a few regular historians – will, too.  For political science readers, the “states” interests, goals, and stances will seem Machiavellian / Kissinger-ian (is that a real word?).  Yet, they ring true – even 40 years later.  It is entirely obvious why this book could seem as an inspiration for a future – updated version (a la “2034“), and I believe (I read) this book served as a similar inspiration for several of Tom Clancy’s works which followed.  At any rate, I do remember “enjoying” the initial read from “way-back-when”, and don’t feel the re-read was less so.  My reaction to “2034” was reinforced:  this version is much better than the more recent book.  If you have read “2034“, I recommend you read “WW3:1985” for the comparison value, if nothing else.
Final disclaimer:  I purchased this book at normal / sale price (for an old / used book) and no compensation has been provided to me by anyone for my opinions in this review.
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On This Day In:
2021 I’m An Optimist
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2020 Works For Me
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2019 Better To Do
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2018 Keep Moving
2017 Fighting Good
2016 Size Matters
2015 Maybe The Best Thing
2014 Ready To Be Fried?
2013 A Real Lover
2012 Winning Wars
2011 A Different Lesson

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Colonels and generals are expected to fight moving, active battles, always seeking an advantage from the use of terrain, surprise and mobility.
Generals are expected to concentrate defending forces in front of the main thrusts of the enemy so that the fighting troops do not have to meet a greater ratio of strength against them than three or four to one.
The captains and their troops have learned that modern weapons in the defense can and should inflict losses on an attacker, in comparison to their own, of well over three to one.  They have learned, in short, that a successful defense against considerable odds is possible.
    —    General Sir John Hackett (Ret.)
From his book:  “The Third World War:  A Future History
The book was “written” by General Hackett and “others” and purported to be a “future history” of a war between NATO and the Warsaw Pact.  The “war” ends following a limited tactical nuclear exchange which leads to a revolution in Russia.
[With the delays in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, much has been said about the failure to overwhelm the militarily over-matched defenders.
Ukraine vs Russia (In Theater)
Armed Forces 200,000 850,000 200,000
Fighter Aircraft 69 772 193
Attack Aircraft 29 739 185
Helicopters 112 1,543 386
Attack Helicopters 34 544 136
Tanks 2,596 12,420 3,105
Personnel Carriers 12,303 30,122 7,531
Self-Propelled Artillery 1,067 6,574 1,644
Towed Artillery 2,040 7,571 1,893
Mobile Rocket Launchers 490 3,391 848
What isn’t clear to me is how many of Russia’s forces are actually “in theater” and committed to the invasion.  The numbers I’ve seen indicate approximately “200,000” Russians were gathered for the invasion.  This is (again approximately) 25% of Russia’s forces.  If we assume a similar ratio across the board for other assets, the numbers are far less indicative of an assured success for the invasion.
In military theory, it is almost a given that the attacker needs a six-to-one superiority in order to have a reasonable “guarantee” of success against a prepared defense.  (This is why you concentrate forces at breakout / breakthrough points.)  Three-to-one superiority is considered the bare minimum to have a reasonable “expectation” of success.
Based on the above numbers, the “only” Russian advantage is in attack aircraft (29 vs 185).  This is an even greater advantage than just the numbers indicate as attack aircraft serve as force multipliers for both your tanks and your ground forces.
IMHO this invasion will succeed or fail based on three factors:  logistics, will and geography.  If the Russian forces can maintain their supply of fuel and ammunition, they will have the advantage in a war of attrition.  If Ukraine can maintain their will to fight in the face of both heavy civilian losses and questionable munitions resupply from other countries, they will make the war / occupation unsustainable for Russia.  Finally, we should recall Russia invaded and then dominated Afghanistan for almost twenty years before finally being driven out.  Afghanistan is roughly the size of Texas.  Texas is only about 10-15% larger than Ukraine.  There is a vast amount of land to hide in and fight from IF you have the will to do so.  So far, the Ukraine people have shown the will…
Of course, all of this assumes Russia does not choose a tactical nuclear option…    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2021 Only 10
Just A Hopeless Case
2020 What We Know About Ourselves
2019 But It Feels Dirtier Lately
2018 I Remember Some More Than Others
2017 Creating Reality
2016 Come, Read To Me Some Poem
2015 Exceeding Service
2014 Still Learning
Hospitality
2013 Execution Not Intensity
2012 Charles Carroll Of Carrollton (The Only Catholic Founder)
2011 Life Works
Pay Like Hell
Prosperity Finds Its Way Up

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God created war so that Americans would learn geography.
    —    Mark Twain
[Just over a week ago, I was discussing the Ukraine (at that time the Russian threat of invasion) with someone who said, he didn’t want the U.S. to get involved in the problems of some “tiny, insignificant country in Europe that I can’t even point to on a map”.  I replied Ukraine is bigger than California (almost twice the size) and just smaller than Texas (roughly 90%), and you probably can’t find it because it was part of the U.S.S.R. when you were studying world geography.  I added the Ukraine President is the guy who stood up to #45 when he (#45) tried to extort them into a announcing a bogus investigation of Joe Biden in exchange for military funding for Ukraine’s defense.  The funding had already been authorized by Congress and #45 was withholding the funds to try to “buy” the U.S. election with a made-up scandal.  Maybe Twain was only part right.    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2021 I Welcome The Questions
6:00 AM
2020 Increasing Importance
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2019 But Yours
2018 And Smile More Often
2017 He’s Keeping The Light On For Us
2016 The Results Of Trying Too Hard
2015 Make Me Look
2014 Fresh Drink
2013 Good Business
2012 Unsure Spirit
2011 A Lost Valuable

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Schoolboy days are no happier than the days of afterlife, but we look back upon them regretfully because we have forgotten our punishments at school and how we grieved when our marbles were lost and our kites destroyed – because we have forgotten all the sorrows and privations of the canonied ethic and remember only its orchard robberies, its wooden-sword pageants, and its fishing holidays.
    —     Mark Twain
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On This Day In:
2021 Even If It’s A Nice View
There’s A Calm Before The Storm
2020 First Steps – The (California) Primary Vote
#IncompetentTrump Administration Faces A Pandemic
2019 Hearts Torn In Every Way
2018 Recently Seen On A T-shirt:
2017 Rhythmical Creation
2016 In The Beginning
2015 False Gods
2014 But Sometimes Careers Choose People
2013 Pretty Sure Of Uncertainty
2012 Face Reality
2011 Intelligent Luck

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