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Posts Tagged ‘History’

Man is about to be an automaton;  he is identifiable only in the computer.  As a person of worth and creativity, as a being with an infinite potential, he retreats and battles the forces that make him inhuman.  The dissent we witness is a reaffirmation of faith in man;  it is protest against living under rules and prejudices and attitudes that produce the extremes of wealth and poverty and that make us dedicated to the destruction of people through arms, bombs, and gases, and that prepare us to think alike and be submissive objects for the regime of the computer.
    —    William O. Douglas
Associate Justice, U.S. Supreme Court
[Resistance / dissent is – probably – already futile…    —    kmab]
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On This Day In:
2022 End The Filibuster
2021 Be Creative, Question Assumptions
By No Means
2020 I’ll Eat To That (Gemütlichkeit)
To The Front
2019 #ContinueToResist
Except Willful Ignorance And Prideful Stupidity
2018 More Executive Time For #DumbDonald
2017 Watched The Inauguration
Two Geniuses
2016 Come Dance And Laugh With Me
2015 Looks Good To Me
2014 Desire For The Sea
2013 The Fierce Urgency Of NOW
Happy Inauguration Day!
2012 One Path
Sorrow And Joy
The Seven Year View
2011 Emergent Practicality

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Today’s review is for the book: “My Ántonia” (1918©) written by Willa Cather.  This book is considered her first masterpiece.  The book was given to me by Craig Carrozzi, a high school friend / football teammate, who is himself a published author.  I reviewed one of his books (“The Curse of Chief Tenaya“) and he felt this book had a similar “feel” to his work, so he gave it to me when we recently went to lunch. The work is loosely based on Cather’s own experiences growing up on the Nebraska prairie and those of a actual immigrant (Annie Pavelka) who worked as a “hired girl”.
The book revolves around two main characters:  James (Jim) Burton – the books narrator, and Ántonia Shimerda. “Jim” is a recently orphaned boy from Virginia and Ántonia is a slightly older (by four years) girl recently immigrated from Bohemia (currently Czech Republic) with her family as they all start their new lives in a farming town in Nebraska at the end of the 1900’s and through the early 20th century.  The narrator tells the tale of his growing up and his friendship with the “girl next door” and some of the changes they see in the American West.
The book begins with an introduction (narrated by the author) of Burton which (unknown to the reader) provides the framework and conclusion of the main narration – although I did not fully realize this until after the book was finished.  It then reminded me of watching an episode of “Columbo” – a TV detective / police series from the 70’s / 80’s known for starting each episode of the show with the crime and the audience knows who the culprit is so the only question is whether the “bumbling” detective can figure out how the crime was done and who is the guilty party.  Thematically, the author and the narrator meet on a train ride and spend time discussing their shared childhood.  The discussion passes to Ántonia and the author asks the narrator to tell Ántonia’s story because he (Burton) knew Ántonia so much better.  Ultimately, the boy grows up to be a wealthy New York attorney (we are led to believe unhappily married and childless) and Ántonia grows up to be a poor farmer’s wife and mother of almost a dozen kids.  Having written and presented his version of events as instructed, the narrator gives his text to the female passenger who then decides not to write her version.
Post “Introduction”, the book is Burton’s narrated story(ies).  The novel is divided into multiple(5) “books” and each of those broken into multiple chapters of – normally – two to five pages.  My version of the book totals 136 pages, in fairly small print.  The book is a very fast read, but I broke it up over several days because I was enjoying it and wanted to savor the words as much as the story.
So, is this book any good?  Is it insightful or “just” entertaining?  And, of course, do I recommend it?  Yes, this book is good!  It is both insightful AND entertaining.  And, I highly recommend it!
This is not my typical taste in reading.  Although nominally, describing the full lives of two individuals and a few other minor-characters, it doesn’t “really” have a build up and climax.  It just kind of rambles on like the “Great Plains” themselves.  This, in itself is interesting because the book supposedly describes the settling of the American “West”.  In point of fact, this is what we (Americans) now consider the “fly-over” portion of the country – the plains and Mississippi-Missouri river valley separating the Rockies from the Appalachian Mountains.  In any case, the natural beauty of the land is lovingly described in picturesque detail.  As mentioned above, I enjoyed the vivid descriptions so much I slowed down my reading so I could dawdle over and savor the words and sentences.  Every page is used to capture the sights, colors, smells and textures of whatever is being described – from mud holes, to linen sheets, to grains waving in the winds, to snow and ice turning to mush.
Final recommendation:  Very highly recommended!  Living in our current day and age, with all of our modern conveniences, it is near impossible to comprehend how difficult it must have been even just 100 years ago, to come to a new country / state and start (in some cases literally) from a cave dug into the ground and then to go on and make a life for yourself and your family.  It was a bit transfixing to read about this struggle and think for that generation, there was nothing else to do but to get on with it – and they did…
Final Note:  This book is out of copyright and available for free downloading at / from several web sites in several formats.
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On This Day In:
2021 The Question Is Courage
Never Change
2020 Two Quotes Which Remind Me Of Our Lame Duck President
Still Running
2019 I’m Up For Trying
60 Day Health / Weight Update (Nov 2019)
2018 #PresidentBoneSpur
2017 My Staggering Confusion
Zapped!!!
2016 And Bloggers?
2015 Ethical Energy
2014 Are You Likely To Defend It?
2013 Might As Well
2012 The Long And Short Of It
2011 Bravery

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2022 Veterans Day Poster

The image / poster was taken from the Veterans Administration web site:  http://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/gallery.asp where you can see each of the posters since 1978.
[To all who are serving, to all who have served, and to all those who have waited patiently for their return, “Thank You!!
If you have the time, take a minute to read:  What Is A Vet?    —    kmab]
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On This Day In:
2021 Veterans Day – 11 November 2021
Service Can Be As Simple As Standing Up When Called
2020 Veterans Day – 11 November 2020
Thankful
Remembrance Day – 11 November 2020
2019 Veterans Day – 11 November 2019
2018 Veterans Day – 11 November 2018
2017 Veterans Day – 11 November 2017
2016 Veterans Day – 11 November 2016
2015 Veterans Day – 11 November 2015
2014 Veterans Day – 11 November 2014
2013 Veterans Day – 11 November 2013
2012 Monkey Business
Veterans Day – 11 November 2012
In Others
2011 Veterans Day – 11/11/11
Deeply Confused (Still)
2010 We are not from fearful men and I Am Not Afraid!!
Veterans Day – 11 November 2010
2009 Narrowly missed first weight goal, but still happy…

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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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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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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
And Now Joe
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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