(Archive - Week of August 14, 2004)

Noah is a Tiger!

By now you've probably had the opportunity to become acquainted with Noah (my dad) through his web site stories, and some of you know him personally and from his columns in the newspaper. This week, for fun, in honor of his birthday week, we will take a peek into Noah's personality via Chinese astrology.

You might wonder how such a pragmatic thinker like my dad would allow a Chinese astrology story to be posted on his web site. Well, like all brilliant people, my dad lives with an open mind and a desire to learn and consider all possibilities. He believes in freedom of speech, whether it pertains to Chinese astrology or political rhetoric. I was surprised, at first, by my father's reaction to Chinese astrology when I called him ten years ago for advice:

While I was living in Los Angeles and writing for a local newspaper distributed through the L.A. Times, my editor and I went to lunch at a Chinese restaurant. During lunch, I casually mentioned details of the ancient Chinese philosophy, explaining that I had studied Chinese astrology intensely for 15 years. She was amazed and intrigued by my accuracy in detail, and asked me to begin writing a weekly column for the newspaper based on the subject. Of course I declined the assignment, after all, how could I possibly expose this empirical side of myself to the public. I feared that my credibility as a reporter would be ruined. My editor, however, disagreed with my fear, and for the next two weeks continued to pester me about writing the column.

Finally, I telephoned my dad in Florida. I told him about the offer and asked him to advise me. I suppose I expected him to tell me not to do it, maybe even hoping he would tell me not to do it. Then I would feel secure in my refusal to accept the opportunity. To my surprise, he instantly advised me to write the column. He told me not to worry about my credibility, just do it.

I took my dad's advice, and it opened the gate to a path that I never imagined. The column was an overnight success. I began receiving more mail than the newspaper had ever generated from any column. I was invited by a local politician (Republican) to be a guest on his Los Angeles radio talk show. After that, the radio station gave me my own three-hour, weekly talk show. I later appeared regularly on Los Angeles cable TV talk shows. My credibility as a reporter was never tarnished—my dad was right. In fact, because of the increased public visibility, I received more opportunities for work with newspapers and magazines as a business and government writer and editor than I ever imagined.

Just as my father's decisive and fearless attitude helped guide me, his character and attitude has guided him. From his life as a youth in the hills of Tennessee, through the battles of wars, and throughout his career, he has been bold and fearless; he fights for what he knows is right and fair (I recommend that you ask him about the time he went nose-to-nose with Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson, narrowly avoiding a fistfight in the Oval Office).

Through his lifetime, my dad has shared his strength with people in need whenever asked, and he'll stand up and fight for what's right in situations where others would cower in fear or intimidation. We can rightfully speculate that his character blossomed through his life's experiences. However, the timing of his of birth, as it pertains to astrology, provided a large part of the foundation of his personality.

Through Chinese astrology, we can predict the basic characteristics one will possess and develop throughout their life. This information is based on the moon's influence on the Earth. It is determine by referring to the lunar calendar—the same calendar used for producing the Farmer's Almanac.

Oceanographers will tell you that they have scientifically proven the moon's influence on oceans, rivers, currents, tides, etc. In fact, it is scientifically proven that all water is influenced by the moon's pull—even a glass of drinking water. Therefore, the moon influences everything on this planet containing water. The human body contains nearly 80% water, so it is no surprise that the moon has an influence on us.

My dad was born on August 11, 1926. He was born during the sign of Leo (August 11) in the year of the Tiger (1926). At the very beginning, we could have known that he would be a relentless fighter, powerful, fearless, and creative. Tigers possess a flare, they are rebellious, dynamic and passionate. They are fast runners, strong and coordinated athletes, smart and quick thinkers, and blunt critics with good intentions. Tigers cannot be contradicted without a fight to follow. The odd thing is, with all that fight in them, Tigers aren't born activists. They don't like to be pigeonholed into only one cause. They like to move and they appreciate variety. They are good warriors—they are crusaders of mankind. When they come across a good cause, they give it their all, then they move on to the next cause.

Tigers enjoy fun, too. Unlike those who were born in the year of the Ox who focus on work and career, Tigers like to play…and they play hard. They enjoy a good party and a fun game. They are lighthearted and silly, which is why it is not surprising that Hugh Hefner (Aries Tiger) continues to generate so much fun in his life!

Tigers like children and animals, and appreciate their faithful spirits and their guileless innocence. Tigers are energetic and need mental and physical stimulation, it is difficult for them to sit down and be still, especially as children. Tigers do very well with interactive learning, since they have an energetic and stimulated mind. They also need to be around people who can keep up with their energy. Tigers get bored if they have to sit idly or listen to long or monotone conversations.

Tigers have hot tempers, and when you combine Tiger with Leo, you have a leader who will not tolerate insubordination, laziness, or disloyalty. Leo Tigers know how something should be done, and they expect it to be done right and on time. Leo Tigers respect well-trained abilities, qualified authority, and intelligent reasoning—regardless of the person's social standing. A Leo Tiger will support and respect anyone who measures up to his or her assigned responsibilities, whether the person is a garbage collector or the President of the United States. Alternately, Leo Tigers do not tolerate or respect individuals who are unqualified to perform the services they are expected to provide. And Leo Tigers have no hesitation voicing a complaint. We may stand back, shake our heads, and gasp in disbelief over the Leo Tigers' blatant assertiveness, but we will most likely find ourselves cheering him on, after we catch our breath and recover from the shock.

A Leo Tiger appreciates quality in all things. He will gladly pay “top dollar” for a quality product, but don't try to pawn off a substandard product and expect the Leo Tiger to pay full price. Leo Tigers believe in fair play, so don't be surprised if the Leo Tiger pounces out, gunning for you if you try to cheat him. He will never cheat you, and God forbid you try to cheat him.

A Leo Tiger won't stand by and watch an unfair fight, he will stick his neck out for a righteous underdog. As odd as it may sound, these ferocious Tigers are actually very sensitive. As bold and resilient as they appear, a Leo Tiger can be crushed to the depths of their hearts, and they appreciate sympathy and understanding.

Noah - Age 14

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could know what a person needed to help them reach their greatest potential? Using astrology helps. A Leo Tiger is born with glowing charisma, and a powerful presence. You will definitely feel the presence of a Leo Tiger when he enters the room. With that kind of charisma, a Leo Tiger would shine as a personality in the public eye. A Leo Tiger is the type of person who would take stage and the rest of the cast would disappear. And if the Leo Tiger were also handsome, you would have a superstar on your hands.

The thing is, not many Leo Tigers actually want to become actors or TV personalities long-term. They view that as a fleeting career, unstable, and too risky for the limited outcome. Most Leo Tigers would be more interested in working behind the camera, as did my dad.

It sounds like a great deal of fun to live the life of Hugh Hefner (Aries Tiger), and I guess all men have thought about it at least once. Perhaps many people have the talent and the creativity to put those ideas into play - becoming extremely rich by publishing photos of nude women. My dad certainly would have had the talent and creativity. However, he also has an enormous sense of honor and self-respect. There would be no honor for him in earning money by selling photos of nude women. The fun and wild side of a Leo Tiger is capable of using his talents that way, but the honorable side presides in the personality of a Leo Tiger.

So, although I will bet my dad's “best Tennessee mule” that he does have a wild and crazy side, I would also bet he wouldn't trade the life he lived as a Marine for all the money in Hugh Hefner's bank account.

My dad has expressed a great deal of information through his newspaper columns over the years, and I love hearing him tell the stories from his past. He is one of the best storytellers on Earth. I hope through encouragement he will begin a new chapter on his creative path, and transition his writing skills from news and politics to memoirs and stories. No one can wrap words around an idea like my dad.

As a Leo Tiger, my dad was truly and ultimately born to be a communicator, a philosopher, a storyteller—a writer. This world is filled with amazing warriors and heroes, God bless them all; and I thank God for allowing me the privilege of knowing some of them. But only a few of those amazing warriors and heroes were born with the talent and destiny to survive the life of a warrior, and later communicate their journey with an entertaining brand of truth and unique eloquence.

My dad was born under a sign that offers him the foundation - the strength, heart, and destiny - to achieve and survive a warrior's life, and blessed with the talent and the ability to “tell a story.”

Happy Birthday, Dad!
Please write a book, you have a story, untold.

Love, Linda

(Archive - Week of August 8, 2004)

The battle of Okinawa and the end of War War II

American troops invaded the island of Okinawa at 0830, April 1, 1945. Some of us U.S. Marines referred to it as "April Fool's Day." Some of us realized it was Easter Sunday even though we did not attend church. Our weapons were loaded. The targets were aimed at the hearts of the Japanese armed forces.

Of all the islands occupied by the Japanese military that I had previously engaged in fighting over a period of two years, Okinawa was the largest in size and had the most Japanese soldiers. It was also the largest major amphibious campaign of World War II. And it was the last island-hopping that was planned before we invaded mainland Japan.

Many Americans have no idea where Okinawa is located. As a young U.S. Marine from the village of Barnesville, Lawrence County, Tenn., who had graduated from the eighth-grade of the two-room country school and now a member of the 1st Marine Division, I had not heard of it myself until Tokyo Rose informed us in March via short-wave radio that we were to invade Okinawa in April. She was absolutely right.

World War II, Tokyo Rose, an American citizen, working for the Japanese government as an English speaking Tokyo radio broadcaster was the Vietnam Jane Fonda. Our command had a policy of not telling the troops where we were going to attack next for fear that the Japanese would learn of it. The Japanese had excellent intelligence throughout the islands. Somehow, they knew when we were coming, where we were going, but they could not stop us.

Okinawa, is the largest island of the Ryukyu Islands in the Pacific, southwest of Japan. It's about 60 miles long and from two to eighteen miles wide. It's surrounded by a coral reef, as are most islands in the Pacific. A 1,500 feet ridge rises in mountains of the North. The southern portion of the island contained the bulk of the civilian population.

In Europe, the Allied troops were in the short-strokes of victory and V-E Day was later celebrated by them and the American people in the states on May 8, 1945. But for those of us that were fighting the Japanese, it was just another day in the trenches on the island of Okinawa, infected with more than a hundred thousand Japanese that would prefer to die rather than surrender.

The 3rd, 4th and 5th Marine Divisions, backed by Navy ships, had secured the island of Iwo Jima. The very name of Iwo Jima means Sulphur Island, and brimstone fumes hung over its cave-pocked crags and slopes of volcanic ash like the perfume of perdition. Much of the soil was hot to the touch, and it had 21,000 Japanese troops determined to defend it.

The Marine Corps now had six infantry divisions for the first time in its long history, and half of those divisions were to assault the Japanese defense of Okinawa. They were 1st, 2nd and 6th Marine divisions. This was a force to be reckoned with -- more than 50,000 combat Infantry Marines. The 6th Marine Division was fighting as a division for the first time. However, it was made up of veterans of other divisions that had been injured in previous battles and had returned to fight again. But the majority of the Marines were non-veterans, fighting in a battle of combat for the first time. They were replacement for those veterans that were killed or injured or had rotated home.

Also assigned for the invasion of Okinawa, was the Tenth U.S. Army, commanded by Lt. Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr. The Tenth Army consisted of 7th, 27th, and 96th Infantry Division. Of course, we had Marine, Navy and Army Air Corps air support and many small supporting units assigned to us. And we also had the mighty U.S. war ships offshore who were busy shooting the Japanese planes out of the sky and the war ships big guns pounding away with at the enemy held positions. Our Naval guns and Marine/Navy aircraft gave the enemy thousands of Easter eggs. And American pilots did their part in air-to-air combat in shooting the Japanese planes out of the sky. Some pilots became "ACE's" -- shooting five or more enemy planes down.

My First Marine Division had many young Marines that were fighting for the first time. They were assigned to my division to replace the thousands that we lost in securing the island of Peleliu, in the fall of '44. However, after the first shot was fired on Okinawa, they were veterans and they fought like veterans.

For the U.S. Army troops, amphibious landing was new to them. And fighting the Japanese at close-range was different from fighting the Germans at long-range. But we all had one thing in our favor. The war was over in Europe and our government could now support us jungle fighters 100 percent with logistic supplies. Up to that point, we were thought of as the boys in the back room. We had to make do with what we had.

The 1st and 6th Marine divisions, led by III Marine Amphibious Corps Maj. Gen. Roy S. Geiger, landed on the western beach near Kadena Airport, and we reached the east coast in one day. We then headed north over the mountainous end of Okinawa. Maj. Gen. John R. Hodge, made up of the 7th and 96th Army Infantry division, headed south, thereby leaving their 27th Infantry afloat in reserve.

The invasion went well. It was well planned. Not like the planning that went into Peleliu on Sept. 15, 1944, which was a disaster. Peleliu planning had to be done by morons. Early on "D" Day, and before "H" hour of 0830, on the invasion of Okinawa, the 2nd Marine Division conducted an elaborate, full-scale fake landing on the southeastern beaches. They came right up to the beaches, and then pulled back to the ships in reserve. It fooled the Japanese military to the point that they moved most of their army to the southeastern location. In the meantime, the 1st and the 6th Marine Divisions came ashore without too much difficultly. At the same time, the Army two Infantry divisions (7th and 96th) also followed suit. This was only a good beginning, however; the heavy lifting followed.

The Marines secured the northern part of the island in about three weeks, but the divisions of the 10th Army to the south were being pushed around, stopped and overrun by the Japanese. They had already called in their reserve, the 27th Division. They were unable to take Shuri Castle and the capital city of Naha.

The 27th Army Division had lost so many men that they were no longer effective. The 2nd Marine Division that were waiting in reserve was called into action and portions of all three Marine divisions were in the battle to the south. Some of the U.S. army units were sent to the rear to rest and regroup. The Marines continued to attack and counterattack.

The battle continued and each day the Japanese lost more turf and solders. Lives were lost on both sides, but more Japanese military were killed who had rather die than to surrender. We captured Shuri Castle and went through the capital city of Naha, like Sherman went through Atlanta. But it was no cake walk. History provides the detail that the island of Okinawa was secured by the American armed forces a few weeks before the first Atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasski, Japan, in the second week of August 1945.

The war was over, but those of us that had been in the Pacific islands fighting the Japanese for three years with no rest or liberty, did not celebrate. We still had to defend ourselves as many Japanese hiding out in the hills and caves were not aware that Japan had surrendered.

We still had a job assignment. My first Marine Division was ordered to North China, to round up all the Japanese soldiers and Japanese civilians that had occupied most of China since the '30s. The elected leader President Chiang Kai-shek, Republic of China, troops were driven to south China, and it required six months for his troops on foot to reach north China, and take over the job we were doing for them.

Important events that occurred from April to August 1945:

* On April 13 (April 12 in the States), we learned of the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Vice President Harry S. Truman was sworn in as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and President of the United States.

* Ernest ("Ernie") Pyle, age 45, famous U.S. war correspondent and journalist was killed on the U.S. army front-lines of one of the small islands of the Ryukyu group of Okinawa, by a Japanese machine gunner during the Okinawa campaign. During World War II, Ernie covered the day-to-day tributes to the U.S. Army military personnel who bore the brunt of the fighting in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, and France. Unfortunately, since Mr. Pyle did not come to the Pacific war until after V-E Day, and as far as I know, he never got to see and cover the United States Marines in action.

* Lt. Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr., was killed by an incoming Japanese shell while he was inspecting his troops in combat. Marine Maj. Gen. Roy S. Geiger took command of the U.S. 10th Army, and this may be the first time in history a Marine commanded an Army.

* Noah H. Belew celebrated his last teen-age birthday on Aug. 11. No cake -- no party.

    * The Atomic Bomb was developed by the United States. In early August, one was dropped on Hiroshma, Japan, and a few days later, another one was dropped on Nagassli, Japan. Emperor Hirohito made a decision to surrender and on Aug. 15, We were ordered to stop offensive operations against Japan. The formal surrender ceremonies aboard USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay did not take place until Sept. 2, 1945. World War II ended. Unfortunately, it's the last major war the United States has won.

This U.S. Marine retired veteran from the hills of Lawrence County, Tennessee, feels some accomplishment. My 1st Marine Division engaged in the "first" offensive land battle of World War II on the island of Guadalcanal on Aug. 7, 1942 -- went on and invaded and secured other Japanese military infected islands and was a big part in winning the battle of Okinawa, in 1945 -- the "last" battle of World War II. I also survived again in the early '50s fighting the North Koreans and Chinese in the Korean War. My commanding officer was Lewis B. (Chesty) Puller, the greatest warrior of the United States Marine Corps.

Returning by ship to San Diego -- no band -- no red carpet. I was still only 19 years old, not old enough to buy a beer, nor was I old enough to vote.

Upon returning home: When I got off the Greyhound bus near where my mother and sister lived in the old log house in Tennessee, which had no electricity, running water, radio or telephone, etc., I had to walk the last five miles down the old dirt road carrying my sea-bag. Motor vehicles passed me, but would not stop to give me a lift even though I was wearing my Marine Corps uniform. This all happened over a half century ago and it's like "live action" in my terrible nightmares each and every night.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt said in his campaign speech in Boston, Mass., Oct. 30, 1940, "And while I am talking to you mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again and again and again: Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars."

At that time, Oct. 30, 1940, our president whose leadership guided us to recovery from the Great Depression that occurred while Republican Hubert Hoover was president, had no way of knowing that those yellow cowardly creatures were going to make a sneak attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

"Remember Pearl Harbor" was the motivator during World War II. In the Korean War it was only called a "Police Action," yet almost as many Americans were killed in only 3 years than were killed in the Vietnam War over a period of 10 years, which was about 58,287. The Korean War (Police Action) has now been called the "Forgotten War." Not many Americans can remember the date it started and when it ended. (June 25, 1950 - July 27, 1953). Unfortunately, these wars never end for many of us. We continue to fight them in our nightmares every night.

*Peleliu Reunion Reminder:
The First Marine Division invaded the island of Peleliu on
Sept. 15, 1944. The 2004 Peleliu reunion will be Sept. 15, 16 and 17 in Waco, Texas. The arrival date is Sept. 14 at the Hilton Hotel.
Reservations are to be made immediately - phone number is (254)-754-8484. Money for Entertainment, Hospitality Room, Banquet Room and Bus is $125.00 to be sent by  Aug. 15. Call Robert Jones (254)-859-5398 for info on where to send the money. The host is Robert L. Jones, PO box 365, Eddy, Texas 76524-0365 phone number for Jones is 254-859-5398.


(Archive - Week of August 1, 2004)

Pull up another chair at the captain's table

This is not a political story, it's a story that took place in history - during the roaring ‘20s. I am running this piece because most of us are fed-up hearing political candidates telling us what they would do if elected or reelected and after they con the voters into believing them, they lose their memory after we give them the political power.

I have chosen this story because we now have a new restaurant in Pensacola Beach, Fla. bearing a very famous name, and I will celebrate my birthday there in the near future.

I was born in the roaring ‘20s while Calvin Coolidge was President of the United States. You will know the name of the restaurant after you read this exciting story.

During the 1920s and ‘30s people traveling between the United States and Europe went mostly by ship, and it was during that era that many of the luxury liners were built and put into service.

Perhaps the most luxurious of those ships was the Ile de France. It was neither the largest nor swiftest of the ships plying the Atlantic, but when it came to lavish decor, superb cuisine and faultless service, the France was second to none. Anybody who was anybody sailed on that glorious French vessel.

Once, during the early ‘20s a young, unknown American writer was aboard the France on an eastward journey. The famous Capt. Joseph Blancart was the master of the ship at that time.

The aspiring author was poor and was traveling to Paris cabin class. However, in spite of the fact that he had not yet published anything that anybody had heard about, he was already developing a bravado that, later, would become his trademark.

Anyway, the young novelist met a friend on board who had a spare tuxedo and who invited him to have dinner, that night, in the first class dining room. The writer accepted without hesitation.

After most of the passengers, including the novelist, were seated at their tables, a late comer caused every head in the room to turn as one. The focus of their attention was a vision in flowing white descending the magnificent stairway that led from the upper deck. It was the famous German film star, Marlene Dietrich.

Miss Dietrich glided into the dining room, and then headed to the captain's table where she had, of course, been invited to dine. But, alas, there was a problem. The statuesque blonde quickly and imperceptibly counted heads at the table then declined to sit down. She would have made the 13th person and being extremely superstitious, would not run the risk.

However, a gentleman at a nearby table quickly solved the dilemma by joining the table himself, thus when the German star sat down she made the 14 th person. The man was, of course, the person who didn't even belong in the first class dining saloon.

Everybody had watched the drama intently and when the well-known actress and singer had balked at joining the captain's table, a hush fell over the big room. Now when the handsome American joined the table and graciously seated the beautiful star beside him, applause and laughter broke out everywhere.

The other guests at the captain's table were charmed by it all. It was such a privilege to have Miss Dietrich there that when it appeared she would not join them, disappointment threatened. Then, when the American so easily solved the problem, everyone was delighted.

Ernest Miller Hemingway

It might have been a different story, of course, if Captain Blancart and the guests dining at his table had been aware that this brash young man was traveling cabin class and wearing a borrowed tuxedo. On the other hand, they probably would have been awed if they could have guessed what a mark their unexpected table companion, whose name was Ernest Hemingway, would soon make on the literary world.

“But man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated.”

–––– ERNEST HEMINGWAY, The Old Man and the Sea. (1952)

(850) 934-4747


(Archive - Week of July 25, 2004)

National Conventions have changed over the years

Political parties gather every four years at political conventions sites to make their candidate official in the presidential race, and this has been the case since the 1800s.

Political conventions were not used to nominate presidential candidates in the early decades of the Republic. Members of Congress selected the nominees in congressional, or legislative, caucuses between 1800 and 1824. This system was scrapped, because many considered it elitist and not representative of the entire party. State legislatures, state conventions, and congressional caucuses selected nominees in the 1824 and 1828 elections. In 1831, the Anti-Masons, a third party, held the first National Convention. Democrats were the first major party to hold a National Convention in 1832.

In the past, the national convention served as a decision-making body, actually determining the party's nominee. For example, the 1924 Democratic National Convention in New York lasted 17 days and required 103 ballots to select John Davis as the nominee. The last Democratic Convention to go beyond one ballot occurred in 1952, when Adlai Stevenson won on the third ballot; the 1948 Republican Convention lasted to a third ballot until New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey won the nomination.  Republicans had a close vote in 1976 in Kansas City when President Ford prevailed over Ronald Reagan by 1187 votes to 1070 votes.

Two significant changes have occurred in recent decades. First, most of the national convention delegates are now selected by voters in primary contests rather than by party caucuses and meetings. Second, with the advent of television, conventions have become tightly scripted made-for-TV spectacles.  Each party seeks to present itself in the best possible light and to demonstrate a united front rather than to hash out its differences.

While conventions have always attracted an assortment of demonstrators, coordinated mobilizations in Philadelphia and Los Angeles during the 2000 conventions drew thousands of activists advocating a range of progressive issues; these necessitated major police presences.  Shadow Conventions were also held in the two cities.  In 2003 activists opposed to the Republicans gathering in New York began organizing under the banner "RNC Not Welcome." However, since the Governor of New York and the Mayor of New York City, are both Republicans, the Republican Party will have their National Convention in the "BIG APPLE" Aug. 30 - Sept. 2. 

One could argue that modern day conventions are little more than four-day advertisements for the political parties. Because there is no longer much suspense, conventions have suffered declining viewer-ship, coverage by the major networks has been cut, and some observers have suggested that the conventions themselves should be cut to three days.

The conventions may have been reduced to rubber stamps, but they still fulfill a vital function in the life of the political parties. In many ways, the essence of a convention is what happens off of the convention floor. In the lead-up to the convention, the drafting of the party platform provides interests, aligned with the party a forum, to present their concerns. During the days of the convention itself, hundreds of events, caucuses, receptions, breakfasts, fundraisers, and parties take place in the hotels surrounding the convention hall. At the end of the convention, party activists return to their communities energized for the fall campaign, and, if all goes well, the presidential ticket emerges with a convention bounce.

The major party conventions are funded by grants from the Presidential Election Campaign Fund (the $3 income tax check-off), by non-partisan, non-profit host committees, and to a lesser degree by local taxpayers.  For their 2004 conventions, the Democrats and Republicans each received grants of about $14.5 million; this amount is the $4 million set in 1974 by the Federal Election Campaign Act plus a cost-of-living adjustment.  On June 30, 2003 the FEC certified the Democratic and Republican parties are each entitled to receive $14,592,000 in public funds to put on their 2004 national conventions, and sent letters to the Secretary of the Treasury requesting the payments be made; additional inflation adjustments will be added in 2004.

Part of George W. Bush's military service
All good Americans in politics tell the truth about their past life and all great Americans try to be fair when reporting Kerry vs. Bush in a presidential campaign. You read on this page what I believe to be true in the life of John Kerry, and now I will give George W. Bush equal time on my website.

I am Noah H. Belew and I approve this message for those that say the U.S. Supreme Court appointed president, George W. Bush, will only squat in the White House for one term.

On November 2, 2000, four days before the most disputed election in American history,  military veterans in the US Senate lashed out at candidate George W Bush for his failure to explain a six-month lapse in his National Guard service.  "At the least, I would have been court-martialed. At the least, I would have been placed in prison," Senator Daniel Inouye said. Bush would offer no explanation for his absence, and, as he had throughout the campaign, refused to discuss his military service during the Vietnam War. 

Why would a man who was running for the office of Commander and Chief of the US Armed Forces refuse to discuss his service in the military?  Why didn't the public and press take notice?  Their attention that day was focused on something else.   That same day, while senators were asking for an explanation of Bush's National Guard absence, the media and the public were watching another breaking Bush scandal: the sudden revelation of a 1976 drunk driving conviction that Bush had failed to mention during the campaign. 

As Bush spent the final days before the election explaining to America that he hid the arrest to protect his daughters, the National Guard absence was swept under the rug, not made into a campaign issue by Democrats. Both Candidates avoided making Vietnam an issue during the Presidential race of 2000.  Bush and Al Gore, who served in Vietnam as an Army journalist, had a sort of unwritten understanding that their military service during the Vietnam War would not be a subject of campaign debate.  Both had been accused of using their fathers' influence to avoid combat in the war. Gore's father was a senator, Bush's father was a Congressman.

The Washington Post reports that Bush joined the National Guard 12 days before his student deferment would have expired, and that in spite of his low score on the pilot's aptitude test (25, the lowest score allowed), and in spite of the waiting list that some kids spent years on, Bush was sworn in as an airman the day he applied . 

Indeed, so giddy was Bush's commander, Col. Walter B. "Buck" Staudt, that he later staged a special ceremony so he could have his picture taken giving Bush the oath, instead of the captain who actually had sworn Bush in.  Bush spent two years learning to fly airplanes in his home state of Texas.

As the 2000 Presidential campaign moved along, angry veterans in Alabama claimed that George W. Bush never performed any military service in that state, as stated on his campaign web site.  They offered a reward of $1,000 (which rose to $3,500) to anyone who could prove that he had.  No one came forth with any proof.  

Eight days before the election, the Boston Globe reported discrepancies between the Bush campaign's statements regarding his military service and what records and documents showed.  

In 1972, the Globe reported that Bush moved from Houston to Mobile, Alabama to work on a Senate campaign.  It was at this time, the Globe found, that he was suspended from flight duty for not taking his annual flight physical.  Furthermore, the Globe could find no evidence that he ever performed any drills while in Alabama, or any more drills after returning to Houston. 

Bush refused to answer any questions concerning the charges. His official White House biography states, "He served as an F-102 pilot for the Texas Air National Guard before beginning his career in the oil and gas business in Midland in 1975..." but gives no further details about his military service. 

Politicians and diapers have one thing in common: They should both be changed regularly and for the same reason.


(Archive - Week o
f July 11, 2004)

It's term limit time for U.S. Congress
A few years ago the State of Florida made it law that members of Congress who serve in Tallahassee would be limited in the number of years they would be allowed to serve. It is time that this same law be passed for the U.S. Congress. 

If we do not break the cycle that allows people to make a career out of Congress, we can expect even more of the scary trends we have witnessed over the past 30 years in elections.

The U.S. House of Representatives has 435 members who are to be replaced or reelected this November 2. Many of them have made a career of holding this office. And in this election, not many of them will be replaced because of the help from the Special Interest groups and Lobbyists.

People are feeling powerless to do anything about the venality of public officials and even more cynical about their actions (justifiable in many cases), and even more turned off to the idea of going to the polls.

So far around the country this year in primary elections, the voter turnout percentage has been nothing to write home about. That means the biggest percentage of America's eligible voters are not deciding who's going to represent them 100 percent in making laws and public policy.

That is not the majority rule our Founding Fathers envisioned. Fresh from fighting a war that cost many signers of the Declaration of Independence their lives, families, and fortunes, they made the creation of a just Republic and democratic government a top priority. And the people used their newly won right to choose their leaders carefully, intelligently and enthusiastically.

It is vastly different now. People are fat, dumb, happy and ignorant. Stop any 10 people wandering around and give them a basic final exam in high school civics, and you'd be lucky to give two a passing grade.

That's one of the reason members of Congress have a 94 percent re-election rate. Once a member gets in, the public pays little or no attention to what they're doing. And once they get a taste of the perquisites, power, and readily available sexual dalliances, members develop a powerful desire to do whatever it takes to hang on to the goodies and get more.

Solving serious problems takes a remote back seat to survival and self-dealing.

Americans are more likely to become less interested in government than more interested. The only way to break the Washington cycle is to end the potential for members to become the Robert Byrds and Strom Thurmonds of tomorrow.

We need to amend the Constitution to allow senators only two six-year terms and representatives only three four-year terms in office. We also must stipulate that no one who has served as a representative can run for senator and vice versa.

That forces former representatives and senators either to become lobbyists and Beltway Bandit consultants or – far better for the country – to go home, get a job and live under the laws they made.

Senator John Kerry

On January 20, 2005, our nation will be in better hands and it will remain that way for (two terms) eight years. Some non-thinkers believe it is not good to have a president that is considered to be LIBERAL, but they should realize that God was also a liberal. 

Senator John Edwards

Look around and you will see what God gave us. Even the diehard, right-wing conservative Republicans cannot deny this fact.

The theory behind the clean elections concept is basically a sound one. It's similar to the one World War II Gen. George Patton used when he took command of U.S. troops in Africa after the ill-fated Battle of Kaserine Pass and saw how lax discipline among the troops had become, and needed a shakeup. “I will replace their fear of the enemy,” he said, “with their fear of me.”

(Archive - Week of July 4, 2004)

A bit of history about Lawrence County, Tennessee - My place of birth:

Lawrence County , Tennessee was created on Oct. 21, 1817 by an act of the Tennessee General Assembly from mostly Indian Territory as a result of the Treaty of 1816 with the Chickasaw Indians.

Captain James Scott Lawrence

The county seat, Lawrenceburg, was chosen in 1819 because of its proximity to the center of the county and the fact that Jackson 's Military Road ran on the eastern edge of the town. In April, 1821, the road was changed to go through the center of the town. This road was a major thoroughfare from Nashville to states south, and it played a significant role in the development of the county. The county and county seat were both named in honor of Captain James Scott Lawrence (1781-1813), U.S. Navy hero of the War of 1812.

Captain Lawrence was born in Burlington, N.J. on Oct. 1, 1781. He entered the Navy as a midshipman in 1798 and saw extensive action against the Barbary pirates. During the War of 1812, he was promoted to Captain of the frigate Chesapeake . On June 1, 1813 , the Chesapeake accepted H.M.S. Shannon's challenge to a sea fight off Boston . The Chesapeake was decisively defeated in less than an hour, and Lawrence was mortally wounded. His dying words were, “Don't give up the ship.” Unfortunately, Capt. James Lawrence was never in Lawrence County .

Meriwether Lewis

Under mysterious circumstances, the death of Meriwether Lewis (American explorer who led overland expedition with William Clark to the Pacific Ocean) occurred on Sept. 4, 1809 on the dangerous Natchez Trace in Lewis County only a few miles north of Lawrence County.

An ancient trail, referred to as Natchez Trace, which ran between Nashville and Natchez , Mississippi , was established in the 1700s. The trail went about 15 miles west of Lawrenceburg before Lawrenceburg was founded. Natchez Trace is now a parkway of 444 miles that connects southern portions of the Mississippi River to salt licks in today's central Tennessee . The Natchez Trace experienced its heaviest use from 1785 to 1820 by the “Kaintuck” boatmen that floated the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to markets in Natchez and New Orleans . They sold their cargo and boats and began the trek back north on foot to Nashville and points beyond.

David Crockett

One of the first commissioners and Justices of the Peace from Lawrence County was David Crockett. He ran a water-powered grist mill, powder mill and distillery in the area of the county that is now known as David Crockett State Park . Although he was only in Lawrence County for four or five years, David Crockett had a tremendous impact on the county and is a main attraction for tourists.

In addition to the county seat of Lawrenceburg, other primary communities are presently Summertown, Henryville, Ethridge, Leoma, Loretto, St. Joe, West Point and Iron City . Most of these were once major towns and their existence came about either because of Jackson 's Military Road or due to iron ore mining. Lawrence County once had a town called Crestview, which had a train depot, a hotel, a post office, and several stores. But about 50 years ago some fool(s) made it part of Summertown, which was only a wide place in the road at the time.

Lawrenceburg Square circ. 1957

My first memory of Lawrenceburg was in the ‘30s before I was a teenager. I was not able to visit this beautiful town often from our log house home in the community of Barnesville, northwest Lawrence County , but when I did go there, I couldn't get enough of it. Even though it was during the Great Depression, Lawrenceburg was in full bloom with farmers, especially on Saturday. It was like a town meeting and a social event around the old courthouse. The farmers could be found whittling on small pieces of cedar and chewing tobacco while sitting on the benches on the north side of the courthouse under beautiful hundred-year-old shade trees as the cars/trucks slowly circled them while driving around the square. Every store on the square had maximum business, the pool rooms were crowded and a 10-cent bottle of beer could be purchased in all eating places while enjoying a big hamburger for a nickel. The barber shops had waiting customers for a shave and haircut for 25 cents. If we could come up with a dime, a cowboy/cowgirl Indian movie could be enjoyed at the Princess theater which was located on the southwest corner of the Lawrenceburg square. Those were the good-old-days in Lawrenceburg.

While most young men went to war in the early ‘40s, many changes were made while we were away. The citizens voted not to allow beer to be sold in Lawrence County . At a later time, the lunatics who had the power ordered the old courthouse to be destroyed because it was not large enough to handle the business. I suppose none of the people with authority ever thought that a new and larger courthouse could be constructed by building upward about 10 floors and using the same ground space below or they could have left the old courthouse there and made it into a museum.

In my lifetime the politicians did not keep up with the Jones'. They have not provided good leadership to make Lawrence County grow and be prosperous. It appears to me that their own personal priority was for themselves first, not the people they were to represent. I was forced to leave Lawrence County for better employment, as did my brothers before me. Lawrence County has lost many of the most talented and brightest young men and women. And it's still happening today.

It doesn't make good sense for the citizens of Lawrence County to be forced to drive to adjacent counties to purchase liquor. The adjacent counties (Giles and Maury) are spending the hard earned money of Lawrence County citizens for the sales and tax on liquor where the revenues are in the hundreds of thousands annually. It would seem to me that the county of Lawrence could find a place to spend the money they are now losing. The people of Lawrence County are going to buy and consume liquor, so why not enjoy the money of the sales and tax on this legal product? I highly recommend that the people of Lawrence County vote “wet” for the sale of alcohol, and do it now.

“What is the answer?” she asked, and when no answer came she laughed and said: “Then, what is the question?”

––– GERTRUDE STEIN, last words. Her Life of Work. (1957)


(Archive - Week of June 28, 2004)

The Declaration of Independence
Action of Second Continental Congress

July 4, 1776 The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America:

WHEN in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

WE hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, - That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. - Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.

To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world:

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they
should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:

Column 1
    Button Gwinnett
    Lyman Hall
    George Walton

Column 2
North Carolina:
    William Hooper
    Joseph Hewes
    John Penn
South Carolina:
    Edward Rutledge
    Thomas Heyward, Jr.
    Thomas Lynch, Jr.
    Arthur Middleton

Column 3
John Hancock
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton

Column 4
    Robert Morris
    Benjamin Rush
    Benjamin Franklin
    John Morton
    George Clymer
    James Smith
    George Taylor
    James Wilson
    George Ross
    Caesar Rodney
    George Read
    Thomas McKean

Column 5
New York:
    William Floyd
    Philip Livingston
    Francis Lewis
    Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
    Richard Stockton
    John Witherspoon
    Francis Hopkinson
    John Hart
    Abraham Clark

Column 6
New Hampshire:
    Josiah Bartlett
    William Whipple
    Samuel Adams
    John Adams
    Robert Treat Paine
    Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
    Stephen Hopkins
    William Ellery
    Roger Sherman
    Samuel Huntington
    William Williams
    Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
    Matthew Thornton

Happy 4th of July

President George Washington said, "I did not cut down the Cherry tree and I do not lie." This U.S. Supreme Court appointed president with the given name of George says, "What, me Lie?" I'm glad he asked the question. Yes, he has lied many times during the time he has squatted in the White House and by his lies to Congress and to the American people, we have almost 800 brave Americans who will not celebrate the Fourth of July. They were sent home killed in a war that we should not have fought. Bush did not meet them when they arrived home nor did he attend the funerals of any of them. He was too busy on vacation.


(Archive - Week of June 21, 2004)

Historic Route 66, and
A Bit Of History Now Being Made

I prepared a story this week about Route 66, a fantastic part of American history. But before we get on the road of Route 66, I feel a need to report a few headines that have been in the news media during the last week. I refer to it as the "George W. Bush War" in Iraq. 

It's a war he started and after more than a year and with more than 700 brave Americans dead and 4,000 wounded, this war is out of control and it is getting worse each day.

George W. Bush sent American troops in harm's way in Iraq - a country we had no reason to attack with ground personnel. Bush was not in danger during the Vietnam War and he performed questionable service in the National Guard stationed in Texas and Alabama when he was not AWOL.

Dick Cheney was asked by Sen. Levin why he didn't serve. Cheney replied, "I had other priorities at the time," to which the senator replied, "So did a lot of other men and women who didn't make it back."

Below are a few headlines from this week's newspapers:

"No link between Iraq, al-Qaida, panel says"

"Panel's findings help douse administration's claims"

"Insurgents hit key oil pipeline"

"Bush Stresses Democracy in Troops"
(NOAH: "What a joke!")

"Speech Rebel Cleric Signals"

"End to Shiite Insurgency in Iraq"

"Two GIs Killed in Attack on Base in Iraq"

"New Attack on Oil Pipeline in Iraq"

"Taliban Attacks Afghan Government Office"

"Saudis: Hostage's Slayers Die in Shootout"

"U.S. Missiles Kill 20 Fallujah Residents"

"No link between Iraq, al-Qaida, panel says"

"Commission findings expose Bush, Cheney"

"Rebels, U.S. Forces Clash Outside Baghdad"

"Terror Group Beheads U.S. Hostage Johnson"

"Baghdad Attack Kills 1 American, 3 Iraqis"

" Home Surrounded in Saudi Militant Search"

"Bomb Near Baghdad Kills 2 Iraqi Soldiers"

"Iraq's Allawi Defends U.S. Strike That Killed 22"

"Marine Killed in Iraq's Anbar Province"

"Chalabi: Iraq Could Execute Saddam"

Bush has stirred up a hornet's nest, and now we must be on guard from all parts of the world. I believe God would have told him not to invade this innocent country. It's just a matter of time until the big weapons will come into play - nuclear, poisonous gases, etc. To be honest, I doubt if God can stop this spreading killing, and I have only one solution; declare victory and get out. We did get chased out of Vietnam after 10 years and more than 58,289 Americans killed, and tens of thousand wounded - many for life. (Ford was president when our troops departed Vietnam.)

Route 66!
a.k.a. Main Street of America

Some things we use daily are not thought of often … how did we get it and when? While traveling from one location to another, and from one state to another state, we enjoy the Federal Interstate highways.

When and how did the first Interstate highway system begin? It was not long after President Dwight Eisenhower took office in 1953; he authorized the first funding of the interstate system. The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1954 set aside $175 million for the project. Eisenhower was aware that much more money would be needed and he continued to press for additional funds. Two years later, the expanded Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 authorized a budget of $25 billion, of which the federal share would be 90 percent. What do we now have? The best highway system the world has ever known.

What highway did most of us travel over between the East and West coast before the Internet? If you are not a senior citizen you might not know the answer. It was known as Route 66 aka “ Main Street of America .” I traveled over Route 66 several times going from one coast to the other coast in the 1940s and early ‘50s.

In the 1920s Route 66 became part of Cyrus Stevens Avery's life. He lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma and he reacted to the effort of local boosters to link the former Indian Territory with Chicago and Los Angeles .  Avery, a highway commissioner, envisioned diverting traffic from Kansas City and Denver when he was asked by the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads to help develop a new system of Interstate highways. Avery spent most of 1925 working with an appointed committee to stitch together hundreds of existing roads into the new system. Avery wanted U.S. 60 for his “road to California ” but bowed to political pressure in accepting the “66” designation on Nov. 11, 1926 . The road was later promoted through Phillips 66 gasoline.

Route 66 became the state's single most "tourist” attraction. It was estimated that the state's Route 66 tourists could spend more than $40,000.000 and not much of it was spent on gas for the motor vehicles, since the price of a gallon of gas was less than 20 cents. The travelers could find anything they wanted on Route 66. Many years later, a TV series was made and titled Route 66. After the Federal Interstate highways came up-to-speed for faster and better traveling, Route 66 became history … almost.

I recently read a piece, written by Joanna Dodder, reporting that one of the last icons of Historic Route 66 is gone … died at age 88 on June 1. I will take the liberty to write in part of what Dodder said:

Juan Delgadillo, owner of the Route 66 landmark “Snow Cap drive-in.” He and his family built this watering hole drive-in with their own hands along Route 66 in Seligman , Arizona 51 years ago.  Juan was born in Laredo , Texas , as his parents were driving the family from Mexico to Seligman.

Those early days were pretty wild in Seligman, Juan said during an interview this past July for the Snow Cap's 50 th anniversary. As cattlemen began to replace sheep herders, fights broke out between the longtime natural enemies. Juan also recalled the red-light district, slot machines and bootlegging. Then came Interstate 40 and it almost killed off Seligman and nearby Ash Fork and others along the stops of Route 66.

Travelers seeking the nostalgia of OLD Route 66 needed only to stop at the Snow Cap to get their fill. Sure, the Snow Cap has always served great hamburgers and shakes, but that's not really why people have returned time and time again for so many decades.

Juan brought so much joy to so many people, that serving food almost became a distant second. He had a full load of gags and tricks up both his sleeves. They were corny, but with Juan, they worked.

First-time customers would jump backwards as Juan appeared to be spraying mustard on their shirts, only to realize it was a string coming out of the bottle.

“Do you wanna look before you order, sir?” Juan would ask.

Customers would respond in the affirmative, only to have Juan hand them a fake candy bar with the words "Look” on the wrapper.

Customers would recover just long enough to ask in a slightly tentative way for napkins, at which time Juan would whip out a wad of them that appeared to be well-used already. Juan pulled these slaphappy tricks literally till the day he died.

Footnote: Marine vet Bobby Troup wrote the song "Route 66."


(Archive - Week of June 14, 2004)
Happy Father's Day

On Sunday, June 20 is Father's Day. The first Father's Day celebration was held on June 19, 1910 - almost to the day 94 years ago. William H. Taft was president of the United States. The idea originated with Mrs. John Bruce Dodd, and was promoted by the Ministerial Association, and the YMCA of Spokane, Washington.

President Calvin Coolidge made it official in 1924. It is now observed on the third Sunday in June. The rose is the official Father's Day, a white rose for remembrance, a red rose for the living.

Father's Day is special to us fathers, but this day was never a big thing in the holidays that we observe. It is not an official holiday as is Mother's Day. In most cases, fathers are wished a happy Father's Day in person or by phone. Perhaps a card is sent and even a hug is delivered. I am not complaining, however; maybe that's all we should expect.

Children! May I suggest what your father might enjoy on his day. Since Father's Day falls on Sunday, it would be nice if you didn't make noise so he could sleep in. When he does arise, serve him his morning juice, his favorite coffee and bring him his newspaper. His favorite breakfast should be served when he's ready for it, and it would be nice if it's brought to his bedside. Let him know that he is a VIP.

It would be music to his ears to hear you say, "thanks daddy for being the best daddy in the world." Since it's Sunday and his special day of the year, let him have full and total possession of the TV for the day so he can view his favorites programs, baseball games, news, etc.

Serve him a cold glass of lemonade, hot coffee, or beer during the day. Southern fried chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, some fresh vegetables, and hot rolls would be acceptable for dinner. Don't forget his favorite wine. Make your father King for the day. You'll never be sorry for doing it.

My father, George Lonnie (Lon) Belew, died in 1943. His year of birth - 1892, in Lawrence County - Benjamin Harrison was president of the United States. I miss my father today as much as I did the day he died. I am proud to say that I have three great children; I have almost a baseball team of grandchildren and almost a basketball team of great-grandchildren.

Happy Father's Day.

George Lonnie (Lon) Belew


(Archive - Week of June 7, 2004)
Bush's Iraq War is spreading like a wildfire

We have a George W. Bush War that he cannot stop. It's spreading like a wildfire. Our land armed forces should not have been there to start with, because Iraq was not the right target – they played no part in 9-11-01 , and that nation had no weapons that would destroy the world as, Bush claimed they had.

We know where we are now – in a war that has no end. It's easy to start a fight, but most of them are not a cakewalk to stop. Every day it appears to get worse, and more Americans are sent home in body-bags.

It destroys my brain when I think how the Bush Administration could fail so miserably in the planning of the war and the disaster plan to get out, and we failed in the treatment of prisoners of war. It was done the same as that of Hitler, Stalin, Hussein, and others. Our conduct is inexcusable.

What do we do now? Declare victory and go home! We do not need a brainy person to tell us that all nations need a democracy form of government, as Bush and his come-along people are striving for and our military personnel are dying for. Example, I was a U.S. Marine station in China when it was a democracy under Chiang Kai-shek, and it didn't work. Look at what China is today under a different form of government. The United States is a super power, China follows close behind.

It has been my experience that when I made constructive criticism about a person or a subject, I should follow with my opinion of a solution. This is mine: Let the heads fall, and do it now. Rumsfeld needs to go, as his Assistant Defense Secretary Wolfowitz. Secretary of State Powell is not effective. He has said “yes sir” much too long. Dick Cheney should be kept in the back room and out of the loop. The list goes on with high ranking military officers such as generals and some members of the CIA, also some civilian contractors who are part of the problem.

I firmly believe that Rumsfeld and his associates should be responsible for strategic the blunders in the George W. Bush War, which was approved by Bush. It's too late to start the impeachment process on Bush for invading Iraq, which has killed about 800 great Americans and leaving more than 4,000 injured - some with no legs and arms. However, it's not too late to force Bush to fire Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Powell and others in his cabinet.

You have until November 2 to make up your mind. Do you want to re-elect Bush who has been our problem for 4 years, or do you want to elect John Kerry who will find a solution to getting our young men and women back home? Kerry will also find jobs for those who are unemployed and give us a balanced budget.

At the present time, Bush has more of our armed forces overseas protecting other nations than we have at home protecting America. And he has no peace plan or exit plan to respectfully get out of Iraq.


(Archive - Week of May 31, 2004)
Click with mouse to read about D-Day

D-Day: OPERATION OVERLORD - June 6, 1944


(Archive - Week of May 23, 2004)
Observe Memorial Day on May 31

Place American flags and flowers on
graves of veterans

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's military services.

Memorial Day is now observed in almost every state on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act, P.L. 90 – 363, in 1971 to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays)

There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day. We also find evidence that organized women's groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War.

When Waterloo , N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it's difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day. It is more likely that it had many separate beginnings.

I also have some evidence that Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1886 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on May 30, 1868 , when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery .

Unfortunately, Memorial Day now falls short of being observed, it is celebrated – it's party time. The dead veterans who gave their lives to maintain freedom and liberty are on the back burner in the mind of most folks.

We have lost about 750 young and very brave American heroes during the past year while engaged in battles of George W. Bush's unnecessary war in Iraq , while Bush says; “bring them on” as he hangs out with his rich friends eating high on the hog. Bush was not present when they arrived back home in body-bags nor did he attend any of their funerals.

In my adopted hometown – Pensacola and Pensacola Beach , Fla. , we normally have 200 thousand visitors for the Memorial Day three-day weekend, and they do not come with grave decorations. At least half of them are homosexuals coming from almost all states in our union. It's beach time – party time and drinking time around the clock. The local business welcomes them with open arms because they spend tons of money.

This holiday went from Decoration Day to Memorial Day, and now it could be properly named, not Observing or Remembrance Day, but Celebration Day would be more appropriate. Most people are having a good time celebrating the dead military heroes.

DEDICATION: I hereby dedicate this Memorial Day of 2004 to the last of my brothers Claude M. Belew, who died on June 10, 2003 for a military connected cause. Claude served in the Navy during World War II and the Korean War. I served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the same period. My other two dead brothers served in the military during World War II. We all fought in many battles of war and all survived with the help of God.

“Show me the manner in which a nation or a community cares for its dead. I will measure exactly the sympathies of its people, their respect for the laws of the land, and their loyalty to high ideals.”

––– Attributed to WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE, “Successful Cemetery Advertising,” The American Cemetery , March 1938.


(Archive - Week of May 15 - May 22, 2004)
Come aboard–Cooks tour at the Constitutional Convention

The beginning of our nation started this month 217 years ago. It is often asked how 55 men could have assembled in 1787 and in less than four months write a Constitution that has lasted more than 200 years. However, we have added 27 Amendments, the first 10 being the Bill of Rights.

John Adams said, “The deliberate union of so great and various a people in such a place is, without all partiality or prejudice, if not the greatest exertion of human understanding, the greatest single effort of national deliberation that the world has ever seen.”

They were unique in as much as they had spent considerable time studying government and political theory and history. They had many years of service in their respective states and some had, in fact, been involved in drafting their own state constitutions. They were probably the most knowledgeable men in the United States .

May 25, 1787 : OPENING OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION. A quorum of delegates from seven states had arrived in Philadelphia for the Convention. Ultimately, representatives from all the states, but Rhode Island, attended. Of the 55 participants, over half were lawyers, and 29 attended college. The distinguished public figures included George Washington, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, George Mason, Gouverneur Morris, James Wilson, Roger Sherman, and Elbridge Gerry.

May 29, 1787 : VIRGINIA PLAN PROPOSED. On the fifth day of the meeting, Edmund Randolph, a delegate from Virginia, offered 15 resolutions of making up the “Virginia Plan” of Unions rather than amending the Articles of Confederation, the proposal described a completely new organization of government, including a bicameral (upper and lower house) legislature, which represents the states proportionately, with the lower house elected by the people and the upper house chosen by the lower body from nominees proposed by the state legislature; an executive chosen by the legislature; a judiciary branch; and a council composed of the executive and members of the judiciary branch with a veto over legislative enactments.

June 15, 1787 : NEW JERSEY PLAN PROPOSED. Displeased by Randolph 's plan, which placed the smaller states in a disadvantageous position, William Paterson proposed, instead, to modify the Articles of Confederation. The New Jersey plan gave Congress power to tax and to regulate foreign and interstate commerce and established a plural executive (without veto power) and a supreme court.

June 19, 1787 : After debating all the proposals, the Convention decided not merely to amend the Articles of Confederation but to devise a new national government. The question of equal versus proportional representation by states in the legislature became the focus of the debate.

June 21, 1787 : The Convention adopted a two-year term for representatives.

June 26, 1787 : The Convention adopted a six-year term for Senators.

July 12, 1787 : THE CONNECTICUT COMPROMISE (1) Based upon a proposal made by Roger Sherman of Connecticut ; the Constitutional Convention agreed that representation in the House of Representatives should be proportional to a state's population (the total of free residents, “excluding Indians not taxed”, and three-fifths of all other persons”, i.e., slaves).

July 13, 1787 : NORTHWEST ORDINANCE. While the Constitutional Convention meets in Philadelphia , the Congress of the Confederation crafts another governing instrument for the territory north of the Ohio River . The Northwest Ordinance, written largely by Nathan Dane of Massachusetts , provides for interim governance of the territory by congressional appointees (a governor, secretary and three judges), the creation of a bicameral legislature when there are 5,000 free males in the territory, and ultimately, the establishment of three to five states on an equal footing with the states already in existence. Freedom of worship, the right to trial by jury and public education are guaranteed, and slavery prohibited.

July 16, 1787 : THE CONNECTICUT COMPROMISE (II). The Convention agreed that each state should be represented equally in the Senate.

August 6, 1787 : The five-man committee appointed to draft a constitution based upon 23 “fundamental resolutions” drawn up by the convention between July 19 and July 26 submitted its documents, which contained 23 articles.

August 6 - September 10, 1787 : THE GREAT DEBATE, The Convention debated the draft constitution.

August 16, 1787 : The Convention granted to Congress the right to regulate foreign slave trade for 20 years.

September 6, 1787 : The Convention adopted a four-year term for the President.

September 8, 1787 : A five-man committee, comprising William Samuel Johnson (chair), Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, Rufus King and Gouverneur Morris, was appointed to prepare the final draft.

September 12, 1787 : The committee submitted the draft, penned primarily by Gouverneur Morris, to the Convention.

September 13-15, 1787 : The Convention examined the draft clause by clause and made few changes.

September 17, 1787 : All twelve state delegations voted approval of the document. Thirty-nine of the forty-two delegates present signed the engrossed copy, and a letter of transmittal to Congress was drafted. The Convention formally adjourned.


(Archive - Week of May 9 - May 15, 2004)
Armed Forces Day

How did it officially begin? On August 31, 1949 then Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of Armed Forces Day. President Harry S. Truman also announced the holiday in a presidential proclamation on February 20, 1950 . All branches of the military were asked to celebrate on this day and they complied on the first Armed Forces Day which was held the following year on May 20, 1950 . Armed Forces Day is now celebrated on the 3 rd Saturday in May.

On Saturday, May 15 is Armed Forces Day. The following is a bit of American history of our great American heroes that served in wars as well as in peace. At the end I will list the total that was killed during the many battles of different wars while striving for freedom and liberty for all freedom loving people. We have paid a big price and it's not over yet.

The Purple Heart is not awarded for heroic achievements or bravery on the battle field. It' not like many would say that the recipient earned it in war. It is given to those who unfortunately got injured while engaged in war.

How many young Americans will be killed in the Iraq War aka George W. Bush's War. Just like a lunatic would do, he ordered our forces to invade Iraq . This was the worst mistake any president has ever made. Iraq was not a target. They had none of the weapons that Bush claimed they had. We had the nation of Iraq surrounded. We had no threat from Iraq . Iraq was not involved in 9-11-01 . How many Americans will be slaughtered because of Bush's bad judgment? How many Purple Hearts will be required before the war ends? We now have about 750 Americans killed and sent home in body-bags … more than 4,000 wounded – some with no legs and arms. Why would any American support Bush for re-election? John Kerry is the right man to get us out of this mess recovering some respect and decency to our nation again. Perhaps the best thing to do is, “declare victory and go home.”

Purple Heart – Oldest American Meritorious Service Medal

After General George Washington's victory over the British at Yorktown , Va. , in Oct. 1781, he had much respect for the common soldier and often observed outstanding valor and merit that they displayed. In 1782, the Continental Congress reported problems with the continuation of fighting the war because no funds were available to pay the soldiers. Washington wrote a General Order on Aug. 7, 1782 . He could not pay them for their service, but he could give them military merits awards.

The Purple Heart, probably this country's most recognizable military decoration, is 221 years old.

General George Washington established the decoration for meritorious action on in August 1782, during the Revolutionary War to reward soldiers for bravery. The original decoration, called the Badge for Military Merit, was a Purple Heart of silk, bound with braid with the word “merit” stitched across the face in silver.

It was intended for both enlisted men and officers. Washington specified that the decoration be award “not only for instances of unusual gallantry but also of extraordinary fidelity and essential service.” Only three Revolutionary War soldiers earned the citation – Sergeants Elijah Churchill, William Brown and Daniel Bissell, Jr.

After the Revolutionary War, no more American soldiers received the Badge of Military Merit. But in 1931 Gen. Douglas MacArthur found Washington 's General Order of 1782 and discovered the accounts of the three men who received the award. MacArthur proposed a new medal for issue on the bicentennial of George Washington's birth. The War Department announced the “new” award on Feb. 22, 1932 .

Army Regulations were revised at about the same time to state: “A wound which necessitates treatment by a medical officer and which is received in action with an enemy, may in the judgment of the commander authorized to make the award be construed as resulting from a singularly meritorious act of essential service.”

At that time the Navy Department did not authorize the issue of the Purple Heart, but Franklin D. Roosevelt amended that by Executive Order on Dec. 3, 1942 , the award was extended to the Navy, Marine Corps, and the Coast Guard beginning Dec. 6, 1941 .

The new award was announced in 1932 and the government told World War I American soldiers they could exchange their Meritorious Service Citation Certificates for the Purple Heart.

Presidents have made changes through the years. President Harry S. Truman retroactively extended eligibility to the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard to April 5, 1917 , to cover World War I. In 1962 John F. Kennedy extended eligibility “to any civilian national of the United States ” wounded “while serving under competent authority in any capacity with an armed force.”

Army regulations, amended June 20, 1969, state that any “member of the Army who was awarded the Purple Heart for meritorious achievement or service, as opposed to wounds received in action, between Dec. 7, 1941 and Sept. 22, 1943, may apply for award of an appropriate decoration in lieu of the Purple Heart.” Thus the award was restricted to those wounded in action.

In 1984 Ronald Reagan amended that order to include those wounded or killed as a result of “an international terrorist attack.” The government awarded Purple Hearts Medals to military members or next of kin who were wounded or killed in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 .

There are no records of the first individual who received the revived and redesigned Purple Heart. This revived form is of metal, instead of perishable cloth, made in the shape of a rich purple heart bordered with gold, with a bust of Washington in the center and the Washington Coat-Of-Arms at the top.

The latter is believed to have been the source of the stars and stripes of the American Flag. Intrinsically, the Purple Heart is the world's costliest military decoration – nineteen separate operations are required to make it from the rough heart stamped from bronze to the finished medal, plated with gold and enameled in various colors, suspended from a purple and white ribbon.

We must not forget: They came from all walks of life. They gave all of their tomorrows so we could live in freedom; one nation under God with liberty and justice for all. Here, then is the sacrifice they gave.

American Revolution (1775-1783), 4,435 deaths.

War of 1812 (1812-1815), 2,260 deaths.

Indian Wars (1846-1848), 1,000 deaths.

Mexican War (1846-1848), 1,733 deaths.

Civil War (1861-1865), 140,414 Union deaths and 74,524 Confederate deaths.

Spanish American War (1898-1902), 385 deaths.

World War I (1917-1918), 53,402 deaths.

World War II (1941-1945), 291,556 deaths.

Korean War (1950-1953), 33,686 deaths.

Vietnam War (1964-1976), 58, 410 deaths.

In each war, there were many others who were wounded. A lot of them lost arms and legs. Young 2 nd Lt. Lewis B. Puller, Jr. was one of them.

More than 1.6 million Purple Hearts have been awarded during its history.

“No man who is not willing to bear arms and to fight for his rights can give a good reason why he should be entitled to the privilege of living in a free community.”


It's all right to be scared. We can't help that. But don't be afraid. Ain't nothing out there that is going to hurt you unless it smells that you are afraid – a mean dog will react to that. Without the courage with which men have died, we should not forget those acts of courage with which men … have lived.


(Archive - Week of April 25-May 9, 2004)
Mother's Day – make your mother Queen for a day
On May 9, we must give credit to Anna Jarvis, who died in1948, blind and penniless, for establishing an annual Mother's Day for all mothers in the United States. The history of Mother's Day in the United States will tell all Americans that one person, with enough determination, can change the thinking of those who are dragging their feet regarding policy making.

The history of Mother's Day was planted in Anna Jarvis' head at the grave site of her own mother, Anna Reeves Jarvis, in 1905. She swore, at that time standing over the grave of her mother, that she would dedicate the rest of her life to her mother's project, and establish a Mother's Day to honor mothers, living and dead. A persistent rumor in this history is that Anna's grief was intensified because she and her mother had quarreled and her mother died before they could reconcile.

After the death of Anna's mother in 1890, she moved from Grafton, West Virginia, to Philadelphia, and her desire to establish an annual Mother's Day was on the front burner. In 1907, Anna returned to her mother's church, St. Andrew's Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia, and passed out 500 white carnations – one for each mother in the congregation. A year later, in 1908, her mother's church responded with approval to Anna's request for a Sunday service honoring the late Anna Reeves Jarvis each year.

The same year, 1908, John Wanamaker, a Philadelphia merchant, joined Anna's campaign for Mother's Day, and the first bill was presented in the U.S. Senate proposing establishment of Mother's Day, by Nebraska Senator Elmer Burkett, at the request of the Young Men's Christian Association. The proposal was killed by sending it back to committee, 33-14. We must remember that some men thought women were not equal with men in those days.

In 1909, Mother's Day services were held in 46 states plus Canada and Mexico. Anna gave up her job – sometimes reported as a teacher, sometimes as clerking in an insurance office – to work full-time writing letters to politicians, clergy members, business leaders, women's clubs, and anyone else she thought might have some influence in Congress. Anna was also able to enlist the World's Sunday School Association in the lobbying campaign, a key success factor in convincing legislators in states and in the U.S. Congress to support the holiday. In 1912, West Virginia became the first state to adopt an official Mother's Day holiday.

In 1914, the U.S. Congress passed a Joint Resolution, and President Woodrow Wilson signed it, establishing Mother's Day, emphasizing women's role in the family. Texas Senators Cotton Tom Heflin and Morris Shepard introduced the joint resolution adopted in 1914. Both were ardent prohibitionists.

Anna got what she had worked so long for, but then she became concerned over the commercialization of Mother's Day. She wanted it to be a day of sentiment, not profit. She opposed the selling of flowers and also the use of greeting cards. As many of us know, Christmas, Easter and other holidays are not celebrated without the commercialization.

In 1923, Anna Jarvis filed suit against New York Governor Al Smith, over a Mother's Day celebration; the court threw the suit out. When she publicly protested, Anna was arrested for disturbing the peace. In 1931, Anna criticized Eleanor Roosevelt for her work with a Mother's Day committee that was not Jarvis' committee.

Anna never had children of her own and in 1948, she died blind and penniless and was buried next to her mother.

Rettie Mae (Hickman) Belew
1896 - 1987

NOW HEAR THIS: We only have one blood related mother. It will be her day on May 9. She deserves to be “Queen for a day.” In fact, she is entitled to have this title everyday of the year. And fathers, don't forget the mother of your children. My beloved mother, Rettie Mae (Hickman) Belew, died on Flag Day, June 14, 1987, at age 90, and I have missed her love and advice every single day since that time. After attending church with your mother, treat her to a quality restaurant for lunch or dinner.





(Archive - Week of April 25, 2004)
Note: The following article is a piece that I wrote and it was published in Feb. 2003. If this former Tennessee plowboy had this much wisdom about Iraq before it was invaded, where were the marbles in Bush's head? We are now in trouble - deep trouble, and democracy will never be a part of the government in Iraq. I wonder how Bush sleeps at night knowing that over 700 young Americans have been sent home in body-bags, because he made a mistake? What kind of a person is he that did not meet any of the dead heroes upon their arrival home and did not attend any of the funerals? George W. Bush committed a crime - he is a murderer.

Beginning of the law in the United States
(The United States Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces will commit a crime if he orders the American troops to invade Iraq . It's as plain as daylight that the leadership of the United States is craving to start a war with a country that has not invaded the United States , fired a shot on American soil, or committed one provable terrorist act. We have a hundred inspectors in Iraq and none can find any so-called weapons of mass destruction in spite of this administration telling the American people that they know the location of these weapons. If these weapons exist, why doesn't Bush tell the inspectors where the weapons are located?)

John Jay (1745-1829), American statesman, diplomat, New York lawyer, and first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

In 1981, Sandra Day O'Connor was appointed as the first woman justice of the United States Supreme Court.

In 1800, Constance Baker Motley was the first black woman law clerk to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The United States Supreme Court is the highest federal court in the United States , often referred to as “the Court of Last Resort.” It was established in 1790 with six justices, the Court originally convened in New York City . Currently, the Court is composed of nine justices, including eight associate justices and one chief justice who preside in Washington , D.C. (The Court moved to Washington, D.C. in 1800 when D.C. became the capital of the United States.) Each U.S. Supreme Court justice is appointed for life by the President of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The only qualification for the life term of U.S. Supreme Court Justices is “good behavior.”

Federal law does provide that a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, as other federal judges, can be impeached by Congress. By federal law, the U.S. Supreme Court begins its “term” on the first Monday in October and concludes nine months later at the end of June or early July. During each term, the Justices agree to review, or grant certiorari, (Latin word meaning “to be informed of”) in approximately 100 out of 6,000 or more appeals.

There are 13 different Circuit Court of Appeals. There are 11 numbered circuits and a D.C. Circuit (for the District of Columbia ), and as Federal Circuit, which hears specialized cases on patent and trademark law.

How do lawyers know what the law is? Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1841-1935), the famous American jurist, observed:

“Take the fundamental question, what constitutes the law? You will find some text writers telling you that it is something different from what is decided by the courts of Massachusetts or England , that it is a system of reason, that it is a deduction from principles or ethics or admitted axioms … which may or may not coincide with decisions.

“But if we take the view of our friend the bad man we shall find that he does not care two straws for the axioms or deductions, but that he does want to know what the Massachusetts or England courts are likely to do in fact. I am much of his mind. The prophecies of what the courts will do in fact, and nothing more pretentious, are what mean by the law.”

––– Oliver Wendell Holmes, “The Path of the Law,” Harvard Law Review, (1897)

Prophecies about law rest in part on a comparison between cases in question and prior cases that have been decided. Skill in finding similarities and differences among cases – the case method – is thus a fundamental part of professional law study.

It did not take me long to learn while I attended law classes in college to realize that I should go in a different direction with a new career, because of my fear of becoming a loser. As a member of the United States Marine Corps, the word “loser” was not in our vocabulary. It was winning at all cost. If I tried a case in court and lost, I would appeal the same case for the rest of my life until the case was overturned in my favor.

Law school teachers primarily use two techniques, the Socratic dialogue and the case method. In this pedagogic combination a teacher intensively interrogates individual students concerning the facts and principles presumed to be operative in an appellate opinion.

The method is intended to accomplish two goals. The first is informational: instruction in the substantive rules of discrete bodies of law. The second is to develop in the student a cognitive restructuring for the style of analysis generally called “thinking like a lawyer.”

In that analysis, a student is trained to account for the factual minutiae as well as for the legal issues determined by the court to be at the core of the dispute, so as to allow an intelligent prediction of what another court would do with a similar set of facts.

The technique is learning-centered: students are closely questioned and the teacher often takes their responses to further direct the dialogue.

The law received a jump-start after the computer invention and the Internet. Research on “case laws” once was done through a barn full of books – now case law is researched via the Internet with lightening speed.

The majority of the present day Justices of the United States Supreme Court have political views as diehard, rightwing conservative Republicans. Many of them are over-the-hill with age, some are in bad health, and I would bet my farm and best Tennessee mule that at least a couple of them will retire within two years while Bush is in office. They want conservative Republicans be appointed by Bush and approved by the Republic Senate to replace them.

A lawyer ages like good wine. The older he/she gets, the wiser in the courtroom. First the person attends and graduates from a good school of law, and with practical experience, the lawyer will see all the lights in the courtroom. Since I know for a fact that Wm. Travis Gobble has been practicing law for decades and has celebrated his 55 th birthday for at least 6 years, we would have to assume that he has aged like good Lite beer. And I am absolutely sure he can convince and charm the jury to see things his way. The jury is the key to success or failure. The best lawyers are good actors and a drama education is as slick as Cow slobber. I'm told that Travis is highly dedicated, skillful, and extremely foxy defending his clients.


“The power to tax is not the power to destroy while this court sits.”
––– Justice OLIVER WINDELL HOMES, dissenting, Panhandle Oil Company v. Mississippi er rel. Knox, Attorney General, (1928). Justice Holmes was Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1902-32).


“The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.”
––– WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, Henry VI, part II, act IV, scene ii, lines 83-84. Dick the butcher is speaking.

(Archive - Week of April 18, 2004)
Some folks have no listening skills

I thought of someone this past week that died many years ago. He was very knowledgeable, but thinking about this person (whom I'll call “John” for this column) made me wonder why I always dreaded talking with him.

Later, I stumbled across some articles on the Web, and I realized that John had a nasty habit of finishing my sentences, interrupting me at every turn and rambling on and on. It really was annoying.

I discovered from what I read that these habits are all too common. Seems they are the result of poor listening skills, which are a vital part of communicating effectively.

The following tips, adapted from various Internet sources and the book “Listening: The Forgotten Skill,” by Madelyn Burley-Allen, are ways to stem the tide of resentment and talking to no avail.

* Don't complete their sentences. Even if it seems they are rambling, let them finish. Besides, completing someone's sentences requires you to think one step ahead of the other person. That can be exhausting.

* On the flip side to that, don't ramble; keep your examples to a minimum. (Something that I could do better.)

* Be cautious of paranoid people who will ask questions and argue with your answers. A good name for them is turkey (gobble … gobble … gobble) – lunatics are out there. These sick folks are in bad need of a psychologist or a psychiatrist.

* Be patient and lean forward, if you're seated, to show you're interested. Body language speaks volumes about how you feel or what you think about the topic at hand.

* Don't interrupt. (A skill I also need to work on.)

* Get rid of distractions – turn off the TV, put down the newspaper, etc. When appropriate or important, let the phone ring. Face the person and make eye contact. It shows respect for them and what they are saying.

* Don't glance at your watch while they are talking.

* Don't jump to conclusions. Instead ask good questions, encouraging the other person to tell you more. “What happened next?”

* Ask their opinion to involve them. This works well if you finish your through and all you get is silence. (Avoid this, I have learned, if you usually do not like what they have to say.)

* Pay attention, and don't change the subject. You can do this by making verbal responses such as “I see,” “Really,” and “Uh – huh.” (Be aware that some people can use these types of responses and actually tune you out completely. If you suspect that is happening, ask their opinion.)

* When they are done telling their story, rephrase and repeat what you heard. “What I hear you saying is …” This will clear up things you may have misheard, and show them that you were not just hearing them.

* God gave you two ears and one mouth for a good reason. Listen twice as much as you talk.

As for John, he probably just wanted a friend who would listen to him. I wish I had done that.


“Congress is so strange. A man gets up to speak and says nothing. Nobody listens – and then everybody disagrees.”
––– BORIS MARSHALOV, a Russian observer, after visiting the U.S. House of Representatives (1947)


One clear sign of aging:Serendipity isn't what it used to be!

(Archive - Week of April 15, 2004)
God will be with you when you need Him

As we get older, most of us begin thinking more about our future home in Heaven with God. (My brother Claude, who lived in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, became a "born again" Christian before he died on June 10, 2003 at the age of 80.)

Ever wonder why suffering and pain run rampant in the world? As a result of its existence, it seems some people reason that God does not care - or even worse - that the Father himself does not exist. The following concurs with my take on the subject:

A man went to a barbershop to have his hair and his beard cut, as always. He started a good conversation with the barber who was attending him. They talked about so many things and various subjects. Suddenly, they touched the subject of God.

The barber said, "Look man, I don't believe that God exists as you say." "Why would you say that?" the client asked. "Well, it's so easy; all you have to do is go out in the street to realize that God does not exist. Tell me, if God exists, would there be so many sick people? Would there be abandoned children? If God exists, there would be neither suffering nor pain in the world. I can't think of loving a God who permits all of these things."

The client stopped for a moment, thinking, but did not want to respond so as not to cause an argument. The barber finished his job and the client left the shop. Just after leaving the barbershop, the client saw a man in the street with long hair and a beard. It seems that it had been a long time since he had his hair cut and he looked very untidy.

The client went back to the barbershop and said to the barber, "You know what? Barbers do not exist." "How can you say they don't exist?" the barber asked. "I am here, and I am a barber." "No!" the client exclaimed. "They don't exist, because if they did there would be no people with long hair and beards like that man who walks in the street." "Ah," the barber replied, "Barbers do exist, what happens is that people do not come to me."

"Exactly!" the client affirmed. "That's the point. God does exist, what happens is people do not go to Him and do not look for Him. That is why there is so much pain and suffering in the world."

"Absence of proof is not proof of absence."


I believe I understand God and the Bible better than I understand George W. Bush. I do not understand why Americans still believe in our U.S. Supreme Court appointed president. I don't understand why the people are not, as I am, ranting and raving about what Bush has done in wrecking our nation in three years.

On the first day, Jan. 20, 2001, when Bush first squatted in the White House, bad things for our nation and people started to unfold. Space in my one-page website does not permit me to tell it all, but I will remind you of a few highlights of his mistakes and wrong doings.

He was able to con Congress into giving his rich friends billions of dollars in what he called a tax refund. That wiped out all the surplus money that President Bill Clinton left on the table at the end of his two terms. Bush failed to create an economy plan, and jobs reduced by millions. President Clinton found 22 million additional new jobs under his leadership while in office. President Clinton also left Bush a balanced budget - that quickly went downward and for the wrong cause.

Bush attacked Iraq which the wrong target. He did it as he said, "Saddam tried to kill my dad." He also said that the oil in Iraq would pay all the cost for his action by invading that nation. At this point not a red penny has been used for the billions it has cost the American taxpayers. We are now in debt where it would be right to say that our nation falls into the bankruptcy category.

Last, but not least, about 700 great young Americans in uniform have been slaughtered in Iraq, the country we should not have invaded, and almost 3,500 Americans have been wounded, many for life. George W. Bush was not present at the site where the dead military personnel returned home in body-bags, and he did not attend any of their funerals, because he was too busy throwing out the first pitch in baseball and living it up at Camp David and his Texas Ranch with his rich friends. He was also too busy begging his rich friends for more money to be used in his campaign. How can this person sleep at night?

In God I Trust - but I do NOT trust George W. Bush.

(Archive - Week of April 9, 2004)
The World's First Submarine - Hunley Was a Killer of 40 Brave Men

I WROTE THE FIRST PART OF THIS A FEW YEARS AGO: In 1863, the Confederacy was in big trouble, and when everything failed, Capt. Horace L. Hunley - a retired U.S. Navy officer who was loyal to the Confederate cause - decided to help Gen. Gustave Toussant Beauregard by building the first submarine in order to break the Union blockade surrounding Charleston, S.C.'s harbor.

Capt. Hunley was not a naval hero, nor an inventor, but a gentleman of the old South and a wealthy cotton planter. The H.L. Hunley, as he called her, was built in Mobile, Ala., and was the first such vessel to sink a surface craft in warfare.

The H.L. Hunley was also referred to by many as the "Iron Witch," and her seduction took 40 very brave men to a watery grave. All the men who volunteered to man the H.L. Hunley were not only brave - they were heroes who made history as the first sailor's of a submarine.

The idea came to Capt. Hunley when the North sent more ships to tighten the blockade surrounding Charleston's harbor. He remembered some plans of a submarine that had been presented to him in the early part of 1863 for an undersea boat.

He was told that although two previous plans had turned out to be failures, the inventor claimed this ship "would knock off the Union ships one by one at night," and that there was no defense against her attack.

Capt. Hunley became convinced that he could build a submarine that would blockade harbors of the South, allowing supplies and ammunition to be brought in, which would change the course of the war to the South's favor. However, others thought it was too daring and suicidal for the Confederate government and Naval authorities to risk any money on the scheme.

The captain decided to build the submarine using his money, and she was built from a 25-foot section of a boiler, four feet in diameter and shaped like a cigar. She would be powered by eight men seated with their knees drawn up to their chins, turning hand-cranks that revolved the propeller shaft. Fins were attached to the sides for raising and lowering the boat while it was submerged. A hinged pipe, which could be raised four feet above the deck, supplied air to its crew.

The captain's position was forward of the eight-man crew where he navigated the craft. The plan was that the submarine would tow a copper cylinder containing gunpowder at the end of a 200-foot towline. In action, the submarine would submerge, dive under the Yankee ship, surface 100 feet on the other side, and continue on her course until the "torpedo" was towed into contact with the enemy ship's hull and then exploded.

The Hunley was built in Mobile and was taken to the waterfront of Mobile Bay in two sections and then towed down the Bay for a trial run - a shakedown cruise the U.S. Navy calls it. The Hunley sank because someone had left the hatch open. Unfortunately, her builder and her crew had no experience in what they were doing.

The second Hunley was built, but she nosed down into the mud at the bottom of Mobile Bay, refused to budge, and took the lives of her crew of seven volunteers with her. Despite this tragedy, she was raised and taken by rail to Charleston, S.C. There a young officer of the Confederate Navy volunteered to handle the Iron Witch. He got six other men as brave or as foolish as he and planned to attack the federal fleet in the harbor. They never made it - a passing steamer poured water into the open hatch and five of the men were drowned. Another crew was chosen from a long list of volunteers, and the same accident was repeated and four more men died.

Capt. Hunley insisted that the accidents were the result of improper operations. He decided to train and command the next crew himself. He headed his rusty brainchild into the quiet waters of Stono River, south of Charleston, in 1863 and gave the order to submerge. Several days later, the submarine was found stuck at a 40-degree angle in the mud with Capt. Hunley and his dead crew jammed together near the hatch. As amazing as it seems, this deadly submarine fascinated and hypnotized brave men, and another crew was recruited. This one met with the same fate as the others.

Gen. Beauregard said, "This is the end," and it might have been except for a fanatical Lt. George Dixon of Mobile who had known Capt. Hunley. Instead of ugliness and death, Lt. Dixon saw vitality and strength in this strange, cantankerous underwater craft. He was determined to show that the Hunley would revolutionize sea warfare. Dixon received grudging consent from the Navy to attack the Housatanic, a corvette guarding Charleston harbor. He had no trouble finding a crew, because enthusiasm was prompted not only by patriotism, but by $100,000 in prize money, which was offered for the destruction of a Union frigate, with lesser amounts for smaller vessels.

On Feb. 17, 1864 at 8:40 p.m., a long spar torpedo set into play a bittersweet victory for the Confederates. The spar torpedo hit the Housatanic and sank it with the loss of five men. It will forever remain a secret of the deep how this same torpedo then managed to blow the Hunley apart, sinking it with all hands on board - this time, forever. The Hunley claimed the lives of 40 brave heroes, including retired U.S. Navy Capt. Horace L. Hunley. The idea of a submarine was adopted by the U.S. Navy 37 years later when the submarine, Holland, became a part of the United States fleet.

CHARLESTON, S.C. dated April 17, 2004
Ceremony Honors Civil War Submarine

Thousands of re-enactors - men in Confederate gray and Union blue and women in black hoop skirts and veils - listen to the mournful wail of Taps at Charleston Harbor on Saturday as they honored the crew of Confederate submarine, H.L. Hunley, the first sub in history to sink an enemy warship.

In what has been called the last Confederate funeral, the coffins of the crew members, draped in Confederate flags, were brought to Charleston's Battery and placed in a semicircle, a wreath set in front of each. A Confederate flag flew at half-staff nearby.

Randy Burbage, a member of the South Carolina Hunley Commission, said it was a testimony to the crew that so many people had come to pay tribute to "eight Americans who died for a cause they believed in so long ago."

"There are some who have scoffed at our efforts to pay tribute to these men saying that because they were Confederates, they don't deserve so high an honor," said Ronald Wilson, the commander in chief of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. "It is our duty to respect and remember these individuals."

The coffins were to be taken by horse-drawn caissons from the Battery about five miles to Magnolia Cemetery, where the remains will be buried. Fourteen Southern governors were invited to the ceremony, but declined to attend. Most cited scheduling conflicts, but some observers speculated they may be wary of the political implications of attending an event with thousands of Confederate re-enactors.

The hand-cranked Hunley made history on Feb. 17, 1864, when it rammed a spar with a black powder charge into the Union blockade ship Housatonic. But the sub never returned from the mission. It was found off the South Carolina coast nine years ago and was raised in 2000 and brought to a conservation lab at the old Charleston Navy Base.

About 40 relatives of Hunley crew members were in Charleston Saturday. Emma Busbey Ditman of Silver Spring, Md., said she learned about 12 years ago that she had a relative aboard the Hunley. She is the great-grandniece of crewman Joseph Ridgaway, who was born on Maryland's Eastern Shore. "It was very emotional. My father died when I was a little girl and I knew almost nothing about father's family when I was a child. For me, it's finding my family."

The crew that will be buried Saturday was the third crew to die aboard the submarine.The first crew drowned in the fall of 1863 when water from the wake of a passing ship flooded the sub at its mooring. A few weeks later a second crew, including designed H.L. Hunley, died during a test dive.

The crewmen to be buried Saturday will be buried next to the other crews in a plot shaded by oaks and palmettos. Rebecca Farence of Harrisburg, Pa., said crewman Frank Collins was her great-grandfather's half cousin. "These are just extraordinary men - brave and strong who did a marvelous thing," she said.



(Archive - Week of July 18, 2004)
History in the life of our next president - John Kerry

Since we have only about 105 more days until the General Election, it's about time we learn a little more of the life history of our next president, John Kerry. My name is Noah H. Belew and I approve this message.

John Kerry was born on December 11, 1943 at Fitzsimons Military Hospital in Denver, Colorado, where his father, Richard, who had volunteered to fly DC-3's in the Army Air Corps in World War II, was recovering from a bout with tuberculosis. Not long after Sen. Kerry's birth, his family returned home to Massachusetts. John Kerry was raised in the Catholic faith and continues to be an active member of the Catholic church.

A graduate of Yale University, John Kerry entered the Navy after graduation, becoming a Swift Boat officer, serving on a gunboat in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. He received a Silver Star, Bronze Star with Combat V, and three awards of the Purple Heart for his service in combat.

By the time Senator Kerry returned home from Vietnam, he felt compelled to question decisions he believed were being made to protect those in positions of authority in Washington at the expense of the soldiers carrying on the fighting in Vietnam. Kerry was a co-founder of the Vietnam Veterans of America and became a spokesperson for the Vietnam Veterans Against the War -- Morley Safer would describe him as "a veteran whose articulate call to reason rather than anarchy seemed to bridge the gap between Abbie Hoffman and Mr. Agnew's so-called 'Silent Majority.'"

In April 1971, testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he asked the question of his fellow citizens, "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?" Sen. Claiborne Pell, (D-R.I.) thanked Kerry, then 27, for testifying before the committee, expressing his hope that Kerry "might one day be a colleague of ours in this body."

Fourteen years later, John Kerry would have the opportunity to fulfill those hopes - serving side by side with Sen. Pell as a Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. But in the intervening years, Kerry graduated from Boston College Law School and found different ways to fight for those things in which he believed. 

Time and again, Kerry fought to hold the political system accountable and to do what he believed was right. As a top prosecutor in Middlesex County, Kerry took on organized crime and put the Number Two mob boss in New England behind bars. He modernized the District Attorney's office, creating an innovative rape crisis crime unit, and as a lawyer in private practice he worked long and hard to prove the innocence of a man wrongly given a life sentence for a murder he did not commit.

In 1984, after winning election as Lieutenant Governor in 1982, Kerry ran and was elected to serve in the United States Senate, running and winning a successful PAC-free Senate race and defeating a Republican opponent buoyed by Ronald Reagan's reelection coattails.

Like his predecessor, the irreplaceable Paul Tsongas, Kerry came to the Senate with a reputation for independence -- and reinforced it by making tough choices on difficult issues: breaking with many in his own Party to support Gramm-Rudman Deficit Reduction; taking on corporate welfare and government waste; pushing for campaign finance reform; holding Oliver North accountable and exposing the fraud and abuse at the heart of the BCCI scandal; working with John McCain in the search for the truth about Vietnam veterans declared POW/MIA; and insisting on accountability, investment, and excellence in public education.

Sen. Kerry was re-elected in 1990, again in 1996, defeating the popular Republican Governor William Weld in the most closely watched Senate race in the country, and in 2002.

Now serving his fourth term, Kerry has worked to reform public education, address children's issues, strengthen the economy and encourage the growth of the high tech New Economy, protect the environment, and advance America's foreign policy interests around the globe.

John Kerry is married to Teresa Heinz Kerry. He has two daughters, Alexandra and Vanessa. Teresa has three sons, John, Andre, and Christopher. Senator Kerry lives in Boston.


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