Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Let them eat cake.

In my last blog I listed a few of what I considered to be the less important matters the Student Senators had debated and resolved this session, including this one:
A Resolution In Support Of Cake

A Resolution in Support of Cake

WHEREAS anthropologists have concluded that agriculture is the single most important human technology ever developed, and;

WHEREAS agriculture allowed the production of refined flours which are vital ingredients for delicious cake, and;

WHEREAS cake is by all means considered a tasty dessert and treat, and;

WHEREAS Marie Antoinette is frequently referenced to have said, “Let them eat cake!” and;

WHEREAS all must acquiesce to the irresistible power of cake, therefore;

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE ASSOCIATED STUDENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON:

THAT the ASUW wholly supports and consumes cake in all its forms and formally requests the presence of a scrumptious cake at the final meeting of the Student Senate’s twelfth session to be provided by the beloved SAO advisor.
All in fun, and quite yummy sounding.

But did you know that cake will cost the taxpayers money? To be exact, $13,745.00

That's because the four officers of the UW Student Senate draw a stipend each year.
SENATE CHAIR $4,403.

SENATE VICE-CHAIR $3,273.

SENATE SECRETARY $2,890.

MEMBERSHIP COORDINATOR $3,179.
Now I assume that they have classes so they must only do this what, 10 hours a week or so? If so, since the stipend is not for the summer session, that averages about 8 or 9 bucks an hour or so. Not too bad really.

Just thought you might wanna know who pays for them to tell us they love cake....

(Note- By the way....Yes, I know the "Cake" resolution is used for training purposes....

From the Minutes....
Alex Kim noted that R-12-1 A resolution in Support of Cake was entirely scripted and intended as instructional for new senators.

The resolution was presented using a pre-written script that was provided to members of senate. Please reference the script for detailed information regarding the resolution.
But honestly, it was there so I had to use it.)

Jill Edwards: In her own words

This is not meant to disrespect Miss Edwards. If anything it is an opportunity for her side of the story to be shown.

In surfing around other Boyington stories, I came upon a link to her after session notes that she posts as a part of her representation of the Honors Croquet League...No I am not making that up...I could never have made that up. Oh come on, it isn't that bad. Moving on.....

As I was saying, in honest fairness, I think it is important to see how she felt about the fray. I am going to post, unedited, her notes from 2-7-2006 (the day of the initial debate and her notes from 2-21-2006. In fairness, suspend judgment till you read them all. I have only one comment, which I will save until the end.

February 7, 2006

Senate this week was interesting. I talked more than I ever have before and realized exactly why I never talk. I apparently upset a lot of people when I opposed a memorial for a Colonel from WWII who had recieved a Medal of Honor and who was a UW graduate. This was the main discussion and rather than go into it, I think I would rather post some of the charming and sweet letters I have recieved since then.

". . . most of you aren't informed at all about that which you discuss. That's a sad commentary about a university education that is supported by my tax dollars. No doubt you all have been corrected for your erroneous and sometimes outrageous remarks (Jill Edwards, Ashley Williams). It is one thing to stand up for your political beliefs. It's entirely another to totally misrepresent the truth for political reasons."

"Against overwhelming odds, [Boyington] helped the overall cause of stopping what had been started on Dec. 7th, 1941 when the United States was attacked by the Empire of Japan. Or had you forgotten? Or did you ever even know? You should be honored that such a person is an alumnus of your school. Most schools can't claim such an honorable person. I'm just sorry that your school has to claim you."

"If it were not for a lot of people like Greg Boyington, you'd probably be attending classes in German or Japanese........... Kinda sad---but such is life in the Socialist Soviet of Seattle, 'ay? "

So there you have it. Thanks, I am thouroughly regretting opeining my mouth. No quote of the week this week, I think the above suffice.

Now, the most recent, dated 2-21-2006, where she does show some respect and regret:

February 21, 2006

A significant amount of time has passed since my last Senate report, and I'm sure all the members of the League are wondering what HAS been happening in Senate since my last update.

As you may recall, at the last meeting some things were said, then summarized, mis-summarized, quoted, misquoted, publicized, and blown out of proportion, intentions were misinterpreted and some people were offended. As my hopefully final statement on the manner: I am sincerely sorry that this happened, especially that people were offended. On an upside, lots of people have been reading these reports; on the downside, I apparently can't spell (no wonder crosswords are so hard for me).

Just so everyone is clear, as I feel I owe you at least, the people I'm representing in Senate an explanation, I am pretty sure I didn't discuss the worth of the Marine Corps as a whole. The Secretary summarized my comments, paraphrasing them in a way that added an extra layer of meaning I didn't intend and by the time it became an issue, people didn't think the difference in meaning was significant. To clarify, I was merely questioning the idea that Boyington deserved a memorial above ALL other UW alumni and if he was indeed the BEST example of a person the UW wanted to produce (people may disagree with me on this point, fine, but I hope they realize it was not intended to be offensive). I never intended to imply that Marines are not good enough for our institution. Also, when I questioned honoring Boyington for killing people, I meant to question if that the one thing of all of his achievements we wanted to choose to honor, instead of his sacrifices, bravery etc, not that we should not honor him on the basis that he killed people. I am NOT anti-military at all. I support the people in the military so much, I would like to see them not killed as much as possible. I realize that in the past war has been unavoidable and I have the utmost appreciation for people who have served and are serving.

Of course, some of you may have heard about the bill to force me to apologize. All I can say about this is the idea of forcing someone to retract their statements because other people disagreed does not hold with what the ASUW stands for.

Now that that is over with: At this meeting, a bill opposing the denial of federal financial aide to anyone with a prior drug conviction passed almost unanimously as I recall. If anyone in the League has been denied federal financial aide due to a previous drug conviction, please contact the ACLU. There is more information on the Senate website; they are trying to create a case to challenge this law.

As usual, a lot of other important things were discussed. Check the Senate web-site or come to the meetings, Tuesday nights at 7.

Quote of the week: From the Simpsons Episode "Bart-Mangled Banner" in which Bart accidently moons the American flag: [Interior of Springfield Shopper newsroom] Editor: (holds up photo of Bart mooning flag) "Alright, who can take a story and blow it waaaaay out of proportion?" Reporter: "I'm your man, boss!" Editor: "I want you to overhype this story so much it makes the New York Post look like the New York Times. Or the New York Times look like the New York Post. I forget which one the good one is."

My only real comment concerns this statement:

the idea of forcing someone to retract their statements because other people disagreed does not hold with what the ASUW stands for

Jill, you miss the point.

Asking you to apologize does not necessitate your retraction of your words, it merely asks you to be responsible and address the offense they caused, and if possible clarify them. This you have done, though I would find it more to your credit had you done so publicly, not in the notes of your Croquet League. Regardless, to take this as an attempt at censorship misses the point. No one wants to censor your words. We just want you to be responsible for them.

Free speech requires responsibility. If your words are hasty and offend, that is a logical consequence, and in the end, as an adult, it's up to you whether you want to address the consequences of that or not. I tell my kids the same thing. You said it, you own it...Now deal with it.

You, according to your notes, rarely participate, and I suppose it is to your credit you got involved at all this time. That should be applauded. You spoke your mind, and exercised your opinion.

But your words, as quoted, seriously offended some people, and if nothing else I hope this makes you a more effective Senator (and person I suppose) by making you a bit more considerate of the effect of your words on others. You are speaking to the record when you speak in the Senate, and the record is ruthless about recording the words you say, something your Washington DC peers often forget as well...

Finally, just in passing, I would say that reading her other notes, one wonders why she is there at all. She expresses a lot of disdain for the institution itself:

For a while during the meeting, and this disturbed me somewhat, I got very caught up in the debate. I started acting like it would make a difference whether we passed this resolution or not. It shook the very foundation of my beliefs as an ASUW senator: that the ASUW Senate has no actual bearing on reality. I had to remind myself that passing this bill would not change the bookstore's policy, that few people out of the senate would care or even know that this bill had been passed or not. So my faith in the pointlessness of senate was restored. But I have a greater understanding of my fellow senators, who actually *care* about what happens. Power is a drug; even when it isn't real it is still psychologically addicting. No wonder they expend so much energy thinking they have great influence when really they don't.

I know little about the Senate itself, but the more I read the more intrigued I get.

Here is a short list of some of its notable resolutions in this session:

Hmm, maybe she is on to something...I dunno, maybe those are key issues to the Croquet League.....

Monday, February 27, 2006

The New Bush Defenders: the LA Times?

I mean just the thought of it is incredible enough. The LA Times has earned it's reputation as one of the more liberally slanting newspapers, but in a recent series of editorials, it has nicely skewered the left's criticism of the Dubai Ports World issue, including a few very choice comments for California's own US Sen Barbara Boxer(d).

The issue should have died out, as the truth of the proposal became clear. Indeed, as noted by Sister Toldjah, many conservatives have begun changing what was a nervous and skeptical mindset into growing support as the facts begin to be made clear. No, the Arabs have not taken over the mightiest ports in America. Swarthy men are not unloading our ships and planting suitcase bombs in our imported toasters. The Teamsters and Longshoremen still control the loading, the Company only over sees logistics. Customs and the Coast Guard still maintain security.

The Democrats however, seeing this as a pollsters cash cow have tightened their gripe on the misinformation machine and have jumped on their band wagon with all gun's firing. And people are buying their fear tactics. Barbara is one of the many fear slongers seeing this as a Golden Ticket.

The facts are simple, this is a non story. Even the UAE has respectfully asked for a delay and review just to appease nervous xenophobes.

(See here for a good collection of informative links on the disinformation:

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-ed-ports22feb22,0,4937386.story?coll=la-news-comment-editorials

Port hysteria

WHEN MEMBERS OF CONGRESS TAKE homeland security seriously, it's a welcome development. Unfortunately, Tuesday's bipartisan hissy fit over the Bush administration's approval of a Dubai company's $6.8-billion deal to manage six important U.S. ports is neither serious nor welcome.

At first glance, Dubai Ports World's acquisition of the British-owned Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. looks troubling: Do we really want a company from the United Arab Emirates, one of the only countries that recognized the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan, acting as the maritime gatekeeper for New York, Miami, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Baltimore and Newark, N.J.?

After all, ports could be appealing and vulnerable targets for terrorists, handling about 2 billion tons of freight each year, only 5% of which receives close inspection. The remaining containers are vetted through an informal process that emphasizes faith in "trusted shippers."

The problem is that blocking the Dubai deal wouldn't do a thing to change any of that. It only provides members of Congress an opportunity to talk tough and pander to the terrorism-rattled xenophobe in us all.

Dubai Ports World, like the foreign companies that already run the majority of key U.S. ports; including 80% of the terminals in Los Angeles; does not own the points of entry. It is a contractor that coordinates logistics. And most important, it's not in charge of security. (emphasis mine) Port operators work with U.S. security officials (port police, the Coast Guard, the Department of Homeland Security) in charge of preventing terrorism.

This week's hubbub diverts attention from a pressing and genuine debate over what those agencies really need to do to keep our commercial harbors safe. Compared to airport security, port security is woefully underfunded and undeveloped.

A paper written by former Coast Guard Cmdr. Stephen E. Flynn in the current issue of the Far Eastern Economic Review calls the system a "house of cards." Flynn argues that any terrorist worth his salt could simply seek out a well-known "trusted" shipper's containers to stash his deadly contraband. He calls for a slate of inspection-oriented reforms, including the adoption of better screening technologies.

Who owns the companies that operate the ports isn't the point; it's how those companies work together with federal and local authorities to keep ports safe. And the Department of Homeland Security has a long way to go before it figures out how best to get that done.

To be fair, congressional calls for transparency in the bidding process make sense. And any attention paid to port security is better than none at all. But by focusing on the nationality of a respected ports operator, instead of scrutinizing questionable policies or providing tangible suggestions for making the nation safer, members of Congress have once again shown their unerring knack for irrelevance when it comes to matters of homeland security.

Just on that basis I was standing up cheering (embarassing really, I was at work...), but this next one is better yet:

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-ed-ports26feb26,0,6772402.story?coll=la-news-comment-editorials

Boxer's rebellion

EVEN AS THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION promotes free trade and economic growth as a counter to extremism in the Middle East and elsewhere, some members of Congress appear determined to send a different message: America is happy to use your nation as a staging ground or refueling station for its military adventures, but we don't trust you enough to trade with you. And among the members of Congress conveying this impression most loudly is the junior senator from California, Barbara Boxer.

Dubai Ports World, which is based in the United Arab Emirates, agreed last week to delay the acquisition of the U.S. terminals included in its purchase of a British cargo operations company while the administration gives Congress time to study the deal. Too much delay, or outright rejection, would tarnish this country's international reputation, but that's nothing compared to the damage that could be wrought by the ongoing hysteria in Congress.

No one can dispute that the UAE is a key ally, that the deal has been vetted by the Department of Homeland Security and that it would have no effect on government security operations at the six ports where Ports World would run terminals. The objections to the deal are more rooted in a general mistrust and lack of confidence in the Bush administration.

As well-founded as these concerns may be, they're not the kind of thing that is addressed through legislation such as that proposed by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.). Their bill would block companies owned by foreign governments from buying U.S. port operators. If that's what they're really worried about, then they're too late. Some of the world's biggest shipping companies, including China Ocean Shipping (better known as Cosco) and Singapore's APL, both of which have a major presence at California ports, are government-owned. Many of the rest have complex relationships with their home governments, making it very difficult to determine which are state-owned.

This brouhaha is reminiscent of 1998, when Cosco proposed moving from its berth at the Port of Long Beach to a shuttered naval station on the other side of the port that was being converted to a container terminal. Congress, fearing the company was a front for Chinese spies, scotched the deal.

It remains mystifying why anyone would consider a closed naval station, its buildings demolished and equipment long gone, to be a more effective platform for spying than Cosco's present terminal. But opponents of the Cosco deal, mostly Republicans, won a political victory over the Clinton administration.

Now there is a Republican in the White House, and of all the grandstanding surrounding the Dubai Ports World deal, none tops Boxer's performance. She said last week that she would support legislation preventing any foreign firm, state-owned or not, from buying port operators. Memo to Boxer: 13 of the 14 container terminals at the ports of L.A. and Long Beach, the biggest port complex in the U.S., are run by foreign-owned companies. (emphasis mine) She later told The Times that she meant such deals should get greater scrutiny, not be banned. Still, this is the sort of proposal one would expect from a senator from a land-locked state like Vermont, not one where international trade plays a vital role in the economy. The Clinton-Menendez bill, which Boxer is backing, would do little more than disrupt port operations and attract international protest.

Boxer had a more enlightened view in 1998, when she supported the Cosco move. She now borrows a line from George W. Bush and says the world has changed since 9/11, but that still doesn't explain why she supported terminal operations run by a foreign government-owned company eight years ago but now distrusts any foreign operator whether it comes from a country involved in terrorism or not.

One possible explanation is that the Cosco deal was heavily backed by a Democratic administration, while the Dubai Ports World deal is heavily backed by a Republican administration. But that would mean Boxer is working against the interests of her state in order to score cheap political points. She would never do such a thing. Would she?

Next thing you know they will accuse her of being a partisan hack...what? Oh yea, they did, didn't they?

With the immense disinformation campaign, the blatant hypocrisy of the politicians, and liberal pundits practically wetting themselves at the thought of the fall of the Bush Dynasty, it's good to see that even the LA Times looked the situation over, found the simple truth, and said "Enough!"

UPDATE:

Sister Toldjah posted on this this morning also, noting how politics indeed makes strange bedfelloews. She noted that The Washington Post's Richard Cohen now supports it, and the NY Times has an OP ED piece from Nick Kristoff also in favor of it (paid reg req).

Strange times indeed...

Friday, February 24, 2006

UW Senate Steering Committee discuss and edit Jill and Ashley's remarks

The Boyington Memorial flap was largely based on the minutes of the Senate session dates 2-7-2006. Those meetings were displayed on the UW Senate site at:

http://senate.asuw.org/secretary/senminutes.shtml

At some point however the file for the meeting in question was renamed to 02-07-2006-draft, and an apparently approved copy was added.

The changes were fairly subtle, but I always wondered why there was a draft copy at all, since that was the only draft edition of a set of minutes, dating back to 2002.

So I looked around and found the answer. There is a second minutes site, the minutes for the Senate Steering Committee, and they are kept here:

http://senate.asuw.org/secretary/strminutes.shtml

In the 2-13-2006 Steering Committee there was much discussion about those minutes, particularly the comments made by Ashley Miller (rich white men) and Jill Miller (UW does not want to produce Marines).

Here is an excerpt from those minutes that concerns those comments.

Question to the reader: Was the committee concerned with saving face or clarifying the comments?

IX. Approval of the Minutes

Alex Kim noted that he requested a draftversion of the minutes be posted online before the Steering Committee considered them.

Shawn Fisher noted Steering Committee would meet this Friday at 3:30.

Erin Shields said she was concerned over the quote that Jill Edwards is quoted to say.

Alex Kim noted Jill Edwards contacted him asking him to add a quote regarding her respect for veterans.

Erin Shields said she was concerned with the phraseology of the quote.

Sam Al-Khoury said he thought the general thought was somewhat conveyed by the minutes.

He moved to remove the reference to the Marine Corps and instead say "a person who kills others."

Seconded. Objection.

Jerome McCuin said changing the minutes will give the appearance of trying to rewrite the meeting.

Alex Kim noted that Jill Edwards never said the minutes misrepresented her quote.

Travis Grandy asked if Sam Al-Khoury made the motion to protect Jill Edwards or because it was what he thought Jill Edwards said.

Sam Al-Khoury said he thought the quote reflected the spirit of what was said.

Jon Lee said he was concerned Senate was trying to fill in gaps in its memory, and that it was inappropriate to change them at this point in time.

Travis McCoy noted that the minutes are listed as a draft copy until approved by Steering.

Hala Dillsi amended the amendment stating "Jill Edwards questioned whether it was appropriate to honor a person who killed other people" And leaving the statement regarding the Marine Corps. Seconded. Objection.

Karl Smith noted that he specifically remembered her making a statement, not asking a question.

Sam Al-Khoury asked if the minutes could be conditionally approved.

Alex Kim said that would not be possible.

Rene Singleton said Jill Edwards had already given the committee her opinion and that Steering had several options available that it could exercise.

Cailin Magruder said she remembered the quote clearly and wasn't happy with the amendments currently on the table as they misrepresented what was said.

Hala Dillsi encouraged Steering committee to vote down the current amendment so that we could consider a second amendment.

The amendment to the amendment failed.

Hala Dillsi amended the amendment to add "Jill Edwards said she did not believe it was appropriate to pass a resolution to honor a person who killed other people" and keep the present statement about the Marine Corps.

Jon Lee said he objected because Senate is trying to fill in bits and pieces of what happened during Senate.

Alex Kim said there was no way to eliminate the gap between when the meeting takes place and the approval of the minutes.

Cailin Magruder said she didn't want to amend the statement given that it skews the quote from her personal recollection of the statement.

Jerome McCuin said he didn't want to amend the minutes because the information was already available.

Travis McCoy said that as secretary, he was responsible for ensuring the minutes were an accurate representation of what occurred in the meeting. He said with that responsibility in mind, that he approved of the current amendment as he felt it accurately clarified the statement in question.

Jon Lee noted that Steering Committee had gotten input from Jill Edwards and that she didn't request any further changes be made.

Erin Shields said she thought Jill Edward's quote misrepresented her as being entirely against the Marine Corps. She said the comment comes across incorrectly.

Travis Grandy moved to close debate on the amendment to the amendment.

Seconded.

Passed without objection.

The vote on the amendment to the amendment was tied.

Alex Kim voted yay. The amendment to the amendment passed.

Rene Singleton said the lesson should be learned to not publish information before it has been approved.

Travis Grandy move to close debate.

Seconded. Passed without objection.

The amendment tied. Alex Kim voted aye. The motion passed.

Travis Grandy moved to amend the minutes to clarify that Ashley Miller was not speaking specifically to the resolution when she made her comment. There was no second.

The motion was made to approve the minutes as amended.

Seconded.

Objection.

Jerome McCuin said he thought ASUW was making a mistake by changing the minutes after they had been published.

Alex Kim noted that it used to be a standard practice to release draft minutes every week. He said the job of Steering is to ensure the validity of the minutes.

He said it is still the job of Steering to preserve the accuracy of the minutes.

The motion passed. The minutes were approved.

Rene Singleton said it would be possible to release both copies of the minutes.

Sam Al-Khoury asked if the changes could simply be noted on the draft issue.

Erin Shields said she wanted senators to be able to justify their comments and that perhaps minutes should be released in draft form as well.

X. Adjournment

Jon Lee moved to adjourn. Seconded. Passed without objection.

The meeting adjourned at 5:25PM.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

UAE Port deal: problem or waste of bandwidth?

I expressed my concerns previously about the UAE Dubai Ports World issue in this blog:

http://guitarplayr.blogspot.com/2006/02/now-i-know-its-bad-idea.html

At that point, the best reason to dislike the deal was the fact former President Jimmy Carter supported it, a point I still find compelling.

But after reviewing the facts, hearing the talking points, and reading an insane number of blogs, I am beginning to believe this is not only a serious waste of time, but it may not be such a bad idea after all.

See Sister Toldjah for a lot more detailed information and a ton of great links. She has done some of her best work here..

My basic reasons to support it, or at least to feel there is little reason to oppose it, are these:
  • There will be no changes in the present security procedures. This company takes over port management only, not security or loading operations.
  • The UAE has been a consistent ally in the war on terror.
  • Dubai Ports World already operates ports around the world including Australia, China, Korea, Malaysia, India, Germany and Venezuela. They are experienced and have a very respected reputation. If there are issues, let some of those countries step forward and let the record be known.
  • They currently operate military ports for the US and have had a consistent record of secure operations.
  • We have many ports in the US already under foreign management; in fact the six ports involved are presently under British management, so the whole concept of *foreigners* running our ports is already a well known scenario. The fact that the Government of the UAE itself has ownership of this company is not necessarily a deal breaker to me, if they can be shown to be a trustworthy government, and even then it's still essentially moot because they will not have any actual control over port security. That, as I mentioned before, is still maintained by the Coast Guard and the US Customs Service.

What this is all about, at it's core, is racism; specifically Islamophobia, which I first suspected was the case.

Any other government would be ok, but these are Middle Easterners. The rants on the radio are incredible, about "not trusting them Arabs".

And that is the irony, at least as far as some of the liberal critics are concerned.

It is apparently ok to profile a country based on their race and religion (despite their reputation and their actual relationship with our country), but it is a bad thing to profile any middle eastern people based on their race and religion when they board an airplane. This is absurd.

So also are the headlines claiming Bush is *giving* the UAE control of US 6 ports. It is a business deal where Dubai Ports World is buying a British Company, Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co.

I can only find one valid possible point of contention. Several legislatures are claiming there is a requirement that this deal be given a mandatory 45 day investigation under a law governing the review of foreign investments. The Whitehouse claims that is not mandatory, it is dependent on security concerns.

So, that's it. Settle that issue, and make sure we abide by the law as necessary and I am satisfied.

Aside from that whole Jimmy Carter thing I mean...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The UW MOH Memorial: Let's make sure they get it right

I admit my last blog about this was fairly angry. I was very upset about the events that had transpired, and I decided to show it. I was, and I still am fairly disgusted with the editors of the Seattle PI for trying to make a silk purse from a sows ear.

But it occurred to me today that this, like so many things is life, has all the ingredients of an opportunity to make it right.

I decided to look up the details of the 5 men who earned the Medal Of Honor (MOH), and I discovered they all had unique stories worthy of telling. I remarked to Kirby Wilbur via email that I doubted any of the students had even bothered to do the 5 minutes of google searching it took me to find all five citations. While that may be true of some of them, it is not true of all, because I found that the new resolution introduced to the Senate contains the details of all five men. The resolution, R-12-26 - A Resolution Calling a Memorial for UW Alumni awarded the Medal of Honor can be read here:

http://senate.asuw.org/legislation/12/R/R-12-26.html

I will post it below in a moment.

I am blogging this tonight to say that while I think the original resolution had merit, this one can be just as good, if a few things are done to ensure it doesn't fall prey to correctness. The new resolution was written by the same person as the original, so I am fairly confident he has the intention of making this a sober, respectful and comprehensive memorial. I am also, however, cynical enough that I do not trust that his peers will not try to "PC" it, and dumb it down to make it more generic, as they did his original resolution.

This must not be allowed to happen.

If these men are to be honored they should be honored in the full context of their achievement and valor, which to me requires nothing less then the full citation that accompanied their award, and a brief historical bio and context for each one, in separate steles.

In the case of one soldier, this to me is particularly important: PFC William K Nakamura, the only non graduate, and the only enlisted person as well, as fate would have it. The PI noted that he had his studies interrupted by the interment camps in 1942. What they glossed over was that he enlisted in the army and became a member of what would become one of the most highly decorated regiments in U.S. history, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, 34th "Red Bull" Division, U.S. 5th Army. He was the first Army volunteer from Minidoka Relocation Center to be killed in action.

And he was the only one of the 5 whose medal was not awarded until June 21, 2000 because his original recommendation for the MOH had been downgraded to the Distinguished Cross, arguably due to his being Japanese.

Additionally, on September 19, 2000, the King County Council passed a resolution urging Congress to name a planned new Federal Courthouse in Seattle after Nakamura. The Seattle City Council passed a similar resolution. Congress responded in November 2000 by renaming the existing courthouse (at Madison Street and 5th Avenue) in his honor.

(source: http://www.historylink.org/output.cfm?file_id=2767)

Is his tale not one that should be told, and be told in it's full context? And can less truly be said about any of the others?

If the Senate makes this a simple 5 names on a plaque with a pretty ribbon, lacking any details and context, who will tell the full story of these men, why they are honored and what their sacrifice represents?

Please join me in encouraging all parties to put aside agendas and ideologies and do the right thing.

It's ironic that the PI was right, but for the wrong reasons. Yes, the debate can lead to a greater more meaningful monument, but only if the students, with our encouragement and support do the right thing.

Here is the link to their contact information:

http://senate.asuw.org/membership/membershipdb.cgi

Write them and ask for their support in making this a memorial all can be proud of.

It's time to get this right.


A Resolution Calling a Memorial for UW Alumni awarded the Medal of Honor

WHEREAS the Medal of Honor is the highest award an American can receive, which is awarded for "for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life, above and beyond the call of duty, in actual combat against an armed enemy force.", and,

WHEREAS the University of Washington has produced five men who have been awarded the Medal of Honor, two of those awards being at cost of their lives, these men are:

- Col. (then Maj.) Gregory Boyington, USMC (Class of 1934) who during the period 12 September 1943 to 3 January 1944 as commander of Marine Fighting Squadron-214 in the Central Solomons area, the highest scoring Marine fighter ace of World War II, did consistently outnumbered throughout successive hazardous flights over heavily defended hostile territory, Maj. Boyington struck at the enemy with daring and courageous persistence, leading his squadron into combat with devastating results to Japanese shipping, shore installations, and aerial forces and, by his forceful leadership, developed the combat readiness in his command which was a distinctive factor in the Allied aerial achievements in this vitally strategic area.

- 1LT Deming Bronson, USA (Class of 1914) - who during the period 26-27 September 1918 near Eclisfontaine, France, while repeatedly wounded, refused treatment and evacuation multiple times, and while so doing affected the capture of many enemy prisoners in capturing an entrenched position, engaged in the capture of Eclisfontaine, France, and After the capture he remained with Company E and participated with it in the capture of an enemy machinegun, he himself killing the enemy gunner. Shortly after this encounter the company was compelled to retire due to the heavy enemy artillery barrage. During this retirement 1st Lt. Bronson, who was the last man to leave the advanced position, was again wounded in both arms by an enemy high-explosive shell. He was then assisted to cover by another officer who applied first aid. Although bleeding profusely and faint from the loss of blood, 1st Lt. Bronson remained with the survivors of the company throughout the night of the second day, refusing to go to the rear for treatment. His conspicuous gallantry and spirit of self-sacrifice were a source of great inspiration to the members of the entire command.

- Brig. Gen (then Maj.) Robert Galer, USMC (Class of 1935) who from May 1942 to March 1943 as commander of Marine Fighting Squadron-224 in the Central Solomons area, did demonstrate conspicuous heroism and courage above and beyond the call of duty as leader of a marine fighter squadron in aerial combat with enemy Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands area. Leading his squadron repeatedly in daring and aggressive raids against Japanese aerial forces, vastly superior in numbers, Maj. Galer availed himself of every favorable attack opportunity. His superb airmanship, his outstanding skill and personal valor reflect great credit upon Maj. Galer's gallant fighting spirit and upon the U.S. Naval Service.

- 2LT Robert R. Leisy, USA (Class of 1968) who on 2 December 1969 in the Phuoc Long province, Republic of Vietnam, did demonstrate For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. 2d Lt. Leisy, Infantry, Company B, distinguished himself while serving as platoon leader during a reconnaissance mission. One of his patrols became heavily engaged by fire from a numerically superior enemy force located in a well-entrenched bunker complex. As 2d Lt. Leisy deployed the remainder of his platoon to rescue the beleaguered patrol, the platoon also came under intense enemy fire from the front and both flanks. In complete disregard for his safety, 2d Lt. Leisy moved from position to position deploying his men to effectively engage the enemy. Accompanied by his radio operator he moved to the front and spotted an enemy sniper in a tree in the act of firing a rocket-propelled grenade at them. Realizing there was neither time to escape the grenade nor shout a warning, 2d Lt. Leisy unhesitatingly, and with full knowledge of the consequences, shielded the radio operator with his body and absorbed the full impact of the explosion. This valorous act saved the life of the radio operator and protected other men of his platoon who were nearby from serious injury. Despite his mortal wounds, 2d Lt. Leisy calmly and confidently continued to direct the platoon's fire. When medical aid arrived, 2d Lt. Leisy valiantly refused attention until the other seriously wounded were treated. His display of extraordinary courage and exemplary devotion to duty provided the inspiration and leadership that enabled his platoon to successfully withdraw without further casualties. 2d Lt. Leisy's gallantry at the cost of his life are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

- PFC William K. Nakamura, USA (non-graduate, left the UW in 1942) who on 4 July 1944 near Castellina, Italy, During a fierce firefight, Private First Class Nakamura's platoon became pinned down by enemy machine gun fire from a concealed position. On his own initiative, Private First Class Nakamura crawled 20 yards toward the hostile nest with fire from the enemy machine gun barely missing him. Reaching a point 15 yards from the position, he quickly raised himself to a kneeling position and threw four hand grenades, killing or wounding at least three of the enemy soldiers. The enemy weapon silenced, Private First Class Nakamura crawled back to his platoon, which was able to continue its advance as a result of his courageous action. Later, his company was ordered to withdraw from the crest of a hill so that a mortar barrage could be placed on the ridge. On his own initiative, Private First Class Nakamura remained in position to cover his comrade's withdrawal. While moving toward the safety of a wooded draw, his platoon became pinned down by deadly machine gun fire. Crawling to a point from which he could fire on the enemy position, Private First Class Nakamura quickly and accurately fired his weapon to pin down the enemy machine gunners. His platoon was then able to withdraw to safety without further casualties. Private First Class Nakamura was killed during this heroic stand. Private First Class Nakamura's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE ASSOCIATED STUDENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON:

THAT we consider these men to be a prime example of the excellence that this university represents and strives to impart upon its students, and,

THAT we desire for a memorial, consisting of stele, for these men be commenced by the University of Washington as quickly as funding can be secured, and the design, arrangement & placement of stele have been agreed upon, which will be publicly displayed, so that all who come here in future years will know that the University of Washington produced five of this country's bravest men, and that we as a community hold this fact in the highest esteem, and

THAT for all future instances of a UW alumnus being awarded the Medal of Honor, that the addition of a stele for that person should be commenced without delay and added to the memorial.

Scarborough Country: The Boyington debate

Last night in my response to the PI's hatchet editorial of bloggers and talk radio concerning the UW memorial, I mentioned the latest bit of stupidity that was being under reported, that being when UW student Nicholas Baptiste appeared on MSNBC's Scarboough Country, and said:

How about we put up instead of yet another statue of a World War II hero, how about we put up a statue of a slab of flesh, no arms, no legs, no face, like the main character in Dalton Trumbo's "Johnny Got His Gun"?

In fairness to him, here is the shows transcript directly from the Website, so his comments and those of the Boyington memorial defenders UW Sen Brent Ludeman and local talk show host Kirby Wilbur can be read in context.

http://msnbc.msn.com/id/11476914/

SCARBOROUGH: That was from Ba Ba Black Sheep, the TV show based on the life of World War II flying ace Pappy Boyington. The Marine plane shot down 28 enemy planes, survived 20 months in a POW camp, and won the Congressional Medal of Honor for heroism in the victory over the country that started World War II by bombing Pearl Harbor. I speak, of course, of Japan.

But student leaders at his alma mater refused to honor him because he was, quote, "a Marine" and he had blood on his hands. To talk about the controversy, let's bring in University of Washington student senator Brent Ludeman, who supports the memorial, and University of Washington student Nicholas Baptiste who opposes it.

Nicholas, let me begin with you. Why do you oppose the memorial to this World War II hero?

NICHOLAS BAPTISTE, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON STUDENT: Well, I see this memorial as the right-wing, the pro-war crowd is on the defensive right now. The majority of American people have turned against the war in Iraq. I see this as a really cynical way of trying to fire up people and trying to build up nationalism again, like they did when they were building up to the Iraq war, and just trying to, like I said, go on the defensive and trying to sort of make these parallels that don't exist between World War II and the Iraq war.

SCARBOROUGH: But this guy was a World War II hero. He won the Congressional Medal of Honor. He's a University of Washington alumni. This guy's a national hero. What's wrong with putting a memorial on your campus? Forget about Iraq. I mean, that war's going to be over soon enough.

BAPTISTE: Let's talk about heroes. A lot of people obviously, a lot of young people nowadays don't see war as a heroic sport. It's not an adventure. It's a brutal, really inhumane thing. And...

SCARBOROUGH: Well, you think the Marines...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH: ... over in Iraq right now? You think that they think it's a sport when they're getting their legs blown off? Do you think they're over there to have a thrill?

BAPTISTE: No, I'm not saying that the soldiers are- I'm not saying that the soldiers think that. I'm saying people who whip up nationalism, and try to whip up support for the war, and try to convince people to sign up and go fight in wars like the Iraq war, they think- a lot of times these people think it is some sort of a sport, some sort of a rite of passage for people in our society, like I have to go fight a war because my father and my grandfather fought a war.

SCARBOROUGH: You do agree with me, though...

BAPTISTE: But my main point is this...

SCARBOROUGH: ... that World War II was an honorable venture, right, an honorable war?

BAPTISTE: It's not that black and white. There is a lot of atrocities committed on both sides. You can't say that one- that it was a completely justified war. You can't say that America was always in the right or that Britain was always in the right. I mean, America...

SCARBOROUGH: OK.

BAPTISTE: Go ahead.

SCARBOROUGH: Well, let me show you. I want to show you a clip from World War II. This is what killing what Boyington and other people killing enemies brought an end to when World War II, obviously, the Holocaust. Here's shots from Auschwitz. I mean, 6 million Jews killed. I mean, we had to kill 50,000 civilians in Dresden alone to put an end to this to stop 12, 13 million Jews from being murdered over there. Sometimes...

(CROSSTALK)

BAPTISTE: I think that's quite a lie, to say that we had to kill 50,000 civilians in Dresden to stop the war. There's no evidence to support that. There's no evidence to support the fact that we had to drop the bomb in Nagasaki...

SCARBOROUGH: There's no evidence that we had to actually...

BAPTISTE: ... and Hiroshima.

SCARBOROUGH: It's war.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH: How about this, people die in war.

(CROSSTALK)

BAPTISTE: Could I say something?

SCARBOROUGH: Well, you were saying something.

BAPTISTE: May I say this?

SCARBOROUGH: Nicholas, people that- will you admit to me, Nicholas, that sometimes when we go to war, we have to drop bombs to end that war, and sometimes people like Pappy Boyington do kill people, do kill civilians, but it's done for a bigger reason, for a bigger cause?

BAPTISTE: What cause is that? What cause are we fighting for in Iraq? Oil and empire.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH: No. No. Wait a second. Why areÂ?no, hold on a second, Nicholas.

BAPTISTE: I just want to make one point before you go on.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH: You're mixing up- we're talking about World War II.

You're talking about Iraq. I'm talking about what he did in World War II.

BAPTISTE: Yes, you think wars just exist in a vacuum? Wars lead to more wars and to more wars. I mean, you can say he fought in World War II to stop killing...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH: So we should have just let...

(CROSSTALK)

BAPTISTE: There's still killing going on now, isn't there, in Iraq?

SCARBOROUGH: So, Nicholas, you are saying that we should have just let Hitler and Imperial Japan roam free? Is that your argument here tonight?

BAPTISTE: No, I'm saying, in the first place, U.S. industrialists and the industrialists of Europe shouldn't have supported Hitler in the first place which they did against communists in Germany, who were the majority of the government at the time.

SCARBOROUGH: OK. There we go.

BAPTISTE: They were afraid of their industries being collectively organized and taken over by the population of Germany.

SCARBOROUGH: OK.

BAPTISTE: And I don't care if you think that's ridiculous or not, but look at your history textbooks.

SCARBOROUGH: Well, I do actually. You're now blaming...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH: ... the United States for launching Adolf Hitler's career.

BAPTISTE: Yes, because, oh, the United States...

(CROSSTALK)

BAPTISTE: And you can blame the United States in part for Saddam Hussein's career, as well.

SCARBOROUGH: All right. Let me bring in Brent right now.

BAPTISTE: No, I just want to say one thing.

SCARBOROUGH: I'm sorry. You've been wanting to say one thing for 30 minutes. Go ahead.

BAPTISTE: Let me say it right here. How about we put up instead of yet another statue of a World War II hero, how about we put up a statue of a slab of flesh, no arms, no legs, no face, like the main character in Dalton Trumbo's "Johnny Got His Gun"? That would be an honest war memorial. That would go a much longer way towards establishing a more peaceful and democratic society than yet again glorifying war, and warfare, and bloodshed.

SCARBOROUGH: All right. You've said what you wanted to say.

BAPTISTE: I have.

SCARBOROUGH: Brent, let me bring you in now. Tell me about the vote.

BRENT LUDEMAN, UW STUDENT SENATOR: Well, we- Joe, we've brought the resolution up. And two of the senators said that, one, we didn't want to honor another rich white male and that this wasn't the type of person that the University of Washington wanted to produce.

Mind you, this is one of the greatest aviators in our history. He's a war hero. He's somebody that won the Medal of Honor and deserves to be recognized by the university.

The vote was tied, and then the Senate chair voted it down, 46-45. And I think it just really shows how completely out of touch a lot of, you know, my generation seems to be, how we seem to not understand the historical significance of World War II and war in general. I mean, unfortunately...

SCARBOROUGH: Kirby, let's bring you in, Kirby Wilbur.

KIRBY WILBUR, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Yes, Joe?

SCARBOROUGH: Now, Kirby, you actually got this information out to the rest of us. It is so disturbing to me. This isn't- we're not talking about a couple of students waving signs. We're talking about 46 student senators voting down a memorial because, like Mr. Baptiste, they think that Boyington was not to be looked up to because he participated in a war.

WILBUR: Well, Joe, I think this is...

SCARBOROUGH: What kind of reaction have you had?

WILBUR: Well, we've been over- I've been flooded with e-mails from alumni of the University of Washington, from Marines, other people who served in uniform, from widows and mothers of the people serving now, who are shocked at the historical ignorance and the leftist pabulum that passes for serious thinking on college campuses.

But I've got to tell you, Joe. I'm actually optimistic, because I think 20 years ago the vote could have been 80 percent no. At least it was 50 percent yes and the tie had to be broken. That actually gives me room for optimism.

But you look at the people who said, "You can't honor them because he's a rich, white male,Â" when in fact Pappy was a quarter Sioux Indian, and that we shouldn't emulate Marines. I'll tell you, sometimes Marines are the only thing between some of those students and wearing burqas. And they should understand that.

SCARBOROUGH: No doubt about it. And, Kirby, what do you think we do to help turn the tide in this?

WILBUR: Well, Joe, the University of Washington foundation has set up a scholarship fund in the name of Pappy Boyington to give scholarships to either Marines returning to school or sons and daughters of Marines. That's at UWFoundation.org. And also, you can contact the Associated Students of the University of Washington at their Web site and urge them to approve the memorial.

Right now, the proposal will be a memorial to all five Huskies who have won the Congressional Medal of Honor in World War II, and that's going to be the proposal, as I understand it. These men deserve to be emulated and remembered. They're heroes.

SCARBOROUGH: Kirby, I have this information. They saved our world.

They saved our world from totalitarianism.

WILBUR: Yes, they did.

SCARBOROUGH: I have this line here. I cannot believe. Do you have information regarding a monument on the University of Washington campus to communist soldiers?

WILBUR: To the Lincoln Brigade...

BAPTISTE: Abraham Lincoln Brigade.

WILBUR: ... Spanish Civil War, a group of University of Washington students who volunteered to go to Spain to fight with the communists and socialists against Franco, and the Nazis, and the Italians. And there is such a memorial on campus, yes, sir. And I'm an alumni of this school, by the way.

BAPTISTE: Why wasn't the United States supporting the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, you know, earlier in the war, when you could have stopped Hitler early enough so he wouldn't have perpetuated the Holocaust?

WILBUR: The Abraham Lincoln Brigade could not have stopped Hitler any more than you could have.

BAPTISTE: No, it could have, if it had the backing of the U.S. government.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH: All right. We'll let you all carry on in the hall.

BAPTISTE: But the government decided not to battle against Franco or Nazis...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH: I want to show you- let's show that monument one more time. Put this monument up. This is on the University of Washington campus.

So if you're scoring at home, the University of Washington campus allows a monument to communist soldiers but they're offended for Marines that fought in World War II and helped defeat the Axis powers.

I'll tell you what, I'm enraged because I'm an American citizen that pays taxes that in any way supports the University of Washington. But I'll tell you what. If I were a Washington alumni member or if I were a taxpayer in that state, I'd be absolutely outraged. And I'd be on my phone tomorrow morning to Washington legislators.

This is a disgrace. And for those students that said Marines were not the type of people to look up to, you are so ignorant. You have no idea why you have the freedoms that you have.

We appreciate our guests being with us. We'll be back with more SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY in a minute.

Letter to the Seattle P-I PU - Advanced Civics: Disgust at work

The Seattle PU I mean PI has once again shown the lack of intelligence in Intelligencer.

The editorial board has taken the bloggers and talk radio to task for denouncing the Student Senates trashing of a world war 2 hero.

See my previous blogs:

http://guitarplayr.blogspot.com/2006/02/baa-baa-humbug.html
http://guitarplayr.blogspot.com/2006/02/hey-jill-you-mean-these-marines.html
http://guitarplayr.blogspot.com/2006/02/pappy-boyington-memorial-idea-still.html
http://guitarplayr.blogspot.com/2006/02/more-thoughts-on-pappy-boyington.html

The students denied him a memorial for reasons ranging from race and class, anti war sentiments and anti military sentiments. The reaction has been understandably heated as many people are actually proud of the military and our nation's war heroes. The latest travesty is under reported however, when a student named Nicholas Baptiste appeared on television's Scarborough Country and reportedly told the host:
How about we put up instead of yet another statue of a World War II hero, let's put up a slab of flesh, no arms, legs, face like the main character in Johnny Got His Gun.
I could not download the video to verify it, but why should I be surprised? (FULL TRANSCRIPT BELOW)

So the PI weighed in on this in the same fashion that prompted me to cancel my subscription months ago:

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/260303_uwed.html

(my comments inline)
Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Advanced Civics: Discourse at work

SEATTLE P-I EDITORIAL BOARD

In the dialogue that is supposed to be at the heart of education, asking a question is always fair. Questions lead to understanding.

In the casting of aspersions over a recent tie vote to honor a single World War II hero from the University of Washington, talk radio and the blog world managed to overlook the central role of questions. We are so surprised.
Of course...Because bloggers and talk radio hosts are just wacko nut cases. No stones cast there. The PI's lack of objectivity is why I no longer subscribe.
Thanks to the questions and the tie vote, Student Sen. Andrew Everett's proposal to honor Col. Gregory "Pappy" Boyington has been improved. The motion now has the Student Senate asking the UW for a memorial to honor Boyington and the school's other four winners of the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military award.
That's a bit revisionist, as the only after the vote and denial, and the subsequent outrage, did the compromise plan emerge. You conveniently forgot to mention that he isolated Pappy because of his overall popularity, but intended to have separate memorials for each, feeling they all deserved recognition. They also failed to mention the resolutions introduced afterwards supporting the USMC and demanding that Sen Jill Edwards apologize for her disparagment. A bit one sided, no?
The other four winners are 1st Lt. Deming Bronson (class of 1914), Brig. Gen. Robert Galer (1935), 2nd Lt. Robert R. Leisy (1968) and Pfc. William Nakamura. Nakamura, in fact, left school before graduation because of the nation's shameful removal of Japanese Americans from their West Coast homes during World War II. As the Student Senate prepared to meet Tuesday evening, the motion was expected to go to a committee and be passed later.

Much of the uproar centered on a question about whether the UW needed any more memorials to rich white men. Great question (especially when Americans of all backgrounds are fighting abroad for their country).
Nice save, but it's weak especially when the guy in question was not rich and was not white, he was Native American...
Student body President Lee Dunbar, a co-sponsor of the resolution, said that in any such discussion "you do have to consider who you are going to include." The motion now also asks for the addition of any future medal winners.

So, a debate by smart students made a good idea even better. No big surprise there, either.
Had the motion passed on it's obvious merits, it would culminated in the same results. Or said changes could have been made at the time.

But what makes me the most outraged is the fact that the PI mentions the use of race and class and dismisses it without comment, or even validation. Is this acceptable now? Remove rich and white and insert poor and asian, or black...would the words have been allowed without condemnation?

The minutes are very clear and the statements made indisputable. The students attempts in the media to mitigate this are disengenuous. Wither retract them or live with the consequences of them.

And in supporting such statements, the PI has advocated Racism and Classism over respect and dignity. Hoorah.

These foolish kids forget that their grandparents fought along side Boyington. What if one of their grandparents had been in the Pacific Theater, on a ship or on the ground, like my father in law was? The enemy planes that Pappy shot down, an achievment which they find so distressing, may have saved one of their grandparents lives by stopping an enemy attack.

They might in reality owe him their existence, for all they know, but they, at least a few of them, cannot see past their anti-war agenda and bigotry.

But that doesn't matter to the PI, it's just a good Civics lesson, right?

UPDATE

Last night in my response to the PI's hatchet editorial of bloggers and talk radio concerning the UW memorial, I mentioned the latest bit of stupidity that was being under reported, that being when UW student Nicholas Baptiste appeared on MSNBC's Scarboough Country, and said:
How about we put up instead of yet another statue of a World War II hero, how about we put up a statue of a slab of flesh, no arms, no legs, no face, like the main character in Dalton Trumbo's "Johnny Got His Gun"?

In fairness to him, here is the shows transcript directly from the Website, so his comments and those of the Boyington memorial defenders UW Sen Brent Ludeman and local talk show host Kirby Wilbur can be read in context.
http://msnbc.msn.com/id/11476914/

SCARBOROUGH: That was from Ba Ba Black Sheep, the TV show based on the life of World War II flying ace Pappy Boyington. The Marine plane shot down 28 enemy planes, survived 20 months in a POW camp, and won the Congressional Medal of Honor for heroism in the victory over the country that started World War II by bombing Pearl Harbor. I speak, of course, of Japan.

But student leaders at his alma mater refused to honor him because he was, quote, "a Marine" and he had blood on his hands. To talk about the controversy, let's bring in University of Washington student senator Brent Ludeman, who supports the memorial, and University of Washington student Nicholas Baptiste who opposes it.

Nicholas, let me begin with you. Why do you oppose the memorial to this World War II hero?

NICHOLAS BAPTISTE, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON STUDENT: Well, I see this memorial as the right-wing, the pro-war crowd is on the defensive right now. The majority of American people have turned against the war in Iraq. I see this as a really cynical way of trying to fire up people and trying to build up nationalism again, like they did when they were building up to the Iraq war, and just trying to, like I said, go on the defensive and trying to sort of make these parallels that don't exist between World War II and the Iraq war.

SCARBOROUGH: But this guy was a World War II hero. He won the Congressional Medal of Honor. He's a University of Washington alumni. This guy's a national hero. What's wrong with putting a memorial on your campus? Forget about Iraq. I mean, that war's going to be over soon enough.

BAPTISTE: Let's talk about heroes. A lot of people obviously, a lot of young people nowadays don't see war as a heroic sport. It's not an adventure. It's a brutal, really inhumane thing. And...

SCARBOROUGH: Well, you think the Marines...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH: ... over in Iraq right now? You think that they think it's a sport when they're getting their legs blown off? Do you think they're over there to have a thrill?

BAPTISTE: No, I'm not saying that the soldiers are- I'm not saying that the soldiers think that. I'm saying people who whip up nationalism, and try to whip up support for the war, and try to convince people to sign up and go fight in wars like the Iraq war, they think- a lot of times these people think it is some sort of a sport, some sort of a rite of passage for people in our society, like I have to go fight a war because my father and my grandfather fought a war.

SCARBOROUGH: You do agree with me, though...

BAPTISTE: But my main point is this...

SCARBOROUGH: ... that World War II was an honorable venture, right, an honorable war?

BAPTISTE: It's not that black and white. There is a lot of atrocities committed on both sides. You can't say that one- that it was a completely justified war. You can't say that America was always in the right or that Britain was always in the right. I mean, America...

SCARBOROUGH: OK.

BAPTISTE: Go ahead.

SCARBOROUGH: Well, let me show you. I want to show you a clip from World War II. This is what killing what Boyington and other people killing enemies brought an end to when World War II, obviously, the Holocaust. Here's shots from Auschwitz. I mean, 6 million Jews killed. I mean, we had to kill 50,000 civilians in Dresden alone to put an end to this to stop 12, 13 million Jews from being murdered over there. Sometimes...

(CROSSTALK)

BAPTISTE: I think that's quite a lie, to say that we had to kill 50,000 civilians in Dresden to stop the war. There's no evidence to support that. There's no evidence to support the fact that we had to drop the bomb in Nagasaki...

SCARBOROUGH: There's no evidence that we had to actually...

BAPTISTE: ... and Hiroshima.

SCARBOROUGH: It's war.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH: How about this, people die in war.

(CROSSTALK)

BAPTISTE: Could I say something?

SCARBOROUGH: Well, you were saying something.

BAPTISTE: May I say this?

SCARBOROUGH: Nicholas, people that- will you admit to me, Nicholas, that sometimes when we go to war, we have to drop bombs to end that war, and sometimes people like Pappy Boyington do kill people, do kill civilians, but it's done for a bigger reason, for a bigger cause?

BAPTISTE: What cause is that? What cause are we fighting for in Iraq? Oil and empire.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH: No. No. Wait a second. Why areÂ?no, hold on a second, Nicholas.

BAPTISTE: I just want to make one point before you go on.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH: You're mixing up- we're talking about World War II.

You're talking about Iraq. I'm talking about what he did in World War II.

BAPTISTE: Yes, you think wars just exist in a vacuum? Wars lead to more wars and to more wars. I mean, you can say he fought in World War II to stop killing...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH: So we should have just let...

(CROSSTALK)

BAPTISTE: There's still killing going on now, isn't there, in Iraq?

SCARBOROUGH: So, Nicholas, you are saying that we should have just let Hitler and Imperial Japan roam free? Is that your argument here tonight?

BAPTISTE: No, I'm saying, in the first place, U.S. industrialists and the industrialists of Europe shouldn't have supported Hitler in the first place which they did against communists in Germany, who were the majority of the government at the time.

SCARBOROUGH: OK. There we go.

BAPTISTE: They were afraid of their industries being collectively organized and taken over by the population of Germany.

SCARBOROUGH: OK.

BAPTISTE: And I don't care if you think that's ridiculous or not, but look at your history textbooks.

SCARBOROUGH: Well, I do actually. You're now blaming...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH: ... the United States for launching Adolf Hitler's career.

BAPTISTE: Yes, because, oh, the United States...

(CROSSTALK)

BAPTISTE: And you can blame the United States in part for Saddam Hussein's career, as well.

SCARBOROUGH: All right. Let me bring in Brent right now.

BAPTISTE: No, I just want to say one thing.

SCARBOROUGH: I'm sorry. You've been wanting to say one thing for 30 minutes. Go ahead.

BAPTISTE: Let me say it right here. How about we put up instead of yet another statue of a World War II hero, how about we put up a statue of a slab of flesh, no arms, no legs, no face, like the main character in Dalton Trumbo's "Johnny Got His Gun"? That would be an honest war memorial. That would go a much longer way towards establishing a more peaceful and democratic society than yet again glorifying war, and warfare, and bloodshed.

SCARBOROUGH: All right. You've said what you wanted to say.

BAPTISTE: I have.

SCARBOROUGH: Brent, let me bring you in now. Tell me about the vote.

BRENT LUDEMAN, UW STUDENT SENATOR: Well, we- Joe, we've brought the resolution up. And two of the senators said that, one, we didn't want to honor another rich white male and that this wasn't the type of person that the University of Washington wanted to produce.

Mind you, this is one of the greatest aviators in our history. He's a war hero. He's somebody that won the Medal of Honor and deserves to be recognized by the university.

The vote was tied, and then the Senate chair voted it down, 46-45. And I think it just really shows how completely out of touch a lot of, you know, my generation seems to be, how we seem to not understand the historical significance of World War II and war in general. I mean, unfortunately...

SCARBOROUGH: Kirby, let's bring you in, Kirby Wilbur.

KIRBY WILBUR, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Yes, Joe?

SCARBOROUGH: Now, Kirby, you actually got this information out to the rest of us. It is so disturbing to me. This isn't- we're not talking about a couple of students waving signs. We're talking about 46 student senators voting down a memorial because, like Mr. Baptiste, they think that Boyington was not to be looked up to because he participated in a war.

WILBUR: Well, Joe, I think this is...

SCARBOROUGH: What kind of reaction have you had?

WILBUR: Well, we've been over- I've been flooded with e-mails from alumni of the University of Washington, from Marines, other people who served in uniform, from widows and mothers of the people serving now, who are shocked at the historical ignorance and the leftist pabulum that passes for serious thinking on college campuses.

But I've got to tell you, Joe. I'm actually optimistic, because I think 20 years ago the vote could have been 80 percent no. At least it was 50 percent yes and the tie had to be broken. That actually gives me room for optimism.

But you look at the people who said, "You can't honor them because he's a rich, white male,Â" when in fact Pappy was a quarter Sioux Indian, and that we shouldn't emulate Marines. I'll tell you, sometimes Marines are the only thing between some of those students and wearing burqas. And they should understand that.

SCARBOROUGH: No doubt about it. And, Kirby, what do you think we do to help turn the tide in this?

WILBUR: Well, Joe, the University of Washington foundation has set up a scholarship fund in the name of Pappy Boyington to give scholarships to either Marines returning to school or sons and daughters of Marines. That's at UWFoundation.org. And also, you can contact the Associated Students of the University of Washington at their Web site and urge them to approve the memorial.

Right now, the proposal will be a memorial to all five Huskies who have won the Congressional Medal of Honor in World War II, and that's going to be the proposal, as I understand it. These men deserve to be emulated and remembered. They're heroes.

SCARBOROUGH: Kirby, I have this information. They saved our world.

They saved our world from totalitarianism.

WILBUR: Yes, they did.

SCARBOROUGH: I have this line here. I cannot believe. Do you have information regarding a monument on the University of Washington campus to communist soldiers?

WILBUR: To the Lincoln Brigade...

BAPTISTE: Abraham Lincoln Brigade.

WILBUR: ... Spanish Civil War, a group of University of Washington students who volunteered to go to Spain to fight with the communists and socialists against Franco, and the Nazis, and the Italians. And there is such a memorial on campus, yes, sir. And I'm an alumni of this school, by the way.

BAPTISTE: Why wasn't the United States supporting the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, you know, earlier in the war, when you could have stopped Hitler early enough so he wouldn't have perpetuated the Holocaust?

WILBUR: The Abraham Lincoln Brigade could not have stopped Hitler any more than you could have.

BAPTISTE: No, it could have, if it had the backing of the U.S. government.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH: All right. We'll let you all carry on in the hall.

BAPTISTE: But the government decided not to battle against Franco or Nazis...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH: I want to show you- let's show that monument one more time. Put this monument up. This is on the University of Washington campus.

So if you're scoring at home, the University of Washington campus allows a monument to communist soldiers but they're offended for Marines that fought in World War II and helped defeat the Axis powers.

I'll tell you what, I'm enraged because I'm an American citizen that pays taxes that in any way supports the University of Washington. But I'll tell you what. If I were a Washington alumni member or if I were a taxpayer in that state, I'd be absolutely outraged. And I'd be on my phone tomorrow morning to Washington legislators.

This is a disgrace. And for those students that said Marines were not the type of people to look up to, you are so ignorant. You have no idea why you have the freedoms that you have.

We appreciate our guests being with us. We'll be back with more SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY in a minute.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Now I know it's a bad idea....

I have refrained till now on posting about the Bush plan to support the UAE purchase of a seaport company, effectively giving it control of 6 Eastern US seaports.

As I commented at Sister Toldjah:

for the moment I am undecided but leaning against it.

It is not like we donÂ?t already have a heavy foreign presence, but the amount of this one is kind of concerning.

What also concerns me though is that this could be knee jerk xenophobia. So I want to know more, and like I really want to see someone say *why* it is a good thing.

It better be something more persuasive then cost.

I think that is a fair assessment of the issue considering the overall lack of information.

With the Bush Admin now swinging hard about this, and threatening a veto (also courtesy of Sister Toldjah) I am still skeptical about its merits due to the overall bipartisan opposition to it, and a bit puzzled by Bush's adamant support of it.

As I also commented:

If Bush wants this to pass, and there are no real negatives to it as he suggests, then instead of fighting words, he ought to be addressing the concerns with disclosure and information.

on the Tony Snow show they dismissed it as reactionary, and while I think that may be overly simplistic, I also thing the reaction is hysterical on the face.

So open up people, and lets discuss what is really going on here.

If, as I heard today, the ports remain the property of the states, and the security remains with the Coast Guard and the TSA, then all we are talking about is administrative control and operations.

I do imagine the unions are concerned about maintaining their positions there as well.

So what would the good and bad here be? I have too many questions remaining to form an opinion yet.

Well finally, I read something that has convinced me it's a bad idea. From Drudge:

Carter backs Bush's stand on seaport-operations deal

WASHINGTON - President Bush is taking a battering from fellow Republicans, even the governors of New York and Maryland, over the administration's support for a decision that gives an Arab company control of some commercial operations at six major seaports -- including Miami-Dade's.

But he got a boost Monday from an unlikely source, frequent critic and former president Jimmy Carter, who downplayed fears that the deal poses a risk.

"The overall threat to the United States and security, I don't think it exists," Carter said on CNN's The Situation Room. "I'm sure the president's done a good job with his subordinates to make sure this is not a threat."

The show of support from the Democrat, who has not hesitated to criticize Bush, underscores the odd political lines that have emerged since news broke last week that the United States gave the thumbs-up to the $6.8 billion sale of the British firm P&O Ports to a company owned by the United Arab Emirates.

Well that tears it, if Carter likes it, it is unlikely a good idea. Ok I am mostly kidding here, but I have to admit the fact that I question Carter's judgment based on many of his recent comments and attacks on the administration.

The article continues below:

Both Democrats and Republicans have called on the president to scrap the deal. On Monday Republican Govs. George Pataki of New York and Robert Ehrlich of Maryland questioned the decision. And congressional outrage persisted even as the White House signaled it's unlikely to block it.

Political analysts suggested that challenging the president gives Republican lawmakers a chance to deflect Democratic criticism.

"This is a homeland security, national security issue and I think Republicans think they own this issue and they don't want to give Democrats an opening," said Stuart Rothenberg, editor of The Rothenberg Political Report, a Washington newsletter.

REPUBLICANS WORRIED

Republicans said they're simply worried no one was paying enough attention to security concerns.

"After Sept. 11 we can't blindly follow the president in a way that seems to create a homeland security concern," said Rep. Mark Foley, a Palm Beach County Republican. Foley said he's working on legislation to give Congress the authority to approve or reject all applications made through the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States, the top-secret group that OK'd the transaction.

Port security officials have dismissed the congressional concerns, but Republicans suggest an administration that is usually politically attuned has sorely misread public reaction.

"I don't know if they were tone deaf, but they certainly didn't have a pulse on what people were thinking in terms of security," said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Miami Republican. She and Foley plan news conferences today in Miami. "We haven't forgotten Sept. 11. I know the president hasn't either, but that has to extend to more than just speeches."

Traveling with the president, White House spokesman Scott McClellan on Monday repeated the administration's contention that the sale was thoroughly vetted by a "rigorous review process." His comments came after he was asked if Bush was "comfortable" with the deal after Sunday morning talk shows featured Republicans criticizing it.

The Port of Miami-Dade is taking a neutral position, stressing that DP World would only be the majority owner in one of three terminals. But Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez said Monday the matter "raises issues."

At Miami's port, P&O Ports owns 50 percent of the Port of Miami Terminal Operating Co., which handles about half the cargo containers at the port.

Senate hearings are already planned and Sen. Bob Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, vowed Monday to push legislation to block the sale if President Bush doesn't act by March 2 -- the day the sale is set to close, affecting ports in Baltimore, New York, Philadelphia, New Orleans and New Jersey, as well as Miami.

Visiting Dubai, Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes sought to rebuff suggestions that Congress' criticism is based on anti-Arab sentiment, according to the Associated Press.

"The lawmakers are questioning about security concerns in light of the fact that a couple of the Sept. 11 hijackers did come from the United Arab Emirates," Hughes said, adding that the Middle Eastern nation has been "a strong partner in the war against terror."

PREJUDICE ALLEGED

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Washington group that seeks to promote a positive image of Islam and Muslims, said some of the reaction smacks of prejudice.
"No one seems to be criticizing the company itself, but they're most concerned with the religion and ethnicity of its owners," said spokesman Ibrahim Hooper. "It's what we have to deal with in the post-9/11 era."

But lawmakers like Ros-Lehtinen, who is aiming to become the next chair of the House International Relations Committee, were unapologetic about their stance.

"They've been a strong ally, but what about tomorrow?" Ros-Lehtinen said of the United Arab Emirates.

I think my initial fear that this was partially knee jerk xenophobic (over)reaction is justified.

But the article leaves as many questions unanswered as it answers, so my continued position is that I am seeking more information. I hope the Bush Admin is forthcoming in more disclosure of how this was vetted.

Now is not the time to demand partisan loyalty, now is the time to explain what and why.

Monday, February 20, 2006

More thoughts on Pappy Boyington

There has been plenty said already about the Pappy Boyington memorial, but a couple more items popped up that are worthy of note.

The first two are courtesy of andrews-dad:

First was a resolution introduced in the Senate to support Military recruitment:
http://andrews-dad.blogspot.com/2006/02/uw-student-senate-supports-right-of.html

A Resolution in Support of the Right of Military Recruiters to be Present on Campus

WHEREAS the military provides meaningful career opportunities for many students; and,

WHEREAS the military is also the defender of our freedoms and way of life; and,

WHEREAS at the Seattle Central Community College campus military recruiters were attacked by protesters last year; and,

WHEREAS we want to make sure this kind of intolerance does not happen on our campus, therefore

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE ASSOCIATED STUDENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON:

THAT we support military recruiters' right to be on our campus, and

THAT we support ROTC's continued right to be present on campus, and

THAT we further support and respect the fine men and women who serve our country.

The cynic would argue this is guilt, the skeptic would say it is just appeasement. Maybe it is someone trying to do the right thing, but both agree that the resolution is unlikely to go anywhere.

The second is a resolution to force Senator Jill Andrews to apologize for her disparagement of the military in general, and specifically the USMC.

http://andrews-dad.blogspot.com/2006/02/jill-edwards-apologizes-from-uw.html

Edwards Apology

WHEREAS Student Senator Jill Edwards offended all members of the United States Marine Corps, past or present, dead or alive; especially those who were, are, or will be students at the University of Washington with her comment that she "didn't believe a member of the Marine Corps was an example of the sort of person UW wanted to produce." This commented brought shame and dishonor to not only the UW Student Senate, but also the University as a whole, all its members who have served in the Marine Corps and all Marines past and present.

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE ASSOCIATED STUDENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON:

THAT

Student Senator Jill Edwards will submit, in writing, a signed apology letter seeking forgiveness to all students, staff, and alumni who are now or ever have served in the United States Marine Corps. In said letter it will contain a formal apology and a recognition that her very rights and freedoms are guaranteed by such members of the armed services, to include the Marine Corps, Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard, past or present, living or dead. Additionally, said letter will be printed in all its form and substance in that day's edition of the UW Daily newspaper as well as being recited on the UW Radio station. To realize her mistake, she must acquaint herself with the history of the person she is so keen to dismiss, by reading Col. Boyington's book, Baa, Baa, Black Sheep. All of these requirements are mandatory, under pain of losing her seat on the Student Senate.

Again the cynic and skeptic immediately conclude this is another empty resolution, but it is refreshing to see the senate in arms of this.

Debate is healthy and who knows, they may actually learn something.

The final link is from Paradosis, who relates his real life encounter with the real Pappy Boyington, and how he feels about the controversy.

http://paradosis.blogspot.com/2006/02/we-dont-need-to-honor-any-more-rich.html

We don't need to honor any more rich white males

So says one member of the University of Washington Student Senate. And here is a picture of the rich white male this person was speaking of:

Gregory Pappy Boyington...graduate of the Univeristy of Washington (went to High School in Tacoma), winner of the medal of honor, shot down 28 enemy aircraft, was a prisoner of war for 20 months, and apparently does not - according to the student senate - deserve a memorial on campus. Apparently we are told that he "is not the type of person we want to honor" and some even went so far as to liken his duty in WW2 to murder. One of the biggest antagonists of the proposal was apparently the leader of the student Democratic Party. How sad.

This issue is particularly interesting to me because I personally knew Pappy Boyington, not so much as a friend, but as a regular visitor to the Chino Air Museum and Air Show. I met him on numerous occassions and thoroughly enjoyed his willingness to tell me stories about his experiences - and I must say it was HEAVEN to this young man who'd rather feel his way around a restored Corsair than hang out at the mall with his contemporaries.

Pappy was famous for once saying: "Just name a hero and I'll prove he's a bum." And he knew this from personal experience. Pappy's childhood wasn't easy and he and his mother had to work VERY hard to get him through school - he was no rich boy and neither did he live off government grants...personally I wonder if those students who "shot this memorial down" could remotely say the same? And he was a real human being who did not hide his faults, particularly with alcohol and marital problems. Like all heros, no one is a "super" hero. While Pappy could work hard, he could "play" hard too and landed himself in trouble from time to time. Here is a more detailed story...from the University of Washington oddly enough.

Also, clearly, the student who made the racist statement never met him because I will tell you that you could not mistake the Sioux in him. And while he did write a best-selling book (best selling authors are a dime a dozen), he was never really a rich man...rather he spent most of his last days wandering through Air Shows reliving the glory days, never in any grand luxury that I saw. He seemed a very nice man, who despite his personal problems did some extraordinary things to help defend freedom and defeat tyranny and injustice.

But, have our Washington youth revised history so much as this? To compare Boyington (or for that matter any of our WW2 vets) to murderers? What are these kids being taught today? They don't deserve those 20 months Pappy spent being tortured and beaten in a Japanese prison camp...they don't deserve any of what our grandfathers and grandmothers sacrificed to free Europe and the Pacific. Is it perhaps because those precious people are soon to be gone that we feel free to engage in leftist amnesia? I'm angry about this...how dare these snot nose, hemp-wearing, pot smoking, drum beating, dreadlock wearing, "gee when is the financial aid check going to arrive", brat kids diss Pappy Boyington?

Maybe REAL rich white guys ought to be offended (like Bill Gates and Paul Allen) and stop donating money to the UW and then the Student Senators will find they don't have the time to be in the student senate because they need to get themselves real jobs.

If any WW2 vets read this blog, please accept my apology on behalf of the University of Washington - and particularly thier ignorant student senate. We remember what you all have done. My kids will remember too.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Pappy Boyington memorial idea still alive

(reposted as blogger ate the original one...)

It is reported today that the Student Government at the UofW are considering a memorial to all 5 former students who are medal of honor winners.

Boyington was certainly worthy of a seperate memorial, but I would rather see a memorial to all over a memorial to none.


The students have a chance to undo a mistake, I hope they get it right.

http://www.komotv.com/stories/41916.htm

UW Student Senate To Vote Again On Memorial

February 16, 2006

By Bryan Johnson

Student Senate To Vote Again On Memorial

SEATTLE - The University of Washington Student Senate is expected to vote again on a memorial to honor five former students awarded Congressional Medals of Honor.

Earlier this month the Senate deadlocked 45-45 on a proposal to honor Gregory "Pappy" Boyington. The student president then cast the deciding vote "No".

Now the student who proposed the campus memorial is suggesting honoring all five former students and some members of the Senate tell KOMO 4 News that is more likely to pass.

Gregory "Pappy" Boyington shot down 28 Japanese planes in World War II. He headed the Black Sheep Squadron, and got the nickname "Pappy" because he was so much older that those he led.

Kevin Cuba, the military curator at the Museum of Flight, says everything Boyington did was controversial: "He was haunted by his shortcomings most of his life. And I would say his entire career was fraught with controversy."

Boyington had a reputation of being a womanizer and a heavy drinker, but he was "a hell of a pilot."

He was one of four UW graduates to be awarded the Medal of Honor, a fifth student who did not graduate also received the award.

Student Andrew Everett wanted to honor all of them. He started with Boyington: "Pappy Boyington was the most famous. He wrote a book. There was a TV show about him. He was a legend a media celebrity of his day."

His Black Sheep squadron is featured in the Personal Courage Wing of the Museum of Flight. But fame is fleeting.

Students who spoke with KOMO 4 News today had little to no knowledge of Boyington. One ROTC student knew he was a flier, but could add no details. Another had never heard of Boyington.

The students are also too young to remember the TV series "Baa, Baa Black Sheep". Robert Conrad played Boyington.

By one vote, The UW student government said no to a memorial. Perhaps it was Robert Conrad, not Pappy Boyington, that led one student to say there are enough statues to rich white men.

The flight museum curator says it's sad students know so little about Boyington's fight to save their lifestyle: "He didn't just volunteer to go into combat. He begged to go into combat. He wanted to serve his country and he did."

Some who oppose a memorial to Pappy Boyington say that would honor war.

They may not realize that stately trees lining the main entrance to the campus honor 58 UW members who died in World War I.