Louisiana has been known for its’ flamboyant politicians.  Long, Edwards. Leche and many other names conger up memories of politicians that you either loved or hated.  Politicians that in many cases received bad publicity from the national press and thus put a blemish on the political landscape of Louisiana.  I remember looking at a national publication on the news rack in our commissary in Saudi Arabia.  In broad headlines on the cover of the magazine was “Louisiana, America’s Banana Republic”.  My blood boiled until I got home that night.

As bad as some make Louisiana look, it has had its’ share of good politicians that have the best interest of Louisiana and America at heart.  Politicians that have few or no black marks against them an.  Since they are good guys the sensationalism is not there and thus the press ignores them.  One of these men that dedicated his life to public service was Bob Kennon.

Kennon was born in Dubberly, near Minden, in Webster Parish.  He enjoyed the outdoors and was active in Boy Scouts where he obtained his Eagle Scout rank.  After graduating from High School he entered LSU.  His freshman year he received the award for the best academic record.  His organizational ability and leadership skills were apparent by the time he graduated from LSU.

Kennon was on the debate team and wrote for the campus paper.  Academics was not his only achievements.  He was Captain of his Reserve Officer Training Corps and was vice president of the Interfraternity Council.  He won a letter for playing center on the LSU football team.  LSU had no tennis team so Kennon help to organize the tennis team and was one of the first two players to letter in the sport at the university.

At 23 he became the mayor of Minden and for a period of time was the youngest mayor in the United States.  He did not run for re-election but instead was elected district attorney in 1930.  He remained in office for ten years until   By 1940 he had risen to Colonel in the Louisiana Army National Guard.  He had also run for and was elected Circuit Judge the same year.  It was normal to wait a year to move into a judgeship after an election.  Soon after Kennon took office, World War II drew America into the conflict and Kennon’s XIII Corp of the 9th Army was called to service.  He did not shirk his responsibility and took his unit to war.

When he returned from WWII he assumed his role as Judge.  Then in 1948 he ran for governor but was defeated by the infamous Earl Long.  Four years Kennon was victorious and became the 48th governor of Louisiana.  Following his successful run for governor, Governor Kennon appointed Farmerville businessman Fred Preaus  at his Highway Director and later backed him for the 1956 gubernatorial race.

Kennon died in 1988 and Bill Dodd, an opponent in several campaigns wrote an eulogy in the Baton Rouge Morning Advocate.  Part of the article read:

Governor Kennon was never tried and acquitted of wrongdoing because he didn’t break the law or do anything suggesting he ever acted illegally or even unethically. He never spent any time with AA or in a CDU for he didn’t drink alcohol and didn’t snort cocaine. And when he took trips on boats, he went fishing or to a hunting camp with his boys and not to a hideaway like Bimini. His family was exemplary and made no waves that called for suppressing hospital or police records or anything else.

Perhaps the fact that Kennon was honest and efficient and ran the state and his life according to the laws of God and man, he missed out on the press coverage that goes to those who have to be rehabilitated and forgiven for their unethical and illegal conduct; coverage that often praises those rascals for their courage and fortitude to face the public after disgracing themselves and their friends who elected them.

Whatever the reason for Governor Kennon’s lack of recognition for having been a model father, soldier, judge, and governor, the cold base record shows that he was exactly the kind of man the public, the preachers, and the press say they want but seldom get in the governor’s office.

Bob Kennon was, with all his success, a humble man and, if living, he would not want credit for what he did. He regarded his going a good job as his duty, and Bob was a man who always did his duty.”

COUNTRY GONE AMUCK    

Posted: June 18, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

We can look back on the world and see third world countries struggling to find themselves and orient their way into the future.  Time and time again new regimes or parties take control of a country only to be torn down from factions within their own borders.  Despite well meaning individuals with well-meaning agendas the time to allow the country to evolve is not permitted and a continuous elect then overthrow scenario persists.  While this can be witnessed in emerging nations or banana republics it should never be evident in a mature country; especially one that is a leading nation of the world.

Today America is at a major crossroads and it is confusing how we got here.  During the presidential election, many minority groups within America were concerned that they would become alienated.  Much of the concern centered around a new administration’s understanding and acceptance of the minorities and the progress they made to legitimize their acceptance within the American culture.

When the presidential election was over it was understood that the new president would take office and at that time it would be an opportunity to continue the growth of our great nation while building on the past accomplishments of our many and diverse minorities and cultures.  At this juncture in our nation’s continuing development, an opportunity to petition a new president and merge philosophical ideas was lost.  Groups that had struggled for generations for acceptance were now thrust into the role of non-acceptance.  Organizations that had pleaded for peace and understanding suddenly turned their backs on this ideal and took to the streets to protest in a violent and venomous manner. 

Many colleges have now placed professors into teaching positions that not only teach a subject but also introduce their own politics into the classroom.  In isolated instances students make demands of universities and weak leadership within the administrations allow the students to over rule the universities’ decisions.  Speakers brought onto a campus to speak before the student body are not allowed to have freedom of speech due to jeering protesters that claim they have their own right to freedom of speech.   Civil order is degenerating and rude behavior takes the place of professional and respectful social graces.

Last week the United States reached the pinnacle of unrest.  Members of the Republican delegation in Washington were practicing for a friendly baseball game against their Democratic colleagues.  A lone gunman approached the targeted group and opened fire on the Republican players.   This followed the Kathy Gifford debacle where she thought it would be clever to be pictured holding a severed head of President Trump.  In that case the public backlash was brutal and swift as she screamed she was being bullied by the Trump administration while her career took a downward spiral.

It’s time our nation takes a timeout, steps back and then takes a deep breath.  We can not continue in the path that we are going and expect to survive.   This is reminiscent of the great Roman empire prior to its’ collapse.  We must get back to the basics and learn to work together for the common good of our great nation.  We need to get off Social Media spouting vile and filthy rhetoric that does nothing but harm the fiber of our country.  We need to look for ways to build, not tear down.  We need to learn to share ideas and not wholistically dismiss what another is saying.  We must learn to live together.

1842

Posted: June 11, 2017 in Uncategorized

America has had a magical growth that can be characterized by wars followed by periods of a quiet peace. During these passive periods, political and economic growth was allowed to manifest themselves, unbridled by world conflict.
America unshackled its yoke as a mere colony in the late 1700s and gained independence from England. A period of peace and experimentation of a new form of government followed and lasted for about twenty years. America was then tested and the nations metal was forged in fire as it took on a vengeful Great Britain and to the wonderment of a surprised world it emerged from the flames victorious.
Peace then pursued until 1846 when American gained massive lands from Mexico in the Mexican – American war. Twenty years later and America was torn apart with its’ Civil War. By this time Colonial Europe looked at America as the great agricultural experiment and somewhat looked down its’ nose at the fledgling nation. This war and peace has continued to this day.
One period of peace that is fascinating to our nation is the period between the War of 1812 and the Mexican American War. The year 1842 is a good representative year of peace.
In 1842 Abraham Lincoln married Mary Todd. Ironically, Mary’s family was a prominent slave owing Kentucky family. It was nineteen years later that a President Lincoln would prove to be the catalyst to abolish slavery and would also be on the opposite side of the war that included Kentucky.
PT Barnum added a four year old child to his Barnum American Museum in New York. The four year old child had stopped growing years earlier and stood 25 inches tall and weighted a mere 15 pounds. Despite the size the child’s features were normal. The boy was given the stage name of “General Tom Thumb”. Barnum paid the father $3.00 a week to display the boy. The child was taught to sing, dance and impersonate famous people. Later Barnum would join with other shows and form Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus; “The greatest Show on Earth”. Unfortunately, the Circus closed its’ doors for the last time earlier this year.
Hawaii was feeling foreign encroachment on its’ beautiful island. In 1842 a Hawaiian delegation visited Washington and received recognition by the United States of its independence. Ironically in 1959 Hawaii became the 50th state of the United States.
Thomas J. Jackson entered the United States Military academy at West Point. He was allowed to enter only after the first selection from his area dropped out after the first day. He struggled due to little educational preparation but worked his way up to become one of the higher-ranking graduates. He would later become one of Robert E. Lee’s most trusted generals and would be nicknamed Stonewall.
In all of football legacy, one school stands out as a hallmark to the sport. A school whose team that nicknamed its’ running backs the four horsemen and the linemen the seven mules; a team that invented the forward pass; a team that had had a legendary Swedish coach called the “bald eagle, and a team that had two movies made about it legacy was a part of the university that was founded by Catholic priests in 1842, Notre Dame would become not only a great football school but a major institute of higher learning.
Overall 1942 was a quiet year between two wars. It did have a special meaning for rural North Louisiana. Union Parish had been carved out of Ouachita Parish three years earlier. In 1842 Farmerville was cut out of the forests and was officially chartered as a town in Louisiana. One hundred and seventy-five years ago.

Over the past several decades the impact of Mexican influence on America has become scrutinized in various conversations. The rhetoric has become ever more loud as some groups call for the deportation of all undocumented and thus illegal aliens while on the other side of the conversation the American border should be wide open to anyone desiring to enter and live in our great nation. A more moderate message that garners a more practical approach is a worker program allowing undocumented workers that perform a vital role in America to remain on work visa’s but who are not considered citizens. Citizenship is not a wholesale right guaranteed to everyone nor does the Constitution of the United States guarantee rights to non-citizens of the United States that live outside the borders of the United States.
While many may look upon Mexico as a country that distributes its poor to the southern American borders in an effort to pass its’ problems to the United States while never providing anything of substance to our country; nothing could be further from the truth. The truth is that Mexico provided direct support to our great nation and helped the United States win two major wars. This has taken place since the beginning of our nation.
In 1776 the British colonies in the Americas declared its’ independence from England. At the time of the revolution Spain claimed most land west of the Mississippi. Following the turning point of the American revolution, the battle of Saratoga; Spain, France and Holland joined American in its’ war with England. An army from Mexico that swelled to over 7,000 began a campaign along the Gulf Coast and Mississippi Valley.. Since an army marches on its’ stomach, herds of Texas beef were driven into Louisiana to feed the Spanish army, This was the first cattle drives of this type in America and predated the famos western cattle drives by over a hundred years.
In 1779 Spanish troops won battles at Manchac, Baton Rouge and Natchez. A year later the Spanish forces, from Mexico, defeated the British at Fort Charlotte at Mobile. A year later the Spanish forces captured the English fort at Pensacola. By opening this southern front the Mexican troops held English troops in battle in the south and thus aided George Washington in his victories in the North, This aided in the success for the war for independence.
One hundred and sixty years later Mexico once again provided much needed support for the United States and the free world. When America was attacked at Pearl Harbor Mexico was one of the first countries to pledge support to America and cut ties with the Axis nations. America sent much needed funds and technology to the Mexican mines that produced mercury, zinc and copper. America purchased Mexican oil and Mexico’s newly updated army was supplied with American weapons. Mexican Americans answered the call for the army and an estimated 500,000 filled the recruiting statins across America. Many of these were not born in the United States and were granted citizenship following the war.
Mexico also provided another resource for the war effort, farm labor. With the traditional farm laborers leaving the farms and going off to war, America needed a way to harvest its’ crops. Without this ability America would feel the pangs of hunger. A formal program was launched and Mexicans known as “braceros” crossed the borders to assist America. Following the war they were allowed to stay and seek citizenship. Many remained and brought their families to a new life that promised a better future.
Mexico was instrumental in helping America win its’ war for independence and then followed up its’ support by helping America do its’ part to make the world free for democracy.

 

 

When I was in the fourth grade something was said about cars that drove themselves.  At that time the thought was that something in the road would tell the car where to go.  Over time nothing appeared to happen so I thought that it was a nice idea but would not happen.  After all how could the car keep track of everything going on around it.  Then recently the story came out that Tesla motors had a self-driving car.  Add to that Amazon announcing that they may use driverless cars to deliver products and Ford is already deploying self-park and self-back up features when pulling trailers and the driverless car is finally with us.

 

In 1870 Jules Verne wrote 2000 Leagues Under the Sea.  Verne wrote about a submarine that was powered with a unique fuel supply that allowed the submarine to remain underwater for an unlimited time without refueling.  The name of Verne’s submarine was the Nautilus.  Ninety years later the United States Navy launched the USS Nautilus and made history as it sailed under the Arctic Ice Cap.

 

Verne also penned another book, From the Earth to the Moon.  He told the story of the attempt to get a man to the moon.  His prophesy finally came true a hundred years later.  Fantasy becomes reality.

 

Remember Dick Tracy and the Sunday morning comics.  He had the ability to talk to other members of his police force with a communicator on his wrist the size of a watch.  Later this became the accepted norm and thus was beginning to become boring to the reader so the writer added the ability for Tracy to see who he was talking to.  Fifty years later and we have both abilities in our smart phones and it is universally available to the populace of the world.

 

The point is that we don’t need to limit future reality with what we live in today.  Dream it and it could happen some day in the future.  In the 1960s writers of books and television and cinema told stories of computers taking over for man and eventually man would become subservient to computers.  The machines would design future machines that were increasingly more powerful.  The machines would learn and eventually become smarter than man and thus would rule the world.  Impossible some would say but the world of artificial intelligence is with us.  Suddenly this has become the buzz word in the Internet Technology world and it is beginning to rollout to the world.  Programs such as Alexia are performing many tasks for man while learning as time goes by.  IBM is developing heavy duty Artificial Intelligence programs and if America is developing this you can believe that China, India, Russia and the EU is doing its’ own research.  It will be important that standards be put into place to insure that what is being developed does not make the science fiction writers work come true and machines will ultimately rule the world.

 

 

PTSD seems to be a term that has come to the forefront of visibility when discussing war injuries from the Iraqi Wars and the Afghanistan War.  Viet Nam had earlier taken its toll on the young men returning from war.  The mental anguish imposed on our youth from an unpopular war was apparent; however, the nation was not ready to embrace the returning military or the emotional effects the war imposed on many individuals.  Ignore it and it will go away.

 

While PTSD seems to be a recent malady of war, it is in fact as old as man himself.   In 490 BC the battle of Marathon took place.  The Greeks defeated the invading Persian army on the Marathon plains.  It was reported that Epizelus, a Greek soldier, witnessed the death of his friend and immediately went blind without being injured.  Dreams of battle and a fear of night was later reported of soldiers by the physician Hippocrates, the same man whose name is associated with the oath taken by every American Physician; the Hippocratic oath.  While ancient historical documents speak of PTSD, the Christian Bible eludes to what modern military historians and biblical scholars believe to be PTSD.  One battle depicts the Hebrew army destroying a city and killing every man, woman and child.  Upon returning home the army cannot enter their own city until they have had a week of cleansing.  It is speculated by many that this cleansing was not one of the body but instead a cleansing of the mind. 

 

In 1678 the Swiss described PTSD as melancholy, incessant thinking of home, insomnia, weakness, loss of appetite, anxiety, cardiac palpitations, stupor, and fever.  The term used was “nostalgia”.  During the Napoleonic war the term “cannon wind” was used to describe a near miss and later a German writer wrote of his own encounter with PTSD.   Your eyes can still see with the same acuity and sharpness, but it is as if the world had put on a reddish-brown hue that makes the objects and the situation still more scary … I had the impression that everything was being consumed by this fire … this situation is one of the most unpleasant that you can experience.”

 

America experienced the first recorded accounts of PTSD during the Civil War.  When the war ended, towns or states would pin a note on the clothing of the PTSD victim and send them off as being insane or allowed to wander off and let nature do the dirty work.  The term used at that time was “soldier’s heart”. 

 

War was not the only cause of PTSD.  The Industrial Revolution in America saw a vast expansion of the rail roads.  Horrific accidents took their toll on the men that worked in the construction and operations of the rail networks.  The term “railway spine” was used to describe PTSD at the time it was believed to have been caused by lesions in the spine brought on by the accidents.

 

By World War I the term “shell shock” was used to describe PTSD.  The renowned psychiatrist Sigmund Freud was called on by the Austrian government to see if there was a treatment to which he reported that his horrendous electroshock treatment had no effect on the illness.  All armies witnessed the same malady and unfortunately there was lack of understanding of the illness.  Many British soldiers were executed for malingering or cowardice. 

 

By World War II “Battle Fatigue” was identified and methods of treatment were developed.  One General, George Patton, did not believe in PTSD and was relieved of command for slapping two soldiers while in a hospital under medical care.  His referral to the soldiers actions as cowardice was a major black mark against one of the greatest Generals in the American Military.  While researching one of my books I uncovered a letter to the Secretary of the Army.  The letter objected to the treatment of the soldiers and criticized General’s Patton’s actions.

 

We live in a time that PTSD is understood and is treatable and is no longer ignored by a grateful nation; a nation that welcomes their military home from battle.  I have witnessed firsthand the scourge of PTSD.  My roommate while at NAS Memphis was there to be near the hospital following his tour in Viet Nam.  He told me of a truck back firing and then driving off the road onto the beach at Pensacola and then again how he fell to the ground when neighbor children set off firecrackers.  After leaving the navy I entered Northeast Louisiana and became friends with two individuals that never knew each other.  One was a recon Marine.  The other was an Army infantryman.  Both were in school and strived to re-enter society.  Each spoke seldom of their time in Nam.  One thing was common to each; their marriages had failed and then neither completed their education.  Years later when returning from Arabia I discovered that each had another common bond; they had both taken a firearm and had taken their lives. 

 

Thank God for a country that is far more understanding than the past and if far more grateful to its’ returning service men and women.

 

WHAT A WEEK

Posted: May 29, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Last week was quit a monumental event in time for me.  To make it even more epic was that last week posed a double dose of satisfaction that made me extremely proud and reinforced my belief that Christian principals are still alive and thriving.

 

In 1987 my wife opened her daycare, Mom’s Helper.  I never met a person that loved children more than her just for the sake of love.  Over the years she hired workers, lived within the confines of regulation that grew more and more controlling, paid taxes and fed babies, changed diapers and provided advice to new mothers.  There were times that she went beyond her role as a caregiver and at least one child was given an opportunity to grow up and live a productive life instead of becoming a paragraph in the obituary column.

 

Later she sold her day care to a person possessing the same loving attributes that Bonnie held dear; however, she could not stay away from children.  For another twenty years, following a major upgrade to the house, Bonnie opened the home to the state-legal six children.  While taking a maximum of one week of vacation a year for the last thirty years, the world is about to change for Bonnie.

 

Last week several current daycare mothers held a surprise party for Bonnie at the Main Street Grill.  Present were mothers and children that had come under Bonnie’s spell and tutelage.  Purpose of the party was to wish her Bon Voyage.  This week ends a chapter in her life and in the community as she formally retires from formal child care duties.  All in all, over 700 children have passed through her care and a very small sliver of our globe is better off for it.  For this I am so proud.

 

Four days later I once again experienced an event that makes any caring parent proud to the point of tears.  In the back yard of a beautiful young lady in an exquisitely, creatively yet simply prepared ceremony with cattle grazing in the background; my son took his wife.  While the occasion was emotional for all the family and guests that were present, there was a deeper message that I took away that only expanded the gratification of the moment. 

 

The ceremony was simple with a young pastor performing the service.  During the ceremony I realized that this beautiful ritual was far more than the bonding of two individuals into a family unit.  It was a reinforcement that the values that we have held dear throughout our lives, the same values that fueled the values of a new nation, are still with us.  The ceremony of marriage in front of family and friends while publicly dedicating this marriage to God has been with us for thousands of years.  It is gratifying to see that the ceremonial bonding is much alive in the our country and reinforces that it will continue to be an integral fiber of our great nation.

 

I hope you all had a great Veterans Day holiday.  If you see someone that served our country, please stop and thank him or her for the service to our country and for putting their lives on hold to defend the freedom of our nation.