Posts Tagged ‘farmerville gazette’

So many times we view corporations as brick and mortar filled with stoic individuals that perform their work robotic style with little care for the human element in their environment. A perception exists of the dollar ruling all decisions and these decisions permeate from the board room to the lower echelons of the corporation. Recently I observed an event that proved this observation to be totally incorrect.
Bonnie and I left for a cruise and were sailing out of New Orleans. The first night we were hit with two misfortunes. It was frigid cold and we had to endure the plunging temperature while sitting outside on the Lido deck watching the second malady of the night; the Saints lost and were eliminated from the playoffs. If that were the only problems encountered, we would be happy.
On the second full day at sea we had left the chill of the arctic plunge behind us and the balmy breezes of the tropical trade winds had us believing that what we had left behind was merely a figment of our imagination. Even the cocky men and women dressed in Minnesota jerseys couldn’t dampen the feeling of bliss. Then we heard the announcement.
“This is the captain”, said a voice with a heavy Italian accent. “We have declared a medical emergency and are turning around to land at Cozumel to deliver the sick passenger.”
The televisions in each stateroom has a channel that shows a map of where we are, our path and speed of the ship. We watched as the ship turned almost 180 degrees and the captain gave it the spurs and headed for the island of Cozumel. I was fortunate to have spent my first year in the Navy on the USS Saratoga, a quit large aircraft carrier. As luck would have it we had our Mediterranean cruise cancelled and we sailed half way around the world and landed in the Philippines. No cost was spared as we cruised the seagoing behemoth at 25 knots. This is 29 MPH. I thought that no civilian ship, especially one the size that we were cruising on, could do anything near 25 knots. I was wrong. The good ship Carnival Dream closed on Cozumel at 25 knots. The captain spared no expense as wide open throttle is burning fuel at a large rate. Also the extra 2 hours going to Cozumel and then back to where we turned around burned a large amount of additional fuel.
After discharging the sick passenger, the captain spared no cost and instead of arriving at Mahogany Bay four hours late, we arrived on time. The captain made the conscious decision to spare no cost to get the passenger into port for treatment and then to increase speed to get his passengers docked in Honduras on time. No stoic stiff collared captain on the bridge of the Dream. Instead a man that put the care of his passengers first.
Another action happened that reinforced the feeling of the good of man. Right after the announcement by the captain the cruise director came on the intercom and asked to keep the sick passenger in our thoughts and “prayers”. Very non-politically correct but very human and very refreshing to have a representative of one of the largest cruise lines in the world ask for prayers.
When the ship landed in Cozumel the port authority was there to assist with the transfer of the patient. Once the patient has been transferred to an ambulance and the ambulance leaves the port, the Mexican port authority is no longer responsible. An official from the port went to the hospital and remained at the hospital at the side of the family the majority of the time they were there. Despite barbs being thrown between the United States and Mexico, the human element interceded and the need for comfort and support surpassed politics.
I passed the cruise director as we were disembarking in New Orleans. He was responsible for offloading activities and had to insure that 3,500 passengers got off the ship as quickly and as safely as possible and then be ready to sail with a full ship in six hours. He had not heard what had happened to the patient. As I passed him I told him that the patient was taken off of life support. Then I watched as he grasped my hand in both of his and with eyes turning red and swelling with tears he thanked me for the information. Quit a human trait.
This was a nice trip but I took far more away from it than the tropical bliss. Thoughts and prayers are with the family of Annice Bayles McCallum, a friend, schoolmate and graduate of Farmerville Hi.

Advertisements

For the past several years I have been quite outspoken about various directions in our great nation. that were alien to the original principals of the country. These directions were counter to the individuality of the people that built our nation and how various new government actions were actually working to thwart the growth of our magnificent country. Though no actions that were done by the country’s government was vindictive toward any group of individuals in America and while governmental actions were meant to help the country by providing immediate help; the overstepping of government in its’ programs caused societal distress in the long run and damaged the ability of society to advance our country.
I had written about government regulations and how they were strangling the ability of the American to be creative and curtailed the individualism that founded and grew a great land. America is one nation made of people that are fiercely individualistic. We fight together as a unified nation when threatened. We believe in states rights and fiercely defend these rights. Examples of how we view our states rights are how we cast our votes in the various states, how we implement our game laws and of course who we cheer for on a chilly Saturday night football game in the fall. Federal regulations begin with a problem that needs to be fixed to benefit the majority of the country. The problem is that when a regulator walks through the door it is hard to get him out. More and more regulations are put into place and we find that instead of curing a problem, the ever-increased regulations begin to strangle the industries that originally held the problems. The excessive regulations then become the problem and growth is stymied while the working environment becomes more and more stressful as we try to run a business while traversing a gauntlet of paperwork, restrictions and bureaucratic reporting.
Things have changed for America. In 2017 fourteen major regulations that have been repealed are expected to have major financial impacts to the United States. Repealing these regulations are expected to save 3.7 billion dollars in government costs, 34.8 billion dollars in industry costs and reduce paperwork by over 4 million manhours. This is a sizable amount of human labor that can be used and will be used for meaningful work that produces goods and services for a hungry nation. It has been recently identified that 496 regulations will soon be completely withdrawn while another 389 will be suspended pending investigation. This is great news for a country weary from the burden of over regulation. There is one warning though. We must insure that we don’t take too much license to deregulate the country and leave certain important parts of our nation exposed to unsafe conditions or exposed to potential future adverse events.
When the Affordable Health Care Act, also known as Obamacare, was enacted there was one blatant requirement of the act that disturbed me. This was the part of the act that required everyone to participate in the program or be fined for not paying into the program. If a person is young with no health problems, they were mandated to purchase the Obama Care insurance. If they did not participate, they would be fined. This is not only forcing people to purchase a federal program but it is forcing individuals to pay the government for something they do not need. This was removed last week.
I have been vocal over the years about corporate taxes and how they have to come down so that American companies to be competitive on the world market. Over the last decade we have stood by and watched as companies have packed up and moved to other countries due to the American tax structure. This is not just relocating manufacturing facilities to reduce manufacturing costs. This is moving corporations to not to have to pay high corporate income taxes. Last week corporate taxes were reduced to a point that America can be more in line with the rest of the world and once again become competitive. This will not be the end either. We can expect other countries to lower their tax base and again in the future the Unites States will revisit its’ tax structure and other tax reductions at the corporate level may become a necessity.
So where will these changes lead our great nation. Will the decreased regulations and tax reductions be a Christmas gift for our country or will this actually be the Christmas Grinch? Next year will tell and then I will see if I end up with egg on my face. Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year. I am predicting a good one for our nation and the world.

A year ago I wrote about ISIS losing ground in Iraq and Syria and emphasized that we could expect a shift in the attack on good from evil. This materialized in 2017 in Paris and Normandy, France; London and Manchester, England; The Ohio State University, United States; Hamburg and Berlin, Germany; and the list goes on.
Amid dramatic attacks by Iraqi military forces supported by Iranian backed militia in Iraq and Syrian military units in Syria, ISIS has lost the vast majority of its’ conquered territory. In a traditional war it would be time to declare victory and dispatch the Department of State to meet with the coalition forces and prepare for the surrender talks with the vanquished foe. This is not a conventional war and there will be no surrender talks. Instead we have to prepare for an escalation of “lone wolf” attacks that we witnessed last year. Additionally, we can expect attacks that are even more menacing than the physical attacks of 2017.
So far the attacks perpetrated on innocent men, women and children in Europe and the United States have been savage, front page euphoric but limited in geographic and physical scope. We agonize over the loss of life and our hearts bleed for the mourning families but in the context of war, the destruction is small. These assaults will continue as a small investment by the enemy and garners massive headlines, Each attack requires increased security measures that impact the finances of the countries under assault.
We can also expect a new attack that does not require a physical presence in a country. No bomb-making material must be procured nor does a terrorist need an assault weapon nor does the terrorist have to rent a vehicle to crash through a crowd. Instead the terrorist will need a computer and be sophisticated in the ability to hack into operating systems and data bases. The terrorist could potentially wreak havoc on its’ enemies. Everything from electrical grids to financial institutions to pipeline oil and gas transmission to traffic lights to anything that is controlled by computers are vulnerable. Can you imagine the chaos, destruction and loss of life if all the traffic lights are suddenly turned off during rush hour in a major American city. The computer hacker can do his dastardly deed from some house buried in some city in some country ten thousand miles from the city that was attacked. This will be the new face of evil.
The war on terror is far from over. We have done a phenomenal job in defeating ISIS on the ground by empowering our generals to do what they know what to do and how to do it; win. We are providing our allies with the hardware they need to destroy terrorism. The escalation to cyber warfare will require brilliant minds to combat that threat plus continue developing our special ops teams to infiltrate and surgically remove the hackers in foreign inhospitable countries.
Traditional terrorism will remain with us for many years. These satans of evil used to have open access to America under the disguise of visitor or student visas. Much of this easy access has being eliminated so ISIS will be looking for other easy points of entry to America. This now puts greater pressure on our southern border. It is imperative that we control this border and prevent the infiltration of America by ISIS and other terrorist organizations. 2018 should be interesting and it is imperative that we stand together as one nation, UNITED.

Several times over the last couple of years I have written about the Founding Fathers and the concept of “all men are created equal”. My interpretation of these prophetic words was not that all citizens of the Unites States are guaranteed a particular life style or entitled to a set of materialistic rewards for simply living in our great nation. Instead we are entitled to an opportunity to make our own way and we are allowed to pursue happiness individually without bias or constraint.
I have, in the past, also quoted an excerpt from one of President Teddy Roosevelt’s speeches that many refer to as “The Man in the Arena”. This is a marvelous speech that espouses the man that attempts to achieve anything in life and the laurels that should be administered to the man that attempts and fails vs the man that sits in the arena as an onlooker yet never attempts to achieve but instead finds it sport to criticizes those that fail.
The actual Roosevelt speech was not titled “The Man in the Arena” but was instead titled “Citizenship in the Republic”. The Man in the Arena is merely a paragraph of a much larger speech delivered in France in 1910 when Roosevelt was returning from a scientific expedition of East Africa that was sponsored by the Smithsonian Institute. I recently read the speech in its’ entirety and was surprised to read Roosevelt’s comments on the equality of man. This speech also addressed other problematic activities we are experiencing today and even though this speech was delivered 116 years ago the content is still true today.
The following is the section of the speech that addresses equality of man in America.
“I think the authors of the Declaration of Independence intended to include all men, but they did not mean to declare all men equal in all respects. They did not mean to say all men were equal in color, size, intellect, moral development or social capacity. They defined with tolerable distinctness in what they did consider all men created equal-equal in certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. This they said, and this they meant. They did not mean to assert the obvious untruth that all were actually enjoying that equality, or yet that they were about to confer it immediately upon them. They meant to set up a standard maxim for free society which should be familiar to all—constantly looked to, constantly labored for, and, even though never perfectly attained, constantly approximated, and thereby constantly spreading and deepening its influence, and augmenting the happiness and value of life to all people, everywhere.”
We are bound in honor to refuse to listen to those men who would make us desist from the effort to do away with the inequality which means injustice; the inequality of right, opportunity, of privilege. We are bound in honor to strive to bring even nearer the day when, as far is humanly possible, we shall be able to realize the ideal that each man shall have an equal opportunity to show the stuff that is in him by the way in which he renders service. There should, so far as possible, be equal of opportunity to render service; but just so long as there inequality of service there should and must be inequality of reward. We may be sorry for the general, the painter, the artists, the worker in any profession or of any kind, whose misfortune rather than whose fault is that he does his work ill. But the reward must go to the man who does his work well; for any other course is to create a new kind of privilege, the privilege of folly and weakness; and special privilege is injustice, whatever form it takes.”
Hope to see you at the 175th anniversary of our community. Ricky Albritton’s steering committee under the auspices of Mayor Baughman and the Farmerville Town Council is performing an admirable job of making this auspicious event a memorable moment in the history of Farmerville.

America went through a tumultuous time in its’ history during the 1960s. Civil rights went to the forefront of America’s interests and was right there with Viet Nam, the Kennedy assassinations and landing a man on the moon. It was a hard struggle and within Louisiana’s political landscape the ability for minority voting was enhanced with the abolition of the poll tax. Unlikely politicians such as Earl Long promoted minority voting and helped to open the doors for those that had never been given the constitutional right to vote.
Segregated water fountains and bathrooms disappeared as did segregated schools a minorities appeared at a quick pace on television and in movies. America had transitioned to an integrated society where African Americans no longer discriminated against in the deep south just and American Indians were integrated into a white man’s world in the West. America had grown up; at least in many quarters.
Many of us had fathers and grandfathers that went to war to fight a diabolical philosophy, an enemy that was committed to purify the earth from innocent men, women and children in a horrid social engineering experiment. The Nazi viewpoint was taken to an extreme and six million Jews were murdered simply because to their linage. Blacks were slated to be on the extermination list as were others deemed to be inferior and sub-standard humans. This was a sad time in the history of the world and a young black man by the name of Jesse Owens disproved this ideal race concept when he destroyed the track competition at the Olympics held in Berlin, Germany with Adolf Hitler looking on.
Many good men and women from the Allied nations never returned from World War II but their sacrifices insured that much of the hatred in the world would be eliminated and we could live in peace without fear of repercussion due to race, creed or religion. This ideal took a long time to be adopted and then understood by the masses. It took a long time after the war to fully espouse the concepts of Americanism; but America has come a long way. Is total equality with us today? The answer is “no” but it is so much better than a decade ago and it will be better in the future decades.
Last week a protest in Virginia ended in tragedy and death as a protest turned deadly. White supremist spit venom into a lovely southern community that is an echo from a time in Germany that saw the goose stepping Nazis terrorize a country and spread its’ hatred across Europe. Actions like this are not a part of our great nation and there is no place in America for this behavior just as marches espousing the killing of police followed by police assassinations are likewise divisive and filled with hatred.
It is imperative that we realize that a few protesters spewing a sick rhetoric in front of a news camera hungry for television ratings does not reflect the majority of any one group. We must look beyond these bumps in the road and look at the greater requirement ; the continued growth of our nation. We must continue to strive to place prejudice behind us from all quarters and place God and country at the forefront.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

America had the seeds of democracy planted two hundred and forty-one years ago.  Following the penning of the Declaration of Independence the Constitution of the United states was written.  It was not until 1788 that the document we know as the Constitution was ratified.  Three years later in 1791 the Constitution was amended with ten constitutional amendments that are referred to as the Bill of Rights.  These amendments have now expanded to consist of twenty-seven amendments.

 

The first amendment is one of the most far reaching and impacting pieces of legislation that has ever been produced in the history of man.  This small set of words has the influence to guarantee freedoms to the citizens of our great nation and these freedoms originate as part of the Constitution of the United States.  This is a remarkable development in democracy that had never been attempted before.  This amendment, the First Amendment, prohibits Congress from obstructing the exercise of certain individual freedoms: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and the right to petition.

 

The Congress of the United States made it certain that freedom of speech is not to be curtailed by the government.  It is written that “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech.”   As much as freedom of speech and the right to descent is a right given to the citizens of the United States there are limits that must be maintained to insure equal justice.  When a person is invited to speak at a public forum this person is allowed by the constitution to address those that attend the speech.  Today many attend the speech and instead of allowing the speaker to address the mass the speaker is jeered and in many cases forced to leave the podium.  The rowdy thugs that disrupt speeches and gatherings wrap themselves in the Constitution and proclaim they have freedom of speech and they are within their rights to disrupt someone else’s freedoms of speech.

 

Just as indignant as the disruption of speeches is, the contempt displayed to elected federal officials is even more saddening.  These men and women who represent their districts in Washington go home to hold town hall meetings and hear from the citizens of the area they represent. Instead of constructive civil discussion and a trade of ideas, the elected officials are met with childish outbreaks and immature behavior from members in the crowd.  There is nothing constructive in the dialogue and those who came to the town hall to hear what is happening in the nation’s capital are denied the opportunity due to the unruly behavior of a few.

 

So when does freedom of speech and the right to decent go too far and treads on the right of others.  Anytime that a person is not allowed to give his point of view because it contradicts another person’s thoughts, values or beliefs; the person stopping the speaker is wrong.  There is not debate to this, there Is no negotiating the issue; the person interrupting and disrupting is wrong, end of story!

 

What is causing this type of behavior.  The answer is simple.  Lack of respect for an orderly society causes a breakdown in the moral fiber of a great nation.  Respect is a learned behavior and one that has been lost over the last several decades.  Doing right, learning respect and developing into a mature individual begins at home and is reinforced in our education systems.  Our children are the future of our nation.  It is important that they receive the understanding of human values from the time they take their first breaths and continue with this home education until they leave the nest.  Discipline must be allowed and encouraged in our education institutions.  Today  a child cannot receive corporal punishment at school.  Too bad; if a child is unruly and all else has failed; the use of the paddle has an intended meaning.  As a person that received his share of smacks on the rump, it definitely made an impression on my outlook on life without causing hostile tendencies.  In the past this was supported at home.  If a child was disciplined at school the student could expect to receive the same thing upon arriving at the home.  That is reinforcement for what is right and also reinforcement of our school systems.

 

Let us hope that we can become more respectful for our elected officials and each other.  If not then we will experience a wider void within our country that will threaten to eventually tear the country apart.