Posts Tagged ‘Farmerville Louisiana’

The history of the world is unique. Civilizations survive for hundreds or even thousands of years living one day at a time. Some change does takes place but major social norms, traditions and policies remain basically intact. Then suddenly something changes within the civilization and a major transformation takes place within that country. Many times, these changes take place in a relatively short period of time; many times over a generation.
In 1978 I moved to Saudi Arabia to work and live. We had a five day orientation before departing America and during this time we were versed in the local traditions and laws and we were lectured on not trying to invoke American traditions on the Saudi citizens while not criticizing their ways of life.
When I lived in Saudi Arabia the only women allowed to drive were American women and this privilege was extended to the compound we lived on. No female could drive off the compound. Movie theaters did not exist except on the compounds where we lived. The Saudi Stock Exchange opened soon after I arrived but only Saudi citizens could purchase stock and invest in the Kingdom. The first generation of drivers were on the roads and this could be quit an experience when driving in heavy traffic or on the open road. The void that separated the West from Saudi Arabia was quit wide.
In 1990 Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and the world changed for Saudi Arabia. American and coalition troops poured into Saudi Arabia to defend the Kingdom; an Army that contained members of all religions including Jews. Thousands of years of abhorrence was cast aside as members of different religions worked together for a common goal.
The war also introduced something else to the general population of Saudi Arabia; the female driver. Women in Saudi could own cars but could not drive them. Enter the United States Army, the Humvee and the female driver. This was a major cultural shock to everyone, including American expats. To see a woman behind the wheel was a true novelty. It was not long before a protest was planned. Many women in Riyadh got behind the wheel and drove around the capital. They were eventually arrested, taken to the police station where their husbands were called and the women were turned over to the husbands. Those that were employed by the government were terminated. This simmering protest has been a part of Saudi criticism for the last 35 years. Last September it was announced that women would be allowed to drive. Not only did this move the country into a more progressive image as the world would see it but it can also spur more internal entrepreneurial investment.
Entertainment is breaking new ground. A New Orleans Jazz concert was held in Riyadh; the first in 20 years. The next open society experiment is the movie theater. On March 1st the Kingdom allowed public movie theaters and CinemaCity, is planning a 20 screen theater in Riyadh. Other theaters will go up around the Kingdom.
The new ruling government of Saudi Arabia is far more deep thinking than just theaters and driving. Last year many extremely wealthy individuals. Some being princes of the Royal Family, were placed under house arrest and charged with skimming money from the government. Billions will be returned to the Kingdom in return for freedom. This is a bold move that promises a more enterprising country.
Tourism was not allowed when I lived there. Only workers were allowed in. This has changed and in 2012 over 12 million visitors had gone to Arabia as visitors. Today there is even a female dive club on the Red Sea.
Probably the biggest change in what used to be a closed country is the sale of 5% of Saudi ARAMCO. Valued at 200 billion dollars, this stock offering will be the largest Individual Public Offering, IPO, in the history of the world. For Saudi Arabia to offer part of its crown jewel, ARAMCO, for sale speaks volumes about the changes going on within the Kingdom.
When I first arrived in Saudi I was told that an aged, very wealthy and very wise Saudi had made the following statement based on the country’s wealth that was derived from the oil resources. “My father rode a camel. I drive a Mercedes. My son will fly a plane. His son will fly in space. His son will ride a camel.” As prophetic as this may have been at the time, this may well be incorrect with the changes that are taking place in the Kingdom today.
It’s amazing what the difference a generation makes.

Advertisements

The debate continues about what can be done to prevent violence in the schools such as we have witnessed in Broward County. That horrific act fills the emotions of everyone except the most stonehearted across our nation. These emotions swell up into a frenzy that divides a great people as simple solutions to a very complex problem are suggested. In fact the solution is multi-faceted and will take social modification; financial asset reassignment; training and most importantly, cooperation, understanding and teamwork.
America is a nation of laws. We have no dictator and the laws come from the governed. We may not all ways agree to this statement but in fact the people that make our laws are elected by the citizens that the laws encompass. This thesis of a democratic nation holds validity of a democracy from the very lowest levels of local government through state government to our national régime. We have rights guaranteed by our constitution and these rights are provided to all citizens; however they are guaranteed only if they do not trounce on the very basic tenant of American rights. These are the rights of American citizens to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
When emotions run high we often let these emotions take control of rational thinking as we seek quick solutions to our problems. Over the past week we hear that gun control is the answer to the death of so many innocent lives being lost. We also hear that trained police officers refused to enter the school to stop the shooter and these officers are now receiving the wrath of a nation that ignores the police that did enter the school and thwarted even more deaths. Adults that took in a homeless adolescent had death threats posed on social media after they tried to comfort the youth for the loss of his mother, placed strict rules for the youth to follow and even called the police asking for help with the young man; the same man that slaughtered the children in Broward county.
The second amendment gives Americans the right to bear arms. It does not give Americans a right to take a gun and kill or injure someone else. We must understand there is a difference. It is known that some individuals are not emotionally fit to carry a weapon. This was not an issue when our founding fathers guaranteed that America could be armed. We must do an even better background check that better identifies an individual that has a high probability of performing gun violence if allowed to own a gun. This is a serious endeavor to balance personal rights versus safety and will require an unemotional response that is developed by professionals that understand the importance of this criteria. Both the NRA and Left Wing Liberals must come to some common ground, remove biases and develop criteria that is in the countries best interest.
One of the biggest threats to American ideals is the mis-use of social media and the social changes that it brings. A person reads some posted message that was made by a person whose post contains half truths or by a person that is totally ignorant of what is being posted. When it is read it is taken as fact and taken as fact without checking the source. This is leading to a world relying on mis-information as being the truth. This also leads to professionals that are responsible for our safe keeping to be inundated with false reports of potential danger. Unfortunately this can lead to a numbing effect on organizations that are continually receiving threat tips only to find that they are false. We need to change the understanding of what needs to be published while at the same time make it fully understood that every reported threat must be investigated by the proper authority.
When Germany determined that it would invade Switzerland during World War II, Switzerland called on its’ Army and Reserve Force to fill the mountain passes and thus Germany decided that the cost would be too great. The invasion never happened. We can think of our schools in the same manner. There has been quit a bit of discussion pertaining to arming school teachers. Perhaps using the Switzerland analogy in a school setting would discourage a shooter from entering the premise. There must be constraints though to arming teachers. A potential armed teacher must want to be armed and not forced to be armed. The armed teacher must be well trained in how to operate a weapon and must be extremely well trained in when to use the weapon.
The violence we are experiencing is complex we need to stand back and take a good look at what we must do to curtail this violence. At the same time we must address the horrendous violence that is rampant in the inner cities of America and what must be done to bring hope to that segment of society.

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.

 

Every once in a while we run across a speech or a writing that truly captures the spirit of our nation, or an event or a specific period of the year. Then every once in a while we find something that captures the wonderment of all three.
A single question from the innocence of an eight year old youngster in 1897 captured the essence of the belief of a child in an America that was quite simple but yet was quickly changing. As great as the change to our nation has been since this simple question, the response to the little girl’s question is simple yet complex and is every bit as true today as it was when first published in The Sun of New York.
Young Virginia O’Hanlon asked her father a simple question. He told her that if it is in The Sun then it must be true. This prompted the little girl to write the newspaper and ask her question.
The following is the query and response in its’ full.
“Dear Editor—
I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?
Vir¬ginia O’Hanlon
Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been af¬fected by the skep¬ti¬cism of a skep¬ti¬cal age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not com¬pre¬hen¬si¬ble by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great uni¬verse of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his in¬tel¬lect as com¬pared with the bound¬less world about him, as mea¬sured by the in¬tel¬li¬gence capable of grasp¬ing the whole of truth and knowledge.
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as cer¬tainly as love and gen-eros¬ity and de¬vo¬tion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no child¬like faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tol¬er¬a¬ble this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which child¬hood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chim¬neys on Christ-mas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither chil¬dren nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can con¬ceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and un¬see¬able in the world.
You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil cov¬er¬ing the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the su¬per¬nal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives and lives forever. A thou¬sand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will con-tinue to make glad the heart of childhood.”
Merry Christmas everyone. Wishing to you that the true joy of Christmas fills and warms the hearts of all around the world during this wonderous time of the year. Yes world, there is a Christmas!

Make no mistake about it, Christmas is a beautiful time of the year. The feeling of love warms the inner body as we greet our friends, neighbors and even strangers with a smile as we utter a Merry Christmas. Food is plentiful for most and for those in need there is usually a good meal available complements of the more fortunate or as a religious gift of unconditional love. We find solace and give thanks in the season and in many quarters give thanks for our many blessings. While Christmas is a wonderful time of the year there was one Christmas in America that was not so merry yet it truly epitomizes the patriotic virtues of our great Nation.
On December 19th, 1777 General George Washington arrived with his tattered army at a location that was to be the winter encampment for the Continental Army. It had been a rough year for the new army and the Christmas season was one of despair for the young military. The temperature plunged to six degrees Fahrenheit above zero. George Washington knew his men could not survive in their tents so he had the men build log buildings with fireplaces. Washington remained in his tent until the last soldier was no longer living in their tents. He then moved into a nearby farmhouse.
Food was almost non-existent. By December 21st the soldiers were beginning to mutiny. Washington noted that his men were unable to sleep due to the cold and sat up all night by the fire to stay warm. Foreign offices from Europe that came to fight for the Americans were amazed that an army could take so much hardship and deprivation yet remain a fighting force.
The clothes and shoes were rotting. If a soldier was fortunate enough to have had a blanket, they would wear it while sanding guard. One soldier standing guard stood on his hat in the snow to protect his bare feet. Life was more than miserable at this Christmas period yet true American patriots persevered.
Desperate times require desperate measures and Washington knew he must make a bold move or all would be lost. His militia would soon be disbanded, his regular army was starving and freezing and the enemy was encamped across the Delaware River celebrating Christmas.
On December 25th Washington crossed the Delaware, flanked a slumbering British force and America got a wonderful Christmas present. The British soldiers were mostly Hessian (German) mercenaries. When the surprise attack was over 1,000 British army prisoners were taken while America lost 2 to 4 killed. This is an example of the intestinal fortitude that built our young country and continued on for over two hundred years as we have sustained our will to grow into a world leader. What a celebration for the birth of Jesus than to deliver the birth of a new country that is dedicated to provide all the virtues of a humanitarian nation.
Thomas Payne, one of our founding fathers, wrote of the sacrifices of the army under Washington at Valley Forge. “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put the proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated. Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right, not only to tax, but ‘to bind us in all cases whatsoever’, and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then there is not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God….
While most have seen the picture of Washington crossing the Delaware, standing so regal on the bow of one of the lead boats, there is another picture of Washington that captures the enormity of the Christmas of 1777. It is evening and Washington is alone in the woods A beautiful white horse is standing behind an officer clad George Washington. The General is kneeling on one knee in the snow. His hands are clasped and his head his bowed as he prays for the strength to overcome unsurmountable odds to win an unwinnable war.

HUEY LONG AND LOUISIANA

Huey Long was assassinated in 1935 while crossing the corridor of the Louisiana State Capital in Baton Rouge.  No single state politician has stirred the imagination of America as much as Huey Long.  Farmerville is a small rural town in North Louisiana and just celebrated its’ 175th birthday.  To commemorate this celebration a presentation was delivered at the Union Parish Museum of History and Art in Farmerville.  You can select the above link to see the presentation that shows Long’s association to Farmervil

If you would like to see a more detailed description of Long and his ally from Farmerville, go to Amazon and get a copy of “I Called Him Grand Dad, The Lost Political Papers of Harvey G. Fields”.

 

As a child in elementary school I lived for Saturday afternoons. During the school week I would toddle up to the main street of Farmerville to look at the marque of the local Joy Theater and see what would be showing the next Saturday. Then at 1:30 on Saturday afternoon I would walk the three blocks to the theater, place my quarter on the ticket counter, get my thirteen -cent change and spend a glorious afternoon watching a double feature with a cartoon and on occasion a short reel. In today’s world these movies would be cheesy but in the 1950s and 60s they were great and the actors and actresses did what they did best; they acted, kept to themselves and were guarded in all aspects by the giant production companies that held their contracts. Their sole purposes in life was to hone their craft and entertain a world of raved fans.
Political statements were made on the screen by the craft of the men and women that took pride in the country they lived in. Jimmy Stewart, famous for such memorable movies as It’s a Wonderful Life, North by Northwest, Vertigo and so many more, was in fact a highly decorated World War II bomber commander and retired from the Air Force Reserve as a Brigadier General. Another giant in the acting community was the king of macho, the actor that simply had to walk on a set and his presence dwarfed all others. The actor, John Wayne, was the undeclared king of Hollywood and the actor that the studios, actor guilds or tabloids cared to not dispute in any way. Wayne’s patriotism came through in his flurry of military movies that covered a period from the Civil War into World War II and on to Viet Nam. His portrayal of the siege of the Alamo is legendary. As large as these actors are they both had one major attribute in common; they never attacked their country, the leaders of the country nor did they feel superior to the fans that supported them so much. Arrogance was not present.
Today we are enthralled with the rich and famous of Hollywood. Every checkout line in our retail stores is engulfed with magazines displaying the faces of Hollywood elite. Social media deluges us with photos, tweets and stories of our actors. As great as these performers are and as much as they are loved by their fans, they are not the elite group to be directing the direction of our great nation. When we hear actresses say they will leave the country or even go to Jupiter if a specific candidate is elected president discloses a disturbing bias. Instead of trying to be leaders of our nation and working with newly elected leadership, at all levels, we witness a childish attitude that displays men and women of great acting abilities displaying a child-like attitude with little true leadership character.
Recently the sexual harassment of actresses across Hollywood has become the subject of the month that brings a new revelation to an unknown epidemic of sick lifestyles among the rich and famous. Suddenly Hollywood displays shock, disdain while some even say declare they wished they had done something following decades of assaults. The truth is that these self – proclaimed leaders of America who want to tell America how we need to be governed have in fact shown no backbone when it came to stopping sexual harassment within its’ own world. Those that claim they are just hearing of this is laughable. Alfred Hitchcock’s pursuing and harassment of Tippy Hendren and her rejection and subsequent destruction of her career has been legendary since the 1960s. The joke of the casting couch has been with us for over a half century. To say that this is new knowledge is no defense for Hollywood and shows how it is easier to turn ones back instead of confronting the devil.
Those that say they should have done something earlier displays a flaw in the character and leadership of those that allowed this to continue for so long. These are the individuals that so many follow and due to the pinnacle we place our wonderful performers on we accept everything they have to say without question.
Sam Houston’s character in the History Channel’s movie on the birth of Texas stated, “Do what’s right and accept the consequences”. Unfortunately for many young aspiring actresses this never happened and the predators of Hollywood stalked the streets of California unabated for generations.

We also have those that are not vocal in a manner that is divisive.  There are those that put politics aside and  use there talents to bring a small fleeting amount of humanity to a very stressful situation that humanity has forgotten.  These are the men and women that forego holidays and time at home to entertain American troops.  Actors such as Gary Sinise  and his Captain Dan Band is a prime example.  The late Bob Hope was completely non-political but his support of USO shows in godforsaken parts of the world is legendary.