Wednesday, September 26, 2007

DNC Memorandum #26

From the office of Dr. Howard Dean, Chairperson

***Sorry about not getting out a memo since July, but activity at headquarters has picked up immeasurably, requiring attention to everything from the debates to the arguments over when the states will conduct their primaries. Since there are more democrats in New York City alone than in Iowa and New Hampshire combined, the feeling by many is that the tail is wagging the donkey with respect to the process. There may be something to this, especially since Iowa picked the wrong candidate last time (defeating me…for recent college grads). The rumors that my “college corps” scared Iowans in 2004 is untrue, though some did complain about metal rings in anatomical places they could not imagine, and clothes which defied both description and the sense of smell. This being the case, DNC staffers are urged not to wear more than one ring in each ear, as well as no rings in lips, tongues, navels, nipples, noses, love handles, eyelids, and eyebrows. This is especially true in the South, where the unsophisticated still believe that rings are for keys and little else, and that only homosexual men wear them in any body-location. Also, three staffers in Kansas were struck by lightning recently. They each were wearing at least 12 rings, and one staffer lost an ear, another had a lacerated navel, and the third had a bird fly up his greatly enlarged nose.

***There will be posters available soon showing the scene in the Senate Foreign Relations hearing in which Senator Clinton looked General Petraeus squarely in the eye and called him a liar. These are to be placed in all meetings predominately attended by women. There will be another poster showing Senator Biden agreeing with her in his SLATE interview shortly after her grand action. These are to be shown in meetings predominately attended by operatives and in any gathering attended by people with multiple rings in all parts of the body. The “General Betray-Us” ad in the New York Times is NOT – repeat is NOT – to be shown on these posters. Please put out the word that the New York Times did not throw an $80,000-discount to George Soros for the ad, and that it will not do something like that again.

***It has been rumored that staffers gathered around the water fountain have been snickering about the debates, claiming they are not debates but merely circuses where “monkey see, monkey do.” While the debates admittedly are actually not debates, they comprise the perfect setting for the “sound-bite” type of campaigns that are so attractive now, especially geared for TV. In their recent outings before the homosexual community and the AARP-types, the eight candidates had little time to elucidate, but staffers are to note in their meetings with workers that the respective positions of the candidates are essentially the same on the social issues, to wit, that men may marry men (or the family dog, for that matter) and that old codgers should not have to die…ever…or even get sick. This may seem off-the-wall, but remember that the party line is and always has been that voters, by and large, are too dumb to make any decisions for themselves and will believe anything if it’s repeated often enough.

***Senator Obama has indicated that his views are not to be connected to those of his church, which has this in its self-identification statement: We are an African people, and remain "true to our native land," the mother continent, the cradle of civilization. He has requested a white paper to be drawn up explaining that his position is the same as that of John F. Kennedy in 1960, when his Catholicism was an issue in some areas. The committee on loyalty and social issues is hard at work on this project but is having a hard time with the “mother continent, the cradle of civilization” thing, the historicity element being a problem. Obama will claim that the statement fits only church members as they are in church but not when they are anywhere else. Care needs to be taken not to offend the Reverends Sharpton and Jackson (recently returned from Jena) and the Right Reverend Honorable Imam Minister Dr. Farrakhan, since, while the black vote has always been blue, it must not be taken for granted and these three paragons of virtue guarantee it in spades.

***Michael Moore is working on a new propaganda film, the rumor being that it will feature the fight by a brave Dan Rather with CBS in his $70 million lawsuit against the network for offing him over the 2004 Texas Air National Guard matter, which is not to be described as a hoax but as the result of honest reporting, negated by Viacom, the CBS-owner, for reasons unspecified. Rather has already been giving interviews in which he points out the nefarious machinations by corporations owning news outlets to play nice with the administration. Staffers are not to use news clips by NBC, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, or CNN in their presentations, since these paint the administration as evil/insensitive/corrupt and would give a gigantic lie to Moore’s efforts. The title of the film tentatively is “Fahrenheit Boiling-Point” and the logo will be a 1967-model typewriter going down with wings aflame.

***Everyone is urged to print nothing the candidates say about each other, since to do so would prove that they are not only incompetent, but crazy, as well. Until the next time, as Senator Biden would say, FLUFFERNUTTER!

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Military/Katrina Connection

In a recent column published in the local paper, the Lexington Herald-Leader, Salim Muwakkil, senior editor at In These Times magazine in Chicago and a former member of Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam, remarked that, “The Iraq War is changing the way blacks view the military. For decades, they saw military service as a route out of poverty and an escape hatch from discrimination. Not Now.”

Muwakkil noted that the number of blacks going into active duty and reserves in all the services declined from 51,500 in 2001 to 32,000 in 2006, a whopping 38% drop during the action in Afghanistan and Iraq. Nearly 25% of Army enlistees five years ago were black. This figure dropped to 13% in 2006, almost exactly a reflection of the percentage of blacks in the general population. Muwakkil also cited a University of Maryland’s constituent-agency report that black Marine recruit-numbers fell from 21% in 1974 to 8% by 2006.

Muwakkil makes two strange statements that seem to contradict each other: “The sharp drop reflects blacks’ negative attitude toward President Bush,” and a few paragraphs later, “Although blacks had a disproportionate presence in the military, they have seldom been gung-ho for military action.” Translation: Subject of black recruitment is used at least partly to make a political statement against Bush, since the second thought effectively guts the first one. Muwakkil simply notes that blacks aren’t anxious to get shot…perfectly normal.

Muwakkil also mentions – and discounts – better economic/educational opportunities than before for blacks, claiming that a more plausible explanation for the military falloff is simply the high incarceration rates of young black males, i.e., they’re going to jail instead of into the Army. This is sad if true.

In a way, Muwakkil indicates black motivation to involve what the Army can do for the black instead of the reverse. This ties in with an article he wrote in August 2006, which he began with this paragraph: “The national movement to gain reparations for the descendents of enslaved Africans was a fast-rolling bandwagon until slowed by events of 9/11. Well, it’s accelerating again.” Incredibly, he claimed the reason to be Hurricane Katrina, that “blew the cover off this nation’s well-camouflaged race/class divide.”

So, according to Muwakkil, while the war has slowed black recruitment, Katrina has whipped up substitute compensation in another way – outright financial grants to those who happen to be black, young or old. Muwakkil said a year ago, “As I see it, the question of reparations for racial slavery and Jim Crow apartheid is one of the nation’s most substantive issues.”

Noting that “Several lawsuits are pending and others are anticipated against insurers, railroad corporations and banks seeking reparations for the profits of slavery,” Muwakkil claimed that, “Reparations conventions and forums are occurring across the nation.” Merely contemplating the voluminous entanglements, legal and otherwise, that would accrue to the subject of reparations is mind-boggling. However, simply watching these proceedings on C-Span proves the point.

There’s no doubt that discrimination has played a part in the problems blacks face. However, since at least the 60s, everything from school/student-quotas to affirmative action (often eliminating opportunities for whites) to special considerations in college admissions to myriads of types of welfare have been available to blacks. The nation has bent over backwards to redress grievances, real or imagined, so what would cash handouts do, particularly in view of what happened to the cash handouts thrown all over the place – indiscriminately, it seems – in the aftermath of Katrina?

Perhaps Muwakkil sells his people short. Forty percent of former New Orleans residents have not returned and most likely never will…not to a city in which a drenching rain can produce flooding in the streets and where unpredictable levees/pumps cannot and never will completely protect a city six-eight feet below sea level…and still sinking.

Since the 50s (Brown vs. Board of Ed.), the black community, rather than realizing societal/economic gains while advantageous government efforts on all levels have been employed, has deteriorated to the point that single-mom households are the norm, an absolute guarantee of poverty or near-poverty conditions. In 1960, the rate of illegitimacy among blacks was 23.6% of births, meaning that 75% of black families could be assumed to be headed by a man and wife. Now, that rate of illegitimacy is 70%, probably much higher in places like New Orleans, the logical conclusion being that currently only 30% of black families are headed by both parents. Therein lies the explanation, and no affirmative action in the world can correct the problem.

From the Koran (definitions): “A slave who is granted permission from his master may be a Muwakkil or Wakeel.” According to Easton’s Bible Dictionary, Salim is “peaceful, a place near AEnon (q.v.), on the west of Jordan, where John baptized (John 3:23).” Perhaps this furnishes a window on the mind of Salim Muwakkil, who was born Alonzo Canady, Jr. in 1947 and officially changed his name in 1975. Perhaps not. Whether as a measure of military participation or one of societal arrangements, the proof is in the pudding, and African Americans must get their house in order, not expect largesse (redistribution of tax monies) to which they have no claim.

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Campaigns - Far Too Early

Perhaps in large part because of the unseemliness of the inordinately early timing of the current presidential campaigns, except maybe that of Fred Thompson, the candidates have already jaded the quadrennial quagmire, exposing themselves too soon and especially by the time things actually get serious to far too much investigation and/or simple viewing/hearing. Everything from the non-debate debates to the silly exercises in especially Iowa and New Hampshire, both states together having a population just half that of New York City, alone, have so trivialized the process as to cheapen it into a media sensation, and nothing more.

This means that the candidates have trivialized both the office and themselves…in both parties, although the democrat hopefuls seem the most incompetent/opportunistic/ambitious/whatever. Senator Clinton (though not even a member of the Foreign Relations Committee) hit the nadir of campaigning the other day during the Petraeus/Crocker hearing when she looked the general in the eye and called him a liar. One can only wonder what she was thinking, never mind that she is a darling of, the far-left loony organization that placed the "General Betray-Us" garbage in the New York Times. She might have thought her strategy of standing up to a general made her look strong, but it made her look like a dummy, and a lot of folks, especially men, will remember what appeared to be a brassy broad.

The senator rolled out her health plan in (where else) Iowa on 17 September. One is reminded of the frenetic conduct of her and Ira Magaziner, her partner in crime, putting together the failed health plan that helped deep-six the administration of her husband soon after he took office 14 years ago. Adhering to her insistence as recorded in her book It Takes a Village, the plan was simply socialized medicine, something people see in Canada and Europe, rejecting it out of hand. Her "new" plan is already under intense fire from the other wannabes.

Senator Biden has been running ever since 1987, gradually (or hopefully) overcoming the plagiarism he employed in his speech-making back in 1988. So how does one explain his reaction the other day when he stated to Slate that he agreed with Clinton that General Petraeus is a liar? Instead of sticking someone else's speech in his mouth, he simply put his foot there this time. This was his endorsement of the loony-left.

Senator Dodd comes across as glib, ready at a moment's notice to mouth a well-rehearsed speech, rapidly ticking off the points as if from a computer chip in his brain. It seems never to occur to any of the wannabes that they've been making prognostications so far in advance of actual on-the-ground conditions by next summer that they can look silly as loons by that time, no matter if about Iraq, the economy, or anything else.

Barack Obama reminds one of a gangling high school sophomore, working on his "line" with the girls. He seems to think that people believe him when he says that while he was an Illinois legislator he was against the war. People are not so dumb that they don't know he had no vote in the matter, and not so gullible as to believe that he, with the same information as those in Congress, might have voted right along with Clinton and John Edwards in favor of the fight. In any case, he's on the record as saying the lives of GIs killed in action were wasted. How incredibly dumb! How could anyone believe someone that off-the-wall could actually be president?

Both Clinton and Edwards have been back-pedaling for campaign purposes, but actually make themselves look like John Kerry did in 2004…being for the war before they were against it. Edwards has sent his wife out to make statements he can't make, as well as campaign for him when she isn't well…and he should be ashamed. Obama has done the same, and his wife just comes off as shrill, lately informing the public that their daughters jump in bed with just her (Barack too stinky) and talk about such things as periods. Egad! These women need to go back to work.

For comic relief, there are Congressman Kucinich and former senator Mike Gravel. Kucinich seems to see things as terribly simple. For instance, he insists that funding for the Iraqi War should be stopped, thus effecting an immediate pullout of all troops, the devil take the hindmost…sort of like that last helicopter leaving Vietnam…and then all the carnage, boat people, etc. He says diplomacy is the answer but hasn't explained how one parleys with an enemy with a stated objective of killing him. He's a "Make love, not war" guy, and has a wife 31 years his junior. H-m-m-m.

Gravel's main claim to fame currently is his ability to roar at the other wannabes and exclaim upon their poor judgment and apparently whatever else he thinks is wrong with them. Formerly, his main claim to fame was the illegal release of the Pentagon Papers, secret material at the time. The Supreme Court gave him a comeuppance, so, naturally, he's presidential timber. He's the only democrat with actual military experience, though it took place over 50 years ago. He thinks the war is wrong but doesn't mention that U.S. troops have been in the war area of his duty since 1950, and that South Korea exists only because of them, more than 30,000 presently.

This is from Governor Richardson's Web site currently: Bill Richardson has a strong plan to end this war, bring ALL the troops home and start reconciliation in Iraq. But Congress must act now: de-authorize this war before the summer break. Congress didn't do that, and Richardson would do well to bring his page up to date. The Constitution doesn't give Congress the right to conduct war, but this is the simple solution that puts Richardson in the same camp as Kucinich…nuff said.

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The General & the Charlatans

I watched via TV a significant part of the Petraeus/Crocker hearings in both the House and Senate this week before their respective Foreign Relations committees. I watched the speeches by the two old fossils (Skelton, Lantos) who run the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the two ranking republicans, and – most importantly – the entire presentation of both General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker. I listened to some of the questioning-answering back and forth. I also tuned into Senator Kerry and his predictable long-winded speech as he "questioned" the two men, as well as to other senators.
In the House hearing, before Petraeus said anything, Lantos told him he was a hack for the White House, another way of saying he was a 24-carat liar and that what he had to say meant nothing. Neither of the two old fossils has worn the uniform, while Petraeus, earner of the Bronze Star, is a graduate of West Pont and holds a doctorate from Princeton. "Duty, Honor, Country" is the motto at West Point and embedded in its coat-of-arms.

Petraeus, totally unflappable, simply laid out the facts and made it plain that he had written his own report and that it had not been abridged in any way at the Pentagon or the White House. Native-Hungarian Lantos made it to this country in 1947 on an academic scholarship after this country had paid with blood and treasure to make his good fortune possible. This was his kiss-off of the general.

Four senators who are running for the presidency got in on the act – Obama, Biden, Dodd, and Clinton, who actually is not a member of the Foreign relations Committee or any of its subcommittees but got to get in her licks, anyway. She looked General Crocker in the eye (macho stuff) and told him that he was a liar. Later, in an interview with Slate, Biden said he agreed with her, thus establishing his machismo, though he's never worn the uniform and most likely wouldn't know an M-16 from a BB gun. Clinton knows even less, if that's possible. Anyway, she resembled a five-pound Chihuahua yip-yapping at a two-ton elephant.

Senator Obama, also with no military experience or foreign-affairs experience of substance, chose to take his complete question-time by making a campaign speech and even admitted at the end of his diatribe that he had taken all his time and had no time left for questions. The truth is that he didn't even know the right questions to ask and so wouldn't have recognized a plausible answer, if he'd bothered to prepare. He noted a while back that the lives of those who had died in Iraq had been wasted, thus giving an idea as to his "values system." His mind is in Iowa and New Hampshire…nowhere near Washington.
While listening to the Kerry harangue, one is reminded of Kerry's testimony before the Fulbright Committee in 1971. Quoting the Boston Globe of March 25, 2004, “In a question-and-answer session before a Senate committee in 1971, John F. Kerry, who was a leading antiwar activist at the time, asserted that 200,000 Vietnamese per year were being ‘murdered by the United States of America’ and said he had gone to Paris and ‘talked with both delegations at the peace talks’ and met with communist representatives.” Upon graduating from Yale during the Vietnam action, Kerry requested draft-deferral for a year to study in – where else? – Paris. He was refused, but got three Purple Hearts in four months (at least one "wound" being self-inflicted) while losing only a few hours of duty. He recently remarked that youngsters who didn't do well in school – dumb guys – got "stuck in Iraq."

At the time he descended upon Paris in 1970, Kerry was a reserve naval officer committing an act of treason (defined as “the betrayal of a trust: TREACHERY”) with the enemy while Senator McCain and others were caged like dogs and tortured in the Hanoi Hilton. This means that by the time he made that statement (his exact words, “So what I am saying is that yes, there will be some recrimination but far, far less than the 200,000 a year who are murdered by the United States of America …”), Kerry’s comrades/nation had murdered [his word] 1.6 million Vietnamese 1964-71 (or almost 4 percent of the population for 1970), mostly civilians – women, children, and old men. He’s never offered a scintilla of proof for that wacky accusation.

Regarding morality, Kerry betrayed his country in 1970 in France, lied to Congress in 1971, and had no standing to be in the same room as Petraeus. He would likely be running for president if he hadn't made that stupid remark about American GIs not being bright. As it is, frauds such as Clinton, Biden, and Obama made themselves look so silly as to be laughed out of town.

Senator Lindsey Graham had the most meaningful exchange with General Petraeus when he and the general agreed that this country will fight Al Queda and other terrorists in Iraq now and stamp them out, or the children and grandchildren of its citizens will be stuck with carrying out this task later. That would perhaps be in this country instead of on foreign soil. Without question, if the Jihad-mongers are not stopped now, they will inundate this and other countries with their murderous philosophy, to wit, that killing innocent women and children is not only acceptable, but preferable in bringing a society to its knees.

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

Monday, September 10, 2007

Candidates and/or Comedians

Ho-hum…another wannabe for the presidency has announced his candidacy in the way that has become popular now…on a comedian's talk-show. This time, Fred Thompson announced on the Jay Leno clambake that, indeed, he would be a candidate. There was polite applause, but one was left wondering why the former Tennessee senator didn't announce his candidacy in the state that sent him to Washington 1994-2003 or perhaps in the state of his birth – Alabama.

Okay, Thompson's better known in Hollywood for his TV-Movie roles than for anything he ever did in the Senate…but on the Jay Leno show! Egad! Maybe he'll see if he can borrow the MGM logo and replace the Lion's face with his own…snarling at those squirrely democrats. He can put that logo (lions anything but bald) on the side of his campaign bus or plane or helicopter, complete with sound effects (maybe borrow Hitler's snarl from a 1933 speech), and show enough macho to make the lady voters swoon at the ballot box.

The comedian-gimmickry can backfire, of course. Senator Chris Dodd picked the Don Imus morning-obscenity-hour to announce his candidacy back about January, only to have the I-man hit the skids when he referred to that woman's basketball team as nappy-headed hos, thus no doubt giving Dodd some palpitations about being accused of racism by association, never mind that black rappers refer to their own grandmothers as nappy-headed hos, a term in common usage in the African-American community, along with the n-word, which the rappers and other idiots use to refer to each other.

Queen Senator Hillary Clinton pulled the best one, probably. She announced in a sort of fireside chat, thus cozying up to the suckers dumb enough to watch the quintessential con-game pro in action. One would have thought she might have picked a village for her announcement, since she says it takes one to raise a child, but there might have been pesky reporters there to ask her embarrassing questions such as, "Do you know where your husband and all the children are at ten o'clock p.m.?"

In announcing his candidacy, John Edwards decided to stiff the state that sent him to the Senate – North Carolina, where he says at least ten times a speech that his dad was a poor working stiff – in favor of announcing his candidacy back about December in a backyard down in New Orleans. New Orleans? The crime capital of the world? Where reporters probably had to use a porta-john? Where an afternoon thunderstorm turns the streets into rivers? Anybody dumb enough to believe that little gesture meant anything to a voter with enough sense to get in out of the rain lacks the brainpower to find Slick Willie's personal orgy-room just off the oval office in the White House, let alone make life-and-death decisions.

Republicans have gotten in on the act, too. Rudy Giuliani, former New York mayor who has made no secret of his heroism on 9/11, managed to officially announce for the presidency on the Larry King Live talk show back in February. One thinks he would have taken this serious step while standing on an NYFD fire-truck at the site of the WTC ashes, but, no…who would have paid any attention to that? Besides, all he knew he would get from LK were powder-puff questions not having to do with wives, mistresses, cross-dressing, shady friends/business-partners, etc.,…or did he? I didn't watch.

Mitt Romney was the republican governor in Massachusetts until this year and is quick to recount the good things he did for the state, especially with regard to health issues and his change of mind about abortion. Perhaps his greatest accomplishment was simply becoming governor in a state boasting of three of the farthest-left people ever to inhabit Congress (or the earth, for that matter) – democrat senators Kennedy and Kerry and Representative Barney Frank, always the highest-profile homosexual in the land (okay, at least until the Larry Craig thing blows over).

So…naturally Romney announced his candidacy in the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, last February and not on the steps of the Massachusetts capitol. He was born in Michigan, once governed by his father, so maybe that was the reason. His father, George Romney, also made a run for the presidency (1968) but made the fatal error of claiming to have been "brainwashed." He probably had been, but he should never have admitted it. Tricky Dick came out the winner.

Congressman Tom Tancredo announced his presidential aspirations officially on Iowa Talk Radio Station 1040 WHO on 02 April. Fellow Congressman Ron Paul announced his candidacy on the Washington Journal/C-Span outfit in March.

So, where once the candidates donned their Sunday best and made announcement-speeches from meaningful locations, they now do it mostly the "informal" way, thus trivializing the office and making questionable their abilities to run the country. Now, it's the warm-fuzzy, politically correct mode in keeping with the wimp-mongering of the society…casual sweaters, house-slippers, a cozy fireplace on the Internet, boob tube, or some comedian's talk-show wherein the comedian spends most of his time putting down the country and giggling after the candidate takes his leave. As candidate Joe Biden said of candidate John Edwards' every pronouncement – FLUFFERNUTTER! So say I.

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

Friday, September 07, 2007

Dumb Male Jock...A Chairman!

The Lexington Herald-Leader is now having a hissy-fit over the nomination of Steve Branscum to be chairman of the trustees of the University of Kentucky, notwithstanding that Branscum has been on the Board of Trustees for three years, runs his own contracting business, and knows the ins and outs of finances. Problem, according to the H-L editorialist: Branscum is too gung-ho for athletics, a sort of back-handed way to say he's a dumb jock…not up to the job.

The paper's misgivings probably have more to do with the fact that Branscum is a republican and (gasp) a friend of Governor Fletcher. Never mind that democrats hand out sugar plums to cronies or relatives of every stripe (think Patton switching a relative on the state payroll to merit level late in his term), republicans just may not commit favortism or nepotism. What a laugh.

Even stranger was the pronouncement by Board faculty representative Ernest Yanarella that the chairman should be a woman for the profound reason that it was high time a woman ran the show. This comes from a teacher in the political science department (Egad!) and despite the fact that fellow board colleague Mira Ball had said "no way" to the job. This is not surprising in this day of warm-fuzziness and political correctness as the end-all and be-all of every enterprise on virtually all campuses, but for a distinguished professor and author of a number of books to claim gender as the prime consideration for any job is both condescending and…well, silly.

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

Monday, September 03, 2007

Labor Day 2007

This is the official definition of Labor Day, as presented on the U.S. Department of Labor Web-site: Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

To workers of yesteryear, Labor Day represented much more than just a national tribute to the workers, at least to those known as "blue-collar." It represented the fight of those in the trenches of labor such as coal miners, railroaders, truck drivers and all who made their pay "by the sweat of their brow" against the formidable forces of management, and who in the 19th and the first half of the 20th centuries fought bitter wars with the police, troops and hired goons to carve out a significant piece of the "American pie." I come from that tradition, both as descendant of "blue-collars" and as an actual one myself.

After labor had essentially won that war (wages and decent work-hours), at least in the heavy industries such as auto-manufacture, steel-making, and transportation, the fight was made in the boardrooms and on the picket-lines with respect to the "perks," such as health insurance, pensions, safe working-conditions and the like. Manufacturers learned somewhere along the way that the best way not to have their operations run by labor unions was to grant workers wages and benefits comparable to those gained through negotiation, arbitration and strikes, with the government often entering the fray. Thus has been the decline of labor unions to the point that now only 12.5% of the labor force is unionized, down from the high point in 1980 – 21.9%.

I can remember the tales emanating from the generation of my grandfather, a railroad brakeman who began working in 1900, about the striking, rifle/shotgun-armed railroaders lying along the tracks in a Tennessee village and shooting the "scab firemen" on the old steam-engines as the opportunities presented themselves. There were even rumors (probably true) that some of those "scabs" wound up in the huge fireboxes, cremated in the twinkling of an eye. In the coal industry, there was "Bloody Harlan" in Kentucky and other coal camps just like it, less than a hundred years ago.

Thankfully, all that carnage has disappeared now, though problems remain. Some reasons: Union hierarchies, like management, became greedy and helped drive industries into the ground by their demands, destroying their competitiveness, international and otherwise. Industry matched the unions in greed and joined in establishing the huge losses of markets. Particularly post-World War II, women have entered the work-force in ever increasing numbers. According to the Dept. of Labor, at the end of 2005 nearly 66 million women were in the work force, compared to nearly 76 million men (age 16 and older). The two-earner-household incomes (happening concomitantly with the wholesale breakup of families) that have resulted have almost completely destroyed any incentive for workers to pay attention to union organizers.

From 1980 through 2005, the population of the nation increased by 32% and the work force increased by 43%. During that 25 years, union membership, as a percentage of the work force, decreased by 43%. In the process, of course, productivity went up (still does) as technology allowed machines to replace workers. Even so, manufacturing jobs involving the highest paid workers have been steadily outsourced overseas, so that, for instance, steel, textiles, shoes, toys, clothes and myriads of other items are not made in this country now. Foreign automakers have seen the light and have set up manufacturing facilities in this country, but the profits head overseas.

The mantra in the society is a continual "c-c-c-college" hum, embodying the notion that every high school graduate is eligible for higher education, even if scoring only a 17 on the ACT (less than 50%). The result has been colleges and universities plagued with students who don't belong in them, but who actually belong in some enterprise that teaches skills, or simply in whatever part of the workforce they can function. The results of the ACT (national college preparation test) in 2007 indicated that only 23% of all students taking the test were ready for college, only 3% of African Americans. More than half the students entering the University of Kentucky, for instance, must take at least one remedial course, probably more. Many, if not most, of them become deadweight to the system.

The notion that manual labor is somehow beneath one's dignity permeates the society now. This is part of why illegal immigrants by the millions are working in this country. The eventual demise of the labor-union movement, which has enabled a man (or woman) to actually support his family and even send his children to college, coupled with the silly notion that only ignorant/lazy women choose to be homemakers, means that Labor Day will have less and less meaning. It's already just another holiday. The battles have been won.

And so it goes.

Jim Clark