Archive for September, 2018

257 “VICTIM”

Saturday, September 29th, 2018

By Hetty Gray

# 257


I taught government and history. I loved both subjects, but my love of government rooted in my respect and admiration for the Founding Fathers who, in the wake of a revolution against a tyrannical and inflexible government, sought to form “a more perfect union” (their words).

I based my teaching on The Federalist Papers and The U. S. Constitution.
Although I had a keen appreciation for the Constitution from the time I had Advanced History with Mr. Ray Hinshaw at Shelbyville High School in the 1950s, an appreciation sharpened by Dr. Yu Long Ling of Franklin College. My Constitutional Law professor, Dr. Ling came from Taiwan. His family fled to Taiwan after the Communists took over China. He had been Attorney General of Taiwan and knew the value of freedom.

Dr. Ling had a profound influence on his students. I was privileged to listen to his lectures and I came to love my country even more under his tutelage.

Using this as background, I find it difficult to find words to express my angst and frustration at the happenings of the last two weeks. I remember watching as Justice Clarence Thomas was assailed with an accusation that sullied his name and besmirched the entire process of confirmation of a Supreme Court nominee.

I never expected to see that again. After what was done to Robert Bork, I held to the belief that any future hearings would be ultimately fair and unbiased. I was wrong. Thomas suffered mightily and equated what was done to him as a “high class lynching” (his words).

The whole specter of the Senate hearings sickens me, but there is an underpinning that disturbs me even more because it threatens the very core of American values.

I considered law school for a long time. Then Prosecutor Jim Lisher was a consummate professional and I learned a lot in the two years I volunteered in his office. Ultimately, I chose to teach instead of work as a lawyer. I never regretted the decision, but the background I gained in the prosecutor’s office instilled in me the fervor for the basis of our legal system: a defendant is innocent until proved guilty.

How on earth has it been turned on its head? As I listened to the charges, like many others, I questioned the timing. How was it that Senator Feinstein held this information for weeks before turning it over to the Senate Judicial Committee? Why was it not investigated properly and in good time?

We will never get an answer to those questions, but it does bear witness to the fact that it was declared within days of a final vote for Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Set aside that he is a sitting judge on the second highest court in the land…. Set aside that he has a prep school and Ivy league background…. Consider this.

What if this were your husband, your son, your brother, your nephew, your friend? How would you feel if someone you loved or admired was accused of sexual assault? With no physical evidence, no corroboration of statements made, and a lapse of nearly forty years, how is it that this man has been vilified this way? I can’t help but think that had a case come before his bench with no basis in evidence, it would have been thrown out.

Yet, this man sits before a panel of twenty-one men and women, ten of whom are bent on denying him the Constitutionally backed nomination of the sitting president. He must deny the charges that have wracked havoc on his wife and children as well as his parents. His life’s work is on the line. What if this was someone you love and respect?

This is really a disgraceful situation. When the two newest women justices were nominated, there was no sideshow allied to their hearings. They were voted in along largely party lines, but no orchestrated opposition was launched from the minority party.

As if this were not bad enough, I see a much more dangerous situation brewing below the surface. More dangerous than this? Yes.

Over the last few years I have noticed with alarm the increasing gender-biased advertising and news coverage. There are very few commercials featuring strong male figures. Oh, I’ve seen a few ads with men rearing children alone, but the prevailing theme is women with children and no man present at all. There are ads with women as professionals and most emphasize the fact that they are out there doing it all alone.

A nation’s existence roots in two basic elements: language and faith. Both are under attack in America today. Go to a license branch or a Social Security Office. Language is the key ingredient here. Although I cannot cite precisely how many, forms and paperwork in these venues are printed in many different languages.

My question is, “Why?” If we want our children to learn another language, the best option is to send them to the country of choice where immersion is the key to learning. My paternal grandfather’s family came from France in 1895. Their first task was to learn English. English was their key to success.
No longer. “Inclusion” replaces common sense when it comes to English. There is no better way to divide a population than to lose a common tongue.

Language under attack? You bet it is. And faith? You would need to live under a rock not to see how faith is threatened today. We removed prayer from schools based on the objections of a tiny fraction of the population — by that, I mean the atheists.

It all goes back to the Bible. Even America’s founding. Read the words of the men who wrote our most critical documents. The word “creator” was not used lightly. Were the men perfect? No man is. The only perfect man died on a cross to redeem all our sins.

America was founded on Faith in God, yet the past decades witnessed a disintegration of respect for religion. Those who wish to dismantle our form of government fear a belief in something higher than self. They want to be in charge of our lives. That should worry all of us.

Consider these verses from Ephesians:
“Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church [a]in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.”
I can hear the women’s liberation crowd screaming at these prophetic lines. They are paranoid about taking a back seat to any man. Forget that a strong, loving, fair father in the home is priceless.
I take a meaning from the Bible passage that is more allied to today than yesterday. Just as Jesus is the leader of the church, so, too is the man the leader of his household. It does not mean that the wife has no voice or importance. Quite the opposite. Each marriage partner values the another.
It worries me that today young women are exposed to a society that pushes equality among women, but not between men and women. Guilt should be based on fact. Guilt by accusation is the tactic of a totalitarian government. Try to defend yourself in a socialist or communist country. Good luck. No rule of law. No presumption of innocence. Guilty when charged.

The descriptor “circus” is interesting, although a circus has an element of entertainment. If this is entertainment, I can do without it. The protestations of Hollywood are lost on me. Why should I consider the opinions of people who make their livings pretending to be other people? Celebrity does not equate to anything close to wisdom. Celebrities simply have a platform that arms them with a lot of press. Don’t get me started on the press. That’s a sad enough story on its own.…

As the mother of three grown men, I shudder at the presently uncorroborated charges aimed at Appellate Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Without any facts, the charges tarnish any accusation backed by corroborative evidence. Sadly, they threaten to imperil victims who wait for justice.

It may be a rehash of the disgusting, worn, slanted question that has ripped apart many men’s lives over the years. While not applicable to every situation, its impact can ruin an innocent man. The question? “When did you stop beating your wife?” The mere accusation labels him forever. Good grief.

I am sickened to see all men being blamed for the crimes of a few. Reflecting on the current hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, realize what the word victim can mean given the current climate.


Think about it.

255 “De ja WHEW!”

Monday, September 17th, 2018

By Hetty Gray

# 255

September 17, 2018

“Deja WHEW!”

Let’s see, this is 2018. That means that 1938 was 80 years ago. In terms of history, 1938 saw a world that would change dramatically with the rising of The Third Reich and its leader, Adolf Hitler. The population of the United States was 129.82. (As of September 1, 2018, it stands as 328.48 million.)
The workforce was more “hands on” than “eyes on” (as in computer screens and cell phones, that is). People worked for a living and they worked hard.

Social issues of the day were understandable given that the recent Great Depression severely affected Americans coast to coast. Memories were fresh and the people desperately tried to rebuild the life they considered normal before “The Crash.” Rebuilding lives was the priority of the first order in1938.

Man can do wonderful things. Man can invent devices to make life easier, devise transportation modes to move us from place to place in comfort and with ever-greater speeds. Man can literally move mountains. No fantasy either…. Our determined forebears cut through The Cumberland Gap and open a way west. To be frank, it is unlikely that many of the major projects undertaken more than a hundred years ago could have been accomplished lately, given the government stranglehold on inventiveness and the business community instituted in the not-so-distant past. Thank goodness the current administration moved quickly to eliminate burdensome regulations, loosing industry to once again regain our firm foothold in the world economy.

With that background, let’s just take a look at what man cannot do. Man cannot affect or control the weather to any measurable degree. Oh, there are instances of cloud seeding; but aside from that, man remains at the mercy of a notable lady, Mother Nature. Not a new phenomena, either….

This was certainly the case in 1938, again eighty years ago. For many of us, the name Katherine Hepburn is instantly known. Linked with fellow actor and noted co-star Spencer Tracy, she played very challenging movie roles and made a lasting impact on moviegoers. The younger set would be wise to do a little research on this remarkable woman who swam in the Atlantic Ocean until she was well into her eighth decade. Sturdy New England stock is a mild way to describe her. Her life was colorful and unconventional for the time, but she was her own woman long before the onslaught of women’s liberation.
Let’s take a look at the shocking weather that battered New England 80 years ago. (Note the timing correlation to this year.)

The Smithsonian Institution:

A storm formed in the eastern Atlantic near the Cape Verde Islands on September 4, 1938, and headed west. After 12 days, before it could reach the Bahamas, it turned northward, skimming the East Coast of the United States and picking up energy from the warm waters of the Gulf Stream. On September 21, it crashed into Long Island and continued its way north at a speed of 60 miles per hour, with the eye of the storm passing over New Haven, Connecticut. It didn’t dissipate until it reached Canada.

The winds were strong enough that modern scientists place the storm in Category 3 of the Saffir-Simpson Scale. The Blue Hill Observatory outside Boston measured sustained winds of 121 miles per hour and gusts as strong as 186 miles per hour. The winds blew down power lines, trees and crops and blew roofs off houses. Some downed power lines set off fires in Connecticut.
But it was the storm surge that caused the most damage. The storm came ashore at the time of the high tide, which added to the surge of water being pushed ahead by the hurricane. The water rose 14 to 18 feet along much of the Connecticut coast, and 18 to 25 feet from New London, Connecticut to Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Seaside homes all along Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island were submerged under 12 to 15 feet of water, and Providence, Rhode Island was inundated with 20 feet. Whole communities were swept out to sea.
One of the homes that washed away was Katharine Hepburn’s beach house in Old Saybrook, Connecticut.
Heed Hepburn’s description.
“It was something devastating—and unreal—like the beginning of the world—or the end of it—and I slogged or sloshed, crawled through ditches and hung on to keep going somehow—got drenched and bruised and scratched—completely bedraggled—finally got to where there was a working phone and called Dad. The minute he heard my voice he said, ‘how’s your mother?’—And I said—I mean I shouted—the storm was screaming so—’She’s all right. All right, Dad! But listen, the house—it’s gone—blown away into the sea!’ And he said, ‘I don’t suppose you had the brains enough to through a match into it before it went, did you? It’s insured against fire, but not against blowing away!— and how are you?’”
You can do a little web surfing and come up with a picture of Hepburn sitting in a bathtub among the scattered remnants strewn across the ravished lawn of Fenwick, her family home swept away by the storm. She had quite a sense of humor. She rebuilt the home and lived in it until her death at the age of 96.
The hurricane, one of the most destructive to ever hit New England, was followed by massive river flooding as the water dumped by the storm—10 to 17 inches fell on the Connecticut River basin—returned to the sea. By the time the devastation was over, 564 people were dead and more than 1,700 injured, 8,900 homes were completely gone as were 2,600 boats. Trees and buildings damaged by the storm could still be seen by the 1950s.
In the days and weeks following the storm, the federal government sent thousands of men from the Works Progress Administration to assist with the search for survivors and the huge effort to clear away the destruction. And in all the news coverage I read, there was no mention of climate change or the specter of global warming.
Remember please that 1980 saw those same people warning of a “coming ice age.” When that didn’t work, they morphed the message into global warming and the race was on — what race? — the race for those leading the charge (poor word considering the massive amounts of money they earn by peddling this garbage).
Turn back the clock three years. What about 1935? It saw another powerful storm. The Great Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 was so powerful that it sand-blasted clothing off of people who got caught in its vicious winds, destroyed nearly every structure in the Upper Keys and killed about 500 victims. The Florida Sun-Sentinel newspaper describes it.
“People were picked up and thrown around like rag dolls,” said Brad Bertelli, curator of the Keys History & Discovery Center in Islamorada. “Bodies were blown all the way across Florida Bay to Cape Sable.”
This was the most intense Category 5 system ever to strike the U.S. coastline. It was stronger than Hurricane Camille, which clobbered Mississippi in August 1969, as well as Hurricane Andrew, which devastated south Miami-Dade County in August 1992 – both being the only other Category 5 storms in recorded history to hit the United States.
When it barreled across the Upper Keys on September 2, 1935, the Labor Day hurricane was packing sustained winds of 185 mph, the same destructive power as an EF4 tornado.
“It was tightly wound, like Andrew, with a swath of destruction about 40 miles wide,” Bertelli said. “Most of the damage was between Tavernier and Duck Key.” The system produced a storm surge of 18 to 20 feet above sea level, knocking down trees and buildings on Matecumbe, Islamorada and other nearby Keys. It also destroyed Henry Flagler’s railroad, which connected Key West to the mainland.
“That was the last day Henry Flagler’s train made the trip from Miami to
Key West,” Bertelli said. Many of the victims drowned when they were
swept by towering waves into either the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic.
Among those who perished were 259 World War I veterans, who had
been building the Overseas Highway and were living in federal
rehabilitation camps.
A train had been dispatched to rescue them from the storm, but it arrived too late and was swept off its tracks by the storm surge. Of some consolation, Bertelli said, “none of the people on the train died.”
At the time, only about 600 to 700 people were living in the Upper Keys or the death toll would have been much higher, he said.
After roaring through the Keys, the hurricane curved north, paralleled Florida’s west coast and made a second landfall near Cedar Key as a Category 2 hurricane on Sept. 4.
At the time, only about 600 to 700 people were living in the Upper Keys or the death toll would have been much higher, he said. After roaring through the Keys, the hurricane curved north, paralleled Florida’s west coast and made a second landfall near Cedar Key as a Category 2 hurricane on Sept. 4.
In the immediate aftermath of the storm, legendary author Ernest Hemingway traveled to the Keys to help with the recovery. He ended up writing an angry article entitled, “Who Killed the Vets?” for New Masses magazine.
In a letter to his editor, Max Perkins, Hemingway wrote, “We made five trips with provisions for survivors to different places but nothing but dead men to eat the grub.”
While it took years for the Keys to fully recover, residents started rebuilding almost immediately, and some area schools reopened in 1936, Bertelli said.
“Residents of that area were a hardy bunch,” he said.
The storm highlighted the need to evacuate the Keys well in advance of a threatening storm, because the two-lane highway – the only way in and out of the island chain – easily jams. A year after the hurricane, the 17-foot-tall Florida Keys Memorial was built on Upper Matecumbe Key in memory of the storm victims.
Don’t be taken in by the hype of elites who travel about in fuel-guzzling private jets telling you that you need to drive an electric car and adjust your lifestyle in bizarre ways.
I doubt if anyone in 1906, 1935 and 1938 attributed all the storm damage and loss of life to anything but the weather. I often joke with friends and say that the word needs a little adjusting. It should be “whether!”
Keep those in North and South Carolina in your prayers. They are at the mercy of Mother Nature and she is less than kind when handing out major storms. There will be fatalities, but no numbers rivaling those of past years. Modern forecasting, “hurricane hunter” planes and widespread access to weather reports coupled with ample warnings saves more lives than we can imagine. Yet, earth rules when it comes to catastrophes.
All it takes is for one major volcano to erupt violently and the weather around the planet could take a downturn that would be the projection that the global warming nuts seek to blame on the internal combustion engine and industry. Let’s hope Mount Rainier and Yellowstone stay quiet for centuries. We live in a world with a fiery core spawning volcanoes that could spell the end of the life as we know it.
Back to hurricanes….
Deja Few? Yes. Thankfully, hurricanes are few. It’s just that when hurricanes strike, damage lasts for decades..

Please consider one fact. Weather is cyclical. Otherwise no explanation exists for the icy cold that gripped Europe and North America — a cold that blanketed Europe in smoke. Why? People were freezing, desperate. They cut down every available tree to heat their homes. According to “The Little Ice Age” spanned from about 1300 to 1870 during which Europe and North America were subjected to much colder winters than during the 20th century. The period can be divided in two phases, the first beginning around 1300 and continuing until the late 1400s.
So, we haven’t seen a cold wave or anything like this since just after the Civil War. Will it happen again? Who knows? Other than being prepared for anything, there is nothing we can do.
And as for storms such as Florence, she won’t be the last. She may not be the worst. Even one life is too much to lose, but compare the current fatalities to those at a time when warnings were all but nonexistent and you will realize how much we owe contemporary meteorologists. And as for those in the path of these storms? They evacuate or ride the storms out. Grim as they are, these are their own two choices.
Really…. Don’t blame man. Man is, and always has been, at the mercy of the weather.
Think about it.