Chamblee54

War Letters

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive, War by chamblee54 on January 13, 2021

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In the winter of 2003, it was obvious that America was going to war. Congress had voted approval, the modern version of a declaration of war. The troops. and supplies, were on the borders of Iraq, waiting for the order to go in.

PG felt the need to make a statement. There was no illusion that it would affect the overall decision to invade Iraq. However, PG wanted to go on record as being opposed to the folly to come.

It was a low risk act. In America, we have freedom of expression. This does not mean that the powers that be listen to the people. The only expression that matters is by people who pay the authorities. The people can say anything, but nobody in charge listens.

There were three representatives in Congress to contact. The two Senators were Saxby Chambliss and Zell Miller. The 4th district was represented in the House of Representatives by Denise Majette. She was new to Congress, having defeated Cynthia McKinney in the 2002 election.

The area that PG lives in is gerrymandered into different districts every ten years by the Georgia legislature. Today, PG is in the 6th district, represented by Democrat Lucy McBath.

The letters are lost in hard drive crash fog. It started out with the phrase “you were elected to represent me.” Apparently, this left Zell Miller out. He has been appointed to finish the term of Paul Coverdell. Democrat Zell Miller was appointed by Democrat Governor Roy Barnes to complete the term of Republican Paul Coverdell. After this, Zell Miller gave the keynote address at the 2004 Republican Convention. This is what Georgia has come to expect from Zig Zag Zell.

The anti war letter was not great writing. It basically said that the invasion of Iraq was not a good idea. The letter did not address the tax cut. In a bizarre move, Congress approved a tax cut, with an economically ruinous war on the horizon.

The responses to the letter are attached here. Denise Majette gave a thoughtful reply. She did not say “I agree with you” in so many words, but it is clear she is not gung ho about killing Iraqis. Miss Majette said, and PG agrees, that once the war begins, the debate should cease.

Saxby Chambliss sent two replies. Both talked about how well the war was going, and how wonderful it was to be killing people in Iraq. It is a good question whether his staff read the original letter from PG, which opposed the war.

In the 2004 election, Denise Majette ran for the Senate. Zell Miller chose to retire, and his seat was up for grabs. Republican Johnny Isakson won the Senate seat. Cynthia McKinney made a comeback, and won the fourth district House seat.

Saxby Chambliss was re-elected in 2008, and retired in 2014. The conflict in Iraq continues to this day. It is a disaster. The withdrawal of American combat troops did not end the civil war. Currently, Iraq is the scene for combat operations from the Islamic State military force.

The financial burden of the war has been immense. The military depends on contractors for many basic services, at increased cost to the Asian war financiers. The National debt has been increasing by a trillion dollars a year. Revenge for nine eleven, directed at a marginally responsible country, has been horribly expensive. Pictures for today’s entertainment message are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. This is a repost.

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Ansel Adams And Dorothea Lange

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Politics, War by chamblee54 on December 30, 2020








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The facebook feed has recently had links to a story, Dorothea Lange’s Censored Photographs of FDR’s Japanese Concentration Camps. Miss Lange was the photographer of the iconic Migrant Mother. After Pearl Harbor, Miss Lange took a job with the War Relocation Authority, documenting the “relocation” of Japanese-Americans to interment camps. The photographs did not please the authorities. They were censored, and only appeared recently. This is a repost.

Ansel Adams also took photographs at the Manzanar, California, camp. In the current stories, he is literally a footnote: quotes were used from a book about his photography. Why is Dorothea Lange receiving attention, while Ansel Adams is ignored?

One answer is that Miss Lange was hired early on, and shows the harsh reality of relocation. “On July 30, 1942, the WRA laid her off “without prejudice,” adding that the cause was “completion of work…. the WRA impounded the majority of her photographs of Manzanar and the forced detentions, and later deposited 800 image from the series in the National Archives without announcement.”

“After Lange’s departure, Manzanar’s director Ralph Merritt visited renowned environmentalist and landscape photographer Ansel Adams and suggested he document the camp — Merritt and Adams were friends from the Sierra Club. Lange, also friends with Adams, encouraged him to take the job. (Coincidentally Adams printed “Migrant Mother” for her ) …Ansel Adams made several trips to Manzanar between October 1943 and July 1944 for this new personal project, and, as Alinder writes, he was primed to try the kind of documentary photography regularly practiced by Dorothea Lange and the Farm Security Administration that he had earlier shunned. Unlike Lange, a white woman who had been viewed with suspicion by her subjects, Adams was welcomed by the incarcerees, even greeted as a celebrity in a cultural community that had a deep appreciation of nature — many incarcerees at Manzanar literally opened their doors to him dressed in their finest clothes. … By 1943, Manzanar’s incarcarees had had time to settle in and enjoy the fruits of their collective work. In less than ideal surroundings, they had collectively built their own post office, town hall, library, auditorium, co-op store system, police station, jail, cemetery with memorial, published their own newspaper (the ironically named the Manzanar Free Press, which was regularly censored by the military), and even their own YMCA.”

“As for Lange, looking at the historical record, it appears that she was treated differently from the other WRA photographers. She was discouraged from talking to the incarcerees, was constantly followed by a censor, and faced harassment. She was refused access to areas after being given clearance, and she was often hounded over phone charges and receipts. … After being discharged, Lange expressed in letters her dismay that her work was ineffective in helping the people she documented. Her assistant Christina Clausen later noted the ferocity of this body of work also marked the beginning of the photographer’s bleeding gastric ulcers. Lange was unable to work for a number of years after her harrowing experience at Manzanar. She died from esophageal cancer in 1965.”

“In 1944, Adams’s photographs were published as a book, “Born Free and Equal: The Story of Loyal Japanese Americans,” and shown at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Nativists took offense. They saw Adams’s work as a slur on the war effort. He was a “Jap lover.” This quote is from a 2016 article, Let’s be honest, Ansel Adams’s images of a WWII internment camp are propaganda

“Adams visited Manzanar to take photos in 1943 at the request of camp director Ralph Merritt, who was a personal friend. “They don’t look quite as dusty and quite as forbidding as Dorothea Lange’s photos … Indeed, the place that looks barren and depressing in Lange’s pictures manages to look beautiful in Adams’. You get little sense that it was even a detention center, in part because Adams, like other photographers, was not allowed to shoot the guard towers or barbed wire…

There are scenes from a baseball game, kids walking to school, a gathering outside a chapel. Lots of smiles, too, and portraits of camp residents cropped so close, you can see every blemish and stray hair. In Adams’ vision, Manzanar comes off as a place where Japanese-Americans, dignified, resilient and optimistic in spite of their circumstances, built a temporary community in the desert.

(Skirball Cultural Center director Robert) Kirschner said that if Adams’ photos appear to sugarcoat the indignities of life in an internment camp, it is because he did not see himself as a social activist the way Lange did. Still, Kirscher says, Adams was challenging internment in his own way, by depicting its victims as patriotic, law-abiding Americans. Unlike Lange, Adams was given permission to publish his photos. Before the war ended, he did so in a book called “Born Free and Equal: The Story of Loyal Japanese Americans,” in which he warned about the dangers of letting wartime hysteria justify depriving U.S. citizens of their freedom.”

The NPR article mentions a third Manzanar photographer. “Before World War II, Toyo Miyatake had a photo studio in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo. When he learned he would be interned at Manzanar, he asked a carpenter to build him a wooden box with a hole carved out at one end to accommodate a lens. He turned this box into a makeshift camera that he snuck around the camp, as his grandson Alan Miyatake explains in the video below, which is featured in the exhibit.

Fearful of being discovered, Miyatake at first only took pictures at dusk or dawn, usually without people in them. Camp director Merritt eventually caught Miyatake, but instead of punishing him, allowed him to take pictures openly. Miyatake later became the camp’s official photographer.”

Pictures for today’s feature are from The Library of Congress. These are pictures that Ansel Adams took at Manzanar. They have been posted at chamblee54 before. The ladies in the bridge game are Aiko Hamaguchi, Chiye Yamanaki, Catherine Yamaguchi, and Kazoko Nagahama.

The Civil War On PBS

Posted in History, Library of Congress, War by chamblee54 on December 16, 2020


I have binge listened to a public television series, The Civil War. This youtube edition has subtitles in Portuguese, adding a Brazilian touch. I feel obligated to make a blog post. When writing about a topic of this size, I typically start by finding as many sources as possible. I have written about “the recent unpleasantness” several times, and will link to these when it is appropriate. The only way to start this project is to open a word document. This is a repost.

What did I learn? There was widespread opposition to emancipation in the north. I had never thought about this. The popular narrative is that the war was fought to free the slaves. While I knew that there were other reasons for the conflict, I assumed that the north wanted to free the slaves. As it turns out, the decision to free the slaves was controversial in the north. I will leave speculation about the reason for this to other armchair historians.

The show made me cry twice. The first time was after the Gettysburg Address. The address was made at the dedication of a cemetery, on the site of the Battle of Gettysburg. After two and a half years of horrendous carnage, the war was going good for the Union. However, 1864 was to have an election. Mr. Lincoln’s chances did not look good. If he lost, the Democrats would probably negotiate a peace, and the Confederacy would endure.

The Gettysburg Address is one of the most moving two minutes in our history. It was printed in newspapers across the land, which is the reason it is known today. “We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live.”

The second tearjerker moment was also set at Gettysburg. It was the fiftieth anniversary of the battle. War veterans, from both sides, came to celebrate the occasion. There was a reenactment of Pickett’s charge. When the Rebels got to the fortifications, the Union soldiers came out and hugged them. They were greeted as brothers in arms, who had somehow survived a horrible conflict.

The fighting ended, and life in the, unquestionably, United States continued. There came to be what Shelby Foote calls “a great compromise … It consists of Southerners admitting freely that it’s probably best that the Union wasn’t divided, and the North admits rather freely that the South fought bravely for a cause in which it believed. That is a great compromise and we live with that …”

In recent years, this arrangement seems to be breaking down. It is now the fashion to view anything short of total vilification of the Confederacy as treasonous. There is sneering talk of the “Cult of the Lost Cause.” This is a lamentable way to look at this transformative part of our history. Maybe this too shall pass, and we will see the Confederacy in a different light in a few years.

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. The men before the text are Confederate soldiers, and after the text we have Union soldiers. These pictures are from Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs.

Seven Score And Seventeen Years Ago

Posted in History, Library of Congress, War by chamblee54 on November 21, 2020









A vicious battle had been fought near Gettysburg, PA. It is widely considered the turning point of “Mr. Lincoln”s War,” the moment when the Union took the upper hand. It came at a horrible price, and a cemetery was built to hold this price.

The ceremony to dedicate the cemetery was held November 19, 1863. The headline speaker was Senator Edward Everett. The President was an afterthought. After it was over, Mr. Everett reportedly told the President that he said more in two minutes than he did in two hours.

The speech by Mr. Lincoln is an American classic. Schoolchildren are forced to memorize it. There are a few legends, many of which are not true. According to The Lincoln Museum , the speech was written on White House stationary, not the back of an envelope. The train ride would have been too bumpy to write. There is also confusion about what happened to the original text that the President read from.

HT to Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub. Pictures are from The Library of Congress. Measured in pixels, the picture of George Custer is 720×666. This is a repost.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.







The Burning Of Atlanta

Posted in Georgia History, History, Library of Congress, War by chamblee54 on November 13, 2020

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Around this time 156 years ago, Atlanta was on fire. General Sherman was preparing for his March to the sea, and wanted to destroy anything of value in the city. The fire is reported as being on 11-15 of November, depending on what source you use.

The November fire was the second great fire in Atlanta that year. On September 2, the city was conquered by the Union Army. The fleeing Confederates blew up a munitions depot, and set a large part of the city on fire. This is the fire Scarlet O’Hara flees, in “Gone With The Wind”.

After a series of bloody battles, the city was shelled by Yankee forces for forty days. There were many civilian casualties. General Sherman was tired of the war, angry at Atlanta, and ready for action. This is despite the fact that many in Atlanta were opposed to secession.

Click here to hear a lecture by Marc Wortman at the Atlanta History Center. Mr Wortman is the author of “The Bonfire: The Siege and Burning of Atlanta”. The hour of talk is fascinating. This is a repost. The pictures are from The Library of Congress

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About this time every year, there is a post about the burning of Atlanta. One of the sources is a lecture by Marc Wortman. If you have an hour to spare, this talk is worth your time. One of the stories told is the tale of Mr. Luckie.

“According to folklore, two stories abound as to how Luckie Street was named. The first is that its moniker came from one of Atlanta’s oldest families. The other, probably closer to the truth, regales the life of Solomon “Sam” Luckie. Luckie, as it turns out, wasn’t so lucky after all. When General William Tecumseh Sherman first came marching through Atlanta in 1864, Luckie, a free Black man who made his living as a barber, was leaning against a gas lamp post in downtown talking to a group of businessmen. A burst from a cannon shell wounded him; he survived, but later died from his injuries. Folklore suggests that he may have been one of the first casualties of the assault on Atlanta. Luckie Street, an extension of Auburn Avenue, was later named in his memory.”

Marc Wortman wrote a book, The Bonfire: The Siege and Burning of Atlanta. The one star review, and comments to that review, are unusually detailed. Here is a selection.

“…People forget – or were never taught in school – that most Confederate soldiers descended from Revolutionary War patriots or were up-country poor sons of farmers. Many Confederate soldiers were relatively recent new arrivals to the U.S., semi-literate dirt poor immigrants from Ireland and Scotland who’d never had the chance to own even an acre of their own land in Europe. In the mix were well-educated, elite merchant business owning French Huguenot refugees of the Catholic Bourbon genocide of Protestants. These immigrants had nowhere else to go, 9 times out of 10 never owned a slave, and fought for the CSA to keep what little they’d hardscrabble carved out over a decade of arrival into the U.S.”

The War Between The States continues to be a source of controversy. After the Charleston church killings, many comments were made about the Confederate battle flag. (If you can’t talk about gun control or mental health, you talk about a symbol.) This led to discussions about the war itself. There were ritual denunciations of slavery, assumed to be the sole cause of the conflict.

The notion of autonomous states in a federal union was novel when the United States Constitution was written. The debate over federalism versus states rights continues to this day. States that want to legalize marijuana may be the next battleground. (Few are expecting secession over bong rights.) Many in the CSA saw the Union as being a conquering army, and fought to defend their homes. While slavery was certainly a factor in the creation of the CSA, it was not the only Casus belli. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.

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November 11

Posted in History, Library of Congress, War by chamblee54 on November 11, 2020






Veterans day was originally Armistice Day. On November 11, 1918, at 11 am, Paris time (the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month) a cease fire went into effect for “The great war”. Officials of the major armies agreed to the ceasefire at 5 am (European time). There were an estimated 11,000 casualties in the last six hours of the war.

At 11:59 am, U.S. army private Henry Gunther became the last soldier to die in World War I.
“According to the Globe and Mail this is the story of the last soldier killed in WW1: On Nov.11, 1918, U.S. army private Henry Gunther stood up during a lull in the machine gun fire and charged the enemy. “The Germans stared in disbelief,” says the Daily Express. “They had been told that morning that the fighting was about to stop; in a few minutes they would stop firing and go home. So why was this American charging at them with his bayonet drawn? They shouted at him to stop and frantically tried to wave him back but… he hadn’t heard anything of the ceasefire.” A German gunner released a five-round burst and the soldier lay dead, at 10:59 a.m. In his recently published Eleventh Month, Eleventh Day, Eleventh Hour, U.S. Military Historian Joseph Persico notes that Private Gunther had previously been a sergeant but was demoted after an Army censor read his letter to a friend back home, urging him to steer clear of the war at all costs. Gunther, who was in no-man’s land when the ceasefire news arrived, had been trying to prove himself worthy of his original rank.”
This is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.






Veteran’s Day is a bad day for a cynic. I appreciate living in The United States. Even with all of her flaws, I have a good life here. The role that Veterans have played should be honored. On the other hand, those who profit from war often exploit Veterans, for political mojo. Many of these people did not serve. Those who profit from war, without serving, deserve our scorn.

Veterans are often not treated well after their service. It is estimated that a quarter of the homeless are veterans. The services offered to wounded veterans are shamefully lacking.

Hugh Pharr Quin CSA was my great grandfather. He served with the Georgia State Troops, in the War Between the States. I prefer the USA to the CSA, or whatever would have followed a Confederate victory. The Union army had to prevail, over the various Confederate Armies, for this to happen. Do I dishonor my great grandfather by saying, we are better off that the other side won?

Veterans Day was originally Armistice Day. This was the day, 101 years ago, when the War to End All Wars ended. World War I was a ghastly bloodbath, in which millions died. It affected many of the problems that plague us today. I would be willing to bet that not one person, in ten thousand, knows what World War I was about. And yet, the men who fought in that conflict (I don’t think they had women soldiers then) deserve the same gratitude as those who fought in any other conflict.

The soldier…many of whom are drafted…doesn’t get to choose which war to fight in. The sacrifice of the World War II soldier was just as great as the Vietnam fighter, but the appreciation given was much greater. I grew up during Vietnam, and saw the national mood go from patriotic fight, to dismayed resistance. By the time I was old enough to get drafted, the Paris accords had been signed. For better or worse, there went my chance.





Arlo Guthrie

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive, History, Music, War by chamblee54 on November 3, 2020

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This is a rerun post, with pictures from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. The original post was half about Arlo Guthrie, and half about Ralph Reed. Today, only the part about Arlo Guthrie will be shown. If you absolutely must read about Ralph Reed, you can follow the link above, or read Lisa Baron And Ralph Reed TMI.

The entertainment today is about Arlo Guthrie . Thanksgiving is intimately connected to Mr. Guthrie. Unlike the turkey, Mr. Guthrie has gone on to have a flourishing career. He probably will not come down with Huntington’s Disease, which killed his father Woody Guthrie.

The video that goes with this text was the first time PG saw Arlo Guthrie. This was broadcast January 21, 1970. PG was an unhip fifteen year old, who had not heard Alice’s Restaurant, seen the movie, or been to Woodstock. He did see the Johnny Cash show this night, or at least the part where Arlo Guthrie did the motorcycle song.

To quote the digital facility PG is borrowing from:
” Born Arlo Davy Guthrie on July 10, 1947, in New York, NY; son of Woody (a folksinger) and Marjorie Mazia (a dancer; maiden name, Greenblatt) Guthrie; married Jacklyn Hyde, October 9, 1969; children: Abraham, Cathyalicia, Annie Hays, Sarah Lee.” Abraham and Sarah Lee play in Arlo’s touring band.
The Alice’s Restaurant Masacree is a part of Americana now. There are two bits of knowledge, that are as true as anything told to a Persian king. When trying to dispose of some garbage, and finding the city dump closed, Arlo found some litter by the roadside, and made a value judgment…One big pile of garbage is better than two little piles.

The second is about the draft, and the business of choosing people to fight our wars. There is a regulation today that says that Gays and Lesbians are not supposed to be soldiers and sailors. In the tale of the thanksgiving dinner, it was litterbugs. (There was also a draft, and a different war. Lots of Americans were coming home in boxes.) The bottom line: Mr. Guthrie is confused about not being considered moral enough to kill people, because he was a litterbug.

A few years into his career, Arlo Guthrie had a hit record called “City of New Orleans”. It was about a train, and said “Good Morning America”. “City of New Orleans” was written by Steve Goodman, who is no longer with us. Mr. Goodman also wrote the perfect country and western song .

PG heard a story about Steve Goodman.
“The songwriter is Steve Goodman. He gave a show at the Last Resort in Athens GA, that a friend of PG attended. Mr. Goodman tells a story about performing on a train, during a series of concerts supporting Hubert Humphrey. It seems like Mr. Goodman had to use the restroom on the train. Now, in those days, the trains did not use holding tanks, but just ejected the matter by the tracks as they rode by. Mr. Goodman was told, do not flush the commode while the train is in the station. Mr. Goodman forgot the instructions. Mr. Humphrey said ”I am going to give the people of this country what they deserve”, Mr. Goodman flushed the commode, and sprayed the crowd. PG is not sure if he believes this, but it is a good story.” ( A biographer of Mr. Goodman said said that the candidate was Edmund Muskie. He also says that David Allen Coe had nothing to do with the last verse of the perfect country and western song.)
As previously noted, this is a repost from a few years ago. In that time, the policy against gay people serving in the military has been dismantled. The Ralph Reeds of the world are more upset about the concept of gay marriage, than by gay people killing Muslims. Vietnam is a peaceful country, and is enjoying economic good times. The draft is something old fogies remember. The current fashion is to support war by demanding a tax cut.

Arlo Guthrie continues to make music. USA Today had a feature recently, Arlo Guthrie celebrates 50 years at ‘Alice’s Restaurant’. Arlo Davy Guthrie has a twitter account, @folkslinger, and a full head of white hair. His wife of 43 years, Jackie Guthrie, died Oct. 14, 2012. The Lenox Square theater was torn down to make way for a food court many years ago.

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Hiroshima 75 Years Later

Posted in History, Holidays, Library of Congress, War by chamblee54 on August 6, 2020

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At 8:15 am, August 6, 1945, Hiroshima got nuked. It was the start of a new era. Since Japan is 13 hours ahead of Georgia, and standard time was used, the literal anniversary is 8:15 pm, August 5.

Tsutomu Yamaguchi was working in Hiroshima when the bomb hit. He survived, and found a train to take hime to his home town, Nagasaki.

The device dropped on Hiroshima, the Little Boy, had an estimated force of 13 kilotons of Trinitrotoluene, or TNT. A kiloton of TNT is roughly a cube whose sides are ten meters. This device is fairly tiny compared to many of the warheads developed since. Many of the modern appliances are measured in megatons, or millions of tons of TNT. The Soviet Union had a bomb with a capacity of 50 megatons, or 4,000 times the size of the Little Boy.

The largest weapon tested by The United States is the Castle Bravo. This device destroyed Bikini Atoll in the Pacific. The two piece swimsuit was named for this island. The Castle Bravo device had a yield of 15 megatons of TNT. This is roughly 1,000 times the power of the Little Boy.

The decision to drop the bomb has long been controversial. There are a lot of factors and gray areas, and the issue does not lend itself to sound bite solutions. The conventional wisdom is that Japan surrendered because of the nuclear attack. This meant the war was shortened by at least a year, there was no invasion of Japan, and many lives were saved. PG is scared by the moral calculus involved in a decision like this….do 100,000 civilian deaths prevent the deaths of 500,000 soldiers? PG suspects that even G-d herself would lose sleep over that one.

There is also evidence that the bomb was not needed. Japan was whipped in August 1945. The air raids were conducted in daylight with little resistance. A debate was going on in the Japanese government on whether to continue the fight.

An event happened the day between Hiroshima, and Nagasaki, which influenced the Japanese decision to surrender. The Soviet Union had agreed to help the United States with the war against Japan. On August 8, The Soviet Union invaded Japanese occupied Manchuria. There are indications that Japan knew the fight was hopeless at this point, and would rather surrender to The United States than The Soviet Union. This is one of the gray areas that never seems to be mentioned.

The United States wanted the war to end quickly for obvious reasons, and a few subtle ones. America did not want to share the spoils of Japanese war with The Soviet Union. There were already tensions between the two allies, and the cold war was not far off. Many felt The United States used the Little Boy as a warning to The Soviet Union.

When you get your moral software out, you might want to figure in the effect of opening the nuclear Pandora’s box. Would the nuclear bomb have been developed by other countries if America had not led the way? The science is not that complicated…after all, America hit paydirt with the Manhattan Project fairly quickly. Nonetheless, there is karma involved in using a terrible new device on a civilian population. The United States started the wind of the arms race, and has yet to feel the whirlwind.

This is a repost. The pictures are from The Library of Congress. Ansel Adams took pictures of Japanese Americans, in a World War Two internment camp. The ladies in the bridge game are Aiko Hamaguchi, Chiye Yamanaki, Catherine Yamaguchi, and Kazoko Nagahama.




The Worst Vice Presidents Of The United States

Posted in History, Library of Congress, War by chamblee54 on July 26, 2020






PG wrote a post yesterday. One of the topics was the “Siamese Twins”, James Buchanan and William Rufus King. (The article is reposted below.) While researching the feature, PG googled his way to a Time magazine article about the Worst Vice Presidents in American History. PG is well known for his negative attitude, and writing about the worst things in life always appeals to him. This is a repost, with pictures from The Library of Congress

The first name on the list is Aaron Burr. He had a problem with Alexander Hamilton, and shot him dead in a duel. Elbridge Gerry (the namesake of Gerrymandering) served under James Madison for twenty months, and died. John C. Calhoun served under John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson, and managed to get Mr. Jackson so upset that Mr. Calhoun was fired.

Richard M. Johnson served under Martin Van Buren, and was bad at PR.
“Johnson scandalized his colleagues by taking one of his slaves as his common-law wife; as a result, he barely garnered enough support to serve in Martin van Buren’s administration. While in office, he proposed an expedition to the North Pole so Americans could drill to the center of the Earth, believing the planet was hollow (his resolution was defeated). Evidently van Buren’s experience with Johnson soured him on vice presidents altogether — when he ran for re-election he dropped Johnson from his ticket and didn’t bother replacing him. Instead, he ran alone.”
William Rufus King was VP under Franklin Pierce a mere six weeks before he died. There is no word on the status of his relationship with James Buchanan at the time. The Time magazine article has a picture of Fernando Wood , which was mistakenly thought to be of Mr. King. (Wikipedia uses the same picture to illustrate an article about Mr. King.)

The VP under James Buchanan (there is no word on who was top or bottom in the Buchanan-King household) was John Breckinridge. During the War Between the States, he left the Union to fight for the Confederacy. Mr. Breckinridge was charged with treason after the war.
“The town of Breckenridge, Colorado is named in his honor — although it altered the spelling of its name after the Civil War, so as not to be associated with a traitor.”
Andrew Johnson did not make the list, but maybe should have. He was drunk at his inauguration, and made a fool of himself. Mr. Lincoln had nothing to do with him, until a meeting on April 14. This was Good Friday. Mr. Lincoln went to the theater that night.

Johnson had been marked for death by the conspiracy, but Wilkes Booth had little confidence in the man assigned to kill Mr. Johnson. The afternoon of the assassination, Mr. Booth was at the Kirkwood House, where Mr. Johnson stayed. Mr. Booth left a note for Mr. Johnson at the desk of the hotel…
“Don’t wish to disturb you. Are you at home. J. Wilkes Booth”. The idea was for the police to find the note, and implicate Mr. Johnson in the killing of Mr. Lincoln. This mini plot was spoiled by the secretary for the Vice President, who collected the mail that afternoon. He took the card with him. The secretary had met Mr. Booth a few years earlier, and thought the note was for him.
The other three Vice Presidents who took office after the boss was murdered… Chester Arthur, Theodore Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson… were not mentioned in the Time article. All three are mentioned in conspiracy theories about the killings that promoted them into office.

When Theodore Roosevelt was elected to a full term as President, his VP was Charles Fairbanks.
Teddy once ordered a noisy and distracting crystal chandelier removed from his office because it disturbed him. He ordered it to be installed in the office of the Vice President to keep him awake.”
Getting back to Time’s honor roll, Hannibal Hamlin was Lincoln’s first VP. Thomas A. Hendricks survived nine months under Grover Cleveland, before passing away. Thomas Marshall served two terms with Woodrow Wilson, and refused to take over the office when Mr. Wilson had a stroke. Calvin Coolidge did little while waiting for Warren Harding to die. Henry Wallace was, and will be, the only third term VP in our history. He acquired a few enemies, and was replaced by Harry Truman.

Richard Nixon was ok once he got elected, but almost managed to blow that. There were charges of financial shenanigans, and some thought he should be kicked off the ticket. After the Checkers Speech he was on his way to stardom. (After Mr. Nixon died, PG saw a large flag flying at half staff. The flag belonged to a hamburger chain called Checkers.) When Mr. Nixon became President, his VP was Spiro Agnew. Once again, there were charges of financial shenanigans, and much, much more. While the nation wallowed in Watergate, Mr. Nixon needed a diversion. It was suddenly discovered that Mr. Agnew had taken bribes. He was pressured into resigning.

Dan Quayle was VP for George H.W. Bush. He was widely regarded as an idiot, although his damage as VP was minimal. The last VPOTUS on the list is Dick Chaney. For some reason, he was regarded as having more power than the President, George W. Bush. Mr. Chaney was said to be one of the major promoters of the wars which have damaged America so much during the last ten years.

2020 UPDATE: Joe Biden said the F word at a press conference. He is currently running for President. The jury is still out on Mike Pence.











Fun loving Dick Yarbrough is up to his old tricks. The neighbor newspaper nabbler penned a post about California education. It seems there is a new law, in the falling into the ocean state,
“that will require schools to teach at all grade levels about the historical contributions of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.” Our buddy does not think this is a good idea.
The story goes on to say
“Our children will find out that President James Buchanan and Vice President William R. King were more than, shall we say, good friends,” she said coyly. I didn’t want to tell Gay that the first thing the teachers need to do is tell the students who James Buchanan is before they talk about what he did. Not many people have ever heard of him. That is because he didn’t do anything while president.” Holy historic revisionism.
To start off, The Vice Prez under Mr. Buchanan was John C. Breckinridge. Mr. King was elected to back up Franklin Pierce. Mr. King died after six weeks in office. If a President has ever bumped gooberheads with his Vice President, the walls of the White House have kept quiet about it. Those rumors about John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson are too gruesome to contemplate.

Mr. King and Mr. Buchanan lived together for a number of years. Neither was married to a female, although Mr. Buchanan had been engaged. (There is speculation that his fiance’, Ann Caroline Coleman, died of an overdose of laudanum.) There are numerous indications that Mr. King and Mr. Buchanan were *good buddies*.

Mr. Buchanan was the last President before the War Between the States. It is possible that he could not have done much to prevent that unpleasantness. Historians are not kind when talking about the man, and rank him as one of the worst Presidents. Perhaps Mr. King could have helped.

The newspaper that Mr. Yarbrough opines for is delivered, free of charge, on Wednesday. (This weeks edition has not arrived. Any connection between this late delivery and the opinions of Mr. Yarbrough, is uncertain.) Some of these free papers are not taken inside by the resident. Often, a driveway will have several weeks of free adrags left behind. Soon, the rain soaks these newsprint droppings. Some are washed into the street and run over. The result is an ugly mess.

Chamblee54 had a previous discussion with Dick Yarbrough. Mr. Yarbrough is still publishing columns in 2020. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.





The Night Muhammad Ali Fought In Atlanta

Posted in Georgia History, History, Library of Congress, War by chamblee54 on June 25, 2020


Many have noted that Muhammad Ali lit the Olympic torch in 1996. Few seem to remember another Atlanta appearance from the former Cassius Clay. It happened October 26, 1970, at the Municipal Auditorium. To get to this point, lets borrow a few lines from a Courier-Journal Ali Timeline.

1960 – “Clay defeats Zbigniew Pietrzykowski of Poland on Sept. 5 to win the light-heavyweight boxing gold medal at the Olympics in Rome…”

1962 – “Clay hears Elijah Muhammad speak for the first time. He meets another Nation of Islam leader, Malcolm X, who becomes a friend and adviser. – On March 9, the military draft board classifies Clay 1-A, meaning he is fit and available to be called into the Army…”

1964 -” Because of a low score on the Army intelligence test, Clay is reclassified 1-Y, not qualified for military service, in January. “I said I was The Greatest,” he explains. “I never said I was the smartest.” – Clay scores a stunning seventh-round technical knockout over 7-1 favorite Sonny Liston on Feb. 25 at the Miami Convention Center, winning the world heavyweight championship at age 22. – In response to a reporter’s question the day after the fight, Clay confirms he is a member of the Nation of Islam, saying: “I believe in Allah and in peace. … I’m not a Christian anymore. … Followers of Allah are the sweetest people in the world. They don’t tote weapons. They pray five times a day.” – A rift grows between Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X. Ali sides with Elijah, causing grief for Malcolm. – Casting off his “slave name,” Clay adopts the temporary name Cassius X. Later he announces that Elijah has bestowed on him the name Muhammad Ali. The name means “Praiseworthy One.”…”

1965 – “Ali knocks out Liston in the first round of their rematch, before only 4,280 fans in Lewiston, Maine, on May 25. Liston falls under a “phantom” punch that apparently few people see, giving rise to suspicions that he threw the fight. Former champion Joe Louis eventually declares Ali “unfit” to hold the title. – In October, former champion Floyd Patterson says: “Cassius Clay is disgracing himself and the Negro race.” On Nov. 22, Ali delivers a punishing defeat to Patterson, in part, he says, because Patterson refuses to call him Ali….”

1966 – “With the Vietnam War heating up, the Army lowers test-score standards, reclassifying Ali 1-A — fit for service. – “Man, I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong,” he says to reporters who call him at home in Miami. He later explains that “no Viet Cong ever called me nigger.” – Ali asks to be reclassified a conscientious objector to military service. A hearing officer sides with him, but the draft board keeps him 1-A, armed with a U.S. Justice Department opinion that Ali’s objections to military service are political not religious….”

1967 – “On April 28, Ali refuses induction into the Army in Houston.” “It is the light of my consciousness as a Muslim minister and my own personal convictions that I take my stand in rejecting the call to be inducted in the armed services,” Ali stated after refusing induction on April 28, 1967. “I have searched my conscience and I find I cannot be true to my belief in my religion by accepting such a call.” He was convicted of draft evasion on June 20, 1967. Ali was sentenced to five years in prison and fined $10,000, the maximum penalty for the offense. He remained free on a $5,000 bond while he appealed his conviction. Ali was also stripped of the World Heavyweight Championship by the New York State Athletic Commission and the World Boxing Association, systematically denied a boxing license in every state and stripped of his passport. “

For three and a half years, Mr. Ali was unable to fight in the ring. The WBA had a tournament, and installed their own champion. People tried to set up a fight for Mr. Ali, but were blocked by politicians, and state boxing authorities. California Governor Ronald Reagan said “That draft dodger will never fight in my state, period.” Then someone had the idea to have the fight in Atlanta.

Atlanta has never been a boxing town. There was no boxing commission. The Municipal Auditorium, the only venue that could host, was a dump. As Ring magazine tells the story: “So it was the height of irony that it was Atlanta, a city that occupied the heart of the Deep South, that provided the breakthrough. State Senator Leroy Johnson and Governor Lester Maddox helped pave the way for a most improbable return by persuading the City of Atlanta Athletic Commission to grant Ali a boxing license on Aug. 12, 1970. Shortly thereafter, it was announced Ali would fight Jerry Quarry on Oct. 26 at the City Auditorium in Atlanta. The bout was scheduled for 15 rounds, probably in recognition of Ali’s status as lineal heavyweight champion.” (Other sources say that Governor Maddox was opposed to hosting the fight, but was powerless to stop it.)

The opponent was Jerry Quarry, whose white skin was apparent that night. His obituary notes: :His most famous night was in Atlanta, Georgia, in October 1970, when he was the “fall-guy” for Ali’s comeback from his three- year exile. Quarry was stopped because of a badly cut eye in the third round. It brought him his biggest payday, $338,000. … By 1995 he was in the care of his brother James, and was suffering from severe pugilistic dementia.” Jerry Quarry died January 3, 1999.

The fight was not much of a contest. It lasted three rounds, before the referee stopped the match. Mr. Ali fought for ten more years, and regained the Heavyweight Championship twice. “On June 28, 1971, the Supreme Court unanimously overturns Ali’s 4-year-old draft conviction, saying that his claims as a conscientious objector were based on religion and were sincere.”

The fight was the occasion for a display of black pride, and black money. The New Yorker essayist George Plimpton remembered that invasion of the Harlem peacocks in their enormous purple Cadillacs: “I’d never seen crowds as fancy, especially the men – felt hatbands and feathered capes, and the stilted shoes, the heels like polished ebony, and many smoking stuff in odd meerschaum pipes.”

“The times reported that the bout was like “a page out of the roaring twenties. … The ladies had beads down to the hem of their maxi-skirts. One man wore an ankle length mink coat, with a high hat of mink to match. … Diana Ross sat in the forth row, ringside, with a bouffant, Afro-American hair-do that stretched out 10 inches on each side.” Many of those in attendance were invited to a party.

“Engraved invitations to one party in particular had been passed around to the hustlers in New York a week earlier and in Atlanta in the days leading up to the fight. The invitations announced that “Fireball” was throwing a party at 2819 Handy Drive, in Collier Heights.

The Handy Drive house happened to be one of several properties that “Chicken Man” Williams owned. He’d given a friend, an Atlantan-turned-New-Yorker known as “Fireball,” permission to use the house. He’d even helped build a craps table the week before so all the big-time gamblers who were sure to show up could “roll the bones.”

Williams’ girlfriend, Barbara Smith, skipped the fight to help prepare for the party. She and two girlfriends were busy in the kitchen when they heard the front door open. The fight was still going on, so Smith went to the front, expecting to meet an early bird. She was greeted by three men in ski masks standing in the hallway. All were armed; one was pointing a shotgun at her face. …

An estimated 80 to 200 people had arrived at the house expecting to party, only to be fleeced by masked men with shotguns. According to news accounts, the victims were led to the basement, then ordered to strip to their underwear, throw all their valuables in a pile and lay on the floor…

As more victims arrived, floor space in the basement became scarce, so the gunmen ordered the victims to lie on top of each other. Cash and jewelry was swept into pillowcases. That went on for hours as more and more people kept showing up. By 3 a.m., the half-naked victims were stacked like cordwood on top of each other.

Not one shot was fired. But as they left, the gunmen took Smith and one of her friends hostage and told everyone else to stay put. Three hours later, they dropped the women off on the other side of town and gave them $10 each for cab fare. By that time, the investigation was underway.

Creative Loafing has a terrific story about the party at Chicken Man’s house. If you have a few minutes, it is worth your time. Ditto for this newspaper story, in the sucky google books format.

A key person in the story is J.D. Hudson. One of the first eight black Atlanta policemen, Lt. Hudson was Mr. Ali’s bodyguard the night of the fight. Lt. Hudson wound up conducting the investigation of the party at Chicken Man’s house. Lt. Hudson met Gordon “Chicken Man” Williams, under rather unpleasant circumstances, in 1949.

Lt. Hudson never suspected Chicken Man of being part of the robbery. “From the time he took over the case, Hudson says, he knew Williams wasn’t responsible — even though other investigators already had pinned the crime on him. For one thing, Hudson could place Williams at the fight at the time the gunmen were at the house setting up the crime.

For another, Hudson says, “I knew [Williams] wasn’t dumb enough to pull a stunt like that. This was a man who ran [a] million-dollar operation from a pay phone on a street corner. He was smart. He could’ve run IBM or Coke. There’s no way he would’ve risked all that to pay somebody off. This was pulled off by a bunch of young thugs who were trying to knock over a party, and when they got there and saw how big it was, they improvised.”

Chicken Man went to prison in the seventies, and became a minister. He served as the Pastor of the Salem Baptist Church. Gordon Williams died December 6, 2014. J.D.Hudson died June 4, 2009. The men who robbed the party goers were killed a few months after the fight.

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. This is a repost.

The 1954 Deferment

Posted in Georgia History, History, Library of Congress, War by chamblee54 on June 11, 2020


As the reader(s) of this blog might notice, there is material posted every day at chamblee54. On many days, PG is too lazy to write new material, and goes into the archive. Today, there are two pieces. 1954 Deferment is from the blogspot version of chamblee54. In 2007, PG had a job making local deliveries, and listened to talk radio. Neal Boortz was in his glory. One day, PG heard enough about Vietnam, and decided to tell his own story. It is below. This post is written in first person.

A prominent radio whiner has been urged to come clean on his military record. In the spirit of not being a hypocrite, and with the optimistic thought that someone is interested, I have decided to do the same. I have what I call a 1954 deferment. I didn’t get a lottery number until the winter of 1973, after the Paris accords had been signed. My number was 337. The minimum age to sign up in those days was 17. If I had been gung ho to stop communism , I could have signed up in 1971.

By 1971 the war was over for America. We were trying something called “Vietnamization”, which meant we were bringing the combat troops home. Mr. Kissinger was working day and night to secure an acceptable treaty, which Mr. Nixon called Peace with Honor. A few weeks before the 1972 election, the announcement was made that “Peace is at hand”. What this treaty meant was that we got our P.O.W.s back, and withdrew the last of the combat troops. The North Vietnamese troops were not required to withdraw. After a while, with Mr. Nixon distracted by Watergate and the American Public in no mood to help, “Charlie” finished the conquest of South Vietnam. Whether we got all the P.O.W.s back is a subject of controversy. There is speculation that some P.O.W.’s were kept in Asia.

I graduated from High School in June 1972. This was in between the death of J. Edgar Hoover and the arrest of the Watergate Burglars. Jane Fonda”s trip to Hanoi was in July of 1972. Anti-war protests hit a peak during the Moratorium, in Autumn 1969. There was a last surge in May 1970, after the incursion into Cambodia. During this time we had the killings at Kent State, and suddenly protest didn’t seem like as much fun. That, combined with Vietnamization, served to quiet the antiwar movement. The Kent State killings were two days before my 16th birthday. The spell check suggestions for Vietnamization are Victimization, and Minimization.

I didn’t go to Vietnam. What if I had been a few years older? The truth is, I don’t know. You really don’t know what you would do until you have to. Probably, I would have gone the student deferment route, or something else non confrontational, to stay in North America. In the early stages of the War I supported it. In the winter of 1966, I attended a rally at Atlanta Stadium called “Affirmation Vietnam”. At that time, the war protesters were seen as weirdos. It wasn’t for a few more years that people realized their government was lying, and got tired of the pointless bloodshed.

In 1965, some people still believed the government when they heard we needed to stop communism. There was a draft, or legally enforced recruiting. The spirit of patriotism from World War II was still strong. When a young man got a draft notice, many assumed it was their duty to go. Many of the fatalities in Vietnam were conscripted troops.

Offends You. is based on a long forgotten facebook page, “If-the-American-Flag-offends-you-Ill-be-happy-to-help-you-pack.” In 2010, PG would see a prompt like that, and spit out a few hundred words before you could say media bias. And almost nobody would read it. The only function this text has is to go between the pictures.

There is a facebook page now, “If-the-American-Flag-offends-you-Ill-be-happy-to-help-you-pack.” This rubs PG the wrong way. PG has had a good life in The USA, and cannot imagine living anywhere else. He pays taxes without complaint. PG compares his thoughts about America with his thoughts about his hometown, of Atlanta GA. He has had a good life in both places, and does not want to live anywhere else. And yet, no one is ever asked to “die for Atlanta”. That duty is reserved for the national political unit. If PG had been 110 years older, he would have had to opportunity to die for Georgia.

The Stars and Stripes should not be used for jewelry, or as a gimmick. The flag should be respected, not left out in direct sunlight for years at a time, until the red, white, and blue is pink, gray, and lavender. A few years ago, after a Supreme Court ruling about flag burning, PG worked with someone who drove a van. There was a bumper sticker on that van, with the American Flag, and the message “Try burning this one”. That van was parked in direct sunlight every day, and the sun burned those colors off that van. Most people don’t consider this.

No, the American Flag does not offend PG. However, Facebook groups that would try to bully people who don’t have the “correct” opinion about this symbol…that would seek to create conflict between citizens…that does offend PG. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. The photographer was Dorothea Lange, working in 1939 California.

Destroy The Village To Save It

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Quotes, War by chamblee54 on May 20, 2020


“It became necessary to destroy the town to save it.” This is one of the most familiar lines about the Vietnam War. It is often cited today, when discussing the response to COVID-19. Who said this?

It was “originally reported by Peter Arnett of the Associated Press, who quoted an unidentified American officer on why the village of Ben Tre was leveled during the Tet Offensive in early 1968. … A two-paragraph version of the AP dispatch was buried on page 14 of The New York Times, with no byline,” on Feb. 8, 1968. … “BENTRE, Feb. 7 (AP)― It became necessary to destroy the town to save it,” a United States major said today. He was talking about the decision by allied commanders to bomb and shell the town regardless of civilian casualties, to rout the Vietcong.”

“Almost instantly, however, the line was being misquoted everywhere. On Feb. 10, an Oregon newspaper rendered it “We had to destroy the village in order to save it.” Two weeks later the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on a group of protesters carrying a banner that read, “It Was Necessary to Destroy the Village in Order to Save It.” In whatever form, the words had become a mantra of the anti-war movement, a … summary of what was wrong with the entire Vietnam adventure.”

“The day before Arnett’s story ran, the Times’s James Reston had asked in his column, “How do we win by military force without destroying what we are trying to save?” … Associated Press itself had used a similar phrase almost exactly a year before Arnett’s dispatch. In late Jan. 1967, the AP distributed a wire photo of a different village with a caption that read in part: “The Americans meantime had started to destroy the village to deny it to the Viet Cong.” The photograph was published across the country. One wonders whether the officer Arnett was quoting had come across the caption the previous year.”

“But the actual father of the metaphor — the man who put it into roughly the form we know today — seems to have been Justice Edward White of the U.S. Supreme Court. In a 1908 decision known as the Employers’ Liability Cases, the justices were asked to give a narrow reading to a congressional enactment concerning common carriers in the District of Columbia. The court refused. The requested reading, according to White’s opinion for the majority, would in effect add a new clause to the statute. He then explained why doing so would be wrong: “To write into the act the qualifying words therefore would be but adding to its provisions in order to save it in one aspect, and thereby to destroy it in another — that is, to destroy in order to save, and to save in order to destroy.””

The fighting in Ben Tre took place during the Tet Offensive. This is widely seen as a turning point in America’s involvement in that conflict. “On January 30 1968 … the North Vietnamese and the Vietcong launched a massive military offensive that proved the battle raging in Southeast Asia was far from over, and that President Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration had grossly oversold American progress to the public. Although U.S. troops ultimately ended the offensive successfully, and the North Vietnamese and the Vietcong suffered brutal loses, these bloody weeks triggered a series of events that continue to undermine Americans’ confidence in their government.”

(CBS news anchor Walter) “Cronkite was so shocked at the devastation of the communists’ Tet offensive that he went over to see for himself what was really going on.” On February 27, 1968, “he concluded the war was a stalemate, probably unwinnable. … Lyndon Johnson was said to have watched the broadcast and exclaimed to his press secretary, George Christian, “If I have lost Walter Cronkite, I’ve lost Middle America.” Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.