Bunker Mulligan "Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry." ~Mark Twain

January 30, 2004

Texas National Guard

Filed under: Military — Bunker @ 3:56 am

I was up early and took a quick cruise around the ‘net. When I took a look at Sarah’s site, she had linked to this by John Moore:Useful Fools: Bush Haters Slander My Dead Comrades.

For anyone interested, take a look at the history of the Texas National Guard. I don’t think you’ll find another reserve organization with more battle experience. When Bush joined the Texas ANG, there was a strong possibility he would end up in Vietnam. Of course, the Bush-haters will never believe this. With his father’s background, I wouldn’t be surprised if he joined fully expecting to go.

John speaks of the commitment by National Guard and Reserve units. They’ve received bad press by people who’ve known someone who “played sojer.” I can tell you that folks like the NM ANG John mentions, and others I’ve dealt with while on active duty, are first-rate, and very professional. The ones from the “Taco Air Force” flew A-7s when they visited us on rotation in Panama, and there weren’t better pilots anywhere.

Addendum: Then Kim has this to say about John Kerry! This morning’s reading has certainly got my blood flowing!

January 29, 2004


Filed under: Politics — Bunker @ 9:02 am

I guess Kerry is the pre-ordained nominee of the Democratic Party. I’m a bit disappointed, but not surprised. Democrats seem to like life-long pols. As I look at the field, that’s about all they have to choose from.

Kerry disturbs me primarily because just about everything he’s done in life has been geared to this moment. Bill Clinton did the same thing, so it only makes sense for the party to go his direction.

Kerry began his political career while still young, supporting all the Kennedys, and trying to be just like them. Apparently he entered the Navy and became a small boat captain to emulate JFK. He did well, but got out of the Navy as quickly as he could. From that point on he has had one thing on his mind: political power.

There is an interesting article in National Review by a Marine Vietnam veteran, and it isn’t flattering to Kerry. I also came across a website which parodies Kerry’s Vietnam Veterans Against the War. Both are disturbing.

Military personnel attach a great deal of importance to someone’s integrity. They also use the word “loyal” as an indicator of respect and one of the highest accolades. Kerry has demonstrated neither, so it doesn’t surprise me that veterans have little use for him. He appears to have a presidential demeanor, but I get the sense he will implode a la Howard Dean if the pressure gets too great.

Super Bowl Weekend

Filed under: Golf — Bunker @ 6:24 am

Tomorrow I fly out to Santa Cruz, California, for the In-Law Super Bowl Weekend. I don’t follow the NFL closely any more, and the Cowboys and Packers aren’t in it, so I don’t have a lot of interest in the game. The family, however, is a different story. They keep a running weekly football pool going through email, and Mother-in-Law-Dearest is fanatic. She knows the teams and players far better than I did when I paid attention to the NFL. So they’ll all be partying and whooping and hollering.

I’m taking my golf clubs with me.

I was stationed at the Presidio of Monterey 25 years ago. I played at the Fort Ord golf courses many weekends. The Bayonet Course was prime, and the Blackhorse Course was fairly new, but growing in very nicely. I think I paid $5 a round. Now that Fort Ord is closed, the city of Seaside owns the courses. Bayonet is used in a Nationwide Tour event (I think it needs to go back to being the Hogan Tour), and Blackhorse is now also first-rate. I’ve signed up for the Super Bowl Tournament Sunday morning, and am looking forward to seeing the Bayonet Course again.

For Saturday, I considered playing Pebble Beach again, but the green fee is now up to $380–$20 per hole. I paid $25 to play it back in 1977. I also considered Spanish Bay and Spyglass. But I just didn’t want to shell out $250 without being on the course with Dad, Birdie, or Bogey. But there is another I’ve wanted to play for a long time.

I’ve become interested in golf course architecture. I enjoy looking at how different designers take a piece of property and shape a course into something that make sense. Not everyone can do it. If you start with a flat piece of bare ground, just about anyone can envision a layout. But take a property with hills and trees, streams and undergrowth, and it requires a special understanding. I also keep track of the courses I play, and want to try those designed by the best. So far, I’ve played courses designed by A.W. Tillinghast, Arnold Palmer, Bruce Devlin, Donald Ross, Frank Hummel, Gary Player, Greg Norman, Herman Hackbarth, Jack Burke, Jack Neville, John Bredemus, Pete Dye, Press Maxwell, Ralph Plummer, Rees Jones, Robert Lawrence, Robert Trent Jones, and a host of others with not-so-famous resumes.

My favorite is Donald Ross. Of the more recent designers, I enjoyed Player’s and Norman’s courses. It is interesting to see how different people approach design of 18 holes differently. One whose courses I haven’t yet played is Alister MacKenzie. He designed Augusta National and Cypress Point, and I doubt I’ll ever get the opportunity to play those. But Saturday I’ll play his design at Pasatiempo in Santa Cruz. It is rated as one of the 100 best in America.

I’ll finish by trying to stay awake during the Super Bowl. I’m sure there will be plenty of beer. I just hope I don’t snore too loudly!

January 28, 2004

Economic Woes

Filed under: International — Bunker @ 6:24 pm

Couldn’t pass up this post:
President Bush Killed My 2 Sons and Cost Me My Job

Frederick Douglass

Filed under: Education,Society-Culture — Bunker @ 6:14 pm

At Christmas, I buy all my family each a book, as well as any other gifts I give. I try to find something that person would enjoy, but perhaps not pick up at the store himself. Bogey got one with an engineering theme, Why Things Break, because I thought he would find it interesting even though he?s not an engineer. I enjoy looking for the eclectic match.

This year, Mrs. Mulligan bought me an interesting book for Christmas. It is a collection of letters of historical interest to Americans. Its title is Letters of a Nation (see sidebar). Last night I read various letters from personages great and meek regarding slavery and the Civil War.

On September 22, 1948, Frederick Douglass wrote an open letter to his former owner. It was published in The Liberator, an abolitionist newspaper published by William Lloyd Garrison, who had taken Douglass under his wing.

Mostly, the letter is one you might expect from a former slave to his former master, but only in content, not in tone. Douglass, who couldn?t read or write before running away to freedom, wrote a very clear and educated condemnation of slavery, and the wonders of freedom. Two passages really caught my eye, as they relate to the opportunities available in this country today.

Since I left you, I have had a rich experience. I have occupied stations which I never dreamed of when a slave. Three out of the ten years since I left you, I spent as a common laborer on the wharves of New Bedford, Massachusetts. It was there I earned my first free dollar. It was mine. I could spend it as I pleased. I could buy hams or herring with it, without asking any odds of any body. That was a precious dollar to me.?

But I was going on to relate to you something of my interesting experience. I had not long enjoyed the excellent society to which I have referred, before the light of its excellence exerted a beneficial influence on my mind and heart. Much of my early dislike of white persons was removed, and their manners, habits and customs, so entirely unlike what I had been used to in the kitchen-quarters on the plantations of the South, fairly charmed me, and gave me a strong disrelish for the coarse and degrading customs of my former condition. I therefore made an effort so to improve my mind and deportment, as to be somewhat fitted to the station to which I seemed almost providentially called. The transition from degradation to respectability was indeed great, and to get from one to the other without carrying some marks of one’s former condition, is truly a difficult matter. I would not have you think that I am now entirely clear of all plantation peculiarities, but my friends here, while they entertain the strongest dislike to them, regard me with that charity to which my past life somewhat entitles me, so that my condition in this respect is exceedingly pleasant.

I have added emphasis to what I view as the key lines. It amazes me that Douglass was able to become such a good writer in only ten years while working and rearing a family. Educationally, he started from nothing. But he identifies the very stumbling blocks which are still in the path for poor people of all kinds in this country. It matters not what color their skin if they allow these obstacles to stop them.

The first is that feeling Douglass expressed about earning his first dollar. It wasn?t important how much it was, but that he had earned it for himself, and could spend it how he wanted. Self-sufficiency is scary, but essential to progress. Deciding to make it on your own is liberating in itself.

The second passage refers to a cultural change he had to make. To feel comfortable in his new environment, he had to lose the ?coarse and degrading customs? of his previous life. The same is true today. Society doesn?t look with respect at anyone who wears clothing sloppily, or talks in virtual gibberish. It expresses a lack of self-discipline and slovenly behavior even it that ?look? requires a great deal of effort to maintain. I?m reminded of a line in a Stevie Wonder song: ?Her clothes are old, but never are they dirty.?

Some people view this as a ?sell-out? or ?pretending to be white.? I can?t judge from their perspective. But when I worked as an engineer in a company where engineers wore ties, I wore a tie. I didn?t view that as selling out; I saw it as a requirement of the position. Had I not worn a tie, I?m sure I would have soon been without employment. I?ve also done some hiring and firing. I?ve seen people come in to interview wearing all manner of clothing. If they were trying to put their best foot forward, I would have hated to see what they wore on a regular basis. And I would never have allowed them to represent my company to customers.

Opportunity in this world is just that: a chance. People in the US can achieve if they are willing to learn to speak clearly, learn to dress neatly, and get an education. In Douglass? words, make ?the transition from degradation to respectability….? A runaway slave did it 150 years ago.


Filed under: Military — Bunker @ 4:16 pm

This just in from Birdie:

it looks like i’ll be able to get on the internet about every 3-4 days. this are going pretty good around here. still getting shot at just about everyday. just the other day they tried to blow my squad and i up with one of those road side bombs (IED). let me tell you how scary that shit is. i’ll take getting shot at everyday over one of those things anytime.

He doesn’t like to use the SHIFT key.

Ass chewing

Filed under: International — Bunker @ 10:30 am

When you post something, you never know where it will lead. I was honored with a comment from a real journalist, Kevin Sites, even though he wrote to chew my ass!

hey mike, before you take a broad brush about “cowardly journos” standing on top of 4 star hotel roofs rather than out in the thick of the shit–consider this: twenty-one journalists have died covering the war in iraq–including two cnn employees last night. can’t give you the number injured but it’s been plenty. also btwn 12-15 killed in afghanistan. friends and colleagues. maybe the bravest men and women you’ve never met. they go out without weapons, armed only with cameras and notepads, covering the news–so you can sit back in your armchair and develop your opinions. consider this one “not so lazy journo” trying to provide you with addl info so your opinions can be a bit more informed. soldiers aren’t the only ones making sacrifices out here. and btw, when this one ends you can be sure when the next one starts me and my colleagues will be there–well at least the ones who live through this one. Kevin Sites.

I ran across his web site from a link at InstaPundit. He makes one very pertinent point of which I was unaware–that 21 of his compatriots have died in Iraq.

Kevin is one of those get-out-and-get-the-story kind of guys. And he is right. I did paint with a broad brush, although I didn’t intend it to be as broad as it apparently was.

I mentioned my experience with journalists in Ethiopia. There were two in the crowd who did the job well. They were ITN guys. They learned quickly how to handle themselves around my troops and the aircraft so as to not get in the way or endanger themselves. They paid attention to all that was happening around them. They conversed! When I had something to say to my guys, they recorded only after asking, but listened instead when what I had to say was just between me and my guys. In short, they were professional and had some integrity. Others in the crowd remained in the terminal until an aircraft returned, then mobbed the area. If they decided there was nothing to see, they quickly returned to the warmth inside.

Kevin went into Iraq through Iran. He wasn’t one of the embeds. As for courage, I don’t doubt a word of what he said. In fact, I eagerly applaud those who rode into Baghdad with the troops. These folks got out into things and got the story. So did Kevin and his colleagues up in the north. Journalists have a long history of sharing foxholes with the troops. And let’s not forget Daniel Pearl.

Where do these stories go? I guess that’s the real question here. Kevin, maybe you can answer that.

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