Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Good Read / The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

I don’t often recommend books I’ve read; but I have recently finished a very good one:  The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown.  This is a book that almost anyone will enjoy reading – even bring a tear or two to your eyes – at least it did to mine – very inspirational.  It will make a great movie.

This is a book about the ‘boys’ who made up the University of Washington’s ‘eight – oar crew’ that won the 1936 Olympic Gold in rowing; held in Germany (Nazi Germany).

The ‘boat’ has eight rowers and a coxswain for a crew total of nine.  The book, researched in detail, delves into all their lives, but principally chronicles the life of Joe Rantz and his hardscrabble, early life – literally abandoned and orphaned at the age of fifteen.

The gold medal in the 1936 Olympic, 2000 meter race, was won by these American college boys, who found their ‘swing’ and pulled together a come-from-behind upset victory.  Germany’s hand-selected team finished third behind the Italian Team.

“On the balcony of Haus West, Hitler turned and strode back into the building, unspeaking.  Goebbels and Goring and the rest of the Nazi officials scurried in behind him.”

The ‘boys’ winning, record time was 6 minutes 26.4 seconds.  This record was an incredibly fast time for the period.

Incidentally, and it should not detract in any way from the 1936 victory (training regimens and equipment have greatly improved over the years); but Canada now holds the record at 5 minutes 19.35 seconds, set in 2012.

True Nelson

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Marie Harf / Obama Administration / Leadership? / Not Hardly

Don't read this!

Sorry, but I just want to get this off my chest.  After all, who am I to have an opinion – about world affairs?

No Ivy League education here.  No, I have not held a high leadership position.  I’ve seen things.  Yes, I’ve seen a lot of things.  I have worked closely with several true leaders, even war heroes.  And, I know a leader when I see one.  Which brings me to the topic of those who should never have been relegated any sort of leadership role.

Marie Harf (pronounced like ‘barf’), age 33, the Deputy Spokesperson for the U.S Department of State, appeared on national television to tell us that ISIS will never be defeated unless we help them get jobs, give them an ‘opportunity.’  I can’t believe what I’m hearing.  She, who only a short while ago was a school girl, having a national forum to expound on her crazy opinions – and on behalf of the ‘Administration.’

Marie Harf should be sent home and told to not return until she is a grown-up.  But, of course, that will not happen.  She, in her own defense, commented that perhaps her statement was too “nuanced.”  For those who are not University graduates, the word ‘nuanced’ means ‘the use or awareness of subtle shades of meaning.’

That said, she has a very important job.  She represents the President.  She reflects his views.  Yes, that President.  Folks, we have a ‘Community Organizer’ in the White House.  Can you imagine that?  A Chicago ‘Community Organizer’ is now the leader of the ‘free world.’  It’s our fault.

In less than two years, we will elect another President; and who is the frontrunner?  Hillary Rodham Clinton.  And what experience does she have?  Well, let’s see.  She was married to a Governor who later became President; and, undoubtedly, she had considerable experience, over many years, ignoring and covering-up her husband’s sexual peccadilloes; which undoubtedly will continue when Bill is the ‘First Gentleman’ – if he is ‘up’ for it.  She became a Senator from the great state of New York, joining a rather elite club of deep thinkers, when strings were pulled to get her an almost sure-fire win.  Once in the Senate, she managed to demonstrate that not just frumpy old men can wear pants.  And, she was later chosen as the US Secretary of State, even though unqualified; but chosen, nonetheless, by an equally unqualified President.  She traveled the world in luxury, meeting important people, having elegant lunches, shaking a lot of sweaty hands, and accomplished nothing.  

Yes, god-help-us, Hillary will make a suitable replacement for the current President.

Alice: But I don't want to go among mad people.

The Cat: Oh, you can't help that. We're all mad here.

True Nelson

Monday, February 16, 2015

The FBI, The US Attorney’s Office / Kitzhaber - Hayes / Game On!

I hate to say I told you so; but I told you so.  Hours after Governor John Kitzhaber announced his resignation, the FBI and their local surrogate the US Attorney’s Office (Portland) jumped into the official fray.  They were not about to be left out of this one.

Oh, I know, some had reported earlier that ‘unofficial sources’ had indicated the FBI’s interest; and, I’m sure that an Agent was busily clipping newspaper articles.  However, the FBI would not confirm their interest.

But, game on now.  The FBI and the Justice Department want their place on the stage.  'Stand aside Ellen Rosenblum, we will take it from here.'

What's next?  What will take place is a protracted, very expensive legal battle; much of which (most, if not all) will be funded by the taxpayers.

This is how the game is played.

True Nelson

Friday, February 13, 2015

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber Resigns in Disgrace / and Who is at Fault?

Well, Governor Kitzhaber has resigned.  He probably did the right thing; but it’s hard to feel good about it.  His life, his career in tatters, it’s like watching a train wreck – fascinating, but you just want to turn away.

I think most now speculate that Cylvia Hayes caused Kitzhaber’s downfall.  It would be pretty easy to blame her and her ‘seductive’ ways; but that just doesn’t seem likely – no, really, it doesn’t – at least not to me.  He’s not stupid.  He’s not unsophisticated.  He is not politically ignorant.  And, he is not sixteen.  Although, at times, one could wonder about the latter.

I think there was complicity on his part, probably more than we will ever know.  He buckled too easily, too quickly.  Yes, there are things he hopes we will never know.

What about Kitzhaber’s relationship with Cylvia?  Oh boy, talk about a train wreck.

True Nelson

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber; and Where’s Waldo? (I mean the FBI)

Governor John Kitzhaber indicated he would resign on Tuesday; but changed his mind on Wednesday.  Pressure is increasing for him to get on with it and complete the former.  The public corruption matter is becoming more and more evident involving Kitzhaber and his girlfriend Cylvia Hayes, aka ‘The First Lady.’

But, moving on, do you know the answer to the following?

What is the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s current policy / directives concerning ‘Public Corruption?’  Well, here’s what they have to say about that.

“It’s our top priority among criminal investigations—and for good reason.
Public corruption poses a fundamental threat to our national security and way of life. It impacts everything from how well our borders are secured and our neighborhoods protected…to verdicts handed down in courts…to the quality of our roads, schools, and other government services. And it takes a significant toll on our pocketbooks, wasting billions in tax dollars every year.
The FBI is singularly situated to combat this corruption, with the skills and capabilities to run complex undercover operations and surveillance.”

So why haven’t we heard anything from the FBI regarding the Kitzhaber / Hayes imbroglio?

Here are my suggested answers to the above:

  1. The Portland FBI administration / supervisory staff have apparently assumed a non-aggressive position in public corruption cases; preferring, instead, to pursue less politically charged inquiries – a ‘let’s wait and see’ position whereupon they can jump in at the last – the fait accompli so to speak – and grab their share of the recognition (glory).  Any prosecution or forced resignation of a Governor would be a very important addition to their ‘stats’ and a feather in the cap of the SAC.
  2. The Portland FBI does not act with total independence.  Anything they do, regarding such a high-profile inquiry, would require FBI HQ authorization.  Headquarters might have their own concerns.  This is not a typical case for the Bureau.  They may feel that ‘we risk nothing,’ by waiting.
  3. And, of course, the FBI is part of the Justice Department; and must answer to Eric Holder, the President’s ‘aide-de-camp’ (sometimes referred to as the Attorney General).  Said individual, Mr. Holder, is probably not too anxious to go after a Democratic Governor and/or his girlfriend – especially in a State that is so consistently ‘Blue.’

True Nelson

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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Governor John Kitzhaber and Cylvia Hayes / The Plot Thickens

Governor John Kitzhaber and his girlfriend (Cylvia Hayes), aka ‘The First Lady,’ are making the news again.  I’m not going to run through the details.  If interested, I suggest people read Nick Budnick’s article in The Oregonian on 2/4/15.  And, or read David Sarasohn’s article, also in The Oregonian on 2/4/15.  I imagine one can find both online at OregonLive if you missed the newspaper.

Kitzhaber, Hayes, et al:  It sounds like double-dealing and cronyism of the worst kind – and dare I say possible criminality.  But don’t expect an official inquiry anytime soon.  Our Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum was appointed by Kitzhaber and is beholden to him for her current position.  And, as an aside, isn’t it interesting how she got her job?  Did her father pull some strings?

Well, what about the FBI?  Doesn’t appear to be anything happening there, as Gregory Bretzing (Special Agent in Charge – Portland) seems to be sitting on his hands waiting for the Oregonian to complete their investigation.

I got a kick out of the recent commentary by Steve Duin with The Oregonian.  He, too, pretty much laid-out Kitzhaber’s predicament.  However, at the end of his article, I had to disagree with his conclusion.  Mr. Duin opined that if the Governor had to choose between his job and ‘The First Lady,’ he (the Governor) would choose Cylvia.  Sounds romantic doesn’t it?  But, I doubt that’s how it would play.  I think that, if Kitzhaber resigns, Cylvia will move on to what she perceives to be greener pastures.

Once, I recall my grandfather commenting on a ‘good-looking’ woman who was appearing on television.  It surprised me.  I didn’t think that sort of thing ever crossed his mind.  My grandmother heard the comment.  She looked over at me and smiled.  I remember what she said.  “There’s no fool like an old fool.”

True Nelson

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Monday, February 2, 2015

Super Bowl 2015 / Play That Will Live in Infamy

Yes, I watched the Super Bowl yesterday.  And, yes, I was rooting for the Sea Hawks.  Fourth quarter, second down, one yard to go for the Hawks to win – about 20 seconds left in the game.

Everyone in the stadium, everyone watching on television, knew what the next play would be.  And, no doubt, the Patriots did too.  The ball would be given to Marshawn Lynch and he would punish the Patriots’ line; and score the go-ahead, winning touchdown.  But, instead, millions of spectators witnessed what will come to be known, in sporting annals, as the worst coaching decision in NFL history.  The Sea Hawks tried a short pass, over the middle, which was intercepted.  This is the ‘coaching call’ that will live in infamy.  The Patriots won the game.

But in retrospect, and admittedly I’m no expert, it did seem the Patriots, overall, played a better game – regardless of the final 20 seconds.  Congratulations New England Patriots.  And, Sea Hawks you played a great game, very exciting.

True Nelson