The service members who distinguished themselves with great valor on a train in France should be awarded the Soldier's Medal. It is the only decoration available for valor performed outside a combat situation. However, a veteran receives no such military honor.
Of course politicians will jump at the chance at being photographed with a hero and I expect that Chris Mintz will receive their attention for rushing unarmed against the shooter in Oregon. Sadly, Mintz will be mere window dressing for the politicians' aggrandizement.



To be fair, most racists probably are disturbed by immigrants and aliens living in America and speaking their native language. It is ironic that such racists also enjoy pizza and chow mien and countless other pleasures that immigrants and aliens have contributed to culture in these United States. However, does that mean that all who eat ethnic foods and espouse that they learn English are racist? Hardly. Many simply wish to avoid the curse described in the Old Testament when man built the Tower of Babel to elevate himself above God and was cast into a confusion of languages. Confusion is the enemy of discourse, reason, and understanding which is absolutely necessary if we are to govern ourselves successfully.
Tower of Babel
Tower of Babel
Before we go any further I should state that I am not in favor of making English the official language of the United States. I'm too old to learn a foreign language. I speak American. I write American. I think American. Anyone who fails to see the difference between English and American just isn't paying attention. My wife and I enjoy many broadcasts that we find on BBC America, especially British crime dramas. Sadly they aren't aired with subtitles and we are often lost in the weeds. Not only are some dialects unfathomable (as are some regional American dialects), but also there is an idiomatic abyss somewhere in the Atlantic midway between London and New York. The simple fact is that I fear that we will be denied the greatest gifts of those who adopt America if they fail to learn the common language and that they will likewise be denied the greatest gifts that it has to offer them. Freedom of Speech includes the right to speak in any language one chooses. However, they must also keep in mind that we also have the right to ignore them.



Sadly, it seems that our Constitution has failed. Our union is becoming less perfect, more fragmented. Justice and domestic tranquility are fast disappearing. Our defenses are being riddled by invaders across our porous borders. The general welfare is suffering from a growing proportion of the population living in poverty. And liberty is a fading dream. Many feel that these trends can be reversed if the government's cancerous-like growth can be stopped and reversed.
Why has government grown so far beyond its Constitutionally mandated limits? Principally, it seems that the plain language restrictions on government growth have been misinterpreted until they mean the opposite of the original intention of the architects of the Constitution.

Maybe, just maybe, we need some other method to restrict government, something other than words.



I'm a lot of things: Husband, father, grandfather, American, writer, author. Generally, I'm proud to claim all. Until recently, I didn't think much about the fact that I'm also a veteran, a Vietnam Veteran to put a fine point on it. I'm very proud of that too. Recently I came across an interesting infographic that I want to share. It seems that out of some 340 million in the United States, veterans comprise less than 10% of the population and, on average, fare better than most.


Sponsored by BallotCraft

Anyone who followed my blog postings for Elections 2012 and 2014 may easily imagine that I'm steeling myself for another disappointment in 2016. My powers of prognostication are probably no better than yours. However, I'm determined to have a little fun this time. I'm playing BallotCraft.
Click to enlarge
PictureClick to enlarge
Playing BallotCraft is much like playing Fantasy Football. It doesn't matter if your favorite team wins or not. You win or lose based on the performance of the individual candidates that you select from every party and ideology. Your challenge is to pick the best performers from the field. 

Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Points won with good choices will offset those lost on poor ones. Your overall score is based on the average of all the candidates you've selected.

Now, rather than annoying friends and family with your political views this campaign season, why not vent your spleen on your fellow players. There are discussion threads and a Chat Room where you can make new friends and political enemies.



I listened with considerable fascination to a speech delivered by a thirteen year old Boy Scout on Patriot's Day 2015. He lamented that he had never known peace in his short life. He was, after all, born following the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, and the War on Terror, he reminded us, has raged continuously since then. Hadn't he heard? President Obama declared it done and won.
In any event, the Boy Scout accomplished his task. Well, at least with me, he succeeded. He got me to thinking. Have I ever known peace? Have you?



I'm rather proud of myself. I got it, but I'm going to hold off explaining it until the end of this blog. You too should have the pleasure of figuring it out.

Click to enlarge
I know, I know. You got it without any prompting from me. However, there are some who don't. Many born “outside the faith” don't know what those wooden benches in churches are called. (Oh God, I just gave it away, didn't I?) Well, too bad.

To be honest, that's not the point of this essay.



I never liked school, not from the first day to the last. Like Louis L'Amour, I found that it got in the way of my education. Sadly, I wasn't as wise as L'Amour. He left. I didn't.
First Day of School
Click to read The Reluctant Scholar (a short story)
Well, to be honest, I did leave, twice, the very first day. L'Amour waited until he was a bit older and able to escape those who would take him back.

I have told and retold the tale to my friends and family too often. They don't need to hear it again.

So, I decided to share it with you...


“The science is settled” sounds more like a pronouncement from a cleric than anything a scientist would ever say, doesn't it? It's the kind of thing tyrants say to quiet dissension and impose their will upon their subjects. Well, that is in fact what is happening in the global climate change debate. The only thing to be settled is who will control the people and how will they control them. Pseudo-scientists like Al Gore are using the threat of global catastrophe by severe weather to scare the minions into submission. Indeed, if the former Vice President should ever decide to pursue another career, I believe he would make a remarkable actor. He already has an Academy Award for his work in science, the documentary film An Inconvenient Truth. I could well imagine him among the cast of Monty Python's Flying Circus...


Good Read

I'm not lucky all of the time. You could say that I'm lucky to just break even on every chance I've ever taken. (If you met my first and second wives you'd understand just how true that statement is) However, I did get lucky, really lucky just once while writing my first novel...

When I wrote my first novel, Rebels on the Mountain, I crafted a hero to fit the role of a soldier/spy observing Fidel Castro and his revolution in Cuba. It seemed obvious that my man would have been too young to have fought in World War II and thus learned his craft in the Korean War. As the story evolved, it became essential that he have friends in France and be fluent in their language (you'll have to read the story to understand why). Thus, I had him fight in a desperate battle alongside French soldiers. A quick check of the history showed me that there were French forces among the UN command there and thus I felt I had factual backing. 

My lack of in depth research came back to bite me when I decided to write a prequel to Rebels, The Accidental Spy, a story set in the Korean War. Imagine my surprise when I discovered the amazing story of Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Monclar and his French Battalion, and the battle of Chipyong-ni. As luck would have it, I had accidentally placed my hero in the midst of one of the most significant battles of that war fighting alongside a unit that won a Presidential Unit Citation for gallantry in that action.