The latest from the great kids at Tussing Elementary School
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Many thanks to Michael & Angela Souders and of course, the wonderful third grade children in his school
The latest from the great kids at Tussing Elementary School
Posted by Lew Waters at 1:52 PM
For those unable to attend, the full Keynote speech given by "controversial" Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin (US Army ret.) at the 13th Annual Clark County Mayors and Civic Leaders Prayer Breakfast in Vancouver, Washington, Oct. 17, 2014 and boycotted by Mayor Tim 'the Liar' Leavitt and Vancouver City Council Members, Larry J. Smith (Col. US Army ret.) and Ann McEnerny Ogle.
Posted by Lew Waters at 2:10 PM
I was pleased to read of the dedication this past Saturday of the POW/MIA Memorial at the Armed Forces Reserve Center on Fourth Plain. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend.
I was able to not only attend the POW/MIA recognition ceremonies in 2011, but to tape the speaker as well, former WWII POW Dale Bowlin, who also spoke this past Saturday, video below.
Posted by Lew Waters at 7:47 PM
|US Army Abrams Tank|
|CCSO Armored Vehicle on Public Display|
“Many of the images we’re currently seeing on TV show images of large armored police vehicles. News reporters and anchors, who apparently don’t know the difference between a tank and an armored car, are mistakenly identifying these vehicles as the same military weaponry that our military used in Iraq and Afghanistan. The truth is that most of these vehicles are simply large vehicles specifically built for police agencies by private companies here in the United States. Some surplus military vehicles are in use by law enforcement agencies across the country, however they are not tanks but simply armored cars for transporting officers and equipment.”Also campaigning for Sheriff, Sgt. Shane Gardner of the Clark County Sheriff’s Department said prior to the primary,
“The primary purpose of these armored vehicles is to transport police officers and equipment to active crime scenes where armed suspects pose a high risk to responding officers. The armored vehicle provides ballistic protection to SWAT officers who necessarily have to place themselves directly in the line of fire from armed suspects. These vehicles are also the only way police officers can move in to rescue officers or victims who have been injured and need to be evacuated from a dangerous and active scene.”
“The Clark County Sheriff’s Office has never viewed these vehicles and equipment as something that ‘militarizes’ our law enforcement agency. In fact, as the commander of the SWAT team, I’ve made a point of making these vehicles and equipment accessible for citizens to view, touch, and climb around on. These vehicles are on display multiple times a year at our West Precinct open house, the 911 center open house, and many other community events. I bet many of you reading this now have pictures of your children or grandchildren in one of these armored vehicles or wearing a police officer’s vest and helmet.”
“I will just say that I am very proud to be from Washington State where our Criminal Justice Training Academy has adopted the Blue Courage training philosophy. Much can be learned about it from the web, but it is a timely response to concerns held by many that many law enforcement agencies are hiring combat veterans who have a foundation of training in military tactics, which is not policing.”Several articles have been written and posted on the PoliceOne.com website that gives more accurate background and explains how such equipment has been used and the necessity of it all. A visit to their articles should help you cut through the chaff and loud noises being made by ill-informed journalists and those desiring to further hamper law enforcement as criminals are prepared to escalate crime where they can.
“Our recent switch to outer carry vests is not about intimidation, it’s about comfort, and utility. For years we have had to carry all of our gear on our hips, and being a larger guy myself, squeezing into ever shrinking cars with more and more electronics and equipment. Now that we have the ability to carry equipment on our removable vests, we are more comfortable while writing reports at the precinct, and in the car.”
“We do not have the staffing to have double units. This means that each Deputy has to be prepared to handle anything that might be thrown at them. Yes it results in a lot of standard equipment from handcuffs, radios, tourniquet, taser, magazines, sidearm, knife, window punch, leatherman, etc. I will admit that it often looks like we are ready for the worst, but I will also say that anyone who knows me and has seen me in uniform knows a smile is disarming, and comforting. I would bet that there is no doubt in those same people’s minds that I would be ready for enforcement action at the drop of a hat.”
Posted by Lew Waters at 12:50 PM
Posted by Lew Waters at 1:40 PM
“Our response involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes. Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes visible on TV and covert operations secret even in success.”How soon we saw that resolve being chipped away at with “the wrong war, in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
“We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place until there is no refuge or no rest.”
“And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation in every region now has a decision to make: Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists.”
“Tonight, we are a country awakened to danger and called to defend freedom. Our grief has turned to anger and anger to resolution. Whether we bring our enemies to justice or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done.”It is time we got angry and turned our anger once again to resolve.
Posted by Lew Waters at 2:27 PM
“However, having witnessed this Administration’s repeated failures to take care of our veterans when they return home, I plan to remain vigilant in my oversight of this process.”Since then, Murray has chaired the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee (2011 to 2013) and has sat on the committee since 1995, during the time Veterans were being placed on “waiting lists,” some dying while waiting for much needed care.
“When it comes to caring for our troops and veterans, this Administration -- from the White House, to the Pentagon, to the Department of Veterans Affairs -- has consistently waited until conditions reached a critical stage before taking action to remedy them.”
“Our troops and veterans have faced massive budget shortfalls, horribly long waiting lines, and sickening hospital conditions, but this Administration continues to be reactive to the problems. It's time for this posture to end. Taking care of our troops and veterans must be a cost of this war, and I will continue my fight to force this Administration to take that cost into account at all times.” Feb 23, 2007
After the firing of Maj. Gen. George Weightman on March 1, 2007 over the deplorable conditions in the one building at Walter Reed Hospital, Sen. Patty Murray said, “Weightman’s dismissal is a welcome step, but it doesn’t change the fact that our injured troops are facing bureaucratic nightmares. We need more than empty rhetoric and administration fall guys — we need a plan to provide for our heroes.” March 2, 2007
“Calling Walter Reed ‘just the tip of the iceberg,’ Murray detailed fresh reports of poor treatment at a military hospital in Washington State. ‘Gen. Kiley, you're in charge of this system. I hold you accountable. I’m here today because I want answers’.” March 8, 2007
“I’ve been saying almost since the start of the war that there is a cost we cannot ignore, and that’s the care of men and women after they return home. Veterans being treated in military hospitals have become the forgotten stepchildren of the war.” March 8, 2007
“I’ve just about had it with administration officials who assure us everything is being taken care of. I know you work hard, but we are going to judge you by the results you get for our veterans, and we’re going to hold you accountable.” March 27, 2007
“There are amazing doctors and amazing surgery being done at Walter Reed. Where they get stuck is weeks after the surgery, where they get caught up in red tape and paperwork that is difficult for them and their families to follow.”
“They are very worried they are going to get lost again after all the publicity dies down. It’s a very vivid image for them to see us drive away.” March 29, 2007
“I would have liked to have heard the president say we have a crisis in military healthcare. I would have liked to have heard him give 60 days to fix not just the physical facilities but the bureaucratic delays that leave some returning servicemen and women sitting in those facilities for up to a year and a half waiting for treatment.” March 31, 2007
“It is troubling that that long ago there was a report somewhere that these issues were festering there.” April 13, 2007
Posted by Lew Waters at 1:19 PM
Posted by Lew Waters at 3:24 PM
This May will see the 50th Anniversary of the Hazel Dell Parade of Bands as school bands, businesses and community groups converge to march through the middle of Hazel Dell, Washington.
This “Golden Jubilee” celebrates the founding of the Parade in 1964, a time of a troubled America ripped apart by a Presidential Assassination, Civil Rights struggle, the Cold War and in need of such a spirit-lifting event.
Nineteen sixty-four also saw a growing involvement 8,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean in the small Asian country of Vietnam that would further divide the American public, with returning Troops met with scorn and derision by a misunderstanding population.
Through it all, people in Southwest Washington put aside different views and joined together briefly to enjoy the yearly parade.
The Vietnam War ended but, but the parade went on, every year over the past 50 years, come rain or shine. Many veterans began taking part in the parades, in part to help alleviate frustration and confusion that grew out of that war.
Veterans in the parade would call on others to come out of the shadows and march proudly alongside other veterans--to show pride in their service and sacrifices made. Some had withdrawn into themselves. A small few troubled by both their war experience and mistreatment upon their return distanced themselves from memories. Some turned to drugs and alcohol and eventually ran afoul of the law.
A lot has changed since 1964 as awareness of veterans has grown. The public has realized that the small number experiencing troubles are worthwhile; and that the public that helped create their problems should help them recover their lives.
But, parades alone cannot accomplish that. It takes the dedication of people like Clark County District Judge Darvin Zimmerman, following the example of Judge Robert Russell who created the “nation’s first veterans treatment court” where instead of jail time for minor infractions of the law, “the veterans [are] required to get mental health or addiction counseling, find jobs, stay clean and sober and get their lives back on track.”
Zimmerman, founding presiding Judge of the Clark County Veterans Court says,
“The Vets Court has had approximately 57 Veterans enter since its start in March of 2011. It has the highest graduation rate of any specialty court in Clark County. More than double most other courts as the Veterans really want to succeed. From a taxpayers viewpoint it is a great deal as the VA has the space and time to do all the treatment for the Vets and therefore the average of $6000.00 set aside for treatment costs in the other courts is not necessary. So one way of looking at it is we save the county $60,000 for every 10 Vets that we treat in Vets Court. Plus treating the Vets as opposed to incarcerating them at $82 a day is a savings too.”When American University evaluated the success of the court they referred to it as being a model court for the nation. Another point of pride is that both Marion County and Multnomah County are modeling their newly started Courts after the Clark County Veterans Court.
|Last year’s prize winning float|
Posted by Lew Waters at 12:12 PM
“Barry Cain’s downtown development is slated to employ over 5,000 people and house 5,000 residents and create buildings that will exist for the foreseeable future.”
“The Tesoro-Savage oil terminal is proposed to employ 250 temporary construction workers and then employ 120 people for the 10 year lease or until the Bakken is pumped dry, whichever comes first?”
“Can anyone else do the math? If not here are the numbers.”
“Downtown development employees”
“$7.25 an hour equals $15,080 a year times 5,000 employees equals $75,400,000 per year combined income.”
“$50,000 a year times 120 employees equals $6,000,000 per year combined income.”
Posted by Lew Waters at 5:18 PM
Posted by Lew Waters at 2:04 PM
It was a typically warm Friday afternoon in Hollywood, Florida as the students of South Broward High School filed into the bleachers in the football field around 1:30 in the afternoon for a pep rally.
We were released from class early for the pep rally as there was an important Basketball game scheduled that evening with our across town rivals from MacArthur High School and the principal wanted us to be charged up for a win.
South Broward was a pretty large school, even back in 1963, making me, a 15-year old sophomore one of just under 3,000 students’ enrolled sitting in the bleachers.
All of us were excited, classes were let out early for the Pep Rally, we had a weekend of fun facing us since we lived so close to the beach, just over one mile away.
To us, the world was at peace. Castro’s Revolution in Cuba, a little over 200 miles south of us had been over, the Bay of Pigs invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 were behind us. Civil Rights demonstrations were popping up on TV occasionally, but they were far north of us and even though we too were segregated then, racial unrest seemed to be for others in the south, not us.
Few people had heard of Vietnam and the Berlin Wall, even though fairly new, was thousands of miles away.
As typical teenagers, we didn’t have a care in the world and were just expecting another weekend of sun and fun in South Florida as we all joked and poked each other in the bleachers as we wondered why the Pep Rally was delayed.
Then Mr. Phares, the Principal came out and instead of leading off the Pep Rally, solemnly informed us all to report immediately to our Home Rooms, not giving us a clue why. So, we emptied the bleachers and headed off to our home rooms.
As we entered our Home Rooms, I couldn’t help but notice that Mrs. Pauline Watkins, my Home Room teacher as well as my World History teacher had been crying. This was her last year teaching as she was retiring at the end of the school year, and even though in her 60’s at the time, she had never seemed emotional to me, so seeing her red, puffy eyes puzzled me, especially given the unexpected announcement of no Pep Rally against our arch rivals.
Mrs. Watkins didn’t say anything other than for us to take our seats. Once seated, she informed us that President John F. Kennedy had been shot in Dallas, Texas just minutes before an asked for all of us to lower our heads and pray for him.
It couldn’t have been a couple minutes later that Mr. Phares announced over the PA system that President Kennedy had died of his wounds and the Basketball game that evening was cancelled.
Mrs. Watkins tears flowed freely and I believe all of us sat there with lumps in our throats at the news as it was just days prior that he had visited Miami, Florida, just 20 miles south.
We learned of assassinations in history, but to have one happen now really threw us all.
Who did it? Our peace was shattered, was it by Castro? The Soviet Union’s Nikita Khrushchev? Were we to end up at war? Were we going to be invaded or see the dreaded nuclear holocaust we grew up in fear of?
No one knew and our young imaginations ran rampant until we got home and our parents were glued to the television sets, all programming on all three networks broadcasting them reporting news on the assassination.
That is all that was on and it didn’t take long for reports of the arrest of Lee Harvey Oswald to be reported, as he was quickly linked to the killing and reports out of both Cuba and the Soviet Union were quick to deny any involvement in the assassination.
The conspiracy theories had not yet surfaced, it was all too fresh and the country was numb, reeling from the shock of it all. There hadn’t been an assassination in 62 years when William McKinley was killed in 1901, when our grandparents were but babies.
Being teenagers, it didn’t take long before we became bored with the repetitive news reports on all stations, all other programming cancelled. Even our favorite AM radio stations were more focused on news of the assassination than playing the top 40 of the time.
The Basketball game was cancelled, but this was South Florida where there seemed to always be something for kids to do, even if just hanging out.
It was long before my two closest buddies of the time, Dennis and Corky, stopped by, also bored and wanting to get out of the house. We walked around town looking for others, but it was almost eerie, businesses closed, lights turned off all up and down the main street.
Unlike other Friday nights, there were few cars out and about.
We headed to the Arnold Palmer Putter Golf course and it was closed, lights off. Same with the trampoline court next door, lights off and gate locked.
We walked to the Ice Cream Parlor kids often hung out at and it was also closed.
Even the hamburger driven-in, usually hopping on Friday nights, was closed.
We walked around for a couple more hours and finding nothing open, bid each other goodnight and headed off to our individual homes as curfew was coming soon.
While largely taken for granted today, television for 24 hours was very odd to us back then. And even though television broadcast all night through the weekend, all that was on was news of the assassination and Kennedy’s life.
Camelot was being born as his short administration became a mythical time that it really never was.
We saw as Air Force One off-loaded his casket into a hearse. We witnessed Lyndon Johnson being sworn in as President, Jackie Kennedy standing next to him with her husband’s blood still on her jacket, dress and gloves. We watched as Oswald and his rifle was paraded and scenes of the “sniper’s nest” were broadcast. On Sunday, we saw him also be shot by Jack Ruby, dying shortly after.
By Monday, schools across the country were closed as the hastily assembled funeral was also broadcast, the country laying President Kennedy to rest in Arlington Cemetery and the eternal flame lit, even before it was fully constructed.
Looking back 50 years ago, November 22, 1963, we seemed to have lost our innocence, or at least the perception we had of innocence.
The decade was to become the most turbulent one in history, racked with race riots, more assassinations as Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, JFK’s brother were also to be gunned down before the decade ended.
Racial unrest exploded across the south and even up north in Chicago and Boston, also in Los Angeles as the Watts riots exploded in 1965.
Vietnam quickly escalated as did the anti-war faction that began opposing not just the war, but those of us sent off to fight it.
College campuses saw a great deal of student unrest that I can’t recall ever hearing of before.
We will never know if it would have been different had Kennedy lived or even if he would have had a second term in office.
We will never know if he would have been able to quell much of the violence we all witnessed or if he would have pulled us out of Vietnam before it became the quagmire it did. All of that will remain idle speculation, each individual imagining for themselves how it would have been.
Did the assassination of Kennedy have anything to do with the way the decade of the 1960’s turned out?
Is there any merit in any of the multitude of conspiracy theories still being debated today, 50 years later?
All of that too will likely never be known, at least not in our lifetimes.
But all I do know, that one weekend, everything seemed to stop in America. We were ripe for invasion if any enemy had a mind to. Luckily, none did.
But something happened then and life as we knew it seemed to be forever changed.
And, I can’t say for the better.
Posted by Lew Waters at 1:30 AM
The nation’s founders understood that those in power might believe rules don’t apply to them. That’s why they put in place a democracy that preserves our rights and freedoms through checks and balances. These checks and balances protect mainstream values by preventing one party from arrogantly imposing its extreme views on the nation.You can read or copy the 11-page speech in full here
The Constitution grants the President a check on Congress by allowing him to veto any measure that he believes crosses the line.
Throughout our history, the Senate, has structured its processes to reflect its unique powers. For such irreversible steps as conferring lifetime judicial authority, it has given its minority the ability to protect our republic from the combined tyranny of a willful Executive Branch and an equally willful and like-minded small majority of Senators. Thus we allow the minority to speak as long as necessary to stimulate debate and compromise, and to prevent actions that threaten the balance of powers, or seriously offend a substantial minority of Senators.
In these circumstances, we Senators have not only the right, but the obligation, to use every power at our disposal, within the Senate’s rules and traditions, to focus the attention of the Senate and the nation, and ultimately the President, on the overreaching abuse of power by the White House and the Republican majority. That’s what our Senate powers and our Senate rules are meant to do. That’s what checks and balances are all about. That’s why the filibuster exists.-----
In short, neither the Constitution, nor Senate Rules, nor Senate precedents, nor American history, provide any justification for selectively nullifying the use of the filibuster. Equally important, neither the Constitution nor the Rules nor the precedents nor history provide any permissible means for a bare majority of the Senate to take that radical step without breaking or ignoring clear provisions of applicable Senate Rules and unquestioned precedents.
Fortunately, the vast majority of Americans’ share our commitment to basic fairness. They agree that there must be fair rules, that we should not unilaterally abandon or break those rules in the middle of the game, and that we should protect the minority’s rights in the Senate.
Posted by Lew Waters at 4:14 PM
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Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never, in nothing, great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. - Winston Churchill
“A veteran - whether active duty, retired, national guard, or reserve - is someone who, at one point in his or her life, wrote a blank check made payable to The 'United States of America', for an amount of 'up to and including my life.'” (Author unknown)
I stood up, I showed up, I stepped forward. I raised my right hand, I stood in the gap, I walked in the fire. I did not run, I did not hide, I did not dodge, I did not evade.
I have nothing to prove, no one to convince, those who matter, already know. Those who don't, never will. (Author Unknown)
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