Military readiness report raises serious concerns

I read this NBC News article today, U.S. military in ‘crisis,’ could lose a war to Russia and China, report warns,

which strikes a pretty ominous tone:

“U.S. military superiority is no longer assured and the implications for American interests and American security are severe,” said the report, which was issued by the National Defense Strategy Commission, an independent agency whose board is appointed by the House and Senate Armed Services committees.

The report concludes that the Defense Department isn’t financially or strategically set up to wage two wars at once and could even lose a war against China or Russia individually.

“The U.S. military could suffer unacceptably high casualties and loss of major capital assets in its next conflict,” it said.”

For easy access, the 116-page report is embedded on the page of the article.

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Veterans Day thoughts

“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”   — Dale Carnegie

November 11th is Veterans Day.  All day today, I thought about writing a blog post, but instead I worked on some craft stuff, tweeted a bit (to my regret) and I moped around thinking about my mother.  Twitter got me riled, because of the endless Trump spin hysteria about Trump not attending a WWI ceremony yesterday.  By the time John Kerry was tweeting, attacking President Trump, I lost it and tweeted about Kerry’s foreign policy failure with Kerry thanking Iran for releasing our sailors they had captured and then Iran turned around and released demoralizing propaganda videos and photos of our sailors.  Kerry and the mainstream media went with the White House spin that it was new era in diplomacy and a great ending…

For someone like me, who finds President Trump’s conduct totally unacceptable much of the time, the way the Dems and media run these hysterical spin attacks, disgusts me more than Trump does.  Of course, President Trump should have attended that WWI ceremony on Saturday, unless he was too ill to attend.  The Dem/media spin feeding frenzy, attacking Trump, continued from Saturday all through today.  I tweeted some comments about how President Trump has a ways to go to match some of the Clinton or Obama outrages when it comes to the military… like Somalia, Benghazi, selling Bergdahl the “war hero” and of course our sailors on their knees.  I believe that is the truth too, but at the same time, yes, I regret tweeting while ticked off and I really wish I had stuck to just ignoring the hysterical spin and tweeting dignified stuff today.  President Trump would do better, if he just ignored the media spin and focused more on doing his job and behaving in a dignified manner. And I, too, need to try to follow my own advice and avoid the mean comments

November 11th was also my late mother’s birthday.  She passed away in 2001, but certain times of the year, the loss becomes painful and raw.  Thankfully, I can remember all of the wonderful things about my mother, like her complete dedication to our family and even smile at how completely organized and disciplined she was about everything she did.  My mother would have been an outstanding drill sergeant in the military.  I’ve written many times about my mother, so for today, I’ll stick to some interesting links I’ve found pertaining to commemorating WWI, which got a lot of media attention this year, with it being the WWI  Centennial Commemoration and also a few other military related links.

The Army Center of Military History put out some fairly short videos (under 15 minutes) on the history of WWI, with a lot of actual photos and film footage:

The UK National Archives has a large collection of war letters, where you can see the actual letter and the text is also provided, so you don’t have to struggle to decipher handwriting. Here’s the link for the WWI collection: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/education/resources/letters-first-world-war-1915/

Nick Gillespie, at Reason wrote, a short piece worth a read:

Instead of Making Today About Trump, Let’s Remember the Dead of World War I

Gillespie’s piece has a link to Rudyard Kipling’s poems, Epitaphs of the War, which speak to the horrors and massive losses of WWI.

At Military.com, Service to This Country: A Lifetime Oath, written by a former Marine Corps veteran, Sean Mclain Brown, struck me as a very personal and heartfelt Veterans Day message, with advice we can all take to heart. Brown writes:

“Marine Corps combat veteran and CEO of Team Rubicon Jake Wood once told me that civilians “don’t understand the culture and daily sacrifices that veterans make” and that it’s our responsibility to help “educate them by sharing our stories.” I agree. We need to move beyond the casual “thank you for your service” and move toward “can you tell me about your service?” to help bridge that gap between the military and civilian worlds.”

And last, at the end of November, last year, I wrote a blog post, “A few leaves of grass” for remembrance, which came to mind thinking about WWI today.  Here’s part of that post:

I keep War Letters:  Extraordinary Correspondence from American Wars, edited by Andrew Carroll, on a small table by my recliner.  A few years ago, I mentioned General Pershing’s famous WWI letter to his young son, Warren, which I came across in this book.   General Pershing’s letter to his son was a father explaining the important values Americans fights to protect and preserve.  It’s probably my favorite letter in the book, but a close second is a letter written in 1918,  by Maude B. Fisher, an American Red Cross nurse.  She penned one of the most touching letters to Mrs. Hogan, the mother of a young soldier, Richard Hogan, who died of influenza in their hospital.  This wonderful nurse took the time to pen a very personal letter, so that a grieving mother would know how her son died.  The letter includes details of how brave and cheerful the dying soldier was, the care he received, and even more than that this nurse wrote the details of the soldier’s burial:

“He was laid to rest in the little cemetery of Commercy, and sleeps under a simple wooden cross among his comrades who, like him, have died for their country.  His grave number is 22, plot 1.  His aluminum identification tag is on the cross , and a similar one around his neck, both bearing his serial number, 2793346.

The plot of the grave in the cemetery where your son is buried was given to the Army for our boys and the people of Commercy will always tend it with loving hands and keep it fresh and clean.  I enclose here a few leaves of grass that grows near in a pretty meadow.

A big hill overshadows that place and the sun was setting behind it just as the Chaplain said the last prayer over your boy.”

page 171, War Letters: Extraordinary Correspondence from American Wars, edited by Andrew Carroll

No one required this nurse to write to this grieving mother, because the Army notified fallen soldiers’ families, but she cared enough to want this mother to have more details.  The book offers a few details about each letter.  Mrs. Hogan lost two of her other children back home in Woburn, Massachusetts, during the 1918 influenza epidemic.  It must have been a great comfort for her to know her son far away was dutifully cared for as he lay dying and that he was given a proper burial.  And imagine her relief knowing exactly where her son was buried.

Thoughtful good deeds, like Maude Fisher’s, used to be very common when most people were reared to put other people before themselves and when quietly doing the right thing was drilled into children and served as the cultural norm

And with that I’ll end this post and hopefully we can all say a prayer tonight for all our brave men and women serving all over the world and for hope to guide our country through these troubled times.

 

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Oh yay, Election Day is here…

Election Day has arrived.  My husband and I went and voted this morning.  There were only a few people at a time trickling in, no line and no wait.  Here in GA, Buddy Carter is my Congressman and I happily voted for him again, but since Trump, I don’t consider myself a Republican anymore and with my conservative views, I assuredly don’t fit in the Democratic Party.  I also don’t fit in the Libertarian Party or any other fringe political groups.  So, I guess I’m an Independent.

The GA race for governor has been one of the most contentious in the country and I left my ballot blank for governor,  just like I did in 2016 with the Hillary or Trump choice.  Stacey Abrams lost me completely the more she talked about her views.  She started off sounding more centrist, but as her campaign went on she moved to very progressive left positions.  Aside from her rise in GA politics, Abrams has several published romance novels, which won her some popularity points with me, of course, but still her progressive ideas sound like lots more government spending on lots more government programs.

Brian Kemp, the Republican candidate, well, he lost me with that first asinine campaign ad pointing a gun at his daughter’s date, plus the whole overplayed “Good ‘Ol Boy” schtick and on top of that he added jackass Trumpian wannabe antics.   He went from losing my vote to earning my ire with how he handled the Democratic concerns (read that as largely fear mongering effort) about voter suppression and then, with his call for FBI assistance to investigate the Democratic Party of GA.  Being on the ballot himself,  he obviously has a giant conflict of interest in any state voting issues in this election and he should have stepped down as Secretary of State or recused himself.  Definitely not rocket science here, that the ethical thing to do as Secretary of State of  GA would be step aside when you stand to gain or lose depending on the election in question. Instead, just like his idol, President Trump, he chose to feed his political enemies free ammo.

On predictions for the House and Senate, well, I have none, other than the sure bet that before the dust even settles on these midterms, both parties and the media will leap full throttle into 2020 hype and hysteria, all centered on President Donald J. Trump.  He now lives rent free in just about every politico’s head.  No matter what the issue, somehow Trump will be a factor.

Oh, and one more midterm prediction.  Hillary will be back in full force making her presence felt among 2020 Democrat hopefuls. Unlike so many others, who have written her off, I believe she will fight tooth and nail to be the Democratic nominee in 2020.  Truthfully, that’s not much of a prediction, since she already signaled this with the upcoming Bill and Hill cross-country speaking tour and in a recent interview she clearly stated that she wants to be president.

We will remain stuck in the 2016 scorched earth spin war for the foreseeable future.

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Beyond Little Women

On November 1st Brad Thor tweeted, “Happy #NationalAuthorsDay everyone.”  He also attached a quote:

A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.

– Richard Bach

Brad Thor is another author on my “need to read some of his novels” list, since the spy novel genre is one I do enjoy.  Don’t have any explanation for why I haven’t read any of his novels yet, but I’m moving him up on my reading list.

I admire successful writers.  For decades my writing dream has centered on writing historical romance novels, not the usual lofty aspiration of penning the next great American novel.  Of course, since I have yet to apply myself to actually writing any historical romance, my dream assuredly won’t ever come true, lol.  I hesitantly and with great trepidation began writing this blog in 2012 and thus far, that’s the extent of my writing effort.

I also admire great storytellers and I’ve met many entertaining storytellers in my life.  My great-grandmother, with her third grade education and very heavy PA Dutch accent was a gifted storyteller.  As a child I loved to sit and listen to her oft-told stories of  “when I was a young girl” or “life on the farm”.  She had a knack for using her voice to create sound effects to invoke the setting of her story, using her hands as an extension of her voice and a great sense of pacing her stories to hold your interest.  I wish I had jotted down some of her stories.

Sometimes I’ve met wonderful storytellers in doctor’s waiting rooms or even at informal gatherings.  My husband had one group of  friends when he was in the 82nd Airborne, who would often hang out at our house on weekends in the early 1980s.  These three guys would tell stories and jokes, that were more entertaining than whatever movie or show they had  playing on TV in the background.  The more they drank, the more hilarious their stories became, to the point that, me, the only one not drinking, was laughing hysterically like I was the one who was three sheets to the wind.

Last week, while browsing through my hundreds of unread and, um, mostly unopened free classics saved on my kindle, I decided to try Hospital Sketches by Louisa May Alcott.   Alcott based the sketches on her short experience as a Civil War nurse in a makeshift hospital in Washington.  Considering the setting and subject matter, I began reading with a bit of foreboding.  Alcott did relate plenty of heart wrenching scenes, horrific injuries, primitive medical procedures, and the ever-increasing number of deaths, but along with that she added inspirational vignettes, witty observations and hilarious anecdotes.  I didn’t expect to laugh out loud reading about a Civil War hospital.

At only 60 pages, Hospital Sketches is a very quick read, but it’s enough to give you a taste of Alcott’s wicked sense of humor.   Around the Army, I found food was always a hot topic for dissection and ridicule, even though in all honesty I drew the winning ticket in the Army food lottery, during my short time in the Army.  I was sent to Fort Dix, NJ in 1979 for basic training,  My mother understandably, considering she had no familiarity with Army life, beyond TV and movies, worried that I would wither away having to eat horrible food, so she started sending care packages with homemade cookies and such.  I told her to desist, since we weren’t allowed to have that – just our mess hall food.

Actually, my Fort Dix mess hall food, being part of my winning ticket in the Army food lottery, was excellent for institution food.  I kept reassuring my mother in letters and calls that the food is very good and being one who really likes to eat, I had to worry about putting on weight, even in basic training.  When my parents came to Fort Dix for my basic training graduation, there was a food spread in the mess hall for graduates and their families.  My mother’s eyes nearly popped out of her head when she saw a table with desserts and fruit choices replete with a fancy ice sculpture in the middle.  It was really quite impressive.  Fort Dix was where the Army trained Army cooks.  My first duty station in Germany, again, a very good mess hall and luckily for all of us, we even got some hot chow, that was tasty and plentiful,  when we went on field training exercises.

Here’s poor Louisa May Alcott’s recounting of the food during her Civil War nursing experience:

“For a day or two I managed to appear at meals; for the human grub must eat till the butterfly is ready to break loose, and no one had time to come up two flights while it was possible for me to come down. Far be it from me to add another affliction or reproach to that enduring man, the steward; for, compared with his predecessor, he was a horn of plenty; but—I put it to any candid mind—is not the following bill of fare susceptible of improvement, without plunging the nation madly into debt? The three meals were “pretty much of a muchness,” and consisted of beef, evidently put down for the men of ’76; pork, just in from the street; army bread, composed of saw-dust and saleratus; butter, salt as if churned by Lot’s wife; stewed blackberries, so much like preserved cockroaches, that only those devoid of imagination could partake thereof with relish; coffee, mild and muddy; tea, three dried huckleberry leaves to a quart of water—flavored with lime—also animated and unconscious of any approach to clearness. Variety being the spice of life, a small pinch of the article would have been appreciated by the hungry, hard-working sisterhood, one of whom, though accustomed to plain fare, soon found herself reduced to bread and water; having an inborn repugnance to the fat of the land, and the salt of the earth.

Another peculiarity of these hospital meals was the rapidity with which the edibles vanished, and the impossibility of getting a drop or crumb after the usual time. At the first ring of the bell, a general stampede took place; some twenty hungry souls rushed to the dining-room, swept over the table like a swarm of locusts, and left no fragment for any tardy creature who arrived fifteen minutes late. Thinking it of more importance that the patients should be well and comfortably fed, I took my time about my own meals for the first day or two after I came, but was speedily enlightened by Isaac, the black waiter, who bore with me a few times, and then informed me, looking as stern as fate:

“I say, mam, ef you comes so late you can’t have no vittles,—’cause I’m ‘bleeged fer ter git things ready fer de doctors ‘mazin’ spry arter you nusses and folks is done. De gen’lemen don’t kere fer ter wait, no more does I; so you jes’ please ter come at de time, and dere won’t be no frettin’ nowheres.”

It was a new sensation to stand looking at a full table, painfully conscious of one of the vacuums which Nature abhors, and receive orders to right about face, without partaking of the nourishment which your inner woman clamorously demanded. The doctors always fared better than we; and for a moment a desperate impulse prompted me to give them a hint, by walking off with the mutton, or confiscating the pie. But Ike’s eye was on me, and, to my shame be it spoken, I walked meekly away; went dinnerless that day, and that evening went to market, laying in a small stock of crackers, cheese and apples, that my boys might not be neglected, nor myself obliged to bolt solid and liquid dyspepsias, or starve. This plan would have succeeded admirably had not the evil star under which I was born, been in the ascendant during that month, and cast its malign influences even into my “‘umble” larder; for the rats had their dessert off my cheese, the bugs set up housekeeping in my cracker bag, and the apples like all worldly riches, took to themselves wings and flew away; whither no man could tell, though certain black imps might have thrown light upon the matter, had not the plaintiff in the case been loth to add another to the many trials of long-suffering Africa. After this failure I resigned myself to fate, and, remembering that bread was called the staff of life, leaned pretty exclusively upon it; but it proved a broken reed, and I came to the ground after a few weeks of prison fare, varied by an occasional potato or surreptitious sip of milk.”

Alcott, Louisa May. Hospital Sketches (pp. 38-39). . Kindle Edition.

As I was reading this book, it dawned on me that I should be well-versed on Alcott’s writing, considering I bought a 6-volume Louisa May Alcott set, somewhere in the late 70s or early 80s, I think.  Yes, of course I still have the set, but it shames me to admit that I have never read a single one of the books in this set (pictured at the top).

Of course, I googled her bio too, to refresh my memory and see what else I didn’t know about her life and work.  Like many writers and intellectuals of her time, Louisa May Alcott became an ardent abolitionist and early feminist.  Considering necessity compelled Alcott and her sisters to find employment to help the family survive, due to their father’s financial failures, she came by her convictions about fairness in education and work opportunities from a very tough school of hard knocks.  She approached her writing as a means to put food on the table.  Her other jobs included teaching, domestic work, and working as a seamstress.  Her sisters also had to work to help supplement the family income.

Alcott’s rung on the economic ladder sounds very similar to Harriet Beecher Stowe, another of those 19th century female social justice warriors, who seem cut from a more serious mold than so many of our modern version hysterical activists fixated on ridiculous pink pussy hats, online hyperventilating,  and taking to the streets to “raise awareness”  Slavery and women not even able to vote or have much legal footing in any aspect of their lives, including financial matters, education and career opportunities, ring much clearer  as causes for justice than most of our current muddled messages carried by far-left radicals.

Even with her “feminism” Alcott strikes me as a person, who was rebellious by nature and being one of those types myself, I can relate completely to her chagrin at being talked down to or treated like she was a helpless and hapless idiot.  However, here again Alcott describes herself as a pragmatist way more than a committed ideologue. He hilarious description of her fruitless quest to acquire the “free ticket”, required for transport to Washington, to report for her volunteer nursing stint reminded me of many of my own dealings with a situation where it was easier to toss the problem to a man, who cheerfully handled the situation without any fuss.

My situations weren’t difficulties acquiring a “free ticket”, but instead were always car problems that vex me, cause me a lot of anxiety and quite frankly, I don’t want to have to deal with changing tires or oil or doing diagnostics on why the engine is making that bizarre loud sound or God-forbid there’s smoke coming out from under the hood. I prefer to toss all car emergencies to the nice man at the car repair shop or the nice man who stops to take charge of changing my flat tire.  That’s just me.  Here’s Alcott’s feminism meets reality moment, after a day spent running all over the city trying to find the government man who handled doling out “free tickets” for military service transport:

“All in vain: and I mournfully turned my face toward the General’s, feeling that I should be forced to enrich the railroad company after all; when, suddenly, I beheld that admirable young man, brother-in-law Darby Coobiddy, Esq. I arrested him with a burst of news, and wants, and woes, which caused his manly countenance to lose its usual repose. “Oh, my dear boy, I’m going to Washington at five, and I can’t find the free ticket man, and there won’t be time to see Joan, and I’m so tired and cross I don’t know what to do; and will you help me, like a cherub as you are?” “Oh, yes, of course. I know a fellow who will set us right,” responded Darby, mildly excited, and darting into some kind of an office, held counsel with an invisible angel, who sent him out radiant. “All serene. I’ve got him. I’ll see you through the business, and then get Joan from the Dove Cote in time to see you off.”

I’m a woman’s rights woman, and if any man had offered help in the morning, I should have condescendingly refused it, sure that I could do everything as well, if not better, myself. My strong-mindedness had rather abated since then, and I was now quite ready to be a “timid trembler,” if necessary.

Dear me! how easily Darby did it all: he just asked one question, received an answer, tucked me under his arm, and in ten minutes I stood in the presence of Mc K., the Desired.”

Alcott, Louisa May. Hospital Sketches (pp. 8-9). . Kindle Edition.

This post has run on way longer than I intended, so by all means try some of Louisa May Alcott’s writing, beyond Little Women. 

Have a nice day!

 

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Not a single bright spot in this election

Decided to write a short post on the upcoming mid-term elections, since that’s the big news until next Tuesday.  I don’t know if the Republicans will keep or lose control of the House.  Regardless how the election turns out, President Trump’s disgusting antics hyping this Central American migrant caravan heading to the border, along with FOX news’ non-stop agitation propaganda hyping it as some ominous “invasion force” coming to spread destruction and disease,  goes to a new level of Soviet-level propaganda in American media.

For one who thought the Left’s relentless SPIN repetitive messaging information war was the most dangerous propaganda effort in American history, well this latest Trump/FOX  “invasion force” effort has given me a great deal of pause.  It’s hard to believe just a few short weeks ago, the anger I felt about the Dems and mainstream media vicious, orchestrated SPIN character assassination of Brett Kavanaugh had moved me to being a bit more sympathetic toward President Trump.

Leave it to Trump to choose the most divisive, self-destructive path toward ostensibly campaigning for Republican candidates by handing his political enemies a daily super-sized supply of free ammo to use against him and Republicans, that Dems can just kickback and rerun clips of daily streams of Trump bilge.  Trump has managed to sideline the Republican candidates in these races and turn it into all about himself… and the “invasion force”.

President Trump made some bizarre comments on illegal immigration late in the day yesterday.  He keeps hyping the military force he’s ordered to the border to help “repel the invasion force”.  The units being sent are NOT combat units, so all Trump’s hyperbole is just heavy doses of fear mongering to dupe his followers.  He made some comment about the military will shoot back if any migrants throw rocks.  What the military will be doing is working to prevent a humanitarian disaster, they aren’t going to be attacking unarmed migrants.  That FOX news and Trump’s strident pundit mouthpieces cheer on Trump’s saber-rattling is unforgivable.  Funny how so many of these same people would have been screaming bloody murder if any other president was diverting thousands of US troops to the border, when the military struggles to meet its obligations carrying out all the other vital national security missions around the world.  Yet they abandon or talk themselves around to supporting Trump’s morally bankrupt political theater antics every time.  At some point, these people look as pathetic, corrupt and as disgusting as the Democrats they revile.

If Republicans manage to hang on to the House, Trump will proclaim it’s all because of his reprehensible fear mongering and repeating his GOP Insurgent schtick.  If Republicans lose control of the House, rest assured, Trump will take none of the blame.

All that is obvious is Trump has sunk the Republican Party to a level of dishonesty, hypocritical posturing and abhorrent identity politics that rivals the Democratic Party, which leaves America with two totally corrupt parties.  No matter who wins on Tuesday, our political parties will continue to careen toward factionalizing America, to the point of being ungovernable.

There’s not a single bright spot in this election.

Update 11/2/2018:  President Trump walked back his bluster from yesterday asserting US troops would respond with force to migrants who throw rocks at them.  CNN reports:

“When the Trump administration first asked the Pentagon to send troops to the southern border, they wanted them to perform emergency law enforcement functions, CNN has learned.

The Pentagon said no.
According to two defense official familiar with the request, the Department of Homeland Security asked that the Pentagon provide a reserve force that could be called upon to provide “crowd and traffic control” and safeguard Customs and Border Protection personnel at the border to counter a group of Central American migrants walking to the US border to request asylum.
The Pentagon rejected the request on October 26, according to one of the officials, even as it signed off on providing DHS with air and logistics support, medical personnel and engineers.”

 

Also this:

“Defense officials have repeatedly emphasized the troops at the border are there to support civil authorities and that they are not expected to come into any contact with migrants.”

 

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A face worth respect and admiration

This year has been very difficult for me to get blog posts written, despite good intentions. My dearth of writing is a combination of my husband’s daily care takes up more of my time, leaving me emotionally drained many days.  Also, the constant media/Trump hysteria disgust me to the point of total burnout on following the news.  Added to all that, often lately my old problem of sitting down to write, then getting stuck on what to write about strikes, resulting in more time spent talking myself into defeat about my desire to write than I do actually writing.  I keep wondering if anything I write makes even a drop of difference in the vast raging seas of political punditry and commentary.

The question that swirls in my mind lately is does what I write just throw more fuel on our extreme partisanship or does it offer anything informative, positive, or hopeful?  It’s a challenge for me not to write Trump, Dem and media bashing invective

Ordinarily, I’d be totally on board  writing about serious and currently popular cultural topics like civility and rebuilding some common ground, but often I think my cynical son probably has it right when he insists we have the society we deserve and he sees 2016, with two thoroughly corrupt candidates, as the fitting candidates for our “almost too stupid to exist” culture.  Despite being a very Pollyanna-type person, lately I wonder if perhaps he’s right, then I dig in on my Libertybelle American cheerleader beliefs and refuse to surrender to the spreading cultural and political corruption, the disturbing escalating partisan hatred and the chaos resulting from leadership vacuums everywhere I turn.

Negativity aside, I’ve seen some good pieces written on civility and positive advice for our ailing spirit.  Here are the links to a four-part series Carly Fiorina recently wrote.  I had mentioned the first part in a previous blog post and all four are very positive and worth a read:

Carly Fiorina: Between Trump and the media, ‘Who’s Zoomin’ Who?’

Carly Fiorina: It’s never as easy as the politicians think it is

Carly Fiorina: Stop waiting on Washington to fix our problems

Carly Fiorina: Who I’ll vote for this November

The thing I liked about Carly Fiorina as a presidential candidate, was something I consider a very important trait of a good leader – she invested a lot of time and energy into reading up on issues and policies.  She showed up to debates very prepared to debate real issues and policies.  When she gave interviews, she could speak articulately about serious matters and she had a lot of positive ideas.  I will always prefer leaders who display the good character trait of investing a lot of time into studying and preparing when tackling complex issues or taking seriously their duty to any office or position they hold.  During the GOP primary Trump attacked “that face”, but in my book, Carly Fiorina is a face worth respect and admiration.

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Color me totally amazed

Last night I came across an article,The Myth of Whiteness in Classical Sculpture, by Margaret Talbot, at The New Yorker about classical sculpture. This article hit me like a jolt and totally blew apart everything else I had ever thought that I knew about ancient Greek and Roman sculptures:

“Mark Abbe was ambushed by color in 2000, while working on an archeological dig in the ancient Greek city of Aphrodisias, in present-day Turkey. At the time, he was a graduate student at New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts, and, like most people, he thought of Greek and Roman statues as objects of pure white marble. The gods, heroes, and nymphs displayed in museums look that way, as do neoclassical monuments and statuary, from the Jefferson Memorial to the Caesar perched outside his palace in Las Vegas.

Aphrodisias was home to a thriving cadre of high-end artists until the seventh century A.D., when an earthquake caused it to fall into ruin. In 1961, archeologists began systematically excavating the city, storing thousands of sculptural fragments in depots. When Abbe arrived there, several decades later, he started poking around the depots and was astonished to find that many statues had flecks of color: red pigment on lips, black pigment on coils of hair, mirrorlike gilding on limbs. For centuries, archeologists and museum curators had been scrubbing away these traces of color before presenting statues and architectural reliefs to the public.”

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/10/29/the-myth-of-whiteness-in-classical-sculpture?mbid=social_twitter&fbclid=IwAR2a5xZxY36Pzh52QOX8pVG_1aH6atY6TO0hSKsDmRgc4KiylOCoS6-BWTk

There’s a link in this New Yorker article to a touring exhibition, Gods of Color, with lots of photos of statues painted to what is believed to be the original paint colors.

Color me totally amazed at learning this and still reeling at trying to readjust my thinking that the aesthetic value we place on the beauty of classical white marble statues was not how the ancients displayed these statues.

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