Friday, November 10

Terror Suspects

Published Friday, Nov. 10, 2017

Letters to the Editor
The Post & Courier
Charleston, SC

Dear Editor

Marc A. Thiessen’s column (Nov 6) criticizing President Trump for treating terrorists like former President Obama, is truly off the mark and implies the United States would do better to treat these terrorists as “enemy combatants” and send them to Guantanamo, rather than read them their Miranda rights and try them in civilian courts  He wrote this would assist intelligence agencies in gathering data. 

The organization Human Rights First provides reliable information more likely to make Americans sleep better at night. For example, consider just these four points they make: 

(1) Federal civilian criminal courts have convicted more than 620 individuals on terrorism-related charges since 9/11. Military commissions have convicted only eight, three of which have been overturned completely and one partially.

(2) Federal prisons hold hundreds of individuals convicted of terrorism-related offenses. None have ever escaped.

(3) Prosecuting terror suspects before military commissions makes them look like warriors rather than the criminals that they are. As Judge William Young said when sentencing Shoe Bomber Richard Reid, “You’re no warrior….You are a terrorist. A species of criminal guilty of multiple attempted murders.”

(4) Miranda is an effective law enforcement tool that provides valuable information. Phil Mudd, former deputy director of the CIA's Counterterrorist Center and a senior intelligence adviser to the FBI, wrote that he “sat at hundreds of briefing tables for nine years after Sept. 11, 2001, and I can't remember a time when Miranda impeded a decision on whether to pursue an intelligence interview.” 

Monday, October 9

Living long is the best revenge

Last Wednesday a young lady kept her hand in my groin for about 30 minutes. Normally under such circumstances, you would expect some pleasure, but there was none to be had.

It was a nurse who pressed on the inside of my right leg to close a puncture made by my cardiologist who did a heart catheterization to evaluate my heart function. During the procedure, a second stent was put in my heart. 

Dr. Matthew O’Steen also went into my heart through my right wrist but the puncture there was closed with minimal effort.

My heart and Dr. O’Steen are not exactly strangers. He put an earlier stent in some years year ago and I have great confidence in his skills and abilities. 

As we age, it is often one thing or another. As a child, we can’t wait to grow up and when we get older we wish we were younger.  Whoever said a man is “never satisfied” was “spot on.” 

I am pleased to admit to being 86. When I was a child I could not imagine being 65. That was a long way off and “old” in a child’s mind. 

It will take a few weeks to adjust to my procedure and follow-ups with the doctor have been scheduled. Nevertheless, I am optimistic. I am a believer in a comment attributed many years ago to Bette Davis, one of Hollywood's greatest and most ferociously independent actresses, who was born in Lowell, MA., where I was raised: “Living long is the best revenge.”

Wednesday, September 20

"Ring" The Video Doorbell

September 20, 2017

Within hours of my last blog being posted a friend, JH, in Florida, sent me information on a doorbell called “ring.

I was amazed to find this was what my friend who talked from his hospital bed to me standing on his porch about 15 miles away was using. This technology will allow a homeowner traveling in, say, California to talk with and view someone (via his smartphone) on his porch back home in South Carolina. 

This is a great security weapon for homeowners and it comes with a battery pack so it need not be hard-wired at the point of use.  

As a retired security director, I would recommend this product as something to look at for your home or apartment security.

Monday, September 18

From the hospital bed to the front porch

(Note: To protect my friend's name and home I am not using such personal data in this post.)

One night last week I went to a friend's house for a meeting of a group we belong to. It was a nice evening, the sun was moving into the West and I was looking forward to being with friends and exchanging stories about what we did while threatened by Hurricane Irma. I had gone north and visited my son and daughter in law in Virginia. 

When I arrived at my friend's house there were no lights on in the house and no other cars around. I thought this was strange because a couple of people always show up early and help set up the refreshment table. I went to the porch and tried the door. On meeting nights the door is unlocked and you enter, sit on a bench and remove your shoes. The door was locked. 

Hmmm. On the wall to the right of the door was a bell. Beneath the bell was the word "ring." A bit of overkill, I laughed: everybody knows what to do with a bell. I pushed the button and heard a bit of a chime. In a few seconds, my friend said, "Hello."

"Hi, friend. This is Archie and I am outside on the porch and here for the meeting." I assumed my friend was inside and talking to me through a speaker. 
"The meeting was canceled a couple of days ago."
"I've been gone and missed the message."
"I am in the hospital, had a heart attack and am going to be here for a few more days."
"IN THE HOSPITAL, right now? Where?"
"In downtown Charleston."
"You are in a hospital in downtown Charleston, and I am on your porch 15 miles away and we are talking like you are inside the house?"

Did I mention my friend is an electrical engineer?

Sunday, August 20

"Tote that barge"

Published August 20, 2017

August 15, 2017

Letters to the Editor
The Post and Courier
Charleston, SC

Dear Editor,

The Aug. 15 story about the State Ports Authority steaming ahead with new cargo records is a wakeup call to the S.C. congressional delegation to get behind the request of the SPA to federal officials for authority to run a barge capable of moving 1000 freight containers from Wando Terminal across the Cooper River to a rail facility for further transport across America. The P&C reported on this request a couple of weeks ago. 

As the SPA volume increases the risks to all motorists also goes up. Three recent experiences bear this out. I entered I-526 at Hungryneck Boulevard in Mt. Pleasant and headed west. At the next entry point, Long Point Road, six tractor- trailers with containers were coming up the access ramp and entering the westbound traffic on I-526. Three similar containers had just hit their stride on the Interstate.

A day later, I was on I-526 late in the afternoon heading east toward Mt. Pleasant. From the Don Holt bridge onward it looked like every five or six personal vehicles were bracketed by tractor-trailers carrying containers in both west bound lanes. 

Recently, I was on Long Point Road and needed to make a left hand turn. Eleven tractor-trailers carrying cargo containers came from Wando Terminal and blocked my turn before a traffic light further down the road interrupted the flow of traffic and I (and others) could proceed. 

These examples illustrate how the problem of tractor-trailers carry containers will only grow and seriously impact the traffic and vehicular safety in the Mt. Pleasant area. 

Kudos to the SPA for the effort to increase their operations. The SPA brings in money to the state and provides good jobs. 

It is time, however, to start a modern day version of “tote that barge.”


Friday, August 18

Failing as President and Father

Subsequent to the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend of August 12-13, President Trump failed in the moral leadership Americans have the right to expect from their President. 

His failure to outright positively condemn the outrageous behavior of the Nazis, Kluxers, and white supremacists, at Charlottesville which among other tragedies cost the life of an innocent woman and two police officers, has brought criticism from responsible political, business, cultural, and religious leaders, and men and women on the streets across America. And he deserves all of it. 

On top of that he failed as a father and a father-in-law to his daughter Ivanka, who converted to Judaism nine years ago, and her husband Jared Kushner. A Nazi thug was seen in a video criticizing the President for giving “ his beautiful daughter to that Jew.” Mr. Kushner is the son of Holocaust survivors. 

And he failed the memory of Americans who fought and died to rid the world of Nazis. 

President Trump has said frequently how much he admires ‘his Generals'. And he should, the generals serving in his administration have rendered outstanding service to the country, some over 40 years.  

At the same time, he ought to remember the 177,100 Americans who died from battle casualties fighting the Nazis in Africa, the Middle East, the Caribbean, the South Atlantic and Europe. These Americans gave their lives so we who live today in this great Nation can enjoy our freedom and liberties, and don’t have to learn German. 

James Murdoch, the Chief Executive of 21st Century Fox and the son of Rupert Murdoch, a frequent ally of President Trump, summed it up most eloquently in an email sent Thursday, August 17, 2017, to “Friends.” He wrote:

“These events remind us all why vigilance against hate and bigotry is an eternal obligation — a necessary discipline for the preservation of our way of life and our ideals. The presence of hate in our society was appallingly laid bare as we watched swastikas brandished on the streets of Charlottesville and acts of brutal terrorism and violence perpetrated by a racist mob. I can’t even believe I have to write this: standing up to Nazis is essential; there are no good Nazis. Or Klansmen, or terrorists. Democrats, Republicans, and others must all agree on this, and it compromises nothing for them to do so.” (My emphasis.)

Mr. Murdoch in the same email said he and his wife were donating a $1,000.000 to the Anti-Defamation League. (Correction: An early edition said the gift was to the ACLU.)

Tuesday, August 15

The day got better

August 15, 2017 - 

Monday did not begin on a good note. It would be later in the day before President Trump - coming late to the party - called out the alt-right Kluxers, white nationalists,  neo-fascists and other bigots reportedly yelling “Russia is our friend,” for their atrocious acts at Charlottesville two days earlier. 

Then I went for an early walk and it turned hot real fast. Next on the list was an appointment with the dermatologist. Among many men this is the second least favorite medical necessity, being dreaded only by a visit to the proctologist. 

The dermo doc looked me over good, froze a couple of spots (that hurts) and biopsied one. I left there wondering what else could go wrong. Would North Korea fire a nuclear-armed missile? 

Right then and there I decided I needed a treat of some sort and, strangely enough, a pedicure and manicure topped the list. So on I went to Nails and Spa. A friendly beautician from Saigon, named Le, took me by the foot and got started. 

“I had no idea how much it would tingle when my feet were soaked in ankle-deep warm water. The pleasant feeling of skilled hands carefully rubbing each foot. The pulsating tickle, like a feather carefully tracing my toes, arches, and heels,” This was also my experience. 

When she finished I decided a pedicure would be a continuing experience for me. About 25% of American men get a pedicure regularly and I decided to join that number.I am tired of having to use long-handled hedge clippers to do my toe nails. 

The manicure also went well and I left a happy man. My outlook was picking up. In the interest of fairness, I posted President Trump’s press performance earlier in the day on my Facebook page and was heartened by statements of the Generals that war with North Korea was not imminent. 

Later in the day, I confided in a lady I favor about my day and asked her not to laugh at my pedicure and manicure. To her credit, she wrote: “I think your manicure and pedicure is wonderful.  Relaxing, healthy and nails all look nice.”

So the day turned better as the evening came on and all is good with my world.