Tuesday, February 20

Trump Parade

Letters to the Editor (Published February 20, 2018)
The Post & Courier
Charleston SC

Dear Editor

We can assume that somewhere in the Pentagon some field grade officers are hard at work on “the parade” President Trump said he wanted.

This is not a good idea for the United States.  We do not need a parade to entertain or convince our citizens, or the world, we are the most powerful nation on earth. 

Consider also, for example, how unlikely we would compare to India’s celebration of Republic Day on January 26. According to one account, Prime Minister Modi and his 10 chief guests, the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asia Nations, watched an hourlong parade of a “mishmash of tanks, marching sailors in spats, kilted bagpipers, female motorcycle daredevils, camels, ballistic missiles, dancing school children, and a tableaux representing such abstract concepts as ethical taxpaying.”


/s/ Francis X Archibald

Monday, February 19

A good day in February

Sunday, February 18, 2018

This was a good day for me. In the morning I put on a suit I have only worn four times since I retired in 1993. The first was for my wife Mary’s funeral in 2010, then my marriage to Joyce in 2013, and since then a friend’s wedding, and the funeral of another friend. In fact, I found a religious service memorial card in the inside pocket from the funeral.

When I went to brunch I felt the suit was too big for me to wear comfortably at dinner in the evening. So I took it off and wore some slacks and a  sport coat to the evening dinner. 

This was the annual dinner for the poker players’ wives at Frankie at Seaside. We had as our guests the wives of deceased poker players, and Franke Manager, Mark Lee and his wife Barbara. We had close to 60 people at the dinner. It was a special affair and the food and service was top of the line. I was the MC and told several humorous stories and one-liners. (Received several favorable comments afterward.) We raffled off bottles of wine and boxes of chocolates and every lady present got something to take home. It was a wonderful night and I thoroughly enjoyed. I also felt better with regard to my clothing.

I have another suit similar to the one I had on this morning which I also bought back in the 1980s when I served in the South Carolina House of Representatives. The suits have not gotten much use since I retired in 1993. I intend to try that on and if it fits like the first one I will donate them to Goodwill or Habitat for Humanity. 

Thursday, January 25

An ice pick in your brain

How would you like to have an ice pick stuck in your brain? 
Would your feelings change if you were a lobster? 
Would it make a difference if you lived in Switzerland?

Image result for picture of a lobster

Of course, if you were a lobster you couldn’t answer those questions. But fear not, Swiss authorities have answered for you and beginning on March 1 a lobster cannot be dropped into a pot of boiling water until it has been knocked unconscious with electric shock or had its brain destroyed with an ice pick or a knife.

The Swiss, like New Zealanders, believe lobsters have feelings like humans. There is no scientific evidence to support this assumption, but like so many other things people speculate. This is why we have movements to save the whales, save the snails and don’t cut puppy dog tails.

It is harmless to let the Swiss and New Zealanders have such thoughts.  After all look at some of the strange ideas and thoughts we have in the United States.  

At this point, for example, you can pick and choose any of the weird things President Trump has said since the election in 2016. The Washington Post has compiled a list anyone may choose from. 

Click here for the complete blog.

Wednesday, January 17

"serve the governed, not the governors."

I saw the movie, The Post, and highly recommend it. This Steven Spielberg film, starring Meryl Streep (Kathryn Graham) and Tom Hanks (Ben Bradlee), is a fascinating tale of the right of the people to know what its government has done. Graham and Bradlee put their careers on the line and faced possible prison time.

In 1971, The New York Times and The Washington Post were publishing the Pentagon Papers, a massive cover-up of government secrets that spanned three decades and four U.S. Presidents. The study, commissioned by the Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, conducted by the Department of Defense, covered thirty years of history about how we got involved and what we had done in Vietnam. The study was classified Top Secret. Daniel Ellsberg worked on the study and ultimately leaked it to the newspapers.

The Nixon administration citing national security sought and got injunctions in lower courts against publication. The U.S. Supreme Court in a 6-3 decision ruled otherwise. 

Justice Hugo Black, often regarded as a leading defender of First Amendment rights such as the freedom of speech and of the press, refused to accept the doctrine that the freedom of speech could be curtailed on national security grounds. Thus, in New York Times Co. v. United States (1971), he voted to allow newspapers to publish the Pentagon Papers despite the Nixon Administration's contention that publication would have security implications. In his concurring opinion, Black stated,
In the First Amendment the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors. The Government's power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government. The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government. [...] The word 'security' is a broad, vague generality whose contours should not be invoked to abrogate the fundamental law embodied in the First Amendment.
— New York Times Co. v. United States, 403 U.S. 713, 717 (1971).

Friday, January 5

Friday, January 5, 2018

Friday, January 5, 2018

I ventured out of doors today for the first time since Tuesday. First, the rain, then the snow and the below freezing temperatures kept me inside my apartment. I have lived in South Carolina since 1959, and cannot recall any other three days where the weather was so inhospitable.

The streets in my apartment complex are still hazardous with snow and ice. The public streets were better, except where tall trees kept the sun from melting the snow and ice on the streets. The major highways, US 17 and I-26, were much more favorable with only a little snow along the edges and against curbing. Most of the roads were still damp with water.

I stopped complaining about the monthly rental cost when I opened my garage and did not have to scrape ice off the windshield or snow off the roof, hood or trunk of my Lexus. Many of my neighbors who park out in the open have done so and some have still to do it.

As I rode on my journey I saw automobiles with snow still packed on the roof and one pick-up truck had a couple of inches of snow covering the entire plastic liner in the back of the truck. I wondered if the driver was taking this somewhere to show someone, or just didn’t have the time to shovel/sweep out his bed truck. Maybe it was too cold to bother. 

On I-26, a car ahead of me shed its roof of accumulated snow unexpectedly and caused several other drivers to slow down. Only on one spot on US 17 did my car slide on ice for a moment while driving home late in the afternoon.

I got where I wanted to go, did my shopping, and got home safely. Then I read in The New York Times that the real feel temperature in a park in New Hampshire tonight is going to be minus 100 degrees.

When my sister moved East from California last year she settled in Rhode Island. When we asked why she did not go to New Hampshire where her daughter lived she said, “Oh, it’s too cold in New Hampshire.” Who knew 50 years in California would make one so intelligent? 

Wednesday, January 3

Archburger and The Bridge

I was not consulted. I did not get a memo, a phone call, a comment on my Facebook page or a Tweet. The news came to me this morning as a total surprise while I was on my first cup of coffee and my second slice of cinnamon raisin toast ladled with peanut butter. 

A three-paragraph article inside the business section of the local newspaper reported McDonald’s “says it is using fresh beef in another 🍔, the latest test by the chain to swap out frozen beef as it seeks to improve the image of its food.”

The new burger, being tested in seven stores in Tulsa, OK, is named…drum roll, please, the Archburger.

McDonald’s did not ask if they could attach my nickname to fresh meat intended to be sold all over the world. Nevertheless, I hope the Archburger catches on, it would be embarrassing to have one’s name and reputation attached to a fast food flop. 


Moving on to the Letters to the Editor of  The Post & Courier (Jan. 3, 2018) was my:

Letter to the Editor
The Post & Courier

Dear Sir:

Over the weekend I drove I-526 from Mt. Pleasant to West Ashley. As I approached North Charleston a blue bar appeared on the horizon and I had one of those ‘what’s this’ moments. 
As I got closer I realized it was the Don Holt bridge painted a magnificent, light blue from one end to the other. I have never seen a prettier bridge.
Kudos to the SC Highway Department and the contractors who, thinking outside the box,  rejected the traditional silver and grey paint used on bridges and chose instead this bright, warm and friendly blue. Magnificent!

Sunday, December 31

Welcome to the NewYear

Fireworks have been fired off for about 15 minutes somewhere near my apartment in midtown Mt. Pleasant, S.C. I suspect from the brilliant flashes in the sky and the noise this is an organized event by the government or some organization. In any event, it is a celebratory prelude to the coming of the New Year.
I wish 2018 is an even better year than 2017; that as a Nation we enjoy peace, prosperity, and mutual respect for one another; that as persons we will live in good health, and enjoy the benefits and pleasures offered by families, friends, jobs, schools, and fresh opportunities. 

Welcome, 2018!