Another guy, another chair, another view

August 31, 2012

Big Oopsdate:  Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub fell victim to a photo hoax.  The image below was modified from the “Simpsons” episode;  see story of hoax here.

Turns out this chair is occupied

August 31, 2012

Turns out this chair is occupied.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Luke Adams and Twitter, and to Clint Eastwood.

Also, I’ll wager that photo should have got a credit line to one of the White House photographers, probably Pete Souza.

Non-virtual world interference in the summer of 2012

August 30, 2012

Posting here takes hits every day from real world interference.  That interference will continue.

And it’s a pretty bad backlog.  I have stuff cued up, but needing editing, from stuff I saw in June.  Since June 1st I traveled by SUV from Texas to Wisconsin, and back, by air to Washington, D.C., and by car from Dallas to Colorado Springs and back.  I have not tallied how many states.

Winston Churchill's "Sinews of Peace"...

Winston Churchill’s “Sinews of Peace” speech was delivered at Fulton, Missouri, in 1946. This famous photo of Churchill by Yousuf Karsh, earlier.

We saw and purchased parts of the Berlin Wall, in Appleton, Wisconsin, where a mockup of eight panels of the wall cut into a work of art by Winston Churchill’s granddaughter caught tourists’ eyes at the Trout Museum of Art, along with a display of Winston Churchill’s art — stuff he made, and stuff made about him.  With younger son James I drove to Fulton, Missouri, to see the actual chunks of the Berlin Wall at the Churchill Center in America.  A couple of weeks later I stood stunned by even more parts of the Berlin Wall, and one of the guard towers, at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

[Nota bene:  “The Art of Winston Churchill” was extended through Septermber 7 at the Trout Museum of Art; if you’re near Appleton, Wisconsin, go.]

We lucked into a tour of the museum at Fulton, the National Churchill Museum on the Churchill Center, which is housed under the oldest European building standing in America.  That building is a church originally built in about 1100 A.D., rescued by Sir Christopher Wren after the Great London Fire, bombed out with Nazi incendiary devices in the Battle of Britain, and then disassembled in London and reassembled and gloriously restored in Fulton, at the Churchill Center, near the site of Churchill’s 1946 “Iron Curtain” speech at Westminster College, as part of the American tribute to the Great Winston.

Between Appleton and Fulton, we stopped  in Springfield, Illinois, to visit the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.  It’s a stop I’ve made several times, including for seminars with the Bill of Rights Institute and Liberty Fund.  This time we drove to Lincoln’s tomb.  I had not realized that one could enter the tomb.  A bronze cast of Borglum’s  Lincoln bust stands in front of the tomb — Abe’s nose rubbed shiny by tens of thousands of touches.  Borglum’s bust remains one of my favorite sculptures.  The version in the U.S. Capitol, I discovered a few days later, has been moved from the grand view in the Rotunda, to the crypt below (replaced by a grinning, glad-handing Ronald Reagan!).  In the Capitol, no one is allowed to touch Abe’s nose.

In Washington I discovered that the statue of Eleanor Roosevelt at the FDR Memorial is much less guarded.  People there touch her hands.  FDR sits — in his wheelchair — a few yards away, with a much-larger-than-life statue of his fabled dog Fala.  It’s Fala’s ears that get the touches there.

A half mile away, the Korean War Memorial features nearly a score of bronze soldiers on patrol on a cold Korean morning.   Not in the original design, a small fence surrounds the patrol, enough of a barrier to keep people from walking up to the actual men portrayed and touching them — the Korean War Memorial was not designed for public interaction with statues that way.  Another hundred yards at the Vietnam War Memorial, and it’s difficult to find anyone who visits who does not touch the wall of names, 58,000 dead.

These memorials, if not touching themselves, certainly invite touching, and are touched.

In Colorado we camped with a Boy Scout troop from Aurora , Colorado — our camp included the night of the horrible shootings in Aurora.  That week saw an unusual, three-way swing of good deeds involving Scouts from Aurora, Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Hurst, Texas, which I believe has not yet been told.    On the way to Colorado we stopped at the Oklahoma City Memorial to the victims of the bombing there; on the return, we visited Cadillac Ranch with what seemed like a hundred Kiwis and Aussies exploring our grand Route 66 — have you made that drive? — and the Kwahadi Indian Dancers who bravely revived the Ghost Dance, somehow without earning the ire of the 7th Cavalry.

A lot of asphalt under the wheels, a lot of clouds under the wings — but not a job under my belt.  I’ll post what I can, but other issues take time, as you might understand.


Leaking of GOP ignorance threatens to turn into a flood

August 28, 2012

My GOP friends tried to say that Todd Akin’s odd views on  pregnancy and rape are a brand of stupid unique to him.  ‘Don’t think all Republicans are that ignorant,’ they said.

Hey, I worked with Republicans and in the Republican Party for years.  I know a lot of bright, intelligent Republicans.

Most of them couldn’t get through the door of the  party these days, if they didn’t already have elected or appointed posts.  Many Republidans come well-acquainted with libraries, books, critical thinking  and an appreciation of art and literature, and at least a rudimentary understanding of science — but alas, they and their views are being smothered by the chuckleheads in the party.

When the Akin flap broke, we were all saddened to learn that he had carried some of those odd views for several years, and that Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and the entire Texas Republican delegation in the House of Representatives joined with Akin last February to try to change the legal definition of rape to match Akin’s views.  How embarrassing, not just to be caught, but to have done that stuff in the first place.

“Aberration,” the Republicans said.

Pennsylvania GOP candidate for U.S. Senate Tom Smith

Pennsylvania GOP candidate for U.S. Senate Tom Smith told reporters pregnancy from rape is about the same as pregnancy from an out-of-wedlock affair. Photo from Tom Smith campaign

Don’t look now, but that trickle from the dam holding back the stupid swelled to a stream, and it’s threatening to erode the dam and unleash all the stupid behind it.

I refer you to the odd and disgusting case of Pennsylvania Republican Tom Smith, the GOP hope to defeat Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, reported in the New York Daily News:

Pennsylvania Senate hopeful Tom Smith sparked controversy Monday after he compared a pregnancy resulting from rape to “having a baby out-of-wedlock” – days after Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) shocked many by claiming that “legitimate rape” doesn’t lead to pregnancy.

Smith tried to distance himself from Akin’s comments at the Pennsylvania Press Club in Harrisburg, saying that the congressman “should have never said anything like that,” the Harrisburg Patriot-News reported.

But when a reporter asked him what he would do if one of his daughters or granddaughters became pregnant as a result of rape, he said that he had “lived something similar to that with [his] own family,” referring to his daughter’s “out-of-wedlock” pregnancy from consensual sex.

“She chose life, and I commend her for that,” Smith said. “She knew my views but fortunately for me … she chose the way I thought. Now don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t rape.”

When pressed by another reporter, the 66-year-old reiterated the comparison of his daughter’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy to becoming pregnant from rape.

“Put yourself in a father’s position. Yes, it is similar,” he said.

Smith, who is running against incumbent Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) in November, later clarified his statements at the same event.

“No … I said I went through a situation [with a daughter]. It’s very, very difficult,” Smith said. “But do I condone rape? Absolutely not. But do I propose life, yes I do. I’m pro-life, period.”

Steve Forbes endorses the odd Tom Smith

Steve Forbes endorses Tom Smith? The scary question is whether Forbes bothered to learn Smith’s views, or did he perhaps endorse Smith knowing about Smith’s odd views, and hoping Smith would push them in Washngton? Smith campaign image.

One might wonder if the real reason the GOP cut their convention short was to prevent more leaks of the truth about their candidates views and odd positions on issues.  Cutbacks in news departments and the shrinking news holes in most newspapers could be partly to blame for these late-breaking stories of stupid.  Generally news stories expose gross ignorance and patent stupidity in primary campaigns, and voters of the parties vote away candidates who hold extreme, bizarre, dangerous or silly views.  News organizations don’t have the staff to expose these things early, and they get exposed late only on a catch-as-catch-can basis.

But there is a very real danger that some people with money are pushing these candidates because of their odd views.  In Texas, Tea Party courtesan Ted Cruz defeated a well-known candidate for the U.S. Senate nomination, and part of his appeal may be his odd views that the United Nations is trying to seize U.S. golf courses.  Democrat Paul Sadler faces an uphill battle even in Texas where Cruz’s friends in oil pipelines are seizing private farm and ranch land.  Cruz claims to fight against an imaginary problem, but he lets the real problems roll right over Texans.

A wise voter without a lot of time to study in depth the views of candidates might be compelled to vote Democratic straight tickets as the safest thing to do, even with a few odd views among Democrats.

How many more?   How many other odd, divorced-from-reality views have residence in the penthouses of the Republican mansion?  Waiting for one more shoe to drop would be bad enough — ignorance in the GOP seems to be a centipede with dozens of shoes.


Myanmar freedom of the press? Progress, but not there yet

August 26, 2012

English: Burma (Myanmar) (dark green) / ASEAN ...

Burma (Myanmar) (dark green) / ASEAN (dark grey) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Economist carries the good news, with the sober warning that press freedom remains beyond the grasp of Myanmar journalists:

But as part of a wider reform programme introduced by President Thein Sein, the old media rules have gradually been relaxed. For several months many editors have no longer been required to submit articles for prepublication censorship on such subjects as the economy. The latest announcement removes the need to submit articles on more sensitive topics, such as politics or Myanmar’s ethnic conflicts.

The country’s journalists welcome the news, but they also give warning that this by no means ends restrictions on press freedom. These remain numerous and burdensome. In particular, two bits of repressive legislation remain: the Printers and Publishers Registration Act, dating from the start of military rule in 1962, and the 2004 Electronic Transactions Law. Under the first, publications can lose their licences if they supposedly harm the reputation of a government department, threaten peace and security, and much else. Under the second, a person can be imprisoned for up to 15 years for distributing via the internet information that the courts deem harmful to the state. Meanwhile, the censor board itself seems likely to remain in business, ready to punish reporters or editors who overstep the mark.

But, good news is good news, yes?  See the entire article at The Economist.

Agenda 21: In graphic novel form, so it must be the truth

August 23, 2012

What is Agenda 21?  It’s a program at the United Nations to work on economic development, sustainable development, environmental protection, resource conservation and economic policies.  As with almost all UN programs, Agenda 21 pronouncements are wholly voluntary.

Several international programs create studies and make recommendations to nations — but unless they come from the World Bank or International Monetary Fund along with loans to help nations develop, such recommendations remain mostly academic:  Nations follow them only to the extent that a nation’s policy-making groups (like Congress in the U.S.) are persuaded that the recommended policies benefit the nation.

For reasons unclear to me the wacky wing of the crazy right seized upon Agenda 21 as the symbol of most things evil in the world, especially since we don’t have the Soviet Union to blame stuff on any more.

Grist featured a graphic-novel-style explanation of Agenda 21, so you can follow the issues as they arise at the 2012 Republican Convention:  Agenda 21: Everything you need to know about the secret U.N. plot, in one comic.  Here is the entire post:

Agenda 21: It’s the biggest threat to your freedom, and unless you regularly attend yahoo-filled local planning and zoning meetings, you’ve probably never even heard of it. Until recently, this vast United Nations conspiracy to force us all to live “sustainably” was known only to stalwart defenders of Liberty and Freedom like the John Birch Society. But the underground resistance is about to go mainstream. GOP intellectual it boy Ted Cruz leads the counterstrike, and the Republican Party is even considering a public flambéing of Agenda 21in its official 2012 platform.

Looking to help break the siege of bike paths and high-quality education on our freedoms? Here’s what you’ll need to know.

First panel, Agenda 21 graphic documentary from Grist

Panel 1

Concocted by the U.N. during the 1992 Earth Summit and signed by the 1st President Bush ... in the dark of the night!

Panel 2

A comprehensive plan of extreme environmentalism, social engineering and global political control, Agenda 21 is being covertly pushed into local communities!

Panel 3

If implemented, Agenda 21 would wreak unspeakable havoc on the American way of life!

Panel 4

Imagine what our lives would be like under this Reign Of Terror!

Panel 5

Happily, there is a bright spot in this dark cloud! Shortly after the Earth Summit, the United States forgot Agenda 21 even existed!

Panel 6

This paranoid fantasy has been brought to you by: The Republican National Committee, The Water Fluoridators, The Gub'ment Mind Jockeys, and the evil elves that live in your walls!!!

Panel 7

Tip of the old scrub brush to Grist, and Charles Nesci and especially Greg Hanscom, the cartoonist.  Hanscom is a “senior editor at Grist. He tweets about cities, bikes, transportation, policy, and sustainability at @ghanscom.”

More (not a lot from sane sources on this topic):

More, a sampling from sources without hinges (a small selection):

Already! Season two, “These Guys”

August 22, 2012

Louie Ludwig is a genius.  Does he write speeches for Texas candidates for the U.S. Senate, maybe?  Paul Sadler, are you watching?

These Guys Season 2: The Lieutenant
So the new guy thinks he’s such a tough guy? When he can’t even stand up to these guys?

Louie Ludwig is the creator of this ad and is solely responsible for its content.

Music: “The Man with No Point” from the album “Private Islands”
copyright 2008 Louie Ludwig/zzi music ISRC USWGE1100208

Video/images: Louie Ludwig, Gage Skidmore, AP, Sage Ross, DB King, Russian Presidential Press and Information Office, Voice of America
More music and video at

This one’s good: “Previously, on ‘These Guys'”

August 22, 2012

You want these guys back? Whaddaya, crazy?
A bleeped, safe-for-work version of this ad is available at

New! These Guys Season 2:

George Bush and Richard Bruce Cheney in THESE GUYS

Starring Robert Joseph, Saddam Hussein, Joseph Wilson, Scooter Libby,Valerie Plame, Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet, Colin Powell, Abu Zabayda, Cofer Black, Robert Kagan, Dan Senor, Elliott Cohen, Paula Dobriansky, Condaleeza Rice

and, Introducing Mitt Romney as “The Nominee”

With a cast of billions. The biggest-budget disaster epic ever made!

Louie Ludwig is the creator of this ad and is solely responsible for its content.

Music: “The Man with No Point”
From the album “Private Islands”
copyright 2008 Louie Ludwig/zzi music

Video 2012 Louie Ludwig
Video ISRC USWGE129113

Somebody, somewhere, probably could put names to all the faces.

“Meet the new boss.  Same as the old boss.”  Please, not again.  As Louie Ludwig said, “This year, vote, as if a guy’s life depends on it.”

Moonrise at Mammoth Hot Springs

August 22, 2012

Department of Interior erupts at Instagram again:

Moonrise over Mt. Everts, Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park - Dept of Interior photo

Moonrise over Mt. Everts, near Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park – Dept of Interior photo

Department of Interior tweeted that the photo was posted at Instagram — no other big details:

A full #moon rises over Mt. Everts near Mammoth Hot Springs in #Yellowstone National Park.

With more than 300 properties including the “Crown Jewels” of the National Parks, with employees carrying cell phones, it must be an interesting job to pick one photo to post on Instagram on any given day.  I wonder who makes the selection.

(I wonder whether anyone will glance quickly, and misread “Mt. Everts” as “Mt. Everest.”)


Hoping Texans were at church and didn’t see it: Texas GOP U.S. Senate candidate Ted Cruz loses debate on Tea Party policy to Atlanta Mayor

August 22, 2012

Did you see NBC’s Meet the Press last Sunday?  The Texas GOP hopes not.

Teabagger GOP U.S. Senate candidate Ted Cruz, on his first shot of national exposure, got shut down by Atlanta’s Mayor, Democrat Kasim Reed.

Cruz was trying to defend Paul Ryan‘s poor showing as a candidate for vice president.  23 seconds of burn:

No wonder Cruz is afraid to debate his Democratic opponent, Paul Sadler.  Ted Cruz’s “We can’t afford to be a great nation anymore” whine starts to make him look more and more the candidate from the Surrender Monkey Party.  Reed’s shutdown of Cruz exposed the hypocrisy of  Cruz’s and Ryan’s claims.

Shhhh! While Tea Party shouts against Sharia law, GOP sneaks some Sharia into national platform,

August 22, 2012

Checking out the main stage for GOP 2012 Convention - AFP photo

While the platform committee meets a few blocks away, GOP planners check out the main stage for GOP 2012 Convention – AFP photo

You’d have a tough time dreaming this sort of stuff up for Saturday Night Live skit, or a comedy movie.

Eric Koenig, one of my few Follower-of-Islam friends, wrote:

The GOP has been talking for quite some time about “creeping Shariah Law,” the notion that, little by little, Muslims are taking over America by demanding that they be allowed to have Shariah rights, in this city, in that city, until the whole thing creeps across, and engulfs, America itself, whereupon we will become an “Islamic theocracy” (there are none, but the “pundits” always love to use the term) such as in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, etc. So anything that may have to do with “Shariah Law” is the absolute antithesis of the GOP.


Yes, that’s right.  In fact, here in Texas the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate, Ted Cruz, complains about Sharia law almost as often as he warns the United Nations is coming to take away our golf courses.  (See what I mean by, “you can’t make this stuff up?”)  Ted Cruz, who once upon a time had a Harvard education, defeated the rich-but-sane-by-comparison “mainstream” GOP candidate just a few weeks ago.

Eric continued:

Well, the GOP has recently released the draft of the language of their party platform for this month’s national convention in Florida. And they have something to say about abortion. Namely, they call for a Constitutional ban on abortion, even in cases where the pregnancy is caused by rape or incest. No exceptions other than if the expectant mother’s life is at risk.

Here’s the irony: ask anyone from a rather conservative Muslim country — Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan etc. — what their country’s policy is towards abortion and they’ll tell you no abortions are allowed except if the expectant mother’s life is at risk.

In other words, in a Muslim nation, no abortions are performed on women who have been made pregnant through rape or incest. Nope; the law states that they should go ahead and have their kids. IT’S THE LAW.

And nobody sees the irony here about the GOP complaining of “creeping Shariah Law” and jumping into bed with the very “Islamic theocracies” they claim to denounce regarding the abortion issue??

I think we got the GOP by the family jewels. They can’t have their cake and eat it too. Either they have to stop with this talk about “creeping Shariah Law,” or drop the language in their platform about a Constitutional ban on abortion that perfectly matches Shariah Law procedure.

Contradictions?  Sure!  My money would go on the GOP letting Ted Cruz and others complain about creeping Sharia law, while at the same time helping Sharia creep in through the Platform Committee’s back door, and keeping quiet about the contradictions.  What do you think might happen, Dear Reader?

In the “More” section, below, you may find articles both decrying Sharia, and inserting anti-Sharia planks in the platform, oblivious to the pro-Shariah planks pushed by other Republicans.  You might say, “Forgive them, they know not what they do.”  My prayer would be that they might become enlightened, realize what they are doing, and stop it.


Still quote of the moment, one more time: Martin Niemöller, “. . . I did not speak out . . .”

August 21, 2012

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Pastor Martin Niemöller

German theologian and Lutheran Pastor Martin Niemöller on a postage stamp, painted by Gerd Aretz in 1992 – Wikipedia

Some time this year school curricula turn to the Holocaust, in English, in world history, and in U.S. history.

Martin Niemöller’s poem registers powerfully for most people — often people do not remember exactly who said it. I have seen it attributed to Deitrich Bonhoeffer (who worked with Niemöller in opposing some Nazi programs), Albert Einstein, Reinhold Niebuhr, Albert Schweitzer, Elie Wiesel, and an “anonymous inmate in a concentration camp.”

Niemöller and his actions generate controversy — did he ever act forcefully enough? Did his actions atone for his earlier inactions? Could anything ever atone for not having seen through Hitler and opposing Naziism from the start? For those discussion reasons, I think it’s important to keep the poem attributed to Niemöller. The facts of his life, his times, and his creation of this poem, go beyond anything anyone could make up. The real story sheds light.


Noted here in February 2011, and August 2011.




Mermelstein: The man who forced us to remember

August 20, 2012

I first posted a version of this back in August 2006.  Since that time not much showed up on the internet to commemorate the story of Mel Mermelstein, nor to burn his deeds into the history books.  Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub had many fewer readers each day, then too.  This is a story that should not be forgotten about a story that must not be forgotten.

Mr. Mel Mermelstein, in 1993, recording an oral history for the US Holocaust Memorial  Museum

Mr. Mel Mermelstein, in 1993, recording an oral history for the US Holocaust Memorial Museum

In early August 1985, Melvin Mermelstein struck a powerful blow against bogus history and historical hoaxes. Mel won a decision in a California court, in a contract case.

A group of Holocaust deniers had offered a $50,000 reward for anyone who could prove that the Holocaust actually happened. Mermelstein had watched his family marched to the gas chambers, and could testify. He offered his evidence. The Holocaust deniers, of course, had no intention of paying up. They dismissed any evidence offered as inadequate, and continued to claim no one could prove that the Holocaust actually occurred.

Mermelstein, however, was a businessman and he knew the law. He knew that the offer of the reward was a sweepstakes, a form of contract. He knew it was a contract enforceable in court.  He sued to collect the offered reward.  The reward was an offer, and Mel Mermelstein accepted the offer and, he said, he performed his part of the bargain. The issue in court would be, was Mermelstein’s evidence sufficient?

Mermelstein’s lawyer had a brilliant idea. He petitioned the court to take “judicial notice” of the fact of the Holocaust. Judicial note means that a fact is so well established that it doesn’t need to be evidenced when it is introduced in court — such as, 2+2=4, the freezing point of water is 32 degrees Fahrenheit, 0 degrees Celsius, etc.

The court ruled that the evidence presented overwhelmingly established that the Holocaust had occurred — the court made judicial note of the Holocaust. That ruling meant that, by operation of law, Mermelstein won the case. The only thing for the judge to do beyond that was award the money, and expenses and damages.

You can read the case and other materials at the Nizkor Holocaust remembrance site.

Appalachian State University takes the Holocaust seriously — there is a program of study on the issue, reported by the Mountain Times (the school is in Boone, North Carolina — not sure where the newspaper is).

Teaching the Holocaust to Future Generations

Mountain Times, August 17, 2006

As co-directors of Appalachian State University’s Center for Judaic, Holocaust and Peace Studies, Rennie Brantz and Zohara Boyd are always eager to expand and improve the center’s methods of education. Seldom, though, does this involve airfare.

Brantz and Boyd recently visited Israel to participate in the Fifth International Conference for Education: Teaching the Holocaust to Future Generations. The four-day conference was held in late June at Yad Vashem, an institute and museum in Jerusalem that specializes in the Nazi Holocaust. [link added]

“Yad Vashem is an incredible institute,” Brantz said. “It was founded in the ’50s to remember and commemorate those who perished in the Holocaust, and has been the premier international research institute dealing with the Holocaust.”

As Santayana advises, we remember the past in order to prevent its recurring. Clearly, this is a past we need to work harder at remembering.

Despite having been ordered to acknowledge the Holocaust, pay up on their sweepstakes offer, and apologize to Mr. Mermelstein, Holocaust deniers continue to publish claims that Mr. Mermelstein’s account is not accurate, or that it is contradictory or in some other way fails to measure up to the most strict tests of historical accuracy.  So it is important that you remember the story of Mel Mermelstein, and that you spread it far and wide.


How screwed up is Oklahoma?

August 20, 2012


Oy.  Perhaps this school district itself needs a little schooling in the First Amendment, and what passes for conversational English these days.

Is this Prague, Oklahoma, or Prague in the old Soviet satellite Czechoslovakia?

High school valedictorian denied diploma over graduation speech

   By Dylan Stableford, Yahoo! News | The Lookout

An Oklahoma high school valedictorian who used the word “hell” in her graduation speech in May has yet to receive her diploma.

Kaitlin Nootbaar graduated from Prague High School with a 4.0 grade point average, her father, David Nootbaar, told KFOR-TV. But school administrators told him that Kaitlin would have to submit a written apology in order to get her diploma.

Valedictorian Kaitlin Nootbaar, Prague High School, Prague Oklahoma - KFOR image

Valedictorian Kaitlin Nootbaar, Prague High School, Prague Oklahoma; Kaitlin has been denied the physical diploma for use of the word “hell” in her valedictory address – KFOR image

“We went to the office and asked for the diploma and the principal said, ‘Your diploma is right here but you’re not getting it. Close the door, we have a problem,'” David Nootbaar told the network.

“She worked so hard to stay at the top of her class,” he said. “This is not right.”

In her speech—inspired by a similar address in “Eclipse: The Twilight Saga”—Kaitlin recounted how annoying it is to be constantly asked what she wants to do as graduation approached. “How the hell do I know?” she said, according to her father. “I’ve changed my mind so many times.”

In the version she submitted to the school for approval, “hell” was “heck.” But in the version she delivered at graduation, “hell” it was.

The school declined to comment. “This matter is confidential and we cannot publicly say anything about it,” Prague schools Superintendent Rick Martin said in a statement to KFOR.

Surely Kelly Shackleford’s group will swoop in to the defense of Ms. Noorbaar. What? Shackleford is Missing in Action?



Chess games of the rich and famous: William Windom

August 20, 2012

Windom may have been surprised at being called either rich or famous — but he should have been.

William Wiindom, in the orignal "Star Trek" television series

William Wiindom, in the orignal “Star Trek” television series

William Windom, an actor whose face and voice most Americans would recognize, died yesterday.  I became a fan of his years ago when he starred in a short-lived, quirky and ground-breaking television series, “My World and Welcome to It.”  The series was based on the work of humorist and cartoonist James Thurber.  Windom played a cartoonist whose drawings occasionally came to life, complicating his troubles with job, women and family.  The program ran for one season on NBC, 1969-70, with 26 episodes.

Too few guffaws for network television.

Buried in most notices of Mr. Windom’s death was the information that he was a pretty good chess player.

A few of his games got captured on film.

William Windom playing chess against John Wayne - image from

William Windom, left,  playing chess against John Wayne – image from Batgirl at Wayne, known to friends and the chess world as Duke, played chess on almost all of his movie sets, and at least once in a movie role.

Windom’s game against Wayne is undated.

William Windom (right) playing chess against Erik Estrada, image from Anatoly Karpov Chess School

Windom, right, playing Erik Estrada. Image from, undated (Is this photo by photographer Irwin Fisk?)

Windom, left, playing chess against Claude Akins.

Windom, left, playing chess against Claude Akins. Image from

Windom playing Adam Baldwin, Los Angeles, 1988 - Anatoly Karpov Chess School image

Windom playing Adam Baldwin, Los Angeles, 1988 – Anatoly Karpov Chess School image

In this promo for “My World and Welcome To It,” one may get the idea NBC didn’t know what to do with the show, how to market it.

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