Guilty pt. 2

It looks like there was a huge coverup at Penn State after all.

And it looks like the late Joe Paterno was indeed the centerpiece.

Son.

Of.

A.

Bitch.

Last year, when the story was first breaking, I did a post that stated that I pitied Joe Paterno’s position, but might have to withdraw that pity if evidence came out that he was part of a coverup.

Judging from latest reports, it appears that he was more than part of the coverup.  It looks likely that he initiated it, and got his co-conspirators (the school VP and athletic director) to go along with it.

Consider my pity officially withdrawn.  Let his legend officially fall to the ground and shatter like Saddam Hussein’s statue did after the liberation of Baghdad.  Let no stone be unturned during the investigation as to how a serial pedophile was allowed to operate for nearly an entire generation, and for nearly fourteen years after reports first surfaced about his behavior.  Let this become a blueprint as to exactly how not to deal with such situations in the future.

And let this serve as an example and a warning to any and all revered public figures out there who may fail to do the right thing when so many innocent lives are at stake.  That there are severe consequences for engaging in such willful neglect.  Incarceration is one.  Disgrace is another.

The forfeiture of your legendary and revered status long after you die may be the worst of all.

Guilty.

Jerry Sandusky found guilty.

With a minimum of drama, and a lot of brave but painful testimony from the victims.  Who showed immeasurable courage confronting their rapist in court, and then slam-dunking him in front of a jury.

As far as Mr. Jerry goes, hope you enjoy being someone’s little boy bitch in prison.  That is, if you don’t off yourself and save the taxpayers the expense of your room and board.  Think I might even recommend that.

Next on the list – putting away the rest of the good ole boys at Penn State that deliberately covered up and looked the other way so this predator could continue his wretched deeds for another ten years.  Hope they get to enjoy being somebody’s little boy as well in the slammer.

“Four more years?”

Don’t often do this here, but time for a little partisan politics:

(Ignore the moronic comments.  Most of them, anyway.)

Y’know, I’m liking Romney more and more, and not just because he’s our only current alternative to “four more years”.  He’s starting to show himself as anything but a lightweight, yet playing it safe and close to the vest and avoiding any mistakes, and letting Obama beat himself with his own blunders.  Sort of like the great Vince Lombardi.

I believe Romney has the opportunity to become one of our greatest Presidents, in the same vein as Ronald Reagan, simply by undoing all the damage that Obama’s done and taking our country in a positive direction, like Reagan did following the Carter years.  By the same token, he could also become a great disappointment by acting like the RINO that many accuse him to be, and just adding to the confusion and mistrust of our government and its leaders.

I’d like to place my bets on the former possibility.  And we should all encourage him to be such.

(h/t Instapundit)

In “celebrity” news…

Rodney King dead at 47.

Not sure how I should feel about this.

I mean, I’m not the kind of person to dance on graves or speak ill of the deceased (unless you’re someone like this), but Rodney King’s life benefited no one, except perhaps his own, and even that is arguable.

People will forever debate the rights and wrongs that occurred in that infamous video, but the inescapable truth is that Rodney King’s moronic actions precipitated the events in the video, and by extension, the riots and social unrest which set back the progress of race relations by years, if not decades.

And, as a personal side note, I had a very close friend of mine nearly become a victim in that riot.  He was just trying to get home from work that day, and ended up driving through a mob that threw rocks and broke the windows in his truck, and gashing his forehead.  Fortunately, he was able to speed off before the mob could pull him out of his truck, like Reginald Denny.  To this day, he still has PTSD issues with that event.

My take on the video is that there was a serious breakdown in police procedure, which itself was badly flawed at the time, and later transcripts of police transmissions and paperwork revealed that the officers tried to cover up the event.  Likely the whole thing would’ve been buried as a non-event if the video hadn’t surfaced.  Unfortunately, as is often the case, the video focused only on the worst of the police actions, not the high-speed chase of King or his initial behavior as he refused to comply with officer commands.

But all America saw were white cops beating a black man for no obvious reason, and the racial hate-mongerers were quick to fan the smoke and flames into a full conflaguration that was to soon consume the whole country.

All because of the actions of one drunken idiot.

King didn’t exactly lead a laudable life afterwards either, despite his “celebrity” status, and a multimillion dollar payout from a lawsuit settled with the City of Los Angeles.  He continued to have sobriety issues and brushes with the law, and was arrested and taken to jail on a few more occasions.

Then, just a couple days ago, he was found drowned at the bottom of a swimming pool.  Passed out drunk and fell in?  Too early to tell, but I would bet money on it.

But maybe I’m being too hard on Rodney King.  After all, he did inspire Chris Rock to put out one of the most hilarious skits of all time.  (Caution – NSFW)  One that never fails to make me laugh so hard, it hurts to watch.

But all humor aside, Rodney King’s actions that March evening eleven years ago did a great deal of damage to race relations in American society, which continues to this day.  And even now, we have the potential for similar discord with the Trayvon Martin case, another instance of things getting out of hand because someone wasn’t using their head, and the media and usual racial rabblerousers blowing it all out of proportion.

To quote Rodney King, “Can we all get along”?

We can, if people would quit pushing the buttons of hatred and racism.  And that goes for everybody.

The Clampetts go on vacation (proposal and pending phase)

Yes Dear’s parents just got a huge windfall of back pay for VA benefits and a few other things.

So, now you figure, they have enough to pay off their bills, and the money they owe Yes Dear for her having to help take care of them the past eight months per contract?

Nah.  That’d be too easy.  Besides, that’s a whole other rant that I’ll tackle some other post.

They are going to use it to go to Walt Disney World for their 50th wedding anniversary in a few weeks, after the 4th of July.  And taking Yes Dear, daughter PBJ, almost-adopted AJ, and nephew JJ.

Damn, that’s a lot of J’s in there, isn’t it?

Don’t get me wrong, I fully understand the concept of wanting to do something big and special with a sudden windfall, especially considering that they likely won’t be around much longer.  I wouldn’t begrudge them of this opportunity.  But the logistics are going to be daunting, and they’re expecting Yes Dear to plan most of that part of it.

And did you notice that I’m nowhere on that list?

Before anyone points out how screwed I’m appearing to get in this deal, let me ‘splain a few things.

First and foremost, my work schedule and lack of allowable vacation time make such a vacation an impossibility for Yours Truly.  I have a grand total of 28 hours of vacation time left this calendar year, and being a weekender those particular work days take 12 hour bites out of that time.  Nothing I can do about that.

Second, and almost as important: do I really want to go on vacation with such a dysfunctional crew, with the high potential for drama and associated logistics nightmares?

My inlaws aren’t in the best of health, physically or mentally.  They get around with great difficulty, require a whole town’s pharmacy equivalent of medication, and don’t take very good care of themselves in the health or hygiene department.  They are forgetful,  can get quite stubborn over silly things, and often change or renege on previous plans and deals within a moment’s notice.  Refer back to previous bit about owing their daughter money.

Yes Dear is going to try to keep her wits about her and her lip buttoned, because she knows she isn’t paying for the vacation.  Yet she’s also aware that she’s totally at their whim and mercy, something she spent years escaping.

Originally they wanted to rent an RV and drive from Arkansas to Florida.  That got vetoed because of the cost, time constraints, and the fact that Yes Dear was the only person going that was fit to drive one.  Her dad’s driving skills have diminished to the point where we’re concerned even when he takes short trips into town.

So the current plan, as proposed, is to fly to Florida, and rely on ground transportation and lodging as per package deal to get to where they need to go and stay where they need to stay.

After a few days, FIL will rent a car for Yes Dear, PBJ, and AJ so they can drive to Georgia and go pick up daughter Panda Bear and two grandbabies to bring them back to Arkansas for a couple weeks.  We had planned on getting her out here already before the whole windfall and vacation thing came up, so we had to improvise.

FIL and MIL will fly back to Little Rock with JJ.  Hopefully that won’t turn into a disaster.

And there are no nonstop flights from Little Rock to Orlando.  Or from Memphis either, at the times and dates they want to go, which would’ve been our alternate choice.

So they’ll likely have to change planes somewhere.  Two slow and elderly adults, my wife and 21yr old daughter, an almost 3yo toddler, and an ADHD 11yo who has problems listening and following directions.

And, not being as frequent an air traveler as I used to be, Yes Dear thinks that one hour is sufficient time between flights while changing planes.  Those of us more experienced travelers can immediately see the folly there, especially while traveling with the above crew.  I’m working on all my guile and charm to convince her that two hours, not one, should be the absolute bare minimum layover time, and even that can disappear rapidly once you factor in potential delays, check in times, finding and getting to gates, elderly parents wanting to eat and go to the bathroom, dealing with ADHD nephews and crabby toddlers, etc.

What could go wrong?

So I think I’ll enjoy my week with the house to myself, even though much of my time will be taken up by working and sleeping.  And praying that everybody makes it through the vacation safely and without killing each other.

And I’m truly happy for JJ that, with the crummy home life he has, he’s getting the opportunity of a lifetime that he may well not ever get again, not as a kid.  A trip to Disney World.  On a plane.  How can an eleven-year-old not love that?  I hope that he has a wonderful time and wonderful memories.

And that he doesn’t end up at the bottom of an alligator infested pond with a cinder block tied to his ankles.  Because he can get that way and try your patience, especially as of late.

One of these days I’d like to take my own family to Disney World, or maybe on a Disney cruise.  Just me, Yes Dear, AJ (when he gets a little older and can enjoy it more), and PBJ if she’s still living here and not tied down to a job or school.  I might even consider slipping in one of the nephews if we could afford it.  Since JJ is getting his chance this time, likely candidate would be L’il Buddha (since he’s close to AJ’s age), or perhaps even Mark if we could convince his dad to spring him.  But I’m a firm believer that for maximum enjoyment and minimum drama that family vacations should be done with as minimal family as possible, and only those closest to you.

And, to tell the truth, I’m often happy just visiting family (MY family) on vacation.  Like our trip to Texas over Christmas.  Remarkably stress-free, and my favorite memory was falling asleep in my dearly departed dad’s old recliner to the sounds of rain tapping on the windows on Christmas Eve.

So I’m not going to be too broken-hearted to have to sit this one out.  Besides, Yes Dear promised that once the new year rolls around we would all find a way to go on our own family vacation.  Hopefully we can still afford one then.

But I’ll still be a little nervous, fearing for their safety and well-being (particularly that last item).  And I hope they don’t come home even more stressed than before they leave.

Will continue to update on this topic as events unfold.  Stay tuned.

Privacy is a premium channel around here…

Little bit of TMI ahead.

As just about any parent of small children knows, privacy with a little one in the house can be difficult to come by.

Like most guys, I prefer my bathroom time to be a private experience, especially for The Number Two.  If I could have my way, I’d prefer everyone would leave the house and give me a two-mile comfort zone during such events.  But such things are not possible, particularly with a family, so I just have to make do with a closed door in the remotest bathroom in the house.

And AJ seems to think that anyone going to the bathroom is family conference time, and he doesn’t want to be left out of it.

Don’t get me wrong here – he is only 2 ½, and when I’m alone with him I have no choice but to keep the door open.  This isn’t a big deal when having to pee, but when it’s sit-down time I’m basically reduced to three choices: holding on until someone else comes home, waiting for him to fall asleep, or waiting for him to become so engrossed with his toys or the TV that I can sneak away long enough for a speed dump and a quick wipe before he discovers I’m missing.

Once again, I apologize for any TMI bits I just implanted in your head.

When others are home I lock the door, of course, usually to AJ’s chagrin.  Often it’s a battle to lock the door from my end while his small hands are fumbling with the knob on his end, which normally ends in a wail of despair as he’s once again denied bathroom access when Dad’s in there.  He just can’t understand why he’s allowed in there when Mama and Sissy go, but not me.  Trust me kid, you’ll know in another three or four years or so why guys must have their time alone in there.  Yes, it’s a guy thing.

And for all you out there that may have had a perverted thought or three cross your mind after reading the last sentence, get your mind out of the gutter.  That particular reasoning don’t take hold until around thirteen or so, and normally doesn’t outlast adolescence.  Us guys just don’t like an audience during our bathroom functions, that’s all.

A few afternoons ago I woke up and had to go to the bathroom.  As I ambled down the hallway and into the bathroom I heard the rapid pitterpatter of AJ’s feet as he rounded the corner and headed towards the bathroom doorway like a heat seeking missile just as I closed and locked the door.  As usual there was the fumbling of the doorknob and the disappointed wail of AJ once again denied access.  Once that subsided I sat down and went about my business, so to speak.

Then I heard the doorknob rattling again.   I called to AJ, “Enough!  Let Dad potty in peace!”  Darn persistent kid.

The doorknob rattled a few more times.  Then it started turning.

Then the door opened.

AJ was standing there with a long handled plastic comb in his hand and a small smile of victory on his face.

He had picked the lock with the end of the comb.

Never underestimate the persistence and ingenuity of a two year old.  And be careful of what you do around them, because you never know how well they may learn it and mimic it.

On this day in history…

Jimmy Thach.  Wade McCluskey.  Earl Gallaher.  Lofton Henderson.  Richard Fleming.  Dusty Kleiss.  Dick Best.  John Waldron.  George Gay.  Max Leslie.  Sam Adams.  Lance Massey.

All of the above were ordinary men.  Pilots, to be specific.  Soldiers, if you will, doing their duty and serving their country.  None of them were above the rank of captain, they were just men following orders from above.  Some were squadron leaders, some were just ordinary pilots following their leaders.

And one June day seventy years ago, in the heart of the Central Pacific, in the midst of the most terrible and bloody war the world has ever known to date, these men did something extraordinary.  They participated in and were largely responsible for one of the greatest military victories America has ever known, one that threw back a relentless enemy that up until that time had never tasted defeat, had never known the agony of a supposedly brilliant plan going terribly wrong and having their asses handed to them on a platter.  A big silver one.

Some of the above mentioned names didn’t come back alive from this victory.

June 4th, 1942 was the day the Battle of Midway was fought.  A battle fought between pilots and their aircraft carriers, where the opposing fleets never sighted one another except via search planes.  A story of two fleets, one huge one (Japanese) used to conquering all before it and a much smaller one (American) lying in ambush, to deal a killing blow right at its opponent’s most critical spot.  A turning point in the Pacific War against the Japanese Empire, against one of the finest navies at the time and its crack pilots who had an almost unbroken string of victories up to that point.

I have no need or intention to bore you by rehashing the entire battle here, there are many books and webpages that have done so much better than I ever could.  For those interested, two of my favorite books that I would personally recommend on the battle are here and here.

But like many famous battles and points in history, Midway has had its share of legends ascribed to it that enhanced its larger-than-life status, a few which I will explain or debunk.

Probably the biggest one is the claim that we won the battle despite overwhelming odds and it was a miracle triumph of David over Goliath, that we had no right to win.  The truth was that the Japanese fleet was much larger in ships and materiel, but it was tied to a rigid doctrine, banked too much on the element of surprise, and was too widely scattered instead of concentrated at the point of attack.  The much smaller American fleet was skillfully placed right where the Japanese did not expect it by Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, who shrewdly was able to discern the Japanese intentions and makeup through skillful use of his intelligence assets, and gave his task force commanders sufficient leeway with their orders so they could adapt and react to changing circumstances during the battle as they saw fit.  Thus the American fleet was perfectly poised to cut off the head of the huge serpent, aka the Japanese fleet.

Another legend is that Midway completely broke the back of the Japanese Navy.  While Japan did suffer crucial losses to her carrier battle groups and aircrews that ended its rampage across the Pacific and took away the strategic initiative, its navy still was a formidable, though weakened, force after the battle and it wasn’t through causing pain, misery, and grief to the American fleet, which was proven in the subsequent Guadalcanal campaign.  Rather it was the slow but steady awakening of America’s industrial might, which fed the war machine and gradually dwarfed that of Japan, forcing her into a war of attrition she couldn’t win, that ultimately brought the Japanese Navy to its knees.  The Battle of Midway did mark the beginning of that road, though.

And, like many other battles in history, Midway was far from a perfect victory.  Fought by men like the aforementioned and boys fresh from training academies and boot camps, there were many mistakes and instances of sloppiness that threatened to undermine the American efforts and hand the victory over to the Japanese.  Carrier air war and tactics was in its infancy at the time, and the American carrier battle groups had great difficulty coordinating their airstrikes, resulting in a lot of serious losses and at least one whole carrier strike group failing to ever make contact with the enemy.  Most notorious was the slaughter of the torpedo squadrons which went in without fighter protection, resulting in the loss of gallant leaders like John Waldron and Lance Massey, who bravely led their squadrons and pressed their attacks in the face of certain death.  Yet their sacrifices sufficiently disrupted Japanese air operations, keeping them from preparing any counterstrikes, and pulled their fighter cover out of position enough to clear the way for the dive bombers to attack almost unopposed.  Wade McCluskey quite literally went the “extra mile”, flying his squadron beyond their fuel return limits on a hunch and finding the Japanese carrier fleet.  Max Leslie lost his bomb due to an electrical glitch, yet still led his squadron to the enemy fleet and even dived on a carrier in a dry run to draw its fire while his men pounded it into a burning wreck.  Dick Best found himself abandoned by almost his entire squadron save for two wingmen, yet he led his meager remaining force on an attack on the Japanese flagship and personally dealt the mortal blow with his own bomb.  Jimmy Thach successfully used a new tactic that he himself created to maximize the strengths and minimize the weaknesses of his Wildcat fighter against the superior performance of the vaunted Japanese Zero fighter, and managed to outfight them with his outnumbered squadron.

Probably the greatest legend that endures to this day about this battle, and one that has been proven and still stands, is the contribution of the carrier USS Yorktown.  Having taken a beating in the Battle of the Coral Sea the previous month, she was due for an estimated 60-90 days of repairs at minimum.  Yet she was put back into fighting condition (barely) in three days and sent off to meet the Japanese fleet with her sister ships.  Her aircrews were responsible for the destruction of no less than two large Japanese aircraft carriers, and she fully absorbed the Japanese counterstrikes that ultimately resulted in her loss, but protected the other American carriers from similar harm.  Few ships in history can claim the honors that Yorktown did that June day.

But the real honor came in the individual efforts of ordinary men thrust into extraordinary circumstances.  Men like the names mentioned above.  They were the real heroes, just like the men and women of today serving in the armed forces against those who would destroy us.  They are the ones that guarantee our freedom, and their names should be as remembered as those of the great generals and admirals of history.  The ones that serve and have served so that this nation shall not perish from the earth.  The ones whose individual efforts contribute to small triumphs and smashing victories.

Like the one on June 4th, 1942.

God bless the men and women of our armed forces.