70 Years Ago Today

Today is the 70th anniversary of the dropping of the first atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, Japan: August 6, 1945. The below article is a great discussion of the US’ “Target Committee” and what cities they considered as the first “target” and why.

As the article says at one point: “The committee unanimously agreed that the atomic bombs should be used: (1) as soon as possible; (2) without warning; and (3) on war plants surrounded by workers’ homes or other buildings susceptible to damage, in order to make a spectacular impression “on as many inhabitants as possible.”

Government leaders, including Secretary of War Henry Stimson, Major General Leslie Groves who was the Army engineer in charge of the Manhattan Project, scientist Robert Oppenheimer, and others all had their preferred targets.

Groves fought hard for Kyoto and it was first on his “list” of targets, but Stimson wanted Kyoto removed for a purely sentimental, personal reason: Stimson and his wife had visited the beautiful city of Kyoto with its wooden bridges and structures in 1926. Eventually Stimson, as Groves’ boss and the senior member of the target committee, won out and Kyoto was off the table.

Hiroshima was ultimately picked as the target and that sealed its fate. On August 6, 1945, the US dropped a uranium gun-type atomic bomb known as “Little Boy,” virtually wiping Hiroshima from the Japanese landscape.

Three days later, a US bomber dropped an implosion-type bomb known as “Fat Man” on the city of Nagasaki. The two bombings killed an estimated up to one-quarter million Japanese people.

The Soviet Union declared war on Japan on August 15, 1945. Japan capitulated and surrendered on the deck of the USS Missouri September 2, 1945. Less than one month after the initial bombing of Hiroshima, World War II was over.

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/08/hiroshima-nagasaki-atomic-bomb-anniversary/400448/

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Never truer than today!

The philosopher and poet Cicero wrote the following more than 2,000 years ago, but in the current political climate, with the November election drawing near, never was it truer than in 2008.

“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot
survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable,
for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves
amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through
all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself.

“For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to
his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments. He appeals
to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul
of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine
the pillars of the city. He infects the body politic so that it can no
longer resist. A murderer is less to fear.” – Cicero (42 BC)

November Decision is Critical

The first part of this explains who Thomas Sowell is and why we should pay attention to his opinion. The second part is his opinion on the upcoming election and why our decision as a country is so important.

Thomas Sowell was born in North Carolina and grew up in Harlem . As with many others in his neighborhood, he left home early and did not finish high school. The next few years were difficult ones, but eventually he joined the Marine Corps and became a photographer in the Korean War. After leaving the service, Sowell entered Harvard University , worked a part-time job as a photographer and studied the science that would become his passion and profession: economics.

After graduating magna cum laude from Harvard University (1958), he went on to receive his master’s in economics from Columbia University (1959) and a doctorate in economics from the University of Chicago (1968).

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This N’ That

Steve Williams-Opinion Page Editor,

Victorville Daily Press

The U.S. Commerce Department predicted that the Gross National Product for the first quarter of the year would grow by .6 percent, but it didn’t; it grew by .9 percent.

Why is that noteworthy? Because the department underestimated the strength of the American economic system, and because it also belies the assumption by a whole raft of economists that we’re either on the verge of a recession, or more commonly, that we’re already in one. Recessions are defined as beginning when, for two straight quarters, the economy shows negative growth.

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John McCain’s Sons

Talk about putting your most valuable where your mouth is! Apparently this was not ‘newsworthy’enough for the media to comment about. Can either of the other presidential candidates truthfully come close to this? …. Just a question for each of us to seek an answer,and not a statement.

You see…character is what’s shown when the public is not looking. There were no cameras or press invited to what you are about to read about, and the story comes from one person in New Hampshire.

One evening last July, Senator John McCain of Arizona arrived at the New Hampshire home of Erin Flanagan for sandwiches, chocolate-chip cookies and a heartfelt talk about Iraq. They had met at a presidential debate, when she asked the candidates what they would do to bring home American soldiers – – soldiers like her brother, who had been killed in action a few months earlier.

Mr. McCain did not bring cameras or press. Instead, he brought his youngest son, James McCain, 19, then a private first class in the Marine Corps about to leave for Iraq. Father and son sat down to hear more about Ms. Flanagan’s brother Michael Cleary, a 24-year-old Army First Lieutenant killed by an ambush … a roadside bomb.

No one mentioned the obvious: In just days, Jimmy McCain could face similar perils. ‘I can’t imagine what it must have been like for them as they were coming to meet with a family that ……’ Ms. Flanagan recalled, choking up. ‘We lost a dear one,’ she finished.

Mr. McCain, now the presumptive Republican nominee, has staked his candidacy on the promise that American troops can bring stability to Iraq. What he almost never says is that one of them is his own son, who spent seven months patrolling Anbar Province and learned of his father’s New Hampshire victory in January while he was digging a stuck military vehicle out of the mud.

Two of Jimmy’s three older brothers went into the military. Doug McCain, 48, was a Navy pilot. Jack McCain, 21, is to graduate from the Naval Academy next year, raising the chances that his father, if elected, could become the first president since Dwight D. Eisenhower with a son at war.

John McCain’s Support for the 2nd Amendment

Speech to the NRA Annual Meeting
By John McCain

“When I first ran for Congress in 1982, I was proud to have the support of gun owners. For more than two decades, I’ve opposed efforts to ban guns, ban ammunition, ban magazines, and dismiss gun owners as some kind of fringe group unwelcome in “modern” America. The Second Amendment isn’t some archaic custom that matters only to rural Americans, who find solace in firearms out of frustration with their economic circumstances. The Second Amendment is unique in the world. It guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms. To argue anything else is to reject the clear meaning of our Founding Fathers.

“Self-reliance is the ethic that made America great, and our Founders understood that. They knew there would be circumstances where Americans might need to use firearms to protect themselves and their families. Some Second Amendment detractors think this is a mere abstraction, or a relic of America’s distant past. But Americans exercise their Second Amendment rights every day to protect themselves from criminals, as happened in Scottsdale, Arizona where earlier this year, a 74-year-old woman defended her home from a man who repeatedly attempted to break in, extort money and threatened to set fire to her garage. The Second Amendment – and its guarantee of an individual right to keep and bear arms – is certainly not an abstraction.

“But the clear meaning of the Second Amendment has not stopped those who want to punish firearms owners – and those who make and sell firearms – for the actions of criminals. It seems like every time there is a particularly violent crime, the anti-gun activists demand yet another restriction on the Second Amendment. I opposed the ban on so-called ‘assault weapons,’ which was first proposed after a California schoolyard shooting. It makes no sense to ban a class of firearms based on cosmetic features. I have opposed waiting periods for gun purchases.”

“Like your members, I am a committed conservationist. I have long supported multiple uses for public lands that ensure they are available for this and future generations to hunt, fish and explore. Over 12 million hunters in the United States contribute $25 billion to the economy, much of it in rural areas. Hunters pay billions of dollars in federal revenue through license and other fees. Here in Kentucky, hunters spend over $400 million and support thousands of jobs.”

“Over the years, I haven’t agreed with the NRA on every issue. I have supported efforts to have NICS background checks apply to gun sales at gun shows. I recognize that gun shows are enjoyed by millions of law-abiding Americans. I do not support efforts by those who seek to regulate them out of existence. But I believe an accurate, fair and instant background check at guns shows is a reasonable requirement. I also oppose efforts to require federal regulation of all private sales such as the transfer between a father and son or husband and wife. I supported campaign finance reform because I strongly believed our system of financing campaigns was influencing elected officials to put the interests of “soft money” donors ahead of the public interest. It is neither my purpose nor the purpose of the legislation to prevent gun owners or any other group of citizens from making their voices heard in the legislative process.

“Those disagreements do not detract from my long record of support for the Second Amendment and the work we have done together to protect the rights of gun owners from the political attitudes of the moment in Washington that view the Second Amendment as a once quaint custom that must now yield to the judgment of modern enlightened opinion. We have real differences with the Democratic candidates for President. They have learned something since 2000. They don’t talk about their plans for gun control. They claim to support hunters and gun owners. But just because they don’t talk about gun control doesn’t mean they won’t support gun control. Let’s be clear. If either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama is elected President, the rights of law-abiding gun owners will be at risk. They have both voted as Senators to ban guns or ban ammunition or to allow gun makers to be sued out of existence.

“It seems every election, politicians who support restrictions on the Second Amendment dress up in camouflage and pose with guns to demonstrate they care about hunters, even though few gun owners fall for such obvious political theater. After Senator Obama made his unfortunate comment that Pennsylvanians ‘cling to guns and religion’ out of bitterness, Senator Clinton quickly affirmed her support for the Second Amendment. That drew Senator Obama’s derision. ‘She’s running around talking about how this is an insult to sportsmen, how she values the Second Amendment,’ he said. ‘Like she’s on the duck blind every Sunday, . . . packin’ a six shooter!’ Someone should tell Senator Obama that ducks are usually hunted with shotguns.

“Senator Obama hopes he can get away with having it both ways. He says he believes that the Second Amendment confers an individual right to bear arms. But when he had a chance to weigh in on the most important Second Amendment case before the U.S. Supreme Court in decades, District of Columbia v. Heller, Senator Obama dodged the question by claiming, ‘I don’t like taking a stand on pending cases.’ He refused to sign the amicus brief signed by a bipartisan group of 55 Senators arguing that the Supreme Court should overturn the DC gun ban in the Heller case. When he was running for the State Senate in Illinois, his campaign filled out a questionnaire asking whether he supported legislation to ban the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns with simple, ‘Yes.’

“The Heller case should be decided soon. But however that case is decided, the federal judiciary will continue to be an important forum for protecting Second Amendment rights. The next President will appoint literally hundreds of federal judges, and is likely to have the opportunity to nominate one or more Supreme Court justices.”

“Quite rightly, the proper role of the judiciary has become one of the defining issues of this presidential election. It will fall to the next president to nominate qualified men and women to the federal courts, and the choices we make will reach far into the future. My two prospective opponents and I have very different ideas about the nature and proper exercise of judicial power. We would nominate judges of a different kind, a different caliber, a different understanding of judicial authority and its limits. And the people of America – voters in both parties whose wishes and convictions are so often disregarded by unelected judges – are entitled to know what those differences are.”

“The decisions of our Supreme Court in particular can be as close to permanent as anything government does. And in the presidential selection of those who will write those decisions, a hunch, a hope, and a good first impression are not enough. I will not seek the confidence of the American people in my nominees until my own confidence is complete – until I am certain of my nominee’s ability, wisdom, and demonstrated fidelity to the Constitution.”

“But I would like to close my remarks with an issue that I know is much on the mind of Americans – the war in Iraq. Senator Obama has said, if elected, he will withdraw Americans from Iraq quickly no matter what the situation on the ground is and no matter what U.S. military commanders advise. But if we withdraw prematurely from Iraq, al Qaeda in Iraq will survive, proclaim victory and continue to provoke sectarian tensions that, while they have been subdued by the success of the surge, still exist, and are ripe for provocation by al Qaeda. Civil war in Iraq could easily descend into genocide, and destabilize the entire region as neighboring powers come to the aid of their favored factions. A reckless and premature withdrawal would be a terrible defeat for our security interests and our values. Iran will view it as a victory, and the biggest state supporter of terrorists, a country with nuclear ambitions and a stated desire to destroy the State of Israel, will see its influence in the Middle East grow significantly.

The consequences of our defeat would threaten us for years, and those who argue for premature withdrawal, as both Senators Obama and Clinton do, are arguing for a course that would eventually draw us into a wider and more difficult war that would entail far greater dangers and sacrifices than we have suffered to date. Thanks to the counterinsurgency instigated by General Petreaus, after four years of terribly costly mistakes, we have a realistic chance to succeed in helping the forces of political reconciliation prevail in Iraq, and the democratically elected Iraqi Government, with a professional and competent Iraqi army, impose its authority throughout the country and defend its borders. We have a realistic chance of denying al Qaeda any sanctuary in Iraq. We have a realistic chance of leaving behind in Iraq a force for stability and peace in the region, and not a cause for a wider and far more dangerous war. I do not argue against withdrawal because I am indifferent to war and the suffering it inflicts on too many American families. I hold my position because I hate war, and I know very well and very personally how grievous its wages are. But I know, too, that we must sometimes pay those wages to avoid paying even higher ones later. I want our soldiers home, too, just as quickly as we can bring them back without risking everything they suffered for, and burdening them with greater sacrifices in the years ahead. That I will not do. I have spent my life in service to my country, and I will never, never, never risk her security for the sake of my own ambitions. I will defend her, and all her freedoms, so help me God. And I ask you to help me in that good cause. Thank you, and God bless you.”

Perry: Banning pistols isn’t the answer

Governor says licensees should be free to take them anywhere for protection

AUSTIN — Gov. Rick Perry said Monday that Texans who are legally licensed should be able to carry their concealed handguns anywhere, including churches, bars, courthouses and college campuses.

“I think it makes sense for Texans to be able to protect themselves from deranged individuals, whether they’re in church, or whether on a college campus or wherever they are,” he said.

“The idea that you’re going to exempt them from a particular place is nonsense to me.”

Perry commented to reporters after he and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt had met privately with educators, mental health experts and law enforcement officials to discuss the recent shootings at Virginia Tech University. Leavitt and other Cabinet officials are traveling around the country to discuss school and community safety practices in preparation for a report to President Bush.

The governor’s remarks aren’t likely to result in widespread changes in Texas gun laws, particularly this late in a legislative session that must adjourn by May 28.

But the comments elicited sharp responses, and Perry’s stance puts him at odds with a major political ally, the Texas Association of Business, over the right of employers to continue to ban firearms from their property.

“We’re not in the Wild West anymore,” Tommie Garza of Houston, executive director of Texans for Gun Safety, said of the governor’s idea. “It doesn’t seem like the sensible thing to do.”

Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, who sponsored the concealed handgun law as a state senator in 1995, said he agreed with Perry that “we need more guns in schools in the hands of responsible people.”

But he drew the line at allowing guns in bars. “People get drunk there, and their aim is not as good,” he said.

Current law prohibits the carrying of firearms, even by handgun licensees, into bars, schools, most areas of college campuses and courthouses. Churches can ban them, and governmental bodies can prohibit licensees from carrying pistols into public meetings.

Companies also can prohibit their employees from carrying weapons onto their property. The Senate has approved a bill to allow handgun licensees to leave their weapons in their cars on company parking lots, but the TAB and many employers are trying to kill that legislation in the House.

Asked about carrying a pistol into a bar, Perry said, “I think that a person ought to be able to carry that weapon if they are legally licensed to.”

The governor responded less clearly when asked whether Texas should submit mental health information on some individuals to a national database used for background checks.

Seung-Hui Cho, the shooter who killed 32 people and himself at Virginia Tech on April 16, had purchased two handguns, despite having been declared mentally ill.

Senate Bill 1755 by Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, which hasn’t yet been heard by a Senate committee, would cover people who have received court-ordered inpatient mental health services or who have been declared mentally incapacitated. But it wouldn’t apply to people like Cho, who was a mental health outpatient.

There are privacy requirements under federal law that must be considered, Perry said.

Austin Bureau reporter Peggy Fikac contributed to this story.

clay.robison@chron.com

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