"Draft Notice"  

Posted by Stan Harrington

The Selective Service Act was signed into law in 1940 by President Franklin Roosevelt. The purpose was to insure that the military services maintained adequate numbers of personnel for national defense. This system of non-voluntary military service become known as the "Draft". Predominantly, the "draft" assisted the U.S. Army in their personnel requirements but on occasion the Department of Navy (U.S. Navy and Marine Corps) also received some assistance from the "draft" during World War II.

Prior to 1973, every young man that turned 18 expected to find his "Draft Notice" in the mail. Districts were set up in each state, normally using county borders as jurisdictions. A "Draft Board" was established for each district and citizens of the area would serve on the Selection Board. They would receive a quota each month. Once a month, this board would then select men within their boundaries to report for their physical examination and possible induction into the military.

I was one of those men. I was a resident of Homer, Alaska and received my "Notice of Induction". The only problem was that I received the "Draft Notice" in January 1964 and had been serving in the Navy since October 1963.

With the escalation of the Vietnam War in 1965, the war and the draft were the primary objects of the "War Protests" in the early 1970's. The United States become involved in Vietnam after the French left Vietnam. Commencing in the early 1960's, we were sending in "Advisers" to assist and train the military forces of South Vietnam. The war escalated following the "Tonkin Gulf Incident" in August 1964 when two U.S. Navy ships were fired upon by vessels from North Vietnam. In March 1965, President Johnson ordered our first military forces into Vietnam.

In 1973, the Selective Service System curtailed the "drafting" of men into the military, although the "Draft Boards" remained in effect. The military services commenced the "All Volunteer" military services and extra emphasis was placed in the recruitment of men and women. It has now been 36 years since the draft ended. However, it was not abolished. Today, all men are required by law to register for the Selective Service System.

Although verbose, I thought it important to touch on the history of the "Draft" before you listen to the music that I have linked to this posting. This song was #61 on the Billboard Hot 100 in March 1962. The "Four Preps" parodied several vocal groups . They satirized the "Platters", "Marcels", "Dick and Dee Dee", "Four Ace's", "Highwaymen", and "Dion". Although there are some great sounds and satire; what got my attention was that the "Four Preps" were able to forecast the civil unrest in our country during the height of the Vietnam War several years prior to the protest marches.

Enjoy Some Great Sounds By Clicking On The Link

Alaska Outlaws, Rebels, and Cons  

Posted by Stan Harrington

Recently, I was given a gift of a deck of playing cards. Like the playing cards that were used in Iraq to identify the bad guys, each of these cards represent an Outlaw, Rebel or Con Artist that is part of Alaska history.

The majority of them are politicians, of course Ted Stevens, Frank Murkowski, Don Young, Sarah Palin, and Wally Hickel are all honored with a picture and brief write up as to why they made the list. In my personal opinion some of those that made the list really do not belong on the list of outlaws, rebels, and cons. I am sure, the $80,000 that disappeared when famed U.S. Marshall, Wyatt Earp left Alaska, after living in Nome during the "gold rush" was just an oversight or banking error.

A few names surprised me that they had a card dedicated to them:

Seven of Hearts: Steve McQueen: On a fishing trip to Alaska in 1972, he was stopped by the City Police in Anchorage for speeding and laying down brodies. Resisting arrest, he was charged with reckless driving and spent the night in the 4th Avenue jail. The following morning, he posted bail and left the "Last Frontier".

King of Hearts: Robert Stroud: Migrating to Alaska at 18, Stroud fell for a prostitute named "Kitty". Stroud killed a man in Juneau for messing with "Kitty" and then killing a guard in the local jail. He was sent to the Alcatraz Island prison where he educated himself. He wrote several books and was considered an expert on canaries and a variety of other birds. He gained fame as the subject of the Oscar Winning movie, "Birdman of Alcatraz" starring Burt Lancaster.

Five of Spades: Captain James Waddell: Sent to Alaska by the Confederate States during the Civil War, the English Captain sailed the Shenandoah to the Bering Strait to destroy Yankee whaling ships. In June 1865, unaware that the Civil War had ended the Shenandoah destroyed 21 whaling boats crippling the U.S. whaling fleet. Learning that the war had ended, Captain Waddell evaded the Union warships to escape back to England.

The community of Homer had only one person represented in the deck of fifty-two. On the Three of Hearts, the terrible "Outlaw, Rebel, or Con" was the Eagle Lady, Jean Keene who passed away at the age of 82 in 2009. I would question the validity of why she is on the list, perhaps we should let the thousands of eagles that she fed each winter vote as to whether she was a "outlaw" or a "saint".

"I Like Ike"  

Posted by Stan Harrington

Yesterday, while cruising the isle of Fred Meyers, I happened to stop by a DVD Display, just to see if I could find something that would interest me. Enjoying American History, politics, and in particular the actor Tom Selleck, this particular video caught my attention.

Tom Selleck, being a very popular actor, I had never heard of this particular movie. In my own thoughts, I could not picture Tom Selleck playing the role of General of the Army, Dwight D. Eisenhower. Despite having to shave his head, Tom Selleck did a very good job in his portrayal of Eisenhower and the decisions that he had to make in World War II. The movie was made for television in 2004 and aired on the A&E channel.

Dwight D. "Ike" Eisenhower, our 34th President of the United States (1953 ~ 1961) and the first President that I can remember in my youth. I can still recall his campaign slogan and the "Ike" buttons. They were red, white and blue and simply read "I Like Ike". Richard Nixon would become his Vice President.

General Eisenhower was sent to Europe as Commander of American Military Forces in World War II. He would become the Allied Supreme Commander for all forces in Europe. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was not thrilled and felt that his own popular General, Field Marshall Montgomery should be the Supreme Commander. French President Charles de Gaulle, preferred his own General to assume the command. The video does a great job of showing the interactions of these three men, finally agreeing that General Eisenhower would be the Allied Supreme Commander.

Under his leadership, the largest invasion force in the history of the world was planned and assembled for the invasion of Europe. It was crucial to keep the invasion at Normandy a secret from the Nazis. The mission was coded Operation Overlord. The invasion was to commence on June 6, 1944. That date was chosen to coincide with the moon and the tides on the beachhead of Normandy. To enhance their secret, they built a fictitious Army around General George Patton including tanks, aircraft, and equipment made out of plywood. The German's respected General Patton and felt that he would lead the invasion force from the south where his "fake" Army was holding.

The weather changed for the worse just prior to the invasion, General Eisenhower had to make the sole decision as to continue the invasion as scheduled or postpone it to July. Because the beaches were strongly fortified, the intent was to send in troops by parachuting and gliders behind the enemy lines to distract them from the invasion. Due to the weather forecasts, Eisenhower's Air Commander estimated that their fatality rate would be 70%. The movie and Tom Selleck does a very good job in portraying the "burden of leadership" and the consequences of their decisions. A small window of opportunity opened between the three storm fronts moving in, General Eisenhower ordered the invasion to commence. The airborne troops that went behind the lines suffered a 20% fatality rate. The movie does a good job of showing the interactions between General Eisenhower, Prime Minister Churchill, President de Gaulle, Field Marshall Montgomery, and even General Patton. If you enjoy history, you will love this movie, it was well done. Not a typical "war" movie, not a single shot is fired as it is the story leading up to the Normandy Invasion and "D" Day.

As a side note, General Dwight D. Eisenhower as Allied Supreme Commander was a five star general. A rank that he would hold after the War by Congressional Approval and titled General of the Army. In this status, he would never retire from military service. Upon his election as President, he had to resign from the military. Following his Presidency, his status as General of the Army was returned to him. Today, when you drive down the Interstate Highway, you can thank his Presidency. He established the Interstate Highway system for the sole purpose of having the ability to move military equipment and supplies faster. President Dwight D. Eisenhower passed away on March 28, 1969.

Transportation Tibits  

Posted by Stan Harrington

Like automobiles, the Golf Cart comes in a variety of models, colors, and configurations. I am seriously considering the purchase of one, if I can find a model that is equipped with four wheel drive and has a winch on the front bumper. I figure, I could have a "great time" driving my cart to my favorite fishing spot on Anchor River while other fishermen are having to walk. Although, practical; they are expensive pieces of equipment. However, I just recently discovered that you can get one free!

I was made aware of the advantages of the Golf Cart from friends that reside in Florida during the dark, cold, months of the year. They made me aware that everyone has a couple of these carts in their driveways. They are not always used on the golf course. These little carts are also utilized as primary transportation devices to the local shopping malls, restaurants, and those equipped with back seats are often seen at the drive in theatres. They are comfortable enough that my friends utilize their carts to drive between Illinois and Florida as the seasons change.

In my pursuit to purchase a "standard" Golf Cart the average price was $6,800.00 for a stock model. I have found it difficult to find one in Alaska. If I purchase one I will also need to pay freight or at a minimum of a "one way" airline ticket south and drive it back to Alaska via the Alcan Highway. However, since I have airline miles, that is also free. Driving backup the highway is also "free", having to stop at night for lodging, I will just plug it into an outlet in my room. So, now I have a "free" Golf Cart, "free Airline Ticket" and "free" power for my machine.

Now you are wondering how I am going to get a "free" Golf Cart". Unknown to me, however, I assume everyone in Florida knew about it. The "Golf Cart" is considered by the government as hybrid vehicle. This was a highly advertised promotion in "Golf Cart" states. Using the base sticker price of $6,800 per unit. Most of the golf cart manufacturers were giving a $2,500 rebate during the current economic conditions. That drops the price down to $4,300 per unit. Since the golf cart is considered a "hybrid vehicle" by the government and you are converting from a "fossil fuel" vehicle, the cost is deductible item on your federal taxes. So, you write off the $4,300 and reduce your gross annual income. Sweet deal! However, as usual, I procrastinated and this tax law incentive expired on December 31, 2009.


Please be advised; prior to going online and searching for "official" information about Air Force One, you may have someone knocking on your front door, wearing suits and sunglasses. If you do search, I do hope you have greater success than I did.

There are 365 days in a year. During the year of 2009, Air Force One flew 160 days or 44% of the year during the first year of the Presidency Barrack Obama. Actually, when you discount the day that Air Force One buzzed New York City for a photo opportunity it only flew 159 days with the President embarked. In the first year of office, President Obama visited 23 foreign countries, three of them he visited three times. After his first year in office, he set a new record as being the most traveled first year President in our history.

It is very difficult to find out the expense account of Operating Air Force One. When doing so, you also have to consider that a minimum of one C117 also travels to haul the limousines and chase vehicles utilized in the motorcades as well as associated equipment including the teleprompters, security surveillance equipment, and furniture. On some flights, especially those involving foreign countries, a minimum of two fighter jets can also join as escort aircraft.

I did locate in several spots that the cost of operating Air Force One is $300,000 for a three day trip. Using that figure, I am assuming the average cost per day is $100,000. Keep in mind that is just for the "big" Boeing 747. The average cost for the operation of support aircraft is $30,000 per day. Disregarding the cost of the manpower that travels with the President as well as the "advanced" crew that travels several days in advance. Taking just the estimated cost of daily operations of Air force One and one support aircraft the cost is staggering. The 160 days that President Obama flew in 2009, the cost of Air Force One is $16 Million. The cost of the support aircraft, $4,800,000, for a total cost of air transportation of $20,800,000! The shortest route that Air Force One flew this past year was 150 miles. This trip consisted of a flight from Washington D.C. to Virginia so the President could address a Democrat Retreat.

Regardless of how you cut it, although it nice to see Air Force One touching down on some foreign runway, the yearly budget for this travel has to exceed $100,000,000 per year, when you include all of the minor details. However, I do understand that they are looking for ways to cut some of these costs, henceforth, all passengers, excluding the "First Family", will be paying $100.00 for each piece of checked baggage.


No doubt, by now you have heard that Toyota Motors are having to recall a zillion of their automobiles, both fossil fuel and hybrids due to faulty equipment. Nothing to serious except some of them have a mind of their own and when you take your foot off the gas pedals, it fails to respond and you just keep going, faster and faster. Now they have discovered several other minor imperfections in the Toyota. Since the time these little cars showed up in America, seeing one on the road I wondered to myself what the word Toyota meant. On the pick up models I have seen the "ota" removed from the name to make it read "Toy".

Since the skirmish over the recall, I finally discovered the answer to my question of so many years. I still do not know the meaning of the word, Toyota except it is Japanese. However, I now know the origin of the word. In a recent press conference pertaining to the recall of the Toyota, the President of Toyota Motor Corporation made a formal apology to the consumer for the minor defects in his automobiles. His name is Akio Toyoda, grandson to the founder of Toyota Motors. Evidently, in their marketing analysis it was concluded that they should drop the "D" in Toyoda and substitute a "T" in it's place.

Henry Ford was proud enough to put his name on all of his cars and trucks! "Edsel" even emblazoned his name on his famous car, although they were ugly and a marketing catastrophe. Today, they are highly prized by the collectors. After the "Edsel" market collapsed, no one knows what happened to Edsel! He retired from the assembly line and retired to Florida, I think!


President Reagan Debates President Obama  

Posted by Stan Harrington



FEBRUARY 6, 1911 ~ JUNE 5, 2004
PRESIDENT FROM 1980 ~ 1988

Ronald Reagan Vs Walter Mondale
Popular Vote: 54,455,472 (58.8% Of Votes)
Electoral Votes: Ronald Reagan ~ 525 and Walter Mondale ~ 13
States Carried: Ronald Reagan ~ 49 and Walter Mondale ~ 1

AUGUST 4, 1961 ~

Barack Obama Vs John McCain
Popular Vote: 69,456,897 (52.9% Of Votes)
Electoral Votes: Barack Obama ~ 365 and John McCain ~ 173
States Carried: Barack Obama ~ 28 and John McCain ~ 22

Both, President Ronald Reagan and President Barack Obama are both considered to be dynamic and motivating speakers. Each of them having their own personal styles of delivery and methods of delivery. Each of them are considered to be very skilled debaters on matters that are not scripted.

What if these two Presidents were to debate one another on the same topic despite the fact that twenty-one years has elapsed between their Presidencies?

I would recommend that you click on the two links below. Watch and listen carefully to each of them. Total time for both tapes is approximately 18 minutes. It will be the most interesting to listen from the past to the present time. I will guarantee you, it will be 18 minutes of time well spent.

Debate Between President Reagan and President Obama

President Reagan Debate President Obama

Perhaps, A Better Title For These Debates Would Be The Great Generation Vs. Current Generation
We Can Learn From Past History