Wednesday’s Review

Mrs. Crucis and I were startled by our doorbell this morning. It was our neighbor, Gordon, who, having not seen us for a few days, was checking on our welfare…he also cleared our driveway, sidewalks and steps with his snowblower. Judging by the average observable depth, we received over 8″ of snow.

We’ve always been very independent. We have had to learn, as we’ve gotten older, that some things should not be done…like shoveling snow.

Gordon and I discussed sharing the cost of a snowblower at one time. I didn’t hear more until I saw Gordon unloading one from the back of his truck. I went over and visited a bit, helped him get it out of his truck. Gordon told us we would not have to shovel snow anymore, he’d take care of that.

That was three years ago. Gordon has kept his promise.

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Vlad the Putin lusted after the Winter Olympics and got them. It was his chance to show the world the recovery of the Russian Alliance. Athletes and reporters gathered in Sochi and stories are beginning to emerge. Unexpected, by the west, stories.

Sorry, Vlad, your New Russia isn’t ready for prime time.

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My favorite picture from the Superbowl…

ramirez_02042014***

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia startled law students and most news junkies with this statement, Kidding yourself’ if you think internment camps won’t return.”

The context of the statement was a discussion with law students that the internment of Japanese-Americans during WW II, was wrong, regardless of SCOTUS approval.

It was a wake-up call for the students that reality often does not follow logic, nor law.

Scalia: ‘Kidding yourself’ if you think internment camps won’t return

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

Scalia was responding to a question about the court’s 1944 decision in Korematsu v. United States, which upheld the convictions of Gordon Hirabayashi and Fred Korematsu for violating an order to report to an internment camp.

“Well of course Korematsu was wrong. And I think we have repudiated in a later case. But you are kidding yourself if you think the same thing will not happen again,” Scalia told students and faculty during a lunchtime Q-and-A session.

Scalia cited a Latin expression meaning, “In times of war, the laws fall silent.”

“That’s what was going on – the panic about the war and the invasion of the Pacific and whatnot. That’s what happens. It was wrong, but I would not be surprised to see it happen again, in time of war. It’s no justification, but it is the reality,” he said.

Avi Soifer, the law school’s dean, said he believed Scalia was suggesting people always have to be vigilant and that the law alone can’t be trusted to provide protection.

Soifer said it’s good to hear Scalia say the Korematsu ruling was wrong, noting the justice has been among those who have reined in the power of military commissions regardless of the administration.

To paraphrase Scalia, “During war, all legal bets are off…anything can and may be justified during the panic and chaos of war.” In some instances, like our current political environment in Washington, it applies to politics as well.

Cold weather at the farm

My parents moved from town to the farm in 1953 or 1954, I’m not exactly sure which year. I have a vivid memory of being at the town home in 1953. I also remember being at the farm when my sister was married in 1954. So we moved sometime between those events.

The house on the farm has a combination of two buildings resulting in a two bedroom house with a pyramidal roof. The ceiling of the front bedroom and living room was two feet below the ceiling level of the rear bedroom and the kitchen/dining room.

That first year, we had no indoor plumbing. Water came from a hand-pump and a cistern under the rear porch filled by rain water. If the cistern ran low, Dad would pump water from a second cistern about thirty yards from the house.

The sanitary facilities were more crude. In warmer weather, we used an out-house some forty feet from the house. In cold weather, there was an enameled chamber-pot on the back porch only somewhat warmer than the out-house. Oh, man, was it cold! I still get the shivers thinking of it.

There were some advantages to that cold porch. We didn’t have a freezer until Grandma joined us a few years later. When cold weather arrived, Mom used the porch as a refrigerator. At one point, our refrigerator kept blowing fuses, so Mom unplugged it and we just used the back porch. We waited until warmer weather before a friend of Dad’s, who was a jack-leg electrician, replaced the electrical panel.

One of my more vivid memories was a meal Mom made. She was cooking on a coal stove that doubled as our central heat. She was fixing fried round steaks, roasted potatoes, some navy beans and bread & butter. After setting the table, she went out to the porch and poured glasses of really cold milk for all of us. The milk was so cold that little ice slivers floated on the surface and the glasses would start to frost over. Ice cold milk! Delicious!

I love those memories. I’m glad I don’t have to live under those conditions now. Hardships make strong memories, but we didn’t think of them as hardships at the time.