About noon my time, today, Dec. 19, 2022, the Jan. 6 Select Committee convenes in Washington D.C.  I will watch, as I have watched every one of the public hearings of the committee thus far. (The official website of the committee does not show any scheduled hearing; most public channels will carry the proceedings live.)

As regular readers know by now, it is my habit to write on such things before they happen, rather than after.  I also hesitate to predict outcomes before the fact.

I will order the full report of the Jan. 6 committee.  The final report will  truly be an historical document.  There will be numerous sources – just search “January 6 final report”.


For this morning,  I choose to replay a portion of an earlier post I published on July 24, 2019, still available on line if you wish to access it.  Just go to ARCHIVES at right on this page, and call up the July 2019 calendar.

July 24, 2019 was almost 3 1/2 years ago.  It was 1 1/2 years before Jan. 6, 2021.

7/24/19 I wrote a particularly exasperated post, at the time the Mueller Report on the 2016 election was issued.

I said, then: “My opinion: the [then] President is as close to a common criminal as we have ever had in the highest office in the land.  It is his hope – and that of his fervent supporters – that he will beat the rap by running out the clock and then be reelected under patently false pretenses in 2020.  Others can – and have already – gone to prison.  Not him.  Yet.

A reader responded: “Well Common criminal he may be, but he is the best thing this country has seen since Reagan” and threw in that “Obama and Clinton should be in jail.”


I leave it at that.  What do you think?

Each of us are our government at every level.  Period.

COMMENTS (more at end of post)

from Fred: Another excellent summation by the committee. It is now on the record that a US chief executive has been charged by the legislative branch with insurrection against the America and its citizens. It is recognition very much deserved, the shame of which will stain that former president and his memory as long as there is a United States of America.


“A Stick and a Rock”

PRENOTE: Today is Beethoven’s birthday.  Thanks to Molly for this.  Molly: Celebrate with this (or other) rendition of the 4th movement of his 9th Symphony!


This morning I awoke with one of those unfinished dreams: I was at a conference somewhere and the leader had given us an assignment, to come to the closing session with a stick and a rock.  We were in a country environment, but I wasn’t finding either.   I woke up….

Normally dreams don’t stick, but this one did, and at coffee I kept thinking about the unfound stick and rock, and what the instructors plans were for the upcoming discussion…what did this dream mean?


I’ve started a list and as Christmas (and very cold weather) approaches I offer some thought starters.

My first thought was remembering son Tom’s little canoe, which I watched him whittle out of a small stick in the Quetico Wilderness in 1992.  I asked about the project.  It was for his daughter Lindsay’s 6th birthday, he said.

So far as I know, she still has the keepsake, now 30 years old.


Then I remembered an event, and resulting Christmas card:

It was the snowman I saw at the Pond made famous by Henry David Thoreau, Walden, in the winter of 2000.  Some unknown person or persons adding to an already pleasant winter day in Concord MA.

Snowman at Walden Pond Concord MA 2000


Then came a card this year, the most recent of several, from Joe Stickler, retired Science Professor at Valley City State University, whose brainchild is the very interesting Medicine Wheel and map of the Universe adjacent to I-94 at Valley City ND.  Many years of student and community volunteer work have gone into this great project, this bed of rocks.  If you happen by there, stop.  You won’t regret it.

Medicine Wheel park Valley City ND

Of course, I don’t know if the above were the stuff of my dream last night, but they could well have been.

I have one other memory to add, which is in a file I know I have, somewhere here, but cannot put my hands on it at this moment.

Some years ago, my cousin Jim Pinkney, then a professor at East Carolina University at  Greenville NC, wrote a short essay about the Mandavilla, as it thrived in the shade of their house.   The musing had almost a spiritual cast to it, about the plants strategies for thriving.  When I find the file, I will add it here.  It was memorable enough to keep in a file of its own.  (There are lots of internet references to Mandavilla, if you wish.).  Jim died in 2009; he left this gift behind.


You’ve heard the proverb: “sticks and stones may break my bones”….

Here, I presented four positive ‘sticks and stones’ and I know there are many others that could be on my list, and doubtless on yours as well.  It’s all a matter of perspective.  What does a story like this mean to you?

May this season and the coming year be especially meaningful for you and yours.

Merry Christmas.

Here, preparing for the coldest week of the year so far….

Earlier related posts Dec 7, 10 and 14.

COMMENTS (more at end of post)

from Fred: Didn’t know it was Ludvig’s birthday. I prefer the Third Symphony for the celebration.

from Claude: I think you’d find this 19 page monograph of interest.

To entice you to look at the graphs at least and possibly wade through all 19 pages I’ll paste in the Abstract here:
The human enterprise is in overshoot, depleting essential ecosystems faster than
they can regenerate and polluting the ecosphere beyond nature’s assimilative
capacity. Overshoot is a meta-problem that is the cause of most symptoms of
eco-crisis, including climate change, landscape degradation and biodiversity loss.
The proximate driver of overshoot is excessive energy and material ‘throughput’
to serve the global economy. Both rising incomes (consumption) and population
growth contribute to the growing human eco-footprint, but increasing throughput
due to population growth is the larger factor at the margin. (Egregious and
widening inequality is a separate socio-political problem.) Mainstream approaches
to alleviating various symptoms of overshoot merely reinforce the status quo.
This is counter-productive, as overshoot is ultimately a terminal condition. The
continuity of civilisation will require a cooperative, planned contraction of both
the material economy and human populations, beginning with a personal to
civilisational transformation of the fundamental values, beliefs, assumptions and
attitudes underpinning neoliberal/capitalist industrial society.
Keywords: overshoot; eco-footprint; carrying capacity; sustainability; population;
Recently I’ve increased my interest in the Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion movements as my recent video collages will attest.


Sandy Hook and other Symbols

POSTNOTE Dec 17: Jan. 6 Committee: Mon and Wed Dec 19&21.  These may be televised.

Ten years ago today (Dec 14, 2012) I was at a Twin Cities Shopping Mall where grandson Spencer and Middle School classmates were giving a concert.  Here’s Spencer (at left, in black, with Trombone) and classmates.  Spencer was 12.

Spencer and classmates, Twin Cities, Dec. 14, 2012

Concert over, driving home, came the first radio announcement of the tragedy at Sandy Hook…The horror at Sandy Hook was beginning at exactly the same time as I was watching these Middle Schoolers performing for family and friends.

Today, Spencer is 22, the last four years a Marine.

Where do you stand on the issue amplified by the tragedy of Sandy Hook?  Good beginning resources here and here.


Yesterday President Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act, which was passed by the Congress last Thursday.

Count me among the vast majority of Americans who support equality in rights to marry, which Minnesota helped to pioneer in 2013.  Change came in Minnesota primarily through active organizing.  Positive change came by positive action.

I am male.  As such I can’t claim to understand WLGBTQ+ (W = Women).  We are all unique.  Speaking only for myself, for example, the new vocabulary will take time to get accustomed to.  Brittney Griners wife, for example.  Ours is no longer a white man’s world (“white man” is not a monolith0.  It never was, but….  It’s long past time for the playing field to be leveled, equality and respect for all.). Recently via a friend came a link to a brief discussion of the general issue.  You can see it here.


On the same day Congress passed the Marriage bill, the Catholic Diocese newspaper arrived with a half page article Cath Spirit Dec 8 2022  (The on-line article is not identical but basically the same as the print article.  The paper has small circulation compared with the Catholic population.)

In my church, as in all denominations, there is a very thick crust of traditional interpretation.  For instance, I did a quick search about Adam and Eve, probably the traditional Christian (and Jewish and Muslim) basis for all manner of interpretations of marriage and other things, like sin (the book of Genesis).  Long and short, there is no certainty of who authored Genesis, nor when, except it was very long ago, at minimum hundreds of years BC.  Back then issues like gender identity existed but certainly not understood.  Now they are, but still resisted in ways we all know.  Change in attitude is in all of our personal courts.  We are, indeed, the change we wish to see.


About 30 years ago I came into possession of the marriage contract of my first Bernard ancestor in French Canada.  This marriage was in 1730, when to be in Quebec meant to be Catholic.  The actual contract, translated, is here: Catholic Marriage 1730001 .  As I interpret it, the 1730 marriage contract was a civil document first, one of the requirements being later marriage in the Catholic Church.  Essentially, state and church were one in French Canada.

(Included also is record of another marriage record of relatives, in 1883, who were initially married by a Justice of the Peace over 25 years earlier and had ten children – illegitimate in the eyes of the church).  So it went.

Perhaps everything is simply political argument.  People ARE politics, period.

There is hate out there.  It is our job to push back and support equal rights for all.


I could make this post much longer, about Refugees at El Paso; Ukraine; on and on.  Those are for another time.

Today on my daily walk I noted a fellow elder wearing a DAV hat (Disabled American Veteran).  We chatted briefly.  Arthritis makes  a walk of less than a mile a struggle for him, but he marches on.  Later on in the walk a short chat with another walker whose son is in the National Guard.  She worries that he may be deployed.  In my case, the grandson pictured above is completing a four year tour in the U.S. Marines.

Life goes on for all of us.  Below the radar, life as we mostly experience it is pretty good.  It is stressed, no doubt, but we’re surrounded by good people.  We just need to act on the goodness.


Here’s an old penny postcard from the early 1900s, among the Busch farm collection.  This one from Grandma’s sister in Wisconsin, included with a letter, Dec. 10, 1905.  Grandma and Grandpa had married Feb. 28, and Grandma arrived at the new farm a few weeks later, following Grandpa, his brother and his cousin who did the first groundwork at the new place.

All very best wishes at this season.


All best wishes for good Christmas holiday and New Year in 2023.

Nov. 9-13 we were in New York State to help celebrate my sisters 80th birthday.

On a drizzly Nov. 11 seven of us took a day to see part of the Finger Lakes region.  Nearing Ithaca, a sign beckoned a short side trip to see Taughannock Falls, near Cayuga Lake.  It was an impressive site, even on a far less than ideal day, and I took this snapshot of part of the group.  The snap is hardly a prize winner, but thus is the fate of most mere mortal – and memorable – photographs!

Taughannock Falls NY Nov. 11, 2022

Back home I was sorting the remnants of the trip, and noted the New York State Road map I had picked up earlier on the same trip at the Geneva visitor center.  Something was familiar:

A very talented and certainly far better equipped photographer than I had caught the falls on a much better Fall day.  (It was almost impossible to  find the photographer byline on the map, but here he is, Paul Massie.  Wonderful shot.)

Maybe the two photos demonstrate the gap we all experience in our own lives, between the unattainable perfect we imagine, and the real that we experience every day!  Real life seldom even approaches the perfection of advertising.  Even Mother Nature has her dowdy days – witness my snapshot!


I was struck by something else on the map: the obvious slogan: LOVE.

It got me to thinking about how we label people, places and things, including ourselves, and how we use, and interpret, sometimes incorrectly, words expressed, or received….

I’ve very rarely been to New York, but the slogan on the map was very welcoming.  Our experience those few days matched the words.


I’m sufficiently elder so I can be excused for occasionally taking stock of my own life, steps and missteps, indelible history,  good decisions and not….  That’s life for everyone.  The more life, the more experiences.  Between reality and imagination is where we live our lives; perhaps the worst judge of our self is our self.

In another file, recently, I found a poem that I had used in my homemade Christmas card in 1979, which in turn was in a poetry book I still have, which I had purchased for my future spouse, Barbara, in 1961, in Valley City North Dakota,

For some reason, a poem in this book, The Loom of Time, especially spoke to me, even as a 21 year old,  Here it is for your consideration: Loom of Time.

My bank of life experience in 1961 at 21 was less full than it was in 1979 at 39, and certainly far less than 2022 at 82.  Your bank differs from mine, of course, but for all of us the general course is the same.  Life doesn’t stand still.  Live it as best you can.

I found the poem in “The Best Loved Poems of the American People” selected by Hazel Felleman c1936.  Here is the introduction to the book,  itself very interesting.  (The poem referenced at page 323 is entitled “Death”, author “unknown originally, signed “Beatrice”.)

Be kind to yourself and to others.  All very best wishes for the season and the New Year.

POST NOTE: In the Archive for Dec 7 2022 I have a post on my Uncle Frank, who died on the USS Arizona Dec 7 1941.

COMMENTS (more at end of post):

from Judy: Thank you Dick for this wonderful piece.  I hope you continue to stay well.   I so often think of what both Michael and Joseph would have to say about the place the United States has come to be.

from SAK: Many thanks for that poem The Loom of Time you used in a Christmas card & which you found in a book you offered your then future spouse. The poem brought a few things to mind.

For one thing its author remains unknown which reminds me of all the unsigned icons and something a teacher once told us at the end of the course: plant trees you will not sit under.

The poem also suggests in part something Kierkegaard wrote: “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards”. Now I don’t speak Danish but it sounded nice: “Livet må forstås baglæns, men må leves forlæns.”

Thanks for your good wishes & may I reciprocate wishing you a Merry Christmas & a New Year free of major health worries but full of joy – & hopefully, for our greater pleasure, bloggings!

from Rich:  I will share this [Mormon Tabernacle Choir] with you because of your spiritual and ethical compass. I have alway like this text because of what I consider to be very ecumenical and inclusive. The Mormon Tab Choir “performed regularly” in our family’s living room in Minot … especially at Christmas. Unforgettable.  Be good to yourself and enjoy every day.  Another Tabernacle offering from Rich here.

from Brian: Love the Finger Lakes region!  Dick, thanks for sharing.

from Steve: Dick, It’s not the size of the waterfall or the brilliance of the exposure that’s important. It’s the memory of the moment and the impression the image leaves in your mind. I loved the photo and the gray day.


Frank Bernard

Today is the 81st anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.  Dad’s brother, my Uncle Frank, was one of those killed aboard the USS Arizona.

Best I know, at this writing, there are only two USS Arizona survivors still living.  Frank died at 26, he would be 107 if still alive.  He would have been a relatively senior crew man on the ship.

Uncle Frank has been a frequent subject at this space.  Enter search words Pearl Harbor and you’ll find over 60 posts going back to 2009.  Many of these were full posts, the primary dozen or so on or near December 7.  Most reference Uncle Frank.

Today’s post is unique, with all new content, specifically material from people who were on the Arizona or at Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, at least two who remember Frank as colleagues on the ship, one of them in the same work group, living/working in the same part of the ship.

What follows is information from personal interviews or letters from colleague sailors from 1982 to 1997.  Those who shared information with me were all seamen at Pearl Harbor Dec 7, 1941,  (included is the date of their communication with me): Ross Miller, Harrisonville MO, ship fitter on the USS Arizona 1936-40 (Dec 1993 letter and 3-7-94 in-person interview); Guy Flanagan, St. Paul MN, a young Ensign who came aboard the Arizona a few months before Dec. 7 (9-17-82 in person); Vincent (Jim) Vlach, Riverside CA, seaman assigned to Executive Office of the Arizona for most of the time between 1936 and December 7 (letter 6-14-92); Chris Stapleton, Rochester MN, a survivor of the sinking of the USS Oklahoma which was near the Arizona (letter 7-11-97); and Charley Walters, Minneapolis, a Seaman on the USS Phoenix, a cruiser berthed near the Arizona which survived,  later sold to Argentina, later renamed the General Belgrano, and sunk May, 1982, in the Falkland War with England.  323 died (5-20-82 in person).

Here is one of many photos I have of Uncle Frank.  It is undated, certainly in Honolulu, which in 1940 had about 250,000 population, today about a million.

I had provided this photo and other materials about Frank to all of those listed above.  From Jim Vlach:The more I look at the picture of Frank holding the pineapples…I realize that I do recognize him.”

Jim was one of the office personnel who would deal with sailors for various reasons, such as shore leave and personnel records.  (In my own Army days I was a Company Clerk – the same kind of duty as Jim.)

The below comments reflect the thoughts of the seamen I heard from.

The Crew of the Arizona:  The crew was young men “from 18-30”,  according to Ross Miller.  Guy Flanagan, a young ensign assigned to the Arizona a few months before Dec 7, said that there was constant turnover, as the Arizona was a ship which did a lot of training of new seamen.

Vlach said “The 1177 KIA [killed in action]…represented 78% of the [Arizona] crew & about 1/2 the casualties suffered by the U.S. on Dec 7th 1941.”  

The history: It is easy to forget that before Dec. 7, the nation was not at war.

Pearl Harbor marked the entrance of the U.S. into WWII.  War also contributed to the end of the Great Depression, and the resulting war-time economy and accompanying restrictions.

Chris Stapleton said of Navy service: “I appreciated the food as I had joined the USN in July, 1940 because I was jobless, broke and hungry.  Many other sailors of the 1930s preferred shipboard life to being an unemployed civilian.”

Uncle Frank had in fact been part of a CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) crew at Medora ND before being accepted for the Navy in 1935.

Vlach: “Frank’s sacrifice helped to awaken this sleeping country of ours from its isolationist viewpoint. Members of the crew were from every state, some from Guam, Canada, the Philippines & one from China.”

Stapleton remembered shore leave and the Iolani Palace because “it had an iron picket fence” as shown in the photo.

“Those choice looking pineapples reminded me of another favorite liberty spot in Honolulu – the Dole canning plant.  Sailors could go there and drink all the pineapple juice they could hold – free!”  

Of course, certainly sailors sought out other entertainment on shore leave….

The three I interviewed in person all remembered that talk at the time was that there was trouble ahead, without knowing any specifics.  This would be normal scuttlebutt.  Military men do not command themselves, and do whatever order comes their way from the next level up.  There apparently weren’t many premonitions about Pearl Harbor being attacked,  even though Pearl was packed with U.S. warships which were all sitting ducks.  Everyone apparently thought Pearl Harbor was easy to defend, and they were out of range of any enemy.

We tend to forget in these days how primitive communications were even in 1941.  Hindsight says that command all the way up was naive.  I think the U.S. was just acting on the basis of what they knew, which was much less than today.

Aboard the Ship: Ross Miller, who both wrote me and I interviewed in person at his home in Missouri, actually was in the same unit aboard ship as Uncle Frank from mid 1938-40.  He came aboard the Arizona in May 1937.  From his letter in 1993:

“I was in carpenter shop and Frank your uncle was ship fitting shop in the same division (R).  ship repair and damage control.  He worked with metal welding, replacing gaskets on hatch and doors watertight…air test and general upkeep.  Similar to a blacksmith.  I was what they called a wood butcher or carpenter.  Boat repair and general maintenance.  Frank was 3/C  (third class) and I was [also] 3/C.  He had 2/C before I was discharged in December 13, 1940, at Bremerton WA…His living quarters was 2nd deck between #1 an #2 turret on port side.  We sleep on army cots in the workshop…Your uncle was very personable person although I can’t put everything together.  We had lots of sports and movies on quarter deck or on fantail.  Your uncle was well liked and enjoyed himself and others.  We always had a coffee pot on in ship fitting shop.  Our clothes locker was about 2 ft by 3 ft and you had a sea bag which stored on third deck.  Our general quarters station was on third deck ammunition…We stood watch in fresh water hole…Our battle station was on third deck.”

What lay ahead? Frank Bernards Future.  Jim Vlach recommended an excellent book, which I refer to often: “Arizona, An Illustrated History” by Paul Stillwell.  The book has an immense amount of detail, including where the ship was, except for November through Dec. 7, 1941, which records went down with the ship.

During Frank Bernard’s time aboard the Arizona, the most common ports of call were San Pedro (near Long Beach), Puget Sound (Bremerton WA) and Pearl Harbor.

Until August 12, 1931, when it transited the Panama Canal into the Pacific, the warship had basically been on the east coastal area of the U.S.  Much of the then-American fleet went to the Pacific at the same time as the Arizona.

The book records that 21 October 1940 through 19 January 1941, the Arizona was at Puget Sound, Bremerton, Washington, probably for routine maintenance and updating.

On November 7, 1941, about 10 months after Bremerton and one month before December 7, Uncle Frank typewrote a letter to his brother, my Dad, which appears in its entirety here: Bernard Frank Nov 7 1941.  Note especially the second paragraph, about “the little girl up in Washington”.

I have always wondered who “the little girl up in Washington” was….  And as people and as a nation and world have we learned any enduring lessons in the succeeding 81 years?

My model of the USS Arizona, in wood, with great thanks to colleague Bob Tonra (RIP) who completed it ca 1996.  It’s in my home office, behind me as I type this post.

POSTNOTE: Unrelated new post about Labor Relations published yesterday.  Of course, I’m well aware of the action at Congress yesterday honoring the Capitol Police; and the election results last night in Georgia.  We have a lot to learn.  Are we open to learning?

COMMENTS: (more at end of post)

from Fred:  Always enjoy reading about your uncle. He was about the same age of my three uncles who served in WW2, two in the army and one in the navy. They all returned and led long and productive lives.

I have often thought about those killed in war and wondered about lives cut short. In a prominent place in a bookcase, there is the photo I took of French monument to the war dead. It is tiny Avallon, France. A soldier in Alpine winter dress stands over the body of a fallen comrade, while stoically staring into the distance. It is the only depiction like this I’ve seen. It is very moving.

from Dennis: On our first visit to Hawaii a few decades ago, Nickie and I added a stop-over on Oahu so that we could spend some time at Pearl Harbor – a very important part of our nation’s history. A significant portion of our visit was spent at the Arizona Memorial – a very sad tribute to so many lost lives. Thanks for sharing about your uncle.


Labor Relations

Dec. 2, a bill was signed by President Biden ending a threatened strike by railroad workers nationwide.  For anyone with any interest in Labor Relations generally, this is an opportunity to get a notion of issues and how they are resolved.  The railroad legislation is well summarized here.

As one whose full-time job was Labor Relations, for 27 years, every labor issue is, from the advocates point of view, ‘clear’.  But different constituencies have differing points of view, on virtually every issue, every time.  The railroad issue is no different; only the scale is much greater.


On a similar note, in mid-November a colleague sent along a recent and interesting video about the 1970 Minneapolis Teachers Strike, presented from the point of view of then-leaders and members of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers.

I forwarded the video to former staff and teacher union colleagues with some personal comments relating to Labor Relations in the public school teacher sector back then.  If you are a former teacher, particularly in Minnesota, particularly if you were active in either Association or Federation back then, this writeup and the video may be of interest to you.

My friend and organization colleague, sent me the below….  The video, here,  is about 30 minutes and interesting.  It was made this year.  I think you’ll find this interesting.


Of course, not all is quite as simple as it seems.  At the time, there were two teacher unions in Minneapolis and Minnesota, the MEA and the MFT [Education Association and Federation of Teachers].  I wrote about the Minneapolis and other strikes in 1988, 34 years ago.  Those memories are here: Teacher Strikes MN 1946 to 1980s.
The bargaining law (PELRA) was passed in 1971. Not 1972 or 73 as suggested in the video.  PELRA did indeed replace Meet and Confer, derisively called “Bring and Beg”, passed in 1967, which was an essential preliminary to legislating collective bargaining law in Minnesota, and a big improvement in the status quo: a bipartisan creation in the state legislature of the time.  Simply stated, state lawmakers had to be convinced to allow teachers to organize and bargain enforceable contracts.  This was not. easy.
Personally, I became active in the Anoka-Hennepin Education Association in 1968-69 as a building rep.  In about 1971 I was part of a Team that was in Meet and Confer and we met in the Adjustment Panel at the office of Leonard Lindquist, then a major labor lawyer in downtown Minneapolis.  I had a chance to witness, first hand, the potential and the limits of Meet and Confer.
Subsequently, in 1981, the right to strike was added to PELRA, and 35 MEA locals went on strike.  (In 1979, I was the President of the MEA stuff union when we went on strike against MEA, a truly unique situation.)
As you probably know, at the time of the Minneapolis Strike, and likely still, there were two sets of laws in Minnesota for public education.  One was for the Cities of the First Class (Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth); the other for the rest of the state, from large urban to tiny rural school districts.  Labor problems were not easily dealt with particularly in small communities, where all politics was local and very personal; the big cities schools were more attached to the political structure of the cities themselves – mayors, council and the like had much more power.  
Meet and Confer, in my opinion, was a necessary pre-cursor to the more major change to PELRA.
Take the time to read the attached pages about the Minneapolis Strike.  They add to the most interesting film of the old days.
Many thanks, again.”

Mauna Loa

from cousin Georgine overnight: This is the view of the new eruption from the Lanai of the Kawaihae House. The house is about a mile from the Mauna Kea resort. The eruption is actually close to 36 miles away and there is no threat to the house. It does create a new nighttime view.  The lava is flowing where no people live and there are no houses which is wonderful for the island. It’s amazing to live on a living island.

NOTE: “Lanai” is basically “porch”; here’s the google map location of Kawaihae: []

Mauna Loa Nov 29, 2022

If you’ve been to the Big Island, the link will give some location perspective.   We were guests at the house in December, 2015, and thus know exactly the terrain.

I recalled to Georgine, who met us at the airport in 2015, “I still remember, when we flew in at Kailua-Kona in Dec. 2015, asking about what I thought smelled like volcanic ash (or what I thought it was).  At the time, Kilauea was behaving itself, so I thought my mind was playing tricks on me.”   She responded: “When you visited, it probably was volcanic ash.  Kona has always been a geography that collects vog.

It happens that another relative has long lived in the area of Kilauea not far from Hilo.  There are many sources of information.  A good time to dust off your personal learning curve.

Comments welcome.

Next planned post will be December 7, a new remembrance of my Uncle Frank Bernard, my Dad’s brother, one of those who went down with the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.


Today in my religious tradition is the First Sunday of Advent. This seems a good day to introduce three topically related items for your reflection, if you are interested: 1) Journeying Towards Healing through Listening and Truth-Telling; 2) the new film, Till; 3) Frank Kroncke, “Captive and Captor”

Johan van Parys, Basilica’s Director of Liturgy and Sacred Arts had an excellent column on the topic of Advent in todays Basilica newsletter.  It is here: Johan VP Advent 2022.


1.  Journeying Towards Healing…: If you happen to be in the Twin Cities, the morning of Dec. 3, my Church, Basilica of St. Mary, 1600 Hennepin Ave. Minneapolis, is having a retreat on the issue of race.

Details follow.  Note that registration is required.  I plan to attend.

Invitation: We invite you to attend an important event for our community as we listen and reflect together on this Advent.

Why attend? And Why hold this event now?
As members of the Basilica community, this event offers us a safe space to listen and think about how we see ourselves in the community with other members of our Catholic Faith. 


We will learn about aspects of our history that we may not know. We will listen, be curious, and reflect on the experiences of individuals who make up this spiritually rich community. As we move through Advent, we will be aware of and reflect on our beliefs, practices, and actions.

We are opening ourselves up to experience the fullness of community that is possible and needed now more than ever, uncovering the fullness of community that we need now more than ever.
What will I experience?

 There are three phases of the event.

 1.  Listen to Learn (Mind)

Come and learn about Minnesota and Catholic history that you may not know from the sought-after speaker Dr. Yohuru Williams at the University of St. Thomas. Dr. Williams will ground us in our Catholic Faith, guide us in understanding our history and context for our day, and invite us to embrace the stories of our brothers and sisters.  
  1. Listening in Prayer (Heart)
We will hear from fellow parishioners of color as they share their challenging experiences navigating parish life at the Basilica.
  1. Reflecting on our Heart and Mind (Action)
We will gather in smaller groups to reflect and process.
Gathering Details
Saturday, December 3, 2022, from 9 am to Noon 
Join us online or in person at Teresa Of Calcutta Hall, Basilica’s Lower Level
Register to attend at:

2.  Till.  We watched the new film “Till” Friday.  It is very powerful.  Details about the film are accessible here.

This is a film about American history, which continues in many ways to this day.  Perhaps ironically, it was also this year when Congress finally passed, and the President signed, anti-lynching legislation, motivated in substantial part by Emmett Till’s death at age 15 in Mississippi 67 years ago.

I always try to get at least a little personal perspective when dealing with matters of history and geography.  Emmett Till died in the summer of 1955, at age 14.

In the summer of 1955, I had just turned 15.  We lived in the country in southeast North Dakota.  We would not get television for another year.  The odds are almost zero that I would have heard, then, about Emmett Till.

It was also that summer, however, that we made our first ever long trip by car, to Chicago, to visit our Uncle and Aunt who had very recently moved to the near west side suburb of Broadview.  Life happens differently for everyone, so while its conceivable that Emmett Till had not left Chicago by the time we arrived for our short visit, we could have been there….

By the summer of 1955, I doubt I had ever seen a ‘black person’ though racism was no stranger to we country folk in the rural midwest.  The killing of Emmett Till only brought the horror to public view.  Forty years later, in 1995, I tried to summarize my own history: Race, a personal view.  

But that’s another story.  See the film.


3.  Frank Kroncke: Captor-Captive.  This is a 15 page extraordinary personal account of going from peace activist to prisoner, 50 years ago.  Frank is a good friend, and this is passed along with his permission.  This is very powerful.  I need say no more.


What our society will become is up to each of us.  What will your part be?

Thanksgiving 2022

All best wishes for a good Thanksgiving.  I have a great deal to be thankful for this year.  I hope the same for you.

from Rich, this morning: You might enjoy remembering reading this proclamation! ! It seems poignant today!

And another, from Heather Cox Richardson, here.

Friend Molly likes to send poetry selections to her list on occasion.  Here are her Thanksgiving selections: Molly’s 2022 Thanksgiving poetry selections


This year, I want to share, with his permission, a message from my nephew, Sean Maher, which I received on Nov. 18, 2022.  His message is below.

“The kids”, like Sean, and everywhere in the world, are the world’s future, and as my good friend, Lynn Elling, a difference maker, was fond of saying, the great efforts of Sean and others, Covenant House Texas is  “stepping up to the plate” to build a sustainable future for their client kids.  (Lynn died in 2016, at age 95.  I think he’d be very pleased with what Sean is doing.)

There are many ways to make a difference.  Sean’s is only a single example.

Have a great Thanksgiving day, and forward.


Sean: Hi everyone,

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

The Sleep-Out [Nov. 17] was a night to remember, and we were blessed to have many new sleepers and to hear new stories. Thus far, we have raised over $975K towards our goal of $1.25 MM. A record (and going)! [Later: they’re over $1,ooo,000]

I’d like to share something from the evening, so you can understand why I do this and why it is so important.

  1. Foster Care system: If every church in Texas took care of ONE foster child, then there would be no need for a foster care system. (This means aiding and supporting a family which takes in a foster child).
  2. Human Trafficking: There are more Massage Parlors that engage in Human Trafficking than Starbucks in Houston .
    1. 35,000+ Texas Children go to school within 1,000 feet of an illegal massage parlor
    2. Number of illegal massage parlors (as per Children at Risk)  has nearly doubled in the last 4 years.
  3. Mental Health: Nearly 100% of all homeless youth who walk through the doors of Covenant House have a mental health challenge; anxiety and/or PTSD.

YOU make all the difference.

I asked Angel, a resident of Covenant House Texas, who was homeless at 16 and lived in an encampment until she was 18, what she would say if I could channel her words to you. “Every little bit helps, and everything makes a difference.” 5 minutes of time, $5, 5 prayers, every little bit helps. Heart and “a little bit” was the message time and time and time again.We can save every starfish if we start with the ONE right here.

These KIDS are curious, these KIDS want to have a chance, and these KIDS have had worse days than we ever will. No one is looking for a handout; they are looking to be acknowledged, seen, and heard for their hearts, their passions, and their dreams. They are curious, they want to learn, and they want to grow.

At The Ion, there was a sign “Every Better Way Needs A Place to Be Better.” That is for our Innovation Hub at the epicenter of Houston (a must-see!) However, that is also what Covenant House is to all these kids.

God bless, thank you, and happy Thanksgiving. From my family to yours.


Sean’s page is here.

Sean M – iHeart Radio

Sean M – 104 KBRE

Kurt Nondorf and Steve Biegel – Newsmakers


Forwarded from Frank, via my friend, Kathy, Nov 23:


from Kathy, a recommendation, Jacks Basket, here.

from Rich: Happy Thanksgiving to you and all. Enjoy every moment today. We will gather at our daughters – My son-in-law is in the kitchen! I am in charge of appetizers. I have lots of memories on days like this. My mother was an exceptional cook and went out of her way to establish and maintain traditions that became the foundation for many memories.

BTW: I was playing driveway basketball in “light” sweatshirt in Minot on this day (Nov 24) in 1963. During the game, a neighbor opened the front door to tell us Lee Oswald had been shot. It is a strange way to remember an unusually warm North Dakota November day … and years later  … LOTS OF SNOW greeted my band in NY City for an appearance as Santa’s Band in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1989.

It’s always a good day for gratitude. Happy Thanksgiving, Dick.

from Marion: Watching the tv commercials for Covenant House, I’ve wondered if it was yet another charity with a CEO with a ridiculously high salary. Apparently not.

Dick’s Response: Covenant House did go through the scandalous times, but that was years back.  You can easily google the past.  It is highly reputable now.

from Brad: Happy Thanksgiving to you too Dick.  I hope it is a beautiful and warm one for you and family.

After a Holiday in Kauai with my brother Greg and SIL, it is a reminder how blessed Jeff and I are to share another Thanksgiving together.  I am reminded to share thanks and love in a time stress for so many in our country and world.  Lincoln’s Proclamation of Thanksgiving was truly a national moment of forgiveness as well as affirmation of a Union of people. Thank you for sharing.

from Kathy:  David Hartman of CBS carried a powerful piece on Gratitude.  Here’s the link.

from Donna: This was our Thanksgiving table with the family from Afghanistan.  The kids make you realize how we are more alike then different.  We had a wonderful celebration.

Thanksgiving dinner 2022

“We, the people….”

HAPPY THANKSGIVING.  Check back for a specific Thanksgiving post Thursday or later.

When I last blogged about politics, Election Day eve, Nov. 8,  I knew nothing, intentionally, about the later results in my community.

Nov. 9-13 we were at a family event in New York state.  I don’t connect with the internet at such times, so what actually happened in MN was a mystery till after we returned.

Nov. 8, I said I’d report my own observations on Nov. 22.

Yesterday, forming this post in my mind, I kept thinking of two seemingly unrelated events.  I’ll briefly revisit both at the end of this post.

In July of 1949, we were at my grandparents farm, my Mom’s home, probably related to her 40th birthday.  Late at night a vicious wind came up, terrifying everyone.  I was nine, the oldest kid.  Morning light brought the verdict; the barn roof was gone; house escaped unscathed as did the occupants.  (In the photo, I think I’m the kid in the overalls walking away from the likely photographer, my Dad).

Residue of Busch barn, late July 1949, Berlin ND. Richard, and siblings and Mom in the photo.

Eight years later, September of 1957, at 17, I had the opportunity to see Louis Armstrong and band in concert in Carrington ND, pop. approx. 2,300.  The concert was fabulous, of course.  I’ve always wondered how someone like Armstrong would appear at the Armory in this tiny town.  And where would they stay?  This was 1957, after all….


Now to the business at hand:

Last summer, I decided to pay the closest attention to the 2022 elections closest to home – my own state Senate and Representative election – a piece of suburban geography with 56,624 eligible voters.

(Earlier, at the primary election in August, I aimed my attention solely at a local school referendum, which I wrote about here.  School District boundaries are different than legislative boundaries in Minnesota, thus size, shape and population differ.)

Below are the 2022 election results for my district, SD 47.  (If you are a Minnesota resident, here’s the data source for your district.)

Five of the our candidates were rookies; the 6th had been in the House of Representatives for two terms some years earlier.

Hi-lited are those I supported for election.   Congratulations to new Senator Nicole Mitchell and new state Representatives Amanda Hemmingsen-Jaeger (A) and Ethan Cha (B).

For Democrats in this district, and indeed in Minnesota, and nationally, it was a good night.  Voter turnout was high, near 70%, characteristic for this state. Our numbers seemed in line with earlier similar elections in this area.

There were no controversies of any kind, at least none of which I’m aware.


I have no idea about how any individual voted, unless they volunteered the information.

I have lived in the same dwelling in this suburban community for 22 years.  We are part of a metropolitan area of over 3,000,000 people, containing nearly two-thirds of Minnesota’s population.  I am not a hermit, and see folks in assorted contexts each day – though mostly they are people I don’t know.

For the past several years, we have not had a local newspaper.

We have had Republican Senators and Representatives in recent years.  Indeed, for some years we had an arch-conservative member of Congress for several terms.

This year there were far more campaign lawn signs for the Republicans (R) than Democrats (D).  But the “Republican” candidates did not seem to want to call attention to their party.  This was obvious from the signs themselves.  Their internet presence  was pretty minimal.  There were few mailings, compared with other recent elections.


My takeaway from this particular election is simple: people were quietly paying attention to the issues.

I get a sense, not only from the election results, but from the ordinary day to day interactions I see and hear, that people generally are satisfied with what happened Nov. 8.

They are tired of the violence – verbal and otherwise; intolerance; dishonest political discourse; a focus on  winners as individuals, belief rather than fact, division not unity; a fractured sense of community…on and on.

My colleague citizens sent a message, local, state and national, that they just want to see more of a community focus as opposed to an individual focus.  They just want our country and its smaller subdivisions down to and including families to work, and to be fair.

We, the people, really are the government we see at all levels.  Government is what we elect.  Government is “we, the people”.

If I was to make any recommendation, it would be to the reader to do the same as I did: do an informal assessment of what happened in your own basic political unit in your state.  It will give you a knowledge base.  Then set about helping educate other citizens about the importance of their informed vote.

Congratulations to my local successful candidates.  In my opinion, they deserved to win.  Now their work really starts.


Now, about that barn, and Louis Armstrong.

The barn was rebuilt, doubtless primarily with lots of voluntary community support.  It is my metaphor for community.  Grandpa had let the insurance lapse, I’m told, so he learned a personal lesson there.  Last time I was out, the barn still stands, but clearly on its last legs.  But it wouldn’t have survived at all without community.

As for Louis Armstrong, many years later I was watching the Ken Burns film on Jazz, and in one segment was a brief television interview with Louis Armstrong in Grand Forks ND, likely where his band had been the night before I heard him play.  In the interview, he was concerned about those children at Little Rock Central High School (as noted earlier, remember, this was 1957).  Nonetheless, Louis continued on, in a hopeful optimistic way.

That’s about it.


We have a great plenty of things to deal with, but Nov. 8 provides an opportunity to redirect to a better future, to add on increments, rather than tear down.]

I’ll close with my favorite Louis Armstrong tune, his rendition of Wonderful World.

POSTNOTE:  The 8th, and I believe final, episode of Rachel Maddow’s Ultra series is now available.  Here is the link.  I have listened to them all.  Very informative…and troubling.  Take the time.

Today is the anniversary of the assassination of President John Kennedy Nov 22, 1963.  I was in my first month as a teacher in Hallock MN, recently discharged from the U.S. Army.  Like all of us from that era, I will never forget that day and the days following.  Here’s Heather Cox Richardson’s commentary published late on Nov. 22.


from Joyce:  I think this blog post by Digby is relevant: here

response from Dick:  I agree with the concern.  Take time to read the commentary.  My greatest concern is that even in Presidential elections, about one third of eligible voters don’t even vote, and that’s just the beginning of the problem.  Too many vote only for President, or have not a clue of the qualifications of candidates for the other offices, etc. We are a very sloppy democracy, exploitable.

from Jermitt: Thanks for your message, Dick.  I enjoyed reading about the politics of your district, as well as your family and your story about Louis Armstrong.  We, here in Marquette County Wisconsin have a long way to go.  The Republicans out number us (The Democrats)  2 to 1.  The Marquette Democrats continue to message our values through radio, print, and social media.  We also knocked on hundreds of doors this year.  While we increased our percentage, we continue to lose elections although the democratic candidates have been outstanding, compared to the Republican candidates that have won in state elections.

response from Dick: Many thanks.  My only point, at this moment, is that every place is different and perhaps the best starting place is to get to understand our own district a little better.

from Len: Thanks for sharing your perspective and numbers of the results of the election. We will be talking about this one for awhile. 47 chose some good solid individuals for office. Quick studies and thoughtful individuals who will represent us well and will enjoy DFL majorities across the board in governing and the challenges of a rarity- a budget surplus. We need to be vigilant and help them in their decision making.