My take on today’s news below (see August 14)…but first a diversion…a piece of nostalgia.
On the recent trip to ND (recounted here), I bought a book on small town post offices which included a history of the post office in North Dakota by Kevin Carvell, who was long-time staff for U.S. Senator from N Dakota, Byron Dorgen. The 7-page history (NDakota Postal History 3) was very interesting, and I sent it on to some folks, including my brother, John, who I thought might remember Kevin, which led to the following e-mail from John this morning, passed along with John’s permission. The time period and place (Zap ND) we’re talking about is Spring Break 1970. More about John at the very end of this post. I do plan to do one or two more articles relating to North Dakota in the near future. Watch for them. (For regular readers, I’ve added to my August 8 post on North Dakota if you’re interested.)
John Bernard, August 13, 2021: Thanks for the very interesting article.
“Yes – I remember Kevin Carvell well. I met him a couple of times; and even though we were on rival staff at rival universities [University of North Dakota (UND) and North Dakota State University (NDSU)] we still got together at a couple of different conferences.
I’m sure you know the backstory of the Zip to Zap [google for much more] – it actually started because Kevin mused in the student newspaper at NDSU that he was going to have a staff picnic, and he figured a good place to hold it would be in Zap, North Dakota – primarily because [of] the name. The student newspaper wire service picked it up, and the rest is history. He was always just a little bit embarrassed by that.
Since I was sort of on assignments for the UND Dakota Student [photographer for the newspaper], I made it out to Zap about a half a day before the majority of the hordes of out of state students came in – and I can already see the problem. There were already massive beer trucks backed up to the two bars of the town, and a couple of other temporary bars. As you well know, as the night wore on things got quite a bit more drunk and rowdy. And I was snapping pictures throughout the entire thing. My most memorable shots came the next morning as the North Dakota National Guard came in and basically drove the students out of town – it was actually the day before the actual party was supposed to happen.
Unfortunately among the people being driven out of town [was] my ride back to Grand Forks – so I did about four or five separate hitchhiking legs and managed to make it back to Fargo, checked at the Spectrum (NDSU student paper) using my Kevin Carvell card. [I] Somehow found out that Life magazine was looking for some pictures of the event. Called them, and they arranged a courier to pick up my negatives. I actually used the Spectrum student dark room to process the negatives, sent them off, and if it weren’t for the Cambodian invasion that same weekend, they were going to be featured that week in Life.”
Dick: So…my brothers brush with fame was pole-axed by War…. He says he still has the photo negatives somewhere. I said, don’t throw them out…maybe he’ll look more actively for them in the detritus of life out in California where he’s lived for many years…stay tuned, and more about John at the end of the post.
August 14, 2021:
Most every hour of every day, these days, is “breaking news”. Today’s blog, which could have posted most any day this week, started out with three components:
- Andrew Cuomo: I said all I need to say in the Postnote to the Elders post of August 3. It is at the end of the post, here. I suppose a personal key word for me would be “hypocrisy”, about all of us.
- Afghanistan: The reason I became an activist after 9-11-01 was the bombing of Afghanistan. I could see no good coming out of this stupidity. That was 20 years ago. I wrote a column published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune about this in the spring of 2002. Afghanistan colum 4:2002001. As I’ve noted before, this column did not even mention or even allude to Iraq….In this latest chapter on the insanity of war as a solution, and the problems of quitting an unwinnable war, I keep thinking about the 2007 movie, Charlie Wilson’s War, about an early incursion into Afghanistan in the Reagan years. At minimum, read any article about the movie. Wilson was a Congressman at the time of the adventure. I’m sure the movie is still available on-line. NPR had a very interesting 2007 review here.
- Climate: “CODE RED FOR HUMANITY” dominated the front page and almost the entire back page of the A section of my local paper on August 10. The entire UN Report is here.
More items were added to my list as the week went on. Let’s leave the list at that.
from Jane: My father was a postmaster. I worked my way through college in the post office — sorting mail and selling stamps.
from John: As suggested once or twice, you might enjoy reading the Book of Revelation. The subjective story helps one to think more abstractly.
The decision to withdraw troops sounded good a few months ago. Today, not so much. The net effects in the world as we have known it might be that the USA has been taken down a peg.
response from Dick: Thanks. Call it what one will, “magical thinking” “amnesia”…we Americans have long believed that we are above the rest of the pack. We rally round the flag when we go to war; war is destructive; we manage to get out of the mess we got ourselves into; then the next generation rallies around the flag, again. So far, we’ve had the bigger “toys”, but we forget that conventional war – the good old days of big guns and nukes – is old hat. Non-conventional is the problem now…relational in most cases.
In this case, we shouldn’t have gone into Afghanistan in the first place – the powers that be knew the history. We did start the bombing in 2001, and the American people thought that was a great idea. Now, of course, Biden will be thanked…and blamed…for getting out and anyone with a microphone will be presenting their pristine and perfect case, for whatever side they happen to be on. He made his declaration to leave very early on, probably even in his campaign last year.
I feel sorry for the rank-and-file Afghanis especially. They are the victims. As for us, we were ill-advised to go in in the first place, but wars represent money to be made, as well as political points. Just watch the tenor of the chattering class in coming weeks.
from Joyce: Your column on the war in Afghanistan really brought back memories. I was part of an online discussion group at the time, one which had its origins in the Clinton impeachment. I argued that the war was a colossal mistake, that it would turn into a quagmire, and that the effective response to 9/11 would be a police action seeking out Osama bin Laden, and the other perpetrators. That, of course, is exactly what got bin Laden, and the war in Afghanistan dragged on, with no real objective, and no real end game. I was, of course, vilified for my comments in that forum, told that I was unpatriotic, that I hated America. In the lead-up to the war, I started stapling anti-war posters to my back fence, which were torn down and left in shreds on the lawn within a few hours. I kept making new signs each day, and each day I would find my sign shredded. That, of course, involved people coming onto my property to tear up my signs.