Monday, January 31, 2011

Death Clouds-A Book Report

Death Clouds
Mt. Baldy
By; Cathy Hubault

On a clear warm day November 16, 1958, six young scouts embarked on a hiking adventure to climb to the top of the tallest mountain in Southern Arizona called Old Baldy in the Santa Rita Mountain Range just South of Tucson. Three of the boys were having birthdays in November and thought this would be a perfect way to celebrate. They ranged in age from 11 to 16. This was not an officially sanctioned hike but the parents were told that it was. They were allowed to go. Others who wanted to join them were not allowed. Due to the tragic results there was more second guessing and blame spread around, none of which was of any use. Three of the boys died high up on the trail when the weather unexpectedly worsened in the early evening as they were climbing the last section, first with wind and rain and later with a heavy snowfall. Several feet fell on the mountain and six inches in Tucson which was enough to shut down the airport and make driving hazardous. Three of the younger ones gave up and returned to their base camp where they were found the next day and survived the ordeal. The other three were not found until several weeks passed after hundreds of hikers, scouts, ranchers and military personnel spent arduous days and nights trying to find and save them.
There is a permanent marker placed at Josephine Saddle near to where the bodies were found.
As an ardent hiker myself since arriving in Tucson I have climbed to the Saddle many times and on two occasions to the peak which is now named Mt. Wrightson. Every time seeing the memorial triggers conversation. Everyone it seems has a theory about it. At last month’s meeting of the Southern Arizona Hiking Club the featured speaker was Cathy Hufault. She was a young girl at the time. Her younger brother was one of those that survived. On the 50th anniversary a memorial service was held. One of the speakers was her older brother. She asked him to write a story. He declined but then persuaded her to do it. She agreed and spent countless hours searching for any who had taken part in the rescue attempt as well as family members and press. It is a riveting book with the day to day events explained as garnered from her research.
As she finished her talk she told us we would have to purchase a copy of her book to understand the facts of the last hours of these boys as they tried to save themselves. I bought the book. Now I know. You should buy your own and learn for yourselves.

Jack B. Walters
January 31, 2011

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Uncle Tom's Cabin - A Book Report

By; Harriet Beecher Stowe

In a way I feel foolish attempting to review a book as old as this one. I have known about it most of my life but until now had never read it. It was published in 1851. It began as a serial in a monthly publication but later in book form. It was startling in its effect on the citizens of America as well as Europe. Abraham Lincoln has been quoted upon meeting Mrs. Stowe, “So this is the little lady who made this big war”. It must be remembered that Europe had ended slavery many years before. Even in America the importation of slaves had been made illegal. Due to the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act, the North as well as the South was reminded that they were both responsible for the continuation of this most vile practice. She leaves no doubt on this subject as she skillfully weaves the lives of the characters into the story.
Much of what she wrote was reports of actual happenings. The net effect is in understanding the plight of the Negroes who had no recourse to their fate. We see the devastating effect of families pulled apart as they are sold to the highest bidder without thought to separating family members. We can understand that the owners were also under stress. There were compassionate owners as well as the brutal ones. The copy I just read was reprinted in 1981. It still included the ugly word “nigger”. I have read recently of school boards rewriting Tom Sawyer, I can only assume they have rewritten this book as well. In my opinion that is completely wrong. That word belongs in those books. That is how it was, to pretend otherwise is stupid in my opinion and shows a lack of credibility to suggest words such as this weren’t commonly used during those perilous times.
She skillfully weaved a tale using believable characters and in so doing made their plight understandable to the reader as to the depth of the suffering and pain. After years of slavery many were of mixed race but whether their skin was white or not they were still considered colored and kept in bondage. With few exceptions education was denied them. Many did become Christian. The hope of a better life in the next world was for many the only thought that was able to sustain them. Uncle Tom was completely committed to Jesus Christ and died in peace with his full acceptance of resurrection.
If you are like me and have not read this book I urge you to consider. Mine is available. I am sure it is in the Public Library as well.

Jack B. Walters
January 27, 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Here We Go Again

Do any of you remember the case of the two beltway snipers in 2003? What should have been a slam duck case dragged out for months. It cost taxpayers millions and then of course there were appeals afterwards. They started their killing spree here in Tucson at the Fred Enke Golf Course.
Jared Lee Loughner has just pled not guilty. He did his dastardly deed in front of scores of witnesses. He was caught on Safeway’s video surveillance cameras. He deserves the death penalty but it will never happen as he will plead temporary insanity. After rehabilitation he will be released into the population to be free to do it again as the mood strikes him.
There were 250 FBI agents assigned to the case. There were instantly hundreds of local law enforcement and medical staff who responded. The stores were closed for a week while the crime scene was searched for clues. The President and many others flew in to attend the Memorial Service. Undoubtedly millions have already been spent. High paid lawyers will reap their financial rewards, all at tax payer expense. Is it any wonder our nation is on the brink of bankruptcy? This case will drag on week after week creating more headlines for our news media to exploit and costing millions.
The irony is that it was deemed too costly to assign a law enforcement officer to be on hand for Gifford’s event.

Jack B. Walters
3961 N. Hillwood Circle
Tucson, AZ 85750
(520) 722-2958
January 25, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

Actions Speak Louder Than Words-a letter to the editor

At the memorial service there were many wonderful words spoken about the dead, wounded, hospital care givers, heroes and Arizonans in general. President Obama could not have done a better job, in my opinion, others may disagree. I voted for him but have been appalled at the agenda he has pushed since his election. The America I want is one where families are able to support themselves by their labor, not exist as wards of the state.
Now that the world has seen for themselves the type of people we really are, they should realize that we are not racist, hardnosed, uncaring. We have taken quite a beating since he became president. He has spoken to warn people from visiting because it is unsafe; he has turned the Attorney General loose to take our State to court over SB 1070, the employer sanction law and just recently our vote to ensure secret ballets for workers in union elections. He seems to be doing all he can to punish us for our alleged sins.
Real healing could begin if he called off the lawyers and allowed us to function as the citizens of this great State deem necessary. As strapped as our State is for funds we have been forced to spend millions defending our laws from Obama. So there you have it, like Reagan said to Gorbechev “tear down this wall”, I ask President Obama “to call off your dogs”.

Jack B. Walters
3961 N. Hillwood Circle
Tucson, AZ 85750
(520) 722-2958
January 17, 2011

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Help- a book report

By Kathryn Stockett

This is a novel that deems to tell the story of what it might have been like to be a black woman maid for a white family. The author lived in Mississippi during the 60’s which is the time period of the book. The 60’s were a turbulent period as the black people, particularly in the South, started to attempt to break out of the strict class segregation that was in effect with separate schools, wash rooms, libraries, stores, etc. Martin Luther King was the leader that made it visible. He strived for peaceful resolutions as opposed to violence. President Kennedy got involved more than previous presidents. It was Lyndon Johnson who finally enacted legislation to force change.
The story is about a young white girl who dreams of becoming a writer and decides to write down statements from maids and compile in book form their stories. It is compelling and you almost think the people are real and not fictional characters. This was given to me by my son at Christmas. He knows the serious books I normally read so from time to time he gives me something to break up my routine. The problem with that thought was how real life this felt to me, so in effect I continued with my serious reading.
Vinie, Andy’s wife read this as a member of her book club. It would be good for any book club.

Jack B. Walters
January 5, 2011

Family of Secrets-a book report

By Russ Baker
The Bush Dynasty, America’s Invisible Government, and the hidden history of the last fifty years
This is another difficult book to read. To start with it contains 494 small print pages. It includes comments about many people who were not familiar to me nor will they be to you either. Trying to keep the names in mind as you are reading is very difficult. Since the book covers fifty years of history, events a long time ago which were not generally known added to my problem? Having said all the above, the sum total of the information presented is not favorable to the Bush family. It shows an obsession with money and power. Their network of friends includes the rich and famous, many of whom were granted favors without regard to the best interest of neither America nor the world in general.
The author even questions the heroism of George H. W. Bush when he bailed out during the war in the Pacific. Could he have saved the lives of his two crewmen by making a sea landing? He weaves in many suggestions about culpability in the death of President Kennedy. He proves that “poppy”, as he refers to the first Bush President, was in Dallas the night before the assassination and that a close friend had been an advisor to Oswald suggesting an involvement in the events leading to Kennedy’s death. He devotes many pages to give food for thought about many people in Dallas at the time that were filled with hatred towards the president.
All thru the book “poppy” is shown to have been involved with the CIA, not just when he became Director but many years before. He makes his case that the first Gulf war was for oil and no other reason. Saddam had been assured that invading Kuwait would not be objectionable to America, but when he did, President Bush immediately organized a coalition of nations including Arab nations to drive Iraq out of Kuwait.
Many years before the Bush family cultivated a friendship with the Saudi rulers who provided financial support for any number of the projects of benefit to the family.
Of particular interest to me was the life of George Bush. He lived the life of privilege. A party animal, he enjoyed drinking and womanizing and is accused of getting two women pregnant both of whom had abortions. That possibility was particularly heinous to me with his ranting about “Pro Life” during his years as President. As the son of a sitting president he was given financial support for a number of efforts such a acquiring the Texas Ranger Baseball team. I never gave this man credit for smarts but the author does. George was a great salesman who could convince many to invest in risky ventures.
During his years as President he was known for giving quick responses to issues rather than exploring in depth. He was quoted as saying that a president needed a war to accomplish his agenda. He was proved right. After 9/11 and his two wars the Congress gave him whatever he requested. As president he had a total disregard to the efficient operation of government agencies by staffing them with people opposed to the mandate of those agencies. Any and all who resisted were removed. The ineffectiveness of FEMA during Katrina was a glaring example of the result of his efforts.
The author believes that G. Bush was allowed to join the Texas Air National Guard thru the influence of “poppy”, ahead of many who were more qualified. This of course kept him out of Vietnam. After two years he mysteriously missed taking a mandatory physical necessary to continue flying and was taken out of flying service. He then somehow transferred to Alabama. No one seems to have ever seen him on base and his military records were conveniently lost. He was granted an honorable discharge somehow. The hypocrisy of all this was his campaign to discredit Senator Kerry’s patriotism while serving in Vietnam. Somehow with the help of the “Swift Boat” campaign, Kerry’s lead in the polls evaporated leading to victory for Bush.
There is much, much more. You need to read for yourself.
Jack B. Walters
January 5, 2011