Tag Archives: Arlington National Cemetery

Before they Lost Their Minds, they Used Them

I just saw this video that shows reasonable Republicans (before that meteor made them extinct) agreeing with reasonable gun laws.  Imagine!


Filed under 2016, 2nd Amendment, All The News You Need, All We Are Saying Is Give Peace A Chance, Awards, Beating that Dead Horse, Gun control

There IS a Difference

Periodically, I take some heat here at FiftyFourAndAHalf for being one sided in my political commentary. For not saying nice things about the GOP.  There is some validity to those charges.  My bad.

But, frankly, there are loads of folks who write up the other side. I have said that if the Republican Party hadn’t taken Ronald Reagan’s “The Government IS the Problem” quite so much to heart, well, things might be different.  I might be different.

But as things turned out, you see, well, I’m a liberal. An unapologetic liberal.

When I look at today’s GOP (which is very different from the pre-Reagan GOP) I am astonished that there are folks who go along with the things these folks are advocating.  They’re cra-cray!

Only today, Governor and GOP Presidential hopeful Scott Walker announced that he might just have to bomb Iran his first day in office.  You know, before he knows were the bathrooms are in the White House.  The minute he gets near the button, well, he might just push it.

Some newly elected prezes watch a parade and dance at the Inaugural balls. But not Scott!  Nope!  Nope, he will inaugurate his own balls by starting a fucking war.

Where the hell do you think I got this one?

Where the hell do you think I got this one?

Even ¿Jeb!, the brother of the last GOP guy to bring us a stupid war, thought that Scotty was going a wee bit too far:

One thing that I won’t do is just say, as a candidate, ‘I’m going to tear up the agreement on the first day.’ That’s great, that sounds great but maybe you ought to check in with your allies first, maybe you ought to appoint a secretary of state, maybe secretary of defense, you might want to have your team in place, before you take an act like that.

Scotty, however, disagreed:

At a press conference after his appearance at the Family Leader Summit here Saturday, Walker was asked if he thinks Bush is wrong. “He may have his opinion. I believe that a president shouldn’t wait to act until they put a cabinet together or an extended period of time,” Walker said.

“I believe they should be prepared to act on the very first day they take office. It’s very possible – God forbid, but it’s very possible – that the next president could be called to take aggressive actions, including military action, on the first day in office. And I don’t want a president who is not prepared to act on day one.

This is not a man who thinks he might have to react to a 9/11-like attack. This is a man with no military experience except the fucking Boy Scouts, And he is planning to go to war on January 20, 2017.

Does this make you feel safe? Secure? Like your children and your children’s children will be hunky dory?

Personally, it gives me a feeling of déjà vu:

Photo Credit;  My memory and Google Image's

Photo Credit; My memory and Google Image’s

Contrast that with the Democrats. They just negotiated an historic agreement to avoid war. To see what we can do to not destroy the planet. Well done, Blue Team!

Wendy Sherman, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs who was involved in the negotiations, described what happened after the deal was concluded. After the cameras and the reporters were gone.

[E]ach of the foreign ministers of the P5+1 group – the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany – and Iran “made a statement about what this meant to them.”

“All of the remarks, by all of the ministers, including [Iranian Foreign] Minister [Javad] Zarif, were very moving, because it was private, and it was about what this deal meant to them.”

But the last spot was reserved for John Kerry.*

“When I was 22, I went to war” – [Kerry said] before choking up.

“He couldn’t get the words out,” [Sherman] recalled. “And everybody was completely spellbound.”

Kerry composed himself and continued, “I went to war and it became clear to me that I never wanted to go to war again.”

Do you have kids?  Grand kids?  Siblings who might be called upon to fight?  Which side should you be supporting?

So I am unapologetic about supporting the folks who believe that before going to war, they should work for peace.

I had the poster.  I had the necklace.  Google has the image.

I had the poster. I had the necklace. Google has the image.

* Kerry would have made a fine president.


Filed under 2016, Adult Traumas, All The News You Need, All We Are Saying Is Give Peace A Chance, ¿Jeb!, Bat-shit crazy, Campaigning, Cancer on Society, Crazy Folks Running, Criminal Activity, Disgustology, No More Bushes, Scott Walker, Scotty destroyed Wisconsin, Shit


My views on the subject are quite consistent.  I don’t believe in War.

I protested Viet Nam, and Iraq, although I supported limited intervention into Afghanistan (and look where THAT got us).

I think it’s always better to try to work things out.

So as a public service, I am reposting this picture.  Because almost regardless of the details of the deal being worked out with Iran, compromises are better than war.

Deal or No Deal?  (Image courtesy of the White House, but I found it at CrooksandLiars.com)

Deal or No Deal? (Image courtesy of the White House, but I found it at CrooksandLiars.com)


Filed under All We Are Saying Is Give Peace A Chance, Bat-shit crazy, Campaigning, Conspicuous consumption, Crazy Folks Running, Criminal Activity, Health, Negotiating, Peace, Washington


She didn’t really seem the type, so I am really surprised that my sister Beth has begun haunting me.  She was always a quiet, fairly unassuming person. Yes, she could be a pain in the ass, but hey, we’re related — what would you expect? But haunting?  Isn’t that beyond the pale?

Saturday is the 3rd anniversary of my eldest sister Beth’s passing.  And it took her that long to start rattling her chains.  Yes, it started today.  And I’m the one she’s rattling them at.

It started today because today I attended a funeral.  And the funeral was at Arlington National Cemetery.  That woke Beth up.  It made her realize that I failed her.  It rattled her.

You see, Beth was a nurse.  She switched back and forth between working in the neo-natal intensive care unit and the psychiatric unit of hospitals across the country.  Two specialties and a variety of hospitals helped her keep fresh.  But nursing was her identity.  Ever since she was a little girl, well, she was going to be a nurse.  There was never a doubt in anybody’s mind.  And that is because she wanted to be like her hero, Tantelise, my namesake.

Tantelise (pronounced Tant-a-lease) was our great aunt on Dad’s side.  And from the stories I’ve heard, she was a seriously cool woman.  She lived near us when I was really small, but died when I was only three, so all I really know are a few second-hand stories.  Beth heard them first hand, and modeled her life on them.

Of course, Tantelise was a nurse.  She was, in fact, one of the founding nurses of the International Red Cross, which, at least according to family lore, came into being in the early 1900s.  Tantelise had incredible stories about nursing the wounded, the soldiers from the trenches, the victims of the gas, the amputees.  None of the stories I heard (second-hand) made me want to become a nurse.  But they captured Beth’s imagination.

In about 2004, Beth called me up and asked for my help.  The idea had been brewing in her mind for years.  Since I was in the DC area, well, it was pretty much up to me.

“Lease,” she said, “we need to get a memorial to the WWI nurses in Arlington National Cemetery.  We need to get Tantelise in there.”

(Google Image)

I immediately thought it was a stupid idea.  And of course I was right. But it was so important to Beth that I agreed to help.  I chatted with our cousin Betsey, keeper of the family junk; Betsey was equally unenthusiastic.  But I told Beth I would do what I could.  After all, I work right next to Arlington Cemetery.  How hard would it be for me to make some calls, go and talk to folks and be told by non-relatives that it was a stupid idea?  I figured it would be pretty easy to shut Beth up with strangers on my side.

But of course making phone calls, well, it ain’t what it used to be.  Because in the olden days, you know, 15 or so years ago, someone answered the phone when you called.  Yeah!  Imagine that!  Humans!  Sadly, that doesn’t happen so much any more.

So when I made my calls, I got to run around the phone circuits.  I found no live people in Arlington National Cemetery.  At least none that could help get me what Beth wanted.  I gave up fairly easily, actually.  I knew I wouldn’t get anywhere.  And I tried and failed to convince Beth that it was a stupid idea to try to get Tantelise memorialized in Arlington.

Why didn’t I work harder?  Why did I give up so easily?  Why was it a stupid idea to begin with?

After all, Tantelise and her fellow nurses were truly heroes.  They crossed the Atlantic to Europe to nurse European troops hurt in battle.  They went at their own cost.  They risked their lives.  They did it in long, hot, itchy wool skirts.  They helped an unknown number of men, many of whom would have died had those nurses not been there to help.  Many more died somewhat more easily because there was someone to hold their hand, to wipe their brow, to say “I’m here.  You’re not alone.”  They helped the soldiers in the way nurses throughout the years have helped their patients, by being there with them.

The work of this group of nurses was so deeply appreciated that, when it came time for them to return home to the U.S., Kaiser Wilhelm himself suspended U-boat traffic to allow these nurses safe passage.  Imagine that.  He suspended a vital part of the war for them.  Out of respect and appreciation for the work they had done, he ensured that they would survive.

This was NOT going to happen to the nurses. (Google Image of the sinking of the Lusitania.)

So why is it so unlikely that Tantelise and her compatriots would have their names in Arlington National Cemetery?  Why shouldn’t their service and sacrifice be recognized?  Why shouldn’t Beth’s idea come to pass?

Ummmmmm … They were working for the wrong side.  Oops.  Yes, Tantelise was nursing the German soldiers.  She was a first-generation German-American, and she went to Germany in the years before the U.S. entered the war.  She went when it wasn’t at all clear that the U.S. would enter the war, and if so, on which side.  When the U.S. did enter the war, well, that’s when Tantelise and her fellow nurses were given safe passage home to their country, America.

It is a story of heroism, of sacrifice, of nobility.   And of course, a story of choices.

Sigh.  I may make a few more calls, but, you know, I’m still pretty sure I will be still unable to get Tantelise and her colleagues recognized.

But there is an upside.  At least I’ll have my sister around again.  And I’ve missed her.  Go ahead, Beth.  Rattle away!

Me, Judy, Beth in 1995


Filed under Family, Health and Medicine, History, Humor