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Prof. Boerner's Explorations

Thoughts and Essays that explore the world of Technology, Computers, Photography, History and Family.


Archive for November 7th, 2009

It is such a natural and beautiful experience, but why don’t some appreciate it? The closeness of the mother and infant is a critical part of bonding as well as the preferred method of passing the mother’s immunities to the baby. Breastfeeding is natural and necessary, in the large view. Why are some people so ‘freaked out’ by seeing such a loving act being practiced in public. To these uptight ‘bitties’ I would say: ‘get real!’ This is life. This is good. This is natural. The only indecent act related by this article is the reaction of the ‘snobish’ woman. And the chain reaction to this act of snobbery is refreshing. What do you think?

Woman Called Indecent for Breastfeeding in Public – Parenting on Shine 


If it weren’t for the three television news cameras, the documentary maker, and the various reporters with notebooks and pens poised for action, Friday, September 4, 2009, would feel like any other day in Lincoln Square, a family-dominated neighborhood in Chicago.

The stroller brigade is out in full force. Women mill around with kids strapped to their backs and fronts, and the older, free-range children chase pigeons through the tree-lined, bench-lined central meeting place called Giddings Plaza. With watchful eyes, mothers sit on the raised stage portion of the square and feed their babies — breastfeed their babies, that is.

Lauren Trost, a pretty, slight 33-year-old brunette Chicago resident, and her seven-month-old cherubic son, Hank, are at the center of what’s being dubbed the Lincoln Square Nurse-In. Trost looks around in amazement at the crowd of more than 30 women. This wasn’t exactly what she expected to see. [MORE]

Whatever happened to our support groups? This article gives focus on the problem most families, especially at the occurrence of the first birth, being left on their own. We no longer have the mother or grandmother who comes in to help the new parents. We no longer have brothers, sisters, aunts or uncles to lend a hand during this trying time for a new couple. AND, when such help is offered, the new couple often doesn’t know how to work with it and to be thankful for the special gift being given.

It is well worth our thinking about becoming part of this wonderful experience and letting it bring our families together. Think about it…

The Incredible Disappearing Family – Parenting on Shine 


When my son was born, it was a packed house. No less than ten people were on hand when, after almost fifty hours of labor in the hospital, he was vacuum-suctioned out of his mother. Nurses, the midwife, the on-call vacuum-specialist (a woman who seemed to swoop in out of nowhere, making the last-minute birthing hail Mary) and a few doctors were all on hand. Outside in the waiting room were all the members of my wife’s side of the family (mine live far away, but were sitting by the phone, waiting to hear the outcome).

My son had to stay in the hospital, Bellevue, a few extra days, suffering from a difficult delivery and high bilirubin scores. My wife was laid up for three more days. All the family was around us, and one of the uncles, in a moment of enlightened selflessness, brought us a full meal on the second day, something the both of us, my wife especially, desperately needed. A few days later, after time under the tanning lights, our son’s jaundice had receded and we took him home. The experience was heart-warming: it felt as if all hands were on deck, and help would, for the foreseeable future, be close by.[MORE]

by Gerald Boerner


“…the best tool for expressing his own conceptual ideas [was photography] and taught himself how to use a camera…”
— Lee Robbins in ARTnews of Wall

“[Wall was] not out to bury art in worshipful attitudes, but to grapple with its most exacting standards.”
— Jeff Wall

“Wall has the hands and the eyes of a photographer, but in his veins the blood of a cinematographer flows.”
— Jeff Wall

“[It’s] hard to think of another living photographer whose work leaves us with so potent a record of how actual life actually feels.”
— Deborah Solomon, Time Canada writer of Jeff Wall

“Wall’s attempt to provide his own answer to this dilemma is reflected in his use of photographic transparencies displayed in fluorescent light boxes…”

“Light confirms my reality, gives birth to my form Without light I am not only invisible but formless as well; and to be unaware of one’s form is to live a death. The truth is the light and light is the truth.”
— Jeff Wall

“I thought immediately that the medium although it was used for advertising—in fact did not belong to advertising in any essential sense. It was a free medium, one inherent to photography and film.”
— Jeff Wall

“I am interested in getting these pictures to look like they could have been snapshots, partly because that is the way photographs are expected to look. Moreover, most very beautiful and successful photographs have looked that way.”
— Jeff Wall


Jeff Wall (born: 1946)

Wall_Portrait Jeff Wall, OC in Vancouver, British Columbia is a Canadian artist best known for his large-scale back-lit cibachrome photographs and art-historical writing. Wall has been a key figure in Vancouver’s art scene for years.

Early in his career, he helped define the Vancouver School and he has published essays on the work of his close colleagues and fellow Vancouverites Rodney Graham, Ken Lum and Ian Wallace. His photographic tableaux often takes Vancouver’s mixture of natural beauty, urban decay and postmodern and industrial featurelessness as their backdrop.

Jeff Wall received his MA from the University of British Columbia in 1970, with a thesis titled, Berlin Dada and the Notion of Context and did postgraduate work at the Courtauld Institute from 1970-73, where he studied with Manet expert T.J. Clark. Wall was assistant professor at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (1974-75), associate professor at Simon Fraser University (1976-87) and taught for many years at the University of British Columbia. He has published essays on Dan Graham, Rodney Graham, Roy Arden, Ken Lum, Stephen Balkenhol, On Kawara, and other contemporary artists.

In 1996 Wall was to replace Bernd Becher as head professor of the photography department at the Düsseldorf Academy, but was confronted by a former Becher student who pointed a loaded gun at him. He immediately resigned.

His Work

Wall experimented with conceptual art while an undergraduate student at UBC. Wall then made no art until 1977, when he produced his first backlit phototransparencies. Many of these pictures are staged and refer to the history of art and philosophical problems of representation. The photographs’ compositions often allude to historical artists like Diego Velázquez, Hokusai, and Édouard Manet, or to writers such as Franz Kafka, Yukio Mishima, and Ralph Ellison.

Wall_MimicMimic (1982) typifies Wall’s cinematographic style. A 198 x 226 cm. colour transparency, it shows a white couple and an Asian man walking towards the camera. The sidewalk, flanked by parked cars and residential and light-industrial buildings, suggests a North American industrial suburb. The woman is wearing red shorts and a white top displaying her midriff; her bearded, unkempt boyfriend wears a denim vest. The Asian man is casual but well-dressed in comparison, in a collared shirt and slacks. As the couple overtake the man, the boyfriend makes an ambiguous but apparently obscene and racist gesture, holding his upraised middle finger close to the corner of his eye, "slanting" his eye in mockery of the Asian man’s eyes. The picture resembles a candid shot that captures the moment and its implicit social tensions, but is actually a recreation of an exchange witnessed by the artist.

Wall_Destroyed Room Wall’s work advances an argument for the necessity of pictorial art. Some of Wall’s photographs are complicated productions involving cast, sets, crews and digital postproduction. They have been characterized as one-frame cinematic productions. Wall distinguishes between unstaged "documentary" pictures, like Still Creek, Vancouver, winter 2003, and "cinematographic" pictures, produced using a combination of actors, sets, and special effects, such as Overpass, 2001. His signature works are large transparencies mounted on light boxes; he says he conceived this format when he saw back-lit advertisements at bus stops during a trip between Spain and London. Since the mid-1990s, Wall has also made large scale black and white photographs, some of which were exhibited at Kassel’s Documenta X, as well as smaller colour prints.

The Process

wall.1903Photography has always involved waiting. When the technology was young, slow-acting emulsions required both photographer and subject to wait motionless for the image to register. The introduction of fast film changed the way a photographer must wait. In the tradition of documentary photography that arose, the photographer is understood to be waiting for the right convergence of subject, lighting and frame before clicking the shutter — waiting for what a master of the genre, Henri Cartier-Bresson, famously called “the decisive moment.” Lee Friedlander, another great street photographer, compared this anticipatory state to the hunting alertness of a “one-eyed cat.”

wall_Invisible Man.5.650The metaphor of the hunt has seeped into the essential language of photography. You don’t click, press or squeeze a picture; you shoot one. Walker Evans wrote of his “subway series,” the portraits of unaware New York train passengers that he began in the late 1930s: “I am stalking, as in the hunt. What a bagful to be taken home.” And Diane Arbus’s friend and mentor Marvin Israel said after her death in 1971: “The photograph is like her trophy — it’s what she received as the reward for this adventure.”

wall._Milk 2.650 One thing that Wall knew for certain when he took up the profession in the late 1970s is that he would not become a photojournalistic hunter. Educated as an art historian, he aspired instead to make photographs that could be constructed and experienced the way paintings are. “Most photographs cannot get looked at very often,” he told me. “They get exhausted. Great photographers have done it on the fly. It doesn’t happen that often. I just wasn’t interested in doing that. I didn’t want to spend my time running around trying to find an event that could be made into a picture that would be good.”

wall.1.650 He also disliked the way photographs were typically exhibited as small prints. “I don’t like the traditional 8 by 10,” he said. “They were done that size as displays for prints to run in books. It’s too shrunken, too compressed. When you’re making things to go on a wall, as I do, that seems too small.” The art that he liked best, from the full-length portraits of Velázquez and Manet to the drip paintings of Jackson Pollock and the floor pieces of Carl Andre, engaged the viewer on a lifelike human scale. They could be walked up to (or, in Andre’s case, onto) and moved away from. They held their own, on a wall or in a room. “If painting can be that scale and be effective, then a photograph ought to be effective at that size, too,” he concluded.

Recreated Old Masters into Photographs

Wall’s journey as an artist began in the 1960s. During this time of dropping out, establishment rejection, and free love, Wall discovered that "the best tool for expressing his own conceptual ideas [was photography] and taught himself how to use a camera," Robbins stated in ARTnews. By the early 1970s, Wall had successfully revealed his artistic ideas by blending both written text and photographs to create a documentary of everyday life.

wall_Spring Snow.4.650By the late 1970s, Wall had tired of creating documentaries. He wanted to "move back toward pictorial art," ARTnews further affirmed. He wanted to create powerful images that represented, and not just documented, life but was unsure of how to do so. Inspiration struck when Wall noticed how lighted advertisements on city streets captured his attention. "I thought immediately that the medium although it was used for advertising—in fact did not belong to advertising in any essential sense," he told ARTnews. "It was a free medium, one inherent to photography and film."

wall_Gust of Wind.3.650 Wall explored this new, free medium by recreating legendary paintings as photographic backlit transparencies. For example, in 1978, Wall reflected the past withhis work, The Destroyed Room. Taking the theme of hidden violence within the home from Delacroix’s 1827 work Death of Sardanapalus, The Destroyed Room offered its own depiction of modern life. Wall connected the two works by restaging "compositional elements… in contemporary urban settings, tempering them with an aura of 20th-century banality," noted ARTnews.

Wall_ventriloquistFor the next 10 years, Wall continued recreating paintings into photographs. In 1979, he even "metaphorically [placed himself] in the role of Manet’s obtrusive male customer-spectator" in his recreation of that artist’s Picture for Women noted Reed Johnson in the Daily News. Wall’s reasoning for these recreations are "not out to bury art in worshipful attitudes, but to grapple with its most exacting standards."

Wall_10 Art critics praised Wall for his ingenuity in using backlight for his photography and for his honorable attempts to bring masterful paintings new life through pictures. More praise was to come because Wall’s true self-expression had not yet been explored. His true self was not a recreative photographer. As the Times (London) stated, Wall’s true self was much more theatrical: "Wall has the hands and the eyes of a photographer, but in his veins the blood of a cinematographer flows."

Honors and Awards

In 2002, he was awarded the Hasselblad Award. In 2006, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Jeff Wall was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in December 2007. In March 2008, Wall was awarded the Audain Prize for Lifetime Achievement, British Columbia’s annual award for the visual arts.


Background and biographical information is from Wikipedia articles on:

Jeff Wall that can be found at…

by Gerald Boerner


“My God, maybe there’s a real war going on!”
— Unknown American Soldier

“We thought the North Koreans would back off once they saw American uniforms.”
— Phil Day, Task Force Smith

“The wrong war, at the wrong place, at the wrong time, and with the wrong enemy.”
— Omar Bradley

“Panic sweeps my men when they are facing the American Marines.”
— Captured North Korean Major

“The seat in Hell closest to the fire is reserved for those who knew this but kept it quiet.”
— 2nd Lt. Ollie Conner

“If there is any necessity for Congressional action, I will come to you. But I hope we can get those bandits in Korea suppressed without that.”
— Harry S. Truman

“You cannot exaggerate about the Marines. They are convinced to the point of arrogance, that they are the most ferocious fighters on earth – and the amusing thing about it is that they are.”
— Father Kevin Keaney, Chaplin

“We have a little action up here. All we need is some men who won’t run when they see tanks. We’re going to move you up to support the ROKs [Republic of Korea soldiers] and give them moral support.”
— Brig. Gen. John H. Church, U.S. Army

“[Korea is] the clearest test case that the United Nations has ever faced. If the United Nations is ever going to do anything, this is the time, and if the United Nations cannot bring the crisis in Korea to an end, then we might as well wash up the United Nations and forget it.”
— Senator Tom Connally

“A month or so before this we had undergone an ordnance inspection and half of our rifles were condemned. They were all left over from World War II, retrieved from Okinawa, or places like that. The same went for the mortars and machine guns. I don’t remember ever seeing anything new.”
Lt. Jack Doody, U.S. Army

“I’m more worried about other parts of the world. The Middle East, for instance. [Iran] is where they will start trouble if we aren’t careful.
Korea is the Greece of the Far East. If we are tough enough now, if we stand up to them like we did in Greece three years ago, they won’t take any next steps. But if we just stand by, they’ll move into Iran and they’ll take over the whole Middle East. There’s no telling what they’ll do, if we don’t put up a fight now.”
— Harry S. Truman, President, two days after the invasion

“People say to us, look, it may well be the case that there are fewer wars and fewer genocides, but surely more people are being killed. But when we look at this, the number of people killed in wars involving a state every year, all the wars, and you can see there’s a high point, that’s the Korean war, and it keeps on going down and down and down. If you look at the average number of people killed per conflict per year, it goes from 37-thousand in 1950 to just 600 in 2002.”
— Andrew Mack


Veterans Day: Remembering the Korean War

Korean_War_Montage The Korean War was a war that started between North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, DPRK) and South Korea (Republic of Korea, ROK) on 25 June 1950 and paused with an armistice signed 27 July, 1953. To date, the war has not been officially ended through treaty, and occasional skirmishes have been reported in the border region.

The Korean peninsula was politically divided as a legacy of the geopolitics of defeating the Japanese Empire on the peninsula in 1945. Soviet forces fighting the Japanese advanced up to the 38th Parallel, which later became the political border between the two Koreas. Despite talks in the months preceding open warfare, continual cross-border skirmishes and raids at the 38th Parallel, and the political frustration of failed all-Korea elections in 1948, escalated to warfare. The reunification negotiations ceased when North Korea invaded South Korea on 25 June 1950.

The United States and the United Nations intervened on the side of the South. After a rapid UN counteroffensive that repelled North Koreans past the 38th Parallel and almost to the Yalu River, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) came to the aid of the North. With the PRC’s entry into the conflict, the fighting eventually ceased with an armistice that restored the original border between the Koreas at the 38th Parallel and created the Korean Demilitarized Zone, a 2.5 mile wide buffer zone between the two Koreas. North Korea unilaterally withdrew from the armistice on 27 May 2009, thus returning to a de facto state of war; as of this date, no conflicts have erupted.

Korea often changed hands
early in the war, until the
front stabilized.

During the war, both North and South Korea were sponsored by external powers, thus facilitating the war’s metamorphosis from a simple civil war to a proxy war between power involved in the larger Cold War.

From a military science perspective, the Korean War combined strategies and tactics of World War I and World War II — swift infantry attacks followed air bombing raids. The initial mobile campaign transitioned to trench warfare, lasting from January 1951 until the 1953 border stalemate and armistice.

The Setting of the Conflict

Early accounts of the Korean War almost without exception focused on events beginning with the North Korean invasion of South Korea. This was because few people doubted that the Soviet Union had ordered the attack as part of its plan for global conquest. President Harry S. Truman provided support for this assumption just two days after the start of hostilities. On June 27, 1950, he told the American people that North Korea’s attack on South Korea showed the world that "communism has passed beyond the use of subversion to conquer independent nations and will now use armed invasion and war."

korean-war-combat-7 This assessment reflected Truman’s firm belief that North Korea was a puppet of the Soviet Union and Kim Il Sung was acting on instructions from Moscow. In his memoirs, Truman equated Joseph Stalin’s actions with Adolf Hitler’s in the 1930s, arguing that military intervention to defend the Republic of Korea (ROK) was vital because appeasement had not prevented but ensured the outbreak of World War II.4 Top administration officials, as well as the general public, fully shared these assumptions. This traditional interpretation provided the analytical foundation for early accounts of the war, perpetuating the most important myth of the Korean conflict.


Korean  War-Civilian CasualtiesIn the US, the war was officially described as a police action (a Korean Conflict, not a Korean War) owing to the lack of a legitimate declaration of war by the US Congress. Colloquially, it is also The Forgotten War and The Unknown War, because it ended in stalemate, and unlike the Second World War and the Vietnam War, it is culturally forgotten.

In South Korea the war is usually referred to as the 6-2-5 War (yuk-i-o jeonjaeng), reflecting the date of its commencement on June 25. In North Korea the war is officially referred to as the Choguk haebang chǒnjaeng ("fatherland liberation war"). Alternately, it is called the Chosǒn chǒnjaeng ("Joseon war", Joseon being what North Koreans call Korea). In People’s Republic of China the war is officially called the Chao Xian Zhan Zheng (Korean War), with the word "Chao Xian" referring to the name of North Korea in Chinese.

The term Korean War can also denote the skirmishes before the invasion and since the armistice.

Korea divided (1945)

Postdam_Truman_Stalin At the Potsdam Conference (July–August 1945), the Allies unilaterally decided to divide Korea—without consulting the Koreans—in contradiction of the Cairo Conference (November 1943) where Churchill, Chiang Kai-shek, and Franklin D. Roosevelt declared that Korea would be a free nation and an independent country. Moreover, the earlier Yalta Conference (February 1945) granted to Joseph Stalin European "buffer zones"—satellite states accountable to Moscow- as well as an expected Soviet pre-eminence in China and Manchuria, as reward for joining the US Pacific war effort against Japan.

The UN Offensive: North Korea invaded (September–October 1950)

korean-war-combat-7 On 1 October 1950, the UN Command repelled the KPA northwards, past the 38th parallel; the ROK Army crossed after them, into North Korea. Six days later, on 7 October, with UN authorization, the UN Command forces followed the ROK forces northwards. The X Corps landed at Wonsan (SE North Korea) and Iwon (NE North Korea), already captured by ROK forces. The Eighth US Army and the ROK Army drove up western Korea, and captured Pyongyang city, the North Korean capital, on 19 October 1950. At month’s end, UN forces held 135,000 KPA prisoners of war; the North Korean People’s Army appeared to disintegrate.

Taking advantage of the UN Command’s strategic momentum against the KPA, Gen. MacArthur (and some US politicians), believed it necessary to extend the Korean War into Communist China to destroy the PRC depots supplying the North Korean war effort. President Truman disagreed, and ordered Gen. MacArthur’s caution at the Sino-Korean border.

China intervenes

korean-war-artillery On 27 June 1950, two days after the KPA invaded and three months before the October Chinese intervention to the Korean War, President Truman dispatched the 7th US Fleet to the Taiwan Straits, to protect Nationalist Republic of China from the People’s Republic of China (PRC). On 4 August 1950, Mao Zedong reported to the Politburo that he would intervene when the People’s Volunteer Army (PVA) was ready to deploy. On 20 August 1950, Premier Zhou Enlai informed the United Nations that “Korea is China’s neighbor … The Chinese people cannot but be concerned about a solution of the Korean question”—thus, via neutral-country diplomats, China warned the US, that in safeguarding Chinese national security, they would intervene against the UN Command in Korea. President Truman interpreted the communication as “a bald attempt to blackmail the UN”, and dismissed it. The Politburo authorized Chinese intervention in Korea on 2 October 1950—the day after the ROK Army crossed the 38th-parallel border. Later, the Chinese claimed that US bombers had violated PRC national airspace when on en route to bomb North Korea—before China intervened.

Across the parallel: Chinese Winter Offensive (early 1951)

korean-war-combat-5 In January 1951, the PVA and the KPA launched their Third Phase Offensive (aka the “Chinese Winter Offensive”), repeating night attacks—stealthy infiltration of UN Command fighting positions, from behind the front lines, then a numerically-superior, overwhelming assault to capture it. The tactic’s psychological warfare component was accompanying the attack with disquieting loud trumpets and gongs, played as tactical communication and as mental disorientation of the enemy. UN forces initially had no familiarity with this tactic, resulting in some soldiers’ resolve became “bug-out fever”; some soldiers “bugged-out”, abandoning their weapons, while rapidly retreating south. The Chinese Winter Offensive overwhelmed the UN Command forces and the PVA and KPA conquered Seoul on 4 January 1951.

Stalemate (July 1951 – July 1953)

korean-war-combat-6 For the remainder of the Korean War the UN Command and the PVA fought, but exchanged little territory; the stalemate held. Large-scale bombing of North Korea continued, and protracted armistice negotiations, began 10 July 1951 at Kaesong. Yet combat continued while the belligerents negotiated an armistice; the ROK–UN Command forces’ goal was recapturing all of South Korea, to avoid losing territory.

korean-war-combat-17 The PVA and the KPA attempted like operations; later, they effected military and psychological operations testing the UN Command’s resolve to continue the Korean War—the principal battles of the stalemate include the Battle of Bloody Ridge (18 August – 15 September 1951) and Battle of Heartbreak Ridge (13 September – 15 October 1951), the Battle of Old Baldy (26 June – 4 August 1952), the Battle of White Horse (6–15 October 1952), the Battle of Triangle Hill (14 October – 25 November 1952) and the Battle of Hill Eerie (21 March – 21 June 1952), the sieges of Outpost Harry (10–18 June 1953), the Battle of the Hook (28–29 May 1953) and the Battle of Pork Chop Hill (23 March – 16 July 1953).


korean-war-combat-16 The Korean War (1950–53) was the first proxy war in the Cold War (1945–91), the prototype of the following sphere-of-influence wars, e.g. the Vietnam War (1945–75). The Korean War established proxy war as one way that the nuclear superpowers indirectly conducted their rivalry in third-party countries. The NSC68 Containment Policy extended the cold war from the occupied Europe of 1945 to the rest of the world.

Fighting ended at the 38th parallel, now the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)—248×4 km (155×2.5 mi)—peninsular demarcation between the countries. Moreover, the Korean War affected other participant combatants; Turkey, for example, entered NATO in 1952.

korean-war-combat-4 Post-war recovery was different in the two Koreas; South Korea stagnated in the first post-war decade, but later industrialized and modernized. Contemporary North Korea is spartan, while South Korea is a consumer society. In the 1990s North Korea faced significant economic disruptions. The North Korean famine is believed to have killed as many as 2.5 million people. The CIA World Factbook estimates North Korea’s GDP (PPP) is $40 billion, which is 3.0% of South Korea’s $1.196 trillion GDP (PPP). North Korean personal income is $1,800 per capita, which is 7.0 percent of the South Korean $24,500 per capita income.

Anti-communism remains in ROK politics. The Uri Party practiced a "Sunshine Policy" towards North Korea; the US often disagreed with the Uri Party and (former) ROK Pres. Roh about relations between the Koreas. The conservative Grand National Party (GNP), the Uri Party’s principal opponent, is anti-North Korea.

“In May of 1945 the U.S. Army had reached its peak of 8,290,000 men (including, of course, the Army Air Force). Five years later, by the summer of 1950, it had dwindled to 592,000 men or about 7 percent of its former strength. Even at the time of Pearl Harbor, usually regarded as the classic example of American unpreparedness, the Army had 1,600,000 men under arms. Worse, this 1950 army of 592,000 men was top heavy with technicians and service people, for the Maginot Line mentality had produced the myth of the push-button war and so downgraded the foot soldier.

"In all this army there were only ten combat divisions, plus the equivalent of one more in the European Constabulary, and perhaps the equivalent of another three in nine independent regimental combat teams – an optimistic total, in all, of fourteen divisions of which only the Constabulary was up to strength.

"Of these forces, four divisions were in Japan under General MacArthur. . . . They were at about 70 percent of wartime strength . . . [and] deficient in such modern arms as 57mm and 75mm recoiless rifles, 4.2-inch mortars and 3.5-inch rocket launchers.”

Korean War Memorial (Washington, D.C.)

korean-war-memorial_large The Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C., presents in granite what for many remains its most powerful lesson— that "Freedom Is Not Free." Tourists can buy T-shirts sporting a map of Korea over which appears the judgment that this was "The Place Where Communism Was Stopped." But since 1981 a swelling stream of books and articles reexamining not only the war itself, but U.S. policy toward Korea before June 1950, has shattered traditional beliefs about the conflict.2 This essay revisits the Korean War with the purpose of exposing old myths and replacing them with current realities of a no-longer-forgotten conflict.


Background and biographical information is from Wikipedia articles on:

The Korean War that can be found at…

by Gerald Boerner


“Democrats are the only reason to vote for Republicans.”
— Will Rogers

“Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote.”
— George Jean Nathan

“Bad politicians are sent to Washington by good people who don’t vote.”
— William E. Simon

“Anything important is never left to the vote of the people. We only get to vote on some man; we never get to vote on what he is to do.”
— Will Rogers

“Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.”
— John Quincy Adams

“The people who cast the votes don’t decide an election, the people who count the votes do.”
— Joseph Stalin

“The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men.”
— Lyndon B. Johnson

“Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule — and both commonly succeed, and are right”
— Henry Louis Mencken

“Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual).”
— Ayn Rand


U.S. Election Day

voting Election Day in the United States is the day set by law for the election of public officials.

For federal offices (United States Congress and President and Vice President), it occurs on the Tuesday after the first Monday of November in even-numbered years; the earliest possible date is November 2 and the latest November 8. Presidential elections are held every four years (Electors for President and Vice President are also chosen according to the method determined by each state), while elections to the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate are held every two years. (All Representatives serve two-year terms and are up for election every two years, while Senators serve six-year terms, staggered so that one-third of Senators are elected in any given general election). General elections in which presidential candidates are not on the ballot are referred to as midterm elections. Terms for those elected begin in January the following year; the President and Vice President are inaugurated ("sworn in") on Inauguration Day, usually January 20.

Many state and local government offices are also elected on Election Day as a matter of convenience and cost saving, although a handful of states hold elections for state offices (such as governor) during odd-numbered "off years."

Congress has mandated a uniform date for presidential (3 U.S.C. § 1) and congressional (2 U.S.C. § 1 and 2 U.S.C. § 7) elections, though early voting is nonetheless authorized in many states. In Oregon, where all elections are vote-by-mail, all ballots must be received by a set time on Election Day, as is common with absentee ballots in most states (except overseas military ballots which receive more time by federal law). In the state of Washington, where most counties are vote-by-mail (and in the others most votes are cast by mail as permanent absentee ballots), ballots need only be postmarked by Election Day.

vote-yours-count Election Day is a civic holiday in some states, including Delaware, Hawaii, Kentucky, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and West Virginia. Some other states require that workers be permitted to take time off from employment without loss of pay. California Elections Code Section 14000 provides that employees otherwise unable to vote must be allowed two hours off with pay, at the beginning or end of a shift. Democratic Representative John Conyers of Michigan recently introduced a bill in the House of Representatives that would make Election Day a national holiday called Democracy Day.


By federal law since 1792, the U.S. Congress permitted the states to conduct their presidential elections (or otherwise to choose their Electors) any time in a 34-day period before the first Wednesday of December, which was the day set for the meeting of the Electors of the U.S. president and vice-president (the Electoral College), in their respective states. An election date in November was seen as useful because the harvest would have been completed (important in an agrarian society) and the winter storms would not yet have begun in earnest (a plus in the days before paved roads and snowplows). However, in this arrangement the states that voted later could be influenced by a candidate’s victories in the states that voted earlier, a problem later exacerbated by improved communications via train and telegraph. In close elections, the states that voted last might well determine the outcome.

A uniform date for choosing presidential Electors was instituted by the Congress in 1845. Many theories have been advanced as to why the Congress settled on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. The actual reasons, as shown in records of Congressional debate on the bill in December 1844, were fairly prosaic. The bill initially set the national day for choosing presidential Electors on "the first Tuesday in November," in years divisible by four (1848, 1852, etc.). But it was pointed out that in some years the period between the first Tuesday in November and the first Wednesday in December (when the Electoral College met) would be more than 34 days, in violation of the existing Electoral College law. So, the bill was amended to move the national date for choosing presidential Electors forward to the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, a date scheme already used in the state of New York.

In 1845, the United States was largely an agrarian society. Farmers often needed a full day to travel by horse-drawn vehicles to the county seat to vote. Tuesday was established as election day because it did not interfere with the Biblical Sabbath or with market day, which was on Wednesday in many towns.


voting_machines There are tens of thousands of voting precincts in the United States, each of which must be supplied and staffed with election judges on Election Day, usually a workday in most of the country.


Some activists oppose this date on the grounds that it decreases voter turnout because most citizens work on Tuesdays, and advocate making election day a federal holiday or allowing voters to cast their ballots over two or more days. The United Auto Workers union has negotiated making Election Day a holiday for its workers at the U.S. domestic auto manufacturers.

Many states have implemented early voting, which allows the voters to cast ballots, in many cases up to a month early. Also, all states have some kind of absentee ballot system. The state of Oregon, for example, performs all major elections through Postal voting that are sent to voters several weeks before Election Day. Some companies will let their employees come in late or leave early on Election Day to allow them an opportunity to get to their precinct and vote.


Other Events on this Day
  • In 1849…
    Zachary Taylor is elected the twelfth U.S. president on the first-ever nationwide Election Day

  • In 1874…
    A cartoon by Thomas Nast in Harper’s Weekly is the first to depict the Republican Party as an elephant.

  • In 1916…
    Republican Jeannette Rankin of Montana becomes the first woman elected to Congress.

  • In 1944…
    President Franklin D. Roosevelt defeats Thomas Dewey to win an unprecedented fourth term in office.

  • In 1989…
    In Virginia, Democrat Douglas Wilder becomes the first African American elected governor of a U.S. state.

Dates and events based on:

William J. Bennett and John Cribb, (2008) The American Patriot’s Almanac Daily Readings on America. (Kindle Edition)

Background information is from Wikipedia articles on:

Election Day in the U.S. that can be found at…