At the climax of the Broadway musical “Hamilton,” Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton exchange a series of increasingly hostile letters in the song “Your Obedient Servant.” Burr enumerates a litany of perceived insults: Hamilton has called him “amoral” and “a dangerous disgrace” and blocked his political aspirations. “Burr, your grievance is legitimate,” Hamilton replies dismissively. “I stand by what I said, every bit of it/You stand only for yourself/It’s what you do/I can’t apologize because it’s true.” An outraged Burr feels he has been doubly wronged — first he is bad-mouthed and then his complaint is answered with a shrug. These irreconcilable differences came to a head on July 11, 1804, in a fatal duel in Weehawken, N.J.

The genius of “Hamilton,” which opened in February 2015, four months before Donald Trump announced his presidential campaign, was the way in which it made the stuff of history textbooks feel unexpectedly vivid, even contemporary. A year and a half later, the prospect of two political adversaries drawing pistols at dawn over unforgivable insults is perhaps not nearly so remote as we might wish. Trump is “unfit, and he proves it every time he talks,” Hillary Clinton said in the third presidential debate on Oct. 19. “No, you are the one that’s unfit,” Trump fumed. There was no handshake afterward. When the “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda hosted “Saturday Night Live” last month, he acknowledged the convergence in his rapped opening monologue: “And, yes, I’m right in my element/Who knew that ‘Hamilton’ would be so topically relevant?/The way that these grandstanding candidates be talking/They’re just a tweet away from facing off in Weehawken!”

Grievance is the animating theme of this election and the natural state of at least one of the candidates; Trump is a public figure whose ideology, such as it is, essentially amounts to a politics of the personal grudge. It has drawn to him throngs of disaffected citizens all too glad to reclaim the epithet “deplorable.” But beyond these aggrieved hordes, it can seem at times as if nearly everyone in the country is nursing wounds, cringing over slights and embarrassments, inveighing against enemies and wishing for retribution. Everyone has someone, or something, to resent — and often rightfully so.

Americans tend to think of rights and grievances in completely different ways — one as a near-mystical birthright and the other as an unjustice that demands a response — but they are each part of our political origin story. In 1774, the First Continental Congress sent a Declaration of Rights and Grievances to King George III, protesting that Americans had “a right peaceably to assemble, consider of their grievances, and petition the King; and that all prosecutions, prohibitory proclamations, and commitments for the same, are illegal” — a missive that set the stage for revolt and the Declaration of Independence two years later. A grievance was understood to be a wrong so grave, so serious, that it must be in violation of its twinned opposite, a right. It was the other inalienable principle claimed by the new nation.

Those founding documents were a blueprint for how a grievance could be transmuted, through democratic institutions, into a right.
Since then our politics, and our evolving constitutional rights, have been shaped by the articulation and settling of grievances writ large. Slavery was listed as one of the “grievances” in Jefferson’s draft of the Declaration of Independence, but struck from the final version; it would take the 13th Amendment to begin to right that wrong. And half the population didn’t appear in the founding documents at all. Abigail Adams, the wife of John Adams and a future first lady, wrote to her friend Mercy Otis Warren in 1776 that she had sent “a List of Female Grievances” to her husband in Philadelphia, where he was working with the Continental Congress to draft the laws of the new nation. “I even threatened fomenting a Rebellion in case we were not considered,” Adams wrote, “and assured him we would not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we had neither a voice, nor representation.”


Trump likes to tell his roaring crowds that “we won’t have a country anymore” if he isn’t elected. The country he warns against losing is, of course, the very country that Lamm warned against losing; Trump’s candidacy takes that complaint to its logical conclusion. The good old days. Populism. Nationalism. Nativism. All of these are more palatable ways of serving up the same dish: “The issue of white grievance,” Bill O’Reilly said on his Fox News show in April, discussing Trump’s supporters, “is not going away.”

This us-against-them movement found its willing avatar in Trump, a man whose motivations — even to run for president — are personal animus, personal gain, a flouting of the rules of engagement and civility, equal-opportunity insults for all. “We have a bunch of babies running our country, folks,” Trump said at a rally in North Carolina on Oct. 21, referring to President Obama and the first lady. “We have a bunch of losers.” It’s a grudge match with no aim higher than his own standing. “It’s him or me!” Aaron Burr howls in the song “The World Was Wide Enough,” near the end of “Hamilton,” in which he narrates the duel and its aftermath. Grievance begets grievance. The personal is political. And history can be hijacked by the consequences.

The joy of driving….

People very often ask me if a ship driver (like I was for my U.S. Navy career) is the same as the pilot of an aircraft.

Well….yes and no!

Yes, both an aircraft pilot and a ship driver maintain absolute and final positive control over the operation of their sophisticated machine – an air or ocean surface platform.

No, because, as opposed to the pilot of an aircraft, the ship driver isn’t  the person actually steering the ship or controlling the speed. (You’re not too concerned with altitude on a surface vessel!)

The Officer of the Deck and bridge team aboard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76)

A ship driver, whether aboard a naval warship or a commercial vessel, is the person in charge of a team of folk who perform precisely as ordered….steering the ship in the direction ordered…..proceeding at the speed ordered….navigating along the track ordered….maintaining constant open communications with the engine room as ordered….communicating with other ships as ordered….ensuring the safety of the ship’s operations as ordered….keeping the Captain and crew informed as ordered….performing safety and operational checks as ordered…..

       The Deck Officers aboard the cruise ship Caribbean Princess

So, you get the drift. The cockpit of an aircraft is rarely populated by more than two or three people….but the bridge of a ship can contain up to a dozen or more crew members, responding to the commands of the ship driver (professionally known in the U.S. Navy as a Surface Warfare Officer) – normally called the Officer of the Deck aboard both military and commercial vessels.

                                       *          *          *          *

In the photo at the top of this post, the Whidbey Island-class amphibious dock landing ship USS Germantown (LSD 42) makes her final approach towards the Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Walter S. Diehl (T-AO 193), left, and Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), far left, during a replenishment-at-sea evolution recently in the South China Sea.

This refueling/replenishment operation is conducted dozens of times daily all over the world by United States naval vessels.

I had this view from the bridge of my ships at least 100 times as an Officer of the Deck during my years as a ship driver. And it never ceased to be the most thrilling and challenging of professional achievements!

But it took a team effort to make it all happen safely and successfully!


>>Top photo: Petty Officer 2nd Class Raymond D. Diaz III, USN

President Lyndon B. Johnson in Vietnam: With General William Westmoreland and the fighting men, 10/26/1966

Series: Johnson White House Photographs, 11/22/1963 - 1/20/1969Collection: White House Photo Office Collection, 11/22/1963 - 1/20/1969  (Holdings of @lbjlibrary)

After attending a summit in the Philippines with the Heads of State and Government of Australia, Korea, New Zealand, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam, President Johnson traveled to Vietnam.  He visited with U.S. military personnel in Cam Ranh Bay on October 26th.

1942 World Series scorecards in program book. Printed on front cover: “Official program. Twenty-five cents. 1942 World Series. New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals,” with painting of boy in baseball uniform buying war bond stamps from woman in military uniform, signed Lon Keller. Printed inside: “First war fund World Series, USO big beneficiary. This book is published by Harry M. Stevens, Inc., Offices: 320 Fifth Avenue, New York City.” Includes portraits and profiles of Yankees and Cardinals players and officials.

  • Courtesy of the Ernie Harwell Sports Collection, Detroit Public Library
So I got this ad on youtube...

It’s for U.S. Cellular, specifically advertising how great their streaming service is. You can even , the guy in the ad says, stream hours of grass mowing.

And I go… “wait a minute…that sounds weird…why hasn’t this ad ended yet?”

And I look at the bottom. 

the ad is seven hours long.

Two California school districts raised attendance rates by installing washers and dryers in their schools. Due to a large number of homeless or low-income families, students were missing an average of 12 days per year because they often stayed home when they had no clean clothes. After offering laundry services, 89% of students had increased classroom participation, 95% participated in more extracurricular activities, and the average number of absences dropped to 3.5. Source Source 2

Black Lives Matter Did Something Huge Today
Often criticized for being a diffuse movement, Black Lives Matter has changed its tune.

It’s a big day for the new civil rights movement known as Black Lives Matter. Up until now, the movement had famously opted to forgo hierarchies in favor of a diffuse coalition that more resembled Occupy Wall Street than, say, the ‘60s-era Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. The movement’s decentralized approach has been criticized in the past, and its activists have butted heads with both civil rights leaders and the Obama administration. But on Monday morning, Black Lives Matter made a decision to be a movement with a plan, a platform, and concrete demands.

In a statement released by more than 30 organizations (and endorsed by an additional 50), BLM released six platform demands and “key solutions”—a list of more than 40 policy recommendations, including demilitarizing law enforcement, unionizing unregulated industries, and decriminalizing drugs. A centralized wing of the movement for black lives, M4BL Policy Table, has been working on the demands for a little over a year, according to Thenjiwe McHarris, who is part of the M4BL Policy Table Leadership team.


For those in the path of Hurricane Matthew (Please SIGNAL BOOST)

Stay safe.  Below are some links you may find helpful if you are in the current or projected path of Hurricane Matthew in the southeastern coastal areas of the U.S.  These links include information on evacuation routes, emergency services, shelters, and more.


Storm surge maps: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/refresh/graphics_at4+shtml/034341.shtml?inundation


National Hurricane Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration   http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/

Hurricane Tracking Chart  http://www.scdps.gov/docs/2016SCHurricaneGuide.pdf






Florida Power and Light  https://www.fpl.com/account/report-outage.html





U.S. soccer player Megan Rapinoe kneeled during the National Anthem — and her bosses are furious.

Megan Rapinoe kneeled during “The Star-Spangled Banner” before a USWNT exhibition game against Thailand Thursday night. It was Rapinoe’s first time making the demonstration while wearing a Team USA uniform — but not her first time speaking out.

“I am disgusted with the way [Colin Kaepernick] has been treated and the fans and hatred he has received in all of this,” Rapinoe told ESPN. “It is overtly racist: ‘Stay in your place, black man.’ Just didn’t feel right to me.”

“[Quite] honestly, being gay, I have stood with my hand over my heart during the national anthem and felt like I haven’t had my liberties protected,” she told espnW, “so I can absolutely sympathize with that feeling.”

U.S. Soccer is not happy with her demonstration and made their displeasure known in a patronizing public statement.

follow @the-movemnt

The Navajo language was chosen to code U.S. military operations because it has no written form and is almost impossible for non-native speakers to learn. After the operation was declassified in 1968, the Japanese Chief of Intelligence admitted that though his army had been able to decipher many U.S. codes, they were never able to crack the Navajo code. Source Source 2

Let’s face it folks: Alexander Hamilton would never have made it to America in the world we have today.

He immigrated from the Caribbean as a penniless, fatherless child, with no training and minimum schooling. Under Donald Trump he’d never even get to board the ship. Under President Obama he would never have qualified for admission.

I wish Donald Trump could see the tour de force that “Hamilton” is on Broadway, if only to learn how incredible Hamilton was and how he saved the US from bankruptcy among other achievements.

Maybe Trump would look differently on the immigrants he attacks with such abandon if he saw what one man, who arrived here with nothing but terrible prospects, accomplished.

Hamilton would never have made it to the New World today. Then neither would William Ford, father of Henry Ford who force-migrated in 1847 during the Famine with only his carpenter’s tools. Neither would Thomas Fitzgerald or Patrick Kennedy a barrel-maker, both ancestors of of JFK and both who also force-migrated at the same time.

In more modern times, Trump would certainly have blocked Abdul Fattah Jandali, a Syrian refugee from Homs who was fleeing a war in Lebanon in 1954.

He was forced to give a baby up for adoption because his pregnant girlfriend’s father would not let him marry his daughter. The son turned out to be Steve Jobs.

Google was the co-invention of Russian emigre Sergey Brin. It is now one of the largest companies in the world.

A bankrupt America – no massive development of the automobile, no JFK as president, no iPhone or Mac, no Google were it not for these immigrants.

Does that strike home Mr Trump?