Monthly Archives: May 2023
In December of 2006, some 10,000 US researchers signed a statement protesting about political interference in the scientific process. In other words, the politicians were manipulating the scientific outcomes of research in order to sell their own agenda to the people. The statement, which included the backing of 52 Nobel Laureates, demanded a restoration of scientific integrity in government policy. These scientists were tired of being forced to have their research line up with the outcome that the government wanted. According to the American Union of Concerned Scientists, their research data is being misrepresented for political reasons. The statement claims that scientists working for federal agencies have been asked to change data to fit policy initiatives. Basically, these scientists are whistle blowers, who stand to lose their funding because they won’t play ball anymore, but science whose outcome is manipulated by politics isn’t science anymore anyway, is it.
In the statement the Union released, it included an “A to Z” guide that it says documents dozens of recent allegations involving censorship and political interference in federal science, covering issues ranging from global warming to sex education. When Congress won’t stand up for scientific integrity, it left the door open for the White House to censor the work of agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration. Dr Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment and Security said, “It’s very difficult to make good public policy without good science, and it’s even harder to make good public policy with bad science. In the last several years, we’ve seen an increase in both the misuse of science, and I would say an increase of bad science in a number of very important issues; for example, in global climate change, international peace and security, and water resources.”
The statement released at the American Geophysical Union’s Fall Meeting…the annual gathering of Earth scientists, triggered a major row when a discussion resulted in the renowned US space agency climate scientist Dr James Hansen claimed that he had come under pressure not to talk to the media on global warming issues. Michael Halpern from the UCS said the statement of objection to political interference had been supported by researchers regardless of their political views. Halpern said, “This science statement that has now been signed by the 10,000 scientists is signed by science advisers to both Republican and Democratic administrations dating back to President Eisenhower, stating that this is not business as usual and calling for this practice to stop.” With the statement of objection, the Union expressed a hopefulness that the new Congress taking office that January would show a greater commitment to protecting the integrity of the scientific process. Unfortunately, I don’t think that has been the case with that Congress, nor with any others. Manipulating science to control the population seems to be the political way of doing things.
My great grandnephew, Jaxx Harman is such a wonderful young man. He makes it his mission to exhort other people. His mom, Melanie Harman tells me that he is the biggest sweetheart ever. Whenever he talks to his family, he always calls his mom and his sister, Izabella (Belle), beautiful and his daddy, Jake Harman, handsome. Jaxx really comes by this happy trait naturally, because he acts exactly like his daddy does. Jake has made it his mission to make everyone feel loved and appreciated, and now he is teaching this very important habit to his son. Many people don’t really know how to make a woman feel appreciated, because they don’t see that at home. I’m not saying that Jake is the only man who treats people, and especially women, well, but many men, while they appreciate their wife or daughters, don’t exhort them…don’t make them feel beautiful. Jake does, and now he is teaching that to his son. He is very loving, always saying, “I love you and you are my best friend” to his mom and dad, every chance he gets.
Jaxx has a great personality!! He loves to be silly…loves funny jokes!! For Jaxx, it’s really all about making people laugh. He doesn’t care if he has to look silly to do so either. Jaxx does some weird dance moves all the time…just to see who will laugh. Then, he will sing a version of “Broken Heart” by Axel Rudi Pell…with a minor alteration…Jaxx sings, “Don’t leave me alone with my broken hotdog!!” Jaxx also loves to randomly say “I am not a pickle, sir!!” or “Spider man, spider man, hit you in the face with a pickle man!!” Hahahahahaha!! You just can’t help but laugh at the funny things he says. He one time took a bite out of his hotdog and said, “Mom, Mom it looks like a screaming hotdog!”
Like most kids, Jaxx loves to play games. He likes to play games with his pops, but also plays with his grandpa, Dave Balcerzak or Uncle Chris Kirk. His family loves to hike, so Jaxx gets to get his fill of climbing on rocks…like all little boys like to. There really isn’t anything in life that doesn’t excite Jaxx. He is a little boy who is full of life, love, and joy. Is there a better combination? I don’t think so. Today is Jaxx’s 6th birthday. Happy birthday Jaxx!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My niece Kellie Hadlock’s boyfriend, Tim Thompson is having a great summer, and it’s just getting started. Now that school is out, Tim gets to have his daughter, Jolene Thompson for the whole summer. Tim and Kellie have so many plans for the summer. For starters, they went camping in the Green Mountains over the Memorial Day weekend. Then, they celebrated his birthday last night, because Tim and Jolene have to head back to Gillette in the morning. Tim is so excited about have his daughter for the summer. It’s been really hard being so far away from her. Tim and Kellie have already been fishing a ton and Tim is super excited that the camper is up and running! Tim is an outdoor fanatic. He loves hunting, fishing, camping, and hiking; and so, they have many plans for the camper and camping this summer!! They are always out doing fun things and being active and, the girls love that!!
Kellie tells me that Tim is such an amazing person!! He is so selfless and is always wanting to take care of his daughter, Jolene and Kellie, and their dogs too, of course!! And speaking of dogs, Kellie’s neighbor is not able to get around easily, and when we had the three feet of snow this winter, she was worried about letting her little dog outside to potty, because if the dog got stuck, it might not be able to get free and she wouldn’t have been able to get it. She asked Tim, if he would mind watching to make sure the dog got back in, and Tim did one better. He went out and shoveled her walks so that not only could the dog get in and out safely but so could the neighbor. That kindness will never be forgotten. It’s a hard thing to be unable to take you pet outside, because you are afraid for the pet and for yourself. Tim saw that and made sure he gave both of them a safe passage.
Tim is such an amazing blessing to anyone he comes in contact with, but especially for his girls, Kellie and Jolene and their dogs, and Kellie tells me that she is “so thankful that God gave me him!!” Tim has brought Kellie out of her comfort zone on a few things, such as the outdoor things. She wasn’t really an outdoorsy girl, and now she is. She has even gone ice fishing and enjoyed it!! Life is always better when your partner is a gift from God!! Today is Tim’s birthday. Happy birthday Tim!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Today is a very important day. It is not about having a three-day weekend, a barbecue, picnic, or even a holiday camping trip. It’s not that these things are bad, or even wrong. It’s really just a matter of remembering and showing respect for those men and women who went to war and didn’t come home alive. Those men and women gave their all, their very lives to keep us and so many others around the world safe. They could have stayed home. There isn’t a draft anymore, although many were drafted, because in a war the likes of the world wars, and others, the men and women were dying so fast that the volunteers couldn’t keep up. So, they held a draft, and those men, because at that time women weren’t drafted, did their duty, and went to fight the war, many losing their lives in the process.
I happened to watch a movie the other night, called “The Lost Battalion.” It was a true event from World War I. It was called “The Lost Battalion” because of the heavy losses incurred by the nine companies of the US 77th Division of roughly 554 men, who were isolated by German forces during World War I after an American attack in the Argonne Forest in October 1918. Of the 554 men, roughly 197 were killed in action and approximately 150 missing or taken prisoner before the 194 remaining men were rescued. These men were not lost. The US Army knew where they were…pretty much, but they were lost, because it was expected that all would be lost, and that was almost the case. During the battle, the men had to leave the trenches and run, almost completely unprotected at the Germans entrenched on the other side of the hill. The battle was gruesome, and the movie was quite graphic. I’m sure many people would say that they shouldn’t have shown so much blood and mutilation, but if they “sugar coat” it, do we really understand how horrible war is?
The battalion was led by Major Charles W Whittlesey who survived the attack, but refused to be transported out ahead of his men, choosing instead to walk out with them. When the attack began in the Argonne, the 77th Division was under the belief that French forces were supporting their left flank and two American units including the 92nd Infantry Division were supporting their right. Within the 77th sector, some units, including Whittlesey’s 308th Infantry, were making significant headway, but unbeknownst to Whittlesey’s unit, the units to their left and right had been stalled, and actually retreated. Without this knowledge, the 77th Battalion moved beyond the rest of the Allied line and found themselves surrounded by German forces. As I watched the movie, my first thought was, why don’t they stay and fight from the trenches? Of course, I quickly realized that you can’t take the hill from the trench. These men had to dig deep within themselves, and leave the safety of the trench, knowing that they would most likely die right there, if the Allies were to have the victory. That is giving your all!! That is what Memorial Day is really all about…the men and women who charged the enemy, accepting their fate of almost certain death, to win the war and protect our freedoms. These men and so many like them are the heroes of this day…a fact that we must never forget. I thank every fallen soldier this day, because you gave your all…selflessly and willingly, and you will never be forgotten!!
As each birthday comes and goes, I am amazed that our grandpa, Walt Hein could have been in Heaven as long as he has. Grandpa was born on May 29, 1906, which means that this is the 117th anniversary of his birth. I so enjoyed spending time with this man on our many trips to Forsyth, Montana over the years. He was so funny and was a ruthless card player. He wasn’t mean…just determined to win. That was similar to my own card playing style, so we invariably played as partners. That left the other two players, one of whom was my husband, Bob and the other who was most often grandma, Vina Hein, to play as partners, and most often lose. Grandma and Bob didn’t really care. They knew that for Grandpa, the win was a big deal, and for them, since it didn’t really matter so much, they decided that it was all in fun anyway.
Our trips weren’t just about cards, however. There were many things to do on the ranch, and sometimes the men would go out and take care of the animals, or sometimes, Grandpa would bring our girls out to the corral and lead them around of one of the horses. They had a blast riding the horses. We lived in the country, but in a much more urban kind of country area…or at least because it was subdivided, the places were smaller, and we didn’t think that our five acres could handle horses and the two cows that we raised. We felt like the beef was more important than riding horses. We also didn’t have chickens, so being around Grandma and Grandpa’s chickens was a fun experience for the. I’m not sure what the chickens thought about it, when my girls began chasing them the first time, but I know they didn’t hate that, because they would often stop and look back to see if the girls were still coming, and when they saw that they were, the chickens were off again. I think they got a kick out of it. Grandpa also had a bathtub in the yard…long before that was a thing. When the summer days got hot, Grandpa would fill that tub with water, and the girls got to go “swimming” in that tub. They had a great time, and all of these things really endeared Grandpa to them. It was that Grandpa’s heart. They were always ready to go to Forsyth to visit the family.
When I think about the fact that, if he were still alive, Grandpa would have been 117 years old, I am rather stunned. It’s so strange to think that I could have known someone who is now 117 years old. I shouldn’t be surprised, because that statement applies to all of my grandparents, and one would have been even older…one 144 years old. I suppose that as we grow older, having known people from our childhood, it will become more common to know people who are almost 200 years old. Nevertheless, it will probably never cease to amaze me. Today is the 117th anniversary of Grandpa Walt Hein’s birth. Happy birthday in Heaven, Grandpa. We love and miss you very much.
My grandniece, Brooklyn Killinger is such a sweet little girl, and she is growing up so fast. Today, she officially hit the double digits in age, reaching the age of 10 years. While she is growing up, she is still a little girl, and as such, she loves her dolls. In reality, the dolls are probably an interim replacement for the real thing. Brooklyn loves babies, and while she plays with her dolls, she would much rather have the “real” thing when it comes to babies. It helps that she has a baby cousin…Maya Stevens, because while Maya lives in Sheridan and Brooklyn lives in Casper, she gets to see her quite a bit, and when she does, everyone else might just as well understand that Brooklyn will be holding Maya as much as is humanly possible. In fact, I’m told by her bonus mom, Lacey Stevens, that Brooklyn is “still obsessed with Maya.” She will let her little brother, Jaxon Killinger hold Maya, but he must understand that she will be supervising this process and giving him pointers on how to properly hold a baby. So, Jax has to get used to hearing things like, “make sure you hold her like this” or “you’re not doing it right.” She’s very motherly, and Jax is a pretty good sport about it…understanding that being motherly is her thing. It’s super cute, and it helps that Maya seems to be obsessed with her too. Maya doesn’t let a lot of people hold her, but Brooklyn is always allowed to hold her, and that is totally ok with both of the girls.
Brooklyn really does love babies, and since she can’t always be with Maya, she chooses to improvise, by giving her dolls the very best of care. Brooklyn has two baby dolls that she treats like real babies. The dolls are named Navy and Seth. Brooklyn has car seats, highchairs, and strollers for them. She gets up to get ready for school, but she needs to be up in time to allow for feeding them before she leaves and making sure they are set for their day before she leaves. She is just a loving and motherly toward her little brother, Jaxon. Like all siblings, she sometimes gets annoyed with him, but she does not get overly angry or speak harshly to him. That is just not in her nature. She is a sweetheart who is so kind and gentle.
For the Memorial Day weekend, Brooklyn’s dad, Chris Killinger, took the family to Denver. They are having a wonderful time. It is the very first visit to Denver for Brooklyn and Jaxon, and as a very cool sidenote, her first visit included her birthday. Chris and Lacey took the kids to the Denver Zoo, and they had a great time seeing all of the animals. Brooklyn liked the elephants, but she was a little bit scared of them too. They are, after all huge!! Thankfully, there was a safety divider between the elephants and the people. I’m sure that…and the ice cream…eased Brooklyn’s jitters a little bit. Nevertheless, she was pretty wide eyed while they were watching the elephants. They are having lots of fun, and I’m sure she will have lots to tell everyone about all the animals they saw, and I’m sure Chris and Lacey have lots more super fun plans for the weekend. Today is Brooklyn’s 10th birthday. Happy birthday Brooklyn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
It’s a difficult thing to discover that, as a nation, with a naval fleet, what you thought was strong, is simply not enough. This was the position that Russia found themselves during the Russo-Japanese War, when the Russian Baltic Fleet is nearly destroyed at the Battle of Tsushima Strait. The defeat was devastatingly decisive. Only 10 of the 45 Russian warships were able to escape to safety. The Russian leaders had to face the fact that further resistance against Japan’s imperial designs for East Asia was hopeless. They could not do it alone.
The Japanese wanted to divide Manchuria and Korea into spheres of influence, but the plan was rejected by the Russians on February 8, 1904, following the Russian rejection of a Japanese plan to Japan launched a surprise naval attack against Port Arthur, a Russian naval base in China. With that attack, the war was on. The Battle of Port Arthur on February 8 and 9, 1904 marked the commencement of the Russo-Japanese War. The Japanese, in true Japanese style attacked when all the ships were still in port, but I guess that is how war is. It reminds me of Pearl Harbor, of course. The attack was a surprise night attack by a squadron of Japanese destroyers on the neutral Russian fleet anchored at Port Arthur, Manchuria. They continued with another attack the following morning. The fighting would continue until May 1904. While the attack on Port Arthur ended inconclusively, the war was without a doubt, a Japanese victory. The Battle of Port Arthur was the first major battle of the 20th century, and the Russian fleet was decimated. During the war that began then, Japan won a series of decisive victories over the Russians, who underestimated the military potential of its non-Western opponent. In January 1905, the continued attacks resulted in the fall of Port Arthur to Japanese naval and ground forces under Admiral Heihachiro Togo, and by March Russian troops were defeated at Shenyang, China, by Japanese Field Marshal Iwao Oyama. Then came the Battle of Tsushima Strait, fought on May 27 and 28, 1905 (May 14 and 15 in the Julian calendar that Russia used at that time) in the Tsushima Strait located between Korea and southern Japan.
While hope seemed lost, Russian Czar Nicholas II still hoped that the Russian Baltic fleet under Admiral Zinovy Rozhestvensky would be able to challenge Admiral Togo’s supremacy at sea. Unfortunately, during the two-day Battle of Tsushima Strait, more than 30 Russian ships were sunk or captured by the superior Japanese warships. Japanese superiority was made abundantly clear. By August, with a stunning string of Japanese victories, Russia became convinced that they would have to accept the peace treaty mediated by US President Theodore Roosevelt at Portsmouth, New Hampshire…a treaty that won Roosevelt the Nobel Peace Prize for this achievement. In the Treaty of Portsmouth, Russia recognized Japan as the dominant power in Korea and gave up Port Arthur, the southern half of Sakhalin Island, and the Liaotung Peninsula to Japan.
Japan emerged from the conflict as the first modern non-Western world power and set its sights on greater imperial expansion. Japan would have to be dealt with another day, and by another power. As for Russia, the military’s disastrous performance in the war sparked the Russian Revolution of 1905.
Captain John Mason was an English-born settler, soldier, commander, and Deputy Governor of the Connecticut Colony. While most people want to be remembered for the great things they did during their lives, Captain Mason will always be remembered for something else…being the leader of the massacre of the Pequot Tribe of Native Americans in southeast Connecticut. The group, led by Mason was a group of Puritan settlers and Indian allies, who combined to attack a Pequot Fort in an event known as the Mystic Massacre. The Mystic Massacre took place on May 26, 1637, during the Pequot War, when Connecticut colonizers and their Narragansett and Mohegan allies set fire to the Pequot Fort near the Mystic River. With the fire raging, they shot anyone who tried to escape the wooden palisade fortress, effectively murdering most of the village. In all, there were between 400 and 700 Pequot civilians killed during the massacre. The only Pequot survivors were warriors who were away in a raiding party with their sachem (chief), Sassacus.
Prior to the massacre, the Pequot tribe were the dominate Native American tribe in southeast Connecticut, but with the massacre, came the end of an era where that was concerned. The massacre was brutal and heinous and should have been met with severe punishment, but at that time in history, the Native Americans were not particularly valued among the people of the colonies. In fact, the Native Americans were probably viewed as the intruders, and not the natives. As more and more Puritans from Massachusetts Bay spread into Connecticut, the conflicts with the Pequots increased. The tribe centered on the Thames River in southeastern Connecticut, and by the spring of 1637, the Pequot tribe killed 13 English colonists and traders. That was when Massachusetts Bay Governor John Endecott organized a large military force to punish the Indians, who were only trying to protect what they saw as theirs. On April 23, 1637, with pressure mounting, 200 Pequot warriors responded defiantly to the colonial mobilization by attacking a Connecticut settlement, killing six men and three women and taking two girls away.
Then on May 26, 1637, everything exploded when, two hours before dawn, the Puritans and their Indian allies marched on the Pequot village at Mystic, slaughtering all but a handful of its inhabitants. Following that attack, Captain Mason attacked another Pequot village on June 5, 1637, this one near what is now Stonington, and again the Indian defenseless inhabitants, were defeated and massacred. In a third attack on July 28, 1637, Mason and his men massacred a village near what is now Fairfield, and the Pequot War finally came to an end. Most of the surviving Pequot were sold into slavery, though a handful escaped to join other southern New England tribes.
My niece, Cassie Franklin is a great mom. She now has three children, following the birth of her youngest daughter, Allison Winter Burr. Allison joined siblings Lucas and Zoey Iverson on January 6, 2023, and they are so in love with their new baby sister. Cassie and her partner, William Burr are so perfect for each other. Cassie needed a kind and gentle, loving man, and that is exactly what William is. Their home is filled with peace and love.
Cassie has always reminded me of her mom, my sister-in-law (now in Heaven) Rachel Schulenberg, but the older Cassie gets, the more she is her mom’s “mini-me” for lack of a better term. I guess adults can’t really be a “mini-me” since they are all grown up. Nevertheless, Cassie grew up looking like the mirror image of her mom, and that is a lovely look to have. Cassie also has two brothers, Riley Birky and Tucker Schulenberg, who are quite a bit younger than she is, because for many years, it was Cassie and her mom. Two of a kind. I don’t know is Allison will inherit her grandmother’s looks, but the other children really didn’t. It would be cool is Allison did, so they could be three of a kind. I know Rachel would be smiling down from Heaven to see that. Of course, she is smiling down from Heaven to see all of her grandchildren right now. Cassie’s brother has a bonus son named Jace and a new baby son named Ryder, so Cassie’s kids have cousins too, and that’s always nice.
Cassie is very resourceful. She has always had her own business. In fact, she tried several things before she settled on her current business called Moonlight Naturals, which is a bath and spa company, specializing in candles, bath salts, and body washes. Cassie forages many of her herbs herself, and then turns them into the most beautiful items imaginable. You should check them out. Cassie also sells some used clothing, resin trays, and a little bit of jewelry, but her handmade spa items are her main products, and they are worth having a look at.
Cassie is a great cook, and she likes to make a variety of foods that are healthy and delicious. With her son, Lucas having some health issues, she has learned to get creative with food…cooking gluten free and staying away from other food allergens that could aggravate his conditions. While things are made in special ways, I can tell you that it all looks amazing. I’ll bet it tastes great. As a stay-at-home mom, Cassie works really hard to take great care of her family. Today is Cassie’s birthday. Happy birthday Cassie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!