Monthly Archives: February 2011

Are State-Child Protection Agencies the Foundation of Totalitarianism? Tell your Story: A Call for a National Database of Judicial and Bureaucratic Abuse in the Name of Child Protection

The Texas Department of Child Protective Services, the Florida Department of Children and Families, offer “services” to many families which amount to invasion of the home and involuntary servitude, as do many similar departments and agencies around the United States of America, in conjunction with the Family Courts.  I would ask everyone to read this description of the national child-protection agency in Germany (which also acts in coordination with the Family Courts) and tell me whether they see similarities.  I will try to publish representative stories from every state in the Union if they are well written and documented (obviously larger states like California, Texas, New York, Illinois, and Florida may get at least several stories).  Try to keep your narratives unemotional—I realize it’s almost impossible but if we are going to change the system by locking the state out of our homes, we have to be better than they are.

This article “Child Welfare Agency Echoes Nazi Germany” appeared on April 28, 2010 at:

BERLIN – It sounds like Nazi Germany: families afraid of a loud knock on their door in the early morning, police bursting in, and taking away their children.

But it’s not Nazi Germany. It’s today’s Germany.

In Berlin, when authorities came for 7-year-old Dan Schulz, his family secretly videotaped the abduction. On the tape, family members are crying and the boy can be heard screaming, “Mom I don’t want to go!”

A German official responds, “Your mother can’t help you here.”

The boy was taken by Germany’s notorious child welfare agency, the Jugendamt. The official reason young Dan was taken was that he wasn’t in school, even though he had been homeschooled and then began private school.

Wrecking Normal Families

The Jugendamt, which dominates Germany’s controversial family court system, takes children when it wants, from perfectly normal families. The Jugendamt’s well-documented treatment of families, especially homeschoolers, has now become an international issue.

In January, the Romeikes, a German homeschool family, were granted asylum in the U.S. after an immigration judge ruled that Germany and the Jugendamt had violated their human rights. Mike Donnelly, with theHome School Legal Defense Association, was one of the attorneys for the Romeikes.

“The judge said that this policy was repellent to everything that we as Americans believe,” Donnelly said. “He felt that these were basic human rights. These were the kinds of rights that no country had a right to deny their people. ”

The Jugendamt undoubtedly does some good, somewhere, but it also has gained an international reputation as a ruthless organization that takes children from good families and wrecks homes.

“My experience with the Jugendamt has been terrible,” Dan’s mother Heidi Schulz said. “They destroy families; they torture people, and make money out of it.”

She is still haunted by the morning her son was taken from her.

“He was screaming so much and he held me tight, and I couldn’t do anything. Nothing,” she recalled.

After he was taken, Heidi was only allowed sporadic visits and phone calls.

“And when I would call him, he would scream and say, ‘Mama, come and get me!’ And I would say, ‘I don’t know where you are,'” she said.

Child-Trafficking Network?

After three years of fighting and praying for her son, a judge finally ordered Dan to be returned home. Heidi said her son had been kept at an orphanage where he was beaten up by other children, poorly fed, poorly clothed and not educated for the first year and half.

“It was terrible. At first I thought I was just going to the doctor but it was nothing like that,” Dan recalled. “They told me I was sick.”

Opponents and victims of the Jugendamt say the system amounts to a government child-trafficking network, in which about 80 kids per day are seized from parents and funneled to children’s homes and psychiatric care, with the overflow going to foster homes. They claim the system needs to continually take in more children to keep functioning.

“There is a system of persons, of social workers, of teachers, psychotherapists, who live on children being taken out of the family,” German psychologist Carola Storm-Knirsch said. “We call it industry.”

Storm-Knirsch has worked for the Jugendamt on several cases. But she broke with the Jugendamt over the Schulz case, which she called “totally wrong.”

“There are homes with empty beds. And they need children,” she explained. “And they call the Jugendamt and say, ‘Hello, do you have a child for us?'”

Documents shown to CBN News indicate little Dan brought in about $8,000 a month for the state home where he was kept. While CBN News was there, Heidi got a bill in the mail from the Jugendamt for what was done to her family.

“One thousand-six hundred euros,” she said, adding sarcastically, “They take your child and then they take your money.”

No Reform Needed?

The local Jugendamt office is right across the street from the Schulz’s, so we asked for an interview. They said they couldn’t talk about the case, but said that they “acted in a humane and correct way, and legally.”

The German embassy in Washington told us flatly that the Jugendamt does not need to be reformed. And it answered “yes,” when we asked, “Does Germany adhere to the European Convention on Human rights in respect to the rights of parents?”

But a German legal expert insists that the German Supreme Court ruled in 2004 that the European Convention on Human Rights is not binding on Germany.

In her fight for her son, Heidi tried to get the ear of German politicians, such as the former head of the European Parliament. But a videotape shows that when another Jugendamt victim suggested the Jugendamt should be considered a criminal organization, the former head of Germany’s Green Party, Reinhard Bütikofer, exploded.

“Stop it with this stupid brazen radical cr—! It’s stupid brazen radical cr–! I don’t want to be insulted by such cr–,” he screamed.

Heidi Schulz has already raised two exceptional daughters. Winonah has studied in Japan, and Tashina in America. But the Jugendamt suspects Heidi has psychological problems, and they have begun a new process which could lead to her son Dan being taken away again.

Dan told us there’s nothing wrong with his mom.

“The children’s home is sick, not my mother,” he said.

Echoes of Nazi Germany

The psychologist Storm-Knirsch agrees, saying the Schulz family is healthy, but she thinks some members of Germany’s Jugendamt and family court system could use therapy.

“These people are sick!” she said.

Heidi, who was raised in communist East Germany, said that in some ways, communism felt safer than the new Germany.

“They (the Jugendamt) are so mighty,” she said. “They have all power and you are nobody.”

The German establishment doesn’t like to be reminded that the Jugendamt was started by Adolf Hitler. Storm-Knirsch adds that “Adolf Hitler really did his work well.”

HSLDA Attorney Mike Donnelly told CBN News that more German families are seeking political asylum in the United States.

Meanwhile, in Berlin, Heidi admitted to us that she feels defenseless, as she waits for the Jugendamt to decide whether she will keep her son.

February 4: from the Ransom of King Richard Coeur de Lyon in 1194 to the Confederate Constitutional Convention in 1861 and Civil “Conviction” of OJ Simpson in 1997

February 4 Events in History –  

More Historical Vignettes and Trivia to Combat

Historical Illiteracy in the United States

2010 Yahoo! sells HotJobs to for a reported $225 million; at least someone didn’t have to work after that sale, I guess…..
1998 Bill Gates gets a pie thrown in his face in Brussels Belgium; None of the Original Three Stooges were still alive on this date.
1998 Earthquake kills about 2,300 in northern Afghanistan; Taliban government claimed full responsibility for all acts of Allah….
1997 73 Israelis die when army copters collide
1997 Mario LeMieux is 7th NHL player to score 600 goals
1997 O.J. Simpson found liable in civil “wrongful death” suit for murders of Ron Goldman and Nicole Simpson due to Plaintiff counsel’s discovery of certain “Ugly Ass” shoes…..
1997 Secretary of State Margaret Albright announces she just discovered that her grandparents were Jewish; America yawned.
1996 NFL Pro Bowl: NFC beats AFC 20-13
1995 Dean Jones completes 324* for Victoria vs. South Australia
1995 Sandra Volker swims female European record 50m backstroke (27.77)
1995 Zimbabwe’s 1st Test Cricket victory, over Pakistan by an inning
1994 10th Soap Opera Digest Awards – Days of Our Live wins
1994 20 die in armed assault on mosque in Khartum, Sudan
1994 Merlene Ottey runs world record 50 m indoor (6.00 sec)
1994 Russian team beats ladies world record 4×800 m indoor (8:18.71)
1993 Admiral Studeman, ends term as acting director of CIA
1993 Marge Schott suspended from baseball for 1 year due to racism
1993 Russian space agency tests a 82′ wide space mirror; for superstitious fears of possible breakage bans Hillary Clinton from using it as America’s new first lady takes over the White House and the world remembers Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis fondly……
1991 Hall of Fame’s board of directors vote 12-0 to bar Pete Rose for doing no worse than so many other inductees have done….
1991 Martin Crowe and Andrew Jones make 467 stand vs. SL, world record
1990 10 Israeli tourists murdered near Cairo
1990 Anders Holmertz swims world record 400 m freestyle (3:40.81)
1990 Danny Everett runs world record 400m indoor (45:04)
1990 Lyudmila Narozhi-Lenko runs world record 60m hurdles indoor (7.69)
1990 NFL Pro Bowl: NFC beats AFC 27-21
1990 Pat Bradley wins Oldsmobile LPGA Golf Classic
1990 Richard Hadlee takes his 400th Test Cricket wicket (Sanjay Manjrekar)
1990 St. Petersburg Pelicans beat West Palm Beach Tropics 12-4 to win 1st Senior Professional Baseball Association Championship
1989 Dean Jones scores 216 vs. WI at the Adelaide Oval
1988 Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega indicted on drug charges, Florida Courts unjustly refuse to hear his primary defense that he engaged in drug trafficking with the advice and consent of the United States Central Intelligence Agency, the U.S. Department of Defense, Department of Justice, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency—deprived of these key defenses, Noriega’s fate was sealed.
1987 President Reagan’s veto of Clean Water Act is overridden by Congress
1987 Stars and Stripes beats Australia’s Kookaburra 3, sweeps America’s Cup
1987 Sacramento Kings score only 4 points 1st quarter against Lakers; fewest in a period since introduction of 24 second shot-clock in 1954
1986 38th NHL All-Star Game: Wales beat Campbell 4-3 (OT) at Hartford
1986 Israeli fighters intercept Libyan passenger plane
1985 20 countries (but not U.S.) sign United Nations treaty outlawing torture; Senate explains that ratification could have resulted in banning televised Presidential addresses and Congressional Campaign ads in violation of the First Amendment.
1985 Naval exercises canceled when U.S. refuses to tell New Zealand of nuclear weapons (as if New Zealand didn’t know about them anyhow….they have TV in New Zealand, don’t they?)
1984 “9” closes at 46th St. Theater New York City after 739 performances
1984 “Backstage Magic” opens at CommuniCore
1984 Frank Aquilera sets world frisbee distance record (168m) Las Vegas
1983 Jose Happart becomes mayor of Voeren Belgium
1983 U.S. Male Figure Skating championship won by Scott Hamilton
1982 “Pump Boys and Dinettes” opens at Princess Theater New York City for 573 performances
1982 Indoor distance record for a paper airplane (47m) Tacoma Wash
1982 Musical “Pump Boys and Dinettes,” premieres in New York City
1982 Suriname premier Chin A Sen flees; no one had ever heard of him before, and no one has heard of him since.
1980 Abolhassan Bani Sadr sworn in as premier of Iran as mobs chant “Death to America” (misheard in China as “Debt to America”—which became China’s long-term comprehensive national and foreign policy as a consequence).
1980 Joanne Carner wins LPGA Whirlpool Golf Championship of Deer Creek
1979 “Co-Ed Fever,” TV Comedy, debut and cancelled that outing on CBS
1979 End of last 3+day D/N game for 15 years (WSC, SCG)
1979 Joanne Carner wins LPGA Colgate Triple Crown Golf Tournament
1977 30th NHL All-Star Game: Wales beat Campbell 4-3 at Vancouver
1977 Elevated train jumps track, crashes onto a Chicago Street (11 die, 200 hurt)
1977 Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” released
1977 Wings release “Maybe I’m Amazed”
1976 12th Winter Olympic games opens in Innsbruck, Austria
1976 7.5 earthquake kills 22,778 in Guatemala and Honduras
1976 Judge Oliver upholds Seitz’s decision on Andy Messersmith free agency
1976 U.S. performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
1974 Benzine rationing ends in Netherlands
1974 Chimpanzee Nim Chimsky signs his 1st word, at 2 months
1974 Gas rationing ends in Netherlands
1974 Patricia Hearst (19) kidnapped by Symbionese Liberation Army; 12th stupidest Saga in American Criminal History begins as her “Stockholm Syndrome” training begins—was “Tanya” made in captivity or before captivity?
1973 “No, No Nanette” closes at 46th St. Theater New York City after 861 performances
1973 Islanders and Sabres had a penalty free game
1973 Manfred Kokot runs world record 50m indoor (5.61 sec)
1973 Reshef, Israel’s missile boat, unveiled
1972 6th round of Strategic Arms Limitation Talks ends in Vienna Austria
1972 Senator Strom Thurmond suggests John Lennon be deported; Strom’s suggestion widely rejected, but most of Strom’s constituents in South Carolina had never heard of John Lennon one way or another.
1971 Apollo 14 lander Antares lands on Moon (Shepard and Mitchell)
1971 Baseball announces a special hall of fame wing for blacks
1971 British car maker Rolls Royce declared itself bankrupt; ironic turnabout after having made a 60 year career out of bankrupting wealthy buyers of super expensive quiet luxury car emblematic of British Imperial Nobility and Financial Elite….
1971 Government exhibit under construction collapses, kills 65 in Brazil
1971 National Guard mobilized to quell rioting in Wilmington NC
1970 “Charles Aznavour” opens at Music Box Theater New York City for 23 performances
1970 “Gantry” opens at George Abbott Theater New York City for 1 performance
1970 U.S. performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
1969 41,163, then largest NBA crowd, watches doubleheader Cincinnati – Detroit, San Diego – Boston
1969 Beatles appoint Eastman and Eastman, as general cousel to Apple
1969 John Madden is named head coach of NFL’s Oakland Raiders
1969 Lonnie Elder’s “Ceremonies in Dark Old Men,” premieres in New York City
1969 Yassar Arafats takes over as chairman of PLO
1968 “Golden Rainbow” opens at Shubert Theater New York City for 355 performances
1968 Bowie Kuhn replaces William Eckert as 5th commissioner of baseball
1967 “Wild Thing” hits #20 on the pop singles chart by Senator Bobby
1967 U.S. launches Lunar Orbiter 3
1966 All-Nippon Airways 727 crashes off Haneda Airport (Japan); kills 133
1965 U.S. performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
1964 Amendment 24 outlaws poll tax; this was clearly a mistake, but just one of many, made in 1964….
1964 FAA begins 6 month test of reactions to sonic booms over Oklahoma City
1962 “Gay Life” closes at Shubert Theater New York City after 113 performances
1962 Russian newspaper Izvestia reports baseball is an old Russian game
1962 U.S. Female Figure Skating championship won by Barbara Roles
1962 U.S. Male Figure Skating championship won by Monty Hoyt
1961 Sputnik 7 launches into Earth orbit; probable Venus probe failure
1960 BBWAA voters fail to elect a new Hall of Fame member
1960 Giants move their offices to Candlestick Park
1960 Lionel Bart’s musical “Fings ain’t wot they used t’be,” premieres
1959 Israel begins exporting copper ore
1958 “Oh, Captain!” opens at Alvin Theater New York City for 192 performances
1958 Hall of Fame fails to elect anyone for 1st time since 1950
1957 1st electric portable typewriter placed on sale (Syracuse New York); this historical event is probably meaningless and/or utterly incomprehensible to anyone born after 1977.
1956 AL plans to test automatic intentional walk during spring training
1952 1st black executive of a major TV station (Jackie Robinson-WNBC New York)
1951 U.S. Female Figure Skating championship won by Sonya Klopfer
1951 U.S. Male Figure Skating championship won by Richard Button
1949 Failed assassination attempt on Shah of Persia
1948 Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) declares independence from UK
1946 Garson Kanin’s “Born Yesterday,” premieres in New York City
1945 FDR, Churchill and Stalin meet at Yalta
1944 Jean Anouilh’s “Antigone,” premieres in Paris during last six months of Nazi Occupation…
1944 U.S. 7th Infantry Division captures Kwajalein
1943 Bertolt Brecht’s “Der gute Mensch von Sezuan,” premieres in Zurich
1942 Clinton Pierce becomes 1st U.S. general wounded in action in WW II
1941 British tanks occupy Maus Libya
1941 Former Dutch premier De Geer flies to Berlin
1941 United Service Organization, USO, founded
1939 Glenn Cunningham (top miler) says 4-minute mile beyond human effort
1938 “Our Town,” by Thornton Wilder opens on Broadway
1938 Hitler seizes control of German army and puts Nazi in key posts
1937 Jim Margie, Philadelphia, bowls 900 in 3 (unsanctioned) games
1936 1st radioactive substance produced synthetically (radium E)
1933 German President Von Hindenburg limits freedom of the press
1932 3rd Winter Olympic games open in Lake Placid, New York
1932 Japanese troop occupy Harbin, Manchuria
1931 National League adopts a deader baseball
1930 1st tieless, soundless, shockless streetcar tracks, New Orleans
1929 Archie Jackson scores 164 on Test Cricket debut vs. England at Adelaide
1927 KGA-AM in Spokane WA begins radio transmissions
1926 Austrian chancellor Seipel wants to join Germany; Austria has to wait twelve years for Anschluss which is reversed after a mere seven years for entirely unrelated reasons….
1924 1st Winter Olympic games close at Chamonix France
1924 George Kelly’s “Show-Off,” premieres in New York City
1922 WGY-AM in Schenectady New York begins radio transmissions; Schenectady remains famous for bad weather and unpronounceable name….
1920 1st flight from London to South Africa takes-off
1919 City of Bremen’s Soviet Republic overthrown; one of many failed Soviet Republics in post-Armistice Germany—they should have kept the Kaiser, right?
1917 Belgium Council of Flanders established
1915 Experiments to find cause of pellagra begin at Miss Penitentiary
1914 U.S. Congress approves Burnett-anti-immigration law
1913 Louis Perlman patents demountable auto tire-carrying wheel rim
1913 National Institute of Arts and Letters founded
1904 John Millington Synges “Well of Saints,” premieres in Dublin
1903 Stanley Cup: Montreal AAA beat Winn Victorias, 2 games to 1 and 1 tie
1899 Revolt against U.S. occupation of Philippines; revolt was doomed to failure; occupation lasted until Japanese took over in 1941 and after war until 1946, although Philippine women remained and are still much in demand in the USA.
1895 1st rolling lift bridge opens, Chicago
1887 Interstate Commerce Act authorizes federal regulation of railroads
1880 Steele MacKay’s “Hazel Kirke,” premieres in New York City
1875 Princess Louise marries Prince Philip von Saksen-Coburg-Gotha in Belg
1865 Hawaiian Board of Education formed; no one cared then.  No one cares now.  Historical significance uncertain….. Historical education in Hawaii no better than anywhere else in 1865 or since then….
1865 Robert E. Lee is named commander-in-chief of Confederate Army; talk about thankless job promotions…..”Here, we’ve lost the war for all practical purposes: would you like a promotion?”
1864 Skirmish at Big Black River Bridge, Mississippi
1861 Confederate constitutional convention meets for 1st time in Montgomery, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina elect Jefferson Davis President of Confederacy; this was a much greater day than it’s given credit for—but they never should have fired on Fort Sumter—to begin the war was to lose it—had the South never fired, they could either have left the Union in peace or the rest of the Union might well have joined them in Constitutional reform.
1855 Soldiers shoot Jewish families in Coro, Venezuela
1854 Alvan Bovay proposes name “Republican Party,” Ripon, Wisc
1849 University of Wisconsin begins in 1 room with 20 students
1847 1st U.S. telegraph co established in Maryland
1846 Mormons leave Nauvoo, Mo for settlement in west
1824 J. W. Goodrich introduces rubber galoshes to public
1822 Free American Blacks settle Liberia, West Africa
1803 William Dunlap, adapts French melodrama “Voice of Nature”
1797 Earthquake in Quito, Ecuador kills 41,000
1794 French National Convention proclaims abolishment of slavery; revolution soon starts in the French Colony of Haiti—but real economic, political, and social progress have been avoided in that country for 217 years to date….
1789 1st electoral college chooses Washington and Adams as President and Vice President; there were no opponents and so no one was surprised.
1787 1st Anglican bishops of New York and Pennsylvania consecrated in London; the American Episcopal Church was born—“The Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States” to be precise; an elite Church safe for sinners with distinguished grandparents and all who wished to drink and party in high aristocratic style was deemed necessary in the young Republic.
1787 Shays’ Rebellion (of debt-ridden Massachusetts farmers) fails
1783 Worst quake in 8 years kills some 50,000 (Calabria, Italy)
1782 British garrison surrenders to French and Spanish fleet
1699 350 rebellious Streltsi executed in Moscow
1697 3 VOC-ships anchor at Dirk-Hartogeiland, Australia
1657 Oliver Cromwell grants residency to Luis Caravajal
1620 Prince Bethlen Gabor signs peace with emperor Ferdinand II
1600 Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler meet for 1st time near Prague
1586 Robert Dudley, earl of Leicester, becomes governor of Netherlands
1508 Maximilian I assumes imperial title without being crowned
1194 Richard I Lion Hearted pays Leopold O Fenrik VI’s ransom of 100,000; England regrets this to the present day, as has been celebrated in so many movies about King John and Robin Hood or “Robin of Loxley.”

Nine Historical Vignettes for February 3, 2011: (1) Kosciusko’s Bridges 1781, (2) Hampton Roads Conference 1865, (3) Declaration of War against Germany 1917, (4) Death of Woodrow Wilson 1924, (5) Arrest of Karl Fuchs 1950, (6) Publication by Jacques Cousteau 1953, (7) Death of Buddy Holly 1959, (8) Landing of LUNIK 9 on the Moon 1966, (9) Alberto Gonzalez Confirmed as Attorney General 2005

Today in History — Tuesday, Feb. 3 (52 Years Ago/The Day the Music Died, 87 years ago, the day Woodrow Wilson Died, 6 years ago, the day the decency of the Office of U.S. Attorney General Died)

Historical Vignette # (1)    On the evening of February 3, 1781, during the final year of the American War of Independence (“Revolutionary War” implies social change, and since the War of 1775-1781—peace resolved by the Treaty of Paris in 1783—with the United States Congress meeting in the dull & dreary Maryland Capital of Annapolis), American General Nathanael Greene and his troops successfully cross the Yadkin River to evade General Charles Cornwallis. The crossing followed consecutive Patriot losses at the Catawba River and at Tarrant’s Tavern, as well as heavy rainfall on February 1, which Greene feared would soon make the river impassable.

Although contradictory evidence exists, it is likely that the efforts of Polish engineer and military advisor Thaddeus Kosciusko made the crossing possible. Kosciusko had made a canoe expedition up the Catawba and Pedee Rivers, assessing Greene’s options, in December 1780. He then built a fleet of flat-bottomed boats for General Greene to use as a means of transporting his men across the water without having to waste time on manual portage, which would have involved soldiers removing the boats from the water and carrying them on their shoulders over land. The boats could be loaded into the Southern Army’s wagons for transport between river crossings. Kosciusko’s study of the rivers also allowed Greene to accurately predict the two-day interval between a heavy rainfall and rising river water.

Greene had ordered the Kosciusko-designed boats to be waiting for his men at the Yadkin. Thus, despite the flood of refugees clogging North Carolina’s roads in a desperate rush to leave before notoriously cruel British Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton arrived, Greene was able to move his troops to the river and cross it. Although Cornwallis caught the tail-end of the Patriot crossing and shelled Greene’s camp on the far side of the river on February 4, he was not able to cause major damage or disruption.

Greene’s timing was impeccable–Cornwallis was unable to ford the quickly rising Yadkin behind him. Instead, Cornwallis was forced to march his men to the aptly named Shallow Ford and did not finish crossing the Yadkin until the morning of the February 7, by which time Greene and the Southern Army had a two-day lead in the race towards the Dan River and safety in Patriot-held Virginia.

Historical Vignette #(2) During the Final Year of the War Between the States (“Civil War” being as much a misnomer as “Revolutionary War”—the English Civil War of 1644-1649 was a truly “Civil War” between classes and religious groups within the same society, but it is only by a long post-war process that the full class, constitutional, economic, and socio-political implications of the American War of 1861-65  were resolved) President Lincoln met on February 3, 1865 at Hampton Roads with a delegation of Confederate officials to discuss a possible peace agreement. Lincoln refuses to grant the delegation any concessions, and the president departs for the north.

New York Tribune editor and abolitionist Horace Greeley provided the impetus for the conference when he contacted Francis Blair, a Maryland aristocrat and presidential adviser. Greeley suggested that Blair was the “right man” to open discussions with the Confederates to end the war. Blair sought permission from Lincoln to meet with Confederate President Jefferson Davis, and he did so twice in January 1865. Blair suggested to Davis that an armistice be forged and the two sides turn their attention to removing the French-supported regime of Maximilian in Mexico. This plan would help cool tensions between North and South by providing a common enemy, he believed.

Meanwhile, the situation was becoming progressively worse for the Confederates in the winter of 1864 and 1865. In January, Union troops captured Fort Fisher and effectively closed Wilmington, North Carolina, the last major port open to blockade runners. Davis conferred with his vice president, Alexander Stephens, and Stephens recommended that a peace commission be appointed to explore a possible armistice. Davis sent Stephens and two others to meet with Lincoln at Hampton Roads, Virginia.

The meeting convened on February 3. Stephens asked if there was any way to stop the war and Lincoln replied that the only way was “for those who were resisting the laws of the Union to cease that resistance.” The delegation underestimated Lincoln’s resolve to make the end of slavery a necessary condition for any peace. The president also insisted on immediate reunification and the laying down of Confederate arms before anything else was discussed. In short, the Union was in such an advantageous position that Lincoln did not need to concede any issues to the Confederates. Robert M.T. Hunter, one of the delegation, commented that Lincoln was offering little except the unconditional surrender of the South.

After less than five hours, the conference ended and the delegation left with no concessions. The war continued for more than two months.

Historical Vignette #(3) On the 3rd day of February, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson speaks for two hours before a historic session of Congress to announce that the United States is breaking diplomatic relations with Germany.

Due to the reintroduction of the German navy’s policy of unlimited submarine warfare, announced two days earlier by Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann Hollwegg, Wilson announced that his government had no choice but to cut all diplomatic ties with Germany in order to uphold the honor and dignity of the United States. Though he maintained that We do not desire any hostile conflict with the German government, Wilson nevertheless cautioned that war would follow if Germany followed through on its threat to sink American ships without warning.

Later that day, Count von Bernstorff, the German ambassador to the U.S., received a note written by Secretary of State Robert Lansing stating that The President has directed me to announce to your Excellency that all diplomatic relations between the United States and the German empire are severed, and that the American Ambassador at Berlin will be immediately withdrawn, and in accordance with such announcement to deliver to your Excellency your passports. Bernstorff was guaranteed safe passage out of the country, but was ordered to leave Washington immediately. Also in the wake of Wilson’s speech, all German cruisers docked in the United States were seized and the government formally demanded that all American prisoners being held in Germany be released at once.

On the same day, a German U-boat sunk the American cargo ship Housatonic off the Scilly Islands, just southwest of Britain. A British ship rescued the ship’s crew, but its entire cargo of grain was lost.

In Berlin that night, before learning of the president’s speech, German Foreign Secretary Arthur Zimmermann told U.S. Ambassador James J. Gerard that Everything will be alright. America will do nothing, for President Wilson is for peace and nothing else. Everything will go on as before. He was proved wrong the following morning, as news arrived of the break in relations between America and Germany, a decisive step towards U.S. entry into the First World War.

Historical Vignette #(4) *CLOSELY RELATED TO #(3):  On February 3, 1924, Woodrow Wilson, the 28th president of the United States, died.  Woodrow Wilson was the first Southerner elected President of the United States since 1856, and the first Southerner to hold the title of President within the territory of what is now the United States since Jefferson Davis, and the only Ph.D. and Academic ever to be elected President (he was previously President of Princeton University in New Jersey).  Wilson died in Washington, D.C., at the age of 67, 7 years after the declaration of War on Germany that effectively ended American Isolation in the New World and launched the country, unwillingly and unnecessarily, as a world power forever.

Wilson was also the President who presided over the “ratification” of the 16th Amendment and implementation of Income Tax, the establishment of the Federal Reserve Banking System, and the 17th Amendment to the United States which effectively abolished the power of the States in Federal Government forever.  OK, his administration also saw the extension of the voting Franchise to Women and many other “progressive” acts, but on the whole, Wilson effectively crystalized the implementation of the foundations of Corporate-Socialist government in the United States of America.  It was all very tragic.

But in 1912, Governor Wilson of New Jersey was elected president in a landslide Democratic victory over Republican incumbent William Howard Taft and Progressive Party (“Bull-Moose”) candidate (and formerly Wildly-Popular President) Theodore Roosevelt. The focal point of President Wilson’s first term in office was the outbreak of World War I and his efforts to find a peaceful end to the conflict while maintaining U.S. neutrality. In 1916, he was narrowly reelected president at the end of a close race against Charles Evans Hughes, his Republican challenger.

In 1917, the renewal of German submarine warfare against neutral American ships, and the “Zimmerman Note,” which revealed a secret alliance proposal by Germany to Mexico, forced Wilson to push for America’s entry into the war.

At the war’s end, President Wilson traveled to France, where he headed the American delegation to the peace conference seeking an official end to the conflict. At Versailles, Wilson was the only Allied leader who foresaw the future difficulty that might arise from forcing punitive peace terms on an economically ruined Germany. He also successfully advocated the creation of the League of Nations as a means of maintaining peace in the postwar world. In November 1920, President Wilson was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts at Versailles.

In the autumn of 1919, while campaigning in the United States to win approval for the Treaty of Versailles and League of Nations, Wilson suffered a severe stroke that paralyzed his left side and caused significant brain damage. This illness likely contributed to Wilson’s uncharacteristic failure to reach a compromise with the American opponents to the European agreements, and in November the U.S. Senate refused to ratify the Treaty of Versailles or the League of Nations.

During his last year in office, there is evidence that Wilson’s second wife, Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, may have served as acting president for the debilitated and bed-ridden president who often communicated through her. In March 1921, Wilson’s term expired, and he retired with his wife to Washington, D.C., where he lived until his death on February 3, 1924. Two days later, he was buried in Washington’s National Cathedral, the first president to be laid to rest in the nation’s capital.

Historical Vignette #(5) On February 3, 1950, Klaus Fuchs, a German-born British scientist who helped developed the atomic bomb, was arrested in Great Britain for passing top-secret information about the bomb to the Soviet Union. The arrest of Fuchs led authorities to several other individuals involved in a spy ring, culminating with the arrest of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and their subsequent execution.

Fuchs and his family fled Germany in 1933 to avoid Nazi persecution and came to Great Britain, where Fuchs earned his doctorate in physics. During World War II, British authorities were aware of the leftist leanings of both Fuchs and his father. However, Fuchs was eventually invited to participate in the British program to develop an atomic bomb (the project named “Tube Alloys”) because of his expertise. At some point after the project began, Soviet agents contacted Fuchs and he began to pass information about British progress to them. Late in 1943, Fuchs was among a group of British scientists brought to America to work on the Manhattan Project, the U.S. program to develop an atomic bomb. Fuchs continued his clandestine meetings with Soviet agents. When the war ended, Fuchs returned to Great Britain and continued his work on the British atomic bomb project.

Fuchs’ arrest in 1950 came after a routine security check of Fuchs’ father, who had moved to communist East Germany in 1949. While the check was underway, British authorities received information from the American Federal Bureau of Investigation that decoded Soviet messages in their possession indicated Fuchs was a Russian spy. On February 3, officers from Scotland Yard arrested Fuchs and charged him with violating the Official Secrets Act. Fuchs eventually admitted his role and was sentenced to 14 years in prison. His sentence was later reduced, and he was released in 1959 and spent his remaining years living with his father in East Germany.

Fuchs’ capture set off a chain of arrests. Harry Gold, whom Fuchs implicated as the middleman between himself and Soviet agents, was arrested in the United States. Gold thereupon informed on David Greenglass, one of Fuchs’ co-workers on the Manhattan Project. After his apprehension, Greenglass implicated his sister-in-law and her husband, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. They were arrested in New York in July 1950, found guilty of conspiracy to commit espionage, and executed at Sing Sing Prison in June 1953.

And Now for Something Completely Different #1, Cross-tabbed as Historical Vignette #(6)   On February 3, 1953, French oceanographer Jacques-Yves Cousteau publishes his most famous and lasting work, The Silent World.

Born in Saint-Andre-de-Cubzac, France, in 1910, Cousteau was trained at the Brest Naval School. While serving in the French navy, he began his underwater explorations, filming shipwrecks and the underwater world of the Mediterranean Sea through a glass bowl. At the time, the only available system for underwater breathing involved a diver being tethered to the surface, and Cousteau sought to develop a self-contained device.

In 1943, with the aid of engineer Emile Gagnan, he designed the Aqua-Lung, the world’s first self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (scuba). With the Aqua-Lung, the largely unexplored world lying beneath the ocean surface was open to Cousteau as never before. He developed underwater cameras and photography and was employed by the French navy to explore navy shipwrecks. In his free time, he explored ancient wrecks and studied underwater sea life.

In 1948, he published his first work, Through 18 Meters of Water, and in 1950 Lord Guinness, a British patron, bought him an old British minesweeper to use for his explorations. Cousteau converted the ship into an oceanographic vessel and christened it the Calypso. In 1953, he published The Silent World, written with Frederic Dumas, and began work on a film version of the book with film director Louis Malle. Three years later,The Silent World was released to world acclaim. The film, which revealed to the public the hidden universe of tropical fish, whales, and walruses, won Best Documentary at the Academy Awards and the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

With the success of the film, Cousteau retired from the navy to devote himself to oceanography. He welcomed geologists, archaeologists, zoologists, environmentalists, and other scientists aboard the Calypso and led numerous excursions to the world’s great bodies of water, from the Red Sea to the Amazon River. He headed the Conshelf Saturation Dive Program, in which men lived and worked for extended time periods at considerable depths along the continental shelves.

His many books include The Living Sea (1963), Three Adventures: Galapagos, Titicaca, the Blue Holes (1973), and Jacques Cousteau: The Ocean World (1985). He also produced several more award-winning films and scores of television documentaries about the ocean, making him a household name. He saw firsthand the damage done to the marine ecosystems by humans and was an outspoken and persuasive environmentalist. Cousteau died in 1997.

HISTORICAL SUB-VIGNETTE: As a personal note, when I was a Judicial Law Clerk to the Honorable Kenneth L. Ryskamp in West Palm Beach, Florida in 1992 (Ryskamp was, without doubt, one of the most completely decent, distinguished and honorable men I have ever known, as well as one of the most dedicated and hardworking Judges), I had the occasion to participate in and prepare jury instructions and other papers relating to the trial for drug trafficking of a Cousteau apprentice and protege, Michael Wludarszcik, an East German who had earned fame in 1971 or thereabouts by jumping the Berlin Wall and running through a hale of bullets to “Freedom” in the West. In 1989-1990, I had had occasion to participate in the dismantling of that wall, and so I felt a special kinship to Wludarszcik.  Michael Wludarszcik was a sailor, merchant marine, oceanography, and underwater archaeologist who worked closely with Cousteau on several expeditions.  He was also an expert welder, and was accused of having welded several tanks or containers full of marijuana and other contraband and bringing it across the Caribbean into the United States.  He was a handsome, young, good-looking rugged man and had a beautiful wife and infant child who sat, the wife often sobbing, the baby well-behaved and quiet, throughout the trial.  Wludarczsik was found guilty and sentenced under the then current sentencing guidelines to 20 years, although Judge Ryskamp commented on what a terrible loss was this man and his life to society and science, even as he pronounced sentence.  Wludarczsik’s case awakened in my mind a passionate hatred of the war on drugs, which was only repeatedly reinforced throughout the remainder of my clerkship.  I had been disgusted by some drug defendants, the corrupt cops and the slimy drug dealers and all the double-crossing informants, but Michael Wludarczsik was a man whom I would have been honored to know, and his “acts of piracy” involved providing substances which almost all of my friends and colleagues in academia and social circles generally used, enjoyed, and actually valued.  The hypocrisy of the American War on Drugs as a means of incarcerating hundreds of thousands of Americans continues to aggrieve and offend me.   I hope that in my lifetime I will see a time when freedom of choice and freedom to choose an individual lifestyle is restored to the American people, and where no person will ever be imprisoned for providing good value to a willing marketplace.  I deeply respected and will always treasure the time I spent with the Honorable Kenneth L. Ryskamp, but I wish he had fought harder, as did his Palm Beach Colleague the Honorable James C. Paine, to neutralize and counteract the War on Drugs, which began in this Country as a power grab after prohibition by oligarchs such as William Randolph Hearst and John D. Rockefeller, the war on drugs itself being a phrase coined or at least popularized by Nelson A. Rockefeller while Governor of New York  (later first unelected Vice-President under Gerald R. Ford).

And now for something completely different #2, Cross Tabbed as *Historical Vignette #(7): On February 3, 1959, rising American rock stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson are killed when their chartered Beechcraft Bonanza plane crashes in Iowa a few minutes after takeoff from Mason City on a flight headed for Moorehead, Minnesota. Investigators blamed the crash on bad weather and pilot error. Holly and his band, the Crickets, had just scored a No. 1 hit with “That’ll Be the Day.”

After mechanical difficulties with the tour bus, Holly had chartered a plane for his band to fly between stops on the Winter Dance Party Tour. However, Richardson, who had the flu, convinced Holly’s band member Waylon Jennings to give up his seat, and Ritchie Valens won a coin toss for another seat on the plane.

Holly, born Charles Holley in Lubbock, Texas, and just 22 when he died, began singing country music with high school friends before switching to rock and roll after opening for various performers, including Elvis Presley. By the mid-1950s, Holly and his band had a regular radio show and toured internationally, playing hits like “Peggy Sue,” “Oh, Boy!,” “Maybe Baby” and “Early in the Morning.” Holly wrote all his own songs, many of which were released after his death and influenced such artists as Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney.

Another crash victim, J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, 28, started out as a disk jockey in Texas and later began writing songs. Richardson’s most famous recording was the rockabilly “Chantilly Lace,” which made the Top 10. He developed a stage show based on his radio persona, “The Big Bopper.”

The third crash victim was Ritchie Valens, born Richard Valenzuela in a suburb of Los  Angeles, who was only 17 when the plane went down but had already scored hits with “Come On, Let’s Go,” “Donna” and “La Bamba,” an upbeat number based on a traditional Mexican wedding song (though Valens barely spoke Spanish). In 1987, Valens’ life was portrayed in the movie La Bamba, and the title song, performed by Los Lobos, became a No. 1 hit. Valens was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.

Singer Don McLean memorialized Holly, Valens and Richardson in the 1972 No. 1 hit “American Pie,” which refers to February 3, 1959 as “the day the music died.”

And now for something completely different #(3), Cross-Tabbed as Historical Vignette #8:  On February 3, 1966, the Soviet Union accomplishes the first controlled landing on the moon, when the unmanned spacecraft Lunik 9 touches down on the Ocean of Storms. After its soft landing, the circular capsule opened like a flower, deploying its antennas, and began transmitting photographs and television images back to Earth. The 220-pound landing capsule was launched from Earth on January 31.

Lunik 9 was the third major lunar first for the Soviet space program: On September 14, 1959, Lunik 2 became the first manmade object to reach the moon when it impacted with the lunar surface, and on October 7 of the same year Lunik 3 flew around the moon and transmitted back to Earth the first images of the dark side of the moon. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the U.S. space program consistently trailed the Soviet program in space firsts–a pattern that shifted dramatically with the triumph of America’s Apollo lunar program in the late 1960s.

OK, so saving the worst of all for last of all (as Historical Vignette #9), on February 3, 2005, Alberto Gonzales won Senate confirmation as the nation’s first Hispanic attorney general despite protests over his record on torture.   Alberto Gonzalez would have been a disgrace to his profession and to the United States of America and its Constitution as a county prosecutor handling misdemeanors and traffic tickets and clearly had no business being the Attorney General of the United States.

The Senate approved his nomination on a largely party-line vote of 60-36, reflecting a split between Republicans and Democrats over whether the administration’s counterterrorism policies had led to the abuse of prisoners in Iraq and elsewhere. Shortly after the Senate vote, Vice President Dick Cheney swore in Gonzales as attorney general in a small ceremony in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. President Bush, who was traveling, called to congratulate him.

Gonzales was born in 1955 in San Antonio, Texas, the son of migrant workers and grew up in a small, crowded home in Houston without hot water or a telephone. He joined the U.S. Air Force in 1973 after graduating high school. Following a few years of service, Gonzales attended the U.S. Air Force Academy.

After leaving the military, Gonzales attended Rice University and Harvard Law School before Bush, then governor of Texas, picked him in 1995 to serve as his general counsel in Austin and in 2001 brought him to Washington as his White House counsel. In this new role, Gonzales championed an extension of the USA Patriot Act.

After Gonzales became attorney general, he faced scrutiny regarding some of his actions, most notably the firing of several U.S. attorneys and his defense of Bush’s domestic eavesdropping program. The firings became the subject of a Senate Judiciary Committee in 2007. Concerns about the veracity of some of his statements as well as his general competency also began to surface.

Democrats began calling for his resignation and for more investigations, but President Bush defended his appointee, saying that Gonzales was “an honest, honorable man in whom I have confidence,” according to an Associated Press report from April.

A few months later, however, Gonzales decided to step down.

On August 27, he gave a brief statement announcing his resignation (effective September 17), stating that “It has been one of my greatest privileges to lead the Department of Justice.” He gave no explanation for his departure. In his resignation letter, Gonzales simply said that “. . . this is the right time for my family and I to begin a new chapter in our lives.”

Gonzales and his wife Rebecca have three sons.

By The Associated Press
Today is Tuesday, Feb. 3, the 34th day of 2011. There are 331 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
Fifty-two years ago, on Feb. 3, 1959, a single-engine plane crashed shortly after midnight near Clear Lake, Iowa, claiming the lives of rock-and-roll stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, as well as pilot Roger Peterson. That same day, an American Airlines Lockheed Electra from Chicago crashed into New York’s East River while approaching LaGuardia Airport, killing 65 of the 73 people on board.
On this date:
In 1809, 202 years ago, German composer Felix Mendelssohn was born in Hamburg. Congress passed an act establishing the Illinois Territory effective March 1.
In 1865, President Abraham Lincoln and Confederate Vice President Alexander H. Stephens held a shipboard peace conference off the Virginia coast; the talks deadlocked over the issue of Southern autonomy.
In 1913, the 16th Amendment to the Constitution, providing for a federal income tax, was ratified.
In 1916, Canada’s original Parliament Buildings, in Ottawa, burned down.
In 1924, the 28th president of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, died in Washington, D.C., at age 67.
In 1930, the chief justice of the United States, William Howard Taft, resigned for health reasons. (He died just over a month later.)
In 1943, during World War II, the U.S. transport ship Dorchester, which was carrying troops to Greenland, sank after being hit by a German torpedo. (Four Army chaplains gave their life belts to four other men, and went down with the ship.)
In 1966, the Soviet probe Luna 9 became the first manmade object to make a soft landing on the moon.
In 1969, Yasser Arafat was elected chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization’ s executive committee during a council meeting in Cairo, Egypt.
In 1989, Alfredo Stroessner, president of Paraguay for more than three decades, was overthrown in a military coup.
Twelve years ago: The Clinton administration told Congress a NATO-led peacekeeping force could be needed in Kosovo for three to five years and might include up to 4,000 American troops.
Seven years ago: John Kerry won Democratic presidential contests in five out of seven states. Work in the U.S. Senate slowed to a crawl, a day after ricin powder was found in the Dirksen Senate Office Building.
Three years ago: The New York Giants scored a late touchdown for a spectacular Super Bowl win, 17-14, that ended the New England Patriots’ run at perfection.
Today’s Birthdays: Comedian Shelley Berman is 85.
Football Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton is 71. Actress Bridget Hanley is 70. Actress Blythe Danner is 68. Singer Dennis Edwards is 68. Football Hall of Famer Bob Griese is 66. Singer-guitarist Dave Davies (The Kinks) is 64. Singer Melanie is 64.
Actress Morgan Fairchild is 61. Actor Nathan Lane is 55. Rock musician Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth) is 55. Actor Thomas Calabro is 52.
Actor-director Keith Gordon is 50. Actress Michele Greene is 49. Country singer Matraca Berg is 47. Actress Maura Tierney is 46.
Actor Warwick Davis is 41. Reggaeton singer Daddy Yankee is 35. Musician Grant Barry is 34.
Singer-songwriter Jessica Harp is 29. Rapper Sean Kingston is 21.
Thought for Today: “I can, therefore I am.” — Simone Weil, French philosopher (born this day in 1909, died 1943).

New Orleans: Solstice through Imbolc/Candlemas/St. Brigit’s Day (December 21, 2010-February 2, 2011)

Five and a half years after Katrina, New Orleans is still definitely one of the greatest cities on earth.  December 21, 2010 to February 2, 2011, I spent just over six weeks here, reconnecting with my college years and youth and generally recovering some physical health and sanity that the past two years had left ragged.  I highly recommend New Orleans as a therapeutic destination for anyone who can merely observe, and not participate too much, at least in the drinking side of life.  If I had not given up “real” drinking 27 years ago, coming to New Orleans would have been suicidal.  If liquor is your weakness, this is a hellish place to avoid.  If you love architectural beauty and soft southern humid air that’s cool in wintertime, this is heaven.

Of course, exactly three years ago the road of my life had taken me straight into the blackest, lifeless, and driest of all modern hells: into the temporary custody of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons for 54 days (December 9, 2007-February 2, 2008).  U.S District Judge Janis Graham Jack basically provided me a government paid forced-educational journey into this country’s real heart of darkness, and I will never forget it or cease to marvel at the things I learned in those dark and dank places where society’s refuse is stored.  That such places exist in the land of the free is a horrible disgrace to our constitution and heritage.  That conscientious Americans are willing to work as custodians to destroy the lives and freedom of others is still nightmarish to me.

New Orleans—what is her place in all this?  In New Orleans, there is real freedom, because no one really cares what anyone else does, but there are still cops and prisons.  The Sheriff of Orleans Parish used to be one of the feared enemies of Civil Rights in America, but these days the repression is more in the curtailment of the city’s “joie de vivre.”  In New Orleans, Walmart closes at 10:00 p.m. and opens at 7:00 a.m.  The wonderful Trolley-Stop Restaurant on St. Charles, which used to be open 24/7, is now only open at night on weekends. The City has been repressed, but it is still New Orleans.  Around that Walmart on Tchoupitoulas, new subsidized housing projects have gone up—and they are handsome and well-designed and attractive, unlike the dismal government “projects” of the 1960s & ’70s. Rumors have it that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have something to do with some of the renewal and construction around here.  I haven’t investigated enough to be sure.  The City is still a thriving haven of sin and debauchery—I suppose that will never change.  

The night clerk at the legendarily Haunted Olivier House Hotel I’ve been staying at, who brought a space heater up to my room on this Cold Candlemas Eve (St. Brigit’s Eve?  Imbolc-Night—90 days since Halloween and Samhain marked the last of the Celtic Calendar’s great feasts), was wearing a Sweatshirt from the Salem, Massachusetts Coroner’s Office commemorating Halloween 2010—she attended the Witch’s Ball at the Hawthorne Hotel exactly 93 days ago tonight.  Apparently there is a lot of idea cross-fertilization, involvement between the tourist industries of New Orleans for winter/Mardi Gras and Salem for Halloween.

But there are not two more dissimilar states in the Union than Louisiana and Massachusetts, historically, culturally, and in terms of both past and present politics.  Over time, Massachusetts has softened and become much less sternly puritanical, of course, just as Louisiana has cleaned up its act (somewhat at least) since the days of Governor Edwin Edwards (“Vote for the Crook, it’s Important”) and many of his predecessors including the fabled Huey and Earl Long administrations, punctuated by legendary oddities like the governorship of “You Are My Sunshine” Composer Governor Jimmie H. Davis… on the one hand and Sam Houston Jones on the other.

New Orleans, Louisiana, the home of so many American legends.  It is a place of unsurpassed beauty in its 19th century architecture mixed with the “evergreen” live oak trees and flower season that never ends.  I still have no easy explanation for how the same life that took me to the Federal Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles in December 2007 brought me here to New Orleans in December 2010 for roughly the same amount of time.  I learned a great deal in both places but there’s no doubt about where the food was better—I have sampled enough good eateries in the pursuit of at least my mental if not physical health to write a miniature guidebook now—but not without the assistance of Miss Lila Griffith Herrington whose services as a tour guide, even to a city I thought I knew well, have been so very much appreciated.

On the physical side I think that New Orleans (like much of Florida I suppose) is a very good place for the weak to build cardiac health because it is so completely flat.  Long and interesting walks in the Garden District and Uptown Audubon-Park-Tulane University areas are actually unparalleled for architectural touring anywhere in Florida.  I cannot say enough how much I love this town or its “laissez faire” attitude towards life.  The New Years Fireworks by the River were awesome.  Tujague’s, the Court of Two Sisters, and Commander’s Palace continue an amazing culinary tradition.  I thought Emeril’s Delmonico fairly outrageously overpriced, although the quality of the food was excellent.  Unfortunately I was introduced to Delmonico some three decades ago by my Uncle Milton who knew the two old ladies who ran the place from the 1940s through the 1970s.  It was then much more like Tujague’s and Court of Two Sisters (still are today) in the sense of being wonderful food and wonderful value for a reasonable price.  Commander’s Palace is well-balanced, more expensive but excellent.  Emeril’s Delmonico, subsidized I suppose by his years of building a television audience, was the only cautionary tale I could offer.  There are many new and less famous but still wonderful restaurants, of which Domenico’s at the Roosevelt and its Magazine Street small twin deserve very honorable mention.  For non-Creole/Non-Acadienne cuisine, Suko Thai—also on Magazine Street, was probably the most surprising discovery of the trip, although Sake and Biblos on Magazine also deserve honorable mention.

I will miss this town when I return to the City of Angels.  I will miss its soft humid air and languid lifestyle.  But I will relish the return to a place where smoking is really almost completely taboo and everywhere frowned upon, and where the rhythm of existence is not quite so very much governed by the continuous quest for alcohol which seems to rule an extraordinary proportion of the population.  For a man who seriously hasn’t touched real booze in years, New Orleans culture of smoking and alcohol is its one major detraction.