Notes from around the Human Experience…
WHILE WE WERE OUT: The good thing about taking a couple of days off during the Trump Administration is you know there will be material for a column waiting for you when you return to work.
So it was this time, as earlier this week President Trump let it be known that transgenders will no longer be allowed to serve in the armed forces. Like other Trump pronouncements, precedents were followed.
Leading Off: One, it came via Twitter.
On Deck: Two, it surprised those who would be affected by it. The Pentagon was so surprised by the announcements they told reporters who asked about the new plan to “call the White House”.
In The Hole: And, three, no specifics were given.
This Is Not Your Father’s GOP: Like most everything else that has come out of the Trump Administration, this action is contrary for the sake of being contrary, spiteful for the sake of being spiteful. The GOP has nothing original to offer our country; it’s sole purpose is to undo everything done by the Democrats.
Get Your Official Daily Dose Policy Right Here: Non-heterosexuals have been serving this country honorably since the Revolution and to keep transgenders from serving is wrong.
With This Caveat: It is not unreasonable to expect transgender recruits to be fully transitioned to their new gender before enlisting or accepting a commission or a warrant. If you are a girl who really should have been born a boy and you are determined to become a boy and you want to join the service, become a boy before you join, at your expense, or at whomever’s expense you can foist the cost off on. There is no reason for the government to pay for it.
ON THIS DATE! ON THIS DATE! The Olympics return when the Games of the 14th Olympiad open in London on this date in 1948, the first Summer Games since 1936 in Berlin, Germany. 59 countries and over 4,000 athletes participated but because they had tried to take over the world in War II, Germany and Japan were not allowed to participate.
USA! USA! Bob Mathias, 17-years-old and just a few weeks out of high school, won the decathlon and he remains the youngest male to win a track and field gold medal. He would defend his decathlon title in Helsinki in 1952 before retiring.
Dry, Technical Matter: Art competitions were held as official medal events for the final time, with medals awarded in architecture, literature, music, painting and graphic art, and sculpture. Despite the fact winners were issued the same medals as athletes, the International Olympic Committee does not count these in its official medal tallies.
Up, Up And Away: NASA comes into existence on this date in 1958, when President Eisenhower signs the National Aeronautics and Space Act.
Holy Sh*t!: The Americans acted relatively quickly. The Soviet Union had launched the the first ever artificial satellite in October, 1957, and the US House passed the bill on July 2 and the US Senate two weeks later, thought it took some more time for the two houses to agree on a bill to send to the president.
Oh Yeah: NASA replaced the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics, which had been around since 1915.
And So It Begins: David Berkowitz commits the first of what would become known as the Son of Sam killings on this date in 1976,when two women are shot in the Pelham Bay area of the Bronx in New York City. One woman is killed and the other is injured.
All told, Berkowitz would kill six and injure seven. He was captured on August 10, 1977 and in May, 1978 pled guilty to six counts of murder and was sentenced to six consecutive terms of 25-years to life, meaning if he only served 25 years of each sentence, he would not be released until 2103.
Go In Peace, Serve The Lord: Berkowitz has found Christianity in prison, and is known to scorn his old Son of Sam moniker, preferring to refer to himself as the Son of Hope.
Till Divorce Do Us Part: Prince Charles, then and now heir apparent to the British throne occupied by his mother Queen Elizabeth, marries Lady Diana Spencer on this date in 1981. Their union was troubled almost from the start, and the couple separated in 1992 and divorced in 1996.
Guilty Until Proven Innocent: John Demjanjuk, a retired American auto worker born in the Ukraine, is acquitted by the Israeli Supreme Court of all charges associated with being a Nazi on this date in 1993. He had been deported to Israel from the United States to stand trial in 1986.
Though he was acquitted by the Jews he had been accused of murdering, Demjanjuk troubles were just beginning. In 2005 the United States ordered him deported to Germany, Poland or the Ukraine and would be deported to Germany in 2009 where he was charged with 27,900 counts of murder, which is a lot. In May, 2011, at the age of 91, Demjanjuk was convicted as an accessory to the murder of 27,900 people and was sentenced to five years in prison. He was released pending appeal, and the presiding judge suspended the remainder of the sentence on the theory he had already served two years in Germany, plus eight in Israel on charges that were later overturned.
The End: Demjanjuk died in Germany in March, 2012.
Quote Book: And yet I knew that what I saw wasn’t as simple and good as it appeared. There was a price to be paid for it all, a general falsity, that could easily be believed, and could be the first step down a dead-end street. – Charles Bukowski, Ham On Rye
Answer To The Last Trivia Question: The 94th Engineer Battalion, the last all-black United States military unit, was disbanded in 1954.
Today’s Stumper: How long has Prince Charles been heir apparent to the British throne? – Answer next time!