Category Archives: Lord Love a Duck

VA to WWII Combat-Wounded Vet: “Prove it. Again.”

VA-veterans-affairsIn our opinion, Legal Insurrection (great law blog, and where we first encountered Andrew Branca of Law of Self Defense fame) writer Kemberlee Kaye buried the lede of her story in the closing paragraphs, here:

Embroiled in scandal, mishandling like Limpert’s case magnify the Veterans Administration’s growing list of ineptitudes.

Last year, $142 million in bonuses were awarded to VA employees despite the wait time for veterans needing assistance increasing more than 50%.

Democratic presidential frontrunner, Hillary Clinton, contended the VA scandal was not, “as widespread as it was made out to be.”

Do Read The Whole Thing™ as it recounts how the VA has kept demanding Emil Limpert provide more documentation — including affidavits from the guys who were killed when he was wounded in the Phillipines in 1944.

(In fact, read the comments, too. There’s a great comment there by frequent commenter here redc1c4. More than one, actually).

Limpert is a rare vet whose records were really destroyed in the 1973 fire in a records warehouse in Overland, MO, a suburb of St. Louis. (This is a common claim by Vietnam phonies; while a lot of WWI, WWII and Korean era Army and AF records burned, in fact, no Navy records (including USMC) were lost, no records at all with discharges after 1960 (Army) or ’64 (USAF), and the National Personnel Records Center has built shadow records for many of the affected vets)

Fortunately for Limpert, proving his service should be routine for a decent researcher. The National Archives probably contains his unit’s “morning reports,” which will show him as Present for Duty up until the day he was evacuated to the rear for medical treatment. (Indeed, someone in the LI comments notes that documentation of Limpert’s service is readily found online).

Jonn Lilyea at This Ain’t Hell has a typically pithy comment. And Jonn is right. If Emil Limpert was a blowfish claiming some nebulous twauma, VA would be showering him in Richie Rich levels of coin.

Update

Larry Wayne from Tennessee found this, and posted it in the comments to Jonn’s post:

https://aad.archives.gov/aad/record-detail.jsp?dt=893&mtch=25&cat=WR26&tf=F&q=LIMPERT&bc=sl&rpp=10&pg=3&rid=6775927&rlst=6775927%2C6813369%2C6854126%2C7170002%2C8692434

Emil Limpert’s enlistment record. VA Nuclear FAIL in the megaton range.

Update II

This screen shot of his discharge papers apparently ran on a local TV station. We found it in the British paper, The Daily Mail. It looks all in order to us, and Lists the General Order Dates and Numbers for his PH and Combat Infantryman Badge. The General Orders will also exist in the National Archives.

Limpert

 

Tell us again that the payroll patriots at the VA rate $140 million in bonuses. Pull the other one.

US Military Cutbacks: Shot and Chaser

Shot: USAF Dumps Airborne Training

With all the discussion we’ve just had about how the Air Force’s priorities are not National Defense priorities, let alone the priorities of the ground combat Services, we hear that the USAF has decided to save money by cutting the USAFR C-130 wing at the former Pope AFB (now Pope Army Air Field at Fort Bragg).

Soon to be a rarer sight at Bragg: SF troops doing a routine static line drop.

Soon to be a rarer sight at Bragg: SF troops doing a routine static line drop without combat equipment (“Hollywood”).

The airborne units at Bragg (82nd Airborne Division, much of 18th Corps, and various US Army Special Operations Command and Joint Special Operations Command elements) will now have to truck or bus 230 miles (3 ½ hours by charter bus, 5 hours by Army truck) to Charleston, SC, and the Air Force will condescend to fly the paratroopers back to Bragg while the trucks or buses convoy back empty. Meanwhile, a second set of trucks and buses will have to be spotted on the DZ… or maybe the guys can just walk back from the field.

What the USAF is hoping, of course, is that the paras will stop jumping so damned much. They need to use the money to pay for the cost overruns on the F-35 program, so that there will still be jobs at LockMartNorGrumBoeing for retired flag officers. For some values of the word, “job.”

The SOF guys will just contract lift, with a sigh of relief. Working with AMC’s rigid regulations and inflexible aircrews is always exasperating anyway.

The 82nd and 18th elements will jump less, sacrificing currency and proficiency to reduce the negative effect on training (and, naturally, training budgets). So we’ll wind up with more jump accidents, a dry term that often means some guy is dead on the DZ with injuries that defy description, or off to the ICU screaming, with his hipbones in his eye sockets (which is only a slight exaggeration).

The wing at Bragg, the US Air Force Reserve’s 440th Airlift Wing, is going away; the Air Force isn’t even helping the displaced reservists find new jobs. The US Air Force Reserve’s commander, Lt. General JJ Jackson, is visiting the base, but appears to be going out of his way to snub the second-class airmen of the 440th.

Jackson, the chief of the Air Force Reserve and commander of Air Force Reserve Command, will be on post to speak to Fort Bragg leaders, but he did not plan to meet with members of the 440th as of Friday afternoon, several airmen said.

“He has no intention of meeting with the airmen under his command,” one of them said. “That should tell you the level of leadership being demonstrated by him.”

Sounds like he’s enough of his weasel that his fourth star’s a lock.

The full story is here (WRAL) and here (Fayetteville Observer).

Chaser: But That’s OK Because Training is No Longer a Priority

Wait, if training isn’t a priority, what is? Well, what would you expect from a never-served politician and bozo like Ash Carter? Something like this:

The Pentagon is ordering the top brass to incorporate climate change into virtually everything they do, from testing weapons to training troops to war planning to joint exercises with allies.

A new directive’s theme: The U.S. Armed Forces must show “resilience” and beat back the threat based on “actionable science.”

It says the military will not be able to maintain effectiveness unless the directive is followed. It orders the establishment of a new layer of bureaucracy — a wide array of “climate change boards, councils and working groups” to infuse climate change into “programs, plans and policies.”

The Pentagon defines resilience to climate change as: “Ability to anticipate, prepare for, and adapt to changing conditions and withstand, respond to, and recover rapidly from disruptions.”

To four-star generals and admirals, among them the regional combatant commanders who plan and fight the nation’s wars, the directive tells them: “Incorporate climate change impacts into plans and operations and integrate DoD guidance and analysis in Combatant Command planning to address climate change-related risks and opportunities across the full range of military operations, including steady-state campaign planning and operations and contingency planning.”

The directive, “Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience,” is in line with President Obama’s view that global warming is the country’s foremost national security threat, or close to it.

We have military assistance and aid operations that are being bungled in many nations, and direct combat operations being bungled in Libya and the Iraq/Syria theater, procurement bungled nearly everywhere, and operational readiness and maintenance at Grand Duchy of Fenwick levels. And so what do the pitiful pols in the puzzle palace promote as policy?

The directive is loaded with orders to civilian leaders and officers on specifically how counter-climate change strategy is to permeate planning.

“This involves deliberate preparation, close cooperation, and coordinated planing by DoD to provide for the continuity of DoD operations, services and programs,” it states.

“The DoD must be able to adapt current and future operations to address the impacts of climate change in order to maintain an effective and efficient U.S. military,” it adds. “Mission planning and execution must include anticipating and managing any risks that develop as a result of climate change to build resilience.”

Climate change must be integrated in:

• Weapons buying and testing “across the life cycle of weapons systems, platforms and equipment.”

• Training ranges and capabilities.

• Defense intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance.

• Defense education and training.

• Combatant commander joint training with allies to “assess the risks to U.S. security interests posed by climate change.”

• Joint Chiefs of Staff collaboration “with allies and partners to optimize joint exercises and war games including factors contributing to geopolitical and socioeconomic instability.”

How’s about we “assess the risk to US security interests” posed by incompetent political hacks in policy positions, like the author of this idiotic diktat, Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall, the bozo that signed off on it, Deputy Defense Secretary Robert O. Work, or the stumblebum architect of the whole laughable enterprise, Defense Secretary Ash Carter.

But hey, as you read this, Frank Kendall is fapping to the news that the carbon footprint of C-130 paratroop and heavy-drop training at Fort Bragg is headed towards zero.

ATF was Disappointed to Find no Tobacco

Molon Liquor?

Molon Liquor? America’s Most Loved Federal Agency is still Investigating everything but violent criminals.

This one’s been percolating in the queue for a while — since mid-December, in fact. But it tickled us, because really, how long have we gone since seeing ATF enforcing the “A” with an arrest? But when they went for the alcohol-law violator, they they bagged the same guy on a plethora of firearms charges:

Sterling Albert, 53, was arrested on suspicion of felony possessing a still; selling alcohol without a license, a misdemeanor; and felony gun charges of possessing illegal and unregistered firearms, according to the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

“Unregistered Firearms” in ATF- and general Federal law-speak is a term of art for National Firearms Act violations; they usually mean possession of a machine gun, suppressor or other Federally restricted firearm, without said firearm being listed in the NFA Registration and Transfer Record.

Agents arrested Albert this week after seizing 200 gallons of illegally distilled spirits and more than 500 cases of illegal wine from his business, at 5052 Forni Drive in Concord, ABC spokesman John Carr said.

Illegal still seized in Concord ( California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control)
Assault rifles, grenade launchers and gun silencers were found and seized during a search of Albert’s Martinez home, Carr said.

Albert studied viticulture and winemaking at UC Davis and formerly ran a landscaping company before he went into winemaking in 2008, opening Sterling Albert Winery in Concord, according to a 2009 account in the Contra Costa Times. Albert is known for his grapes grown near Mount Diablo and has won medals at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

ABC agents began investigating the Concord tasting room over the past few months after receiving a complaint that rum and whiskey were being manufactured and sold illegally there. Carr said Albert had a license to sell wine at another location a few blocks away, on Mason Circle, but not at the Forni Drive storefront. He did not have a license to sell spirits at either location, Carr said.

So, as always, it begins with an informer. And the raid seems to have happened because ATF licensed him right here but didn’t license him over there, as well as the still issues.

We’re not sure what the situation would be if his distillery were a developmental or R&D unit rather than a production unit. It would probably still require ATF registration, and they’d probably still be the same gang that see licensees as chickens for plucking.

Neighboring businesses didn’t want to be named but said federal agents descended on the complex Thursday, removing many items, including a still the size of a small car.

“He was a heck of a nice guy. A family man,” one neighbor said. “He had just started the distillery business.”

Albert is in the midst of his third bankruptcy filing since 2009. He has claimed $106,000 in assets while owing more than $250,000, according to court documents.

His bankruptcy application claims he owes $40,000 in delinquent taxes to Contra Costa County, and among his personal property assets he lists 12 handguns, eight rifles and one shotgun, valued at $4,800.

via Authorities: Contra Costa winemaker had stockpile of illegal guns, sold booze illegally – ContraCostaTimes.com.

It may be that his “assault weapons” were grandfathered under California’s awkward Roberti-Roos law. But NFA violations are serious business. One hopes that, guilty or not, he is well represented.

Homeland Security is in the Very Best of Hands

What do you do if you’re the federal police? And say, your general jurisdiction, “homeland security,” is mostly nonsense; and your specific jurisdiction, things like borders, immigration, and pursuit of criminal aliens, is unwanted by your Washington lords and masters?

If you’re a senior manager, you cover for your people when they lose what we called in the service, their “sensitive items.” You spend your time on social-justice “diversity” initiatives, and other partisan politics, including promoting partisan gun control groups and initiatives. And you offer your agents, who joined up to lock up bad guys, bread and circuses. The latest circus being the ICE Top Dog dog show.

ITEM: We Don’t Need no Steenking Badges!

Hey, maybe Gold Hat was a DHS agent. (Of course, "We don't need..." doesn't come from this movie. But people think it does).

Hey, maybe Gold Hat was a DHS agent. (Of course, “We don’t need…” doesn’t come from this movie. But people think it does).

Well, apparently the answer to that is DHS, because starting in Fiscal Year 2013, through the first half of Fiscal 2015, roughly one thousand three hundred DHS badges or credentials came up missing. If you want the approximate breakdown of bozosity, CBP lost 900, ICE lost 300, and USCIS lost 200. A local news site, Complete Colorado, got the records with a FOIA request.

If you want to average it out as a rate, that’ over 500 badge lost every year, over 40 a month.

But the badges are only part of what the agency loses track of: 165 department guns went walkabout in the same period — almost 70 a year, 5 or 6 every month. No word on whether any of the agents who lost their badges lost their guns, too.

The department also loses about 1,000 computers a year.

No word on whether anyone suffered any career consequences, but really, what do you think? People go to work for the government because they know they won’t have to meet standards or be responsible for what they do. Impunity? It’s an entitlement. 

The truth is out there, as some lame TV show said. You know what else is out there? A whole metric crapton of missing badges and guns.

But it thinks it’s doing a great job: it used to lose 300 firearms in about the same period, so losing a gun or two a week, every week, is an improvement. Bonuses all around!

And over the years, they’ve made one small change to their FOIA returns: they deleted the column showing the cost of the lost item. This particular marker of waste is no longer disclosable, which is to say, it is now a state secret.

Homeland Security’s in the very best of hands.

ITEM: Immigration and Customs Enforcement Diversity Initiative

This is what they are doing, instead of operations.

From: HSI OPS TASKING
 Sent: Friday, January 15, 2016 4:10 PM
 To: #HSI SAC OFFICES; #HSI Assistant Directors
 Subject: HSI Attendance at Diversity Events (311)
At the request of Assistant Director Dennis A. Ulrich, Domestic Operations, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the following message is being sent to all Assistant Directors and Special Agents in Charge. Please disseminate to all appropriate personnel.
The Office of Diversity and Civil Rights is in the process of preparing event packages for diversity related events.  The event approval process takes several months, and ICE is committed to preparing the packages well in advance to hopefully avoid approval delays.  For FY16, each HSI SAC and AD will be able to nominate two employees for attendance at an approved diversity event.  Travel for your two employees will be covered by a Headquarters centralized budget, and registration fees will be covered by your office purchase card.  HSI will focus on diversity events that have a law enforcement focus.  The list of approved events are as follows:
Diversity Event Dates Location Website
National Latin Peace Officers Association (NLPOA) May 15 – 28, 2015 Milwaukee, WI
http://www.nlpoamilwaukee.org/
National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Officers (NOBLE) July 16 – 21, 2016 Washington, DC http://noblenational.org/2016_washington_dc_conference.aspx
Women in Federal Law Enforcement (WIFLE) July 18-22, 2016 Reston, VA http://www.wifle.org/leadershiptraining2016/index.htm
National Organization of Black Women in Law Enforcement (NOBWLE) August 17 – 20, 2016 TBD http://www.nobwlenational.org/events2.html
ICE Hispanic Agents Association (HAA) TBD TBD http://www.icehaa.org/
National Asian Peace Officers Association (NAPOA) August 15 – 18, 2016 New York, NY http://napoablue.org/
National Native American Law Enforcement Association(NNALEA) September 22-24, 2016 TBD http://nnalea.org/wordpress1/
Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association (HAPCOA) November 16 – 20, 2016 TBD http://hapcoa.org/
Asian American Law Enforcement Association (HAPCAO) TBD TBD http://www.aalea.org/events-3/
Each HSI Assistant Director and SAC are requested to provide two nominees and the diversity event he or she wishes to attend to HSI OPS Tasking atHSIOPSTASKING@ice.dhs.govno later than 12:00pm EST,  Wednesday, January 20, 2016.   The following information is requested:
  • Nominee name, office location, email address, and diversity event he/she would like to attend.
Please note that all diversity events will require approval at the ICE or Department level depending on the number of proposed attendees.  As a result,please DO NOT register any employee for an event until final approval is received.  Nominated employees will be contacted directly with a travel string once events are approved.

Many of the diversity-racket sponsors have integrated their messaging with The Party and the Bloomberg anti-gun groups. For example, the Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association (HAPCOA) displays the following banner:

diversity_propaganda_meets_gun_ban_propaganda

In other words, these are not apolitical groups intended to advance minority law officers; they’re partisan political groups and the HSI agents (and ERO officers, and CBP agents, etc. etc.) sent to these meetings are all part of the Party’s election-year messaging efforts.

Diversity! Diversity! Diversity is our Vibrancy!

Repeat as needed.

Homeland Security is in the very best of hands.

Item: The ICE Top Dog Contest.

You may recall, we’ve mentioned this before. As you might expect, most of the contestants are the Pekingese and Pomeranians of the headquarters staffers — the lapdogs’ lapdogs, if you will. But a few of the entries seem to personify the spirit of the line-dog 1811s, like amorous ol’ Bubba here:

ice_top_dog_bubba

Yes, Bubba is a real, ranked entry in the competition. You can see some more entries in this partial dump.

icedogsign

Actually, we could probably tie Sarah Saldanadanna in knots by sending in an anonymous tip that the Top Dog contest is haram because dogs are najis, unclean. She has offended against Islam!

If it were presented right, she just might behead herself.

Homeland Security? It’s in the very best of hands paws.

How Can You Kill ‘Em When They’re Already Dead?

We like oddities, we like customs. But we’ll be upfront: this is an acquired taste that we have not acquired:

Vamp04

This is… we are not making this up… a vampire-branded M1911. In the suitably already-interred 10mm caliber.

vampyre_5_1

What better caliber for slaying the undead, than a caliber that’s two graves down from the .357 Auto Mag? (The intervening grave? Jeff Cooper, the great exponent of the 10mm).

So 10mm it is. Presumably with silver bullets.

vampyre_5_2

Naturally, Count Drac here comes with his own coffin:

Vamp01

We don’t think even Owen Z. Pitt his ownself wants one of these. But if you are planning a Transylvanian hunt, or if you have to drive by Salem’s Lot to get to your friendly local FFL, you can contact Reeder Custom Guns and still see if they have one of these Kase Reeder Vampyre Slayers on hand.

vampyre_5_3

Reeder is an extremely prolific maker of custom 1911s and revolvers. Hunt around on his website and you can find some single-action revolvers he’s built for Frank Beard of ZZ Top, the best traveling music ever for handling Texas distances.

(We’re partial to baroque for handling New England twisties, and soothing us if some personal calamity has compelled us to engage with Boston traffic. But when the roads are straight, the car is hot, and distances are measured in six-packs, it must be Texas, and the playlist must be ZZ Top’s Deguello).

Danes Eat Pork: Deal With It

feed the pigsThat’s the message the city of Randers has sent to militant asylum seekers in the northern European community, have arrived with their hands out (when their hands aren’t groping), and immediately demanded that the Danes change their diets to suit the colonizers.

Or be killed. Because that’s always the bottom line with the soi-disant Religion of Peace, isn’t it?

They didn’t reckon with Danes. The Danes have been occupied before. They didn’t like it.

Neither did the occupiers. The Danes confounded Nazi Jew-hunts by putting on the gold star themselves — even the King did this. Meanwhile, the Jews were smuggled across the Skaggerak into neutral Sweden. Alone among continental nations, Denmark saved most of her Jews.

So when the asylum seekers showed up, acting like conquerors — imagine the Nazis, but without the technology or intelligence — Randers was ready.

A Danish city has ordered pork to be mandatory on municipal menus, including for schools and daycare centers, with politicians insisting the move is necessary for preserving the country’s food traditions and is not an attack on Muslims.

Frank Noergaard, a member of the council in Randers that narrowly approved the decision earlier this week, says it was made to ensure that pork remains “a central part of Denmark’s food culture.”

Denmark is a major pork producer and it is the most popular meat, but it is forbidden to Muslims and Jews. Most of the asylum-seekers who have arrived in the country in the past months are Muslim.

Noergaard, a member of the anti-immigration, populist Danish People’s Party that proposed the council motion, said Thursday that it wasn’t meant as a “harassment of Muslims,” but added that he had received “several complaints about too many concessions” being made to Muslims in the small, predominantly Lutheran country.

“The signal we want to send here is that if you’re a Muslim and you plan to come to Randers, don’t expect you can impose eating habits on others. Pork here is on an equal footing with other food,” Noergaard told The Associated Press. He said that halal meat, vegetarian dishes and diets for diabetics would still be available.

via Danish city makes pork mandatory but allows other food | Fox News.

It sounds like he hit the tone square on.

Update on OPM’s Data Breach

The OPM Logo: an eagle being stretched on a rack, or maybe drawn and quartered.

The OPM Logo: an eagle being stretched on a rack, or maybe drawn and quartered.

Well, a memo went out to all data-raped hands by the Interim Nº. 1 of our quaint little clearance-data village. It went like this:

Update – January 19

This is an update on the cyber incidents at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The following is an important message from Beth Cobert, Acting Director of OPM:

Dear Colleagues:

Who are you calling “colleague,” you incompetent leech?

All of us at the Office of Personnel Management want to wish our Federal family and all those who help support the important work of the nation a Happy New Year and a successful 2016.

We want to take a moment to update you on our response to the malicious cyber intrusion carried out against the Federal Government.

One fact you’re not going to see is that any of the overpaid, underworked technology weenies in the .fed has been held accountable. No one has been held accountable.No one is ever held accountable. Losing, to a foreign intelligence agency, the entire security clearance packets of the entire DOD and DOE cleared world, because they could not be bothered to take minimal precautions, is not serious enough for someone to suffer such a traumatic experience as having to answer questions or losing one’s five figure “bonus”.

We have completed the initial mailing of the notification letters to individuals impacted by the background investigation records incident. If you have received a notification letter, we encourage you to take advantage of the identity theft protection and credit monitoring services the government is offering at no cost to you.

Of course, they’re squandering vast amounts of taxpayer money, but squandering money is what they do. 

You can enroll in these services through the OPM website, www.opm.gov/cybersecurity. Individuals with enrollment questions may also call 800-750-3004.

As part of the budget law enacted in December 2015, OPM has been directed to provide identity theft protection and monitoring services to those affected by either the personnel files or background investigation records incidents for at least 10 years. We are fully committed to providing these services and are working through the details on how we will implement the new law. We will keep you informed as decisions are made.

We are happy to report that so far, about 2.4 million people have enrolled in the identity theft protection and credit monitoring services from the background investigation records incident in addition to the more than 1 million who enrolled as part of the personnel files incident. That enrollment rate is about triple the industry average, and we are glad that so many individuals are taking advantage of these services.

It’s been a big windfall for the crony, single-source “service provider” who got this business because of connections to the same OPM incompetents who caused the problem.

We would also like to remind you that OPM has established a verification center to assist those who have not received a notification letter but believe they may have been impacted by the background investigation records incident.

If you contact the verification center, you will need to provide your name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth.

To the people whose track record is entirely losing your name, address, Social Security number, date of birth, and more! Boy howdy, that sounds like a plan.

You will then receive a letter in the mail stating whether or not our records indicate your Social Security number was compromised in the intrusion involving background investigation records.

The verification center is also available to help those who have received a letter, but whose 25-digit PIN code is not working, and individuals who need a copy of their letter to be resent. The verification center can be accessed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, via a link on the OPM website. You can also contact the verification center by calling 866-408-4555, Mondays through Fridays, 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. ET.

We encourage anyone with questions about the cybersecurity intrusion to visit www.opm.gov/cybersecurity. We continue to refresh this site as new information becomes available and individuals may sign up for automatic updates.

That’s kind of like asking your friendly neighborhood Catholic priest for advice on heterosexual sex between consenting adults, isn’t it?

OPM and our partners across government continue to work hard to protect the safety and security of the information of Federal employees, contractors and others who provide their information to us.

‘Cause in the .gov, output never counts… just the appearance of input.

Thank you for your service to the American people, and for your continuing support. Have a wonderful 2016.

Sincerely,

Beth F. Cobert
Acting Director, U.S. Office of Personnel Management

Exit questions:

  1. Are they aware it’s a Diversity Violation to wish us a happy 2016? For Sunnis, it’s 1437. For Shias, 1393. In Japan, Heisei 28. For Jews, 5775. For baby ducks and Communists, it’s Year Zero. For them, it’s always Year Zero.
  2. Has anyone sincere ever signed off “sincerely?” Coming from Beth Colbert, the effect is that of a sign saying, “Honest Abner’s Used Cars.”)

But Wait, There’s More…

Remember that post about the excesses of the Historic Preservation movement, the one that wants an abandoned Army Reserve drill hall preserved in drill hall trim, and not modified to be a senior center? If you didn’t, scroll down and read that puppy. It posted at 1800 yesterday. Or heck, we’ll give you a link. Read that first, then come back.

As much as we hate to go all Ron Popeil on you, there is more about the supreme illogic of the Historic Preservation Movement. Even as Portsmouth, NH is tied in knots over a 58-year-old leaky drill hall, because, say the Prezervos, it’s representative of the 1,000 identical drill halls, this happened in Pennsylvania to a building that is unique and genuinely historic:

James Bell Tavern

The owners thought they had a rickety old used car dealership, and got permission to tear it down. What they actually had, though, was the James Bell Tavern. It not only stood at the time of the Founding, it played a crucial role.

The James Bell Tavern is the very spot where, in the Year of Our Lord 1788, a nascent political party called the Anti-Federalists met to stake out their opposition to the just-written Constitution. For them to support such a powerful central government (not that they had any idea just how powerful and coercive it would become), they wanted it to enumerate specific rights of man, rights that the mighty new entity would be forbidden to encroach upon or infringe.

The right to speak, write and read what one pleased. The right to armed self-defense and armed community defense. The right to be safe from police-state searches, from the imposition of strangers upon one’s home, from physical coercion in the law, from disproportionate and arbitrary sentences, from unlimited growth of central government power.

They would not support ratification of the Constitution until these rights were enumerated within it, one way or another — by rewrite or by amendment.

And they drafted that list of rights right here, in this ruin where the town and the appalled owners arrested demolition, probably too late, when they found out what they were wrecking.

And the Prezervos knew that’s what it was all along, and they did absolute bupkus to save it.

Yeah, in Pennsylvania, in 2015, they demolished the birthplace of the Bill of Rights.

Tell us that isn’t symbolic.

FMI:

Fox News Story (overview)

The Sentinel story (including much historical detail on the Tavern and the 1788 Stony Ridge Convention held there).

When Government Goals Collide in the Drill Hall

The Army Reserve vacated an old Reserve Center in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, a liberal enclave on the Seacoast that envisioned beating this bland, generic sword into a blossoming plowshare of cradle-to-grave social support.

Yes, we're talking about this building. A generic building of which literally hundreds were built nationwide to the same plan in the fifties and sixties.

Yes, we’re talking about this building. Not an eyesore, entirely, but not much better: a generic building, one of 10,000.

The “free” building could have been cashed out for light industrial use, and the cash used to pay down the town’s enormous pension shortfall. But the town pols envisioned a “senior center” in which the helpless, doomed oldsters could be properly socialized to love Big Brother to recognize their debt to the benevolent city pols, and repay them with votes forever. Or until they croak, which would realistically come first.

But it turns out that the “free” building came with strings attached. The “social good” of giving a defined constituency Free Stuff clashed with the “social good” of architectural Luddism promoted by another defined constituency, the Historical Preservation nazis.

But according to state historians, the Cottage Street property, which has been eyed for a Portsmouth senior center, has a long list of historically-significant features that should be preserved.

Now, you have already seen this building. Even if you’ve never been within 1,000 miles of Portsmouth, New Hamster. It’s a generic building of which literally hundreds were built nationwide to the exact same plan in the fifties and sixties for the Army Reserve, National Guard, and other services’ reserve components. It has very near analogues, if not exact copies, on every military base and former military base in the United States. Its flat-roofed, brick, steel-framed architecture was mirrored in tens of thousands of other period buildings — offices, warehouses, light industrial buildings, and just about every public school built from about 1950 to the rise of Brutalism about 1970 — by which time the Cold War military was contracting and the building boom over.

The New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources has published a five-page report detailing those features and a 54-page application to have the property listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Included on the list of historically-significant aspects of two buildings on the site are the height and mass of the buildings, the front lawn, driveway, flagpole and plantings. Interior elements of historical importance include a main corridor, classrooms, metal doors with crash bars, tile floors and plaster ceilings, according to the application.

Here’s a look at the interior of the drill hall of this architectural marvel:

doble reserve center 2

Now, were you ever a Reserve Component service member? And if you did, did you just exclaim, “Hey, that’s just like our drill hall!”? It’s exactly like the old drill hall that C 1/20th SF shared with a succession of other Guard units over the years.

We’re almost ready to rest our case without even hearing the rest of the argument from the preservationistas. But it’s funny, so we’ll get to it anon.

What the story doesn’t mention is that these things were all built to a price, and starved of maintenance. The Army Reserve ones tended to be built better than the National Guard ones, which had to be built by state-“connected” contractors and therefore had sandy concrete and mortar, and ill-fitting doors, windows and skimpy flashing on their flat roofs, but even the USAR ones are all in a shabby state by now.

What that means for Portsmouth’s plans to locate a senior center at the abandoned military center remains unknown, Elizabeth Muzzey, director of the N.H. Division of Historical Resources, said last week.

Portsmouth officials have “been working with the Army since 2005 to try and acquire the property for a senior center,” according to a city memo from December 2014 reviewed by Seacoast Sunday.

Wait — they’ve been haranguing over this for nine years? Wait, now ten years? And they still have no answers? Do these government workers (at city, State, and Federal levels) actually do anything?

Never mind. We know the answer to that.

The memo states the Army is working with the state Division of Historical Resources and the Department of Defense, “who have identified the property as potentially having character-defining characteristics (in and outside the building) they will seek to preserve through a preservation easement.”

This is exactly the sort of military property that ought to be auctioned off in a fair and transparent process, not delivered to a corrupt city government for cronies to cash in on. But having been delivered for that purpose, it’s amusing to watch the various agencies fight over this generic building, like seagulls fighting over a prize piece of fish head.

“Attempts to require future property owners to preserve features of this building will greatly inhibit the city’s ability to make this facility an attractive, inviting and successful reuse as a senior center,” according to that year-old memo.

via Doble Center’s historic character must be preserved – News – seacoastonline.com – Portsmouth, NH.

Oh, one more feature of all these 1950s and 60s white elephants: poor or no insulation (a bit of an issue at 44º north latitude), poorly fitting windows with steel frames and no designed drainage (so they’re all rusty now), window glass not up to code, no air conditioning, and a heater plant that was cheap and ineffective in 1955 and is staggeringly wasteful of energy by 2015 standards.

But hey, seniors are noted for their robust hardiness, compared to the fragility of their Unique And Special Snowflake™ grandkids these days. Granpa can put on a scarf and suck it up like generations of GIs did.

So rebuilding the “free” building into a senior center requires a complete rework of the exterior envelope of the building including some quarter to a half-million dollars’ worth of doors and windows; gutting the building for installation of modern, efficient HVAC; and years of negotiations between opposing teams of historical architecture nazis, all of whom work for government because they did not rise to the level of productively employable historians or architects.

Frédéric Bastiat said, “Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else,” and that was over 150 years ago.  In language he’d understand, Plus ça changé, plus c’est la même chose.

Monty Python as Solid Archaeology?

The King was right. apparently “burnt down, fell over, and then sank into the swamp” was really a thing. Who knew?

A British Bronze Age settlement, captured in time at the very moment settlers fled for their lives from a devastating fire, has been dubbed the ‘Peterborough Pompeii’ because of its astonishing preservation.

Two prehistoric wooden roundhouses have remained virtually intact since they plunged into the East Anglian Fens 3,000 years ago.

It is likely that the families who lived there were preparing food or eating when their homes caught fire and sank into the bog. Archaeologists found pots containing meals and clothes hastily abandoned in the ruins of the small site at Must Farm Quarry near Whittlesey.

via Bronze Age settlement dubbed ‘Peterborough Pompeii’ due to amazing preservation.

Well, yeah, it’s “like Pompeii” in the way that, say, today’s Raqqa is like today’s Rome, to mention two  culturally unequal capitals.

But what the archaeologists mean is that the sudden abandonment of the settlement left artifacts behind, the discovery of which answered questions that they never thought would ever be answered, like “What did Bronze Age Britons wear?”. And for an archaeologist, that’s pretty exciting. For the rest of us, it’s interesting enough that you really ought to Read The Whole Thing™.