Tom McLaughlin

A former history teacher, Tom is a columnist who lives in Lovell, Maine. His column is published in Maine and New Hampshire newspapers and on numerous web sites. Email: tomthemick@gmail.com

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Smart Phone Challenge

American soldiers liberating German concentration camps in 1945 were horrified. So angry were they at German SS guards who claimed they were following orders, they sometimes turned them over to surviving inmates who administered their own justice. Americans then turned their anger toward civilian Germans living in towns near the camps. They refused to believe civilians who insisted they didn’t know what was happening next to their villages. Some American officers marched those civilians into the camps and forced them to see and smell the horror perpetrated by their government. Believing they had to have known what was taking place right in their midst, our soldiers sometimes forced them to personally carry emaciated, rotting Jewish corpses and drop them into mass burial pits.
Lt. Col. Ed Seiller of Louisville, Kentucky, stands amid a pile of Holocaust victims as he speaks to 200 German civilians who were forced to see the grim conditions of the Landsberg concentration camp, on May 15, 1945. (AP Photo)

Colonel George Lynch of the US Army’s 102nd Infantry addressed German civilians at another death camp and said: “Some will say that the Nazis were responsible for this crime. Others will point to the Gestapo. The responsibility rests with neither - it is the responsibility of the German people . . .”
Citizens of Ludwigslust, Germany, inspect a nearby concentration camp under orders of the 82nd Airborne Division on May 6, 1945. Bodies of victims of German prison camps were found dumped in pits in yard, one pit containing  300 bodies.

Though I wasn’t born until six years later, I believe I understand how those Americans felt. During the Dr. Kermit Gosnell murder trial last year in Philadelphia, horrific images of another holocaust were displayed in court. Numerous photos of fully-developed babies born crying in Gosnell’s clinic were systematically murdered. Clinic workers said there were hundreds. Lately I feel that it’s becoming necessary to not just tell my fellow Americans, but to show them what abortion actually is, the dismembering and poisoning of babies in the womb.

Evidence at Gosnell Trial. Moton worked there.

The Gosnell trial photos were comparable to the images shown during the Nuremberg War Crimes trials. Those were very closely covered by our media (including Walter Cronkite) back in 1945. Our mainstream media of today, however, completely ignored the Gosnell trial for over a month, while I wrote extensively about it here. Like German civilians who so outraged our soldiers, Americans seem ignorant of what is going on right in their midst as well. Abuses by Gosnell were reported to Pennsylvania authorities over and over for decades, but state officials ignored them all until police raided the clinic looking for drugs. The horrors they discovered there sickened them just as much as the death camps sickened our soldiers in 1945.
Reserved seats for media at Gosnell trial

The Gosnell trial seems to have had little effect on Americans in Houston though. Months after Dr. Gosnell was convicted of murder, a grand jury there refused to indict abortionist Dr. Douglas Karpen for twisting the heads off of babies born alive after failed late-term abortions. It listened to eye-witness testimony from three Houston clinic workers who had reported Karpen. They even saw photos of dead babies those workers took using their cell phones. Have Americans changed somehow? Have we become inured to horror? How did we lose our capacity for outrage?
In a recent fundraising letter, the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee claims Republicans who oppose abortion are “revolting.” New York’s Democrat Governor Andrew Cuomo thinks people against abortion should get out of New York: “[T]hese extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay? Is that who they are? Because if that’s who they are and they’re the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York . . .” he said last week.
The real war on women

In preparation of the 2014 election, Democrats are ramping up their claims that conservatives who oppose abortion are “Waging War on Women”. That’s brazen considering that preserving abortion is the biggest single issue in the Democrat Party platform, and considering that half the 55 million babies slaughtered since Roe V Wade in 1973 were girls who would have grown into women.
41st Annual March For Life last week

While thousands of young Americans marched against abortion in sub-zero wind chills in Washington DC last week in the 41st Annual March For Life, President Obama praised Roe V Wade in a speech in which he never uttered the word “abortion.” The feminist group that used to call itself the “National Abortion Rights Action League” changed it’s name to NARAL, evidently not wishing to include the word “abortion.” Now it calls itself “NARAL Pro-Choice America” to further distance itself.
They’re not “abortion” rights anymore. They’re “reproductive rights.” Gosnell called his charnel house “The Women’s Medical Society.” For Democrats today, abortion is not revolting. Rather, people who oppose abortion are revolting. Arguing that abortion is necessary for women to have an active sex life, a guest on MSNBC said about pro life activists: “Their sex lives are so miserable that they’re going to do everything in their power to just beat the drum of repression.” 

Now imagine how American soldiers would have reacted in 1945 if German civilians were to have said something like: “Personally I’m opposed to the mass murder of Jews, but I wouldn’t interfere with someone else’s choice to kill them.”
Nazis sickened by pictures at their trial

The next time someone tells you that about abortion, take out your smart phone and challenge them to look at pictures of what an aborted baby looks like.


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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Just Another Rock? Nope



Rocks interest me. Always have. One I picked up last spring from a banking that led down to Willard Beach in South Portland has been in the pocket of the fleece I was wearing ever since. It’s very familiar to me now because I feel it every time I put that fleece on. My thumb goes carefully across its sharp edge, just as one might feel the edge of a sharp knife. The rest of the stone fits my thumb and index finger fairly comfortably - just as I believe it fit into the hand of at least one other person hundreds - perhaps thousands of years ago. It’s a prehistoric tool. It isn’t a JAR - “Just Another Rock” - in the parlance of some Maine archaeologists with whom I’ve worked.
A little of Fort Preble and Portland Harbor in upper right

Waves from winter storms had worn the banking away and exposed strata in an area I knew had been settled very early by some of the first British colonists in Maine. Just above the bank is a cemetery established in 1658, which is on the campus of Southern Maine Community College now. It was March, and thick vegetation that grows there in summer hadn’t sprouted yet, so I climbed up for a close look. Just beneath the turf were late-20th-century artifacts like detachable pop tops from aluminum cans. Old enough to remember those? I am. Layers below that showed pieces of red brick that could have gone back from the 20th to the 17th century. There were pieces to old ceramic dinner plates and crockery interspersed with them, so I concentrated on the layers below. I was looking for prehistoric stone artifacts.
Shipping channel just off Willard Beach

Certain kinds of stone were favored by prehistoric Americans and quartz was one. It’s the most difficult stone to shape into a useful tool by knapping - that method of striking that chips off pieces in predictable ways - but quartz will hold an edge better than others. It’s very hard, and it’s ubiquitous in Maine. There are seams of quartz in the metamorphic sedimentary rock one sees all along Maine’s coast, so when I saw a small piece sticking out of the bank, I picked it up right away. Unlike jasper and rhyolite and flint, which are stones also favored by Maine’s early inhabitants, white quartz doesn’t change appearance much from weathering. Even very old pieces are fairly easy to recognize.
White quartz outcropping just below the banking

I’ve picked up lots of prehistoric quartz tools in the Fryeburg area along the Saco River over the years, but this was the first I’d found in the Portland environs. There are plenty of potential sites to explore in that area, but there’s been so much building and re-building over almost four centuries of the historical era that finding prehistoric artifacts is much more difficult. I’ve found artifacts further up Maine’s coast where there’s been very little development. It’s relatively easy to find small shell heaps above the high tide marks further east just by walking along - if you know what to look for. My wife usually accompanies me  at such times and she’s learned to be patient. She likes to pick up shells and rocks with visual appeal while I search for artifacts. I like those pretty rocks too, but they don’t interest me nearly as much as stone worked by prehistoric Americans.
Southern Maine Community College last summer

Some of you looking my piece of quartz may think: “No. That’s just another rock.” When as a kid I saw pictures of similar artifacts in National Geographic - picked up by archaeologists who claimed they were tools. I was skeptical too. They looked like ordinary rocks. After a few years of studying knapping techniques and some field work, however, I’m better at distinguishing an artifact from a “JAR.” When walking near a river or beach these days, I’m always picking up stones and looking them over. When I find a stone artifact, I imagine the landscape as it looked when the last human being handled it.

Scooped up by a dragger off Bass Harbor (photo by Joe Kelly, University of Maine)
It’s somewhat frustrating, however, when I realize that most of the earliest prehistoric sites along Maine’s coast are very likely underwater now. Sea levels were much lower 12 thousand years ago when the last glaciers melted away from Maine and the people who were probably Maine’s earliest inhabitants likely gathered their seafood along a coastline that is now deeply submerged. Draggers occasionally bring up stone tools from the Gulf of Maine and elsewhere along America’s Atlantic coast. Exploring those sites would be much more problematic though, so I guess I’ll stay on dry land when pursuing my avocation - looking for prehistoric stone artifacts.

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

King Turning Over In His Grave


If you’re a public school teacher and you’re white, you’re probably a tool of institutional racism and you need to be re-educated. Don’t fret though. The Obama Administration is issuing guidelines that will help you become more conscious of your “whiteness.”

Last week, Attorney General Eric Holder cautioned school districts about their “overly zealous disciplinary policies” that, according to an AP story: “lead to a school to prison pipeline that discriminates against minority students.” The guidelines “[tell] schools that they must adhere to the principle of fairness and equity in student discipline or face strong action if they don’t.”
Actually though, they’re telling schools they must do just the opposite of [adhering] to the principle of fairness and equity. They’re telling schools to judge students by the color of their skin and not the content of their character. Martin Luther King would be appalled.

Holder and Education Secretary Arne Duncan have been intimidating schools, I mean “gathering data” for a while now and they claim that: “Although black students made up 15 percent of students in the data collection, they made up more than a third of students suspended once, 44 percent of those suspended more than once and more than a third of students expelled.” Neither Holder nor Duncan offer any data evidencing that racial discrimination is what causes the disparity. They assume no one will ask, I guess. To them, the numbers are enough. If blacks are disciplined more, it must be because of racism, not because of their behavior.

Around the country, the school districts being intimidated, I mean, “studied,” have tried kissing up to Holder and Duncan by spending millions re-training teachers to root out their unconscious “institutional racism” and make them conscious of their “white privilege.” According to Williamette Week “Portland Public Schools has [sic] spent millions to help stop racial profiling of students in discipline cases. [but] The problem is getting worse.” Principal Verenice Gutierrez of Harvey Scott K-8 School in Portland said the very mention of eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches could be racist, because minority students may not eat them.

I’m not making this up.
Nathan Harnden, writing in “The College Fix,” describes the extensive trainings, staff meetings, classroom observations and other workshops teachers must deal with to change their teaching methods when dealing with minority students. He quotes the “Portland Tribune”: “[T]he first day of the school year for staff, for example, the first item of business for teachers at Scott School was to have a Courageous Conversation - to examine a news article and discuss the ‘white privilege’ it conveys.”
All this comes from a company called “Pacific Education Group,” or “PEG” owned and operated by Glenn Singleton who has become rich by charging school districts huge fees. Like President Obama, Singleton is a disciple of Derrick Bell’s “Critical Race Theory” which purports that something called “systemic racism” permeates white culture. Virtually all us white people are consciously or unconsciously racist, so Singleton, Obama, Holder, and Bell are determined to cure us of it. PEG sends its trainers coast to coast on the taxpayer dime to do so.
Bell: "I live to harass white folks."

first wrote about “white privilege” seven years ago. My wife received indoctrination while working at Tri-County Mental Health in Bridgton in the 1990s. At least one, and probably several of the student teachers assigned to my classroom was assigned Peggy Macintosh’s 1988 essay “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” by the University of Southern Maine as are thousands, perhaps millions of other college students around the country. The 15th Annual White Privilege Conference will be March 26-29 in Madison, Wisconsin. Many, if not most, will attend at taxpayer expense.
In his first major speech after being confirmed as US Attorney General in 2009, Eric Holder said America was a “nation of cowards” when it comes to talking about race. This writer would suggest that Mr. Holder is obsessed with it. He threatens “strong action” against schools that suspend black students or turn them over to law enforcement more often then students of any other color. He wants schools to treat disruptive young black males as victims of racism at the hands of teachers insufficiently conscious of their “whiteness.” Black students need “restorative justice” delivered through “courageous conversations” (whatever the heck those are) rather than discipline.
Our race-obsessed Attorney General wants more power over public schools. He wants to reinforce the idea that all black people are victims and ramp up white guilt because that’s what put the Obama Administration, and him, in power. It got Obama reelected and insulates Obama from criticism for destroying our economy, our health-care system, our foreign policy, for spying on the press, and for using the IRS to harass his political enemies. 

Looks like I retired none too soon from my long career in the public schools. There’s no way I would sit through a training session on “white privilege” quietly.

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Friday, January 03, 2014

Bondage Dolls and Green Weenies

Up Early

This year I took down the Christmas tree. Usually it’s my wife who decides the season is over and it’s time to move on into the less charming part of our long, New England winter. Granddaughters Claire and Lila were against taking it down, however, and I had to deal with their profounddisapproval during the process. Ten-month-old twins, Henry and Luke, were indifferent. They were content to sit on the living room carpet and watch me as, one by one, they picked up various toys around them and put them into their mouths. They know something really exists only when they experience it orally. Most of what they were tasting were round, painted pieces of wood they removed from a Christmas-tree-shaped pole upon which they had been stacked up. I assume the paint was non-toxic, because they have teeth now and they like to gnaw on things. The toy was labeled “Melissa and Doug,” whom I assume were the designers and manufacturers.
Henry and Luke

Which brings me to the two “Melissa and Doug Annie 12-inch Drink and Wet” dolls which Santa Claus put under the tree for Christmas morning. After unwrapping them, Claire and Lila asked their grandmother to get them out of the box they came in. She fumbled with one for a several minutes and then handed it to me, saying “I can’t do this. Can you?” I took it, wondering how difficult could it be to take a doll out of a box. It turned out to be the hardest thing I had to do all day.
The peeing dolls were bound inside their little prison boxes to prevent any possibility of escape unless industrial-grade extraction tools were utilized. Each sitting doll was bound hand, foot and neck by plastic-coated steel wire. I have fairly strong fingers, but I couldn’t fully un-twist even one of the sadistic bonds that held the poor doll in place. I went to the kitchen drawer for some wire-cutters, but they weren’t sufficient either. I had to go out to the garage for the bigger ones and then it was hard to avoid cutting off the dolls hands as I severed the wire. “What’s taking you so long?” my wife hollered from the living room as I was cussing out Melissa and Doug and thinking they must be clandestine bondage fetishists. Thankfully, I don’t think Claire or Lila heard me. Later I saw reviews of the peeing doll on Amazon:

It is really precious BUT I almost lost my religion trying to get it out of the box!!! Please tell me what awful thing happened in your childhood that you would package your toys in such a horrendous, frustrating way!!! Seriously! I broke nails, bled, and cursed trying to undo all the "tie downs" before I finally freed her of her prison of a box! Please lighten up a bit. There has GOT to be a better method! 
Watching television news later that day, I saw that a ship was stuck in Antarctic ice and a Chinese ice-breaker was trying to rescue it. It was very cold in Maine Christmas Day and I felt sorry for the passengers. It wasn’t until a week later that I learned the ice-bound ship was on an expedition to observe the effects of “human-caused” climate change. That’s what the Greenies used to call “human-caused global warming” until the globe ceased warming after fifteen years of increasing carbon in the atmosphere. As I write this, my thermometer is struggling to get above zero in midday, making me wish we humans actually could cause global warming. I’d actually lobby for it if I didn’t know what a mass-hysterical scam it was.
Very Cold at Two Lights State Park - Cape Elizabeth Maine in 2014

Newsbusters reported that 96% of coverage by the mainstream media networks neglected to mention the actual purpose of the ice-bound expedition when reporting the story. As of January 3rd, they continued to keep the mission’s objective a secret. Too embarrassing for the liberal-biased networks, I guess, especially after they’ve spent more than a decade beating the “climate change” the drum for environmental neurotics. After the Chinese icebreaker also got stuck six miles from the original Greenie-weenie ship, they sent two more icebreakers, so the story has enough legs to bring it well into 2014. Wonder if they’ll ever say what the ship was actually doing down there. I doubt it.
Enviroweenies in La-La Land

Somehow I don’t feel bad for those climate-change-kool-aid-drinking Greenies anymore. I feel bad for the rest of America still caught up in their pseudo-scientific, mass hysteria.

UPDATE
The Enviroweenies pictured above were rescued by helicopter yesterday. Today, however, the ship that deployed the rescue helicopter is itself stuck in the ice. I wonder if they're still dancing. I wonder if the mainstream media will report on what their mission was now.

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