Ah, Rosie, it makes me cry….

Iva Ikuko Toguri, born in California in 1916, was an American girl of Japanese descent. Her family sent her to Japan in mid-1941 to take care of her aunt, who was seriously ill. After her aunt recovered, Iva tried to return to the US, but the US State Department then (after Pearl Harbor) refused to authorize her return. The Japanese authorities insisted that she “get a job” in order to support herself. She was regarded as a “no good American.” Stranded in Japan, Iva worked hard to learn Japanese since English was her only language. She got a job as an English-language typist. In time, the Japanese authorities forced her to become one of about twenty women making pro-Japanese propaganda radio broadcasts aimed at undermining the morale of American troops fighting in the Pacific. American troops came to speak of this collection of voices as a single woman. Iva was just one of them.

The broadcasts were actually produced by American POWs, who had been forced by the Japanese authorities to put on an American-style DJ radio show. The POWs wrote the scripts and tried to sneak in pro-American messages whenever possible. Iva, whose radio name was “Orphan Ann,” gave the POWs a lot of support, and risked her life to provide the GIs with black-market food, medicine, and supplies. The POWs viewed her as a friend and fellow anti-Japanese conspirator. In her broadcasts, she tried to use humor and various tones of voice to flag to her listeners the absurdity of her messages.

Even though threatened by the Japanese military police, Iva never gave up her US citizenship. After the war, she was able to return to the US. However, eventually (because of the strong anti-Japanese sentiment of the time) she was brought to trial on charges of treason. The charges were completely trumped up, and the two main witnesses against her have now admitted that, under intense US government pressure, they committed perjury in testifying against her. The jury tried to “hang” itself several times, but the judge (who has admitted to anti-Japanese bias) insisted that the jury come in with a verdict. Finally, Iva was found guilty on one of eight counts of treason and sentenced to ten years in federal prison and fined $10,000. Her American citizenship was cancelled. A model prisoner, she was released after about six years. After many years, she was able to complete payment of the $10,000 fine. In time, the true story about her surfaced, and she received a pardon from President Gerald Ford in 1977, thus regaining her citizenship.

By the way, had she renounced her American citizenship in return for Japanese citizenship, she could not have been prosecuted, as none of the other women in this matter were. There would have been no jurisdiction in her case.

For many years, Iva ran a family business in Chicago. On Tuesday, September 26, 2006, Iva Ikuko Toguri, at the age of 90, passed away.

“Tokyo Rose” is dead.


A few more items about “Tokyo Rose” (Iva Toguri):

  • She was born on the 4th of July in 1916 in Los Angeles.
  • As a middle-class American girl who knew no Japanese, she also hated Japanese food.
  • She was a Girl Scout, a Methodist, and a Republican.
  • Her favorite pop culture character was “Orphan Annie.”
  • She graduated from UCLA and planned to be a doctor.
  • While she was stranded in Japan during WW II, Iva’s mother died in a Japanese-American internment camp.

In January 2006, the World War II Veterans Committee bestowed on “Tokyo Rose” the prestigious Edward J. Herlihy Citizenship Award.

Iva Toguri was only one of about 20 women making “Zero Hour” broadcasts. The troops called any one of them “Tokyo Rose.” It was only after WW II that the US government singled Ms. Toguri out as if she alone was “TR.”

When Iva made her “Orphan Ann” broadcasts, she would often warn American forces of imminent Japanese military attacks. Here’s what one American airman has reported:

I remember many happy nights in our tent in New Guinea listening to the “Zero Hour”. Tokyo Rose would start by saying, “Hi, boys, this is your old friend, Orphan Annie. I’ve got some swell records just in from the states. You’d better listen to them while you can, because late tonight our flyers are coming over to bomb the 43rd group when you are all asleep. So listen while you are still alive. Almost without fail, the Jap bombers would come over. She was a better air raid system than our own. (Robert W. “Bob” White, 65th SQ)

Somehow, she got away with this without ever being detected by the Japanese authorities.

An Olympics Tale: Some Thoughts About Jim Thorpe

There’s a relatively new book out about Jim Thorpe: “Native American Son: The Life and Sporting Legend of Jim Thorpe,” by Kate Buford (Knopf, 2011). She was interviewed on C-Span last week. I have not read the book, but the interview revived some thoughts I had written out in a letter to a friend a few years ago. Here they are:

Jim Thorpe, an Oklahoma Sac and Fox Indian from the Carlisle Institute in PA (a technical college for Amerindians), won the Pentathlon and the Decathlon at the Olympic Games held in Stockholm Sweden in 1912. JT was one of the greatest all-around athletes (track & field, baseball, and football) ever produced by the USA. When King Gustave V conferred the two gold medals on JT, he told him that he was “the most wonderful athlete in the world.” JT replied, “Thanks, King.”

In 1913, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) forced JT to give up his medals, and his Olympic records were stricken from the books. Why? Because he had played semipro baseball in 1909 and 1910, receiving about $25 per game. Thus, he had lost his amateur status. What a laugh! And what an injustice! (I cry every time I hear or think of this travesty.)

In 1982, JT was reinstated by the IOC as “co-winner” of the 1912 Pentathlon and Decathlon. What bull****! He had won overwhelmingly over his opponents. It was a “no contest” phenomenon.

In 1983, the IOC presented JT’s children with gold medals to replace those that had been taken back in 1913.

The IOC did not reinstate JT all that willingly. It had taken years and years of pressure from JT’s family and others.

JT had died (an alcoholic, I think) in 1953 at the age of 65.

Avery Brundage, the long-time head of the IOC, was a no-good, racist-fascist *!@?*#@*. He was not involved in the 1913 abuse of JT but, later, he did everything he could to prevent JT’s reinstatement. Also, at the 1936 Games in Berlin, Brundage would not allow Marty Glickman (later a famous sports announcer and journalist) and another Jewish athlete to run in a relay race for fear of further humiliating Adolf Hitler, whose rotten Nazi ass was already being kicked very badly by the African-American, Jesse Owens, who won four gold medals in Berlin. Brundage thought it was necessary to do some kissing of said Nazi ass.


When I was a very little kid (rather long ago now), I began to take a strong interest in music, especially singing. I liked both country and pop. On the pop side, one of my favorites was “Linda,” which was a hit for Buddy Clark and the Ray Noble Orchestra in 1946-1947.

For some reason, or no reason at all, I thought of the song this morning and looked it up on YouTube. Here it is:

click here

Buddy Clark was killed in a plane crash in 1949.

What I didn’t know until today:

The song was written by famous songwriter Jack Lawrence in 1942, when Lawrence was serving in the US Merchant Marine Corps. Lawrence’s attorney and friend, Lee Eastman, suggested that Lawrence might write a song in honor of the one-year-old daughter of Eastman and his wife, Louise. The baby’s name was “Linda.” So the song was written, and then published in 1946, and then made into a hit by Buddy Clark and Ray Noble.

“And now,” as Paul Harvey used to say, “the rest of the story”: The baby, Linda Eastman, grew up to do many things, including marrying a musician in 1969 and thereby becoming Lady Linda McCartney.

“Hello, Linda.” :)


Star Spangled Banner

Had you seen this story (in January 2012)?


Bill Press (hopeless liberal) dissed the singability and the lyrics of the SSB. I don’t mind the lyrics, but I agree with Press on the singability issue. The defenders of the anthem mentioned in the article are all professional singers. I think Press’s point was that the song is not (easily) singable by ORDINARY people. Of course, (some) pros can sing it without difficulty – but, notoriously, quite a few pros are unable to manage it. “America the Beautiful” would have been a better choice for the US national anthem.

By the way, it was not Woodrow Wilson who made the SSB the national anthem (as the article states). It was Herbert Hoover in 1931.


P.S. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yaetvTj5DE

Ploughshares Into Swords

Sydney Smith (1771-1845) was an Anglican priest and a founder of “The Edinburgh Review.” In 1823, amid widespread enthusiasm and agitation for British armed intervention in Spain, Smith wrote a now famous letter to Lady Grey, wife of then Prime Minister Lord Grey, which contained the following passage:

“For God’s sake, do not drag me into another war! I am worn down and worn out with crusading and defending Europe and protecting mankind; I must think a little of myself. I am sorry for the Spaniards – I am sorry for the Greeks – I deplore the fate of the Jews; the people of the Sandwich Islands are groaning under the most detestable tyranny; Baghdad is oppressed – I do not like the present state of the Delta – Tibet is not comfortable. Am I to fight for all these people? Am I to be champion of the Decalogue and to be eternally raising fleets and armies to make all men good and happy? We have just done saving Europe, and I am afraid the consequence will be that we shall cut each other’s throats. No war, dear Lady Grey! no eloquence; but apathy, selfishness, common sense, arithmetic! I beseech you, secure Lord Grey’s swords and pistols, as the housekeeper did Don Quixote’s armor.”

Smith also commented, not to Lady Grey but to others, “I would rather the nascent liberties of Spain were extinguished than go to war to defend them…. Why are the English to be the sole vindicators of the human race?”

To be sure, Smith’s comments are of only historical interest. They have no bearing on anything taking place today. That was all about England. No relevance to the USA. :)

Mathis and Cole

I cried on the way to church this morning (some time in December 2006). (I cry a lot. Who says men can’t cry? That’s BS!) I heard a charming interview with Johnny Mathis on WNYC-NPR (left-wing, anti-American radio in New York) while I was driving to Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church in Wayne.

Mathis has now been performing for 50 years! What a shock! What a beautiful voice! 50 years! Yikes! Time flies, even when you’re NOT having fun! My favorite Mathis song: “When Sunny Gets Blue.” Beautiful song.

Years ago, Mathis “came out of the closet,” revealing he is gay. Boy, was that a surprise, right? I mean, who didn’t know that in the ’50s? (smile)

Mathis said that his favorite singer is Nat King Cole. Which reminds me of another story, an amusing and ironic one: Way back in the 1930s, Nathaniel Adams Coles played either solo piano or with small combos in small clubs and cocktail lounges. With his long, black fingers, he was a GREAT piano player. He was always known as a leading jazz piano player until the day he died in 1965. In the early days, Nat was exclusively a piano player. Once, when he was playing solo in a lounge, a drunken customer – that same guy that all musicians know – kept on calling out, “Hey, piano guy, how about singing ‘Melancholy Baby’?” The guy kept at it, getting louder and louder, and more and more belligerent. Finally, the bar owner approached Nat and said to him, “Nat, you gotta sing that fuckin’ song! This guy’s gonna start a brawl in here!” At that point, Nat uttered what can only be called an outstanding example of “Famous Last Words”: Before trying the song, Nat said to the bar owner, “But I can’t sing!”

Was Jesus Poor as the Pious Like to Say?

Was Jesus poor? Probably not.

I think that the evidence shows that he was at least middle class and not one of “the poor” (although he was an advocate for the poor). The New Testament makes clear that Joseph (J’s foster father) was a “carpenter” who owned properties in both Nazareth and in Bethlehem. He was, in fact, probably what we would call a “general contractor.” On the way to Bethlehem, Joseph was quite ready to pay for lodging, but there was “no room in the inn.” It was crowding in the inn, not lack of $$$, that required Joseph and Mary to stop in a stable for the birth of Jesus.

Further, Jesus (also a “carpenter”) received the kind of upbringing, education, and training that gained him easy recognition as a Rabbi and caused many of his contemporaries – even his enemies – to hear him “speaking with authority.” He was not poor at all, and he was very well educated. Thus, it is most likely that he knew all of the languages, both spoken and written, that were current at that time, although he may have had less of a grasp on Latin than of the others.

On the question of whether Jesus was poor: There are those who argue in the affirmative on this question, but I think that – taking the entire New Testament record into account – it is much more probable that he was not poor (which, of course, does not necessarily mean that he was rich either).

I can’t go into all the details on this right now; but here are just three points:

1. The NT presents JC as a descendant of King David, i.e., a member of the royal house of Judah. One of his regular titles was “Son of David.” The genealogies in Matthew and Luke, if researched carefully, are both (apparently) intended to show (among other things) that JC is descended from David on both Joseph’s side and on Mary’s side. It seems also that there were many who were ready to see him as the rightful king of Israel. The theme of his kingship comes up quite a bit throughout the NT. Again, that requires a lot of research.

2. The NT never states that JC was poor. It presents him as a champion of the poor, but he is not described as poor himself.

3. When the “Three Wise Men” visit the holy family in Bethlehem (probably more than a year after JC’s birh) they are residing in a house (not in the stable/manger). In addition to this there are other evidences that the family had properties in Nazareth as well as in Bethlehem. (See Matthew 2:9-11)

All for now….

Jersey Joe Walcott

Jersey Joe Walcott and Joe Louis fought twice. (Actually three times: Walcott was a sparring partner for Louis for the Schmelling fight in 1937. Walcott dropped Louis as they began sparring, and Louis’s handlers then fired Walcott.)

The first official Walcott-Louis fight took place on December 5, 1947. Walcott knocked Louis down twice and generally kicked his ass. The referee, the crowd, and Louis himself judged Walcott the winner; but the two judges gave the 15-round decision to Louis, the reigning champion.

They met for the 2d time on June 25, 1948. Again, Walcott floored Louis, and the fight was pretty close – until Louis knocked Walcott out in the 11th round. Louis then retired (for the first time – his later comeback in the early ’50s was very unsuccessful).

Louis was a great champion. His record is 69 wins and 3 losses (to Max Schmelling, Ezzard Charles, and Rocky Marciano). Louis had 55 wins by knockout.

Jersey Joe Walcott was also a great fighter. He finally (after 5 or more tries) won the world heavyweight title on July 18, 1951, knocking out then-champion Ezzard Charles. Walcott was then 37 years old – the oldest man to win the heavyweight championship until George Foreman did it (over Michael Moorer) at the age of 45 in 1994. (1994 was also the year of Jersey Joe Walcott’s death.)

Walcott retained the title in another fight with Charles in late ’51 or early ’52 (a 15 round decision). Then, on September 23, 1952, Walcott fought Rocky Marciano. Walcott put Marciano down in the 1st round and was well ahead of Marciano up to the 13th round. At that point, Marciano threw a punch from nowhere and knocked Walcott out. The punch has been called the hardest punch ever thrown in a prize-fighting ring. Many boxing experts consider this Walcott-Marciano bout one of the greatest fights of all time.

In a rematch on May 15, 1953, Marciano knocked Walcott out in the 1st round. That sent Jersey Joe into retirement.

Footnote: George Foreman was once asked in an interview what he would do differently if he could live his life over again. He said “I would not have fought Muhammad Ali.”

Another footnote: Jersey Joe’s real name was Arnold Raymond Cream. He was from Merchantville, NJ.

Three-Fifths of a Person? Not so!

At her hearing before the US Senate in June 2010, Elena Kagan made a common but ignorant error in testifying about her view of the Constitution. She said that the “original” (sic) Constitution held that a black slave is only three-fifths of a person. Many others also believe that – but that belief is false.

Here’s what Article 1, Section 2, Paragraph 3, actually says:

“Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.”

This was a product of a North-South compromise which LIMITED the influence of slavery with regard to the apportionment of members of the House of Representatives and of taxes. The phrase, “three fifths of all other Persons,” is about how many of those other Persons will be counted for representational and tax purposes; it in no way reduces any Person to 3/5 status and, indeed, is an explicit acknowledgement that those covered by the phrase ARE Persons, 100% Persons.

There’s a difference between 3/5 of the apples in the barrel and 3/5 of an apple. A simple logical-mathematical difference.

It’s true that the “original” (sic) Constitution recognized slavery (bad), but it also characterizes that “peculiar institution” as the enslavement of Persons.

I was surprised to hear Kagan make such a howling error.

It was also interesting that no Senator commented on Kagan’s 3/5-of-a-person gaffe.

More recently, at the opening of the 112th Congress, the Republican leadership of the House of Representatives staged a reading of (most of) the Constitution. On that occasion, various members of the House referred in one way or another to the “fact” that the Constitution had originally treated a black slave as 3/5 of a person – the same persistent error I am ranting about herein.

Do none of our judicial or legislative leaders know what the Constitution actually says on this matter? Can none of them distinguish conceptually between “3/5 of the apples” and “3/5 of an apple”?!?