Moments from Burns’s Vietnam Episode 4 – Image, Sound and Narration Conflict

After watching the first episode, I wrote about my fears that the series would whitewash USA militarism. Here are some observations after watching Episode 4, “Resolve.”

Minute 34:

Narrator: Mogie’s combat commander, Lieutenant Colonel Henry Emerson, known as “the Gunfighter,” was courageous, implacable, relentless. A few months before Mogie got there, he had offered a case of whiskey to the first of his men to bring him the hacked-off head of an enemy soldier. They did. [Emphasis added. Dennis Crocker was nicknamed Mogie.] Continue reading

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Your Local Sierra Club is a Great Way to Experience Hiking

If you are looking to get in shape or just escape your connected world for a few hours, hiking is a wonderful alternative. I wanted to do hikes, but I did not want to go into the woods on my own. I was worried that I’d get lost, I’d get tired, etc. These are valid fears! But your local Sierra Club (find one near to you here) likely has excursions with excursion leaders who will help you enjoy the outing and return home safely. Getting outdoors is part of the Sierra Club Mission Statement! The idea is that, if people knew the value of wilderness, they’re more likely to protect it.

With advice and assistance from my local Sierra Club members, I did reach a level where I felt comfortable doing 5-6 mile well-marked trails alone. Today, we did an 8-mile hike on the Keg Creek section of Bartram Trail. I had not been hiking and exercising lately, so I needed that safety net. Here’s a picture when we were about 2.5 miles into the trail. We’re all still smiling. I’m the obese guy on the left. No pictures at the end. I was warmed over death at that point.

Photo Oct 07, 10 12 35 AM

Will @KenBurns “The Vietnam War” Whitewash USA Militarism? @PBS

I’ve only watched the first 30 minutes of the first episode, so I can’t answer this question. I do say that these first 30 minutes leave me suspicious. The opening narration begins at 6:20 in the online video. Bob Dylan’s A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall plays in the background.

6:20 Narrator: America’s involvement in Vietnam began in secrecy. It ended, 30 years later, in failure, witnessed by the entire world. It was begun in good faith by decent people, out of fateful misunderstandings, American overconfidence and Cold War miscalculation. And it was prolonged because it seemed easier to muddle through than admit that it had been caused by tragic decisions, made by five American presidents, belonging to both political parties.

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More Babies in Fallujah

Justice For the Babies of Fallujah

I encourage anyone reading this blog to follow Fallujah Birth Defects on twitter – @FDefects. I am posting some of their recent pictures below. That all of these babies were born in Fallujah in just the past few weeks just doesn’t seem right. How many more babies have to suffer?  I am sickened and saddened that I live in a country that caused this and won’t take any responsibility for it. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. But I am sorry. All I can do is help them to show the world. We can all do that…

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Civil rights elder preserves S.C. history

Kara Anderson profiles Cecil Williams, photographer who has documented the civil rights movement in South Carolina.

In elementary school, Cecil Williams photographed lawyer Thurgood Marshall’s early efforts to desegregate public schools. In high school, he documented the ‘60s civil rights sit-ins. As a young adult, he covered Harvey Gantt’s 1964 desegregation of Clemson University, the aftermath of the 1968 Orangeburg Massacre and the 1969 strike by Charleston hospital workers.

“The saying goes: A picture is worth a thousand words. But no. I say a good picture, a storytelling picture is worth a thousand words,” said Cecil Williams, a 78-year-old civil rights photographer.

Williams’s body of work, spanning the last six decades, defines good documentary photography in South Carolina. Starting as a child in the ‘50s, the Orangeburg native covered most major civil rights events in the Palmetto State, from the 1954 Brigg v. Elliott case, which he claims started the national civil rights movement, to the removal of the Confederate battle flag from atop the South…

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Prelim report on training conference of staff of Baghdad pediatric oncology unit #PublicHealth #Iraq #بغداد_تنهض

For more information, read Paediatric cancer care in a limited-resource setting: Children’s Welfare Teaching Hospital, Medical City, Baghdad by Salma A Naji AL-Hadad, Mazin Faisal Farhan Al-Jadiry and Claudia Lefko.

This is the appeal Claudia Lefko the Iraqi Children’s Art Exchange put together to support the conference.