Daily Archives: August 14, 2010

I say, toss them out after each term, regardless of party

NYT: Democrats worry. Republicans behaved no better when they had control.


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Japanese internment – maybe justified?

A reader has sent me a link to this book. I have not read it, but I will.



MAGICThe Untold Story of U.S. Intelligence and the Evacuation of Japanese Residents from the West Coast during WW II

By David D. Lowman
Former Special Assistant to the Director, National Security Agency

A year before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor a select group of cryptanalysts working in the Army’s Signal Intelligence Service broke Japan’s highest-level diplomatic code. The messages they recovered from this effort, cover-named MAGIC, revealed the existence of widespread Japanese espionage networks along the West Coast of the United States.

Using reproductions of the MAGIC messages, David Lowman paints a compelling picture of the wartime situation which led President Roosevelt to order the unfortunate evacuation of all residents of Japanese ancestry from America’s vital and vulnerable West Coast.

Forty years after the fact a group of Japanese-Americans, in an effort to obtain punitive damages from the U.S. government, convinced Congress and the American public that the evacuation was not the result of military necessity but that it was the result of “racism, war hysteria and a lack of political will.” More than 82,000 former evacuees were paid $20,000 in addition to compensation previously received.

Former U.S. Senator S. I. Hayakawa, a Japanese-American, felt that this “wolf-pack of dissident young Japanese-Americans” was making an unconscionable raid upon the U.S. Treasury. He, in turn, was called a banana, yellow on the outside and white on the inside.

Lowman reveals in this book for the first time how this group ignored declassified intelligence that supported the governmentís actions even as they fabricated evidence to support their own cause.

In addition to providing copies of the MAGIC intercepts that first revealed the existence of a widespread domestic Japanese threat, Lowman provides reproductions of declassified reports from three U.S. intelligence organizations that were charged with discovering the true scope of the problem the United States faced.

These reports discuss the use of U.S. based Japanese businesses, societies, churches, language schools, clubs, fishing boats, labor unions and individuals in the Japanese war effort. Like Germany, Japan believed in total intelligence and, according to one estimate by an intelligence officer sympathetic to Japanese residents, the loyalty to the United States of about a fifth of the Japanese population could not be trusted.

Lowman’s book, which is published posthumously, is sure to reopen the debate concerning America’s actions during WW II. In doing so, it will inevitably help restore the reputations of our wartime leaders and the honor of our country.

No one is better qualified to tell this story than David D. Lowman, a former high ranking intelligence officer with the National Security Agency, a specialist on World War II signal intelligence and a participant in the congressional hearing and court cases relating to this issue.


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Of course teachers make the difference, but how do we encourage the best of them?

An LA reader sends along this lengthy article from the LA Times on teaching. It’s fascinating, but frustrating, because I suspect we just don’t have that many gifted people willing to work in our schools, and I doubt salary is the reason. I still remember, and I’ll bet you do too, the individual teachers who pushed me and made me learn. Miss Cardoza in 4th Grade, who’d dump my desk in my lap and reveal the book I was reading inside, taught us long division, Miss Kazazian in 6th Grade made the whole year fun, and Mr. Jason, known as a terrible, mean man, was my top-of-the-scale reading teacher that year and introduced me to authors I’d never heard of as a 12-year-0ld. He encouraged and prodded  me years ahead of my pay scale, and I’ll be forever thankful.

I had a couple of great teachers at Eastern and two more in my senior year at the high school, and that was it, but sufficient to make a difference. However, I was the product of two highly educated parents and lived in Greenwich, Connecticut, and was gifted with an ability to read and write at a top level – the only astonishing thing is what a f…k up I was, in general.

But these Los Angeles teachers, some of them, are making a difference in kids’ lives who have none of my advantages, and that’s the challenge – how can we duplicate them? Hell, if I knew the answer, I could get out of the real estate business and retire a rich man.


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Should we know this?

NYT: Obama intensifies “stealth war”. It’s a fascinating story on the CIA’s killing campaign, and it surely can’t be news to Al Qaeda, but should it be reported? I’m asking, not answering.


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More on lobster rolls

Who knew celery was so controversial? From an anonymous reader, this article from NY Magazine.

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NPR: whooping cough is back in California

And what happens in California doesn’t stay in California. 2,700 cases in CA and that idiot Don Imus is doing his best to spread all diseases nation-wide with his anti-vaccination campaign.


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Israel, Lebanon and the next war

This was up on the NYT’s web site earlier today, but seems to have been removed. I think we’re in for an awful Fall.

Israel’s military says Hezbollah has changed strategy since the last war, moving most of its fighters and weapons from wooded rural areas into villages. It says the aim is to avoid detection and use to civilians for cover if war erupts.

The military says all of this exists under the nose of 12,000 international peacekeepers who, by their own count, conduct up to 340 patrols a day in south Lebanon but are hobbled by a hostile population and rules preventing them from searching private property.

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