April 18, 1906

The San Francisco Earthquake destroyed much of the city and left thousands homeless.

 

There is a website devoted to “What if it happened now?”

 

https://www.usgs.gov/natural-hazards/science-application-risk-reduction/science/haywired-scenario?qt-science_center_objects=0#qt-science_center_objects

March 31, 1968.

LBJ announced on national TV and radio that he would not run for President in 1968.

I heard the news with 31 other sailors and marines in the orthopedic ward of Newport Naval Hospital.  I was one of two patients who had not been wounded in combat.  The other was a sailor who had fallen from the mast in a storm.  I had reinjured a herniated disc that I first crushed working in a factory in high school.

The Army had rejected me as 1Y but I thought my back was cured and I passed my somewhat less rigorous Navy OCS physical, for which I volunteered.  Unfortunately I only made it about ten days through OCS when a 4 AM calisthenics workout completely buckled my back sometime between sit-up 72 and 75.  My squad leader, a Stanford PhD, gently kicked me in the ribs and told me to get moving.  I told him I couldn’t even get up.  I was carried to the hospital.

Doctors made rounds in the orthopedic ward on Wednesdays.  Our daily contact was (Nurse) Commander Jensen.  She ordered me to strict bed rest and gave me pain killers.  I couldn’t actually walk.  Had to yell for an orderly to get a bedpan.  One night, maybe the third or fourth, I had to piss at midnight.  I yelled for a bedpan.  The giant Marine sergeant across from me who had one leg blown off  growled “Pipe down, OC.”

I climbed out of bed and crawled on fours to the head, pulled myself semi-erect on the porcelain, and pissed.  I crawled back to my bed.  Commander Jensen was waiting for me.  I don’t know why.  She reminded me brusquely that I had been ordered to strict bedrest.  When I started to respond she pointedly told me that she had not asked me a question.  Then she had an orderly pump me full of something that knocked me out for 30 hours.

The stay at NNH was the closest thing to living in Yossarian’s world I could have imagined.  Second Wednesday on rounds, the Marine sergeant reported a seaman for uncontrollable farting [true] even in the face of having been ordered by the big Marine to control himself.  The seaman was moved out on doctor’s orders and we were told he was moved to Section 8 [psych ward] for evaluation.

Third Wednesday on rounds  a USN Regular doc suggested fusion surgery, but I asked him if traction were available as an alternative because it had worked nine years before.  He told me the surgery was no big deal and moved on.  A trailing doc came over to me and whispered that he was a Reservist and a surgeon.  He whispered “Did that monkey say he wanted to operate?” I nodded.  He said “Don’t let those monkeys touch you.”

When I told Commander Jensen that I refused surgery she came back with forms for me to sign.  Waiver of Vet bennies.  My thought was that because I had passed the OCS physical the Navy could not rely on pre-existing condition.  Well, we all know the Navy wins that one and I had no ability to get to a law book from strict bed rest, anyway.  So eventually I signed the waiver.

On my last Wednesday the docs gave me the going away present of 400+ horse pill sized Darvons in a gallon jug.

Lady Madonna was the most played song on the radio.  Nobody in the ward wanted LBJ to quit.  And that’s how it was 50 years ago this weekend.

 

 

 

Merry Christmas everyone

Copy-Paste for the Reading by all your BBQ Guests

http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/

August 1, 1966

UT map

I had just walked out of the Law School.

A chunk of limestone chipped off Townes Hall 30’ over my right shoulder and then I heard the c-r-a-c-k. Bullet had beaten the sound.

I had no idea what was happening. Went to my junkie little ‘62 Falcon, turned on the radio, got an earful. Drove out of range to a girlfriend’s apartment where we listened for more than an hour.

Later I learned that folks I knew had been under direct fire – nobody got hit when he shot to the northeast, where I had exited Townes Hall, only on the Mall and on Guadalupe {the Drag].

An acquaintance who later became a friend was then a grad student and a USAF Captain at Bergstrom. He walked out of the then grad library in the Tower and immediately realized what was happening. He ducked back into the doorway and listened to the shots and figured out the timing as Whitman moved around the parapet. He ran out, and pulled someone who was alive into the bushes in front of the plaza. He stayed down. I think he pulled four living victims into the shrubs over the 90 minutes. Later he was stationed in Germany and got his PhD in German military history at Heidelberg, came back to UT and went to law school, and became a lawyer in Austin as a civilian.

My later law partner’s wife was shopping on the Drag when the shooting and the panic ensued. She thought it was “The Revolution”. They owned an old black ’51 Mercedes which looked like a limo. It was 98F or so, typical August 1 in Austin. It was parked on the Drag. She got in and lay down on the floor board for more than an hour. Scared and dehydrated.

That night, at Scholz’s, the famous biergarten a few blocks south of campus, our group of law students drank under the oak tree. She downed a pitcher by herself in half an hour, and couldn’t stop shaking. Rifle shots. People running, screaming, some obviously in pain, and she too scared to get up from the floorboard, unable to help, not actually knowing if it would ever end, or what was actually happening.

Texas Independence Day

In 1824, Stephen Austin drafted the Mexican Constitution, which framed the most liberal representative governmental system the world had known until then. Other Texans and Tejanos were instrumental in its passage. See:

http://www.tamu.edu/faculty/ccbn/dewitt/constit1824.htm
But the United States of Mexico was short lived as a democratic republic. Santa Ana seized dictatorial power by military coup in 1833 after he had been elected President. Soon Texas had no reason to stay in and every reason to get out of the Mexican Union.

The leading Tejano signatory to the 1824 Constitution was also a signatory to the 1836 Texas Declaration of Independence.

The Texas Declaration of Independence was produced, literally, overnight, from March 1 to March 2, 1836. Its urgency was paramount, because while it was being prepared, the Alamo in San Antonio was under seige by Santa Anna’s Army of Mexico.

As seen from the transcription below, the document parallels somewhat that of the United States, signed almost sixty years earlier. It contains statements on the function and responsibility of government, followed by a list of grievances. Finally, it concludes by declaring Texas a free and independent republic.

The full text follows:

 

When a government has ceased to protect the lives, liberty and property of the people, from whom its legitimate powers are derived, and for the advancement of whose happiness it was instituted, and so far from being a guarantee for the enjoyment of those inestimable and inalienable rights, becomes an instrument in the hands of evil rulers for their oppression.

When the Federal Republican Constitution of their country, which they have sworn to support, no longer has a substantial existence, and the whole nature of their government has been forcibly changed, without their consent, from a restricted federative republic, composed of sovereign states, to a consolidated central military despotism, in which every interest is disregarded but that of the army and the priesthood, both the eternal enemies of civil liberty, the everready minions of power, and the usual instruments of tyrants.

When, long after the spirit of the constitution has departed, moderation is at length so far lost by those in power, that even the semblance of freedom is removed, and the forms themselves of the constitution discontinued, and so far from their petitions and remonstrances being regarded, the agents who bear them are thrown into dungeons, and mercenary armies sent forth to force a new government upon them at the point of the bayonet.

When, in consequence of such acts of malfeasance and abdication on the part of the government, anarchy prevails, and civil society is dissolved into its original elements. In such a crisis, the first law of nature, the right of self-preservation, the inherent and inalienable rights of the people to appeal to first principles, and take their political affairs into their own hands in extreme cases, enjoins it as a right towards themselves, and a sacred obligation to their posterity, to abolish such government, and create another in its stead, calculated to rescue them from impending dangers, and to secure their future welfare and happiness.

Nations, as well as individuals, are amenable for their acts to the public opinion of mankind. A statement of a part of our grievances is therefore submitted to an impartial world, in justification of the hazardous but unavoidable step now taken, of severing our political connection with the Mexican people, and assuming an independent attitude among the nations of the earth.

The Mexican government, by its colonization laws, invited and induced the Anglo-American population of Texas to colonize its wilderness under the pledged faith of a written constitution, that they should continue to enjoy that constitutional liberty and republican government to which they had been habituated in the land of their birth, the United States of America.

In this expectation they have been cruelly disappointed, inasmuch as the Mexican nation has acquiesced in the late changes made in the government by General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, who having overturned the constitution of his country, now offers us the cruel alternative, either to abandon our homes, acquired by so many privations, or submit to the most intolerable of all tyranny, the combined despotism of the sword and the priesthood.

It has sacrificed our welfare to the state of Coahuila, by which our interests have been continually depressed through a jealous and partial course of legislation, carried on at a far distant seat of government, by a hostile majority, in an unknown tongue, and this too, notwithstanding we have petitioned in the humblest terms for the establishment of a separate state government, and have, in accordance with the provisions of the national constitution, presented to the general Congress a republican constitution, which was, without just cause, contemptuously rejected.

It incarcerated in a dungeon, for a long time, one of our citizens, for no other cause but a zealous endeavor to procure the acceptance of our constitution, and the establishment of a state government.

It has failed and refused to secure, on a firm basis, the right of trial by jury, that palladium of civil liberty, and only safe guarantee for the life, liberty, and property of the citizen.

It has failed to establish any public system of education, although possessed of almost boundless resources, (the public domain,) and although it is an axiom in political science, that unless a people are educated and enlightened, it is idle to expect the continuance of civil liberty, or the capacity for self government.

It has suffered the military commandants, stationed among us, to exercise arbitrary acts of oppression and tyrrany, thus trampling upon the most sacred rights of the citizens, and rendering the military superior to the civil power.

It has dissolved, by force of arms, the state Congress of Coahuila and Texas, and obliged our representatives to fly for their lives from the seat of government, thus depriving us of the fundamental political right of representation.

It has demanded the surrender of a number of our citizens, and ordered military detachments to seize and carry them into the Interior for trial, in contempt of the civil authorities, and in defiance of the laws and the constitution.

It has made piratical attacks upon our commerce, by commissioning foreign desperadoes, and authorizing them to seize our vessels, and convey the property of our citizens to far distant ports for confiscation.

It denies us the right of worshipping the Almighty according to the dictates of our own conscience, by the support of a national religion, calculated to promote the temporal interest of its human functionaries, rather than the glory of the true and living God.

It has demanded us to deliver up our arms, which are essential to our defence, the rightful property of freemen, and formidable only to tyrannical governments.

It has invaded our country both by sea and by land, with intent to lay waste our territory, and drive us from our homes; and has now a large mercenary army advancing, to carry on against us a war of extermination.

It has, through its emissaries, incited the merciless savage, with the tomahawk and scalping knife, to massacre the inhabitants of our defenseless frontiers.

It hath been, during the whole time of our connection with it, the contemptible sport and victim of successive military revolutions, and hath continually exhibited every characteristic of a weak, corrupt, and tyrranical government.

These, and other grievances, were patiently borne by the people of Texas, untill they reached that point at which forbearance ceases to be a virtue. We then took up arms in defence of the national constitution. We appealed to our Mexican brethren for assistance. Our appeal has been made in vain. Though months have elapsed, no sympathetic response has yet been heard from the Interior. We are, therefore, forced to the melancholy conclusion, that the Mexican people have acquiesced in the destruction of their liberty, and the substitution therfor of a military government; that they are unfit to be free, and incapable of self government.

The necessity of self-preservation, therefore, now decrees our eternal political separation.

We, therefore, the delegates with plenary powers of the people of Texas, in solemn convention assembled, appealing to a candid world for the necessities of our condition, do hereby resolve and declare, that our political connection with the Mexican nation has forever ended, and that the people of Texas do now constitute a free, Sovereign, and independent republic, and are fully invested with all the rights and attributes which properly belong to independent nations; and, conscious of the rectitude of our intentions, we fearlessly and confidently commit the issue to the decision of the Supreme arbiter of the destinies of nations.

It Is Your Birthday, ATiM.

I’ve noted the first 3, so figured I should note the 4th. At this point this scene from The Office seems appropriate:

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