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Index to World War One posts


Saturday, June 15, 2002

nurse at base hospital
Sec. of War Newton Baker and Gen. Pershing inspecting Base Hospital at Savenay

The Battle of Saint-Nazaire

There were some notable battles fought in WWI without the use of explosives. One front was the fight against disease. For almost the first time in history the combatants were fighting disease with the weapons of science. And for the first time in history, disease, (at least on the Western Front) did not kill more men than combat. The greatest victory was the elimination of Typhus, that destroyer of armies.

But when the Americans came to France in 1917, there was one battle against microbes the Allies were losing badly. Venereal Disease. The French had over a million venereal casualties in the war. The British weren't doing much better. When tens of thousands of young Americans began landing in late 1917, their VD rate rose alarmingly. Worst hit was the Atlantic port of Saint-Nazaire.

The AEF's chief Genito-urinary Medical Officer, Major Hugh Hampton Young, led the counter-attack. (Dr. Young was founder of The Journal of Urology in 1917, Chief of the Division of Genito-Urinary Diseases since 1898 and Professor and Director of Urology at the Johns Hopkins Hospital from 1914 to 1941. Picture here) He was an implacable enemy of Venereal Disease. He investigated in Saint-Nazaire, and headed for the American headquarters at Chaumont. There he found General Pershing leaving for meetings in Paris. Young boarded the train and made his pitch. Pershing immediately changed his plans, and destination to Saint-Nazaire. There he made it clear to all that Colonel Young spoke with his authority, and that anyone who wanted a career in the AEF would be held accountable. .

The next morning the citizens of Saint-Nazaire awoke to find detachments of Doughboys with fixed bayonets in front of all brothels and bars. Also at the pharmacies where cocaine was sold legally. MP's followed streetwalkers. It was an amazing usurpation; a military coup that suddenly took possession of anywhere that a Yank might catch a dose.

Saint-Nazaire was only the first clash; the new regime was quickly extended to the other two "American" ports, La Pallice (Rochefort) and Pauillac (Bordeaux). Then to anywhere in France where Doughboys and prostitutes were likely to collide. An ancient French institution was, as far as the Yanks were concerned, abolished. The Venereal Disease rate in the AEF fell to less than one in 1000, an unprecedented achievement. The French probably called it simplisme, but often battles are won by those too simple to know that victory is impossible.

Friday, June 14, 2002

Hah! My suggestion has received some confirmatory evidence ...

MACS BETTER VALUE THAN PCs – Official. By Macworld UK staff

New research explodes the myth that Macs are more expensive than PCs to buy and run.

Noted research analyst Gartner found Macs are up to 36 per cent more cost- effective than competing PC products.

The study was conducted at Melbourne University's Faculty of the Arts, which uses 4,676 Macs and 5,338 Wintel machines. It compared direct costs such as hardware and software for desktops and mobile computers, servers and peripherals, upgrades, service and support and depreciation. It also examined the indirect costs of supporting end-users, training time and non-productive downtime.

Gartner found that Macs cost $1,114 to support per year, while PC-based systems cost $1,438. Macs also needed less technical support and hardware and software costs were lower, the report explains.

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P. Krugman

Finally, we are getting somewhere. In "Plutocracy and Politics" (06/14/02) Paul Krugman bares his soul–Almost. He uses the Kevin Phillips book "Wealth and Democracy" to express his own views on the subject of inequality in America. We learn that capitalists are the bad guys (no surprise there). Likewise, they get a larger piece of the pie by screwing little people who get nothing. Finally, to save the nation we need to do something with policy to stop them.

The flaw in this line of reasoning is that Krugman never really backs up his claim that periods of growing inequality are always and necessarily bad. Apparently, to him, this is self-evident. But it is not self-evident to us or to a majority of Americans who favor repealing the estate tax. In addition, he never goes on the record as to what sort of policy changes he advocates. Presumably, he would replace the estate tax immediately, rescind the Bush tax cut and raise rates on upper incomes in addition. But he never says so explicitly. Perhaps these are questions that lie in the realm of Kommissar Krugman (our name for Paul's fictional East German alter ego) and hence in a soul he dare not bare.

On the other hand, some things about "Krugmanus Basicus" never change and are always in evidence–for example, the use of disingenuous analysis to enhance his weaker points. In this case, it is the old "end-point selection" trick. If you want to show that the compensation of the top 10 CEOs has increased dramatically over some period you choose a starting point that is low, say 1981, in a recession following a long period of corporate stagnation, and an end-point that is very high, say 2000, at the top of a major bubble. This is guaranteed to give rate of increase that is eye-popping at the very least, or, in Krugman's words, "outrageous." Then you throw in some names of corporate "bad boys" who have been in the news lately, e.g., Dennis Kozlowski of Tyco, and you are off to the races. This is a classic Krugman smear job based on innuendos and guilt by association. No mention of the fact that most of the top 10 CEOs in 2000 were from low or middle income families in 1981

But at least this an interesting topic he raises. What are the proper approaches to the analysis of wealth inequality?

One approach would be to look at wealth concentration in America over a long period of time, say 200 years, and try to discern trends and fluctuations and relate them to periods of economic performance. For example, it might be that increases in inequality are associated with, and perhaps result from, long waves of Schumpeterian technical innovation. Such waves are accompanied by periods of rapid economic growth in which everyone benefits. It might be that we are in such a period now.

Another approach would be to get inside Paul Krugman's head (where Kommissar Krugman lives) and try to figure out what is driving his anti-capitalist mania. This would no doubt come under the category of malicious fun, but the squad is more than up to the challenge.

However, it will take a few days to review some data and organize our thoughts. So we are labeling this report 19–A and we will be back with 19–B shortly

Thursday, June 13, 2002

*I've been requested to make an INDEX of my series of posts on World War One, and also of the writings of the Krugman Truth Squad.

The indices are as yet very unpolished, but the links are on the sidebar ...
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Hijackers shot on Ethiopian Air

Addis Ababa - Two men, aged 20 and 22, who tried to hijack an internal Ethiopian Airlines flight were shot dead on Sunday by national security agents on board, Radio Ethiopia reported...

Wednesday, June 12, 2002

Via Renata, a touching article in the JPost, a bit of life in Israel today...

...His father doesn't find it so funny. Nor would his mother, if she knew about it - which she doesn't. Her husband had decided to spare her the initial upset. Now it seems pointless to tell her that there was no reason to be upset in the first place, other than for having a son who thinks that scaring his parents half to death is amusing. [ He's a soldier, and recorded an answering-machine message during target practice]

In any case, Yaniv's mother is upset enough with her son, who walks in the door and begins to scatter his belongings all over the house. She follows his trail, bending down to lift his dirty uniforms and underclothes to carry them to the laundry room.

"Yaniv," she calls out, "Would you please empty your pockets the next time you throw your things in the hamper - your bullets clogged up the washing machine last week." ...

Tuesday, June 11, 2002

sliced and diced plane

I shouldn't laugh at this story (purloined from iPilot) but I just can't help it ...

The result of an unfortunate August 2001 hand-propping episode in Australia. The image shows the last of at least five aircraft attacked by the runaway aircraft. There were no human injuries [no physical injuries, anyway].

Total damage was estimated near $1.5 million dollars [US].
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P. Krugman
#18. Poor Krugman runs out of steam, recycles old columns!

We often wonder how much readers of the NY Times will put up with in laziness and sloppiness by columnist Paul Krugman. In "The Rove Doctrine" (06/11/02) he does nothing more than repackage three recent columns on steel tariffs (5/24), the farm bill (5/7) and, of course, energy policy/Enron (5/10) into a collage of partisan rantings. There are no new facts in this column, no new economic analyses, NOTHING.

The pretext of the column is Krugman's discovery that with the departure of Karen Hughes, Carl Rove has consolidated his position as the mastermind of all that is evil in the Bush administration. Actually, he uses the phrase "Mr. Rove's administration." Ever since Newt Gingrich retired the Democrats have been looking for his replacement as chief Republican villain. Tom Delay didn't work out, John Ashcroft is busy fighting terrorism, and so they seem to be giving Carl Rove a shot. That won't work either. Rove has zero visibility and is essentially unknown.

We're thinking that if liberals are fat and happy reading "recycled Krugman", we should be happy that they're happy. But it sure makes commentary difficult!

We are forced to do some recycling ourselves and refer squad readers to reports 8, 9 and 13 in the Random Jottings archives to review our dissection of Krugman on steel, farms and energy.

*The Squad's title reminds me again of the vignette I read, I think, in a book by George Gilder -- A distinguished economist is seen peering into the mirror. He sees wrinkles and grey hairs, and says, "The economy is getting older! Capitalism is running out of steam!"

Monday, June 10, 2002

Charlene and I loved this treat from Mr Lileks...

Welcome, O Traveller. You have come a long way. You have grown weary of interchangeable motels, franchise banalities, continentental breakfasts that barely evoke a county, let alone the vast majestic expanse of this land. Welcome. In the timeless ways of the tribe of Bloomington, we bid you enter - and offer you the bounty and delights that are the Thunderbird Motel...

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Rand Simberg and Joe Katzman have mentioned the cranky students who didn't want Mr Rogers to speak at their commencement. I once read some of Fred Rogers' history.

Back in the early 50's he was a young man planning a career in the ministry. Then he encountered an exciting new technology, called television. He was enthralled by the possibilities for helping people, and more-or-less invented a career and a new sort of TV program. He was a pioneer in a raw and awkward new medium.

The funky simplicity of the program started in those early days when he was doing almost everything himself. But he was always careful about the music -- the people in his band are serious jazz musicians.

One thing I always appreciated about his show, back when my kids were watching it, was that, unlike a certain other famous PBS children's program, he never subscribed to the pernicious idea that children have one-minute attention spans.

Fred Rogers deserves our respect, and is probably more worth listening to than most speakers.

Sunday, June 09, 2002

There have been no posts from Natalie for a week. The blogshore seems bleak and foggy without her. We hope she's OK...

* UPDATE: She's back. She was off on a shooting spree and lost track of time ...
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I found this tidbit on NewsMax:

At least one prominent political family besides the Kennedys couldn't have been too pleased at Michael Skakel's surprise murder conviction on Friday. That would be Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Without former LAPD Det. Mark Fuhrman, whose book "Murder in Greenwich" is credited with fingering Skakel as Martha Moxley's killer, the 27-year-old mystery would never have been reopened by Connecticut officials.

So why should that bother the Clintons?

Simple. Next on Furhman's agenda is none other than the strange death of the Clintons' Whitewater lawyer, Vincent Foster. Foster was found shot to death in a Virginia park nine years ago and the death was officially ruled a suicide.

But five federal investigations into the episode raised more questions than they answered and left many observers suspecting a White House cover-up.

"I've been researching and working on that in my spare time for almost three years now," Fuhrman told Fox News Channel last year...

...Fuhrman also complained about the Foster crime scene to the New York Post.

"There was no brain matter, no skull fragments, not anything behind his head or blood on the vegetation around it," the former LAPD cop said. "It was a sunny day, the light was good, yet there was nothing noted, nothing photographed."