What a Difference Six Days Makes

By William “Doc Halliday

Actually the difference was less than 141 hours, but as they say, who’s counting?  The more important difference was not the time but the temperature.  The event was originally scheduled to take place at 14:42 on January 22, but with various delays, it did not occur until 11:38 on January 28, 140 hours and 56 minutes later. 

During that time delay a cold front that had been expected two days earlier, moved into the area.  It brought some of the coldest weather in the area’s history.  Overnight the temperature in the area plunged to 18 degrees Fahrenheit, with the wind chill hitting ten degrees below zero.  Had the event taken place when it was originally scheduled, the temperature would have been in the normal range and would not have been a factor. 

Do you know who Richard Feynman was?  Richard Phillips Feynman was a theoretical physicist.  He received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1965, sharing it with two other individuals.  Mr. Feynman had worked on the atomic bomb during World War Two in the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos where he was a Group Leader. 

Feynman was an ardent proponent of bringing physics to the general population through both books and lectures, especially a 1959 talk on top-down nanotechnology called “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom”.   He also published his undergraduate lectures, “The Feynman Lectures on Physics” in three volumes. 

But perhaps you and most Americans know him best for the important role on the Rogers Commission.  During a televised hearing, Feynman demonstrated that the material used in certain O-rings became less resilient in cold weather.  He did this by compressing a sample of the material in a clamp and immersing it in ice-cold water. 

Or, perhaps you are more familiar with the name of Sharon Corrigan, who was born in Boston, Massachusetts almost 30 years after Mr. Feynman was born.  As she matured, Sharon began using her middle name of Christa, and when she married in 1970, she adopted her husband’s last name.  That same year she accepted her first teaching position in Maryland after graduating from college in her hometown. 

In 1984, using the name Christa McAuliffe, she applied for the Teacher in Space Project, and by 1985 had been selected as one of the ten finalists.  On July 19, 1985 she was selected to be the first teacher in space.  She would be one of seven members of the crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger scheduled to lift off at 14:42 on January 22, 1986 on the 25th Space Shuttle mission. 

With the various delays that I mentioned earlier, that liftoff did not occur until 11:38 on January 28, 1986.  The delay of almost six full days proved disastrous as the cold front rolled in to Cape Canaveral bringing freezing temperatures with it. 

That morning there were hundreds of icicles, some two feet long, over the craft, and a crew was sent out to dislodge them.  The walkways and guardrails were also covered in ice.  By 11 AM the temperature had warmed up to 36 degrees, but that was still 15 degrees colder than any previous shuttle launch. 

One minute into the flight, the shuttle – at 35-thousand feet – hit a speed of Mach-1.5. Then, seconds later, something unusual was noticed.  The contrail thickened; it seemed to balloon out a bit.  Then one, just one, solid rocket booster came corkscrewing out of the cloud.  Seconds later, a second solid rocket booster can be seen.  At 73 seconds into the flight the Space Shuttle Challenger appears to explode.  There is no chance for the astronauts to escape during the initial two minutes of flight. 

Crowds of spectators on the beaches below are stunned at what they have seen; and then they are horrified.  There is shock and disbelief in the television audiences around the country and the world; particularly in Christa McAuliffe’s high school in Concord, New Hampshire.  Debris continues to fall from the sky for an hour after the explosion. 

That night, President Ronald Reagan addressed the nation, and used words from a great poem; “High Flight” by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.  It is one of my favorites.  Those words he used were “and slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God”. 

It was more than a month before the remains of the seven astronauts were pulled from the ocean.  They were found about 15 miles northeast of Cape Canaveral and 100 feet underwater.   

Mr. Feynman was a member of the Rogers Commission which ultimately determined that the disaster of the Challenger was caused by the primary O-ring not properly sealing in unusually cold weather at Cape Canaveral in Florida. 

January 28th, is the anniversary of the Challenger disaster.  Did you watch it live on television? 

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Pulpwood Queens book clubs meet in Jefferson for 19th year

By Caleb Brabham cbrabham@marshallnewsmessenger.com

Book lovers stampeded into Jefferson this weekend as book club The Pulpwood Queens and Timber Guys held its annual conference in Jefferson.

“The book club’s sole mission is to promote authors, books, literacy and reading,” Pulpwood Queens Founder Kathy Murphy said. “We also like to champion first-time authors who have not been recognized in a big way. We have a lot of New York Times best-selling authors. But we really like to help the little guys who may never get seen. There are 10,000 books published a day — how does someone even get seen? That’s our goal.

”Hundreds turned out for the event, attending lectures, author meet-ups and book-signings.

Murphy said The Pulpwood Queens Book Club has grown tremendously since its humble start in Jefferson in 2000.

“This is our 19th year,” Murphy said. “We have 767 chapters. There are three more in the works. We’re also in 15 foreign countries. I started it in Jefferson with six complete strangers. It’s grown to be the largest meeting and discussing book club in the world.”

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Sabine Pass

By William “Doc” Halliday

Sabine Lake is a 90,000 acre salt water estuary formed by the confluence of the Neches and Sabine Rivers.  Sabine Pass is the natural outlet of Sabine Lake into the Gulf of Mexico.  It borders Cameron Parish, Louisiana and Jefferson County, Texas.  The former city of Sabine Pass, Texas is now a suburb of Port Arthur, Texas. 

The Confederacy constructed a major fort there in 1861. The principal Confederate defense force at Sabine Pass during the early months of the war had been Spaight’s Texas Battalion.  In the early morning hours of September 25, 1862, Union forces under the command of Acting Master Frederick Crocker attempted to enter Sabine Pass.  As Crocker and his forces made their way through the inland passage towards Beaumont, the Confederates attacked.

When the Union squadron approached Fort Sabine, Crocker ordered his ships to begin an artillery bombardment of the enemy position. Confederate forces numbering thirty infantry and artillerists manning their artillery, additionally supported by thirty cavalrymen, were unable to effectively return fire as the outdated guns were unable to reach the Union fleet. The commanding officer, Major Josephus S. Irvine (CSA), ordered his artillery spiked and then retreated during the night.  Without a significant military presence, the town of Sabine Pass, surrendered the following day.  This became known as the First Battle of Sabine Pass.  On October 8, 1862, Galveston, Texas was captured.  At that point, the Union controlled much of the Texas coast.

In November of 1862, Confederate General John Bankhead Magruder came to Texas with the intention of altering the direction of the war in this area. Magruder was an early Confederate hero in Virginia, and was assigned the difficult task of expelling the Union forces from Sabine Pass and Galveston.  Another unit, Capt. F. H. Odlums’ Co. F, of the 1st Texas Heavy Artillery, was sent to Sabine Pass in December of 1862. 

Magruder’s efforts were soon successful. He recaptured Galveston Island on January 1, 1863 and then turned his attention to Sabine Pass.  The two units manned artillery aboard two old gunboats referred to as cottonclads.  The gunboats were the Uncle Ben and Josiah Belle, which the Confederates used to break the blockade on Jan. 21, 1863, by chasing two Union sail ships, the Morning Light and Velocity, for 30 miles at sea and capturing them during a battle.

The decks of the two Rebel ships were stacked with cotton bales. Riflemen were placed behind the bales and the ships steamed towards the two Union ships, the Morning Light and the Velocity. Some of the riflemen became seasick and had to be removed, but the voyage continued. The Confederates chased the Union ships into open water, and the sharpshooters injured many Union gunners. Both Union ships soon surrendered. Magruder’s victory reopened the Texas coast for Confederate shipping. 

January 21, is the anniversary of the recapture of Sabine Pass, Texas, and the opening of that important port for the Confederacy when two Confederate ships drove away and captured the two Union ships. 

The Union intended to recapture Sabine Pass.  They planned revenge by capturing Sabine Pass, Beaumont, and Orange. They hoped to capture all the cotton and ships in port, as well as to burn railroad bridges and ferries on the rivers. Then they planned to attack Houston along the railroad to the west of Beaumont, and then starve Galveston Island into submission.  However, the effort was thwarted when less than 50 Confederates inside the fort there held off a much larger Union force.

After that embarrassment to the Federal forces, Union Gen. Benjamin Butler of New Orleans was determined to capture Sabine Pass by sea, but he had to await the seizure of Vicksburg before enough shallow draft gunboats were available. About Aug. 1, 1863, Gen. Butler began massing four gunboats and 19 troop transports at New Orleans in preparation for the battle. 

About 6:00 am on the morning of September 8, 1863, a Union flotilla of four gunboats and seven troop transports steamed into Sabine Pass and up the Sabine River with the intention of reducing Fort Griffin and landing troops to begin occupying Texas. As the gunboats approached Fort Griffin, they came under precise fire from just six cannons. The Confederate gunners at Fort Griffin had been sent there as a punishment. To break the day-to-day tedium, the gunners trained firing artillery at range markers placed in the river. Confederate engineers drove marker posts in the oyster reefs 1,200 yards distant from the fort to mark the guns’ maximum range, and during the month of August, Lt. Dowling used a sunken schooner as a target as he sharpened his artillerymen’s gunnery prowess to the peak of perfection.

Their practice paid off. Fort Griffin’s small force of 47 men, under command of Lt. Richard W. Dowling, forced the Union flotilla to retire, and captured the gunboat Clifton and about 350 prisoners. Further Union operations in the area ceased for about a month. The heroics at Fort Griffin—47 men stopping a Union expedition—inspired other Confederate fighters.

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Japanese-American Internment

By William “Doc” Halliday

Most Americans believe that the United States was surprised by the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.  I doubt this country was surprised strategically. 

By 1931 U.S.-Japanese relations had become strained.  Japan’s civilian government was unable to deal with the pressures of the global Great Depression and had been transformed into a militaristic régime. The new regime was prepared to strengthen Japan by forcibly annexing areas in the Asia-Pacific, and it started with China.  That year, the Japanese army launched attacks against Manchuria, quickly conquering it. Japan announced that it had annexed Manchuria and renamed it “Manchukuo.” 

The U.S. refused to diplomatically acknowledge the addition of Manchuria to Japan, and Secretary of State Henry Stimson said as much in the so-called “Stimson Doctrine.” That response, however, was only diplomatic. The U.S. did not threatened military or economic retaliation.  Japan desperately needed China’s raw materials in order to continue its program of modernization. The U.S. needed a democratic Chinese government to counter both Japanese military expansion in the Pacific and the spread of communism in Asia.

Actually, the United States did not want to disrupt its profitable trade with Japan. In addition to a variety of consumer goods, the U.S. provided resource-poor Japan with most of its scrap iron and steel. Most importantly, it sold Japan 80% of its oil. 

In a succession of naval treaties in the 1920s, the United States and Great Britain had attempted to limit the size of Japan’s naval fleet. However, they had made no attempt to cut off Japan’s supply of oil. When Japan renewed aggression against China, it did so with American oil, and in 1937, Japan began a full-blown war with China. 

In 1935 and 1936, the United States Congress had passed Neutrality Acts to prohibit the U.S. from selling goods to countries at war. The acts were presumably to protect the U.S. from falling into another war like the First World War. President Roosevelt did not care for the acts because they prohibited the U.S. from helping allies in need, although he did sign them. 

The acts were not active unless Roosevelt invoked them, which he did not do in the case of Japan and China. He favored China in the crisis, and by not invoking the 1936 act he could still shuttle aid to the Chinese.

Not until 1939, however, did the United States begin to directly challenge continued Japanese aggression in China. That year the U.S. announced it was pulling out of the 1911 Treaty of Commerce and Navigation with Japan, indicating an approaching termination to trade with the empire. Japan continued its operations against China.  .

In December of 1939, the U. S., which was supplying Japan with nearly all its aviation fuel, stopped the export of any technical information about the production of aviation fuel.  When the Japanese invaded Indochina in July of 1940 the U. S. responded by cutting off oil exports to Japan.  In September 1940, the U.S. froze Japanese assets.  In November of 1941 the U. S. told Japan to get out of China and Indochina. 

The American policies forced Japan to the wall. With the approval of the Japanese emperor, the Japanese navy began planning to attack Pearl Harbor, the Philippines, and other bases in the Pacific in early December to open the route to the Dutch East Indies and the oil located there.

In the wake of the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the West Coast appeared particularly susceptible to another Japanese military offensive. A large population of Japanese Americans inhabited the western states and American military analysts feared some might conduct acts of sabotage on west-coast defense and agricultural industries.

On January 14, 1942, President Roosevelt issued Presidential Proclamation No. 2537, requiring aliens from enemy countries–Italy, Germany and Japan–to register with the Department of Justice. Registered persons were then issued a Certificate of Identification for Aliens of Enemy Nationality. A follow-up to the Alien Registration Act of 1940, Proclamation No. 2537 facilitated the beginning of full-scale internment of Japanese Americans the following month.

Liberal Japanese resented American anti-Japanese policies, particularly in California, where exclusionary laws were passed to prevent Japanese Americans from competing with U.S. citizens in the agricultural industry. Despite these tensions, a 1941 federal report requested by Roosevelt indicated that more than 90 percent of Japanese Americans were considered loyal citizens. Under pressure from military advisors and influential California politicians, Roosevelt agreed to begin the necessary steps for possible internment of the Japanese-American population.

Proclamation No. 2537 permitted the arrest, detention and internment of enemy aliens who violated restricted areas, such as ports, water treatment plants or even areas prone to brush fires, for the duration of the war. A month later, a reluctant Roosevelt signed the War Department’s blanket Executive Order 9066, which authorized the physical removal of all Japanese Americans into internment camps.

Ultimately the government forced more than 110,000 Japanese Americans into internment camps, but some, including Fred Korematsu, Minoru Yasui and Gordon Hirabayashi, defied orders imposed exclusively on their ethnic group. For refusing to do what they’d been told, these courageous men were arrested and jailed. They eventually took their cases to the Supreme Court—and lost. 

Four decades later legal historian Peter Irons stumbled upon evidence that government officials had withheld several documents from the Supreme Court stating that Japanese Americans posed no military threat to the United States. With this information in hand, Korematsu’s attorneys appeared in 1983 before the U.S. 9th Circuit Court in San Francisco, which vacated his conviction. Yasui’s conviction was overturned in 1984 and Hirabayashi’s two years later.

In 1988, Congress passed the Civil Liberties Act, which led to a formal government apology for internment and payment of $20,000 to internment survivors.

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Feedback for the Week – 1/6/2019

The Importance of a Community Animal Shelter

1/8/2019 — Peggy Byassee — facebook
All thinking citizens here completely understand the arguments and agree totally with Katie Jarl; however, the shelter as proposed comes with LIGHTS FOR THE DRIVING RANGE, etc. Until the elites stop holding the shelter hostage until they get their expensive playground included, the good citizens will not go along. Stop the nonsense, create and enforce leash laws, and BUILD A PROPER SHELTER. Marshall is covered with “if we build it, they will come” projects. What we lack is the proper foundation.

1/8/2019 — Rebuild the Marshall Animal Shelter — facebook<brNobody knows who requested each budget item but we do know the golf course has a much bigger budget than the animal shelter. That’s something that probably never happens in other cities. It’s pretty crazy.

1/8/2019 — Peggy Byassee — facebook
Gail K Beil Larry Hurta Doug Lewis Gloria Moon Vernia Calhoun can anyone break this down? Who proposed what? Ron Munden, can you find out?

1/8/2019 –Julia Robb — facebook<excellent column. thank you Katie Jar

1/8/2019 — Peggy Byassee — facebook
There has never been any doubt that the shelter is beyond inadequate. The problem here in Marshall, Texas is there has been no laws that regulate and protect animals. Strays roam and often cause destruction and safety issues. AC is open and available about 7 hours a day 5 days a week. They have all holidays off. Three (3) people run the office and make emergency calls. When people are not required to be responsible for their “pets” problems arise and persist. Furthermore, the proposal for the shelter had add ons that insulted the average family here living at and below adequate income. Dogs and cats do not need lights at the driving range! Bullitt and Kimber and Tiny and Molly and Jake are so precious to my family that they are protected, trained, and cared for. A 10,000 sq.ft. animal shelter and vet hospital will not, cannot solve the basic problem of regulating responsible pet ownership and responsible and realistic funding. This needs to be addressed now.

1/8/2019 –Brett Davison — facebook<Where is the 400,000 tax dollars that were collected about 4 years ago just for a new shelter

1/8/2019 — Rebuild the Marshall Animal Shelter — facebook
Marilyn Gasper There is no need to raise taxes. The whole thing was already funded using a Certificate of Obligation. Unfortunately some people petitioned against it by telling people it would raise their taxes (when it would not) and the shelter plan was withdrawn because of it. If not for the petition (which had only six more signatures than it needed to succeed) a new animal shelter would be under construction already. Nobody wants their taxes raised and it is not necessary to do so. A shelter is more than a dog house. It serves many community functions, and municipal shelters such as ours, act as rabies control and animal control among other things. The shelter plan that was shelved because of opposition would have been the least expensive low-kill shelter build in Texas in over a decade.

1/8/2019 –Bonnie Deason Cliff — facebook<What we NEED is a low/no cost spay and neuter program.

1/8/2019 — Randy Burgess– facebook<The Marshall Tx animal shelter and a low/ no cost spay and neuter program is greatly needed but when you have residents complaining about taxes being raised for this program but want constant improvements in their areas in Marshall so they can constantly destroy it there is your waste the human / animal running loose no tag but destroying property

1/8/2019 –Bonnie Deason Cliff — facebook<What we NEED is a low/no cost spay and neuter program.

A different Education

By William “Doc” Halliday

Maria was born on August 31, 1870 in Chiaravalle, Italy.  Because of her father’s work, the family relocated first to Florence in 1873, and then to Rome in 1875.  In 1876 Maria entered a public elementary school.  It was said that her work was not particularly noteworthy.  Maria continued her formal education by entering a secondary technical school, Regia Scuola Tecnica Michelangelo Buonarroti.  After graduation in 1886, Maria continued her education at the technical institute Regio Istituto Tecnico Leonardo da Vinci.  She did well in the sciences and especially in mathematics.  By the time Maria graduated in 1890 at the age of 20 with a certificate in physics–mathematics, she had decided to study medicine.  It was an unlikely pursuit for a woman, considering the cultural norms at the time. 

The founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, is a study in contradictions: analytical and intuitive, careful and audacious, playful and determined. Critics note his extraordinary ability to learn from others one hallmark of the early education he was given. 

Maria enrolled in the University of Rome in 1890, in a degree course in natural sciences, passing examinations in botany, zoology, experimental physics, histology, anatomy, and general and organic chemistry, and earning her diploma di licenza in 1892. This degree, along with additional studies in Italian and Latin, qualified her for entrance into the medical program at that University in 1893.  Maria won an academic prize in her first year, and in 1895 obtained a position as a hospital assistant, gaining early clinical experience. In her last two years she studied psychiatry and pediatrics.  Maria worked in the pediatric consulting room and emergency service, becoming an expert in pediatric medicine. Maria graduated from the University of Rome in 1896 as a doctor of medicine. Her thesis was published in 1897 in the journal Policlinico. She obtained employment as an assistant at the University hospital, and started a private practice. 

Joshua Bell is the Grammy award-winning violinist and subject of a Pulitzer prize-winning media story.  He is thoughtful about the role his music plays in society. In a cultural experiment turned Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post story, it is Bell’s humility, not his virtuosity, that most inspires. In suspending his fame to explore the true meaning of his work, Bell exhibits the best thinking espoused in his early education by Maria’s principles. 

After graduating from the University of Rome in 1896, Maria continued her research at the University’s psychiatric clinic, and in 1897 she was accepted as a voluntary assistant there. As part of her work, she visited asylums in Rome where she observed children with mental disabilities.  These observations were essential to her future educational work. Maria was intrigued with Marc Gaspard Itard’s ideas.  She created a far more specific and organized system for applying them to the everyday education of children with disabilities. 

David Blaine is an illusionist and magician.  He was a four-year old student of Maria’s methods when he fell in love with magic. Today he’s called “the modern day Houdini” by The New York Times, which says, “He’s taken a craft that’s been around for hundreds of years and done something unique and fresh with it… [His magic] “operates on an uncommonly personal level.” 

Maria left the Orthophrenic School as well as her private practice in 1901.  In 1902 she enrolled in the philosophy degree course at the University of Rome. (Philosophy at the time included much of what we now consider psychology.) She also pursued independent study in anthropology and educational philosophy, conducted observations and experimental research in elementary schools, and revisited the work of Itard and Seguin, translating their books into handwritten Italian. During this time she began to consider adapting her methods of educating mentally disabled children to mainstream education. 

One hundred and twelve years ago, on January 6, 1907, Maria Tecla Artemisia Montessori opened the Casa dei Bambini, or Children’s House—in Rome.  She subsequently traveled the world and wrote extensively about her approach to education, attracting many devotees. The Montessori Method of education is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning, and collaborative play. In Montessori classrooms children make creative choices in their learning, while the classroom and the teacher offer age-appropriate activities to guide the process. Children work in groups and individually to discover and explore knowledge of the world, and to develop their maximum potential. There are now more than 22,000 Montessori schools in at least 110 countries worldwide. 

Others who have been educated by the Montessori method include; Julia Child, George Clooney, John and Joan Cusack, Peter Druker, Dakota Fanning, Anne Frank, Katharine Graham, Helen Hunt, Helen Keller, Beyonce Knowles, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Taylor Swift, and Will Wright. 

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