The awful day that got us to the moon

My generation remembers exactly where we were when we heard the news on November 22, 1963.  JFK had been shot and killed.  A dagger to the heart.

So, as a nation, we decided that by God we would get to the moon, just like Kennedy had called on us to do.  We wanted to beat the Russians, and we wanted to honor our fallen President.

Back 50 years ago I was sleeping on a couch in my Uncle Fritz’s one bedroom apartment in Anchorage.  We watched Armstrong step on the moon with Aunt Helen Mary, on their little black and white, with rabbit ears.  None of us had much to say, other than “I’ll be damned.”

Other than 9-11, there’s only been one day that I think is worth remembering since the moon landing.  A day that shocked the world.  The day Trump won.


My money’s on Kamala Harris

Nate “The Great” Silver says the D’s are down to the Final, Fantastic Five —  Biden, Warren, Sanders, Buttigeig and Harris.

Biden  — the doddering, foolish old grandpa, beloved, but not trusted with the keys anymore.

Warren —  that professor you couldn’t stand in college, the prissy church lady know it all.

Sanders  —  the crazy old 1960’s radical, the one who never grew out of it.

Buttigeig  —  What, me worry?  The new Alfred E. Neuman

Harris  —  that sassy, good looking black gal.

So, it’s Harris.  Any criticism of her will not only be racist, but misogynist if any man does it.

The first woman nominated for President by a major party will be a black.  For Democrats, it’s irresistable.  She’ll turn out blacks in November, just like Obama did.



Fritz Pettyjohn of the 82nd Airborne

In 1916 my Uncle Fritz was born in a sod house on the White River, just north of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.  His mother died when he was twelve, and he ran off and lived on his own, doing men’s work, like teamstering and bucking hay.

In 1941 he was a sergeant in the Army, and when the 82nd Airborne Division was formed he volunteered.  In World War II the Airborne’s mission was to jump behind enemy lines, and wreak havoc.  They were all on their own, until the regular infantry could fight its way through enemy lines to relieve them.  He fought all the way from North Africa to Berlin, at the tip of the spear.

My parents were divorced when I was a baby, and my father had no role in my life.  He seemed uninterested in me, and we had no relationship.  My mother never remarried, and I grew up with her, my sister, my grandmother and my aunt.  I really never had a male role model.

I met Uncle Fritz in Alaska in 1969, when I was 23.  I was having a hard time of it, and he and Aunt Helen Mary took me under their wing.  That summer of 1969, in Anchorage, Alaska, was a turning point in my life.  I knew what I wanted now.  I wanted to live in Alaska.

I never served in the military, so I missed the Vietnam War.  I’d smashed up my ankle when I was at Cal, and I was 4-F.  I didn’t dodge the draft.  When I was freshman at Cal in 1962 I joined the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps.  When I was a junior I was going to take the Marine option and graduate as a 2nd Lieutenant in the USMC, in 1966.

That didn’t happen, and I felt a little guilty for not serving.  I told Uncle Fritz about it, and he said not to worry about it.  “Vietnam was not a good war”, he said.  That made me feel a little less guilty.

I spent a lot of time with Uncle Fritz that summer.  He was, among other things, a sort of godfather to the local Hell’s Angels.  He was hiring them to go out in the bush and stake mining claims.  Then he’d sell the claims to people who wanted a legal basis for putting up a cabin in the Alaska wilderness.  He was making pretty good money at it.

He told me a lot of stories about the war.  Before a jump. like D Day, they were meticulous about their equipment.  Every strap tightened just right.  At Normandy Fritz had 20 pounds of explosives strapped to each leg, to be used in blowing up bridges.  He was about 230 pounds, with a 53 inch chest.

Everything was screwed up when they landed, the entire unit scattered across the countryside.  He hooked up with three other troopers, and they spent the next few days wreaking havoc.

The war was the great experience of his life.  Nothing could ever compare to it.  We can only imagine what it all was like.

75 years after Fritz jumped, my second grandson is set for birth.  Cruz Oakley Pettyjohn, June 6, 2019.  Maybe he’ll be like his great Uncle Fritz, of the 82nd Airborne,  who was a father to me.




American petroleum engineers ride again

(A lightly edited version of this post is in today’s American Thinker)


Mexico is going to cave, and it’s not just the tariffs.  We’ve got them over a barrel on energy, and if we want we can wipe their economy out.  Without American energy imports, the Mexican economy collapses.

This actually doesn’t make any sense.  Mexico is awash in petroleum and natural gas.  But they just can’t get it out of the ground.  American petroleum engineers were critical to the early success of the Mexican oil industry.  From 1918 to the late 20’s, Mexico was second only to the United States in oil production, and it was number one in petroleum exports.  But the bounty was not fairly shared, and an inflamed Mexican nationalism booted the American oil industry out of the country.  Their oil industry has never recovered.

Take a look at a map of the Permian basin, the source of millions upon millions barrels of daily oil production.  You’ll notice that the geological formation containing this plentitude of hydrocarbons extends well into Mexico.  But there is no oil development on the Mexican side of the border.  They can’t get to the oil without o

“Our” in the sense that our petroleum engineers belong to us.  We have some 40% of the world supply, and ours are the finest in the world.  Institutions like Texas A&M turn out engineers like George Mitchell, the son of Greek immigrants, who started the fracking revolution.

And men like Scott Sheffield, from the University of Texas, the CEO of Pioneer Natural Resources.  He’s led the charge into the Permian, and he’s back from retirement to take another run at it.  Some years ago on Jim Cramer’s CNBC show, Sheffield predicted current American oil production of 5 to 6 million barrels a day (mbd) would double.

And so they have.  On June 3rd he told Cramer that American oil production would rise from the current 12 mbd to 17 mbd, a 40% increase.  Most of that increase will come from the Permian.

We don’t need all that new oil for ourselves, so we’ll export it, to countries like Mexico.  And, like Mexico, these countries will then be reliant on the United States for their economic well being.

This is why President Trump talks about “freedom fuels”.

ur help.

No, manana is not good enough for me, President Obrador

President Trump has demonstrated, time and again, his self-restraint.  Exhibit A is his patience with the unholy cabal of Mueller, Comey, Brennan, Clapper et al.  He could have exercised his authority to order than the entire witch hunt be shut down.  Mueller and his gang of vicious partisans could have all been fired, a la Nixon and the Saturday Night Massacre.  You can make a good argument that this is exactly what Mueller was hoping for.  He had nothing, zilch, nada on the President.  But if provoked, he could do something rash, maybe enough to justify impeachment.  Lou Dobbs and many others were telling the President to fire Mueller.  But Trump was patient, showing the calm confidence of a Christian with four aces.  He knew it was all B.S.  He took it for two years, and has at last been fully vindicated.

He’s been taking B. S. from the Obrador of Mexico before he became President last December.  Trump has been asking for help with the Central American invasion, and Obrador has just shined him on.

Now, it’s no more excuses, no more delays.  If you don’t cooperate at the border, we’ll shut your damned economy down.

Mexico is an economic dependent of the United States.  We not only take 80% of their exports, we provide them with imports of the highest quality.  And we provide for their power with our natural gas exports.  They can’t even think about getting into a trade war with us.

So Obrador will come to his senses, and he’ll shut down his southern border, and cooperate across the board.  It will take him a little time.  He has to try and save face.  But he’ll cave, and Donald Trump can celebrate another win for his country.  If he keeps this up he’ll get reelected in a landslide.