Saturday, June 03, 2006

Just Answer the Letter, Joe.

I sent an e-mail letter to my Congerscritter Joe Schwarz, expressing my strong opposition to Senate's version of the "Comprehensive" Immigration Reform Act (advocating that he oppose many of its provisions when it comes to conference). So far, silence. But we did recieve a slick Schwarz for Congress flyer from his reelection committee, reminding us that Fightin' Joe is gonna get tough on the borders. We were not impressed.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

In Bob We Trust.

As a conservative, I cherish traditions and institutions that keep our collective culture strong and bind us together as a people. Like Pizza Bob's. Tonight my son and I found ourselves 'round suppertime at the corner of State & Packard in Ann Arbor. There was only one course of action to satiate our hunger pangs. We walked into the store and images of Bob's stout face greeted us from a dozen framed tee-shirts ringing the walls. On the timescale of campus establishments, Bob's is as old as the Sequoias, going back to 1972 (and Bob worked in the original store before that time). The United States was born in Philadelphia, but the Chipati was born in Bob's. I think that the original Chipati is now in a hermetically sealed, blast-proof case right next to the Declaration of Independence. Paul Revere's ride has been immortalized in prose. And there is Pizza Bob Haiku.

To paraphrase James Earl Jones' character in Field of Dreams, buildings and men have come and gone, the face of country has been wiped clean like a slate. But Pizza Bob's has marked the time.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Remembering the Merchant Marine.

In the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in the 1930s, the man my father looked for guidance in life while he was growing up was his uncle and my namesake, Martin Postii. Martin spent a few teenage years lumbering and mining, but at seventeen left the western Upper Peninsula to attend the Merchant Marine Academy. He spent his twenties and early thirties sailing on the boats of the Great Lakes. In the mid 1930s he finally joined the seagoing fleet, sailing with ships of the Sun Oil Co. from Venezuela to the eastern seaboard of the United States. My father looked forward to his uncle's letters, telling of his adventures on the sea and in the exotic ports of South America. He would also include some of his pay to help my father's mother and grandfather maintain their modest farm in depression-sticken upper Michigan. With the spread of war in Europe, Martin sailed from India to Murmansk as an ABS (Able Bodied Seaman) aboard the SS East Indian, owned by the Ford Motor Company.

In the fall of 1942, Martin set sail on what was to be his last voyage. After making port in India and South Africa, the East Indian made steam for Gilbraltar. On November 5, 1942, only three hundred miles west of Capetown, the East Indian was torpedoed and sunk by U-181, commanded by Kapitaenleutnant Wolfgang Lueth. A single torpedo hit was enough to sink the East Indian in a matter of minutes. One of the survivors wrote of seeing my great uncle, the "Finn from Upper Michigan", become tangled in the shrouds of the mainmast and pulled under with the sinking of the ship. Martin was one of twenty-three men who did not initially survive the sinking. Lueth surfaced the U-181, and hailed the fifty-one survivors, while some of the German crew filmed the events. He had regretted sinking such a fine ship, Lueth remarked and asked if her surviving crew needed provisions. His offer of help was refused. After directing them toward Capetown, Lueth wished the crew of the East Indian luck, and ordered the U-181 submerged and sailed off in search of more prey. Ultimately only three crewmembers of the East Indian survived to sail again.In the last several years our country has expressed its gratitude to the soldiers of World War II, as "The Greatest Generation" passes into memory. Nor should we forget the service and sacrifice of the brave men of the United States Merchant Marine.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Response from Spirit Air.

Here is the text of the reply that I received from Spirit Airlines in the matter of PFC Sparling; I've omitted greetings and signature. We report, you decide:

Thank you for taking the time to contact Spirit Airlines regarding PFC Joshua Sparling. There are 2 sides to every story and the situation was described quite differently by a number of other people present that day. Regardless, please rest assured that we have the utmost respect and admiration for PFC Sparling. When he arrived too late for our flight, we could not accommodate him due to security regulations. We offered to accommodate him on our next available flight which he and his family refused. We are of course glad that one of our fellow airlines in our concourse was able to accommodate him on their next flight.

We apologize for any confusion about this situation and the perception that we did not want to carry PFC Sparling on our flight. To the contrary, it would have been our honor to serve PFC Sparling, but given how late he arrived at the airport, regulations prevented us from doing so.