As I like to tell my kids, my one claim to fame was serving on the food line at the Chow Hall at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas for Basic Training in July 1971, when I was privileged to drop a spoonful of scrambled eggs on a metal tray held by the one and only "Duke" or I'd still be locked up . Yes, John Wayne had come to the base and instead of going to the Officer's Club, he wanted to eat with the troops and our chow hall was the closest. I'm happy to have actually hit the tray, I was that awestruck and he smiled- then moved on for his bacon. Every eye in the room was on this man, but he was used to it and popped a one-hand salute to all of us. Nice thing was he went to eat with a table of Rainbows. This is the world for us, those new troops going through basic training. Oh, he had some generals with him, but no one was glancing their way. All eyes were the Man. I'd meet other famous people later on in life and a few of them I found to be just people. We had a lot of them come to Skagway aboard the cruise ships and 90% were really decent men and women. But 10%, well, they were just people, too. John Wayne used to come to Skagway, but that was before my time there, but all the local spoke highly of how he treated everyone. He had converted a Navy Minesweeper into his yacht and would sail it up the Inside Passage for fishing and sightseeing. Now we did have some multi- lots of money worth of boats visit us in Skagway. We would also have a few days a week when our little town played host to three massive cruise ships, the largest Marine Highway ferry boat- "Columbia" and this made the downtown of two blocks become elbow to elbow traffic. If you have never been there, go and visit, but never in the winter. They lock that town down tight, must of the businesses boarded over and only a couple haunted buildings to welcome you.
Only a few News Briefs: Then I'll be done for tonight.
Hong Kong's 28,000 strong police force was struggling to maintain the peace, as hundreds of thousands of just freshly reinforced protesters hit the streets again. Riot Police versus unarmed pro-democracy activists in the main intersections confronted one another in these hot spots. ( Check your own U.S. History, refer to 1773-75 and read about the Baltimore Massacre and the various times the British lost their chances of control by using violence to shut sown the pro-democracy movement of the Americans. China did this before at Tina-man Square on the Mainland, but here it is Hong Kong. ) Police have been pushed back from parts of the Mong Kok District, with the protestors using the barricades they had built and the umbrella they carry, which has become their symbol since this pro-democracy movement began 3-weeks ago. Protestors donned blue bicycle and motorcycle helmets to protect their heads from the nights sticks the police we swinging, but there was still the police pepper-spray and now 500 police surged forward to clear a major intersection. Now a 2-hour talk is scheduled for Tuesday, but Hong Kong government officials canceled the last one . This is the largest pro-democracy movement since China crush the pro-democracy movement in 1989. China's government had made promises to the people of Hong Kong when it took over the land and city from the British in 1997, but has recently gone back on its word concerning free elections. Still slowly, but the pro-democracy movement is moving in Mainland China and people are being arrested for those people supporting the Hong Kong movement.
I did a story the other day about Islamic State coming into possession of deadly munitions of gases, used on Kurdish. This is a follow-up- U.S. Marines who guarded the Al Muthana Facility until 2008, following the defeat of Saddam Hussein in the Second Iraqi War, (our search for weapons of mass destruction and supposedly none showed up), knew of the complex's history and the two Top Secret bunkers- one of which was known as "Dragon's Egg. From 1983 to 1990, Saddam Hussein's war machine used Al Muthana Facility to create and test Mustard Gas, Sarin Gas, VX Gas, and Tabun Gases for use on Iranian and Kurdish military and civilian populations. Captured films also showed animals and humans being tested with the various gases, I saw a few of those involving prisoners. Dragons Egg was the name of one bunker, where it was believed these gases were stored in bomb canisters, 105 shells and mortar round canisters. One of the Marine Corps officers who guarded the Dragons Egg, came forward, now a civilian, who admitted his men had found artillery rounds which contained liquid in them, but they were very old now and he withdrew his men from the immediate area to prevent them from hard. But he knew they were filled with gas. ( For several years congressmen approached the military of having this site dismantled, but it never happened. Now....the Islamic State has total control of the facility and every piece of artillery shell, mortar canister, bombs and what ever else this heinous facility has stored in it. Possibly even a nuclear device, after all Saddam really had the money and now the IS have the necessary plutonium -90 lbs of it they took from the University of Mosul. ) There is now evidence as earlier reported that shows Mustard gas is being used against Kurdish positions, so now it may be too late. ( Once again, our government has failed to act in a timely manner. Is it because they didn't want to show that President Bush was RIGHT, that Saddam did have WMDs. Just to make him look bad, the White House put it off, never thinking a bunch of camel riders could ever put an army together. My-My, that what the British thought about our rebels in 1775-76.)
Once again, the North Koreans and South Koreans have exchanged gunfire along their heavily fortified border in second of such shoot-out in 10-days. No injuries reported.
India and Pakistan troops also resume firing on one another's border posts. No reports of injuries as of yet.
President Obama sees Iran deal that could avoid congress. White House has decided that if an agreement is reached with Iran on its ability to make nuclear weapons, President Obama will do everything in his power to avoid letting congress vote on it. ( Maybe I should say King Obama and his One Man Band.)
Earthquakes- 26 around the globe of 4.0 or higher, nothing over 5.6 (5) 2.5 to 4.3 in Alaska. (3) in 2.5 to 4. range in Japan (2) in 4. range in Chile. None in Oklahoma.
Great NASA photographs of COMET Sliding Spring bypassing Mars and its tail draped a top the upper planet. All three orbiters were safe, who got the great photos, but no word on the 2 rovers as the top half of Mars appeared to be struck with a lot of ice and rocky debris. Check out the photos, best shot of a comet passing a planet I've ever seen. Got to NASA. Com and look around. Comet now on a 6-day trip to do a flyby on our Sun.
I recently did a report on the Islamic State having a 3-fighter Air Force, due to Iraqi pilots going over to the IS side. The U.S. has denied this, sort of. Col. Patrick Ryder, USAF spokesman, said, "We're not aware of the ISIL ( Islamic State) conducting any flight operations in Syria or elsewhere." Adding, "We continue to keep a close eye on IS activity in Syria and Iraq, and will continue to conduct strikes against their equipment, facilities, fighters, and centers of gravity, wherever they may be." ( I underlined fighters. This is some of the military double-talk I became used to in my 10-years in the service. You'll notice he never declined the existence of the fighters or that training could be going on. Especially if it was going on elsewhere- like Turkey, Northern Syria or just working in the classroom right now. Takes time to train more pilots and they might not want to risk the three pilots that have until they have some more to replace them. The important thing will be acquiring flight simulators, but all it takes is money or the trade of nasty gases.)
That is all for tonight. This week the kitchen is getting re-floored, painted and I'm not having to do it. Nice to have kids and grand-kids. Hope you all had a great weekend. God Bless your week ahead. May your steps be wise ones. BILL