Showing posts with label vietnam. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vietnam. Show all posts

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Five Ways to Go Green Without Really Trying

We like green. Green apples. Green Bay. The Green Mile. Asparagus. And we have this sweater. Anyway, we like green, but we've never been "green." We're, shall we say, suspicious about any word so often swathed in so much righteousness. Because "green" can too easily be equated with "good," which is a vast oversimplification, especially when so much fact gets aggressively manipulated by so many interested parties in the name of "green."

We have this friend who gave us some perspective on "green." His name is Bjørn Lomborg, a political economist, environmental activist, and fierce optimist, who brought eight economists (including five Nobel laureates) together a year ago to come up with a sensible plan for environmental activism. It's called the Copenhagen Consensus. He wrote an essay in our 75th Anniversary Issue (October 2008) that convinced us that the small things we do (and some of the big things we do) can't amount to much unless we overhaul our list of priorities (placing malnutrition above, say, reducing CO2 emissions). His essay makes environmentalism a powerful and complex idea. You can read it here.

So, about being "green" we're a little ambivalent. But about doing good we aren't conflicted at all. The products on these pages are good, and using them feels good. They improve our lives. They work. And they're environmentally sound. Which is a bonus.


+ Gas-free

+ Noise-free

+ Aerobic

If pollution and sloth ever become virtues, self-propelled and riding mowers will be the trappings of the righteous. Until then, we'll stick with old-fashioned manual mowers. They don't use gas, don't stink, don't involve a potentially arm-snapping rip cord. And then there's the whisperlike sound they make. It's almost worth the looks you'll get from neighbors.

The hatchback already comes close to the practical ideal: Seats five, sips gas, handles like a go-kart, looks cool — enough. Utilitarian. But the new breed of sport hatchback is more sport, less hatchback. Take the MazdaSpeed3 pictured above. (See also: Volkswagen GTI, Subaru WRX.) With 263 hp, 26 mpg highway, and a $23,500 base price, it's frugal enough for daily commuting, roomy enough for errands — and powerful enough to remind you you're not driving a Prius.

Until the late 1800s, beer came in one kind of container — the keg — and was sold in one place: the local saloon. Folks wishing to drink elsewhere would bring jugs to be filled at the tap. These were known as growlers. And the invention of the beer can all but killed them.

These days beer makers across the country are distributing growlers again. (And many brewpubs and specialty grocers will let you fill your own growlers directly from their taps.) Plunk down seven or eight bucks plus a two- or three-dollar bottle deposit, and head home with half a gallon of the crispest, freshest ale (or stout or pilsner) you've ever tasted. When you're done, you bring the bottle back and reclaim your deposit — or treat it as a down payment on the next growler. The bottle itself gets cleaned and returned to its source, ready to be filled again.

Before modern chemistry gave us oil and latex varieties, "house paint" meant milk paint. You'd take a bucket of milk, add powdered lime (the mineral, not the fruit) and some pigment, and stir. The result was an odor-free, fade-proof coating with the added benefits of extreme toughness and zero cases of lead poisoning. Since 1974, the Old-Fashioned Milk Paint Company has been offering genuine milk paint in powder form, and there's a new version formulated specially for interior walls. Look for it wherever gorp is sold (or at

There's no reason to buy hand soap, dish soap, shampoo, body bars, body wash, or shaving cream when you can just buy a bottle of Dr. Bronner's. The stuff's been around since World War II, is 100 percent organic, and cleans everything from rugs to babies. Dr. Bronner's comes in eight scents — we prefer the original peppermint — and according to the label can be used in eighteen different ways. (According to the Internet, there are hundreds more.)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Three Quarters of Americans Support Investment in Clean Energy

Written by Timothy B. Hurst

Throughout his campaign, though more fervently towards the end of it, Barack Obama made it clear that investing in renewable energy and focusing on building a new energy economy would be a centerpiece of his agenda should he have won. And now that he has, the results of a new Zogby poll suggest he’s got the public mandate to do it.

According to the post-election survey, 78% believe investing in clean energy is important to revitalizing America’s economy. Of those, 50% said they strongly agree clean energy investment is vital to the nation’s economic future.

Support for clean energy investment is particularly strong among younger voters - 87% of those age 18-24 and 80% of those age 18-29 believe this type of investment is necessary to help improve the U.S. economy. While the vast majority of Democrats (96%) and independent voters (77%) view clean energy investment as a key means to boost the U.S. economy, more than half of Republican voters (58%) also said the same.

The results also indicate that most voters want their elected officials to focus on global warming - 61% said they agree their elected officials should make combating global warming a high priority, an increase from 58% of voters who said the same in 2006.

Some of the most striking findings were that the desire for a greater political emphasis on global warming has increased 10% among African American voters from 78% in 2006 and to 73% among Hispanic voters from 64% two years ago.

The results of this poll suggest the political calculus has changed somewhat. Pollster John Zogby says that clean energy has emerged as part of voter expectations for getting the economy back on track. “Support for action on global warming, already strong in the 2006 election, was even stronger in 2008, particularly among young voters that are the future electorate,” he said.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

326th Medivac, Vietnam 1971

Robert Fritz Speer
Specialist Five
Army of the United States
09 June 1948 - 24 April 1971
Dallas, Texas

I never met Robert myself but all of my life I knew exactly who he was and what he did for his country and fellow soldiers. I salute all Vietnam's victims whether claimed during the war or not. I could never imagine being faced with such an uncertain event. I look at my husband (who is a U.S. Marine) and wonder what I would feel if I had to send him off to a war like Vietnam. I can only wish I will never know.

I pray each day for the ones who fought and died during this war.

13 June 2003
17 May 1971

Dear Mr. Speer:

It was with sadness that I learned of the passing of your son, Specialist Five Robert F. Speer, in Vietnam.

I know that the loss of a loved one is one of the most difficult things a person has to face, but perhaps you may find some measure of comfort in knowing he served his Nation with courage and honor at a time of gret need.

The memory of his service will be treasured by a grateful Nation because he has joined the long line of American soldiers who in times on national peril have given their lives for freedom and peace. In Vietnam today, as on other fields in earlier days, we are defending the right of men to live in dignity and freedom.

On behalf of the United States Army, I express heartfelt sympathy to you.


General, United States Army
Chief of Staff


DAAG-PSA-BP Speer, Robert F.
SSAN 456-84-6957 (24 Apr 71)
4 JAN 1972

Mr. Fritz Speer
Terofalstrasse 5
Munich, Germany

Dear Mr. Speer:

This is in response to an inquiry on your behalf concerning awards for your late son.

I have the honor to inform you that Robert has been awarded posthumously the Distinguished Flying Cross (Second Oak Leaf Cluster) with "V" device for heroism, Bronze Star Medal with "V" device for heroism with First Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal (Second through Fourth Award) Third and Fourth Award with "V" device for heroism, Purple Heart, and the Combat Medical Badge. Arrangements have been made to provide you with a duplicate set of these awards.

Prior to death, Robert had been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with First Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, and the Sharpshooter Badge with automatic rifle bar.

The Commanding Officer, United States Army Support Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has been instructed to send these awards to you in the near future.

I am inclosing certificates, citation, and general orders announcing the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross (Second Oak Leaf Cluster) with "V" device for heroism, Bronze Star Medal with "V" device for heroism with (First Oak Leaf Cluster), Air Medal (Second through Fourth Award) Third and Fourth Award with "V" device for heroism, and the Purple Heart.

I trust my action fulfills your wishes in this matter. Again, my continued sympathy is with you.


Major General, USA
The Adjutant General

Army unit gives medic's brother overdue salute
By Jack Dorsey

HAMPTON - More than 30 years after being saved by an Army medic who was later killed by a Viet Cong sniper, retired Chief Warrant Officer Frederic Behrens finally got a chance to publicly thank the medic's family Thursday.
He had been looking for the family, split by divorce and living between Texas and Germany, ever since that day in Vietnam.

Sgt. Robert Fritz Speer, of Dallas, died April 24, 1971, as part of an air ambulance platoon trying to evacuate wounded from the rugged A Shau Valley.

Behrens was flying their helicopter as the five-man squad rescued the crew of another downed helicopter, but then his chopper was shot down as well. One member died in the second crash. Others were wounded. "I already had been shot four times in the leg, unable to do anything, but Fritz worked his way down to get the two pilots out, then returned to me," Behrens, of Powhatan County, said at the 101st Airborne's 59th reunion, held this week at the Holiday Inn-Hampton Coliseum.

Speer, who was 22, moved the wounded to a safer defensive position, treating those around him throughout the night and into the next day while they waited for other Rangers to save them.

Behrens was then shot again, in the foot, by friendly fire.

When Speer went to his aid, a sniper shot the medic in the chest, killing him instantly.

Behrens located the sniper and took him out.

Ever since, following his medical retirement from the Army after a year in the hospital and all through his long-term work with the 101st Airborne Association, Behrens has tried to find Speer's family. Speer was born in Germany but was reared in Dallas by his mother after his parents divorced. His other brothers remained in Germany with the father.

One brother, German Air Force Sgt. Maj. Bruno Speer, of Wiesbaden, younger by five years, had been looking for information too. He learned of his brother's death six months after the fact. He could find out little more. Their mother had died, and by the 1980s, so had their father.

"But a year ago, I went on the Internet with a message on the Vietnam War Memorial and was able to locate Frederic. We have been in communications since," Speer said. Behrens is now president of the Hampton Roads chapter of the 101st Airborne Association, and at the ceremony Thursday, the 101st surprised Speer by presenting him with his brother's burial flag.

It is because of Fritz Speer's "selflessness and his fellow medics, we do not have more names on that somber Vietnam memorial wall," U.S. Rep. Robert C. "Bobby" Scott said as he presented the flag to Bruno Speer.

"And it is with gratitude to - Speer and other medics like him - that some of your are here today," he told the 101st Airborne veterans.

For Bruno Speer, who has since gathered his brother's medals - the Distinguished Flying Cross (second Oak Leaf Cluster) with "V" device for heroism; a Bronze Star Medal with "V" for heroism with first Oak Leaf Cluster; an Air Medal (second through fourth awards); a Purple Heart and a Combat Medical Badge - there is a special place for the American flag as well.

"I have a room in my home where I have put them, and this flag will go there," he said. "This is so wonderful. It touches my heart every time."

Retired Chief Warrant Officer Frederic Behrens meets
German Air Force Sgt. Maj. Bruno Speer,
more than 30 years after Speer's brother,
U.S. Army Sgt. Robert Fritz Speer, saved Behrens'
life during the Vietnam War.
Written by Jack Dorsey
Photo by Stephen M. Katz, The Virginian-Pilot
© August 6, 2004 by the
The Virginian-Pilot
Reprinted with permission.

From his brother,
Bruno Speer
Sergeant Major, German Air Force

HVAC boot cleared of Asbestos in Los Angeles