Thursday, May 21, 2009

Frederick Luedemann

Frederick Luedemann (10th from the left in the upper row I think) was a Fireman-First Class on the United States submarine Shark, which was sunk with all hands near Hainan Island October 29, 1944.

Or near Luzon. One account states the following:
SHARK was lost during her third war patrol, probably in the vicinity of Luzon Strait, while participating in a coordinated attack group with submarines SEADRAGON (SS-194) and BLACKFISH (SS-221).
On 24 October, SEADRAGON received a message from SHARK stating that she had made radar contact with a single freighter, and that she was going to attack. This was the last message received from the submarine, and all subsequent attempts to contact SHARK failed.

She was reported as presumed lost on 27 November. According to Japanese records examined after the war, on 24 October 1944, in Luzon Strait, destroyer HARUKAZE made contact with a submerged submarine and dropped depth charges. After losing and regaining the contact, the destroyer dropped another 17 depth charges which resulted in “bubbles, heavy oil, clothes and cork” coming to the surface.

The Shark was a Balao class submarine, and the photo of another Balao class sub, the Lagarto, gives some details of her appearance.

This was brought to the attention of yr obd't servant by one of my namesakes-of whom there are five that I know of and one who I actually paid some bills for without knowing it. It's all good.

Rest eternal grant unto them, O Lord, and let Light Perpetual shine upon them.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends-John, 15:13



From the Indianapolis Star:

Local Pilot Gets Navy Cross for Sinking Warship

An Indianapolis navy pilot credited with scoring a direct hit on a Jap destroyer and sinking it June 20, 1944, has been awarded the Navy Cross at the Miami (Fla.) navel air station.

He is Lieut. Carl F. Luedemann, 25 years old, brother of Miss Martha Luedemann, 1009 Villa avenue.

The citation accompanying the award read, in part: “Lieut. Luedemann distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy as a pilot of a carrier-based torpedo plane in an engagement with the Japanese fleet.

Despite heavy and intense anti-aircraft fire and the presence of enemy fighter planes, he successfully maneuvered his plane into a position to attack an enemy destroyer, obtained a direct hit, sinking the destroyer.”

Lieut, Luedemann, a graduate of Arsenal Technical High School, was enrolled in the school of engineering at Purdue University prior to enlisting in the navy in May, 1941.

He left for overseas duty in August, 1943 and returned to the United States last September.

A brother, Frederick Luedemann, Fireman first class, is serving aboard a submarine in the South Pacific.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Rollin' Rollin' Keep Them Tumbrils Rollin'

Today 789 or so Chrysler, Dodge Truck, and or Jeep dealerships learned their fate under a new and harsh reality, in the form of a letter delivered by the UPS guy who usually brings the parts to the receiving door.

It is said that before the day is out, the General will announce which of its dealerships will not survive.

Of course, single line Pontiac, Hummer, and Saturn dealerships are done for in the same way that single line Plymouth and Oldsmobile dealerships found themselves without a line of cars to sell not all that long ago.

That reality is that they will no longer have the Chrysler franchise to sell and service new vehicles. Even though that hasn't exactly been setting the world on fire the last few years, it's been a modest living for a lot of folks. The National Auto Dealer's Association-inartfully abbreviated as "NADA" estimates that the combined shutterings from Chrysler and the General will cost 140,000 jobs.

I still haven't figured out how this is going to help whatever comes out of the Chrysler bankruptcy, because in the average auto dealership the dealer's the one with the financial obligation and the inventory of parts and vehicles. If one guy in one little town somewhere sells one car, how's that harm Chrysler?

No doubt the brainiacs from the Harvard Business School have the answer to that, too. Between the trade in derivatives, AIG, the sub prime mortgage debacle, and the banks all on respirators courtesy of the taxpayers, they're doing a helluva job, wouldn't you say? The world would be a far better place if these jokers had a practicum written into the curriculum-you can't graduate until you spend a year working in a factory or servicing cars or picking lettuce in the central valley.

Which of course will never ever happen, even when pigs learn how to fly.

Although no doubt some of the operations that are getting the axe are moribund, still, the pain's going to be felt with the avalanche of pink slips that are sure to follow shortly.

Some notables who are walking up the stairs to the guillotine are Westminster Dodge in Dorchester, Mass., which has been in business selling Chrysler products since 1927 and carried the torch in the bad days of K-Cars and the gas crisis.

Des Moines Chrysler, right in the middle of the auto district, is getting the boot, which is passing strange because Adel Chrysler, a much smaller operation also equidistant from Stu Hansen's is not getting the bum's rush.

Lest we forget, ask yourselves what happened to American Motors and its dealers after Chrysler gobbled them up? People in Kenosha are still angry about that. Paybacks suck, but it's poor and bleak comfort to see more people done out of their livelihoods, at least some of which have supported Walter Chrysler's badge for longer than many people have been around.

It seems that the efforts of the band AutoSalvage, in their signature and only album in 1968, were prescient when they asked "What kind of person owns a fifty-nine Ford?"

Ultimately, we're starting to find out that sustainability is the same thing as a seat in one of the Titanic's lifeboats.

Not everyone's going to survive and a few people are going to get thrown overboard.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Memo From The Red Brick Universities: Free My People

I've read a trenchant and worthwhile commentary on today which raises an issue that nobody ever wants to talk about and that is the monopoly stranglehold-a deathgrip, really- that Yale and Harvard Law have on the Supreme Court and the judiciary in this country.

There are about 193 or so ABA approved law schools in this country and a number of other good ones in the great state of California that do not parrot the ABA party line and so are denominated as lesser lights, suitable only for training courthouse johnnies, rude frontiersmen and ambulance chasers.

The people they graduate, for the most part, go on to demonstrate that they have what it takes to get the job done. They are what you call "lawyers".

Most of these schools have rarely had a graduate sit on a federal bench, and even fewer have had graduates elevated to the federal appellate bench or the Supreme Court.

It gets worse. Brian Leiter has collected data on which law schools have had a student clerk for a supreme court justice. There are exactly 33 schools that have had a student clerk for a Supremeo since 2000, and the lion's share of those assignments went to a handful of schools. Of the 319 clerks. the top ten schools accounted for 274, and the top five accounted for 220.

That kind of numerical distribution is not only damned unfair, it's scandalous. In any other context that kind of statistical skew would be prima facie evidence of outrageous discrimination. It stinks of cronyism and an old boy network that makes the White Citizens' Councils look like a bunch of liberal commies.

Yo, Supremes, I'm talking at you.

It's the kind of patent unfairness that limits the future of students from the red brick universities. Parenthetically it cuts at the heart of egalitarian notions that many of us aspire to, and that was one of the reasons that some of us got into this line of work anyway-out of a sense of righting great injustices that were hoary with age.

What it is is a message: don't attempt to rise too far above your stations, o ye unwashed.

And it sticks in my craw.

Professor Timothy O'Neill teaches at John Marshall School of Law in Chicago and he's got this to say:

It is certainly true that the court needs more racial and gender diversity. Yet the homogeneity of the work résumés of the current justices is unprecedented. The right nominee would help to correct this.

Many commentators have noted that this is the first Supreme Court in American history in which every justice has come from exactly the same job: judge on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

But there are other "firsts" that are equally disturbing.

For the first time in American history, not a single justice has had any legislative experience. Not one has ever been elected to Congress, a state legislature or a city council.

For the first time in American history, not a single justice has ever held -- or even run for -- any elective office at any level of government. (Although Souter once served as a state attorney general, that is an appointed office in New Hampshire.)

For the first time in American history, eight of the nine justices attended one of only two law schools: Harvard or Yale. (Although Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg graduated from Columbia, she transferred from Harvard Law School.)

The point's well taken but Professor O'Neill doesn't take it far enough. The whole structure is ingrown, incestuous, and stinking with injustice.