Saturday, June 21, 2008

Cambridge River Festival

The second and third weeks in June are usually quiet in Cambridge. Harvard and MIT are out for the summer, summer school doesn’t start till July, and the high school is still in class. So that’s when the Cambridge Arts Council puts on its annual River Festival. This year’s festival last weekend was on a warm June day, a pleasant break from the heat wave that had gripped us for a few days earlier in June.

I particularly enjoyed jazz Dominique Eade on the WGBH tent stage and The Resophonics on the Club Passim tent stage. The Be the Change folks were there as well. And there’s nothing like a pulled pork sandwich and a soft-serve ice cream sundae.

Glass blowers at work

Sidewalk art with Sidewalk Sam

More sidewalk art

The Resophonics on the Club Passim tent stage

John McCain in the News

Las Vegas Review-Journal: Sanity On Energy Policy
Tampa Bay Times: Crist Likes McCain's Drilling Plan, Wouldn't Rule It Out For Florida
Nashua Telegraph: McCain Forum Idea Deserves A Chance
Houston Chronicle: Visiting Houston, McCain Urges Diverse Energy Sources
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: McCain Brings Campaign To Southwest Missouri
Union Leader: A Plan For Defeat: Obama's Iraq Doublespeak
New York Daily News: John McCain Backed By Army Of Women In March To Presidency
Reuters: McCain Touts Energy Conservation And Oil Exploration
Washington Times: 'Maverick' McCain Bedevils Democrats
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Obama Takes Heat On Lack Of Iraq Trips
John McCain 2008 Launches New TV Ad: "Safe"
The Wall Street Journal: Why Obama Must Go to Iraq
Los Angeles Times: Obama The Naive
South Florida Sun-Sentinel: McCain To Visit Everglades To Seek Support Of Independents, Floridians
Chicago Tribune: McCain Says He's Ready to Bring Change
The New York Times: McCain Sharpens His Foreign Policy Attacks on Obama
USA Today: McCain To Urge Other Nations To Cut Off Funds To Iran
Washington Post: The Iraqi Upturn
Newsweek: The Man Who Made McCain
Des Moines Register: S.D. Senator Praises McCain's Credentials
Catholic News Agency: McCain Pledges to Use Roberts, Alito as Model Supreme Court Nominees
Philadelphia Evening Bulletin: McCain Attempts To Woo Blue Collars
Phoenix Business Journal: McCain Wants Expanded Disclosure Rules on Businesses to Aid in Child Porn, Sex Trade Investigations
Reuters: McCain Backs Incentives to Boost Offshore Oil
Greensboro News and Record: McCain Outlines Vision On Judges
USA Today: McCain Talks Free Trade, Freedom at Michigan University
Washington Post: McCain Vows to Push Religious Freedom
Detroit Free Press: McCain Focuses on Civil Rights During OU Stop
The Charlotte Observer: Voters To Get 'Stark Choice'
National Review: McCain's Judicial Promise
Reuters: McCain Woos Hispanics and Launches Spanish Web Site
National Review: The Right Rx
The New Republic: On The DNC's "Disingenuous" Attack Ad
Business Week: McCain's Health Care Proposal
Allentown (PA) Morning Call: Next Stop for Arizona Senator: Lehigh Valley Hospital
Time Magazine: The Great Health Care Debate is Finally Engaged
L.A. Times: Open-Market Healthcare is McCain's Goal
USA Today: McCain Would 'Put Families In Charge' Of Health Care
Associated Press: McCain Says Most Americans Willing To Sacrifice
Quad City Times (IA): McCain Strikes in Iowa
St. Petersburg Times: McCain Makes Health Care Policy Speech in Tampa
Miami Herald: McCain Pushes Tax Credits, Healthcare Reforms
The Allentown Morning Call: McCain Visit To Target Health Care

Barack Obama Goes Off the Dole

You know the check box on your tax return where you can earmark $3 to the Presidential Election Fund? Well that money goes to the two major parties candidates, $84.1 million apiece for the fall 2008 election campaign, if they decide to accept it.

There are some strings attached, the main one being that the candidate isn’t allowed to raise any private funds for the general election. But every major party candidate has opted to take the public money since the system was established in 1971, that is until Barack Obama.

Charging that the system is broken, Obama has decided to go off the dole and forgo the public money, banking that he can raise more through his own efforts. He argues that his system for raising money, where 90% of donations are from small donors, is true public financing.

We’d like to know if 90% of the money Obama is raising comes from small donors, or whether as we suspect there are large numbers of small donors but most of the money is coming from a few large donors. The Obama campaign does say that over 69,000 people have donated since they made the announcement Thursday night.

This may be the end for the proponents of campaign finance reform. Republicans have always viewed the system suspiciously, thinking it principally a ploy by Democrats to equalize campaign spending between their candidates and better-financed Republicans. With the Democrats dumping the system the first time they seem poised to out fundraise the Republicans, they are surrendering the high ground on this issue. John McCain has stuck his neck out on campaign finance reform many times, often at personal political cost, and that fact will also not be lost on Republican officeholders.

On the other hand, LBOTC finds something undemocratic about the current public finance system and has never checked the box on our tax returns.

Keeping up with Rickie Lee Jones

It was standing room only Thursday night at Johnny D’s in Somerville as Rickie Lee Jones took the stage. The Duchess of Coolsville played for almost two hours. Her jazz folk rock style went down smooth, playing first on piano and then on acoustic guitar. Her four-piece band was always with her, even when she went down the cul-de-sacs of forgotten lyrics and improvised bridges, and never over-powered. She was, as on the last two occasions, I’ve seen her, the consummate performer and her voice is as beguiling as ever.

We stood out on the edge of the packed dance floor for a while, then gravitated to the back and hung out with Peter Wolf, frontman for the J. Geils Band (“Love Stinks”).

Rickie Lee Jones will be back at Johnny D’s on Thursday, June 26 and Thursday, July 3. Johnny D’s is still mourning the death this past April of longtime owner Tina De Lellis. We hope the place doesn’t change too much.

Re: Memorial Day Weekend

For those interested, my 1993 Jeep Cherokee is fully repaired and back on the road.

Iowa Woes

Q: Every time I see a picture of flooding in Iowa, I worry about your family. Are they safely out of the path of the floods? Is everyone ok?

A: Yes, everyone in my family is OK. Most of the flooding has been in the Mississippi watershed and we are in the Missouri watershed. There has been some flooding along the rivers in Southwest Iowa where my family lives, but not to the extent as in the Des Moines, Iowa City, and Cedar Rapids areas which are north and east about a hundred miles and further. There was some flooding a couple of weeks ago along the West Nodaway River that flows through Clarinda where my parents live, but I don’t think it got into the town at all and they live on a hill. Only a small portion of our farm is in a flood plain, on Honey Creek, which is not a major river, and does go out of its banks every two or three years. And we've got about three acres on the East Fork 102 River.

The story that has everyone heartsick is the 4 Boy Scouts killed and 48 injured in the tornado at the Scout Ranch near Little Sioux, Iowa on June 11. They were camped in tents, which are a bad place to be in a tornado, and had taken shelter in two or three buildings, but the tornado destroyed one of the buildings.

My father and grandparents had a brush with a tornado about 25 years ago. The tornado took the roof off my father's barn and destroyed an old garage and a corn crib, before passing a few hundred yards north of my grandparent's house, which was not damaged. My father spent a good hour before the storm hit arguing that he and my grandparents should take shelter in the cave, but they wouldn't go so neither did he. This was a great irony as we kids had spent a good amount of time in our basement at our father's insistence listening to tornado watches on the radio.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Laura Bush to the Rescue!

Back in February, Michelle Obama made on off-hand remark at a speech in Milwaukee for which she has been widely vilified, "For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country."

Now Michelle seems finally to have put this behind her, with help from current First Lady Laura Bush. Asked about the statement in an interveiw on ABC last week, Laura came to her defense saying, "I think she probably meant 'I'm more proud,' you know, is what she really meant." Michelle sent Laura a thank you note.

Of course, what Michelle probably really meant was to dig at Bill Clinton, who was President for eight years of her adult life.

Michelle seems to be learning a thing or two from studying Laura. Appearing on The View, Michelle expressed her gratitude to Laura:

"I was touched by it. And that's what I like about Laura Bush. You know, just calm, rational approach to these issues. And you know, I'm taking some cues. I mean, there's a balance. There's a reason why people like her. It's because she doesn't, sort of, you know, fuel the fire."

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Obama versus McCain

Now we have our two nominees, Barack Obama and John McCain. And I’m pretty sure that last night Al Gore endorsed both of them. The race is is that close. So just who are Obama and McCain?

Full name
Barack Hussein Obama II
John Sidney McCain III
Date and place of birth
August 4, 1961
Honolulu, Hawaii
August 29, 1936
Coco Solo Naval Air Station,
Panama Canal Zone
High school
Punahou School, a private preparatory school in Honolulu, Hawaii
Episcopal High School, a private preparatory boarding school in Alexandria, Virginia
Higher education
Occidental College
Columbia University (BA)
Harvard Law School (JD)
United States Naval Academy (BS)
Wrestling, boxing
Proudest academic achievement
President of Harvard Law Review
College class rank 894 out of 899 (fifth from bottom)
Episcopalian, Baptist
United Church of Christ
Spouse’s name, date and place of birth, and education
Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama
January 17, 1964
Chicago, Illinois
Princeton University (AB)
Harvard Law School (JD)
Cindy Lou Hensley McCain
May 20, 1954
Phoenix, Arizona
University of Southern California (BA & MA)
2 children
7 children, 4 grandchildren
Father was a senior economist for Kenyan Ministry of Finance, mother was an anthropologist, grandfather ran a furniture store, then sold insurance, grandmother worked in a bank
Father was a Navy admiral serving as Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Pacific Command from 1968 to 1972, grandfather was a Navy admiral in World War II and was present at the Japanese surrender on the USS Missouri in 1945.
Political career
Junior U.S. Senator from Illinois, elected in 2004

Illinois State Senator, elected in 1996
Senior U.S. Senator from Arizona, elected in 1986

U.S Representative from Arizona, elected in 1982
Previous career
Community organizer and civil rights attorney, taught constitutional law at University of Chicago Law School for 12 years
U.S. Navy aviator, retired after 22 years with rank of captain, awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart, and the Distinguished Flying Cross
Board memberships
Public Allies (founding member)

Woods Fund of Chicago

The Joyce Foundation

Chicago Annenberg Challenge (founding president)

Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

Center for Neighborhood Technology

Lugenia Burns Hope Center
Project Vote Smart

Gallaudet University

International Republican Institute

Nixon Center for Peace and Freedom

Board of Visitors, United States Naval Academy
How spent the late 1960s
1967-1971, lived with his mother and her second husband in Indonesia
1967-1973, held prisoner in North Vietnam
Career path not taken
Turned down job offer from Tony Rezko, the Chicago real estate developer and political fixer recently convicted on public corruption charges
Considered joining the French Foreign Legion when it looked like he might be discharged from Annapolis for too many disciplinary infractions
First car
$2000 used blue Honda Civic, second car was $500 bright yellow hatchback Datsun 210
Red Corvette
Rich girlfriend story
Girlfriend took him to her rich white family’s country house where her parents were very nice and gracious, he took her to see an angry play by a black playwright where the mostly black audience “was laughing and clapping and hollering like they were in church”
Arrived late and drunk for weekend at house of girlfriend’s parents in Main Line Philadelphia suburb - after ringing the doorbell he promptly fell, crashing through the screen door, and her father sent him back to the train station
Big mistake
Sat in church pew for 20 years listening to Reverend Wright’s sermons without calling him on his anti-American rhetoric
Stayed on target for bomb run on Hanoi power plant, ignoring for a few seconds his plane’s radar warning tone for incoming surface-to-air missile that would shoot him down
Guilty feelings
His mother died shortly after he wrote his first book (“I might have written a different book – less a meditation on the absent parent, more a celebration of the one who was the single constant in my life.”)
Stole a washrag belonging to a fellow prisoner of war after he lost his own (“In the Old West the worst thing you could do to a man was to steal his horse. In prison the worst thing you can do to a man is steal his washrag.”)
Wish YouTube had the video
Worked 3 months for a Ralph Nader group in Harlem teaching the importance of recycling to minority students at City College
Served as “entertainment officer” for fellow prisoners of war in North Vietnam by reenacting plots of American movies from memory and playing all the parts himself
Unlikely endorsement
“We like Mr. Obama and we hope that he will win the election. I do believe he is like John Kennedy, a great man with great principles, and he has a vision to change America, to make it in a position to lead the world community, but not with domination and arrogance.”

Ahmed Yousef, chief political advisor to Palestinian Prime Minister quoted in April 2008
"He’s a good guy. We are still good friends. He is the best man for President."

First wife Carol Shepp McCain quoted in June 2008 in the The Mail on Sunday (but would she have endorsed Hillary Clinton as the best “person” for President?)
Memoir worth reading
Dreams from My Father (1995)
Faith of My Fathers (1999)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Off to the Races

I am seeing poll numbers that show Democrats picking up 2 seats in the House of Representatives, 7 seats in the U.S. Senate, and winning the Presidency 304 electoral votes to 221, with 13 up for grabs. That would mean Obama holding all the states John Kerry won in 2004 and picking up the western mountain states of Colorado and New Mexico and the midwestern states of Iowa, Missouri, and Ohio. In the west, Obama also has chances to pick up Nevada and Montana. In the south, he has chances to pick up Virginia, North Carolina, Mississippi, and perhaps others. It could be a rout.

Campaign money as of 5/20/2008

On the other hand, McCain is still competitive, trailing Obama by only 4% in nationwide polls, and a lot can happen in the five months between now and the general election in November. He has a chance to hold most of the states Bush won and pick up New Hampshire, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. But I know one passionate McCain supporter of a few months ago who is now spending his time standing in front of Wal-Mart stores working for a "nonpartisan" organization signing up minorities and low income voters. Most common response: "I'm already registered." Second most common response: "Sorry, I'm a felon."

For those of you wanting a quick update on the race as the summer progresses, Left Bank of the Charles is posting the "scorecard" in the middle of the left column.

Al Gore endorses John McCain

Al Gore endorsed John McCain at the beginning of his speech tonight:

"John McCain is deserving of respect. He has demonstrated bravery in war and as a prisoner of war, and has served in the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate for many years. Moreover, he has demonstrated a willingness to debate some critical issues, including the climate crisis, that many Republicans have refused to discuss at all."

At that point it got a little long, and I turned it off. I'm sure he went on to endorse Barack Obama too.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Barack on a Bicycle

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Re: World’s Best-Educated Harry Potter Convention

Question: How do the alums find a top hat in this day and age?

Answer: Harvard dispenses the top hats as well as the cutaway coats with tails, waistcoats, and striped trousers out of the basement of one of the freshmen dorms.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Re: World’s Best-Educated Harry Potter Convention

Question: A story on NPR reported that some graduating seniors at Harvard were grousing that Rowling wasn't worthy of the honor of speaking at their Commencement.

Reply: I noticed that one of the grousers quoted as saying that Rowling lacked gravitas was a Computer Science major. Back in our day there was no Computer Science major at Harvard, as that subject itself was thought to lack sufficient gravitas to be worthy for recognition as a separate academic discipline.

Maybe some of these grousers were reacting to this part of Rowling's speech:

"What I feared most for myself at your age was not poverty, but failure … The fact that you are graduating from Harvard suggests that you are not very well-acquainted with failure. You might be driven by a fear of failure quite as much as a desire for success. Indeed, your conception of failure might not be too far from the average person’s idea of success, so high have you already flown academically."

Don't Cry for Me America

Hillary Clinton officially suspended her campaign and endorsed Barack Obama today. The clarity of her speech and the magnitude of the event makes large the smallness of those complaints earlier in the week that she had not properly conceded. Those complainers came mostly from the media, but perhaps tarred the Obama campaign as well. Hillary may get the VP slot yet.

World’s Best-Educated Harry Potter Convention

With author J.K. Rowling on the bill to speak at this year’s Harvard Commencement, I volunteered to help out as a Marshall. This is a quaint tradition where alums are drafted to police the outdoor ceremonies in Harvard Yard dressed in top hats and tails with red batons (wands). I of course forgot to pick up the briefing materials, and so was left to improvise answers to questions like:

Q: Can I cut through here? A: No, you’ll have to go around.

Q: How do I get to Memorial Church? See the building behind the speaker’s platform? That’s it. You’ll probably want to go around back.

Q: How do I get back to the ART? Q: Go out this gate, turn right, and walk back into Harvard Square. Do you know how to get there from there? Good.

Q: Do I have to go out to smoke? A: Just step back out of the way behind one of those buildings.

Q: Where are the bathrooms? A: Just go in the bushes.

Alan Khazei from the 25th Reunion Class of 1983 served as this year’s Chief Marshall. Alan was president of my house when I was a junior, and all of us thought he would go on to become President of the United States, if he could get voters past that funny last name. He did go on to found City Year, the youth service organization that became a model for Americorps.

Alan’s latest endeavor is Be the Change, Inc. He is helping organize Service Nation Day of Action for September 27, 2008 to promote the idea that all young people should spend a year in public service before going on to jobs and careers. He says “If we want change, we must be the change.” It’s no accident if this sounds like the Obama campaign mantra, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for, we are the change that we seek.” Both are based on a Mahatma Gandhi quotation, “Be the change that you want to see in the world.” I always found that Obama slogan a little peculiar, but I see now that he is not using a royal “we” but a real “we” and that he is not channeling the second coming of Jesus Christ but Gandhi’s call to action.

I’m working on my own idea for organizing communities to be called Gandhi Incorporated. I’ve got a Gandhi quote, “Capital as such is not evil, capital in some form or other will always be needed.” Our slogan will be “What was wrong with the status quo?” Please don’t all hit reply with your list of wrongs at once. As Gandhi said, “Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth.”

The graduate student address was delivered by Anthony Christopher Woods, who was getting his Masters in Public Policy from the Kennedy School. Before the Army sent him to graduate school, he served a tour in Iraq as a young lieutenant fresh out of West Point. “Harvard is a very long way from Iraq,” he said. He talked about losing soldiers and roadside bombs and also about a suicide bomber killing 40 Iraqis in a local market, and wondered why our media doesn’t portray those victims as individuals with families like it portrays our soldiers.

Harvard President Drew Faust, best-selling author in her own right of This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War, focused her remarks on the recent public debate on endowments:

“The essence of a university is that it is uniquely accountable to the past and to the future – not simply or even primarily to the present. A university looks both backwards and forwards in ways that must – that even ought to – conflict with a public’s immediate concerns or demands. ... Endowments represent a concrete embodiment of our accountability to the past and to the future. They derive from our history and the dreams of those who have preceded us; they are in turn the vehicle that enables us to project our own dreams into the future."

J.K. Rowling spoke on the benefits of failure and the power of imagination. To those who don’t know her personal history, she was a broke single mother when her first Harry Potter novel was published, “as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless.” It was an inspirational speech:

“Some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all - in which case, you fail by default.

“Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathize with humans whose experiences we have never shared.

“We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.”

Rowling also had something to say about our politics:

“You belong to the world’s only remaining superpower. The way you vote, the way you live, the way you protest, the pressure you bring to bear on your government, has an impact way beyond your borders. That is your privilege, and your burden.”

But I think of those parts of the American electorate that didn’t go to Harvard, that maybe didn’t go to college at all, that live in socio-economic circumstances that they don’t see as privileged, that don’t see a Presidential candidate’s gender or race as making a difference in their everyday lives. How do they feel? Can we lack the imagination to see that they think our government might pay more attention to them, and less to the rest of the world?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Obama Not White Enough for Jimmy Carter?

Jimmy Carter has told the London newspaper The Guardian that he would not favor an Obama-Clinton dream ticket:

"I think it would be the worst mistake that could be made. That would just accumulate the negative aspects of both candidates. Because of Bill Clinton's elements of unpopularity, I have been against Hillary. It shows up in all the public opionion polls. I think her negatives are about 50%. If you take that 50% who just don't want to vote for a Clinton and add it to whatever element there might be who don't think Obama is white enough or old enough or experienced enough or because he's got a middle name that sounds Arab, you could have the worst of both worlds."

Beyond Belief

I watched the speeches of the three candidates last night as the primary season wrapped up with a win for Hillary Clinton in South Dakota and a win for Barack Obama in Montana. From the tone of the speeches, it wasn’t entirely clear who the winner was. But it was clear that John McCain is the loser. Some advice to the candidates:

John McCain – Your speech from Louisiana was terrible, what with repeating “that’s not change we can believe in” with that odd sneer-smile laugh.

Hillary Clinton - The 11-year-old boy in Kentucky who you mentioned sold his bike and video games to raise money for your campaign – he wants his bike and video games back.

Barack Obama – The big rally in St. Paul, Minnesota was nice but you should have gone for the victory beer at Stockman’s in Missoula, Montana. Check out Bill Clinton at the Mo Club.

Why didn’t Hillary drop out last night? It’s true that while Barack has clinched the official count, he still needs 46 delegates to settle all disputes, but I think that’s not really it. Hillary just wants to stare up through the glass ceiling for a few more days. And she wants people to come to her web site to say goodbye, and perhaps donate some money to pay off her campaign debts. Actually, Hillary did concede in her speech last night.

This was her congratulations to Barack:

“I want to start tonight by congratulating Senator Obama and his supporters on the extraordinary race that they have run. Senator Obama has inspired so many Americans to care about politics and empowered so many more to get involved, and our party and our democracy is stronger and more vibrant as a result. So, we are grateful, and it has been an honor to contest these primaries with him, just as it is an honor to call him my friend. And tonight, I would like all of us to take a moment to recognize him and his supporters for all they have accomplished.”

And this was her concession:

“You know, I understand that a lot of people are asking, what does Hillary want? What does she want? Well, I want what I have always fought for in this whole campaign. I want to end the war in Iraq. I want to turn this economy around. I want health care for every American. I want every child to live up to his or her God-given potential, and I want the nearly 18 million Americans who voted for me to be respected, to be heard and no longer to be invisible.”

OK, maybe this is a little like the Emperor of Japan’s murky surrender speech that ended World War II but “what I have always fought for” is past tense and “all they have accomplished” is beating her. Still it was fun watching the CNN analysts have a cow saying she did not concede.

“History repeats the old conceits
The glib replies the same defeats
Keep your finger on important issues
With crocodile tears and a pocketful of tissues”

Re: On to Stockman's

From one of our correspondents in Montana:

I wish I could have been at the Mo Club but we were out of town last Saturday. The people I talked with were very impressed with Bill. He had the famous cold burger/warm beer while standing at the back bar. Packed the joint.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Hillary's Last Stand

South Dakota and Montana vote Tuesday, for a total of 31 delegates at stake in the last two primary contests. There are also 205 super delegates who haven’t yet made their vote public.

Tonight Barack leads Hillary 2070 delegates to 1915. He needs 48 more delegates to clinch the nomination.

Hillary would need 203 delegates to take the nomination away from Barack. These numbers reflect Hillary’s win in Puerto Rico Sunday as well the “half a vote” compromise worked out Saturday to seat the delegates from Michigan and Florida. Barack would need an additional 86 delegates to eliminate any lingering questions about Michigan and Florida.

Mad Cow Democrats

This woman was thrown out of the rules committee meeting on Saturday:

Re: Memorial Day Weekend

From one of our Iowa correspondents:

Last night was a stormy night. We had all kinds of severe storm warnings for our county and those around, but we escaped any really bad storms, just hard rain, wind and a little hail. Northeast Iowa was not so fortunate, for there were tornadoes and several deaths.

The local Legion put up the Avenue of Flags (342 this year) at the cemetery on Friday. I drove out there that evening and though the wind was very strong they were flying beautifully. They lined the road all the way from the gate to the south fence. On Saturday morning a strong and twisting wind came up along with heavy rain. The flags were already heavy with overnight rain. Flag poles were bent and whipped and tattered flags were on the ground, across the road, and in total disarray. There was nothing to do but take them in. I have no idea of the monetary damage but it is considerable. All of us felt bad, for the sight of the flags is breath-taking and the work involved in putting them up and taking them in is enormous. Each flag is for a veteran who has passed on.