Bob Broughton's Blog about British Columbia politics

I've been an admirer of Senator Al Franken (D-Minnesota) from the early days of Saturday Night Live, through Stuart Saves His Family, two of his books that I've read (Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot and Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, and his program on Air America Radio. I was rooting for him all the way in his Senate race, and I'm happy that he's finally in.

This clip is just a small example of why Al will be a credit to the US Senate and the people of Minnesota:

The good people at Daily Kos have asked for help in spreading this around:

Palin said that she didn't know if bombing abortion clinics is an act of terrorism. In the words of Jed Lewison of Daily Kos, "Palin's answer is perhaps the single most incredible thing I've heard from any candidate during this entire general election campaign, and I don't make that statement lightly."

The Republicans are out of ammunition. The only thing they have left to talk about is William Ayers, who sat on the board of Chicago Annenberg project and the Woods Fund with Obama. Ayers hosted a coffee during Obama's first campaign. Obama read a book that Ayers wrote, and Ayers donated $200 to one of Obama's re-election campaign. Obama was only eight years old when Ayers was with the Weather Underground.

Radio talk show host and convicted felon G. Gordon Liddy is much more notorious terrorist than William Ayers. He says that he admires Adolf Hitler. He served more than four years in prison for his role in the Watergate break-in and the Daniel Ellsberg case. He has admitted that he plotted to murder journalist Jack Anderson; plotted to murder fellow Republican operative E. Howard Hunt; and plotted to firebomb the Brookings Institution. Liddy also reportedly gave advice on how to shoot agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and reportedly admitted to naming shooting targets after the Clintons. He held a fund-raiser for McCain in 1998, and has donated at least $5,000 to McCain's campaigns since then. McCain has praised and repeatedly associated with Liddy in public and in campaign settings.

Here's a story from the Huffington Post with more details on this, as well as McCain's support for another terrorist group, the Contras in Nicaragua: John McCain's terrorist connections.

In the low-income areas of Philadelphia, they have been distributing flyers telling people that if they show up to vote, they might be arrested if they have outstanding arrest warrants or unpaid traffic tickets. Here's the story from the Daily Pennsylvanian: False flyers aim to intimidate voters.

Here's an idea: let's put these same flyers on the windshields of Donald Rumsfeld, the executives of AIG and Halliburton, and Erik Prince, owner of Blackwater.

Henry and granddaughter Darcy BroughtonThis comes from Henry W. Broughton's nephew, John Broughton. John was the founder of John Broughton Associates and Broughton Systems Inc. in Richmond, VA. He is now retired.:

Just two weeks ago Donna and I visited the family in Bremerton. We particularly wanted to spend time with Uncle Henry, knowing that his health was fragile. We had dinner with Henry and Elizabeth along with Bob, Carol and Debbie. As always, it was a treat to be with the family. The following morning, Bob took Henry to his doctor’s appointment, then Donna and I joined Henry, Elizabeth and Bob for a few hours.

We talked about a number of things. I especially enjoyed listening to Henry talk about old family stories from Norge. When it came time to leave, there were things left unsaid, and I had an all too brief opportunity to say them to Henry as we walked to the door.

I told Uncle Henry that I had thought a lot about him since my last visit more than a year ago. As I have grown older and (hopefully) a bit more mature, I have come to realize that Henry is my role model. That I respect him for living a life focused upon doing the right thing. That his focus has always been on doing what is best for his family. That he left a comfortable retirement in Front Royal to be where he was most needed – with his grandchildren. That his role as Grandpa was a source of great nourishment for those grandchildren and will always be a wonderful memory for them.

Uncle Henry thanked me. Then we said goodbye.

Henry came from a generation of Broughtons who have been truly remarkable in their consistent if understated ways:

Oliver, who never met a stranger,

Harold, who was a caregiver to those who needed care,

Julian, with his wonderful wit, for whom “everything was lovely” no matter what,

Ruth, for her quiet good works,

Carrie, who at 85 still tutors children in need.

To me, Uncle Henry exemplified the goodness, hard work, devotion to family and the needs of others, and general good humor which characterized that generation. He will be missed. His life is to be celebrated and remembered.

Click here for more about Henry W. Broughton.

Me, Henry, and my brother Bill - click to view larger imageMy father, Henry W. Broughton, was born on January 15, 1919, and died on September 28, 2008.

Henry was a teenager during the Great Depression, and lived to see the 2008 financial meltdown. There were a lot of things in between. He was born in Lightfoot, VA, spent part of his childhood in Eulonia, GA, and the rest in Norge, VA. He studied at the Newport News Apprentice School, was an engineer in Fredericksburg, VA and Front Royal, VA for much of his adult life, and had a second career as a real estate salesman in Front Royal. He and his wife of 61 years, Elizabeth, spent much of their retirement in Bremerton, WA.

There are a lot of stories that can be told about just about anyone who lived this long. I've chosen to relate here the role he played during World War II. Henry spent the war in the Merchant Marine. He never answered the question of how he ended up in the Merchant Marine instead of the Army or Navy, but he told me that Merchant Marines were more popular than Navy personnel because they had more money to spend. The ports he visited included Havana and Trieste. He got an extended stay in La Plata, Argentina, which he enjoyed talking about. His ship was there to pick up a load of fruit, but before the loading was complete, a festival started, and the local longshoremen refused to complete the loading until the festival was over.

It would be a huge mistake, however, to think that Merchant Marines were slackers. A famous Merchant Marine, Woody Guthrie, quit the Merchant Marines and joined the Army, because he concluded (and this was before D-Day) that being in the Army would improve his chances of surviving the war.

Henry's life-threatening experience was on the SS Henry Watterson, a Liberty ship, in 1943. The ship was carrying a load of ammunition. When it was in the Mediterranean, a pair of German fighter planes came around. The other ships in the convoy moved away from the Henry Watterson, leaving it alone and totally exposed. The German planes came so close that Henry could see the face of one of the pilots. Then, something happened for which no rational explanation exists, other than being low on fuel; the two German planes turned around and went away. If this incident had a slightly different outcome, I wouldn't be sitting here typing this.

We are all fortunate that Henry and the SS Henry Watterson completed this voyage, and Henry survived the war. He and Elizabeth got married. They made it possible for me to get a B.A. degree, and I’m very grateful for this. Henry and his father Henry Joseph gave me an early interest in music that has enriched my life. Henry gave me an appreciation of nature, the outdoors, and the importance of preserving our environment that has been a huge influence in my life. Those childhood trips to Virginia’s mountains, the beaches of the East Coast, and Canada’s maritime provinces gave me a lifelong interest in travel. Henry’s life set an example for everyone who had the good fortune to know him.

Click here for another story from me about Henry.

Click here for a story by John H. Broughton.

Henry W. Broughton photo gallery (the password is "hwb".)

Obituary in the Kitsap Sun