Bob Broughton's Blog about British Columbia politics

Henry W. Broughton 1919-2008

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

A visit from a Republican liar

The story I put up here on Sept. 12 about Sarah Palin's effort to censor books in the Wasilla public library, and to fire the librarian, Mary Ellen Emmons, when she refused to cooperate, attracted this comment from "Joey Shabadoo", who has the IP address

"I think you need to take a look at's examinations of some of the accusations you are repeating regarding Palin."

Well, I did exactly that. Here's what it says there: "She did not demand that books be banned from the Wasilla library. Some of the books on a widely circulated list were not even in print at the time. The librarian has said Palin asked a 'What if?' question, but the librarian continued in her job through most of Palin's first term."

Does this in any way contradict what I wrote? No, it doesn't. And the authors of the story were disingenuous in writing that "the librarian continued in her job through most of Palin's first term." They didn't mention that Palin tried to fire Ms. Emmons, and was unsuccessful.

This is from a story by Garance Burke published by the Associated Press on Sept. 12:

"Taylor Griffin, a spokesman for the McCain campaign, said Thursday that Palin asked the head librarian, Mary Ellen Emmons, on three occasions how she would react to attempts at banning books. He said the questions, in the fall of 1996, were hypothetical and entirely appropriate. He said a patron had asked the library to remove a title the year before and the mayor wanted to understand how such disputes were handled."

"Palin notified Emmons she would be fired in January 1997 because the mayor didn‘t feel she had the librarian’s 'full support.' Emmons was reinstated the next day after public outcry, according to newspaper reports at the time."

So, note that even the McCain campaign acknowledged that Palin discussed banning books with Ms. Emmons.

You've been outed as just another Republican liar, Joey Shabadoo, and you should be ashamed of yourself. Not just for lying, but for defending a candidate for federal office who would not likely honour her oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Which one is an extremist?

Choose one or both:

Sheik Saleh al-Lihedan1. Sheik Saleh al-Lihedan, Saudi Arabia's top judicial official, who issued a religious decree saying it is permissible to kill the owners of satellite TV networks that broadcast immoral content. You can read about it here: Saudi OKs Killing "Immoral" TV Execs






Sarah Talibunny Palin2. Sarah "Talibunny" Palin, Governor of Alaska and candidate for Vice-President of the United States, who asked the head librarian in Wasilla, AK what she would think of the idea of being asked to remove books from the library. Not once, but three times. The librarian, Mary Ellen Emmons, said she would fight such a move, and eventually Palin asked for her resignation. Palin relented when there was a public outcry.





There are some obvious similarities between al-Lihedan and Palin. They are both very influential people in oil-producing states, and they both have good connections to the Bush family.

There is one very important difference, however. Palin, who wears her Dominionist religious beliefs on her shirtsleeves, will be required, if she is elected Vice-President, to put her hand on a bible and swear to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

It would be a good idea for somebody to read the Constitution of the United States to Sarah. If not the whole thing, at least the First Amendment. After all, something terrible might happen if Sarah were to swear on a bible to something that is untrue.

P.S.: If you came here wondering who was responsible for coining the term "Talibunny", it wasn't me. I first saw it on Crooks and Liars.

The latest Republican efforts to steal the 2008 election

They nominated a candidate for vice-president who wanted to ban books from the local library (click here for the list), believes that God supports wars and oil pipelines, opposes birth control, supports "abstinence only" sex education and Alaskan secession from the United States. (Click here for a good summary by Randi Rhodes.)

Sarah Palin's mother-in-law isn't going to vote for her. So, how could it be possible for a fool like her to become vice-president of the United States? Why, the same way they won the last two: cheat.

The Republicans have come up with a new method for 2008, and they've outdone themselves. What they are doing is trying to remove people who have had their homes repossessed from the voter's lists. They are trying to disenfranchise the class of people who, other than the people abandoned by their government during Hurricane Katrina, are most likely to vote Democratic.

Thom Hartmann of Air America Radio started publicizing this a couple of days ago. Crooks and Liars has picked up on it, and here is their story: GOP seeks to contest voters from foreclosed homes.

And that's not all. Another class of people most likely to vote Democratic is college students, and here is another story courtesy of Crooks and Liars: Virginia county issues “chilling” voter registration report. The racket here is, Montgomery County, where Virginia Tech (28,000 potential voters) is located, sent out deliberately misleading information to discourage students from registering to vote.

The Republicans clearly have no shame, It isn't going to be enough to just turf them out of office. Those who are committing election fraud should be investigated, prosecuted, and jailed.  

Nobody can say that Gordo doesn't have a sense of humour

In response to questions about the recent pay raises for top civil servants (for example, a 43% raise for Jessica McDonald, Campbell's deputy, bringing her salary to $350,000), BC Premier Gordon Campbell said, "We're not backing away from a policy of valuing our public servants".

Nobody can say that Campbell doesn't have a sense of humour. His government certainly didn't value all the civil servants who were laid off during the first couple of years of his government.

Kevin Potvin, publisher of The Republic of East Vancouver, wrote a tell-it-like-it-is piece about this: Bureaucrats’ pay hikes nothing short of gangsterism.

Let's make the 2010 Olympics a lip-synch free event

I thought that trying to pass off lip-synching as entertainment was an abomination when I was in my early teens, and spent too much time watching "American Bandstand" and "The Lloyd Thaxton Show." Improvements in sound and recording technology that developed during the late 60's could have made this abomination obsolete. Instead, we got EmptyV, which institutionalized it, and created an environment where people actually pay money to watch people on the stage pretend to sing and play instruments.

 The content of the opening ceremonies for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games is an occasional topic of conversation in Vancouver, although little is known about it other than the budgeted cost, which is $40 million. This money comes out of the pockets of taxpayers, and we should be insisting that we get Sheryl Crow, not Ashlee Simpson. I've put up an article on Vancouver 2010 Insider about this: Proposal for the 2010 opening ceremony.