Sunday, February 14, 2010

Two men about town.
Yes, that is my friend David and I about 60 years ago. Thing is, when I am in Kirkland we still walk together every Friday but not in business suits
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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Live Long Enough

Not long after I returned from the service and my time in California I read in the Letters To the Editor department of the local newspaper a letter from an irate lady bemoaning the fact that "We" have built the community and the Jews have moved in.

Of course my family was in the fourth generation in the town and my interest in the participation of Jews in the community has abides to this date.

In the early days of the town it was the jumping off place for miners, herders and anyone heading for northrtn Idaho and Montana. Many scions of San Fancisco Jewish families came to W. W.

The first department store in the state and for many years the longest surviving one was started by a Jewish family who also participated in forming a major bank and newspaper.

Now I get an e-mail asking for information about a pioneer family in the area, a very prominent one. The writer says he is doing a geneology study and finds that this family has hidden its Jewish origins.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Con Men

Think Madoff was a cool cookie!

Did you ever see the late movie based on the story of a young miner who showed up a at a tavern that was a community gathering place for coal miners in a small mining town in Pennsylvania in the late 1800's.

He was looking for work in the mine and a place to stay. A genial man bought him a drink and offered him room and board at his house.

The next day the host invited the young man to join along with his sons the trek to the the mine shaft. A word to the Foreman and the new man was hired.

Over weeks and months at the tavern and at home the discussion often revolved about the the lousy unsafe working conditions, the low pay, and the firing of workers on a whim.

Finally the stranger was invited to a meeting. A union was being formed. A strike was to be held and maintained until management met basic requirements.

The young man had earned his stripes as a miner and was invited to be on a steering committee planning the strike along with his host family.

He was also "keeping company" with the daughter of the house.

On the day of the strike a swarm of Pinkerton strike breakers appeared and swiftly arrested the ringleaders.

At their trial the interloper was not among them. In fact, now dressed as a Pinkerton agent he was testifying for the prosecution pointing out his supposed benefactors as the key parties in the strike plan.

They were meted out prison sentences.

He married the young lady, now there was a con-man, and moved to Colorado where he again went undercover at a mine.

Prior to the coup bringing Saddam Husein to power Iraq much as it is now was a political quagmire with governments rising and falling with predictable regularity.

An attempt at stability boiled down to four men the most likely was a wealthy merchant.

Several years before he had migrated, the scion of an influential family that had lived in Brazil for a few generations, he had opted to return to the land of his fore bearers.

As his investments increased and began to bear fruit, he also began to be accepted into the higher levels of Iraqi society and into the confidence of the movers and shakers of the country.

He could well have been the Iraqi head of state.

Unfortunately, Soviet military monitors were getting the evidence of a clandestine radio transmission.

To their astonishment the source was traced to the home of our guy. He was found in his attic making a routine report to Tel Aviv.

He was an Israeli Mossad officer on assignment.