October 29, 2006

Mark Kennedy: Bulls-Eye

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:38 pm

If he comes from behind in the Minnesota US Senate race, it will largely be because of this TV ad.

The Michigan Senate Race Just Got about 1,000 Votes Closer

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:54 pm

Maybe she should change her name to Debbie Stepped-in-it (HT Hugh Hewitt):

A Michigan company has asked U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow to retract her statements that it outsourced jobs overseas.

Jackson National Life Insurance Co. sent a letter to Stabenow last week asking her to apologize for a campaign TV commercial and her public comments related to the company. Stabenow, a Democrat up for re-election Nov. 7, has said the company outsourced jobs to India and China.

Jackson National says that is not true. But the Stabenow campaign stood by its statements Saturday.

“We’ve been clear through this whole process,” Stabenow campaign spokesman Brent Colburn said. “We stand by our ad.”

….. The Stabenow campaign has said the outsourcing comment refers to a 2001 software contract between Jackson National and a contractor that has done some of its own work overseas. Jackson National says it performs most of its information technology work itself.

The company’s letter to Stabenow said its relationship with the contractor helped Jackson National create 90 new Michigan jobs. The company has about 1,300 workers in Lansing, about 300 more than in 2000.

Colburn said the issue isn’t the company, but rather Bouchard’s position on outsourcing.

Bouchard has said Stabenow’s statements about Jackson are “unbelievably untrue.”

Reaching back five years; criticizing a business arrangement that added jobs that weren’t there before; maligning a company that has added 300 jobs in a state with over 7% unemployment; and then “stand(ing) by their ad.”

Yeah, she’s stepped in it all right.

Assuming that 1,000 of the company’s employees are registered to vote, and that they were split 50-50 before this ruckus, I think it’s safe, perhaps even conservative, to say that the split is now 75-25 Bouchard. Add an additional family member (at least) for each of the 250 employees who has changed their vote, and you have 500 changed votes, or a 1,000-vote swing.

That of course doesn’t include anyone else in the Great Lakes State who must be shaking their heads in amazement at the economic and political obtuseness on display.

Stabenow

Keep it up, Deb.

Weekend Question 3: What are the Latest of Jill’s 57 Reasons to Reject the Ohio Learn & Earn Initiative (102906)?

Filed under: News from Other Sites,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:46 pm

NOTE: This post was put up prematurely in anticipation of Reasons 12 and 11 getting posted by Jill; I apologize for that. Apparently she is on the road and not able to post (how DARE she have a life), so this post will only contain Reason 13. I’ll catch up with the backlog tomorrow or Tuesday.

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From Jill at Writes Like She Talks (original entry relating to Jill’s effort is here) –

  • Reason 13 is the last of five parts, beginning at Reason 17, that shreds the language in the amendment, language that would be enshrined in the state’s Constitution if OL&E passes Jill identifiies vagueness and lack of specificity that would (or should) embarrass a first-year law student. Just one: What does “solely on academic merit” mean? Just a few questions (these are mine): Does that mean only grade-point average (GPA)? Should classes like phys ed and music be considered “non-academic” and be thrown out of any GPA-based determination of what the top 5% of a high school graduating class is? Does the “sole” criterion of academic merit mean that someone with a violent criminal history who happens to be in the top 5% of his or her class would get a scholarship anyway instead of someone else with a clean record?

The Enquirer’s Absurd Endorsement of John Cranley

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:48 pm

Of all the flubbed editorial endorsements I’ve seen this year in Ohio, the Cincinnati Enquirer’s endorsement of John Cranley over Steve Chabot is the most bubbleheaded of all. Heck, even the Cincinnati Post figured out that Chabot is the better candidate by miles.

The Enquirer makes two fundamental errors. The first is that it attempts to absolve current City Council member Cranley of any role or responsibility for the steady and accelerating deterioration of the city’s safety situation:

Chabot is anything but corrupt, yet his commercial essentially blames the 2001 Cincinnati riot on Cranley and implies that the post-riot collaborative agreement led to the rising number of homicides in the city. In truth, the collaborative was unanimously approved by City Council and praised by then-U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft.

Someone needs to buy the Enquirer a serious clue here (this graph was from the January 1, 2006 edition of the Enquirer, and the reference to “yesterday” is to December 31, 2005):

http://www.bizzyblog.com/wp-images/CincyHomic_2000_2005

As of October 18 of this year, there have been 70 murders in the city, which is on pace for roughly 85 for the full year — this in a city whose population has been declining at a rate of over 4,000 per year.

John Cranley joined City Council as an unelected member in late 2000. The Cincinnati riots occurred in April 2001. The “unanimously (wrongfully) approved” Collaborative Agreement occurred in early 2002, After the riots, the transformation of large parts of Cincinnati into urban jungles ensued. There is very little dispute that there was a significant and unfortunately understandable letup in police effort that occurred after the April 2001 riots (understandable because of all of the second-guessing by the “Rev.” Damon Lynch and other criminal coddlers). The Collaborative Agreement did not address the letup, but instead has extended it indefinitely. You see the disastrous results above. Using John Ashcroft as a human shield for John Cranley a full 5 years later is really lame. What has John Cranley done to stem the tide? What tangible thing has he done to even indicate that he cares?

There are only two city council members who have served continuously from the riots until today. One is Jim Tarbell, who isn’t running for Congress. The other is John Cranley, who, inexplicably, must think that the above, along with that precipitous decline in population, has earned him a promotion. Why?

The other grievous error the Enquirer makes is concluding that the Chabot era has run its course, and is getting tired:

Chabot has served with honor, but his effectiveness seems to have peaked. It is time for him to come home.

Yeah, Steve Chabot has peaked all right. Last time I checked, peaking was a good thing. The National Taxpayers Union (NTU) gave Chabot an “A” in 2005; his 70% rating was the highest in Ohio’s congressional delegation. The Club for Growth gave him a lights-out 98% grade, smoking the rest of the Ohio congressional delegation; the runner-up’s grade was 74%.

Silly me — I thought that the time when you peak is the time you’re most ready for the contest. I want the people serving me to be at their peak; don’t you? Too many congressmen, including many of those still remaining from Chabot’s incoming class of 1994, have gone from fiscal hero to fiscal zero in about 8-10 years of service. Chabot has held remarkably firm. Thinking back on local reps, Rob Portman certainly didn’t; Bill Gradison didn’t; Bob McEwen didn’t; Don Clancy (as I recall) didn’t (another notable exception: John Boehner HAS held firm). It wouldn’t be too hard to continue in that vein at a national level (Bob Ney, Tom Delay, etc., etc.).

Removing Steve Chabot now would be like sending Michael Jordan to the showers early after he’s made five three-pointers in a row, or sitting down a hot hitter in baseball after the third inning. Totally, utterly, ridiculous. Then to replace someone with a hot hand like Chabot with someone from the party whose Ohio delegation’s best NTU score was (get this) 23% (that would happen to be Dennis Kucinich) is a surrender to pork-barrel spending and fiscal profligacy that is totally uncalled for.

The Post, of all newspapers, got it right:

Voters in Ohio’s 1st Congressional District are being told that Washington has changed Steve Chabot.

It’s a familiar line of attack against any well-established incumbent. But applied to Chabot it doesn’t wash. He’s still the same down-to-earth, what-you-see-is-what-you-get West Sider who has been representing the district since 1994.

If Washington has changed Chabot, it’s been for the better. He’s matured in the job, and in so doing has become more valuable to Greater Cincinnati.

….. In this race, however, we see no compelling reason to suggest a change. Chabot has ably represented the 1st District, and we endorse him for re-election.

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UPDATE: Some background –

  • Nov. 28, 2005 — Voting with Our Feet: Leaving Cincinnati (and Other Ohio Cities)
  • March 25, 2006 — Why Isn’t This Population Decline Getting More Attention?
  • From my AM-Coffee Post, July 27, 2006 (fourth item at link) — part of my comment on a Cincinnati murder in a supposedly “safe” area:

    The site of the shootout can’t by any reasonable stretch be considered a depressed or poverty-stricken area. I’ve probably gassed up at that station a dozen times over 30 years, none in the past five. But never again. The fact is that there are very few places in the city that can be considered safe any more, and if nothing is done to turn that around, the flight will accelerate.

Why Isn’t Vic Wulsin Listing All of Her Endorsements? (UPDATE: This Is Dealbreaker 2)

Filed under: OH-02 US House,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:30 pm

QUICK ANSWER: Because, if known by 2nd District voters, it would turn off most of them. However, they are very handy for raising a great deal of money from radical feminists whose values are diametrically opposed to those of most district voters. This cynical two-step by Vic Wulsin is BizzyBlog Dealbreaker 2.

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Having spent a great deal of time in previous 2nd District (OH) races disputing the contents of a congressional candidate’s endorsements page (where he called himself “congressman” during two consecutive campaigns, even though he was a challenger and had not been in Congress for 12 years) and, in a subsequent race, his listed endorsements (specifically, a lot of them didn’t belong there, were listed before the person formally endorsed the candidate, or were only pulled long after the other candidate’s opponent gained the endorsement), it’s odd to find a candidate who is deliberately keeping her list incomplete.

But that is indeed the case with Second District congressional candidate Vic Wulsin. Her endorsements page includes a list of “typicals” for a leftist candidate: a couple of 527 Media newspapers, state and local Democrat politicians, organized labor, “Iraq War Veterans for Progress,” and a local activist group.

But here are three major endorsements that are “strangely” missing from Wulsin’s list (I have also included names of other Ohio Democratic congresspersons those organizations endorsed, and the names of those they didn’t [Democrats Marcy Kaptur and Tim Ryan are prolife and were not on any list]):

  • NARAL (National Abortion Rights Action League) Pro-Choice America — Wulsin’s in company with Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Bob Shamansky, Betty Sutton, and Mary Jo Kilroy. It would appear that Dennis Kucinich isn’t radical enough for NARAL, even though he became pro-abort during his 2004 presidential campaign.
  • NOW (National Organization for Women) Equality PAC — NOW’s list also includes Kilroy, Jones, and Kucinich, with Shamansky and Sutton failing to make the cut.
  • Emily’s List — Wulsin finds herself as one of three Ohio congressional candidates on this women-only list, along with Kilroy and Sutton. Jones is apparently not far-left enough for the Emily’s Listers.

Well, why aren’t these endorsements listed? Wulsin’s not too proud to take their money and their national clout. While some of the political junkies among us know that Wulsin actively sought the endorsement of the above three groups, she appears at the same time to be too ashamed of them to let rank and file voters in her district know that she has their support.

Go to the three orgs’ “About” pages, and you’ll see why concealment from Second District voters is a calculated strategy:

  • “For more than 30 years, NARAL Pro-Choice America has been the nation’s leading advocate for privacy and a woman’s right to choose. With more than one million members and supporters, NARAL Pro-Choice America is fighting to protect the pro-choice values of freedom and personal responsibility. With the far right in control of the White House, Congress, and many state legislatures, our work has never been more important.”
  • NOW is one of the few multi-issue progressive organizations in the United States. NOW stands against all oppression, recognizing that racism, sexism and homophobia are interrelated, that other forms of oppression such as classism and ableism work together with these three to keep power and privilege concentrated in the hands of a few.”
  • EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest grassroots political network, is dedicated to taking back our country from the radical right wing by electing pro-choice Democratic women to federal, state, and local office.”

(Aside: Regarding the paranoid prattle about how the government is controlled by “the radical right wing” — Puh-leeze. Many of us think would be nice if even the moderate right wing were in charge, instead of the barely to the right-of-center people running things now.)

It’s clear that a plurality of the members of the labor organizations endorsing Vic Wulsin, let alone voters in the rest of the district, don’t buy into these organizations’ goals.

Vic Wulsin is hoping that projecting a moderate image fools Second District voters.

Vic Wulsin is hoping that as few people as possible pay close attention to the endorsement pages at the web sites of major national far-left organizations and to campaign finance disclosure forms identifying contributions from their members.

Finally, Vic Wulsin is hoping that anyone who might stumble into the endorsements of and donations from these radical feminist and far-left organizations doesn’t tell too many people about them.

That’s not going to happen here. Spread, the, word.

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UPDATE: Upon further review, Vic Wulsin’s failure to disclose endorsements she actively sought is BizzyBlog Wulsin Dealbreaker 2, (recall that a Dealbreaker is “something that completely justifies a person not voting for you, regardless of your party or your stands on the issues”).

A liberal would want to know about major endorsements a candidate sought out and received such as these so that he or she could get out the pom-poms and get to work. A conservative would want to know so he or she could work hard to oppose that candidate. Someone in the middle would want to know to be able to take those endorsements into account when making their ultimate decision on who to vote for.

Well — It looks like I’ve covered everyone who would expect to be told something Vic Wulsin has consciously decided NOT to reveal. All of them, meaning all of us, should feel seriously betrayed by her failure to do so.

Deal — BROKEN, AGAIN.

Discussion of “the issues” — OVER, AGAIN.

2nd District voters have another reason why they are left with choosing either the remaining candidate on the ballot, one of the two write-in candidates, or abstaining.

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UPDATE 2: Imagine a conservative candidate seeking and getting endorsements of and financial support from the major 2nd Amendment-defending organizations and not disclosing them. The blowback would be furious — as it should be, and hopefully will be, with Vic Wulsin.

BizzyBlog Vic Wulsin Dealbreaker 1 — Serious Breach of Medical Ethics

This sentence in the Enquirer’s endorsement yesterday of incumbent Jean Schmidt for Second District Congressperson demands a response, and forces me to roll out a BizzyBlog Dealbreaker on Vic Wulsin earlier than I had planned:

It is a very, very close call, but we endorse Schmidt for re-election over Wulsin, an esteemed expert in public health and epidemiology who has done noble work in the fight against AIDS.

The Enquirer’s editorial board was out, of, its, mind on this one. Its endorsement, despite Jean Schmidt’s shortcomings, should have been anything but a “very close call” — hence the need to roll out BizzyBlog Dealbreaker 1.

The noble work Wulsin appears to have done against AIDS is largely negated by her ignoble association with, and failures (despite her denials and attempts at after-the-fact housecleaning) to adequately distance herself from Henry Heimlich’s malariotherapy experimentation.

This post could turn into a book — and for the Dean of Cincinnati, a left-of-center blogger who has nevertheless done heroic work at The Cincinnati Beacon investigating this matter while the rest of the local Democratic establishment has had blinders on, it almost has. I will link to much of his work after the body of this post.

The quick version of the support for BizzyBlog Wulsin Dealbreaker 1 is expressed in this bulletin from The National Council on Health Care Fraud (HT Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, who has additional comments; paragraph breaks added by me for readability; also be sure to read the the material added at 5 PM that follows the WTF excerpt):

Congressional candidate tied to improper human experiments. Victoria Wells Wulson, M.D., who is running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, has been linked to unethical human experiments in which live malaria parasites were injected into humans as a treatment for HIV infections. The experiments were conducted in Africa by Henry Heimlich, M.D. (popularizer of the “Heimlich Maneuver” for treating choking). In 2004, Heimlich engaged Wulsin to review his work on “malariotherapy” and write a business plan for promoting it.

Wulsin concluded that “the preponderance of evidence indicates that neither malaria nor Immunotherapy will cure HIV/AIDS” and that the Heimlich Institute had been too secretive about its work. Despite claims by Heimlich that that no active work on malariotherapy was being done, Wulsin’s report shows that it was.

When it became clear that the report would be made public by others, she released it but added an executive summary in which she claimed that her involvement with the Heimlich Institute was “strictly limited” to a research review. However, the original report indicates that she had access to experimental data, knew that something was radically wrong, and was aware of ethical violations that she should have reported to appropriate governmental authorities.

The report also indicates that an “American sponsor” was collaborating with Heimlich, but Wulsin has refused to reveal the sponsor’s name.

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5PM UPDATE: Dean encouraged me to look through his material for a succinct statemnt of Wulsin’s ethical lapses, and here it is, from a Cincinnati Beacon post containing Dr. Robert Baratz’s comments:

As previously reported on these pages, in the mid 1990s Heimlich was told in no uncertain terms that his ideas about “Malariotherapy” were unsupported by science by various government health officials, scientists and others. Instead of collecting data in animal and similar experiments to prove his speculations, Heimlich continued to work clandestinely on humans.

….. Heimlich has contended that his work was endorsed and approved by Institutional Review Boards for Human Experimentation (IRB’s). No quite so. The IRB which allegedly approved Heimlich’s work was told to suspend operations in 2000 and shut down a year later. Heimlich’s work was singled out as non-conforming to rules and regulations. Claims were later made that the work was “foreign” (done in China) and not subject to US FDA scrutiny. Initial denials were made of involvement of US institutions, or work on US soil. Not so again.

….. Enter Victoria Wells Wulsin, MD, epidemiologist, and present congressional candidate, who began work in the second half of 2004 for the Heimlich Institute. As reported here Dr. Wulsin was courted as a potential successor to Dr. Heimlich for the leadership of the Heimlich Institute. She was apparently paid tens of thousands of dollars as a consultant to write a report on “Malariotherapy” for the “board” of the Institute. Mind you this was after all of the reports and correspondence on “Malariotherapy” with the CDC, FDA, and others. This was after all of the press on this subject in the LA Times, NY Times, UCLA Bruin, and other newspapers, including the Cincinnati Enquirer.

….. Space and focus does not permit a full analysis of the flaws of the Wulsin report. What I see is an uncritical naive review, leaving out much of the science on this subject, especially the science that shows that co-infection with HIV and Malaria can make things significantly worse.

….. What I found most peculiar and troubling about Dr. Wulsin’s report for the Heimlich Institute was her apparent endorsement of what they were doing, continuing the “Malariotherapy” experiments.

Dr. Wulsin now seeks the office of congresswoman, representing the citizens of Ohio. While we all can make small errors of judgment and may disagree from time to time, Wulsin’s activities at the Heimlich Institute go beyond simple mistakes. She knew exactly what she was doing, worked for a period of months, had access to records and resources, and was paid for it. How she was paid should be the subject of further investigation. In my opinion, her failure to stop the “Malariotherapy” by exposing it is reprehensible. If she claims she didn’t know then she is inept.

I don’t know how much more damning you can get and still be civil.

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(resume original post)

To me, the nature of the experiments (“malaria parasite injections” to, in theory, fight cancer, Lyme disease, and HIV/AIDS) invokes memories of the horrid Tuskegee Syphillis Study experiments decades ago. Informed consent was not given by Tuskegee study participants/victims. It is clear from this review at Citizens for Responsible Care and Research (CICARE) that informed consent was not given by participants in at least some of Heimlich’s work.

Quackwatch further notes that “The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other governmental bodies have disclaimed this bizarre and scientifically unsupportable method.”

Wulsin, in her report, on Page 16, appears to have specifically disagreed (although she is making a general statement of principles, she would have stopped her report at that point (PDF) and said “it’s not possible to do this and be ethical” if she thought remaining ethical would be impossible):

Studies of Immunotherapy are ethically justifiable as long as three conditions are met.

  1. Patients must be informed of – and understand – the relative costs and benefits to Immunotherapy and its alternatives.
  2. Research protocols must be approved by local (operating) and donor (managing) institutional review boards. These authorizations should be readily available for examination by any critics, patients, potential collaborators, or others.
  3. Research protocols should be designed prior to operations. “Fishing expeditions” for possible benefits are no longer warranted. Specific outcomes should be investigated. Any deviations from research protocols must be accounted for.

Folks, the CDC and others rightly believe that this kind of human experimentation needs to be relegated to the House of Horrors — not given at least tacit sanction, as it was, by an MD who at some point may have been on the take.

As a congressperson in a technically advanced age, Vic Wulsin will be in a position to not only vote on legislation authorizing “advances” in medical science that are questionably ethical, but she will be able to throw the persuasive weight of her medical credentials behind any effort to do so.

(Now, pay attention closely here, because deciding that Vic Wulsin’s ethical breaches constitute a Dealbreaker has NOTHING to do with whether you, dear reader, are prolife, but they have EVERYTHING to do with whether Vic Wulsin is prolife.)

All of this aside, Vic Wulsin could have a failsafe position in all of this if she were unequivocally prolife. Her past dalliance with Dr. Heimlich could be excused as a big, but not fatal, mistake, as she had no hands-on involvement in experiments. She could in theory, say she’s sorry and promise to sin no more. But Vic Wulsin is anything but prolife, and is in fact pro-abort, pro-embryonic stem cell research, and perhaps even pro-cloning (she refused to answer a Cincinnati Right to Life questionnaire which could have cleared up these matters). This means that there is no reason — none — to believe that she would be willing to put the moral brakes on allowing taxpayer dollars to be used for “promising” but unethical medical studies and protocols that might be stampeded though Congress in the name of “the greater good,” or to make such studies a law-enforcement matter if they were attempted in the private sector.

Based on all of the above, Vic Wulsin has earned BizzyBlog Dealbreaker 1: Serious Lapses in Medical Ethics.

(Recall that a BizzyBlog Dealbreaker is “something that completely justifies a person not voting for you, regardless of your party or your stands on the issues.”)

Therefore, discussion of “the issues” in the 2nd District is OVER.

2nd District voters are left with choosing either the remaining candidate on the ballot, one of the two write-in candidates, or abstaining.

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Source Material:

  • Oct. 20 — (Cincinnati Beacon, guest column by Dr. Robert Baratz) Black Box Warning: Wulsin’s Claims of Innocence
  • Various Dates — (Cincinnati Beacon) Wiki entry for Victoria Wulsin
  • PDF of Wulsin’s report with Executive Summary

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UPDATE, Oct. 30: A search on “malariotherapy” at OH-02 reveals just two entries (here and here) from seven months ago. I would suggest that what has been learned since that time, and what appears to have been Wulsin’s evasive approach, would have received some coverage “at the front lines of democracy” by now.

Positivity: Boy Saved during Korean War Meets up with Those Who Did It

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:49 am

A story that goes back over a half-century showing that our soldiers have always been the best — and the orphan they saved followed in their footsteps:

He made most of a new life
Pete Smith, saved by U.S. Army MPs in 1950, reunites with his benefactors

By Mike Baird Caller Times
October 28, 2006

The shrapnel scars he received in the Korean War still are obvious on his left calf and right cheek, but he doesn’t know his given name, can’t remember his family or real birth date. This week the one-time South Korean orphan raised in the early 1950s by U.S. Army military police visited his “many fathers” in Corpus Christi during a reunion.

One of the soldiers found the naked bloody boy, estimated to be about 4 years old at the time, in a ditch in November 1950, put him in a duffel bag, and tried to take him to several orphanages, said Aubrey “Smitty” Smith, 77, of Locus Grove, Ga. “There were so many others, they wouldn’t take him.”

So half a dozen comrades of Company A with the 728th Military Police Battalion slipped the boy into their camp and over the next five years kept him under wraps.

“His family was probably killed by strafing aircraft,” said Smith, a one-time mess sergeant who took part in this week’s reunion at the Omni Marina, “but he survived with us.”

The GI’s called him Park, short for the common Korean name Park Il Joon.

In August 1955, another Smith, a supply sergeant named John Wesley Smith, assigned the orphan his own birthday, Aug. 15, and surname to get him a passport and brought Peter “Park” Smith to Arroyo Grande, Calif., raising him as his only child. John Wesley Smith is deceased.

Peter Smith still has many memories of Korea.

“I remember most the overwhelming soul-sickening feeling of seeing dead bodies lying and strewn in the fields,” said Smith, now a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel living in San Antonio, who guesses he is about 60. The reunion was in Corpus Christi this year in part because Peter Smith lives in San Antonio.

The American soldiers augmented his education, he said.

“They gave me a pocket dictionary, soon black with dirt from usage, and while at one time I’m assured I had every word memorized,” Peter Smith said, his vocabulary was “most colorful” from knowing every four-letter word the soldiers spewed.

“It’s like a dream to me now that a kid in oblivion without identity or parents could survive,” Smith said. “Many times I wonder what would have happened even if I had survived in Korea.”

It was at a 2004 reunion of the battalion in Springfield, Mo., that Peter Smith again met, for the first time since the 1950s, many of the men who saved him.

“It was complete awe,” he said, “it was like meeting my fathers.”

Smith learned from them that he was an ace checker player at about age 5, and the GI’s all saved their candy for him. One of the men he met was Phillip Ahn, who has since died, a Korean soldier with the company who translated for the group.

“He took care of me the most at first, they told me,” Smith said.

Smith’s first sight of America at about age 8 was seeing San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge from the cockpit of a C-47 at 15,000 feet.

“It was a magnificent sight of skyscrapers, lights shining like gems and the reflections from the water,” Smith said. “It was the promise of my new life.”

Being the only Asian in a small farming community didn’t keep Smith’s vivacious personality from prospering, he said. He played Little League, soccer, ran track and became an Eagle Scout.

On Dec. 15, 1961, in San Luis Obispo County, Calif., Smith took the oath of U.S. citizenship.

“This was the sum of my existence,” he said, “culminated in one single moment.”

….. Smith flourished as captain of the soccer team at Chapman College in Orange, Calif., where he graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s in psychology. He later enrolled at Eastern New Mexico University, joined ROTC, and graduated in 1970 with a master’s in psychology and a commission as a second lieutenant.

After serving 22 years in the U.S. Army, including being assistant chief of staff in Korea for the 18th Medical Command, and raising two sons, there have been a lot of tears at the MP reunions in the past few years.

“We’re all so proud of what he’s done,” said Harry Cottman, 74, of Maryland. “I was a two-year corporal and he became a lieutenant colonel.

“Pete’s the greatest thing since ham and eggs.”