If you watched, as I did, Ken Burn’s extraordinary documentary on public television The War you know that he used excerpts of writing from a small town newspaper in Minnesota. The columns that were quoted Mcintosh_at_desk_2 were narrated by the actor Tom Hanks. The newspaper was the Rock County Star-Herald and the writer was its editor Al McIntosh. The small town paper was published in Luverne, Minnesota. McIntosh was born in 1905 in North Dakota as the son of a pastor of a church. He owned and published the paper from 1940 to 1964. He died in his sleep July 23, 1979.

He was a talented writer and a collection of some of his writings has been published in a book Selected Chaff from his columns written during World War II. His writing was simple and plain, but often communicated great feeling. In one column, dated May 18, 1944, McIntosh wrote about aservice man’s body being returned home to Luverne. Excerpts from his column read like this:

"The Tuesday afternoon train’s whistle echoed mournfully as it vanished round the curve. The little group of friends, who had assembled to meet it moved from the hot sun in front of the depot to the shaded platform on the west end…A man wheeled up the baggage truck. Heads were reverently uncovered. Six husky men, some of them dressed in rough work clothes with perspiration staining huge dark blotches on their shirts, moved up and grasped handles of the heavy casket and gently lifted in on waiting coach…The funeral coach tires crunched in he cinders as it drove away. Ensign "Bill" Mcandell had "come home"

McIntosh became famous for an editorial entitled "A tired American speaks out" which demonstrated his staunch Republican conservative viewpoint, I’ve published it in a separate post to give you a flavor of the man and his viewpoints during the turbulent 1960’s. It was written in 1964. While I don’t identify with his political viewpoint, the man was an extraordinary writer. The book is worth reading.


  1. McCain, is not too bright. Graduated 3 from the bottom of his Annapolis Class, even though father had all the politcal pull, an admiral. On probation his entire 4 years from bad behavior to bad grades. What will he be like if he gets elected? May be the Republicans worse nightmare. As long as he stays with the bushie line i DO NOT see how he could win. Many voters will not vote for Obama because he is half black, but I believe enough of us will vote for him to win. McCain has some skeletons in his closet, with women, home savings and loan, wifes finances,his own assistance to special interests when he preaches no. McCain is confused who we are fighting in Iraq, who are the enemies, Shiite, Al Quaeda, Insurgents, etc.. He is also not truthful on his personal experience in Iraq sneak in, go to the market with a small military force, helicopters, etc., civilian and military on guard and announces it is safe to go to the market in Bagdad. We need a change. CB

  2. I am also troubled by the choices American voters are left with as the Democratic Party quarrels through the primary and the general election approaches. Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton are beating each other up side the head about various different issues, playing right into the hands of the Republican campaign strategists. No doubt Karl Rove is planning some sort of character attack on Obama or Clinton once the smoke clears and the nominee is declared. I don’t believe for a minute that Rove won’t be included in the Republican campaign for 2008. It’s what he does, it’s who he is.

    Hillary Clinton’s faux pas misspeaking of dodging sniper fire in Iraq combined with Barak Obama’s 20 year relationship with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright and his inflammatory comments about America’s recent history are bothersome, for sure. But, John McCain as president? Yikes! The Democratic nominee will have shortcomings that pale in comparison to a continued Bush agenda. McCain suggesting that the United States troops stay in Iraq for 40, 50 or even perhaps 100 years is preposterous and shows just how determined these men are to be “right fighters”. They must be “right” at the cost of American troops, American taxpayers money, America’s international reputation and the echo of troubles that all of this will surely be inherited by the children of this generation and generations to come.

    The primary problem in this upcoming election is once again; The vote for a candidate that will least likely further damage America’s economy, foreign affairs, environment and worldwide reputation and a president who can be moderate enough to bring the country together rather than a polarizing results of Bush’s two terms. The next president must devise a bipartisan plan to mop up the disaster in Iraq without leaving the area more unstable than it already is. This is obviously a tall order, perhaps impossible… but watching American troops try to solve this problem militarily is unsatisfactory and just plain won’t work. They’re not trained to make policy, only to implement policies by those in Washington and is not fair to expect them to resolve this monumental failure. What the Bush administration is asking from the troops is a losing plan that has already cost America over 4000 troops and US taxpayers one half billion dollars that will most likely eclipse the $1 trillion mark… if we are lucky. I don’t like the choices we’re offered in Obama and Clinton… But I HATE the idea of a “Bush 3rd Term” practically assured in a McCain administration.

    Personally, I’m in the Clinton Camp. She’s not without her flaws… But she has a plan to responsibly withdraw troops from Iraq and stop the bleeding. She’s more electable than Obama in a general election against John McCain and has experience in Washington. Obama speaks in promises and platitudes that sound good when preached from behind a podium, but where is his plan? He is certainly polished, that’s for sure and with a little bit more experience, he might be a formidable leader… but I don’t think he’s ready and the state of this union is in a delicate situation to say the least right now. With inflation on the rise, a real and present recession, a very unpopular war, homes being lost across the nation in foreclosures, too many Americans without healthcare and an immigration debacle… I don’t think we can risk our next president getting his experience “on the job” in the oval office. There’s just too much on the line.

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