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April 13, 2015


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Dr. August, that was a nuanced, heartfelt remembrance of this fine man. I read your book, Adversity is My Angel. I recommend it to all.
In the interest of full disclosure, Jack August is my cousin. He wears that distinction lightly.

I enjoyed reading about the "other" Raul!

A fine channeling of Goldwater energy and affirmation of Arizona's long history of far right political fundamentals.

Mr. Raul Castro the politician knew his audience well at ASU back in 2007.

Shall we salute the flag and launch a drone?

The Honorable Raul Castro:
I read Doctor Jack August Jr’s book on Raul Castro and his gracious wife Pat a few years back. The biography is a gentle scholarly easy read about two very nice people. The Castro’s always reminded me of President Carter and his wife, Rosalynn. Nice people. People you would enjoy breaking pan with on a spring day in the rolling hills near the Mexican border.
My history brought me into the world of politics back when Castro was rising to a historical a place in Arizona history. A time when Hispanics could get elected to office without too much hate spewing forth from the bigots. I remember Hispanic Sheriffs. That’s not today in Arizona. It’s hard to even keep a Mexican police chief in office. Will be interesting to see if Maricopa county voters will elect a Hispanic to the County Sheriff’s office. I hear the guy many of us have wanted to get elected may have decided to go for it. Wisely Governor Ducey waylaid the best police (Mesa) chief In Arizona by giving Frank Milstead his dads (Ralph Milstead) old job as head of the Arizona Highway Patrol. You know kinda like giving the Arizona Regent guy who is about to sue you a big state job.
Castro’s cousin mentioned a “full disclosure”? I would suggest that August’s book is about a man and “some” of his history, a history of a Hispanic that worked for the common good in his life but I would hesitate to say the book is a full disclosure. That would require about 500 more pages.
So if you interested in a pleasant read I recommend Doctor Jack’s book.

From Gringo Pata Salada, Cal,
the guy that in 54, 55 and 56 worked the Fields of Arizona, The Carrots, the Grapes, the lettuce and the Sweet Potato sheds at John Jacobs and Carol Arthur Farms in Phoenix and Glendale.

Dr. August, the problem with most rags to riches, American Dream stories, is that they almost inevitably skip directly to the heartwarming outcome and moral, omitting or giving only the vaguest outline of how the humble beginnings and the glorious ends were bridged.

I have seen many stories about shoeblacks who became rich businessmen, but a bit of digging frequently turns up instances of piracy, defrauding government contracts, theft, and exploitation.

While nothing of that sort is indicated for Gov. Castro, the fact remains that NOT everybody in America can attend law school, much less obtain the kind of financing and connections that even in his day were necessary to achieve top statewide office.

As charming as the idea may be, very few barefoot Hispanic boys have a snowball's chance in hell of becoming Governor.

The story would become so much more interesting if you would tell us how this impoverished Hispanic hobo came to have the funds to attend law school; whose legal firm he came to join, and how; how he raised funds for a gubernatorial campaign; and what kind of quid pro quo was involved with his obtaining the kind of establishment political backing (in a day long before migratory demographics played a role) necessary to receiving the sort of support needed to be elected to high office in a state like Arizona.

Emil, "Shoeblacks" sounds like a word used by a scholarly type that spent time in London?

@Emil: R. Castro chronology something like this:

1916: born in Cananea, Mexico
1926: Move to US/Douglas, Az.
1939: Grad from NAU
????-???? With State Dept. 5 years (Assigned to Border City in Mexico)
19??-19??: Law School, UA
1949 Admitted to Az. Bar
1949-1951: Practice law
1951-1953: Deputy County Atty.
1954 – Elected County Atty.
1958- Elected/Appointed Superior Court judge
1964-1967: Ambassador to El Salvador
1967-1968: Ambassador to Bolivia
1969: return to US/Az. (practice law?)
1970: run for governor as Demo nominee – narrow loss to incumbent
1974: Elected governor
1977: Resigns as governor to become Ambassador to Argentina
1977-1980: Ambassador to Argentina

The “hobo years and professional prize-fighter years” are probably technically true, it’s probably not what the mental image of the phrase brings to mind (if nothing else one wonders: “Where did he find the time?”). Pretty much the same as “born grinding poverty and minority status”; the “grinding poverty” part is no doubt true, but he was born Mexican in Mexico – hardly what one would call “minority status”.

The Gov. Hunt anecdote about “little bare-foot Mexican kids” is probably no doubt true; because in 1926 Castro was, in fact, a Mexican kid and bare foot (as were most of the white kids-grinding poverty was pretty much the order of the day).

I’m going to go with this story for the 1970 governor race: Dems couldn’t find anyone else to run. Same thing happened in Alabama last election; well at least the part about finding someone to put on the ticket.

One can hardly wait to hear the “rags to riches” tales of Rafael Cruz and Marco Rubio.

Similar baffling gaps in the BHO saga exist; except no one seems to want to dig into it. In fact it is considered petty or racist to even pry.

WKGINBHAM, Thete us always more to the story!
Dr August is a nice guy. While he is very smart, I'm sure he recognizes warts, that's not what he is about. He seems to maintain a positive attitude in this world as opposed to cal Lash who is sure to be negative. But that's who I am. I know Dr August slightly but know him better from others. Besides Talton I knew Jack's best man.

Regarding Obama, one of History's greatest con jobs. I love it for the extreme exposure it brought forth from this bigoted country. For desert I hope he takes up residence in Kenya.

"Anyone can become governor of Arizona, like me," he thundered, then paused, looked down and pointed directly at Castro. "Why even one of those little bare-foot Mexican kids sitting over there could one day be governor."

Only somewhat likely...

Hunt probably said something like that, and may even have pointed. But directly at Mr. Castro?

It's a good story. Nay, a great story. But our memories are watery and we fabricate a past to suit the needs of the present. All human lore has to be taken with a grain of salt or you will believe fishes are made from dough while walking on water.

That's just the way it is, and has been, around every campfire since the stone flint got knapped. We embellish to make a good story a great story. We've all done it. We all will all do it again.

The interesting thought here is:

How much of Castro's storytelling helped him attain high office? Seems to me great story tellers and great politicians are hand in hand the same...

Wig- one possible explanation for hobo years- many youngsters who could fend for themselves were sent away from home or elected to during the depression to fend for themselves and to send any extra $ home. Many of them rode the rails to search for work. Methinks that he was a tough hombre in ways that you can't imagine. Sounds like you cast doubt on how tough he really had it. It's a probably a reflex; did you flirt with birtherism? Funny how some folks can't stand to see the Horatian Alger story when it's a dem. suggest you visit Gipper hagiography- plenty of bullshit to be exposed there.

Koreyel, right on post.
Dawgzy, Me thinketh we get WKGINBHAM a small back pack, 2 Gallons of water and have him walk through the desert from Tucson to NOGO.
WKGINBHAM a "nice" informative read about the border is "a Land of Hard Edges" by Peg Bowden.

In the previous thread (The Callow Field) Rogue Columnist wrote (as part of a comment):

" I urge everyone to read Adversity is my Angel, which Castro co-wrote with my friend, historian Jack L. August Jr. RIP."

Dead man blogging?

His Wiki entry says this:

"Through grueling physical labor and self-denial, he saved enough to enter Arizona State Teachers College at Flagstaff, from which he graduated in 1939."

He graduated at 23 and you don't enter Arizona State Teachers College without certain academic qualifications. So apparently he graduated high-school according to the normal schedule.

Was he doing grueling physical labor during high school? Full or part time? How much an hour was the wage for field work or whatever that might entail? What was the four year cost of the college including subsidiary living costs, supplies and so forth? How many hours of field hand labor would it take to accumulate this, even if every penny was saved? How many years would that be, assuming either part or full time labor?

He immediately went to work for the U.S. State Department upon graduation from teachers college. How does that happen for an impoverished Mexican kid straight out of school with no experience of anything except physical labor?

He was assigned to Agua Prieta where he worked as a service clerk. When world war broke out just a short time later, how did this young, physically fit man working in a junior, nonessential clerking job get a draft deferment?

These are just a few of the questions I have.

@Cal: Don’t get me wrong. I have the greatest respect for Mr. Castro. I think his attitude is great.

@Emil: State universities in those days were very inexpensive, if not free. When I went to the University of Florida in the late 60’s – it was still free (not at all free now). Also, hardly anyone went. So a “poor” Raul Castro could attend UNA is not at all unlikely.

Law school different story. Note Mr. Castro worked “overseas” for five years in the State Department; Probably OK pay and living expenses provided. Also these were war years and there was nothing to buy. Seems like he could have easily saved up the money required for law school.
Re: “his obtaining the kind of establishment political backing (in a day long before migratory demographics played a role) necessary to receiving the sort of support needed to be elected to high office in a state like Arizona.” He was part of the “establishment”. Active in politics since 1945 (if you’ll accept that UA Law School is part of the “establishment”)
@Dawg: I don’t doubt any of the story. Without knowing any of the details, I’m just going make this up to account for the “hobo years”: During school and college, whenever there was a break, he a couple of friends would “hitch” a ride and pick up whatever kind of work they could. Given these were the depression years – that was not easy. And yes, you had to be “tough as nails” to survive on the road.

@Cal: I don’t even want to drive from Tucson to Nogo in an un-air-conditioned car.

@Cal: ever see the movie “Lone Star” with Kris Kristofferson paying a corrupt small border town cop?


Even if, as wkg posits (without evidence) Arizona State Teachers College at NAU was free in those days, "generous state subsidies paid my education" is a completely different narrative than the one offered here and at his Wiki page.

A foreign service clerkship in Agua Prieta certainly wasn't lucrative, but with or without the benefits of government service and/or federal education grant money, "the federal government paid for my law school degree" is again a completely different narrative.

Recipe for a self-made Everyman:

Obtain a free teaching degree courtesy of generous state subsidies. Upon graduation, score a diplomatic job in the federal bureaucracy. Use your public union benefits and your public salary, and possibly public grants, to attend law school.

Mind you, nothing wrong with this, if that's the case, but don't enable libertarian Horace Greeley fantasies used to attack government and the disadvantaged, if so.

@Dawg re: “did you flirt with birtherism? Funny how some folks can't stand to see the Horatian Alger story when it's a dem.” Nope, never doubted be was born in Hawaii or who his mother was.

The only trouble with the Alger story-line is that I would like to see more of them.

@Emil: My statement about "low cost or free" only applies to tuition and fees. R. Castro would still need to come up with money for food, lodging, books, clothes, etc.

Nothing to do with Democrats or Republicans. I have learned to be skeptical of such stories from considering a wide variety of them, involving individuals from a variety of countries and historical periods, including saints of the Roman Catholic church.

These stories should always be regarded both with skepticism and as atypical, given the general lack of upward mobility in most societies as well as special problems which minority members of society may be subject to (currently or historically.

The problem of accumulating sufficient investment capital (whether business or personal) to begin with is especially worthy of scrutiny. There is a reason why most individuals do not belong to the propertied classes, and why most of those who are remain petty-bourgeois rather than accumulating enough capital to go beyond a comfortable maintenance income into the realm of magnates.

Also, wkg, while I agree that becoming a Superior Court judge (though not necessarily an ordinary law student) qualifies one as being part of the establishment, it remains a big step to the kind of political backing necessary to get major party nomination for the Arizona governorship.

There are powerful state institutions and interests that must be brought on board to have a viable candidacy. All the more so at a time when Democrats dominated Arizona state politics. The idea that there were no other ambitious or capable Democrats interested in the governor's seat is laughable.

Not the only mystery involving the late Governor Castro.

He was stopped at a Border Patrol checkpoint in 2012 while driving to Tucson from his home in Nogales.

He set off off a radiation detector. He blamed it on testing of his pacemaker the previous day.

That strikes me as nonsense. First, in order to set off such a detector you would not only have to be exposed to radiation but also be made radioactive enough to emit detectable quantities of alpha, beta, or gamma rays. Second, so far as I can tell from news reports he set off the detector built into the checkpoint station itself; only subsequently did agents attempting to narrow the source of the emissions run a wand over his body. Third, I am unaware what kind of medical check of pacemaker functions could produce such emissions. Medical X-rays do not render your body radioactive since X-rays are electromagnetic, not nuclear, radiation.

Wkg, nope missed it but its now on my next stop at FYE. And for you I offer "The Three burials of Melquiades Estrada."

Emil, your critiques here remind me again of a professor, a professor that writes and publishes books?

I suggest that you all read the book and then get on with your research for warts.

P S. Alpha radiation can be ruled out since human skin, clothing, and a few centimeters of air are enough to stop it. Beta radiation is medium energy and penetration and can set off Geiger counters. Someone receiving radiation therapy for cancer might be exposed to beta radiation, but medical treatment does not turn the human body into a significant source of beta radiation itself, since this would be potentially dangerous to friends, family, coworkers, or others by happenstance.

A good read on Castro:

So Emil was the stop by HML a false false?

@Emil: the “establishment” of tomorrow is being formed at UA Law School today.

To wkg:

I've made my point pretty clearly. But if you insist on belabouring it, being a student or practicing professional of law doesn't automatically confer "establishment" status. Lenin, after all, was a lawyer..There are lawyers that work pro bono or for reduced fees for community, left-liberal, or other causes and groups. There are a lot of lawyers at the Center For Constitutional Rights, an organization which is more commonly described as anti-establishment. There are lawyers who make their living as public defenders, some of whom don't role over or play ball with prosecutors.

Cal's obituary link appears to contain some errors. Castro practiced law just two years (not five) before becoming deputy county attorney.

The obituary claims that after graduating from the State Teachers College in 1939 he applied for a teaching position in Douglas, at an institution which had a policy of not hiring Mexican teachers. Instead of applying in Tucson or some other more metropolitan and progressive place or institution, he is supposed to have become so disappointed that he gave up and traveled the country by rail as a hobo. A strange development for someone otherwise known for tenacity.

He then somehow joined the U.S. diplomatic corps (resume experience: hobo, unskilled labor).

He passed the state bar in 1949. If he graduated law school in 1948 with a typical three year Juris Doctor degree, that takes us back to 1945. Prior to that we know he worked for the U.S. State Department for five years. That takes us back to 1940, one year after graduating NAU. Not much time to "travel the country by rail". The War Board seems conspicuously absent in all this. Presumably as a federal employee he had citizen status already.

Like I said, everyone Iis free to write their own book.

@Emil: Not everyone in Law School destined for “establishment”, nor is the entire “establishment” coming out of UA Law; just most of it.

Re: “He then somehow joined the U.S. diplomatic corps (resume experience: hobo, unskilled labor).” How about resume includes “college graduate” (at time that was very rare), fluent in English and Spanish, intimately familiar with situation on US-Mexican border?

Cal, I'm not writing any book. As for your previous question, if I understand correctly, you seem to be asking if the border station radiation detection was a false reading. I would say no. If both a station detector (made for screening fissile material for anti-terror purposes) and a hand-held body wand detector picked up radioactive emissions, the odds of a mistake are low.

Border Patrol agent training in radioactive materials is no doubt pretty sketchy and experience rare. Once they found out it was someone important who gave a (facile) medical explanation they no doubt lost interest in anything other than avoiding bad publicity and cut him loose.

Castro died within a few years. What did he die of? One obituary report says he died while in hospice care. That would be typical of a chronic fatal illness like cancer. The reports I've seen don't give a cause of death, though on a mobile with weak and intermittent wifi I haven't been thorough.

To wkg: college graduate wasn't rare for diplomatic service applicants circa 1940: it was pretty much de rigueur in the diplomatic corps. Bilingual Spanish speakers weren't that exotic in Arizona then either. He hadn't lived on the border (or if so not for some time) so didn't know the current border situation intimately. There were Hispanic blue bloods of better pedigree. educational background, and experience interested in entering government service. It beggars the imagination to think that this former field hand who had known only physical labor and who before applying to State had nothing to fill his recent resume experience with other than "rail riding hobo" could get into the diplomatic corps without some special connections.

@Emil: The way I read it Mr. Castro was not in the “diplomatic corps” but a “clerk”. It beggars the mind why a blue-blood Spanish of better pedigree, educational background, and experience interested in entering government service would be interested in becoming a mere clerk.

Ditto “Bilingual Spanish speakers weren't that exotic in Arizona then either.” I’m sure that’s true – it probably almost universal today. But being fluent at a high level (i.e. college) level is not at all common.

P.S. In using the word" facile" I don't mean to imply deliberate deception on the part of Castro. Conceivably his visit to a Mexican doctor (hospital?) the previous day to have his pacemaker checked could have seemed, to anyone who didn't know better, to be the proximate cause of the border detection event.

Nor do I mean to imply anything as ridiculous as the former governor and ambassador smuggling nuclear materials. But an accidental exposure is possible under a variety of circumstances.

He was a clerk in the diplomatic corps when he joined, wkg. Not everyone who joins State does so as a high level hire. Diplomatic offices need staff too.

The question isn't whether college level bilingualism was common in the general population (it wasn't) but whether it was common among diplomatic corps applicants (it was).

So it is settled. Gov. Castro used gold from the Lost Dutchman mine to buy his way to the governorship. He had to stop there so as to use the remaining gold to purchase a nuclear device which he smuggled into the country in his shorts.

It that it Emil?

Did we miss anything else?

Is there anything else your "Beautiful mind" has uncovered to sully the name of this dead, defenseless man?

Speaking of the Gipper: from Robert parry consortium news

For instance, in a newspaper column on Aug. 17, 1978, some 2½ years into Argentina’s Dirty War, Reagan portrayed Videla’s junta as the real victims here, the good guys who were getting a bad rap for their reasonable efforts to protect the public from terrorism. Reagan wrote:

“The new government set out to restore order at the same time it started to rebuild the nation’s ruined economy. It is very close to succeeding at the former, and well on its way to the latter. Inevitably in the process of rounding up hundreds of suspected terrorists, the Argentine authorities have no doubt locked up a few innocent people, too. This problem they should correct without delay.

“The incarceration of a few innocents, however, is no reason to open the jails and let the terrorists run free so they can begin a new reign of terror. Yet, the Carter administration, so long on self-righteousness and frequently so short on common sense, appears determined to force the Argentine government to do just that.”

Rather than challenge the Argentine junta over the thousands of “disappearances,” Reagan expressed concern that the United States was making a grave mistake by alienating Argentina, “a country important to our future security.”

He mocked U.S. Ambassador Raul Castro who “mingles in Buenos Aires plazas with relatives of the locked-up suspected terrorists, thus seeming to legitimize all their claims to martyrdom. It went unreported in this country, but not a single major Argentine official showed up at this year’s Fourth of July celebration at the U.S. Embassy – an unprecedented snub but hardly surprising under the circumstances.”
Our Midwest homespun genius on the Dirty War.
I too am skeptical when it comes to fact vs fantasy in political bios, much less "appreciations." But I've talked with a lot of people about life in Arizona pre ww2. The work was in agriculture, mining and ranching and it was hard. Looks like RC spent 9-10 years in Douglas during the depression. Do you think that if a Mexican kid could get work that it would be anything but hard? boxing? Probably. My grandmothers's brothers I'm told for their sabbath fun went to the "White Russians'" church out toward Glendale to fight with them. Life was different the. And, get this, no air conditioning!

Dawgzy, I had a few fights with them Glendale "WHITE RUSSIANS", lost every fight plus in 54 a bunch of them kidnapped me after school and threw me in the canal and tossed empty beer cans at me. Luckily I could swim. To the other side of course and it was a long soggy jog home.
And Glendale also had its share of Pachucos. They were not all that dangerous but did occasionally cause a bit of an uproar when outsiders came to Glendale to visit "their" girlfriends. They used to make Zip guns out of car attenas.

Dawgzy, A/C Was a wet sheet and a prayer for a breeze.

@Cal: thanks for the new word....always learning new stuff here:

From Wiki:

Pachuco refers to a particular old school subculture of Hispanic and Latino Americans associated with zoot suits, street gangs, nightlife, and flamboyant public behavior in an attempt to look and feel like mafia bosses of the Chicago gangster era. The idea of the pachuco – a zoot-suited, well-dressed, street-connected flamboyant playboy of Hispanic/Latino heritage – originated in El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, had moved north, following the line of migration of Mexican railroad workers ("traqueros") into Los Angeles, where it developed further.

A pachuca is the female counterpart, often idealized as a beautiful Latina/Hispanic woman in extravagant evening dress or a female version of the zoot suit, out with a pachuco boyfriend for a night on the town. Pachucas broke taboos of their time by wearing men's-style pants sometimes and appearing in public often with their pachuco boyfriends; at the time, a "good woman" was considered to have her place in the home. They defied male/female stereotypes and roles in Mexican-American culture in much the same way flappers had in European-American culture in the 1920s.

@Dawg and Cal: what are "WHITE RUSSIANS"? A gang? A term for tough-ass white working class teenagers?

Certainly not for a sissy-ass girl drink.

Common Cents is a troll, and this isn't its first offense. I'm making a formal request to the moderator to delete the offending comment and to take any disciplinary action beyond that which he sees fit.

Wkg, Farmers

"An examination by the New York Times has found that radiation overdoses were larger and more widespread than previously known, that patients have reported symptoms considerably more serious than losing their hair, and that experts say they may face long-term risks of cancer and brain damage."

" Even when done properly, CT brain perfusion scans deliver a large dose of radiation -- the equivalent of about 200 X-rays of the skull. But there are no hard standards for how much radiation is too much."



"The Therac-25 was a radiation therapy machine produced by Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) after the Therac-6 and Therac-20 units (the earlier units had been produced in partnership with CGR of France).

"It is involved in at least six accidents between 1985 and 1987, in which patients were given massive overdoses of radiation. Because of concurrent programming errors, it sometimes gave its patients radiation doses that were thousands of times greater than normal, resulting in death or serious injury.

"These accidents highlighted the dangers of software control of safety-critical systems, and they have become a standard case study in health informatics and software engineering.."


If serious accidents involving large overdoses of ionizing radiation can occur at major U.S. hospitals, they could also occur during diagnostic procedures performed at Mexican hospitals and health labs.

" It was two months before Iseli learned the cause of her mysterious symptoms: She’d gotten an overdose of radiation during the scan of her head, a blast almost eight times the expected amount.

Within minutes, Iseli became a victim of radiation poisoning, with some of the same symptoms and possible long-term effects that may face workers now exposed to high levels of radiation at Japan’s ailing Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

While Iseli’s targeted medical overdose is not the same as the full-body blast of a nuclear accident, it does offer some insight into the experience of radiation exposure, doctors say.

... Iseli’s symptoms are classic for acute radiation syndrome, but with one big difference, said Andrew Maidment, an associate professor of radiology and chief of physics at the University of Pennsylvania.

“People in the power plant are likely to be exposed all over their bodies,” Maidment says. “Whereas she was exposed only to the head, their livers, lungs and heads will all be exposed.”

That’s evident in the precise swath of hair that Iseli lost. It followed the path of the radiation beam, which damaged the hair follicles.

Iseli was supposed to receive 500 milligrays of radiation during her brain scan, but instead received a 3,875-milligray dose, according to Richard A. Patterson, an attorney who is representing Iseli and others who were overdosed in a spate of medical errors that resulted in a federal investigation.

One milligray absorbed by the whole body is equivalent to 1 millisievert, experts said. At one point, Japanese officials said several dozen workers at the Fukushima plant were exposed to levels detected at 400 millisieverts per hour, which later dropped. For the workers to get a similar dose to what Iseli received, they would have had to stand in the path of that level of radiation for 10 hours, Mezrich said."


P.S. It still isn't clear to me that an overdose of CT scan radiation could induce radioactivity in the human body (though it can certainly cause radiation damage and poisoning), since it uses X-ray.

However, I came across this:

"The radionuclide is administered into a vein through an intravenous (IV) line. Next, the PET scanner slowly moves over the part of the body being examined. Positrons are emitted by the breakdown of the radionuclide. Gamma rays are created during the emission of positrons, and the scanner then detects the gamma rays. A computer analyzes the gamma rays and uses the information to create an image map of the organ or tissue."

In other words a radioactive chemical is intravenously injected into the body, where it caused the emission of gamma rays, which are the form of nuclear radiation with the highest energy that travels the furthest and has the greatest penetrating power.

Normally these radiopharmaceuticals are introduced in tiny quantities for obvious reasons. But if an overdose of CT radiation can occur because of operator error, why not an overdose of radionuclide? These are fairly short lived but as long as they persist, gamma radiation would still be emitted and gamma would certainly be detectable (which is why it's used for some medical scanning procedures).

Someone concerned about the possibility of dementia might have one of these tests.

If surgeons can operate on the wrong patients and remove the wrong organs and limbs or otherwise perform the wrong procedures, as has happened surprisingly often, why couldn't a mere technician over-administer a radio pharmaceutical, with the result less than 24 hours later of being detected by a sensitive security scanner?

Misc. factoids in the course of this thread:

Re: Cananea (where R. Castro was born) A corrido titled La cárcel de Cananea ("Cananea jail") written in 1917 and commemorating the incident has since become famous. At the time of the strike the population of 23,000 included 7,000 Americans and 5,000 Chinese

5,000 Chinese??????????

Douglas is 82% Hispanic today. Probably not all that different from Mr. Castro’s childhood.

In 1950 Tucson has a population of 45,000 +/-

Oddly enough, I do have an Az. connection. My grandmother (dad’s side) had three sons and adopted a daughter (Anne). I met Aunt Ann exactly once. She met and married an Arizonian (Haynes Burris – or something like that) following WWII. Anne and Haynes had two children Steve and Nancy. I never met Haynes or Steve. Haynes was a pilot – I don’t know if commercial or just private – but we all thought that was cool. Aunt Ann and Nancy came to visit in the D.C. area where I lived at the time. I was about 9 or 10. Cousin Nancy must have been about 15 or 16 at the time. She was tall, blond and a total babe. I’ve had a fondness for Az. ever since.

Here's a medical radioisotope called Gadolinium-153 :

"The 153 Gd isotope is used in X-ray fluorescence and osteoporosis screening. It is a gamma-emitter with an 8-month half-life, making it easier to use for medical purposes."

Now, there are three things to note here: it is a gamma radiation emitter; it has a half-life of 8 months; and it is used in osteoporosis screening. Osteoporosis is a bone thinning and weakening disease most of whose victims are elderly, and osteoporosis screening is fairly routine beyond a certain age.

WKG, Google Chinese and Mexico.
Very few Tall blondes in Douglas
but back in the day there were tall Raven haired White Russian women farm girls in the Glendale area. The men were mostly tall and broad shouldered. There were two very large Russian brothers that were almost albino white.
Note, the desert for newcomers is hard to love (lack of green) but if you stay 5 years you will come to know brown as beautiful and never leave. You will live in the Great Sonoran, until your water is gone.

WKG- I'm not sure re White Russians. i think of the term as denoting czarist loyalists- probably a lot of them emigrated before the Revolution. Who knows. They might have been "Volga Germans" who were predominately of Aryan/ Germanic stock rather than Slavic (therefore ' white.' ); they probably got pushed around a fair amount ; many of them emigrated. I 've known a few of the latter- blonde and fair some of them.

Cananea had a team in the Arizona-Mexico league in early 50s. I might have seen them hombres play at old muni stadium, maybe my imagination. Seeing those teams in the republic sport pages made baseball seem exotic and cool. I forget whether Douglas had a team at the same time. Must have been some intense home and homes down there if both were going.

@Cal: Got a little confused on the “white Russian” thing. At first I read your comment to be “farmers” or as we might say in the South, “rednecks” (note: there’s a subset of “rednecks” who are called “white trash” – truly bad-ass people you want nothing to do with). But then your last comment led me to believe there might actually be a bunch of rural people of Russian origin in Glendale(hey if there were 5,000 Chinese in Cananea – anything is possible). Went to my kneejerk response to any question: Wiki. No mention there of any Russian influences. But did come across this:

” In 1891, Burgess Hadsell worked with Murphy to bring 70 Brethren and River Brethren families to Glendale to form a temperance colony. Soon settlers, attracted by the town's ban on alcoholic beverages, continued to arrive.”

I guess by ’54 temperance meant “you won’t become a drunk until you’re in high school”.

@Dawg: “Cananea had a team in the Arizona-Mexico league in early 50s.” Few people know just how good “minor” league baseball was in those days. Here in the South we had the Southern League. Two of the teams in it were the Birmingham Barons and the Atlanta Crackers”. They were independent teams (i.e. not affiliated with any Major League team). Some of the players turned down offers from “the Bigs” – the money wasn’t any better and why go from being a God in Atlanta to a Schmo in Boston?

Off current topic (Paz, Raul) but on pensions.

INPHX? this is how it's done, my friend

my last post got lost.
Wkg and Dagzwy
Google Glendale, AZ Russian immigrants.
Several Web site's including a photo of my old friends the Treguboffs. (The schools hero and heroine's were Konavoloff and Tomanshoff. but spelling is my phonetics)

Baseball and softball, lots of both in early az. including famous female players.

Ducey has made a couple of decisions i like re adopting kids and humane treatment to animals.
I would really be happy if he did more for public schools and let's New head of DPS do what Milstead does best. Go after felonious hard core criminals and white collar crime
And why is it in the world's "greatest" country youth have to pay to go to school? $10,000 a year to go to ASU?

Dawgzy, White Russia refers most properly to the eastern portion of the current day nation of Belarus, which was a major part of historical Kievan Russia.

We discussed Kievan Russia back in the most recent Ukraine/ Putin thread. The Vikings conquered the Slavic people of the region, setting up the capital of Russia in Kiev in what is today Ukraine, in 882. The Viking rulers of the Slavs were known as Rus. Russia literally means Land of the Rus. This historical Russia lasted until the Mongol Hordes overran it in 1240.

Not surprisingly, White Russia today has one of the highest percentage of population with light blond hair in Eastern Europe.

Alas, there are competing theories as to the origin and meaning of the term "White" in this context, none of them definitive. The term White Russia as a geographic area is fairly recent (late Middle Ages).

Often terms applied in one language by one people to another are not what they call themselves, or if so, the two parties may have quite different reasons for using the term, because of cultural and linguistic confusion.

For example, the country that everyone calls Hungary (except the Hungarians themselves) is so called because the Magyar tribesmen who eventually conquered/ settled the area reminded Europeans of another horse riding horde, the Huns. Hungary literally means Land of the Huns, even though it is nothing of the sort.

P.S. You might ask why, if Kievan Russia was centered in Kiev in what is today Ukraine, why Ukraine isn't part of White Russia.

The answer is that after the Mongols conquered Kievan Russia, annihilating resistance through terror techniques, the city-state of Moscow retained some degree of freedom by cooperating with the Mongol conquerors. This allowed Moscow to become more powerful than the more resisting and therefore more repressed city-states. Eventually Moscow was able to reconquer Russia, booting the Mongols out.

Now Moscow rather than Kiev was the center of Russia.

The tsars of Moscow eventually (circa 1700) gave themselves the title "Ruler of all Rus, the Great, the Little, and the White".

"Great" Russia, naturally, meant the bulk of Russia centered on Moscow and mostly inhabited by native Slavs. Little Russia was the Ukraine. And White Russia was the portion of what is today Belarus that still had a lot of Viking descendants. (The Mongols had a nasty habit of laying siege to cities that resisted and if the siege held, slaughtering the hunger weakened population in mass.)

Jon, thanks for the piece on Castro.
Recently my first girl friend (one of the MORENO sisters)from 1954 that I worked the fields with passed away. Hispanics have been a huge part of my life since 1954 and continue to be to this day.
My lady friend and I plan on being on the border in a few days to look at the "Secure Arizona" joke WALL and to dine in some of the small and cheerful family ran cafes on both sides of the border.
Hasta luego Senor.

Back on topic. From a New York Times obituary of Castro published four hours ago:

" He won a football scholarship to Arizona State Teachers College and, after graduating, picked crops for two years because local schools would not hire Hispanics. He later earned his law degree from the University of Arizona Law School. He was elected prosecutor in Pima County."

Note the discrepancies. He won a scholarship instead of working at physical labor and saving enough by rigorous self denial. After graduating, he picked fruit for two years instead of riding the rails across America as a hobo.

The scholarship I believe. If its a choice between hobo and fruit picker for two years after graduating college, I'll continue to be skeptical.

The next time I offer common sense questions and criticisms that challenge conventional wisdom, I expect less abuse from trolls like Common Sense or anyone else for daring to challenge the mythology of a beloved figure.

Here's the NYT obituary link:


If that's not valid for a desktop connection, it's easy enough to Google.

@Cal: used Goggle and came up with this:


Who’da thunk it: there was a White Russian community in Glendale. Good background on the sugar beet factory building featured in the Wiki Glendale article.

Chinese in Cananea! White Russians in Glendale! What next: Basque community in Casa Grande?

The NAU Athletics web site has this entry for Hall of Fame Inductees (1988)

1988 Inductees
*Raul Castro, Boxing, Track & Field, 1935-39

With this bio
1988 NAU Athletic Hall of Fame Class
Raul H. Castro
(Boxing/Football/Track, 1935-1939)
Raul Castro's greatest athletic accomplishment while attending Arizona State Teachers College was as a member of the boxing team. Fighting as a welterweight in the competitive Border Conference, Castro went undefeated as a collegiate boxer. As an All Border Conference boxing champion, he was the Arizona State welterweight champion in 1938 and was elected captain of the team by his teammates. Also in 1938, Castro was the Border Conference (half mile) track champion and team captain. Raul H. Castro later served the State of Arizona as Pima County Attorney, Superior Court Judge and Governor. On behalf of the United States, he served as Ambassador to El Salvador, Bolivia and Argentina.


The term “White Russian” can refer to any of three groups of people:
An ethnic group as described by Emil
A political group: those who opposed the “Reds” during/after the revolution
Or a religious group aka “Old Believers”

The Glendale enclave was of the religious group

@Cal Re: Hike from Tucson to Nogo:
Actually, if you pick your time of year and route properly, this would appear to be a pleasant walk. There’s only one road between the two; I19 with parallel frontage roads on either side.I19 appears to follow what passes for a river in Southern Az. And looks to be flat most of the way. If you do it in the winter, the weather is very nice. It’s only 65 miles, so that would be an easy four or five day hike. Wouldn’t want to carry more than credit card, a camera, a stick (for bad dogs), and maybe a pint of water. Stay in motels of course!

Doing it overland (i.e. not along the road) looks like hell with a lot of up and down to it.

wkg and now U know!

Emil- Dude! Enjoyed your info. All I know is that the Charlebois boys knocked heads with 'em. This describes our relative places in understanding the world.

Dr. Jack August and recognizing warts.

"Gaxiola then approached Arizona historian Jack August to interest him in the project.
August met with Gaxiola and Mora a few times at Durant's, suggesting that Gaxiola approach
an L.A. production studio where August had a connection.

The company agreed to help sell the rights to Mora's life story. A script that draws heavily on
Mora's days as a Dirty Dozen road warrior has been making the rounds.

Meanwhile, Gaxiola continues to have Hells Angels as repeat clients, the skids having been greased long before by Mora's good words."


Strictly speaking, wkg, I referred to White Russia as a geographic region, albeit one with a special ethnic component. There are also plenty of ethnic Slavs in White Russia as well as descendants of Viking settlers and possibly other Germanic migrants.

While it's tempting to interpret this use of the term White as referring to inhabitants with light blond hair, I am not sure that the Russians who coined the term were making an ethnic distinction. Aside from dark hair, most Slavs are Caucasians too.

The political use of the term White for tsarist (or at least anti-Bolshevik) forces stems from another title used by the tsars of Moscow, "Great White Tsar". The term tsar (or czar) is a variation of the Latin term caesar. After the fall of both the Western Roman Empire in 476 and the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) empire with the fall of Constantinople to Ottoman Muslims in 1453, the Russian rulers calling themselves tsars considered Moscow to be the Third Rome. They dressed in white ceremonial robes to distinguish themselves from the purple of Rome and the Red of Byzantium (Constantinople).

Political followers of the tsars thus came to be referred to as Whites after the Great White Tsar.

Note that the (rather unscientific) term "Caucasian" was coined by a German named Christoph Meiners in 1785, referring to the population of the southern Caucasus mountain region (today Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan) to distinguish his vague, ideal ethnic type from Mongolians (whom he considered ethnically inferior).

The term was originally much more flexible but later came to be applied to those with light skin color and European facial features. Caucasians with blond hair, of course, came to be known as Nordic, though there were Norsemen with red hair too (e.g. Eric the Red).

Occasionally one comes across historical references to Red Russia (and White and Black), which are based on an immensely popular and influential book by a Pole of Italian descent named Guagnini, first published in 1578, which purports to be a history of Eastern Europe but which may be confused on a number of points.

Guagnini described Rus as being divided into three parts: White Russia ruled by the Duchy of Moscow; Black Russia ruled by the king of Poland, and Red Russia (everywhere else). I suspect he confused the White Tsar with White Russia, but in any case within a hundred years or so the terms Great, Little,and White Russia came into widespread use inside Russia itself, and White Russia had a different geographic meaning (see initial comment above).

Incidentally, anyone who imagines that terms of art like "Slavs"
indicate a distinct ethnic group or ethnogenesis, or anyone who really likes being confused and wants an easy way to do that, should try to trace the ethnic and linguistic origin of the Slavs, not only in Europe but in earlier migratory history into Europe.

While chasing this particular mysterious light into the swamps of (largely speculative) "history", I came across the following intriguing reference:

" The 536 event and ensuing famine have been suggested as an explanation for the deposition of hoards of gold by Scandinavian elites at the end of the Migration Period. The gold may have been deposited as a sacrifice to appease the gods and get the sunlight back."

Makes the Lost Dutchman look like a piker.

You guys are pretty amazing, a post about Raul Castro and I am learning all bout different color Russians. ;-)

One of my favorite classes I took in college was a class on old Russian literature taught by a visiting Russian professor. The richness, depth, and length of history in Russia, Ukraine and the other nations that have at times been apart of Rus'/Russia/etc is remarkably rich and unique.

What has become of Russian society and culture today is quite sad and is either an indictment of communism or crony capitalism/oligarchy, depending how you choose to look at it. The effects of alcohol in particular on that society are astonishing.

Alcoholism in Russia predates both capitalism and Communism. It is not difficult to find stories and novels from the tsarist period involving alcohol as a way to manage peasant labor. As with the Russian Orthodox Church, which was closely aligned with ruling interests, alcohol had been an "opiate of the people" going back to the days of feudalism.

Early Bolshevik leaders made an abortive attempt to deal with the problem then threw in the towel.

No doubt Communist totalitarianism required its own opiate. At any rate, there is a reason why Korsakov's Syndrome is named after a Russian and also why it is well known in Russia but seldom diagnosed in the West.

The political/cultural/linguistic development of Europe from Late Antiquity through the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the Age of Enlightenment, through the modern era, is replete with points of fascination, especially in the abstract; and Russia in all its versions is no exception.

That said, serfdom was particularly harsh there, and liberalism (in the old fashioned sense of the term) was late in arriving, limited in its application, and short-lived in the brief gasps of republican political movements between the limited reform of the late tsarist period and the onset of Bolshevik totalitarianism (a development debated even among Bolsheviks and opposed by sizeable factions of them.

By all reliable accounts, alcoholism increased in severity during the transition from Communism to capitalism. It is not difficult to see why. Guaranteed income (of a sort), shelter (crowded and run down but guaranteed), and health care, gave way to a period where prices rose sharply, savings and pensions became worthless, unemployment and homelessness became rampant, the pride of a superpower became the shame of a falling star, and the rigid but dependable verities of Soviet society descended into unpredictability and chaos.

I do not know whether the problem of alcoholism has ameliorated since then. I do know that the government attempted to address the problem by artificially raising the price of alcohol: a tactic which was recently abandoned.

Emil, I do think it is a country that has experienced a lot less freedom than just about any other significant economic power and I think that can make understanding them and engaging with them more challenging to those of us coming from such a Western mindset.

I have an interest in temperance movements, Prohibition, and so forth. I think the Russian government doesn't want to project weakness in any form and therefore is going to be circumspect in how it addresses the issue rather than declaring a "national crisis" as a less self-conscious nation might conceivably do.

It's hard to say if the increase in Russian minimum liquor prices, recently rolled back only partially, has done much to affect the issue.

Home brewing and distilling is a legal tradition with a long history there (samogon), and in some regions samogon is drunk much more than vodka and other spirits. Some estimates seem to think that bootleg/homemade spirits are a majority share of the Russian market.

It is also worth noting that the incidence of cigarette smoking increase markedly in transitional/post-Soviet Russia. Some attribute this to the free market and significant marketing in the country by tobacco companies.

Generally speaking there is correlation between smoking and drinking rates. I am not sure on Russian correlations but according to the NIH, in America, "People who are dependent on alcohol are three times more likely then those in the general population to be smokers, and people who are dependent on tobacco are four times more likely than the general population to be dependent on alcohol."

There's so much research out there it's hard to know what to trust but I found one study from Baylor / 2013 that stated that nicotine made rats subsequently more interested in alcohol, and vice versa.

Unfortunately in today's scientific free-for-all, some things are so "studied" that unless you're a scientist in that field yourself, it's hard to know whether popular/major substances are good or bad for you unless a major consensus emerges from the incredible din of biased research flooding broad elements of the media that routinely re-trumpet, "study finds (popular thing) does/causes (absolutely anything), according to (any research body)" without much thought or research of its own. The media will happily report, and the public will receive without getting upset, that coffee causes cancer according to X on Monday, and on Tuesday that coffee cures cancer according to Y.

As I like to say, the history of science is a history of disproved/discarded theories. Today's scientific knowledge is like a canned good on a shelf -- some have longer shelf lives than others, but eventually science is going to come along that says, nope, that's no longer good, here's what we think we know now. Sometimes it's a wholesale rejection, other times only a minor refinement, but scientific truth is always up for revision.

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