Notes: Current Poll Surprising; Hacksaw Ridge; Stock Market




Current Poll on Jumbotale

I am running a poll on the site – first page of Just go to the site and please vote your opinion.  I was working on a committee and someone I respect called into question whether someone who worked in an oil & gas or mining company could be a conservationist. In another context someone I also respect made a slightly different point – that no environmental rights group would ever take anyone seriously who worked with or promoted working with someone who had worked with an oil & gas or mining company.

“Can someone who works for an oil & gas or mining company be a conservationist?”

Vote at before the poll closes early next month. I will write a post on the results early next month.

Hacksaw Ridge

Watched the movie last night which told the story of Desmond Doss, Congressional Medal of Honor Winner and combat medic on Okinawa in 1945.  Enjoyed the movie, but have to say I do not think it compares to Saving Private Ryan.  Unless the acting is truly terrible I enjoy almost any war movie – from propaganda to anti-hero.  But I cannot accept as exceptional if the combat scenes appear unrealistic.  Sometimes I note the wrong weapons in use for a battle – a tank model in a 1944 scene that did not deploy until 1962. Here it is small unit tactics.

I have trouble believing a US Army company would deploy with all its men bunched up together without proper intervals between men.  This movie occurred in 1945 not North Africa in 1942 – by this point in the war the US Army and Marine Corp were the most sophisticated amphibious invasion force in the world. Men clustered together are extremely vulnerable to mortar and machine gun fire.

As Sergeant Horvath in Saving Private Ryan warned his men in the Higgins Boat approaching Omaha Beach on D-Day, “I wanna see plenty of feet between men, five men is a juicy opportunity, one man is a waste of ammo.”  There is not a scene in Hacksaw Ridge where US troops deploy according to this basic rule.

On the plus side the portrayal of the Japanese is more nuanced than is usual in a US production.  You see why US troops had so much hatred for the enemy.  But you also get a glimpse of why the Japanese were such a tough foe and an brief portrayal of Japanese military culture in WW II.

The personal story of Doss is what makes it interesting. A very good movie worth watching.

Stock Market

The market is up a quarter since the election. Now is a good time to rebalance your portfolio if you were already fully invested in stocks. Given monetary policy there are not a tremendous number of investment alternatives, but cash is always good in a low inflation environment.  Harvesting some cash before the inevitable retrenchment is not the worst idea.


  1. Conservationist Poll: Please tell the respected friends you refer to in your lead-in to the poll that at least one reader (not at all related to extractive industries) finds it rather silly to assert that no-one involved in oil & gas is or could be a conservationist.
    First, oil and mining companies have sought out and hired conservationists for many roles: advisors, scientists, managers and workers for such things as planning, reclamation and clean-up. Next, strictly speaking anyone who consumes products of the extraction industry is “part of” the industry, including Greenpeace, Sierra Club etc.
    Lastly, given that oil & gas companies are a fact of life, a conscientious conservationist may well chose to work for one to help promote a more environmentally-responsible approach to the necessary activities they engage in.

    • Vince, at least one of them believes extractive industries are moral reprobates akin to working for a nuclear weapons manufacturer. Not my view, but that’s the heart of it. The underlying industry is so evil that exec.s & workers are beyond redemption. Perhaps reflective of divide in US generally.

      • Amazing. Stating the obvious, if that individual lives without a car, electricity, or manufactured products or food of any kind and lives in a home s/he hewed from the Earth heated only by solar absorption, then his/her POV may have some credibility. Otherwise, it is idealistic teenager thinking. The only “divide” that perspective reflects (to me) is that between the sensible and the nonsensical.

        • I think they would respond that they take do everything to avoid fossil fuel derived energy but gov policy prevents a more rapid conversion. They see that conversion as a moral not economic battle. Ergo, they don’t believe someone engaged in the fossil fuel industry could have the moral statue to be a conservationist. Not saying I agree, but that perspective is on display daily here in Boulder and more broadly.

  2. Hacksaw Ridge: I will leave it to your expertise to critique the technical military aspects of the production. As one not knowledgeable of such details, they did not distract from my enjoying the movie. I do recall fleeting thoughts that some of the battle scenes seemed contrived for dramatic purposes. However, they were well-enough done to not unduly tax the willing suspension of disbelief required to watch most every movie.
    The story of the only conscientious objector to win the CMH and to have acted with such distinction, bravery and selflessness in what was undoubtably a horrendous battle was truly inspiring. I agree with you that it is well worth seeing.


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