Tag Archives: America

Sadly, I don’t think this pledge idea is going anywhere.


Unfortunately, I think this young man is fighting a very uphill battle.

Rather than join him in his campaign, wacko college students are pushing hard in the other direction. Because the flag and the pledge represent what’s wrong with the world — structural racism, imperial militarism, unrestrained capitalism and so on — such symbols must be eradicated. The flag itself is a micro-aggression. The pledge is too.

Sadly, I think the nation has “jumped the shark.” The declines can be tracked many ways. The cultural rot has been spreading. The crassness of the Republican primary is just one indicator. I had hopes for Donald Trump, that he’d clean it up and realize he needed to be a unifying force, as he claims to be.

Dennis Miller saw it coming. He said it many times on his now-defunct radio show. The country has flipped, he said. And he predicted Hillary would be the next president. It looks like Miller was right, more and more, with every passing day.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t soldier on. Fighting the good fight is what life is about. I wish him luck.


To My American Muslim Immigrant Friends

RECENTLY THERE WAS A FORUM in Bellevue, Washington, a suburb of Seattle, for Muslims organized by the city government with the mayor in attendance. It was the typical multicultural, diversity pile of crap.

To My American
Muslim Immigrant Friends:

Please stop whining. Please stop complaining. Please remember that no one forced you to come here.



“It’s very distressing, because Islam is a very peaceful religion, and in the Quran, to take one life is as if you’ve killed the whole population. Then, you see what you see on TV and it’s just horrible.”

Yeah, being blown apart by a terrorist is a bit distressing, too, I’m sure.

I am so sick and tired of whining whiners complaining about how fearful they are. It’s so off putting.

You live in America. We have accepted you. Worship as you like. Believe as you like.

Unlike most of the Muslim world, we have freedom, and we cherish it. Threats to our way of life, primarily coming from those who claim to followers of Mohammed, are serious business.

“Approximately 35 percent of attendees reported feeling anxiety about their personal safety.”

Are Christians targeting Muslims with nail bombs in backpacks? Are citizens routinely assaulting Muslims? Are the mosques being repeatedly vandalized? No, no, and no.

Are innocents worldwide continually being murdered by Islamic radicals? Yes.

When is the last time the local imam vociferously denounced violence in a sermon? Have you read about local Muslims vocally calling out the terrorists? It’s rare.

If Islam is such a peaceful religion, then why is it so difficult to find examples?

“I feel that whenever something happens around the world, not even specifically in the United States, I am expected to give an explanation. When I go to school, when I go on play dates with my children, people do expect me to explain things that I have had nothing to do with. I think that has trickled into Seattle.”

Guess what? If you are a Muslim, then you are “a representation of Islam as a whole,” whether you want to accept that role or not. It’s the same for practicing Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Sikhs — anyone who claims to be a member of group — whether it’s a religion or not.

I admire many facets of Muslim life, including the rejection of consumerism and materialism. Family life is another. There are many admirable qualities to Islam and its adherents.

“I want them to grow up in an environment where they do not feel like outsiders. They are American, I want them to know that they can be proud Muslims and proud Americans at the same time.”

I have no problems with Muslims who have adopted our way of life. It’s those clinging to the barbarism of the past who are the problem. For those who refuse to become American, go home. Assimilate or leave!

Now, I’m just sitting here waiting for the hate mail where folks call me a bigot and demand I check my white privilege at the door.


I submitted a parred down version of this as a Letter to the Editor of the Bellevue Reporter in response to the article.

“I bore it rather well . . . ” Bathing in 18th century America

dreadful&smellyI’VE BEEN READING
a kids’ book about how dirty and messy life was during colonial times in America. One of the tidbits I came away with is this quote from a woman.

“I bore it rather well, not having been wet all over for 28 years.” — an American colonist, a woman, after finally succumbing to a bath

Hygiene as we know it is a modern invention.


The Apostle of California, persona non grata


Junípero Serra is honored throughout the campus of Stanford University.

There’s Serra Street, Serra Dorm, and Serra House. The university’s address is 450 Serra Mall.

He was a Catholic priest who founded the mission system of California and dubbed the Apostle of California. But some consider him an evil man guilty of genocide, and they are working hard to obliterate him from the campus.

Of course, trying to erase what makes us uncomfortable won’t work. But when did common sense enter into this?

Serra has a lot going against him. He wasn’t only a Christian, but a proselytizing one, whose job entailed convincing folks that Jesus was the Son of God. That’s very unpopular on college campuses these days.

Then, there’s the fact that he’s a man, and a European one. I wouldn’t be surprised if eventually someone claims that he was a closet Protestant. The closer to the WASP stereotype the better.

One student of Native American descent feels really bad about it.

It makes me feel like nobody knows about, or cares about, my history. The prominence of Serra’s name on campus perpetuates the history of abuse. When we’re only uplifting a singular history, how are we contributing to the colonization of American Indian people?”

Okay, why not begin by adding monuments and such honoring Native Americans? I doubt there would be any opposition.

Where will this end? Censorship is such an evil, except when I agree with it, say the students at Stanford.

Another student reminiscences about the good ol’ days, the 1970s, when the school mascot was changed.

“Changing the mascot was an extraordinary act of decolonization on the campus.”

What the heck? Will tearing down statues do a damn thing?

Actual decolonization would require the forced removal of those descended from European immigrants.

I am oh-so-tired of political correctness on steroids.

Where are the true leaders on campus? Or is Stanford as lost as so many other previously great institutions?

Sadly, they don’t want to stop at Serra. They want a review process for every single name used on campus.


Fromke Family Origins

Years ago I came across some information on the surname Fromke. I had lost my notes if I made any at the time and had a hard time finding the material again, until 2006. I wrote about it back then, thankfully links included, in a message to the Fromke mailing list at RootsWeb.

The name Fromke is recorded on lists of residents and tax surveys in Pomerania in the 17th century. The oldest known document is from the year 1666, the year of the Great Fire of London. The possible variants Fromike and Frömike are listed as well.

Fromike: vor 1666; Frömike: vor 1666; Fromke: 166

In 1966, the lists were published in book form by the Historical Commission for Pomerania, which had been preceded by the Society of Pomeranian History and Classical Studies. The society’s benefactor was King Frederick William IV, then the Prussian Crown Prince.

The society began with the systematic study of the history and archaeology of Pomerania and these two directions dominated through its 120-year existence.

This interest in history led to the creation of the historical commission.

In 2005 I wrote to a relative about the family and what I had found.

I have sent email messages to Fromke “cousins” in Germany. Although I have received friendly replies, I’ve never received any genealogical or historical information. Recently I discovered a sister city partnership between Winona, Minnesota and Bytow, Poland, which is where Albert and Augusta were married. I have also often browsed the web for information on these places. . . .

Borntuchen is now Borzytuchom, Poland and Grabenzien (or Grobenzin) is now Rabacino, Poland. These little villages are not far from Bytow. Bytow is home to a Teutonic knight castle, designed by the same architect who built the more famous one at Malbork. This area, known to history as Pomerania, was on the German frontier and had been shifted between Poland and Prussia
for centuries. I’m not sure when the Fromkes moved there or from where. The first reference in surviving documents to the name and spelling Fromke is in 1666.

At the time I still hadn’t asked my uncle if he’d submit his DNA for testing, so I didn’t know that the Fromke male line was among the R1a1 haplogroup, indicating a high probability of Viking ancestry.

Since then, I am of the opinion, based on the genetics and the genealogy, that the Fromke family had been in Pomerania for some time. From the historical evidence, we know that they’ve been in the region for more than 350 years. The genetics provides some evidence that the male line goes back to Viking activity in some earlier age, perhaps originating in Sweden, which dominated portions of Pomerania for long periods.

Previously I’d found some background on how the name came to be.

In Lower Germany in old documents Vrome, Vromeke is translated as “a competent or valiant person” and honorable, trustworthy man. The root of this name is Fromm or Fromme. In Middle High German it developed into Frommel and in lower German became Frommke and Fröhmke. Another patronymic variation in Lower German is Frömming. In Middle High German it expanded to “vrumman”: which is Frommann or “honorable man, steadfast man”.

The ending on the name, the k and e, is of note. There are competing theories.

The ending “-ke” is typical of many surnames in German regions east of the river Elbe. Some say it has no meaning; others say, it’s origin might come from changing the Slavic ending “-kow” (pronounced “koh”) to a more German sounding ending “-ke”.

One newsletter argues that it may have a Saxon origin.1

Recent surveys have shown that the -ke German name endings, like in Radtke, far outnumber other German name endings like -ow and -itz. This is not surprising since the -ke name ending is an ancient name ending used by the Saxons from North Germany, around the Hamburg and Bremen area. As these Plattdeutsch speaking Germans moved east through Mecklenburg, Pomerania, and East Prussia, they took their names with them. Since the Baltic Sea area of Pomerania was heavily settled by Saxons, the -ke ending was common in that area. As the Pomeranians later settled in Wisconsin and other states, these states also have many German names ending in -ke.”


1. From the December 1994 issue of Pommerscher Verein Freistadt
, a newsletter published by the Pommerscher Verein Freistadt, P.O. Box 204, Germantown, WI 53022.

The National Museum of the American People

Today I learned about an effort to fund and build a new national museum. The subject? The American people.

I think it’s a wonderful idea. I am not a big fan of the federal funding portion of the project, but the overall ideal is great: a museum dedicated to the average American.

The National Museum of the American People has a large coalition of groups backing it, everything from Scottish organizations to the Hmong.