Fornigate, Lindbergh and Hawaii

Ten years ago this week I wrote two full columns: the regular one, and one on the breaking scandal with President Bill “I Did Not Have Sex With That Woman” Clinton. I (and many others) dubbed it Fornigate, and it led to his impeachment.

Me, I think he was simply stupid: why he didn’t just say “This is between me and my wife” and refuse to say anything else, I just don’t know, but he forced it into being An Issue. (And can you believe it’s been 10 years already?!)

You can still read both the special Fornigate issue and the Liberal Response I also released 10 years ago.


I mentioned last week that I was on the road again. I gave the clue that I had just visited Charles Lindbergh’s grave; just a few readers correctly figured out that I was in Hawaii — I was attending a conference for once, rather than speaking at one. Lindbergh’s grave is in a remote corner of Maui.

Out of the Way

The most interesting response was from a French filmmaker who wrote, “We are doing a major documentary about Charles Lindbergh and I was wondering why you went so far out of the way to visit his grave?”

Lindbergh's Grave
Lindberg’s Grave: The leis and other flowers were there already, but I left the Get Out of Hell Free card.

Well, we didn’t really go “out of the way” to visit it, we were in the area and thought we’d stop at the tiny church where he is buried at the top of a cliff overlooking the Pacific. But sure: Lindbergh is a fascinating figure, and I look forward to the new documentary.

Marc in Illinois said he was…

…surprised by your taking the time to visit Lindbergh’s grave. While his solo Transatlantic flight was heroic, it was hardly in the same class as Columbus’ voyage since the feat had been accomplished at least 14 times before by pairs of pilots. And, his heroism was forever tainted by his later embrace of Hitler and Nazism and his blatant anti-semitism.

I think it’s way overstating things to say he “embraced Hitler,” and my reading of history doesn’t support anti-Semitism, either. Lindbergh was an isolationist to be sure, taking after his father, a U.S. Congressman, who was an isolationist in World War I. For much more on the subject, his Wikipedia entry looks pretty objective.

Anyway, I had never been to Hawaii before. We started on Oahu, staying in Honolulu for a few days, then to Maui, and then to the Big Island.

On the chopper. I’m in the right seat, Kit is in the middle, next to the pilot.

After landing in Hilo, we jumped on a helicopter for an aerial tour of the Kilauea volcano. One of my personal “must see before I die” items is flowing molten lava. Check!

Absolutely amazing to see — the photo below of course doesn’t really capture the feeling. Then we went to Volcano National Park to see things more close-up (but, alas, not flowing lava).

Kilauea has been erupting continuously since 1983. I’ve also posted some details on another interesting activity the conference group did together: we went on an ocean night dive, which was fantastic.

Lava River
The lava river shown here is about 50 yards wide, and we’re flying by at about 700′ above it.

How is the photo so clear? We asked them to take the doors off the chopper! Yes, we could feel the heat from the lava — it felt pretty good, in fact, since it was a bit rainy that day. The flow is to the left, from the lava pool in the crater at the upper right.

We’re not quite home yet, though: as soon as we arrived back at our home airport we drove the opposite direction — to a medical conference to get some “continuing education” for our EMT certifications. A full weekend conference goes a long way toward our renewal requirements. The things you have to do to volunteer! 🙂

18 Comments on “Fornigate, Lindbergh and Hawaii

  1. Wow, flowing lava is now on my list of things to see before I die. BTW, if you haven’t seen the Northern lights, add those to your list — you won’t be sorry!

    Heh! I’ve already said that the aurora is on my list right here in this blog! We’re going to Alaska this fall, which is an iffy time to see the aurora, but I’ll have my fingers crossed. -rc

  2. I’m sorry, but in my opinion Lindbergh was more that just an isolationist. Maybe he wasn’t completely pro-Hitler, but he thought that whites were a superior race. I admire his bravery and the work he did to promote flying, but can’t say I admire him as a person.

    For the wikipedia article you recommend.:
    “Much of his position was because he considered Russia to be a “semi-Asiatic” rather than European country compared to Germany, and because he found Communism to be an ideology that would destroy the West’s “racial strength” and eventually replace everyone of European descent with “a pressing sea of Yellow, Black, and Brown”. The latter belief was more important and consistent than the former, since he saw Russia as a natural barrier to the rising East Asian powers.[25][21] He believed that race was directly correlated to national success and non-whites were generally mentally inferior.”

  3. You don’t have to go all the way to Alaska to see the northern lights. I went on a 10 day canoe trip in the International Boundary Waters. We left out of Ely, MN. If I remember correctly, it was in August that we went on this trip. We were able to see the Aurora Borealis on several of the nights. I had never heard of the Aurora Borealis before the trip but it was so cool to see. You didn’t want to stop staring at the sky. It was so calm and eerie at the same time. A must see.

    Yep: that’s why so many of us have it on our “bucket list” — things we must do before kicking the bucket. -rc

  4. For a recent book on Lindbergh that bends over backwards to be fair to him, yet makes it clear how much he (and his wife) admired the Nazis and disliked Jews (Charles alone), read Friedman’s The Immortalists. It is an interesting story, and it ends right where you were, at his grave in Hana.

  5. Have any of you been to see the reproduction of the Trial in the same court house where the original trial took place about his son’s kidnapping? The trial and court house are in Flemington, NJ. The house he lived in when it happened is in Hopewell Township, NJ. Fascinating.

    The trial Linda refers to is of Bruno Hauptmann, the man accused of kidnaping and killing Lindbergh’s son. He was found guilty and executed. -rc

  6. Growing up in southern New Hampshire, I often observed the Aurora Borealis. However, today there is so much light pollution that it is hard to make out any but the brightest stars from my home in Salem. I still can observe the phenomenon from my place in Maine, that will become my retirement home in a few years. I hope that the light pollution will not overtake that area and block it from my vision before I die.

  7. Of course as any real Lindburg afficianado would know, any tour of important Lindburg sites would be incomplete without a visit to the museum based around the wooden CRATE used to transport The Spirit of St/ Louis back from England, because Coleridge would not let him fly home. It has spent time as a hunting camp, and is now a museum dedicated to The Spirit of St. Louis, including a small flying replica of the plane (not quite) and is located in Cannan Maine, you can go to; http://www.roadsideamerica.com/attract/MECANcrate.html
    I take it we can expect a visit from Randy here in Maine sometime soon?

    I’ve seen the plane, so I think I’ll pass on the crate…. -rc

  8. Growing up outside Buffalo, NY in the fifties, I can remember seeing the Northern lights on some winter nights. I don’t imagine that’s possible anymore with all the light pollution. I can also remember seeing either Sputnik or Telstar (or both, it’s been a while) in orbit.

  9. Referring to the fornigate part of this blog, I live in Iowa (you know, the first state that the presidential wannabees attack). In the weeks preceeding our vote, I averaged about 8 calls a day from different campaigns. When one poll taker asked me if there was anything they could do to convince me to vote for Hilary I said yes, let me be her intern. Click the phone went dead. That was my last call from the Clinton campaign.

  10. The next time you visit the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, look around for a smallish Plexiglas-enclosed exhibit containing a spare engine nose-cone from the Spirit of St. Louis. Walk behind it to see the good luck wishes from Lindbergh’s support team of mechanics, etc., inscribed on the inside, including a relatively large and prominent hand-drawn swastika.

  11. Lindbergh held racial views that were quite common in the 20’s and 30’s. Beyond question the majority of people in the US and Europe held them. The ‘politically correct’ viewpoint that holds sway today would be regarded by most persons in his time as absurd and untenable. If we condemn Lindbergh for his views we also would have to condemn the great majority of his contemporaries in the world of politics, in the academy, in the world of journalism. Not to mention the average man on the street. It was a very different world back then, perhaps even a better world in some ways if not in others.

  12. On fornigate: Thomas jefferson is said to have had affairs with his slaves. This came up centuries after his death. Why?? Because if you had asked him about his personal life while he was alive you would have been asked to a pre-breakfast meeting with your weapon of choice and your best friend. Sometimes I miss the old days.

  13. Re: Lindbergh’s flaws–
    Lindbergh was a product of his time. Anti-semitism and a belief in white superiority were common at the time. Lindy died an old man in 1974 — a mere ten years after the Civil Rights Act was passed, and only passed after a long and very bitter — and sometimes deadly violent struggle.

    A struggle which is still not over, as African-American voters in Florida, Ohio, and Arizona found in the last presidential election.

    Lindbergh was in fact friendly with Hitler — as were many famous Americans until Hitler showed his true colors. As for isolationism, most Americans did not want to get involved yet again in a “European War.” It took Pearl Harbor to make isolationism unpopular.

    Please remember that Lindbergh served his country in WWII both as a test pilot and flying combat missions.
    Sure, he was still, by any yardstick, a racist — but he was a citizen of a racist country.

  14. The thing with the Clinton impeachment that struck a chord with me is that Slick Willy didn’t just “have sex with ‘that’ woman”, but that he took considerable advantage of a subordinate.

    In any corporation, he would have been fired and his name would have been struck from the history books. Instead, you get the usual suspects coming out of the wood work to defend a predator.

    Disgusting.

  15. People for years have misunderstood Bill Clinton’s famous statement: “I did not have sex with that woman, Monica Lewinski” to mean that he was denying that he had sex with *Monica*. He was, in fact, speaking *TO* Monica regarding his sexual relations with his wife, assuring Monica that he had not had sex with his own wife. Men who are cheating on their wives often use the “my wife doesn’t understand my needs” ploy and Bill was just making a public declaration of his loyalty to Monica. I’m sure he was hoping to keep up his relationship with Monica, the young hottie, knowing that his wife would never actually have the spine to divorce him.

  16. Lindbergh wanted to do what he could for the War Effort, but the govt would not let him into combat, because of the morale hit if he got killed.

    So, mainly on his own, he flew to Pacific bases (with the tacit permission of some in the military). It was supposedly a morale tour, but he used his knowledge of tuning aircraft engines to help improve fighters and bombers to increase distance. Even 100 miles extra really helped. It made a difference and brought guys back home.

    Sad about his child.

  17. The actual quote from Bill about Monica was “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Monica Lewinski”. About a month later, the edition of JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, was published with an article stating that some astonishingly high proportion, perhaps as much as 60%, of Americans didn’t think that oral sex was “real sex”. Of course, the JAMA board immediately fired the editor for meddling in politics.
    The article was Would You Say You “Had Sex” If . . . ?

    It was actually “Miss Lewinski” rather than “Monica Lewinski” — funny how our memories change things, eh? And it wasn’t a month later: Clinton uttered the quote during a White House press conference on January 26, 1998. The JAMA article appeared in their January 20, 1999, issue. Still, a year is pretty darned quick for a refereed medical journal. -rc

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