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Costa Family History

I thought it might be a good time to start some articles on my site about my family’s history. I don’t want to say too much but there are some interesting nuggets worth sharing.

Great-Great Uncle John Noonan – Paternal Grandma’s side

I am related to John Noonan (grandma’s side of the family) who was the brother of Sara Noonan. Sara Noonan (who married and became Sara Noonan Curly) was my grandma’s, Virginia Costa, grandma.

Great-Great Uncle John Noonan fought in the Civil War. He enlisted Oct 1st, 1861 in F company, 47th Regiment out of Peoria Ill at the age of 24. He was 5’11 with blue eyes and light hair. He was born in 1837 in Ireland.

According to the roster, he achieved the rank of Corp. and was mustered out of service on Oct 11th, 1864.

He may have been wounded in some battle and/or spent time in the Andersonville Prison camp. However, he would have to have been paroled at some point. Though, prison exchanges seemed to have stopped by June of 1864. So it’s unlikely.

Far more likely is that since he is supposed to have signed up at the start of the war the original terms of his enlistment ended on Oct 11th, 1864 and he was discharged. If that’s the case then he saw lots of action under Grant as he moved to take Vicksburg and beyond.

Great-Great Uncle John Lieb – Paternal Grandma’s side

I am related to John Lieb (might be written as Leib; grandma’s side of the family). He was born in Austria in 1834 and ended up in The Town of Lake which was eventually absorbed into Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He became a private in the Union Army on Oct 13th, 1864. He was with Company D, 12th Wisconsin Infantry. For a complete military history of the unit see: Chapter XX: Regimental History -12th Infantry.

We think he enlisted either as a substitute and/or to gain citizenship.

He likely came to the unit as a replacement and just marched with Sherman to the Sea. Then turned north into South Carolina and North Carolina. Mostly engaged in a handful of minor skirmishes. Was at the Battle of Bentonville but was not engaged. 

He was mustered out on June 16th, 1865.

At some point, he ended up at the Northwest Branch of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers (DVS) in Milwaukee. This is now essentially the modern-day Milwaukee VA Medical Center location.

He died around 1:32 am on Feb 14th, 1904 at the intersection of National Ave at 40th St in Milwaukee. We think he left his home and walked a mile to the saloons that were once located on the street. Got drunk and passed out on the tracks.

He was buried at SECTION 14 SITE 75 of the Wood National Cemetary in Milwaukee Wisconsin.

Coroner’s Report of Death

Below is a transcript of the report:

At 1:30 am on the morning of Feb 14th, 1904 a streetcar of the Milwaukee Electric Railway was heading west on National Ave at 40th St. It was a dark night. There were no street lights on this segment of the tracks and all the saloons along the way had closed for the night.

The streetcar (trolly) was described by Andrew Burns, the motorman as “one of the new large double-truck cars.”. It was empty of passengers except for the motorman and the conductor. The motorman had his front window opened. It had snowed earlier in the evening and now had turned cold. “I could get a better view of the tracks that way, he said.

It was 1:32 am as the #294 car headed downhill towards the Veterans’ home. “We were going about 5 or 7 miles an hour”, the conductor Gustau Will testified. The headlights on the car were working and as the streetcar rolled along the motorman said, “I saw a man lying lengthwise between the two rails that I was running on.” Too late to use any safety devices, the streetcar struck and killed the man. The body was taken to the home but they could not revive it. The body was taken to the coroner’s office on Sycamore St. and East Water.

At the inquest the company commander, Cpt Edwin R. Parks identified the clothing from the victim of the accident as those belonging to John Leib, a member of the Veterans’ Home residence. The Captain described John as a “quiet man at the home”, however, he did have a reputation of “going out and getting full”. The death was listed as accidental.

My Notes on the transcript

  1. East Water Street is now called North Water Street.
  2. See the Milwaukee Electric Railway Wikipedia article for more information.
  3. Double-truck trolley cars were developed around 1900 so Milwaukee got some a couple of years later to replace single truck ones. These double-truck cars are bigger and can hold more passengers.
  4. According to a trolley map, it looks like there was a stop nearby along the route. Not sure if it means anything just something of interest.

My maternal grandmother, Virginia sketched out a brief family tree below:

John Lieb

The John Lieb who fought in the Civil war as noted above had a child named John Lieb. He was born in 1873 in Fond Du Loc Wisconsin. According to my grandma, a John Leib and his wife are mentioned as founders of the city. I’m not sure it’s the Civil War John Leib as he was born in 1834 in Austria…and Fond Du Loc was founded in the 1840s. It could civil war “John Lieb”‘s dad (who probably was named John Lieb), though.

The John Lieb who was born in 1873 became a master plumber and had a contract to lay the water/sewer lines in Milwaukee County. He likely died in the Spanish Flu pandemic. He married Jeanette Slipper (born 1876 and died in 1928).

John Leib, Annie W

In the image above, it is a picture of Civil War John Lieb’s offspring. The people listed are from left to right:
Annie (Lieb) Wirshern born 1878
Sadie (Leib) Schaefer born 1866
John Leib born 1873
Rose (Leib) Alberty born 1879
Mary (Leib) Gasper born 1870

John Lieb and Sisters

The plumber John Lieb would go on to have a kid and name him John Lieb. This John Lieb was my grandma (Virginia)’s dad. This John Lieb was born in 1897 and died in 1963. He married Gertrude Curley (born 1896 and died 1971).

Great-Great-Great Grandmother – Paternal Grandma’s side

I am related to Mary (or Marie) Kohler who married Charles Slipper. Their daughter, Jennette Slipper married John Leib. According to my grandma, Virginia (maiden name Leib), Mary was born in a monastery that made beer. Mary’s mother’s name was Babbette Lehmann. Mary’s father was named Christian (probably had the last name of Kohler) who was a brewer.

According to my grandma, most of my German ancestors came from Neuenburg, a small city in Bavaria.

In the letter, my grandma seems to say Mary was born in the Heiborn Monastary but that doesn’t seem to exist? She might be referring to the Heilbronn as the city? That city has a Maulbronn Monastery. But Heilbronn isn’t located in Bavaria, it’s located in a different German state.

Great-great-great grandpa Giacinto Menoldi – Paternal Grandpa’s Side

On my maternal Grandpa’s side, there is a great-great-great grandpa called Giacinto Menoldi (who married Philipina Santoro) who was a duke in Milan. But the spelling of his name may not be clear…and there’s not much of a historical record of it?

Great Grandpa – Emmanuel Costa

When Costa First Appeared

The first time, according to Virginia, Costa appeared in records was in 1436 when Costa become a writer/recorder for the Vatican.

Costa Family Tree

My dad created this Family tree based on his knowledge. It’s meant to be read from left to right. You can download the images to get a clear picture of the tree.

Costa Family Tree part 1
Costa Family Tree part 2
Costa Family Tree part 3
Costa Family Tree part 4
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Building a 60mm Mortar for the WW2 Reenactor

60mm mortar Belgium

The information contained below is for historical and educational purposes. Unless you have the right local, state, and federal requirements and licenses you should not build a mortar that launches real shells filled with TNT.

The Poor Man’s Armorer a “…Magazine of Improvised Weaponry” was a magazine that was created in 1978 or 1979 by Bonnie and Clyde Barrow (likely a pseudonym for Kurt Saxon). The magazine was essentially a hobbyist magazine appealing to folks interested in shooting, hunting, exotic weapons development, and survivalist types. It was published for a couple of years and had several editions. Finding a complete physical book is difficult, however, there are E-editions online where one can find a complete book or at least a complete edition such as the one at The Poor Man’s Armorer Vol 2.

Kurt’s politics aside (which if I am being generous are incoherent), he did publish a chapter in one of the editions on how to make a 60mm Mortar. Considering that real 60mm mortars can command thousands of dollars those reenactors with an interest, time, skills (or skill development), and perhaps a knowledgeable friend could build a 60mm mortar for use at reenactments or public displays.

The chapter goes into detail on how to build out the actual mortar shells along with the baseplate, tripod, and collar assembly. It includes actual blueprints and design specs. This requires access to machinery and metalworking tools required to create it.

Part One: The Mortar

Part one is the design specs for how to build the mortar shell. Kurt discusses the chemicals in the TNT but doesn’t explain how to make those chemicals. You can download How to Build a 60mm Mortar part 1 here. He also suggests one could obtain practice mortar shells if you don’t want to build the actual shell yourself.

60mm mortar shell blueprint

Part Two: Baseplate, Bipod, Tube, and Collar Assembly

Part two goes into detail with the blueprints and design specs for building the mortar tube, bipod, baseplate, and collar assembly. You can download How to Build a 60mm Mortar Part 2 here.

60mm Baseplate

Mortar Accessories

While Kurt does not explain how to build the accessories he does diagram out the M-4 sight and explain where one can possible find it. However, he doesn’t include blueprints on how to build the sight or other accessories like the canvas tube cover, the M2 Ammunition Vest, Binoculars, Compass, Asbestos Mitten, cleaning staff, and the M2 shoulder pad. These will all likely need to be purchased online or at Military shows.

60mm Mortar Sight

Using the Mortar in Reenacting

While using the mortar in reenacting is beyond the scope of this article, the 90th ID published a document called: Tableau Number 1 The 81mm Mortar Squad which while it focuses on the 81mm mortar is similar in usage as the 60mm. It is a good article to read over.

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Does Hydroxychloroquine Work?

So what is really going on with hydroxychloroquine (HCQ)? There are lots of conflicting studies pointing to one conclusion or the other. It is worth reviewing how the sausage is made. The gold standard is a randomized double-blind study with a large N, where participants are randomly put into two groups. One is given a placebo and another is given the treatment. Measurements are taken and effects are observed. Various things are controlled for like age and gender.

If the treatment is better than chance it is considered effective. Though effects can be weak, moderate, or strong. Ideally, strong is what you want meaning it is much, much, much greater than chance. Then the results are published and hopefully replicated. When all that happens we can say the treatment is better than chance and start using it.

This is considered to be the best kind of study design. 

Then there is the issue of measurement. How do you measure the HCQ effect? Do you ask patients how they feel? Do you count the number of breaths they can do on their own? Do you look at fatalities? Time spent in the hospital? Something else?

Besides measurement, you need to have a large N, or population. 10 people won’t cut it but 10,000 might. 

There are variables to consider such as the type of population (old people vs. young as an example), the degree of COVID (mild, moderate, strong), the dosage amount, how many doses, where they are along with the disease (the start vs the end), and what else you add with HCQ such as AZ. There might also be variables that we don’t know about. 

Lastly, HCQ has anti-viral, anti-inflammation, and anti-thrombotic properties. It is hard to tease out what about HCQ is helpful.

The NIH and WHO studies were stopped because the data in their design showed the drug to be ineffective. That doesn’t mean HCQ works or doesn’t work only it didn’t with their design. Other studies were stopped because HCQ was causing cardiac issues which makes sense because the kinds of people who end up in a hospital for COVID are older and/or have underlying health issues which are exacerbated with an HCQ treatment. 

It is probably likely that HCQ has some kind of benefit but under what circumstance and for who exactly is not known.

However, it is infuriating that scientists will often make loud proclamations about what works or doesn’t, rather than letting the evidence decide and the peer review process plays out.

Let’s use one as an example. Harvey Risch published an opinion piece in a July 2020 Newsweek titled: The Key to Defeating COVID-19 Already Exists. We Need to Start Using It. In it, he argues that he should be using Hydroxychloroquine.

However, the argument has major flaws outlined below. Just because a Yale Dr publishes an opinion piece in Newsweek does not mean it is free of bad arguments.

1. The opinion piece cherry-picks studies. I mean I could cherry-pick all the negative studies which show it doesn’t work. Indeed, one of the studies he alludes to from Gautret et al 2020 could be fraudulent. Some data used in that study appears to not exist.

Dahly et al. 2020 in their preprint article called: Statistical review of Hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin as a treatment of COVID-19: results of an open-label non-randomized clinical trial (link to pdf) provide an extensive and exhaustive review of Gautret et al 2020.

2. The studies he cites do not use the gold standard, ie: Studies that are double-blind randomized ones. He even mentions this in his own study.

3. He is arguing that the drug works only at the start of the disease but if it strongly inhibits coronavirus replication, there’s no reason that it couldn’t be effective both in the middle/end of the disease and at the start.

4. The author fails to point out the alternative rival hypotheses that caused the Swiss deaths to revert. It is sad to see a Dr. fail to understand correlation is not causation.

This article: Hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19: Evidence can’t seem to kill it is a good rebuttal of that Newsweek Opinion piece and goes into more detail of those four points.

For further review of HCQ studies see

For papers that have been retracted, see:

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Political Ideologies and Constitutional Doctrines

Opinion Articles:

Edmund Burke:

David Brooks:

Non-delegation doctrine:

The non-delegation doctrine is essentially the idea that Congress should make all the administrative laws rather than just the legal laws. So instead of relying on a government agency to carry out the law, Congress would tell the govt agency exactly how to carry out the law.

This non-delegation doctrine is bunk. Congress has been delegating powers of governance since its founding: There is no historical evidence to support the idea. More to the point, this idea of non-delegation arose at the same time as the administrative/welfare state.

So it is less a constitutional theory and more a reaction by ideologues for things they disagree with.

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Vietnam War Combat Radio Chatter

Below are some links to a Google Drive that contains files related radio chatter during combat. They are really interesting as they show how soldiers communicated during firefights.

25th Infantry Division

A Company Sweep

Mad Dog Six

The last one are a series of 4 files which are chatter during a base attack

Base Attack 1

Base Attack 2

Base Attack 3

Base Attack 4

We Are the Mighty includes a brief analysis of the life expectancy of a Vietnam War Radioman.

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Dad Jokes

Why didn’t the skeleton go to the dance?

He didn’t have anybody to go with.

Why can’t you trust an atom?

They make up everything

Why did the golfer bring an extra pair of socks?

In case he got a hole in one.

When was baseball first mentioned?

In the bible…in the big inning.

Where is Engagement Ohio?

Between Dayton and Marion.

When a horse loses its tail, where does it go for a new one?

A retail store!

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Donald Trumps Immigration Lies

There is so much misinformation out there about the Trump administration’s new “zero tolerance” policy that requires criminal prosecution, which then warrants the separating of parents and children at the border. Before responding to a post defending this policy, please do your research.

Myth 1: This is not a new policy and was practiced under Obama and Clinton –

FALSE. The policy to separate parents and children is new and was instituted on 4/6/2018. It was the brainchild of John Kelly and Stephen Miller to serve as a deterrent for undocumented immigration, approved by Trump, and adopted by Sessions. Prior administrations detained migrant families, but didn’t have a practice of forcibly separating parents from their children unless the adults were deemed unfit.…/press-rele…/file/1049751/download…

Myth 2: This is the only way to deter undocumented immigration –

FALSE. Annual trends show that arrests for undocumented entry are at a 46 year low, and undocumented crossings dropped in 2007, with a net loss (more people leaving than arriving). Deportations have increased steadily though (spiking in 1996 and more recently), because several laws that were passed since 1996 have made it legally more difficult to gain legal status for people already here, and thus increased their deportations (I address this later under the myth that it’s the Democrats’ fault). What we mostly have now are people crossing the border illegally because they’ve already been hired by a US company, or because they are seeking political asylum. Economic migrants come to this country because our country has kept the demand going. But again, many of these people impacted by Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy appear to be political asylum-seekers.…/arrests-for-illegal-border-crossings-…

Myth 3: Most of the people coming across the border are just trying to take advantage of our country by taking our jobs –

FALSE. Most of the parents who have been impacted by Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy have presented themselves as political asylum-seekers at a U.S. port-of-entry, from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Rather than processing their claims, they have been taken into custody on the spot and had their children ripped from their arms. The ACLU alleges that this practice violates the Asylum Act, and the UN asserts that it violates the UN Treaty on the State of Refugees, one of the few treaties the US has ratified. This is an illegal act on the part of the United States government, not to mention morally and ethically reprehensible.…/meatpackers-profits-hinge-on-pool…

Myth 4: We’re a country that respects the Rule of Law, and if people break the law, this is what they get –

FALSE. We are a country that has an above-ground system of immigration and an underground system. Our government (under both parties) has always been aware that US companies recruit workers in the poorest parts of Mexico for cheap labor, and ICE (and its predecessor INS) has looked the other way because this underground economy benefits our country to the tune of billions of dollars annually. Thus, even though the majority of people crossing the border now are asylum-seekers, those who are economic migrants (migrant workers) likely have been recruited here to do jobs Americans will not do.…/Donald-Trumps-wall-ign…/2621477498203/

Myth 5 : The children have to be separated from their parents because there parents must be arrested and it would be cruel to put children in jail with their parents –

FALSE. First, in the case of economic migrants crossing the border illegally, criminal prosecution has not been the legal norm, and families have been kept together at all cost. Also, crossing the border without documentation is a typically a misdemeanor not requiring arrest, but rather a civil proceeding. Additionally, parents who have been detained have historically been detained with their children in ICE “family residential centers,” again, for civil processing. The Trump administration’s shift in policy is for political purposes only, not legal ones. See p. 18:…/ms-l-v-ice-plaintiffs-opposition-def…

Myth 6: We have rampant fraud in our asylum process the proof of which is the significant increase we have in the number of people applying for asylum.

FALSE. The increase in asylum seekers is a direct result of the increase in civil conflict and violence across the globe. While some people may believe that we shouldn’t allow any refugees into our country because “it’s not our problem,” neither our current asylum law, nor our ideological foundation as a country support such an isolationist approach. There is very little evidence to support Sessions’ claim that abuse of our asylum-seeking policies is rampant. Also, what Sessions failed to mention is that the majority of asylum seekers are from China, not South of the border. Here is a very fair and balanced assessment of his statements:…/jeff-sessions-claim-about-asyl…/

Myth 7: The Democrats caused this, “it’s their law.”

FALSE. Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats caused this, the Trump administration did (although the Republicans could fix this today, and have refused). I believe what this myth refers to is the passage of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, which were both passed under Clinton in 1996. These laws essentially made unauthorized entry into the US a crime (typically a misdemeanor for first-time offenders), but under both Republicans and Democrats, these cases were handled through civil deportation proceedings, not a criminal proceeding, which did not require separation. And again, even in cases where detainment was required, families were always kept together in family residential centers, unless the parents were deemed unfit (as mentioned above). Thus, Trump’s assertion that he hates this policy but has no choice but to separate the parents from their children, because the Democrats “gave us this law” is false and nothing more than propaganda designed to compel negotiation on bad policy.…/trump-democrats-us-border-m…

Myth 7: The parents and children will be reunited shortly, once the parents’ court cases are finalized.

FALSE. Criminal court is a vastly different beast than civil court proceedings. Also, the children are being processed as unaccompanied minors (“unaccompanied alien children”), which typically means they are sent into the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHS). Under normal circumstances when a child enters the country without his or her parent, ORR attempts to locate a family member within a few weeks, and the child is then released to a family member, or if a family member cannot be located, the child is placed in a residential center (anywhere in the country), or in some cases, foster care. Prior to Trump’s new policy, ORR was operating at 95% capacity, and they simply cannot effectively manage the influx of 2000+ children, some as young as 4 months. Also, keep in mind, these are not unaccompanied minor children, they have parents. There is great legal ambiguity on how and even whether the parents will get their children back because we are in uncharted territory right now. According to the ACLU lawsuit (see below), there is currently no easy vehicle for reuniting parents with their children. Additionally, according to a May 2018 report, numerous cases of verbal, physical and sexual abuse were found to have occurred in these residential centers.…/aclu-obtains-documents-showing-wides…

Myth 8: This policy is legal.

LIKELY FALSE. The ACLU filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration on 5/6/18, and a recent court ruling denied the government’s motion to dismiss the suit. The judge deciding the case stated that the Trump Administration policy is “brutal, offensive, and fails to comport with traditional notions of fair play and decency.” The case is moving forward because it was deemed to have legal merit.…/aclu-suit-over-child-separation…