Sunday, September 28, 2008


It is with deep sadness that I recommend that the American voter take decisive action at the coming National Election… CLEAN HOUSE IN WASHINGTON. It cuts to my very core to make this suggestion, because I now believe we must start at the top of our government, and go as deep as our individual convictions lead us to clean up our inept leadership.

Yes, your Commander did vote twice for President George Bush, and I still believe that he is a well meaning gentleman who was, and still is correct in claiming International Terrorism is a major threat confronting our nation. That threat must be faced and eliminated before it destroys our country and the American way of life. On the other hand, President George Bush as our Commander in Chief is, and was responsible for an administration that has failed to adequately address the day to day financial issues confronting our nation.

It is apparent that our problems go much deeper than just the Executive Branch of our government, because it is our Congress that makes and passes the necessary legislation, provide oversights, and approves spending. Congress, the House and the Senate, have resorted to such bitter political sniping that nothing is being addressed, nor accomplished. Members of both Houses of Congress have served their personal self-interests and failed repeatedly to meet their sworn duties as our elected officials. Let me tell you that few, if any, Members of Congress will be influenced by our current financial crisis, because they are protected, over-compensated, and over-perked fat cats. It is you and me who will pay for their malfeasance.

If Congress had acted in a non-partisan way we would not be in the perilous financial times that confront our nation today. Where was the over-sight that the Congressional Committees should have provided? I suggest that with very few exceptions, the entire bunch of ineffective, inefficient, self-serving elected officials be replaced. Virtually every member of Congress is compromised by their personal financial greed in soliciting contributions from special interests and lobbyists for their personal re-election campaigns. The entire earmark system is nothing but a political blackmail pay-off for votes or campaign funding. That system could be fiscally beneficial if it were transparent with open discussion and specific issue voting approval, or with presidential line item veto.

The fingers point far beyond our elected officials. It goes to the bureaucratic government system of support employees who owe their jobs to their Congressional bosses, and do their bidding, not the peoples work. Where were the appointed leaders of the Federal Reserve, the Securities and Exchange Commission, The Treasury Department’s investigative divisions such as the FBI, to ferret out misconduct domestically, and even the CIA to delve into government corruption, and waste overseas?

Our elected officials are so entrenched with the business leadership and obtaining their huge financial campaign contributions that they have shielded themselves from appropriate Congressional oversight. Why didn’t Congress prohibit excessive executive compensation packages sooner? Now the cat is out of the bag, and the Congress is puffing their chests, and pointing fingers demanding immediate action, again after the fact.

Money clearly corrupts, and we cannot clean this situation up until we get the excessive amounts of money out of the system. Look at the staggering sums of money being spent frivolously by the candidates in this election, federally, regionally, and even locally. Can you imagine how many problems could have been resolved had just a portion of those campaign funds been assigned to solving issues, and not filling political pockets. When are we going to wake up and say enough is enough?

Let me give you one very good example of what I am talking about. How could Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid D-NV announce the Senate would not vote on the House approved Energy Bill until after the election? Senator Reid, with all his taxpayer perks, is not hurting like you and me. How can the Senate go home to campaign for their Presidential choice, and raise more campaign funds for themselves, without solving their constitutients daily needs. We, the taxpayers, are hurting with artificially high gasoline prices that are filling the pockets of anti-American foreign governments, and the Senate goes on vacation! Sixty or seventy percent of the American Public want oil drilling in Alaska’s ANWR, but neither the House or Senate have included it in their Bills. Give me a break, because that action is unconscionable.

You should read Glenn Greenwald’s (author and one-time constitutional and civil rights litigator) blog of December 10, 2006 ( that clearly establishes the fact that Congressman Rahm Emanuel D-IL, and Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) lied about the fact that he had prior knowledge of former Congressman Mark Foley’s (R-FL) e-mails to House Pages. As a member of the House Ethics Committee why did he not act? Also, how is it that Emanuel came to Congress with approximately $45,000 and six years later he is a millionaire? He is a big booster and adviser to Obama, which raises more smoke to that candidacy. The greed and deceit continues unabated.

Do you know what is really sad? Both Presidential candidates are carrying plenty of baggage on this problem too. Their skirts are not clean, because they have been out trying to feather their own nests on the campaign trail while the house was burning back in Washington. I believe that McCain has been well vetted, but I do not believe that the same scrutiny has been given to Obama. I have a good track record at smelling smoke, and there are several issues that need answers on Obama’s past relationships, and financial dealings that have been buried or suppressed. Why? Be very careful what you wish for before you vote, because you could pay a very harsh, expensive penalty.

Your Commander calls for a renewed awareness of DUTY, HONOR AND COUNTRY by both voters and our politicians.

News releases today announced a settlement on the Emergency Bail-out of our financial institutions. I hope it works, and is not a typical quick-fix Washington patch job that will require further financial adjustment down the road.

When will the little guys like you and me wake up? We better do it before it is too late and we have absolutely nothing left. IT IS TIME TO CLEAN HOUSE IN WASHINGTON FROM TOP TO BOTTOM.


Thursday, September 25, 2008


I am certain that this title will not shock all of my readers. The pages of our newspapers and television news reports are frequently drawing our attention to the indiscretions and out-right criminal acts perpetrated by our elected and high ranking government officials.

The principal concern I have is why little or nothing is done about these transgressions and why there is so little concern being expressed by the voting public.

It is well know that the late President Franklin D. Roosevelt had frequent meetings with a woman other than his wife while in office. President John F. Kennedy was notorious as a womanizer, and had trysts within the White House. We are all well aware of President William Jefferson Clinton participating in sexual acts adjacent to the Oval Office, and subquently lying to the American public when confronted. I blame the Washington Press Corp for complicity in covering up for Roosevelt and Kennedy, and I suspect that there may be much more to the Clinton story than has thus far come to light.

Why did the American Public shrug off this conduct when it holds the average citizen to much higher ethical standards? The expression “What is good for the goose is good for the gander” should also apply to our Washington politicians.

Having worked in Washington personally, I believe that there is a culture of corruption that permeates the town. Many, not all, who come to Washington become enamored with their positions of power, and over time believe they can do anything. Far too many think they are above the average Joe, and are thus immune. There is a cult of greed and power that is infectious and extremely dangerous. I have seen it first hand with sexual harassment, and arrogant behavior within the Halls of Congress. This is not isolated to men, because it goes both ways, too. Some of our leaders look upon their Halls of Power as their own candy jars.

Tell me that the entire earmark system is not being abused, because it, too, frequently leads to illegal and unethical behavior and/or actions

Why is it that so few of the Washington powerful actually are removed from office or serve appropriate jail time for their misbehavior? In recent times I can only remember the lobbyist Abrahamoff, the ex-Congressman from Ohio Traficant, California Congressman Cunningham and just a few others getting their just due.

Where are the press and fellow Congressmen to speak up against misbehavior? Most importantly, where are the Senate and House Ethics Committees? Why has action not been taken relative to Senator Larry Craig’s appalling actions at the Minneapolis Airport that he pleaded guilty to? Where is the Ethics Committee regarding Congressman and Senators securing below normal rates on mortgages from Countrywide, such as Senator Christopher Dodd, Senator Kent Conrad, ex-U.N. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, Where is the action on recent revelations about Congressman Charles Rangel and his under the table loans on a Dominican Republic vacation home or his failure to pay taxes on his questionable Harlem property. Why has the ex-Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, been permitted to avoid even an investigation when he personally profited by buying land inexpensively before granting earmarks for a nearby highway? One would think a bill of censure would be appropriate.

What ever happened to the federal investigation into Congressman William Jefferson (D-LA) who was found to have $90,000 in his freezer? Where is the Ethics Committee relative to this development and the questions surrounding Jefferson’s involvement into a telecommunications deal? His problem is over two years old, and still no action, but we the taxpayers are still paying his salary.

The Ethics Committee of the Senate dodged a bullet with the Justice Department instead pressing charges against long serving Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, who is being brought to trial for his alleged misconduct with a local contractor and accepting illegal campaign contributions. This action is long overdue and may send an important signal to the Washington Gang.

I have only covered a few of the many serious actions of our government officials and elected leaders. Remember the long serving Ohio Congressman who was found drunk and wading in a fountain on the Washington Mall years ago? What a disgrace! I believe he was permitted to resign with full retirement compensation. Additionally, why has Congress been permitted to grant full retirement to members after serving only six years? (That’s ONE Senate term or THREE House terms.) I sure would like to have that deal, wouldn’t you?

I suggest that the Washington scene has become a house of horrors, as well as a house of cards. There is no one to blame for this but ourselves, because we keep re-electing these people without holding them accountable to perform their sworn duties. The inmates are running the institution and protecting one another. The inaction of both the Senate and House Ethics Committees is appalling, and the leaders of the Senate and House sit idle, twiddling their thumbs looking out into space. One might wonder what they know, and are hiding from us.

Everyone in Washington is not dirty, but far too many are or will be soon. Two great public servants are Congressman Jim Oberstar D-MN and Jeff Flake R-AZ, but men and/or women of this character are far too few. They are what we all need more of on the Washington scene.

Come the November election, I suspect we will re-elect the same guilty clowns. It is little wonder that the USA is looked upon as THE UGLY AMERICANS by many people around the world. Should we not clean-up our own house before we try to tell everyone else how to run their little part of the world?

Has either Presidential candidate addressed this serious problem?


Sunday, September 21, 2008


This is a tricky subject to address. In fact this is my third pass on the subject of CHANGE. My first effort was far too harsh, and my second did not properly cover my concerns and thus ended up in the recycling bin. Additionally, new information came to my attention that I believe is very significant.

Everywhere I go lately I see the word CHANGE. It is the major theme of both political parties, and CHANGE is plastered on every campaign poster, commercial, banner, and background at every televised appearance. In Webster’s Dictionary it says CHANGE is to barter, exchange, to blend, substitute for, replace, etc., etc.

I don’t know about you, but CHANGE is a word that strikes me as really misleading, misused, deceptive, emotional, and really immature. WOW! Let me tell you why I feel that strongly about CHANGE.

Let’s start with the immaturity of CHANGE. Remember when you were young and you always wanted to change everything about yourself and your life. We never wanted to wear the clothes our parents had put out for us, and we wanted to have a crew-cut hair cut when our folks wanted us to have a normal conventional trim. At the same time we thought we knew more than anyone else in the whole wide world, and certainly much more than our parents. Boy did we want CHANGE, but in hindsight that was just damn immature.

Looking back, CHANGE certainly was misleading, deceptive, and emotional back in the 1930’s when Adolph Hitler urged CHANGE for the German people by stressing a renewal of nationalism. After World War l the Allies imposed totally unrealistic and unwarranted restrictions upon the German people with the Treaty of Versailles. The winning Allied Powers wanted to punish the Germans on the theory that they would never be able to fight another War. The terms of the treaty were so restrictive they proved to be fodder for a charismatic orator like Hitler. He rallied his beaten, downhearted people to a socialist dictatorial form of government that resulted in another disastrous defeat in World War ll. Hitler’s misuse of the word CHANGE was a perfect example of my trepidation.

Currently both political parties are keying on CHANGE as a key theme in their campaigns, but in very different and distinctive ways. In both cases, I believe the use of CHANGE is wrong and distorted.

It is the Commander’s opinion that Barack Obama’s use of CHANGE is most deceptive, misleading, dangerous, misused, and it insults the intelligence of the average American voter. I believe that it appeals to the immaturity of the youthful voter who thrives on a desire to rebel against the authority of adult leadership. The use of CHANGE to impressionable, naive young voters is misleading, misdirecting attention away from the real issues. The theme of his campaign also plays upon the poor, under educated voters’ desires for upward mobility when he calls for a redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor. It is further my opinion that Obama’s call for CHANGE stirs unrest by subtlely playing the race card by promoting class warfare tensions, rich against the poor, entitlement and income redistribution.

Sure we all want Health Care for everyone, but is it realistic to say that it is affordable without rooting out the real cause of excessive health costs and Medicaid and Medicare abuses? Is it not hypocritical to insist upon universal health care for all without addressing the root causes of exorbitant health care spiraling costs? Is it compatible to endorse huge added federal expense and ignore salaries of more than $300,000+ for Vice-Presidents in non-profit hospitals such as Obama’s wife and others are earning? Is it pure coincidence that the University of Chicago non-profit Hospital received a $1 million earmark shortly after Michelle Obama got a pay raise of more than $200,000? What kind of CHANGE in Washington is that?

We all want to pay lower income taxes, but how can anyone honestly say they will lower taxes for 95% of the people when we have constantly increasing, staggering debt. Obama calls for voters to support taking from the rich and giving to the poor and that is looked upon by some people as an emotionally stirring, unrealistic misuse of CHANGE.

Here is a very alarming development that has just come to my attention. A principal point of Obama’s campaign has been his insistence that he will not and does not accept campaign money from lobbyists. I urge you to read the October 2008 issue of Conde Nast’s Portfolio magazine, and Matthew Cooper’s revealing article “The Audacity of Hype”. Obama’s campaign lies, because they accept campaign contributions from lobbyist’s wives and lobbyist’s lawyers. This is a very revealing piece of information and reflects poorly against Obama’s theme calling for CHANGE.

Please do not hold your breath waiting for the New York Times or NBC to address this story forward.

John McCain is loosely throwing CHANGE around in his campaign too. I need not remind you that your Commander knows Senator John McCain well, because he has been in McCain’s offices in Phoenix, Tucson and Washington, and the Senator has been in the Commander’s office, too (before my retirement). That does not give the Senator a free pass from the Commander though, because I think he, too, is misleading the potential voter when he says “I will CHANGE Washington.”

McCain is a man of great integrity and certainly an American Hero, but he is misleading, and he must think we are damn fools the way he talks about CHANGE. No one, including John McCain, can go to Washington, and make substantial CHANGE when if elected he will have a dominant Democratic House and Senate opposing every single initiative he proposes. No matter who is in the White House, it is the House and Senate that passes the legislation. The President can propose and accomplish some things within his specific powers, but he cannot pass legislation without Congressional approval. If McCain were president, he could direct his Cabinet Secretaries to enforce measures that could reduce excessive abuse within the system. Unless by some unforeseen development the coming Congressional makeup will be Democratic, and probably veto proof which would take the ink out of his veto quill. Thus McCain too is misusing, misleading, and deceptive when he says he is going to CHANGE Washington.

The older we get, the more we all tend to resist CHANGE, and I believe that is a good situation for mankind, and especially our youth. Years of experience should not be ignored, but history has proven again and again that maturing experience and education matters.

I urge you to remember the words of the President Thomas Jefferson when he said, “A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have”.

Your Commander urges you to be cautious in your use of the word CHANGE, and to be leery when any politician calls for CHANGE. It is appropriate to remember the expression “Change for change sake”, which is really immature and devious. Remember the expression, “Adapt or perish?” It is my suggestion that we consider the insertion of ADAPTATION before we call for CHANGE, because it requires consideration, consultation, reconsolidation, realism, and hopefully objectivity without emotion. Doesn’t bi-partisanship require ADAPTATION?

Are you as tired as I am of the petty political bickering and name calling going on daily by our candidates? Negativity rules and the issues are blurred by the smoke. Where is the leadership that will solve our problems and lead us to our desired and required accomplishments? This campaign is not really about them, but about us and addressing THE PEOPLE’S NEEDS.


Thursday, September 18, 2008


I first met Big Bill from Kansas way back in September 1956, roughly fifty-two years ago. Little did I know on that day that I would work for and with Bill for twenty-nine crazy, interesting and wonderful years. Those were the golden early days of exploding growth in the television industry, and new business flowed over the transom daily.

Bill was the owner of one of fifty-five national television advertising station representative firms operating at that time in the major advertising centers of the country. When I joined the company had only five offices and when I left there were thirteen.

Bill came from Marysville, Kansas, and he was a dapper little guy with a spiel that could charm the bark off the trees. Bill never missed his weekly appointment at the Chicago Drake Hotel barbershop that included trimming his pencil thin mustache and a manicure. Although only about 5’6” tall he was known to wear Adler Elevators in his shoes, until the leg pain forced their removal. While he was very successful in his business career, Bill was even more proficient charming tall young women all across the country, and he worked deftly at it every hour of every day.

Early on, I asked Bill how he got to Chicago, he pointedly told me that he was raised on a Kansas dairy farm, and if you ever got up at 5:00AM on a dark, cold winter day, and tried to milk a cow when his wet tail covered in shit hit you in the face, you, too, would get the hell off the farm as soon as possible. From that day on Bill, never dressed as a farmer and was, in fact, considered a fashion plate.

Bill’s interest in the ladies came to my attention soon after joining the company when I learned that he convinced his (supposedly ailing) wife to live in a beautiful ocean front condo in Santa Monica, California, because his business obligations required him to travel extensively, and he wanted his wife to be near good medical facilities. Shortly thereafter, I learned that Bill lived in a 13th floor apartment on Chicago’s near north Gold Coast while his younger, tall Scandinavian friend lived directly above on the 14th floor near the stairwell.

Actually our work did require a very heavy travel schedule to visit our client stations across the country, and in fact most days of the week I was hitting one city after the other, sometimes five within one week. Back in the late 1960’s, Bill, my counter-part Bob out of New York and I traveled to Roswell, New Mexico to meet with the owners of television station KBIM-TV in hopes of renewing our sales representation contract.

We flew into Albuquerque and rented a car to drive to Roswell, some 190 miles away. We drove the last leg of the trip, because the little planes flying to Roswell frequently resulted in terrorizing rough rides over the Sandia Mountains. About 50 miles into the trip we reached Clines Corners, New Mexico on Interstate #40, where we would turn south for Roswell. Being about noon, Bill suggested we stop at a small restaurant for some lunch. Little did we know that this was a very bad idea.

Behind a steam table was a lovely little elderly Mexican lady serving an array of Mexican food and when Bill saw the white chili he urged the lady to ladle some into his bowl. When she did, Bill urged her to put another scoop into his bowl. I can still remember that lady telling Bill…”Oh! Senor, I do not think that is a good idea”. Bill insisted and he got another generous scoop.

Shortly thereafter we departed for Roswell, now some 140 miles away. What a drive that was, because the land is barren and bleak like the face of the moon. You saw signs for ranches 50 miles off on the horizon of infamous Lincoln County. You would see hundreds of sheep and antelope and one big hill after another. As we progressed, Bill leaned over the back seat, and asked how fast I was driving. I told him that I was going the speed limit. Bill suggested that we were in the middle of nowhere and I could easily pep up the speed five or ten miles per hour. I did that, and about fifteen minutes later, Bill was suggesting that I increase the speed again. This went on until I was flying down this two-lane road all the time thinking that any minute I would be pulled over by a New Mexico State Trooper.

When we finally flew into Roswell in a cloud of dust, and found the motel, Bill was out the door before the car came to a stop. We later learned that he ran into the motel and frantically urged the desk clerk to give him a key to any room immediately. Bob and I got all the luggage out of the car and into the motel as Bill reappeared gaunt and red faced.

When we got to our rooms, Bill announced that when that little Mexican lady suggests one scoop of white chili you damn well better believe her. We joined the owners at their beautiful country club that evening and Bill frequently kept excusing himself from the dinner table.

The next morning Bill arrived for breakfast looking pale and exhausted. He looked me in the eye and said…”Bob, when we drive back to the airport in Albuquerque, if you stop at that God Damn Mexican restaurant you’re fired.” The other Bob and I laughed so hard we damn nearly were fired for that, too.

Oh yes, we also got our sales contract renewal in Roswell too.

But here is an ironic part to this story…Without any assistance from me, several years later in 1978 my son, Kenneth, traveled down the road to Roswell to his first paid job in broadcasting as a Summer Intern/Sports Director at KBIM-TV. He returned to the University of Illinois that fall for his senior year and graduated with a degree in communications in 1979. From there his career progressed upward having already worked at WPGU-AM, WILL-AM and WCIA-TV Champaign/Urbana, IL, then on to Danville, IL, Coco Beach, FL, Mobile, AL, Orlando, FL, Tampa, FL, Houston, TX, back to Tampa, and for the last ten years he has been an Emmy Award winning Reporter/Anchor at KXAS-TV, the NBC affiliate in Dallas. During those years of advancement he covered the Marine Barracks bombing in Beirut, Lebanon, and served as an embedded NBC reporter with the Marines during the battle for An Nasiriyah in 2003, and most recently covered Hurricane Ike in Houston for MSNBC and the NBC News channel, which was his fourteenth Hurricane assignment. Who would have believed that Ken’s journey would start in Roswell, and then carry him all over the world? As Paul Harvey says in closing his daily radio reports…”And now you know the rest of the story”.



Yesterday the House of Representatives passed legislation that supposedly authorizes additional oil drilling fifty miles or more off the coast of the United States. While I have not seen the actual Bill (it is not even on Google) the American public has been kept in the dark by the mainstream media, because the information is not making the newspapers or national television news programs. The action by the House is buried in the frantic effort to hype the story of the collapse of our large financial institutions. It looks to me as if the media wants our financial systems to be destroyed by our panic and they are doing little to calm the public. Do you suspect for a moment that there is political bias in our media?

I know that the Senate is to take up the Energy Bill next week, but what little has been leaked to the public indicated that the vital energy issues confronting you and me are not being addressed. Yesterday, I personally saw gasoline prices in my community at $4.18 per gallon and the per barrel price has dropped significantly in the last month or so. Yes, I know that there are some gasoline refinery issues due to Hurricane Ike. Within a few hours I saw the price of gasoline at $3.86 per gallon and some other stations still at $4.18. That does not make any sense at all. Again, I ask where the objective media reporters are.

I agree that the financial debacle story is huge, but this energy bill should not be ignored or buried by the feasting, biased, elite, east coast dominated media.

It is the Commander’s opinion that the obstructionist leadership of the House and Senate are trying to take the energy issue off the table for this coming election, but their action to date has not satisfactorily accomplished that goal. The current House ploy is simply a smoke screen. As T. Boone Pickens says…”Drill, drill and drill and then get busy developing alternative energy sources here in the good old USA”.

Republicans brought some of these problems upon themselves, because they held the majority positions from 1994-2006 and squandered opportunities. Currently, the Democratic majority is rubbing the Republican’s noses in the dirt and the public gets the short shrift again. I suspect that hope of bi-partisanship is dead in Washington.

My Congressman, Joe Donnelly, (a Democrat) says that yesterday’s action was half a loaf of bread and that is progress. No, Joe…America needs you guys in Washington to get off your backsides and take definitive action that delivers the entire loaf. Procrastination in Washington is not acceptable and will not get our votes come November. Yesterday’s action by the House was not bi-partisan, and it only threw a bone to the suffering citizens. Deliver positive results and achievement, or go away. Would it not be wonderful if they did something nice for us and not just for themselves? Congress sure is effective in covering their behinds, but not ours.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Anyone who ever met the Commander knows that he has never been called a diplomat. I suspect that it comes from his genes, and his 100% late Irish Mother Genevieve Margaret Finnegan. On the other side, his Father was 100% German, and a soft-spoken gentleman. Lately the tone of my writing has been stringent to say the least and I attribute it to the subject matter, so it is with great pleasure that I address a suggestion with a very positive theme.

Within the last month a magazine came into our home that I had never seen or even had heard anything about. I recommend that you take a look at Conde Nast Portfolio, which is a magazine loaded with business intelligence. When I read the August 2008 issue I ended up reading every page from beginning to end and I cannot remember doing that with any other magazine. The article on Angelo Mozilo and Countrywide is truly must reading.

When the September 2008 issue arrived I did the same thing again, because the articles were well written, informative and most interesting. Being a retired broadcaster, I found the article on NBC’s Jeff Zucker and the future of network television to hit the nail on the head.

Take a look at their web site and then get a copy of the magazine. Your Commander thinks you’ll be equally impressed with the content.
Your precious time with Portfolio will be time well spent.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008


In preparing this essay I read hundreds of pages of material and conducted numerous searches on Google. I knew we had a problem in our educational system that included uncontrolled spending, poor results, and little or no accountability, but I was astounded by what I found.

I have been told by an impeccable source that two prominent elected Indiana state politicians hold high five figure positions within the Ivy Tech Educational System and are rarely seen in their offices. These same elected officials do not recluse themselves from funding votes impacting Ivy Tech revenues. I smell conflict of interest, and ghost employment big time.

In South Bend, IN the local School Board just relieved the Superintendent after only a little over one year and he had a multi-year contract that resulted in a substantial buy-out. This is from a School Board that is operating with limited funds, and now they want the public to contribute money toward a search for a new Superintendent. The Commander thinks we need a new School Board.

In an earlier essay I suggested that the voting public paid little or no attention to School Board elections and both the public and student get hurt in the end. This is a perfect example of an inept School Board with dysfunctional leadership.

The Indiana Department of Education reported that in 2007 only 76.5% of the high school students graduated within four years. Additionally,

90-100% graduation rate – 55 Schools (15.1%)
80-89.9% graduation rate – 135 Schools (37.2%)
70-79.9% graduation rate – 109 Schools (30.0%)
60-69.9% graduation rate – 32 Schools (8.8%)
50-59.9% graduation rate – 13 Schools (3.6%)
Less than 50% graduation rate – 19 Schools (5.2%)

Here are some startling facts from the National Center for Public Policy –

For every 100 Indiana 9th Graders Only 72 graduates from high school.

Only 44 of these enter college.
Only 33 are still enrolled as sophomores.
Only 22 graduate within six years.

The Education Trust ( report graduation rates are:

African American 53%
Latino 59%
White 78%
Asian 84%

The Indiana Department of Education also reports that 2004 enrollment in Indiana High Schools dropped 50% or more from 9th Grade to 12th Grade. Only the Evansville Central High School has a graduation rate above the state average, and the Gary and Indianapolis schools are the lowest.

Over 25 to 30 years, a dropout student can cost a community as much as $500,000 in public assistance, health care and incarceration costs. It is estimated that social benefits (social savings from reduced crime only) of a 1% increase in male U.S. high school graduation rates would amount to $1.4 billion. Completing high school raises average annual earnings by approximately $7,216. Wages over a 40 year period without a High School diploma are $852,000, and with a High School diploma $1,221,000.

According to a South Bend Tribune article published on January 3, 2007 South Bend High Schools graduated an estimated average of less than 60% for 2004-05. Private schools greatly out-performed the averages of public schools.

If you Google the question “What are the graduation rates in Indiana High Schools?” or any other state you’ll get the surprise of your life. The differences between urban, suburban and private schools are astounding and troubling.

I could go on and on with falling numbers, but space requires me to summarize my concerns. In Chicago they are now seriously considering awarding varying cash prizes for an A, a B, a C, and even a D. Does this not lead to dependency of state and federal financial support on a long-term basis? That does not represent accountability; it is like rewarding a pet with a treat for performing a trick. Just what we need…another layer of entitlement.

A Gov. Mitch Daniels re-election commercial currently airing, states that for every 100 employees in the Indiana School System only 46 are teachers, thus 64 are administrators or support staff. For every $100 applied to education only 61cents reaches the classroom. Where is the accountability?

Our political leaders have been claiming they are going to improve education year after year and the results only continue to slide backward. Teachers are afraid to discipline students, because they will be sued or punished by unsupportive administrations, and school boards. Paralyzing union contracts allow unproductive teachers even without tenure to remain in classrooms. Parental involvement has decreased within the schools and two-family households are becoming rarer.

The Heritage Foundation reports that the government spent $553 billion on public elementary and secondary education last year, which is 4.2% of GDP.
In the last ten years our government has increased educational spending by 23.5% (adjusted for inflation) and what have we received for our money?

We need hard nosed businessmen who know how to operate with a budget to bring some sense, direction and leadership to our educational woes. Political pandering and false promises must stop. Cut the waste and demand accountability in assuring academic results. A perfect example is the outstanding results being achieved in Chicago at the Cristo Rey Jesuit High School as outlined in the Washington Post 9/14/08 George Will column. Parental involvement, financial participation, discipline and accountability equal results, without federal funds.

I have more to say on this vital subject, but it will be saved for a later work. America is destroying itself from within and we better do something before it is too late. It is cheaper to educate effectively than pay for welfare and incarceration, plus it leads to a significant improvement in the quality of one’s life experience.


Sunday, September 14, 2008


Last Thursday, September 11th, was another perfect example. All Americans and many citizens of the world were reminded of the tragic terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the aircraft crash in rural Pennsylvania. While seven years have passed, the wound to our hearts still festers, because the real planners of those incidents have not been brought before the Halls of Justice. Terrorism is still one of the world’s biggest problems and the end does not appear to be in sight.

On that same day our two Presidential candidates called a truce from their harsh rhetoric and hysterical accusations for a few hours. They met as grieving gentlemen and paid their respects and honored the World Trade Center site. For a few hours our airwaves were cleansed of patrician political bickering. Was it not a wonderful few pleasant hours?

We did not have long to cherish those moments, because by evening, they both were back indiscriminately sniping at each other and the opposing party, again lowering the bar of political discourse.

I, for one, cherished the few hours of civility and wonder why it could have not continued until Election Day. Dream on Commander…Dream on.


Friday, September 12, 2008


Surely you, too, are as sick and tired of this torturous political campaign that just seems to never end. We still have about two full months to be bombarded with exaggerated campaign rhetoric. If you think either party will raise the bar and become honest, objective, and layout a specific plan of action, then I want to suggest you buy the Brooklyn Bridge from me.

Every day the airwaves blast the results of the latest poll and those numbers jump around frequently. The latest word indicates that the Republican Party received a substantial bounce from their recent St. Paul Convention, because they selected Sarah Palin as their Vice-Presidential candidate. Only time will tell us if that poll result has long lasting legs.

The Democratic Party received a bounce from their Denver Convention too, but it was not as significant and it did not last very long. Apparently, the bitter fight that took place between Obama and the Clinton machine caused a lasting fracture in their faithful. While the pundits have spieled their positions loudly and frequently on the baggage that Hillary Clinton would bring into a ticket of Obama/Clinton, I think the issue is deeper. Hillary Clinton’s negative poll numbers were always a problem and some voters just would never accept her on the ticket.

Why Sarah Palin has caught the attention and voter awareness is a very interesting development in this hectic campaign. Yes, her resume is much thinner than some other candidates and her name awareness was somewhat of a secret. It is my position that Sara Palin is catching the imagination and following of voters, because she is different and not like all the other political candidates. SARAH PALIN SEEMS TO BE LIKE THE REST OF US.

A percentage of my readers will take serious objection to my thesis, but that is fine with the Commander. The recent comment from Pastor Rick Warren of the Saddleback Community Church applies to your Commander and I quote: “I prefer neither the left wing nor the right wing, because I like the whole bird."

I want you to think about this Palin development, and the fact that Americans are sick and tired of our professional politicians. Clearly our current leaders and political professionals cannot, and are not doing the job. Many segments of our electorate do not trust our political establishment or leadership.

Really, I do not care who you vote for in this election, but it is vital that you do vote. Some consider Obama, Biden and even Hillary Clinton are all old school political machine figures. While McCain is a long serving politician too, he has long been considered a maverick and frequently has gone against his party and George Bush’s positions. Palin may answer the average Joe’s concerns that there is no one in Washington that understands their needs, positions and desires. It is very possible that America thinks she is not pandering, but leading.

Palin appears to be like you and me more than any of the other candidates and maybe that is the answer to her appeal. I also believe that American voters do not like any candidate to even imply they are smarter than them, because they obviously are not. The pros have not done a good job, so maybe it is time for a maverick and an amateur. Like most other voters your Commander is looking for the right voting answer, too. Time will tell…It always does.


Thursday, September 11, 2008


Today is a day that will live in the memories of individuals world-wide, because it is the seventh anniversary of the horrific terrorist attacks on the New York World Trade Center’s Twin Towers, the Pentagon in Washington, and the plane crash in Pennsylvania. Thousands were killed and additional thousands were injured, and/or maimed for life.

Immediately Americans were flying flags that represented our solidarity and patriotism. Although we were warned that international terrorists were planning to attack us within our homeland, the powers that be at the time did not believe it could or would happen. America’s arrogance and inaction resulted in that tragic event. Additionally, our politicians immediately reacted with typical bombastic indignation and demanded quick retribution.

While your Commander is not an Islamic or Muslim scholar, he does know that all followers of the Islamic faith or all Muslim people are not fanatic followers of the Jihad against all Americans. Unfortunately, we Americans tend to react to events in quick, overly simplistic fashion. Remember back in 1941 native born American citizens of Japanese ancestry were rounded up and placed in horrid isolated detention camps. At the same time, many German and Italian citizens were retained throughout the war years. History has proven that we over-reacted, but it was then politically accepted as saving America from dangerous foreign influences.

No one believes the seriousness of the terrorist threat to the American Way of Life more than your Commander, but we must be cautious to not over-react. It is prudent and necessary to take a step back and hold our breath before we paint all Muslims as our enemy, because facts prove that is not the case. The same problem is appearing within our current Presidential campaign with pious politicians injecting the race or gender card without any substantiated foundation. Race or gender discrimination has no place within the American society, and it was clearly forbidden in our Declaration of Independence. Unfortunately, it has taken us too many years to accept reality and react rationally.

I have a Cardiologist who happens to be of Egyptian birth and who is a US citizen. I trust him with my life and I will defend his right to equal protection under our laws. Additionally, his family and especially his children deserve all the rights and privileges that ALL Americans have under our laws.

History is a great teacher and education can neutralize racial tensions, and myths. Religious zealots are a danger to civilized people. I suggest anyone who is unfamiliar with the Islamic religion read ISLAM FOR DUMMIES.

Terrorists should receive no mercy, because they do not grant any to their targets all around the world. They hide behind shields of women and children and distort the religion they falsely champion. America must win the war on terrorism and we need to take all necessary actions to accomplish that goal. Failure is not acceptable, but let us be careful to NOT PAINT OUR MISSION WITH A BROAD BRUSH.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Yesterday I posted a happy positive message blog about our wonderful libraries and hoped to continue in that affirmative vain today, but events has caused me to resort to serious financial concerns impacting every single citizen of this great country.

In March of this year our government in their unique wisdom (pre-approval with $30 million support) urged the sale of Bear Stearns to JP Morgan. The Bear Stearns stockholders got the short end of the deal and the Wall Street community could be heard wiping their brows with relief. I’ll bet the CEO of Bear Stearns walked away with a ton of cash after leading his company to financial failure.

Several years ago, the federal government bailed out automaker Chrysler, but Chrysler paid back the money and the treasury actually came out of that deal with a positive return. I attribute that result to the then superior management team Chrysler had in place.

Yesterday, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulsen placed both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac under federal control in an effort to prevent their complete financial collapse. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency had classified shares of both companies as extremely low-risk investments, per the Washington Post. With this action the federal government will assume responsibility and supervision of these gigantic companies and hopefully maintain stability in the home mortgage industry. Numerous banks with significant exposure are thus protected. Supposedly in a few years it is the government plan to return these companies to private management and ownership. In the meantime, the American Taxpayer is holding the bag, and is subject to covering further losses.

Yesterday, in the September 5th edition of the Kiplinger Letter there is word that in 2009 the Big Three of the Automobile Industry will look for a government bailout to the tune of about $50 billion, which is $25 billion more than already approved. Political considerations indicate that our Congress will act favorably, because neither party wants to rock the boat as the election nears.

Last week a new magazine came into our home, a product of Conde Nast, called PORTFOLIO and there is a fascinating article by Daniel Golden about Countrywide’s CEO Angelo Mozilo in the August 2008 issue. This is an alarming article that reveals numerous special favors granted to influential government and business leaders by reducing interest rates or points on Countrywide mortgage deals. Without quoting the entire article, it reveals special rates for former UN Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, Franklin Raines the former CEO of Fannie Mae, William Esrey the former CEO of Sprint, North Dakota Democratic Senator Kent Conrad, Senator Christopher Dodd the Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee and James Johnson a former Fannie Mae chief ( When I read the article I needed a quick dose of Tums for the tummy.

The Associated Press last week reported that Congressman Charles Rangel of New York, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, paid no interest on his Dominican Republic vacation beach house mortgage. Here is the man who is determining our tax obligations and he’s getting a deal that in my judgment is just plain suspicious. Read the article, because it is interesting. For some reason the link doesn’t work correctly, but Google Charles Rangel and you will find the information. How much do you want to bet that the House Ethics Committee won’t do a darn thing about this special conflict of interest? Where has the Senate or House Ethics Committees been on the numerous transgressions committed by their fellow politicians, such as Senator Larry Craig of Idaho? Clearly, the fix is in for fellow politicians.

The amount of money being talked about in this latest bail out is so large I cannot get my mind around the problem. Who is going to pay for these decisions? You and I know that it will be us, the US Taxpayers, not the politicians? We are talking about trillions of dollars and there is no end in sight to the obligations that are being mounted on top of constantly growing entitlement legislation. How can Obama and McCain prance across the country promising tax relief or tax reductions in the face of the facts and budget deficits?

Do our leaders think we are ignorant fools who believe anything that they tell us? Is it not time for someone to start telling the hard truth about the frightful financial situation confronting our country? The foreign governments must be laughing themselves crazy as they profit, when they see us destroying our financial foundations. Who are we to tell the world how to run their governments when we cannot act responsibility or ethically on our own turf?

I heard yesterday the two leaders of failing Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are being removed and will each depart with $15 million severance checks. Why? They should go to jail for mismanagement? Why do we permit our government leaders to continue in office and not be accountable for their ethics or deeds? When will the American public wake up and realize what is going on, or do we just want to wait in hope the next earmark check will fall into our mail box?

Where is the accountability on the unethical lenders and borrowers who lied on their loan applications? Why is there no indication of prosecution against individuals who created the home loan debacle?

Fiscal Suicide prevails in all forms in our government (local, regional and nationally), and what are you going to do about it? Who is going to bail you out? The small businessman and the average Joe does not stand a chance for a bail out. Your Commander suggests that you do not hold your breath waiting for an answer. I find it difficult to look my children and grand-children in the eyes when you consider just what we are leaving them to address and resolve.


Monday, September 8, 2008


We all owe Andrew Carnegie a great debt of gratitude for his generosity in creating hundreds of libraries. Generally, barons of industry are belittled, but Carnegie (1835-1919) grew from poverty in Scotland to become one of the richest men in the world, and then gave virtually his entire fortune away for the benefit of mankind.

He is quoted as saying, “It is the mind that makes the body rich.” Carnegie also said upon receiving his first dividend check, “Here’s the goose that laid the golden egg.” Upon retirement in 1901 at age 66, Carnegie gave away $350 million ($3 billion in 1996 dollars) that funded more than 2,000 libraries.

Today we are blessed to benefit from Carnegie’s grants and have wonderful local libraries that continue to provide enjoyment and knowledge to all. Yes, there is a taxpayer fee on our property taxes, but it is well worth our financial support. Your Commander loves to read, and I find it to be both educational and mentally rewarding, especially in my senior years.

With this in mind, may I recommend three wonderful books that I have recently just read? It is my opinion that International Terrorism is one of the major threats to our future; all three are Action Adventure writing at its best.

Brad Thor’s THE LAST PATRIOT is a page turner and the most recent in a series of stories surrounding the escapades of Scott Harvath (the hero) to save the American way of life. I predict that Thor will be one of our best action writers before long.

Next, I suggest popular author Jack Higgins’ ROUGH JUSTICE as a top-notch continuation of his series of Sean Dillon hero shoot’em-up adventures. I find myself reading Higgins’ books in two sittings, because I cannot put them down.

Today, I finished Stephen Coonts THE ASSASSIN, which is his latest book surrounding the efforts of Admiral Jake Grafton and his paid heavy, Special Agent Tommy Carmellini, to save the day. Another great read that will keep you up late at night.

While these action/adventure “save America” books are enjoyable, they do draw our attention to a current problem. But, my favorite reading continues to be historical and/or biographical themes. In earlier essays I have covered this category, but I would be remiss if I did not remind my readers that Newt Gingrich’s Civil War three book series is worthy of your reading consideration. While Gingrich is a controversial political figure, he and his co-authors are wonderful historians and put you right into the Civil War action. I suggest you get copies of NEVER CALL RETREAT, GRANT COMES EAST, and GETTYSBURG. His DAYS OF INFAMY and PEARL HARBOR are great reads, too. All of these books are at your local public library or book store.

Books and libraries are windows onto the world for senior citizens who can no longer travel this wonderful globe. They are also magnificent educational tools for our youth and can enable children and younger adults to enhance their educational needs and provide a better quality of life.

Thanks to Andrew Carnegie for his gift of information, knowledge and enjoyment. Our wonderful world is much the better because of Carnegie’s hard work, foresight, and generosity.


Friday, September 5, 2008


Now that both the Democratic and Republican Conventions are over we are about to be bombarded by an onslaught of commercials and over the top non-specific pleading for our votes. No matter who wins this election, the future of the United States of America is in for some dramatic changes…like it or not.

As a retired ex-Television Station General Manager, I believe that our major media outlets have failed their audience in their desperate efforts to trim expenses and remain competitive in a shrinking audience environment. Today’s media leaders have failed to remember William Shakespeare’s statement “The Play’s the Thing”. While the competitive atmosphere has changed substantially from the time I was active, the program content is no longer attracting audience levels that deliver ever growing revenue streams. Cable and the internet have changed the game forever, but the pressure to feed the greed has resulted in a dramatic reduction in their program content quality.

With this in mind and understood, why has the main-stream media failed to address pressing questions in the vetting process? Are they so politically patrician that objectivity has ceased? That question should be addressed both ways from the right and left too. Edward R. Morrow must be turning in his grave.

I believe that American voters should know just what is a Community Organizer?
Who hired Obama for that job and what did they pay him to perform his duties? There is something that does not add up for me when you consider this is a man we are told left Harvard Law School with substantial loan obligations, and then he took a job that supposedly paid little, he moves to the Illinois Senate that pays a nice salary for what is considered a part time job ($67,833 in 2008, but quite a bit less when Obama served), but not a fortune, then he gets elected to the U.S. Senate, and can now suddenly afford to buy a multi-million dollar home. Why has the media not asked these questions? Who is really behind this candidate? Do we know?

Similar questions will or should be addressed for the Republican Vice-Presidential candidate too. Currently we are being asked to take Palin at face value on one good speech. I need more information, if she is going to be one heart beat away from the big Office.

How can the media demand more information on Palin when they praise and take at face value slim information about Obama’s early years? What is good for the goose is good for the gander.

Additionally, are you concerned about the almost total lack of coverage by the media to the demonstrations at both Conventions in Denver and St. Paul? There was virtually no video coverage of the thugs who roamed the street breaking windows, damaging cars and attacking Police. Why? How many were arrested and will they serve jail terms or be released quietly within the next few days by their ACLU lawyer’s efforts.

I believe these are dangerous people who are heavily financed by some source that is clearly trying to disrupt our society and political system. Where is the media coverage? Who and what are behind these goons? They travel the world to demonstrate against entities we support and it cost vast sums of money. Who is paying the bills? You and I should know this and we should know it now. Only today was there a very small article buried in the pages of USA Today, but it answered none of my questions.

In the Commander’s opinion the cable news channels are destroying their creditability with their patrician haranguing, talking over one another, constant yelling and over-commercialization. The free over-the-air networks have become so political bias (left and right) that they, too, are difficult to view. They both wonder why their viewers have abandoned them, because they cannot see the forest for the trees. The nightly network news is now one big series of commercials interspersed with self-serving cross-promotion program content and little actual news.

We need answers to these and many other questions, and both free and cable media owe America answers right now.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Every society has pressing issues confronting their citizens on a daily basis. With mounting concerns about our basic economy, why does America continue to ignore the staggering increases in their prison expenditures, burgeoning costs of gangs, and skyrocketing financial drag associated with illegal drugs?

Frankly, your Commander believes that we no longer have the leadership in our political parties with the spine, nor the will to address those three problems. They are destroying our society and economy as they are permitted to fester and grow. Additionally, I believe with my whole heart that some elected officials actually benefit financially from the proliferation of these three evils.

Throughout this torturously long campaign for our Presidency, I have not heard one word from any of the candidates espousing their positions on prisons, gangs or illegal drugs. I have been scouring the internet reading research on these subjects and the reports are frightful when you consider the number of people sitting unproductively and expensively in our prison systems. According to the Pew Center, 1 percent of our population sits in prison or 1 in 99.1 persons.

Gangs have grown from 1,730 in 1975 to over 30,500 in 1997. Gang membership has exploded from 55,000 in 1975 to over 816,000 in 1997. Can you imagine what the total must be now in 2008? We have had gangs for over 200 years and the problem has been permitted to exist and grow all that time. This is not just a big city phenomenon, but growing in small cities, too. Gangs have actually become a political force and politicians have benefited directly.

Illegal drugs are talked about and the Drug Enforcement Agency makes valiant efforts daily to stop the flow, but their success is hampered by the ACLU, liberal groups supporting looser drug laws, and an all too frequent permissive legal system. Drugs are illegal and all segments of government should enforce those laws, but some take a very permissive attitude. Drug money corrupts numerous parts of our society and actually props up several foreign governments.

Like so many other problems confronting our social order, America talks a good game, but does not actually do enough to effectively solve once and for all the causal problems. I believe these three issues have a direct inter-relationship and could be dramatically reduced, if some leader would have the guts and will to take a somewhat unpopular position. That policy would address the greater good and I believe America would support overwhelmingly just such action. I have not even addressed the negative dollar impact these three cancers have on our society, but were we to eliminate or even reduce the costs of our prison population, gangs and illegal drugs America would go a long way in reducing the budget deficit.

What I am addressing are three very complicated social problems. Many sub-causal influences must be simultaneously attacked. Education is the root problem directly impacting these three issues and administration after administration talk about solving education’s inadequacies by placating the teachers unions and throwing money at the problem. These policies continue to fail. Additionally, the disintegration of the family unit, failure to respect authority, and a lack of discipline can all be blamed as negative factors, too.

When I went to Google to secure research on these subjects I saw financial numbers that were staggering. We are not talking millions, but many billions that we are spending yearly, because we have not solved our obligations to eliminate or reduce prison expenses, gangs, and illegal drugs. The answers are not easy and very complex, but when will someone do something that actually delivers results. Your Commander is sick and tired of non-specific platitudes that get votes and not solutions. Where is the accountability? Why do we continue to permit growing expenditures and failure to prevail? You and I better answer those questions before it is too late.