Tuesday, December 23, 2008


It is difficult to believe that Christmas is two days away, and the New Year is just around the corner. I guess the expression “TIME PASSES QUICKLY WHEN YOU ARE HAVING FUN” is very accurate. To say that LIFE IS GOOD is an understatement.

As each year passes I know that I will have fewer holiday seasons to enjoy but, God willing, I intend to appreciate a number more. Life on this wondrous planet Earth is a unique privilege that we all too often take for granted.

My dear Father has been gone for thirty-two years just short of his 83rd birthday and my Mother passed nearly 11 years ago at age 94, and I can tell you that I miss them more with each passing year. Frequently I find myself talking with them in my mind when I need advice, because I know now that their council was always very sound.

I remember that when the holiday seasons approached Dad seemed to go into a blue funk. It took me several years to understand that shortly after I was born he was the very last living part of his family, and had no remaining “first” family. I now know how much he missed his father, mother and sister, and that was the reason behind his mood swing.

Fortunately, I do not have the same problem facing me, because I am blessed with a loving wife, two wonderful children, and three living grandchildren. The holidays will be forever sad, because we lost our oldest grandchild when he was only 24 years old, and his passing came just three years ago at Christmas time. Rob was a unique child, and he is now at peace after suffering with severe illness most of his life. Some days I sit in my study and talk to his picture too, and I am not ashamed to admit that to you.

Our great country is currently going through a very difficult economic period, but I remain confident that we will get back on track soon. This is a time for all Americans to appreciate the many blessing we have here in the United States. One only has to look at the different situations confronting citizens in underdeveloped countries. I have been honored to have traveled to many places in this world, and I can assure you that there is no place on earth that has the quality of life that is found right here in our own backyard.

This is a time for all the peoples of the world to join hands, and work objectively to solve the deficiencies that confront our collective future. As the year comes to a close it is a good time to re-read the founding documents of our country, such as the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence. Following the words of our Founding Fathers will serve us well. They got it right and we must be vigilant to see that we do not stray away from our Founder’s abiding principals.

May GOD BLESS AMERICA, and may he guide us to learn how all peoples of the world can live peacefully together. Life on this gorgeous planet is too unique or valuable to waste. What ever your religion be, may I wish you a joyful holiday season, and for me may it is Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. As Tiny Tim might say, “God bless us everyone.


Friday, December 19, 2008


Having lived in Chicago for over fifty years, I can still remember the smell of the Chicago Union Stockyards. As a boy who grew up in Chicago, I am quite familiar with noted author Carl Sandburg’s references to the Chicago as THE CITY WITH BROAD SHOULDERS and THE HOG BUTCHER OF THE WORLD. Most memorable, however is the cloud that has darkened Chicago politics for longer than I can remember.

My first home in Chicago was on North Pine Grove Avenue near the famous Lincoln Park totem pole, then north to the Western Avenue/ Peterson Avenue neighborhood, then way south to Avalon Park, back north to suburban Lincolnwood, downtown to the Outer Drive East Apartments, and finally back north to Rogers Park. Having moved to different parts of the City, I was exposed to different political factions and influences. Throughout my experience clout always counted, and was exercised daily.

I still remember as a new resident of Lincolnwood being quickly called upon by the local Democratic Precinct Captain. He wanted to know if I was a registered Democratic, and I told him that I was not. The Precinct Captain told me that it would be of substantial benefit if I registered as a Democrat, because he had the muscle to impact my Property Tax, since he was the Tax Assessor. What would you have done?

Most Chicago residents kept a ten or twenty dollar bill paper clipped to their driver’s license, and tickets were frequently avoided without discussion or negotiation.

Living on the South Side of Chicago the prevailing wind was from either the northwest or the southeast. When it came from the northwest the stench of the Union Stock Yards prevailed, and when it was from the southeast the aroma of the huge City dump on South Doty Avenue dominated. As a citizen of Chicago I learned just what sensatory adaptation meant. People in the City accepted the stench of both the air and their political leadership as a way of life or survival.
Neither was pleasant, but no one ever felt they could do anything about it, so sadly no one ever put up a fight to correct either problem.

The dominance of the all powerful Democratic Machine in Chicago goes back decades. It has deep roots with the early immigrant Irish, but it consists of several ethic groups such as the Polish, Germans, African Americans, Hispanics, Italians, Slavic, and Jewish in various ethnic enclaves around the City. The Machine has long thrived with very close ties to organized labor unions. There are two very good books about the earlier days of political influence in Chicago. Check out “Clout: Mayor Daley and His City” by Len O’Connor, and “We Don’t Want Nobody Nobody Sent” by Milton Rakove.

While the Daley Machine has ruled for decades they are only part of the story. I remember clearly the day Mayor Richard J. Daley died in the office of his doctor, and the city came to a total and stunning stop. Some citizens thought that was the end of life in Chicago without their beloved Mayor Daley. Today one of his sons rules with a strong, behind the scenes velvet hammer. The Daley Machine is well entrenched, but I suggest you read Kenneth R. Timmerman’s revealing book “Shakedown”, which is an eye-opener about the antics of the influential Reverend Jesse Jackson. Did you know that he never completed his formal studies in Theology? After reading the book, I asked myself why no law enforcement official has ever taken any legal action against the Reverend Jackson. Political clout and the fear of arousing racial tensions thrive in Chicago. Politicians have successfully been playing one ethnic group against another for years.

I have never understood why the African American community has so strongly supported the Chicago Political Machine, because they have gotten little or nothing for their loyalty. One point of view indicates that the Machine permits the Black constituency in on a cut of the action, and that keeps them under their thumb.

The Chicago Tribune ran a poll of its readers on December 13th asking the question “Do you think Illinois politics can ever be clean?” The results were:

Yes 21.9%
No 78.1%

While that is not a scientific piece of research, I find it very interesting that the citizens of the city have little faith and it seems no desire to clean up corruption anytime soon.

The Blagojevich scandal will not go away quickly. There is the familiar Chicago stench swarming around this situation, and it has the potential to take down a lot of high ranking individuals. I pray that I am wrong when I say that President-elect Barack Obama has much to fear. I see no way for him to not be negatively influenced by this Blagojevich scandal. When he takes the Presidential Oath of Office, President Obama will not receive the normal period of grace that newly elected Presidents are granted. The main stream media that so overtly supported Obama now smells a good story, and he must divert his attention to getting this scandal settled and/or his administration cleared.

With so many vital issues confronting the new administration and our nation, it is tragic that a diversion of attention from vitally important issues is already taking so much of Obama’s time. Experience has taught me to be very suspicious when so many questionable characters converge around one individual. Just consider the well established close relationships or questionable dealings between President-Elect Barack Obama, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, William Ayers, Tony Rezko, Reverend Michael Pflagger, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr, Mayor Richard M. Daley, Congressman Rham Emanuel, Advisor David Axelrod, the labor unions, Alderman Dick Mell, Patti Mell Blagojevich, and Governor Rod Blagojevich. Everyone on this list is from or deeply associated with the Chicago political machine, which I call the Chicago Clout Factory.

Remember Illinois is a state that convicted three Governors, and they were sentenced to prison. Governor Otto Kerner, Dan Walker, and George Ryan all were guilty of corruption, and now there is a fourth accused, Governor Rod Blagojevich.

Our President-Elect has already made a huge public relations blunder in not getting out in front of the Blagojevich scandal. He should have addressed it immediately, firmly, and with total transparency. Instead Obama has stalled for time to consider his options. Why has Rham Emanuel been hiding? Now it has been disclosed that Emanuel did have numerous contacts with the Governor on the Senate seat succession, but that should have been stated immediately not days later. Doesn’t it disturb you that Campaign Manager David Axelrod said Obama had talked with the Governor about his replacement, and later claimed he misspoke? I hope I am wrong, but there is suspicious involvement here, and Obama is starting his “administration of change” on a very cloudy footing.

This scandal stinks to high heaven with deepening roots, and the man who promised CHANGE is delivering less than clear answers. The early record of the next administration does not represent the CHANGE the electorate was promised. America deserves honest answers, and definitive transparent action to get us back on the President-Elect’s promised proper course. Remember, Chicago politicians have a long history of eating their young. The aroma of Chicago politics lingers, and it will not clear until all the interwoven facts are exposed.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008


As the Holiday Season draws near our supermarkets have an abundance of turkeys ready for sale. Yearly I love to position myself near the turkey display cases, and listen to the ladies debate, handle, caress, inspect, and analyze the selection of their festive bird.

Normally, I get to participate in this event at least twice each year, first just before Thanksgiving and again near Christmas. Surprisingly my dear wife is becoming increasingly concerned that my actions will be misunderstood. I wonder why? Hell at my advanced age I am no longer a threat or danger to a flea. Here is a summary of my modus operandi.

As I said, ladies take a considerable amount of time selecting their turkey and I usually hover nearby observing their period of scrutiny. Once they select a bird, I step forward and politely ask the lady if the turkey they selected is really big enough. I have said; “Excuse me madam, do you like leftovers? Don’t you think you may need a little larger turkey, because you surely do not want to run short?

It is amazing to see the immediate reaction of the ladies, because they almost always agree with my suggestion that a larger bird is the prudent course of action. I would say that about 80% of these lovely ladies replace their original selection with a much larger turkey. No one ever gets mad or questions my actions, and everyone leaves smiling with a nice holiday glow. Thus far no one has whacked your Commander with a purse.

The 20% who keep their original selection do frequently give me a strange look and move off quickly. I just consider them to be anti-social, cheap, old blue haired beaters. Obviously they do not have the holiday spirit.

Once the manager of the meat department observed by actions, and offered me a job during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season. I politely declined, and suggested that I love my retirement, but do enjoy bringing a smile to the faces of the holiday shoppers.

When you select your turkey this year please make sure that you get one that is big enough to have those delicious leftovers. Additionally your selection of a bigger bird will be a nice little boost for the lousy economy.


Monday, December 15, 2008


Are you as concerned as I am about what is happening to our United States of America during this lame duck period waiting for the next Administration to take the reins of power?

First it was the financial institutions, then the mortgage houses, next our largest banks, and now the Big Three automobile manufacturers getting huge infusions of printed taxpayer dollars into their accounts. Little or no oversight was attached to the bail outs, until the media finally brought the ire of the taxpayers to the attention of the all knowing, all powerful politicians sitting on their thrones in Washington. As I write this commentary there appears to be Congressional agreement on some sketchy terms to the automobile company grants, and now the Senate denied passage of the proposed bill. Apparently the White House will now bring forward a proposal that will temporarily save the auto industry from bankruptcy.

There are plenty of places to point fingers for determining the source of our financial chaos, and there is little or no indication that anyone will be held responsible, let alone be brought before the Halls of Justice. Don’t you find it amazing that our elected leaders again are pointing fingers in every direction, but at themselves when they had the oversight responsibility in the first place?

Where was the oversight that is the responsibility of both Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), and Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA), as well of every member of their Committees? Additionally, where was the Bush Administration’s oversight?

Late in the night when I am trying to go to sleep, I keep thinking about this entire mess, and I just want to puke. Don’t you? How long will it take for the individuals who elected these incompetent legislators to wake up and initiate the appropriate action by voting these enablers out of office?

I see this country sliding down a very slippery slope toward socialism. We are daily nationalizing our major businesses by the government throwing out vast sums of money, taking substantial stock positions, and now dictating the way the business is to operate on a daily basis. Tragically, our government has a very poor track record running its basic business. What is the difference from what we are currently doing to American business than what has been done for years in China and Russia? Once the government is into the pocketbook of business when will they ever get themselves out? Once a tax has been imposed just how many do you recall being rescinded?

The same government that is telling American business how to operate helped create this economic mess, created the massive deficit, robbed the social security trust fund, and is riddled with unethical, cheating members.

Many of our political elite have sold their souls to the union movement, and thus cannot take the appropriate action to address the automotive companies root problem, namely excessive labor compensation obligations. Until that issue is resolved the Big Three auto companies will fail, because they are not competitive. It seems our government is proposing a stop gap resolution that is doomed to ultimate failure because it does not resolve the root problem.

I do not like the idea of bankruptcy for one minute. It is against my core values, but it may be the only answer if we want an American auto industry. Maybe a federally regulated hybrid type of bankruptcy as proposed by Senator Corker (R-TN) would be more palatable. I suspect that the current Congress and the Bush Administration are trying to provide a temporary funding bill that will put the problem into the hands of the next Administration, which is definitely beholding to the Unions that were major supporters. The new administration will support the Union Check-off Bill, and then the Unions will be paid off for their campaign contributions. This is not sad; it is disgusting because it is only in the interest of a select group, not the nation’s best interest.

The massive amounts of money floating into, and out of government are destroying our country. Just look at what has now been disclosed about the Governor of Illinois. I lived in Illinois most of my life, and I am certain that this story has long legs, and tentacles that will be far reaching. Only time will tell, but I can assure you that nothing will improve until the electorate takes some logical and objective action that demands ethical conduct by all our elected officials.

You and I are the responsible individuals that permitted this rotten situation to fester and persist. We cannot clean this situation up immediately, but over a few years we can root out the true sources of criminal political conduct.


Friday, December 12, 2008


Just prior to the bombshell arrest of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, the big story out of Chicago was the sudden closure of Republic Window and Door Company and its failure to pay proper employment separation funds.

Your Commander has been following this story closely from the beginning, and I have many questions surrounding this situation. It is my opinion that the press has failed again to report the full story, and instead went directly for the sensational aspects to generate maximum readership or ratings for their radio or televisions stations and networks. In lock step with the media, the politicians jumped on the bandwagon to maximize their media/publicity exposure, too.

The first unaddressed question is why did Republic Window and Door Company close their doors so suddenly? Apparently the company was in financial difficulties, and this caused their bank to not extend a further line of credit. That situation has not been addressed in any of the media reports that I have seen.

Not one reporter has talked with Bank of America to ascertain their side of the story, and equally vital to the authenticity of the reporting is the lack of any information emanating from the ownership or leadership of Republic Window and Door Company.

Clearly Republic violated the law in closing the business without notifying its employees of the plan sixty days in advance. Additionally, the Company further violated its contract with the Electrical Workers Union in not paying back pay, accrued vacation pay, appropriate health benefits, or appropriate severance pay to the workers. Then there is the question surrounding the fact that the Company received tax abatements and grants from governments, which they may be obligated to repay.

The press jumped on the story in total support of the Union’s position, the politicians jumped into the fray to garner publicity, and Bank of America was immediately smeared as the bad guy because they apparently saw an increase in Republic’s line of credit as a bad loan. Since the full story has not been reported, I suspect that someone at Bank of America will lose their job for not anticipating the publicity fallout. Was this really all the fault of Bank of America?

Don’t you find it interesting that already tainted Governor Rod Blagojevich had the gall to stand before the assembled media and berate the U.S. Attorney for reportedly listening in to his conversations via wire taps? I wonder if the Governor’s arrogant actions caused the Federal authorities to arrest him the next morning. It appeared to me to be a misguided order, too, for Blagojevich to demand that all Illinois State departments immediately cease business with the Bank of America. That order was pure grandstanding, and clearly represented his effort to kiss the hands of the Unions and their members.

I also found it interesting to see other political figures mugging for the reporters and television cameras before all of the facts were known. This action represented typical political grandstanding and opportunistic theatre.

Now Bank of America has granted an additional $1.75 million dollar line of credit that will permit Republic to pay the fired employees all the money due. I think the Bank was forced into loaning the money because the bad publicity they were getting was far more damaging than the possible loss of the $1.75 million. The Governor’s blackmail won out, but he got arrested in the end.

I am glad the fired workers will be receiving their full due compensation. A tragic sidebar to this story is that the INS may now check into the legal status of the fired workers, and that could be big trouble for Republic Window. If that is the case, some further good will result from the rule of law.

The next chapter of this story is already unfolding with two hundred union protesters now demonstrating outside the main Chicago offices of Bank of America. This is reminiscent of the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s blackmail/extortion tactics so well documented in Kenneth R. Timmerman’s expose “Shakedown”. Union spokesmen now report that they are so pleased with their victory that they plan to expand their sit in protests nationwide. Objective analysis should question whether or not the guilty party is really the ownership of Republic Window, and not Bank of America. Remember the government bail out money was never intended to be paid to support poorly operated companies.

Several questions remain unanswered, but I suspect the media is so involved in the far more sensational Blagojevich story that we’ll never learn the full Republic Window story. If we cannot get full disclosure on a story surrounding 200 terminated workers how can we expect to get complete objective information on the appalling Blagojevich tale? Politics in Illinois has a tainted history with four governors in recent years convicted of criminal behavior. In Chicago, the democrat machine rules with a heavy hand and corruption and graft runs rampant. Right now many Illinois politicians are running for cover and in the process I expect they will turn on each other to escape the hands of justice.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Way back on April 5, 2008, some eight months ago, this Blog started with its first essay, SPORTSMANSHIP IS DEAD. I have written some sixty-eight different commentaries covering a wide array of subjects with a heavy emphasis on the operation of our government. The work has been very rewarding and I am pleased to see that a growing number of individuals are reading Frobertsworld.

While I have never been a super athlete, I do love sports. I recognize the importance it has to our youth, and our daily lives. There is a natural beauty to a superb sporting performance and purity to an honest sporting effort. Imagine where the world of broadcasting would be without sports and its huge financial impact. Consider the influence sports has on our economy, and the staggering amounts of money that are generated for University, State, County, and City coffers.

While I still hold season tickets to a local university’s basketball games, I no longer attend many sporting events due to physical limitations, the exorbitant ticket prices being charged, and the growing lack of sportsmanship being demonstrated by both fans and players.

If you are reading this essay you can easily look back in the Frobertsworld files, and read that first commentary. I urge you to do so, because being the first work it had little readership. My comments were quite strong, but came about after careful consideration of the state of sportsmanship.

Not much has changed since my April 5th comments. Sports continues to be a very dangerous world physically, and a business model that is fraught with avarice. Little consideration by schools or owners is being given to the individual sports fans or the participating players. I was heartened to see two players ejected from the recent Notre Dame/ USC football game for fighting. It was disgusting to see an NFL Referee fail to penalize a Chicago Bear lineman who leveled the Minnesota Viking quarterback well after a play was over. Then there is the sick story of the New York Giant player Plaxico Burress who shot himself in a nightclub. The New Giants have made a good start by removing Burress from the active rolls, but the legal influences are now taking over and the issue will not be resolved for a long time. It is my opinion that Plaxico should not return to professional football.

Some thugs continue to roam the fields of sports, but little or nothing is done to prevent the accidents that are waiting to happen. Watch the indignation that will follow when some poor individual is killed. What kind of a message is sports sending to the youth of America? Fortunately only a few players are bringing discredit to the sporting world, but they tarnish the clean efforts of the majority.

There is so much money flowing into and around sports that it has poisoned the well. Player salaries, coaching salaries and contracts, team clothing sales, ticket prices, broadcast rights fees, bowl team fees, and the University Presidents greed to secure revenue through sports have all contributed to the corruption of sports. Little constructive leadership is coming from the heads of the NCAA, the NBA, the NFL, Major League Baseball or the Players Unions. Even the Olympic movement has been bought out by the desire to secure the inflated broadcast rights fees to the Games and the individual pressure to cheat to win the Gold. There is a smell to sports that is far worse than the aroma of hard earned sweat.

Greed rules all of sports today from the Universities, the professional team owners, the individual player’s excessive salaries, the fan’s demands for victory, the players’ unions, failure to enforce the rules by the governing bodies, etc. It will not stop until we stop feeding the pig.


Sunday, December 7, 2008


Few of you will remember December 7, 1941 unless you were born back in the 1930’s. I will never forget that day, and I still remember exactly what I was doing that Sunday morning.

Our family resided in a wonderful eight room apartment on the third floor of a three-story apartment building in the Chatham/Avalon Park neighborhood of Chicago’s south side. Dad and I had gone out to get the car washed and when we returned home Mother was leaning out of the window calling us to hurry upstairs because America was under attack. I remember Dad telling me immediately that he would be leaving soon to serve with his Illinois Army National Guard Field Artillery Unit.

Once upstairs we sat around our big floor model Philco radio and listened to a popular Sunday morning radio program titled “Hawaii Calls”, which emanated from Honolulu. The attack by the Japanese carrier based planes was in full force and we could hear the sound of the planes and bombs exploding on American soil.

Looking back, I cannot say that we were surprised by the Japanese attack, because there was much discussion that relations with Japan were deteriorating day by day. Immediately the entire nation was up in arms and ready to join together cohesively to defend our nation. There was never any alternative discussion, but a strong positive response that the United States would defend its sovereignty and honor. Japan was doomed to be defeated from the first day of the War and there was never any consideration that the result would be different. I wanted to join the Army immediately, but that was the foolish reaction of a 10 year old impressionable boy.

Aside from attacks during the Revolutionary War, brutal fighting in the Civil War, and the Mexican incursions in Texas, America had never been directly attacked and the American people were aroused and determined to defend their country at all cost. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt went before Congress and said that “December 7th, 1941 will be a date which will live in infamy,” he was definitely correct. War was declared with unanimous Congressional support and we entered into a devastating period lasting into mid 1945 with the ultimate total defeat of both Japan and Germany.

Not since that time has this great nation joined together so totally and boldly to defeat aggression and protect our democracy. Millions of lives were lost or totally disrupted, but we acted as a strong, cohesive unit with one purpose. There was little or no dissension and the press supported virtually everything our government did in the pursuit of the Wartime goals.

In hindsight there were numerous mistakes made that caused the loss of lives, but Americans turned their heads at the time. Only years later were the errors addressed and or discussed openly. In fact, a debate continues today as to whether the attack was a surprise, or if our government had knowledge of Japan’s plans. The internment of Japanese Americans and some German citizens proved to be wrong. Some military plans were seriously flawed, but swept under the rug during the pursuit of victory. Americans gladly supported wartime rationing of food and fuel. Millions of men and some women flocked to the recruitment centers and joined the military. Women quickly replaced the men who had joined the military in manufacturing positions.

September 11, 2001 was the wake-up call for the current generation. This time our country is fighting an enemy without a country and an enemy that likely walks among us. We are in combat with zealous, religious extremist ideologies…people who cannot stand our success and way of life. World War II killed millions. Let’s hope that the War on Terror does not tally that kind of human loss.

Complacency, naivety, and unpreparedness can be our biggest enemy. It is more important today that at any time in the history of our great nation to REMEMBER PEARL HARBOR.


Friday, December 5, 2008


Your Commander recognizes that he is walking on very thin ice in writing this essay. A number of my readers are Notre Dame alumni or worked for the university, and thus they see this issue through very colored glasses. Let it be known that I am not an alum of Notre Dame, but I fully understand the impact the university has to the Northern Indiana economic vitality.

For the past few months the newspapers, radio, television, sports publications, and individuals have had specific conversations on one subject only.…Will Charlie Weis come back as the Head Coach at Notre Dame? Considering the win/loss record of the Weis led football team the hullabaloo is understandable.

Currently our country is going through one of the most horrific economic downturns since the Great Depression of the early 1930’s. We are still fighting a War in Iraq, combating worldwide terrorism, experiencing record setting home foreclosures, a national healthcare crisis, the potential collapse of the American automobile industry, continued problems with our banking institutions, a new President is organizing his administration, and many very serious significant issues confront our democracy. I ask you just how important is it really if Charlie Weis continues as the Coach at Notre Dame?

The South Bend Tribune has carried a Page One story everyday for the past week addressing the speculation, and finally, the announcement that Charlie will be retained. News about very important national and international issues is buried on Page Three or even further back in its ever thinning daily editions. The Sports section has been dominated by at least two well written critical analyses daily, and none of them have been flattering to the Weis debate. The dominance of the Weis question flooded the USA Today, The Chicago Tribune, and the Chicago Sun-Times. No one seemed to be in Charlie’s corner.

Clearly, the University has once again mishandled a public relations nightmare, and the remarks of new Athletic Director, Jack Swarbrick, have been weak and evasive at best. His failure to handle the issue adroitly has sadly permitted the question of race to enter the dialog comparing the treatment of ex-Coach Willingham to Weis. The debate is bound to grow as Notre Dame and Coach Weis enter into a 2009 football season with another somewhat weak twelve game schedule starting with Nevada, Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, Washington, USC, Boston College, Washington State, Navy, Pittsburg, Connecticut, and Stanford.

Unless there are some big changes I can see another losing season, and the Weis debate will return and only become more intense. Maybe one more year will give the University administration time to hit up some deep pocketed alum for the speculated $20 million necessary to buy out Charlie’s contract. Someone within the administration should be required to answer the question…Why did they renew Charlie’s contract for ten years, if Charlie was so dedicated to his alma mater?

The whole issue is ruled by greed. The Weis question will be quickly addressed and settled if the University starts to see or experience the erosion of their hugely profitable football revenue stream. Charlie surely should have learned a lesson that his huff and puff approach does not work in Hoosier land, and it is time to hold his players and coaches accountable and responsible for delivering results. I believe it is time to take starting quarterback Jimmy Clausen out to the woodshed for a good talk about humility or assign him a seat on the bench. If Charlie Weis thought he had heat about being the Head Coach in 2008, next year will be even more demanding because the fans will be throwing more than snowballs in 2009.

Now look at what I am doing. I am just as guilty as the people I am critizing when I give any time and consideration to the Charlie Weis question. What is really important? It would be interesting to know just what the founding Fathers of Notre Dame, like Father Sorin, would have to say on this topic. I sure don’t think Charlie’s future employment is really important in the big picture scheme of things. Do you?


Wednesday, December 3, 2008


It makes little difference where you live, because the subject of this essay applies to every State in our magnificent Union.

Way back on December 11, 2007 the report STREAMLINING LOCAL GOVERNMENT by the Indiana Commission on Local Government Reform was released (also known as the Kernan Report, after the Commission’s Co-Chair, former Indiana Governor Joseph Kernan), and virtually nothing has been done to improve the efficiency or effectiveness of Indiana’s local governing bodies since that date.

I do not know how much money was spent to create the Indiana Commission on Local Government Reform, but it was probably significant, and we the taxpayers have paid the bill. Recently our local NBC affiliate, WNDU-TV, made a copy of the extensive report available on their website. This 46 page report is very interesting and carries a solid list of specific recommendations to improve local government within Indiana.

The essence of the report recommends the following:

COUNTIES: Create a clearer, more accountable structure with fewer elected officials. Better coordinate public safety services.

TOWNSHIPS: Transfer all present responsibilities to the county executive.

SCHOOLS: Establish districts that are large enough to provide high-caliber education at a lower cost and enhance fiscal accountability.

CITIES AND TOWNS: Strengthen accountability of elected officials, and eliminate the cost of separate election dates.

LIBRARIES AND SPECIAL DISTRICTS: Establish library districts that are large enough to provide high-caliber services to every Hoosier at a lower cost, and improve fiscal accountability.

ALL LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: Encourage additional voluntary action to increase efficiency and effectiveness.

SUPOPORT AND MONITORING: Facilitate the implementation of these recommendations.

All in all there are 27 specific recommendations within the above subjects, and they are all being ignored by the elected officials.

The only exception I have seen to my statement is recent action by the City of Mishawaka to consolidate their Department of Weights and Measurements into the same entity that operates in the City of South Bend. Substantial money will be saved and a more efficient operation should result. A logical question is: Why does Mishawaka continue to prosper while South Bend continues to fall further behind economically?

With local governments crying the blues about their economic health, immediate actions are not being taken to incorporate any of the suggestions so clearly outlined in the Commission’s recommendations. Within the past week the Mayor of South Bend had the unmitigated gall to suggest that an increase in the Income Tax should be considered, while he has failed to address any of the report’s recommendations. I suggest that the reason there is no action on the report is local provincialism, poor leadership, greed, fear of losing one’s job, and just plain stubborn attitudes. Reports of this nature quickly arouse opposition when segments of the populous realize their ox will be gored.

Indiana is a lovely place to live, but it has long been famous for its provincialism, and a strong tendency to cling to the past. That fact was clearly documented in Richard Longworth’s fine book CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE. Indiana, and many other States cannot thrive, or survive in the quickly changing global economy without shifting their focus to the future. Indiana has far too long clung to the past, frequently celebrating failure, and not embracing change. Indiana must adapt or it will ultimately perish economically.

Every citizen will have their own list of things they think can be done to consolidate or improve the effectiveness of local governments, but the Commission Report is an important document. It is a good starting point, but little is really being done to embrace the suggestions. Why? We must ask ourselves why some states are prospering or feeling a lesser impact during the economic downturn. Some states, especially in the south, recognize and accept the need to change, but Indiana does not.

Indiana is not alone in facing these problems, because virtually every state in this country could benefit by a similar Commission Report. If you live in Indiana your Commander strongly urges you to insist that the elected officials embrace the Kernan Report, and begin to implement at least some of the recommended changes as quickly as possible…not in political time.


Monday, December 1, 2008


In the midst of the worst economic predicament since the Great Depression of the 1930’s the citizens of this country grow more hypocritical every day. Let me list a few of the problems we are fostering that makes our economy fall even further into a black hole.

We all readily admit that America is facing a huge energy problem with a limited, diminishing supply of petroleum. Even with gasoline prices falling, I believe the oil producing countries will find a way to return the per-barrel price to a much higher level. Recognizing these facts, why do our major automotive manufacturers continue to stress horsepower, and their cars can achieve great speeds within seconds? Why does Chrysler’s Jeep Division continue to air advertisements that depict young people speeding recklessly across sand dunes that are nothing short of suicidal actions?

Would it not be more responsible for our failing automobile companies to be stressing safety and conservation of fuel? Maybe they could sell more cars if their sales approach did not insult the buyer’s intelligence with their hyproicy.

When you’re driving down the road do you notice the increasing number of drivers who are talking on their cell phones? It does not take a brain surgeon to know that the distraction caused by talking and driving is causing increases in motor vehicle accidents, as well as vehicular deaths.

Have you noticed the fact that our fellow drivers continue in ever increasing numbers to totally ignore the posted speed limits? Recently I was driving in my local community observing the posted speed limit of 40 mph, and I received two honking horns, and an additional three different one finger salutes. In my suburban community there is a stop sign that few individuals observe.

With our local governments crying for more and more revenue to operate their bloated administrations I support the installation of surveillance cameras. Here is an excellent method to feed the local government’s coffers, and keep police officers free to chase criminals. The cost of the cameras will be quickly recouped, and our politicians will have more money to cover their pet projects.

Surely you have a long list of the hypocritical circumstances confronting you, too, on a daily basis. Let us not even talk about our elected political officials when it comes to hypocrisy. The current televised public hearings being held in Washington to investigate potential bailouts are the height of hypocrisy. Political grandstanding leads my list, and still we keep re-electing these same self-serving, money hungry, so-called public servants.

When it really comes to hypocrisy it is time for every one of us to look into the mirror, and ask ourselves what we can do to change things.