Sunday, April 27, 2008


This must be the longest political season in the history of modern civilization. Today
I was beta-testing my Lazy Boy chair and suddenly jumped to an upright position.
(I bet that was a sight.) What startled me awake was another bogus claim by a politician suggesting that they would solve unemployment, war, property taxes, sin and all forms of pestilence. Enough I say, because we still have more than one week before primary voting takes place here in Fly-over country (Indiana).

I have tried to determine just who would fall for the political drivel that is being spread repeatedly daily across the airwaves. Our politicians are all appealing to the entitlement crowd that now expects to be covered from birth through death. These same voters expect their government to provide everything while they are not expected to work or pay for that care.

Recently I went to Google for copies of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. I have not read either document since I was in high school and it was a refreshing experience that re-energized my appreciation of having been born in this wonderful, unique democracy.

Clearly, we all are going through difficult times and our politicians are driving a huge wedge into the hearts of the voting public by their frantic efforts to get elected.
I just heard that the three major candidates will spend over one billion dollars to be elected our President. With all the challenges facing the USA and the civilized countries of the world, we need strong, reasoned LEADERSHIP. We do not need a leader who will say anything to get elected. Frankly, I am concerned and you should be too.

Why has nothing been done to solve our social security deficit, run away medical expense, immigration, border security, gasoline prices, earmarks, national debt, middle-east conflict, terrorism, energy dependence, excessive taxation, greenhouse gases, and issues continue to multiply? Our elected officials nationally, regionally and locally are so busy raising funds for re-election and smearing their fellow politicians that few major problems get resolved. Both political parties are guilty and, in my opinion, virtually all of the incumbents should be voted out of office. George Bush, supposedly a conservative, has gone wild spending money. Nancy Pelosi the Speaker of the House and Harry Reid the Leader of the Senate are both nothing but obstructionist, party hacks. Calling those two from Congress “leaders” is a joke impacting every citizen. If politics is known as the art of compromise, we surely have lost our rudder because it now resorts to trash and bury tactics.

Each high school student and every person of voting age should read two wonderful books that address leadership. David McCullough’s New York Times bestselling 1776 beautifully presents the foresight of our founding fathers. Next, I would recommend Michael Beschloss’s PRESIDENTIAL COURAGE. These works address leadership qualities that impacted many of the most important issues and decisions of our history.

Virtually all of our noted and revered leaders had significant flaws and they, too, weren’t perfect in solving some of the big issues of their day. With our Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 our Founding Fathers said that “ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL”. America elected fifteen Presidents who failed to address slavery, and it didn’t occur until Abraham Lincoln, our sixteenth President, released his Emancipation Proclamation some eighty-six years later on January 1, 1863.

If you think politicians are dirty now you will be shocked to learn of some of the tactics and name calling tossed around over the years. For instance, Abe Lincoln suspended habeas corpus during the Civil War. While there are many warts disclosed by historians, we have had numerous courageous leaders who faced unpopular issues and stood firm to principals of true leadership. Both books will assist you in selecting a strong leader in our next election.

I have seen nothing in either the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution that obligates or calls for our government to provide womb to tomb entitlements. We do have a moral duty to address all our citizen’s needs, but only within reason. Each of us has a significant responsibility to make a solid voting decision in November 2008. We must select a strong Commander in Chief who will address all the issues straight on with objective leadership or our children and our grandchildren will not enjoy the continuingly upgraded quality of life that has blessed this great country since 1776. Your vote is more important now than anytime in our history.

We are truly blessed to be citizens of this country and we have a duty to preserve and, more importantly, improve our democracy for future generations.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I Love to Read

My local CBS television station has just completed another successful promotional campaign to attract young elementary school students to the joys of reading. While I am long past my days in elementary school, I LOVE TO READ.

Currently, I spend several hours each day at my computer reviewing four or five major newspapers, various broadcast trade journals, some local websites and I frequently search Google for information on issues of interest.

Additionally, I am blessed with a comfortable retirement situation which permits me to have sufficient time to read daily. In a normal week, I have been known to read two or three books and currently I’m reading three wonderful books. Lately, I have read a great deal of historical material, but I don’t like to dwell on the past, but read for knowledge in assisting the development of a better future

Right now I’m reading Richard Longworth’s CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE, which studies America’s Heartland in the Age of Globalism. Additionally, I’ve just finished THE GHOST WAR by a great young author Alex Berenson, and I’m deep into the Nationally Syndicated Columnist Robert Novak’s 680 page THE PRINCE OF DARKNESS. It is a fascinating political tome from the 1950’s to the present time.

Today, I want to recommend you get a copy of Bernard Goldberg’s paperback CRAZIES TO THE LEFT OF ME/ WIMPS TO THE RIGHT. He is the veteran CBS reporter who now appears frequently on Fox News holding his own with Bill O’Reilly. His book is an excellent review of major issues confronting our country and society today. Bernie is equally hard on Liberals and Conservatives/ Democrats and Republicans, both Bushes, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, and the Clintons. Clearly, he tends to be more favorable to the conservative side of the coin, and his chapters on earmarks (pork) and racism are outstanding.

Both the Berenson and Goldberg books are wonderful reads and would be good for an airplane flight or a vacation read by the pool. Don’t try and read either when you go to bed, because you’ll keep turning pages and get very little sleep.

As my age grows the birthdays seem to come quicker, and that saddens me, because there is so much more to read, digest and learn. I find the time clock is working against me, but I find reading a great joy and emotionally rewarding. You will too, and I hope you do not wait until it’s too late to achieve the great satisfaction reading provides.

I LOVE TO READ is a gateway for both young and old minds to attain great satisfaction in life’s great journey.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Greetings from Granger USA,

Recently our local newspaper (The South Bend Tribune) ran an editorial praising the establishment of the St. Joseph County Community Coalition for School Boards. Certainly, this is a good idea and a project that should draw both our support and informed knowledge of the individuals running for the respective School Boards.

As we plod through the longest pre-election season in memory we are bombarded daily by the politicians, newspapers, radio, television and mailings about the emotional issue of education. Surely, everyone wants better schools and I consider a successful education an essential component to both a life of fulfillment and our nation’s long term survival.

Just the other evening, I was watching the evening television newscast and two of the South Bend school board members were interviewed. While I do not have any illusions about my personal appearance, I was shocked to see two school board members who looked like they were candidates for the homeless center. Not only were they poorly dressed, but they seemed to have great difficulty verbalizing a response to a simple question.

Thus, I applaud the editorial’s intent for the Coalition because we must find a way to attract qualified individuals with impeccable credentials and who pose a positive image. The school boards cannot continue to be political pawns packed with special interests representatives.

Let us assume that this Coalition is successful in recommending outstanding candidates for the forthcoming School Board elections. That will be a huge step forward, but it will not accomplish the desired results until we solve one of education’s biggest problems...VOTER APATHY. Our fellow citizens should be ashamed of themselves, because our voter turnout here in the United States is one of the poorest in the entire world.

Recent elections have experienced turnouts in the 20% and 30% levels and then we complain because problems are not resolved. Voters in this country should be ashamed when our participation levels are compared to recent voting totals in places such as Iraq, where 80% endangered their lives to get to the polls.

Recently I was at a party which was attended by what I would call middle and upscale professionals. I asked at least ten participants who was on our local School Board and would you believe that not one person could answer that question? Thus I conclude that we need three things to happen, if we want better educational results and opportunities to occur.

The Coalition needs to recommend fully vetted, qualified, unencumbered candidates for the School Boards.

Voters must be effectively informed about the candidates and their qualifications.

We must find a way to generate significantly greater voter participation in the political process.

Voter apathy is at the heart of many of the most vexing issues confronting this great country. Sure, we have our flaws, but we are still the greatest democracy in the world. Voting rights are something millions of people around the world would love to achieve. Many people have given their lives to achieve the right to vote. Here in the United States we all have the right to vote, but only a very low percentage of our fellow citizens exercise their voting privileges. You can make a difference in education, not to mention other problems facing the country, and it starts with your informed vote.

As the United Negro College Fund used to say “The mind is a terrible thing to waste.” Why do we allow our politicians to indefinitely permit this tragic waste to continue with this educational plague on our youth?

In the near future I will attempt to address some of the broader, multifaceted issues confronting education across the USA.


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

April 9, 2008


Frankly, I am already sick and tired of the political election season. It seems to have gone on forever and I have not heard anything new in any one of their positions since the campaigns started.

Have you heard the constant commercials that say…”I am fighting for you”? When I hear that claim my blood pressure climbs, because I do not want them going to Washington, the state capital or city hall to fight for me. I want them to go and do what I voted for them to accomplish and that can only be done by WORKING, NOT FIGHTING.

Politics is the art of compromise and I have never seen anything of significance accomplished by fighting. Hard work, straight talk, reasoned suggestions and fair compromises can be reached by civil discussion. All the posturing and huffing and puffing do little for the poor over-taxed voter.

I suspect some highly paid advertising guru in Washington or New York told the candidates that fighting is a word that will motivate voters to react positively to their message. Well, I want to tell you that may work with the entitlement and union crowd, but it infuriates me. Look where all the “fighting” has gotten our Congress lately…nothing of any consequence has been accomplished. The only thing that our elected officials consistently do is pass legislation that lines their pockets and provides the poor constituents with greater financial obligations and ever increasing national, regional and local debt.

Our great public servants never fail to pass their yearly pay raises, and they never miss a chance to call for a recess so they can fly home at taxpayer expense to solicit more campaign funds. Don’t get me started on the subject of earmarks and the pork barrel scams that are being perpetrated daily. A recent television “In-depth report” of 30 seconds duration announced that the largest dollar amount of pork has gone to Alaska, Hawaii and North Dakota, and my first term Congressman, Joe Donnelly, alone was given $9,640,000 in earmarks. I have written and sent emails to his office in an effort to determine just where the 9+ Million is going, but the only thing I get back from my “fighting” Congressman is a form letter confirming my email. One should wonder just what I would receive if I sent him money with my inquiry.

Congress continues to borrow from the Social Security Fund and place IOU’s in the vault that they have no intension of repaying. Why has there been no sincere effort to address the Social Security Fund pending shortfall? Why can’t our elected officials address Immigration, the budget shortfall, failed educational institutions, waste in entitlement programs, gasoline pricing, or the oil/energy dilemma? Why do we continue to give huge foreign aid dollars to countries that keep oil prices at exhorbitant levels? When will politicians learn that throwing money at a problem is not the answer? Our elected officials are so busy fighting for their own interests, your vote, and among themselves that they are frozen into inaction. Our power is in our vote, so learn what you can about EVERY candidate for whom you cast a vote.

Am I angry? I sure am and it is time that I and all the other taxpaying voters open their windows, stick their heads out and then yell at the top of their voices…I’M MAD AS HELL AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE. It is time that we all get off our back sides and learn about the candidates…who they really are and what they stand for…and then go vote. Stop fighting and start working to make this country better for all the people and not the politicians. As my old Mayor Richard J. Daly in Chicago said…”Vote early and vote often”.


Saturday, April 5, 2008

Sportsmanship Is Dead

April 5. 2008


Recently I sent a letter to my local newspaper’s Letters to the Editor website and waited to see if they would publish my concerns. Silly me…I should have known better, because the content of my remarks addressed a subject that many institutions do not want to hear.

After viewing many football games, I became convinced that SPORTSMANSHIP IS DEAD. When is the all-powerful pompous emperor of the NCAA going to address flips into the end zone, taunting, late hits out of bounds, and vicious hits to the head that will surely result in death or permanent injury of some innocent athletes? During several games I saw blatant examples of poor sportsmanship that only resulted in merely a 15 yard penalty and then team members were patting the offender on the back when they returned to the sidelines. Why are the violators of vicious rule violations of good sportsmanship not thrown out of the game?

In my opinion, the over-paid, all-knowing leader of the NCAA, Miles Brand, continues to ignore the obvious need for prompt action. All of the money that the NCAA sports generate for the educational institutions and their overpaid coaches has frozen the NCAA into a state of inaction. The NCAA airs their self-congratulating ads about good sportsmanship and yet they let thugs run rampant on the football field. This problem is clearly caused by a few under-coached, self-absorbed individuals and fortunately does not represent the thousands of honest, play-by-the rules athletes.

Where are Miles Brand and the NCAA in addressing the obvious violations to the NCAA rules when student athletes live in expensive off-campus housing and are seen driving expensive luxury automobiles? Wake-up Miles! Ignoring the abuse of the NCAA rules only promotes the growth of infractions by young, irresponsible individuals. I suspect Miles Brand is too busy cashing his inflated monthly check to address the hard issues and instead places his misguided ethical edict in demanding the elimination of harmless team mascot names.

The same concerns expressed about college sports can also be said about the National Football League. Unpunished criminals roam the fields every Sunday and ex-players suffer permanent untreated injuries, while the League’s bank account swells. You will not see anyone addressing these problems when you keep paying the ever increasing outrageous ticket prices. I predict that you will see prompt indignant government action when some poor player gets killed.

The recent decision by basketball Coach Tom Crean to join Indiana University is troubling when he announced his decision was based upon his ability to join a basketball program of great integrity. Where has Tom Crean been the last two years when Kelvin Sampson was accused of numerous NCAA recruiting violations and player mutiny? Yes, Indiana basketball has a great history of being a basketball powerhouse, but it has been a place of turmoil for years since the long overdue firing of erratic, legendary Bobby Knight. I wonder if Tom Crean told the young impressionable Marquette players he recruited that he was leaving to accept tens of millions of dollars with a program in total disarray? The young Marquette player’s played their hearts out for Tom and he kissed them off to satisfy his greed. Believe me; Tom was not starving in the Marquette pay line.

It will be interesting to see how IU’s new head coach addresses the issue of the two players that were recently thrown off the team by the then interim coach (Dan Dakrich). Will greed or sportsmanship prevail?

While I am on my soap-box…The current steroid scandal impacting Major League Baseball is a total joke. Where have Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, the team owner’s, and baseball’s labor union leader’s been sticking their heads? The matter is now out into the open and they must quickly set some firm rules to reestablish the integrity of the game. Any further violation of the new rules should result in prompt suspension of playing time and salary, or a permanent life-time ban. Only when the players are hit firmly in their over-stuffed pocketbooks will we see a return to Sportsmanship on the playing field.

The Washington political hearings were a total farce and accomplished nothing, but provided the politicians a platform to pontificate their deep and abiding concern for the purity of baseball. Where was their concern when the unusual increase in home runs began to take place? Don’t we know that politicians only get involved after the fact or just before an election, and their solutions are always totally deluded in compromise?

I am certain that many heroes of my youth are turning over in their graves. Permitting money and greed to dominate all sports is the sin being perpetrated on today’s fan. This problem will continue to prevail until the fan stands-up and stops paying exorbitant ticket prices.