Friday, July 31, 2009


The latest adventure in The NUMA Files/Kurt Austin series, "Medusa" is destined to get to the top of the best selling charts for Clive Cussler and Paul Kemprecos.

I believe that I have read every single book written by Clive Cussler, and his latest co-authored effort is one of his best works. A mixture of adventure, international intrigue, science, engineering, and a touch of romance makes this book an easy reading experience. Your Commander especially likes the way the authors create a way to return familiar characters from their previous works.

Your time spent with "Medusa" will be pleasurable and rewarding.



The major media outlets and the national opinion polls are beginning to haunt the administration by addressing probing questions about the actions of recently elected President Barack Hussein Obama.

After a frantic seven months in office, Obama is now experiencing a dramatic drop in his popularity statistics, and you can see that he does not like it for one minute. Personally, I suggest that Obama is suffering from excessive over-exposure and the limited results of his rush to judgment legislative agenda are drawing a growing negative reaction.

It was reported today that one elderly lady in Iowa placed a want ad in her local newspaper to sell her two television sets, because she could not bear to see Obama one more time on the airwaves. That’s the epitome of overexposure.

Most importantly and more accurate are the results of an AT&T/Yahoo poll, which asked the following question: “The President’s progress with the battered economy has been both praised and criticized by the pundits, but how well are his efforts measuring up with you?”

Extremely well. We are undoubtedly moving in the right direction. - 14%
Fairly well. There’s still a long way to go. - 9%
Not well at all. His plans are hurting more than helping. - 75%
Not sure/No opinion. - 2%

As of 7/31/09 10:00AM Total votes 87,923

Your Commander calls those poll results a MANDATE against President Obama’s performance, and a repudiation of his call for CHANGE AND TRANSPARENCY. I suggest that it is time for him to stay off the television airwaves, work in the office, and stay off Air Force One. Obama’s all-knowing advisors must be working late at night to figure a way to get their train back on the track, because 75% of this sample of the electorate is not buying their act.

Can you imagine the policy meetings that Obama will have with his confidants such as Rahm Emanuel and David Axilrod while vacationing in the $35,000 rented home on Martha’s Vineyard during the Congressional August recess? Since you and I actually own a tiny piece of Air Force One I pray that First Dog, Bo, does not drop a dump when the big jet engines rev up for take-off from Andrews Air Force Base.



When I opened my local morning paper today the first two pages were full of stories addressing the Health Care legislation struggling through the Halls of Congress. I had to turn to the latter pages of my ever-thinning newspaper to find any coverage of our brave women and men fighting for our freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan. With newspapers losing their behinds financially, it is unfortunate to see coverage diverted to less expensive reporting in egocentric Washington as opposed to the dangerous and outrageously expensive assignment of journalists to the Middle East confrontations.

Moving on, there is no doubt as to the importance of the Health Care legislation, or the need to address expense curtailment in that field. Tragically our politicians have made this subject a political opportunity to enhance their re-election by making illegal aliens eligible for health insurance on the financial backs of legal taxpaying Americans. Additionally, Washington again fails to address Tort Reform, because the trial lawyers are huge contributors to their campaign coffers.

With that in mind, I have two simple questions to ask every single voting member of the House of Representatives and Senate:

1. Why will our President and not one member of the House or Senate respond specifically to the numerous questions from the media as to whether or not the members of Congress will retain their special health insurance coverage or be included in the new legislation like all other citizens?

2. Will you vote to include all members of Congress to receive identical health care insurance coverage as the electorate? No Washington-speak double talk, just a simple YES or NO.

Your Commander strongly urges every citizen who is eligible to vote to advise their elected officials that you will not vote for their re-election unless they support parity in Health Care legislation between our elected officials and their fellow citizens. The American voters deserve to know just what justification exists for our government officials to have a special, superior classification of voter paid insurance. It is essential that we no longer ask, but demand adherence to our call for equality. Remember, “ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL.”

One must wonder just where our Media is. Are they not supposed to be the Watch Dogs of Freedom? Maybe they have all left early for Martha’s Vineyard.


Monday, July 27, 2009


Life in America today has fallen into two isolated political ruts, and both the Republicans and Democrats are frantically striving to place you and me into their agitating camps of discontent. Your Commander is just as guilty as the political leadership is concerned, because I too have been ranting for far too long without really addressing solutions.

Recently, I took a dramatic step in announcing the fact that I have left the Republican Party because I no longer feel that they function in the best interests of American citizens and my long-term desire to assure the adherence to the Constitution. As a matter of fact, I have absolutely no interest in joining the Democrat Party because they represent a philosophy that feels all problems are solved by throwing money around that only leads to an indebted socialist welfare subjugated state.

Tragically, both political parties as currently constituted are fiscally irresponsible and our elected officials no longer honestly operate in our best interests. It is obvious to me that our government is totally self-centered and has cast itself to an elite status with two systems, one for them and one for the people they took an oath to serve.

Let me ask you a question: “How can you support a politician who tells you one thing to get elected and then once he wins, governs with different, undeclared directions?” I suggest that we should all remember the words of Abraham Lincoln: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Our Congressional leaders should take heed of his wisdom.

Having said the above, I have cast myself into a separate classification that I call an Independent Constitutionalist. Your Commander firmly believes that we are making a serious error in failing to adhere to the brilliant words, and intentions of our Founding Fathers. Yes, times and conditions have changed dramatically over the many years since 1776, but solid, moral, God respecting principles have not.

Both parties have chosen to divide the electorate into petty, self-serving, angry followers. We are literally paid-off with pork laden projects that in the long run place the electorate into virtual slavery through dependence on more and more hand-outs. Where has the American “CAN DO” spirit gone and our fervent desire for independence, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

Back when our Founding Fathers had the courage to stand up and demand our independence from the over taxing British enslavement, we moved in a direction that has led to the best standard of living in the entire world. Slowly we have permitted our elected leadership to alter dramatically the intentions of our Constitution as a result of personal greed, and self-serving legislation.

Regretfully, we the American voter, have permitted our elected officials to create their elite status, and we failed to hold them accountable to function in our mutual interests and uphold their oaths of office. Unfortunately, I no longer believe that either of our two major political parties can function in our best interests. We, the voters, must root out corruption, dishonesty, deception, and demand an impartial dealing of the cards. For far too long we have not been treated fairly and it will only get worse if we individually and collectively don’t get off our behinds and DEMAND accountability NOW.

Class warfare, which both major parties now promote, will only destroy our democracy in the long run. When a few of our devious and self-serving political figure-heads are tossed out of office a strong and loud signal will resonate through-out the Halls of Congress and the White House.

You and I have it within our power to be a mighty force to guarantee the future of our great country, but we must not permit this opportunity to pass. The time will come when it will be too late to reverse the dangerous course our government is taking. Make your voice heard now and in the future. Vote for individuals who have the character qualities, and experience to assure good governance and the adherence to our Constitution. Stop voting for a good orator or a political hack that promises everything and anything. That simply provides at best a short-term fix.

Freedom does not come cheap. Remember everyday of your precious life those who gave their full measure to protect and assure us of our freedoms and liberty. Do not let those brave men and women down by electing another smooth talking elitist who takes far more from you than he gives in return.

Thomas Jefferson made a number of important statements. I will quote a few here because they remain most appropriate:

“The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”

“It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.”

“I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the Government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”

“My reading of history convinces me that most government results from too much government.”

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

“To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”

It is a shame that we currently lack the leadership, vision, and depth of moral individuals such as Thomas Jefferson.

The principles of the documents written more than 225 years ago got us where we are and they must be re-examined frequently to assure our long-term adherence to those words. The alternative to LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS is not acceptable, but we must fight as our Founding Father’s did to preserve it. Do it now, before it is too late.


Sunday, July 26, 2009


The action of the St. Joseph County Common Council in voting 5-4 to implement a mega-increase in the Local Option Income Tax signals the beginning of the end for both St. Joseph County, and the City of South Bend. After twenty plus years of inept leadership and excessive spending, the governing officials have again failed to listen to the very people who put them into office. These are the citizens who in the South Bend Tribune poll clearly expressed their desire against the tax increase by a vote of 75% vs. 25%.

While the leadership of the City of Mishawaka voted to not support increased taxation, they also sent a signal that their responsible government has learned to live within its means, which both the County and City of South Bend has failed repeatedly to accomplish. The current shortfall in funding did not just occur, and it is not solely the fault of State Government. These financial shortfalls have been happening for many years. The shortsighted individuals who voted to increase our taxes have all neglected to address or adopt the many logical recommendations outlined in the recent Kernan Commission Report. Had the Kernan suggestions been implemented, we would not have needed these unwarranted tax hikes.

Most insulting is the arrogance of local government to not include a sunset provision eliminating the tax increase in say two years when the national economy should improve. South Bend and the County continue to fund failed projects such as the College Football Hall of Fame, and vote to provide huge sums such as one million dollars for a jumbo-tron television for the front of the new WNIT-TV (Public Broadcasting) building, are just two of many examples. Can’t you just picture throngs of people standing outside the WNIT-TV building watching PBS programs on the $1 million jumbo-tron in the middle of a South Bend winter?

The South Bend School Board is a total joke and embarrassment and the children continue to pay the price of its incompetent conduct. Tragically the failure to dramatically improve test scores, graduation rates, and reduce drop-out statistics will only result in substantial increases in long-term fiscal needs. The School Board’s failures will lead to increased crime, incarceration rates, and the need for more police, lower property values and growing welfare rolls.

What the local government fails to consider is the fact that thousands of local retired taxpaying voters have another option that will lead to the further collapse of the revenue base. We can move out of this jurisdiction to a community where the tax base is well managed and affordable. When the population base drops and new residents no longer want to move into this community, the fiscal problems will be dramatically compounded. I predict that the future of South Bend and St. Joseph County are now in serious jeopardy, and the current government leadership has absolutely nobody to blame but themselves.

The creation of Ignition Park to attract new business sounds good, but why would any responsible corporate executive want to move their business into a community that is crumbling financially. What company would want their employees to move their families into a school system that continues to fail? Anyone with one ounce of sense must know that Notre Dame cannot and should not continue to bail out irresponsible, illogical financial leadership.

We, the taxpaying public, carry a huge blame in this fiasco, because we voted these clowns into office. Maybe they have finally fooled themselves with their fiscal negligence. It is now time for the people who elected them to finally get off their backsides and vote them out of office. Increasing the local tax revenue is only a short-term fix, because our local government must ultimately learn to live within their means. I predict that within the next two years these same politicians will be coming back asking for more money from your pocketbook. We cannot spend more than we make, and our government should be held accountable to function with fiscal responsibility, too.



Our newspapers and airwaves have been constantly airing the nation’s concerns regarding President Barack Obama’s demands for immediate passage of his agenda for Health Care reform. We have also been barraged by pundits from both sides of the issue, and still the average Joe on the street does not know the details of the various pieces of legislation moving forward in the Halls of Congress.

Now we are being hammered by television commercials sponsored by public service unions insisting that we call specific Congressmen and demand that they support their version of Health Care. My local newspaper has been running a poll for several days that asks the question, “What do you think of President Obama’s health care proposal?”

Support it 24%
Oppose it 57%
Don’t know enough about it 19%

Two facts become clear in this poll. Almost 20% of our citizens do not know enough about the Health Care Bill to have a clear opinion, and most importantly a majority does not like what they are hearing about Obama’s Health Care plans.

Considering the above, I strongly urge our Washington legislators to go slow and get a Bill that is clearly understood and supported by a majority of the voters before rushing to an unpopular judgment. It is beyond your Commander’s understanding that our elected Officials would heap huge added financial debt obligations on an already over-burdened economy without thorough study.

There was an important article by Dan Balz in the July 26th issue of the Washington Post that carried the headline, “He Promised Change, but Is This Too Much, Too Soon?” I believe that many Americans have growing deep concerns and questions in view of the waste, delays, and debt caused by this administration’s early rush to pass complex legislation.

There is no debate that improvements are required in our health care system, but let us proceed slowly and get it right. America cannot afford to get this legislation wrong, so calm, reasoned decision making should prevail as opposed to the hysterical Chicago-style political strong-arm tactics of our new administration.


Friday, July 24, 2009


Hopefully you have or will read Glenn Beck’s best selling pamphlet book, “Common Sense.” A good friend recently loaned me her copy, and when I started to read it I found that I could not put the book down for one minute.

In stating that I have a dilemma with “Common Sense” it is solely due to the fact that I am not a fan of Glenn Beck as a radio or television performer. He makes me uncomfortable and his brand of humor I find to be beneath his obvious high level of intelligence. When one listens or views Beck there is no doubt that he has a great command of the issues confronting our country, but all the waving of arms and hysterical expressions just leaves me cold.

That said, I strongly suggest you read this new book, which was inspired by Thomas Paine’s magnificent original1776 pamphlet “Common Sense.” Paine’s work was well received, and was instrumental in bringing about the colonial separation from British rule. Both Beck’s and Paine’s well presented words accurately portray conditions now and then. The similarities of the levels of discontent then and now are clearly evident and well addressed.

Happy reading, and remember that a well informed voter is better equipped to cast a more intelligent, well reasoned vote.


Thursday, July 23, 2009


Scanning the on-line edition of July 21st edition of the Chicago Tribune I noted the following headline: “PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA’S CHICAGO HOME: CITY SPENDS AT LEAST $2.2 MILLION TO PROTECT IT.”

That sure caught my eye and the cost represents the time frame from the November, 2008 election to the January, 2009 Inauguration. Upon reading further I was astounded to learn that the Chicago Police Department has been told reimbursement will be made by the federal government for about $1.5 million of the cost, but they are still holding the bag for some $700,000. Further, the expense of protecting the President’s home from January, 2009 to April 30, 2009, some $650,000, is not currently scheduled to be paid back. That’s three months at $650,000…that’s $2.6 million a year that the city is expected to cover…some $10.4 million over his four year term!

Apparently there is no procedure in place to cover the security expense of the Obama home according to the Chicago Office of Legal Affairs. Although the city spokesman would not go into details, he is quoted as saying, “We’ve been assured that the federal government will fully reimburse us for all costs associated with protecting President Obama while in Chicago.”

There is no question that the leader of our country and his/her family should be protected to the nth degree. My question is: “Who should pay for the security of his home when he is not in Chicago?” Your Commander’s opinion is that the American taxpayer (here the Chicago taxpayer in particular) should not be obligated to pay for the security expense of a president’s home when not in residence. Certainly security must be maintained at a high level with the Secret Service in charge. But where ancillary expenses are concerned I believe that a president or his political party should be obligated to cover them when his home is unoccupied.

Who pays for the security of your home and mine when we are away? You and I pay our obligations and our government officials should pay theirs too. How many perks should our greedy leadership receive? No wonder they all leave office richer than when they entered office.

Why should the already financially strapped American taxpayer be expected to cover the cost of protecting a multi-millionaire’s personal home? When will the arrogance of office stop? It will only cease when you and I step forward and demand real change.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Senior citizens around the planet are extending their thanks and admiration to veteran golfer Tom Watson for his magnificent performance at the British Open Golf Tournament. While he did not achieve his goal of victory, he did teach an important lesson to younger golfers who all too frequently are overly critical of older duffers.

Unfortunately Tom Watson (2 months away from his 60th birthday) just plain ran out of gas in the closing play-off holes against a much younger (age 36) Stewart Cink. Unquestionably Cink deserved to win, and I salute him for his brilliant achievement. Watson on the other hand has raised the desires and egos of all senior golfers, because they cannot and should not be considered as “over the hill” from this day forward. Watson’s performance will be long remembered in the annals of the Golf World.

There is still a fire burning brightly within the bellies of all senior citizens, and Watson’s performance proved that we should not be taken lightly. Keep swinging, and enjoy both the joy and frustration of this marvelous game of life, because the day will come all too soon when our clubs will be placed in the bag forever.


Sunday, July 19, 2009


With several significant issues coming up for a vote in the Halls of Congress, I want to address an important question. Have you contacted your Congressman and Senator to express your feelings on the important legislation coming up for a vote?

Specifically, I mean the issues of Health Care Reform, Cap and Trade, and Card Check. If you are not certain regarding what these potential bills contain, I suggest you research them using the search capabilities of your computer.

If you have done so, I commend you for your good citizenship and participation in our governance. If you have not gotten off your backside, you have absolutely no right to criticize our deteriorating liberties and standard of living here in the United States. I don’t expect or want any flowers from anyone, but I have emailed my Congressional delegate and both of my Senators expressing how I see the above issues and why I wish to see their vote agree with my opinion on this pending legislation.

Act now or forever hold your tongue. Should your Washington elected Representative or Senator not vote the way you wish you have only one recourse and that is to vote against them in the next election cycle. If you have not acted by making contact, it is essential that you get a copy of both the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence for your prompt review. Within the past year I have re-read both of these magnificent documents and found that doing so was a most rewarding and refreshing experience.


Sunday, July 12, 2009


So far I have read every book written by the New York Times #1 best selling author, Brad Thor, and his latest is clearly his best work to date. I highly recommend you read THE APOSTLE, which was just released.

If you are familiar with his work you will know that Thor is a master at spinning an action/adventure yarn, and with THE APOSTLE setting in Afghanistan this is a real barn burner from start to finish. As a salute to men like his hero Scot Harvath the author has dedicated this book to the individuals who protect our freedom with their unique contribution. As noted, George Orwell said it beautifully “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”

As the United States winds down its involvement in Iraq, we are increasing our commitment of armed forces in Afghanistan and the future is still very much in question. With the long history of tribal disputes and foreign influences impacting the daily struggle for a peaceful life, I fear we are in for a long, deadly struggle.

Thor’s work only reminds us all that we must support our brave troops and the special people who step forward to accept the necessary challenges confronting our country’s future. Once you start reading THE APOSTLE you will not be able to put the book down until you journey to its conclusion.


Monday, July 6, 2009


Left to right: Your Commander; Ed Scovell, CBS; John Fetzer, Chairman & CEO Fetzer Broadcasting

This story begins October 1, 1961, and I can remember the details as if it was yesterday. On that date a new television station, KGIN-TV in Grand Island, Nebraska, was dedicated and a huge open-house affair was scheduled to herald the event. Up until that time the thousands of residents in western Nebraska did not have direct over-the-air television, and being primarily an isolated agricultural area there was a real need and business opportunity for a news, weather, and entertainment service.

At the time, I was the junior member of the staff for Avery-Knodel television’s Chicago office. When the invitation arrived some one month in advance my boss, Big Bill, immediately announced that in view of his colitis condition he would not be available to attend. All the other senior members of the staff quickly had very important matters to tend to, so I was selected to represent our company.

Off I went to Lincoln, Nebraska where the invited guests arrived the night before the big event. I quickly recognized why my associates avoided the invitation, because we were all ushered to a Dance Club gathering in the ornate ballroom of the Cornhusker Hotel. All the ladies had dance cards, and I was urged to make sure I danced with the General Manager’s wife. I stumbled through the dance only stepping on her feet a couple of times, but I found an excuse to scurry to my hotel room at an early hour.

Early the next day we all assembled for an organizational meeting to discuss the activities of the day, and learned that we would be joining an automobile caravan at 11:30AM to head west some 110 miles to the location of the new television station’s tower location. Remember, this was 1961, so the journey was slow going on two-lane highways lasting nearly three hours.

October 1, 1961 was one of the hottest, most humid days that year, and the cars were not air-conditioned, but here we all were in our white shirts, ties and dark suits heading westward to one of the finest agricultural areas in the country. Throughout the journey the many drivers were constantly communicating via newly installed CB radios to assure that everyone was kept on a tight schedule established by the station’s General Manager.

As we were driving west, the GM was constantly talking on the CB radio to his Chief Engineer at the tower site, because the installation of the antenna was delayed by thunder storms and high winds during the previous several days. He was concerned that the installation would be completed so the switch could be thrown at the appointed time of 2:30PM, especially with all the dignitaries already enroute. As we pulled up to the tower site, I noted that the rigging crew was still climbing down the tower, so apparently they finished in just the nick of time.

Arriving in a cloud of dust out in the middle of vast acres of corn there were literally several thousand farm families adorned in bib overalls, John Deere hats or straw hats, with the ladies in house dresses and aprons. God, we were all in our dark suits and looked like we had arrived from another planet. This was a really big deal for these fine folks who were responsible for growing the necessary food products that fed our vast nation, because on this day they were finally coming into the age of television.

I remember as I got out of the car a wonderful little lad came over to me and asked, “Mister, are you important…are you a Big Shot?” I thanked the boy for his question and assured him I was not someone important, but a member of the station’s sales staff from Chicago. Oh my, did we all look out of place, but these wonderful people were all very impressed with the event and the gathered “Big Shots from back East.”

Assembled were representatives from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from Washington, Nebraska Governor Frank Morrison, representatives from the station’s owner, Fetzer Broadcasting, CBS-TV, and area mayors, Congressmen and staff personnel from the mother station, KOLN-TV in Lincoln. We all sat up on a platform in the boiling sun as several long-winded speeches were given and finally the owner, John Fetzer, threw the switch which brought KGIN-TV to life as the assembled crown cheered wildly.

As the throng continued to cheer, the Chief Engineer suddenly came over to the GM with a wild look in his eyes and announced in a hushed tone, “We better get everyone off the podium immediately, because I think we have just sterilized each of them with 316,000 watts of power. Apparently the signal is going straight up and down, so everyone better move away damn fast.” With that we were all urged to move into the transmitter building where the thousands of guests were lining up outside for free lemonade and cookies and a look at all kinds of transmission equipment. Most did not understand what it did, but it was very impressive to one and all.

Once inside the building there was a promptly called meeting with the people who understood what the devil was going on and it was determined that the riggers, in their haste, had placed the antenna on top of the 1,066 foot tower incorrectly. Apparently, the antenna would have to be disconnected, raised and turned 180 degrees. Immediately the riggers started climbing back up the tower, but nothing was said to the assembled crowd, because they could see a bright clear picture on the television monitors in the building, and thus the public did not know of the seriousness of the problem.

The honored guests were quickly assembled and told of the problem in hushed tones, and we were urged to make a discreet exit back to our waiting cars for our return drive to Lincoln. By the time we all got started back we were all soaking wet from the heat, but the trip seemed to last much longer with no one wanting to discuss the seriousness of the engineering problem confronting the station and assembled guests.

A moment of further explanation is appropriate at this point. The owner of the station, John Fetzer, headquartered at his flag-ship station WKZO-TV in Kalamazoo, MI, owned a group of television stations which included Lincoln, Kalamazoo/Grand Rapids, Sioux City, IA, and Cadillac, MI, and radio stations in several cities. He also owned the Detroit Tigers and was a wonderful, dignified, soft spoken gentleman. John was a recognized leader in the broadcast industry, and highly respected by his peers. I personally always admired him for his ability to listen to a situation and then in a few succinct words define and render a decision to resolve the problem.

As the automobile caravan journeyed back to Lincoln, the GM was back on the CB radio checking with the other cars and urging them to keep exactly to the clip-board time schedule. Returning to the Cornhusker Hotel we got out of the cars and assembled in a group to be addressed by the GM about the evening’s events. We were told that we had exactly 15 minutes to gather back in the Ballroom of the Hotel for the cocktail party prior to a gala dinner serving Nebraska’s famous prime steaks, etc.

With that said John Fetzer stepped forward and said, “Those who know me will understand that it is against my nature to exercise my ownership prerogative, but we have just driven over 250 miles in a hot dusty caravan, we sat in the hot sun for over one hour at the tower, we have apparently been subjected to a possible sterilization, and now you tell us that we have to be in the ballroom in 15 minutes? You have done a wonderful job keeping us on a tight schedule Jim, but I am going to tell you that I am not going to be in the ballroom in 15 minutes. I am going to my hotel room, have a relaxed bowel movement, and then a cool shower. You can tell the Governor and your assembled guests that I will be there in good order. Thank you.” The GM stood there stunned and everyone else stood there biting their tongues trying not to laugh hysterically.

Actually no one was in the ballroom in 15 minutes, but we did eventually gather and had a wonderful evening. The tower rigging crew corrected the problem and KGIN-TV went on to a very successful and very profitable period of service.

One of the very unique features at the time was that KOLN-TV/KGIN-TV always started their newscasts with a seven or eight minute weathercast, which was due to the importance of weather in the agricultural based economy, followed by extensive coverage of Nebraska Big Red football, and finally the news. This format was something that other stations would never consider, but it represented the priorities across Nebraska.

Fortunately no one was sterilized, but the tales of that station’s dedication continued for many years. Despite the significant added engineering expense John Fetzer was most proud of his award-winning Nebraska facilities.

I look back on this event now some forty-nine years later with both amusement and respect for another time when television was a vitally important addition to the quality of life for thousands of individuals residing in this Midwestern part of America. Today we take television for granted, and many do not even remember a time when there was no television or even vital weather information that impacted our day to day livelihood. It was, however, a kinder, gentler more civil time that I suspect will never return.


Sunday, July 5, 2009


Thanks to information from my good friend TB, who lives in the beautiful low-country of South Carolina, I am revisiting the highly emotional subject of immigration. The reasons for the financial difficulties currently facing the State of California have been clearly stated by the Los Angeles Times.

1. 40%of all workers in L.A. County (L.A. County has 10.2 million people) are working for cash and not paying taxes. This is because they are predominantly illegal immigrants working without a green card.

2. 95% of warrants for murder in Los Angeles are for illegal aliens.

3. 75% of people on the most wanted list in Los Angeles are illegal aliens.

4. Over 2/3 of all births in Los Angeles Country are to illegal alien Mexicans on Medi-Cal, whose births were paid for by taxpayers.

5. Nearly 35% of all inmates in California detention centers are Mexican nationals here illegally.

6. Over 300,000 illegal aliens in Los Angeles County are living in garages.

7. The FBI reports half of all gang members in Los Angeles are most likely illegal aliens from south of the border.

8. Nearly 60% of all occupants of HUD properties are illegal.

9. 21 radio stations in L.A. are Spanish speaking.

10. In L.A. County 5.1 million people speak English, 3.9 million speak Spanish. (There are 10.2 million people in L.A. County.)

Accepting the Los Angeles Times report as valid, it is also reported that less than 2% of illegal aliens are picking crops, but 29% are on welfare. Over 70% of the United States annual population growth (and over 90% of California, Florida, and New York) results from immigration. 29% of inmates in federal prisons are illegal aliens.

If you do not find this information to be shocking, disgusting, and troubling then there is something seriously wrong. No wonder California is financially bankrupt! The situation is not going to get better until something drastic is done about illegal immigration across our nation, and done quickly.

Our new leadership in Washington is trying to stuff more and more quick-fix legislation through Congress with liberal immigration part of their project to add millions of additional voters to the Democrat rolls. The proposals floating around by Senators Kennedy, Kerry, McCain, and President Obama are extremely dangerous to the security and future direction of our electoral process.

The obvious problems confronting California are similar in many other states only to a lesser degree, but equally destructive to our budget process. Why does the voting public permit our elected officials to stuff destructive policies and practices into pending legislation? Massive increases in our taxation will obviously result and when millions of illegal aliens are permitted to enter the voting booths, millions more illegal individuals will flood into our country to get on the welfare gravy train.

What concerns your Commander is the fact that the political leaders who are pushing massive immigration amnesty will never be influenced by the after effect because they are insolated by government perks and excessive retirement packages. We the average hard working individuals will be forced to a lower standard of living and be forced to pay the bill for people who have not earned the right to be citizens of the USA.

Repeating my earlier statements, I espouse legal immigration for people who want to work, live legal law-abiding lives, and support a democratic multi-party form of government. If individuals do not agree with those requirements, they can go somewhere else. America is currently experiencing the consequence of the big lies surrounding Obama’s persuasive and numerous calls for CHANGE AND TRANSPARENCY. President Obama reminds me of the Washington Senator who told me years ago, “Son, just because I said it doesn’t mean it is so.”

I have long wondered why we cannot see the upheaval loose immigration rules have caused Spain, France, England, and the Netherlands, but we continue letting immigration problems eat up our economy on a daily basis. We better stand-up quickly and be counted upon to object in massive numbers or we will be swamped even further by tax levels that will destroy our standard of living. What is it going to take before the citizens of this once great country wake-up?

California is broke now, but you will be too if Obama’s immigration plan becomes law. It is time for each of us to put on our Howard Beale hats, and open our windows, put our heads out, and yell at the top of our voices…I AM MAD AS HELL, AND I AM NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!


Saturday, July 4, 2009


The airwaves are awash with the political pundit’s analyses as to why Sara Palin has resigned her position as Governor of the State of Alaska. Frankly, I find this to be a refreshing change from the incessant media coverage of the sudden passing of Michael Jackson, and the Messianic sobbing for the passing of a music icon that obviously went off the deep end along the way.

Why did Sarah Palin resign? I do not know any better than anyone else. Only Palin and her family can answer that question, but I suspect that she has really ended her chance to become the President of the United States anytime soon. Honestly, I found it refreshing to see a political figure virtually tell the world…”Take this job and shove it!” The unwarranted ethical challenges and financial burden that Palin has been placed under is disgusting to say the least.

I think the policy of personal destruction that has been going on for the past couple of decades is keeping good, qualified people from running for public office. Between that and the seemingly constant effort necessary to raise re-election campaign funds drives others from seeking a return to office.

Why shouldn’t she go out on the speaking circuit and make the big bucks like Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush and Al Gore? If my family was confronted with a $500,000 legal bill I sure would want to erase it as quickly as possible and being the Governor of Alaska just will not resolve that obligation. Why shouldn’t Sarah write a book and cash in on her notoriety?

Like Sara Palin or not, and many do not, she did not deserve to be attacked with frivolous ethical accusations, all of which were found to be unwarranted. The attacks from within John McCain’s staff are just appalling, too. Life in politics today is not civilized, and it certainly is not for the faint of heart. I kind of respect her for standing up for her family and her privacy. The recent vicious attack by David Letterman toward her family was over the edge of decency, and CBS should have fired him or at least suspended him. It is about time that more people like Palin tell the elite attack dogs to just go to hell!

Only time will tell if Sarah Palin is destined for a major leadership role in America, but in the meantime I wish her some civility, happiness and privacy in her life in beautiful Alaska. Palin’s opportunity to make some big bucks will not last very long, so she better take advantage of it now before the current leadership takes everything she and the rest of us have in our pocketbooks.


Friday, July 3, 2009


Well I have just finished reading Dick Morris and Eileen McGann’s new book CATASTROPHE, and maybe I can save you some money. If you’re a regular viewer of Fox News Channel or Fox Business Channel, then you have probably heard all the basic information related in this just released book.

Team Morris continues to be a two-trick pony act, because their basic theme continues to be bashing the Clintons and Obamas and little else. While your Commander has a common concern and distrust of those two political forces, I suggest that my horizon extends well beyond them to include many other suspicious individuals and world-wide issues. I am different too, because Team Morris is too commercially oriented, and your Commander is completely non-profit with obligations to no one, but his personal code of ethics. There is, however, no question that Morris and McGann have an impressive scope to their research and statistics, which I found to be both refreshing and informative.

Additionally, I found their chapter covering Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and Congressman Charles Rangel (D-NY) to be quite revealing, and at the same time totally disgusting. The self-indulgence and disregard for appropriate conduct by these two long-standing elected officials is beyond reason or understanding. As urged by Team Morris, I am personally writing both Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), head of the House Ethics Committee, calling for a full disclosure of their investigations into Dodd and Rangel’s activities. Pelosi promised a prompt inquiry many months ago, but as is typical in Washington nothing seems to happen when there is a problem with another member of their inner circle.

Both Dodd and Rangel should have already been thrown out of office, and be incarcerated. No doubt there are several other elected officials in Washington who deserve a similar fate. If you did not know it before, reading this book proves that crooks reside in the Halls of Congress with their collective insider dealings, corruption, arrogance, and negligence. It is clear that many of our elected officials believe they live under a different set of rules than you and me.

Based upon the amount of publicity and promotion that has been given to CATASTROPHE, I am not surprised to learn today that the book has already become the number one seller on the New York Times best seller list. Frankly, if you want to read this, I suggest you pick up a copy at your local library and save a few bucks during our economy’s malaise.


Wednesday, July 1, 2009


When I heard the recent report that Ed McMahon died, I remembered the words of my late Irish Mother Genevieve who said, “Now just you watch there will be two more deaths.” No sooner had the country digested the sad passing of Johnny Carson’s sidekick, we were confronted with the passing of both Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson on the same day.

Looking back we can salute the long life and many achievements of Ed McMahon who served his country gallantly as a Marine fighter pilot during World War ll and again when he was called back to serve during the Korean conflict. During a long successful career in broadcasting, Ed achieved notoriety as the foil for Johnnie Carson over a thirty year period, but he had several other successful gigs in the industry.

Unfortunately despite all the fame and fortune Ed attained he was unsuccessful in multiple marriages and fell into desperate financial circumstances in his last few years. Serious health issues led to his death and his fame could not prevent his passing. Fortunately, Ed had a long life, reaching the age of 86.

Farrah Fawcett died at age 62 and was one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Her famous 1976 pin-up picture hung on the walls of many a young boy’s/man’s bedroom and in the locker doors of millions of service personnel around the world. Tragically, a lasting, monogamous relationship eluded her and the stardom created by her role on “Charlie’s Angels” did not prevent great sadness. Her 24 year old son’s many rehab visits and drug addiction led to his current imprisonment. I find it sad, too, that the on again, off again relationship with Ryan O’Neil (also known to have used drugs) never reached marriage until the much publicized proposal from him just days before her death.

Although she had access to the finest medical care in the U.S. she elected alternative treatment in Germany when diagnosed with advanced anal cancer. One must wonder if a prompt medical procedure would have granted Farrah a better conclusion. Again, fame and fortune could not save this bright star or deliver the happiness she so desperately craved.

And now we are flooded with the many questions surrounding Michael Jackson’s sudden passing at age 50 believed to have been related to heart stoppage. I remember well the first appearance I saw of the Jackson Five on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1969, and the many outstanding performances that Michael gave over his decades of stardom. As the years passed Michael’s persona took on a troubled aura with numerous questions about his mental stability, circle of associates, deterioration of physical appearance, drug usage, excessive spending and financial difficulties, and the tragic accusations of child molestation.

Personally, I found Michael’s Neverland Ranch to be both excessive and troubling, but the media lavished fawning praise on his frantic excessive spending and collecting. It is now reported that Michael recently was in debt in excess of $500 million dollars, and in death his estate could actually be bankrupt. Immediately one wonders what will happen to his three children and what this talented tragic figure’s legacy will ultimately be.

I cannot comprehend just how much money Jackson actually earned over his hugely successful career, but know the sum was staggering. Now, just what did it accomplish in the end? I wonder what Jackson’s legacy could have achieved with a more reasoned usage of his vast talent and financial resources.

Already before Michael is laid to rest, unsettling forces such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are rushing to the side of the Jackson family. I fear for Michael’s three children and the pressing need for their proper education and vital loving supervision. Hopefully, the courts will oversee their future wisely and guarantee that their financial security is protected or we will witness another sad chapter in the Jackson family story.

Here are three extremely sad cases of success gone wrong. Where were the love, happiness, and satisfaction of accomplishment? What good did all the fame and fortune provide these three accomplished entertainment icons?

Obviously greedy people took advantage of Jackson in particular. I suggest, too, that to some degree we, the fans, and the ever-present, hungry media have some responsibility for destroying his life. Yes, he could not handle the notoriety, the money, or our fawning praise; or, over time did he need to have the attention in order to survive?

And, since these three deaths, the on-camera entertainment world has lost pitchman Billy Mays (age 50), comedian/impersonator Fred Travalena (age 66), and Oscar-winning actor Karl Maulden (age 97). It has been a difficult 10 days in the entertainment world.

Frequently I hear people say’ “I sure wish I could be like so and so”, but upon objective reflection that is really a foolish, uneducated statement. Personally, give me my family; let us share our love and affection, good health, and my humble home in a quiet, unhurried beautiful spot in the heartland of the good old USA.

Honor your good honest friends who step forward when you are on a dangerous path, and be certain to listen to their advice. Just ask yourself what is really important in life, and I am sure upon reflection that it is not fame or fortune, but your family, your privacy and your freedom.



As we approach one of our most honored days (July 4, 1776) we should pause a few moments and remember the significance of events that occurred starting on July 1, 1776 in Philadelphia. It was on that date that John Adams said the beginning of discussions on the drafting of the Declaration of Independence was “the greatest debate of all.” On July 2nd a vote was held to declare independence, with twelve of the thirteen colonies (New York abstained) in agreement. With that vote, the colonies became The United States.

What followed was a long and at sometimes harsh discussion editing and reviewing the Thomas Jefferson drafted manuscript, but agreement was reached on the draft document. The first signatures were rendered on July 4th, 1776. On that date twelve of the thirteen original states adopted the final draft, and it was not until July 9th that New York accepted the document.

Most pictures show all the delegates solemnly signing the famous paper, but that is not factual, because only John Hancock, the President of the 2nd Continental Congress, and Charles Thomson, the Secretary, actually signed on July 4th. It was not until July 19th that the document was ordered to be written on parchment. The formal document was ready August 2nd and the ceremonial signing by all members of the Congress began with those who were in Philadelphia that day and continued during the following weeks as members returned.

Today would be an appropriate one for each of us to re-read our precious Declaration of Independence. It contains only 1,322 words. You can easily read the entire proclamation by entering the following on you computer’s browser:

I just completed my reading and it was a refreshing emotional experience. I wanted to share this with you as this important holiday approaches.