Saturday, February 28, 2009


During these stressful economic times it is important to look beyond today’s problems and maintain confidence in our collective future. While our household has been hit hard in the pocketbook by huge losses on Wall Street, we continue to hold an admittedly diminishing positive attitude. I keep asking myself, “Where is the bottom?” I still do not see any clear indication that we have reached it.

In the meantime, life goes on and it would be irresponsible to permit the investment in our home to fall into disrepair. Thus we are currently spending, just like our government, but we are doing something totally different. We are making a determined effort to direct our expenditures to local businesses and local contractors, which should have a positive impact to their bottom lines. I have written before about the importance to support your local businesses, but there is no better or more important time to do so than now.

Earlier in the week, we had a local contractor replace two broken light fixtures with energy efficient new ones (purchased at a locally-owned lighting store, not one of the “big box” stores). Additionally, we have a family room with a fireplace, but the gas burner was very old and operating inefficiently. Our man replaced the gas unit with a new, far more effective system (also purchased at a locally-owned retailer), and our fireplace now provides a beautiful fire that generates greater heat to the room. Hopefully, that investment will result in a reduction in our heating bills, too.

Yesterday, the same local contractor returned and spent the entire day making three important improvements to our beloved home. It took most of the day to blow new, environmentally safe insulation into the attic above the second floor. Our home is over twenty years old and the original insulation was in need of being replenished.

Later in the day he installed a new, energy efficient 50 gallon hot water heater which is warranteed for nine years. Last, but not least he installed a railing beside the stairs leading from our boot room to the garage. As I get older it is harder to navigate the stairs, especially when I have bundles in my arms, so safety first seemed to be a wise course of action.

All told we dropped about $3,000.00 into the local economy, and we should have a significant improvement in the energy efficiency of our home. Additionally, with the passage of recent legislation we will have an opportunity to take a tax deduction on some of our expenditure as it relates to a direct improvement of energy efficiency when we file our 2009 taxes next year.

My God, I’m going Green! Can you believe it?


Thursday, February 26, 2009


This will be a short one. I have two simple questions for your consideration as a result of the recently passed Stimulus Bill and the proposed Budget Bill.

1. Do you believe that the Obama Administration punishes success?

2. Do you believe that the Obama Administration rewards bad behavior and/or failure?

If you make more than $250,000 you are successful, and shortly will be required to pay increased taxes.

If you signed a mortgage you could not honestly afford, purchased a home with a sub-prime flexible rate assuming the home’s price would increase, ran up credit card bills beyond your ability to repay, dropped out of high school, are chronically unemployed, receive welfare, do not pay any taxes, then you know the answer to the second question.

Every American is coming out of this situation on the short end of the stick with a debt structure that no economy can repay without placing our democracy in great peril. The president the American voter’s got is a president nothing like the candidate who received their votes and who promised no earmarks, transparency, honesty, ethics, and bi-partisanship in his administration. Sorry guys, but we’ve been conned.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Anyone who viewed President Barack Obama’s speech before the joint session of Congress last evening recognizes he is a superb orator. My immediate reaction following the speech was that he impressed me with his confidence and aggressive stance to resolve our problems and protect our American values.

Early polls by AOL this morning indicate that our president has wide support, but not on all issues of his administration. With a 62.5% approval rating he clearly is doing much better than his Congressional colleagues with a mere 31% approval number.

In an AOL News poll with 151,258 voters here are the results to the question: How would you rate Obama’s speech?

Excellent 48%
Poor 20%
Fair 17%
Good 15%

I was surprised that the speech did not receive over 50% approval, and thus the results indicate that there are 52% of the respondents reporting a reaction below the excellent category. Now I know that this is a stretch, but I thought it would have been better received nearing his 62.5% approval rating.

In another AOL News poll the question was asked: How long do you think it will take the economy to get back on track?

1-3 years 48%
4-6 years 31%
More than 10 yrs 13%
7-9 years 3%

Here I see greater confidence than I had expected, and that is a good sign for our economy, because confidence is a driver of the stock market Also, in the same poll there is another interesting question: How would you describe your own financial situation?

Fair 41%
Good 31%
Poor 21%
Excellent 7%

These results are encouraging too, but the 21% Poor figure is a concern for everyone, and I suspect that it will get greater before it can reduce in size. These polls had over 100,000 to 200,000 respondents and thus have some degree of validity.

Of concern to your Commander is the continued interjection of looking back and blaming someone else by directly suggesting that Former-President George W. Bush was the sole cause. In fact, many of our current day problems can be directly laid at the feet of the Democrat majorities in both the House and Senate, and this detail is being skimmed over.

Additionally, I am gravely concerned by an Administration that ran a campaign against earmarks and now has the gall to tell us that the Stimulus Package and the coming Appropriation Bill are Earmark free, when in fact both are loaded with pork. Both the Republicans and Democrats are guilty of loading legislation with self-serving Pork and it must stop, and the current administration must stop lying to the American Public saying they are against pork and that its legislation is pork-free. Newsmax.Com reports that there are 9,000 earmarks in the new spending bill.

I continue to struggle with hope for this new Administration, but until it starts telling the total truth and stops dancing the old Washington Two-Step and lying to the American Public, it will continue to receive my close scrutiny. I recognize that President Barack Obama has many deep debts to repay for the support he received in the recent election. He is no longer a candidate, but our president, and he has a sworn obligation to the American Public to be a leader of total integrity, with complete transparency, honesty, and operation in a bi-partisan atmosphere. I understand our president needs to use caution as Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Leader Harry Reid operate with a smile and stab in the back, political double-speak approach.

As I have written earlier, beware of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, because they have been known to eat their young. They will turn on you Mr. President, and you owe them nothing…your obligation is to the public.

Mr. President you say you’re withdrawing troops from Iraq, but some 50,000 will remain. You say the savings from the end of the Iraq War will more than cover the cost of increased troops in Afghanistan, and the remainder will apply to your spending programs, but clearly that does not compute. Your new programs represent massive increased long term spending, but how can you in good conscious place that tax burden upon future generations?

We the little people must make every effort to trust our president, but he has much yet to prove. Only time will tell. It is one thing to be a great orator, but it is quite another to be a great leader. He will never be a great leader if he continues to play the Washington double-speak game with the American people. I think he has the ability to lead our great nation, but he better start being presidential and not constantly cutting corners due to political obligations. The people should always come before party debts. Please, Mr. President, do the right thing.


Sunday, February 22, 2009


On several occasions I have referred to the American Patriot’s Almanac and this commentary was generated from that wonderful source. Way back in 1824 a friend and political ally of Thomas Jefferson asked him to give some advice to his young son. The letter was to be given to the young lad at some date in the future when he could fully understand the contents. The letter was written one year before Jefferson’s death.

“Monticello, February 21, 1885

This letter will, to you, be as one from the dead. The writer will be in the grave before you can weigh its counsels. Your affectionate and excellent father has requested that I would address to you something which might have a favorable influence on the course of life you have to run, and I too, as a namesake, feel an interest in that course. Few words will be necessary, with good dispositions on your part. Adore God. Reverence and cherish your parents. Love your neighbor as yourself, and your country more than yourself. Be just. Be true. Murmur not at the ways of Providence. So shall the life into which you have entered, be the portal to one of eternal and ineffable bliss. And if to the dead it is permitted to care for the things of this world, every action of your life will be under my regard. Farewell.

Thomas Jefferson”

I was struck at the civility of the letter’s tone as it was written to his namesake Thomas Jefferson Smith. It is reported, too, that Jefferson enclosed some added practical advice, such as “Pride cost us more than hunger, thirst and cold.” Also, “When angry, count ten before you speak. If very angry, a hundred”.

Your Commander recently wrote a very personal letter to my grandchildren, and at some date in the future I may release the contents, but only after receiving the approval of my grandchildren. I strongly recommend that you consider writing a personal letter to your grandchildren or even children before it is too late.


Thursday, February 19, 2009


Far be it for me to be an “I told you so”, but events of the past few days suggest that your Commander was right several weeks ago.

Getting to the point, Illinois Senator Roland Burris (D) is toast and should resign immediately. The Chicago Tribune ran a poll today with 5,729 total responses and reported that 85.7% called for his resignation, and only 14.3% were opposed. Both Chicago newspapers (Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times) have editorialized for his resignation. Additionally, The Washington Post, The State Journal-Register in Springfield, and the Peoria Journal Star all agree.

Even if Burris can get past the Illinois General Assembly investigation, he probably could not be elected when his appointed term ends in less than two years. Were he to run for election, the Republicans would have a great opportunity to recapture the Senate seat, and the Democrat Party will certainly not take that chance.

Weeks ago, your Commander warned you about President Obama’s multimillionaire Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. His long history of operating on the edge of ethical behavior appears to be catching up with him. Newsmax.Com reported today that Emanuel lived rent-free for five years in the Washington home of Rep. Rosa DeLauro D-Conn. It is reported that DeLauro’s husband is a Democratic pollster, Stan Greenberg, and Emanuel directed substantial business to Greenberg’s polling company when he was the Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Again, another major player in the Obama administration has evaded the payment of appropriate taxes, and clearly operated in a conflict of interest in his relationship with DeLauro and her husband. If his rent-free living were considered by the IRS as a “gift”, it would have a value of at least $100,000 - TAXABLE. If former Commerce appointee Tom Daschle had to pay taxes on free limo service over two or three years, why doesn’t the IRS look into Emanuel’s free living quarters?

Additional disturbing issues exist with Emanuel’s prior directorship with Freddie Mac. President Obama would be wise to put distance between himself and Emanuel immediately.

Again the foul smell of Illinois/Chicago politics flows over Washington and it is bound to cloud the Obama administration. Are these the kind of people we want leading our country and our government? They are nothing but Ugly Americans.


Monday, February 16, 2009


Yesterday I spent several hours at my computer preparing a commentary addressing my concerns with the Stimulus Plan. Frankly, I became so frustrated that I could not prepare a thoughtfully crafted document. Thus, I am going to delay commenting on that subject and address another.

That subject is the fragility of life which comes suddenly to our attention when events occur such as the crash of Continental flight #3407 as it approached the Buffalo airport. Within a few minutes, or probably seconds, fifty wonderful, loving lives were snuffed out, and the daily lives of thousands were negatively impacted for some time to come.

Our airwaves are filled with analyses of initial facts, but the real story is months away from being known or scientifically surmised. The National Transportation & Safety Board authorities and numerous investigative agencies will spend millions studying every possible influence that led up to this devastating accident. Jumping to conclusions by reporters that have little or no in-depth knowledge of the intricacies of aviation is certainly unproductive, but it does attract listeners or viewers, but nothing more at the early juncture. Reporting without conclusive results only leads to scaring the flying public, and further negatively impacts the already struggling airline industry. America’s air lines have the best safety rating worldwide, so why raise unsupported doubts in the minds of our citizens?

Our hearts and prayers must go out to the surviving loved ones, relatives, friends and associates whose lives are changed forever. Today there are wives, children, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters who have in the bat of an eye lost a treasured part of their lives, and there is not one thing that anyone of them can do about it. One must appreciate every minute we have on this planet, and hope that God has a greater need for these departed loved ones.

Now is the time to embrace those directly affected by the crash and let the professionals perform their sad task to get the factual answers. Future aviation flights will be safer when the results are determined, and hopefully tragic incidents of this nature will be prevented as a result.

Let us appreciate every day that the good Lord provides us, and keep it in the proper prospective. Our economy may be in peril, our lives a bit confused, but it sure beats the alternative.


Sunday, February 15, 2009


For a change of pace let us not discuss politics or our government’s warts.

I have just finished reading David Halberstam’s THE COLDEST WINTER. A long read, but well worth the investment in time. This book has been a real eye-opener for me, bringing back long forgotten memories of my time in Korea some fifty-seven years ago. Halberstam’s extensive research has provided important insight and answers some old questions that have now properly educated me in long misinformed positions relative to the Korean War. Unfortunately, the weakness of our political leadership (Truman) and even our military (MacArthur) caused the unnecessary loss of life of hundreds and maybe thousands of United Nations soldiers.

It is still not too late to get a copy of THE AMERICAN’S PATRIOT’S ALMANAC. As I have reported earlier, I start each morning reading the very interesting events that occurred on that day in our nation’s history.

If you have interest in action adventure stories, you surely will enjoy the New York Times best seller by Jack Higgins, A DARKER PLACE. I believe that Higgins is one of the very best in this genre and you certainly will not be disappointed in this new book. Higgins’ normal lead characters are not the principles in this story, but the story line ties all his older characters into this intriguing Russian spy story.

Last and certainly not least is a small book that will not be of interest to anyone who voted for the Democrat ticket, who is a liberal, an ACLU supporter, or a big booster of President Barack Obama. If you just stop reading now you may not be subject to severe stomach upset. Bernard Goldberg’s New York Times bestseller A SLOBBERING LOVE AFFAIR is a very interesting, easy read relative to our main-stream media’s overt bias and events related to our recent election.
I found Goldberg’s chapter relative to the threat of the return of the Fairness Doctrine to be most accurate and an issue of significant concern to all Americans.

Happy reading, and don’t worry I’ll be back to addressing my on-going concerns about what is happening to our great United States of America.


Friday, February 13, 2009


Are you as tired as I am of being bombarded constantly with digital television conversion announcements?

My journey from analog to digital television transmission goes way back to September 30, 1992 when I attended the first demonstration of an over-the-air digital HDTV simulcast. That was presented by WRC-TV and the Advanced Television Research Consortium in Washington, D.C. I was attending the National Association of Broadcasters annual meeting and, like everyone else in attendance, I was impressed with the quality of then new digital broadcast format. I remember that most people, while impressed, felt this was something way off in the future, but as is often the case we were all wrong.

Pressure had been building within the Defense Department to recapture a portion of the broadcast spectrum used by commercial and public broadcasters. It was then felt there was a vital need for added spectrum in the interest of national defense. Additionally, the industry experienced substantial commercial pressures to move into the new digital era of broadcasting, if for no other reason than the significant improvement in the quality of the transmitted picture, as well as other potential commercial opportunities. Thus the viewing public has known for many years that analog broadcasting transmission was going to be eliminated.

As the conversion date of February 17, 2009 rapidly approached, Senators Jay Rockefeller D-W.V. and Kaye Bailey Hutchison R-TX introduced legislation, which was passed, to delay the conversion date until June 12, 2009. A move that I believe is ill advised. It is estimated that 5.1% or 5.8 million homes in the country are not prepared to accept digital signals. Some communities such as Albuquerque, NM have a figure of 12.6% not ready, while Hartford, CT is in the best shape with only 1.3% of homes not ready.

One of the huge problems that I see is the fact that our government in their brilliance has totally failed to consider the broadcasters’ side of this ambitious conversion issue. It has been established that each TV station in the country will spend at least $6 million for a simple pass-through approach (this does not include local HDTV origination) that includes tower work, transmitter, antenna and transmission lines, a transmitter link to master control, an encoder/decoder, and tape decks to insert commercials, monitors, routers, and a switcher. WRAL-TV (CBS) in Raleigh, N.C. went for ‘top of the line’ digital conversion at an estimated cost of $26 million alone. Commercial stations have to pay the total bill, but PBS stations have received substantial government grants. Religious broadcasters have been left to secure solicitations from their supporters.

The government’s decision to legislate conversion impacted a significant portion of our national economy, because there are 578 VHF television stations, 775 UHF stations, and 354 Public Television Stations (total 1707) requiring huge cash outlays for the new equipment. Additionally, all the cable channels and producers of programming and commercials are required to retrofit into the digital format. I am not suggesting that the switch should not have been taken, but the decision has had wide ranging financial consequences far beyond the viewing public.

Currently our national economy is going through very difficult times and the future remains cloudy. Advertising is the life-blood of commercial television stations and at present their business is less than robust. Many local television stations are reporting a 30% decline in local revenue. Viewers of local newscasts have seen the commercial load decreased substantially. Automobile, Real Estate, and Retail advertising has been drastically reduced.

All the time television stations have been converting to digital they have been required to continue to transmit their analog signals, too. The electrical power to broadcast is one of the largest single expenses in a TV station’s operating budget. Individual station power bills vary widely because, depending upon the assigned channel number, the power can range from 100,000 watts to 316,000 watts. Also, the electricity rates are different market to market.

I talked with a Chief Engineer friend at a local NBC UHF affiliate was told that to continue to transmit in both analog and digital until June 12, 2009 his station would have to spend at least an additional $25,000.00, which could result in further cuts to their staff. His station’s authorized analog power level is 3770 KW. Considering the state of our economy, we certainly should not do anything that will potentially cause additional unemployment.

Frankly speaking, I support the decision of my local television stations to exercise their option to stick to the original conversion date of February 17th, because if you have not acted to address the reception issue by now, you must be living in a world of isolation. Will there be some dislocation? Surely, but there will be some even after June 12, because some people still will not take the necessary action until it is absolutely necessary.

It has been reported recently that 681 television stations will convert to digital on or before February 17, and thus the majority of stations will wait until June 12th. Most of the stations converting early are below the top 50 market rankings, and that is logical because they have felt the impact of the revenue drop more than the major market stations. Remember it costs the small market stations about the same as the major market stations to convert their equipment, but they have far less revenue potential. The top 50 markets represent 67% of total television viewing households.

Again, our government has acted in their personal best interest, because they did not fund the digital converter box coupon program adequately, which was not advantageous to broadcasters or the viewing public. I know from personal experience that the politicians are the very first individuals that appear at the door of the television stations looking for free air-time to promote their personal interests, but they ignore the stations in their ongoing need to curb expenses. Again our politicians have grandstanded and disregarded the impact of their actions. Depending where you reside, great confusion and television viewing disruption will be wide spread until at least June 12th and no doubt beyond. Thank you Congress, you screwed it up again.


Thursday, February 12, 2009


After the very disturbing disclosures involving impeached Illinois Governor Rob Blagojevich’s “Pay for Play”, the story continues to have legs in the media. The federal government has some very strong evidence on tapes, but has yet to file an indictment. We have all known for years that part of the political process is negotiation, then compromise, leading up to final legislative action.

Unfortunately of late, we have seen an increase in the breakdown of the ethical standards surrounding our political leadership, and all too often proper judicial action is not been taken against the offending politicians. A perfect example is the ex-Governor Elliott Spitzer of New York, who by his own admission committed federal offenses, but has not been charged by the authorities.

There are numerous examples of politicians in Washington, both Republican and Democrat, and within various State governments that have gotten away with grievous actions and the ethics committees or authorities fail to act appropriately. Apparently the same rules do not apply evenly to all individuals. Examples of outlandish behavior have repeatedly been ignored with individuals such as Senator Teddy Kennedy D-MA, Congressman Charles Rangel D-NY, and Senator Larry Craig R-ID to name a few. Lately it appears to be alright to not pay ones appropriate tax obligations, because little or no actions are taken against some people. Hell the ex-Mayor of Washington, DC, Marion Berry, was found guilty of not filing numerous tax reports and was placed on parole. He failed again to file his taxes and he still remains out of jail. Why should anyone pay their taxes with these double standards?

As the huge Stimulus Bill moved through the House and has now been passed in the Senate by the narrowest of margins, one has to be very suspicious. When the House Bill failed to secure any support from the Republicans along with a handful of Democrats there were few eyebrows raised, but when the Senate Bill passed with three Republican votes one must wonder just what those Senators received for their votes.

It has been widely reported that President Obama was disappointed to have no support to his Bill from the House Republican members. Thus it is obvious that great pressures were placed on some Republican Senators to sway their vote. Time will tell just what the pay off was for Senators Susan Collins and Senator Olympia Snowe both of Maine, as well as Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania. If you do not think Pay for Play came into this vote then you are damn naive.

Apparently there is a real dispute brewing between Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, and in all likelihood the final bill will be changed when the vote is taken. Is it not a very sad situation that we the public do not know what the contents of the bill are before the vote. Once the legislation is passed there is nothing we the people can do about the consequences.

The natives are very restless. Just look at what happened to the stock market after the passage of the Senate part of the stimulus and the announcements made by Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner a few days ago. Wall Street did not like the lack of particulars given by Sec. Geithner and the market closed down 301.99.

I suspect that the President will ultimately get his Bill passed, but he cannot bully his way, even though he thought he could just because he won the election. There are still over 45 million citizens out in the boonies who did not vote for Obama. Hold on to your wallet, because we are all in for a very bumpy ride. The honeymoon is clearly over for President Barack Obama. One television pundit suggested that the President should stop acting like the campaign was still on and he should start governing.

There are obvious signs that the sheep have awoken, and are not just doing exactly what the dog is telling them to do.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Yesterday I stopped at a local lunch counter for a quick bite and on the counter sat a copy of the Chicago Tribune’s new tabloid edition. After scanning the pages, I suspect that longtime publisher Col. Robert McCormack must be turning in his grave because it is a sad representation of a once renowned broadsheet.

Deep in the paper, I was shocked to see an alarming full-page investigative report with a headline “ROLAND BURRIS RECEIVED ABOUT $1.2 MILLION IN LOANS FROM BUSINESSMAN DURING GUBERNATORIAL BID”. We just lived through the tragic tale of now impeached Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and his appointment of Roland Burris to the vacant Barack Obama’s US Senate seat.

It has now been disclosed that back in 2002 Burris received an initial campaign contribution loan of $800,000.00 from Joseph Stroud, a Chicago area independent television station owner and businessman, and that sum ended up totaling $1.57 million in Burris’ failed run for the Governor’s office. It is further disclosed that Burris has only repaid $6,000.00 of the large loan. The Stroud contribution represented more than 70% of Burris’ campaign fund, and it remains the biggest single gubernatorial contribution since records went online in 1994.

It is reported that Burris, after loosing the Governor’s election, made telephone calls to urge prosecution of an ex-Stroud employee. Burris claims to have met Stroud at the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, and we know that organization under Rev. Jesse Jackson’s leadership has long been accused of playing fast and loose with government grant funds.

With this story of questionable political contribution, I would suspect that the Illinois Republican Party has a golden opportunity to recapture the Governorship. It will be interesting to see if they come up with a qualified, electible candidate, have the organization, and can raise the funds to finance the campaign.

I have waited to post this report a full twenty-four hours and am most surprised to not find this story in any other newspaper. Additionally, I have not heard any reference to it on any cable or network television stations. Surely you, too, must wonder why the National Media has not jumped on this story. The stench of political corruption is reaching deep into Washington again, and I predict that we will witness continuing erosion in voter support for the administration of CHANGE. The Chicago/Illinois political influence runs deep in the White House with the strong influence of Presidential Chief of Staff, ex-Chicago Congressman Rahm Emanuel and his latest move to bring the U.S. Census out of the Commerce Department into the White House. That smells to high heaven if you ask me!

Soon we will all be wearing masks to eliminate the political stench permeating our Government.


Monday, February 9, 2009


(I wrote this on February 3rd, but my editor did not post until today.)

Hopefully, you read the sports section of USA Today (2/3/09) relative to the salary paid to Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig.

As a kid growing up in Chicago, I remember going to both Wrigley Field and Comiskey Park with my grandmother for Cubs and White Sox games. Those were memorable adventures that included long rides on the street cars with a shopping bag full of sandwiches and snacks. We usually went on Ladies’ Day, grandmother got in free and my admission was some small fee, as I remember well under one dollar. No one kept a more detailed scorecard than my grandma.

Today, what would it cost to take a child to a baseball game? Ticket prices are exorbitant, and I know one would never be admitted with a shopping bag full of food. Back in my youth, we would arrive well before the game and I would hang around the dugouts with my autograph book. The players were very friendly and talked openly with the kids and fans.

Now baseball is a huge business, and the salaries being thrown around have changed the game forever, and it is not in the best interest of the fans. The owners of Major League Baseball teams have a monopoly, which is highly coveted by an inner-circle of very wealthy individuals. Entrance into this elite group is equivalent to admission into a secret society.

No wonder it costs so much to attend a game today when you realize that the Commissioner of Major League Baseball was paid $17.5 million in 2007. As far as I am concerned that is excessive, despite the fact that he is running a major business. Added to his salary Bud Selig was paid an additional $422,590 in expenses and allowances, and then granted $461,540 for his benefit plan.

As reported in both USA Today and SportsBusiness Journal only three players, all New York Yankees, received greater compensation, namely Alex Rodriquez, Derek Jeter, and Jason Giambi.

With Bud Selig’s extremely close ties to the Milwaukee Brewers baseball ownership (he and his family sold the Brewers in January, 2005 after owning the team for some 30 years), I believe he operates in a conflict of interest.

With the excessive salaries being paid to players and executives today it is no wonder the fans are being ignored and even abused. I am smart enough to realize that it is unrealistic to compare circumstances nearly seventy years apart, but it certainly was a kinder and gentler time. Apparently, Major League Baseball and its elite circle of owners won’t be happy until they charge so much that they virtually price out the ordinary family’s ability to attend baseball games and enjoy America’s Pastime in person.


Sunday, February 8, 2009


If you reside in northern Indiana keep reading, but you may not wish to go further, because you may not be interested.

On Sunday February 8th the South Bend Tribune ran a good and overdue editorial questioning the wisdom of the City of South Bend in keeping a one million dollar budget item moving forward to install a sculpture garden in front of the Century Center. Obviously an expenditure of this magnitude during these challenging economic times is absurd, if not irresponsible. I applaud the editorial, because the Mayor of South Bend has been ignoring the will of the people to budget responsibly far too long. Remember, Mayor Luecke has also appropriated another one million dollars from the city treasury to build a jumbo-tron television screen on the outside of the building which the local PBS station will occupy late 2009 or early 2010. A jumbo-tron on a street that houses a number of municipal buildings and has no evening traffic…is he crazy??? And he would like to see an increase in the county income tax???

I sent an email message to the South Bend Tribune saluting them for raising the question of the garden, and at the same time suggested (for about the third time) that the paper conduct an investigation into the Indiana Speaker of the House of Representatives, B. Patrick Bauer. It is my opinion that the public should know precisely just how many days Bauer spends conducting his responsibilities as Speaker and how many days he spends time in his office at Ivy Technical College in South Bend where he collects a salary around $90,000 per year. We taxpayers pay both of his salaries as Speaker and as an employee of Ivy Tech, and I think we have a right to know if we are getting our money’s worth.

Your Commander has heard from several individuals who are in a position to know that Bauer spends little or no time in his Ivy Tech office. If that is true, we should know the facts. If that is not true, we should have those facts presented too, so this “urban legend” is put to bed. It is one thing to accuse King Bauer of holding back the vote on vital State legislation, but it is another thing to question him of not meeting his obligations to the taxpayers of Indiana where he double dips financially.

Wouldn’t you like to know? I sure would.


Thursday, February 5, 2009


After pounding the new Obama administration in my recent commentaries it is only appropriate that your Commander tips his cap to President Obama on his recent acceptance of responsibility for three failed appointments to his new administration.

Two days ago, when five of the country’s major newspapers editorialized against President Obama’s appointments of Governor Bill Richardson, Senator Tom Daschle and Nancy Killefer, a debilitating political storm was brewing. Adding to the problem was the appointment and confirmation of now Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, who was clouded with tax evasion, too. Geithner may still face some problems with Capitol Hill.

President Obama’s announcement yesterday that “I screwed up” puts this issue to the side and permits the emphasis to return to the passage of the Stimulus Bill.
Only time will tell if the President can keep his campaign promises, and I hope this is a strong indication of what the American public can expect from their new leadership.


Monday, February 2, 2009


Your Commander can look at the state of both the Republican and Democrat Parties objectively, because he remains an Independent Conservative. Neither party has made substantial changes in their approach to ruling the nation to justify my interest or membership.

There are a few very basic requirements that must be met before I will consider a shift in my party affiliation. Let us start with honesty. When will the members of both the House and Senate hold their fellow members to the same ethical standards that all citizens are required to follow? Who will step forward and address fiscal responsibility? Which party will deliver on their claim for transparency? When will the role of lobbyist be clearly defined? Which party will require its members to live by the same rules that the average citizen does, i.e., pensions, health insurance, perks, self voting on pay increases, and the elimination of double standards. The current use of bi-partisanship is an insult to our intelligence, because it is nothing but Washington double-speak. Vast sums of money continue to seriously damage and influence the political process.

Currently the Club (House and Senate) does not represent the people, but a privileged set of wealthy individuals who have built a wall around their sphere that is self-protective and self-preservation in nature. Were the members of both the House and Senate required to live as you and I, we would have a much improved governing leadership.

I am certain that you have a list of things that would improve our government, but let me tell you, there is little or no chance that we will be able to change the situation now. Nothing is going to happen until we elect a leader that will unify the now silent majority into action. I remain always hopeful, but speaking realistically I do not see that happening within my lifetime. Times will have to get far worse and our silent majority will have to hurt more than they currently do before lawful action will be demanded and takes place.

The redistribution of wealth is a huge danger and the enrichment of the entitlement minority is a peril facing every hardworking citizen today. The continued failure of our educational system and the absence of a complete family unit in many minority households only enhance the power of current ruling leadership. I really do not think they honestly want these issues to be improved. Our leaders’ failure to solve illegal immigration and illegal drugs fall into this same disruptive pattern. Perpetuation of the status quo is the goal of our leadership.

If you think I am taking another shot at President Obama you are dead wrong. I am addressing the state of our entire government leadership, if you want to include Obama in that group that is your choice.

I remain optimistic that America will wake up just before it is too late, but nothing will ever happen to get us back on the Founding Fathers agenda until the silent majority is better organized and they get off their lethargic backsides and into the voting booth.



As the Obama administration forms its Cabinet we are witnessing a continuation of the double standard applied to individuals who are members of the inner circle.

I believe that we were all impressed with President Obama’s quick action to withdraw the appointment of Governor Bill Richardson D-NM as our Secretary of Commerce when it was learned after his nomination that he was about to be indicted in an ethics investigation. It is my suspicion that we were willing to give the new administration a pass on its failed vetting process with Richardson. However, this development does give pause for concern as it should for either political party.

I see two fresh, very disturbing examples of a double standard continuing into this new government which claims to represent CHANGE and a very high ethical standard. First, our Congress has voted to approve Dr. Timothy Geithner as Secretary of the Treasury, despite his failure to pay appropriate income taxes, and pay required fees for a domestic’s employment along with questions as to that person’s immigration status. Why did Geithner get a pass, pay the back taxes along with penalties, then be rewarded with a Cabinet position? Do you think the IRS would be that kind to you?

Now we are told about former U.S. Senator Tom Daschle’s D-SD failure to pay taxes for at least three years that exceeded $128,000.00 plus interest. His newly amended tax returns reflect reductions in charitable contributions (Huh?), previously unreported income for consulting services (he forgot he cashed checks?), and now he is claiming the limo and driver that was at his disposal during this time (he didn’t remember getting those “free rides?”). It appears the members of both the Senate and House are more than willing to overlook Daschle’s illegal actions and confirm him as the next Secretary of Health.

In addition, Daschle’s wife, Linda Hall Daschle, was a very visible, highly paid Washington lobbyist in the fields of aviation and health care until the first of this year. Mr. Daschle reportedly asked his wife to resign her position so that there would be no question of conflict of interest. The Obama team has long claimed that none of his appointees would have lobbying connections for at least two years prior to appointment. The Daschles have been married since 1986.

None of us are free of mistakes, but here are two more blatant examples of the double standard applied to individuals who operate within the inner circle. These two appointments have even caused the Obama-friendly media to raise embarrassing questions. The new administration is shrugging off the media’s questions by saying they need these highly qualified men to address the current crisis. The truth is the Obama team is cutting corners, and they have a very flawed vetting process. I wonder, what is next?

With the disqualifying disclosures out in the open, both individuals should have had their appointments withdrawn. Do you think they would have protected you or me for more than thirty-seconds? Nothing has changed in Washington, and if you don’t believe that, I’ll sell you the Brooklyn Bridge.