Thursday, December 30, 2010


This past Christmas was one of the best your Commander has experienced for a long time, because my two children and one of our three living grandchildren (we lost our oldest grandchild, Robbie, 5 years ago) were able to spend time with us on the 26th. We have not had a Christmas holiday like this one for several decades, because jobs, distance, young children, etc. prohibited the joint gathering.

My children know just how much I enjoy reading, and they blessed me again with gift cards from Barnes and Noble, which I have already put to very good use. In the weeks ahead I will be reporting on Brad Thor’s FOREIGN INFLUENCE, Alex Berenson’s THE SILENT MAN, Steve Martini’s GUARDIAN OF LIES, and Jack Higgins’ A DARKER PLACE.

I also picked up a revised and updated edition of William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb’s THE AMERICAN PATRIOT’S ALMANAC, which I read each morning. If you have not checked this book out you should and I think you will love it as much as I do.

This is the 290th posting of 2010, which represents the all time high for a 12 month period, and special thanks are due to my excellent Editor and all of you who check in to read.

Finally, since this is the final posting for 2010, I wish each and every one of you a very Happy & Healthy New Year. We must work toward finding Peace and Good Will for all in 2011. We just cannot continue to kill one another, but realistically we also must remain steadfast in standing up firmly against those who are intent upon bringing ill to our wonderful and precious Land of the Free and Home of the Brave!



A dear friend who just happens to be a successful retired barrister sent the following to my attention. I want to share this article by Porter Stansberry, founder of Stansberry & Associates Investment Research and publisher of a monthly investment letter to subscribers, because it addresses and accurately explains why there are so few jobs in America today:

"This Is Why There Are No Jobs in America
By Porter Stansberry
November 18, 2010

I'd like to make you a business offer.

Seriously. This is a real offer. In fact, you really can't turn me down, as you'll come to understand in a moment...

Here's the deal. You're going to start a business or expand the one you've got now. It doesn't really matter what you do or what you're going to do. I'll partner with you no matter what business you're in - as long as it's legal.

But I can't give you any capital - you have to come up with that on your own. I won't give you any labor - that's definitely up to you. What I will do, however, is demand you follow all sorts of rules about what products and services you can offer, how much (and how often) you pay your employees, and where and when you're allowed to operate your business. That's my role in the affair: to tell you what to do.

Now in return for my rules, I'm going to take roughly half of whatever you make in the business each year. Half seems fair, doesn't it? I think so. Of course, that's half of your profits.

You're also going to have to pay me about 12% of whatever you decide to pay your employees because you've got to cover my expenses for promulgating all of the rules about whom you can employ, when, where, and how. Come on, you're my partner. It's only "fair."

Now... after you've put your hard-earned savings at risk to start this business, and after you've worked hard at it for a few decades (paying me my 50% or a bit more along the way each year), you might decide you'd like to cash out - to finally live the good life.

Whether or not this is "fair" - some people never can afford to retire - is a different argument. As your partner, I'm happy for you to sell whenever you'd like... because our agreement says, if you sell, you have to pay me an additional 20% of whatever the capitalized value of the business is at that time.

I know... I know... you put up all the original capital. You took all the risks. You put in all of the labor. That's all true. But I've done my part, too. I've collected 50% of the profits each year. And I've always come up with more rules for you to follow each year. Therefore, I deserve another, final 20% slice of the business.

Oh... and one more thing...

Even after you've sold the business and paid all of my fees... I'd recommend buying lots of life insurance. You see, even after you've been retired for years, when you die, you'll have to pay me 50% of whatever your estate is worth.

After all, I've got lots of partners and not all of them are as successful as you and your family. We don't think it's "fair" for your kids to have such a big advantage. But if you buy enough life insurance, you can finance this expense for your children.

All in all, if you're a very successful entrepreneur... if you're one of the rare, lucky, and hard-working people who can create a new company, employ lots of people, and satisfy the public... you'll end up paying me more than 75% of your income over your life. Thanks so much.

I'm sure you'll think my offer is reasonable and happily partner with me... but it doesn't really matter how you feel about it because if you ever try to stiff me - or cheat me on any of my fees or rules - I'll break down your door in the middle of the night, threaten you and your family with heavy, automatic weapons, and throw you in jail.

That's how civil society is supposed to work, right? This is America, isn't it?

That's the offer America gives its entrepreneurs. And the idiots in Washington wonder why there are no new jobs.”

Well said, and we can thank our Washington politicians for this situation.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010


In addition to being the fortunate recipient of an Amazon Kindle electronic book reader in my Christmas stocking (from my wife’s sister and husband), I was given a copy of the new Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler bestselling action adventure novel CRESCENT DAWN. The book is so good that yesterday I completed reading all of the attention grabbing 548 pages.

Once I started reading I just could not put the book down and thus stayed up late the last few evenings, because the action was non-stop. The Cusslers continue to deliver first-rate research to support their marine themed stories, and having read all of their work I really feel this will be considered to be one of their best efforts.

Happy reading, and I will report on my experience transitioning to reading on the Kindle after I figure how to program and down-load books into this amazing innovation. Happy reading, and be especially careful as we celebrate the coming New Year.



Have you heard that story, which was reported in the Chicago Sun-Times? A 75 year old New York City public school teacher, who has been on paid suspension from the classroom for 13 years, is still receiving full pay of over $97,000. The New York Post reports that he is also receiving fringe benefits, including health, pension and vacation pay.

This individual was removed from his classroom back in 1997 after he was accused of sexually molesting a sixth-grade girl at a Brooklyn school. He is still required to report daily to one of the school’s so-called “rubber rooms,” where teachers accused of wrongdoing or incompetence are assigned but do no work. Compounding this disgusting situation is the fact that there are six other New York teachers that Chancellor Joel Klein has refused to permit back in the classroom.

Although arrested on felony sex-abuse charges back in 1997 those charges were apparently dismissed, and a school district disciplinary case was “dropped on a technicality.” Apparently the school system cannot fire this teacher under the union contract, but he can be placed in a “rubber-room”, and still collect his salary.

Now tell me please, is this situation acceptable? No wonder there are massive financial short-falls in city, state and federal government when we have miscarriages of justice like this case. This is just one example of waste and corruption, and this one has cost taxpayers $1,261,000, plus fringe benefit costs, and there is no end in sight to this travesty.

This story is a political hot-potato that no one has the guts to resolve.


Monday, December 27, 2010


While I recognize that as my time clock ticks away I am getting more and more suspicious of the true motivations of our elected politicians. Just such an example exists with the recent actions of departing Indiana Senator Evan Bayh. He has a long history of holding elected office in Indiana, and he comes by it naturally since his Father was once our United States Senator.

Questions and suspicious motives are caused by Bayh’s actions since announcing earlier this year that he would not run for re-election to the Senate. He has said his decision was reached because the Senate had become excessively partisan. Some voices have suggested he was concerned by the increasing influence of the Republican Party.

What troubles me are the Senator’s recent actions as this lame-duck session of Congress came to a close. First he was absent from an important session where significant votes were taken, because he spent that entire day flying around Indiana holding press conferences at major Indiana airports thanking Hoosier’s for their support. Shouldn’t Bayh have been in Washington doing the peoples business? How much did that fly-around cost and who paid for his expensive travel? I believe Bayh abandoned his post for personal gratification, and he dodged voting on what many felt were controversial issues. I bet he also accepted his pay for that day from his gullible U.S. taxpayers.

Bayh says he needs to spend time with his twin teenaged sons, but he is sending emails to Indiana residents telling them about all his great accomplishments while serving us as our two-term Senator. It appears to me that he is running for something, and is not intending to stay out of politics for very long.

Bayh’s talk does not gel with his actions. I think Bayh would change his tune quickly if he could secure the Democrat nomination for president, and he is really playing a waiting game. Politicians really stink to high heaven, because none of them are really honest about their true intentions and motivations. In the meantime this public servant will thrive on his fat pensions secured from his two terms as Governor, and his 12 years in the Senate. Politicians work a few years and get multiple lush pensions. Nice deal if you can get it, but we the taxpayer’s cannot…we just pay and pay and pay.



Having proudly served in the Air Force some fifty-six years ago, I know for a fact that there is massive waste in the military budget of the United States. After World War II President Dwight Eisenhower warned us about the influences of the Military Industrial Complex. Eisenhower knew the subject well.

There was a very important article in the New York Times by Nicholas D. Kristof who reported that we spend as much money on military power as every other country in the world combined. He also estimates that we spend six times more than the amount appropriated by China for their military.

Currently our country has troops stationed at more than 560 bases around the world, and many of those sites have existed since the end of World War II, or 65 years ago. His article also reports that more people have “top secret” intelligence clearances than the number of people residing in Washington, D.C. Can any of this be appropriate and/or necessary?

Again quoting from Kristof’s article, we spent “more money in Afghanistan this year than we spent on the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Civil War and the Spanish –American War combined.” He reports that Obama, who is clearly not a friend of War, this year requested 6% more money for the military than was spent at the peak of the Bush Administration.

The article also quotes Eisenhower as saying; “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.” Our current Sec. of Defense Robert Gates has frequently urged a reduction in military spending.

A fact jumped off the pages of the article where Professor Andrew Bacevich, an ex-military officer and historian at Boston University reported, “The U.S. military now has more people in its marching bands than the State Department has in its foreign service – and that’s preposterous”.

Our incoming Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) has reported that he will introduce legislation to reduce budgets by 5% ASAP. If I were in a position of authority in Washington I would start with a 10% reduction for all segments of our government starting with the Department of Defense. If properly administrated, there would not be one ounce of loss in effectiveness or our security.

The article has peaked my interest in reading Professor Bacevich’s book “Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War”. If I were a betting man I would believe this would be a very revealing read.

If our politicians were not buying votes with their legislation, and bowing to the Washington lobbyist’s campaign hand-outs we would not have the current massive budget deficit. We better start running Washington like we must administer our personal bank accounts or we will all be up-side down.


Friday, December 24, 2010


Scanning the morning newspaper websites earlier this week I ran across an article in the Washington Post that caught my eye. I will summarize its contents.

As work in the House and Senate came to a close in the lame-duck session, one-sixth of the House members failed to show up for work and vote on important legislation. A total of 70 members of the House were absent. The House held votes on seven pieces of legislation including the continuing funding resolution. By Tuesday afternoon 5 more members were absent for votes adding to the problem.

Of those absent, eleven members were defeated in the recent election, and sixteen others were retiring legislators. In the Senate where important debate was scheduled on the START Treaty, five members were absent including retiring Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, who was flying around Indiana holding good-bye press conferences at each stop.

In fairness, a couple of those missing were justified due to health issues, but that was not the case for the majority of absent legislators. I will make you a bet that the paychecks of those absent will not see a deduction as would be the case for anyone else who failed to show up for their job in the real world.
Absent without leave (AWOL) is a daily occurrence in Washington, and nobody does anything but ignore the arrogance of our legislators. This is another perfect example of the abuse in the system by our public servants. The abuse of power is rampant in Washington, and nobody is doing anything to stop this blatant waste of OUR money.



Being an old traditionalist I still wish my friends and fellow citizens a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. It is not my intention to offend anyone, but that is just the way I was raised. Even if I were a non-believer I would not be offended if someone wished me the best over this holiday season and into the New Year. If I do offend anyone, I guess they will just have to live with it, because I am just too old to change my ways.

We are living in perilous times, but there is still much to appreciate and celebrate. The most important thing is to have good health. Money and possessions can come in good time as a result of savings and hard work. The world has changed significantly over the past 79 years and it will continue to do so as long as this old planet exists. We all must learn to adapt and change, but I hope we can do that with some degree of sanity for all concerned. Be certain to resolve to tell those close to you that you love them while you still have the time to do so.

In the meantime, have a MERRY CHRISTMAS, and a HAPPY NEW YEAR filled with good health and happiness. Along the way pray for peace and good will for all. The alternative is totally unacceptable.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Considering the serious state of our economy it is normal for various government funded projects to come under increased scrutiny. That is certainly the case of the recent removal of a specific piece of federal funded art from the National Portrait Gallery. Here is a link to a Washington Post article addressing the situation:

After reading this shocking article it does not take a genius to understand why the arts are losing government funding. When many of our fellow American citizens are struggling to find a job, pay bills, and provide shelter for their families, it is appalling to find our government funding art projects such as those identified in the Post article.

Art is one thing that has many defining tastes, but this is rubbish and a perfect example of the inappropriate use of our scarce federal dollars. If some damn fool wants to fund projects of this nature with their own money that is their business, but art aficionados are putting themselves in peril of losing all support with exhibits of this nature.

Considering the fact that we are all sacrificing to get our economy back into good order, the art world should expect to share the pain as well. It is time to close the federal feed bag for the gluttonous art world.


Monday, December 20, 2010


With the current lame-duck Congressional session coming to a close, I suspect that Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) is having an increasing number of sleepless nights. When Congress returns after the first of the year the House will be dominated by a Republican majority with a Republican Speaker and a House Ethics Committee chaired by a Republican.

This set of circumstances does not bode well for Rep. Waters’s pending case which has been stalled in the House Ethics Committee long chaired by fellow Californian Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA). It has been reported that Rep. Waters wanted her case resolved during the current lame-duck session with her party dominant in the House, but time has run out for her to secure a partisan inquiry.

Considering the fact that her probe by the Ethics Committee started in 2009 you are likely aware of the details of her case, but if you aren’t, check out this link:

It will be interesting to see if the Republican majority brings some integrity and professionalism to the House Ethics Committee, long notorious for protecting its own when the time comes to pay the piper for one’s transgressions. Only time will tell, but hope springs eternal.



Just when the Big Ten Football Conference had something really big to celebrate, and promote what did they do? They fumbled the ball badly when they announced the names of the two different divisions created by the addition of the University of Nebraska to the Conference.

Take a look at the Teddy Greenstein article from the Chicago Tribune and you will understand just how Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany appears to be misreading the public’s reaction to LEGENDS and LEADERS.,0,3849331,print.column

With 90% of the reactions being negative, one must wonder just how much research or consideration was actually given to the selection process. It seems obvious that ultimately Delany will come out with a statement that will acknowledge the need to change the names of each Division.

This selection is reminiscent of corporate decisions like “New Coke” or the Edsel automobile.



“Where Your Tax Dollars Go”

That is the title of a very interesting article in today’s issue of the Chicago Sun-Times. Considering the size of our national debt obligations it is very important that every voter know where our dollars are going on a daily basis.

Take a minute from your busy life to read Sandra Gay’s article at:

I find the article to be most fascinating and frightening all at the same time. It will be interesting to see if our next session of Congress and President Obama has the political will and the guts to start addressing our financial nightmare.



"Bears - Vikings Game Proves Safety is Secondary"

Yes, that is the title of a scary article in today’s issue of the Chicago Sun-Times by Rick Morrissey. Take a look for yourself at:

I’ll be sitting in my Lazy-boy chair this evening to watch this important game, but I would be happy to see the game played at some other location under much safer conditions. This is another perfect example of just what greed has done to sports, and let us all say a collective prayer that not one player is injured at a result of the NFL’s decision to play this game under the outlined conditions.

Isn’t it interesting to note just how influential GREED and personal satisfaction has become in all facets of our daily lives?


Tuesday, December 14, 2010


One positive thing about my fellow citizens is that we frequently can see the humorous side of a bad situation. I suspect we need that to keep our sanity in this crazy spinning world. Recently I received this quote from three different sources, and each time it brought a smile to my face.

If you’re a Republican, an Independent or a Libertarian you will smile, but if you’re a Democrat just stop reading now, because you will not see anything humorous in this partisan quotation.

Concerning Wikileaks, Governor Mike Huckabee said:

“If we want to keep our nation’s secrets ‘SECRET’, store them where President Obama stores his college transcripts and birth certificate.”

Come on…it is funny, and we all need a smile now and then.



The source of the following words is unknown to me, but I felt them worthy of your consideration. I did a search on Google, but could not find an attribution.

“Aspire to inspire before you expire.”

In performing the search I ran across another quote that comes from our late 26th President, Theodore Roosevelt, that I found equally important to contemplation.

“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered with failure, than to live in that grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.”

Those are two significant pieces of advice for our consideration during these trying times.



For those of you who remember life on this planet before integrated circuits, computer chips, and computers know they all brought lasting changes to our way of life. Don’t get me wrong, I totally believe that we are all benefiting from the invention of computers, but there are those evil forces twisting the electronic revolution for their personal greed.

Wikileaks is currently a very hot topic, and a perfect example of what I mean, but there are many other examples of opportunist intrusions. I personally am totally opposed to the craze of Face book, and tweeting. It is my opinion that some of our youth is naively opening up their privacy to invasion and abuse by lurking unknown forces. I believe that individuals who are sending out hundreds of tweets a day are placing their lives and the safety of their families in jeopardy. Facebook and tweeting distracts from the inherent bonds of family life.

A small article caught my attention in a recent edition of Time Magazine by Neal Gabler, which was buried on the inside column of page 26, but it is applicable to what I am saying here. Gabler is a professor, journalist, author, film critic, and political commentator who is a summa cum laude graduate from the University of Michigan and holds advanced degrees in film and American culture.

Writing about the dangers of social media, he said:

“Print’s uniformity, its immutability, its rigidity, its logic led to a number of social transformations, among which were the rise of rationalism and of the scientific method…(The) more we text and Twitter and ‘friend’, abiding by the haiku-like demands of social networking, the less likely we are to have the habit of mind or the means of expressing ourselves in interesting and complex ways.”

Well said, and point made.


Sunday, December 12, 2010


The other day I read an article on-line from the Chicago Tribune that made my blood boil. Susan Sher, who has been Michelle Obama’s Chief of Staff since January 19, 2009 and additionally serves as a White House lawyer and Assistant to the President, worked at the University of Chicago Medical Center prior to working in the White House. During the first three weeks of 2009, Sher’s compensation from the medical center was an astounding $511,000 ($49,000 for unused holiday and vacation pay, $149,000 in salary and 2008 bonus pay, and $313,000 from the payout of an executive retirement plan).

If you want to read the entire article, here is the link:,0,2558349,print.story

No wonder people like you and me begin to question just how much gall institutions such as the University of Chicago Medical Center have when they toss dollars around as if they were nickels. Don’t you also find it interesting that institutions such as this one are also playing footsie with politicians, who claim they are for the little guy, and want income redistribution, but simultaneously take big dollars behind the scenes? No wonder Health Care costs are off the charts and increasing daily.

Michelle Obama once fed at this same trough, making over $300,000 per year for a part time job at the medical center. Now we find her Chief of Staff has stuffed her pockets at the UCMC, and moved on to serve (or do I mean feed) at the White House. BIRDS OF A FEATHER FLOCK TOGETHER.

Are you buying this sham?



This commentary addresses a subject that has been kicking around the media world for the past several weeks. In the Sunday on-line edition of the Chicago Sun-Times there is an interesting article by Kathleen Pender.

It is your Commander’s opinion that government employees are receiving excessive pay and lucrative benefits, and the electorate must make their voices heard via their elected officials. Left unchecked, government salaries, benefits, and the number of government employees will continue to rise buying further voting loyalty to the politicians.

Did you catch the fact that workers in the dysfunctional Post Office are exempt from the payroll freeze? Why? They are union employees with a contract. When will our government address the Post Office problem once and for all time? Why, too, are members of Congress, congressional staffers and federal court judges and their workers excluded from the freeze? No union involvement there. Politics is the answer, and it is the cancer eating away at our national debt on a daily basis.

We the voters are responsible for permitting this problem to exist. We can and should demand that our elected officials solve this discrepancy or we will vote them out of office. We have the power, and proved so in November, but we neglect to make our voices heard often enough.


Friday, December 10, 2010


Earlier this week I ran across a shocking report in the Washington Post on-line edition addressing international student test scores covering reading, math, and science excellence. All three academic fields are vital for the future success of students, and the economies of the countries in which these students reside.

In the interest of conserving space take a look at this link from the Washington Post report of test scores from the Program for International Student Assessment.

Obviously the report is shocking when we see that students in the United States rank 17th in Reading, 31st in Math, and 23rd in Science, and students in Shanghai, China rank #1 in all three essential categories. When we consider all the billions of dollars we have directed to the education of the American student, it is clear that the efforts directed from Washington and the Department of Education have resulted in totally unacceptable results.

Educational excellence is a complex issue, but the record of the American system indicates a failing grade. Immediately our leaders should objectively investigate why Chinese students achieve top grades, and we better do it ASAP. Our economy cannot be competitive with a report card such as we see in this report.

Remember the Department of Education was created under President Jimmy Carter back in 1979, and it now has 5,000 employees with a budget exceeding 68.6 billion dollars. Personally, I support President Ronald Reagan’s suggestion to close the entire Department because it is a total failure. Current Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan is an effective educator, but his hands are tied by political compromises, appalling union contracts, and a federal bureaucracy that is dysfunctional.

Your Commander suggests we begin to enforce strict discipline, accountability, parental involvement, and the elimination of teacher union restraints. It is essential to get politics out of the class room. It is detrimental. The all-knowing New York Times has picked up on this story and reports that this test has stunned educators. It is about time. Also, the NBC Nightly News reported last evening that these test results are a wake-up call. The results of this report card analysis cries for prompt and objective remedial action. WAKE UP AMERICA!



I received an email this week from a friend that contained information I thought worthy of your consideration. The points below relate to current facts about our country economically. I want to share this report with you, my valued readers. Draw your own conclusions. Neither nor confirms or denies these claims.

“The following are 19 facts about the deindustrialization of America thatwill blow your mind....

#1 The United States has lost approximately 42,400 factories since 2001. About 75 percent of those factories employed over 500 people when they were still in operation.

#2 Dell Inc., one of America's largest manufacturers of computers, has announced plans to dramatically expand its operations in China with an investment of over $100 billion over the next decade.

#3 Dell has announced that it will be closing its last large U.S. manufacturing facility in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in November.Approximately 900 jobs will be lost.

#4 In 2008, 1.2 billion cell phones were sold worldwide. So how many of them were manufactured inside the United States? Zero.

#5 According to a new study conducted by the Economic Policy Institute, if the U.S. trade deficit with China continues to increase at its current rate, the U.S. economy will lose over half a million jobs this year alone.

#6 As of the end of July, the U.S. trade deficit with China had risen 18percent compared to the same time period a year ago.

#7 The United States has lost a total of about 5.5 million manufacturing jobs since October 2000.

#8 According to Tax Notes, between 1999 and 2008 employment at the foreign affiliates of U.S. parent companies increased an astounding 30 percent to 10.1 million. During that exact same time period, U.S. employment at American multinational corporations declined 8 percent to 21.1 million.

#9 In 1959, manufacturing represented 28 percent of U.S. economic output. In 2008, it represented 11.5 percent.

#10 Ford Motor Company recently announced the closure of a factory that produces the Ford Ranger in St. Paul, Minnesota. Approximately 750 good paying middle class jobs are going to be lost because making Ford Rangers in Minnesota does not fit in with Ford's new "global" manufacturing strategy.

#11 As of the end of 2009, less than 12 million Americans worked in manufacturing. The last time less than 12 million Americans were employed in manufacturing was in 1941.

#12 In the United States today, consumption accounts for 70 percent of GDP. Of this 70 percent, over half is spent on services.

#13 The United States has lost a whopping 32 percent of its manufacturing jobs since the year 2000.

#14 In 2001, the United States ranked fourth in the world in per capita broadband Internet use. Today it ranks 15th.

#15 Manufacturing employment in the U.S. computer industry is actually lower in 2010 than it was in 1975.

#16 Printed circuit boards are used in tens of thousands of different products. Asia now produces 84 percent of them worldwide.

#17 The United States spends approximately $3.90 on Chinese goods for every$1 that the Chinese spend on goods from the United States.

#18 One prominent economist is projecting that the Chinese economy will be three times larger than the U.S. economy by the year 2040.

#19 The U.S. Census Bureau says that 43.6 million Americans are now living in poverty and according to them that is the highest number of poor Americans in the 51 years that records have been kept.

So how many tens of thousands more factories do we need to lose before we do something about it?

How many millions more Americans are going to become unemployed before we all admit that we have a very, very serious problem on our hands?

How many more trillions of dollars are going to leave the country before we realize that we are losing wealth at a pace that is killing our economy?

How many once great manufacturing cities are going to become rotting war zones like Detroit before we understand that we are committing national economic suicide?

The deindustrialization of America is a national crisis. It needs to betreated like one. America is in deep, deep trouble folks. It is time to wake up.”

Your Commander does not think our members in Congress or President Obama know how to create jobs, but they certainly know how to buy votes and spend our money. Are you as concerned about this condition as I am? One must wonder when one of our political leaders will step forward to address this deplorable situation, because something significant must be done promptly to correct these problems before they totally devour our economy.



Take a look at this link regarding the Dream Act that the Lame-Duck session of Congress is trying desperately to sneak into law.

As you can see it will cost American taxpayer’s $6.2 billion each and every year (source: Center for Immigration Studies), and it is simply amnesty. That is the price the Democrat Party is willing to pass on to taxpayers so they can buy 2.1 million potential votes from undocumented illegal aliens for their party.

This is not the answer to a very emotional and thorny problem.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010


First, I feel it necessary to mention that I wrote this Sunday, December 5th, days before the cable news channels began talking about it. My Editor says the holidays have her busy and she finds it hard to post as frequently. Who knew? Aren’t there 25 hours in a day?

In the on-line December 4th Washington Post I ran across this article by Associated Press writer Kevin Freking which outlines the behind the scenes efforts of Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) in this lame-duck session to allow legal poker games over the internet. Here is the link:

Several statements in the article, in my opinion, are totally off-the-wall and just plain wrong, such as this quote from Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), “We are talking about a decision by adults to do what they want with their own money.”

For a number of years I have been totally opposed to the influence that massive campaign contributions to Political Action Committees buys, and this is a perfect example. Several casino operators in Nevada have provided substantial funds to Reid’s re-election campaigns over the years, as noted in the Post article.

Additionally, several years ago my then Congressman Tim Roemer (D-IN), who is now the U.S. Ambassador to India, suggested I read a book titled “The Luck Business” by Robert Goodman. At that time local Indian Tribes were making an effort to build a casino in South Bend, Indiana and Tim (to whom I spoke with frequently as General Manager of the then local ABC affiliate) was strongly opposed to that effort.

Goodman’s book clearly established facts indicating numerous negative impacts to local communities when gambling facilities are permitted. The tax dollars that flow to communities are off-set by problems with crime, financial debt, and social issues caused by gambling.

The efforts of Reid are directly tied to the casino industry financial contributions to his campaign war-chest, and are a perfect example of “Pay for Play.” This type of political bribery is destroying the integrity of our governmental system.

I think it is appalling to see Reid even suggest this legislation during this lame-duck session. I hope the Republicans will reject this effort when their majority prevails in the House during the next session of Congress (January 2011). This legislative idea is very bad public policy for America, and should be stopped ASAP.

Harry Reid is a perfect example of just what money can buy in the Senate, or in the House for that matter, and it proves just where priorities lie with the ever bulging purses of long time politicians. Obviously the Oath of Office means little or nothing to this leader of the U.S. Senate, because his self-interests, like so many others, take first place over the best interests of all Americans.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Do you remember where you were and exactly what you were doing 69 years ago today? I do, but I am one of the dwindling numbers of Americans who are still alive to remember that horrific day.

Your Commander was just 10 years old, and I was lying on my stomach early that Sunday afternoon listening to a program on an old Philco floor model radio when the announcer broke into programming to announce that Japanese aircraft were attacking the American Naval Fleet at Pearl Harbor in the Hawaiian Islands. I could go into several further details, but suffice it to say I remember that day vividly as if it was yesterday even after all these years.

If your one of the majority of Americans who were not yet born back in 1941 you may want to take a peek at the link below that provides an excellent summary of the day and outlines some significant details surrounding World War II.

It is important that all Americans never forget the significance of that attack at Pearl Harbor, because the dangers that occurred at that time remain present today some 69 years later. Please take a few moments to say a prayer for all the brave women and men who gave their full measure to preserve LIFE, LIBERITY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS for our great nation.

Those alive to remember the events of 9/11/2001 will no doubt feel empathy relative to12/7/1941. Today we have brave soldiers standing up for us all over the world facing new and vicious enemies. GOD BLESS AMERICA.


Monday, December 6, 2010


For the past two months I have struggled to complete the reading of Laura Ingraham’s New York Times best-selling THE OBAMA DIARIES. Believe me it took great effort, because Ingraham’s writing style just did not mesh with my attention span.

I totally support Ingraham’s disapproval of the Obama Administration and political games, but I found the book difficult to hold my interest but for short bursts of time. It would seem I am wrong, because the book was a best-seller, but that is just my opinion.

Frankly, I was a little surprised by my reaction, because I frequently agree with Ingraham’s comments during her appearances on Fox News programs. Although our political views are somewhat similar, I simply found her prose difficult to read. Sorry, but that is just one avid reader’s point of view.



Your Commander must confess that I am rethinking my once firm position against tax increases to those who receive extremely high levels of compensation. Until recently I believed that all increases in taxes should be waived until such time as the economy of this country takes a significant up-tick. I must admit that I have changed by mind.

Please take a couple of minutes to read the Wall Street Journal links below which provide insight into the ranks of the highest paid corporate executives.

What jumped off the first page was the salary of Gregory Maffei, CEO of Liberty Media, who enjoys a total direct pre-tax compensation of $87.1 million. I then reviewed the WSJ survey of CEO compensation that runs some eleven pages which reports salaries as high as Maffei’s down to zero compensation for the top guys at Whole Foods, Bank of America, and Apple’s Steve Jobs.

Frankly, I have difficulty having any sympathy for individuals receiving pay levels in tens of millions of dollars where a tax increase is concerned. Considering the fact that when their taxes are increased, they still have a bundle to cover expenses, save, invest as they see fit, and give to their favorite charities. The revenue that would flow to the US Treasury would be put to good use in lowering the deficit or creating jobs non-governmental jobs.

What is troubling to me is the fact that some 40% of American taxpayers pay absolutely nothing when it is time to pay taxes in April. Whatever has been deducted from their pay is refunded in full or they simply live off of welfare type entitlements!

I think this is wrong and everyone should pay something, even if it is only a small sum of money, for the unique privilege to live in these United States. Don’t tell me the poor cannot afford to pay something, because life is not a free ride. Every human is required to adapt or they will ultimately perish, and that includes rich or poor, young or old, good or bad.

Obviously we have to get our economic house in order and hopefully the recent election sent a resounding message that Congress will acknowledge and address. Time will tell; hope does spring eternal.

I cannot find it in my mind to justify anyone being paid tens of millions, also using a myriad of tax deductions, would be unable to pay a few percentage points more than the middle class when the tax man comes to call. Your Commander believes the Republican Party is playing a very risky game demanding all or nothing to assure their vote in this tax debate. All Americans must pay the piper or we all ultimately will go down the drain together.


Sunday, December 5, 2010


A few days have passed since President Obama returned from his surprise visit to Afghanistan. While the economy sinks into ever dangerous territory, and numerous critical issues remain undecided in the Halls of Congress, our president went to visit our brave troops serving in Afghanistan. Are you kidding me?

It is reported in just about every newspaper and electronic news outlet that this, like previous presidential visits, was a super-secret trip due to obvious and serious security issues. What is astounding is the timing, because our President needed to be in Washington for those approximately 36 hours to support essential actions by both Houses of Congress before the long Christmas recess and the swearing in of new Representatives and Senators in January. Could he have made the morale boosting visit after the recess…or at the weekend?

In these tight economic times Obama traveled half-way around the world at a cost of several millions of dollars, to do exactly what he did insofar as meeting with Afghan President Karzai is concerned. Due to weather in Kabul (where they both were) they held discussions via a “secure” video link. They could have done the same from the White House to Kabul.

I think this guy just doesn’t get it. The American taxpayer is left holding the bag for the cost of a very pricey trip. Certainly this visit had been pre-planned for a month or so, but it could have been prudently delayed in light of current circumstances.

It is your Commander’s personal opinion that for one who constantly chimes Climate Change controls he must have by far the single largest personal carbon footprint on the planet due to his many jaunts.

Rome (USA) is burning economically while Nero (Obama) fiddles. I do not know about you, but I cannot wait for the November 2012 Presidential Election to vote this devious, hidden-agenda, inexperienced politician out of office.



After years of stalling, justice has finally been served against the shenanigans of Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) by the House of Representatives. Rangel’s violations were so clear cut that his fellow members in the House voted 333-79 to censure him; the most serious punishment short of expulsion from Congress.

I’m not so sure that the reason the Ethics Committee and the House heard and ruled on the Rangel case in this lame duck session because the Democrats were still in control. Rangel may have well been expelled come January, 2011.

Here is an article that clearly outlines Rangel’s arrogance from the pages of the Washington Post.

Maybe, just maybe, this censure will cause some of the other rascals serving in the Halls of Congress to wake-up to the demands of the little people out in the hinterlands that insist, and rightly so, on ethical behavior.

Now, let’s see just how the House Ethics Committee rules regarding the case in front of them regarding the conduct of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA). The Ethics Committee will likely not hear and rule on that one until after the Republicans take control of the House this coming January.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Probably one of the most emotional and troubling issues of the day is THE MIDDLE EAST PROBLEM. If you agree with that statement then take a couple of minutes to view the attached video link by Dennis Prager.

His is a simple answer to the question, but the issue is far more complex when it comes to reaching a solution to all the violence, and the attainment of a lasting peace. Based upon the history of this conflict I doubt that there will be a peaceful solution in my life time.
Your Commander has a theory that peace in the Middle East is currently directly tied to the wealth acquired from the oil fields, and there is no chance of attaining a peace agreement until the major oil consuming countries find an alternative energy source. Take away the vast sums of money generated by the oil reserves in the Arab countries, and they will come to the peace table quickly.

History tells me they will continue to fight among themselves, but will not have the funds to finance violence to the degree they do today. Without the revenue produced from their oil reserves, several Arab country governments will totter and may even collapse. Also tribal conflicts may continue unabated as they have for centuries, but they will no longer have the ability to fund terrorism.

Why can’t we all just get along?


Sunday, November 28, 2010


When your Commander started to blog way back in April, 2008 it was my intent to expand the discussion on significant issues of the day and present my opinion along with opposing voices. It is in that vein that I urge you to consider noted Washington Post contributor Charles Krauthammer’s theory on the irrelevance of the Start Treaty. I wrote my opinion in a blog 11/23.

Assuming you now have read Krauthammer’s position and my recent blog, I hope you will consider this important issue and arrive at your own opinion. Decisions on issues in this great democracy are based on personal conclusions. There are good points on both sides of this and many other discussions that always justify consideration.


Saturday, November 27, 2010


Your Commander posted thoughts just the other day about Al Gore’s reversal of his widely promoted concepts for corn based ethanol. There is another important article on the same subject in today’s on-line Wall Street Journal. I was delighted to see a highly recognized media outlet reporting this story; Gore needs to be exposed for his past errors, complicity, and whoring for votes.

Suffice it to say another duplicitous politician has been exposed for what he really is and represents. This is a story of significance outlining Gore’s total lack of conscience and his loss of credibility. Remember, he served 1977-85 (12 years) as a Congressman (TN-D), one term (6 years) as Senator (TN-D), and eight years as Vice President to Clinton…the so-called one breath away from the president position. He then lost in the 2000 race for president to George W. Bush.

What would the Gore years have been like had he won the electoral vote for the Presidency of the United States; especially in light of his recent admission. One can only wonder.

We should consider ourselves most fortunate that Gore has finally exposed himself for his true motivations, which are simply self-promotion and self-adulation. This is most unusual and one can only wonder what his next step might be.

Al and his wife of 40 years Tipper filed for divorce earlier this year around rumors of him having an affair with Larry David’s ex-wife. Perhaps Tipper was finally fed up with everything about him!



When I read an article, I also like to share it with my readers. That is the case with today’s weekend on-line edition of The Wall Street Journal which carries an article brilliantly crafted by Peggy Noonan. Her work carries a sub-headline “Obama needs to hear a voice from outside the presidential bubble”.


It is well within reason that Peggy has determined one of Obama’s failings. Surprising for someone who is reported to be so well educated, and intelligent, but he doesn’t understand just what the true problems are behind his declining favorable ratings.

Do you remember the old radio program, THE SHADOW? Well, maybe THE SHADOW DOES!



It has been a while since your Commander has addressed the subject of the Postal Service. Within the past few weeks you no doubt have heard that the U.S. Postal Service is again in the tank for a staggering $8.5 billion for its last fiscal year. The continuation of record negative financial performance raises the obvious question. Why does our government permit this continuation of massive financial loss to continue? Plain and simple, the reason is politics.

By taking a look at Ed O’Keefe’s article earlier this month in the Washington Post you will quickly understand the depth of the Post Office problem.

Surely it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to realize that when the internet was first commercially introduced, the business model that existed for the Post Office was ultimately doomed. With each passing year since the early 1990s the Post Office has processed less and less mail, resulting in ongoing and massive financial losses.

Postage rates for a letter have risen from $.29 in 1992 to the $.44 we pay today; a 52% increase. I am not sure what UPS and Fed Ex charge for ground service for a letter. What are you willing to pay to mail a letter?

Time Magazine wrote that stamped letters mailed were 55.1 billion in 2000, and in just ten years the number dropped to 29.8 billion in 2010. With a drop in business of that magnitude any fool should recognize that dire action is required, because you have essentially lost half of your revenue base. This detail alone calls for dramatic action from Congress, and quickly. In March of this year, the Postal Service presented some solutions that would need approval. Washington has, however, twiddled their thumbs and done nothing.

With each passing year Congress has passed the buck along to future sessions of Congress or the next Administration, because they do not want to face the wrath of the Postal Service Workers Union and the emotional ties the public has to mail service. With the country experiencing very serious financial problems, we cannot afford to kick the can down the road any further. Recent meetings held with the Postal Service Workers Union have met with a total impasse, suggesting expense reduction is unacceptable to them.

Obviously, it is time to privatize the Postal Service to the likes of Federal Express or the United Parcel Service; if they are even interested is a question yet to be determined. Certainly the lame-duck Congress will not address this problem, but the real challenge will face the Republican led House, and it will be interesting to see if they have the guts to do the right thing.

This country and those who pay taxes to support it cannot continue to absorb the loss of a dysfunctional business model. The music must be faced. All businesses must adapt or perish. This could be one of the first real tests for the new Congress in 2011, if they are willing to face this challenge.

This is what happens when government runs programs (think Social Security and the coming Obama care)!


Friday, November 26, 2010


The truth has finally seeped out after almost ten years of deceit and personal gain for former Vice-President Al Gore. Most interesting is the fact that the main-stream media has been almost totally silent on Gore’s recent mea culpa for his support on corn based ethanol.

Take a couple of minutes to read the link below from

Does it surprise anyone that a politician of Gore’s ilk would promote a commercial venture in hopes of attracting votes from farmers in his native Tennessee and from farm voters in Iowa in support of his Presidential bid? After the government granted $7.7 billion last year in subsidies for bio-fuel, Gore has switched his pitch away from a corn based venture to farm waste and switchgrass to produce the fuel. Gore now upon reflection says, “Energy conversion ratios – how much energy is produced in the process – are at best small.”

As a result of Gore’s original endorsement and promotion, the American economy experienced a huge increase in the price of corn that negatively impacted the price of a vast array of corn based bi-products and feed. After making a personal fortune as “Mr. Green” and “Mr. Climate Change”, Gore now admits, “It is not a good policy to have these massive subsidies for first-generation ethanol.” Thanks Al!

Gore’s contention that Congress will not pass a Clean Energy Bill or climate legislation because Republicans will be the majority in the House is total crap. They won’t pass, because charlatans such as Gore have misled our economy and projects that benefited them financially, politically, and misled our government and financial system into faulty expenditures. The Midwest has many closed bio-fuel facilities that resulted in massive loss of investment dollars, because Gore was wrong and was deceptively promoting his self-interests.

Where is the main-stream media like the New York Times or the Washington Post coverage of this tardy mea culpa? It is time for Gore to go home to his energy sucking mansion in Tennessee and shut up as he strokes his unwarranted 2007 Noble Peace prize medal. Sometimes it just takes a little longer to expose a phony politician.


Thursday, November 25, 2010


Your Commander recognizes that the days and years are passing at light speed as I move through my 79th year, and I must admit that I am finding that I agree in greater frequency with authors’ opinions that I once despised. I do not know if I am getting smarter or just accepting other opinions with a more open, yet old, brain. Be that as it may, I want to draw your attention to a very provocative article written by the “mean one” Maureen Dowd of the New York Times.

Take a few of your valuable minutes on this Thanksgiving Day and read this link to her column:

Is that not a tragic situation that confronts each and every one of us? After all the years of fighting and all the billions of precious dollars spent we are ending up dealing with imposters! What must the mothers, fathers, and the immediate family members of all our brave fighting women and men who gave their lives in Afghanistan think about this development?

Someone or somebody has got to get their hands around this tragic situation and do it ASAP. We owe it to each and every one of our troops serving in that pesthole of the world to get this situation drawn to a close. It is no longer a matter of winning or losing, it is time to get the hell out of Afghanistan and let those maniacs kill each other just as they have done for hundreds of years. Whatever the answer is it will not be satisfactory, but it is now far past the time to prove to the world that while we, too, make mistakes, we are not damn fools.

Thanks to Maureen Dowd for telling it like it is, and hopefully someone will come up with an answer, so we can put this painful chapter in our history to a close before one more drop of precious blood falls.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Well the highly promoted football game between legendary in-state rivals Illinois and Northwestern ended with a 48-27 victory for the Fighting Illini. Both Chicago newspapers are full of follow-up articles relative to the pros and cons of a repeat performance of football in decrepit Wrigley Field. My local northern Indiana newspaper ran a quick poll that reports 76% are opposed to a continuation and only 24% support future football games at the home of the Cubs.

Highly regarded sports columnist Rick Morrissey has an interesting article in the 11/21 Chicago Sun-Times at the link below:,CST-SPT-morrissey21.article

In addition, closely associated with this discussion is the subject of my November 19th commentary on Wrigley Field. Should taxpayers throughout the State of Illinois support the renovation of the old ballpark? Take a look at Ameet Sachdev’s article in the 11/21 Chicago Tribune, which provides some interesting data.,0,7102048,full.story

Having viewed the game on ESPNU, which few cable subscribers actually have in their cable package, was interesting to say the least. I loved the resulting score being one of the three generations in my family to graduate from Illinois, but I found the venue to be lacking to say the least.

Yes, it was a novelty to have the game at legendary Wrigley Field, but unfortunately the physical dimensions just did not blend with the requirements of a football game. Due to the proximity of the Ivy covered walls, the teams were required to use only one end of the field for offensive plays alone and both teams shared the same sidelines. A huge number of fans had limited or obstructed views of the playing surface adding insult to injury where ticket prices were concerned.

In view of the recently announced plans or desires of the Cubs’ ownership to seek public funding of the ballpark’s renovation, it remains your Commander’s opinion that the Ricketts family should use their own money to upgrade the facility. Let’s be frank, the Ricketts benefited greatly by scheduling this Big Ten game in their park, and it was unique, but it should be a one time event given the limitations of the field.

Next year they should move the game to Soldier Field where a significantly larger number of Wildcat and Illini fans could enjoy the game. This would permit the game to be played safely on a field under normal playing requirements with unobstructed views of the entire field.

Playing the role of a provocateur, neither team set the football world on fire this year, but what would football officialdom have said had this game been of significance in the Big Ten title race? As I mentioned, it had to basically be played on one-half of the field. Let the Ricketts promote music concerts or outdoor hockey games to make additional revenue out of the decaying park. Keep football on a normal and safe field of play.



The hot topic of the current lame duck session of Congress is the possible elimination of Earmarks, and the New York Times gave a weak-kneed endorsement with a liberal caveat. Take a look-see at their opinion and draw your own conclusion.

I will accept the fact that elimination of Earmarks will only reduce the deficit by $15.9 billion, but it is a good starting point against a government that is running a $1.5 trillion deficit. Just because this action will only represent 1 percent of the federal budget does not mean it is not worthy.

The elimination of Earmarks is an excellent starting point, and it is up to the next Congress to fulfill the desires of the electorate to cut spending, waste, and corruption. Obviously some past Earmarks were for worthy projects, but let them be stand alone pieces of legislation that are debated and voted upon openly in the floor of Congress.

Isn’t transparency one of the original pledges lingering from Barack Obama’s campaign? It is about time that we see some transparency coming from the Halls of Congress as well as the Administration.



Your Commander is going to surprise some readers when I announce my opinion that the United States Senate should immediately approve the START Treaty that was signed by President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev last April. I have come to agree with my senior Senator, Richard Lugar (R-IN), who has reached across the aisle to endorse signing the Treaty at this time.

Should you have concerns or a limited knowledge of the Treaty let me suggest that you read Canadian freelance journalist Gwynne Dyer’s recent opinion piece that appeared in my local newspaper.

It is my further opinion that it would be unwise to delay in approving the Treaty, because it is vitally important that we have the ability to inspect nuclear weapons inside Russia. Remember President Ronald Reagan’s call to “Trust, but verify.” If the United States does not approve the treaty we will be unable to trust and more importantly unable to verify just what is going on inside the Russian nuclear arsenal. Dyer’s point that we need Russia’s support on several foreign relations matters at this particular time is also quite valid.

While I rarely agree with Dyer’s very liberal positions on foreign relations, I believe he has made a solid argument for adoption, and I further believe it is time for the Republican Party to stop just saying NO to everything that comes from the Obama Administration. There are many other significant matters emanating from Washington that deserve restraint, but this is not one. This issue rises far above party politics, and it is in our collective best interest.

Message to Congress: Vote YES at the earliest possible date on the START TREATY.


Monday, November 22, 2010


Before you hit the link below for an article in today’s Washington Post, I suggest you place a bottle of Tums adjacent to your computer. It will only take you a couple of minutes to read the Karen Matthews article.

After reading this disgusting report on efforts to protect Congressman Charles Rangel (D-NY) from a censure vote by the full House of Representatives after the Ethics Committee voted 9-1 for censure just makes me sick. Apparently the ex-Mayor of New York City, David Dinkins, and City Councilwoman Inez Dickens are corrupt too when they openly distort the proven facts in this appalling case of arrogance and double standards.


Sunday, November 21, 2010


Just when I thought the difficulties of the Notre Dame Football program had been calmed with their decisive victory over the Cadets of Army and University of Utah the week prior, old and new campus issues are in the spotlight.

I have written about the sad situation that accompanied the death of student Declan Sullivan, and now the death and suicide of a student at St. Mary’s (adjacent to the ND campus) has come to light.

The investigation into the tragic death of ND student videographer, Declan Sullivan, October 27th on a very windy, gusty day in the area has not yet produced a detailed report. This event has received national press and some have called for the exit of Head Coach Brian Kelly and/or Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick. Full disclosure of this event must be made known soon, really soon, before a larger, more uncontrollable public relations disaster confronts the storied university and football program.

Today a lengthy article by Stacy St.Clair and Todd Lighty, two Chicago Tribune reporters, surrounds the alleged rape of St. Mary’s College freshman Elizabeth Seeberg by an unnamed ND football player and her suicide ten days later. The revelation that screams for full disclosure by the appropriate authorities, including the Notre Dame Administration, is contained in this link:,0,3224107,print.story

Answers to the questions posed in this article, along with the Declan Sullivan investigation, hover over student life and parental concerns.

The University of Notre Dame’s proud and highly regarded heritage in athletics has had a difficult time in the national spotlight during the last decade or so. Issues that surround Elizabeth Seeburg’s alleged rape and Declan Sullivan’s death are even more important. Parents entrust the college or university where they send their children, particularly in dorm and/or campus life.

This educational institution (ND) produces many well educated, community responsible, and highly valuable professionals that have and will serve this country in the decades to come.

I am not an alum of ND, but the University of Illinois. I know that college and university towns/cities benefit from the presence of a higher education institution in their community.

Awful things happen on college campuses and to college students everywhere; ND tries to hold itself to the highest standard possible and usually succeeds.

This has been a year of one public relation disaster after another for a proud and highly regarded educational institution, and they best get these independent investigations completed at the earliest possible date.


Saturday, November 20, 2010


President Barack Obama frequently refers to his admiration of the legendary Indian leader, the late Mohandas K. Gandhi. In his recent trip to India he wrote in the guest book at the Mani Bhavan museum referring to Gandhi “He is a hero not just to India, but to the world.”

While it is worthy and normal for a politician to wrap himself in the veil of a highly respected world leader let me suggest that is as far as the comparison goes when it comes to an Obama/Gandhi assessment.

Gandhi was a most effective leader in the non-violent drive for independence for India from the British Empire, but his goal of bringing the clashing religious entities together failed to bear fruit. Just look at the state of hostility that exists between India and Pakistan today. Take a look at a New York Times article by Jim Yardley at the link below, which expands this discussion.

Gandhi was a brilliant community organizer, but Obama was and remains a community agitator even after being elected to the presidency on a platform that has evolved into one based upon deceptive change. It is my suggestion that history will be far kinder to Gandhi than it will be to Obama. Only time will tell, but just consider for one moment the standing of Gandhi in his beloved India today these many years following his 1948 assassination compared to Obama’s disapproval rating two short years into his presidency.

If a comparison is to be complimentary, Obama has a huge mountain to climb by the time his leadership term comes to a conclusion. Historians will have much to write about when crafting any similarity to these two men of note. Currently one still represents peace and harmony, and the other stands for achievement of goals at any cost. Think about it at your leisure.


Friday, November 19, 2010


Yesterday’s local newspaper contained a troubling article attributed to the Washington Post reporting that the personal wealth of members of Congress collectively increased 16% between 2008 and 2009. During this period of time the national economic downturn eliminated thousands of jobs for the average American citizen.

The article specified that median wealth in the House grew to $785,010 from $645,503 in one year. In the Senate the increase in the median income jumped from $2.27 million to $2.38 million. The Center for Responsive Politics reported that there are 251 millionaires in Congress, including eight lawmakers worth $10 million or more.

As stated by Sheila Krumholz, the Center’s executive director, “Few federal lawmakers must grapple with the financial ills – unemployment, loss of housing, wiped out savings – that have befallen millions of Americans.”

These facts cause your Commander to again wonder about the correlation between service in Congress and the attainment of a substantial increase in personal wealth during the period of that service. The facts seem obvious and the conclusion one is apt to draw is one that does not enhance the idea that honest service is attributed to all those who serve on Capitol Hill.

Quite frankly, I think the situation stinks when you think about it. We are responsible for permitting this to occur and continue year after year after year. Individuals of average means go to Washington, few depart without an abundance of wealth.

As an observer out here in “fly-over” country the message sent to me is, “Go to Washington, fill your pockets under the guise of serving the public, screw the electorate who sent you, and leave with a big bank account and a pension and perks to take care of you for the rest of your life.” Sad, but the parallel is obviously true.



An article in yesterday’s Chicago Tribune caught my eye and I found that editorial board member Steve Chapman made a compelling argument to consider tearing down old Wrigley Field.,0,677123.column

Considering the massive shortage of funds that are available from both the public and government financial war-chests it just may be wiser to consider building a new ball yard for the perennially dysfunctional Chicago Cubs. It may be more prudent to get the emotional appeal of aging Wrigley Field placed into its proper perspective before pumping an endless supply of already scarce dollars into a bottomless pit.

Can you imagine the howling that would ensue if the ball park was moved? Residents of “Wrigleyville” have complained for years about parking problems, night games, and more. However, these same vocal voices will no doubt demand that their precious ball park stay just where it has been these many years in order to protect their property values.

If I were a betting man, I suspect that emotion will win over a practical solution to this obvious business problem, but you have to admit that Chapman has presented a strong argument for everyone to consider when he says, “…I am immune to the appeal of using tax dollars to enrich a private business.”

Please do not take this commentary the wrong way, I love that ballpark! Over the years I attended many games there and at old Comiskey Park on the South Side where the Chicago White Sox once played. Comiskey has been replaced by U.S. Cellular Field (The Cell) and was built directly across the street from the old ballpark. I should add here that state, county and city dollars were at least in part used to build the new venue under the direction of the Illinois Sports Authority.

Your Commander suggests that the Ricketts family had this plan tucked in their desk drawer when they submitted their original purchase plan for the Cubs. Wrigley Field did not just get old and in need of millions of dollars in repairs and upgrades in just one year! Obviously the Ricketts were not honest brokers in this deal, so I don’t have any sympathy when they come crying to the fans and taxpayers to bail them out financially.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I don’t know what you were doing last Saturday evening when NBC’s Saturday Night Live (SNL) aired, but if you missed the program I suggest that you were fortunate.

The program aired a skit portraying the leaders of both the United States and China during the recent economic summit in Asia. The skit was not funny by any stretch of one’s imagination. It was simply crude, off-color, and especially demeaning to both country’s leaders.

Shame on NBC, the SNL staff, and especially the program’s Executive Producer, Lorne Michaels, for insulting the audience and two world leaders. This once highly creative program has stooped to the bottom of the pit in an effort to attain ratings, and they should hold their head in shame. It never ceases to amaze me to see the depths that once proud companies such as General Electric and NBC will stoop to make a buck. Pathetic is the only appropriate word that comes to my mind.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Please join me and every other American citizen in a salute to Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta who today was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroic action while serving his country in the Korengal Valley of Afghanistan. When the President of the United States presented Giunta with his medal in the White House today he was the first living recipient of our nation’s highest honor since the Viet Nam War.

If you’re interested, and you certainly should be, take a couple of minutes to click the link below to the website of Southern California Public Radio, which provides a detailed account of Giunta’s brave actions.

Men and women such as Staff Sergeant Giunta are extremely rare, but they are the solid foundation upon which this great country was created, and the reason the United States of America will continue to have a sound future. Sergeant Giunta is a humble man who represents the very best of what this country stands for before a world in turmoil.

I saluted our glorious red, white and blue banner this morning as I reached for my morning paper that our wonderful neighbors bring up to my door in the morning. Let us all fly our American flags daily as a special supportive endorsement of the unique contributions our brave fighting men and women make here at bases in the United States and literally hundreds of places around the world.

May we each in our own way say a special prayer for Staff Sergeant Giunta who stepped forward at that one moment in time to serve and protect his fellow man.


Monday, November 15, 2010


Everyday we read that the cost of a college education is on the rise, but rarely do we see any specific efforts being directed at reducing the operational costs of higher education. It is your Commander’s opinion that a good place to start would be in the office of the president at many institutions.

Please take a minute to read the article at the link below which appeared in the pages of today’s Washington Post. This problem is far more reaching than the narrow focus The Post took addressing only Washington DC colleges, so please take that into consideration.

While the article states that the salary of presidents only represents a tiny percentage of overall campus budgets, I believe that is hogwash. The role of college and university presidents has become more a sales management position, because they spend a disproportionate amount of their time raising massive amounts of money to pump-up the endowment funds.

Salary levels in education, the business community, and government have become excessive especially in the top administrative suites. Administrative bloat exists in schools across the country and you know that I am hitting the nail on the head with that statement.

Isn’t it time for public and private educational institutions to start living like the rest of us? I suggest that some of the huge salaries being paid border on theft, and we are the ones paying the piper.



If you were ever interested in seeing a clear example of editorial bias then I draw your attention to the editorial in today’s New York Times Opinion Page. Take a look for yourself:

Even the most liberal voices must admit that the positions supported by the New York Times are extreme and open the door for a dangerous open-borders agenda. As an advocate of reasonable Immigration Reform, there must be a more common-sense approach to resolving an issue currently tearing our country apart and costing American taxpayers an unacceptable and unnecessary financial price.

The New York Times editorial does little or nothing to solve this politically disruptive issue, but it does cause the lines to be drawn firmer on both sides of the debate. Apparently, there is only one way to resolve the immigration debate; accept the New York Times opinion and liberal concepts. I pray that God and centrist fellow citizens will protect us all from such a myopic focus and financial burden as our Founding Fathers’ guidance accomplished so magnificently in 1776.


Sunday, November 14, 2010


It makes little difference which political party you support or endorse, it is a fact that when our president has huge problems, the citizens have big problems, too.

Since taking a historic drubbing in the mid-term election, many questions are being addressed in the media as to whether Obama truly understands the depth of the country’s displeasure. It has also been suggested by a somewhat biased right-wing media that Obama’s ego will not permit him to accept any responsibility beyond some lip-service statements. Down deep does he understand his fellow Americans and does he support their interests? Only time will tell.

Your Commander found it very interesting that two very high-profile individuals rendered statements reflecting negatively when it comes to their opinion of our Commander in Chief. It is reported in conservative Townhall. Com by Greg Hengler that Rupert Murdoch relayed a conversation with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg after Bloomberg had played golf with Obama. “He came back and said ‘I never met in my life such an arrogant man’.” Murdoch added his two cents. “Barack Obama might make great speeches but doesn’t get things done and doesn’t listen to anybody.”

As we await the return of the lame-duck Congressional Session there are interesting questions being raised that further indicate the real feeling of the electorate. On fire-brand Bill O’Reilly’s web site he asked the following question, “How will President Obama respond to Tuesday’s election?”

He will tack to the center like Clinton in ’94 - 5%
He is a man of the left and will stay there – 83%
He will move to a more international agenda = 12%
Total votes – 27,354

Interesting results, but O’Reilly is preaching to his own choir, and the results reflect the mood of those 27,354 O’Reilly followers.

My local paper which I frequently refer to as “the trumpet of truth,” AKA The South Bend Tribune, also ran a totally unscientific poll asking this question, “Will Congress and President Obama be able to put aside their differences and improve the economy following Tuesday’s election?”

Over three days the results in this very Democrat, union influenced community were:

Yes – 12%
No – 88%
Total votes 477

Neither poll provides much hope for an improvement in our economy emanating from the White House or the Halls of Congress anytime soon.

I go back to my earlier suggestions that we must get realistic in our political debate and seek some common ground compromises that we all can live with. I feel the Republicans will accomplish little or nothing if they insist on fighting for a total elimination of the Health Care Bill. Some compromise should be reached on tort reform and the sale of insurance across state lines as a starting point, along with the immediate elimination of the need for Form #1099 for expenditures over $600, which will be a huge burden on all businesses.

Your Commander certainly does not like the look of our immediate future when both parties continue to play one-up manship as our debt spirals out of control. Congress could force a 5% cut in all budget line items and it would be a good place to start to get our expenses under control.

There must exist at least a 5% waste in fraud and excessive over-paid staffing in the federal government. Didn’t Obama promise the day after inauguration that his Administration would go over every single line item in the budget? When is he going to deliver on that promise?

Our country and the entire world would be much better off if Obama would park Air Force One in a hangar and get to work in his Oval Office solving our dangerous economic debacle. Unemployed Americans cannot afford to wait while their President plays golf, vacations, and makes overseas visits while they suffer needlessly.



Across this nation there are millions of long-suffering Chicago Cub fans, and it defies logic as to why they continue to adore and support this perennial loser major league baseball franchise. With the team sold over the winter by the bankrupt Chicago Tribune to the hugely successful (and wealthy) Ricketts family, I thought the Cubs would now be on a sound financial footing. WRONG!

Below is a link to an interesting article that relates the latest con-job being attempted by the haves on the have-nots. This is not a new idea proposal because it has already been perpetrated by the owners of the Chicago White Sox and the Chicago Bears using tax supported bonds issued by the Illinois Stadium Authority.,ricketts-wrigley-state-aid-11110.article

One wonders just how much subterfuge can be pushed down the throats of the public who are ultimately obligated to pay inflated ticket prices, not to mention higher state taxes, well into the future to pay off this deal. The public surely will come out on the short end of this stick, and they will not even have a smile on their face when the bonds are eventually paid-off.

Let me suggest that the curse of the Billy Goat is not on the team, but on the long-suffering Cub fans.



Here we go again with another group of individuals with too much time on their hands suggesting that the University of Illinois find a replacement for the abandoned and much beloved Chief Illiniwek mascot. It was only three years ago that a group of disgruntled agitators moved the weak-kneed Illinois politicians, school administrators, and the NCAA to declare The Chief a divisive figure.

It was irrelevant that polls in the local Champaign newspaper, the Chicago papers, and the Illinois Alumni Association proved overwhelmingly that The Chief should continue to represent the University. A few liberal, but loud voices scared the politicians claiming The Chief was negative to Native Americans.

Anyone who knows anything about The Chief and everything he represented knows the mascot was honorable and always showed nothing but the greatest respect to Native Americans, so that argument is totally bogus. However, politicians and the school administration, after spending over 5 million dollars on polling and research, finally decided to bow to a misled NCAA edict forced down their throats by its late president, Myles Brand.

Now both the Illinois Faculty Senate and the Illinois Student Senate have called for the creation of a new Mascot. I guess referring to school teams as the “Block I’s” and having an “I” dance around just won’t work.

This is foolish and a total waste of time and precious public dollars that could be far better spent providing educational benefits for needy Illinois children. The argument against The Chief is totally bogus, because everything about Illinois’ Chief Illiniwek was and is honorable. The link below will provide additional information, if you are interested:,CST-NWS-chief13.article

If Chief Illiniwek is evil, then I, a person who is one-half Irish, am very disturbed when they call Notre Dame “the Fighting Irish” and the mascot is portrayed by a half-crazed leprechaun. Fair is fair, but in this case fairness has nothing to do with the situation because it is what we now call political correctness. What that represents is a waste of public dollars by a group of misguided whackos.



Thursday, November 11, 2010


Much discussion has taken place lately relative to pension contribution shortfalls and the impact this situation will have on taxpayer obligations down the road. Below is a link to a very informative article from Time Magazine as it applies to teacher pensions.,8816,2030708,00.html

Someday this matter must be addressed, because it has a direct impact on the economic vitality of this country. I’m afraid that ultimately every one of us will pay a substantial financial penalty for the shortcomings of our government officials at the federal, state and local levels. It is not just the politicians fault; the unions and their political muscle, votes, and money have put us in this mess.

The day of financial reckoning will come all too soon and it will be on the backs of those who never were part of a union.



Your Commander finds it interesting to note that on this important date that salutes our veterans, we are also commencing a highly emotionally charged debate from the Obama appointed bi-partisan Deficit Panel’s initial suggestions to solve our numerous economic shortfall issues. Having read two very informative articles this morning in the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal it is apparent that there are already very loud voices attacking the first announcements of the plan before the full committee report is released.

Take a few minutes and read the links below:

Certainly there are specific points that do not sound appropriate or necessary to me, but let me suggest that we keep our powder dry and await the release of the full report. Obviously, we have great need for dramatic action and considering the depth of the problem we all must recognize that the necessary medicine will not deliver a satisfying taste. The remedy to this devastating economic condition will be substantial and we will all be impacted for decades to come.

We can only hope that our legislators put aside political differences and act in good faith for the long term benefit of the people.

We, the voters, and our elected leaders have kicked the proverbial can down the road for far too long a period of time, and now we and our children and their children will pay a heavy price for the imprudent actions of the last twenty-five or so years. We cannot run our households like the government has been running our economy without paying the piper in the long-run. Your Commander does not like the diagnosis any better than you do, but we cannot disagree with the need for prompt corrective action.

If our great democracy and the American way of life are to prevail, we must pay the price to fix it just as our Founding Fathers boldly did when they created this wondrous place called THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. We must collectively act courageously, aggressively and responsibly for our future generations.