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.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010


The September, 2010 decision by Chicago Mayor Richard Daley to not seek an unprecedented seventh term, set into motion a fury of applicants to seek the lucrative and lofty position of leadership amid a sea of corruption. Apparently the position of Mayor of Chicago is so influential and financially valuable that some are willing to even permanently leave Washington, D.C.

With that in mind I urge you to take a look at a recent article that ran in the Chicago Sun Times which addresses the candidacy of current shady Congressman Luis Gutierrez, an influential voice in the Latino community.,CST-NWS-watchdogs08.article

Names like Rahm Emanuel; ex-Senator Carol Mosley Braun, with campaign funding and other violations in her past; incarcerated political fundraiser Tony Rezko; and the pending trial of ex-Governor Rod Blagojevich will all come into play in this political orgy. The black community feels they deserve the mayor’s position, but the Latino community wants a piece of the action, too. Just how influential the well-healed Jewish community is will also be interesting to determine.

President Barack Obama has deep involvement here and his close relationship to Rahm Emanuel (his Chief of Staff until October) places him in an interesting and complicated position when it comes to endorsing Emanuel and not offending his political base in the black and Hispanic constitutiency. The knives are out, and believe me they will be inflicting great damage in the weeks and months ahead running up to the election in February, 2011. (If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, there will be a run-off by the top two vote getters in April.)

The political theatre will be most interesting in the months ahead and I predict there will be many surprising developments occurring. The shady deals and back-room meetings in smoke filled rooms are taking place as we go about our daily lives. Can Chicago/Illinois politics ever get cleaned up?



The discussion of gangs and the resulting violence and expense to taxpayers is an old story as far as your Commander is concerned. I have been talking about the fact that the impact of gangs has fallen off the radar screen in our national discussion. Please take a few minutes and read the article from USA Today.

With gang ranks swelling by 25%, when will the Justice Department and local authorities take this cancerous issue seriously? When statistics prove that long-term confinement of gang leaders leads to disruption of the organizations one must wonder why there is not a movement to increase the guide lines for confinement.

One wonders if there is a cozy relationship festering between the gang leadership and local politicians. Obviously there, too, is an interlocking problem with illegal immigrants and gang membership that should be solvable by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). But as we know the federal government is not enforcing existing laws or working to prevent a negative reaction from the Latino community. Deportation would immediately reduce the impact of gangs across the country saving millions of vital tax dollars, but why is it not a top priority?

How can we expect to solve gang problems without securing our borders? When one considers the huge expense that is brought upon local governments and federal taxpayers, why is the gang problem not a top priority to be eradicated at the earliest possible date? These questions should be addressed to our elected officials, and we should demand action at the earliest possible date. Are you willing to start asking these hard questions of both your Senators and Representative in Congress?

Solve the huge gang problem, and we save billions of precious taxpayer dollars.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Writing a book review for Vince Flynn’s latest action-adventure saga is easy, because he has a writing style that has developed a huge audience of adoring fans. Again Flynn has produced a best selling Mitch Rapp story, but this one goes back to Rapp’s very first assignment to protect the American way of life.

Buy American Assasin or check it out at your local library and enjoy another easy read that will keep you up late turning pages filled with heart stopping daring due. Flynn writes winners time and time again.


Sunday, November 7, 2010


The sub-headline to Peggy Noonan’s Wall Street Journal article is – “Obama gets a rebuke, but so do Republicans who seem unqualified.” I think you will find your time well spent if you take a few minutes and check out her article at the link below. She provides some valuable suggestions for future possible political success.

Your Commander salutes Noonan for her sound advice, which is refreshingly not the typical partisan, narrow focused “our way or no way” mentality.



A few weeks ago I received a very inflammatory email from a close friend whose opinions I value greatly. Upon reading his message about a $2 Billion loan being granted to the Brazilian Oil Exploration Company my blood began to boil. I immediately put the information in a pile on my desk intending to write a highly critical commentary within the next few days.

As the days passed due to more pressing matters, the subject of this loan kept coming to mind, and I finally got back to the original material deciding to do some investigation as to its authenticity. BINGO! I am sure glad I resourced, because the story I had received was factually incorrect. Take a look at the attached link:

Being a strong non-supporter of President Barack Obama’s non-transparent administration, I was ready to fire both barrels at him for an apparent misuse of Executive Order power, but fortunately for all concerned I was wrong in that interpretation. There is a valuable lesson here for all of us, and it proves that we are never too old to learn.

The danger of this wonderful communications tool we call the internet is that we are all potential victims of inaccurate data and misinformation that floats around enhancing the concepts of individuals and organizations that espouse their special agenda or interests. Certainly it will go down in history that the internet was a superb source of information, education, and allowed the sharing of knowledge and opinions across geographical boundaries nearly instantaneously. However, great caution must be exerted by the users of the information to assure accuracy or great harm can occur.

It only takes a minute to verify internet claims, and the time is certainly worthwhile, because life is difficult enough without being misled with inaccurate, deceptive, biased information. Both and Snopes. com are good sites for determining the validity of information. Please be certain to listen to that little bird when he goes off in the back of your mind, because he or she is frequently correct in warning you to question some pronouncements.

If The Glenn Beck Show actually aired what is claimed in my friend’s email, it should be exposed for what it is…biased misinformation.



It certainly did not take some major media outlets long to jump forward with strong objection to the indefinite suspension of left-leaning flame-thrower MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann. Shortly after announcing the suspension without pay by Phil Griffin, MSNBC President, stories appeared because Olbermann had violated the published NBC News policy and standards against employees making political contributions.

Immediately, The New York Times and Washington Post raised questions about the appropriateness of the suspension. Additional concerns have been addressed by liberal Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) who called the action outrageous and said, “This is a real threat to political discourse in America and will have a chilling impact on every commentator for MSNBC.”

Interestingly, a poll in the Washington Post asked the question “Do you agree with the decision to suspend Keith Olbermann?” Much to my surprise 41% said Yes and 59% said No, with a total of 5,665 votes being cast. Apparently liberals do not understand legally binding employment agreements.

Not to be left out of the story, coverage existed in both the Chicago Tribune and Wall Street Journal. As of Friday evening tens of thousands of people had signed a petition titled “Put Olbermann Back on the Air NOW” which was circulated by something called The Progressive Change Campaign Committee.

Apparently the fact that Olbermann violated a published policy that was a condition of his employment is beside the point for the supporters of his modus operandi. Let’s all get real on this issue. Olbermann is just like other off-the-wall loud cable based voices or whatever you call them, such as Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hanitty, Glenn Beck, or Rachel Maddow. They are all spewing a line to attract ratings from the left, the middle, and the right. It’s an act that appeals to certain elements of the total audience.

Somewhere in the back channels of this incident are influences involved in the pending sale of NBC Universal by parent company General Electric to Comcast, which is awaiting government approval. I suspect someone whispered to someone to cross all the t’s and dot all the i’s so as not to rock the boat on the sale.

Do you suspect the decision to suspend Olbermann will have a negative impact on the future of life in America? I suspect the world will continue to spin on its axis, and this story will have short legs.



Your Commander is a daily viewer of The New York Times free online edition and it was there that I found a wonderful article written by Frank Rich, whose liberal comments frequently appear in that paper. I must admit that I am too cheap to pay for the online edition or the hard copy of the Times, so I take advantage of the free offering, because I am certain they will be restricting access in the near future.

Be that as it may, I will confess that when I read Rich’s article I had a total epiphany, because I have rarely read anything he wrote that I found rendered agreement. In an effort to guarantee I really had an epiphany, I checked the dictionary and it reported the definition to be “a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.”

Should you have missed seeing The New York Times this Sunday or if you, too, infrequently agree with Rich’s political persuasions here is a link to the article:

Ok, now that you have read the article I feel certain there are few who can disagree with Rich’s suggestions whether you are a liberal, conservative or somewhere in between. Both parties better get together and bury the hatchets or our country’s problems will continue to spiral out of control. If the members of all the political parties permit that to happen we will have no one to blame but ourselves.

The electorate has recently spoken sending a clear strong message calling for a fiscally sound change in the direction of our leadership, so everyone better start listening rather than feathering their personal nests and egos.


Friday, November 5, 2010


Your Commander has just finished reading a wonderful little book (287 pages) that should scare the hell out of every American citizen, because it exposes in detail the depth of corruption that has consumed the State government in New Jersey. I used to feel that my home State of Illinois was the most corrupt government in the country, but I am now convinced that the politicians in Illinois are amateurs.

THE SOPRANO STATE – New Jersey’s Culture of Corruption by Bob Ingle and Sandy McClure exposes the appalling state of corruption that causes huge tax obligations to its citizens. In New Jersey the number of government workers is 81 per square mile compared to 6 government workers per square mile in the rest of the country. The State government employs 154,500 workers and local government has a staggering 444,000 workers. Just consider the impact they have on elections and the cost to taxpayers.

Quoting from page #4, “New Jersey has 566 municipal governments and 616 school districts, some of which don’t have students but collect millions of dollars in local taxes and state aid and have paid administrations.” Amazing, but true! New Jersey voters keep electing the same corrupt officials.

In the Garden State the local joke is, “What is the definition of a judge? A lawyer who knows a politician.” Corruption rules the day in New Jersey and local politicians promote home rule, but New Jersey citizens have less control than citizens have in the rest of the country. The overlapping layers of government are placing an excessive tax burden on the taxpayers of the State.

In my home State of Indiana there was a very expensive study conducted that called for the elimination of duplicate government functions, but little or nothing has been done to bring about the appropriate savings, because local politicians would lose their inflated salaries and huge under-funded pension positions. Based upon reading this book it is apparent that New Jersey’s situation is really disgusting and in need of honest new government.

Obviously, first year Governor Chris Christy has a huge job on his hands. Let us hope he can turn things around and his action will bring vital honest improvements to other State governments, too.



Much has been written since the tragic accident on October 27th that resulted in the death of Notre Dame Student and football team videographer Declan Sullivan. The newspapers and airwaves in the South Bend community have been filled with reactions expressing sympathy, along with sharp reactions. It is your Commander’s personal opinion that all voices should be restrained until a thorough investigation is conducted and the results are announced to the public.

Below is a link to an interesting article written by former South Bend Tribune sports reporter, David Haugh, who moved on to a position with the Chicago Tribune’s highly regarded sports department several years ago. Haugh raises some important questions, which require response from the highest levels of the University administration.,0,5445539.columnist

Obviously our hearts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Declan Sullivan at this time. Clearly the University has a massive public relations problem on their hands and it will be very interesting to see how they respond. The potential legal implications in this case are substantial and complex. Someone and somebody made a tragic mistake that resulted in Declan’s death and the responsibility must be honestly identified.

The University owes a thorough objective response to Declan’s family, its alumni, and legion of fans. This investigation should be totally separated from the discussion of the football team’s success or failure on the field of play, because there are two distinctly different questions requiring a thorough appraisal.

May God hold Declan in his loving arms, and may we place the significance of football games into proper perspective.



(Note: This was written 11/3, but not posted until today.)

Our nation’s attention has been consumed by the recent mid-term election. Buried in the back pages of various news publications are the facts relative to President Barack Obama’s much anticipated November 6th trip to India, Indonesia, Korea, and Japan. I want to be perfectly clear that I believe it is vital to the interests of the United States for our president to travel to these important locations to address a multitude of pressing issues…BUT.

Let me draw your attention to a very informative series of articles in today’s USA Today discussing the details of this trip. Additionally, I have read a series of articles on the internet from sources around the world that provide details relative to the cost of this trip that I find most disturbing, and alarming.

Per the three days in India, where President Obama will be visiting Mumbai and New Delhi, will cost a whopping $200 million per day, or in the neighborhood of $600 million taxpayer dollars. This covers some 3,000 people who will accompany the President. God only knows what the total bill will be for the full eight day journey. The travel to Indonesia, Korea and Japan will represent additional expenses.

According to the trip will include 40 aircraft, and six armored automobiles per leaks to Indian newspapers. The entourage will be the biggest ever in terms of logistics and manpower for any US President.

According to India Today, a huge delegation of American officials and CEO’s of large American corporations will be traveling to India at the same time. Obama will of course travel on Air Force One with his wife and two children.

Your Commander raises the question, “Do you believe it is appropriate for our president to spend roughly $600 million precious American taxpayer dollars on a three day trip to India when our treasury is empty and millions of American’s are without jobs during this economic recession?”

No one is questioning the advisability of the trip, but I certainly believe the number of participants and the scope of this journey is arrogant, inadvisable, and totally unnecessary to accomplish the diplomatic goals for our country.

Arrogance rules this president’s administration, and someone or something must get that point across to him and his handlers. This country is hurting economically and this brazen display of excess is just what has caused our country to be looked upon by our friends and enemies around the world as UGLY AMERICANS.

I find this display of arrogance to be beyond the pale, and the use of the word CHUTZPAH to be most appropriate.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Well the election is finally over and the political pundits have been busy dissecting the final results. Already New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd has dipped her poison pen into her ink well to set us all straight with her narrow liberal focus:

We have just experienced one of the worst examples of electioneering in my memory and I hope have learned a lesson that negativity and half-truths accomplish little in solving our real long-term problems. The one thing that this election has accomplished is that The People voted their current personal experience, not just a party view.

The People’s concerns are now resoundingly known to all of Washington. The direction our legislation took over the last 20 months is not acceptable. The electorate has clearly made the point that a majority of Americans do not like what is being accomplished in Congress or The White House.

Now is the time for every one of us to take a deep breath and rationally determine in a civil way just where we can reach some common ground to move this country toward solving important problems and achieve important goals. Clearly, the nation wants government to move to the center and the voters have stated they reject the aggressive liberal agenda of President Obama.

On the other hand, although Republicans have taken control of the House of Representatives, the far right of that party should not go off half-cocked thinking they have a free-pass to turn the Washington world upside down.

The American people need jobs; 9.6% unemployment is in every way unacceptable. We must get our economic house in order. It may sound simple, but cannot be accomplished if disruptive political posturing prevails. Most recently the Republicans held the Presidency, Senate and House for six years (2000-2006) and many say performed poorly with a majority.

It is my hope that Republicans will learn from their recent history about how to compromise (in other words always NO cannot, and should not, work), legislate while listening to the people, and deliver the kind of legislation that the majority of the people want. They will be tossed out of office in two short years as quickly as they gained a one house majority.

It is also time for the Democrats to get realistic and let’s have both parties be sincere in reaching across the aisle so Congress can meet the needs of the American electorate with sane compromises.

This is a propitious time for each member of Congress to read Thomas Paine’s famous 1776 political pamphlet Common Sense. The need for objective and honest governance is essential, top to bottom.

A healthy dose of civility in government will serve all of us well.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010


During this mid-term election campaign there have been charges and counter-charges flying from both parties. Frankly, your Commander has had a difficult time determining just what the position of each candidate was on the issues that concern me. Some were running away from their party, while others resorted to smear rhetoric.

Here is one that caught my eye yesterday and it brought a smile to my face, which is something that has been missing from this election cycle.


Obama said, “Some people in DC talk about me like a dog…”

Former actor and Senator from Tennessee (R) Fred Thompson commented: “Maybe it’s because he keeps treating this country like a fire hydrant.”

I pray that you took the time to get to the polls and cast your precious vote for the candidates of your choice. America and our way of life depend upon your participation in the electoral process.