Thursday, October 28, 2010

DOUBLE STANDARD

Reading my copy of today’s USA Today I ran across a very appropriate Letter to the Editor, which I want to share with you. You will likely agree with the point and recognize this as a perfect example of the double standards currently floating around our country.

“JUAN WILLIAMS’ FIRING REVEALS DOUBLE STANDARD

My first thought in hearing about the firing of Juan Williams by NPR was how out of whack our country is right now (“Williams’ firing from NPR restarts Muslim debate,” News, Friday).

One man speaks about Muslims and gets fired; another man says about his own grandmother: “She is a typical white person, who, if she sees somebody on the street that she doesn’t know, well there’s a reaction that’s in our experiences that won’t go away and can sometimes come out in the wrong way.”

A typical white person? And we made the man who said it president. Go figure.

Mel Mitchell
Lehigh Acres, Fla.”

What your Commander finds interesting is the fact that we failed to see this factual comparison anywhere in the main-stream media coverage of the Williams debacle. And some people have the gall to say that the media is not biased just makes me shake my head. Obviously what is good for the goose is not good for the gander.

COMMANDER GRANGER

YOUR COMMANDER WAS ONE-UPPED

If you are a frequent reader of your Commander’s commentaries you will remember that from time to time I have made reference to my work "beta-testing my La-Z-Boy chair." Enjoying my chair is one of the great joys I have found during my 12 wonderfully rewarding years of retirement. Obviously when I have said this, I have done so with tongue in cheek, never thinking that someone really had a job like that.

Recently one of my very best friends sent me a fabulously funny newspaper clipping that surely one-ups your Commander.

Reported by the Universal Press Syndicate:

“A June (1995) Toledo Blade story reported on the work of Mike Pixley, who tests La-Z-Boy chairs at the company plant in Monroe, Mich. Pixley rocks back and forth 2,800 times a day, earning $6 per hour. Supervisor Judy Fay praised Pixley as “self-motivated” and a man who “sets (his) own personal goals.”

Obviously, Pixley is one hell of a lot smarter than your Commander, because he has found some damn fool who let's him relax and get paid for it at the same time. Hey Mike, you are one smart character!

COMMANDER GRANGER

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

WHAT IS YOUR PLAN TO CREATE JOBS?

Have you noticed that the lack of jobs across America is the top issue in virtually every single politician’s campaign commercial? In addition, both Democrat and Republican candidates claim they will create jobs if elected to office, but not one single politician is telling us just how they intend to do that.

In a recent commentary about the vanishing middle class, I referred to an article by DailyFinance.com’s Bruce Watson in which he wrote that between 2001 and 2009 a total of 42,400 factories had been closed in America. Just consider the thousands of individuals who lost their jobs, and then multiply that by the number of people within each family. The closure of all those factories is devastating and the consequences will be felt for years to come. Lost wages, lost tax base and reduction in the Gross National Product are all resulting consequences.

In the meantime, not one single politician has isolated the true causes of the closures and job losses. Democrats blame ex-President George Bush, but the answer is far more complicated, and the solutions are significantly more complex. I suspect that both Republicans and Democrats are both responsible for the loss of jobs and factories.

How we are going to replace all those jobs and bring vital manufacturing back to the USA must be addressed sooner rather than later. It is time for someone to step forward with a sound plan to create jobs and open factories, and bring necessary revenue into the pockets of workers while increasing the tax base of counties across the country.

The answer is not growing Big Government employment and continuing to hand out unemployment welfare from an already burdened treasury. Who has a sound business action plan? So far we are only hearing our politician’s unsupported claims. The old Texas expression “BIG HAT NO CATTLE” comes to mind.

Do our politicians really want to solve this dilemma or do they just want the populous indebted to them for monthly Big Government handouts. The people want jobs, and they want them now.

Most of our office holders and their opposition have never owned a business or met a payroll! Tell Mr./Ms. Politician, just what, exactly, IS your plan to create jobs?

COMMANDER GRANGER

LOCK HIM UP,

And Throw Away the Key

Recently I have written about my personal scorn for coddling celebrities, and now we have another disgusting incident with legendary bad-boy Charlie Sheen at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. Take a look at the attached article from TVWeek.com.

http://www.tvweek.com/blogs/tvbizwire/2010/10/report-charlie-sheen-had-alleg.php

Recognizing that my conclusions are frequently ultra-conservative, I do believe that the entertainment industry owes its money-tree public some action that indicates it still has one shred of integrity left in its business model. Sheen’s movies and his current long running hit television program, “Two and A Half Men” generates massive ratings and mega-income for CBS-TV and Sheen, but the guy is a spoiled, crude, drunken, drug soaked bum.

Tragically, it seems we cannot depend upon the Colorado, California or New York courts to take appropriate action, because they keep giving this creep a pass time and time again. Clearly Sheen is a danger to his children, and society in general. CBS should stand up and take Sheen off the program or close the sit-com down completely in the interest of establishing some degree of moral and ethical standards. To do anything less indicates just where CBS’s motives rest.

Personally, your Commander believes that while Sheen is obviously a very disturbed human being, he has repeatedly been given a very generous pass. It is now time to place him in the slammer along with all the other dysfunctional celebrity jail birds. It is time for someone or something to scare the hell out of this pampered, over-paid horses’ ass. This case is beyond a health issue, because it is now time for him to pay his dues to a society that has made him wealthy.

COMMANDER GRANGER

RANGEL WITHOUT LAWYER,

Ethics Trial Date Uncertain

As the days quickly pass toward the mid-term November 2nd election there are many other significant activities taking place in Washington. Let me draw your attention to a very interesting article from the pages of the Washington Post concerning Representative Charles Rangel’s (D-NY) November 15th House Ethics Trial.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/26/AR2010102604260.html?wpisrc=nl_pmpolitics

I do not know about you, but when I read this article I immediately became suspicious that some kind of backroom deal is taking place that will result in good old boy Charlie getting a gentle slap on the hand for his appalling numerous lapses in judgment, unethical behavior, and criminal acts. Time and time again we have seen the politicians protect their own, and if that is the case here, it is just one more example why the public holds our members of Congress in such low regard.

Your Commander suggests that you not hold your breath for Charlie to receive the decision from the House Ethics Committee that he deserves. The really sad part of this ongoing saga is that Charlie’s constituents keep re-electing this crook to feed at the public trough.

COMMANDER GRANGER

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

RIGHT WINS OVER WRONG!

Your Commander was pleasantly surprised to read that the prestigious Harvard Club in New York City rejected the membership application of CNN host Eliot Spitzer. It was reported on Daily Finance.com that the disgraced former New York Governor, former New York State Attorney General, and graduate of Harvard Law School had applied for membership to the 123 year old mid-town Manhattan club, and his membership was denied.

The Harvard Club rarely turns down qualified applicants, but apparently Spitzer’s resignation as Governor due to his involvement in a federal investigation that identified him as a frequent client of a prostitution ring. In addition to Spitzer’s rejection by the Harvard Club, his new CNN television program called Parker Spitzer has debuted to extremely poor ratings.

It is your Commander’s opinion that the Devil is getting his due, and it is long over due. What do you think?

Spitzer’s misbehavior has been protected for far too long by his father’s vast fortune, and CNN, in its desperation to achieve ratings, was wrong to hire him. Spitzer should be in jail for his failure to perform his official duties as an elected official, and in my opinion should be shunned by one and all.

Finally, some entity has stepped forward and taken a stand that indicates that bad behavior deserves negative consequences. Congratulations, Harvard Club! Maybe this will start a long overdue trend that calls for accountability for celebrities and other notables, not to mention all of us. Let’s hope this type of rejection becomes standard operating procedure across the country.
Accountability makes our daily lives much more enjoyable and just.

COMMANDER GRANGER

JUAN WILLIAMS - A "PC" VICTIM

It might surprise you to know that I support Juan Williams, who I only occasionally agree with when he voices his opinions relative to the political arena. We come from the opposite ends of the political spectrum, but I will defend to my dying day his right to his opinions and his right to voice them.

It is clear to everyone who has viewed recent television news programs just what Williams said, and what he did not say. As a matter of fact, I happen to agree with Williams’ statement that he becomes nervous when he sees individuals in Muslim dress boarding an airplane. That in itself does not make Williams or me a bigot, just honest. However, it was deemed by National Public Radio (NPR) that his remark did not meet their "politically correct" standards.

NPR had the right to fire Williams if it was believed that he broke their published rules, but I do not think they were honest in their announced justification for termination. Let’s be honest, NPR fired Williams because he continued to voice his personal opinion on a competing television program which NPR does not endorse that has a huge audience. His contract with NPR allowed him to also work for other media outlets.

Williams deserved to have a face to face meeting with his boss at NPR and the opportunity to defend his position. However, NPR chose to fire him on the phone. The end result of this fiasco is that Williams has been hired (brilliant move by Fox News) at a substantial salary, and the publicity of this incident will no doubt increase his popularity. Fox comes out ahead by introducing another divergent voice to its already popular programming line-up.

NPR has opened a can of worms, and the ultra-right feels justified in questioning the federal funding to promote a liberal agenda that includes Public Broadcasting (PBS). NPR management’s narrow liberal focus failed to consider the consequences of their shoot from the hip action. Let the debate foment through the Halls of Congress at a time when everyone wants to cut expenses.

Both PBS and NPR have failed to consider the fact that with the passage of time their method of operation has evolved from a totally non-commercial operation to today where they constantly beg for contributions from their audience, secure re-transmission revenue from their local cable companies, and then also air a limited number of commercials. Thus, what was originally justified in the non-commercial format is no longer appropriate for Congressional financial support. Why should they continue to feed at the taxpayer’s feed bag?

In the end Fox wins, Williams wins, and NPR looks petty resulting in their loss of William’s valued liberal voice. All this is taking place in the name of political correctness that has run amok inhibiting an individual’s protected right by the Constitution’s 1st Amendment. What in the hell is this world and country coming to?

COMMANDER GRANGER

Monday, October 25, 2010

BOOK REVIEW - OBAMA'S WARS

It took some time to complete reading Bob Woodward’s New York Times best-selling book, OBAMA’S WARS, but it was worth it. Getting to the point of this review, I recommend that you read it, because it addresses one of the most important matters of this decade, namely, the War in Afghanistan.

This is not a book to casually read. It is not written like an action/adventure story. Complex, vital issues are reviewed. One must pay attention to each paragraph, because a constantly shifting set of complex characters float in and out of the inner-circle of the White House and the Oval Office.

Disturbing to me is the in-fighting for power and influence upon the President between civilian advisors and military personnel who serve within the White House and at the Pentagon. Then there is the close insider group comprised of Rahm Emanuel (very recently serving as Chief of Staff – now Democratic candidate for Mayor of Chicago), David Axelrod (Senior Advisor), and Robert Gibbs (Press Secretary) who along with President Obama have absolutely no experience in the US military (Emanuel did serve one year in the Israeli Army), but exert massive amounts of influence as to how the Afghanistan War should be conducted.

Shocking to me is the fact that nowhere in this book did I see reference to how the President has looked at the War with the intent to WIN. Repeatedly Obama refers to the political consequences of his actions in the Middle East, and his overwhelming desire to bring the troops out of the area by a date he has created. Tragically I conclude that today our brave fighting men and women are just cannon fodder to a bunch of egocentric politicians.

As I read the book, I was stunned by the endless number of meetings that took place and failed to result in conclusive decisions and action, i.e., it took over one year to reach a decision on the battle plan and Commanding General David Petraeus was excluded from some important meetings. Also, shocking was the fact that leaks of vital secret information appeared to be casual affairs with no action taken to stop the problem.

One could easily wonder if the entire book isn’t an inside job providing the President with cover for the War and his announced withdrawal in July, 2011, victory or not. Woodward appears to have had casual open and free access to inside information that in my opinion is not in the country’s best interest, but could be looked upon as in the best political interests of a president under massive amounts of pressure from an electorate that is becoming increasingly frustrated with the Afghanistan adventure. Troubling to me is Obama’s command during the decision making progress, “I cannot lose the Democrat Party.” Thus military decisions have been influenced only by political considerations, placing American military lives in jeopardy.

The October 22nd New York Times has an Editorial titled “Afghanistan Today” which seems to support and yet question the Obama action plan. The editorial could also be suspect as a promotion for Woodward’s book. Someday we will find the answer, but there is obviously a very close relationship between the New York Times, and the Obama Administration’s interests.

In the end I suspect the military will be hung out to dry by Obama. He does not trust them. And, as the book indicates, he had preconceived notions about our country’s place in global affairs.

For no other reason you should read the book to see through first-hand eyes just how dysfunctional the White House inner-sanctum really is today. What it really needs is a good house cleaning, and a sound analysis by consultants such as Bain & Company or McKinsey who know how to develop efficient operations. Politicians are inefficient, ineffective, and obviously operate for the best interest of themselves, and not the electorate.

COMMANDER GRANGER

NEGATIVE POLITICAL COMMERCIALS

Despite the fact that pundits report negative political commercials are effective, the public says they hate them. Yet recent history shows that negative campaigns work. As a result, currently the airwaves and print attack ads flood the consciousness of the American voter.

Personally, I am offended because the political operatives think I am dumb enough to fall victim to their phony manipulation. Lies and distortions are just that, and most campaign ads fail to tell me why I should vote for any candidate.

My local newspaper recently ran a poll of its readers, and the results prove my point. Overwhelmingly the readers voted political advertising was too negative by 93% compared with only 7% who felt it was not.

In just eight days (or the nine in some cases) we will know the outcome of the races around the country. Political scientists may have a difficult time concluding the results, because both Democrat and Republican candidates have gone negative in this campaign. I am afraid some who tell the biggest lies might win the golden ring.

It makes me ill that negativity rules the day. We are losing something in seeking the civil discourse we are entitled to in the political process. Could this, just maybe, be one more indication that the demise of the democratic process is beginning? I shudder at the thought.

COMMANDER GRANGER

Sunday, October 24, 2010

GIVE ME A BREAK, GERALDO

As you may have guessed, I frequently view Fox News programs, but with a very critical eye. Last week I was struck by a comment rendered by that blow-hard, egotistical Geraldo Rivera reporting from Afghanistan. In my opinion he is a journalist who loves to sensationalize any story he reports for TV, especially if it is in a foreign land where petulance and violence exists.

Now to the comment he made that I took exception with, “This is my 9th DEPLOYMENT to Afghanistan, if I can call it that.” It is your Commander’s personal opinion that any journalist is on a paid assignment, and he or she has the right and ability to accept or refuse said assignment.

In fact, when the Iraq War began in March, 2003, my son was there as an imbedded reporter for NBC. He and/or his photographer could have refused the assignment. They lived under the exact conditions the Marine unit they accompanied for weeks and received absolutely no special treatment. Stop for the night, take care of your tent, equipment, etc., yourself and they did. He has never, ever used the term “deployment” in regard to that assignment. The military personnel on DEPLOYMENT are doing so as part of our volunteer Armed Forces, and only in the rarest of cases do not have the option to accept or refuse an assignment to locations in harm's way.

Geraldo is handsomely paid, chaperoned with a personal staff (producer, camera, sound personnel at least) when he arrives at locations such as Iraq or Afghanistan, and it is unlikely he does not dig his own trench for his tent. He has “people” there. His visits are for a very short duration with living conditions far superior to the average GI Joe.

As a proud Armed Services veteran who served overseas in the Korean War, I resent this clown using the term DEPLOYMENT, which in my opinion should be reserved ONLY for our brave service personnel.

Geraldo’s biggest claim to fame was a highly promoted years ago hosting a sham program that opened what turned out to be the empty safe of legendary gangster Al Capone. Oh, and on his talk show some years ago when he was hit by a chair thrown by a Neo-Nazi.
Keep blowing your own horn Geraldo, but please understand many viewers know you for what you really are…A CLASS “A” JERK…or as your equally egotistical Fox pal, Bill O’Reilly, might say a “pinhead.”

COMMANDER GRANGER

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

THE TIME HAS INDEED COME! - But Check the Facts First

Recently I have received several emails containing the same suggestion that the time has come to pass the 28th Amendment to our Constitution. While I totally agree with the intent, the facts supporting the recommendation are totally erroneous. We all have been warned to check the facts in the flood of emails that we all receive, but many communications are based upon biased opinions and not factual supportive details.

Be that as it may, I have noted that a growing number of my fellow citizens are expressing their concerns about our representatives in the Halls of Congress, and to a lesser degree in President Obama. For a long period of time we have all been complacent as legislation is passed by Congress. It is of special concern that Congress has passed legislation that places them in special elite circumstances.

The emails that I received addressing this issue said that members of Congress can retire after one term. This same email says that Congress members are exempt from the fear of prosecution for sexual harassment. Both statements are totally incorrect based upon FactCheck.Com.

Addressing the core point of these emails is one that your Commander suspects Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, and Independents would all support for a Constitutional Convention if the electorate voiced their strong support.

“CONGRESS SHALLL MAKE NO LAW THAT APPLIES TO THE CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES THAT DOES NOT APPLY EQUALLY TO THE SENATORS AND/OR REPRESENTATIVES; AND CONGRESS SHALL MAKE NO LAW THAT APPLIES TO THE SENATORS AND/OR REPRESENTATIVES DOES NOT APPLY EQUALLY TO THE CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES.”

If such action was to succeed it would be as the 28th Amendment to our Constitution. This proposal I endorse, and hope will be supported by a future Congress on a bipartisan basis. This will not be an easy piece of legislation to move forward to a successful conclusion, but the objective is just.
The only possible way that we as citizens of the United States of America are going to get control back from our elected officials is to demand their support to eliminate their elite status. Please join me in calling for an equal place at the table for all American citizens, and clearly state your intention to clean house in Washington. Remember your vote placed them in Washington, and your vote can take them out of office.

COMMANDER GRANGER

THE VANISHING AMERICAN MIDDLE CLASS

In my daily scanning of the internet I ran across a most interesting, and yet disturbing article at dailyfinance.com. I believe you will be as shocked as I was when you read the Bruce Watson article at the following link:

http://www.dailyfinance.com/story/disturbing-statistics-on-the-decline-of-americas-middle-class/19676292/?icid=main%7Chtmlws-main-w%7Cdl1%7Csec3_lnk1%7C178446

After reading the article one is surely concerned about the future economic vitality of our country. It is most troubling to suspect that the middle class is vanishing before our eyes, and it is apparent that manufacturing jobs will not be coming back within our life time.

Disturbing too is the fact that while our political leadership keeps pushing its great concern and desires to serve the middle class, it is the welfare class citizens who are growing substantially in numbers and are the segment that is causing the greatest drain on our economy with the unsustainable entitlement obligations. We hear the politicians talking about jobs, but I have not heard anyone talking about replacing manufacturing jobs.

Initially I wondered why the economically disadvantaged and the wealthy did not complain about being ignored by the politician’s constant reference and preference for the middle class. Upon reflection, the poor cannot complain, because they are obligated to vote for the politicians that feed them entitlement checks, and the wealthy have so much money they just want to keep out of the sight of the public’s scorn. With the middle class vanishing, where will the selfish politicians turn next to feed their financial war chests? This equation equals economic chaos, and massive disruption down a shortening road’s time span.

One must wonder when some politician will have the guts and vision to stand up and tell America just how and when we will address our escalating national debt obligations. Someone must take a cut when it comes to entitlements, but I suspect that the politicians will continue to try and drain every possible dollar in tax revenue from the small segment of the population that has any remaining wealth. After they are tapped out they will continue down the food chain, and drain the few remaining dollars of the middle class to feed the growing poorest segment which is the increasing entitlement obligated crowd.

An increasing number of votes are in the ballooning lowest economic part of our population, and their desires can control the election process. I do not know about you, but that scares the hell out of me, because it spells ultimate bankruptcy and the demise of our society as we have known it. Problems of this nature lead me to desire term limits, which would eliminate professional politicians. Big government has clearly become far too big and costly for our long-term economic interests.

We desperately require unique politicians such as Chris Christie, the new Governor of New Jersey who tells it like it is and takes the necessary action to address and solve his State’s economic calamity.

COMMANDER GRANGER

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

LOONS ARE THERE AND IN THE RACE

I believe both the electorate and the main-stream media are sick and tired of this torturously long Mid-term campaign. In all my 79 years I cannot remember such a plethora of negative, inaccurate campaign commercials blasting during every single local commercial break on TV and cable. Few, if any, commercial messages contain real information that I can logically utilize in rendering a sound voting decision. Everyone is claiming that only they can or will change governance in Washington, the State Capitol, or local offices when any fool knows each candidate represents only one vote once in office.

Let me draw to your attention the column written by Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, who is legendary for his Democratic liberal views. Please take a few minutes to read the column that appeared in my local edition of the South Bend Tribune.

http://www.southbendtribune.com/article/20101019/Opinion/101019341/1065/Opinion&Template=printart

I am going to totally shock my good Democrat and liberal friends, and surprisingly I have several, because I totally agree with the sentiments expressed by Robinson’s column. The only problem with the piece is that he is apparently suffering from a very myopic point of view. Come on, Eugene, how about looking into your Liberal Democrat mirror, because the Republicans do not have a monopoly on looney candidates for the November 2010 election.

Without listing the numerous loons currently serving and/or running, what about the Senate candidate in Connecticut, Democrat Richard Blumenthal, who claimed numerous times that he served IN Viet Nam when it has been proven to be a bald face lie; he never left the USA. Should anyone trust this type of individual to serve in the U.S. Senate?

In fairness, I also question the qualifications of Republican Senate candidate in Connecticut, Linda McMahon, who is the wealthy former wrestling executive.

Are these two the very best the entire State of Connecticut could find to run for a very important office? At least McMahon met a payroll, while Blumenthal has repeatedly lied, and fed at the public trough as a professional political.

The point I am attempting to make is that we, the voters, are at fault for permitting our political parties to nominate questionable candidates with little intervention from the electorate. Yes, there are primary races, but typically the candidate endorsed by the Republican or Democrat party is the winner.

We basically take the party endorsed candidate, elect him/her to hold an elite position which will impact our daily lives for years to come and the affect the future of our country. Honestly we have nobody to blame but ourselves for permitting this situation to flourish and metastasize.

Is there anyone who will run with one shred of intelligence and has simply the long-term best interests of fellow citizens at heart?

I share Robinson’s concerns about loons in the Halls of Congress, and we have the opportunity to vote all the current loons out of both the Senate and House making room for seats filled with fresh ideas and ideals. But, what I predict is seats replaced with younger fresh-faced loons due to voter apathy. Isn’t that pathetic?

Your Commander would be interested to learn Robinson’s opinion about the influence the hordes of money have that flows into the various campaign war chests. Do you suppose for one minute that is the reason the rich do not complain about paying higher levels of income tax, because their money can buy anything including influence? Think about it.

COMMANDER GRANGER

THE ELECTION IS ON THE HORIZON

It doesn’t take a scholar to know that the election is on the horizon, because the politicians are paving the potholes, and throwing earmark money around like drunken sailors. With only two weeks before the November 2010 election, the politicians are almost frantic to impress the voters with proclamations that they and they alone can solve all the problems of the world. Hopefully you will look closely at each candidate and evaluate just who is the best qualified person for each elected position. Obviously the current batch of politicians is not getting the job done to our satisfaction.

With the economy the big issue, the War on Terror has taken a back-seat in the voters’ attention spans, and don’t you find it most interesting that education is being utilized as a diversion by the Administration. Let me draw your attention to an interesting article on Time.com by using the link below:

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2022407,00.html

All of a sudden President Obama announces a $41 billion educational initiative. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s big donation to Newark, New Jersey schools is most generous, but comes at a rather suspect time. Your Commander continues to be concerned that we persist in throwing vast sums of money at improving education, but little actual improvement occurs. Why not have a Blue Ribbon Commission formed that is instructed to draw up a plan that establishes best-practices that have achieved actual positive results?

Why are students in charter schools, private schools, and catholic schools achieving significantly better educational experiences than our public schools? I believe it is due to an issue that I have been preaching against for several years, and that is restrictive Union contracts and teacher tenure. Your Commander is buoyed to see strong indications for improvements are on the horizon from the likes of New Jersey Governor Chris Christy who tells it like it is and has achieved the support of his fellow New Jersey constituents.

Until we get honest with ourselves and place some responsibility within the homes of the students and demand accountability from the teaching professionals, American students will continue to fall behind the rest of the world. If Finland can deliver the best students in the world certainly the United States of America can do as well. It is past the time that we must and should awaken to this urgent failure of our educational institutions. The failure to properly educate our children will generate a price we cannot afford to ultimately pay. Failures are not acceptable, but let’s establish a proven course of action before throwing additional endless amounts of money at a failed system.

Do you even know who is on your local school board? Our educational system has failed, because politicians have been using education to buy votes disregarding accountability and achievement. Money does not buy happiness and it does not buy automatic results either.

COMMANDER GRANGER

Monday, October 18, 2010

REVIEW: OBAMA'S WARS, PART ONE

Let me be perfectly clear (to use a favorite political expression) that this will be my initial reaction to the best-selling Bob Woodward book –OBAMA’S WARS. I am not yet finished with the book, but about one-half way through the fascinating 380 pages.

To say that this is an important book is a huge understatement. Woodward is to be saluted for his outstanding research and extensive interviews that put him in a position to provide readers with a behind-the-scenes peak at the inner-workings of the White House. I am finding some very troubling scenarios developing, but in fairness I should complete the read before drawing firm conclusions.

As this vitally important election rushes forward I believe this is a book that every voter should read, because the revelations contained could just impact your vote. For instance, the implications of our involvement in the Middle East are multi-facetted and will continue to impact our country for decades.

Let me warn you that this is not a book that one can read while watching your favorite television programs out of the corner your eye. You have to concentrate when reading this book.

I will report to you shortly with my final observations and comments.

COMMANDER GRANGER

Sunday, October 17, 2010

NOT JEALOUSY - JUST PROPRIETY

If you haven’t already noticed, our country is exhibiting a shocking love affair with celebrities, some worthy, but in many cases the individuals are totally dysfunctional human beings. This commentary addresses two very different concerns.

First is the excessive compensation being awarded in the entertainment industry. As an example it was reported this last week at TV Week.com that “Two and a Half Men” cast member Angus T. Jones, who plays Jake, will collect $300,000 per episode for the next two seasons. With a 26 episode season that will bring this 17 year old actor at least $7.8 million next year, and that does not include the half-million dollar signing bonus he received. If the production company shoots 48 episodes over the two year term, Jones will be paid $14.4 million for his efforts. And this does not count the residual payments he receives from the reruns telecast on stations across the country.

Now I do not know Angus to be anything but a normal young actor, but the pay levels being granted to some Hollywood actors are becoming totally beyond the level of logical compensation. At least Angus has not been arrested to my knowledge. Yes, I know that some programs bring vast financial returns if they achieve rating success, but I believe many salary levels are getting out of hand.

The second point refers to propriety. While I recognize that I am a prudish conservative capitalist, the entertainment industry is tossing millions at some individuals who have a difficult time getting to the studio on time, because they lead such dysfunctional lives. Charlie Sheen, the star of Two and A Half Men, is a perfect example. He is over-compensated as well at a shocking $1.2 million per episode! Based upon his “bad boy” conduct, especially toward women, he should be in jail, but since he is a rich “HAVE,” he can afford high-priced attorneys to get him out of jams nearly scot-free with slaps on the wrist.

The likes of Paris Hilton and Lindsey Lohan should be serving time too, but they continue to get front page praise by a distorted, fawning press.

I am certain the Emily Post is turning over in her grave based upon today’s program content. The Wall Street Journal writer Steve Moore’s comment about government applies to this celebrity adulation when he wrote, “We reward vice and punish virtue.” Apparently crude behavior, bad taste, and excess are now in vogue.

I have no ax to grind against Angus, because if some dam-fool wanted to pay me more than $14 million over two years, I suppose I would take it, do what I'm told, and go quietly; but I believe we have a misplaced sense of just what is important in this crazy world. Maybe I am just becoming a complaining old curmudgeon. What happened to civility? You decide.

COMMANDER GRANGER

IT'S ONLY $18 MILLION

It was recently announced that thousands of stimulus payments were sent to deceased citizens and prisoners. Where was the uproar from the all-knowing, all-seeing national main stream media? I have seen some coverage in the Wall Street Journal, and the conservative website Townhall.com. Within the past few days I have even seen a story on one of my local television stations, but that is about all. Where is the uproar?

The Townhall.com article indicated that $18 million went to nearly 72,000 who were dead per a report from the Social Security Administration. In addition $4.3 million was distributed to 17,000 prison inmates. One statement from the Social Security Administration raised my blood pressure because it said, “Dead people were ineligible to get payments, but there is no provision in the law to recover payments incorrectly sent to dead people.”

Did those fools ever consider that if Congress read the provisions of the legislation they approved, someone might just have seen the error of their ways before millions were wasted or mis-spent? When will the insanity that prevails in Washington be brought to an abrupt end? Will somebody please tell our elected officials the definition of ACCOUNTABILITY?

The Social Security Administration should have actuaries who could predict, based upon historical data, almost exactly the number of recipients who die in any given month, and write legislation requiring return in case of death. Unfortunately our elected officials continue to spend recklessly, ignoring our massive fiscal obligations, because they will be out of office when their debts are repaid. House and Senate retirees will be long gone with their fat life-time pensions and perks when you and I have to pony up our personal funds to cover their irresponsible actions.

This blatant criminal disregard for good order reminds me of a famous quote from legendary President Ronald Reagan who said, “They say that government spends like drunken sailors, but that would be unfair to drunken sailors, because they spend their own money.”

COMMANDER GRANGER

Saturday, October 16, 2010

REVIEW: "PINHEADS AND PATRIOTS"

Your Commander just completed reading Bill O’Reilly’s latest best-selling book “Pinheads and Patriots” with the sub-title “Where You Stand in the Age of Obama.” That should tell you the tone of O’Reilly’s latest literary effort.

If you are a fan of Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor” program, you may have purchased a copy and read his in-your-face style of presenting his side of the story. If you are not a fan, you no doubt have not purchased the book or checked it out at your local library, no matter what I or anyone else may say about its contents.

Personally, I have lost interest in his program because I am getting tired of the constant confrontational shtick, but I must tell you that O’Reilly can write a good book with convincing conviction to his points of view. Most surprising to me was his repeated suggestion that the electorate may be presumptuous in not giving President Barack Obama sufficient time to solve the many problems facing the country. While O’Reilly frequently classifies Obama as a “pinhead,” I feel he gave Obama far too much wiggle room in the book at this time.

While I do not think O’Reilly is getting soft, I do suspect that he and many other conservative cable talk-show hosts are quite concerned that the Obama Administration may soon work toward silencing their voices by re-instituting the Federal Communications Commission’s Fairness Doctrine Rule (equal time by radio and TV for opposing views at no cost). Newspapers do not come under the rulings of the FCC and the internet is wide open to opinion. I think that action against electronic media would be inappropriate, but it would not surprise me for one minute given this Administration’s “take-no-prisoners” political atmosphere.

O’Reilly is to be saluted for his extremely generous support and personal financial contributions to our troops and other charities. Like him or not, he does promote good causes for his fellow man. O’Reilly may deserve to be classified as a “patriot,” but sometimes he acts like a “pinhead,” and can be his own worst enemy. I think the book is a fun read whether you like him or not.

COMMANDER GRANGER

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A FRACTURED WORLD PULLS TOGETHER

This is one of those events in one’s life that you remember forever, such as Pearl Harbor Day, the day President Kennedy was assassinated, the Moon landing, etc. Since August 5th, millions have been glued to their television sets watching the emotionally tense rescue efforts of the 33 Chilean miners who were trapped over 2,000 feet below the surface of the Earth for 69 days. Personally, I found this tragic accident to be most disturbing since I get claustrophobic anxiety attacks.

A sidebar to this unbelievable accident is the fact that good people around the world joined together to formulate and execute a successful effort to save the men, crossing political and geographical boundaries. The good will of mankind prevailed with an amazingly triumphant result. I cannot impart sufficient praise to the brave rescue personnel who volunteered to go down and join the trapped miners as the extraction plan was put into place. They are amazing heroes who deserve great respect and praise, especially the first individual down the shaft, Manuel Gonzales.

We will be hearing stories of this near catastrophe for years to come. I was particularly struck by two remarks by one survivor once above ground. Mario Sepulveda’s (the second man extracted) first words to his wife were “How’s the dog?” He also said, “I was with God and I was with the devil. They both fought for me. God won.” How profound!

Clearly God’s hand was joined with those who performed this magnificent rescue returning the 33 trapped miners to their families and the world. There is a great lesson here. The joint efforts of many countries, governments, companies, and individuals put aside personal grievances to work for a common achievement for the betterment of mankind. This is a superb example of what happens when we all just get along.

COMMANDER GRANGER

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

LOGIC VS POLITICAL VERBAGE

As the author of Frobertsworld I make every effort to prepare original material for your consideration and contemplation. Frequently in conducting research on various subjects I come across information that I want to share with you. That was the case when I was investigating the harshness of the current political campaign and located a most logical article in the October 1st Wall Street Journal.

Repeatedly I have praised the work of Peggy Noonan, and do so again when I urge you to read her piece, The Twister of 2010,” at the attached link:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704483004575524340160716872.html?mod=WSJ_hp_mostpop_read

What impresses me about Noonan’s writing is that she has the unique ability to analyze an issue without all the chest pounding and bravado. I hope you, like me, found your time reading this was well spent.

COMMANDER GRANGER

OVERWHELM THE SYSTEM

Your Commander wants to draw your attention to an interesting article written by Wayne Allyn Root who is an American politician, entrepreneur, television and radio personality, author and political commentator. He was the 2008 Libertarian Party Vice-Presidential nominee, and may become that party’s candidate for President in 2012.

Over the past several weeks I have received this email from individuals all over the country, so it has been widely read. I find the contents to be most interesting and alarming, because if it is true and if it occurs, the course of our country will be dramatically changed forever.

Take a few minutes and read Root’s theories at:

http://www.lvrj.com/opinion/obama-s-agenda--overwhelm-the-system-95716764.html

WOW! That is powerful stuff, and something to take seriously as we move forward with another important election. Think about it and draw your own conclusions.

COMMANDER GRANGER

500 IS ONLY THE BEGINNING

The first posting of FRobertsWorld commentaries started on April 5, 2008 with a piece titled “Sportsmanship Is Dead,” and since then a wide variety of subjects have been addressed. All too frequently politics and governance have drawn my interests and comments, but lately I have been making a determined effort to present a wider range of subjects with personal analysis.

My valued Editor brought the following quote from Founding Father John Quincy Adams to my attention this morning, and it is most appropriate to share with you at this particular time. An interesting aside is the fact that the quote was found inside the pages of the USA Today’s Sports section.

“AWAYS VOTE FOR PRINCIPLE, THOUGH YOU MAY VOTE ALONE, AND YOU MAY CHERISH THE SWEETEST REFLECTION THAT YOUR VOTE IS NEVER LOST”.

I can only hope that an increasing number of fellow American’s carry that thought into the voting booth on November 2, 2010, because with the quality and substance of those words our future can be assured.

COMMANDER GRANGER

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

BIRTHDAYS ARE GOOD

When you consider the alternative, any birthday is a very good thing, especially when you are pressing 80. That being the case I have just experienced a very rewarding day with the love and affection of a great wife, her family, two great children and three happy achieving grandchildren.

Aside from the normal maladies that confront one my age, all is well and I consider myself to have been most fortunate. I will always be saddened by the loss of our wonderful first grandchild Robert who suffered unimaginable health issues and died at age 24. Life sometimes is certainly not fair.

As part of my birthday I received a great card from my sister-in-law and her husband which I want to share with you.

"SENIOR BIRTHDAY PRAYER

God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into ones I do…and the eyesight to tell the difference."


One of the wonderful things about the blessing of old age is the striking difference in one’s perspective now compared to that of a na├»ve youth.
Life is good, so appreciate every day the good Lord grants you on this magnificent planet.

COMMANDER GRANGER

Monday, October 11, 2010

MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL?

As your Commander continued to beta-test the Lazy boy chair, I was under whelmed by the recent televised announcement by President Barack Obama that his trusted aide Rahm Emanuel was departing the White House with the blessing of his Commander in Chief. Of course I was not surprised by the announcement, because it has been rumored for some time that Emanuel had his eyes set on the Chicago Mayor’s office. Since the recent revelation that Mayor Richard M. Daley would not seek re-election, Rahm wasted no time in arranging to leave the White House.

Have you wondered if Emanuel had advance word from Chicago’s King Richard of his intensions? Daley’s decision did not just come out of the blue, but was based upon pure, well-considered political calculations that his re-election would be problematic at best. In addition Maggie Daley, his wife, has been battling breast cancer for several years.

Rahm’s return to the city has filled all the Chicago newspapers and television airwaves with extensive coverage of his plans to enter the Mayor’s race, but time is of the essence. Candidates must file to run by November 22, 2010, election will take place February 22, 2011. If no candidate receives 51% of the vote, a run off between the top two candidates will take place April 5, 2011. The new Mayor will be sworn in May 16, 2011.

The big question being asked is how Emanuel can be a qualified candidate, since clearly he has not been a resident of the City for the past year. Remember, this is Chicago, and certainly some Judge will find a way to get around the clearly stated law, but it will be a good example of just what everyone in Chicago should expect from an Emanuel Administration if he is elected.

His run for office will bring a crowded field of mayoral hopefuls coming from every single ethic segment of the City. Rahm’s reputation as a frequent user of four-letter words is already drawing critical comments from the sizeable Chicago Jewish community. This may be the very first real challenge to the old Democratic Machine. The huge Black and Latino communities want a piece of the pie, and they believe Obama has let them down.

Rahm is in for a big surprise. His return will not be a casual walk in Lincoln Park. He will have to pull out all his political back-room deals to pull this one out of the hat. Don’t count him in just yet, but certainly don’t count him out. His old Boss, the Commander in Chief, has plenty of PORK to throw around when it is time to count the votes. Remember more than one election has been stolen in Old Chicago, and why should honest elections suddenly become fashionable when the leopard is not known for changing his spots.

Believe me, many books will be written about this next Chicago Mayor’s election. The contents of those books will sound fictional, but the truth will ultimately be told. The story will not be pretty, and most likely it will be an ugly reality tome. At some point in time the full facts about Emanuel’s dealing with Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., jailed politically connected Tony Resko, and Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias will be revealed.

As the flame-throwing advisors continue to bail-out of the inner-circle of the White House wouldn’t you like to be a mouse in the corner of the second floor private quarters? I would place a bet that there is contention in the room these days, because the bloom is obviously off the Administration’s rose.

COMMANDER GRANGER

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

POLITICAL COMMERCIAL DISTORTION

Fortunately we have less than four weeks until the mid-term election, because I am about to the end of my wits with the political commercials currently flooding our airwaves. One must wonder just how dumb politicians think the electorate is when positions are constantly distorted with broad-brush negative advertising. Professional political specialists say that negative advertising works, if that is true it does not speak well for the intelligence of voters.

In the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana both the Democrat incumbent and his opponent, a local State Representative, are throwing distorted claims at each other, and the amount of money being spent is off the charts of sanity. The Congressional seat from this District must deliver an opportunity to make a fortune if you win, so they are spending millions of dollars to secure the office. I question the propriety of raising and spending excessive amounts of money to be a public servant. I’m getting, yes, older, but oh so much wiser...aren’t these actions suspicious to you, too?

History shows that politics can be a very dirty game, and I suspect that it is getting worse and not better. We cast aspersions on foreign governments where graft is open and flagrant. Our governments, from cities to the federal level, nearly daily deliver news of officials abrogating the contract with voters.

Politicians wonder why the electorate no longer trusts. They have no one to blame but themselves. Republicans and Democrats are both guilty of telling us one thing to get elected, and then once in office doing just the opposite. President Obama wonders why his poll numbers are down; just look into the mirror, remember the promises he made to get elected, and compare his actions after catching the golden ring. Promised transparency is no longer part of his administration’s vocabulary.

It is most difficult to trust any of our politicians, so come this election I am investigating each and everyone closely before I cast my ballot. Remember, we get just what we elect. We are all to blame for the quality of our elected officials currently serving in Washington. I have learned my lesson, but from now on I will never vote for anyone who does not look me straight in the face without a teleprompter, and answer my questions directly without evasion. Straight talk is essential to get my vote.

Remember to study all the candidates closely, including those running for your local School Board, judges, city offices, county offices and state offices. After that, cast your vote. If you fail to vote, keep your mouth shut as you place the yoke of tyranny around your neck.

COMMANDER GRANGER

Saturday, October 2, 2010

EVER CHANGING MEDIA LANDSCAPE

My interest in media dates back to my tour of duty with the United States Air Force in Korea in 1952-1953. At that time I volunteered with the Armed Forces Radio Network, and the K-9 Air Base weekly newspaper. From 1953 to 1956 I studied Media Sales as a student at the University of Illinois, and my first job was selling television advertising for a television station representative firm in Chicago in the fall of 1956 for $100.00 per week.

Initially I was a Sales Trainee, and departed the company some 29 years later as Chairman of the Board with almost weekly travel across the United States. That experience led to management positions with television stations in Miami, Mississippi, Alabama, Arizona, Minnesota, Illinois, and Indiana.

I retired in 1998 following a series of General Manager assignments at four television stations. During those forty plus years, I was lucky to have experienced what is now called the “Golden Age of Television,” and witnessed the advent of FM radio, color television, and the explosion of cable television with the delivery of television signals via both land lines and satellite.

During those years the influence of television and radio networks changed dramatically from dominance to survival mode, and during those years of scientific innovation the newspaper side of the business went through a similar evolution. The media business before cable television was idyllic with little or no competition.

With that in mind, I have been observing the slow erosion of my local newspaper, and I am saddened to see a once dominant beacon of print journalism slide slowly from a once proud broad sheet to a ghost of its former self. Newspapers have been particularly hard hit by the shifting habits of their core audience, and significant new competitive forces such as the internet, and electronic gadgets like cell phones, iphones and various music devices.

In my local community the newspaper has a USP (unique selling proposition), because there is only one newspaper in our town, but they own and operate several AM/FM radio stations, and three television stations: a CBS network affiliate, a 24/7 weather channel, and a fully independent TV station. In addition all of their properties have websites. With all that dominance compared to their market competition, the newspaper still struggles, and has recently cut the size of the paper.

Overtime the paper has cut staff, some cartoons, and several features, and the paper gets thinner each month. Some days I think there are more obituary notices than news stories. One thing I have noticed is an increase in little details falling through the cracks, and this is to be expected when fewer people are doing the jobs that were once done by many more helping hands.

Just this week I drew the attention of the Managing Editor to their website’s Question of the Day, which was still asking: “Would Notre Dame beat Stanford,” five days after the game was played. I also noted that only 575 people answered the question over a period of one week. That is extremely poor participation to the question, and it is not surprising because it’s out of date, and the question was not promoted by all the paper’s partners.

Where is the BRANDING across all their platforms within the community? Would the “QOD” not be of interest on their television stations each day, on all their radio stations, and on their websites? To permit the same question to linger on the website five days after the game was played is sloppy attention to detail, which put the newspaper’s website accuracy into question.

If anybody in the newspaper business should survive, this is one should given the support partners within the same community, but the individual managers of the various business interests have to get on the same page and work together to jointly promote all their entities. It is natural to have newspaper people not want to work with television people, and radio managers do not want to be subservient to all the others, but if they all want to prosper and grow they should bury the hatchets and work together as one team. It is time for this organization to ADAPT OR PERISH, and they can do it by effective BRANDING.

NBC, who I worked with extensively over the years, has been extremely successful in BRANDING all their various businesses to include their parent company General Electric. I feel they do it to excess, but it has worked for them and pulled them through some very lean ratings seasons lately. Just think about last week's "Education Nation" series that crossed all station platforms.

In the months and years ahead we will see more and more newspapers fade from existence. Television will be changing, too. As we continue to upgrade our homes with Hi-Def TVs, 3D video is beginning to make its mark (just how successful that will be remains to be seen). I predict the next big change we see is that one of the major networks will drop their affiliates, and then distribute its programs solely to cable. The amount of money it will save will be substantial.

I am fortunate to have been retired for the past twelve years, but I was most privileged to have been there in the “good old days.” Media will continue to evolve, but it is yet to be determined whether it will be for the better or not.
Who would have believed even ten years ago that the Chicago Tribune would go into bankruptcy nearly two years ago?

With the increases in the competitive landscape today all companies must become more nimble and scratch for every possible dollar. Retirement looks better and better every single time I study the business arena in today’s competitive landscape. I just hope our retirement money lasts as long as my wife and I need it to.

COMMANDER GRANGER

THE SECOND AMENDMENT

The entire subject of gun possession is a continuing hot topic, and one that is full of emotion and, unfortunately, frequently thin on facts. For the record, I am in favor of the 2nd Amendment, and I support our Constitutional right to gun ownership. BUT!

First, I believe it is essential for everyone to read exactly what the 2nd Amendment to the United States Constitution actually says, and you can easily do that by reading the attached link on Wikipedia;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Widi/Second_Admendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

This is a very long article, actually 42 pages, but you really only need to read a few of the initial pages to secure the full understanding of the Amendment.

Just consider the fact that our very existence is closely tied to the possession of guns by the individuals who participated in the revolution and our separation from British rule. As Thomas Jefferson said, “Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not.” John Adams said, “Those who trade liberty for security have neither.”

Here are some additional pro-gun sentiments. It has been said that free men do not ask permission to bear arms. An armed man is a citizen. An unarmed man is a subject. Only a government that is afraid of its citizens tries to control them. Gun control is not about guns; it’s about control. You only have the rights you are willing to fight for. Know guns, know peace, know safety. You don’t shoot to kill; you shoot to stay alive. Assault is a behavior, not a device. 64,999,987 firearm owners killed no one yesterday. The 2nd Amendment is in place in case the politicians ignore the others. What part of ‘shall not be infringed’ do you NOT understand?

On the other hand there is an obvious problem with guns in the hands of individuals who cause great harm to their fellow citizens of this country, especially in the large urban areas of our country. Conditions in the inner-city, such as Chicago and Los Angeles, have led individuals to call for strict gun controls, because hundreds of innocent individuals are being indiscriminately killed every day. Clearly there must be a compromise that would bring gun ownership under some 21st Century guidelines, but they will be meaningless without strong judicial support in the courts. Our society must get control of gangs and drug activity, which thrive on the illegal use of firearms.

Statistics clearly indicate that countries where open gun ownership exists, such as Switzerland, there is little or no criminal activity. Why is that a fact? I suggest that it is the judiciary. Criminals should know that should they use a gun illegally they will be dealt with harshly.

Your Commander has no problem with strict pre-registration requirements and gun permits, but that information should be strictly confidential. I feel this is a strong incentive to keep gun ownership a personal issue. Should a criminal enter my home illegally I do not want them to know if I own a gun or not. That is my right and it provides me with some degree of personal protection. Enter my home illegally and cause my family harm, you will stand a good chance to quickly find out if I own a gun.

Should I utilize a gun for any illegal purpose, I expect to be brought before the courts and receive an appropriate, harsh punishment. Criminals deserve to receive unsympathetic punishment for their evil activities, and citizens deserve the ability to protect their private property and family members under our Constitution.

When it comes to gun control, it is your Commander’s opinion that the wrong questions are being asked on this issue. Why are politicians not attacking gangs, drugs, and criminal activity, which are the foundation of illegal gun utilization. Stop the gangs, drugs and give harsh penalties to guilty parties and the killings will drop dramatically and immediately. Do you suspect for one minute that someone beyond the gangs and organized criminal elements are profiting from criminal activity? I sure do.

COMMANDER GRANGER