Sunday, January 30, 2011


Your Commander was born, raised and worked for over thirty years in Chicago, Illinois. I am totally embarrassed that my home state has become a national joke due to the long-standing political corruption and abuse that has driven it into near bankruptcy. Newspapers and airwaves are filled daily with stories of one incident after another dating back to the days of Al Capone.

Authors such as Carl Sandburg (“…City of big shoulders…And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it is true…) and Studs Turkel (“Chicago is not the most corrupt American city; it’s the most theatrically corrupt.”) wrote extensively about various elements that make Chicago, Chicago. Now the internet is filled with jokes making Chicago’s well known history even more embarrassing. Here is a typical one:

Three contractors are bidding to fix a broken fence at the White House.

One is from Chicago, another is from Tennessee, and the third is from Minnesota.

All three go with a White House official to examine the fence.

The Minnesota contractor takes out a tape measure and does some measuring, then works some figures with a pencil.

“Well,” he says, “I figure the job will run about $900 - $400 for materials, $400 for my crew and $100 profit for me.”

The Tennessee contractor also does some measuring and figuring, then says, “I can do this job for $700 - $300 for materials, $300 for my crew and $100 profit for me.”

The Chicago contractor doesn’t measure or figure, but leans over to the White House official and whispers, $2,700.”

The official, incredulous, says, “You didn’t even measure like the other guys! How did you come up with such a high figure?”

The Chicago contractor whispers back, “$1,000 for me, $1,000 for you, and we hire the guy from Tennessee to fix the fence.”

“Done!” replied the government official.

And that, my friends, is how the new stimulus plan works.

We now have a “Chicago” White House and the “Chicago way” jokes seem to be endless. And yet, the “Chicago way” seems to have been the White House rule for Mr. Obama’s first two years.

And you wonder why I am embarrassed about the reputation of my old home town?



When Ego Overtakes Good Sense

Right after the world was bombarded with a torrent of stories about the fact that Keith Olbermann had been removed from his pot-stirring program on MSNBC I immediately wrote a rather vitriolic commentary. Fortunately that item was not posted to my blog, because my reaction was long on personal emotional opinion and thin on facts.

It now appears that Olbermann had been meeting with MSNBC executives looking for an increase in his already excessive compensation, he was met with resistance, and ultimately Olbermann was told he was finished on the cable network. While Comcast, the new owners of NBC Universal, insist they had no “prior control,” I'm sure they were very happy to see Olbermann exit before they took over the company the following week.

In your Commander’s personal opinion Olbermann got just what he deserved…enough said on that matter.

Now there is a lot of press relative to the sudden announcement that Regis Philbin is departing “Live with Regis and Kelly” sometime this year following his record setting television appearance run. One of the entertainment industry gossip rags reported the other day that Philbin was approached by ABC Television executives suggesting that his salary be reduced in view of his program’s recent rating deficiencies and the fact that he takes a lot of time off. Philbin rejected that effort, fired his agent, and is pulling up stakes much to the surprise of his co-host, producers, and staff.

Philbin has had a long and successful run, and I think ABC was correct in pursuing lower salary negotiations. After all, the program is not called “Live with Regis (sometimes) and Kelly and Other Male Co-Hosts.” Philbin, like many other entertainers, over-estimated his importance and over-stayed his welcome. He will turn 80 this summer. It is time for him to depart into a secure and well financed retirement. However, I don’t think his attention seeking ego will permit that.

Just compare these two situations to that of the millions of hard working citizens who have been cast out of their life’s work with little or no financial security. Thus, I have no great concern about these two over-paid, egotistical individuals who thought they were “too big to fail.”

Who said life is fair? Some of us are just damn lucky, and some of us are extremely unfortunate, and then there are those who have absolutely nothing to complain about as they slide into obscurity with their bruised egos and fat bank accounts…if we viewers are lucky.


Friday, January 28, 2011


Normally I have a wonderful full night of sleep, but last night was an exception. Somewhere around 3AM I found myself wide awake and my mind started thinking about President Barack Obama’s recent State of The Union address. Something did not mesh when it came to his words and his actions.

During the speech Obama took a lot of time to stress America’s need to economize and address our growing national debt crisis, and then he talked about our need to spend substantial sums of money developing high-speed rail. Both of those parts of his speech drew applause from the assembled political practioniers.

Then, after all of Obama’s glowing words about America’s need to economize and win in the coming years, he jumped on Air Force One again and flew off to Green Bay, Wisconsin to give yet another speech to factory workers supposedly building “green” products.

Acknowledging that I am not a fan of Obama’s game, I ask the question, how did his call to economize vanish so quickly? Was the cost of that trip necessary the very day after his State of the Union address? Every time Obama jumps on Air Force One we are talking about the expenditure of hundreds of thousands of dollars, not to mention leaving a huge carbon footprint that he claims everyone else should largely reduce immediately. How about practing what he preaches?

Then I thought about the speech’s disconnect between Obama’s call for high-speed rail and the fact that our government has been pumping endless sums of money into Amtrak for years and we have nothing but red ink to show for the effort. Thus would Obama’s high-speed rail not represent more red-ink and negatively impact our economy? I see this plan benefiting his east and west coast liberal base on the backs of those of us who reside in fly-over country.

While our country hemorrhages millions daily, is it necessary for Obama to fly off to three South American countries this spring? What will that trip cost American taxpayers? I wonder what the cost/benefit analysis is on this announced trip.

As I continued to toss and turn, I also asked myself why our President doesn’t eliminate those thirty-some Czar’s, who are making huge salaries on the backs of hard working American taxpayers. Why can’t their jobs be performed by the Secretaries and staffs of the various Cabinet departments? Talk about Big Government waste!

Then my sleepless mind went on to wonder why the American public is not questioning of the size of First Lady Michelle Obama’s bloated support staff, which I understand numbers more than twenty well paid minions. Compared to previous administrations, Michelle has fawning handlers similar to the old days of Imperial Courts in Europe. Talk about aloof elitist arrogant waste!

Finally about 6AM I fell into a deep but troubled sleep, and did not waken until 9AM, which screwed up my entire day. Personally, I need to get better nights of sleep, but more importantly America needs to have leadership that does not consider themselves immune from the problems of fellow Americans. Our current President operates like an Emperor who functions and callously provides an obvious appearance that what is good for the people is totally different from what is appropriate for their leaders.

Words that floated through my mind last night were cunning, devious, elitist, aloof, privileged, imperial, and pre-programmed. Why do I not believe what our President tells us? In a democracy we should not be talked down to, but inspired by benevolent leadership. My president’s words do not match his actions.



With all the turmoil in the world today we all need a little humor to brighten the day. Why not take a few minutes and relax with the following humorous quotations that I received by e-mail from Texas:

“Sometimes, when I look at my children, I say to myself, ‘Lillian, you should have remained a virgin’.”

-Lillian Carter (Mother of Jimmy Carter)

“I had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalogue: - ‘No good in a bed, but fine against a wall’.”

-Eleanor Roosevelt

“Last week, I stated this woman was the ugliest woman I had ever seen, I have since been visited by her sister, and now wish to withdraw that statement.”

-Mark Twain

“The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending; and to have the two as close together as possible.”

-George Burns

“Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people only once a year.”

-Victor Borge

“Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.”

-Mark Twain

“By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you’ll become happy; if you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher.”


“I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury.”

-Groucho Marx

“My wife has a slight impediment in her speech. Every now and then she stops to breathe.”

-Jimmy Durante

“I have never hated a man enough to give him diamonds back.”

-Zsa Zsa Gabor

“Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups; alcohol, caffeine, sugar and fat.”

-Alex Levine

“My luck is so bad that if I bought a cemetery, people would stop dying.”

-Rodney Dangerfield

“Money can’t buy you happiness…But it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery.”

-Spike Milligan

“Until I was thirteen, I thought my name was SHUT UP.”

-Joe Namath

“I don’t feel old. I don’t feel anything until noon. Then it’s time for my nap.”

-Bob Hope

“I never drink water because of the disgusting things that fish do in it.”

-W.C. Fields

“We could certainly slow the aging process down if it had to work its way through Congress.”

-Will Rogers

“Don’t worry about avoiding temptation. As you grow older, it will avoid you.”

-Winston Churchill

“Maybe it’s true that life begins at fifty. But everything else starts to wear out, fall out, or spread out.”

-Phyllis Diller

“By the time a man is wise enough to watch his step, he’s too old to go anywhere.”

-Billy Crystal

“And the cardiologist’s diet; if it tastes good spit it out.”

-Author Unknown

Now doesn’t that make the day a little brighter?


Wednesday, January 26, 2011


That title should get your attention, but more importantly it is my desire that it will motivate you to read a very important article that appeared recently in the Wall Street Journal. There have been numerous occasions over the years when the subject of race and the economic condition of black citizens have been interjected into the political debate in both a positive and negative way.

As I have written on numerous occasions, I believe the writings of Walter Williams, the Economics Professor Emeritus of George Mason University, are significant. He has a reasoned and important voice in our country.

Jason L. Riley, a member of the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board, wrote a piece about Williams’s new book, Up from the Projects. Take a few minutes of your very valuable time to check out Riley’s article. In his book Williams writes, “The welfare state has done to black Americans what slavery couldn’t do…And that is to destroy the black family.”

Let me suggest that this material should receive wider distribution. It would be an invaluable contribution to widening the conversation toward reaching a solution to the growing problems within the black community. Those problems cause economic hardship to all segments of our country, and thus require our prompt collective attention.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I surprised myself! I completed reading Tom Clancy and Grant Blackwood’s Dead Or Alive in record time for a novel of its length. Surprisingly, it only took nine days to read all 950 pages of this action packed thriller; once I started it was difficult to put the heavy weight book down. All things considered I normally do not read an average of 100 pages per day, so that in itself is a good endorsement for this book.

As a matter of fact, last evening I found myself with 150 pages to go. I stayed up very late to find out just how the authors were going to bring this complicated multi-character adventure to a successful conclusion. Sometimes I thought the story became a bit heavy on minutia, but in the long-run it really did add to the depth of the characters and the entire reading journey.

As with most good action thrillers, the good guys won and the very evil terrorists were brought to a satisfactory conclusion – DEAD.


Monday, January 24, 2011


If you reside in one of the ten cities mentioned in the recent Newsweek article titled “America’s Dying Cities – Cities with Bleak Futures Ahead", you have probably seen reports in your local newspaper and/or television stations. That was certainly the case in Northern Indiana, because South Bend was listed as the #8 Dying City.

Your Commander took the time to read the entire article and frankly I was not surprised by the ten cities listed based upon the limited criteria. They are #1 thru #10 as follows:

1. New Orleans, LA
2. Vallejo, CA
3. Hialeah, FL
4. Rochester, NY
5. Cleveland, OH
6. Pittsburgh, PA
7. Detroit, MI
8. South Bend, IN
9. Flint, MI
10. Grand Rapids, MI

After reading the entire article, the thing that jumped off the page was the fact that the statistical findings were based solely on two factors: the decrease in the city’s total population and the decline in that population's residents under 18 from 2000-2009. Frankly, I believe that was a little thin on investigative journalism to draw the conclusions rendered.

The decline in population in New Orleans is obviously due to Katrina, and the loss of population in six of the other cities is primarily due to the economic collapse of the automobile industry and the inter-related manufacturing jobs. The article states that the South Bend economy never recovered from the closure of the Studebaker plant and associated businesses in the early 1960’s “plunging the area into a long and steep downturn that continues to today.” I think that fact is accurate. What is not noted is the growth of the other parts of South Bend's St. Joseph County, Indiana.

A glaring omission from Newsweek's inadequate piece of journalism was any mention of the political dominance of the Democrat Party machine in the preponderance of these ten cities. That and the influence of heavy union involvement in the work forces were factors that should have not been ignored or gone unconsidered by the authors, as well as the impact of the high levels of welfare in each of the listed cities.

Newsweek is a publication on the brink of extinction and in my opinion, although the general contention may be accurate for some of the cities, the core of their argument is thin at very best. No wonder the magazine is failing.


Friday, January 21, 2011


With each passing day I keep asking myself why aren’t we resolving our dependence on foreign oil resources when we have an abundant supply right here in the good old USA? I know I have written about this before but let me explain my further frustration.

Our country continues to suffer significantly with staggering high levels of unemployment. The number is now just under 10%, but in pockets of the country it is alarmingly above that level and within certain demographic segments it can be as high as 25%. Those levels bring unsustainable pressures upon local, state and federal governments to support the unemployed with financial and other assistance.

Why we have these levels of unemployment are numerous and not just caused by the expenditures for two wars, but globalization and increased productivity levels have contributed. China’s growing economy is not the sole cause as some claim.

There are predictions that shortly we will pay over $5.00 for a gallon of gasoline, which will increase food prices, dramatically raise air fares, etc. We have spent billions in support of alternative fuel projects such as corn based petroleum and it has proven to be a very poor alternative resulting in inflated costs for corn based food items and more expensive than oil to produce. It is clear that electric vehicles are coming, but their affordability is way down the road, in fact many years to come.

We are fighting foreign wars and the enemies of this country are being funded by the very countries from which we are paying inflated prices for their oil. I find this counter-productive and just plain foolish business. This action is insanity to say the least.

With vast oil resources within the boundaries of the USA, why don’t we immediately permit oil exploration and stop paying OPEC and countries that sponsor our enemies and kill our precious young soldiers on a daily basis? We can explore and produce our own oil safely along our coasts, in Alaska and within the continental confines such as Montana, North and South Dakota where vast resources exist. Our total economy cannot and should not be held hostage by environmental special interests, and anti-American governments.

If our government was to announce tomorrow that we are moving forward aggressively to develop our own oil production, we would send a signal to the forces of evil and our supposed friends in the Middle East that our dependency on their oil supply is over. While both Russia and China’s growing need for oil will off-set some of the lost business, our action will dramatically reduce their oil revenue quickly.

At the same time we must work hard to develop an acceptable alternative to oil as our primary energy resource, but until that time comes we must stop feeding our precious dollars to our real enemies. If we move aggressively we will create jobs here in America immediately. We will generate new tax revenues to assist our growing debt, immediately reduce unemployment, and most importantly we will send a signal to the Middle East and OPEC that their monopoly days have come to an end. Ultimately America has the ability to stop the out flow of our oil dollars.

Our government leadership seems to not see this as an obvious course of action. It is past time to permit special interests to dominate this issue which causes great economic damage to our country. We must act upon a simple, sound, logical course of action.

Don’t get me wrong, I am basically sympathetic to environmental issues, but some positions are unrealistic. I can accept the risk of an oil spill, the loss of some wildlife, and damage to some trees, etc. if we stop the loss of the precious lives of our brave American troops fighting in foreign lands who oppose our presence. America has the ability to be environmentally responsible and still produce our vital domestic oil resources in beneficial ways enhancing American economic interests at the same time.



If you missed the posting on AOL of the article by Peter Cohan titled “Boeing’s Dreamliner Delays: Outsourcing Goes Too Far” about the delays that have faced the much anticipated new plane, here is a link for your consideration:

I am certain this story will ultimately be a case study analyzed by students at the Harvard Business School and other institutions, because it is a perfect example of management making a major mistake of losing say in quality control and production costs as a direct result of outsourcing. This is a perfect example that cheaper production costs do no always lead to efficient product development. Outsourcing is not always the answer.

Just consider all the American jobs that have been lost on this one project and the impact the delay in Dreamliner deliveries have cost our economy and the company’s stockholders. Boeing’s management team should be embarrassed and humiliated. This product development blunder may just go down in business history as one as outrageous as Coke’s “New Coke” fiasco.


Thursday, January 20, 2011


A few days ago I was surprised to learn that the following appeared in the pages of the very liberal west coast Los Angeles Times by columnist Burt Prelutsky:

“Frankly, I don’t know what it is about California, but we seem to have a strange urge to elect really obnoxious women to high office. I’m not bragging, you understand, but no other state, including Maine, even comes close. When it comes to sending left-wing dingbats to Washington, we’re number one. There’s no getting around the fact that the last time anyone saw the likes of Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, Maxine Waters, and Nancy Pelosi, they were stirring a cauldron when the curtain went up on ‘Macbeth’. The four of them are like jackasses who happen to possess the gift of blab. You don’t know if you should condemn them for their stupidity or simply marvel at their ability to form words.”

Spot on in my opinion!

After a little investigation (and I truly mean a little), I discovered Prelutsky has a website and located a very interesting article. Check out this link; I feel certain some liberal and most right-wingers will appreciate his articulate point of view.

Have another great day and keep smiling.



Your Commander has seen this quote before, but it is certainly worth repeating and sharing with you:

“The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.”

Believe it or not, these words are attributed to Cicero in 55 BC.

So to answer the title question, evidently nothing..!


Monday, January 17, 2011


Recently I wrote about the anticipation of $5.00 per gallon gasoline. I recently came across a shocking article in the Chicago Sun-Times stating the fact that the hourly parking rate in downtown Chicago has jumped to $5.00 per hour. To get the full details of this latest increase to citizens and visitors click:

Just imagine if you lived or were visiting Chicago and had to park in the downtown area. If you parked for eight hours it would cost $40.00 per day and you would have to run to the meter every hour. If you then parked for the same time all week you would spend $200.00 and run to the meter hourly, and if you parked each weekday for one year the cost would be a staggering $10,400 with the hourly trip to the meter.

Obviously, most people would seek other parking alternatives, but just how far can the envelope be pushed by the company who bought the parking meter lease from the City? The meter rate is reported to increase to $6.50 per hour by 2013. The parking lot owners must be licking their chops because they will likely impose sizeable daily and monthly rates at their downtown locations.

My daughter tells me that parking at the Museum of Science and Industry on the city’s south side is now $18.00 per day. With costs rising at this rate it is apparent that I will continue to enjoy my days at home reading, because politicians cannot charge me for that pleasure…YET!

Apparently Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, who is not running for re-election, decided to get out of office while the getting was good. The little guy just cannot afford to support an Administration that lives well and abuses the little guy time and time again. Chicago requires all city employees, police, firemen, teachers, etc. to live in the city.

Now the Illinois State Legislature has passed a 67% increase in the State Income Tax up to 5% in an effort to at least delay Illinois’s anticipated bankruptcy. The corporate income tax has also jumped up 45%. Apparently no one is considering the fact that there will be massive departures by Illinois residents, and some corporations to avoid this unrealistic taxation increase. Again Illinois residents are expected to cover the errors and neglect of previous administrations with another bail-out of their politicians.

One State legislator suggested that Illinois residents should buy stock in moving van companies, because their business should grow dramatically. Already, before the tax increase has taken effect, it is reported that the use of Food Stamps has increased 12.7% from last year, and food pantry usage has grown 60% to 70% since 2007.

The average “Joe on the Street” can only absorb so much taxation abuse. We are all living in times that require great emotional restraint and caution. Pamphleteer Thomas Paine’ words back in 1776 are applicable to the issues facing us in 2011 and I will repeat them again, “THESE ARE THE TIMES THAT TRY MEN’S SOULS”.


Sunday, January 16, 2011


The study of historical events frequently proves to be sound ground upon which to resolve current and anticipated problems. There have been numerous suggestions put forth since the recent Tucson massacre, some positive, some emotional, and some extremely negative. This is a time for reasoned, unemotional, non-violent contemplation, and a time of patient and constructive healing.

I find it ironic that we are celebrating the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Some respected him, some opposed his work, and some were closely associated with his civil rights agenda. Like him or not, he left a legacy that to this day is highly respected and will be long remembered.

Considering those facts let us remember some applicable words spoken some 55 years ago on the occasion of the bombing of Martin Luther King's home in Montgomery, Alabama. When further violence was threatened King said, “We must meet hate with love.” Subsequently he also said, “We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline.”

While King was addressing civil rights issues, his words are also applicable to the tension surrounding the Tucson tragedy, and if followed they just may aid us in moving forward in the healing process in a peaceful, constructive way.



This book review is somewhat premature, because I have not finished reading the entire 950 pages of Tom Clancy and Grant Blackwood’s Dead Or Alive. To say that this is a big book is an understatement; because it is the longest book I remember reading with the exception of Webster’s New World Dictionary.

Reading this book will certainly add substantially to the reader’s upper- body strength and I have gone to propping it up on by desk. I find it an easy book to read, since the font size is large, which is easy on older eyes. If you have a Kindle or another electronic reader they may be a good alternative due to the book's size and weight.

The early chapters clearly justify the high ranking the book is receiving on the New York Times bestseller listings. The action/adventure development of a varying cast of intertwined, complex characters is up to the high standards of previous Clancy stories.

Somewhere down the line this year I will probably finish reading Dead Or Alive, and at that point I’ll provide you with my final comments. In the meantime, I am enjoying the action, and the elimination of evil doers who continue to try to destroy the good old USA from locations all over the world.


Saturday, January 15, 2011


Everywhere you go these days you hear about the financial troubles confronting the government of California. Recently my cousin, who lives out west, sent me an interesting and revealing email that exposes part of California’s fiscal problem, and that is massive abuse of their generous welfare programs. Take a look at the attached video for part of the answer to the financial chaos on the West Coast.

The new Governor of California, Jerry Brown (D), who has been called Governor Moon Beam, has a near impossible task on his hands, because the State legislature is so dependent upon unions and welfare crowds continuing to support them it will be extremely difficult to make the necessary cuts in appropriations without causing uproar from the recipients of California’s lush welfare programs and excessive pension plans.

Problems facing California are identical to those facing many other state governments, and none of them can continue passing the buck to the next administration. As people and corporations flee states where taxation continues to climb they find themselves in a Catch-22 dilemma. Tax revenues are bound to decrease as citizens and corporations leave the State. Unemployment will increase, and home prices and sales will correspondingly drop.

Ultimately the citizens of these financially desperate states actually are responsible for permitting this condition to occur. The prescription necessary to solve their financial problems will be bitter, and the medicine must be taken for years to come.


Friday, January 14, 2011


The title of this commentary is taken from the words written by Thomas Paine in the first of his now-famous pamphlet series "The Crisis". General George Washington had Paine’s work read to his battle weary troops that inspired the Americans in their battles against the British and Hessian troops.

Paine’s earlier famous pamphlet “Common Sense” (1776) earned him the title “The Father of the American Revolution”, because of the influence brought to bear to the independence movement. Paine was a complex individual with a fascinating background spanning a number of different work endeavors.

Let me suggest that you take a look at the marvelous piece prepared by Wikipedia for your reading enjoyment:

Paine’s many significant words are most appropriate to consider as America goes through a period of sorrow and questioning as a result of the Massacre in Tucson. We may secure the necessary strength and foresight to propel us in the correct direction in the months and years ahead when we study and consider the wisdom and depth of Paine’s writings.

One hundred and fifty years after Paine’s works were published Thomas Edison, one of America’s greatest inventors said, “We never had a sounder intelligence in this republic…In Common Sense Paine flared forth with a document so powerful that the Revolution became inevitable.”

Again your Commander urges patience and caution as we move forward trying to secure answers to complex questions that are springing forward in the aftermath of this Tucson tragedy.



Everyone that I talk to today agrees that we Americans are going through troubling times. Each of us has a differing list of debatable issues confronting our daily lives, but due to the recent tragic incident in Tucson the subject of political debate is front and center with a growing number of citizens.

Considering that fact, I was impressed when I read some very appropriate language uttered by John Hancock that dates back to the founding days of the United States of America. I did not know that Hancock was one of the richest men in America when our country was founded, and that he had a huge price placed on his head by the British government. It is reported that he was the first to boldly sign the Declaration of Independence and then said, “There! His Majesty can now read my name without glasses. And he can double the reward on my head.”

Let me further quote some insightful words that Hancock rendered in association with that signing, which appeared in the American Patriot‘s Almanac.

“John Hancock marveled that the Lord gave this country ‘a name and a standing among the nations of the world.’ He wrote: ‘I hope and pray that the gratitude of (Americans’) hearts may be expressed by a proper use of those inestimable blessings, by the greatest exertions of and for the greatest progress of the arts and sciences, by establishing laws for the support of piety, religion and morality…and by exhibiting in the great theatre of the world, those social, public and private virtues which give more dignity to a people, possessing their own sovereignty, than crowns and diadems afford to sovereign princes.’”

Your Commander finds Hancock’s words to be just as applicable today as they were back in those founding days of our country. With all the bellicose language floating around our lives today, I believe Hancock’s foresight can lead us on a logical steady course in addressing our many and varied concerns.



Your Commander wants to go on the record that I totally support the findings of the Presidential Debt Commission co-chaired by former Clinton Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and ex-Senator Alan Simpson (WY-R). Certainly I do not like all the recommendations, but their conclusions cannot be denied as factual and real. The economy and the economic health of the United States are on the brink of a totally unacceptable collapse.

Simpson’s frank tell-it-like-it-is tone certainly is refreshing, and something that has been sorely lacking in the Halls of Congress and our White House for far too many years. We are now paying the penalty for the failure of our political leadership. We are all the victims of accepting the verbage of our politicians. The sad day of reckoning is upon us.

One way or another we will have to accept reductions in benefits we have enjoyed but just cannot afford to continue to be funded at current levels. Any politician that tells us government spending is not in need of critical care immediately is just fooling us. Conditions were not honestly addressed years ago when problems were correctable with less severe remedial action. We can no longer afford to pay for the political transgressions or omissions of honesty, simply because your vote was all they wanted for their selfish re-election. Our government has failed us for far too long.

We cannot run our individual households like the federal government tries to run its affairs. We will be required to face the music for their failures to perform their Oaths of Office. We, the voters, and our elected officials are both to blame for this problem, so we now both must accept the necessary dose of corrective medicine. I do not like the taste of the medicine anymore than you, but it is vitally necessary or we will succumb to an unacceptable conclusion.

Please do not permit your elected representatives to avoid their responsibility in addressing this problem. Demand that they face the hard decisions head on once and for all. Spending must be cut and that includes the cost of government.


Sunday, January 9, 2011


Like many Americans I viewed the Sunday morning political talk shows and heard the reflections of prominent political voices. The words were those expected, however, the big single word that came out of the wall to wall press discussions was VITRIOL.

My sadness is identical to that of millions of Americans, and I join in the prayers for those who lost their lives and those fighting for survival as a result of this seeming senseless act of violence. However, we all hold some degree of responsibility and I suggest that first and foremost our elected officials and politicos should examine their rhetoric and tone down the venom. The populace is able to separate party line from their own convictions no matter their voting preferences.

The level of vitriol has risen to a precarious point caused in part by the blatant disregard of the will of the American voter. I feel it is inappropriate to blame the Tea Party movement for this event, as some hypocritical political voices have. We all must consider just how we are addressing political discourse.

The issue of the mental health of the man in custody remains to be seen. And if there was a problem, how he was treated is another issue.

Disturbed people have functioned and not functioned in this world forever. Some have lived quietly and some have committed heinous crimes. I do not have an answer as to how society can account for the crazies. It does seem that in the 21st century we should be able to do a better job serving and identifying those so disturbed.

I trust our system will prevail in appropriate investigation.


Saturday, January 8, 2011


This book review will also include my first impressions of the Amazon Kindle electronic reader.

As the recipient of a wonderful Kindle book reader, I could not wait to load a book and commence the new electronic reading experience. Personally, I believe that the Kindle and similar products will totally revolutionize the book publishing industry.

First, it is cheaper to purchase a down-load than buying the hard-copy. Second, it will reduce the pile of books that one accumulates on the book shelf. The Kindle holds up to 1500 books! Third, and most important, is the fact that it is easier and lighter to hold a Kindle than a hard-cover book, and the visual clarity is excellent. You can even increase the size of the print and to someone my age that is a real plus!

The Kindle is a HIT as far as your Commander is concerned!

The first book down-loaded to my Kindle was Brad Thor’s newest tome, The Athena Team. It is another first-rate action/adventure thriller. Surprisingly, Thor’s long famous lead character, Scot Harvath, only carries a small role in this story.

The lead characters are The Athena Team consisting of an all-female civilian cast of highly trained agents of the American government stationed out of Ft. Bragg, N.C. The story carries the ladies all over the world chasing evil villains who are trying to destroy America with a devastating secret weapon that was first developed, but not perfected, by German scientists during the closing days of World War II.

The team and numerous fellow agents cover locations from the Balkans to the jungles of South America, and Denver, Colorado. Of course the team survives and saves the world, but your attention is held until the closing pages. This book may just expand the audience for Thor’s work with the female segment of potential readers.

Happy reading, and remember to consider a Kindle in your future, because it will save you a bundle over the years and enhance your reading enjoyment. Thank you, Sandy and Joe.



Again my copy of the revised edition of American Patriot’s Almanac has sprung forth with some well reasoned advice. I suspect that few, if any, will remember any details of Connecticut Patriot Israel Putnam, who fought in numerous successful battles of the American Revolution.

You will, however, recognize some legendary words attributed to him. Putnam was commanding troops at Bunker's Hill where he is reported to have said, “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes!”

What I found most profound is the inscription on Putnam’s Brooklyn, Connecticut monument.

"Patriot, remember the heritages received from your forefathers and predecessors. Protect and Perpetuate them for future generations of your countrymen."

I find it to be most interesting that it takes many years of life experiences to appreciate the accuracy of Putnam’s monument inscription. Your Commander wonders if our lives would be richer had we learned just how significant those words could be to the quality of life. I suspect that it takes the richness of many years of life’s experiences to appreciate Putnam’s wisdom, just as it takes years for the maturing of a fine wine.



There is an article in the Washington Post that draws attention to the long known fact that many state governments are running out of money and cannot pay their obligations to fund vital services within their state. This situation has been building for many years as elected officials hid the true financial facts from the electorate across the country and covered their failure to render sound financial decisions by increasing unsustainable debt upon the backs of their citizens.

Many state union pension plans are under-funded and those states are looking to the federal government for relief, but I do not believe that it is appropriate to bail them out on the backs of increased federal debt that we taxpayers must pay.

Illinois is one the states in the worst condition. Isn’t it interesting that the very same legislators who put the state into this serious financial condition are now major players on Capitol Hill. Take a look at the Washington Post article by hitting this link:

It is beyond my understanding that the politicians who got us into this mess continue to get re-elected, but they do. How can the legislators in Illinois expect the citizens of Illinois to stand still in paying a 75% increase in state income taxes along with the refinancing of $8.5 billion in additional debt? The man on the street just cannot continue to absorb these tax increases and will ultimately have no alternative but to leave states such as Illinois to states where the tax hit is substantially less.

Assuming more and more taxpayers leave states like Illinois, the problem of revenue attainment just gets worse. Thus the only true option is to cut the corruption, waste and excessive number of state workers who are creating the problem to begin with. It will be painful and create greater unemployment, but there is ultimately no other choice.

The alternative to deep cuts in spending is bankruptcy, and that is unacceptable. If strong action does not take place across the country we may face a situation like that experienced recently in Greece, and should that happen the people will take to the streets. God forbid, but the voters and the entitlement crowd, along with irresponsible complicit politicians, are responsible.

It is time for everyone to start telling the truth, like the new Governor of New Jersey has, and many States must take the appropriate fiscal action before the citizens retaliate. The situation is getting just that serious. Wake-up, America!


Thursday, January 6, 2011


Recently I was scanning the internet and ran across a sad article on The Hollywood Reporter website. THR is an entertainment publication that has been around for a long time, and it is hanging on by its finger tips as the electronic toys revolutionize our communications world.

The headline that caught my attention was “KEITH OLBERMANN TWITTER RANT: “FOX NEWS IS 100% BULL—T”. Well that peeked my interest and I read further. Apparently Olbermann and Bill O’Reilly have been going back and forth insulting one another and in the entertainment world that’s “news”. Unfortunately comments of that nature get the attention of the national media too often, and fools react to them; this time I was one.

For the record, I consider Keith Olbermann to be a total opportunist JERK. I believe him detrimental to television and he should be totally ignored, but I fell into his trap. I responded to the Hollywood Reporter article by making the following comment on their website.

“After 40 plus years in TV station management I am glad to be retired, because I am ashamed of the product being distributed today. Olbermann is an utter fool, but he has conned his management into thinking he is valuable. O’Reilly is a smart opportunist, but neither adds to the product in the long term. TV today is destroying their product with over-commercialism and will slowly drive their audience to some other electronic toy.

Olbermann will do anything to get his face in front of a camera, but I will not be looking at his line of self-serving crap. He is a waste of valuable time on a once valuable educational, entertainment and important communications vehicle. I find it sad that jerks like Olbermann rule in the TV world today, but just wait and he will put his bitter mouth in the wrong place someday and he will get what he deserves…fired and ignored.”

Now to be honest…why did I waste my time to respond? I accomplished absolutely nothing by commenting, but I did vent my frustrations.

O’Reilly is riding a hot hand, but the day will come when he, too, and Fox will fall out of favor. Olbermann is a poor excuse for a Sportscaster or Newscaster, and he almost single-handedly destroyed NBC’s Sunday Night Football before Dick Ebersol, Chairman of NBC Universal Sports and Olympics, took him off the show. Loud mouths such as Olbermann should be ignored and shunned, but that is just one old goats opinion. If you agree fine, and if you do not then that is your opinion, which you have a perfect right to express.



As the new Congress began to conduct business this morning the members of the House read aloud the U.S. Constitution as part of the opening session. Amazingly, here we are in 2011 and this was the first time this cornerstone document was ever read out loud in chambers.

What was a great idea to renew awareness of this inspiring document quickly became another part of political theatre or an outright farce. Did you notice, as I did, that as each member of Congress read their assigned passage they left the room and each speaker was left to address an almost empty room?

The effort to read the Constitution before the entire nation via television/cable coverage before Congress was a good idea gone wrong. This fiasco was conducted by the individuals who we elected to lead our nation forward. WOW!

Every single elementary student should be taught the Constitution and subsequently tested regarding their knowledge of the document. Additionally, every single Senator, Congressman, and President should be required to read the Constitution and sign a document that they complied. Should they take the test, too?

I certainly hope and pray that today’s experience is not an omen for the success of this session of the House of Representatives. Based upon the example set this morning we are all in for rough sledding, so turn up your collar, because I fear it will be a long winter as we experience the reality of Al Gore’s “global warming”.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011


I have often referred to one of my favorite books THE AMERICAN PATRIOT’S ALMANAC authored by William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb. Each morning I begin the day by reading that day’s entry, and find it fascinating to look back and learn something new on almost a daily basis. For your information a new revised, updated, and expanded edition has just been released, which I picked up this past week.

The January 2nd entry contained this very interesting story dating back to the days of our nation’s founding.

“On this day in 1777, George Washington’s army was busy fighting the British in the Second Battle of Trenton, New Jersey. While Washington fought, another great patriot was hard at work behind the scenes, aiding the American cause. You may never have heard of Haym Salomon, but he was one of the heroes of the American Revolution. In fact, if not for Patriots like Salomon there would never have been a United States.

Born in Poland, Salomon immigrated to New York City in 1772 and soon became a successful merchant and banker. He joined the Sons of Liberty, a Patriot group, and when war broke out, he helped supply American troops. The British arrested him in 1776 and flung him into prison. After a while they released him, and he went straight back to aiding the Patriots.

The British arrested Salomon again in 1778. This time they decided to be rid of him. They sentenced him to be hanged as a rebel, but he escaped and fled to Philadelphia.

Once again Salomon went into business as a banker, and he continued to devote his talents and wealth to the Patriot cause. American leaders frequently turned to him for help in raising funds to support the war. Salomon risked his assets by loaning the government money for little or no commission. He helped pay the salaries of army officers, tapped his own funds to supply ragged troops, and worked tirelessly to secure French aid for the Revolution.

After the war the young nation struggled to get on its feet. When the republic needed money, Salomon helped save the United States from financial collapse.

The years following the Revolution took a toll on Haym Salomon’s business. At the end of his life, his wealth was gone. In fact, he died impoverished. He had poured much of his fortune into the service of his country.”

Prior to reading this entry I had never heard of the significant contributions Haym Solomon made to the creation of the United States of America. In my opinion ever single American elementary school child should be taught this important story, because it portrays a valuable lesson of charity, service and dedication to a cause that resulted in the establishment of a great country that has become of vital importance to the entire world.

Better yet, EVERYONE in Washington should read this story and compare Mr. Salomon’s determination to help the cause he believed in with the Iraq and Afghan insurgents we hold today. Insofar as our nation’s best interests today are concerned, no good can come from their release.

If you love history as much as your Commander does, then you will cherish THE AMERICAN PATRIOT’S ALMANAC like I do.



It is time for a confession. As recently reported, I purchased several books with holiday gift cards and began reading Brad Thor’s FOREIGN INFLUENCE. After about 75 pages, I seemed to recognize characters and specific events. As I proceeded the story became increasingly familiar, however, the story still held my attention and interest. Frankly, it was not until the very last page that I knew for certain that I had previously read the book.

I went back into by blog files and found that I had authored a very short recommendation in July 2010, and I do so again. Thor spins a great mystery covering numerous interesting sites around the world and he holds his reader until the very last chapter’s surprising conclusion.

Thor is a master of his trade, and if you have not already read FOREIGN INFLUENCE I am certain you will enjoy reading this action packed adventure as the lead character tracks and his minions down numerous merchants of terror that want to kill our fellow Americans.

I remain functional, but they say the memory is one of the first things to go.


Sunday, January 2, 2011


For several days I have been asking myself why are all the pundits saying that we will be paying $5.00 per gallon for gasoline in the near future. There is, in my opinion, a simple answer.

Consider the proven fact that we have within the boundaries of the United States of America more oil than is reported to exist in the Middle East along our coastal shores, on the North Slope of Alaska, and massive deposits in Montana, North and South Dakota. It is a fact that the current administration has bowed to significant pressures from special interests and lobbyists. President Barack Obama has often said that we must shift our interests to alternative forms of energy immediately.

It is your Commander’s personal opinion that a shift to alternative energy is a good idea; however, we continue to support foreign governments whose interests are anti-American. We continue to buy oil from countries that take our money and then support forces that are working daily to destroy the American way of life. When we have the oil resources within our own country why don’t we develop them? This would immediately create jobs that would funnel increased revenue for our government’s treasury.

This action would have an immediate positive impact on the stock market, and more importantly would send a definitive signal to our enemies that their vital source of financial support would be taking a serious hit. Obviously the dramatic increase in the consumption of oil in developing countries such as China, India, Russia and many other countries are causing the current increased demand for oil and causing the increased price per barrel. We have the ability to counter the price increase to the American consumer, but devious myopic political interests are causing the American driving public to pay an unacceptable price for gasoline, and consequently support our enemies.

Apparently our leadership cannot see the forest for the trees, and they are complicit in supporting our enemies. SPEAK-UP AMERICA! Call your elected officials and tell them to DRILL BABY DRILL, and do it now. And while we are at it, we also need to find a few more places to build new refineries. American technology has the ability to drill responsibly, and the price per gallon of gasoline will drop dramatically and our economy will prosper in short order. We logically need to move more slowly toward alternative clean energy sources as they are developed into economically feasible options down the line.



Your Commander was troubled when I read an on-line edition of the New York Times over the holidays, especially by the liberal tone and partisan attribution to the cause of the massive debt obligations facing many State governments. The Times is quick to blame the lame-duck Congress for passing tax extensions to the wealthy, but ignores the root causes of the debt.

Take a few minutes and read the Editorial, and see for yourself. Most disturbing is the extent and size of the debt.

As I read this Editorial it seems to me that the cause of the problem is the repeated failure by both the federal and state governments over a long period of years appropriating funds that could not be sustained in the long run. Note that the Times clearly states that the federal government must step in to solve this problem, but didn’t the states create the problem by giving out more than they could logically support?

Why is it that some states do not have fiscal problems? The answer is simply good government with legislators who act fiscally responsible. Don’t you find it interesting that our government officials all leave office with fat pensions and perks, but the citizens of the states are left holding the bag to pay off the debt obligations with increased taxation? Who is responsible and accountable? We the voters are to blame for permitting this unsustainable disaster to occur and it is we the taxpayers who will have to pay for the elected officials’ malfeasance.



Recently I received an email that has been widely distributed in the last few months relative to the situation that has been brewing in connection with illegal immigration and security along the Arizona border. My wife and I know something about this situation, because we lived in Yuma along the border with Mexico for four years, and we experienced first hand just how serious this issue is and how it has grown in the ensuing twelve years since we left. We have close friends still residing near the border and they report to us that the situation is out of control, and the problems are only escalating.

Both border security and the entire Immigration issue cry for a prompt solution, but our federal government fails to act aggressively. Or how about enforcing the laws we already have regarding illegal residents? Our politicians are putting this country in peril, because they do not want to offend the growing Latino population or lose their vote. Please take a couple of minutes of your valuable time to consider the following:


The owner of the Phoenix Suns basketball team, Robert Sarver, opposes AZ’s new immigration laws. Arizona Governor, Jan Brewer, released the following statement in response to Sarver’s criticism of the new law.

‘What if the owners of the Suns discovered that hordes of people were sneaking into games without paying? What if they had a good idea who the gate-crashers are, but the ushers and security personnel were not allowed to ask these folks to produce their tickets stubs, thus non-paying attendees couldn’t be ejected. Furthermore, what if Suns’ ownership was expected to provide those who sneaked in with complimentary eats and drinks? And what if on those days when a gate-crasher became ill or injured the Suns had to provide free medical care and shelter?’

-Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer-“

2. “Try going to any other country without ID.”

3. “I’m a legal American citizen and I must show my ID when:

1. Pulled over by the police.
2. Making purchases on my department store credit card.
3. When I show up for a doctor’s appointment.
4. When filing out a credit card or loan application.
5. When applying for or renewing a driver’s license or passport.
6. When applying for any kind of insurance.
7. When filling out college applications.
8. When donating blood.
9. When obtaining certain prescription drugs.
10. When making some debit purchases, especially if I’m out of state.
11. When collecting a boarding pass for airline or train travel.”

I’m sure there are more instances, but the point is that we citizens of the USA are required to prove who we are nearly every day!


The recent killing of Border Patrol Agent Brian A. Terry should be the last straw, but our politicians will drag their feet until you and I demand a SECURE BORDER before comprehensive immigration legislation discussion is ever considered. I totally support the Arizona Immigration Law and a SECURE U.S. BORDER ASAP. To do less is playing Russian Roulette with the security, and economy of our country. It is far past the time for our politicians to stop playing politics with the future of our country.


Saturday, January 1, 2011


Anyone who thinks they know exactly what is going to happen in the next twelve months is just kidding themselves. The following is an attempt to provide you with my opinion as to what may be significant issues, but I know that events and circumstances will change priorities on a moments notice.

As the newly elected Congress begins work this week I believe the most important challenge they face is the mounting debt confronting the nation. Along with this problem is the vital need to create jobs, because without work we will continue to have a shortfall in the revenue flowing into the government treasury. We should not permit a high percentage (estimated 40%) of our fellow citizens to pay zero in federal taxes.

The various branches of the Tea Party will continue to have a huge impact upon our legislators at the local, regional and federal levels. The people, especially those who reside in “fly-over country” are aroused and they are making their voices heard. Unfortunately the influence of the many liberals residing along the east and west coasts have a political agenda that conflicts with the deep feelings of the electorate in the center of the country. Just how this dispute impacts our government this year will be very important to achieving any real resolution to our problems.

I look for big debates within the states over re-apportionment that will likely favor Republicans in many states, because majorities were gained by them in several large state legislatures. The continuing shift of our population to southern states will also redirect political influences along the way.

Simmering is the highly emotional debate on immigration, which ultimately must be addressed because all of our states have been burdened with unnecessary and unsustainable expenses. I do not believe there can be a solution acceptable to the voters until our borders are secured.

To repeat I believe that the economy, jobs, and debt will be the big issues. We must make significant head-way in solving these problems or we will see a dramatic negative impact on the stock market, interest rates and inflation. Something must be accomplished in curbing the predicted escalation of health care costs by the basically unread, unknown Obamacare legislation.

Hovering in the background are the growing massive financial obligations from unfunded or under-funded pension plans across the nation. For far too long local and federal officials have looked the other way on this subject, because they kept playing for the union vote. Some hard decisions will have to be made quickly.

There are less than two years until the next, and very important, General Election and still there is no clear leader emerging to carry the Republican banner. I do not think Sarah Palin can win, and I do not believe she is qualified, but she sure knows how to raise money. Don’t count Barack Obama out, because he has plenty of money and a well oiled machine behind him. I think he can be beaten, but it will take some poorly handled world events and a well organized campaign by his opponent.

Your Commander continues to wonder just how long the American people will continue to support our efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq where we continue to prop-up corrupt governments. How long can we continue to finance troops in many foreign posts (see 12/27/10 post “Massive Military Budget Waste”), and funnel billions to foreign governments and the anti-American United Nations?

2011 will be a very challenging year for our leaders and our fellow citizens. America clearly requires further CHANGE, but it’s obviously not the CHANGE Obama told us we could believe in.