July 10, 2014


An interesting exchange started on the EC blog but has not yet been concluded in my view. Thus this blog.

I challenged Duane Graham to state the immigration reforms that he SUPPORTED and not just throw barbs at what the GOP was doing or trying to achieve. He responded in a blog found at Surprisingly, to me, I found that we were not all that far apart, fundamentally. However the dialog stopped at that point with no further comments from Graham or his supporters. To understand the nuances in this blog, I suggest you read the linked blog and comments thereto first.

We in America have both a National Security issue and a humanitarian situation on our southern border. Graham and I agree, substantially, on that point. But the kicker is that he agrees that we must have better control of our southern border today. However how to achieve that goal he suggests be left to “experts” which neither of us happen to be, “experts” on controlling who enters America across our southern border. But I believe it does not take an “expert” to envision such border control. Countries have been doing it for millennia, humanely in most cases.

Anyone entering any country should do so in accordance with the “rules”, the law if you will, stating specifically who can enter any country. Certainly such laws can be very unfair, biased, prejudicial, etc. For example a law could state requirements in terms of ethnicity, skin color, political or social orientation, etc. Or instead the laws can allow essentially anyone to enter a country, an open border if you will. Or of course there is a set of laws that find a “middle ground” if you will as to who might be allowed to cross a border, legally.

Basically, our current laws require anyone legally crossing the border, any border defining the boundaries of the United States of America, to obtain “permission” before crossing that border. That usually is in the form of a visa, advanced permission for anyone to enter the USA. What’s wrong with that requirement, a requirement established by almost all countries in the world?

OK, there are special cases, refugees if you will, those seeking political asylum because their country of origin is too “harsh”, unfair, etc. We have laws that define the requirements to be accepted into the USA without a pre-approved visa, for those fleeing oppression. Show up at a border without prior permission, apply for asylum and then enter the USA once your application for asylum is approved. What’s wrong with that approach?

In fact we take it a step farther for those seeking asylum. Generally speaking such asylum seekers are allowed to enter America but are “contained” while their application for asylum is processed through our courts, a legal process to validate the need, on a case by case or individual basis, for asylum. We are supposed to detain such asylum seekers, according to law.

The real and immediate crux of the matter today however is we do not follow those proscribed laws, have a legal visa to enter America or apply for asylum, legally, when crossing the border. Instead our long and very porous southern border is flooded with people trying to enter America illegally.

So is not the first step in that process to “secure our southern borders” to only allow people to enter America legally, by some legal definition other than just “showing up and looking for a better job”, etc.?

Other that just opening our borders to anyone, criminals, terrorists, people looking for a free ride at tax payer expense in America, etc. we must have some criteria or definitions that anyone must meet, before entering America, should we not? We have those laws on the books already, but now fail, miserably to enforce them. People from foreign lands now believe that if they can just “make it across the border” they will be allowed to remain in America as long as they want to so remain. Thus we see the current flood of illegal immigration by kids, adults, terrorists, criminals, malcontents of all sorts, some intending to cause great harm to America if they can just “get in”.

We have two big problems right now in America, both caused by a very porous southern border, I submit. What do we do with the vast number that are already here, illegally and remain here, illegally is the first problem, with more arriving at our southern border each day? Second how do we allow more legal immigrants into America, today?

I submit we cannot fix either problem, what to do with those already here or how to open our borders, legally, to more immigrants, until we secure our southern border, humanly, but at the same time stop those trying to cross the border illegally in a continuing flood.

We already do a good job of border control for those arriving by air or sea, the normal means of transportation into America for most immigrants. What we have thus far failed to do is control the land routes into America from the south. Any “expert” would say that we must “funnel” immigrants through control points on land routes, just as we do for airplanes and ships arriving in America. So why not do exactly that, funnel all immigrants crossing our southern borders through legal control points for entry into America?

The real reason many illegal immigrants now attempt to enter America, illegally, is they fully expect that after all is said and done they will be allowed to remain here and go free IMMEDIATELY after crossing our border, illegally. They want no control, no check points, no visas, no applications for asylum to be considered by courts of law. They simply want to go free in America, to do as they so choose to do like any other American citizen. As well, once they are here illegally and are “caught” breaking American law they demand the full privileges of any American citizen under our laws. They even would demand full legal representation at American taxpayer expense to argue their cases in courts even though they have no legal right to be here in the first place.

Can we effectively control access across our southern borders today? Yes we can I assert as a “non-expert” and I further believe we can do so humanly, at some considerable expense to American taxpayers. As well we need not have court cases so backlogged that it takes years to settle a single case in such jammed packed courts of law. After we bear the expense of regaining entry control of our southern border, we can and should devote the legal resources to moving immigration cases through such courts rapidly, fairly and of course legally, under IMMIGRATION LAW, not laws afforded to others in America legally in the first place.

If a ship at sea endures flooding, the first priority is to stop the flow of water into the ship. That is the emergency, stop the flooding. Fail to do so and ships sink, at sea or inport. After the flooding stops then other more careful efforts are then made to restore the ship (of State) to normal conditions under laws and regulations controlling the operation of any ship (of State).


June 23, 2014


I rarely comment on a blog with a blog of my own. But in this case, I am compelled to do so. Bottom line I am sick and tired of everyone on God’s green earth telling me what I should believe and do according to “God’s Will”, just sick of it.

What has really gotten my goat this time is a local event and the reaction to it, by a local Christian church, Ignite Church, located near my home and one that I drive by, frequently. Up until the Sunday Globe all I knew about that church was that it had a lot of young people surrounding it on occasion, waving signs, singing and trying to attract folks to attend services therein. Certainly nothing untoward was noted in dress, language, signs, etc.

But a front page article in the Globe showed the church, a Christian church, giving away two AR-15 “assault rifles” in a fund raising raffle. Then the commentary began, all over the place. The Globe did a reasonably good job getting reaction from a few religious leaders in Joplin, mostly negative reaction and it referenced some pretty strong online reaction as well. frankly, I am of the opinion that religous leaders should worry about their own “flock” and let other flocks fly as they like, as long as they obey the law in doing so.

But the Globe also ran comments by the minister of that church, a man described as having a “short Mohawk” haircut and “tattoos”. The implication of course was that a man with such a haircut and “tattoos” was suspect in terms of his view of God’s Will, for anyone.

OK, let folks get a little roused up. So what, right! Well then I read the Erstwhile Conservative blog. He used that church as an almost universal example of “religion in Joplin” or even Southwest Missouri, moaning in his cups about just how “crazy” everyone around here might be. Thus this blog!

I begin by noting that Ignite Church did nothing illegal that I can tell. Nor am I aware of any Christian restrictions on the ownership of weapons, assault weapons in particular. Of course there were no assault weapons during the time of Christ but I don’t believe he suggested that all swords held by Romans be turned over. Was it Christ that spoke of turning “swords into plowshares” or someone else and in which “Testament” in the Christian Bible? I’m Not Sure, Are You? Frankly in today’s world I believe “swords”, like nuclear weapons play an important role to keep me safe, and my family as well. But that is politics, not religion also.

But I believe the teachings of Christ related to how one used such things, weapons, not about whether or not someone should owe such things. So I suggest that Christianity as a religion only focuses on the use of weapons, not ownership. But maybe I am wrong, or maybe not. So what as it is what I “believe” and who are you to tell me I am wrong in such beliefs.

No doubt, the Ignite Church was not in any way politically correct today, except maybe in Southwest Missouri, to encourage ownership of assault weapons. If they had given away a .22 rifle would the uproar be as loud, I wonder? But you see that is a political reaction, not, or should not be, a religious reaction.

Let me be clear on that point. Politically I fully support strict, very strict control of gun ownership in America. More specifically I would support laws that outlaw the possession of hand guns (pistols) and all semi-automatic rifles. If you can’t “kill a deer” with one shot then go back to target practice to hunt is my call. I also assume automatic rifles are outlawed already, but am not certain on that point.

But to uphold that political belief I would NEVER try to argue that it was “God’s Will” to craft such a law. I have a pretty clear idea how God would suggest any weapon be used, or not, but owning one, well I have never heard God comment on that point, or any other political point in America. Are you arrogant enough to tell me that God has spoken to you on that point and you are simply being God’s mouthpiece???

I can be a friend with an atheist, an agnostic or someone that holds deep faith in God, and Christ as well if that is their belief, or Buddha, or Allah, etc. But I won’t share their faith either. Each to his own is my view. Don’t push yours onto me and I will not advocate my faith (or lack thereof) back at you. As well if you honestly BELIEVE that it is God’s Will to do something, fine go do it as long as it is legal. And if you think something should not be legal to do, then simply don’t do it, yourself. But if it is legal, political if you will, then don’t try to change a law that I might like by denigrating my faith, or lack thereof as well.

Another point if you will. I despise the message of people from Westborough Baptist Church, particularly when they insult the dead soldiers at funerals in front of families. Despicable in my view and certainly not what I believe God would want me to do. But legally, they have every right to say what they like, in a place deemed legal as well by competent authorities. Such authorities can and should respect free speech and the grief of loved ones as well. That is called a compromise, I think and God likes such things, I believe.

That my readers is the separation of church and state, in my view. Obviously, if one believes the Christian Bible, murder is wrong. I agree with God on that point and “there outta be a law” in that regard. But there are no laws now in America that outlaw adultery, today, at least that I am aware of. That suits me just fine as well. Let God dictate sex (except when violence is used) and let men worry about more pragmatic things, like murder!!

At least today, liberals are “defined” by a lack of deep religious conviction and conservatives as those with great “faith” in God. Well that misses me by a long shot and I do not believe I am alone in that regard. But frankly, I don’t give a damn if I am as well. It is just what I alone believe in terms of God and His Will for me that counts. If I think God’s Will is to do something illegal, then let men judge my actions and God take care of me, later on!!

One final point. If the minister of Ignite Church, or members of his congregation started telling people to use guns to achieve their interpretation of God’s Will, well I might get my own shotgun out to confront them and might well believe I would do so with God’s blessing, maybe!!! But make fun of them, denigrate them for their religion, their faith in God, perverted though it may seem to be to me, I won’t do that and don’t believe political pundits like the Erstwhile Conservative should tread on such ground either.

But he will for sure, even though at one point in his life he was a self-confessed evangelical preacher. Boy would I like to have copies of some of those old sermons to preach right back to him, today, in a blog on politics!!


June 19, 2014


The title is what four Senators called the incidents of sexual assault and/or rape.

The explosion occurred when George Will wrote a column on the matter as the concerns about the crimes on college campuses increase, and in the military as well. I offer three links as background to the issues as it relates to just George Will.

First is the offending column. Go to

Second is the letter to Will signed by four Senators. Go to

Finally Will responded to the Senators at

The column itself and the two letters are all written by learned and responsible adults. I would hope that comments to this blog are as considerate, while still differing in conclusions.

My first question to all concerned, including readers of this blog, is just how bad is the “terrible epidemic”, the term used by the Senators in the letter above. TIME magazine had a front page cover all about RAPE on college campuses not long ago. So just how “bad is this crime”, when did it get so bad and most important, why did that happen, an apparent rampage of sexual violence, on college campuses and in our military?

Just check the math used by Will in his column? Either the incidents of sexual assault (and rape?) are much greater than 20% OR the statistic used reporting that crime is wrong. So I still wonder just “how bad is it”, sexual assault and/or rape on college campuses or in the military. That is an apolitical question, an honest question if you will. I have two granddaughters, both completing their sophomore year in college and have not heard anything from them about this matter. Maybe I should ask them their views but might well give parents concern over being too “nosey”, I suppose. For now I will keep my mouth shut which is always a safe bet in such matters with family members.

I don’t believe we know the depth or breadth of any problem of this nature. But I do know that many people are now up in arms over the issue. Frankly, “I’m Not Sure, Are You” about which bandwagon to ride. There seems to be one on the “feminist side” and Will has gotten his ass handed to him for challenging their “statistics”.

Will, like me, wants crime punished, particularly a crime like rape. Throw the book at men that rape women (or other men today) as well as throwing the book at female (or male) teachers encouraging sex or partaking in such a thing, with students, for crying out loud. And the way to do that is in the criminal court system for sure.

Go now to a previous blog on this site, one containing my views on a recently concluded “rape trial” for midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy, my alma mater. The defendant was found not guilty of rape, period. But my God the uproar for almost a year over the charges against that young man. It was all bandied about in the Senate, before any trial was held, as I recall. And I have yet to hear much at all about the “victim” in this case, a young woman shown in a trial to have had sex with three different men in the back seat of a car, one at a time, while she was drunk. As well after the “rape” she went back to a party to party some more as revealed in testimony in a court of law. Now tell me that is “rape”, at least as presented in a court of law.

In that case the use of alcohol by the woman and her willingness to engage in sexual activities seems to be the issue, not rape. OK, the men, all three midshipman governed (as was the woman) by a rather strict “honor code” at USNA. My simple point is all four of them were dishonorable as all Hell and all should be civilians now, not receiving a free education at taxpayer expense.

Being embarrassed, after the fact, that sex happened is one thing. But calling it rape because public media (Facebook) got on your case is a whole different matter, is it not?

What pray tell is different, under the law, between sexual assault and rape. We seem to have gotten to the point that if a woman doesn’t like it, it, automatically, is sexual assault. I speak of course of “grab ass” today and yesterday as well. Hell a “pat on the shoulder” can be called sexual assault today, it seems to me if a woman dislikes the “patter”.

While we are at it, in terms of legal definitions, try showing the difference between sexual assault and sexual harassment. Is there a defining line, under the law, that shows that line, clearly. And when sexual assaults are reported, do they include sexual harassment as well. I sure don’t know, do you?

I wonder if we, as a society, will get to the point that when a woman wears a “revealing dress”, gets drunk, flirts with men, gives them a big “com’on” if you will, will some men start to scream over sexually “enticement” or some such issue?

Face it folks, this issue started way back when I was entering young adulthood. The Pill “caused it”. Fear of pregnancy made many women say “No” long before they say it now. Since then this whole equality of the sexes, including the pursuit of sex has opened up a social issue of profound impact.

I believe we are still dealing with just that issue. It is perfectly normal today for women to acknowledge that they desire and like sex and pursue it to their hearts content in society today. It is also a great “tool” for women to use to advance their various “causes”, just like Cleopatra did long ago and countless women since then.

My former mother-in-law, in the late sixties observed then that “women get married for security and men get married for regular sex”. How true that used to be it seems to me. But today, forget it and thus we see countless people simply “living together” today and unwed mothers all over the place with no social stigma whatsoever. Hell they are victims it seems today.

Before any of you leap on the word misognomist, be careful. I am as much against rape or violent advances to gain sexual privilege as any woman in America. It is a legal issue as far as rape goes but sure seems to get a little vague in terms of sexual assault or harassment today. So step one is to clearly define, precisely, the law in such matters seems to be the first step. Then prosecute the living hell out of offenders of such law.

Next up is to improve the environment such that violations of law are reported, factually and immediately, not after one has time to “think about it” and get angry over Facebook exposes. In fact the woman at USNA did have sex with three men in the back seat of a car during a party. Why I wonder after the first round in that event did she not go screaming RAPE at the party taking place near the parked car? Or the woman “getting raped and then going to sleep with the man” in her dorm room (see Will’s column).

I call for the full protection of the law for women in sexual matters. But violations of law must be first reported and then proven in a court of law before we get ready to combat a “terrible epidemic” or so it seems to me.

Can we at least get our facts straight before screaming “epidemic”, like screaming fire in a theater when someone lights, illegally, a cigarette therein!!


June 14, 2014


The phrase in the title to this blog is a fundamental point arising in the midst of the Bergdahl debacle, in my view. Here comes Ms. Rice, the quintessential excuse maker for the Obama administration. She said that Bergdahl has served with “honor and distinction” and therefore, …….. OMG!!

First of all, how does she know that as a matter of fact? No way can she know the nuances, yet, of Bergdahl’s service to his country, much less whether such service was conducted with honor and distinction. She has probably not read his service jacket, analyzed the comments made by various members of Bergdahl’s chain of command, etc. She just assumes that because he once wore the American uniform in our military that he must have been honorable and distinct in his actions. That is just horseshit, if you will excuse the expression.

Let me be very clear on that point. Volunteering to serve in the military is in itself honorable and today rather distinct from the choices of most American youth. But volunteering to serve is just the first step. One must then actually serve with “honor and distinction”, or just “honor” without any real distinction in terms of performance, to be successful, in the military.

But that is not just a category for members of the armed services. I would suggest that one of the problems in America today is that few decide to actually WORK at any task with the goal of being “honorable and distinct” when they do such work.

I also submit that a “hamburger flipper” could and should try their best to be honorable and distinct when they flip hamburgers. Do that and one will not remain flipping hamburgers for very long for sure. When anyone demonstrates both honor and distinction, even when performing menial tasks, or really important ones as well, then such people rise to the top in most cases. It does not take fame, money or the size of the value to society in a particular job to be “honorable and distinct”. It just takes great courage and will power, to always try to do the next right thing, flipping burgers, cleaning toilets or making a huge political decision related to war and peace. One’s socio-economic status or “job” should make no difference whatsoever in terms of trying, hard to be honorable and distinct.

I use an example from a nuclear submarine. The lowest form of status on a submarine is being a mess cook. That job is basically to be the dishwasher and janitor on a submarine and it is relegated to the youngest and least trained of all the enlisted men on a given ship. Nukes, simply because they are more highly trained before arriving on a ship, never serve as mess cooks, for example. It is the seamen that only attended boot camp and some short form of submarine school that serve as such, mess cooks.

I have seen honorable and distinct mess cooks and I have seen really lousy ones as well. The food is served, hot, good and on time by mess cooks, on clean plates and service ware, as just an example. That is not easy to do, by anyone, but it is important. Put a bunch of lousy and lazy mess cooks on a ship and morale will reflect the quality of the food and service of same, in the bilges!!!

As well submarines during emergencies are an all hands situation. I have seen really BRAVE mess cooks during a fire in the galley, something that can threaten the entire ship, respond with courage, quick and good decisions, etc. I have also seen some that run from the galley to let others respond to an emergency. Now which ones serve with honor and distinction, just lowly mess cooks? And how would Ms. Rice have any idea of such performance, by a mess cook or anyone else on that ship?

She, like many in America, believes that just being on a submarine is enough in terms of honor and distinction. Bullshit might I say, emphatically. Put a coward or slacker on my ship, regardless of whether I was a Captain or a junior officer, and I will come down hard on such a man and do my best to retrain him to be much better than he demonstrated during his actual work on a ship. He would then be deemed “honorable and distinct” based on my decisions as his supervisor. And it would take superior performance to be deemed “distinct”, as a mess cook or Commanding Officer and all else in between.

Take a different set of circumstances. Say a real “hero”, a man that had performed on the field of battle with great “honor and distinction”, but when he returned to safety he raped a fellow solider. Would Rice leap to the conclusion that that man was “honorable and distinct”. Distinct, yes indeed he was, while in uniform, honorable on the battlefield as well, but would Rice come to this defense in a rape case??? No way. And she would probably condemn him when he was accused of rape, before he was convicted of such, as well. Many Senators do that these days, it seems, and condemn the entire armed forces in such cases as well. Listen to them and military service is not honorable and distinct in any way with a bunch of rapists running around and commanders that let them get away with it.

Serving, in any task, with honor and distinction should be an American value that is deep within the work ethic of all Americans. I believe that characteristic is sadly lacking on the part of MANY Americans today. Hell we don’t even teach it in our schools today. We just assume that all the little darlings are automatically honorable and distinct, unique souls with inherent sets of good values. What a lame assumption that one is, today in America. Just go into any classroom you like, in any school in America, and observe teachers and students in action. Then point out the truly “honorable and distinct” students and teachers seen therein. They are few and far between, in my view, in our schools and throughout society today.

Keep your focus when such esteemed terms as honor and distinction are used is my call. Actions, the way people behave, how they work, how they achieve the goals of any organization are ways to discover true honor and distinction. Few, very few, rise to such a level of conduct throughout their lives and those few should indeed be highly honored by all, be they “mess cooks” or men of high office and “importance”.


June 13, 2014


We in Joplin are now learning just how long it takes to heal wounds, political wounds. America as a whole sees that before it now as well.

First, my views on America and the state of its politics today. Terrible is too soft a word to describe how badly the political wounds are still infecting this country. I believe it started with the impeachment trial of Bill Clinton and things have gotten decidedly worse since that time. Internally, politically, that was the first real shot that started the whole mess we are in today.

Did Clinton lie, under oath during a deposition looking into his sexual conduct, conduct that was obviously unbecoming for a person in a position of national leadership? Yes, he broke the law, but that violation of the law was deemed “not an impeachable offense”. The real offense by Bill Clinton was political malfeasance as viewed by a vengeful GOP. That for sure is not an impeachable offense.

Then the election of 2000 and SCOTUS being accused of determining the outcome. I don’t believe that was the case, but certainly the outcome, whoever was elected showed a deeply divided country.

Then of course 9/11 when America really changed. The divide became even greater, over time.

So here we are today in this country, divided, seeking with great vengeance some sort of political dominance, not political compromise, on the part of both political parties. And then of course there is the Tea Party as well. While some will say the Tea Party is just part of the GOP, I now disagree. It is becoming a Third Party for all intents and purposes and it caters to the most rigid and vengeful wing in American politics, the religious extremists and those that call for guns to resolve political differences.

I have no idea how long it will take for America to rediscover the center of American politics in both domestic and international affairs. But I suggest that both the Bush II and Obama administrations were nowhere close to that center. And if you want to argue which of those two administrations was the most extreme, well I put the Obama administration in that crosshairs. Never before have I seen such extremes in American politics, including purposeful violation of established American law, on several occasions. Combine that internal action by President Obama and his appointees with the decided decline in American power and thus influence in world affairs and we see an America never before seen by anyone alive today.

Now look at Joplin. I see similar things, great and divisive divide in this city and I have no idea how long it will take to heal those wounds either.

The tornado did not cause such wounds in Joplin. In fact that natural disaster revealed a remarkably strong and vibrant community, one that rose from the destruction and moved forward together to recover, for about two years. The national recognitions of such community efforts were and remain richly deserved.

But now, just look at us.

Collectively we the people in Joplin have no idea which direction “forward” might be, today. And we do not have the political leadership, now, to show us which way to go.

I see that sad state of affairs, in Joplin, in both our schools and our city government.
Even their strongest detractors must surely agree that the leadership by both Mark Rohr and C J Huff was remarkable and outstanding in almost every respect immediately after the tornado. I won’t even try to elaborate on why I feel that way. The evidence of such leadership is simply a matter of record, and national recognition as well, for both men.

But now due to political infighting, rumor and innuendo by and large, Mark Rohr is gone and for sure no leader has yet to take his place. Yes, we held a recent election and those political bullies that fired Mark Rohr are by and large now neutered. But the new city council has yet to make its presence felt and we the city suffer as a consequence.

Is it any wonder why money to rebuild some big projects is now hard to find? Big lenders see, clearly, the political uncertainty in Joplin today and thus they are not going to lend a lot of money, yet, to anyone to rebuild. Sure a store here, a home there, all such rebuilding will proceed. But for big and joint, private and government together projects, well don’t hold your breath right now to await either private lenders or government bureaucracies to actually start writing big checks. Not for a while, for sure.

Many in Joplin are now, or will soon blame our Master Developer for causing the delay and disruption to the Joplin rebuilding effort.

Well I see no way to blame the Master Developer for our inability to break ground on a new library, as just an example. That is strictly, now, a government funded project and that entire effort is strictly in the hands of city government to move forward. Yes the MD has not provided private investors to fund the adjacent “mall” or whatever it will become, but that has nothing to do with the library for sure.

But here we are still arguing over why build the new library “there”. Why not downtown many will say. You would think that discussion was settled long ago, right or wrong but a decision was made. What we lack now is simply the leadership to move forward, past that old decision. But such leadership is just not here, now, in Joplin.

Want to change our minds, now, some two years later. OK, why not use the old Coke building, a site first thought for a new Post Office. It is really cheap, about $560K for a downtown building, plus the cost of remodeling it to make it into a library. That is opposed to $20 Million for a brand new building not in downtown plus the “rent” to the tune of about $14,000 per year for the land for 15 years, plus the ultimate purchase of that land for a ridiculous $6 Million. Show me any land anywhere in Joplin worth $1 Million per acre!!! Who in the world made that deal, I wonder? Ultimately I suggest, it was the city council, the same gang that later fired Mark Rohr!!!

The only problem with that change in direction is what to do with the land on the intersection of 20th and Connecticut Ave. What private developer in their right mind would purchase that lease and ultimate sale agreement, right in the midst of low rent apartments and a gas station!!!

Now look at the Senior Housing Project. After jumping through a bunch of government mandated hoops, all related to environmental issues that can take years to resolve, we have a plot of land and the ability to build part of the Senior Housing envisioned two years ago. Why are we not actually building something there, I wonder, now?

Well folks, the real reason I suspect is uncertainty, now, whether the project will “work”. Can a private developer actually build new senior housing and make a profit in the long run by doing so. Why did such a project look so good two years ago and now we await ………? Is that Mark Rohr’s fault, or the fault of the Master Developer? Maybe, in part, those two entities made a mistake, but they are not alone as well. Again, people with money, investors, see what is going on in Joplin today. No wonder they are reluctant, now, to invest in a city all wrapped around its own axle trying to decide which way is forward, today.

Finally our schools. We are almost complete in rebuilding new schools after the destruction from the tornado. Has anyone stepped back and considered how remarkable that single achievement might be? Three years and, what, some five new schools and the money to pay for them. That alone is a real achievement, along with the political courage to ask for and receive new taxes to support that effort. And that of course ignores the way our students have remained in schools for the interim three years, in a Mall for goodness sakes, and a good place it seems to educate high schoolers in the transistion.

Note we are not just rebuilding a destroyed facility. We are building a really new facility in our High School that should far exceed the capacity and equipment for education far into the future. That alone is significant in my view.

Yet here we are now arguing over money. Did we spend it wisely? Have we hired the wrong staff, mistreated teachers, failed to provide a “worker friendly” environment for both teachers and students, and the list of complaints goes on and on from some sectors in this city. And along with all those complaints, the old “hero” (Dr. Huff) has now been tarnished and accused of lots of malfeasance, by some malcontents at least, one previously fired teacher being the ringleader of that bunch.

Summing up, I see 9/11 and the tornado as similar events, events of destruction. In both cases the country and the city of Joplin joined hands, for a while, and began to first recover from destruction and then reconstitute a new nation and city. That effort, the aftermath of destruction, lasted for about three years in both cases.

Then the great divide came upon us, politically. Ever since that began, political division in about 2004 nationally and 2013 or early 2014 locally, well here we are today.

I for one don’t like it but as well see not solution in both cases, other than superb leadership by brave men and women ready to stand in the face of adversity and do the next right thing.

In both cases as well, in our country and our city, I not only see old wounds still festering, but new ones being created every day by all the arguing and dissent seen all about us today, in America and Joplin. That to me is a sad state of affairs for all of us.


June 13, 2014


I nearly fell out of my chair, reading an AOL News headline that Governor Romney is quietly trying to establish himself as the new kingmaker in the GOP. No way Mitch, you are tarnished goods in my view. And so are all the current GOP members of Congress as well.

The Democrats got it right back in 1992. After a small disaster from the Carter Presidency, followed by 12 years of GOP governance, they found an obscure Governor in a small state that rose to rescue the party from more dominance by the GOP. I suspect that all Americans, other than the extreme right wing of evangelicals and armed radicals, would welcome Bill Clinton back as a moderate (by comparison to Obama or Bush II) president.

I thought the GOP as a national party had learned a lesson from the Akin senatorial campaign in Missouri. Never again elect in a GOP primary someone that caters to the extreme right wing, in terms of faith, guns, limited government, etc. But then look what the “confederates” just did in Virginia, to Congressman Cantor.

Governor Romney would have been a less divisive president today than Obama, in my view. But he was tainted by extreme right wing rhetoric during the primary campaign and he never recovered from such actions, from within his own party. He had to go too far to the right to win the primary election within the GOP and never made it back to mainstream political thoughts in America and he never will do so in the future, in my view.

The GOP needs, desperately to find a popular GOP governor, someone that served two terms, was popular within his state and achieved significant goals with conservative principles. There are such men and women in America today and they need to come out of obscurity and be heard on a national level, today.

Jeb Bush would fit that call to a tee, except his name his Bush. No way can he call all Americans back to the fold with conservative views, simply because he has the wrong (to win a Presidential election) last name, today. He would have to spend most of his campaign defending the decisions made by his own brother, for Christ’s sake.

Imagine as well a Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush campaign. Both would have to defend their two different Presidents, Bush II and Obama. I would suggest the country wants nothing of the sort, lame defenses of mistakes made in the past. The country wants fresh ideas, conservative and liberal alike and a Clinton/Bush campaign would only be rearguing the past, like torture versus Benghazi as just an example!!!

I would love nothing more than to clear the Presidential deck of all candidates that have participated in national level decisions in the federal government since 2000, the year America turned south, politically.

Go find two former governors, both of whom succeeded as governors and were popular in their states as well. One would have found success of a sort using liberal ideas and the other conservative ones. Run on those records and start afresh to argue how best to apply those principles to national and international affairs, wrenching decisions now upon us as a result of past mistakes by BOTH political parties.


June 3, 2014


I share the relief to see one American soldier freed from brutal, maybe, captivity. Now let’s glory in that moment and move on, right? But I hesitate as well and ask “what is the price” of that freedom?

I hope for an interesting discussion on such a topic. But that won’t happen now as the political battle lines have already been formed. And to see Ted Cruz, a politician that I do not particularly like, taking one side is really bad in my view. Now we are going to hear Tea Party vs. Dems all the time on an important topic, the price of freedom.

First permit me to lay out the basic facts of this case that few will dispute. The Taliban held an American soldier captive for five years and just released him back to America in exchange for five prisoners held in Gitmo. Simple factual series of events, right?

Now certainly negotiations took place to reach such an agreement. Things had to be coordinated and in the end America had to pay a price, release of five prisoners in exchange for one America prisoner. Was that deal a good one, in terms of American interests?

Well to evaluate that question we must know more about the six men involved. We know little or nothing, publicly, yet about the one American. All we know is he was a soldier in Afghanistan. Was he a good soldier doing his absolute best to fight for his country and willing to sacrifice his life in doing so? OR instead did he willingly leave the scene of battle and “go over to the enemy” based on his own choice in the matter? I submit none of us publicly know the answer to that question, yet. Should we know it, the answer, or the variations in between those two extremes?

We on the other hand have heard at least from the likes of Ted Cruz that the five men given in exchange for our one soldier were hard core terrorists. Is he wrong and those five men have been “turned” to at least no longer try to remain involved in terrorism? Should such questions be asked and answered simply to see if the deal made was in American best interests?

Here is where I stand so far on that single point, the attributes of all six men and how they may act in the future. I believe that our soldier had some issues with American involvement in Afghanistan. Did he take those issues to the extreme and actually DESERT his duties? I don’t know yet, but I do know desertion is a criminal act under military law. So did our soldier break such a law? I don’t know but sure would like a truthful answer, with no politics involved.

Note: I wrote the above paragraph yesterday but did not post it. Today in an AP article the story told was that in 2010 the Department of Defense had concluded that the soldier in question had “walked away from his unit”. No that does not sound like desertion while under fire in the face of the enemy. The soldier seems to have just gotten “pissed off” with his unit, its presence in Afghanistan perhaps, and simply walked away from wherever the unit was located, wandered off into ….. and now we hear the rest of the story. Was he a traitor, did he desert or was he simply Absent Without Leave (for 5 years)? Cut it anyway you like, it seems he made a choice to “walk away”. That is a crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Forget “negotiating with terrorists” for the moment and ask if we should “pay a price” for a traitor or deserter.

Now let’s look at the “other side” in terms of what did the Taliban get in this exchange. My sense of the matter is they got five hard core terrorists that will now go back to fighting against America in some form or the other. Will our guy do the same, go back to fight for America? Add that up and I get Taliban 5, America 0 in such an exchange.

Now let’s go to a deeper fundamental issue, obeying American law. There is no dispute it seems that American law was secretly, at first, knowingly violated. The LAW SAYS, no prisoner from Gitmo will be released without notifying Congress 30 days in advance of such release, period.

Yet the Executive Branch of American government decided, for whatever reason(s), to break the law in this case. OK was that administration correct in doing so? Frankly, I don’t know yet, do you?

All I have heard so far is time was of the essence as the American soldier was in bad health. Well at least he was not dead as almost all American soldiers captured in that war became, soon after their capture, by the Taliban. Why I wonder was this soldier treated differently? Should it make a difference in our attempt to “negotiate with terrorists”?

Time certainly never appeared to be the essence as John McCain lay in captivity in probably far worse conditions than this one American soldier. We awaited the end of the war to get McCain and many others back to America. So what was different in this instance?

Never do I call for blind adherence to all laws in America. Violation of laws can in fact be justified and such violations exonerated in a court of law or even by an unbiased prosecutor that chooses to not bring charges in some cases, or a Grand Jury that refuses to indict a man even though technical laws were violated.

But I submit that when any Executive Power knowingly chooses to violate the law that such powers tell “we the people” the rationale for doing so, on the front page of a newspaper depending on the degree of public interest and concern over a given matter.

This of course raises historical comparisons. I call it the “lame excuse” history if you will. The Executive Power decided to not rescue dying Americans and implied the attackers were taking such actions “because of a video”. Now we move heaven and earth, pay a price, to rescue one American soldier because “he is in ill health”. One “lame excuse” followed by another one to me shows a pattern of lame excuses that don’t line up with reality.

One final point. The Secretary of Defense stated “We did not negotiate with terrorists” for this exchange. That should never pass any sniff test from anyone. It is bald faced spin on such a matter. Of course we negotiated with the Taliban, but only through a third party, passing notes back and forth. So admit it Mr. Secretary of Defense. We negotiated the release of a prisoner from the hands of the Taliban. Maybe that was a good thing to do. But don’t try to spin it otherwise, as no negotiation with terrorists.

OK, maybe the Taliban are not terrorists!! Go ahead and make that case to the American (or Afghanistan) public!!


May 30, 2014


As acknowledged in its editorial, today (Friday, May 30, 2014) was a “bad day” for local public education. Three different public school sex scandals were reported in varying stages of adjudication. But, cautioned the Globe, the numbers of sexual predators is very small indeed and there a lots of good people in the public school system that deserve credit as well.

I disagree with that slant in the editorial. I simply don’t know just how big the problem, sex in our public schools in varying forms and degrees, might be.

I am sure there are very few “Crazy Majors” in our military, an Islamic extremist that killed 13 people in the name of Allah. There are probably fewer such men (no women found yet) in that category in our military than there are sexual predators wandering the halls of public schools. But then one is too many as well.

Sure one “Crazy Major” is one too many. But we took care of him, legally. The big question for me is why that one “Crazy Major” was not found and removed from the military service long before he killed someone. Just how many more such monsters (or monsters to be) are roaming the grounds of military bases is also an important question to be addressed, is it not?

I am dated by some six years now, but I do recall being rather surprised in the early part of the 21st Century when I observed “sex in the halls” of public schools. No I don’t meant the “depends upon what is, is” type of sex, real sex if you will. But what I would call “public displays of affection” was rather pronounced way back when. Quick feels, passionate embraces, deep kisses, all within the halls of public schools was, well call it a lot different from what I was allowed to do way back when. And when such things happened, rather frequently in my view, I saw “administrators” just walk on by as if nothing untoward was taking place within the ranks of students in high school.

Now is that something to worry about today in public education? OK, maybe not as kids will be kids, highly hormonal kids for sure at age 15 or 16, so why bother?

But for sure when teachers get involved in sex, real sex and take pictures of it, well hello one “Crazy Major” right. But again, according to the Globe the numbers of teachers so engaged is miniscule so let’s focus on the positive. Not quite so fast is my call.

Are our schools looking hard for the precursors, actions that are not yet “illegal” but are certainly, well what word to use, right. Is “unseemly”, “untoward”, etc. better words? I suggest looking hard for precursors of illegal sexual activity in public schools by teachers are appropriate and needed today. Said another way, teachers should be held to higher standards in such activity, standards above that expected of a “man (or woman) in the streets”.

I know of one very big example of a public school taking action when a “precursor” was revealed. Yep, it was, in my view, the infamous Turner Case. BUT, I do not call Turner a predator either. For sure he stepped across no legal lines. He is free to write and publish whatever he chooses to write and publish as far as I am concerned. And if his written descriptions are a “little quirky”, well that is not illegal.

But the real question, at least in my mind, in that case, the Turner Case, was wondering whether private “sexual quirkiness” is a line that teachers should never cross. OK that is debatable, maybe as well. But when such descriptions of teenage sex are espoused as political satire and thus defended, publically, well that line I see as a big red one and not to be crossed by any teacher anywhere, any time. For such people the next line might well become ……. We can then read all about it in the Globe when that happens.

I knew Randy Turner only by his written words in his long running blog until his termination became a very public matter, at his choosing. While I have long disagreed with his blog, the themes or content of the blog, never did I believe he should have been fired for such views as well. BUT, when I read his book, saw evidence of pushing that book into the awareness of 11, 12 and 13 year old kids, well he went far too far in my view and received just punishment, termination, for his actions and yes his “quirkiness” if you will.

But as well, I am not trying to retry the Turner Case, again. I am also not trying to “pick on” Randy Turner, again, either.

What I am saying however is I’m not sure how many teachers have demonstrated the precursors of being “Crazy Majors”. I do believe that deserves serious discussion and considerations of further actions by administrators and BOEs to minimize the number of teachers that come close or cross the lines of being “untoward, quirky or unseemly” or other words to describe people that fail to meet higher standards to remain as teachers of kids in public schools.

Lots of people get in big trouble today for being “politically incorrect”. When was the last time someone got into trouble for being “sexually incorrect” I wonder? Is the legal line the only one that counts in that category today in America, even for teachers who spend a whole career shaping the minds of young children in public schools?

I add before closing with another “you can’t believe what he said this time” observation. Based on what I saw in hallways of public schools several years ago, we don’t need pornographic novels to “teach kids sex of the quirky sort”. They are teaching it to themselves in schools today and teachers let them get away with it all the time!! Welcome to public schools in America, today.


May 23, 2014


Go to and just read the speech.

Never have I read or heard a better one, one that is applicable to every individual in America, or the world for that matter.

It takes about ten minutes to read the whole speech. I did not watch the video either as I wanted to just read and consider what was said. I am now tempted to memorize the whole speech but probably won’t do that as it is too “hard”, right!!

One key point, for me at least was the simple fact that no SEAL trainee had ever been bitten and killed by a shark attack, ever as far as I can tell. No they don’t swim around looking for sharks to punch in the nose, but they are trained to stand their ground and punch hard when attacked, by a shark. And it does not take a big man to do that either. All it takes is a very brave man, to even consider “swimming with sharks” which we all have to do sometimes in our lives. Someday there will be small women punching sharks in the nose as well. More power to them in my view for being willing to give it their all, all the time, beginning with “making a damned bed”, every day!!


May 20, 2014


I direct this blog to disgruntled teachers, specifically but the views apply to any disgruntled employee (including supervisory employees) as well. I do so because much is being said in Joplin today about the concerns of teachers and how they are being “treated” by the R-8 administration and the Board of Education.

Believe you me, I have been a disgruntled employee many times during my professional life and a disgruntled student while undergoing my education. I know how it feels to think you are being ignored, picked upon, singled out for disdain or disciplinary action, etc. I would add that most of the time such concerns were a figment of my own imagination. Fear drives many wrong decisions and even despicable actions, made by fearful people at all levels of society.

Think about it. Does anger precede fear, or instead do you become angry only after you fear you will lose something or not get something you want? Which comes first in the emotional process of normal humans? My experience is fear prompts many angry reactions and it all originates within me alone.

What is the usual emotional reaction to fear by almost any animal and of course humans? It is called “fight or flight” and if you watch carefully it happens all the time, particularly from emotional people. Go to a “haunted house” and watch kids, or adults for that matter when something jumps out of the dark and says “Boo!”. Most will jump, maybe cover their ears or eyes (a form of flight from reality) and cling to others for support. A few will instinctively get ready to fight the object jumping out at them. Very few will just stand and think, “This is just a game, entertainment and is not a real threat to me”.

Individual employees sometimes get angry about conditions found in the workplace. Say the boss is domineering, or at least seems to be acting that way against one employee. Which comes first, anger at the boss or fear of being disciplined, unfairly perhaps? Sometimes the two reactions, normal human reactions seem to happened together, in a “split second” perhaps. But anger is usually the “fight” side of the emotional reaction to fear. Maybe you see the boss headed your way however you “fear him” and just try to “stay out of his way”. In other words, without thinking about it “flight” comes before “fight”, emotionally.

It seems to me that the best defense against either “fight or flight” reactions, emotional reactions, is clear and cold logic. Instead of emotions holding sway over your actions, logic becomes the basis of such actions, usually a verbal response or lack thereof, at least initially. The old adage of think before you act becomes good advice in such situations. Use logic, careful thinking to control human emotions. That will keep you out of trouble, deserved or not, more often than not, in my experience.

Of course such control applies to both the boss and the employee. Any boss or supervisor that just “flies off the handle” all the time is a very poor supervisor. The same applies to disgruntled employees, always on the lookout for the slightest perceived threat from a supervisor. Look closely enough with a closed mind and either will find an excuse to react, emotionally.

Now let’s talk about the “thinking” or perceived at least logical responses to workplace issues. Again, the supervisor (at any level) does or says something you don’t like to hear or see. I would first of all suggest you ask yourself “How important is that action” by someone else? Is it a real threat to me or my friends or am I making a mountain out of a mole hill? I have to ask myself that question all the time when I start to react to an action or comment made by my wife. If I let “fight or flight” dictate my response well now we are headed for an argument. But if I just think about the situation, well all sorts of other options become available to me.

Most sane couples learn to “talk about it” when such events arise. Any good marriage counselor tells you to do the same thing. Maybe the issue is so big that a disinterested third party, a marriage counselor, is needed to control the emotions. But most couples that remain couples learn to deal with each other by talking through the issues confronting them. If they don’t do that, routinely, well hello divorce court or at least frequent separations, even just a “storm out of the house and…..” for an evening.

Using personal examples, arguing with your spouse for example, has a direct correlation to dealing with differences in the work place, in my experience. No you don’t sleep with your boss (if you have any sense), eat meals with your supervisor on a routine basis, live with your supervisor all the time, etc. but you do have to work with your supervisor for about 2000 hours per year. If the two of you just hate each other, well how long will you stay in a relationship with someone that you hate?

Is not the solution obvious to resolve differences between supervisors and employees or even between employees and other peers or employees? You must learn to talk through such differences and not just react emotionally to them. How many divorces or angry separations could be avoided if two people just sat down and TALKED through their differences and reached some form of resolution, a compromise if you will?

But people are usually afraid to do exactly that, talk instead of reacting out of fear and anger, use a third party as well, learn to understand WHY the other side is acting as they act, etc. Hell’s bells wars are avoided between countries when that happens most of the time.

Instead, individuals that get and remain angry with their boss(es) try hard to find or convince others that they too should be angry. The angry employee does what countries do, they seek allies to join them against the supervisor or the whole company. Angry supervisors do the same thing and try to find other supervisors that don’t like a group of employees and they might well join to together to “go after” such groups of employees. It is a natural human instinct, seek allies to join the fight and fights get big when that happens.

I also have observed that when large groups “go after” each other it becomes much harder to compromise and resolve issues. The situation becomes a study in “mob thinking”, group dynamics, etc. and those get really complicated in my experience. Managers, owners, supervisors form up on one side and unions form on the other side. When that happens, well watch out.

Now back to the obviously good but sometimes seldom used practices in disputes. If people have to talk to people that means face to face. Anonymity does not work, face to face. You can’t “hide” when you really talk to someone. And of course that takes courage to go “one-on-one”. Many supervisors that I have known lack such courage, to be able to sit down and explain why they did something. They fall back on the “just do what I say” type reaction, which of course fails every time in the long run. When higher level supervisors do that to the floor level supervisors you usually see a pissed off floor level supervisor do you not?

Now for teachers in Joplin right now and how all this applies to them, and to the supervisors monitoring teachers, supervising them if you will. When issues arise they must TALK with each other to resolve the differences. But I see many frequent occasions where that just does not happen, period.

I have recently heard of (second hand information only) a public official say “I just can’t work with …….” I have heard employees say the same thing as all of us have heard in our lives. Of course the solution is to LEARN to work with someone you don’t like. Otherwise divorce is the only solution. Someone has to leave and when that happens well people start arguing over “coat hangers” in my experience, directly when I went through a divorce and have seen others do so as well. Rarely do you observe an amicable divorce. Such “friendliness” is just a facade.

One final point, another obvious point to me. There is a mini-war going on today in Joplin between SOME teachers and the R-8 administration. The evidence of such is the Turner Report, a blog written by a former teacher that in his view was gravely mistreated, wrongfully fired, and he has conducted a two year vendetta against one man, the local Superintendent of Schools.

First I wonder how many times those two men have actually sat down, one-on-one with each other to resolve the differences, big differences today. My guess is zero is that number, never have they tried to understand, really understand, each other. Instead the author of the Turner Report has routinely and frequently launched public attacks against the Superintendent in a public blog and the Superintendent ignores what is written about him by the attacker. As well both men conduct “secret war” against each other trying hard to find as much dirt as possible against the other.

But more important, look at the Turner Report. Just this week there was another scathing blog against the Superintendent, only one of many such blogs over the last two years. There were 45 comments to that blog, almost all of them supporting the attack against the Superintendent. There were only TWO comments with a first name attached, real or not who knows, and both of those comments were inane to say the least. EVERY OTHER comment, almost all adding fuel to the fire against the Superintendent were anonymous, no names, links, etc. attached showing who was against the Superintendent.

To me that is pure cowardice, plain and simple. Such anonymous commenters will say they are “afraid to use their name because……” It is dumb, lacks any sense of courage, shows an unwillingness to stand tall and show why you are right to hold the views held, etc. It is exactly like a group of disgruntled teachers “hiding in a teacher break room” and slamming the Principal of a school for his actions but doing nothing constructive to make the Principal stop acting that way!!! Bitching about problems never solves problems in my experience. It is just emotional anger and is not in any way constructive. But I admit it makeS you feel good, to just bitch.

In a previous blog I revealed a terrible example, terrible if my view at least, of the failure to conduct a reasonable exit interview with a disgruntled teacher, one quitting after nine years to sell real estate instead of pursuing a teaching career any further. I won’t say more on that situation other than it is despicable, in my view, that such happened. Even if it was just a one -time event and never before or since has happened, well I would still not tolerate such a thing from anyone that worked for me, period.

At a minimum, if I was the “boss of that boss” I would have the two individuals in my office to find out what happened and why it happened and form a solution to ensure it NEVER happened again within MY organization, period. I would also suggest that it does not take “administrative power”, legal power, whatever kind of power you choose to seek OTHER than pure and simple moral power. Some things are just right and others just wrong and no one needs a lawyer or “court” to make such decisions.

I don’t know just how big the group is that resents the hell out of the actions of the Superintendent of Schools in R-8, or all the other (or some of the other) people in “administrative positions”. But I have read enough and heard enough to be concerned about it. Yes, the recent election for a new BOE showed popular voter ideas but for sure no resolution was reached to resolve such differences and move on as a team to make public education better in Joplin. The “war” continues now and it remains destructive as all wars do, destroy any sense of attempts to cooperate and resolve differences other than the raw use of power.

I can as well almost assure the disgruntled teachers that only work anonymously to “fight the system” that they will fail in any efforts of “fix the system”, even if the systems need corrective action(s). If all one does is bitch and complain anonymously you will never get the public support to gain real traction or power to find and then implant reasonable corrective action. Just screaming, anonymously, that someone “needs to be fired” rarely works in my experience. It might make you feel good, to fuel your own emotional anger (that is usually originated in fear), but it doesn’t work well in the long run.

I also believe a public response is not needed yet, in this current situation involving SOME (how many I have no idea) teachers against the R-8 administration. When the gloves really need to come off to get things done it is best to do so in private. Speeches made AFTER a negotiation that reaches resolution are fine. But such negotiations need to be behind closed doors as well as the details of compromise are sought by reasonable people or parties.

By the way, in my very personal view, Randy Turner is NOT a reasonable man when it comes to his deep resentment, personal and deep resentment, against Dr. Huff. On the other hand and based on several years of very private discussions with him, I believe Dr. Huff is VERY reasonable and wants to find better ways to improve public education in Joplin. So yes, I take sides in that matter and would not do well as a disinterested third party to negotiate resolution. But I will also tell all interested that I have tried to privately “talk” (by email) to Randy Turner but have yet to receive anything back other than public shots against me in his blog. OK, one time he publicly agreed with my one view on a particular matter but he even said he regretted having to do so, agree with me!!!

I will also admit that after about 16 years since my divorce I still have zero communications with my ex-wife. But at least she doesn’t blog about me!!! Instead, divorce happened and both of us just try now (and for 16 years) to move on with our lives, separately which is OK with both of us as well. I also honestly wish her well and have always felt that way, after we stopped arguing over coat hangers.


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