Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Picture Worth A Thousand Votes

A Picture Worth A Thousand Votes
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
December 25, 2011

Gin and tonic, please.

Certainly, sir. May I see your ID please?

That’s it! Call Jesse; call the ACLU – you’re a racist!

Are you as incredulous reading this as I was writing it? I certainly hope so.

Asking someone to produce an item that identifies him/herself as who he/she claims to be is neither racist, nor disenfranchising as Attorney General Eric Holder would have the nation believe as he attempts to eliminate any form of identification standards for potential voters.

As responsible American citizens we are asked to show proof of age and/or identity when purchasing alcohol, cigarettes, lottery tickets, real estate, automobiles, checking in at an airport or hotel, gaining admittance into secure locations, when writing checks and even when using a credit card at times. Do I understand correctly, that no one without an ID does any of the above? Or drives? Or has a bank account? Wow, what cloistered little lives they must lead.

Why when asked to produce a valid photo ID at the ballot box, do some people go completely apoplectic?

For those American citizens for whom voting is that important, and it should be that important, and who do not possess a valid photo ID – get one. Yes, it is that simple. Holder is using cost as an excuse why the old, young, and minorities would be disenfranchised by the heinous requirement of an identification card. But that excuse is disingenuous at best as the state of South Carolina, whose voter ID law Holder just struck down on Friday, December 23, will provide said identification gratis to its Palmetto State citizens.

The State of Georgia attempted to do likewise, yet the ACLU still objected, calling the voter ID a racist attempt to disenfranchise minorities who could not get to the ID producing locales. Georgia then offered to go to the voters who were unable to make the allegedly arduous trek to procure their own ID card.

States could establish mobile ID producing units and send them to bars, liquor stores, kiosks at shopping malls, airports and anywhere else ID may be required to provide them for those who claim the cost to get them would be too prohibitive or that they could not travel to get them for the same reason. (Once those without ID get them, I’d like to see the voter turnout statistics as compared with the rest of the voting populous.)

And what will Holder’s next complaint be once the ID-less become identifiable? The old, young and minorities are being disenfranchised because they can’t afford to take the time from their low-paying job to go and cast their ballot? Or perhaps those same groups can’t go vote because they can’t afford to take the bus, taxicab or other paid mode of transportation? There will always be something about which to complain. But while thousands of people behaved with violence and mob-like mentality last week for the opportunity to spend $180 on a pair of sneakers, how many of those very people will be in line to vote on Election Day?

Only those seeking to defraud the system and thus the republican process of legally electing representatives would object to a voter ID requirement. Without voter ID laws firmly ensconced someone else could claim to be you or me and thus disenfranchise us by stealing our precious votes – and those votes are indeed precious.

Demanding that a potential voter properly identify him/herself is not a suppression of voters’ rights, but instead a protection of voters’ rights and the suppression of potential voter fraud. The Wisconsin ACLU claimed voters’ 14th Amendment rights are violated and a “severe burden” (WI ACLU) is placed upon them in spite of a Supreme Court April 2008 ruling that states can require voters to produce photo ID without violating their Constitutional rights.

The law “is amply justified by the valid interest in protecting ‘the integrity and reliability of the electoral process,’” wrote now retired Justice John Paul Stevens for the six to three majority in the 2008 ruling. Stevens, a typically reliable liberal, was joined by associate justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Chief Justice John Roberts, all conservatives, save for Kennedy a moderate swing voter. Backers of the decision said it was vital to squelch voter fraud.

Those opposing the High Court ruling were traditional liberal associate justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the now retired David Souter. ACLU legal director Ken Falk said such voter ID laws tend to inhibit voting yet could produce no supporting evidence.

“We cannot conclude that the statute imposes ‘excessively burdensome requirements’ on any class of voters,” continued Stevens in his opinion for the majority.

“The universally applicable requirements of Indiana voter-identification law are eminently reasonable. The burden of acquiring, possessing and showing a free photo identification is simply not severe, because it does not ‘even represent a significant increase over the usual burdens of voting,’” wrote Justice Scalia, also for the majority.

Now there is a corrupt Justice Department led by an incompetent attorney general – see also the Fast and Furious scandal Holder claims to know nothing about – who wants to eradicate all voter identification laws because of the potential inconvenience it might impose on some old, young and minority voters. This is the same AG and Justice Department that ignored the New Black Panther Party blatant and overt voter intimidation activities in Philadelphia on Election Day 2008.

Not only does Holder need to resign, but perhaps face charges for fraud, perjury and corrupt practices. But more importantly, while Holder is merely a symptom, it is vital that all 50 states in the Union ensure their 10th Amendment rights to create laws that the federal government does not create and protect the rights of all legal voting American citizens by requiring them to properly identify themselves prior to casting their all-important ballot on each and every election day.

Voter fraud comes at a cost of up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine, which should be upheld to the maximum in order to send a message that voting is a privilege and shall not be infringed upon by miscreants who would steal an election that could not otherwise be won.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Keep Your Shirts On

Keep Your Shirts On
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
December 24, 2011

The administrators at the Oak Hill School in Newton, MA must have acorns for brains.

Taking political correctness to its most vituperative point yet, this suburban Boston middle school is banning the wearing of what it calls “celebratory clothing” in the schools serving grades six through eight.

Such clothing would include articles that refer to a classmate’s recent celebration such as a birthday, bar or bat mitzvah or sweet 16 (which presumably would be for a 10th or 11th grader).

In a continuing attempt to coddle children and protect them from the big bad world outside the four walls of the sanitized school community, Oak Hill principal Eva Thompson said “we’re trying to be as inclusive as possible,” noting that the wearing of such celebratory garments would hurt the feelings of those students who were excluded or not invited to such events.

While Thompson said this is not enforceable school policy and no punishment will be meted out against the violators of this suggested practice, she also noted that class time is being used to discuss this issue. And one wonders why the United States educational system is in such crisis and falling further and further behind the rest of the civilized world.

Not only is such a discussion a colossal waste of time, time that should be spent on academics, but entertaining it as a potential punishable policy is beyond ludicrous. Administrators and teachers need to stop coddling their students and students need to learn sooner rather than later that the world is full of disappointment and uninvited parties.

First there are sports leagues that don’t keep score and award all its participants a trophy. That simply is not how the real world works, but there are supporters of this clothing policy, excuse me, suggestion, who believe that is exactly how the real world should work. Well, I’m sorry, this isn’t Fantasy Island and I am not Mr. Roarke. The real world has winners and losers and the sooner children learn how to lose graciously as well as win the same way – I fervently believe in sportsmanship – the easier they will adapt to the real world.

After all, if these middle schoolers are prohibited from wearing the aforementioned garments for fear it might hurt the feeling of their classmates, will the prom be cancelled when they reach high school if not all the students have dates for such a momentous occasion?

Where will it end? Will students be told they can’t wear the jersey of the winning super bowl team because some of their classmates rooted for the losing team and their feelings might be hurt? Will the school bar its own athletes from wearing their own team jerseys on game day simply because some of their classmates didn’t make the team?

My high school football team wore its jerseys on Fridays prior to the Saturday game as a way to inject some school spirit into the building and encourage more people to attend the game. No one’s psyche was damaged by that because they were not part of the team. I know, I was one of those students not physically talented enough to play any of the sports – I wanted to, but my talents lie elsewhere.

Should schools not have writing societies, student newspapers or poetry slams because not all the students are talented enough to participate? What are those students who get rejected by colleges going to do if they do not know how to handle rejection?

Rejection is part of life. The guy doesn’t always get the girl; the applicant doesn’t always get the job; we’re not all going to be professional athletes, president of the United States or CEO of a Fortune 500 firm – that’s life.

It’s already bad enough that so many schools have sanitized themselves to the point that songs mentioning Christmas cannot be sung during a winter concert, that displays of Christmas and Chanukah are banned, that even the exchange of holiday specific greetings are frowned upon.

If the school, or any school, seeks to prevent what they envision as potential problems due to wardrobe concerns, make the leap and require uniforms of the students. I taught at schools with uniform/dress code demands and I support it as a workable plan.

If you think this unofficial policy is as absurd as I think it is, call Principal Thompson at Oak Hill Middle School, 617-559-9200 and politely offer your thoughts on the matter.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Voting is for Citizens, Mr. Mayor

Voting is for Citizens, Mr. Mayor
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
December 21, 2011

In what should be as big an insult and affront to every American voter and legal immigrant, as one can muster, New Haven, CT Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. is calling for illegals to have the right to vote in municipal elections.

Sounds like a cry for help or a reason for recall – either way, DeStefano, a Democrat, should be out on his tuchus. Demonstrative of his complete bastardization of the laws of this country, DeStefano likened the “plight” of illegals to that of blacks and women prior to their legal enfranchisement in 1870 and 1920 respectively, thanks to the 15th and 19th amendments to the United States Constitution. What a slap in the face of the formerly disenfranchised who, as legal citizens, struggled for years to achieve suffrage. Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony must be apoplectic from the great beyond spinning in their graves like dreidels at Chanukah.

DeStefano said the definition of what it means to be a citizen has changed over time. Seems a citizen is person who pledges allegiance not just to a land, but its laws, rules, concepts, values and is legal recognized by the government. The first act committed by an illegal alien upon invading our borders was to break the law – certainly not the sign of a good citizen.

New Haven, already a sanctuary city, shields a population of roughly 12,000 illegals. This in a city that cast fewer than 15,000 votes in its last mayoral election out of the approximately 64,000 registered voters (New Haven Register) and boasts a population of over 123,000 (

“If you live here, you pay taxes here, and send your kids to school here, you should be able to vote,” said DeStefano, reelected in November to an unprecedented 10th term as mayor. He further went on to say that undocumented residents deserve the same rights as other minorities. In 2007 the city provided illegals with municipal identification cards giving them access to banks and banking – under the auspices of the DeStefano regime.

How insanely obtuse is DeStefano? Does he not comprehend the rule of law? These roughly 12,000 illegals have invaded the United States. They have broken the law. And this clearly un-American mayor wants to reward miscreants and scofflaws with the privilege of the vote. I’m becoming more incensed reading each word as I write them. This is outrageous and should be an impeachable offense by DeStefano.

DeStefano absurdly suggested that there are 5,000 non-New Haven citizens at Yale University – but they are there legally. Where he was going with that nebulous thought?

Regardless of DeStefano’s convoluted desire, the Connecticut state legislature would have to approve such a scheme, and they do not reconvene until February. Additionally, Governor Dan Malloy (D) said he is “leery” of such a plan and unsure if he would sign it into law should it reach his desk.

New Haven is not the first municipality to attempt to undertake such a dissident and licentious plan to reward lawbreakers with privileges granted to law abiding citizens. San Francisco and Portland (OR) have also considered such egregious behavior in their own cities, but have not enacted such dubious legislation – yet.

Wise up Mayor DeStefano and any other municipal leader considering such vituperative action against the honest, law abiding, legally registered voters of your communities. Enacting such an anti-American plan could cost such municipalities federal dollars and even tourist dollars from real Americans who believe in the rule of law and not rewarding criminal behavior.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

Get Back to Work - While You Can

Get Back to Work – While You Can
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
December 21, 2011

It’s an ugly irony.

While millions of Americans are out of work, the two houses of Congress are engaging in a childish game of chicken to see who will blink first on the payroll tax cut.

The irony is that these 535 men and women have jobs – and darned good paying ones at that – but won’t do them. In a self-congratulatory moment of Congressional fist-bumping or high-fiving (depending upon your generation) the Senate deigned to show up on Saturday, December 17 to cast an important vote regarding the extension of the payroll tax cut, unemployment insurance an approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline project.

In a bipartisan Christmas miracle the Senate voted 89-10 (Rand Paul [R-KY] not voting) in favor of the aforementioned bill. They then adjourned for the Chanukah, Christmas, New Years’ break – fleeing Washington, DC and scurrying to the four corners of the US like cockroaches when the lights are turned on.

But while the Senate turned off their lights, the House still had to cast its votes on the Senate bill before sending it to Mr. Obama for his seal of approval – or veto – as he threatened should a bill include the job creating pipeline project.

The problem is, the Democrat-controlled Senate assumed their version of the bill was a winner. Well, we all know what happens when one assumes. The Senate bill granted relief for a mere two months. In its coward-like manner, the Senate kicked the can down the road, as is the oft-used phrase on The Hill, to fight this fight another day.

Meanwhile, the GOP-led House rejected the Senate version on Tuesday, December 20 by a vote of 229-193 with 13 members not casting a ballot. The House favors a full year extension instead of the two months approved by the Senate.

With the Senate chamber dark, nothing will be accomplished until after the calendar strikes 2012 and roughly 160 million Americans see their tax bill rise an average of $1,000 or $40 per pay period on a $50,000 annual income. Additionally, nearly two million unemployed people would lose benefits of roughly $300 per week.

This kind of half-assed effort extolls little in the form of confidence by the business community with nary a reason to begin hiring again. A two month extension probably costs more in paperwork than it’s worth to the people.

The Senate needs to support a bill with more guts in it than those who vote on it. Both parties need to stop playing politics with the lives of the people they purport to represent. We the people sent you there and we the people can summarily boot you to the curb. Do your jobs before the voters find others who will and you can join the ranks of the unemployed come January 2013.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Banner Has Protesters in the Pits

Christmas Banner Has Protesters in the Pits
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
December 15, 2011

Pitman, NJ is a quiet south Jersey borough roughly 15 miles south of Philadelphia boasting a population of just over 9,200 people. However that quiet has erupted into a din over the hanging of a sign across Broadway reading “Keep Christ in Christmas.”

According to Mayor Michael Patten, the Knights of Columbus sponsored sign has been hung for 60 years with nary a complaint. However, this year, an anonymous voice has expressed contempt for the sign saying that because the Borough fire department hung the sign and that the sign is hung on public property it is akin to an endorsement of Christianity by the Borough of Pitman.

This does not violate the Establishment Clause.

Borough attorney Brian Duffield confirmed that the sign is hung on a privately owned bank on one side and a utility pole on the other, which is also not owned by the borough.

Additionally, Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation claim that such a sign alienates and offends people of non-Christian faiths and those of no faith at all.

Once again, this is political correctness run completely amok. Christmas is a Christian holiday observing the birth of their savior Jesus Christ. Keeping Christ in Christmas is EXACTLY the correct thing to do. Show of hands: who, other than Christians, celebrates Christmas? If anyone other than Christians raised their hands, then they are enjoying the non-religious aspects Christmas has to offer – the tree, lights, decorations, egg nog and gifts.

As a non-Christian, let me assure Ms. Gaylor and the rest of her Freedom from Religion witch hunt, that I am not the least bit offended by the Knights’ sign. In fact, that is what Christmas is all about and should be revered and observed in the religious nature it was intended.

I am strong enough in my Jewish faith to neither be threatened by such a sign nor its message. I applaud its message because it hopefully will bring Christians closer to the real meaning of Christmas.

I will enjoy the lights flickering in and around my neighborhood, and not have to pay the electric bill, secure in the notion that freedom OF religion guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution will allow me to enjoy the lights flickering from my Chanukah menorah.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Is Romney the GOP’s Kerry?

Is Romney the GOP’s Kerry?
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
December 11, 2011

“One dollar. Fine.”

Thus the incredulous reaction of Dan Aykroyd’s Trading Places character Louis Winthorpe III upon finding out the value of the wager made by the uber-rich Duke brothers to maliciously toy with Winthorpe’s life allegedly in the interest of science.

For all their millions of dollars, the skin-flinted Duke brothers, played masterfully by Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy, would never wager more than their usual – one dollar, a lesson that could be learned by GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

During the candidate debate held on Saturday, December 10 in Des Moines, IA, home of the first in the nation caucuses, the former Massachusetts governor challenged sitting Texas Governor Rick Perry on an issue of disagreement with an outrageous wager of $10,000.

Such an amount is unseemly to most Americans and certainly to most Iowans. With the median income in the United States at $50,221 and $48,065 in Iowa (2009 figure from US Census Bureau), it would take two and a half months of Iowa income to reach the $10,000 mark, but apparently that is pocket change for Romney.

While I do not begrudge anyone the money they earn, such an outlandish suggested wager by Romney is both insensitive at a time of high unemployment in this country and demonstrative of his being pretentious and perhaps out of touch with the so-called average American.

It is this kind of pretentiousness by Romney that is reminiscent of Senator John Kerry (MA), the Democrat’s vanquished presidential candidate in 2004. Whether the video of him windsurfing or his mishandling of a food order, Kerry looked out of touch with the folks.

At the famous Pat’s Steaks in Philadelphia on August 11, 2003, Kerry committed the major faux pas of ordering his cheese steak with Swiss cheese instead of the traditional Provolone or Cheez Whiz ® and looked painfully out of his element in his attempt to eat the Philadelphia sandwich.

I have been attempting to avoid attacking any of the GOP candidates, save for Ron Paul, whose foreign policy ideas are so off the beaten path they would frighten even the most ardent of isolationists, as per Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment – thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican. The main reason for this is to avoid giving the Democrats fuel for their fire, especially knowing how Obama fights in the Chicago-style of campaigning. However, they will have all the firepower they need and want regardless of what I write here or anywhere else for that matter.

Hopefully, Romney will learn from this mild indiscretion. For if he is to be the GOP standard-bearer in 2012, Republicans nationwide will need to coalesce around him in order to take on Obama in the general election. It will be vital to support Romney in his effort to demonstrate why he is better suited to the presidency than the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Romney will need to point to the failed policies of Obama now that he has a record on which to run, unlike in 2008 when there was no record, no paper trail other than a long line of “present” votes.

In 2012 Obama will not possibly be able to stand on his record of failure and expect a second term coronation the media gave him prior to his first. Hopefully, if Romney is the GOP nominee, he will have learned his lesson during the playoffs and be ready for the championship.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Obama's Inconvenient Chanukah

Obama’s Inconvenient Chanukah
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
December 9, 2011

On Tuesday night, December 20 the worldwide Jewish community will gather around menorahs, light two candles, chant three blessings ushering in Chanukah – the Festival of Lights.

Except at the White House.

For at the Obama White House, Chanukah came early – “celebrated” last night – Thursday, December 8 – 12 nights prior to the advent of the actual observance.

This is just another insult from the Obama administration toward the Jewish people, not just in the United Stated, but the world over. Obama had his pick of eight nights from which to hold this so-called celebration. But because he feels compelled to take a 17 day vacation – the likes of which the average American who Obama claims to support would hardly be able to enjoy – he managed to squeeze in the Chanukah event to check off the box on his list of things to do.

Make no mistake, I don’t begrudge Obama, or any working person a vacation. In fact, the more time Obama spends driving golf balls is less time he can continue to drive the economy into the water.

Obama’s relationship with the Jewish community is approaching the critical list, as it should. He has demonstrated animus toward Israel, calling for a return to Israel’s 1967 borders, his cacophonous and insulting treatment of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and made overtures toward Israel’s enemies, who are also enemies of the United States. Why there are still members of the Jewish community who continue to support this man and this administration is completely nebulous. This should render the Jewish community apoplectic.

Obama proved his hypocrisy in his remarks, noting “our unshakable support and commitment to the security of the nation of Israel.” Not so, when calling for a return to the 1967 borders. It demonstrates his lack of historical knowledge and how obtuse he really is.

Obama also got it wrong when he said the Chanukah story is about “right over might.” Were it not for the Maccabees victory in war against the Assyrians, 167-165 BCE, the Jewish people may very well have been wiped out and there would be no Chanukah observance.

Liberal Jews, of which there are still far too many, will ebulliently praise this so-called Chanukah event. Look, he likes us; he likes us, a la Sally Field’s oft-mocked Academy Award speech from 1984. No, he merely gives lip service in an effort to placate the obsequious liberal Jewish community and protect a source of campaign funds. Obama is nothing short of licentious.

Does anyone believe Obama would schedule Ramadan or Eid celebrations on days other than the officially listed dates according to the Muslim calendar? Certainly not. He has bent over backwards and bowed down – literally to that community with which he so strongly identifies. What next – the Easter Egg Hunt in June? That just wouldn’t be kosher.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

GOP Should Play Trump Card

GOP Should Play Trump Card
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
December 9, 2011

Donald Trump may be the modern day P.T. Barnum, but one thing that hasn’t changed is that when the circus comes to town the big top is typically standing room only.

What are Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney afraid of by rejecting an invitation to appear in a debate on December 27 in Iowa moderated by Trump and sponsored by Newsmax? Whose advice are they listening to in making this shortsighted decision?

In this age of reality television, more people would rather watch dancing with the nitwits and have some moron voted off some stinking sewer trap than pay attention to a political debate with candidates, of which one will be elected to the most powerful office in the free world.

The stiff-necked pundits and candidate advisors who have the sense of humor of a dead troglodyte are taking themselves way too seriously. Make no mistake, these candidates’ debates and forums are important, and this is a serious business, but in order to do business, there must be a clientele willing to buy the available product. The aforementioned troglodytes believe that the connection to Trump would depress viewership.

On the contrary; for the entertainment value alone people will tune in for what may be a capricious event where the candidates will castigate one another, possibly becoming cacophonous, all the while behaving in an obsequious manner toward their host. After all, five of the remaining seven GOP candidates have made the pilgrimage to Trump Towers to kiss his brass in hopes of securing his endorsement. Neither Huntsman nor Paul have been to Trump World.

While the candidates are busy falling all over themselves to appear on news programs with ratings so low they have to look up to see the bottom, why won’t they participate in what would be a ratings boon? They all need to increase their name recognition. A recent Pew Research poll indicated that 50 percent of American could not name even one of the then eight GOP candidates seeking their party’s nomination. (This poll was conducted prior to Herman Cain’s departure.)

The circus, to be sure, is coming to town. And it arrives one week before the Iowa caucus. Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum will be there. The other five hopefuls would be perspicacious have their presence felt. Let’s see those three rings ebullient with candidate wisdom, not vacuous – for that is what emerges from the White House.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

Keystone XL Pipeline is Win-Win

Keystone XL Pipeline is Win-Win
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
December 9, 2011

Unaccustomed as I am to giving campaign winning advice to Barack Hussein Obama, the Keystone XL Pipeline project, to quote Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, is “a no-brainer.”

The Keystone XL Pipeline project should be the shovel ready dream this so-called leader of the free world has been clamoring for since before he moved into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. An immediate 20,000 jobs would be created before the ink is dry signing the deal into existence, with up to roughly a half million jobs to follow throughout the project and beyond, indicate industry experts. These are the same experts noting that industry unemployment is at 13 percent.

But, Obama has dismissed this instant job creator in lieu of clinging to, and appeasing, the leftwing extremist environmentalists who would prefer that motorized modes of transportation cease to exist. This is a sterling example of Obama’s hypocrisy of playing politics when he continues to make speech after speech decrying the GOP for doing the same thing.

“Here’s what I know. However many jobs might be generated by a Keystone Pipeline, they are going to be a lot fewer then the jobs that are created by extending the payroll tax cut and extending unemployment insurance,” said a convoluted Obama.

Convoluted because extending unemployment insurance creates zero jobs. In fact, it ensures that those out of work will remain unemployed until the extension expires. Why look for a job that probably does not exist when there is a guaranteed check from the government. If anything, Obama is an anti-growth job killer.

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels concurred, noting that the pipeline project has bi-partisan support and that Obama is “kissing up to those with extreme environmental views.” It’s a “pro-poverty policy.”

Even a half dozen unions support the pipeline project because of its job creation ability. Obama should at least listen to those folks as they are part of his eroding base.

Congress must force this issue and put it on Obama’s desk immediately because failure to do so would ship this project from Canada to the south to Canada to the west. Oil will be produced one way or another. Either the United States or Asia will benefit as this is a black-golden opportunity that should not be passed up. Should the plan proceed, it will run from Hardisty, Alberta, through Cushing, OK, through Houston to Port Arthur, TX to the Gulf of Mexico.

The United States simply cannot be timid when it comes to domestic oil production. This nation is a hostage to OPEC oil producers and it continues to drain our economy of money going into the pockets of despotic regime dictators who are not allies to the US and clearly seek to do this country harm. The United States is fueling unfriendly nations with the weaponry that will one day be used to destroy this country.

Instead, the United States should be drilling for its own oil in the Gulf of Mexico, in ANWR, from the shale in the Rocky Mountains and in Pennsylvania. This is win-win for all parties involved. Legitimate, long term, private industry jobs will be created – not government funded jobs for which the taxpayers ultimately foot the bill. Keystone is such a privately funded project, with no cost to the taxpayers. Additionally, the United States becomes less reliant upon enemy states for oil, thus stunting the growth of those economies, making them less able to harm this country. Canada, on the other hand is a historically dependable ally with whom more business should be conducted.

In spite of the Exxon Valdez and the BP disasters, which were tragic and should not be ignored, in order to make a good omelet, a chef must crack a few eggs. Care should always be taken whether in the drilling of oil or the making of the omelet but yes, accidents happen. Should the auto manufacturers close their doors because car accidents occur on the roads? Of course not, and neither should oil drilling be discontinued.

Obama said should the Keystone XL Pipeline project be linked to the extension of the payroll tax cut bill he would veto it. Obama should not be an obstructionist when it comes to job creation. There is enough support from both houses of Congress to overturn his veto, thus a win-win for his opposition – the pipeline project would be approved and Obama would not be able to take credit for it.

Obama has complained that with the lingering bills he is “stuck” in Washington. Congress needs to make the Keystone XL Pipeline a reality now and we the people need to ensure that Obama is no longer stuck in Washington and can hit the links fulltime as of January 20, 2013. This is not a potential bill on which Obama can vote “present.”

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

It's a Christmas Tree, Damn It!

It’s a Christmas Tree, Damn It!
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
December 4, 2011

Alex, I’ll take “things that don’t make sense” for $100.

The answer is: “a holiday tree in America’s smallest state.”

“What is a Christmas tree in Rhode Island?”

Sadly, that is correct.

Never missing an opportunity to be a complete and utter bonehead, Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee (I, former RINO) emphasized his desire to refer to the state’s Christmas tree as a holiday tree. And just what holiday does this tree represent? There’s nothing nebulous about it. Christmas, you imbecile! It’s enough to make one apoplectic.

The tree certainly doesn’t represent Chanukah. I’ve been Jewish all my life and I’ve never had a tree in my house. The occasional cactus, sure, but that doesn’t make me a Druid.

When is all this ubiquitous politically correct nonsense going to stop? The Jewish population in the United States is roughly 1.5 percent and about 85 percent of the country identifies themselves as Christians; thus when people wish each other a Merry Christmas, there’s going to be an 85 percent chance that they are wishing it upon a fellow Christian. Those are pretty good odds. If I were a gambling man, I would take that bet. And if it is wished upon me, I take it in stride – after all, the odds – and it sure as hell won’t damage my self-esteem. I take it for what it is – a friendly gesture.

I wish my Christian friends a Merry Christmas and my Jewish friends a Happy Chanukah – it even says so on the cards I mail out. None of this season’s greetings crap. Greetings of what season? Are we actually celebrating winter? Winter is simply lugubrious. Pass. Anyone who knows me knows I hate the cold and the only season I celebrate is baseball.

Chafee claims his need to refer to the Christmas tree as a holiday tree is so not to offend anyone or impose any one religion on the populous. If Chafee is thinking of the Establishment Clause, he can go back to thinking of Santa Claus because calling the tall bushy thing a Christmas tree does not violate the Establishment Clause. Chafee is being obtuse and licentious in his pandering to the PC crowd.

The Establishment Clause refers to government’s imposing a specific religion upon the masses. A Christmas tree does no such thing. No one is required to pray to or before it. It in no way damages anyone’s precious self-esteem to have a Christmas tree at the town square, in front of city hall or in the governor’s mansion.

In my home town we had a large enough Jewish community that we took it upon ourselves to construct a menorah and gift it to the town. For years the tree and menorah were placed side by side, and lit in an ecumenical ceremony honoring both Christmas and Chanukah. This is the problem with the objectionists – they want to eliminate everything, while the inclusionists look to enjoin the community in the festiveness of both holidays.

The same goes for observing the holidays in the schools. Some school districts have gotten so outrageously PC that they have banned the simple greetings of Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah. With all the bullying going on in the schools, a little holiday cheer is the least we can all share and enjoy.

I am going to invoke my First Amendment right of free speech and expression and wish my readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy Chanukah. To do otherwise just wouldn’t be kosher.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Newt in 2012

Newt in 2012
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
December 1, 2011

Remembering Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment, thou shalt not denigrate a fellow Republican; former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich has exemplified that credo masterfully throughout the debate season refusing to fall prey to the various moderators push for salacious headlines. Newt is also the brightest candidate running and would send Obama to a corner whimpering and wondering why his pants are wet after a debate with the former speaker.

That said Newt Gingrich is my choice for 2012. There is no point in deliberating the what ifs and who should be running, etc. That benefits nobody and takes away from the accomplishments of the slate of candidates who are putting themselves out there – subjecting themselves and their families to the slings and arrow that come from the media and the public.

In selecting Gingrich, I am trying to be mindful of what I have told so many throughout this campaign and not be hypocritical. I am trying to remember the bigger picture and that on the whole, Gingrich is the better candidate, despite one major issue that will no doubt continue to gnaw at me.

The issue is illegal immigration and that has been one of my top three issues for many years now – so much so, I supported former US Rep. Tom Tancredo (CO) during the 2008 primary season as this was his driving, if not, lone issue before dropping out of the race. But, Tancredo at least had the guts to address the issue head on and not hide from is as most candidates on both sides of the aisle continue to do.

Republicans don’t want to address illegal immigration for fear of alienating and losing the Hispanic vote. The GOP also does not want to lose the support of businesses that hire illegals. Democrats on the other hand, don’t want to address the issue because many in their ranks want to grant the illegals amnesty, give them a path to citizenship and expand their voter ranks.

I remain steadfast in my opposition to even one illegal alien invading the United States – and that is exactly what it is when people willingly and knowingly sneak across the borders from another country into the United States. For any illegal alien to be given free medical care, free education, food stamps and subsidized housing it is theft against the taxpaying citizens and legal residents of this country. Thus my support for deporting the illegals.

When faced with the ignorant argument and comparison that to deport 12 to 20 million illegals is akin to what the Nazis did to European Jewry during the Holocaust, it becomes imperative to give a history lesson. German Jews were legal German citizens. French Jews were legal French citizens. Austrian Jews were legal Austrian citizens. In fact, many served honorably for their native countries during World War I. With Hitler’s forced passage of the Nuremburg Laws revoking the citizenship of German Jews followed by his invasion of the other countries, Hitler rounded up Jews as part of his plan to systematically slaughter them. The deportation of illegal aliens from the United States is for the purpose of returning lawbreakers to their country of origin. As a Jew I am forever insulted that such a comparison be made.

Here it is vital to remember Ronald Reagan’s 80-20 rule: don’t dismiss a candidate with whom you agree 80 percent of the time just because you disagree with him the other 20 percent. There is no perfect candidate; and there is no candidate with whom we will agree 100 percent of the time.

On the issue of illegal immigration, Gingrich is being pragmatic. He recently said the GOP should not be the party to split up families, citing those illegals who have been in the United States over a quarter century, are paying their taxes and are active in their churches. While Gingrich is not calling for a path to citizenship and the right to vote, he is also not calling for their ousting from the country, but instead a path to legalization. Such a plan is being excoriated as amnesty, and it is – the illegals in Gingrich’s plan are not slated for deportation, but nor are they to be granted citizenship. As long as they are allowed to legally stay in this country, it is a form of amnesty, which I oppose. Gingrich does remain committed to the removal of those miscreant illegals not in the aforementioned category.

I am for Newt – he may be better known by his first name than his last – for myriad reasons. He knows how Washington works, which, for all the talk of needing more Washington outsiders, it is important to traverse the system successfully. I am for Newt because of his “drill here, drill now” energy plan. He continues to offer practical solutions regarding the budget, spending and the debt as well as personal responsibility concerning business, bailouts and mortgages. Newt is for a strong military in the Reagan style of peace through strength and understands the importance of a solid alliance with Israel – the only Middle East democracy and where the Arab-Israelis have more rights than Arabs in Arab countries.

I have been for Bachmann – and still like her. I have been for Cain – and still like him. Personal baggage aside, but not dismissing it, Newt Gingrich appears to be the experienced adult in the room who can help restore the United States to its former self. He understands and appreciates American exceptionalism (read his A Nation Like No Other) and will help restore the confidence needed to right the path toward economic recovery.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Block Out the NoBA

Block Out the NoBA
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
November 27, 2011

Beware the NoBA bearing gifts.

Wouldn’t it be great if the National Basketball Association held a partial season and no one showed up? On opening day I propose an “Un-occupy NoBA Arenas.” Fans, hopefully now former fans, should arrive at the arenas and not enter. Stand outside with signs expressing the abject displeasure they feel with both the players and the owners – peacefully, of course.

In fact, throughout the season resist the urge to fall for the NoBA discount tickets, parking passes, discounts on the obscenely priced merchandise/food/beverages, and just say no. Say no to the hassles of fighting traffic to get to the arenas; the long, cold walks after parking in Yemen; the belligerent, obsequious so-called loyal fans who shout obscenities in front of your children, spill overpriced, watered down drinks everywhere and the undercooked, overpriced weenies.

Stay home; watch the games on cable if you must fall prey to the apathetic and vacuous attitudes displayed by overgrown miscreants who barely kick it up a notch at the advent of the playoffs. After all, you already pay an outrageous cable bill.

Please, shed no tears for the multi-million dollar players or the billionaire owners. If your sympathies are with anyone, they should be with the local bars and restaurants that have lost a good deal of revenue with pre-season and 20 percent of the regular season wiped out. If you don’t want to stay home, patronize those establishments and spend the ticket/parking/merchandise/food/beverage money on dinner and drinks while watching the game. Remember to tip your servers generously – they need the money more than the players and owners.

Make no mistake, the players and owners have the right to make as much money as possible – I begrudge them nothing – this is still a capitalist system in which we live in the United States, at least for the foreseeable future, 2012 elections pending. Players’ careers are short; they should make their money while they can. But this is still an economy of supply and demand. The less the NoBA is demanded, the less of a supply there will be. Food for thought: NBA median salary: $2.33 million; US median salary: $50,233 – 46 times smaller.

While blocking out the NoBA, go watch real basketball. Go to the local colleges and high schools to watch young men and women who play the game they love because they love the game they play. I’ll take the excitement of March Madness over the aloofness of the NoBA playoffs any day. (Yes, I know, the NCAA is a billion dollar business that some think should warrant paying the players whose talents foist the profits into the coffers of the schools they represent, but I am not among them. They are given educational opportunities and a chance to demonstrate their talents on a regional or even a national stage.)

NoBA team owners already suck off the teat of the people with their tax-dollar funded arenas with no benefits for the fans who then pony up for tickets, parking, merchandise and food. For those who say that the arena patronage is a choice, that is true, but the funding of the arenas with tax dollars is not a choice. Don’t give them any more of your hard earned money.

As for those season opening games to be played on Christmas, go to church, stay home with family, enjoy the true meaning of the holiday. If you are Jewish – Chinese food – ‘nuff said.

YEAR             LEAGUE                    ROSTER       AVG.               GAMES/           $ PER
                                                               SIZE            SALARY        SEASON         GAME

2010-11            NBA                              15               $5.1 M                 82              $62,195

2010                 MLB                              25               $3.34 M              162             $20,617

2010-11            NHL                               23               $2.4 M                 82              $29,268

2010                 NFL                               53               $1.9 M                 16            $118,750

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Giving Thanks or Thanks for Giving?

Giving Thanks or Thanks for Giving?
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
November 21, 2011

As we traverse the trail from Thanksgiving to the winter holidays of Chanukah and Christmas to New Years, I am particularly thankful to be an American living in the United States – the greatest country in the world.

I am thankful to have friends and family, freedom of speech and expression to allow me the opportunity to write the columns I pen on a regular basis and freedom of religion to worship as I choose and not as the state may enforce or deny.

The first Thanksgiving celebrated a successful harvest shared amongst Pilgrims from England and Indians at Plymouth in 1621, sans football and the ongoing debate of how early is too early to commence holiday shopping. More on that debate shortly.

In Judaism the observance and celebration of Sukkot is akin to Thanksgiving. Sukkot, observed just days following the conclusion of the High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, also celebrates a successful harvest, as well as religious freedom. And in both celebrations, we as Jews and as Americans give thanks to G-d for bestowing upon us the gifts and blessings of life and freedom.

In his annual Thanksgiving message, the Reverend Billy Graham referenced “six things we can learn from the Pilgrims.” I find five of those points appropriate for all faiths.

Be strong in your faith. While Graham encourages a Christ-centered belief system for obvious reasons, there is no reason why people of any faith cannot maintain strength in their particular religion.

Practice discipline. Maintaining strong discipline is vital in one’s personal, professional, religious and economic life. If personal discipline were practiced more often, the issue of teen pregnancy or single parenthood would not be as rampant. If fiscal discipline were practiced people would not be underwater with their mortgages and the government would not be $15 trillion in debt.

Enjoy freedom under the law. While we are people of faith, we are still human beings subject to human failings and frailties, and thus the need for the rule of law. Following those laws keeps us free and failure to do so – there are provisions to protect those who do from those who don’t.

Care about others. Via a treaty, the Pilgrims and Indians lived side by side for years knowing they were different on so many levels, but at the same time, “showing a deep concern for the social, political and spiritual needs of neighbors. In Judaism, tikun olam defines this point as repairing or perfecting the world. The Indians have a similar concept of leaving the world better than they found it.

Dream great dreams. “Where there is no vision, the people perish,” Graham quoted scripture. Pilgrims dreamed of religious freedom and a Christ-centered life. In Judaism there is the Torah – a gift from G-d that kept His chosen people together during the darkest of pogroms and the Holocaust as well as a gift celebrated through its daily teachings. In both cases, in the American society in which we live by Judeo-Christian edicts we dream great dreams and enjoy a freedom for which we are thankful to see those dreams to fruition.

Sadly, the flip side to the faith, family and friends aspect of Thanksgiving is the economic aspect that is tearing apart the true meaning of the day for giving thanks. Before the gluttonous meal scarfed down between parade and touchdown has had an opportunity to digest, there is now the mad dash to whichever retail big box can open first on Thanksgiving. This not only ruins the meaning of the holiday, but the time spent with friends and family by those who must leave to run off to work.

While in the present lackluster economy employees should be thankful they have jobs, the employers should likewise be thankful they will have customers. People’s spending is finite, despite government actions to the contrary. If they rush to spend on Thanksgiving night, they won’t be spending a week or a month later as the Sword of Damocles hovers over their heads as the clock strikes 13. Either way, corporate America, or more likely, China, will make their sales.

I will not shop on Thanksgiving day or night. Nor will I patronize stores whose CEOs and boards of directors feel compelled to deny their employees the same Thanksgiving they themselves will enjoy by attempting to squeeze an additional 16 hours of sales out off already financially strapped consumers. I like the message sent by Nordstrom, a store that will be closed on Thanksgiving. It said it believes in celebrating one holiday at a time and will reopen on Friday at 9 a.m.

No non-essential retail store needs to be open on Thanksgiving, but this is the United States – they have the right to open and I have the right to shop at stores who respects Thanksgiving and their employees.

Have a happy, meaningful and Blessed Thanksgiving.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Save Baseball From Striking Out

Save Baseball From Striking Out
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
November 19, 2011

Baseball – the greatest game ever invented – so majestic, so precise, yet simultaneously so imprecise. Now baseball needs to save itself from, well, itself.

From pitcher’s mound to home plate: 60 feet, six inches; not 60 feet; not 61 feet. Distance between the bases: 90 feet. These are dimensions that have worked for over 125 years.

Nine innings – not a round number like 10; three outs in each half of an inning; three strikes and you’re out, four balls and you get a free pass to first base. However, if the catcher can’t hold on to strike three; the batter can try to advance to first base. If he succeeds, the pitcher is still credited with a strikeout and can actually earn four of them in that inning.

Baseball is a game unlike any other – no clock, the team on defense has the ball, a moving object (bat) is required to hit another moving object (ball) in order to achieve success. While the dimensions of the infield are precisely equal in all baseball stadia, the outfield dimensions vary widely – some known to have cavernous outfields, some with short distances and tall fences such as the famed Green Monster in Boston’s Fenway Park left field, while all football fields, basketball courts and ice hockey rinks have set dimensions per each sport.

Baseball is a game of inches, statistics, stories and especially stories about statistics. There is bound to be someone is most any conversation who can rattle off the most innocuous information that only another baseball fan can and will appreciate. And the virtues of everything from the designated hitter to interleague play to instant replay can be argued ad-nauseum and picked up again the next day without repeating the prior day’s points.

The majesty of a walk off home run, sitting on pins and needles throughout a potential no hitter, the excitement of a perfectly turned double play, the speed needed for a triple and the argument over safe or out on a close call at home plate are what makes the game the enduring treasure it has been for so long.

Yet, for all its glory as America’s pastime, baseball doesn’t seem to be able to get out of its own way. For purists like me and myriad other fans, baseball is on the critical list and is on a fast pace to morphing into football, or worse, basketball and hockey.

A 69-word blurb buried in the space-filling “other news” of the sports section garnering little attention elsewhere dropped a bomb on baseball fans that will inexorably alter the complexion of America’s game in perpetuity.

“Is this good news,” read the subject line of an e-mail sent to me by a very good friend with a link to an article announcing that not only are the Houston Astros being sold, but the sale is being predicated upon a move by the Astros from the National League’s Central Division to the American League’s West Division effective the 2013 season.

The answer to my friend’s question is NO – a thousand times – NO! Moving the Astros to the American League is an astronomical mistake leading Major League Baseball down a rapid slope to oblivion. No baseball purist likes this decision, which also includes adding two more teams to the post-season, upping that total to 10 teams out of a 30-team league.

Consider the history of baseball and the post-season. Until 1961 and 1962 the American League and National League each contained eight teams, of which one per league would face off in the World Series. Two out of 16 equaled 12.5 percent of the teams earned a berth in post-season. Then came expansion, two divisions per league and the number of teams participating in post-season doubled to four out of 24 teams, equaling 16.7 percent. This was followed by additional expansion, the creation of a third division per league and the advent of the wild card team in the playoffs, making the post-season participants now eight of 30 teams, or 26.7 percent.

By adding two more wild card teams, post-season at 10 of 30 teams for a 33.3 percent participation rate, baseball is heading toward football with its 37.5 percent as well as basketball and hockey with its obscenely 53.5 percent post-season participation rates. After playing a 162-game baseball schedule, post-season should be for those teams at the apex of the sport.

But an even bigger obscenity than two more playoff teams is the affect moving the Astros to the American League will have on all of Major League Baseball – that of season-long interleague play. Interleague play was not designed for the purists, but instead to lure new fans to the game who would be excited by seeing the Mets play the Yankees, the Cubs battle the White Sox, the Nationals play the Orioles, the Reds go up against the Indians, the Giants play the A’s or the Dodgers take on the Angels. No one is standing in line waiting for those Padres-Royals tickets.

Baseball purists, who, like me, despise interleague play as it diminishes the All-Star game and more importantly the World Series. We also do not like the designated hitter rule, artificial turf (which fortunately is disappearing little by little) or even lights at Wrigley Field. To me, the evils of interleague play ranks right up there with anti-Semitism, communism and al Qaeda. It will further erode the traditions of the game.

If there is a desire to balance out the leagues, as currently there are 16 National League teams and 14 in the American League, there is a better plan. Eliminate the Miami Marlins and the Tampa Bay Rays as baseball should not be played in Florida after April 1; not to mention the paucity of pitching and overall weaker talent pool due to too much expansion. Then, with 28 teams, return the Milwaukee Brewers to the American League from whence they came, eliminate the two central divisions and there will be two 14-team leagues with four seven-team divisions.

I realize my plan will only be popular with the purists. After all, the players’ union would never approve such of such a plan as two teams worth of players from the majors all the way down to rookie ball would be out of jobs.

And moving the Astros is already causing consternation among their fans. Currently, the Astros division rivals play either in the Central Time Zone or the Eastern Time Zone. Moving to the American League West Division would force the Astros to play the majority of their division rivals when on the road in the Pacific Time Zone – two hours later would their fans need to stay awake to follow the team that has spent its first 50 seasons in the National League.

Either way interleague play must cease. As long as the designated hitter exists, it creates an imbalance during interleague play. When playing in National League ballparks, no DH is employed giving the edge to the NL teams whose pitchers bat throughout the season, and American League pitchers swing the bat but a couple weeks during the season. The same advantage goes to the NL when playing in AL ballparks, as they add an everyday hitter to their lineup, while AL teams continue to play at traditional strength. I’m for eliminating the DH, but again, the players’ union would undoubtedly object the potential loss of 14 additional jobs – “it’s all about the dollars,” to quote Joe Pesci from the film Casino.

Nothing good emerges from these decisions to expand the playoffs, move the Astros and engage in season-long interleague play. It is taking baseball further away from its roots and traditions and Commissioner Bud Selig must be made aware of the purist fans sentiments.

Contact Commissioner Allan H. “Bud” Selig via telephone at 212-931-7800, fax at 212-949-5654 or his address at 245 Park Avenue, 31st Floor, New York, NY 10167.

Let’s try and save baseball before it implodes and permanently strikes out with the fans.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.