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.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Whose Money is it Really?

Whose Money is it Really?
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
November 17, 2011

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Solyndra. When it’s in government’s hands, it’s as good as fumbled.

Problem is, when a ball is fumbled it may change hands, but in terms of the two aforementioned government entities and one corporation, when the government fumbles, it is we the people who lose. We pay the price for such losses – and a hefty price it is.

Fannie Mae (Federal National Mortgage Association) is a 1938 government sponsored enterprise chartered by Congress… to support affordable homeownership. It is a national mortgage finance company, but does not offer home loans. Its goal is to help as many families as possible stay in their homes, prevent foreclosures and encourage sustainable lending. (

Freddie Mac (Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation), founded in 1970, is a stock-holder corporation chartered by Congress… to keep money flowing to mortgage lenders in support of homeownership. (

With all the complaining about the bonuses paid to the top dogs at Fannie and Freddie, it begs the question, where were the strings to accompany the rather large handouts when the government bailed out these two Congressional creations?

The Obama administration is guilty of precisely what former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich accused government of doing: giving the money, then thinking about what strings should have been attached. Clearly, those strings should have been included, if the government is bailing out a company, entity or person, it has the right to tell the recipient how the money can or cannot be used. Paying $13 million in bonuses to 10 people for substandard work is unconscionable. After all, if they needed a government handout, they are not worthy of a bonus of even $5, let alone an average of $1.3 million. We the people paid for those bailouts and bonuses and have nothing to show for it but higher debt and a larger deficit, now over $15 trillion.

Now, if accepting of the premise that government can attach strings to bailout a corporation what about bailing out people? The next logical step is to define what food stamp recipients can and cannot buy using those government funds. The same should apply to welfare recipients. First, to receive welfare, one must pass periodic drug tests, at their expense. Additionally, welfare recipients will also need to be enrolled in some job training program. And, instead of extending benefits the longer someone is out of work, the term of receipt should be halved each time it is needed: 26 weeks, 13 weeks, seven weeks, four weeks, etc.

Participation by potential food stamp, welfare recipients or corporate bailout recipients is voluntary. They don’t have to adhere to the government strings. The choice is theirs.  We the people are the ones footing this bill. If not for the working Americans, non-working Americans would not have anyone to support them. Working Americans pay taxes into the system so that non-working Americans can extract taxpayer’s dollars from the system. If working Americans are subject to drug testing on their jobs, so too should those who would be the recipient of the workers largesse.

In the case of Solyndra, a solar power company founded in 2005 in Freemont, CA, it received a loan of $528 million or $535 million, depending upon the source of information, on March 20, 2009. Solyndra’s financing fell under the auspices of the 2009 stimulus law. Yet, on September 1 of this year, Solyndra laid off all its employees and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, leaving the American people out in the cold. After all, the stimulus was a taxpayer funded operation.

When asked under oath before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, on Thursday, November 17, how much of the more than a half billion dollars would be recovered in the Solyndra debacle, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu responded “well, not very much,” in a rather matter of fact manner.

In addition to unilaterally making this loan grant to Solyndra, Chu did not conduct the proper due diligence and consult with his staff who had predicted back in 2009 that Solyndra would be facing cash flow problems. ( For this completely irresponsible behavior Chu needs to bite the bullet and resign his post as Energy Secretary.

The government – and this applies to any administration present and future, must be cognizant of whose money they are spending when bailing out companies allegedly too big to fail, bailing out citizens to unwilling to end their cycle of government dependence, and investing in companies with close ties to the administration, such as Solyndra, that are doomed to bankruptcy.

We the people must practice personal responsibility and simultaneously demand the government behave responsibly with our money. Remember, they work for us, not the other way around.

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

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lawmakers or Lawbreakers?

Lawmakers or Lawbreakers?
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
November 16, 2011

Remember those Hebrew National commercials where the voice-over says “we answer to a higher authority?” To whom does Congress answer? Who is their higher authority?

The answer is twofold – they answer to the laws which they are entrusted to create as well as we the people who have the power to fire or rehire them every other year. Problem is the members of Congress take both for granted.

The latest kerfuffle in the House of Representatives is regarding the issue of insider trading. Insider trading is taking privileged information and using it for financial gain while others do not have equal access – akin to the charges that are levied upon stockbrokers and the like when dealing with a so-called “hot tip;” a tip either Wall Street folks or members of Congress have exclusivity over the general public.

Insider trading is illegal – has been since 1934. So how do members of Congress earning $174,000 per annum in 2011 manage to leave the House and Senate worth millions? And that salary is for the everyday, run of the mill member of the Congress. Majority and minority leaders in both houses earn $193,400 while the Speaker of the House brings home $223,500.

The answer to the aforementioned question will leave you apoplectic. The Securities Exchange Act of 1934 – passed by Congress and signed into law by President Franklin Roosevelt does not apply to Congress. OK, take a moment, go back and read that again. Congress passed a law that applies to the rest of the country, except themselves, allowing them to gain unprecedented wealth in a less than kosher manner – inside information – again, information to which the rest of the folks are not privy.

If this action is not illegal, why, with the release of two new books castigating this broken system and those who have benefited from it, are myriad members of Congress denying they ever made financial gains through this manner? And while this epidemic is a contagion on both sides of the aisle, it is nothing new.

Former lobbyist and restaurateur Jack Abramoff who spent three and a half years in prison for influence peddling, wrote Capitol Punishment: The Hard Truth About Washington Corruption From America’s Most Notorious Lobbyist. Hoover Institute fellow Peter Schweizer penned Throw Them All Out. Both books expose the world of insider trading in Congress.

This behavior is simply licentious. Congress’s very own built in sweetheart deal – exempting themselves from the very law they created and passed to keep the public form corrupt practices. Where is the leading by example?

Now, a mere 77 years later, Congress is attempting to right the wrong left to them by the ghost of Congress past. The burning question is whether or not Congress should be held to the same laws as the rest of the American people. This is an institution with an approval rating so low it needs to look up to see hell – nine to 13 percent depending upon the poll.

Since 2006 myriad attempts have been made to pass legislation no longer exempting members of Congress from insider trading laws. Finally, there is a bill that is gaining some traction. As of Wednesday, November 16, there are 43 sponsors of the legislation, when just two days prior there were only nine.

Members of Congress are answerable to the laws they create and pass as well as the rank and file who send them to Washington. We have the vital responsibility to hold them accountable and pay attention to their behavior and votes. Any member of Congress voting against such legislation should be fired in the 2012 election – regardless of party affiliation. Remember, they work for us, not the other way around.

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

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thank You, Veterans

Thank You, Veterans
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
November 10, 2011

At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 the artillery fell silent and the Armistice signed ending the war to end all wars, a.k.a. the Great War, sadly renamed World War I.

Thank you, men and women who have served and do serve in the United States Army, established June 14, 1775.

This year is the mother of all Veterans Days as this is the year 2011, so at the 11th hour of 11/11/11 the United States will commemorate the 92nd anniversary of honoring the men and women who have served in the armed forces.

Thank you, men and women who have served and do serve in the United States Navy, established October 13, 1775.

President Woodrow Wilson declared the first ever Armistice Day November 11, 1919. In 1954 President Dwight Eisenhower signed legislation changing the name of the observance to Veterans Day, encompassing those who served in all American armed conflicts from the American Revolution through the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. This includes the Cold War and the ongoing War on Terror.

Thank you, men and women who have served and do serve in the United States Air Force, established September 18, 1947.

From Bunker Hill to San Juan Hill; from the Alamo to Antietam; from Monmouth to Midway; from Dresden to Desert Storm; from Brandywine to Bull Run and from Omaha Beach to Okinawa, American troops have served with dignity, distinction and determination. They deserve our thanks not just on Veterans Day, but every day. When encountering a serviceman or servicewoman, approach them and thank them for their service to a great and grateful nation. They will absolutely appreciate that gesture.

Thank you, men and women who have served and do serve in the United States Marine Corps, established November 10, 1775.

Volunteering time with and contributing to organizations that help and support veterans – the wounded, the blind, the ones suffering from PTSD, the ones who can’t find work upon leaving the service – is a very tangible manner in which to serve those who have served us in harm’s way. And, sadly it is vital, as the men and women in uniform are so terribly underpaid by a government hell bent on rewarding lawbreakers with benefits.

Thank you, men and women who have served and do serve in the United States Coast Guard, first established as the Revenue Cutter Service, August 4, 1790.

Remember, freedom isn’t free and millions of Americans from all walks of life, whose families immigrated from near and far have put their lives on the line so that we may live freely in the greatest country on G-d’s earth. For that, thank you.

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

[This column appeared on]

From Penn State to the State Pen

From Penn State to the State Pen
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
November 10, 2011

This is not a sports story. This is, however, a story about the egregious behavior of placing sports above humanity; where once again the cover up or the sweeping under the rug is the undoing of people whose salvation should have come from moral conduct and not the adherence to the letter of weak legislation.

It was not a happy day in Happy Valley on campus at Penn State University November 9 as both legendary head football coach Joe Paterno and university president Graham Spanier saw careers careen to bitter ends in their firings.

But, please, shed no tears over their ouster. Instead, shed tears and get angry over the lack of humanity and compassion shown to a yet to be determined number of young boys who suffered physical and mental anguish in a sex abuse scandal rocking the State College campus to its foundation.

To date, former Paterno assistant coach Jerry Sandusky has already been charged with the molestation of eight boys during a 15-year period – charges he denies, and for which he is entitled to his day in court. In spite of the denials, a former graduate assistant with the team, Mike McQueary, still an assistant there, claims to have witnessed two of the assaults on campus, reporting one of them to Paterno that ultimately reached Spanier.

Sandusky also ran a group home for troubled boys.

While Paterno is not being implicated in the alleged crimes, it begs the questions, a la Watergate, what did he know and when did he know it. And while Paterno may have acted within the confines of the law, he certainly did not act with any sense of urgency or morality, either hoping it would go away or that it was an isolated incident.

Adding to this horrific scandal is the behavior of over 2,000 Penn State students who took to the campus upon hearing of Paterno’s firing in mob-like fashion to defend their oft deified coach. Riot police were dispatched to extricate the students, misguided in their support of a man who has fallen from grace when they should have been hanging him and Spanier in effigy over their moral shortcomings.

No child should endure what the young boys under the charge of Sandusky supposedly underwent. Sadly, they are not alone, but they have recourse with the proper authorities who should take such accusations seriously until proven otherwise. Some things really are bigger than the game.

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

Press Pillories Perry Proving Pernicious

Press Pillories Perry Proving Pernicious
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
November 10, 2011

Full disclosure, I am not a Rick Perry supporter – unless he secures the Republican nomination for president to become the party’s standard bearer in 2012.

Commerce, Education and Energy – those are the three federal departments Texas Governor and GOP presidential hopeful Rick Perry flubbed in the debate held on November 9 on campus at Oakland University in Rochester, MI.

Perry had a human moment during the debate in which his brain froze over the question of which departments of the federal government he would eliminate upon becoming president. He quickly recalled commerce and education, but forgot energy. The next 45-plus seconds must have seemed an eternity to him and the viewers who watched this painful train wreck unfold.

In the ultimate of post-game “gotcha” moments which will live on interminably virally, media from left and right have castigated Perry for his momentary lapse. The man is a human being prone to human frailties and not a robot. Although, Perry does often seem robotic in his debate appearances – stiff, unsure at times and verbally clumsy.

However, Perry just doesn’t seem to catch a break. Still a popular video is the appearance Perry made recently in New Hampshire, where some have described his ebullient nature as aided by substance. Quite frankly, Perry would present himself better to the public during the cavalcade of debates in the same manner in which the folks in the Granite State saw him.

And rival GOP candidate Ron Paul, a fellow Texan, was no help to Perry either. The two men were situated next to one another during the debate and when Perry was attempting to rattle off the three departments earmarked for his axe, he looked over at Paul. Paul made matters worse for Perry, already trying to recall a third department, when Paul said to Perry, “five,” meaning there were five departments designated for extinction.

Most people misspeak at one time or another; and in this case, misspeak is not a euphemism for lie, as is often used to lighten the blow. No one took fellow GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney to task for saying his marriage to wife Ann is 25 years in length, and then he quickly corrected himself, noting it is a 42-year union.

Is this a game changer for Perry? No. That may surprise some people, but those are the ones not paying attention in the first place. Perry has been in free fall mode since entering the race at or near the top of most polls and should be back to governing Texas fulltime shortly after the Iowa Caucus.

In life, to err is human; to forgive, divine. In politics, to err is to be pilloried on You Tube and in the media until the end of days. Let’s try and stay focused on the real issues of the day – ending the continued attempts of government to run our lives while borrowing to the point of economic oblivion.

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

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Take Down the Tents and Send the Circus Home

Take Down the Tents and Send the Circus Home
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
November 3, 2011

The Occupy Wall Street movement has stretched far and wide reaching London overseas as well as the left coast where cities like Oakland are under siege with video reminiscent of Watts in the ‘60s.

This is absolutely no exaggeration as within the last 24 to 48 hours more than 80 OWS protesters and their ilk have been arrested. City Hall Plaza and the nearby environs have been the site of arson, hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of property damage, assaults against civilians and law enforcement alike.

This is not the first time Oakland has been in the news for such violence and degenerative behavior. In recent days and weeks, the OWS thugs have forced the shutting down of the Port of Oakland – the fifth largest port in the United States, assaulting Oakland police officers with bottles, all with an attitude of a sense of entitlement. These are anarchist thugs with the support of the likes of former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi who said “G-d bless their spontaneity.”

One woman interviewed admitted the OWS hooligans instigated the bottle throwing against the police, felt no remorse, and went so far as to support the assault against law enforcement because, as she put it, they are wearing protective gear. And even after admitting the OWS’s responsibility in the fracas, which resulted in police retaliation with tear gas, the same woman sought retribution against the police for responding in an over the top manner.

The unidentified unrepentant interviewee had support from none other than Oakland Mayor Jean Quan who cavalierly threw her police force under the proverbial bus, apologizing to the OWS protesters for the behavior of law enforcement. Quan said she knows Oakland is a progressive city and she supports the efforts of the protesters and their movement.

Oakland is not alone in the dissident behavior from the thugs and miscreants masquerading as protesters with a legitimate beef. Certainly in New York City there is no shortage of deviant behavior, from public urination to defecation on police vehicles, to assault and battery by protesters against other protesters.

In several states there have been accusations of rape by protesters committed against other protesters, with little in the way of police involvement, as apparently OWS councils have been formed to police themselves, which, of course, is not happening. These councils are fearful of being shut down if this cacophonous behavior is reported to the authorities.

To date, more than 3,000 arrests have been logged in places like Boston, Chicago, Denver, Jackson, MS, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, OR, and Seattle for vandalism, graffiti, trespassing on private property, lewd behavior and assault. Chants of “f*ck the US” have been all too common as well. The violence is getting worse and chaos is the norm as well as the overt drug usage and virulent anti-Semitism. For Obama and his minions to compare this depraved and licentious movement to the TEA Party is incredulous and demonstrative of a need to demonize a successful and well behaved group of patriots who know how to demonstrate in an appropriate manner.

So unconscionable is some of the behavior, there was a group of Iranians at an OWS locale in traditional garb with signs calling for the United Nations and Human Rights Watch to get involved – citing American human rights abuses against Americans due to the “evils” of capitalism. This coming from people native to a country where death is the penalty for adulterers and homosexuals are executed via stoning.

Enough is enough. This nonsense has gone on far too long and needs to be reined in by law enforcement. Signs making accusations based upon misinformation are the norm and not the exception. Many of the protesters are castigating the financial industry for greed and not sharing their wealth – clearly taking their lead from the Obama administration, as it was Obama himself who, during the 2008 presidential campaign called for a redistribution of wealth.

The United States is a capitalist republic. There is no ceiling to what a person can earn, nor should there ever be one. The overwhelming majority of the protesters expect government to provide for them, ensure they have jobs, health care, a home, forgive their student loans and bring so-called corporate greed to an end. This from the same people drinking their Starbucks beverages, sleeping in their LL Bean sleeping bags, eating McDonald’s food, sending text messages on their various corporate created cell phones.

Why should their student loans be forgiven? Because they majored in Sanskrit or Philosophy? Choose more wisely. It’s called personal responsibility. If you like those subjects, minor in them, but major in something marketable, like history as I did. Well, OK, not so much marketable, but I haven’t taken to the streets. Student loans should no more be forgiven than mortgages on which people have fallen behind.

In the case of the defaulting homeowners, once again, this is a case of personal responsibility. Nobody forced anyone to accept a mortgage they could not afford. No one has the right to own a home. Yet, people in over their heads are crying foul, as if it were the fault of government. Read the fine print. Ask the pertinent questions. If you can’t afford the house, don’t buy it – period.

Sadly, the anger of these zealots is misdirected. They should be protesting in front of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, in Washington, DC or in front of the Capitol Building where legislation is debated, passed and signed into law giving bailout after bailout to corporations who have behaved irresponsibly or criminally.

More importantly, these spoiled, petulant child-like pinheads should investigate internally why their lives are not going as planned. Who wants to hire a tattoo-laden, multi-pierced person who quit a job to join a protest when so many are out of work and legitimately looking? The banks and successful corporations are not the bane of these protesters existence. These are people, most of whom, demand cradle to grave government care – the ultimate in the nanny-state.

Part of the nanny-statism is contradictory and counterintuitive. Signs calling for either lower tuition rates or free tuition, yet demanding smaller class sizes and more course offerings are demonstrative of this contradictory thought process at work. Other examples include signs demanding high-paying jobs, but refusal to work for corporations and demands of jobs, but simultaneous demands to strip corporations of their wealth.

T-shirts with pictures of Che Guevara and Karl Marx with slogans such as “Marx was right,” being worn by protesters with absolutely no sense of history. Let these petulant miscreants live under the dictatorial regimes of Castro’s Cuba, Chavez’s Venezuela, Ahmadinejad’s Iran or Mugabe’s Zimbabwe before calling for the surrender of the republic or capitalism.

There are other signs out there as well – help wanted – perhaps not in one’s chosen profession, but they exist. Or do what 14-year-old Michael Weymouth of New York did – created his own company – replete with a public relations person. Weymouth, founder of Long Island Tech Wizard fixes computers and has three 14-year-olds working with him as well and is making money.

While the First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees the freedom to assemble, it does not allow for the assemblage to interfere with the rights of the passers-by, the rights of the local businesses to make a living and provide the services for which they were hired or for the assault on either civilians or law enforcement. The time has come for the tents to come down and the circus to leave town.

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

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Scouts Dishonored Over Gender Issue

Scouts Dishonored Over Gender Issue.
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
November 1, 2011

Boys will be boys, except when boy will be Girl Scout.

If this story does not seem incredulous or make you completely apoplectic, then nothing will.

Seven-year-old Bobby Montoya set out to join the Girl Scouts in the Denver area with blessings from mother Felisha Archuleta. However, Bobby is not short for Roberta, nor is Bobby a girl, regardless of his penchant for playing with dolls and his proclivity for wearing female attire – to school, again, with his mother’s blessing.

But, because Bobby is living his life as a girl, Girl Scouts of Colorado reversed a previous decision denying him a membership with a local troop and has welcomed him as a potential Girl Scout on Tuesday, October 25, according to a statement by the state organization.

“We make the distinction that if a child is living life as a girl and the family brings the child to us and says my daughter wants to be a Girl Scout, we welcome her,” said Rachelle Trujillo, communications president with Girl Scouts of Colorado.

What part of biology class did the mother and the Girl Scouts miss?

I do not prescribe to the notion that homosexuality is genetically predisposed. And in the case of this seven-year-old boy – yes, a boy, as long as he possesses a Y chromosome, he is a boy; regardless of the twisted parenting style his two mommies have thrust upon him.

And while this may upset the live and let live crowd, this is the slippery slope of same sex partners raising a child – whether biological or adoptive. A seven-year-old boy living life as a girl did not wake up one morning and decide to don a pair of heels. Parental influence clearly is at play here, but this is the life a child, a child who is being abused by so-called parents attempting to play G-d and manipulate an innocent child in their own deviant and destructive image.

“We have privacy rights that we are very respectful of with families. We do not require proof of gender when a family wants their daughter to be a member of Girl Scouts,” said Trujillo in a statement that will create havoc and a quagmire beyond their narrow-minded and clearly licentious agenda.

“Girl Scouts is an inclusive organization and we accept all girls in kindergarten through 12th grade as members. If a child identifies as a girl and the child’s family presents her as a girl, Girl Scouts of Colorado welcomes her as a girl scout,” said a statement from the organization.

This is a child destined for a life of mental instability. Archuleta reported that Bobby is bullied in school on a regular basis. Make no mistake – NO CHILD DESERVES TO BE BULLIED. (I know from first-hand experience the staggering and deleterious effects bullying has on the long term psyche of a child long after the school bell rings and the child is an adult.)

Imagine how much worse it will get for Bobby when he is walking through the halls in his Girl Scouts uniform. The blame squarely lies on the shoulders of the two women raising this youngster who is too unprepared mentally to make the cogent decision of how he is to be raised.

Here’s an interesting Catch-22. When Bobby’s Girl Scout troop takes to the woods for an overnight camping trip will he sleep in the same tent as the biological girls? When the troop visits the local YMCA for swimming, will Bobby change in the same locker room as the girls? Shower with the girls? After all Bobby is living his life as a girl and Girl Scouts of Colorado recognizes Bobby as such. The minute Girl Scouts of Colorado designate a separate facility for Bobby, they have recognized him as a boy – game over, and he should be out of Girl Scouts.

Has the level of morality in society today sunk to the depths that a child’s gender is so nebulous that an organization once the standard bearer of morality and decency as the scouts – both boy and girl – is so obsequious as to align itself with the politically correct agents of societal ruin?

Is the comfort level of the scouts who will have this seven-year-old boy thrust upon them so insignificant? How will that boy feel when parents begin to remove their daughters from that troop and request a troop reassignment? Must Bobby’s mothers alienate their son to the point of future tragedy just to satisfy their own lugubrious agenda?

This whole matter makes me want to toss my Girl Scout cookies, and the Thin Mints haven’t even arrived yet.

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