Monday, January 28, 2013

Senate Committee Surrenders America

Senate Committee Surrenders America
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
January 28, 2013

This is no longer the United States of America as it was left to us by the Founding Fathers. As will be demonstrated this is not to be some paranoid rant and screed.

We have a government that has violated the Second Amendment to the Constitution by going on a gun banning rampage which will lead to the slippery slope of firearm confiscation.

Sadly the American people are complicit in this violation by believing the government has their best interest at heart and are able to protect and defend them from all enemies foreign and domestic. This simply is not true.

Why is it perfectly permissible for Barack Obama’s children to be protected by armed security, but the rest of the nation’s children are subject to attending school in gun free zones and at the mercy of murderers? Every school should be protected by trained, armed guards. Are students less important than the banks and jewelry stores that have armed security on the premises?

It should not be up to the government to limit how one protects oneself or their family or property. If a reader chooses not to own a firearm, that is his or her business. If people choose to own a gun or guns, that is also his or her business as far as the Second Amendment to the Constitution allows.

But, as more and more schools decide that civics, social studies, history, and government are less and less important, a growing ignorant society will kowtow to an increasingly tyrannical government that decides the Constitution is mere paper and not the guiding law and principles of a nation founded as a democratic-republic, but something to be sloughed off and ignored.

And while the ability to defend oneself, one’s family, and one’s property is severely waning, the danger to the American people is rising exponentially with the soon to be granted amnesty to 12-20 million illegal aliens, thanks to a bi-partisan effort in the US Senate and so-called Comprehensive Immigration Reform. (Make no mistake, the 11 million illegals figure being trotted out by the Senate and the so-called mainstream media is pure folly and fiction.)

By late spring, early summer, according to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), an immigration bill will be ready for Obama’s signature granting lawbreakers amnesty, a path to citizenship. and thus a reward for their illegal behavior.

This cannot be stressed more vociferously and stringently enough: illegals are in the United States because they broke the law and it matters not what other parts of this legislation are presented, any bill granting even one illegal amnesty, a path to citizenship, ever, should be voted down. To support such legislation will unleash a torrent of support to replace any House or Senate member who betrays the American people – regardless of political affiliation.

Even one carrot is too many when the sticks clearly have not been employed. For me to criticize former President Ronald Reagan, one of my three political heroes, is blasphemous at best. Yet, under Reagan in 1986, he granted amnesty to three million illegals without any stopgaps to secure the borders or prevent the floodgates from opening that ultimately left the US in its current predicament.

Ironically, and mostly hypocritically Sen. John McCain (RINO-AZ) said “We are a nation of laws and immigrants.” It is pure hypocrisy to grant any illegal amnesty and a path to citizenship. If the United States is indeed a nation of laws, immigration laws should be enforced and all illegals deported to their country of origin with the caveat that they not be allowed to return unless in a  legal manner.

A database should be established identifying and monitoring the movements and activities of all illegals. For those who suggest they will be treated like criminals, that’s correct. Yes, this is a hard line on the issue of illegal immigration, while supporting legal immigration of those future residents demonstrating they are deserving of the label American citizen.

The proposed legislation calls for first securing the borders, said Schumer. Fine – pass that as a separate bill, and then let’s talk about the illegals who have invaded the borders of the US. Too often securing the border has merely been given lip service in an effort to placate the GOP, who now, by participating in this bipartisan dog and pony show are complicit in surrendering the country to the lawless and those who would still prefer the Mexican flag to Old Glory as roughly 80 percent of the illegals in this country have slithered from south of the border.

That McCain and his fellow Arizonan, freshman Sen. Jeff Flake (R), a solid fiscal conservative while in the House, would be two of the eight senators on this committee is disturbing knowing the havoc being wrecked on the border by home invaders and drug smugglers.

With illegals already privy to seats in public school classrooms, free lunches and breakfasts for students, food stamps, free medical care and hospitalization all at taxpayer expense, citizenship will only force them to pay for such privileges. They must be disincentivized from coming in the first place and urged to self-deport for those already here by granting them nothing.

Sure, the committee of eight said that illegals would be forced to pay fines, back taxes, learn English, and move to the back of the line before being considered for citizenship, the same committee already included a caveat for workers being able to continue working in the US legally while going through the process.

Back taxes? Based upon what paperwork? Are illegals being issued W-2 forms? If so, under what Social Security number? Sounds like fraud. How will such penalties be assessed?

Learn English? To whose satisfaction? Will there be a test like a literacy test so many people objected to during the Jim Crow era? Make no mistake, learning English is a great idea, as all government documents should be printed in English and English only. It should be a prerequisite for voting and graduating from any school in this country.

Regardless of what penalties are attached to such legislation, anything that puts any illegal alien on a path to American citizenship is simply a reward for being a scofflaw and miscreant. Even those students brought to the United States too young to object or remain in their home country should not be granted carte blanche to citizenship without penalty to the parents who brought them here.

Any legislation MUST include a modification of the 14th Amendment that grants automatic citizenship to anyone born on American soil – even the child of an illegal alien. Once again, this rewards illegal behavior by invading the United States in order to give birth in this country for the purposes of making them citizens. This was not the purpose of that amendment – ratified in 1868 dedicated to ensuring citizenship for former slaves.

Schumer wants illegals to not fear deportation if they emerge from the shadows. It should be quite the contrary – illegals should fear deportation, as they have broken the law of the country they supposedly wish to join.

Becoming an American citizen is not about financial gain, living in a non-English speaking enclave, and raising the flag of Mexico or some other nation of ones origin. In fact, it should be just the opposite. Taking the oath of citizenship should be done with pride in one’s new, chosen country – in English, ready to defend the United States and remain fiercely loyal to their adopted nation.

And where in this proposed legislation is there a demand for Mexico’s cooperation on the border. That country demonstrates its own hypocrisy by having a sieve for a northern border, yet, its southern border with Guatemala is tight as a drum with harsh penalties for those who breech it. There is no disincentive for Mexico to keep all its people at bay because those who invade the United States no longer are Mexico’s financial problem.

Brit Hume of Fox News summed it contritely, saying, “Has the Republican Party softened on immigration? You bet.” McCain, a RINO at best is a prime example, as is Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC), also not a true conservative. On the other hand, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), a conservative and Hispanic who has eyes on the White House, is also a part of this committee and clearly this is an attempt to curry favor with the ever growing Hispanic voting population who cast their ballots roughly 70-30 for Obama in 2012.

Hispanic-Americans should not be supportive of such legislation. Many Hispanics immigrated to the United States and did so the legal way, which in some cases took longer than it may for an illegal to be placed on a pathway to citizenship under this faulty legislation. The Hispanics who legally obtained citizenship should be insulted and offended that lawbreakers would be given advantages not afforded to those who followed the rule of law.

In addition to the aforementioned senators, the committee also includes Michael Bennet (D-CO), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) – each representing states with large Hispanic populations.

While Comprehensive Immigration Reform clearly leans left and Republicans who support it will benefit at the ballot box, it is the responsibility of House and Senate members alike, regardless of party to do what is right versus what is politically expedient.

Visit and, locate and contact your representatives to sternly and politely voice objection to Comprehensive Immigration Reform. It is vital that this legislation not become law and we the people must play a role in preventing its passage. It is long overdue for this country to behave like the United States once again before it is unrecognizable and too late for its salvation.

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

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

DC Ponders Dropping Social Studies

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it…. Studying history is necessary to avoid repeating past mistakes.” – George Santayana (1863-1952)

DC Ponders Dropping Social Studies
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
January 23, 2013

Ignorance isn’t bliss – it’s downright stupid and dangerous. It’s bad enough we have a Congress and administration unfamiliar with the Constitution of the United States, but to perpetuate such ignorance by eliminating civics, government, and social studies in the DC school system is irresponsible at best if not criminal.

This is not some sickening plotline of a Dumb and Dumber remake. Worse, this is a moronic plot dreamed up by vacuous imbeciles within the DC school system to combat their already distressing lowest in the nation graduation rate of 59 percent. (  

Those supporting such a horrific notion have raised the white flag in perpetuity and guaranteed future generations a return to slavery and a loss of the American dream as well as the American way of life in a democratic-republic.

In the shadow of the Capitol Building, the White House, the Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial – for whom is honored not just the author of the Declaration of Independence, the third president of the United States, but also the founder of the University of Virginia – and the Lincoln Memorial; in the shadow of the splendor of what is the nation’s capital and the seat of the federal government, sits in virtual ashes, the public school system of the District of Columbia.

Include in that wreckage, the dozens of charter schools – at two of which I taught, and can testify the dire need for social studies, government, geography, and civics. At a bare minimum high school curriculum must include a year of world history, two years of American history, and a year of civics/government. The three years of history should also include geography. At the lower grades, introductory civics, social studies, and maps and map reading should be mandatory.

To abandon the social studies, et al, is to surrender to those who would replace our democratic-republican institutions with socialism and in a generation all will have been lost and nothing will have been salvaged.

A revolution was waged to give the American people its freedom from the tyrannical government of King George III. When asked in 1787 following the Constitutional Convention what kind of government the new country was given, Benjamin Franklin responded, “A republic… if you can keep it.”

That war all but had to be refought two generations later during the War of 1812 – a war barely glossed over in textbooks and classrooms alike.

Make no mistake, this pandemic of dumbing down our curriculum and ultimately our society as a whole, as we fall farther and farther behind foreign countries with fewer resources is not limited to our nation’s capital. Cities large and small, rich and poor, rural and urban, are equally susceptible to the degradation of the educational system.

While this is not the place to lay blame, teachers’ unions, administrators, and quite frankly anyone whose positions are weakened by poor student performance, are clearly at the top of the list of those responsible for making such an appalling suggestion to downgrade the American curriculum. For while it may be DC today, it could very well be Kansas City, with its 40 percent graduation rate, tomorrow, or Chicago, with its 60 percent graduation rate, the day after, or any other fledgling city such as Cleveland, at 34 percent, Detroit, at 25 percent, or Indianapolis, at 34 percent.

And it is not just the loss of social studies et al, which I teach, that is of concern, it is the slippery slope that if this subject could be abandoned in the guise of the interest of improving graduation rates, why not eliminate chemistry, physics, biology, algebra, geometry, English, and all challenging subjects.

The school systems are enablers of ignorance under the mistaken notion that we must continue to coddle students, reward them for simply showing up, and protecting their precious self-esteems when none of the above will vaunt them into college, a good productive job in the workforce, or grant them the ability to compete on a global level.

Just the opposite. The less children learn the less they will earn as adults and the more deeply entrenched and dependent upon government they will become. This is already an entitlement society, but the continuing dumbing down of the curriculum will destroy any balance between the ability to provide for those in dire need versus those who simply refuse to provide for themselves.

Parents ought to be clamoring at the schoolhouse doors demanding more discipline, more challenging curriculum – including social studies, to enable their children to remain free in a society that is theirs to rule in the next generation, if they are able.

Do we really want to turn out so-called graduates who know nothing of the history of their country? What is their incentive to join the military and defend this nation and its principles if young people do not know the history or its founding principles? Can we afford to have a nation so ignorant of its rights that it eventually becomes mired in a police state?

Are the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution mere paper to be ignored that we will ultimately surrender our rights and freedoms as archaic, superficial, and meaningless? The slippery slope there, is to abandon the right to vote and choose our own government, which is what an ignorant society will do – it is easier to let someone else do the thinking and make the challenging decisions.

As it is voter turnout is barely above 50 percent in a presidential election year and infinitely lower in other years. Fewer and fewer people are already making those decisions for those who find it to difficult or meaningless to exercise their rights. How much attention were those folks paying in social studies, civics, or history class?

Eliminating social studies et al, from the curriculum will not only relegate the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States to the dustbin of history, but it will also relegate the United States to third world status.

I don’t wish to become Cuba, North Korea, or Russia. Do you?

“Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again.” – Ronald Reagan, January 5, 1967, from his first inaugural speech as governor of California

It is far easier to conquer an ignorant people unarmed and bereft of facts and knowledge than it is to conquer a learned society.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN. He taught American History, World History, and Geography at two charter schools in Washington, DC prior to moving to Indiana.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Of Gastronomy and Guns

Of Gastronomy and Guns
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
January 22, 2013

Shortly upon his second coronation, King Barack, Queen Michelle and a band of Congressional minions adjourned to Statuary Hall where they dined on lobster, clam chowder sauce, bison, apple pie a la mode and other delights.*

I mentioned this to an ultra-liberal friend of mine who was basking in the glory of the day, January 21, who simply responded, “They’re entitled.” Hmm. That seems to sum up the entire attitude of this administration and all who fawn in its wake.

My point was not in the largesse of the meal. I couldn’t care less what the Obamas and members of Congress eat – so long as I am not paying for it, which, of course, on that day I, along with the rest of you were footing the bill. My point is, the over 3,000 calorie gastronomical feast on which they gorged demonstrates the continued hypocrisy of this administration, specifically Queen Michelle who has been hell bent on mandating a national diet for the rank and file – obese or not.

And after Mrs. Obama ordered us to eat our peas, there was no such legume on the inaugural luncheon menu.

As with so many aspects of this administration, it’s do as we say, not as we do. This edict can be applied to the Obama philosophy on guns.

While it is perfectly acceptable, and it is, for Obama’s daughters to be protected by armed guards, he does not want the rest of America’s children to enjoy the same security. Since the horrors of Sandy Hook in December there has been a cacophony calling for increased gun control as a knee-jerk reaction from the left.

Limiting the rights, as provided by the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, will only put innocent people in grave danger, not make them safer.

“Why don’t we stop the bad guy from getting the gun in the first place,” declared Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), showing his abject naïveté. Is Schumer serious? Additional gun laws will stop criminals? Welcome to the Land of Oz, Senator.

The more people are armed, the less likely they will become victims.

On January 16 Obama signed 23 Executive Orders pertaining to guns and gun ownership bypassing Congress. I seem to recall a war for independence being fought (1775-83) to rid ourselves of the despotic and tyrannical rule of a monarch, King George III.

Why not enforce the hundreds, if not thousands of gun laws already on the books both federally as well as within the 50 states? No, that would be too practical and not feed the paranoia of the left if “all” the government did was work within the system already in place. Instead, the federal government needs to put on a show – replete with Obama photos supposedly skeet shooting. I’d sooner trust former VP Dick Cheney with a gun than Obama.

Arm schools at the front doors as we arm banks protecting our most important assets – our children, as we do our monetary assets. Protect the children of Mr. and Mrs. Main Street as we do Mr. and Mrs. Obama.

Bottom line, stripping away the Second Amendment to the Constitution one rifle, pistol, or handgun at a time will eventually ensure that all other amendments are stripped away, ending the democratic-republic as we once knew it.

*Inauguration Day Menu
First Course: Steamed Lobster with New England Clam Chowder Sauce
Lobster Tails
New England Clam Chowder Sauce
Sautéed Spinach
Sweet Potato Hay
Per Serving: Calories 783, Fat 45.7g, Saturated Fat 16g, Cholesterol 247 mg, Sodium 1819 mg, Carbohydrates 55g, Dietary Fiber 7.5g, Sugar 14g, Protein 29g
Second Course: Hickory Grilled Bison with Red Potato Horseradish Cake and Wild Huckleberry Reduction
Butternut Squash Puree
Baby Golden Beets and Green Beans
Red Potato Horseradish Cake
Strawberry Preserve and Red Cabbage
Wild Huckleberry Reduction
Per Serving: Calories 1184, Fat 34.6g, Saturated Fat 16g, Cholesterol 177mg, Sodium 7445mg, Carbohydrates, 149g, Dietary Fiber 16.7, Sugar 97.2g, Protein 51g
Third Course: Hudson Valley Apple Pie with Sour Cream Ice Cream, Aged Cheese and Honey
Pie Dough
Cinnamon Crumble
Sour Cream Ice Cream
Maple Caramel Sauce
Artisan Cheeses
Per Serving: Calories 1060, Fat 64.4g, Saturated Fat 39g, Cholesterol 331mg, Sodium 488mg, Carbohydrates, 108.5g, Dietary Fiber 1.7g, Sugar 75g, Protein 14g
Total Nutritional Counts (not including wine pairing): Calories 3027, Fat 145 g, Saturated Fat 71g (49% of fat), Sodium 9752 mg, Total Carbs 312.5g, Sugar 186.2g (59% of carbs)
Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Stop Cursing Cursive

Stop Cursing Cursive
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
January 14, 2013

With apologies to the late Waylon Jennings, “Mammas don’t let your babies grow up to” have Jack Lew’s signature. The Secretary of State designate has a signature resembling that of the icing on a Hostess® cupcake – all swirl and no substance – thus strengthening the case to mandate cursive writing in all elementary schools.

Within two days of each other, The Indianapolis Star printed a news article and an editorial juxtaposing one another on the issue of keeping cursive writing a part of the educational agenda in the Hoosier State.

Scott Elliott’s article “In favor of the written word,” (01/09/13) conveys the desire of State Senator Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg) requiring cursive writing be returned to the Indiana curriculum. Leising filed legislation both in 2012 and will do so again in the upcoming legislative session in the wake of the State Department of Education’s decision to no longer require the teaching of cursive writing in 2011.

According to the Star, the State Senate overwhelmingly supported Leising’s bill by a vote of 45-5. The bill never reached the House floor, however. Clearly not a partisan issue, as the Senate vote depicts, Leising did not, however, have the support of House Education Committee Chairman Bob Behning, a fellow Republican from Indianapolis. Behning believed then and still does as of this week, that it is “inappropriate” for curriculum to be mandated by the legislature.

And apparently newly installed State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz (D) is not a supporter of the Leising bill either, according to her spokesman, David Galvin. “Cursive should be under the purview of the State Board of Education,” Galvin said.

Since the elimination of the cursive writing requirement, such a decision to teach or not to teach the skill has been left to individual schools to determine. This clearly is short sighted as cursive writing is a needed skill for people’s signatures, the ability to read antiquated documents, and simply convey information when a computer or laptop is not available.

So short sighted that in Matthew Tully’s commentary “Put your pencils down and pay attention,” (01/11/13) he took, albeit tongue in cheek, pot shots at cursive writing in a manner that was pedantic, myopic, and patronizing.

Should we really return to the days of Jim Crow when people who did not know how to sign their own names simply made their mark with an “X”? That would be a tragedy.

While Tully said he could “go either way” on the actual teaching of cursive writing, he opposes a mandate at the legislative level. But, in doing so, he mocks potential letter writers suggesting critics would contact him via pen and paper as opposed to “one of those fancy computer gizmos.” Well, LOL, Mr. Tully as is oft-posted on-line, as I complete this column and post it to my blog.

This issue first came to my attention in 2011 after the decision by the I-DOE and from my two nieces living in Westfield, one who had already learned cursive writing and one who would not, but wanted to. I wrote a column then, “Keeping Cursive is (Write) Right” (07/11/11) that was ignored by the Current in Westfield, but can be found on my blog.

Mandating the teaching of cursive writing throughout the state of Indiana via legislative edict ensures a level of consistency. Keyboarding can and should still be taught, but side by side with cursive writing.

“Having taught middle and high school, handwriting ranges from the creative to the illegible and students with poor handwriting skills tend to get frustrated and not write enough, thus making the handwriting even more difficult to interpret by teachers.

Not all applications can be filled out on-line. Paperwork in doctor’s offices, checks and thank you notes still require handwriting. Neatness ensures accuracy, while the alternative could be costly financially or even medically.” (“Keeping Cursive…”)

Without sounding overly paranoid, when our antiquated power grid fails, and it will, pen and paper will once again rule the day. When, as a writer, I have a middle of the night epiphany, I reach for my pad and pen, not laptop at my bedside.

There’s even a cursive font on the computer, Tully is familiar with it as he used it in his column. More knowledge and abilities are good things, not things to shun and mock. Some traditions just shouldn’t be abandoned.

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

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Invoking "Roe" on Gun Ownership

Invoking Roe on Gun Ownership
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
January 9, 2013

The infamous and controversial Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade (1973), contrary to popular belief was not about abortion, but instead the broader right of privacy.

As stated in a summary of the landmark case, Justice Harry Blackmun, a Richard Nixon high court appointee in 1970 who wrote the Roe decision, answered a question regarding privacy. Blackmun stated that “the Due Process Clause” of the 14th Amendment, “protects the right to privacy…” (

Furthermore, with the 14th Amendment behind them, gun owners, whose names and addresses were unceremoniously splashed across the pages of the Journal News in New York under the guise of protecting the community and using FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) as its shield, had their privacy violated.

Section One of the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution  states, in part, that “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of the law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Liberals and those who would restrict the activities of their fellow Americans enjoy invoking Roe whenever it suits their needs – defending the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of fetuses/lives every year, but objecting to the right of honest, law abiding Americans to defend their families, homes, and property according to the Second Amendment to the Constitution.

The Due Process Clause protects people’s privacy – whether the privacy to murder their unborn child or the privacy to keep and bear arms without having their names and addresses made public, potentially putting them in harm’s way. And for that matter, placing those who choose not to own a firearm in harm’s way.

Criminals can pick up a copy of the Journal News and decide to carjack, burglarize, kidnap, rape, rob, or murder a non-gun owner more easily than one who is duly armed.

For those who would curtail gun ownership in the United States, do they think people will simply surrender their Constitutional right to bear arms and turn in their pistols, revolvers, and rifles? Those people are delusional at best and living in fantasy land if they believe an unarmed society will make them safer. Just the opposite; criminals will be able to procure firearms, and sadly, often times, have better fire power than the law enforcement entrusted with keeping the streets and society safe.

But the police cannot be everywhere, and again, those who would disarm law abiding citizens and think that waiting for police when faced with a home invasion at gunpoint will keep them from getting slaughtered, are equally as delusional.

Take the recent case of the Georgia gun owner who protected her family by shooting an intruder after spiriting away her children to another part of the home. When discovered, the home owner was prepared and saved six lives.

Liberals are always quick to defend the rights of criminals to ensure their due process. What about the due process of the gun owner to not be deprived of his or her life, liberty, or property?

The Journal News, under the auspices of its president and publisher Janet Hasson, took it upon herself to violate the privacy rights of thousands of lawful gun owners in her community, claiming such information was available to the public under FOIA. This is the same liberal publication that recently endorsed 36 Democrats for 36 elections.

Under the same FOIA protection, Hasson’s readers can learn and print the purchase price of her home, list whether or not she is a recipient of welfare and/or food stamps, her magazine subscriptions, her movie rentals, and whether or not she is a convicted child molester – all under the guise of the community’s right to know.

Quite frankly, knowing who receives welfare and food stamps should be public information, after all, we the people are paying for those so-called entitlements. And, what parents or grandparents wouldn’t want to be informed as to the criminal nature of their neighbors? Let’s see Hasson publish the list of convicted pedophiles and sex offenders in her newspaper alongside the names of those on public assistance.

Printing the names of gun owners and their addresses puts law enforcement agents at risk. Readers of Hasson’s paper in the local jails have parroted back to their jailers addresses that appeared in print. Local judges are at risk. Residents who have moved due to harassment are at risk. Testifying witnesses are at risk. Stalker victims are at risk.

This is a bell than cannot be unrung. A message should be sent to the purveyors of such material by readers who chose to cancel their subscriptions; from advertisers who chose to advertise elsewhere, or from readers who opt to take their business from advertisers who remain in the paper to those who won’t appear there.

The brazenness of people like Hasson will only encourage other publications to follow her lead in their communities. What next? Will those gun owners whose names are in print exact their revenge by posting personal, yet publicly attained, information about the newspaper’s owner and/or publisher?

Contact Hasson at the Journal News Media Group, owned by Gannett, Inc. at 914-694-5204 or on-line at

I believe in a free press – it is one of the cornerstones of American society. But I also believe in the privacy of the individual and to not have that privacy violated.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN. He is a multi-time winner of the Virginia Press Association Award.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Dems Crying over Spilled Milk - Theirs

Dems Crying over Spilled Milk – Theirs
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
January 8, 2013

Democratic legislators in Indiana who walked of the job in both 2011 and 2012 now suing to recoup their lost remuneration to fines should have their case tossed out of court by Chief Justice Brent Dickson on account of its frivolous nature.

Not only should the Democrats’ pay be forfeited and the fines stand, but they should also face recall and/or impeachment for dereliction of duty and failure to represent their constituents.

This is not about picking on the Democrats. The same treatment would befit Republicans who would behave in the same truculent and irresponsible manner as the Democrats. This is about the principle of elections having consequences. At present and in the years in question above, the Republican Party holds a majority. It is up to the Democrats to play the cards they are dealt, stay on the job, and fight for their stances on the issues before the legislature.

Walking off the job is the same as a strike. Strikers are not paid nor should the recalcitrant Democrats who, like a petulant six-year-old decided to take their ball and go home, or more importantly, flee the jurisdiction to the Land of Lincoln.

According to a Marion County judge “the House had the power to impose the fines, it could not ignore state law by seizing pay without due process.” (“Democrats trying to regain pay docked after walkout,” The Indianapolis Star 01/04/13)

Fair enough; give the Democrats their due process. Did they walk off the job? Yes. Does the House have the power to fine them? Yes. Case dismissed; fines stand. Next time, stay put and do your jobs. Otherwise come election day, the rank and file will find other, more responsible citizens to do them.

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

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Balking at Drugs in the Baseball Hall

Balking at Drugs in the Baseball Hall
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
January 3, 2013

While Jack Frost may be nipping at our tuchuses and pitchers and catchers don’t report for duty for about six weeks, there is some important baseball business needing immediate attention – the upcoming vote on who will earn entry into the Hall of Fame.

“Voting shall be based upon the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.” ( This is the standard by which the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) is to do their jobs if they have not already cast their ballots for the Class of 2013.

The key words here are character and integrity – neither of which were exhibited by the likes of Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, or Sammy Sosa, each accused of using steroids during their playing careers. Whether for one season or an extended period of time, these players’ bad behavior should not be rewarded. They only way they should be allowed into Cooperstown is with a paid ticket for admission.

Yet one such BBWAA voter, Bruce Jenkins, a columnist with the San Francisco Chronicle, is willing to overlook the importance of character and integrity. “Whether it was gambling, scuffing the baseballs, corking bats, amphetamines or steroids, players have been cheating like crazy forever.”

That shoddy excuse for Jenkins to boast about his plan to vote for Bonds, Clemens, and Sosa should be enough to be disqualified as a voting member of the BBWAA. Justifying bad behavior with other bad behavior is disingenuous at best. Did he vote for McGwire in any of his six previous ballot appearances or Palmeiro’s two priors?

The “steroid era” of baseball is more of a black mark than the Black Sox scandal of 1919 that temporarily stained the game and gave the game a commissioner. Steroids have tainted baseball from the top down – from the majors to high school where players are under such pressure to perform, maintain a level of performance, and procure high dollar contracts.

While the aforementioned accused players managed to escape a 2005 Congressional hearing not determining their steroid usage, the overwhelming majority of people were not so easily duped. Fooling Congress, after all, can be attained in one’s sleep. But it was clear that the leaps and bounds in the performances of Bonds, Clemens, and Sosa were nothing short of manufactured.

And while convicting Bonds, Clemens and Sosa in the court of public opinion is not how the system of American jurisprudence operates in these United States, those retired players are not facing judge and jury, but instead the 600-plus members of the BBWAA for whom the words character and integrity loom large.

Those words, character and integrity, have meaning and should be upheld while casting votes in favor of some of the past generation’s great players on the field, and honorable men off the field.

Were I casting some of the precious votes to determine the Class of 2013 inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame, four former stars would appear on my ballot.

Craig Biggio spent the entirety of his 20 years in the majors with the Houston Astros. The seven time all-star also earned four Gold Gloves and five Silver Sluggers. Biggio managed to appear in many offensive leadership categories while playing for a typically sluggish Astros team. The former second baseman should be a first ballot entrant.

Jack Morris pitched for 14 of his 18 major league seasons with the Detroit Tigers and could soak up the innings as though he had a rubber arm, tossing 175 complete games. Morris pitched in three World Series, was a three-time 20-plus game winner, including winning 21 at age 37. The five-time all-star also pitched for the Twins, Blue Jays, and Indians. Having pitched from 1977-94, Morris is in his 14th year of eligibility, inching closer each year to Cooperstown.

Because Mike Piazza played nearly eight of his 16-year career with the Mets, naturally he a favorite. However, the 12-time all-star cracked 427 home runs, batted .308 and earned 10 Silver Slugger awards all while catching 1629 games – top flight numbers regardless of what team he played for. Piazza, the 1993 Rookie of the Year, spent the first six-plus years with the Dodgers, a year each with the Padres and A’s as well as five minutes with the Marlins. Piazza’s place in Cooperstown is all but bronzed.

Last but not least on my ballot would be Curt Schilling, bloody sock and all. The six-time all-star pitched 20 seasons in the big leagues – three with the Orioles, one with the Astros, eight-plus with the Phillies, three-plus with the Diamondbacks, then calling it a career with the Red Sox. Schilling tossed 83 complete games, appeared in three World Series, and had three 20-plus win seasons within a four year span at ages 36, 38, and 39. Schilling should have his ticket stamped this summer.

While it is important to not sully the Baseball Hall of Fame with the likes of Bonds, Clemens, McGwire, Palmeiro, and Sosa, the focus should be on the greats who will be enshrined this July and how they will continue to be the true ambassadors to the community as so many before them have been.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN. He has been a Patron-level member of the Baseball Hall of Fame since 2007.