George A. Sprecace M.D.,
J.D., F.A.C.P. and Allergy Associates of New
RESPONSE (Archives)...Daily Commentary on News of the Day
This is a new section. It will
quick reactions by myself to news and events of the day, day by day, in
this rapid-fire world of ours. Of course, as in military
a rapid response in one direction may occasionally have to be followed
by a "strategic withdrawal" in another direction. Charge that to
"the fog of war", and to the necessary flexibility any mental or
campaign must maintain to be effective. But the mission will
be the same: common sense, based upon facts and "real politick",
by a visceral sense of Justice and a commitment to be pro-active.
That's all I promise.
to return to the current Rapid Response list
TUESDAY, MARCH 30 and 31, 2009
As I was saying: WHAT'S WRONG
WITH THE CATHOLIC CHURCH - #2. GS
ZENIT, The world seen from Rome
A Question of Identity
Catholic Higher Education in a Secular World
By Father John Flynn, LC
ROME, MARCH 29, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The controversy over the invitation
President Barack Obama to the University of Notre Dame has placed at
forefront once more the debate over the identity of Catholic
Obama was invited by university president, Holy Cross Father John
give the May 17 address to graduates. He will also be awarded an
degree. Protests, which centered on Obama's anti-life measures taken in
first months of his administration, started immediately.
For those wanting to know more about what lies behind the conflict over
issue, Anne Hendershott analyzes the topic in a book published in
titled: "Status Envy: The Politics of Catholic Higher Education,"
(Transaction Publishers). Hendershott is professor of urban affairs at
King's College, New York City.
Hendershott starts off by referring to an essay published more than 50
ago, in which Monsignor John Tracy Ellis questioned if the academic
Catholic campuses was mediocre due to the priority given to the moral
The echoes of this letter still resonate today, she commented, with
universities concluding that their Catholic identity is a liability in
the top echelon of tertiary institutions.
A further milestone in the debate was the 1990 document by the Vatican,
"Ex Corde Ecclesiae," that emphasized the need for a Catholic identity
in higher education. A key component of this document was to require
theologians teaching in Catholic colleges obtain a mandatum, or
the local bishop, testifying to the fact that their teaching adhered to
This requirement, Hendershott observed, was resisted by many professors
Catholic institutions. Yet, at the same time she gave examples of where
eagerly complied with secular accrediting associations when they
greater diversity in terms of race and ethnicity.
As a result, according to Hendershott, there has been a progressive
Catholic identity on many Catholic campuses due to a tendency among the
and administrators to conform to the desire for status in the secular
There is, Hendershott argued, a culture war going on in Catholic higher
education. This conflict is a reflection of the greater culture war
those who assert that there are no truths, and those who believe that
have been revealed and require constant reading and application.
Hendershott went on to describe cases in various Catholic institutions
during the last few decades, have opted for deliberately walking away
strict Catholic identity to a more secular position. In many
Catholic ideals and teachings were seen as an unwanted interference in
academic work of the faculty, and Catholic intellectual traditions were
be given any privilege.
In practice, Hendershott noted, this meant that attempts to teach
doctrine soon came to be seen as inappropriate or intolerant. Thus, the
pluralism espoused by many faculty members did not mean a genuine
between Catholic teachings and other ideas, but rather, only respect
Catholic principles that the faculty already agreed with.
This change at the faculty level has been accompanied by a laicization
leadership of Catholic colleges, Hendershott added. Many of the
transferred their charters and property holdings to independent boards
trustees, composed of a majority of lay people, and in so doing
guaranteed independence from Church authority.
In part, Hendershott admitted, some of this trend to a secularization
institutions was due to legal issues related to the matter of being
government funding. As a result the Catholic colleges proclaimed their
identity to the parents of prospective students and to alumni, but
the public sphere their Catholic identity.
Hendershott even cited some examples of where some universities
different descriptions of themselves depending on the targeted
of them published one mission statement on their Web site, and a
in the self-description for secular surveys.
Hendershott also commented that, even to the extent that Catholic
proclaim their Catholic identity to prospective students, they do so in
selective manner. She found that in a review of more than 200 mission
statements of Catholic institutions, a substantial number downplayed
Some, for example, simply chose those parts of the Catholic identity
feel more comfortable with. This is combined with statements affirming
diversity and plurality of the Church.
Often reference is made to a sort of vaguely defined "Catholic
heritage" or tradition rather than to any active Catholic identity. In
doing the aspect of having a Catholic tradition is often placed just as
among many other factors that are described as possible drawing cards
Hendershott also observed that many of the Catholic colleges have
revised their values and goals statements so as to downplay any
identity. So, while they may acknowledge some sort of foundation as a
institution, at the same time they take pains to stipulate that they
autonomous and are committed to a respect for all cultures.
She also cited a recent national survey of 124 senior administrators
Catholic colleges and universities. Many of them were ambivalent as to
the Catholic culture, or the culture of the religious institution that
college, should be predominant.
The survey itself commented that by focusing on the sponsoring
the university runs the danger of ignoring the Catholic Church itself.
There are, however, notable exceptions, and Hendershott referred to a
Catholic colleges that proudly proclaim their Catholic identity and
This acknowledgment of positive trends is a feature of the concluding
Hendershott's book. So, while many of the chapters do chronicle a
denial of Catholic identity in higher education, there are positive
In recent decades a number of new colleges have been founded, and some
ones have come back to a stronger adherence to the Church. Moreover,
some of the
strongly Catholic institutions have also obtained high rankings in
surveys in terms of their educational excellence.
While this new wave of firmly Catholic colleges does teach Church
without apologies, they also present to students contrasting ideas, and
encourage them to enter into debate with contemporary culture and ideas.
In addition to a number of flourishing colleges that maintain a strong
to the Catholic Church, there are also growing numbers of students in
the other institutions that take their faith seriously.
Hendershott described a number of cases where this pressure from the
has led universities to take steps to proclaim a greater Catholic
even to include a wider variety of outside speakers on topics, instead
inviting dissenters from Church teaching.
A number of bishops are also taking more interest in what their
universities are teaching and are insisting more on the need to be
Hendershott concludes by adding that the secularization of many
colleges, while in part due to outside pressures and the cultural
also the result of people who knew exactly what they were doing.
It is possible to counteract this slide to secularization, Hendershott
but it will require decision makers to embrace the richness of the
tradition and to fight to preserve Catholic culture. A commitment whose
importance is highlighted by the current controversy.
SUNDAY, MARCH 23 through 29, 2009
On My Mind:
- The results of another quiz on how President Obama is
doing. Surprising rhetoric on Afghanistan.
Not quite "Mission Accomplished", but enough of Pavarotti's "Vincero'"
to come close to making this his war. Still playing footsie
with Pakastan, a loose cannon if there ever was
one. Meanwhile, I hope somebody is watching Israel.
It wouldn't be the first time that they used confusion to do their own
thing. And the short-term results from his handling of the
financial crisis will tell us nothing about
the long-term consequences. Is this man another Wall Street
gambler? See "FI.A.S.C.O.:Blood in the Water on Wall Street",
by Frank Partnoy, W.W. Norton and Co., 1997, 2009)
- Health Care reform efforts achieved an important
position this week: the need make health care coverage mandatory for
everyone in order to make any comprehensive plan viable. But
Obama is still not on board with this idea. Stay tuned.
- Here's a "dog bites man": the Internet and computers are
not secure, as over 100 countries just found out. Back
to pen, paper, diplomatic pouches and handcuffs.
- And then we announce a continuing series entitled: What's
Wrong With The Catholic Church". A
visit to several sections on this web site ("Catholic Church",
"Abortion, Morality and Ethics", and the "Point and Counterpoint"
series) provides an extended introduction. It took hundreds of
years for the Vatican to correct its views on Astronomy. But they
enthusiastically jump into the fields of Public Health (condoms and
AIDS in Africa) and Obstetrics (the Brazilian 80 lb. child bearing
twins and the judgment of her doctors). Add to this the serious
error regarding the English Bishop and the Holocaust...and we can see
why the Catholic Church is becoming the "farm team for Protestant
denominations". Folks, you need help. That's why every
Catholic should read "Catholic Laity in the Mission of the
Church", by Russell Shaw (Requiem Press). More
to follow on this subject, as long as the situation continues...and as
long as the upper Hierarchy here and at the Vatican remain hermetically
sealed from their flock.
SATURDAY and SUNDAY, MARCH 21 and 22, 2009
I was away for the 6 days recently, visiting family. Since
the trips entailed three plane rides, 1000 miles of auto travel, and a
lot of down-time, I was able to review a number of newspapers and other
news sources. Thus, the need to unload a whole lot
of ideas, in as concise a way as possible, in order
to protect my blood pressure. I hope this doesn't adversly affect
THE INTERNATIONAL SCENE.
- Pakistan. We must prevent a take-over by
Islamists. We must promote a fusion government controlled by
democratic elements by every means possible. (CIA, are you
- Afghanistan. This is our "Must Win War",
as articulated by Senators McCain and Lieberman in the Washington Post
Tuesday, March 19, pA15. We must do it with both guns and
butter. And in the process we must destroy the opium trade, while
guaranteeing the farmers a better life and income. This may run
afoul of drug trade protectors at the highest levels of government, I
fear. And will Russia see this effort as also in its national
- Iran. Only power is respected.
Equivocation, weakness and even "diplomacy" is dispised. Check
out the Mullahs' dismissive reply to President Obama's recent
overture. We can deal with them only on a quid pro quo
basis. And military action is not off the table, certainly not so
long as Israel is watching.
- Israel / Arab Nations / Hamas / Hisbullah.
This is a "Gordian Knot". Remember that Alexander used his sword
to resolve the issue. I fear that this is a permanent state of
affairs until the end of days. We can contain it in part.
We cannot solve it.
- Turkey. Why is the West always giving
them the back of the hand? Is it because they fear the
competition of a vibrant nation? We must get them included
completely into Europe before they become another Islamist enemy.
- Western Europe. The siren song of
Socialism will never work in America. See David Brooks' article
entitled "The Commercial Republic", (NYTimes Tuesday, March 17, Op-Ed
- Africa. That benighted continent is the
historical playground of the Colonialists...and now also of China and
Russia. Add to that the struggle among Islam, Christianity and
native religions...and you have a toxic soup. But the national
interests of America are definitely intertwined in this area. I
hope we are sufficiently engaged - with or without the cooperation of
other outside nations.
- The U.N. Apart from its often halting
humanitarian efforts, this is just a mirror of the world's
problems...never yet the solution. But lets keep talking.
- China. Always a potential enemy, so long
as it remains under Communist rule. But it appears that we can
deal with them economically...so long as we don't default on our
massive national mortgage which is in their hands - and growing.
- India. This is a potent ally which we
should enhance by all means possible. And we should help them
keep the Islamists in check.
- Mexico. This country has turned to be
corrupt to the core. We should retain an arms-length
relationship...and protect our borders. Meanwhile, we must
develop a logical, comprehensive and humane approach toward the
good people from that country who are in our midst.
- Canada. A good neighbor that should not be
taken for granted. We should especially seek that nation's
cooperation regarding the Arctic Circle, the newest frontier for
cooperation or controversy among a lot of players.
THE DOMESTIC SCENE
- President Obama. A shaky start, partly due
to his insistence on promoting an indigestible combination of major
policy matters at this particularly difficult time. This, he
get's an A- in Rhetoric (the minus due to his now - humorous reliance
on teleprompters); he gets a B- in Politics; and he gets
a C in his understanding of the implications of the policies he is
- Abortion. President Obama has already
been labled - with justification - the most pro-abortion President in
history. Not a good thing, for anyone. If he continues in
this approach, he may well be inviting civil strife. The 53% of
self-styled Catholics who voted for him, despite his clear position on
the subject, may even see the error of their ways in future
elections. Meanwhile, the actions and inactions of the Catholic
hierarchy are underwhelming at least, and cowardly at
worst. There is more on this subject on this website,
under "The Involved Citizen", within "The Catholic Church" and
"Abortion / Morality / Ethics" sections.
- The Republican Party. You can't beat
something with nothing...and the Party is approaching that
status. See the article "How To Revive The GOP", USA
Today, march 19, Forum, p11A).
- Meanwhile, the Democratic Party- led by the
likes of Pelosi and Reid - are in total control and should be given the
reward or blame for anything that comes out of
Congress...notwithstanding their rants against the loyal
- Public Education. Despite Obama's positive
statements about "change": same ol', same ol'.
And yet another generation, especially of the Black community, goes
down the tubes. Now there is an issue on which he could build a
lasting legacy; if he can just shake off the teachers' unions
- The Military. Watch out for planned
obsolescence as occurred during the Clinton administration. What
we need is more volunteers, many of whom will need an initial year of
remedial education before military training. And what we may need
is a fair Draft.
- Medicine. Based upon some recent reports,
less may well be more. Caveat Emptor: Let the
buyer beware. This is all the more true given the takeover of the
FDA by political considerations. Add that group to the other
instances of Federal "fox watching over the chcken-coop.
- Yucca Mountain. The worst of political
expediency. See the Editorial in USA Today, March 17, p8A.
- The reported coming demise of the print media,
despite the pseudo-news available on the Internet. The solution
to their problem is to become the anti-net; produce in-depth, high
quality and factual investigative journalism. Also, study how
Radio is alive and well despite the competition of TV.
Ah, that felt good. "That's All, Folks".
FRIDAY, MARCH 14 through 20, 2009
is hysterical. If it had been presented this way,
don't believe any of us would have done it!!!!
Mommy, Mama, Ma
Daddy, Dada, Pa, Pop
term, team players needed, for challenging permanent work in an often
must possess excellent communication and organizational skills and be
willing to work
hours, which will include evenings and weekends and frequent 24 hour
shifts on call.
overnight travel required, including trips to primitive camping sites
on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments in far away cities!
Travel expenses not reimbursed.
Extensive courier duties also required.
rest of your life.
be willing to be hated, at least temporarily, until someone needs $5.
be willing to bite tongue repeatedly.
must possess the physical stamina of a pack mule
be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat in case, this
time, the screams from
backyard are not someone just crying wolf.
be willing to face stimulating technical challenges, such as small
gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets
screen phone calls, maintain calendars and coordinate production of
multiple homework projects.
have ability to plan and organize social gatherings for clients of all
ages and mental outlooks.
be willing to be indispensable one minute, an embarrassment the next.
handle assembly and product safety testing of a half million cheap,
plastic toys, and battery operated devices.
always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.
assume final, complete accountability for the quality of the end
also include floor maintenance and janitorial work throughout the
FOR ADVANCEMENT & PROMOTION
job is to remain in the same position for years, without complaining,
constantly retraining and updating your skills,
that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you
training offered on a continually exhausting basis.
this! You pay them!
frequent raises and bonuses.
balloon payment is due when they turn 18 on the assumption that
college wil l help them
you die, you give them whatever is left.
oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that
actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.
no health or dental insurance, no pension,
tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays and
stock options are offered;
job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth, unconditional
free hugs and kisses for life if you play your cards right.
this on to all the PARENTS
you know, in appreciation for everything they do on a daily basis,
them know they are appreciated
the fabulous job they do...
forward with love to anyone thinking of applying for the job!
** AND A FOOTNOTE ...
IS NO RETIREMENT -- EVER!!!
TUESDAY, MARCH 13 through 17, 2009
TOP O THE MORNIN' TO YA"...AND THE REST O' THE DAY
TO ME. GEORGE SPRE-CASEY
An Irish priest is transferred to Texas.
Father O'Malley rose from his bed. It was a fine spring day in his new
Texas mission parish. He walked to the window of his bedroom to get a deep
breath of the beautiful day outside. He then noticed there was a jackass lying
dead in the middle of his front lawn.
He promptly called the local police station.
The conversation went like this: "Good morning. This is Sergeant Jones.
How might I help you?"
"And the best of the day te yerself. This is Fadder O'Malley at St.
Brigid's. Dere's a jackass lyin dead on me front lawn. Would ye be so
kind as to send a couple o' yer lads to take care of da matter?"
Sergeant Jones, considering himself to be quite a wit, replied with a smirk,
"Well now father, it was always my impression that you people took care of
There was dead silence on the line for a long moment. Father O'Malley then
replied: "Aye, tis certainly true, but we are also obliged to notify the
next of kin."
THURSDAY, MARCH 12, 2009
The world seen from Rome
Denounces Obama's Stem Cell Ban Reversal
It a Victory of Politics Over Science
D.C., MARCH 9, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The U.S. bishops' conference pro-life
committee chairman is denouncing President Barack Obama's executive
order that will allow federal funding for embryonic stem cell
research.Cardinal Justin Rigali issued a response to the U.S.
president's order today that will allow federal tax dollars to be used
to fund scientists in the destruction of live human embryos to develop
stem cells for research.
cardinal said: "President Obama's new executive order on embryonic stem
cell research is a sad victory of politics over science and ethics.
action is morally wrong because it encourages the destruction of
innocent human life, treating vulnerable human beings as mere products
to be harvested.
also disregards the values of millions of American taxpayers who oppose
research that requires taking human life. Finally, it ignores the fact
that ethically sound means for advancing stem cell science and medical
treatments are readily available and in need of increased support."
cardinal also cited a letter written Jan. 16 by Cardinal Francis
George, president of the bishops' conference, to Obama, urging him not
to allow funding for this research. Cardinal George stated three
reasons why this research is "especially pointless at this time."
he wrote, "basic research in the capabilities of embryonic stem cells
can be and is being pursued using the currently eligible cell lines as
well as the hundreds of lines produced with nonfederal funds since
continued: "Second, recent startling advances in reprogramming adult
cells into embryonic-like stem cells -- hailed by the journal 'Science'
as the scientific breakthrough of the year -- are said by many
scientists to be making embryonic stem cells irrelevant to medical
adult and cord blood stem cells are now known to have great
versatility, and are increasingly being used to reverse serious
illnesses and even help rebuild damaged organs.
divert scarce funds away from these promising avenues for research and
treatment toward the avenue that is most morally controversial as well
as most medically speculative would be a sad victory of politics over
Obama's action reverses the ban on federal funding for this type of
research enacted by former president George W. Bush, who limited the
use of taxpayer money to the 21 stem cell lines already developed
before his order.
George stated, "If the government wants to invest in hope for cures and
promote ethically sound science, it should use our tax monies for
research that everyone, at every stage of human development, can live
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11, 2009
Frequent flyers in this airspace called Rapid Response
cannot have failed to note how often the columnist and author Thomas
Friedman and I agree on issues. The following article is
a "must read", in the same category:
However, I must go against type in admitting to one difference: he
is more optomistic than I am on this subject.
TUESDAY, MARCH 10, 2009
Are there any
more people like him today? I sure hope so. GS
an 19 year old kid. You're critically wounded, and dying in the jungle
in the Ia Drang Valley , 11-14-1965, LZ Xray, Vietnam . Your
infantry unit is outnumbered 8 - 1, and the enemy fire is so intense,
from 100 or 200 yards away, that your own Infantry Commander has
ordered the MediVac helicopters to stop coming in.
lying there, listening to the enemy machine guns, and you know you're
not getting out. Your family is 1/2 way around the world, 12,000 miles
away, and you'll never see them again. As the world starts to fade in
and out, you know this is the day.
over the machine gun noise, you faintly hear that sound of a
helicopter, and you look up to see an un-armed Huey, but it doesn't
seem real, because no Medi-Vac markings are on it.
Freeman is coming for you. He's not Medi-Vac, so it's not his job, but
he's flying his Huey down into the machine gun fire, after the
Medi-Vacs were ordered not to come.
he drops it in, and sits there in the machine gun fire, as they load 2
or 3 of you on board.
he flies you up and out through the gunfire, to the Doctors and Nurses.
he kept coming back.... 13 more times..... And took about 30 of you and
your buddies out, who would never have gotten out.
Medal of Honor Recipient, Ed Freeman, died last Wednesday at the age of
80, in Boise, ID ......May God rest his soul.....
(Oh yeah, Paul Newman died that day too. I guess you knew that --
He got a lot more press than Ed Freeman.)
MONDAY, MARCH 9, 2009
In the days of an 800
billion dollar stimulus program, and a proposed3.6
trillion dollar budget, it is worth a couple of minutes to remember a
simpler-and less expensive- time.
'Here's my strategy on the Cold
War:We win, they lose.'
- Ronald Reagan
most terrifying words in the English language
are: I'm from the government and I'm
here to help.' - Ronald
'The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're
ignorant; it's just that they know so much that
isn't so.' - Ronald Reagan
'Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because
the U.S. was too strong.' -
'I have wondered at times about what the Ten Commandments
would have looked like if Moses had run them through the U.S.
Congress.' - Ronald Reagan
'The taxpayer: That's someone who works for the
federal government but doesn't have to
take the civil service
examination.' - Ronald Reagan
'Government is like a baby: An alimentary canal with a
big appetite at one end and no sense of
responsibility at the
other.' - Ronald Reagan
'The nearest thing to eternal life we will ever see
on this earth is a government
program.' - Ronald Reagan
'It has been said that politics is the second oldest
profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the
first.' - Ronald Reagan
'Government's view of the economy could be
summed up in a few short phrases : If it
moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate
it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.' - Ronald Reagan
'Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed, there
are many rewards; if you disgrace yourself, you can always write
a book.' - Ronald Reagan
'No arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the
world, is as formidable as the will
and moral courage of free men and women.'
- Ronald Reagan
'If we ever forget that we're one nation under
God, then we will be a nation gone
under.' -Ronald Reagan
SUNDAY, MARCH 8, 2009
WOW. TERRIFIC. TALK ABOUT
"TELLING IT LIKE IT IS...." GS
Supplier's response to GM's request for bailout support.
a supplier for the Big 3 this man received a letter from the President
of GM North America requesting support for the bail out program. His
response is classic, and has to make you proud of a local guy who tells
it like it is.......
this is the letter he got from GM to which his subsequent response is
Dear Employees and Suppliers,
and the current Administration will soon determine whether to provide
immediate support to the domestic auto industry to help it through one
of the most difficult economic times in our nation's history. Your
elected officials must hear from all of us now on why this support is
critical to our continuing the progress we began prior to the global
an employee or supplier, you have a lot at stake and continue to be one
of our most effective and passionate voices.. I know GM can count on
you to have your voice heard. Thank you for your urgent action
and ongoing support.
Clarke - President General Motors North America
Gregory Knox, Pres. Knox Machinery Company, Franklin , Ohio
response to your request to contact legislators and ask for a bailout
for the Big Three automakers please consider the following, and please
pass my thoughts on to Troy Clark, President of General Motors North
and Management of the Big 3 are both infected with the same entitlement
mentality that has spread like cancerous germs in UAW halls for the
last countless decades, and whose plague is now sweeping this nation,
awaiting our new "messiah", Pres-elect Obama, to wave his magic wand
and make all our problems go away, while at the same time allowing our
once great nation to keep "living the dream". Believe me folks, The
dream is over!
dream where we can ignore the consumer for years while management
myopically focuses on its personal rewards packages at the same time
that our factories have been filled with the worlds most overpaid,
arrogant, ignorant and laziest entitlement minded "laborers" without
paying the price for these atrocities. This dream where you still think
the masses will line up to buy our products for ever and
even think about telling me I'm wrong. Don't accuse me of not
knowing of what I speak. I have called on Ford, GM, Chrysler,
TRW, Delphi, Kelsey Hayes, American Axle and countless other automotive
OEM's throughout the Midwest during the past 30 years and what
I've seen over those years in these union shops can only be described
Clarke, President of General Motors North America, states: "There is
widespread sentiment throughout this country, and our government, and
especially via the news media, that the current crisis is completely
the result of bad management which it certainly is not."
right Mr. Clarke, it's not JUST management. How about the
electricians who walk around the plants like lords in feudal times,
making people wait on them for countless hours while they drag ass so
they can come in on the weekend and make double and triple time for a
job they easily could have done within their normal 40 hour work
week. How about the line workers who threaten newbies with all
kinds of scare tactics for putting out too many parts on a shift and
for being too productive? (We certainly must not expose those lazy
bums who have been getting overpaid for decades for their horrific
underproduction, must we?!?)
you folks really not know about this stuff?!? How about this
great sentiment abridged from Mr. Clarke's sad plea: "over the
last few years, we have closed the quality and efficiency gaps with our
competitors." What the hell has Detroit been doing for the
last 40 years?!? Did we really JUST wake up to the gaps in
quality and efficiency between us and them? The K-car vs. the
Accord? The Pinto vs. the Civic?!? Do I need to go on?
What a joke!
are living through the inevitable outcome of the actions of the
United States auto industry for decades. It's time to pay for
your sins, Detroit.
attended an economic summit last week where brilliant economist, Alan
Beaulieu, from the Institute of Trend Research , surprised
the crowd when he said he would not have given the banks a penny of
he said, this would cause short term problems," but despite what people
like politicians and corporate magnates would have us believe, the sun
would in fact rise the next day. and the following very important thing
would happen.. . where there had been greedy and sloppy banks, new
efficient ones would pop up. That is how a free market system
works. It does work if we would only let it work."
for some nondescript reason we are now deciding that the rest of the
world is right and that capitalism doesn't work - that we need the
government to step in and "save us". Save us my ass, Hell - we're
nationalizing, and unfortunately too many of our once fine nation's
citizens don't even have a clue that this is what is really
happening. But, they sure can tell you the stats on their
favorite sports teams. Yeah - THAT'S really important, isn't it.
it ever occur to ANYONE that the "competition" has been producing
vehicles, EXTREMELY PROFITABLY, for decades in this country? How
can that be??? Let's see. Fuel efficient. Listening to
customers. Investing in the proper tooling and automation for the
long haul. Not being too complacent or arrogant to listen to Dr.
W. Edwards Deming four decades ago when he taught that by adopting
appropriate principles of management, organizations could increase
quality and simultaneously reduce costs. Ever increased
productivity through quality and intelligent planning. Treating
vendors like strategic partners, rather than like "the enemy".
Efficient front and back offices. Non union environment. Again, I
could go on and on, but I really wouldn't be telling anyone anything
they really don't already know down deep in their hearts.
have six children, so I am not unfamiliar with the concept of wanting
someone to bail you out of a mess that you have gotten yourself into -
my children do this on a weekly, if not daily basis, as I did when I
was their age. I do for them what my parents did for me (one of
their greatest gifts, by the way) - I make them stand on their own two
feet and accept the consequences of their actions and work through
it. Radical concept, huh? Am I there for them in the
wings? Of course - but only until such time as they need to be
fully on their own as adults.
don't want to oversimplify a complex situation, but there certainly are
unmistakable parallels here between the proper role of parenting and
government. Detroit and the United States need to pay
for their sins. Bad news, people - it's coming whether we like it
or not. The newly elected Messiah really doesn't have a magic wand big
enough to "make it all go away."
laughed as I heard Obama "reeling it back in" almost immediately after
the final vote count was tallied. "we really might not do it in a
year or in four." Where the Hell was that kind of talk when he
was RUNNING for office?
trying to put off the inevitable folks . That house in Florida really
isn't worth $750,000. People who jump across a border really don't
deserve free health care benefits. That job driving that forklift
for the Big 3 really isn't worth $85,000 a year. We really
shouldn't allow Wal-Mart to stock their shelves with products acquired
from a country that unfairly manipulates their currency and has the
most atrocious human rights infractions on the face of the
globe. That couple whose combined income is less than $50,000
really shouldn't be living in that $485,000 home. Let the market
correct itself folks - it will.
it will be painful, but it's gonna' be painful either way, and the
bright side of my proposal is that on the other side of it all, is a
nation that appreciates what it has and doesn't live beyond its means
and gets back to basics and redevelops the patriotic work ethic that
made it the greatest nation in the history of the world and probably
turns back to God.
- don't cut my head off, I'm just the messenger sharing with you the
"bad news". I hope you take it to heart.
J. Knox, President Knox Machinery, Inc. Franklin , Ohio 45005
SATURDAY, MARCH 7, 2009
Let's talk "Politics" in this perpetual election
- The word is derived from the Greek word "Politos", meaning
"People". So, I guess we're stuck with the word...and the
occupation. And "Occupation" or "Trade" it is; not a Craft,
and certainly not a Profession.
- But I did hear a distinction made this week on NPR / Diane
Rheams show, perhaps by David Frum, in a discussion about
Conservatives vs. just plain Republicans. To
paraphrase: politicians take positions to seek power; idiologues -
in this case Conservatives - seek power to promote positions. The
first group changes positions that don't play or poll well. The
second group cannot do that. The same is true for the
Democrats. So, when push comes to shove...whom would you trust?
- In practice, the people almost always elect politicians...because
they tell them what they want to hear. The last exception to
that situation was Ronald Reagan. And he turned out to be
our most recent outstanding President. Get the message?
- Three current examples of politics in action, despite this
country's very serious problems: 1) Why are greedy and stupid
corporations not being allowed to fail or at least to go into Chapter
11 bankruptcy...because the greedy and stupid unions and their
Democratic surrogates won't allow it; 2) Why is Obama making such a
fuss over "Health Care Reform", while he can't even fill his
Cabinet...because his solution after a lot of posturing will be merely
to cut payments to health care providers instead of addressing the
necessary but thorny issues which I outlined in my Rapid Response
of Feb. 16-19, 2009; 3) Why is Yucca Mountain still, after decades, an
unused multi-billion dollar hole in the ground, while hundreds of
communities throughout the country are in danger of serious nuclear
contamination from band-aid local solutions to the nuclear waste
problem...because Senate Leader - and great disappointment -
Harry Reid represents the State of Nevada and is simply a grey-haired
Fellow citizens, the fate of this country is and has always been
in your hands. So far, the success of this nation has been the
result of America's overriding physical and personal wealth - much of
it coming from immigrants - and not from your wisdom at election
time. Well, we have closed out more immigrants, and we are
running out of wealth. So figure out your next act.
FRIDAY, MARCH 6, 2009
Maybe a few
automobile manufacturers should get this sage piece of advice. -
Jewish businessman was in a great deal of trouble. His business was
failing, he had put everything he had into the business, he owed
everybody; it was so bad he was even contemplating suicide. As a last
resort, he went to a Rabbi and poured out his story of tears
he had finished, the Rabbi said, "Here's what I want you to do:
Put a beach chair and your Bible in your car and drive down
to the beach. Take the beach chair and the Bible to the water's
edge, sit down in the beach chair, and put the Bible in your lap.
Open the Bible; the wind will rifle the pages, but finally the open
Bible will come to rest on a page. Look down at the page and read the
first thing you see. That will be your answer, that
will tell you what to do."
A year later the businessman went back to the Rabbi and brought his
wife and children with him. The man was in a new custom-tailored suit,
his wife in a mink coat, the children shining. The businessman pulled
an envelope stuffed with money out of his pocket, gave it to the Rabbi
as a donation in thanks for his advice.
The Rabbi recognized the benefactor, and was curious. "You did as I
suggested?" he asked.
"Absolutely," replied the businessman.
"You went to the beach?"
"You sat in a beach chair with the Bible in your lap?"
"You let the pages rifle until they stopped?"
"And what were the first
words you saw?"
SUNDAY through THURSDAY, MARCH 1 through 5, 2009
The following are my observations following my attendance at
The Day (www.theday.com
Forum on Eminent Domain,
which took place last evening
in New London, Ct. In attendance were Jeff Benedict (of "Little
Pink House" fame), Ms. Berliner of the Institute for Justice, City
Attorney Tom Londregan, and former City Mayor Beth Sabilia...and 175 of
their closest friends. Formal presentations were followed by
comments and questions from the audience. These observations
are based upon my attendance, my review of the generally accurate
description of the proceedings which are printed in today's
Day, and my close observations - as a non-participant - of the
events as they unfolded throughout the last decade, with occasional
discussions with some of the principals...all chronicled at the time
(at least since March, 2003) in this section (Rapid
- Both the Forum participants and the audience participants were speaking
at each other and not to each other, in two
different tongues, throughout the proceedings. Of course, this
was the SOP throughout the last decade on this matter.
- Disappointingly, the author who had spent by
his calculation 3 years studying this story did not give a balanced
picture of the countervailing interests in his book - and presented a
very personal and subjective stance in his presentation.
- The personal stories are by now well known and
are unfortunate, although the parties were eventually well compensated
for their material losses.
- The representative of the Institute for Justice
neglected to mention that the group took on this case,
instead of many really unjust cases throughout the country, after
having been solicited with a war chest of about $1 million by a local
- Too much was made of the alleged national "bad
reputation" for the City of New London resulting from this
experience. New London is doing fine, thank you, and is quietly
regarded by the leaders and residents of many urban areas and inner
cities as a savior of their future viability, by having proven the
legality and constitutionality of Eminent Domain for public economic
- Too much was made about "neighbor against neighbor", and
"a breach there that still not been healed". My
family and I have lived here for over 46 years. This is a
community of honest and plain-spoken people who fight for what they
believe in - and afterwards do not hold a grudge. Again, New
London is doing fine, thank you.
- "Mistakes were made". Now there's an
understatement! And where were representatives of the New
London Development Corporation and of the State...who made a
number of those mistakes, mainly in arrogant style if not in substance
or legality? Come on, folks: confession is good for the
- Finally, numerous comments were made to the effect that...after
all this, and "at the end of the day",
New London has nothing positive to show for it at Fort Trumbull.
This is patently false. We are not at the "end of the day".
We are at the middle of the day, with plenty of sunshine left for a
worthwhile harvest. As evidencs of this, and for brevity,
I attach the latest of monthly newsletters
published by the NLDC. Fellow New
Londoners, we are all tired of all of this and of a five month winter
this year. But cheer up! We will have a Spring planting, a
Summer tending and a very valuable Fall harvest. GS<>
Street Suite 421, New London, CT 06320
is distributed via e-mail. Please e-mail
John Brooks at: email@example.com
20; NLDC Exec.
Committee Meeting 8AM @ NLDC Conference Room
23; NLDC Annual
Meeting 6PM @ The Crocker House
New London Welcomes U.S.
Coast Guard Research and Development
Thursday, March 5, New London Mainstreet is hosting a
welcome coffee at the new offices of The U.S. Coast Guard R&D
International Ice Patrol and the Marine Safety Lab, which are all
located at One Chelsea
in the Fort Trumbull District.
Mainstreet representatives will be joined by members of the City
and NLDC Board to join in welcoming the 160 new employees to the City
and the Fort
area. Although most of the new employees
already reside in the area, many are not yet familiar with the
businesses, cultural and recreational options that their new location
City now affords. At the event, Mainstreet
will be distributing information and answering questions about these
the office project developed by Corcoran Jennison, is the largest
development in the City since the opening of Pfizer in 2001. The
project cost to date is approximately $24 million, and the site
extends to more than five acres. The
88,000 square foot building still has some tenant opportunities
available. Corcoran Jennison’s agent for
leasing is U.S.
Properties of New London (locally) / Cushman & Wakefield
completed at Fort
Trumubll to date
new and widened streets and all-new underground utilities, represents a
investment of more than $15 million in addition to engineering and land
infrastructure investment was required to bring access and
utilities to enable the Corcoran Jennison One Chelsea Street office
well as all future development including the National Coast
hotel, residential and additional office / mixed use development. In addition, more than $20 million has been
invested in environmental remediation and shoreline stabilization, and
million public access Riverwalk has been developed along the shoreline
waterfront acres that have been deeded to the City.
The Riverwalk is adjacent to One Chelsea Street,
with public parking on nearby streets.
Coast Guard Museum will
be located on
Fort Trumbull Parcel 1A, which contains slightly more than 2.5 acres
to the Riverwalk, the U.S. Coast Guard R&D Center site at One Chelsea Street,
and the planned hotel. Significant
progress was reported in our February newsletter, including the
Jerry Ostermiller as the President of the Coast Guard Museum
development of the project. The National
Coast Guard Museum has always been a central feature of the Fort
Municipal Development Plan, and the NLDC will be working diligently to
the project in the upcoming year.
Fort Trumbull development parcels,
broader national situation has temporarily made financing for large
projects of any kind problematic. NLDC
has residential, hotel and office sites that are ready to develop as
economy stabilizes and recovers. The
significant investment in infrastructure, environmental
remediation and site preparation allows these future development sites
to be “shovel
ready” and able to be developed on a rapid timeline as the economy
Board is completing a revision of the NLDC
which will focus energy and
effort on the National Coast Guard Museum Project.
The museum project is an extraordinary opportunity
for the City during this present time, and deserves the attention and
engagement of the entire NLDC membership.
HOUSE NEW LONDON
Construction and Development
activity is nearing completion on ECHO’s “gut
rehabs” of 45 and 69 West
Coit Street, and HOPE’s new house at 81 Belden Street. Alderhouse Residential Communities’ is
proceeding with the rehab of 63 Connecticut Avenue. All properties are sold to qualified
first-time homebuyers. Executive Director
John Brooks can refer potential buyer interest to our non-profit
Dream Downpayment Initiative (ADDI) –
financial assistance in the form of forgivable second mortgages for
down-payment assistance (usually approximately $10,000+) to qualifying
first-time homebuyers buying single family homes. This
grant has provided HNL with a total of more
than $1,000,000 for the ADDI program, which is administered by HNL
ECHO. We are nearing the 50th closing
for this worthwhile program.
Education Program of OIC
Homebuyers Education Program of OIC of New London County continues
to provide classes and training for first-time homebuyers.
HBC training is a requirement for ADDI
funding, as well as for purchase of a HNL home.
Zenobia Penn’s contact number at OIC is 447-1731, ext. 307.
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