American Muscle

The “Halftime in America” commercial in the Super Bowl.

Everyone liked it…well everyone who loves America did.

“Halftime in America” is about hope. It is about taking a breath and steeling yourself for yet more labor, yet more travail. It is about knowing that what is coming may hurt a bit, but it will be worth it.

Some people do not want America to have hope. They do not want America to believe in the “vast possibilities of human beings to improve their material and spiritual status through the instrumentality of the democratic form of government.” Their very success depends on keeping the American Spirit crushed and timid so they might exploit peoples fears for the future for political gain.

Those people are wrong and should be ashamed of themselves. People like Mitt Romney. Who made his millions destroying businesses and lives.

The auto industry rescue is a prime example of why the GOP is wrong. Why Mitt Romney and all his ilk are wrong.

The following three videos are helpful in understanding what the auto industry rescue meant to us, what the GOP thinks of our desires to get up off the mat and fight back and the new “Halftime” should be viewed as an encouragement to, as I quoted above, believe we can pull out of this thing simply by working together. They want us to continue to depend upon big business.


GM thanks the American people for helping them get back up. This is great for several reasons.

Then we get to watch the shameful, hateful and politically motivated attacks upon this rescue of the auto industry by people who want to be President.

Finally, one of the best ads I have ever seen. Pragmatic, optimistic hope that, with hard work, we can make things better.

The best way I can close this post out is to continue quoting FDR. “We have survived all of the arduous burdens and the threatening dangers of a great economic calamity. We have in the darkest moments of our national trials retained our faith in our own ability to master our destiny. Fear is vanishing and confidence is growing on every side, renewed faith in the vast possibilities of human beings to improve their material and spiritual status through the instrumentality of the democratic form of government. That faith is receiving its just reward. For that we can be thankful to the God who watches over America.”


Veterans Day

My grandfather had this small cedar box under his bed. The box had a few odds and ends like buffalo nickels and liberty dimes, arrowheads. He showed me the contents from time to time. It also had his infantry pin from his WWII uniform. My grandfather fought in the Pacific theater, hopping from island to island trying to push back the Japanese forces.

It wasn’t until later that I understood what the bronze star with little palm leaves were. When my grandfather would, in moments of contemplation, tell me stories about the War. About not taking his shoes off for weeks at a time. About waves of Japanese soldiers that just would not stop coming over the wire. He told me about hot, nasty, mean islands in the Pacific infested with soldiers who were out of ammo but would jump screaming from trees to try and kill him. He told me horror stories about the Philippine Islands. There was this picture, of my grandfather and a small asian man in the Philippene island. He told me about how he fought with that man to free the islands.

These stories were told to me during the 1980’s when the war had been over for 40 years. I still remember tears in the eyes of a man I thought of as a real tough guy. Tears about friends he had lost and men he had killed in the name of freedom. That war changed everyone who served in it. They had to live with the horror for the rest of their lives. Most, like my grandfather, bore their burdens, mostly in silence, with only rare glimpses into what they really experienced.

He was a man who married a young lady from Anniston, Alabama and then 3 weeks later, left her for 19 months. He and four of his brothers. Four left and Four came home. My grandmother told me stories of my great grandmother Nellie Coon kneeling beside a lighter knot stump in a cornfield and praying for her sons to come home. Prayers that could be heard for miles around. Those prayers worked.

There were other medals and citations for valor that I did not know about or understand at the time. All I do know is that when asked, my grandfather and his brothers all stepped up. They went and fought, and won, and the world is better for it.

So, even though we have thousands of veterans of more recent conflicts and they all deserve our respect and honor, It is my grandfather that I think about on Veterans Day. I wish I had been able to have him around for longer than I did. There are not a lot of those WWII veterans around. Next time you see one, shake their hand. Look them in the eye and say, “That was a hell of a thing you guys did, saving the world and all. Thanks for that.”

Charlie Wilson

These campaign ads are great. I wish we had another Charlie Wilson in Congress. We could have used him these past few weeks.


Mike Rowe on Work

Here is Mike Rowe’s testimony before a Senate Committee that is very moving. At least to me. Whose mother baked donuts and worked up to 4 jobs at a time so our family of five could simply survive.

My maternal grandmother worked in a cannery and my maternal grandfather was a fisherman.  My father is a pipefitter. My Grandfather built ships and then ran a country store. And in a never more true example of a dirty job, my uncle and grandmother, who taught me how to be a butcher and how to make smoked sausage. Anyone who has ever enjoyed a nice link of smoked deer sausage should appreciate those who made it possible. They should appreciate that it often required that you be elbow deep in a deer or hog carcass and that it required you to touch sheep intestines with your hands.

This is also worth a watch. Not for the squeamish or the reactionary.

The denigration of work is a topic that everyone in academia wants to avoid. They should know better. Not once did I feel sorry for myself that I learned how to butcher a deer before I learned how to type, yet sometimes I feel that some of my colleagues in the political world who went to Harvard or Yale and never had to mow their own yard think I should. Maybe I am pounding on the working class pulpit a little too hard but it surely does not feel that way.

The truth is that Skilled Labor is just as dignified a pursuit as a doctorate in the classics. This guy understands that. He understands it because he has done the work.

Emmylou Harris

Emmylou Harris is a true lady of Country Music. She is not one of the lesser angels of its history. Her comment that country music “no longer has that washed-in-the-blood element” moved me.  It was sitting on a Pentecostal church pew where I learned to love the kind of music Emmylou sings. It was there on that pew with the combination of fear, joy, terror, worship, guilt, peace and many many other emotions coursing through my spirit that I first felt the power of music and Jesus to move someone.

It is the same hard bitten sensibility that comes with age, hardship, hope, trial, success, failure and ultimately survival that calls to me every time I hear her voice or any of the others she mentions here. It is a rare thing and one I treasure.

Has she completely given up on country radio? “Yes,” Harris says without hesitation. “It no longer has that washed-in-the-blood element that you heard whenever you listened to George Jones or Merle Haggard or Johnny Cash or Loretta Lynn or Waylon Jennings.” Harris pauses, runs her fingers through her hair, then whispers, “Oh God, Waylon Jennings!”

credit: Garden & Gun MagazineNow she’s placing her bets on younger singer-songwriters like Gillian Welch, David Rawlings, and Patty Griffin.

As I look back over Harris’s own body of work, what strikes me most is its arc. She never let Nashville dictate the kind of music she would make, and so hers was not a career of ups and downs. You can’t, for instance, pick out the “sellout” record or the “comeback” record; she never sold out and she never went away.

“I had enough success to give me credibility,” she says, “but it wasn’t like I was selling millions of records, which can be a real trap for artists. There are people like Springsteen and Neil Young who sell millions but always still know what they are supposed to do. I think on a smaller scale, I always knew what I was supposed to do. I hope that I’ve always served the song—that was always the most important thing.

Garden & Gun Magazine

Fishin’ in the Dark.


A cooler full of beer. My sweetie sitting next to me. Chilling to the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. That is a dream I like to have.

Everyone Wants Better. No One Wants Change

Everyone Wants Better. No One Wants Change.

Jonathan Shields writes about the conflict surrounding change.

Everyone wants to own the result, nobody wants to own the process.

Especially when it involves change or disruption to the patterns around which they’ve grown accustomed.

A really smart entrepreneur once told me Maslow got it wrong.

The fundamental need is not survival, but rather the need to not have to endure change.

I laughed. But, increasingly, I’m finding truth in those words.

I often hear different definitions of leadership.

How about this…

A leader is someone who is willing to own not just the result, but the process.

What do you think?

I do find many things to think about in Shields’ comments. The thing that weighs most heavily on me is the difference today in our current political/policy environment between those who have change thrust upon them and those who do the thrusting of the change.

Today, everyone who is not already rich are the ones having change thrust upon them; change to their dreams, change to their standard of living, change to their hopes for their children.

Increasingly I see little difference between the Ultra Rich, the CEO’s and our elected officials. Except maybe that our elected officials are often wholly owned subsidiaries of multinational corporations as opposed to responsive to the democratically expressed needs of their constituents.


Clients From Hell

For anyone who has had to get mail approved by a candidate. Any Candidate.

Clients From Hell


Delete Delegate Respond Defer Do


This is all you need to know to manage your email/workflow/etc.

“I welcome their hatred.” FDR

Government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob.