Friday, April 28, 2006


As you read this I will be in Southern Ontario and Eastern Michigan. For the first time ever in my life, I'm taking my passport along. Not a good feeling.

The trees in this part of the country have to be about the same age as the trees in Illinois and Missouri and they're mostly the same kind of trees. Why is it that their trees are just better looking, bigger stronger fuller and just generally kick butt trees. I'll never figure that one out. Didn't they have the same glacier that we did? (Of course, I was just a boy then)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Poor Reggie Bush's family is now officially homeless. Wonder if anybody has ever had to forfeit a 35 game college football winning streak?

Monday, April 24, 2006


Uh, do nothing.

The price will go up in the short run. Folks will demand alternative fuels. Industry will find them. Demand will drop. Oil Prices will drop. It's called the Free Market and it was invented by Marco Polo, Thomas Jefferson or Warren Buffett, depending upon who you talk to.

Halliburton shares will go down but will rally when we invade Venezuala, North Korea and Iran, all at the same time.

In the meantime, enjoy your Navigator/Hummer/Escalade.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


I have a rather demanding day job. No time to be a draftnik. I couldn't pull Vernon Davis out of a photolineup. Still, I like NFL draft week. Who fits in where? Who's gonna trade down and get get three good players for one potential good one? Who is gonna be the Moron Kellen Winslow, Jr. of this year's draft, maiming himself on a motorcycle or Sea-Doo? Did Vince Young really spell his name wrong on the Wonderlic? Good fun and you don't have to scout Mankato State and San Luis Obispoom-Bah to have a good time at it.

Saturday, April 22, 2006


We interrupt what was supposed to be a discussion of the NFL draft to bring you this update in the lurching story of the City of Hannibal's attempts to sever its relationship with its police chief.

Once again, I have no idea whether the Hannibal Police Chief is guilty of anything. I do think it would have been a pretty good idea to determine whether the (non-existent) police board had the power to discipline the chief or if that power had mysteriously passed on to the City Manager. A lot of courts and administrative agencies start their opinions and orders with a statement of their jurisdiction and authority. That might have been useful here.

Hell, I'm not even saying the CM doesn't have the authority. This seems like a less than optimal time to be arguing over it, after the guy's been semi-fired for more than a month. This is just a gut feeling by a spectator but it seems to strain due process and equal protection for one guy to commission the investigation and make the recommendation to can the chief with no neutral deciding body to evaluate the evidence and hear from the Chief. Maybe I'm just an old fashioned strict constructionist but this sounds more like China than an American State.

On the other hand, I guess Chief Runyon knew he ran the risk of being canned by essentially one guy when he took the job.

Friday, April 21, 2006


In addition to a quad cities address these guys share political funny names. In a district with this many newspapers, how many headline writers will resist using some combination of words which recognize that "Hare" means "Rabbit"? If Phil gets elected and dawdles on some legislation, you can just about bet that someone will ask in an opinion piece whethere hes "A Tortouise or a Hare?" If he casts a bad vote, somebody's gonna call it "Hare-brained" Has nothing to do with anything but it's a funny name for a politician.

So far as I know, Schwiebert's name doesn't mean anything. It just sounds like something Ollie Keebler would bake. Kid comes home from school and has a glass of milk and some Schwieberts.

In all seriousness, these guys gave good speeches. They played the hand they were dealt. Phil emphasized his old line democrat views and his earthy, common man background. He traded the fact Lane's staff would stay and work for him. For those of you have been in another solar system for the last 24 years. Lane Evans' constituent service team is the standard against which all other legislators are measured. Phil punched out his issues, hard core dem., right down the line. He also got his Rock Island Arsenal Ticket punched nicely. For the folks who say Phil is too "Lumpy" to be a congressman, he dressed up very nicely. He is also the only one who worked the door like a true, retail politician. If I could offer once criticism, Phil was very impatient looking while the other speakers were speaking. I don't think he meant to to it, but he kind of rolled his head around and looked at the clock, fidgeting in his chair. One could take from his behavior and attitude of "I shouldn't have to be going through this process."

Still, all told, a good performance by a solid, old-line democrat.

Schwiebert was a new experience for me. I knew nothing about him. A gifted speaker, he also played the hand he was dealt. He gets people to work together. He's electable. He's progressive. Whatever else he is, he's one of those rare people who speak in continuous, beautifully crafted sentences without pauses, jerks, coughs or even changes of expression. His speaking style is a little aristocratic but, like Governor Adlai Stevenson, he speaks coherently, sensibly and thoughtful. With three RI County Candidates, he is operating in the OK Corral but the Mayor showed himself to be a worthy candidate. He would never embarass us on the stump.

So, that's the end of week one on the Speaker's derby circuit. Tomorrow is round two. Look for Sullivan to turn up the heat. Look for Adams County Dems to press Mellon to find another project. Look for Hare and Boland to Press forward and for Schwiebert to continue casually.

Looking at the law, it is my belief that Don Johnston's initial ruling that appointed committeemen will not be able to vote CANNOT STAND. OTOH, I believe that whether to allow proxy voting and mail-in voting are going to be the province of the Chair, so they can be whatever Don wants them to be. He'll have his lawyer sit down with him and get it right before it's over. BTW, he did a beautiful job of playing it right down the middle last week.

Great spectator sport.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


We are now officially and undeniably in a new era of public conduct. Actually, we've probably been in it for several years. The Ryan verdict is just the trumpet that announces it to the world. There's more. If slimeball Tristano is singing, look for the GOP Daniels legislative team to be perp-walking a bit in the near future.

If you're elected to something and you're thinking impure thoughts while walking past a mailbox, you're looking at conspiracy to commit mail fraud. If you do it twice and you have any friends, add a RICO count.

There are now two new rules of conduct:

1. The rules for the conduct of your office are whatever a federal prosecutor decides later that they might have been;

2. When in doubt, refer back to rule one.

Seriously, the effect of this is to impose what I'll Call a "Super-Ban" on personal gifts. We have gone from the time where your best contributors are the people wanting to do business with your office to a time when a prudent person might well view people wanting to do business with his or her office as prohibited sources. An understandable reaction to Fitz-Ryan would be to avoid taking anything, however nominal, from a contractor or potential contractor. In Illinois, I don't think that's necessary. It would be very difficult to run afoul of the feds if the official just stayed within bounds of the Illinois Ethics and Gift Ban provisions.

Yes, there is a difference between personal gifts and political contributions. The problem is the official doesn't know how the US District Attorney will treat the difference. How many people know what Ryan was really charged with? Most of them vaguely think it's about dead kids and sold CDL licenses. Only very indirectly. It's about profiting from choices that belong to the citizens.

Another reaction, already prevalent is to "bid everything". This has problems in it too. How do you establish a relationship with a vendor? How important is warranty work and compatibility of parts or software? Local legislative bodies have this reverence for bidding. It may be a way to avoid getting indicted but it is a not a great way to run an operation.

To all my friends who are elected officials I would counsel don't let the Federal Government run your office. Do two positive things: Check with your assigned attorney on what, if anything, should change and, soon, retrain your entire staff on the Illinois and parallel local Ethics and Gift Ban provisions. Make sure nobody skips the training. Prove you did it and make it annual.

Don't run scared. Run Smart.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


So, you wanna be in politics but you've never been to a central committee meeting or worked on a campaign. You heard there was this opening in congress so you tossed your name into the hat and did a really good job in presenting yourself. Suddenly you have some name recognition.

Of course, what you also have is no chance because you live too close to John Sullivan so how can you cash in on your name recognition now?

Well, there's another opening. Right now your district's State Representative dem. slot is empty. While you still have leverage, ask the legislative district's chairmen to appoint you. Ask Rahm Immanuel to give you some real money. If you withdraw now, you'll probably get it. Not just "some" money but "real" money." With your energy and lovely family, you'll give ol' Arthur a hell of a run and cement your name in local politics for years to come.

If you continue with the congressional process they'll start to winnow the contenders from the pretenders and you will be on the cutting room floor. Oh, sure, they'll let you talk and even applaud afterward but you'll just be window dressing. If you go to something where your party could use your skills, you will be a contributor, not just a flash in the pan in a once-in-a-lifetime process.

One of the most beloved State Reps from around here was an educator. You could continue the tradition......

......Or you could be footnote in a month.

Army officers are decision-makers. Make a good one now and use your skills where they are most needed. Oh, and continued success, whatever you do next.

Tomorrow: The Impact of George Ryan's Excellent Adventure on Elected Officials

Friday: Hare and Schwiebert.

Saturday: You don't have to be a Draftnik to Enjoy the Event.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Amy Stockwell is not a dynamic speaker but her content is impeccable. Her credentials are outstanding and her experience as a Gov't financial professional is equally impressive. To run Macon County with a surplus shows botht that she knows deep poop and that she plays well with others. Of course, because of the way the district is layed out, she may as well be from Tibet. She can't get enough votes even if Rock Island County remains split. She will be better for this experience, though, and it wouldn't surprise me to see her in run for Congress sometime after the Decennial Census. Very impressive public servant.

At first blush, she and Boland have nothing more in common than living in Cities with really bad cable TV but they share something else. They are outsiders. Stockwell is from someplace farther away than Egypt and Boland is not universally accepted in his own area.

Boland gave a hell of a speech. He tied in his electability, his legislative success, how often his family name had appeared on the ballot and his proven campaign ability. He then moved on to his legislative successes and spoke of them effectively and concisely. Finally he mentioned some local interest issues (Alternative Fuels, Big Island, Arsenal) and said his proven ability made him the guy to handle him. If you just dropped into the audience from Jupiter, you'd think, "Well, there's their guy." But it doesn't work that way in Rock Island County. Up there, you either love Mike Boland or you don't. It was obvious, a lot of the good folks there don't.

So Stockwell and Boland gave great presentations and would make terrific House Members but, in very different ways which turn out to be the same way, seem like outsiders in an insider's process.

Monday, April 17, 2006


As nearly as I can see, John Sullivan and Hal Baine share one thing, a geography problem. John doesn't live in Rock Island and Baine has no interest in anything within the corporate boundaries of the United States.

Since Baine has no chance in this process, let's just say he gave a terrific speech Saturday and he'd make a super executive director of the NRA and a hell of lot better Secretary of State than Condi. I'd make an effort to listen to him talk about any time but no chance is still no chance.

John Sullivan is a special friend of UMRBlog so we make no pretense of neutrality. This wasn't his best speech but it didn't make a damn bit of difference (when his voice breaks and he tears up, he makes Daniel Webster look autistic). Nobody holds an audience like John. The folks from the Quad Cities have one clear place to go if they don't like what their neighbors are giving them. That's all John set out to do. He just stands up there like a cross between John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart. Everybody listens and everybody wants to be his friend. Nobody doubts he'll knock on a million doors. His hand was "I can beat Republicans in Western Illinois" and he played it pretty well.

Hal had fun and entertained us. John stayed in the conversation, which is all he needed to do.

Tomorrow: Boland and Stockwell--Worlds apart.

Sunday, April 16, 2006


In another site on another day I said some uncomplimentary things about Rob's announcement. He wrote me back like a gentleman and I appreciated that. While I don't think my original remarks were either wrong or unfair. His straightforward manner has caused me to take another look. We talked yesterday and I'm sure of three things. First, his values are a hell of a lot more like mine than Andrea Zinga's are. Second, he is an impressive and industrious young man with great energy, good intellect and speaking skills--meaning he'd beat hell out of Zinga who is only against stuff, never for anything. Third, that I am not Mrs. Mellon's favorite democrat blogger.

Anyhow, Rob, your website's now linked here. No matter how this one comes out, please stay active in democrat politics. We need educated young veterans like you to help spread the message that Government is one important tool for solving problems--not the only one, but an important one.

Saturday, April 15, 2006


In the next few days I will be writing about the 17th Congressional District Candidates' Forum in Moline. For today, I just want to say two things:

First, Central Committeeman Johnston played it right down the middle--no favoritism toward anyone. Short intro and say your piece in ten minutes. Same for Committeewoman Boland, notwithstanding that she happens to be married to one of the candidates;

Second, Of Seven Candidates, six gave outstanding performances and the other was very good. All would devour Zinga at a debate without so much as a side order of barbecue sauce.

Third (I lied about just two things), it was just a great group to be with, candidates, officeholders and committemen. We stayed and talked until almost everybody left and all the candidates were generous with their time. My "jerk detector" only beeped once the whole time.

Friday, April 14, 2006


Talk about the law of unintended consequences!

Here is the basic story. A radio station, with no apparent FCC license, has popped up in the Quad Cities.

Normally, this is referred to as "Pirate Radio" and is usually associated with bigger metro areas and coastal places. Miami, for example, is famous for "Pirate Radio" usually on moving boats. Corpus Christi used to be well known for pirate radio during the spring and summer. Usually, nobody could learn who these "pirates" were, short of a well-timed Coast Guard raid.

That's the difference in the Quad Cities. Here, one of the operators of the station even allowed himself to be intereviewed and pictured in the local newspaper. The Station operators claim to be perfectly legal--and this is just delicious--because the country is AT WAR.

According to these folks, unlicensed radio stations can broadcast, as long as they don't block used frequencies, DURING WAR TIME FOR THE DURATION OF THE WAR. I don't know if they are right or wrong but it's a hell of an audacious argument! Can't you just see it? "I'm sorry Mr. FCC investigator, you can't give me a ticket. Shrubbie says we're at war and I've gotta be at my Radio Station to broadcast warnings in case those Weapons of Mass Destruction from Iraq are unleashed upon the Upper Mississippi River Basin!"

Can the tri-state area be far behind? A Boat, a transmitter and post office box to collect the advertising revenues and we're in business. I even know where we can find a very large Station/Manager with a great on-air voice and experience as a radio personality!

The Law and Order Repubs are spawning promiscuous radio behavior!

Thursday, April 13, 2006


The Adams County State's Attorney's office lost an armed robbery trial this week. Good for them!

Let me explain. Anybody can cherry pick cases and only try the ones that are a mortal lock for conviction. A lot of prosecutors, out of vanity or political worry, do that. It's crappy public service. If you have a serious crime, probable cause and an "iffy" case, try the damn thing to let the cops and the crooks know you're not a totally risk-averse weenie. In the end, you'll get more pleas, better police work and have better morale in the office.

Making no statement at all about the guilt or innocence of the young man involved, I congratulate Jon Barnard and his people for giving it a rip.

A 100% conviction rate just means an office is afraid to try the tough ones. The occasionally bloody lip means the office is stretching out to protect people and support good police work.

The details of this case are unimportant to this discussion. The decision to try it says something good about the office.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


This is from our friends at, which we heartily recommend.

"Col. Roger O. Egeberg, stepped on a semantic land mine when he casually referred to MacArthur's troops as G.I.s. The general immediately exploded: "Don't ever do that in my presence...G.I. means 'general issue.' Call them soldiers."

While General MacArthur took G.I. to mean general issue, the term also has been interpreted over the years as standing for garrison issue, government issue, general infantry, and galvanized iron. And as it happens, the last, which might seem to be the least likely, is the true progenitor. G.I. appears in Army inventories of galvanized iron trash cans and buckets from the early twentieth century...During World War I it was extended to include heavy German artillery and large bombs, while G.I. itself began to be applied in the MacArthurian sense of general issue to such items as G.I. shoes, G.I. soap and G.I. brushes. Soldiers probably began referring to themselves as G.I.s during this war...but no examples have been found in writing prior to 1935...The transition from trash can to soldiers may have been aided by the roughness and toughness of galvanized iron.

All I can add is God Bless GI's of every age, everywhere.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


There's a small coffee shop in another downstate city that I enjoy occasionally. Last time I was there, I taking a prescription medicine and had to ask for a glass of water to take a pill. The clerk cheerfully provided it.

Today, I returned there at an "off" hour. Strangely the place was packed. I got my coffee and went to the "extra's" bar in the middle of the store. Sitting on that bar was a fresh, cool pitcher of water and some small, plastic glasses.

The proprietor had obviously had folks like me request a glass of water and was providing it without the need of request. Maybe that attitude is why business was booming.

Those of us in politics and public service can take a lesson. These folks are successful at least in part because they were open to change for the convenience of the customer.

Sunday, April 09, 2006


Remember the old one "If God can do anything, Can He make a Rock so big that He can't pick it up?"

Here's the Rawhide/Halliburton version: "If the President can declassify information, is it ever possible for him to leak classified information?"

Answer: Only if he has a Yalie/Patsy do it for him.

Saturday, April 08, 2006


We don't know whether the Hannibal City Police Chief did anything wrong or not. This Blog claims no opinion as to whether he should keep his job (although a good police administrator is a precious asset to local government).

Here's what we do know. Investigating police officers for job misconduct is not like any other kind of investigation. Police fitness for duty and discipline is a multimillion dollar industry for good reasons. For a City Manager to think he knows how to do it without flaw is plain silly.

I'm sure the Hannibal C/M had good intentions. So what? DeCartes accurately noted "The Road to Hell is paved with good intentions." I think it was Henry Ford who first said: "How is it that there was no time to do it right but there's plenty of time do it over?"

Thursday, April 06, 2006


Mentioned here earlier that I gave up the ability to track IP addresses. You may or not have figured out that I unhooked the hit counter, too. Many have. Some have emailed the question: Why would you do that? Two separate reasons.

On the ip addresses, I don't care where a post comes from. I judge it or argue with it on the merits of the four corners it presents to me. It is important to me that intelligent commentators come in and challenge or entertain us. It matters not to me whether they come from Australia or Marblehaid. An idea is no more valid or invalid because it comes from an anonymous poster. The idea either stands on its own, or it doesn't. Personal Attacks or claims of unique personal knowledge are different. There the id of the poster makes a difference. That's not hard to figure out but I'll write about it some other day.

On the counter, my response is utterly selfish. I do this because I like to do it. If other people enjoy it, great. Obviously, a few do. I have no need to take attendance.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


If you didn't go through your teens in the late 50's and early 60's it's hard to understand what a dark force Gene Pitney was considered. He was also controversial (and I make no attempt to resolve the whole Rick Nelson dispute here). Even when he wold out and went commercial there was a demonic side to his music. Liberty Vallance was about a back shooting ambush. Town without pity was the sound track for a rape flick. Dark, Dark stuff but the guy oozed talent. Not too many guys wrote for Rick Nelson and Roy Orbison in the same life.

I heard in the media that he was 69. I think that's incorrect. He was only 64. He couldn't even die without controversy but he was one talented dude.

I'm from the Department of Homeland Security: Just take off your clothes and do what I tell you and everything will be fine

In a bold move, the Department of Homeland Security adopted the former slogan of the Massachussets Archdiocese for its building arches, letterhead and web portal. It reads: "No child's behind left alone!"

Guess you gotta stand for something or you'll fall for anything, like, I guess those annoying undercover kiddie porn detectives.

(Yes, I do understand this probably has Gonzo tapping my phone 24/7/365 without benefit of court order--I can live with it)

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Tom Delay: Fart in the GOP Elevator

Tom Delay is the guy who cuts a timed-release, extra-strength fart in an elevator, then gets off on the third floor. The bioterrorism remains for a couple of more trips up and down, even after the offending butt has gotten off.

Zinga, WWN, Version 2.0 remains in the noxious GOP elevator. Geez, this could be one of the best days of "Fifty Miles Out of the Loop"'s life and he's on freaking vacation. If there was no Denny Hastert, there would have been no Tom DeLay.


I haven't looked at my friend "Fifty Miles Out of the Loop" yet this morning, so apologies if he's already used it.

In looking at how they might clear the post-Delay smell out of their caucus, one of the GOP moderates is bound to say "This wouldn't have happened if Denny Hastert had been alive today!"

Monday, April 03, 2006



There is a not very small, not very select and not very elite group of folks who take part in a little invitational bracket handicapping for the NCAA basketball tournament. The scoring system was invented in the Black Forest by elves. The system rewards picking upsets or, in some cases, not knowing you are picking upsets. I enter every year with one goal: Beat Mary Ann!

Mary Ann is very nice lady who acts like she doesn't know stickum about basketball but, under all that Gen X sweetness, she's a stone cold basketball killer. She knows "breaking the press" does not mean the GE Iron is out of warranty. She takes about a month off to study the conference tournaments before the big dance. Her children are instructed "Don't bother Mommy or she'll tech you up!" She's very computer literate and I just know she's dialed into all the mid-major web pages. I'm pretty sure she's on a first name basis with the George Mason coach. She has Jeff Sagarin on speed dial to tell him he's calculating his ratings wrong. She rents time on a mainframe to update RPI's on a daily basis. She even knows there's not ten teams in the Big Ten. The Missouri Board of curators called her to consult on whom to hire. She told them "Start with canning the A.D.".

She fills out about 107 sets of brackets to eliminate all chance of an error. She's dangerous, I tell ya.

So I take out one set, fill them in and watch with interest as she gets almost the entire first round correct. Then I just hold on by my fingernails and hope some of her mysterious upset picks fall off and some team of mine stumbles into the final four so that, maybe, just maybe, my one sheet beats all of Mary Ann's 107. Not much chance of that this year, but I can dream. Maybe next year.


Thanks to the folks at Mandate Media's Beta site for national progressive news and commentary for making our site one of their feeders. For Pete's sake, don't tell them I sometimes play golf with the Bourgeoisie.

Also, if you haven't clicked over to BlogFreeSpringfield, try it. He's really developed a good community and has a witty, ironic sense of humor. Quincy Connection too.

Sunday, April 02, 2006


Well, Well, There’s an opening for the Job Description "Congressman, 17th District."

The nice folks up in Rock Island County are accustomed to having things their own way when it comes to selecting congresspersons. Election in and election out, they’re the 600 Pound Gorilla.

This time, there ‘s a little uncertainty in the process. First, the vote will be by committeemen. For a number of reasons, the peasant counties are considering an uprising. Adams and Knox Counties have some higher than usual primary totals. The math for Counties like Adams, Knox, Christian and even Macoupin could work out. The general concept is "If we don’t hang together, we’re certain to hang separately." They have plausible candidates, Sullivan, Scholz, Mangieri among them. Our friends in Rock Island County are, to say the least, not all reading off of the same page of the hymnal.

People will tell plausible candidates it’s an opportunity. It looks like an opportunity. It sounds like an opportunity For the peasant counties’ principle wish list candidates, Sullivan and Scholz, it is an opportunity all right, an opportunity to get their lives good and screwed up.

You say, "How?" I thought you’d never ask. If the "minor" counties hold together for one candidate, they could nominate their man. Either man would beat the famously tone deaf Zinga like a pawn shop drum. He would take office in December of ’06 as a freshman congressman, likely still a member of the minority party. Committee assignments would not look like Lane’s, probably agriculture and belly button lint research.
In the meantime, having their congressman shoplifted out of their county would comprehensively piss the nice folks in Rock Island off. They would unite behind a single primary candidate and in March ’08, a presidential primary year, probably turn out 30,000 primary voters, consigning the "out" county incumbent to about 9 months of lame duckness. At least it's a long time to pack his stuff.

What’s that you say? Our brothers and sisters in Rocky wouldn’t do that? Surely you jest! Not only would they, but they’d be stupid not to do it. They would once again assert control over "their" seat in Congress and turn the dissident Counties’ Chairs into the voice of sweet reason for all future party dealings. As I said, they’d be stupid not to do it. Revenge of the 600 pound Gorilla would not occur with surgical precision. There’d be collateral damage. There wouldn’t be enough lifeboats to hold all the friends of the "successful" nominee from ’06.

As a consequence of that, these "out" county candidates have to decide whether they would like a two year victory lap as a freshman congressman enough to face almost a certain career disruption. That’s the going price for being a game piece in this exciting, Real World, board game.

So the "out" county inmates really can run the asylum and nominate a congressman but there will be hell to pay for it and the price will be paid by the "out" county nominee.

Oh, and all that fun is before we even talk about redistricting in ’12. Does anybody really think this boomerang district remains after we lose another seat or two in the decennial census of ‘10?
So, to those guys who are being pumped up by other politicians to "run" for this seat, remember the question Inspector Harry Callahan asked the armed robber "Do you feel lucky…?" For this to be a good deal, you’d have to damned lucky.




For what it's worth, here is my advice. First, be brave. Dream big and chase your dreams. You will have your failures, but you will grow from every honest effort. Over three decades ago I sat where you are. I can tell you without any doubt that in the years since, my high school classmates who chased their dreams and failed are far less disappointed than those who left their dreams on the shelf for fear of failure. So chase on. Even if you don't get what you think you want, amazing things will happen.

Second, be optimistic and be grateful. Some bad things are going to happen to you -- to some of you, unfair things, perhaps even tragic things. Some of you have faced tragedy already. When these things happen, try to remember that each new day is still a gift, full of the mystery and magic of life. Try not to waste even one of those days trapped by hatred, the desire to get even, self-pity, despair, or cynicism.
We all give in to them now and then, of course, but you need to work at snapping out of it and going on. Hatred and self-pity give victory to the very dark forces we deplore. Despair guarantees defeat. Cynicism is a cowardly cop-out. And no ever really gets even in life; that is God's work.
No matter how bad it gets, don't forget there's someone who's endured more pain than you have. No matter how unfair it gets, remember that most of us are far better off than we would be if we only got what we deserve. And don't stop at admiring a Mandela or a Cardinal Bernardin. Strive to be more like them. Keep your spirits up. There is profound truth in the proverb "A happy heart maketh good medicine, but a broken spirit dryeth the bones."

Third, be of service to others. Much has been given to you already, and a lot more is coming your way. You owe it to yourself to give something back, to help to build a society and a world in which more people have your chance to live out their dreams, and all people in need at least know the touch of a caring hand and the embrace of a kind heart. From your service here, many of you already know that it not only gives more joy to others, it will bring more joy to you than you can even imagine.

Fourth, be both humble and proud. Be humble because you're human; subject to error and frailty; incapable, no matter how intelligent you are, of ever knowing the whole truth. Show mercy as well as judgment to those with whom you disagree in life. Keep in mind Benjamin Franklin's adage that even our enemies are our friends, for they show us our faults.


Saturday, April 01, 2006


" is made up of a series of judgments on insufficient data, and if we waited to run down all our doubts, it would flow past us." On Receiving an Honorary Degree, 1939