Repeat Offenders?

On June 28, 1914, Kaiser Wilhelm II was in a heated Kiel Week regatta race aboard his personal yacht, the Meteor V. In the middle of the race, a motorized launch approached and threw aboard the yacht a cigarette case containing a message for the Kaiser. The message informed him that earlier that day, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, had been assassinated in Sarajevo. The Kaiser immediately ended the race, cancelled the rest of Kiel Week, and returned to Potsdam, his palace and seat of government to deal with the crises (albeit in the worst way possible by egging Austria in to some sort of action that he promised to support). He did not go to a political fundraiser and tell “jokes” about his opponents. He acted like a national leader – even one of a nation with screwed up priorities and bad foreign policy. But he did look like a leader.

We are beginning to learn more details about the Stockton Bank robbers. It is now known that at least one of them had robbed the same branch before, and while news is somewhat sketchy, it appears that in January of this year he may have gotten away with nearly $100,000 in the first robbery. However, being gang bangers and basic human scum, he also had a drug problem and seems to have blown through the money rather quickly. Thinking that, “Hey, it worked last time” and adding in the fact that the branch was due to be permanently closed within days, it would seem that he talked two of his “friends” – and by “friends” I mean associated documented gang members – into hitting it again, this time with some more firepower. As we know, things went awry and now an innocent hostage is gone. Fortunately, so is the criminal, along with his angelic co-documented gang member (FOR WHOM WE ARE SUPPOSED TO FEEL “BAD”). Over the next days we will learn even more.

The new head of the Veterans Administration seems like he will fit right in with official Washington. He has made his “solution” to the problem know, and you’ll be happy to hear that THE PROBLEM AT THE VA IS NOT ENOUGH MONEY. He thinks that about $18 Billion should do the trick.

Friday on The 5, which I watch as often as I can, Bob “B.S.” Beckel made the statement that the “border down by San Diego is secure.” Of course it’s easy for him to say that. He doesn’t live there and it makes a nice talking point given that there isn’t a lot of news about problems at the San Yisidro crossing. At least there WASN’T ANY UNTIL NOW. I’m sure that he will says that it is “B.S.” and just a “Republican lie.”

The worst case scenario at my job is that I get really angry at something and say a bad word, one of the ones banned by the FCC, and we’re out of delay or the Dump Button sticks and it goes over the air. It’s happened before, but not nearly as often as it does to Bob Beckel, and there are processes in place to deal with it, but I always feel bad when it does. Of course, there is always the added risk of FCC action if we don’t handle the aftermath properly, and I don’t have a spare $300,000+ lying about to say a bad word on the radio without correcting it. That’s a bad day for me.

For other people, like my wife, a bad day is far more difficult to deal with than a few bosses asking, “Why’d you say that???” and then answering a bunch of irate phone calls. Recently she had a night that left her shaken and sad, and clearly depressed over the inhumanity of some people in the face of a new life ending far too soon.

I won’t go into the details because they are intensely personal for her and really, the details aren’t the issue. What I felt like I had to say here was two things. First, I am very proud of Cami and how she handled the scenario and her actions. She did the right thing and while nobody here may care, G-d does.

Secondly, to me it was just a reminder that there are people who are so callous and so careless when it comes to life. You can have the debate over contraceptives all you want, but the unarguable fact is that when life finds a way – and it will – it deserves protection and care.

Most of all it deserves dignity and respect.

And I have a wife who does that every day. Most of the time nobody notices, but yesterday I am certain that the Deity was watching and Blessing her and her friends for the care, respect and dignity they showed.

  • May God remember this daughter/son [name] bat/ben [parents' names] who has gone to eternal rest.
  • Her/his life was but the briefest flicker of a flame, extinguished before it had time to shed its light on the world but not before sharing its warmth with us.
  • May the memory of the joy she/he brought to us in the short time that we were together strengthen us, and may God count that joy as the weight of a life filled with such blessing, binding through that love and joy [name] bat/ben [parents' names] in the bonds of eternal life.
  • For the gift of her/his life without transgression, I pledge to do acts of righteousness and tzedakah [charity] that she/he may merit eternal life and that I may find comfort in this world.

Submarine Sea Stories

So something a little different for today…

A couple of weeks ago I got invited by Bill Nowicki to be his guest on the fantastic podcast, “Submarine Sea Stories,” which is a collection of guys recollecting their time in the sub fleet, primarily during the Cold War. I’ve enjoyed the podcast for some time, as it is a lot of funny and interesting stories about guys that for the most part I never actually met but that doesn’t really matter much since we share such a unique experience as submarining. Bill’s podcast brings a lot of that back, and it also allows outsiders to share in the experience in a way that is informative and entertaining.

After the show on Thursday the 3rd, Bill called me in the studio and we spent an hour talking about my career in the Navy and aboard USS Michigan. Bill does a great interview, and I love talking about the Navy and Subs, so it was a very enjoyable hour.

With your kind indulgence, I would like to share it with you today. This is a part of my life that I have alluded to on the show, but never really talked about in this kind of detail on the air. There are some words that might offend, not many but some, so if you listen to it be aware that you might not want to blast it around the office.

Obviously we didn’t have time to talk about everybody and everything that happened, but I hope that it comes across that I loved being on the Boat and that even today, I think that the crew of USS Michigan SSBN-727(G) was the greatest group of men that ever sailed the Pacific Ocean. I am honored to have served with them and I am thankful that they were – and are – a part of what I bring to you each and every day.

When you get an hour, here is Episode 18 – Ho, Ho, Ho! I’m Escaping A Submarine.

And when you’re done with that one, make sure to find Submarine Sea Stories on iTunes, like it and share it! Download and listen to the whole list of episodes. You’ll have a great time!


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