It can be argued that mankind is nature’s perfect contradiction. We seldom consider issues for which there are logical conclusions. Yet when confronted with senseless violence we’ll make vain attempts to rationalize irrationality. But no matter how hard we work, satisfactory results are unachievable. Explaining the unexplainable is like pushing breakers back into the ocean. So it goes in the aftermath of the Aurora massacre, as pundit after pundit blames firearms and the Second Amendment for the carnage.  Read more

A Father’s Day message from guest contributor Derek Oaks:

In 2009, over 4 million babies were born, of which 41 percent were to unwed mothers. Roughly 1.6 million youth were born into the country never to really know what Fathers’ Day is all about. They will never buy their dad a new tie, will never make him breakfast in bed, and will never go to Ponderosa or some cheesy buffet for Sunday Brunch.
Even worse, over 40 percent of children born in America today will never experience the joy of having their fathers come home from work. They will never revel in a fishing trip with their dads. They will never sneak away to the store to get ice cream and soda with their dads, ‘never to tell mom.’
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Once again is partnering with to bring you March madness. The rules are easy. Login to ESPN here and make your selection for which NCAA basketball teams will make it to the big dance. Create a bracket and join our group:

Group: PoliticalDerby
Password: Obama-Clinton’12

I’d like to take a moment to answer a very important question “whither Cordeiro?”

I guess the best way to answer that question is to borrow a line from the Book of Job and reply “going to and fro on the earth and walking up and down on it.” Over the past four months or so I’ve seen wide swaths of the fruited plain and been across this great nation from sea to shining sea. I’ve availed myself of every opportunity to violate the Obama freedom limitation doctrine and thus I’ve eaten as much as I wanted, driven my (rented) SUVs as much as I’ve wanted, and kept my various hotel rooms at a balmy 68 degrees – just because I can.

In doing so, I’ve also had the opportunity to see the “Occupy (Insert Metro Area Here)” movement from several different vantage points. I’ve seen the tent cities in Washington, DC, Atlanta, Denver, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Kansas City, and St. Louis. From all my observations I have but one piece of advice for anyone desiring to see the “Occupy (Insert Metro Area Here)” cabal:

Never stand down wind of the encampment, or the protestors for that matter. Experience it for yourself if you must, but don’t complain you weren’t warned.
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It has been a great, and now time-honored privilege to take the occasion of Thanksgiving to award our own PoliticalDerby Big Turkey Award.

In the past we have honored a person or persons with this distinction. This year, we searched, wrestled and then performed a detailed statistical analysis to find a worthy candidate. You won’t be disappointed, as we discovered a host of individuals who fit the bill.

Our 6th Annual Big Turkey Award goes to The Debt Reduction Super-Committee in their endeavor to gobble up the nation’s debt. Patty Murray, Max Baucus and John Kerry we salute you! Jon Kyl, Rob Portman and Pat Toomey we salute you!


For Congress to abdicate its responsibility and put its faith in a supercommittee of twelve (go here for a complete list of committee members) was a bird brained idea from the beginning. The fact that the committee failed is just gravy for the goose.

It should be noted that this is now the 2nd time (Gobble Gobble) that John Kerry has appeared as at least a partial recipient of the Big Turkey Award. Mr. Kerry, we offer you a special Big Turkey salute! You are the gift that keeps on giving.

We at PoliticalDerby hope you have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving!

Fish Power


Filed Under Outside the Track on Oct 27 

One of the great modern debates is just how to generate the power necessary to run this nation. The United States is literally the Saudi Arabia of coal. Chances are the power you’re using to read this post began its life as some sort of dinosaur whose life was snuffed out and whose grave was subsequently plundered by a dirty stinking filthy coal mining conglomerate. It was then hauled by a sooty diesel locomotive to a power plant were the remains of said dinosaur were subsequently pulverized and burned.

Yeah, I used to run coal trains for a living. But I digress.

Today it seems everybody wants to get on the green bandwagon. We recycle. We buy hideously expensive hybrid vehicles. We celebrate Earth Day. So maybe you’ll understand why I found this photo exposé on the demolition of a Vancouver, Washington hydro electric dam to be so surprising.

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We break momentarily from our normal politics to tell this tale.

It was a set up.

I’m in Philadelphia for an industry conference. This morning I was riding high. I had sat forth row in the center for Stuart Varney‘s keynote address, that by the way, was fantastic. I’ve long enjoyed Varney because he is so direct. I even tweeted some of his comments live during his speech (yeah, each word is a separate tweet).

Later, I somehow let David Kaiser talk me into lunch. When we pulled into Tony Luke’s rather than Geno’s or Pat’s, I should have known something was wrong.

I returned to the conference, attended a couple of dud sessions, then returned to my hotel room for the evening only to find this:

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Obama finished his bracket, have you? What’s your excuse? Fighting two wars? Saving or creating jobs? Join the fun with your very own inspired bracket competition. Go here. The group: You need a password: changing hopes. Have fun, and check in with the President for pointers.

Once again is partnering with to bring you Mach madness. The rules are easy. Login to ESPN here and make your selection for which NCAA basketball teams will make it to the big dance on April 4th. Create a bracket and join our group:
You need a password: changing hopes

March 13th is selection Sunday when all the teams are announced. You have until tip off of the first game on Thursday, March 17th to complete your bracket. You know President Obama will be completing his bracket, so why won’t you? Don’t get left behind.

Below is another update from my cousin in Afghanistan. I’ve posted these from time-to-time and thought this week might be especially interesting. Let us all be grateful on Christmas morning that there are good men and women like Derek all around the world defending America, her people, and her allies.

I’m sure he’d appreciate a short encouraging note if you had the time.

A large group of squadron members are sitting in our new lounge, watching Christmas Vacation and reminiscing of the last time we put up as many lights as Chevy Chase for Christmas. I think it the second or third time since setting up the lounge a couple of days ago, but the movie never gets old. Or maybe it does, but it allows us to think of any quirky trait of our families, of any funny relationship we have back at home, and the corny things that make those relationships worth what they are to us.

We have received the daily gifts for the 12 days of Christmas, and they have been awesome. There is something there for all of us, and we are excited to get the remainder of the goodies over the next 3 days. The only disappointment was when we found out that the ‘coal’ was really lava rocks painted like coal, serving little/no purpose in our fire pit.

While many units here in theater are taking a small break, we are not slowing down a bit. No days off, no down time, no break from our Groundhog Day routine. But that is OK, as we would prefer to be engaged in what has us far from home at this time, and to have a mission to focus on instead of what we are missing at home with family and friends. What that means for each of you is that the call home on Christmas may not be exactly at the optimum time, or may not be of the desired length, but all should have a chance to call at some point. So please don’t tie up the lines ordering us any last minute gifts. They are not necessary.

Our new building is working out fine, although it is just like anytime you buy a house. You start to move in the furniture, and realize that it looked much bigger empty than filled with your stuff. The building has indoor plumbing most of the time, with the occasional water outage. But that is OK, we have a ‘cadillac’ close by, which is a portable shower/bathroom trailer for our camp. I used it for the first time today, and when I went inside, I could only think of Ocho or Gofur doing a Chris Farley impersonation from “Tommy Boy” when he was trying to change clothes in an airliner bathroom. Pretty small working space. But they are still better than the outhouses, which smell great during the summer. For the rest of our building, some rocket surgeon decided that white was a good color for the walls, doors, and, well everything. They are now an uneven brown color from all of the dust here. We are looking at how we can cover the brown up with some art work or something.

As the type of flying has slowed down recently, we have had the chance to go to other parts of the country, and it is a shame that a booming tourist industry has not taken hold here. Sapper and I flew north just as the sun was rising, and we could see 18-22 thousand-foot peaks off to the east, all snow-capped an ominous, but beautiful. We overflew an area of canyons and mountain lakes that resembled the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, and the rough mountains of our own country, and it made us homesick. As we fly over some of these mountainous areas, we marvel at the agricultural fields at elevations above the state of Colorado, and wonder if those farmers struggling to eke out an existence even knew we were there, or if they just assumed we were just more Soviet Aircraft from the 80s. I’m sure none of them have ever seen the effects of electricity or a telephone, and I’d bet that despite the harsh living conditions, there is a level of happiness and simplicity that is envious. But I’ll keep my flush toilets, electric blankets, and the world wide web. I guess we have to find simplicity in other ways. Like dumb jokes, dark chocolate, and cigars for many.

We hope that you all have a wonderful Christmas time, or whatever this holiday season means for you. We miss each of you, but look forward to roasting a pig in April, and not returning to this place for some time to come. But for now, we still have some unfinished business. Until next time.

From an old college chum of mine. Can you help?

I’m hoping you and/or friends from PD may be able to help me. My colleagues and I are in the process of putting together a new revision of a book we published several years ago, called Foundations of Freedom. The book is a collection of great speeches, historical documents and other writings that are the essence of America and a tribute to this great nation. We are simply looking for suggestions of other documents or speeches to include in this next revision, so that it may fit the page count required by a few major retailers who wish to carry the book. Would you be willing to ask your readers and contributors on PD to post suggestions as to a speech that inspired them or a historical document they love? Perhaps something they would sit with their family at home one evening and teach their children about. Thanks in advance!

September 17, 1787


Filed Under Outside the Track on Sep 17 


Happy 223rd Birthday to the patriot’s dream that truly saw beyond the years.

Today will bring back many memories of an ordinary Tuesday morning in September nine years ago when an extremely well planned and executed act of war changed the course of world history – all in the space of 102 minutes. We saw the very best of America on a day that saw the first attack on the continental United States since the British invasion during the War of 1812.

Like most Americans I watched those events unfold on television. I was a geographic continent and a cultural world away from New York, Arlington, and Shanksville in my Los Angeles living room. I knew little and cared less about the fanatical ideology worshipped by the nineteen hijackers and those who cheered the destruction of Americans. I did understand that I was witnessing the Pearl Harbor of my generation.

Everyone has their most poignant memory of that day. One of the most difficult things I had to do on September 11, 2001 was explain to my then five-year-old son about the fact that there are evil people in the world. You see, I do a lot of professional travel. My son, even then, understood that his Dad spent a lot of time on planes. He had never before seen a plane crash and was understandably concerned when he saw a plane do something other than land safely on a runway.
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Because even Obama needs to take an occasional break from politics (golf anyone?) we’ve launched our annual pigskin pick’em contest. Enroll at

Our group name:
The password: Rangel 2012

The first game locks on Thursday, so enroll early and enroll often! in cooperation with is launching our 5th annual Pigskin Pick’em derby! Have we really been doing this that long !?! The rules are simple. Log in each week and make your selections on who will win each NFL game. As an added incentive, we are not even requiring you walk around with your birth certificate plastered to your forehead!

Games lock each week on Thursday and Sunday. The player with the most number of correct winning selections will take the lead. At the end of the season the player with the most correct selections earns bragging rights as the “world’s best community organizer.” Oh? That’s already taken? The winner will earn the right to proclaim “I’ve smoked less crack than Paris Hilton!”

So, go to and log into Pigskin Pick’em here.

Our group name:
The password: Rangel 2012

Let the games begin!

If they make decisions like bringing the cast from “Jersey Shore” to ring the opening bell, you have to wonder that maybe everything is their fault after all.

“Gorilla juiceheads” fist-pumped on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday morning as the cast of “Jersey Shore” kicked off trading in one of the more anticipated opening bell ceremonies in some time.

Traders on the increasingly quiet floor said it was one of the most crowded days in years as the deeply tanned cast of the MTV hit rang the bell and stayed to sign autographs amid a crush of onlookers and a flood of media.


Some 45 years ago, Star Trek (The Original Series) took to the American airwaves with stories from the USS Enterprise’s “five year mission”. The goals of this mission were repeated at the beginning of every show:

to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before

It seems like a fairly straightforward mission, even if the goal of finding scantily clad and green female aliens remained unstated. Millions of people, not just Americans, have long looked toward the stars and wondered what it would be like to travel and indeed live among them. Once upon a time, the stated goals of the National Aeronatics and Space Administration were much the same as the fictional television series. Not so anymore.
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It’s always fascinating when an event in so-called “real life” illustrates a long-held philosophy or point of view. Your first reaction is one of surprised, almost startled, amazement: Did that just happen? Did that person actually say that? Do they actually mean what they just said?

We were witness to such an occurrence a short time ago at a college graduation ceremony. An adult friend of ours went back for her Masters in Education after many years on the job. She deserves all the credit in the world, as not many of us could immerse ourselves back in the classroom routine—assigned reading, homework, projects, papers, deadlines, exams—once we became accustomed to being full-time working adults, answerable, mostly, only to ourselves.

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June 6, 1944

You were young the day you took these cliffs; some of you were hardly more than boys, with the deepest joys of life before you. Yet, you risked everything here. Why? Why did you do it? What impelled you to put aside the instinct for self-preservation and risk your lives to take these cliffs? What inspired all the men of the armies that met here? We look at you, and somehow we know the answer. It was faith and belief; it was loyalty and love. – Ronald Reagan, June 6, 1984.