Monday, July 31, 2006


At certain points in our lives we will say to ourselves, why did I do that? How many times have we heard from our parents that we shouldn't have done something because we might have been killed.

This past weekend I came home from work in San Francisco to spend a weekend celebrating with my wife the 14 years of marriage, however that lightheartedness turned to sadness with one phone call.

I have mourned for the loss of my father, when I was 20, my brother just a little over a decade ago. I have also mourned for friends who have lost their lives and I have mourned with a friend whose child didn't have a chance to live a full life and yet I have celebrated the death of Aunt who lived a full 93 years.

Once again, my heart is breaking for life cut short too soon.

I was sitting in church on Sunday, asking God to be kind and merciful to my nephew and his family so that they can see the way through this tragedy with hope of an everlasting life.

I was also wondering why this hurts me so much, was it because it hurts my wife's heart, her brother and sister in laws hearts, the brothers, the sisters, the cousins, the grandparents. Then a few rows a head was a little curly blond hair boy reaching out to the man behind him to shake his hand and its then that I realized why it hurt so much, because for the living there is no tomorrow with the one who has died. No more happy memories to make - only memories to share of life once lived.

That is why I shed tears this week.

"I am the bread of one can come to me, unless the father beckons"

RJ, I say to you in whispers

"And He will raise you up on eagle's wings, bear you on the breath of dawn, make you to shine like the sun and hold you in the palm of His hand."

Until We meet again, Roger James Schafer III (1984 - 2006)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Response from the Observation Deck

Below, is a response I made on the Lakewood Observation Deck.

Mr. Anderson was asking about what he could do to hear the true story about the soldiers and what he could do to help them.

Mr. Anderson,
If you are want to hear what the soldiers' think, then visit There are literally hundreds of sites or bloggers who are writing about their lives in Afghanistan, Iraq, as well as Stateside and even Kosovo. There are many other sites written by former military personnel and family members of active duty.
Mr. Batdorf lead you to a few of the major organizations helping the troops, let me point you to a few more
All of these help the soldiers and families of wounded soldiers.
To help you along as to the needs of the soldiers, next time you are the store buy extra pens, pencils, crayons and coloring books or toys and send them to a soldier, because next to all the supplies in their Humvees and APCs, they are reaching for those non-lethal types of items when they see kids in the streets. For the soldiers themselves, they would like bug repellent, baby wipes and also the soldiers after being out on patrol, sometimes need a diversion to relieve themselves of the stress of those patrols so they tend to read, so send them some books (but not any from Ken Warren's place)Depending if you like the Mr. Bush's policies or not, I invite all the LO Deck to visit these sites and learn about what is done for all five of the branches of the military. Because no matter who is in the White House, those men and women are still there to protect all of us no matter the political affiliation.

If you want click on the links on my blogroll and hear some of the stories of the heros of our time!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Working on the Left

Will be here for the next few weeks for work.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A View from the Sno-Cone Stand

Last week the nation celebrated its 230th Birthday, here in Lakewood as is customary we had the annual Parade.

I watched the parade from the Sno-Cone stand with Ryan Salo and his dad, Ron Salo as we were raising money for the Rockport-Lakewood Kiwanis and the Boy Scouts.

Protocol dictates that the Mayor marches in the Front end of the parade with his lovely wife.
Of course behind them must have been every city hall employee and department head except Tony Beno, who was hanging out by the P.A. tent with the frail looking Casey Coleman.

I was most astonished in seeing the Law Director and the Assistant Law Director Corrigans marching happily along. To me that just seemed wrong, but they are patronage jobs.

It was nice to see Stan Austin of the Lakewood Observer marching with the Mayor's troupe, he has openly admitted that he supports Mayor George on the Observation Deck.

The Lakewood Democrats were marching showing off the potential Democratic rival to Tom George's re-election bid. I would not be surprised to hear that Ed Fitzgerald has decided to run for Mayor. If he is doing that, how will he continue on his mission to kick Ryan Demro (Ward 2) off the Council. Funny thing - there doesn't appear to be anybody willing to run other than maybe Dan Brennan (Demro beat him to gain his seat). Maybe the Lakewood Democrats have someone else in the bullpen for the Ward 2 slot.
Fitzgerald has prided himself on not being a big spender on his campaigns, it is my contention that is not going to work for a Mayoral run. Based on my campaign expenditures it is going take about $25,000 to run a solid campaign from start to finish. It would be my guess that Mayor George has pretty close to that number in his campaign treasury.

Back to the parade, it was very interesting that most Republican candidates and organizations were either in the middle or back end of the parade.

Based on simmering in the city, Election 2007 will be very interesting.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

"I will not say America Is Perfect"

The following letter was printed in the Sunday edition of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. As we as a country are in the middle of the celebration of our Country's birth, it is right to read a letter from a defender of our liberties, who paid the ultimate sacrifice back in October, 2004.

When I read this article, I wanted to paraphrase it to make some points as to how I felt about the progress on the War on Terror, however I felt I would do an injustice to his letter, so like the Plain Dealer, I am putting in its full version here and have hyper linked the title to send to you to the Plain Dealer.

Dear America,

I sat here and pondered the turbulent world we live in today. For the first time in my life, I have grown apprehensive. Old enemies have become new friends, old friends have become new enemies and every corner of the world village we live in seems to be collapsing in strife.

These most dangerous of times are harbingers of a change to the world, collapses of whole cultures and civilizations and a whole new foundation of potential rule of fear as opposed to the rule of law.

I wonder if, towards the beginning of the Dark Ages, people felt the same.

I am not for war, and most certainly, I am not opposed to peace. I am a soldier -- to be for war would mean to put my closest friends and family into harm's way. The world is most obviously filled to the brim with violence and hatred, with no end in sight. Many wise people have made statements along the lines of: "All people feel fear, the brave go on despite their fear."

Is there a better way to solve the problems of demagogues and tyranny than violence? This I cannot answer, for there is no precedent for this happening in the history of humanity.

The world's problems today are greater than Iraq or Afghanistan,which exist as a result of the problems. Yes, I am saying these are in fact symptoms: the violence and breakdown of order in every corner of the world, religious intolerance in Europe, political upheaval in the Americas,tribal and ideological fighting in Africa and the rule of the gun in Asia.

It was said that Sept. 11, 2001,changed the world, and how it did. Mighty and benevolent America was attacked, the attackers used innocent men,women and children to strike at our nation.

I will not say America is perfect.

We have made our share of mistakes and committed our fairshare of crimes against others.
The Indian Wars, the Mexican-American War, the Spanish-American War, the occupation of the Philippines and the dirty battles of the Cold War: That is a shortened list of valid complaints to our grave misdeeds of the past. America has seen its share of noble ventures as well. I am sure others will undoubtedly and predictably find fault with her and her efforts; any half-wit can find fault in even the kindest of people and acts.
I am not writing to excuse war. I am writing this to explain my understanding.

Our own CIA and Special Forces trained the mujahedeen soldiers that we ended up fightingin practically every corner of the world. They were not trained to oppress or murder, but to fight Soviet tanks and spetsnaz [Russian Special forces].
The training and guerrilla tactics and equipment was meant to level the field. They chose to use their training for nefarious purposes and murderous deeds. The world was shocked when those immoral men destroyed ancient and irreplaceable artifacts; oppressed the masses; murdered,maimed and tortured in thename of their religion. The list of crimes of these same men includes genital mutilation of young women, draconian laws of rape and intolerance and the attempt to bring their own morbid and despicable desires into the world.
For right or wrong, America has embarked on a course to right the wrongs of the past. Historical hindsight always offers a perfect view, and we will not know of success or failure for many years to come.
I cannot intelligibly argue the claims of those against America.Iraq has supported terror with the use of facilities for terrorists,reward money for the families ofsuicide bombers who targeted Americans, weapons and training,and offered safe haven to many of them.
Ultimately, this letter is a declaration of my clear conscience. I will endeavor and will continue to train my soldiers to seek these lesser men out and make them know fear.
I will continue to fight when others falter and grow weary of their duty.
I firmly believe in my Constitution; in fact, I believe it applies to all humanity, not just America. I believe that it serves all people who are not just citizens of whatI am convinced is the greatest nationof the world, but to all people regardless of their origins. I believe that the American dream is not economical or political: It is the dream that all people can live a peaceful and prosperous existence by mutual respect andkindness.

Ultimately, though, I believe to get to that dream, good people must do those things we abhor. We must be ready to attack the adversaries of peace and tolerance.
These evil men do not respect anything but force of arms, they only acknowledge the power of fear and hate.
America, I ask that we must keep faith in ourselves. The path has been chosen, not by us but by these evil men. In the past, others would have had us standaside during times of troublesuch as these.

In the past, others would have had us turn a blind eye toward the plight of others. In all of those times, we did the hard"right" over the easy "wrong." West stood against malevolent, imperialistic powers, such as the Barbary pirates, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, only to be criticized later for our deeds. The same people who criticize our past fail to acknowledge that they would be incapable of that criticism had we done nothing. In the America I love, the currentstate of affairs is to attack the patriotism of others. This is a disgusting act of treachery against our Constitution. People use the right of freedom of speech to slander and libel their opponents. This, in my view, isakin to blasphemy.
I say, let those who protest our war effort - and yes, it is our war effort - do so. The greatest threat to our nation is not those cowardly men who only know bravery against unarmed civilians,but instead the potential that they change us.

Keeping faith in yourself regardless of your point of view is paramount to our success.

Yes, I am indeed saying that the end of this will not be a victorious celebration of heroic battles fought and won, but it will end when we embrace our adversary and rebuild their lives for the better. Germany and Japan enjoy even today the benefits of losing to America. Let us make sure the past again never haunts the lives of the future generations.

To ultimately win this war, we must be a paradox.

We must not only defeat and crush our enemies, but also help and embrace them.

Thomas Hawkins

Staff Sgt. Omer Thomas Hawkins Jr. sent this letter to his younger brother shortly before a roadside bomb killed him and two other soldiers as they traveled near Ar Ramadi, Iraq, on Oct. 14, 2004, at the start of Hawkins' second tour in Iraq. He asked James "Buck" Hawkins, a Missouri National Guard soldier, to post the letter on the Internet. After O.T.'s death, it was framed and hung on the wall of his mother's home.