‘A Promised Land’ by Barack Obama (review by Jack Kramer)

A Promised Land by Barack Obama

For those readers who are soon to launch into Barack Obama’s memoir, “A Promised Land,” be forewarned: if you think you’re about to enjoy anything like a light-hearted romp through a very successful 2008 presidential campaign and an arguably quite successful first-term presidency, it would be wise to radically adjust your expectations. Much of the memoir is serious — often deadly serious. It’s an extraordinarily (near-obsessively) detailed account of several tumultuous years of world-changing, earth-shaking decisions, ideas, ideals, events, and frightful dilemmas. It’s also a seven hundred page roller coaster journey of emotions — joy, depression, celebration, sorrow, anger, love, fear, courage, desperation, confidence, and crippling self-doubt.

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The Conservative Party? Jack Kramer opines

The malignant tumor generally known as Donald Trump may have been excised before it could fully metastasize, but Trump was not, of course, the only cancerous cell in our ailing body politic. Neither was he the cause of the disease; he was simply its most glaringly obvious symptom. The other malodorous, noxious cells are alive and all too well. Unlike the ex-president, they are still all around us, multiplying and spreading as they surely and not-so-gradually go about their business of destroying the body they inhabit. Make no mistake: those cells must be investigated and isolated in order for the healing process to begin before the offending organisms are allowed to fulfill their singularly horrific goal.

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‘When We Left Cuba’ by Chanel Cleeton is a beautiful historical fiction espionage romance

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“When We Left Cuba” by Chanel Cleeton is the gripping story of Beatriz Perez, daughter to a sugar baron in Cuba whose family fled when Castro’s army took over the island paradise. Living a grand but reduced lifestyle in Palm Beach, Beatriz’ mother is constantly scheming for her daughters to marry well and restore the family name and fortune.

But Beatriz has other ideas. Her twin brother was killed during the Revolution, and she is determined to get revenge. She hates Castro passionately and abhors the idea that she will follow her mother’s wishes — marry, have children, and never live life fully. She wants to take a different path. Continue reading

‘Outwalkers’ by Fiona Shaw is a powerful book about the love of a boy for his dog in a bleak dystopian future


“The Outwalkers” by Fiona Shaw is a tough read, but not because it’s not a fabulous story. In fact, the book is intriguing from the first page and emotionally heartrending to the last. It’s dark and depressing, but at the same time it’s filled with hope and the promise of a better world. My heart beat a bit faster from the beginning to the end of the book — I was that worried about the main character, Jake, and his incredibly loyal and wonderful dog Jet.

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‘Suspect Red’ by L. M. Elliott — Fear and Loathing in ‘53 D.C.


L.M. Elliott’s riveting Young Adult historical novel “Suspect Red” takes us on a rough ride through one thicket-filled thorny year in the life of early-adolescent Richard Bradley. He is a thirteen-year-old Washington D.C. resident circa 1953-54. And he is faced with the dilemmas and demons that would haunt any teen-ager whose father, whom he idolizes, is an FBI agent suffering from severe PTSD (making him, in those days, a “psycho”), and who, worse yet, works directly under J. Edgar Hoover during those dangerous and desperate months of June, 1953 to June, 1954: The Cold War rages. Continue reading

UPDATE: A Win for Workers! Pure Profit Versus Integrity; As Observed on a Local Level with Mechanics’ Strike

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The corner is quiet now and has been for a few weeks. The strikers are gone. They have been vindicated after an arbitrator found in their favor and against Napleton Cadillac of Libertyville. Congratulations to them.

The full decision can be read here. But in it, the actions of the employer were found to be unlawful, and the testimony of management was often found to be not credible. The decision uses words like “fabrication” and “piffle” in describing what Napleton management employees claim happened. The decision is worth reading. Some of the actions by Napleton appear to be especially vile — terminating a man out on disability leave, pushing out tens of thousands of dollars of strikers’ tools to be ruined in rain, and other instances of retaliation for their union activity (joining the union).

As stated in the original article below, if all employers were fair and just, unions would not be a necessity. But that is not reality. When Erwin Weil ran the dealership, he was fair and honest. The workers did not join a union because they were treated with respect and honesty. When ownership changed, so did the treatment. And that’s why unions are so powerful and so very, very necessary. They protect those who could not protect themselves alone.

This writer is a teacher at a local school district. I am also the union president. The administrators at this district are fair and honorable. While we don’t always agree, there is a true feeling of mutual respect and trust. That has not always been the case in the past. And contrary to many conservative opinions, having a union and union leadership helps the district in working with employee relations and working through problems that may arise.

In my opinion, a school district or corporation that is run fairly, competently and honorably is one where the union leadership and the management work hand-in-hand together to promote an atmosphere of cooperation and respect. If management does not respect the union, it does not respect the workers. Period.

See original article below:

For the past month, residents of Libertyville, Illinois, or anyone driving up Milwaukee Avenue in Libertyville, have been struck by an unusual sight. In front of a few car dealerships, including Napleton Cadillac, workers are on strike. The strike has been going on for a relatively long time.

When Erwin Weil owned the Cadillac dealership in this Northern Chicago suburb, he was quoted as saying, “You get what you pay for” about the ads that he appeared in. In the ad, Weil said, “I’ll make it worth your Weil.”

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The Politics of Greed

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The New York Times ran a review of Ivanka Trump’s 2009 book. The review is titled “IVANKA TRUMP’S TERRIBLE BOOK HELPS EXPLAIN THE TRUMP-FAMILY ETHOS” and it says, in part:

When Ivanka was a kid, she got frustrated because she couldn’t set up a lemonade stand in Trump Tower. “We had no such advantages,” she writes, meaning, in this case, an ordinary home on an ordinary street. She and her brothers finally tried to sell lemonade at their summer place in Connecticut, but their neighborhood was so ritzy that there was no foot traffic. “As good fortune would have it, we had a bodyguard that summer,” she writes. They persuaded their bodyguard to buy lemonade, and then their driver, and then the maids, who “dug deep for their spare change.” The lesson, she says, is that the kids “made the best of a bad situation.” In another early business story, she and her brothers made fake Native American arrowheads, buried them in the woods, dug them up while playing with their friends, and sold the arrowheads to their friends for five dollars each.

Well, that paragraph says it all about Trump’s family and their ethos. It’s not complimentary, and it’s in Ivanka’s own words.

Complaining about not being able to have a lemonade stand? Seriously? So instead of trying to make money from strangers, they “persuaded” the family employees to shell out money so the kids could feel good. The maids — in her own words! — “dug deep for their spare change.” She should be ashamed that she forced the maids to part with their hard-earned money (because one thing is for certain — the Donald underpaid them and the work was not pleasant). In her words, that’s making the best of a bad situation? Fleecing the employees was a “bad situation”? Just for the employees, certainly not for the pampered, avaricious, grasping children of wealth.

Then there’s the story she shares about making fake arrowheads, burying them in the woods, and cheating their friends and selling them for five dollars each. This, apparently, is a story Ivanka is proud of. Again, who would be proud of cheating friends and making money? Apparently, anyone in the Trump family.

And now, Trump is cheating the nation by using his presidency to make Mar-A-Lago more visible (he doubled the membership fee when he was elected) and giving those who do belong a chance to meet heads of state. Only the extremely wealthy need apply.

Trump exploits his position to promote his golf courses by playing golf there often. This is the guy who excoriated Obama on Twitter for Obama’s golf games, but is shamelessly playing golf at a huge expense to taxpayers who must pay for his ridiculously high security costs.

Politifact reported that after the same number of days in Obama’s presidency, Obama had played golf once compared to Trump’s playing at least 14 rounds. The Independent reported that while Trump has spent 25 of the first 100 days (that’s one-quarter of his time as president) away from the White House, Obama only left the White House for one long weekend (four days).

This would not be notable except for the fact that in the past Trump has complained on Twitter, over and over, about any vacation Obama took and any golf he played.


The Trumpers certainly got what they asked for: Donald, Ivanka, Jared, and the rest of the hypocrites. Good luck, folks.