Category Archives: Commentary

Strategy in Afghanistan – President Trump

Well gotta like what Trump is saying tonight (and let me say I am not a fan of Trump), and that is we will no longer announce our strategic plans in advance of the condition. War is war and one cannot tip toe around the consequences of it, you either fight to win or don’t bother. Same as owning a gun, you don’t go around threatening that you are going to use it in a defense causing event, you use it and kill if have to in order to defend yourself.


Hate Speech

Hate is ignorance and we all should realize that people or groups that perpetuate it are truly just stupid. Simple concept to just accept because we can’t ban speech whether one is “stupid” or not. Free speech is just that, free and the government has no right to regulate a “stupid” group of people’s right to free speech.

“The minute it becomes acceptable to break the law to silence one group, all others become vulnerable to attack by anyone who disagrees with them. That’s why the Supreme Court has repeatedly struck down government attempts to ban hate speech.”


Editorial: Banning hate speech is also abhorrent
Posted at 5:00 AM

Last weekend’s events in Charlottesville, along with the threat of future protests by white supremacist groups, have sparked a national debate about placing legal limits on hate speech. The thinking is that some views are so abhorrent that they should be banned, and their advocates should not be allowed to assemble in public.

As long as it’s still legal to do so, we’d like to declare our abhorrence at the suggestion.

The rights of free speech and free assembly are bedrock principles of American democracy and major reasons why America’s founders revolted against British rule. There was a time when speaking against the British monarchy was deemed treasonous and subject to prison or even death. Even today, it’s technically illegal to call for abolition of the monarchy.

In the United States, neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups are attempting a resurgence, bolstered in no small part by the sympathetic undertone of remarks issued on the campaign trail and in the White House by President Donald Trump. As repugnant as those groups are, it’s even more abhorrent to contemplate trashing the First Amendment to stifle their free speech.

The minute it becomes acceptable to break the law to silence one group, all others become vulnerable to attack by anyone who disagrees with them. That’s why the Supreme Court has repeatedly struck down government attempts to ban hate speech.

“A law that can be directed against speech found offensive to some portion of the public can be turned against minority and dissenting views to the detriment of all. The First Amendment does not entrust that power to the government’s benevolence. Instead, our reliance must be on the substantial safeguards of free and open discussion in a democratic society,” wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy in one assenting opinion this year.

The moment Americans empower the government to tell them what they can and cannot say, our nation and its cherished democratic principles will be doomed.

— St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Others must lead America

We are deeply distressed by our president’s cynical political calculations. By his meanness of tone and erratic behavior. By his serially insensitive reactions to the violent white supremacy rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that has stained America.

If he’s looking around, the man now finds himself increasingly isolated. But Donald Trump probably isn’t leaving office anytime soon. And he isn’t likely to change. So America will have to deal with this bizarre, unfortunate presidency as it exists, rather than as we wish it to be.

That puts the onus on Congress, on Republican leaders such as House Speaker Paul Ryan and Vice President Mike Pence, on responsible administration officials, and on other adults who can challenge and counter him as necessary. They should proceed with the nation’s business, understanding that Trump may be more a distraction than a guiding force.

To the extent other leaders step up, America will be better off. The people’s interests will continue to be served. Legislation will get passed. The country will remain safe. American values will be protected. The courts, too, will continue to play their role, preserving the integrity of our democracy.

— Chicago Tribune

Monuments – Removing of

I’m so sick of all this hate especially wanting to go back and eradicate any monumental reference to our history just because it represented a time in history that disfavors a group today. Instead of focusing all that energy on taking down these monuments, work on what is today. Get involved, advocate, make your voice heard on our issues today. After all it is not what ultimately happened in our history it is what we have learned from that time and how we can make sure it doesn’t happen again. Seems to me taking down monuments is counter intuitive to that energy and focus. All this hate makes me want to pack up and reclaim my German citizenship and move to Germany. But then I think of a conversation I had yesterday evening with a new work colleague from Sierra Leone, Africa who came to this country because he had a dream, a dream of a wonderful country and although he disfavors our current climate and actions of our President he is proud to be an American. The pride and emotions I felt were hard to contain.

Confederate Monuments

Jeez, rename schools, tear down monuments, and now consider Camp Chase which by the way was only a training camp for Ohio volunteer army soldiers, a parole camp, a muster outpost, and later a prisoner-of-war camp for Confederates and civilians suspected of actively supporting secession and now a cemetery that does annually hold a ceremony to commemorate the Confederate soldiers who had been held and died there. Guess The Hilltop Historical Society better stop placing those Confederate flags on the graves every year!

Next we will redact our history books as we all shouldn’t be reminded of the evil things that we as Americans have done in our past. So it’s ok to protest today with hateful pointless violence and killing activities that we as a civilized society continue today all in the name of claiming that indicators of our evil history should be erased.

In my long years and many places that I have visited, some very horrific, I many times questioned why we memorialized such tragic events in our history. Each time I was pointed to the following saying:

        ’Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’ – George Santayana

So today when I look at a monument especially the many in the south I don’t see a monument of hate, I look at the history behind the person or moment in history being memorialized, I look, I learn and realize that for every bad, evil, embarrassing moments in our history there has always been good, growth, and triumphs associated with it. We as a nation, as a country, as a melting pot of people, would not be where we are today if not for the combination of the both. I by no means say this is a favorable model but we has human beings have struggled and will continue to struggle with good and evil.

In an age where our entire history is available in the palm of our hand and current events is shared in a fraction of a second, perhaps we can take a minute or two and use our smartphone to snap a picture of that monument and read the history behind that memorialization instead of snapping a picture of it’s destruction and the hate and violence that went with the process. At least the monument for the decades it’s been there didn’t hurt anyone; it only stirred up feelings that perhaps could have been better guided if the history behind it was understood CLEARLY first and realize the monument is merely referencing a point in time in history and not a point in time of the present.


  • a statue, building, or other structure erected to commemorate a famous or notable person or event.
  • a statue or other structure placed by or over a grave in memory of the dead.
  • a building, structure, or site that is of historical importance or interest.

In my research I came across this article with interest:



Ban on Transgendered People in the Military

Wednesday’s ban has nothing to do with money and everything to do with lingering prejudices.

Stating that transgender medical costs are a factor in this decision is the same ignorance being used to tear down our first comprehensive medical care act. Let’s face it, as humans, we are living longer, facing medical issues brought on by diet, environment, and genetics. And our current armed forces already struggles to get quality recruits WANTING to serve in our armed forces. And what is with “disruption that transgender in the military would entail.” This is disgusting as with any gay or straight or male-to-female, or female to male we as professionals work to perform a job and surely are not on the job to pursue any sexual desires.

When we start condoning employers to decide on who to hire based on what that candidates potential medical costs would pose to that company; then we have a serious problem indeed.


Rooftop Solar Dims Under Pressure From Utility Lobbyists

This selling back to the grid is a ridiculous concept to begin with and the utility companies are ignorant in exploring other ways to tap into this renewal resource whether it was paid for by a homeowner or put up by the utility company. They of course are hesitant to invest in other means of providing electricity and of course are scared to death that for once their consumer base has an alternative to reducing their utility cost to minimal or even free. Personally I believe every new home built should have solar panels installed on the roof as part of the building process even if the life expectancy of the panels are only 20-30 years.

Rooftop Solar Dims Under Pressure From Utility Lobbyists


“Summer Jam West brightens Hilltop”

“Summer Jam West brightens Hilltop”

True leadership is not about being a part of an organization or becoming involved with the status quo. Patti Von Niessen​ is a true inspiration and a much needed visionary in bringing quality events to the Columbus Westside Hilltop. She accomplished this without affiliation but rather taking her vision in bringing art to our community. In doing so she brought people from all cultures together, to mingle, eat, enjoy art, enjoy music, and make new friends. She has accomplished more in bringing people together with a solid theme of activities, events, and learning in the past 4 years than any organization here on the Columbus Westside Hilltop has attempted to do in the past 25 years. This in my opinion makes for a true leader, an inspiration for us all!


By Andrew Keiper
The Columbus Dispatch

Posted Jul 8, 2017 at 9:01 PM
Updated Jul 8, 2017 at 9:01 PM

Laughter rises from the mingling crowd, mixing with music booming across Westgate Park and the smoke from the eclectic array of food trucks. For an afternoon, all is right on the Hilltop.
The fourth annual Summer Jam West arts and culture festival kicked off early Saturday afternoon, bringing in a diverse group of community members, artists and vendors. From a children’s face-painting tent and a local ice cream shop to a broad display of area bands, the festival hosted a bevy of Columbus offerings.
The festival is an attempt to break down the formal cultural and physical distance that make Downtown galleries often inaccessible to Hilltop residents, said Patti Von Niessen, the executive director of the Summer Jam West nonprofit.
“Being able to have art brought to them is huge,” Von Niessen said. “We’re an art desert out here. There’s virtually no public art.”
This year’s theme is “Moving and Grooving,” and, per tradition, a huge mural was painted to commemorate it. Local artist Roger Williams donated his time and talents to complete the massive 95-foot-long painting along the nearby Camp Chase Trail. Murals from years past can be found dotting Westgate Park.
Von Niessen has been a neighborhood resident since 2009, and began the organization in 2012. What started as a modest 1,000-attendee festival has blossomed to attract an estimated 6,000 this year, taking up most of Westgate Park’s 43 acres.
Brian Marcus, Hilltop resident and local artist, has witnessed the growth and positive effects of the festival over the years. His hand-drawn, psychedelic artwork decorated his vendor’s tent, which he said was meant to help showcase the creativity of the community rather than turn a profit.
Marcus was commissioned by Von Niessen’s organization to paint a panel that was awarded to a local business for quality work in the community. Such initiatives aren’t uncommon for Summer Jam West, which Von Niessen said tries to proliferate permanent art installations throughout the neighborhood.
“We keep as much of our money on the Hilltop as possible,” she said. “We try and live up to our socialist attitude, you know?”

Her hyperlocal commitment is recognized by a wide coalition of sponsors from across Columbus. The $30,000 festival is made possible by donations from Heartland Bank, Greater Columbus Arts Council, Ohio Arts Council, Hollywood Casino and Puffin Foundation West, to name a few.
Summer Jam West is a welcome change of pace for community members and local police officers alike.
Horse-mounted and K-9 officers watched as children played with the animals, a cruiser was open for kids to inspect and take photographs, and patrol officers roamed the park grounds with ice cream or fried chicken in their hands.
Brian Newsome, a community liaison officer for the Hilltop precinct, has worked at the festival for the past several years. He’s noticed the benefits brought on by the artistic initiatives of Summer Jam West.
The event, which he said has remained peaceful in years past, helps to revitalize and bond the neighborhood.
“Just trying to bring back that neighborhood feel of community, to know your neighbor,” Newsome said. “I just think all around, it makes it more of a community event.”