Assassination

It has been only days now since the attempt to assassinate President Donald Trump. This on a bright, sunny day at a fair ground field in Butler, Pennsylvania. The attempt failed by millimeters when Trump turned his head ever so slightly to view a graph on a large video screen. The bullet grazed the right side of his head and wounded part of his right ear. Had he not turned that very small degree, the bullet would have shattered the right rear of his skull causing instant death. The course of the world would have changed.

As I write, the Republican National Convention has just ended. Donald Trump and J.D. Vance are now the official Republican nominees for President and Vice President of the United States of America.

We were watching on TV the rally at Butler. We saw everything. I literally could not write anything until now. The shock and resulting anxiety took over. We came within fractions of an inch of watching in real time the murder of Donald Trump.

And now there remains scores of questions about how this attempt on Trump’s life was allowed to happen. Clearly, the Secret Service had catastrophic failure. The agents immediately around Trump did their job in shielding Trump, then getting him off the stage and into a vehicle off to a hospital. But even with those actions, there were failures clearly evident to anyone.

The video shows the Secret Service is as victim to DEI (Diversity/Equity/Inclusion) as any federal agency. In particular, there were two female agents who, at best, were not qualified to be part of the immediate presidential protection unit. There was one who could not get her handgun back in to the holster. She, too, was clearly significantly overweight. There was a second that seemed more concerned about losing her sunglasses, but that is not the worst of it. She looked to be about 5’4” tall. There is no way she could shield Trump who is over 6’ tall. Anyone with brains would conclude body guards protecting anyone need to be at least as big and tall as the one being protected. In Trump’s case, this says men.

So, many, many questions are unanswered. Congress has said there will be an aggressive investigation of the whole assassination attempt incident. Those responsible for the inexcusable failure must be held accountable. This includes the Director of the Secret Service, Kimberly Cheatle; the Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas; and even the President himself, President Joe Biden. And there can be no place for DEI when it comes to security protection the responsibility of the Secret Service. The stakes are simply too high.

Budget Shock

Indiana State Representative Mike Karickhoff does a good job of keeping his constituents informed about state government. He deserves our thanks. This week brought into my mailbox Karickhoff’s most recent update and with it a SHOCK!

There is a graphic that shows clearly where Indiana citizens tax dollars actually go. I have included it so you will see for yourselves.

For the fiscal year 2024-2025, Indiana will spend 47% of all tax dollars on K-12 education and another 10% on higher education. That means over half, 57%, of all tax dollars go to education of Indiana citizens, largely children.

The Indiana Department of Education reports 82% of third graders can read at grade level which means 18% (about 14,000 students) cannot. It also reports Indiana’s literacy rates have been declining for a decade, well before the pandemic. Somewhat similar performance occurs in math proficiency. All of this in spite of the fact it is reported the USA spends more per student on education than all other advanced countries of the world except for tiny country Luxembourg.

And according to the National Literacy Institute, on average 79% of US adults nationwide are literate in 2024. Further, it reports the US ranks 36th in literacy among countries. Something is amiss.

I have to wonder. My impression is that we are spending an inordinate amount of money and energy on school athletics and marching bands and not enough on academics. A good example is the multi-million dollar girls softball field at Kokomo High School. And take a look at the football stadium for KHS. It rivals many at the collegiate level. Then there is the marching band facility and even the architectural horns and whistles on any new building construction.

Too, I wonder about how many hours of classroom instruction per year take place in schools. I read that in Indiana 180 days of instruction in an academic year are required at minimum for elementary and secondary schools; that is less than half the days in a year. I see school buses leaving schools with students a little after 2:00 in the afternoon. Indiana requires a minimum of 5 hours per day for grades 1 through 5 and 6 hours for grades 7-12. These don’t count any recesses or lunch periods.

From past experience, I know that a significant percentage of students who sought admission to Indiana University Kokomo could not pass the English or the math proficiency requirement. Remediation courses were required.

Given the taxpayer funds spent on Indiana education from grade one through state supported university levels, maybe it is time to rethink a few things.

Change

My morning ritual is to get out of bed, half stumble down the hall to the kitchen, pour a cup of coffee, and head to my home office to check email. There are windows close by that give me a clear view of the outside world. I check out the weather, watch birds at the feeders and the squirrels trying unsuccessfully to rob the feeder seed.

I see, too, an old wood shelter on the golf course that has been there for as long as I can remember anything growing up including my first wood shaft golf clubs. That shelter causes me to think about how life must have been 100 years ago and my own memories growing up in this town.

I think about how things have changed over the years. I think about the wondrous scientific and technological innovations that have become a normal and expected part of our lives.

My earliest memories, though, are of Victory Gardens and Block Wardens and a father gone off to World War II. They are of milk being delivered to our home by a Med-O-Bloom Dairy horse-drawn milk wagon and of the fresh homemade butter, eggs, and vegetables coming directly to our door from local farmers. They are of times of racing home after school to gather by the radio to hear programs that stimulated imagination like “The Lone Ranger”, “ The Green Hornet”, “Inner Sanctum”, “The Shadow Knows”, and “Tennessee Jed”.

They are of times when children just old and tall enough to put a dime into the bus coin box could travel downtown to Kresge’s or Woolworth’s or Penney’s or to see the movie serials each week and be safe.

Everyone walked to school. No problem. It seemed the adults in our town looked after each other and any children around. Even the dogs and cats were friendly and free. Most folks did not lock their homes when going off to shop or work. I ask myself whether we have really made any progress in our quality of life here in these past, say, 70 years. Certainly, there is bigger and more of everything, but is it better?

Things were not all roses over those years, though. Racism and religious prejudice were pretty ingrained in our society in those days. Those were hurtful to people. My belief is we have come to a healthier place with these in mind and practice. By doing so, we have strengthened our town, state, and nation. There is strength in diversity among caring people.

We did some pretty stupid things, too: Things that we were told were wonderful and harmless at the time. I remember going to the dentist again and again to get a cavity filled. As a reward, the dentist would give me a gel-capsule filled with mercury. I loved holding that marvelous, liquid metal in my hands and using it to polish coins by rubbing the mercury and coins between my fingers. Today we would say, “Are you crazy?”

I remember going to Eby’s Shoe Store downtown to get new Buster Brown shoes. To check the fit, the store had a wonderful machine into which one would insert a foot with a new shoe on it, push a button, and see how the shoe fit. Gosh, you could see all the bones in your foot, too! The machine was an X-ray machine. I often have wondered what happened to Mr. Eby and the other employees of the shoe store.

I remember the hot summer days in our neighborhood. Sometimes, the bugs, particularly mosquitoes, were kind of bothersome, but there was a fix for that, too. The city would send around the truck to take care of the bugs. We looked forward to it. It was great fun to ride our bicycles in the cloud coming from the truck. The DDT smelled pretty good. We were told this miracle chemical had saved the world from malaria and from being overrun by insects. We believed it because the chemical companies said so.

We are now in a time when science and technology are moving much faster than then. It is important we learn from our past, take the best from the past, and move on. This means carefully examining change and innovation to be sure they lead in directions good for people and planet Earth. One huge lesson is not to be so quick to believe all that is new and claimed to be so wonderful, particularly if the message is coming from those who stand to make money or gain politically from whatever the message conveys. We have been fooled before. There are those who would and are trying to fool us now…. And will again and again.

Joe

The next few weeks or even days are going to be interesting to watch how Democrats deal with demented President Joe Biden as their candidate for President. They are already squirming. And Joe has taken the position he is not stepping aside.

The fact is, it is already too late in many states for a different name — or absent Joe, any name — to be on the ballot as a Democrat in November for the office of the presidency assuming Joe is still alive or is not declared incompetent by a court. Even removal from office under the 24th Amendment would not get the job done. And impeachment is certainly not going to happen in a Republican House nor would that even affect who is on the ballot in the fall. The Democrats are stuck with ole Joe unless he voluntarily or involuntarily steps aside, it seems.

Even if Joe did step aside or be removed, there are barriers. For example, all the funds sitting in the Biden campaign war chest would have to be returned to donors. They could not be simply transferred to a different candidate. This involves millions of dollars.

And how would a replacement for Joe be chosen if he does voluntarily or involuntarily step aside? It could not be by a vote of citizens in a primary election. Too late for that. It would have to be at the Democrat National Convention where delegates are locked into a vote on the first ballot for Joe Biden. The fight would then begin. The Democrat Party is not homogeneous. There are factions who would want their candidate to prevail. And who would that be? Gavin Newsom, Hillary Clinton, Michele Obama, Kamala Harris, or someone else. All seem to be pathetic. My guess is that Hillary Clinton would emerge. She has been seething ever since her defeat in 2016. Crooked Hillary.

The world saw what some are calling the walking cadaver in the debate on CNN. It is crystal clear Joe Biden is demented to the point of being dangerous as the “leader” of the free world. Before the CNN debate there were millions who were ignorant of how bad the situation really is. Those were the CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, CBS, NYT, WP and others who watched and/or read the liberal media only. Now they know. They saw with their own eyes and heard with their own ears. Shock hit them.

On top of all of about Biden, the US Supreme Court has ruled the J6 Congressional Committee was not legitimate. This likely will mean that most of those being held in prison resulting from J6 court actions will be freed. And the Court has yet to rule on the question of presidential immunity. The prediction is this will favor Trump and will blow away all or most of the politically motivated indictments he has had to deal with. And last, it is likely the Florida court will decide Special Counsel Jack Smith was not appointed legally. The case about Classified documents will disappear.

So, Democrats can mourn. They have tried to destroy our country in so many ways. The chickens are coming home to roost. The people have awakened.

Armed Citizens

The framers of the United States Constitution were very clear in their conclusion about firearms. The Second Amendment to the Constitution reads:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”.

It is very evident that the Constitution framers did not intend to limit the right to keep and bear arms to a formal military body or organized militia, but intended to provide for an “unorganized” armed citizenry prepared to assist in the common defense against a foreign invader or domestic tyrant. Nothing could be needed more than today.

Gun control or gun abolish advocates keep chipping away at gun rights. If it were up to the current Biden regime, all guns would likely be banned. It is focused now particularly on so-called “assault weapons” like the AR-15 and anything similar to it. You may not realize it, but the Washington Post in 2023 reported roughly 16 million people own about 20 million AR-15’s in the United States…. that is 20,000,000; not a small number. The Post stated, “one in 20 adults own at least one AR-15.”

Including all firearms, the United States of America likely has the heaviest armed citizenry of any country on the face of the Earth. It needs to stay that way. In the present day, there are clear threats to freedoms from government, from foreign adversaries, and from domestic terrorists. They all need to give thought to what an armed conflict would mean.

I wrote earlier about citizens and guns. I said: The world’s largest army is American’s hunters. Referring to 2023, I noted there were over 669,000 hunters in the State of Wisconsin alone. Together, these would make up the eighth largest army in the world; more than France and Germany combined. And this number compared to 661,000 in Michigan; 954,000 in Pennsylvania; and 273,000 in Indiana. These four states alone total some 2,557,000 armed citizens that were hunters. Together, there were nearly 16,000,000 licensed hunters in the United States of America in 2023……. 16 million!! This does not include the thousands or really millions of others who are legal gun owners of all types of guns.

Any enemy, foreign or domestic, would give pause before taking on the citizens of the United States of America. Most are not members of any military or law enforcement unit, but when it became necessary, they would fight. They need to remember this.

The United States of America is the home of the free and the brave.

D-Day WWII

Normandy Beaches….. 80 years ago. Invasion of Nazi German held territory by thousands of troops from the USA, Great Britain, Canada, and more. Thousands died there that day, but the first steps toward defeating the dream — no, nightmare — of Adolph Hitler were taken in blood.

Eighty years have passed. The grounds of the American Cemetery at Normandy are lined with white crosses and the Star of David. The grounds are silent. Grounds that one roared from cannon and gunfire and death. The grounds are hollowed by the souls that gave their lives there to preserve freedom around the world. We must never, never forget that.

We watched the 80th remembrance ceremony in full. My wife and I were reminded of our own visit to Normandy some years ago and our walking among the grave sites. We were reminded of our own feelings of sorrow and gratitude for the men who died and were buried there. You really cannot imagine the feelings unless standing among the graves yourself.

We were reminded of the many armed conflicts and men and women who have died since those days of World War II. We think of Korea, Viet Nam, Iraq, and Afghanistan and the untold many smaller fights our military has been asked to fight. And we think, too, that most, if not all, of the undeclared wars fought since WWII resulted from corrupt or unwise USA leadership.

Ole President Joe Biden could not help himself. He could not be content to honor those veterans present and those in military uniforms and the many who had gathered to pay homage to the few who remain alive from that horrific day. Joe had to turn his speech into a political speech. He had to bring up Ukraine and Russia and try to liken that to what happened at Normandy. That is blasphemy. He seems to forget that Russia was an ally to the USA in WWII and that Russia lost more people in that war than all other countries combined. Biden had to bring up NATO; an alliance long ago outdated as a deterrent to any invasion of Europe by Russia later during the Cold War.

The world is a different place today. The power of nuclear weapons is too much to even comprehend. And Joe now has to continue to poke the “BEAR”, as Russia is often referred to. Under Biden, the USA has pumped billions of dollars and tons of weapons to Ukraine; a corrupt country. Now Biden is allowing USA provided weapons to even be used against targets inside of Russia itself. And there are reports there are US troops involved directly. This is insanity. What happens in Ukraine is NOT in the interest of America First. It is time for the USA to butt out and let the European nations figure things out. Bring our troops home and shut off the money. We have mountainous needs in the USA.

I absolutely do not believe Valdemar Putin wants to invade Europe. I do believe he wants at least part of Ukraine given its history of being part of the Soviet Union and that the eastern part of Ukraine is populated with Russian speaking people. I say let him have it. The world does not need WWIII.

Journalism & Kent

Oh, to have the time to write. I whine and moan about never having the time I would like to write for my Blog and Substack, even if no one reads them. I do have things to say and opinions to express rattling around in my head all the time.

I was thinking….. from the time I was born until I was 44 years old when my family sold the Kokomo Tribune, all I remember was newspapers. My father at age 24 was the CEO of the Tribune when I was born. His grandfather Kautz was CEO and owner beginning in 1897 until he died in 1938 when my father took over as a family Trust of Kautz’s daughters technically controlled ownership and operations. I remember I lived, breathed, and almost worshiped journalism and newspaper production and the peoples “right to know”. My first job was in the Circulation department where I mapped motor routes and solicited subscriptions. That was an experience when I approached Amish/Mennonite families out in Howard County. The women at home were always polite, but they deferred to their husbands who were working out on the farm somewhere.

But even before that I was around the Tribune a lot. I still have a photo of me at the corner of the Tribune building selling papers on VE day at the end of WWII in Europe. And I have a photo of me at a typewriter in the Tribune newsroom writing something when I was probably around 10-12 years old. Then when at Kokomo High School, I became the radio editor for the the student newspaper, the Red and Blue. We had a weekly program with three of us: sports, news, and social. And who knew at the time that my father was one of the owners of the WIOU radio station. Wonder if that had some influence?

Finally, off to Purdue. My father wanted me to study engineering of some kind. He believe the mental discipline and thinking processes taught were the best in engineering verses any other studies. I started in Electrical Engineering and finished three years in that discipline, but due to circumstances involving a fraternity pledge which did not go well, I switched to Industrial Management. I was in the very first class of that offering at Purdue. As it turned out, it was the best combination of engineering and management one could imagine. Purdue became famous for this. This really saved me from academic probation. I excelled in all classes. I really loved the studies in management, engineering, and finance.

My life did go into chaos though with an unplanned pregnancy and an early marriage when I was still 19 years old. I was a junior at Purdue at the time. I will save that story for later.

After graduating from Purdue with a BS Industrial Management, I became a full time Kokomo Tribune employee. This, as it turned out, was a time at the cusp of an enormous change in the way newspapers were produced. The old way was with hot metal type and letter presses. The huge change that occurred was to photo composition and offset presses and the use of computers in typesetting. That is easy to say, but it took years — nearly a decade — to make the changes. The Kokomo Tribune became a world leader in medium sized newspapers in technology. We had visitors from all over the world to see how we did things. With General Motors Delco engineers, we created one of the very first computers for typesetting. I wrote all of the software for it as well as a Fortran comprehensive package for circulation accounting and bundling in the mail room. We had a tremendous “family” of about 150 folks at the paper that worked together to get it all done.

At the same time, my father pursued newspaper industry leadership interests. He eventually became the President of the Inland Daily Press Association and later the American Newspaper Publishers Association, the industry association of most of the daily newspaper in the United States.

This is enough for now…. Chapter One in the life of one Kent Blacklidge and journalism. More later…….

Memorial Day Thoughts

Today is Memorial Day, the day to remember and honor all who have given their lives in the armed struggles to save our United States of America. It started with the Revolutionary War for independence from Great Britain, then to the Civil War, the costliest and deadliest war ever fought on American soil. Some 620,000 of 2.4 million soldiers were killed with millions more injured.

In the 20th Century came World War I, then World War II, which were direct threats to the survival of the USA, followed not long after by the Korean War, the Vietnam War and later the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many, many died in armed conflict after conflict. None were fought on United States soil. And the ones following WWII in hindsight are now seen as ones directed by decisions from unwise political leaders. The cost in American lives in foreign wars since WWII has been tragic. We honor all who died and all who have suffered catastrophic injury.

The country is even now in peril. Not from foreign invasion, although that may come, but rather from enemies within. This includes the current Executive branch of our federal government and its FBI, CIA, State Department, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Homeland Security.

It is time to meditate and pray for our country. It is time to remain vigilant. It is time to be prepared for whatever may come. We can save this country. We can once again become a nation under God and the US Constitution. We can bring the USA back to being the light on the hill for all nations on Earth. The fight is upon us.

Biden Attempts Failing

Now we learn President Biden and his Justice Department authorized the use of deadly force in the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump and his family’s Florida home. Court documents show there was a medic with the heavily armed agents and that a triage unit had been set up some miles away; a practice not normally initiated. Further, FBI agents were instructed to wear unmarked polo or collard shirts and to keep enforcement equipment concealed. Why?

This was a non-standard, unprecedented operation with significant potential for confusion resulting in blue on blue armed conflict: FBI agents verses Secret Service agents. This set up competing equities between federal agencies (FBI & United States Secret Service) with equal statutory claims to interrupt the other’s activities. Again, why? It is reported there was no prior coordination between agencies. Was this an attempt to heighten the possibility of gunfire?

This all was to retrieve so-called “federal classified documents” Trump had taken from Washington DC at the end of his presidency to which he allegedly was not entitled. This all for documents Trump had securely stored at Mar-a-Lago and for which he had been negotiating with the National Archives and Records Administration.

Was this raid really a veiled assassination attempt? Fortunately, President Trump and family were not at Mar-a-Lago when the raid took place.

And we learn, too, there were documents planted by the FBI at Mar-a-Lago and that evidence presented to Judge Aileen Cannon in the Jack Smith Florida court case dealing with the papers case was tampered with. The papers were scrambled — not in original order — and the covers seen in photos were later added by the FBI agents.

All of this is coming out as the days go on. Special Counsel Jack Smith’s case against President Trump is falling apart. And their remains the root question as to whether Smith is legitimate in the first place having never been approved by the US Senate to occupy such a special counsel position. This is yet to be resolved.

What appears it will come down to ultimately is whether Trump took papers originally classified. As then President, he had absolute authority to declassify anything he wished and take them with him when leaving office. Clearly, he took something or somethings likely related to “Crossfire Hurricane” (the illegal spying on the Trump campaign for the 2016 election and papers he had formally declassified) that scares Democrats. I have to wonder if those papers finger Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and Joe Biden, specifically.

Very interesting, too, that President Joe Biden took classified papers from Washington when he was a Senator and Vice President. These showed up in Biden’s garage and at his homes and at the University of Pennsylvania. He had absolutely no authority to have any classified papers in his possession. Him having them then is a federal crime. Biden should be held accountable for these actions, but don’t expect that from the Biden Justice Department.

We all need to thank God for Florida Federal Judge Aileen Cannon. It appears she is putting up with no nonsense or manipulation attempted by Jack Smith. She is after the truth. Her current position is there are many pretrial questions to be answered before any potential trial could take place. There is even a chance she will dismiss the Smith case entirely. Now, that would really enrage Biden Democrats. Or maybe it is really Obama Democrats and RINOs.

Wrong Decision!

Wrong decision! Howard County Circuit Court Judge Lynn Murray either cannot read plain English language or someone got to her when she approved the ENGIE Emerald Green Solar project for eastern Howard County. This project will take 1,800 acres of prime agriculture land — some of the best and richest in the world — and put it under solar panels for decades.

Murray’s decision flies in the face of crystal clear language in the county zoning ordinance itself. Under the Agriculture (AG) District section, the Board of Zoning Appeals is directly addressed. The language states , “Board of Zoning Appeals: allow a special exception use (which specifically includes “power generation facility”) only when it is clearly a benefit to the adjacent properties”. How is that in this instance?

Further, under 7.08 Special Exception language states, “…. will not permanently injure other property or uses in the same district and vicinity….”.


How Murray concluded all of this language, which is very clear, can be violated is seriously in question. A grade school student would understand what is meant by “clearly benefit” and “will not permanently injure”; words in the zoning ordinance.

It is obvious to me that someone got to the Board of Zoning Appeals when they approved the ENGIE Emerald project in the first place. Even Board membership was manipulated. Their approval, too, was in direct contradiction of zoning ordinance language. Did someone get to them, too? I think so. Money talks.

No reasonable person could conclude that adjacent properties will “benefit” and that they will not suffer permanent injury. But, Judge Murray did exactly that. She and the Board of Zoning Appeals should be ashamed of themselves.

It is my hope that the property owners who took this case to court will continue on to the Court of Appeals. Maybe there they will find judges who can read. If Murray’s ruling stands, it becomes even worse given there is another solar project of 1,700 acres right behind it. Again, hundreds of acres of prime agriculture land will be taken out of production for decades and, frankly, probably ruined for much longer.

This is, indeed, solar insanity.