NOVEMBER 7th is Election Day


NOVEMBER 11th is VETERANS DAY - To ALL the vets alive today -- THANKS FOR YOUR SERVICE!

Welcome this month to a lot more friends, of friends of mine.
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Commentary Index


FIRST, the election!
This has been a knock down, bickering, slander, coldly calculated campaign by the Democrats to gain back lost  seats in the Congress and Senate.  Their claims have been harsh, quick to point at any thing to get the lime light and full of partial truths, or more likely extreme plays on words.

Now the Republicans are fighting back with the same crap rather than staying with the issues and telling the story behind the efforts of the Dems.

I am an Independent who has found himself with no middle ground to vote for on the left and I am left with the right that still does not realize that they are not in tune with their followers.   Yes, I told a pollster yesterday that I did not think any of the issues he presented for me to pick which is the most important to me, that none of them was most important.  I continued that our countries safety was far ahead of any other issue and that safety includes securing Afghanistan, securing Iraq, securing our borders and exhileing ALL illegal immigrants IS THE ISSUE.  I think this is the only issue today as it was last presidential election, and I have to vote for whom ever has the guts to stand up to the media and proclaim these issues are the most important.  Yes We need work in medical coverage, Soc. Security, education and some others, but without this being a safe country, we can never achieve the others.

Now I have made these statements before ... maybe to you!  But today I find that many folks are so put out by politics that I am afraid they will not get out and vote, and that will be our countries biggest loss.  We must get out and vote ... maybe not for an ideal candidate, but one who most closely tracks with our needs. One who can stand tall and represent our country no matter what barbs are fired, no matter what character assassinations are dreamt up, no matter what attacks are launched ... no matter what!




Yes, you most likely already know I was a Jar Head.  Still am!  And yes I am proud of the service our Corps has given to our country.  Yes I am proud of the history we have earned through the toughest of times, the worst of battles.  These were my brothers, my older brothers, who campaigned all over the world for us.  Today they are my younger brothers and sisters, campaigning in the middle east.  If you interview any of us you will find the essence of the same person with in, fortified by a very unique individualism forged in Leadership, Right from Wrong ... Doing Until ....! 
Adapt, Improvise and Overcome!

SEMPER FI lads and lasses ... SEMPER FI!
Your older brothers and sisters are watching with pride!



Of course I tie this celebration to my Marine brothers and sisters, but it's even bigger because it includes ALL our cousins, uncles and friends of the other services.

Not many know I spent many years in the Army's 84th Division as a reserve Sr Drill Sergeant and 1st Sergeant.  Duty to ones country comes in different forms based on the time and place, and the 84th was the right place at that time for me.  As with the Corps, many close relationships were forged and many fine people were met.  Make no mistake here, I am still a Marine!

Memorial Day we honor our lost comrades.  Veterans Day is the time to honor those that survived their service and came home to live again.  Some appear to be functioning well and others apparently have suffered physical losses.  Some are still in the throws of reliving horrid events that may have softened over the years but that still haunt them at nite.

Time to step up and shake the hand of a veteran and simple say, thanks for your service.  I appreciate it.  That's all.  It's that simple, for really that is all a veteran wants.   His or her nations appreciation!

It's the Military, not the reporter who has given us the freedom of the press.

It's the Military, not the poet, who has given us the freedom of speech.
It's the Military, not the politicians that ensures our right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
It's the Military who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag.


Take time to walk up to a veteran and thank him or her for their service to our country, for protecting our very way of life, for maintaining our very freedom!  Sit and talk a bit ... about anything ... just be a friend! ... thanks for your service.  I appreciate it.



That’s the long way to say: I failed.  And we’ve become a society too willing to accept “I did my best” as an honorable substitute for success.  But it’s not.

 As a recruit in the Corps of Marines I quickly learned that I can do more than I think I can.  That's because the DI's would always not only expect more, but demand it.  And they made us wish we had done better so the next time out, we did!  We also suffered as a team ... one recruit not doing well caused the whole team to be disciplined until we learned that we could accomplish more when working together, as a team.  America needs to regain, Team Status!

Unless you’re willing to believe that my best is not good enough, you’re going to be walked all over by people who do.   Life isn’t about doing your best, it is about succeeding. And failing to succeed can have extraordinary and horrendous consequences.

Wait One ...!  I do understand there are limitations, and that we all have them. I know that sometimes we can throw everything we are into a task, bending every effort and sparing no personal sacrifice, and still come up short.  Success can, honestly, be outside our abilities but giving our all and failing is not bad, for failing is the way to prepare for the next success.

Because typically our best isn’t. Typically “our best” is some standard of performance far beneath our true capacity. And the reason we sell ourselves short so often is because “I did my best” has become such an easy crutch.  We accept it in society because we accept the flawed premise upon which it is based. We think effort is more important than outcome.

And we are wrong.  DIRT WRONG!

It is not the earnestness of an effort which determines its worth, it is the consequence of that effort.  Some say it is how you play the game that is important and that is just so much "Did my Best" bull.   It is winning the game that is important.

Some say losing teams worked just as hard as the winning team, that they had practiced just as long and its effort deserved just as much recognition.  But it's only the winners that go on to championships and world recognition.

And life is far harsher than the playing field.

You can do your best, but if you don’t get the promotion, your paycheck isn’t going to get any bigger. You can do your best, but if you don’t control your weight, you’re probably going to end up sick because of it.  Whether you “did your best” or not is irrelevant if you do not achieve what you need to achieve.

“I did my best,” is not what you want to hear when the emergency department doctor walks up to you in the waiting room. And it’s not what you want to hear from your investment counselor, or from the contractor who built your house.

 “I did my best” is the first sign that something has gone wrong and that the person talking to you wants to avoid responsibility for it.

That’s a harsh fact, but true.

An insidious consequence of our acceptance of “I did my best” as an excuse is that it takes away the fear and shame of failure. If we make failing easy we also make it more common. And that is not good. We might think we are being understanding when we console losers by telling them they did their best, but actually we are cutting them off at the knees.  We are paving the way for their next failure.  We are giving them an out which human nature says they will use.

Fear of failure, within rational bounds, is good.  As I indicated earlier, the DI sure proved that, in spades.  No dropping out on runs; no finishing the obstacle course when recruits are still out there struggling; not qualifying; not a clean rifle, not a perfect uniform, not the best shined shoes!  Failure is just not acceptable but inevitable, and we all need to  fail so that we learn to go on.  Being afraid of consequences is good, for with out it we don't learn to over come.

Now you might ask what this has to do with the Marine Corps Birthday and Veterans Day.  If you wondered, you need this message more than I care to imagine!  Get out to a Veterans Day Parade and take a look at those veterans you see.  They are the ones that fought on, and on, and on.   There wasn't any doing their best, there was only doing until ...............

Be sure to grasp the hand of a vet, shake it vigorously and say Thanks.  Thanks for doing more than just your best.

And; Set out to win in life.  You will like the results better than just 'doing your best'!


If a bunch of grizzled young men can teach young pups right out of high school how to improvise, adapt and overcome, surely our educators should be able to ... but instead they teach being a good looser! 



Luedke, Ted W. Cpl. … Honored to be one of the few and proud to have served with all our armed forces.





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Created : 1/28/2004.   Update : 11/1/2006

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