Adopt A School

Eric Adams, New York City’s mayor elect, will inherit an agenda full of problems when he takes office in the New Year. There are many areas of great concern in the City. Among them are security, safety, subways, infrastructure and police policies. This essay will address public education and how focused financial assistance could be of great importance to our students.

You might be surprised to know that New York City has nearly 1,800 schools across its five boroughs. The school system has a budget of $34 billion. About 1.1 million students attend these schools and are instructed by 75,000 teachers. The New York City public school system is gigantic and plays a monstrous role in educating students in the area.

This essay will propose a new way to improve the public school system. In essence, it could bring the financial strength and intellectual acumen of large corporations and affluent citizens to bear. The proposal will encourage corporations and philanthropists to provide direct monetary support and engagement into the affairs of our public schools. This would be a double barrel benefit for the children.

Most experts agree that the New York City public school system is not doing a great job of educating urban children. And, most would concur that notwithstanding the large budget, the instruction by teachers is not optimal. How could a corporation or an affluent person improve the system? You probably would reply that more money would be helpful. This could be accomplished by raising taxes and adding to the billion already flowing into the system.

But suppose more money was provided directly to schools and administered by a panel consisting of the principals, teachers and representatives of a corporate sponsor. The money would be available to meet important non-budgeted operating needs, such as painting, fixing toilets, rodent control and safety along with cultural endeavors like music and dance programs. At the start, money would not be available for teachers’ compensation. This would complicate negotiations with teacher unions in the future.

Here’s a straw man proposal for you to consider. A corporation commits to provide $1 million each year for three years, a pittance for most large corporations in New York City. The number of good things that can be done with $3 million over the three years at a single urban school in one of the worst areas of the City might be nothing short of amazing.

I think more creative ideas need to be explored in connection with corporate desires to make meaningful social impact. Paying taxes, some of which go to education, is impersonal. Giving funds directly to an “adopted school” would be a much more significant event for the school and for the donor.

The evolution of this concept began just after 9/11 when I tried to find ways to help living first responders. Everyone at the time was rushing to give money to the survivors, while I looked at the situation in a different way. It should be noted that adopting a firehouse or police station would also be a wonderful piece of eleemosynary giving.

The Rolling Stones, Now There Are Three

I attended the final concert on the Rolling Stones American tour at the Hard Rock Casino in Miami. The indoor setting and limited seating made the concert an intimate affair. There was no glitter behind the band, just wonderful rock music orchestrated by the unquestioned leader of the group.

At 78, Mick Jagger is a phenom. For over 2 hours, the greatest lead rock singer belted out 17 of the most well-known rock songs in history and seduced 7,000 attendees.

The Stones are the foremost rock and roll band ever. The group includes some of the most talented musicians in the business. And the performances of all of the main players that include Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood are mesmerizing.

Of course, the influence of the late drummer of the band, Charlie Watts, hung over the presentation, and the surviving Stones affectionately showed their appreciation for Watts’ contributions to the band and his friendship. Watts died on August 21st and was 80 years old. Now there are three Stones remaining.

My wife and I are concerned that each tour may be the last for this iconic group. A short while ago Jagger had a heart procedure and since then has bounced back with great enthusiasm. Watts’ demise was a second warning that live Stones’ concerts are in grave danger in the not too distant future. I’m determined to see every tour from this point forward to ensure I experience greatness as long as it lasts.

Back to the concert. Asking what the best song is moot. Every song is historic and causes goosebumps for those tuned in. The songs that everyone craves to hear are 50 and 60 years old. They never have and never will be diluted by time. They sound great even after so much change in the recorded music industry. And no one puts on a better show than Jagger and his friends.

In previous concerts I thought Keith was assuming a greater role. Mick was maybe a few steps slower and perhaps not as sexy as in the past. It just wasn’t true on my magical night. Jagger set the concert hall on fire with his unique dance steps and unchained masculinity. Physically, the undisputed leader of rock and roll looks like a million bucks.

But Jagger gets a lot of support. Richards has been and still is a grandmaster of the guitar. His chords are so enthralling. He projects an age-old bad boy image of the band. At 77, he still pulls it off. Wood is about the best supporting actor one could find in a band. He had some rock riffs that were bone-chilling.

The replacement drummer, Steve Jordan, filled in nicely for Watts. He seemed to be pushing himself physically as the evening progressed, unlike his predecessor who cruised through the music for decades.

The female diva for the tour was Sasha Allen. She was hot, dancing for Jagger and the audience. Her performance of Gimme Shelter was mind-blowing.

In summary, it is my humble opinion the Stones have cemented their reputation as the greatest rock group in history. They’ve experimented with many different genres over the years, including hard rock, country, rock, the blues, etc. All of these were on display. This range is the most diverse of any rock band in the past or present. The longevity of the group is unmatched. The Stones have the most famous rocker, leader and entertainer of all times. And, the Stones concerts are unforgettable even if you have seen them as many times as I have.

It’s been comforting to grow old with the Stones since my first concert in 1969. I am sad in advance that it will eventually end.  

Presidential Liars

Politicians have been lying to me and the rest of their constituencies since I took government classes in grade school. This phenomenon has reached epic proportions in recent years.

For historical perspective, I will begin by mentioning some of the more outrageous hyperbole from years past beginning with the first George Bush.

Bush told Americans he would not raise taxes. With great fanfare, he told us to read his lips. No way. He broke his promise and it cost him the election with Bill Clinton. It was a shame because Bush was probably the most experienced person to assume the presidency in many years. He was a congressman, head of the CIA and vice president. He defeated Saddam Hussein with virtually no casualties in the first Iraq war. One slip of the tongue caused his legacy great damage.

One of the biggest liars in history was Bill Clinton. He thought he could bull—t anybody including the American public. His tenure was chock full of mistruths; the biggest was about not having sex with Monica Lewinsky. He also fibbed about his sexual exploits with several other women and various self-dealing financial transactions when he was governor.

Boys will be boys, and presidents will be presidents. Philandering goes on all the time in Washington. Who am I to judge another man? But Bill was caught red handed, remember the infamous dress, and on national TV he looked Americans in the eye and denied any misbehavior. I always thought Clinton’s tryst with Monica was horrible transgression because it wasn’t a fair fight, a 20-year old intern was taken advantage of by most powerful man in the world. Sex in the room next to the Oval Office. Can you believe it?

That leads us to consider the veracity of every other thing Clinton told America. Americans heard many more lies from the man while he conducted his presidential duties.

The second George Bush started a war based upon a lie. The late Colin Powell, representing Bush, said the Iraqis had weapons of mass destruction. None were ever discovered. Did Bush lie? Did his aides lie to him? Did anybody in Bush’s cabinet lie because they wanted to unseat Saddam Hussein. In any event, this untruth resulted in a war that cost American lives and treasure.

Barack Obama was different than his fellow presidents. He lied to himself. He thought he was the smartest man on the planet. Without any experience he sashayed into the White House and rammed one of the worst laws in history down the throats of Americans. It’s now un-affectionately known as Obamacare. The results of this inane and poorly executed entitlement were financial upheaval because our country could not afford the legislation, defeat in the midterm elections and the loss of a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. Basically, Obama was a do-nothing president because he did not understand the issues pertaining to a misguided law and ignored the experts. He was a political neophyte.

The Trump administration was fraught with one outright lie and exaggeration after another. In retrospect, this unbelievably despised person misled Americans more than he told the truth. The nation was so hard up for a hero that they elected a man with no character and no soul. There were so many instances of outright hyperbole that it makes me feel ashamed that this man was elected president of my country. Fact is that he was a liar before running for president and was pitted against another liar who he defeated.

And now we have Joe Biden in office who has nothing to lose. I promise it’s Joe’s last gig. Most Americans recognize that he is incapable of governing the US. He was an empty suit in Congress for years, and now, he is showing that he cannot deal with the rigors of being president.

At the current rate he may morph into the worst prefabricator of all time. He lies about virtually everything he does or doesn’t do.

The immigration problem on the southern border is not under control. It is a full-fledged crisis and human and humanitarian disaster.

The proposed new entitlements worth over 3 trillion dollars will make inflation increase. By saying that Nobel economists told him entitlements will end inflation and strengthen the dollar, the president is misleading the public.

Joe Biden’s son has broken numerous laws taking money from companies around the world for favors from his famous dad.

Biden has lied to Democrats. He promised progressive things that are not possible, and he assures moderates that he will heed their warnings about big government. He is leading Democrat politicians down a path of defeat and shame. It will begin during the midterm elections and continue into the next presidential election.

Biden is even now having issues with Kamala Harris about her role in the administration. He leaves the dirty jobs for her to deal with.

I think we would be stunned if we knew what inane things by Biden was saying to other world leaders. Consider the recent chat Biden had with Xi.

As a commander-in-chief he made a mess out of Afghanistan. He still believes he can negotiate with Iran’s crooked ayatollahs. Not a chance.

Democrats and Republicans can already see the writing on the wall. I’m frightened he has another three years still remaining as president. But, by then progressives will be telling Biden what to do each and every day.


The NY Times published a letter of mine on immigration laws today. The following is a copy of the letter. I was responding to a guest editorial by Reece Jones titled “Immigration Laws’ Racist Legacy.”

To the Editor:

Re “Immigration Laws’ Racist Legacy,” by Reece Jones (Opinion guest essay, Nov. 1):

Our nation’s guilty conscience for laws and actions of the past should not be the basis of badly needed immigration reform. After all, the stain of the past was often directed at specific races.

Our lawmakers must decide how many people can immigrate to our country each year. Open borders are disruptive, expensive and harmful to Americans who need assistance. Money used for undocumented immigrants is money that could be used to subsidize poor Americans, including the aid being proposed in Congress today.

Many Americans who are not xenophobic want the crisis on our southern border to end, not because they hate one group of people or another, but because millions of people are entering the country illegally.

The essay suggests that the United States accept the unprecedented illegal immigration on our southern border because of actions that took place long before most of us were born.

Salvatore J. Bommarito
New York

A Septuagenarian’s Review Of History

A few years ago, I became a septuagenarian. I survived and thrived for eight decades having been born in the late 1940s. A lot of challenging things have happened during my life, personally, to America and to the world. I hastened to point out that my experiences have been a dream come true in almost every regard. But it wasn’t always easy. I was dramatically affected by domestic and global events. I want to document some of those events that continue to be vivid in my mind, even while I was having a productive and wholesome life.

The earliest recollection I have is the polio epidemic in the 1950s. I remember standing in line waiting to receive a vaccination, when I was a very young boy. I didn’t think twice about it, nor did I stress out over the event. In any case, it was far less of an ordeal than the COVID vaccine response taking place as I write this essay.

A truly bizarre experience embedded in my memory is practicing for a nuclear attack by the Soviet Union. In addition to fire drills at school, students were told crawl under our desks in the event of an attack. Really? Hiding under a desk would provide little protection from an atomic bomb or its radioactive fallout. Peter Sellers dramatized this in his memorable movie “Doctor Strangelove.”

The next recollection was the assassination of John F. Kennedy. I was young and really didn’t appreciate that the leader of our country with so much potential was murdered by a crazed psychopath. But the memories of the event dragged on for some time, and I was enveloped in the emotion of the loss of such a great man. Film clips of the funeral and of the Kennedy family are etched in my mind. Coincidently, one of my sons went to high school with Caroline Kennedy’s son. That also brought back the horror of the senseless act.

The murder of Martin Luther King, Jr. was another seismic event. He was the soul of the civil rights movement in the country during the final years of his life. I was young but was able to grasp the importance of such a dastardly deed. King had had a meaningful effect on all true Americans who want equality.

The Vietnam War, in the late 60s, was in full gear while I attended college. It had a great impact on young men at the time resulting in a “live for today” philosophy. That, in turn, led to excessive alcohol consumption and the use of drugs. I remember my senior year in college was a time to live and party hard. I expected I would be going to Vietnam where I would likely be killed. This was one of the darkest times in my life. In retrospect it’s hard to imagine that 50,000 Americans lost their lives during the war. For what? To make matters worse, I was in the first draft lottery. It was the only lottery I ever won! My number was 59 out of 365, guaranteeing that I would get drafted if I didn’t find another path.

The Civil Rights Movement was monumental. Originally led by Martin Luther King, Jr., black leaders marched and protested against unfair conditions in America years after slavery ended. It had to take happen. The movement needed to be kick started. True emancipation of people of color was being stalled by pervasive bigotry. Black efforts were the beginning of a long journey. One of the most noteworthy things about the protest at that time was that it was peaceful, at least for the protesters. The authorities took very strong and cruel measures to quell protesters. It’s a different situation in recent years. The Black movement has had a great impact on all Americans. Hopefully, it will result in more equality in the near future.

The oil crisis in the mid 70s was a horrendous event. OPEC countries intentionally decreased production and delivery of oil to the free world. The ultimate result was that we lined up for hours trying to buy gas for our cars, if any was available. It was almost like a scene from a science fiction nightmare. Severe shortages changed our lives dramatically for several months and was the main reason our nation was inspired to become energy self-sufficient.

As a financial officer of a few companies, I was on hand to experience what it was like to borrow money for short periods of time at rates over 17% in the early 1980s. Our country needs reliable sources of capital to survive, as do individual consumers. All hell broke out as our monetary system could not meet the needs of borrowers.  This period still influences monetary and fiscal policy in our nation 50 years later.

Associated with higher rates were inflation pressures on Americans and the whole world. Economic conditions were such that the cost of everything we bought skyrocketed, while our wages were falling behind. One day a dollar bought $1 of goods and services. The next day, $1 bought 80 cents worth of goods and services. The US was like a third world country with hyperinflation.

One of the most insulting events in American history was the Iran hostage crisis in 1970. Religious zealots had taken over the government of Iran from the Shah. The ayatollahs ordered an assault on the US embassy in Tehran and took 52 hostages. Jimmy Carter was president and was responsible, and incapable, of arranging the release of the Americans. This is a stain on American history to have a backwards third world country bring the mighty US to its knees. Ronald Reagan won the presidential election and threatened to invade Iran after he was inaugurated. The hostages were released just before the inauguration ceremony.

The downfall of the Soviet Union encouraged by Reagan was a great victory for the world. The hostile attitude of our greatest enemy was tempered for many years and set the stage for a reshuffling of power in Europe. No longer would the world be on the edge of a nuclear holocaust. The two biggest nuclear powers would disarm to some extent, a greater moment for mankind.

Israel and Palestine are destined to be at odds for the foreseeable future. Little progress has been made since Israel became a nation decades ago. Religion, politics and cultural differences are at the core of continuing conflict. Repeated efforts to move forward have been thwarted time and again.

The Iraq wars were unfortunate and resulted in US loss of lives and fortune. Also, they set off other hot spots in the Middle East. In the first Iraq war, the US halted Iraq aggression towards Kuwait with virtually no loss of American lives. But the first George Bush stopped at Iraq’s border leaving Saddam Hussein in power. The second war was an all-out assault on Iraq by the second George Bush in an effort to neutralize Iraqi armed forces and to root out alleged weapons of mass destruction in the hands of the Iraqis. The later of these was never proven. US troops were destined to occupy Iraq for many years.

The turmoil in the Middle East influenced the rise of many terrorist organizations. The most dangerous group has been al Qaeda, which grew to power in Afghanistan and surrounding areas. The group along with its leader, Osama bin Laden, was responsible for the 9/11 attacks, which set off a decade of fighting in Afghanistan. Terrorists relish political turmoil. They could find no better place to organize than in Afghanistan, an untamed wilderness. The fallout from the 9/11 attacks is one of our country’s worse nightmares.

This brings us to the current day. Where is the US? We are struggling to regain our global leadership with two of the most ineffective presidents ever. America is still the greatest power in the world, but China wants to compete for domination.

Our domestic political arena is in chaos. Neither party has the votes to make decisive positive changes in many aspects of our society. Defense, the economy, immigration, civil rights, the police, relations with other countries, education, climate change are all stagnant because our leaders forgot how to compromise.

The world continues to be a dangerous place. I hope and pray for more peaceful times in the future.

Biden Was A Bust In Rome And Scotland

A lot is happening in the political arena these days. Most importantly, Biden went to Rome and Scotland in an attempt to stir up the world about an impending climate crisis and other issues.

Biden has been unable to rein in his left-wing colleagues and enact any legislation dealing with climate change, infrastructure and elderly and young Americans. The COVID brouhaha is still mystifying the entire medical community and the leaders of countries around the world. And there is a governor’s race in Virginia that may be the beginning of the end of the current administration and domination of Democrats.

There’s more, such as the abortion debate in the in the Supreme Court, inflation concerns and supply shortages, which I will not comment on at this time.

Biden is likely to give up trying to lead America pretty soon. Pelosi, AOC, Schumer, Manchin, Sinema and McConnell are getting the best of him. So why not try to take over the world? Maybe America is not a big enough stage for Biden. He needs a global challenge. I’m being facetious, of course. Other world leaders are not sanguine about US global leadership.

China didn’t show up in Rome or Scotland, nor did Russia. How can you conduct a summit meeting when two of the largest countries in the world play hooky? The rogue leaders of these countries [I wonder if they collaborated] don’t believe Biden has the chops to make an impact on world events or even govern America. Biden is still trying to convince his peers that he is the guy to deal with increasing temperatures, terrorism, financial distress, disease, religious wars, economic wars, etc. Give me a break. Joe was having trouble staying awake at one of the meetings this week. China and Russia still respect our power, but they think very little of our leaders, especially the man who lives in the White House.

On the domestic front, which China and Russia are monitoring closely, it’s one disaster after another. The biggest issues are the those created by members of Biden’s political party. Joe Manchin is not going to agree to a large amount of societal changes and entitlements in the US. Manchin has already gotten the Democrats to eliminate any restrictions on coal that would affect his home state of West Virginia, and the second climate change and entitlement bonanza has been cut in half because Manchin required it to be so. If Manchin, for some reason backs off, Kyrsten Sinema will not vote nay, which will kill this second package and possibly the first.

Progressives in Congress are pulling out their hair. All their inane giveaways and freebies are slowly dissipating. None of them have come to realize that the split in Congress is razor thin and they would be better off taking smaller bites and not trying to change too much too quickly.

COVID is still driving our medical people bonkers. Every day brings a new issue to the forefront. The doctors and research people can’t agree what the protocols should be. To make matters worse, large groups of people are refusing to be vaccinated. There is a civil right at play that can only be overcome with good leadership. Forget that in this administration. Nine thousand workers in New York City were laid off for not taking the vaccine.

And finally, there is a governor’s race in Virginia pitting Terry McAuliffe, a Clinton minion, against Glenn Youngkin, a private equity guy. The former was supposed to walk over Youngkin, but he made some stupid remarks about education and what teachers are teaching in the state regarding racism. McAuliffe has alienated thousands, and maybe a million, parents who are Democrats, Republicans and Independents. Education is not is not really a partisan issue. If an upset occurs, and Youngkin wins, it could have political ramifications across the country in the 2022 midterm elections. Update, Youngkin defeated McAuliffe.

At the center of all these problems is Joe Biden. Was he really the right person to move into the White House in 2020?