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What's Next Aileen? - Interviews with 3 Conservative Women
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Publius Huldah, Laurie Cardoza-Moore, Sylvia Thompson
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In this week's episode of "Inside Judicial Watch," Carter Clews joins JW President Tom Fitton in a discussion about the challenges and obstacles Judicial Watch faces in its many battles against the Deep State--from the IRS scandal to ongoing litigation over the Benghazi terrorist attack.
I am done with the NFL burn your gear and boycott they cannot disrespect our flag and country
WHERE OR WHO ARE THE LEAKERs? HACKERs?
First Black Medal Of Honor Recipient's Act of 'Defiance': He Never Let The Flag Touch The Ground
by Tyler Durden
Sep 24, 2017 9:08 PM
As we reported previously, Sunday afternoon's round of NFL games included players from nearly every team joining the "take a knee" protest during the National Anthem, while many others locked arms in solidarity with players who decided to take a knee, or - in the case of the Pittsburg Steelers - remained in the locker room, and thus weren't visible to the public. Notably, Steeler and ex-Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva seemed to have defied the team decision to opt out of the anthem by waiting in the locker room (with the exception of head coach Mike Tomlin, who stood on the field). Villaneuva, who served three tours in Afghanistan, stood visibly outside the tunnel with his hand over his heart during the The Star-Spangled Banner.
In Philadelphia, Eagles and Giants players and coaches locked arms as a massive American flag was raised over the field and military jets performed a flyover. A few players raised fists or knelt, according to the New York Times. Several players on the Bills and the Broncos also took a knee, as well as players from both teams in the Patriots vs. Texans game. At least eight Detroit Lions knelt during the anthem which ended with singer Rico LaVelle kneeling with his fist in the air upon closing the national anthem. Across the league, well over 100 players took part in the anthem protest, and the controversy is now impacting other sports as well, including the NBA and MLB.
With Trump's Sunday morning tweets fueling the controversy further, and with teams having to decide how to approach the issue, it would be helpful if Americans were reminded of the first black man in history to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. Whereas players across the NFL are now either defiantly taking a knee or opting out of respectfully commemorating the flag by hiding in the locker room, ironically, the first African-American Medal of Honor recipient nearly made the ultimate sacrifice out of his own personal respect for the flag and all that it represents.
Sergeant William H. Carney received the nation's highest honor during the Civil War for rescuing the American flag and carrying it reverently in the midst of impossible odds while being shot multiple times by the enemy. His act of 'defiance' while an entire Confederate battalion mowed down his fellow Union soldiers consisted in not letting the flag touch the ground - this, even after being wounded in the head.
"As the color-bearer became disabled I threw away my gun and seized the colors [the flag]," his account of the Battle of Fort Wagner states. "When we finally reached [my regiment] the men cheered me and the flag. My reply was, ‘Boys, the old flag never touched the ground.'"
Taking bullets for the flag, rather than a knee - Sergeant William H. Carney, the first black man to win the Congressional Medal of Honor, for refusing to allow the flag to touch the ground. Source: US Army archival photo
This act, acknowledged to be one of the most heroic deeds of the Civil War, is recorded in State documents and in the detailed account written by Sergeant Carney. The significance is summarized as follows:
In 1863 William H. Carney entered the army and was assigned to Company C of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, the first regiment composed of black men in the state. They were most renowned for their participation in the battle at Battery Wagner where, through their bravery and sacrifice, they forever silenced the predication that the black men would not fight. It was at this siege on July 18, 1863 that Color-Sergeant William H. Carney performed a brave deed which earned him the Congressional Medal of Honor for most distinguished gallantry in action.
Here, in part, is his account of the siege from The History of New Bedford and Its Vicinity, 1620-1892:
". . .We were all ready for the charge, and the regiment started to its feet, the charge being fairly commenced. We had got but a short distance when we were opened upon with musketry, shell, grape shot and canister, which mowed down our men right and left. As the color-bearer became disabled I threw away my gun and seized the colors, making my way to the head of the column. . . In less than 20 minutes I found myself alone, struggling upon the ramparts, while the dead and wounded were all around me, lying one upon another. Here I said, ‘I cannot go into the battery alone,' and so I halted and knelt down, holding the flag in my hand. While there, the muskets, balls and grape-shots were flying all around me, and as they struck, the sand would fly in my face."
The Storming of Fort Wagner by the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, Morris Island, Charleston, S.C., July 18, 1863.
"I knew my position was a critical one, and I began to watch to see if I would be left alone. Discovering that the forces had renewed their attack farther to the right, and the enemy's attention being drawn thither, I turned and discovered a battalion of men coming towards me on the ramparts of Wagner. They proceeded until they were in front of me, and I raised my flag and started to join them, when from the light of the cannon discharged on the battery, I saw that they were my enemies. I wound the colors round the staff and made my way down the parapet in to the ditch, which was without water when I crossed it before, but now was filled with water that came up to my waist.
Out of the number that came up with me there was now no man moving erect, save myself, although they were not all dead but wounded. In rising to see if I could determine my course to the rear, the bullet I now carry in my body came whizzing like a mosquito, and I was shot. Not being prostrated by the shot, I continued my course, yet had not gone far before I was struck by a second shot.
Soon after I saw a man coming towards me, and then within halting distance I asked him who he was. He replied, ‘I belong to the One Hundredth New York,' and then inquired if I were wounded. Upon replying in the affirmative, he came to my assistance and helped me to the rear. ‘Now then,' said he, ‘let me take the colors and carry them for you.' My reply was that I would not give them to anyone else unless he belonged to the Fifty-Fourth Regiment. So we passed on , but we did not go far before I was wounded in the head.
We came at length within hailing distance of the rear guard, who caused us to halt, and upon asking who we were, and finding I was wounded, took us to the rear and through the guard. An officer came, and taking my name and regiment, put us in charge of the hospital corps, telling them to find my regiment. When we finally reached the latter the men cheered me and the flag. My reply was, ‘Boys, the old flag never touched the ground.'
It is then said that he fell to the ground in a dead faint, weak from the wounds that he had received."
The Robert Gould Shaw Memorial
In May, 1900, Carney became the first African-American to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. Carney's brave deed is depicted on the Saint-Gaudens Monument in Boston Common. The rescued flag is enshrined in Memorial Hall, Boston. Carney survived his severe wounds and lived until 1908.
As the trend of multi-millionaire celebrity athletes 'defiantly' opting out of a minimal symbolic act of respect for the flag continues, remember the example of Sgt. Carney, who even after being shot multiple times defiantly and triumphantly raised the American flag high.
The Antithesis Of Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum
Sep 20, 2017
Read More Articles by Kelleigh Nelson
Though those that are betray’d Do feel the treason sharply, yet the traitor Stands in worse case of woe. —William Shakespeare
Life has taught me that you can’t control someone’s loyalty. No matter how good you are to them, doesn’t mean they will treat you the same. No matter how much they mean to you, doesn’t mean they’ll value you the same. Sometimes the people you love the most turn out to be the people you can trust the least. —Trent Shelton
Dividing Eagle Forum
Back in early 2016, Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum was torn apart by Cruz supporters. After Phyllis Schlafly’s endorsement of Donald J. Trump, a rift started in her organization and family. The coup, which emerged, was over Phyllis’s endorsement of Donald Trump, and her battle against a Constitutional Convention.
Six directors of Eagle Forum (the gang of six) have a hidden agenda, and most refused to return phone calls personally made to them by Phyllis to ask what their concerns were. Phyllis eventually asked these six to resign and they refused. They were led by her youngest child Anne Cori, and included Eunie Smith, Carolyn McLarty, Rosina Kovar, Shirley Curry, and Cathie Adams.
Phyllis was always loyal, actually loyal to a fault because she forgave, a true Christian. She didn’t know how to give up on people, and her sense of humor carried her through even in troubling times. She believed the good in those she loved. It wasn’t until she was walked on so many times, that she had no choice but to let go of those who burned holes in her heart, including her very own daughter. That’s when she asked these traitorous women to resign and they refused.
The gang of six wants control, and their goals are anathema to those of Phyllis Schlafly, who championed pro-life, fought the calls for a Constitutional Convention and upheld the sovereignty of America. They are led by Phyllis’s youngest daughter, Anne Cori. Anne’s husband is Tom Cori, a former corporate raider and member of the Carnegie Institute for Science, founded in 1895 by Pilgrims Society member, Andrew Carnegie.
It is this latter Institute for Science which is of interest. Tom Cori, husband of Anne Cori, is a Trustee. If you scroll to page 21 in the Carnegie Institute website, you will see Tom and Anne Cori listed as individuals who have made lifetime contributions of between $100,000 and $999,999. This Institute promotes many freedom destroying programs, including common core and climate change.
These goals are anathema to Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum.
Rogue Eagle Council Sponsors
A year ago, I wrote, Treachery from Inside Eagle Forum Family, describing what occurred at last year’s Eagle Forum Council meeting where the gang of six and their cohorts attended and not only went against court orders, but were at times disruptive.
This year, the Gang of Six held their own Eagle Forum council meeting in D.C. a week before the real Phyllis Schlafly Eagle Council in St. Louis.
The sponsors are telling, Heritage Foundation, Tea Party Patriots, Family Research Council, The Constitutional Coalition, and Concerned Women of America.
The Heritage Foundation
Heritage is a bastion of phony conservatism. Heritage Fellow and CFR member, Richard Allen, wrote the job destroying NAFTA trade deal and President Ed Feulner described the passage of NAFTA as one of Heritage’s most important “scalps” or “victories.”
Assuring Affordable Health Care for All Americans was the Heritage Foundation plan, exposed in a monograph written by Stuart M. Butler. Item #2 on page six of the document states, “Mandate all households to obtain adequate insurance.”
Concerned Women of America
Beverly LaHaye is the founder and CWA is a competitor to Eagle Forum. She is the wife of now deceased Tim LaHaye, one of the founders of the rightwing Council for National Policy. Beverly would often feature CFR and Trilateralist members at her yearly conferences.
Tea Party Patriots
TPP has always been in bed with the likes of neo-cons McConnell and Ryan. They are a very pro-Con-Con organization headed by anti-Trumper, Jenny Beth Martin, and co-founded by Mark Meckler, who is massively promoting a Convention of States. Link
Family Research Council,
Tony Perkins is President of FRC. He is another Dominionist and is actively campaigning for a Constitutional Convention. In fact, his organization is promoting Judge Roy Moore of Alabama for AG Sessions former seat. Moore is for a Con-Con and is a fellow Dominionist.
The Constitutional Coalition
The Executive Director is Donna Hearne. She is also Encounter Host on Bott Radio Network St. Louis. Hearne killed Phyllis’s national radio show and deleted all references to Phyllis and her archives from Bott Radio.
Hearne personally fixed the township election so that Phyllis would be defeated for Delegate to the Republican National Convention. Despite Hearne’s treachery, Ed Martin saw to it that Phyllis was a delegate as planned, and she spent two weeks at the convention.
Donna Hearne has sponsored many of the Reconstructionist/Dominionistprofessors and pundits for years at her conferences. This likely plays into the reason she was a Cruz supporter. Cruz, his father, and many of his supporters, are Dominionists/Reconstructionists. They include David Barton, Flip Benham, Kevin Swanson, Tony Perkins, (president of the Family Research Council), would-be reality TV stars the Benham brothers, and Houston activist Dave Welch. Perkins is also a United Nations Non-Governmental Organization member.
Guest Speakers at Rogue Council
The top three guest speakers were Michele Bachmann, Mike Lee, and Ginni Thomas.
Barton and his “Wallbuilders” are big promoters of the “Convention of States.” They took over the first night of the rogue Eagle Council event in D.C. The pro-Con-Con Wallbuilders led attendees through their view of history as part of a Capitol “tour.” Phyllis’s Collegians conference had a Capitol tour last month for students, but without the Con-Con promoters.
The controversy regarding Barton’s writings is widespread and he has been taken to task by conservative history professors on his questionable Jefferson quotes. Nelson Publishing pulled Barton’s books from the shelf, and fellow Cruz supporter, Glenn Beck, picked it up and published it, despite the falsehoods.
Back in 2011, Barton went on the John Stewart Show and actually stated that Sharia and the Constitution were compatible. Barton is another dominionist and was a strong Ted Cruz supporter. [Link]
Bachmann is pro-BBA and leans toward dominionism. She was the Oral Robertstrained Word/Faith Congresswomen from Wisconsin. In 2011, she supported the Balanced Budget Amendment, which no one seems to have actually read except those who know the dangers of a Con-Con. [Link] Both BBA bills would drastically transform our Constitution as well as raising our taxes, and would lead to an Article V convention.
Gaffney is another Dominionist, and was also a guest speaker at the rogue council. Both Bachmann and Gaffneysupported Ted Cruz for President, and the latter was on Cruz’s advisory board. [Link]
Bachmann’s biggest contributor while in Congress was none other than pro-amnesty Club for Growth according to Open Secrets. Club for Growth spent millions in Iowa campaigning against Donald Trump.
Michele Bachmann was interviewed by Phyllis Schlafly for the position of President of Eagle Forum, but was rejected.
Senator Mike Lee
Senator Lee now favors using Article V to amend the Constitution. Initially he was against it, but has changed his mind after reading Mark Levin’s book and having several discussions with him. Both these men are lawyers, and obviously neither worry one iota about the 1787 precedents and how our Constitution, once opened, will be thoroughly destroyed and replaced with the Ford and Rockefeller written New States Constitution, which first appeared in Rexford Tugwell’s book, The Emerging Constitution.
Last year, the RNC Rules Committee members from Utah were Senator Mike Lee and his wife, Sharon Lee. Both were Cruz supporters who hoped to derail Trump.
Lee also supports legislation that will bring more Muslims into America. In January of 2015, a handful of Senators quietly introduced new legislation in Congress that would allow for virtually unlimited Muslim immigration into the United States – lifting caps entirely on several categories of visas favored by immigrants from Muslim countries. The Mark Zuckerberg-backed legislation, S.153, is called the Immigration Innovation Act (or I-Squared). Link
In August of 2015, Senators Cruz, Grassley, and Sessions were all lobbying for legislation that would enact a mandatory minimum prison sentence of five years for immigrants who try to re-enter the country illegally after being deported. This was in response to the murder of Kathryn Steinle after Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, an immigrant from Mexico who had repeatedly re-entered the United States illegally after being deported, allegedly fired the shot that killed the 32-year-old woman on July 1, 2015.
Sen. Lee was aligned with liberal Democratic Sens. Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Dick Durbin of Illinois to ease mandatory minimums for certain crimes, and is uncomfortable with such binding punishments for immigration offenses. He even threatened to oppose sanctuary cities legislation that includes mandatory minimums.
Ginni Thomas is the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and was also a guest speaker.
I’m surprised that she and her husband would attend without doing more investigation, but perhaps her allegiance lies with other guests and sponsors.
She is close with Family Research Council, Heritage Foundation, and Pete Sepp, Executive Vice President, National Taxpayers Union. The latter of which was founded by James Dale Davidson, who long promoted a Constitutional Convention, and gave $100K per year towards that goal.
Davidson actually physically threatened Phyllis regarding her stance against the Con-Con. Phyllis would have me call in to her radio program and tell people about the NTU and Davidson, and their plans for destroying our Constitution.
Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum Council Meeting
The real Phyllis Schlafly Eagle Council will meet this week in St. Louis at the Airport Marriott Hotel. Special guest speakers include David Horowitz, Corey Lewandowski, Boris Epshteyn, and Congressman Steve King. And, in a coup late in their planning, they nabbed Steve Bannon! He will be receiving the Phyllis Schlafly Award on Sunday at lunch.
This is the place to be! Great conservatives will be there!
Phyllis Schlafly repeatedly said that defeating the Con-Con is the number one effort we need to be involved in, anything else we’re fighting will be moot if we lose our 1787 Constitution.
Today it is even more dangerous. A case can be made that the movement for an Article V convention would be an open door for Sharia. Amil Imani’s latest article makes that clear, Understanding The Threat Of Sharia Law in America.
The Rogue EF group having pro-Con-Con presenters at this pivotal time in the Con-Con battle is certainly not something Phyllis would have allowed or wanted. Our real grassroots Eagles will defeat Con-Con just as Phyllis helped to defeat it in the mid-80s.
Phyllis herself anticipated that Barton and other Con-Con promoters might try to slip it into the Republican platform in Cleveland, and indeed a Con-Con lobbyist attempted that, but our side was ready and resoundingly defeated it.
While grassroots Eagles have been working hard to defeat the Convention of States, Barton brags [here] that he has been writing state legislators urging them to pass it. Yet Barton’s organization is picked by this rogue group to present to their small number of attendees.
Phyllis’s Eagle Council in St. Louis on September 21-24 will feature presentations and attendees who oppose the Convention of States, and who helped win an 18-4 victory against it in the States this year despite the lack of help by the group Phyllis asked to resign.
It is obvious the majority of attendees at the rogue group were former Cruz supporters, many of whom are Dominionists, and many of whom are for an Article V Convention, just like Cruz. (For information on Dominionism/Reconstructionism, go [here], [here], [here], and [here].)
Phyllis was more than right when she chose to back Donald J. Trump for President. I thank God we have him in our White House and Hillary Rodham Clinton was relegated to the dust bin.
Next up…meeting Corey Lewandowski and Steve Bannon at the real Phyllis Schlafly Eagle Forum Council in St. Louis, MO.
© 2017 Kelleigh Nelson – All Rights Reserved
E-Mail Kelleigh Nelson: Proverbs133@bellsouth.net
Why States Can’t Prevent a Runaway Convention
By Publius Huldah September 18, 2017
Accordingly, Wyoming passed a delegate law earlier this year which purports to empower the WY Legislature to “immediately recall” any delegate who makes an “unauthorized vote” at the convention, and to charge with a felony any delegate who fails to follow the WY Legislature’s instructions on what he may do at the convention. The Texas delegate lawpurports to make “invalid” any “unauthorized vote” at the convention, and to empower the TX Legislature to recall any delegate who violates his instructions. But Tennessee takes the cake with its delegate law: Not only does the TN law purport to “void” votes cast at the convention by TN delegates which are outside the instructions or limits placed on the delegates by the TN Legislature – and then to prosecute such delegates for a felony; the TN law also asserts that if all TN delegates vote or “attempt to vote” outside the scope of the instructions or limits, TN’s previously filed applications for an Article V convention are to be treated as “having no effect at all”. Other States have passed similar laws.
Such laws are contrary to our Founding Principles and are based on false assumptions. Accordingly, they are unenforceable and ineffective.
1. Self-evident Rights and the Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence is the Fundamental Act of our Founding.3 It declares that all men are created equal; our rights are bestowed by God; our rights are unalienable; and the purpose of government is to secure the rights God gave us.
The Declaration is not “law” – it is higher than law, for it sets forth The Divine Standard which a Constitution – and the laws made pursuant to the Constitution –must meet.
It also declares that a People have the self-evident right to throw off their government and set up a new one. With that Principle firmly in mind, let’s look at our first amendments convention; and then, at State unfaithful delegate laws.
2. The federal convention of 1787
After our Revolution, we operated under our first Constitution, the Articles of Confederation. But there were defects in the Articles, so on Feb. 21, 1787, the Continental Congress called a convention to be held in Philadelphia “for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation”. The States also drafted instructions which purported to restrict delegates to proposing amendments.
But the delegates ignored their instructions and wrote a new Constitution [the one we now have]. In Federalist No. 40 (15th para), Madison invoked the Declaration of Independence and claimed, as justification for what they did,
“…the transcendent and precious right of the people to ‘abolish or alter their governments as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness,’…”
Yet State unfaithful delegate laws claim a power to divest The Representatives of the People – and to criminally prosecute them for exercising – what the Fundamental Act of our Founding declares is a “self-evident” right”!
3. And what if the delegates make their proceedings secret?
The State Legislators who vote for unfaithful delegate laws assume they will be able to know what is going on every minute of every day of the convention.
But Madison’s Journal of the Federal Convention of 1787 (where our present Constitution was drafted) shows that on May 29, 1787, the delegates voted to make their proceedings secret.
If delegates to a convention today vote to make the proceedings secret, the States won’t know what is going on – and can’t stop it. And if delegates vote by secret ballot, the States would NEVER know who did what.
You might think that with cell phones & cameras, it’s impossible to have a secret meeting. But the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which “induces” State Legislators to push the COS application for an Article V convention, is experienced in conducting secret meetings with State Legislators. WATCH this 6.5 minute video of a Georgia TV crew which attempted to get into a meeting held at a Georgia hotel of ALEC and Georgia Legislators.
ALEC, which supports the COS application for an Article V convention, is funded by the Koch Brothers and other mega-corporations. The Koch Brothers spend vast sums on State politicians (e.g., Texas), to get their support for the COS application. Do the Kochs want an Article V convention so they can get a new Constitution which transforms us from a sovereign nation to a member state of the North American Union? And if there is a convention, will armed guards keep the press out? If delegates have been bought by the Kochs, will they tweet & text to the world what they are up to behind closed doors?
4. State Legislatures are “creatures” of their State Constitutions, and have no “competent authority” to control The Representatives of The People at an Article V convention
Americans have forgotten a Principle which is the basis of free government: That political power originates with The People. 4 The People create governments by means of constitutions. Since a government is the “creature” of its constitution, it can’t be superior to its Creator, The People.
This is why at the federal convention of 1787, where our present federal Constitution was drafted, our Framers understood that only The People were competent to ratify the new Constitution. George Mason said on July 23, 1787,
“…The [State] Legislatures have no power to ratify it. They are the mere creatures of the State Constitutions, and cannot be greater than their creators…”
Keeping that Principle firmly in mind, let’s look at Article V, US Constitution.
It provides that when two thirds of the State Legislatures (“mere creatures”) apply for it, Congress is to call a convention. At that point, it is out of the State Legislatures’ hands – the bell has tolled, and State Legislatures can’t un-ring it. Congress “calls” the convention (sets it up); but when it assembles, the delegates, as Sovereign Representatives of the People, are not answerable to State Legislatures (which are “mere creatures” of the State Constitution) or to Congress (which is a “mere creature” of the federal Constitution). The delegates actually have the power to eliminate the federal and state governments – and that is precisely what the proposed Constitution for the Newstates of America does.
Delegates to a federal convention called by the federal Congress, to perform the federal function of altering or replacing our federal Constitution, are performing a federal function, not a State function. The delegates don’t represent any government, federal or state. 5They are supposed to represent The People; but in our corrupt time, they are more likely to represent the Koch Brothers (because they have the cash).
Dust off your copy of the federal Constitution we already have, read it and defend it. It filled all Europe with “wonder and veneration”. If you don’t do this, we will lose it.
1 The proposed Constitution for the Newstates of America creates a totalitarian dictatorship. The States are dissolved and replaced by regional governments answerable to the new national government. It is ratified by a national referendum [national popular vote] (Art. XII, §1). Other proposed Constitutions are also waiting in the wings for a convention.
2 The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) claims their model delegate bill “will eliminate the possibility of a ‘runaway convention’ the reason most often cited by scholars for their opposition to an Article V Convention.”
3 Dr. Alan Keyes spoke of this on the radio some years ago; and I knew he had just handed me the Key to understanding our Constitution.
4 See Federalist No. 22, last para (Hamilton).
5 The term, “convention of states”, is a misnomer which gives the false impression that States control the convention. In Rob Natelson’s speech on Sep. 16, 2010 [now removed from free access] he said he will no longer call it a “constitutional convention”, but will henceforth say, “convention of states” (pg.1-2).
This Chart illustrates who has the power to do what at an Article V convention.
Stay at 17
In Nashville, Tennessee, during the first week of January, 1996, more than 4,000 baseball coaches descended upon the Opryland Hotel for the 52nd annual ABCA convention. Nineteen times since, many of the same professional, college, high school, youth, and a slew of international coaches from passionate and developing baseball nations have gathered at various convention hotels across the country for two-and-half days of clinic presentations and industry exhibits. Sure, many members of the American Baseball Coaches Association have come and gone in those years; the leadership has been passed, nepotistically, from Dave Keilitz to his son, Craig; and the association — and baseball, in general — has lost some of its greatest coaches, including Rod Dedeaux, Gordie Gillespie, and Chuck “Bobo” Brayton.
I have attended all but three conventions in those nineteen years, and I have enjoyed and benefited from each of them. But ’96 was special — not just because it was held in the home of country music, a town I’d always wanted to visit. And not because I was attending my very first convention. Nashville in ’96 was special because it was there and then that I learned that baseball — the thing that had brought 4,000 of us together — was merely a metaphor for my own life and those of the players I hoped to impact.
While I waited in line to register with the hotel staff, I heard other more veteran coaches rumbling about the lineup of speakers scheduled to present during the weekend. One name, in particular, kept resurfacing, always with the same sentiment — “John Scolinos is here? Oh man, worth every penny of my airfare.”
Who the hell is John Scolinos, I wondered. No matter, I was just happy to be there.
Having sensed the size of the group during check-in, I woke early the next morning in order to ensure myself a good seat near the stage — first chair on the right side of the center isle, third row back — where I sat, alone, for an hour until the audio-visual techs arrived to fine-tune their equipment. The proverbial bee bee in a boxcar, I was surrounded by empty chairs in a room as large as a football field. Eventually, I was joined by other, slightly less eager, coaches until the room was filled to capacity. By the time Augie Garrido was introduced to deliver the traditional first presentation from the previous season’s College World Series winner, there wasn’t an empty chair in the room.
ABCA conventions have a certain party-like quality to them. They provide a wonderful opportunity to re-connect with old friends from a fraternal game that often spreads its coaches all over the country. As such, it is common for coaches to bail out of afternoon clinic sessions in favor of old friends and the bar. As a result, I discovered, the crowd is comparatively sparse after lunch, and I had no trouble getting my seat back, even after grabbing a plastic-wrapped sandwich off the shelf at the Opryland gift shop.
I woke early the next morning and once again found myself alone in the massive convention hall, reviewing my notes from the day before: pitching mechanics, hitting philosophy, team practice drills. All technical and typical — important stuff for a young coach, and I was in Heaven. At the end of the morning session, certain that I had accurately scouted the group dynamic and that my seat would again be waiting for me after lunch, I allowed myself a few extra minutes to sit down and enjoy an overpriced sandwich in one of the hotel restaurants. But when I returned to the convention hall thirty minutes before the lunch break ended, not only was my seat not available, barely any seats were available! I managed to find one between two high school coaches, both proudly adorned in their respective team caps and jackets. Disappointed in myself for losing my seat up front, I wondered what had pried all these coaches from their barstools. I found the clinic schedule in my bag: “1 PM John Scolinos, Cal Poly Pomona.” It was the man whose name I had heard buzzing around the lobby two days earlier. Could he be the reason that all 4,000 coaches had returned, early, to the convention hall? Wow, I thought, this guy must really be good.
I had no idea.
In 1996, Coach Scolinos was 78 years old and five years retired from a college coaching career that began in 1948. He shuffled to the stage to an impressive standing ovation, wearing dark polyester pants, a light blue shirt, and a string around his neck from which home plate hung — a full-sized, stark-white home plate.
Seriously, I wondered, who in the hell is this guy?
After speaking for twenty-five minutes, not once mentioning the prop hanging around his neck, Coach Scolinos appeared to notice the snickering among some of the coaches. Even those who knew Coach Scolinos had to wonder exactly where he was going with this, or if he had simply forgotten about home plate since he’d gotten on stage.
Then, finally …
“You’re probably all wondering why I’m wearing home plate around my neck. Or maybe you think I escaped from Camarillo State Hospital,” he said, his voice growing irascible. I laughed along with the others, acknowledging the possibility. “No,” he continued, “I may be old, but I’m not crazy. The reason I stand before you today is to share with you baseball people what I’ve learned in my life, what I’ve learned about home plate in my 78 years.”
Several hands went up when Scolinos asked how many Little League coaches were in the room. “Do you know how wide home plate is in Little League?” After a pause, someone offered, “Seventeen inches,” more question than answer.
“That’s right,” he said. “How about in Babe Ruth? Any Babe Ruth coaches in the house?”
Another long pause.
“Seventeen inches?”came a guess from another reluctant coach.
“That’s right,” said Scolinos. “Now, how many high school coaches do we have in the room?” Hundreds of hands shot up, as the pattern began to appear. “How wide is home plate in high school baseball?”
“Seventeen inches,” they said, sounding more confident.
“You’re right!” Scolinos barked. “And you college coaches, how wide is home plate in college?”
“Seventeen inches!” we said, in unison.
“Any Minor League coaches here? How wide is home plate in pro ball?”
“RIGHT! And in the Major Leagues, how wide home plate is in the Major Leagues?”
“SEV-EN-TEEN INCHES!” he confirmed, his voice bellowing off the walls. “And what do they do with a a Big League pitcher who can’t throw the ball over seventeen inches?” Pause. “They send him to Pocatello!” he hollered, drawing raucous laughter.
“What they don’t do is this: they don’t say, ‘Ah, that’s okay, Jimmy. You can’t hit a seventeen-inch target? We’ll make it eighteen inches, or nineteen inches. We’ll make it twenty inches so you have a better chance of hitting it. If you can’t hit that, let us know so we can make it wider still, say twenty-five inches.'”
” … what do we do when our best player shows up late to practice? When our team rules forbid facial hair and a guy shows up unshaven? What if he gets caught drinking? Do we hold him accountable? Or do we change the rules to fit him, do we widen home plate?
The chuckles gradually faded as four thousand coaches grew quiet, the fog lifting as the old coach’s message began to unfold. He turned the plate toward himself and, using a Sharpie, began to draw something. When he turned it toward the crowd, point up, a house was revealed, complete with a freshly drawn door and two windows. “This is the problem in our homes today. With our marriages, with the way we parent our kids. With our discipline. We don’t teach accountability to our kids, and there is no consequence for failing to meet standards. We widen the plate!”
Pause. Then, to the point at the top of the house he added a small American flag.
“This is the problem in our schools today. The quality of our education is going downhill fast and teachers have been stripped of the tools they need to be successful, and to educate and discipline our young people. We are allowing others to widen home plate! Where is that getting us?”
Silence. He replaced the flag with a Cross.
“And this is the problem in the Church, where powerful people in positions of authority have taken advantage of young children, only to have such an atrocity swept under the rug for years. Our church leaders are widening home plate!”
I was amazed. At a baseball convention where I expected to learn something about curveballs and bunting and how to run better practices, I had learned something far more valuable. From an old man with home plate strung around his neck, I had learned something about life, about myself, about my own weaknesses and about my responsibilities as a leader. I had to hold myself and others accountable to that which I knew to be right, lest our families, our faith, and our society continue down an undesirable path.
“If I am lucky,” Coach Scolinos concluded, “you will remember one thing from this old coach today. It is this: if we fail to hold ourselves to a higher standard, a standard of what we know to be right; if we fail to hold our spouses and our children to the same standards, if we are unwilling or unable to provide a consequence when they do not meet the standard; and if our schools and churches and our government fail to hold themselves accountable to those they serve, there is but one thing to look forward to …”
With that, he held home plate in front of his chest, turned it around, and revealed its dark black backside.
“… dark days ahead.”
Coach Scolinos died in 2009 at the age of 91, but not before touching the lives of hundreds of players and coaches, including mine. Meeting him at my first ABCA convention kept me returning year after year, looking for similar wisdom and inspiration from other coaches. He is the best clinic speaker the ABCA has ever known because he was so much more than a baseball coach.
His message was clear: “Coaches, keep your players — no matter how good they are — your own children, and most of all, keep yourself at seventeen inches.”
He was, indeed, worth the airfare.
© Chris Sperry, Baseball/Life, LLC
Written by Chris Sperry
Chris Sperry is a baseball consultant who develops players and amateur coaches, assists professional scouts, and counsels families of prospective college-bound student-athletes. He holds a Bachelor's of Business Administration from the University of Portland, the same institution at which he served as head baseball coach for 18 years. His key interests are in player and personal development as they pertain to a life in and beyond sports.
Photo(s) of the Week
Don't give money to PAC's...
Any PAC =
Pissin Away Cash
Quote of the Week
Once in a while we just have to stand back in awe of government.
The Food Stamp Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is proud to be distributing the greatest amount of free Meals and Food Stamps ever - 46 million people now receive Food Stamps.
Meanwhile, the National Park Service, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, asks us "Please Do Not Feed the Animals." Their stated reason for the policy is because "The animals will grow dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves."
Thus ends today's lesson in irony.
“No war is over until the enemy says it’s over. We may think it over, we may declare it over, but in fact, the enemy gets a vote.” --General James Mattis