The Privateer Clause

Linda Buzard-Moffitt a Kindle Fire won at The Privateer Clause and she posted this photo on her Facebook page.

Wish our newest Paperwhite winner all the best!
Shirley E. of Harrison, Arkansas!

We have another Rapid Reward Fire Tablet Winner for Members along with two runner-ups who will be sent signed books. Congratulations once more!

The winners of your drawing are…

2ndGus Philpott
3rdAllan in Arizona

New Winner!
Say congratulations to Tarrisa G. of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma for winning the new Paperwhite for July 30th. Tarissa has been a loyal reader for over four years!

Wooohooo!!!! Oh YEAH! I’m so excited about getting a Paperwhite. I’ve always wanted to get one, but haven’t been able to afford the extra splurge. 🙂

THANK YOU, Ken!!! – Tarissa G.

Hi Ken,
Just wanted to tell you that I received my Paperwhite prize in the mail (on Saturday). Can’t wait to dig in and try it out. And I love the additional book you sent too… Thank you VERY much! Such a kind gesture.
God bless you.

Tarissa; I am really glad you got them and like them, I wish you many years of enjoying them. Thank you again for finding my books to be of interest and value to you, I really appreciate it and hope I can write some more you might like as well. Your pal, Ken

Dear Ken; Looking at your Review Roundup Reward newsletter e-mail, I saw my name listed as a winner in last Halloween’s Amazon Fire drawing but my thank-you letter was not shown. In case you did not receive it, I am sending another one since I have been enjoying my Fire so much ever since its receipt and want to assure you how much it is appreciated
. – Linda Rawlings

(Linda; thanks for taking the time to send this note and your experience with the great Fire tablet is yet another testimonial to why no winner has ever returned one. Best wishes and thanks for being a member of my reader group. – Ken)

FIRE WINNER – Greg. L. of Florida in Rapid Reward drawing for July 15th


is Ciayrra P. of Leesburg, Florida.
Watch for the next Kindle Paperwhite coming soon.

THE NEWEST WINNER OF A FIRETammy French, of Virginia!
Thanks to all those who entered and be sure to enter for the BEWARE OF IDES OF MARCH Reader Giveaway on March 15th! Simply be sure to send me a note to with your entry.


Just wanted to show you what I received in the mail today! Not a very good picture, but you are welcome to use it!!  Thanks so much for being a wonderful author, friend, and giver of fabulous gifts! Time to fill up another Kindle Fire! – Tammy French


I am pretty happy that you won this great little Fire and that it arrived at your home so quickly, hurrah for the US Post Office.

I wish you many years of great reading and entertainment with your Fire. I bought my original Fire in 2010 and last year got a Fire 10 for Father’s Day and I still use both and they figure out where I left off in the book I am reading and picks up at the right place. They are really great to read with.

Best to all of your family and God Bless your son in the Army.

Amazon Top History Authors at 9 am on March 6, 2019

Eldon Kirkpatrick with his new Fire 7 he won in a Reader Giveaway. One of the dozens of Paperwhites and Fire 7 tablets won by the great and much-appreciated readers of the Marsha & Danny Jones Thrillers and members of The Sea Empress / Ken Rossignol Reader Group List. Eldon’s wife Connie is a prior winner too! Tell them congratulations in the comments at bottom of page.

Ken, thank you so much for our new Kindle! It came today. Eldon is very happy! – Connie.

Eldon; Thank you to you and Connie for buying, reading and reviewing my books. Your review is so important in explaining why you believe the book is worth another reader’s time and money to help them decide if it’s their cup of tea. Your review is critical to authors like me to be able to sell books. Thanks for your honest review! – Ken

I am so happy to have received your special book! I will cherish Panama 1914, as this will make for some uplifting spring reading after that harsh winter. This will make my shelf much happier too, as I have reserved a special section for your books. I would like to give thanks for your great writing and stories. I wish the greatest, and keep up the great work into the future.
Jerry Marquardt

Jerry;In that I knew you already had Titanic 1912, I wanted to send you a book that I thought you would enjoy, given your love of history. I sure hope it meets your expectations.Thanks for letting me know Panama 1914 arrived and I wish that one day you can pass through the Panama Canal on a ship, as we did in 2012, and visited it again in 2016 from the shore when I was invited to be a member of the United States Delegation of Authors for the International Book Fair that year. What a privilege it was to be part of that event held to celebrate the expansion of the Panama Canal.Best wishes,Ken

Panama Canal with ship in distance in the new expansion Aug. 19, 2016. Photo by Ken Rossignol

The winners of the December – January Review Roundup drawing are…

WINNER OF THE FIRE is Connie Kirkpatrick of Texas
Winners of signed copies of TITANIC 1912 
Jerry Marquardt of Illinois (will be sent PANAMA 1914)
Linda M. of Pennsylvania 
Elizabeth R. of Nova Scotia, Canada
Stephen Steiner
Norman R.
Deb D. of Pennsylvania

PLEASE!  Will winners email their current addresses to me at my email below! –

The 2018 Christmas Paperwhite Winner is Lindsey A. of Winnipeg, Canada. Say congratulations to Lindsey in the comments below. Lindsey 
first signed on my reader list in March of 2015 and this is her first win of a prize.

Hi Ken, 
I did receive it and it is fantastic. So much lighter than physical books!
Thanks again

Kindle Paperwhite – the world’s most advanced ereader, battery last for weeks, not hours, read in direct sunlight unlike tablets, holds thousands of books.

NOW ON AUDIBLE Join Audible free for 30 days and get this book FREE

CHESAPEAKE TRUE CRIME Fire Giveaway WINNER is Marlena M. of Dedham, Mass.

Two runner-ups won signed copies of TITANIC 1912 – Donna W. and Judy F. 

Hi Ken,
I got the book. For something like this, I read fast. It was Great!!!!! I found answers to questions I have always had.
Thank you for the book. It was something I wouldn’t have chosen for myself. That would have been a big mistake. I hope you will keep me in mind when you do another and let me know.
Thanks again,
Judy F.
I am really glad you found new information about a story over one hundred years old, that ‘s tough to accomplish, especially about a topic as well covered as the Titanic.
Please leave a review if you get a chance and I will always keep you in mind, especially to let you know when a new book is completed.
Merry Christmas,

The Happy Hallowinner of the Spooktacular Halloween Fire is: Linda R. of Frederick, Md. 



It arrived and is awesome 😊


Ellie W. of Garland, Texas!

Oh my gosh! Thanks so much!! I look forward to filling it with books! 😊 

Tell Ellie congrats in comments below and be sure to watch for the announcement of the next winner of a Fire and a Paperwhite!

Thanks to all who entered and I really appreciate your interest in my books.


The winner of the fire with Alexa in the TRIPLE DIP is David M., of Redding, California. 

Thanks again Ken, and much luck on all of your endeavors. God Bless!
David M.

Thanks to all who find the time to read my books and post honest reviews – be sure to enter the current Paperwhite Giveaway.

PAPERWHITE – The world’s most advanced ereader – has now been won by yet another valued member of my reading group – Katherine F. of Graham, North Carolina. Say congratulations to Katherine, she has been hanging around here since January of 2016, and soaking up good sea stories and reading about history and crime. Drop a note to her in the comments below!

Hi Ken!  Wow!!  So excited that I won!!
Thank you so, so much!!
Katherine F.
Graham, N.C.
Two runner-ups, Tarrisa G, of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma and Linda M. of Franklin, Pennsylvania both won signed copies of Panama 1914. Thanks to everyone who entered. 

Dear Ken;
I got my recent prize of Panama 1914 in the mail. I wasn’t expecting it to come so quick! Thank you, I’m excited to have a copy of that one of my shelf.
Hi Ken;
I wanted to let you know that I got my book in the mail today Thank you 😃
Linda M. 


First prize winner for CHESAPEAKE TRUE CRIME entrants is 

1st Annie P D WINS a 7″ FIRE tablet  

From Annie: Yes!!! My third win !!! Absolutely awesome !!!!! Thank you 😊 

2nd Linda Moffit (Wins a signed copy of Panama 1914)

3rd In the Bookcase Tarissa Graves (Wins a signed copy of Panama 1914)

FIRE IN THE HOLE! fire winner for THE CHESAPEAKE: Tidewater Sagas

Steve S. of Junction City, Oregon is the newest winner of a fire for our highly engaged readers.
Watch for the announcement of our next GIVEAWAY. 

Hi Ken,
I’m shocked, to say the least!  I never win anything!
I’m glad you sent this again somehow I missed the first one.
Thank you very much!
Charles Dickens per Gill


Charles Dickens would have loved to have a Kindle Paperwhite back in his times…and why not, it holds thousands of books, the battery lasts for weeks, not hours and reading is easy in direct sunlight…

That is just about the exact words I have used for the past three years as I have given away dozens of Paperwhites.  A few different words describe the great little 7″ Fire Tablet that my readers have been winning for about another couple of dozen times.

As you can see from lots of the nice notes from my readers posted below this message, both devices have been getting rave reviews from the winners.  I actually don’t own either one, but I am tempted. My first generation Kindle Fire works so well that I don’t see the point of buying another one and I still have my original Kindle.  But I have bought lots of both the Paperwhite and Fire to send to our wonderful winners.  Each time I buy one, a small donation goes through my Amazon account to a charity of my choice. I designate the Little Sisters of the Poor in Washington DC for their fine work and Amazon lets me know how much they have donated because of my designation. Remember, when you choose a charity to profit from what you buy at Amazon, it comes out of Amazon’s pocket but you get to have a warm feeling over the deal. If you haven’t done so, go to your account and choose a charity to benefit in just a small way when you order anything from Amazon.

Amazon takes a big hit from time to time, especially from our more socialistic folks or the snobs who thought Bezos would choke and disappear. If it wasn’t for Amazon removing the gatekeepers and making it possible for authors like me to reach readers like you, there would be one hell of a lot less mayhem on the Sea Empress and Marsha & Danny Jones wouldn’t have jobs protecting folks like all of us on the high seas!
I decided to look up how much Amazon has sent to charities in this program:
All charities have received $69,949,133.28 as of November 2017
That ain’t chicken feed! 

The winner is NORMAN B. of Benton, Louisiana

Thank You!
You do not know how many hours of pleasure you have provided!
I have read and enjoyed rereading The Privateer Clause series several times,
and all of your books and YouTube content are just great. I consider myself
lucky to have “discovered” you, and it is a pleasure to recommend you to my
Best Wishes,

There have been quite a few winners from Canada, at least one or two from Austrailia and New Zealand and bunches from the United States.  None have come from Europe, but, as we all know, the lucky folks in Europe are the ones who migrated to the New World or Down Under.

For those who pay attention to such things, Amazon ranks the history authors top 100 and the rankings change hourly, perhaps due to history never standing still.

Thanks for buying, reading and reviewing my books – it keeps me writing and wanting to tell more stories.



I am overwhelmed that Amazon has been listing me among the top 100 for the past two months and I want to thank all of my readers for making this possible by buying my books at Amazon. Thanks, it is terrific to have your support,

(Note the former FBI director was right on my tail on this screenshot from Feb. 18, 2018, at about 1 am.)


Buy now at Amazon – Worldwide – FREE FOR KINDLE UNLIMITED CUSTOMERS!


The winners of your drawing are…

1stSam B. Wagner, of Illinois
2ndElizabeth R., of Canada
3rdConnie Kirkpatrick, of Texas

Congratulations to the winners in this contest! 

THIS HOT LITTLE TABLET can be yours if you take part in this great drawing for this edition of THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY. FIRE TABLET 7 WITH ALEXA –

I picked this up during the special Valentines Day sale at Amazon, it is already here, so I am upping the ante by including a print edition of THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY and a signed copy of my book THE STORY of THE RAG.


Congratulate the Winner of a Fire Tablet for Titanic 1912:

CJD of Carmel, Indiana

Again thank you – I was obviously surprised as I read and commented so long ago on this book; look forward to receiving the gift;
(CJD) Chuck

FIRE 7 received – thanks again, speed may have been helped by a national distribution center (Indianapolis) about 20 miles from us; although return address is Lexington KY an overnight to us.


1. In the Bookcase – Tarissa G. of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma:
“Woohoo! I’m excited to win a copy of Titanic 1912. It will be a treasure on my Titanic shelf. :)”
2. Jerry M of Oak Forest, Illinois
I was so astonished when I received your special book! I will cherish it, and I am switching up my current read immediately. I just love to read real books too, so this is making my week a special one. I would like to give thanks for all your really great writings, including Titanic 1912. I wish the best in keeping up the good work in the future.
3. Connie K, of Trinity, Texas
Wow!  Are you serious?  That is awesome!  Thank you so much!
Ken, I wanted to let you know the book came in today. Eldon is as excited as I am! I’ll be reading it from cover to cover! Thank you so much! Connie and Eldon

4. Robin A. of Ashland, Ohio
Hi Ken
Thank you so much!!  I can not wait to read it 🙂
5. Andrew W. of Madison, Wisconsin
Thank you for the exciting news.  I look forward to having the signed copy of your book.
6. Tammy F. of Alexandria, Virginia
Wow!!!  Thanks, Ken!!
Love your books and will continue to read them!!
Sincerely, Tammy
Hi Ken!
Just wanted to let you know that I received my autographed book on Sat.  Thanks again!!
A Loyal Reader,
Tammy F.
7. Linda M. of Franklin, Pennsylvania
AWESOME 😄 Thank You! 😊
Hi 👋 I wanted to let you know that I got my book today thank you very much
8. Karin T. of Sharpsville, Pennsylvania
Enjoy them I do.

Amazon top history authors for Feb. 14, 2018, Between two giants of writing.

 winner is Mona Pence of California!
Dear Ken;
Thanks for all the wonderful presents in my winner’s package. They are all so precious to me. I really love my new Kindle Fire. – Mona
Give Mona your congratulations in the comments below! She has been a member of the reader group and Launch Team for ages and finally came up a winner!
Amazon’s top-selling history authors on Feb. 11, 2018
The Christmas Paperwhite winner is Nancy B. of Springville NY
Dear Ken
Thank you so much! 
Nancy B.

The Chesapeake – A man born to hang can never drown – winner is Joy P (Kindle Customer)

What wonderful news! Thank you! I will certainly enjoy using the Fire. I appreciate your generosity.
Please safely drive to the post office. Don’t slip & slide. 
Joy P.
Winston – Salem, NC

Ken, what a delightful way to start a cold winter day! A little lady from the post office scurried up to my door with a small package in her hands. I opened it to find not only the Fire 7 tablet but also a copy of The Chesapeake Today & The Wreck Of The Whale Ship Essex. Now that I’ve acknowledged receiving your wonderful package, I’ll charge my Fire. Tonight I have a new book to read!

I have found the advantages of buying the Fire tablet and having it delivered to me rather than to the winner, I can add some surprises. Thanks for letting me know your winner package arrived and I wish you many years of enjoyment.

The winner of the Panama 1914 Fire was Fredrick B. of Protection, Kansas. Fredrick is a two-time winner, proving that it pays to stay glued to my reader group for notices of new books, special features such as our Christmas Music and Historic Photo Scenes of Washington.

From Fredrick:

Dear Ken
Thank you so very much for authoring books that provide such an amazing look at our past and for giving us the chance to win some incredible reading tools.
Two years ago I was doing my reading on my desktop computer. I did not feel I needed or would use a tablet computer. When I won your drawing in December 2015 I thought, if I could figure it out, maybe I could do some of my reading on it. I was so wrong as I now do all my reading on it and 90% of my online activities are on that fire I received from you. It has been dropped a few times and has a crack in one corner. The screen has scratches, especially where my finger swipes to turn pages. It has become my most used electronic device and I thank you for introducing to mobile reading and computing.
Thank again, so very much

Dear Fredrick;
I am thrilled to know that you enjoy this nifty little Amazon device and find such value in it and my books.

The BLACK FRIDAY – Leopold & Loeb / The Privateer Clause –  Fire
The newest winner of a Fire is Annie P. of Harrisburg, South Dakota – This Fire giveaway winner marks more than 65 winners of great Paperwhites & Fires since February of 2015. Do you think Amazon might run out of these great devices?
Please give Annie a congratulatory message in the comments section below! 

Amazon history author ranking for Jan. 8, 2018 ten ranking spots ahead of Bill O’Reilly while Hillary is way behind


and we have another winner for the Paperwhite,
Andrew L. of Auckland, New Zealand has won a gift certificate to shop on Black Friday for a great deal on a Paperwhite at Amazon.

“Oh, it just arrived. That’s awesome, thank you, Ken. And should you ever visit, do let me know, I’ll show you around a bit.”

Well, our annual drawing for a Paperwhite to celebrate the life and works of HG Wells is now over and WE HAVE A WINNER!

Amanda S. of Chapel Hill, North Carolina is the wonderful member of my reader group who won this giveaway and her name is now added to the list below of the dozens who have won a Paperwhite or 7″ Fire tablet.


Yay! Thank you SO much! I really appreciate it!


Thanks to all of you who entered and thanks for buying, reading and reviewing my books — and for telling your family and friends about my books. It is a pleasure working to entertain you.  I have been working for the past two years to finish two books, both of which I hope you find interesting.

CHESAPEAKE 1910 is the latest installment in the series and will cover the time span of 1910 to 1920. There was a lot of action in the Chesapeake region and reaching out into the world during that time frame along with the challenges and changes in the lives of the Douglas family.

MURDER USA is also moving towards completion.  This book is not fiction, though many of the victim’s families would wish that was the case.

Thanks again for reading, and you know what is coming next: HALLOWEEN SPOOKTACULAR


Linda Buzard-Moffitt a Kindle Fire won at The Privateer Clause and she posted this photo on her Facebook page.


Elizabeth R. of Nova Scotia won a Fire for Cruise Facts review – she is a two-time winner!
“Thanks for drawing my name. Looking forward to receiving the Kindle. Also looking forward to reading more of your books.”

Hi Ken:
 The Kindle has arrived!  My Husband is very happy now. Thanks again.

Bob T. of Powell, Tennessee, won a Fire
“I received the Fire tablet today. Thank you.”

Jerry M. of Oak Forest Ill. won a Fire
“I love your great books, and this is absolutely wonderful news! Thank you so much. If you need any information that I have not provided, let me know. If you would like me to post on Facebook or Twitter, let me know if you want me to post a photo or an acknowledgment, I would be more than happy. Again, I thank you for your great writings and for the great giveaways. I look forward to hearing from you. Have a great evening.” – Aug. 9, 2017

The Paperwhite Giveaway honoring Agatha Christie for March of 2017 was won by Jeanna M. of Marana, Arizona
“Fantastic!  I’m so excited!  Thank you so much!
I am thrilled with my Kindle Paperwhite!” 
—  Jeanna

Christine M. of Cerritos, Calif. won a Paperwhite for the 2017 Fourth of July Giveaway!
Hi Ken,
“Talk about a great 4th of July! This is so exciting! Thank you for further enabling my reading addiction” – Christine M.


Nikki D. of Arlington, S.D won a Fire tablet for the Chesapeake 1880 Giveaway
Oh, my goodness! thank you. Thank you – Nikki D.

Joyce B. of Clements, Md. won a Fire

“Got Fire today and sending this message from my new device! Thank You!” – Joyce

Joe D. of Katy, Texas won a Paperwhite!

Ken, WOW!! that’s great news!!  Keep up those rousing voyages!” – Joe

Laura R. of Cypress, Texas, won the drawing on April Fool’s Day for a Fire for The Privateer Clause contest that ended on March 31, 2017.  Laura is the first two-time winner! 

The KINDLE FIRE Giveaway for Cruise Facts review was won by Gran Ann, the second prize of 2017!

The Privateer Clause Kindle Paperwhite Giveaway for Edgar Allan Poe Birthday

F. Scott Fitzgerald Sept 24, 1896

The first Paperwhite winner of 2017 for Edgar Allan Poe’s Birthday was Rodney M., of Springdale NL, Canada.
Tell him congratulations in the comment section below! 

The winner of the 2016  Halloween Spooktacular Paperwhite is Elaine P. of Billerica, Massachusetts

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Birthday, THE GREAT GATSBY GIVEAWAYChristine T. of Schenectady, New York, won a Paperwhite! (This is getting to be a big club of winners, leave your congrats to Chris in comments below)

For THE CHESAPEAKE TALES TRIO – Big Mama (Patti G. of Massillon, Ohio)

For the KLAN: Killing America Review-Paperwhite Giveaway the winner is Tammy F. of Raeford, N.C. :
“First, thank you, thank you, thank you!!!  I’m so tickled that I won!!! Once again, thank you from a loyal follower!!” – Tammy F. 

Mike W. in Texas had his George Orwell Birthday Paperwhite delivered on June 30, 2016, and sent this note:

Hey, Ken, I thought the postman would never get here. He did, and I spent about 20 minutes on setup and exploring. This is really a handy machine. Already love it! Thank you so very much for the Paperwhite and the two Audible books!
Mike W in Texas

For the most recent review-giveaway contest on The Story of THE RAG – the winner has been drawn at and is Vicki Goodwin.  A new Fire will be sent to Vicki this week.  Give a big Hats Off to Vicki for winning this Fire! Add your congratulations in a comment below!

Say congratulations in the comments below to Leah Hess of Goodreads and The Privateer Clause Reader Group, who also posted on Amazon a review on Wreck of the Whale Ship Essex – Illustrated – Leah won a Fire tablet. She had sent a note on May 19th saying that her boyfriend had just given her a new Fire as a present but if she won, she could either give it to one of her girls or give it to Tom!  Now, she could just make it a “house Fire” but somehow that just doesn’t have a good ring to it.

Donna W. of Canada won a $50 Amazon Gift Card

Aerial A. of New Orleans won a Fire tablet

Jim A. of Canada won a $50 gift card

Natosha H. of Wichita Falls, Texas won a Paperwhite

Kindle PaperWhite

Ann F. of Wappingers Falls, N.Y. won a Paperwhite

Pat C. of Houston, Texas won a Paperwhite

Colleen B. of Saint Clair Shores, MI won a Paperwhite

Denise L. of Mount Vernon, Indiana won a Paperwhite

Michelle of Phoenix, Arizona won a Paperwhite

Christie paperwhite

Fredrick B. of Protection, Kansas won a Fire

Liam T. of Australia won a $50 Amazon Gift Card

Deborah D. of Nicktown, Pa. won a Paperwhite

Debi D. of Pasadena, Md., won a Paperwhite

Pam C. of Celebration, Fla., won a Paperwhite   (Pam Cartwright)

Dianne of Cedar Rapids, Iowa won a Paperwhite

Kindle Paperwhite promo for Dicken

Cheryl S. of Buffalo, NY won a Paperwhite

Trish H. won a gift card

Evelene T. of Fountain, Colorado won a Paperwhite

Lori of Litchfield, Connecticut won a Paperwhite

Kelly N. won an Amazon gift card

Tony C. won an Amazon gift card

Kindle Paperwhite promo for Poe Birthday

Rachel H. of Minneapolis, Minn., won a Fire – OMG thank you, Ken! I can’t believe it, I never win anything…
that is so cool

Hi Ken;
I wanted to thank you again for the amazing prize. The Kindle Fire has arrived and is hooked up to the internet, downloading software updates, etc. it really is a great tablet!

Thanks again, Rachel H.

Jodi W. of St. Paul, Minn., won a Paperwhite

Judith R. of Ridgecrest, Calif., won a Fire

Wanda P. of Fairchance, Penn. won a Fire on Jan 30, 2016

Kindle Paperwhite promo for author site

Gale W. of Montgomery, Texas won a Fire

Linda M. of Franklin, Penn., won a Fire

Michael B. of Derry, N.H. won a Fire

Lisa S. of Mount Sterling, Ohio won Charles Dickens Giveaway Paperwhite

Shirley S. of Dayton, Ohio Paperwhite for Jan. 1st.

Liz. M of Minneapolis, Minn. Won a Fire

Win Paperwhite Titanic

Andrew W. of Waukesha, Wisconsin, won a Fire

Lisa S. of Mount Sterling, Ohio won a Paperwhite

Daniel J. of Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin won a Fire

Cindi K. of Atlanta, Georgia won a Fire

Karla S. of Botwood, Canada won a Gift Card

Jess Lyn won a Paperwhite

Sam W. of Washington, Illinois won a Fire

John W. of British Columbia won a Gift Card

Sky K. of San Antonio, Texas won a Fire on May 1, 2016.

John M. of Lexington, Kentucky won a Fire on May 16, 2016.

Laura R. of Cypress, Texas won a Paperwhite for Ernest Hemingway Birthday

Please send a selfie of yourself with your prize to or share it on your Facebook and tag me and I’ll get it. Thanks for being part of my reader group congratulations on your winning entries!

Orwell Paperwhite

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


My ticket to the Gala.

By Ken Rossignol’

An oft-quoted phrase to describe changing views on political concerns is this: “If you’re not a liberal at 20, you have no heart. If you’re not a conservative at 40, you have no brain.”

While the quote has been attributed to everyone from John Adams to Winston Churchill, the popularity of the sentiment must be due to the way in which it is received by the reader – that is – it reflects the transition that many go through in their lives. I know it did for me, but it didn’t take me until the age of forty to consider myself a conservative.

At the age of seventeen, my views were molded on family traditions of being a southern Democrat and living in Montgomery County, Maryland as a teenager in a large suburban high school in 1964, supporting President Lyndon Johnson, the surviving half of the Democratic ticket from 1960, was a logical step.

The Democrats of 2019 support giving the right to vote to 16-year-olds but not the right to make a decision to vape or buy tobacco and in some places to use plastic straws or buy a big gulp – but they surely are wise enough to help select a President.

Plenty of my friends and their families supported Senator Barry Goldwater but that didn’t keep them from being my friends, unlike the way many people conduct themselves in these politically charged times with the internet as ‘lies get spread around the world before the truth has chance to pull on their pants’.  That quote, by the way, is also often attributed to Churchill, but if he said it, as pointed out by a Wall Street Journal writer, he would have used the word “trousers”.

As part of my misspent youth, I was instrumental in organizing a Democratic Teen Club in my town and was rewarded with the task of being the president as my friends were much smarter than I and really didn’t want to do the work. As part of our campaign work, we embraced an egghead professor and committed liberal who was the candidate for Congress in our congressional district which spread from the DC suburbs to the mountains of Western Maryland.   Setting up campaign booths in shopping centers, dumping literature on doorsteps and under car windshields and just having a great time doing so with stops at the new fast-food joints and Hot Shoppes a part of the chores of political work, it wasn’t a bad life. Fitting in campaign work around part-time jobs and homework was a challenge for all of us.

But we were committed to our candidate, Royce Hanson, to be our next Congressman – which wasn’t to be as it turned out the adults who voted were smarter than us kids.  We were thrilled when a Democratic Central Committee member acknowledged the hard work we were doing and included us with a group on a chartered bus to go to a big campaign rally in Baltimore in October of 1964 which featured LBJ.

This was the first time for many of us to go to Baltimore, though we had been given the chance to be on a bus for a day trip to the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City where we were able to meet Sen. Hubert Humphrey, the new ticket mate of President Johnson.

We were excited as we left our bus in front of the Baltimore Civic Center where the Baltimore Bullets played – until they moved to Washington and became ‘wizards’ which was a more politically correct name and not as lethal as the city of Demons they left behind which now rack up 300 murders annually – mostly with bullets.

The convention monitors seated us, complete with our campaign signs for Royce Hanson, about in the middle of the large convention center – perhaps about fifty rows from the podium where the President took the stage as the honored guest.  LBJ put on a good show as he endorsed the Democratic ticket: The U. S. Senate candidate, the Congressman At Large, and six of the seven congressional candidates. But, to my immediate dismay, he left out our egghead professor and continued on with his speech.

I decided that since my friends in our club had picked on me to be the leader, I was going to lead them in a march up to the podium with our Royce Hanson for Congress signs held aloft and that is exactly what we did. We were only about 50 feet away from the President when he stopped his speech and motioned to us and said, “it looks like I forgot someone”.

With a loud laugh and applause, President Johnson went on to deliver a rousing endorsement for our guy and we waved to the beaming candidate sitting about 20 feet from LBJ and returned to our seats.

Johnson won big; Hanson lost big.  

President Lyndon B. Johnson, with a raincoat, reviews troops at Fort Campbell Kentucky with Maj. Gen. Ben Sternberg. White House photo.

Reader response

Around 1966 LBJ decided he needed to popularize the Vietnam War so he summoned the Chairman of the Joint Chief’s of Staff to his Oval Office and issued an order to him to pass on to the other members of the JCS.    Each service was to select a member of their service and award them a Medal of Honor which he would present.    NOT do you have anyone deserving but do it.  

 The Marines selected a Sgt Murphy from the New England area who had been badly wounded, promoted to Sgt and medically retired as a result of his wounds in combat over there.    Some of the others selected were really weak in heroics but LBJ had issued an order so each service had to pony up someone to receive their Medal of Honor.  

LBJ was down on the Ranch for an extended stay so instead of him flying back to DC on Air Force One and presenting the medal he ordered all the Marines who would be involved at a full ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House flown to be flown down to Austin, Texas for the ceremony.    

So over 800 Marines, including me, were packed up and flown by whatever Marine Transport aircraft was available, including a number of old C-119 Flying Boxcars from the USMCR from DC down to Austin.   We arrived in the late afternoon the day before the ceremony had supper at the Naval Air Station and then were bussed into downtown Austin and on the street in front of the Capitol Building at around midnight we rehearsed the entire ceremony quietly.    
Orders were all commands would be given as quietly as possible, no slamming of rifle butts (as normally done) on the pavement, and no playing of any musical instruments with the exception of a single star drum quietly tapping out the marching cadence with a single tap per step.    So when it came time for each musical number to be performed we in the US Marine Drum & Bugle Corp marched smartly holding our drums and buses as if playing them, with the drummers doing all their fancy stick movements but without striking a drum head, we all hummed our parts of the music.  

When the Battalion Passed in Review at that rehearsal with the Lt. Col. who had been designated as the Officer in Charge of this detail as the reviewing officer we quietly hummed THE MARINE’S HYMN to which LtCol Marc Moore, grinning from ear to ear, said, “MY STARS!”    A “Battle Cry” became a greeting between members of the D&B & the good LtCol thereafter.
The next day LBJ arrived for the ceremony just before starting time and departed immediately afterward to get back out to his ranch!    
He never cared the least bit about the troops performing at the White House.   On one arrival of a newly appointed Ambassador to DC from a European nation, the normal ceremony required the north driveway to be lined by rifleman of the Army, Marines, Navy, and USAF along both curbs.  

When the Ambassador’s car entered the driveway Orders brought all those troops to Present Arms and when the car stopped at the front steps of the north entrance into the White House we, The Marine Drum and Bugle Corps, sounded the Bugle Call ATTENTION!    

Then with the Ambassador and his wife standing arm in arm in front of the steps and the President and his First Lady standing on the landing at the top of the steps for Ruffles and Flourishes, and the National Anthem of the Ambassador’s Country was sounded and played followed by our own National Anthem.   Then the Ambassador and his wife climbed the steps shook hands all around and were led into the White House by the President and First Lady.   Inside in one of the rooms used for such ceremonies, the Ambassador presented his official documents appointing him as his nation’s chief diplomatic representative to our government in DC and Tea/Coffe/ and pastries were served.   This normally took 15 minutes to 30 minutes maximum.

On one particular Arrival Ceremony of an Ambassador, it was around 18 degrees with freezing light rain falling.    Instead of the normal raincoats the Social Secretary of the President (LBJ) who gave orders for these events as what they wanted the military to do, decreed NO RAINCOATS, OVERCOATS only as we want lots of color on such a dreary day.    
So there we were an hour early standing at Parade Rest in the freezing rain but at least we had our overcoats on.    Then the Social Secretary came out and looked around and with his finger beckoned the Chief White House Military Aide, that day an Army Brigadier General over to him and while gesturing towards where we, the D&B were standing at Parade Rest.    The BGen marched over halting in front of our Drum Major and after exchanging salutes leaned close and quietly gave the Drum Major orders.  They exchanged salutes again and the BGen marched away.   The Drum Major executed an about-face and called the D&B to ATTENTION.  
He then walked close to the front rank and as quietly as possible and still able for all of us to hear him he explained that “More Color” was needed so rank by rank we would remove our (in those days still Green) overcoats while behind the front shrubs of the White House and return to our position in the formation.   We were to stack our overcoats neatly out of sight on the ground.  
Needless to say, the rear rank who first executed this movement in our finest ceremonial manner had their overcoats lying directly on the wet ground, pine bark and dirt of the beds beneath the shrubs that were around 7 feet high screening us from sight.    
Once we were all back information and again at Parade Rest now only in our normal dress blouses (coats) without the warmth all the other troops were enjoying from their own soaked overcoats we slowly absorbed the freezing rain and if was cold, miserable, and totally unnecessary but the Social Secretary wanted more color so we did it.   Besides once the Ambassador and his wife arrived they would only be at the White House for 15 to 30 minutes.  
We just knew, like other presidents who thought about the troops’ comfort when possible LBJ would take care of us and rush the ceremony along.


Instead, LBJ entertained them for over an hour and 15 minutes while we all stood out in the rain freezing.   After the Ambassador departed and we all formed up to march off, the D&B had to quickly retrieve our now soaked and dirty overcoats and put them on over our clear but soaked dress blouses and march off.
When we returned to the Barracks all our overcoats and dress blouses had to be dried out and those of us with medal displays had to rush them across the street for a quick remounting of them with new ribbons as they had been ruined by the rain when we removed our overcoats.    I didn’t have a lot of medals but I recall it cost me in the neighborhood of $15 to do that when I made less than $200 a month.    We also had to pay to have our Overcoats cleaned and pressed, with an extra charge for how dirty they were.   Thankfully the Barracks paid to clean our Dress Red Blouses but our T-Shirts, the only thing we wore under those dress blouses when wearing an overcoat, was ruined but he red color or our dress blouses leeching out from the freezing rain we stood in.
On another occasion, LBJ flew out to Camp Pendleton to be the Reviewing Officer of a Marine Battalion of the 1st Marine Division that had just returned from a particularly arduous year-long tour in combat over in Vietnam.    The entire Battalion was in formation on the parade ground in their battle dress with helmets and weapons and when it came time for the Trooping of the Line (when the reviewing official marches down on foot normally before the Pass in Review of the Formation)  LBJ mounted a special prepared, highly waxed and spit-shined marine Jeep with a bar for him to hold while standing with the Commanding General of the Division and the Battalion alongside him.    

Then the jeep drove slowly down the long line of company’s of Marines.    Everything was going fine when suddenly LBJ Smacked the driver on the back of his helmet ordering him to “STOP THE JEEP!”   Out of the Jeep bounded LBJ with the Division Commanding General a Major General and the Bn Commander a LtCol trying to get out and catch up to the rapidly moving President as he walked right through the formation ranks until he reached a slightly overweight Gunnery Sergeant.  

 By the time the Maj. Gen. and Lt. Col. arrived LBJ had his arm around the shoulders of the GySgt. and was walking with him back towards the Parade Jeep chatting away with him.    Once everyone was in the, now overloaded jeep, LBJ told the MajGen and LtCol that the Gunny was named Salazar and he had been born and raised on the Johnson Ranch in Texas and he knew the Gunny’s parents, brothers and sisters very well.  

 In fact, they should have someone go to where ever the Gunny was billeted at and pack all his stuff up and get it ASAP to the White House as Gunny Salazar is flying back to the White House with me today!
The Gunny stood along side LBJ while his entire Battalion Passed by In Review and left in the Presidential Limo traveling to the Airport and boarded Air Force 1 for the flight back to the White House.    He was put in one of the famous bedrooms and the LBJ decided the Gunny needed to be assigned to a Marine facility in DC so he could be close by to stop in for drinks and dinner.    

The next morning the Chief White House Military Aide, a Major General with a Marine Aide who was a Colonel was driven to the Marine Barracks in DC with Gunny Salazar where they marched into the office of the Barracks Commander, Colonel Paul Graham.  
Col Graham was informed that by Verbal Orders of the President Gunny Salazar was to be assigned to duties at the Barracks and available for any summons from the President post-haste – end of the conversation.    Now Col. Graham was not a “beloved commander” and was a bit of a martinet so he was a very unhappy camper as the Gunny didn’t appear to be a “ceremonial Marine” and certainly didn’t meet the published physical standards for assignment to the Barracks ceremonially.    But Veral Orders from the President superseded those regulations and the wishes of Colonel Graham.    Poor Gunny Salazar, actually a damn good Marine, quickly got nicknamed “The President’s Personal Wet Back!”     It was not unusual for a White House Limo with a Military Aide in it to arrive, go to Col Graham’s Office and direct the Col to get Gunny Salazar here right now for a weekend at Camp David, or a trip of undetermined length to the Ranch in Texas and stand there tapping his fingers on the Col’s desk watching the clock.
When Captain Chuck Robb the Barracks Adjutant was dating his future wife, one of LBJ’s daughters with the other one tagging along usually so a bachelor officer had to be assigned to be her escort, a dreaded duty.     Capt Robb was an non commutative officer and declined to participate in the famous Friday Night Parades and other ceremonies.    Then LBJ, at the urging of his daughters decided to come down and review a Friday Night Parade with “Chuck” in command of it.    So Capt Robb was quickly schooled up on the movements needed to be done and the commands needed to be given by him and he was assigned as the Parade Adjutant for that evening.    The Commandant was the senior Marine Officer in the Reviewing Party of LBJ, The Commandant, and of course Col Graham.    
After the parade, the Commandant hosted a small party in Commandant’s Home at the north end of the Barracks and its parade deck.  
 LBJ, as usual, took on a considerable load of liquor and as he was leaving in the wee hours of the morning tripped and fell down the front steps fo the Commandant’s Home while going to his Limo.    
The next morning on the front page of the Washington Post was a photo captured by their reporter of LBJ caught sprawled across the steps, grinning from ear to ear while several Generals, the Commandant, and Col Graham are standing at attention saluting the President, with their eyes looking down instead of the regulation straight ahead, and a look of surprise and horror on their faces.    
LBJ was a trip!

President Lyndon Johnson campaigning in 1964 against Sen. Barry Goldwater. White House Photo Office

The “Daisy” campaign ad – In the 1964 presidential campaign, the Democratic National Committee commissioned a TV ad that is commonly called the “Daisy” ad. This video may be downloaded and used free of charge. However, the Democratic National Committee allows the LBJ Library to provide the ad to the public. Please credit the video: Courtesy Democratic National Committee.

President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Address to Congress, November 27, 1963. MP505. Description: President Lyndon B. Johnson speaks to Congress following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy Index terms: Speeches; Congress; JFK. Credit: LBJ Library video by CBS News No usage fees. Footage shown here was a gift from CBS for the LBJ Library. They are pool coverage of live presidential addresses and are not copyrighted. The Library has made them available (excluding any network commentary) for decades without incident.

Inauguration of the President and Vice President of the United States, 1/20/1965. MP 802. Public domain. This film is from the LBJ Library moving picture collection created by the White House Naval Photographic Unit, aka the Navy Films. The films consist of monthly reports on the activities of President and Mrs. Johnson from 1963-1969.

Campaign Poster: “Kennedy for President/Johnson for Vice President”, 21 1/4 x 13 1/4″, published by Citizens for Kennedy and Johnson, 261 Constitution Ave, NW, Washington, DC. Donated by Lyndon B. Johnson

Justice Marshall and President Johnson in the Oval Office. – White House photo.

Meeting regarding the announcement of Thurgood Marshall’s nomination as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States

President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Veterans’ Day tour of military installations on U.S.S. Enterprise. White House Photo Office

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Features and facts about Piracy with details of actual Pirate Trials in the 1800s.


TITANIC 1912 – The story of the RMS Titanic disaster told through the news stories of the day. The first narration is a rare 1936 radio interview of the only surviving bridge officer, Second Officer Charles Lightoller. Ken Rossignol explains how the news reports were fabricated, misconstrued, confused and in some cases, amazingly accurate. Myths are revealed about the story of the Titanic and heroes recognized in two speaking engagements – one as a Serenebe Fellow for the Serenbe Playhouse Musical at Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia and the second onboard the Celebrity Summit at sea.


President Theodore Roosevelt boarding the Manhattan from a Holland America ship

The decision to buy the unfinished Panama Canal from the French put into motion international intrigue, political shenanigans and accusations, bribery and corruption – much of it portrayed here in the editorial cartoons of the era. Enjoy this short book trailer – Rated G


MURDER USA; True Crime, Real Killers

The Claudia Pickeral Murder

I wrote in THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY the following update on the murder of Claudia Pickeral in December of 2018:
Thirteen-year-old Claudia Pickeral alighted from her school bus one warm afternoon in February of 1997 a short walk away from her home. Standing nearby was a next-door neighbor, Keith Green.
Green had been studying the rapidly developing girl and while he was home alone – his wife was at work – he made a move to accost Claudia. She resisted, he persisted and began to choke her.
Another resident of the small, predominately black waterfront community of Longview Beach was on her way home, and as she drove by the bus stop, she observed Green dragging the body of Claudia Pickeral across a lawn as he attempted to hide the body behind a neighbor’s house.
A significant police response brought more than a dozen law officers to the scene, and detectives began their investigation.
The next afternoon, police recruits were combing the area for clues, and Keith Green stood out on his lawn, arms folded, as he pondered the progress of the probe.
Several television satellite trucks were parked on the small side streets of the neighborhood and reporters talked to detectives while a dozen neighbors chatted among themselves and viewed the crime scene.

Feb. 25, 1997
On the second day of the investigation into the murder of the 13-year-old Longview Beach girl who died of strangulation at the hands of a vicious killer, the forward progress of the probe was temporally cast into severe turmoil when a St. Mary’s prosecutor and the county’s sheriff sidelined the chief investigator in favor of a deputy who is known in law enforcement circles as a prima donna.
By the end of the day, the grieving Thompson family, along with their neighbors and friends, attended a two-hour candlelight-service at the Long Beach Clubhouse after planning funeral arrangements. The family of the dead girl had the added trauma of what some say is race-based political grandstanding at the center of the St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Department investigation interfering with bringing the killer of their child to justice.
Early the next morning a meeting of Sheriff’s detectives working on the homicide probe met to lay out the case for review by Sheriff Richard Voorhaar.
Voorhaar, to the surprise of the detectives, arrived with St. Mary’s Deputy States Attorney Christy Chesser and the Assistant States Attorney James Tanavage.
During the meeting, Voorhaar told Chesser to not hold back on her views. Chesser reportedly told the detectives that she wanted a deputy who was not currently assigned to the criminal investigation division, Cpl John Horne, to handle the questioning of the chief suspect in the case.
Chesser’s move was approved by Voorhaar who then told the lead investigator and supervisor, Sgt. Ernest Carter, who had been personally directing the probe, to step aside and let Horne take over the questioning of the suspected killer.
As both the victim and the suspect are both black, as is Sgt. Carter, and the theory that society is color blind and race never makes a difference is all a cruel mockery of the truth.
The sole purpose of the investigation underway last week, was that of arresting the killer of the young child who was merely walking home from her school bus stop and the probe was sidelined as the white sheriff and white prosecutor made decisions that had the community howling by the time the sun set on Friday as word spread that Detective Sgt. Carter had been benched.
To make matters worse, Horne, according to police sources, has refused to work under Carter since the senior detective was put in charge of the detective squad two years ago. Voorhaar had recently attempted to create a special sergeant’s post for Horne but was rebuffed by the County Commissioners who saw through the Sheriff’s finagling of the merit system.
Search Attempted Was of Victim’s Home, Not Suspect
Horne’s first decision after Friday’s meeting was to send out white detectives out to the murder scene, where the houses of the victim and the suspect stand side by side, to conduct a search.
But to the horror of the Thompson family, the two plainclothes cops didn’t come armed with a search warrant to root through the suspect’s home in an attempt to find physical evidence which could possibly link the suspect with the murder and change his status to that of the defendant.
Mission Impossible
Instead, Cpl. Horne had sent the detectives on a true ‘Mission Impossible’: their assignment was to ask the Thompson family for permission to search their house.
In no uncertain terms, the officers were greeted with loud protests and were told to leave the property after the family learned of their assignment.
Jeers of ‘you won’t come in here and plant any evidence’ were shouted, reminiscent of the O. J. Simpson trial testimony of planted gloves and socks.
The Thompson family couldn’t understand the cruel hoax of the police even if they intended to find any notes or diaries that the girl might have kept which could point the finger of fate at the felon who took her life.
The hapless cops who had been given the job of jolting the family with one of the most outlandishly inept moves in local law enforcement history cruised back to Leonardtown with their tails between their legs, leaving behind them a sizable portion of the local black community up in arms. READ MORE —
MURDER USA: True Crime, Real Killers at Amazon in Kindle, paperback and soon in Audible.

WHY IT MATTERS? Keith Green was released from prison on parole by the State of Maryland in 2018 after only serving twenty years of his thirty-year sentence for the attempted rape and murder of 13-year-old Claudia Pickeral at Longview Beach in St. Mary’s County, Md. Maryland officials placed him in a halfway house for ex-cons next door to the Brown Elementary School playground in Waldorf. Green can sit in a lawn chair in his backyard and select his next victim. Green is on the Maryland Sex Offender registry which notes his half-way house address and his “employment” address which is in a residential neighborhood in Linthicum, Md.
Primary Residence: 745 University Dr, Waldorf MD 20602
Address Change Date:08/02/2018
Temporary Residence: NA
Employment Address: 305 Regency Cir, Linthicum Heights MD 21090

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This photo of a bumboat's last days was taken in Nomini Creek in Virginia. THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY photo. Copyright 2019.
This photo of a buyboat’s last days was taken in Nomini Creek in Virginia.
THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY photo. Copyright 2019.

Welcome aboard the third volume of THE CHESAPEAKE – This book, THE CHESAPEAKE: Oyster Buyboats, Ships & Steamed Crabs, spans the decades of the lives of our writers and the times of the Chesapeake Tidewater region from 1900 to the present time. 
A first-person account of Chesapeake Bay bounty being harvested and provided to the national market is related by Capt. Joe Lore of Solomon’s Island, along with an interview with his father, Capt. J. C. Lore Sr. from fifty years earlier. 
Pepper Langley relished his days of establishing his own business after his high school commencement speaker told him he had a gold mine in his back yard. 
The storytelling of Vi Englund is superb as she wrote vivid descriptions of going to sea. Get lost in the middle of roaring Atlantic storms in her ship’s galley and appreciate the majesty of the sea. 
Mark Robbins provides entertaining tales of sailing and Cap’n Larry Jarboe cannot be beaten when it comes to knowing where the fish are hanging out and how to get them on your hook. 
The Country Philosopher, Stephen Gore Uhler got an elbow from another philosopher, Amos Arthur Holmes but Steve wins overall for truthfulness, not a trait he learned from Jack Rue. Between Jack Rue and Fred McCoy, old tales are here for a new generation of tale-learners eager to find digital news of days of old. Some of the old gold mines of The Solomon’s Islander and The Chesapeake have been reopened and we found Tony Marconi and Lenny Rudow hiding back in the caverns, grinning and eager to share their news and views with the world. 
The Bill Burton State Park at Cambridge, to the Cape Charles harbor shown on the cover, unite both shores of the Chesapeake to bring you, the reader, who may or may not dabble in U-Boat fantasies and time-warps, a complete view of the Tidewater region.
The Tidewater area contributed to the birth of Rock and Roll with the infamous home-grown talent of Link Wray and Greg Laxton makes sure Link’s place in history is secure. 
No part of the Chesapeake lore could be complete without more Letters from Point Lookout Hotel, and while Alan Brylawski is now ninety-six, he refuses to join the Dead Poets Society. Alan tells you how to fix fried hard-crabs in great detail. 

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Please enjoy this video for the Fourth of July. Francis Scott Key was an attorney in Upper Marlboro, Maryland who sought the release of an American citizen who had been taken captive by the British forces as they invaded Maryland, fought the United States defenders at Bladensburg and went on into the City of Washington where they sacked and burned the major public buildings.

The Royal Navy then sailed back down the Patuxent River to the Chesapeake Bay and then north to Baltimore. Key was on board a British ship and held prisoner during the bombardment of Fort McHenry.

Each year, the United States Coast Guard at Curtis Bay shipyards sends the Tender James Rankin out to place a buoy to mark the spot in the Patapsco River where Francis Scott Key penned his narrative as he observed the shelling of Fort McHenry. The Star-Spangled Banner later became the National Anthem of the United States.

I prepared this video using images that included ones the Coast Guard provided me of the Key Buoy and the crew of the Rankin placing the historic buoy; other images I had taken as well as some from the Library of Congress. The beaten and worn Old Glory shown in the video is the one that survived the long night of Britsh shelling. Actress and Singer Elllynne Brice Davis performed the Anthem in this video and she did it in one take. She has often performed for my annual crab feast over the years and at other major public and private events as well as playing roles in historic dramas.





MARCH 10, 2019


That is the headline in articles published in online trade journals that profess that public monies should be used to provide local newspapers, much like NPR.

That is a load of BALONEY.

Most of those who profess to see the dearth of local newspapers, the death of many, and the weekly parade of their demise can’t figure it out.

Many blame the growth of the tech giants Facebook and Google soaking up national advertising and leaving crumbs on the table for small-town newspapers.

That isn’t it.

Many blame the lack of ad dollars from local advertisers for the folding of some 1,400 newspapers across America in the last decade.

That isn’t it either.

Pompous online media analysis think-tanks like Nieman Labs, from Harvard, don’t have a clue. Many of their articles always blame the big corporate owners who have bought up and ravaged newspapers of their real estate assets while stripping out the newsroom of staff as the problem.

Nieman doesn’t stand a chance of figuring it out as they just don’t know what the reader wants in a local newspaper.

Why are they all wrong, confused and perplexed at understanding their own industry?

One of the reasons is many of these news media folks racked up substantial student loans to go to journalism schools where they learned lessons of sameness, boredom, pomposity, arrogance, and adherence to elitism. They’ll be the first to preach global warming, and if you refuse to accept their arguments, they’ll condemn you to re-education camps such as have been operated by totalitarian regimes in history.

What these excellent journalists never learned is to satisfy the desire of people to know what is really going on in their communities.

Folks want to know where the emergency sirens were going last night.

Police agencies across America have taken the self-serving action to encrypt their emergency channels so the public can’t hear of a home invasion taking place down the street from them. Cop officials claim that is for “officer safety” – which is a bogus argument.

Police agencies have always had encrypted channels to use for sensitive situations such as a drug raid or barricade. The encryption trend has been merely to deny accountability to the public and at the same time is actually dangerous. If a neighbor of a residence where a home invasion is underway can hear that call on their scanner, they can look out the window and perhaps get a tag number and a good description of the criminal’s vehicle, and thereby aid the police. A citizen can be the first responder to an officer trapped in a wreck of a cruiser, upside down and in danger of drowning in a ditch – but only if the call for help is not encrypted.

Without a local newspaper to stand up to power-hungry police officials and Sheriff’s who have created their own “official” news agencies with tax dollars, pumping out feel-good public relations propaganda, the citizen has little to go on to separate fact from political baloney. Believe me, when the public has to rely upon the press releases of publicly paid former reporters acting as public affairs officers for crooked or good old boy politicians – watch out.

Where were the local newspapers when it came to be sorting out the crooked land deals between elected officials and developers? Many times, these newspapers and their vapid reporters were in the pockets of such conspirators.

Often the news reporter didn’t understand the complexities of development and was too busy pontificating to readers about their social justice beliefs to learn how much corrupt money flows with sewage lines. They didn’t know how to equate road deals paid for by taxpayers lining the pockets of developers who would slide dough in a myriad of ways to politicians who arranged those deals.

When large chains came into a community and bought out second and third generation family-owned newspapers and radio stations, the chains hired the cheap reporters right out of journalism school, who didn’t have a clue about anything, but their leftist ideals which were firmly entrenched in their mindsets. The old family run newspapers were shed by those who never earned a living and couldn’t wait to cash out after Mom and Pop kicked the bucket.

Each time a national media chain has bought a local newspaper, the transaction created an immediate opportunity for a local entrepreneur to start a newspaper, a person who knows the local community and can obtain the local advertiser support to make it work.

Big city chains buying up brewing companies across America ruined local beer. Craft brewers have saved local beer. It’s as simple as that.

Giving the reader the down and dirty on crime and politics, as if there is much difference – is what makes a newspaper work.

One of the most famous news stories of all time came about because two rookie reporters followed up on the police investigation of a third-rate burglary of an office in the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C.  Lucky for us that the District of Columbia police hadn’t encrypted their dispatch calls on the air.

How many times has a reader picked up a local newspaper and seen photos of barns, flower beds full of tulips in the spring or other mundane events instead of actual news?  I have a policy in place for the last twenty-nine years that there will never be a photo of a barn on the front page unless the damn thing is on fire or has a small plane sticking out of the side of it.

Alan Henney, a long-time news hound who runs a beach report from Rehobeth, Delaware for four months out of the year and does breaking news reports in the Washington area the balance of the year, noted that I included “night news reporters” in my inaugural column of NIGHT SHIFT. “We still have any?” he asked.

I can’t account for how many still exist, other than a few freelancers who sell video to major TV stations, but I suppose there are, at least I can affirm that I remain in that count as hardly a night goes by that news of crime is not covered in THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY. We have the best and most productive criminals in the world in the Chesapeake region.

In short, all it takes for a local newspaper to thrive – and many do – is for the paper to have a commitment to cover local government and local crime with no holds barred. When that happens, local advertisers will support the endeavor, as they know that is where the readers are, and readers will buy it and then be in a position to make up their own minds – uncluttered by government press releases and Facebook pages run by politicians.

A town without local news coverage is a town ripe for corruption.

The very worst thing that could happen is for liberal politicians to have anything to do with funding news operations through tax dollars in some sort of murky Frankenstein creation as proposed by U.S. Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland. “Bonehead” Ben’s idea, if implemented, would be the first step to government-run and controlled news produced by mental midgets. They could only evolve into political cesspools of misinformation with the dedicated purpose of indoctrination of the public to “approved” points of view.

What we need to restore local newspapers are entrepreneurs committed to providing local news coverage without any Associated Press filler stories. Anyone can get the AP baloney anywhere, what they can’t get is hard-knuckled investigative reporting of their local government agencies, judicial and law enforcement. Stories about a Sheriff who hires his campaign director in a new state-funded local opioid crisis director position in each county of Maryland. In that county, the money was used as a political payoff for a crony instead of tackling the heroin and fentanyl problem. Never let a politician fail to take advantage of a crisis to grab political cash.

Such stories need to be told by reporters who are hired for talent, not for the leftist political social-justice dogmatic views. The best way to flush them out is to require a prospective reporter to sit down and compose an extemporaneous essay on the Bill of Rights. No Google, no cheating.

If that would-be reporter is not familiar with the Bill of Rights, how can he or she possibly be a news reporter? If they begin with a tirade against the Second Amendment, how can they possibly follow the rules laid down by an Editor or respect the constitutional rights of citizens for free assembly, protection from warrantless search or the right of due process?

Ben Bradlee once told me when he was asked what he thought of the historic GOP takeover of Congress in 1994, that resulted of the turnover from the forty-years of control by Democrats would be that “any reporter worth his salt could fill his lunch pail each day.”

That is true today.

I was told by a great TV news director in DC that an eight-minute column in NIGHT SHIFT was too long and that view might be correct in the confines of television. However, making an argument that is worthwhile sometimes just takes longer, and that’s why this one might be about ten minutes.

Thanks for joining the NIGHT SHIFT and we’ll see you next time.


The above is a great editorial about the state of reporting and especially the lost, or disappearing, the role of local newspapers in our nation now.    It is an editorial that is written by the owner/editor/publisher/reporter/photographer/distributor/ and solicitor of ads to run the newspaper in rural Southern Maryland just outside of DC.   He built a newspaper that started off considered that area’s own “National Enquirer like Tabloid” but through his dogged determination, he built a paper that was read by more people in that area that were the long-established local newspapers in those 3 counties.    Ultimately he sold the newspaper naming a price to the person who pursued the purchasing of that newspaper ardently demanding he names a price.   So he named a price he thought would make the “gentleman” back off.    He didn’t and in fact, promptly paid the price and then went about slowly killing the newspaper.   Why do you ask?   Because he owned a local spring, summer, fall bar that had two huge bashes each year in the sleepy little town of Solomon’s Island.   It started small but before I retired required the 3 Sheriff’s agencies to join together sending extra officers down to assist the agency in which this small town was located, along with a heavy contingent of Maryland State Troopers from around the state, with additional officers heavy patrolling the limited highways in and out of that county for drunk and drugged driving.   In fact, a temporary police headquarters would be set up in the town with all those agencies working together as one under joint command.   Also joining in was the DEA, FBI, and other federal law enforcement agencies and special task forces because the event drew druggies, biker gangs (the true 1 percenter ones), want to be biker gangs, drug dealers and all kinds of other people to party and raise hell.   
So what did that have to do with the sale and killing off of that editor’s former newspaper?    That Editor reported in his unique style bringing so much heat and outcry to the County government of the county in which this establishment, even to the State Legislature, demanding action after every one of these twice-yearly bashes and the growing cost of policing the event that when he put the paper up for sale the leading purchaser and eventual successful purchaser was the very owner of that bar.   (The new owner closed ST. MARY’S TODAY after eight months and losing one million dollars after changing from hard news to fluff and changing the name.)
After a very successful retirement during which he became a rather busy author of books and becoming an acknowledged authority on the sinking the Titanic, and other historical events of the sea he became a, and continues all these activities, a lecturer on cruise ships traveling all over the world with his family.    But the lure of the small local paper failed to properly retire so he dusted off a small local fishing and hunting newspaper he had created in 1988 and has begun to turn it into another no holds barred newspaper, THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY, that calls a spade a spade and exposes politicians, sweetheart backroom deals, crooks, DWI Drivers, Druggies, Corruption and shoddy performance of duty by all government employees, including police, fire, teachers, etc., etc..
Because of the above, he is one of the few people qualified to write, and substantiate what his editorial cries out to you and I.   For those reasons I urge you to read his editorial.

David Wright




(March 5, 2019) Every day about the time that most folks finish dinner and prepare to watch TV go to check for a movie or game or check their email, a hardy group of souls is waking to their alarm clock. They may be reaching for their phone to quiet a buzzer or happy song announcing that it’s time to get up, get dressed, fix coffee and have a breakfast burrito or some other late evening sustenance.

For this group of people work the night shift.

Nurses, doctors, tow truck drivers, Metro drivers, police officers, firefighters, medics and EMTs, security guards, night news reporters, technicians, utility crews and the young and old who work in donut shops, brave the punks and gunmen who might confront them on this shift as they work in a convenience store.

By nine o’clock, they are all on the move. Some have shifts that start at ten, many at eleven and most at midnight. They all work the night shift. Some love it, others hate it, all adjust to the waking in the dark, and going to bed when it’s light outside.  For most, they have no choice, a few select the night shift for a variety of reasons.

Traffic is light going to work. Many start the trek to work in the hills of the Blue Ridge, what students in the ’50s learned in school was the ‘fall line,’ at a time when learning about geography – the names of rivers, seas, mountain ranges, and such things as Piedmont and Tidewater – was significant.  Now people live in such areas as the Tidewater region and may not even know that designation.

Driving from Front Royal, Winchester, Salisbury, Harrisburg, and Hagerstown, they drive to work at jobs stocking shelves at Walmart, making sandwiches at Wawa and changing soiled bedclothes at hospitals. Doctors began to triage gunshot victims in hospitals in Baltimore, Cheverly, Norfolk, Richmond, Washington, and Wilmington.

As the night peaks in the next couple of hours after midnight, the bars let out, the drunks take to the road, many make it home okay, some do not and manage to hit trees, utility poles and careen down embankments while a few smash head-on into other vehicles.  The Grim Reaper is on the night shift too. As the EMT’s, cops and firefighters try to figure out who is still breathing, the Reaper decides who is going with him. The ghoul and the newly dead will make the first stop on the cold hard slab in the Medical Examiner’s office – of course taking a number in the queue of death.

The tow truck drivers roll up with roll-ons and stretch their cables down hillsides and crane and wrench apart metal from impacts which often roared to a stop at over one hundred miles an hour.

Firefighters roar through city streets with sirens screaming, horns blaring and people, dogs, and vehicles scurrying out of their path.  Buildings roaring with flames and billowing smoke making it impossible to see, heroes, don their masks and pull heavy hoses to attack the fire and began a search to save forlorn souls on the verge of giving up hope but holding out for salvation.  Older apartment complexes built before modern construction codes were enacted go off like tinderboxes without any sprinklers to dampen the fire and give residents a chance to flee – but the developer was able to save on the cost of construction. Donating campaign contributions to the politicians to stall or defeat new laws on enacting stricter codes was just a cost of doing business. It was worth the money. But such shenanigans aren’t on the minds of those trying to get out of their burning apartments or the heroes trying to save them.  Just another part of the night shift.

Cops speed towards a bloody scene in a home where a man has finally done it and killed his battered wife. So many times, she didn’t appear in court to pursue orders to keep him away from the family home. She had no choice – how would she make the rent payment, pay for groceries and the car payment and then there was the insurance. He said he would love her forever and never touch her again. Her family told her to leave the S.O.B but where would she go? Her paycheck from her job alone wasn’t enough to pay for her and her three children. If his boss learned that he was convicted of assault, he would lose his security clearance and then his job. So, she didn’t go to court. Now she will meet the Reaper. The cops have him down on the lawn, handcuffed and will have to hogtie him get him to keep from kicking out the side window of the patrol car. She is dead. He will get a public defender, and spend twenty years in prison, the kids will be farmed out to family or foster homes.  On his way home at the end of the shift, a citizen will buy the cop his breakfast in the diner and thank him for protecting the community. Another citizen will mutter the F word and ‘damn cops’ as he leaves to walk to his car for the drive home to sleep.

One such night shift in the nation is a police officer, Alabama Highway Patrol Sgt. Robert Burroughs, who was at his home on Sunday afternoon, March 3, 2019, when an AF 4 tornado with winds at about 174 mph ripped a swath a mile wide and twenty-four miles long in Lee County.

Mid-afternoon is prime sleeping time for those who work the night shift.

March and April are also prime time for tornados such as the EF 5 that ripped through Southern Maryland on April 28, 2002, killing six people.

Sgt. Burroughs was critically injured, and his wife Sandi suffered minor injuries. Alabama Law Enforcement Agency confirmed he is stationed at the Opelika Post and now is in intensive care at the East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika, Alabama. His home is gone, his state patrol cruiser sits off to one side of where his home used to be, with branches strewn across it, but perhaps not totaled.

The family of Sgt. Burroughs has set up a GOFUNDME page to request donations to assist Sandi, and Robby Burroughs recover from their injuries and to rebuild their home. Help Sgt. Robby Burroughs recover his home and go back to work on the night shift.

Thank you for joining us tonight on the Night Shift, we’ll see you next time.

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