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Things are running a little late this morning, so I have just a few emails to share…

There was some discussion here yesterday about the efficacy of the military commissary system, and I wondered if it made more sense to simply outsource the whole thing to a company like Walmart. MNB user Bob Anderson wanted to disabuse me of that notion:

The Military Commissary system operates Retail Stores to serve its military community. To think that the Commissary system only serves the Military Installations in the 50 states is short sighted. The commissary operates nearly ever where the US Military operates. There are a lot of overseas locations that are small and quite frankly unprofitable to operate. Many overseas locations do not have access to a dependable, quality food supply. So the Military does all it can to provide for the Military community. There have been contracting out reviews in the past and every time contracting out was a more costly option.

The Commissary is a military benefit that is highly prized by members of military and is very often cited by personnel for continued service (reenlistments or service extensions).

The commissary has been continued as a benefit because the Congress is unwilling to raise military pay to levels that will attract and keep competent and qualified personnel. The American [people say they want National Defense and an all-volunteer force to provide that defense. However, the Congress has discovered that the cost is high, so a variety of non-cash benefits are provided, access to a commissary is one.

Commissary shoppers are assessed a surcharge to pay for store construction, store fixtures and other costs associated with the retail stores. Retail stores receive minimum of tax fund support.

The commissary is more than a retail store. The commissary is the food distribution point for the military dining facilities. The commissary will remain even if the retail stores were eliminated.

FINAL point, Congress knows it is not paying the military enough. (They are paid a lot better than use to be but still not enough for what is expected of them.) As to “Huge subsidies”, I believe the reader is dead wrong.

Thanks. I believe you answered my question.

Michael Sansolo wrote a column yesterday about Dan Rooney, owner of the Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers, and why many of his management techniques are worth emulating. This column generated some differing responses.

One MNB user wrote:

Great editorial. And, as Confucius said, “If you are leading and no one is following, it’s just a walk.”

MNB user Jeff Davis wrote:

The apple certainly didn't fall far from the tree in this case. Like his father, Art Rooney, Dan knows that building relationships is what inspires loyalty and leads to success. The current Steelers, like all other Steeler teams before them, love their owner.

Nice guys finish first!

However, another MNB user disagreed:

True leadership in these tough economic times would be Mr. Rooney paying back the taxpayers he extorted money from for his teams stadium before he pays his family off. It would also be a first class example of giving back to the community that has given him and his family millions.

Not a Steeler fan, I’m guessing.

There was another email…and to be honest, I debated long and hard with myself before running it.

In his column, Michael wrote:

There is a rule in the National Football League that requires teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching positions. It is called the Rooney Rule because Dan Rooney made it happen. It seems hard to believe that a few decades ago African-Americans were frequently called incapable of playing quarterback in football. This year, the traditional phone call between the President and United States and the Super Bowl winning coach involved two African-Americans. Times change because of people like Dan Rooney.

To which one MNB user – and I’m making the decision here not to identify him – wrote:

That was a touching article about a great man. One thing about your article that really isn't appropriate is your Presidential reference. We know (us Pittsburghers) that the right decision was made by hiring coach Tomlin as he has proved it this past Sunday. We (us Americans) do not know how well our new President will do. What we can probably extrapolate from his (Coach Tomlin) interviewing, hiring and performance is that he did not tell Mr. Rooney that he would run a defensive scheme with 11 down lineman on 3rd and long. Or that he would use defensive lineman in the secondary on 3rd and long in a 1 point game when the opposing team is using a 5 wide receiver set. Those decisions would be catastrophic and anyone that understands football would know that. Just the same, the prescription for our economy that has been written by our new President is equally as catastrophic for our country. And anyone who knows anything about economics would know that. Our new President does not deserve the be mentioned in the same sentence as Coach Tomlin. Other great African Americans do like Thomas Sowell, J.C.Watts, Clarence Thomas, or Walter Williams. They have done more than give speeches and write books. Besides I hear President OBama (sic) has a little white in him.

Michael’s responds to this email as follows:

“You missed my point by a huge margin. The point was that Rooney worked to change the culture of the league and he's lived up to that credo. The point is, thanks to his work it is no big deal that an African-American is coaching the Super Bowl winner. It wasn't a political statement, it was a leadership statement.”

As for me, I would merely point out to two things. One, Dan Rooney happens to be a lifelong Republican activist who endorsed Barack Obama in the 2008 election, and at no point did he say in his endorsement that he was supporting Obama because he was black or because “he had a little white in him.” And two, Rooney, Tomlin and Obama know something that apparently the writer does not – that you don’t know the final score until the game is actually over. Best I can tell, the first quarter has barely started.

Finally, “a little white in him”? Shame on you.

KC's View: