One reference in Scott P. Richert’s article on Rod Blagojevich (“Meet Rod Blago,” The Rockford Files, April) to the disgraced governor’s Serbian origins would have sufficed to inform Chronicles readers of a somewhat relevant detail.

Two such reminders would have been superfluous.

Three or more amount to making a point, however, of the kind unworthy of your magazine’s past resistance to the mainstream media’s entrenched Serbophobia.

—Gradimir Vuckovic, M.D.
River Forest, IL

Mr. Richert Replies:

Dr. Vuckovic and I have had a very pleasant e-mail exchange that laid his concerns to rest, but at Dr. Fleming’s suggestion, I am taking this opportunity to apologize to our Serbian readership for any offense that I may unintentionally have caused.

As Dr. Fleming often reminds me, I, being half-Polish and half-German, fall prey to the worst of both worlds: My Slavic side makes an irrational decision, and my Germanic side sticks to it, come what may.  In this case, having borrowed for my first paragraph Dr. Fleming’s humorous description of our disgraced former governor’s immaculately coiffed hair (“that Serbian gangster hairdo”), my fate was sealed.

While my sense of humor may have failed me, I intended no offense.  As I told Dr. Vuckovich, I remember with fondness the opportunity I had in May 2005 to accompany Dr. and Mrs. Fleming and Dr. Srdja Trifkovic on a trip to Serbia and to participate in the dedication of a Serbian Orthodox monastery in Montenegro, an experience I wrote about in the July 2005 issue (“Eternal Memory,” The Rockford Files).

Indeed, Rod Blagojevich does not compare well with such men as Metropolitan Amphilochius, the leader of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro, next to whom I was honored to sit at the dedication.  Perhaps if Hot Rod had more fully embraced his blue-collar father’s ethnic roots, rather than simply exploiting them for electoral gain, he might have lived up to the best traditions of his ancestors, instead of spending his days whoring after power and wealth.  His political gangster father-in-law may have had more worldly success, but his own father was undoubtedly the better man.


On Cards and VATs

The art drawn by George McCartney, Jr., on your April 2009 cover was superb and totally indicative of the deal we are getting from Barack Obama and his myrmidons in the Democratic Party.

I suspect most of your readers (not gamblers, although neither am I) probably did not notice the detail of how Barack Obama was holding the cards in dealing to another poker player.  Obama was holding the deck in what is referred to by gambling aficionados as the “mechanics grip,” meaning that with a deck of marked cards the dealer (or mechanic) can deal seconds or cards from the bottom.

I think you already have figured out which sets of cards Obama is going to deal to the American public.

In addition, while I am a Ph.D. economist (a vocation some of your columnists ridicule in what I would refer to in an uninformed way), I would wholeheartedly agree with Mr. David A. Hartman (“Regulation for Financial Sanity,” Views) that the United States needs the border-adjusted tax that he has been proposing for some time.  In teaching my students at a local community college, I have mentioned that on numerous occasions as a key component of the only sensible long-term plan for getting the U.S. economy back on a path of real growth.

—James S. Grichar
Woodstock, VA