Thursday, December 31, 2009

Worst / Best Fiction

Best / Worst Fiction

I don't read a lot of fiction though I do have a small stack piling up in the office/backroom because I forget to return the various book club cards in time. Some look interesting so perchance I will get to them shortly. I do read the NY Times book reviews so I know what is going in the fiction world.

For our purposes here, I am considering the works of the following great thinkers to be some of the greatest fiction ever written.

Michelle Malkin, Glenn Beck & Ann Coulter are the leaders of the school of political philosophy I like to call Phony Conservative Enlightenment.

These three clowns claim to have all the answers to all the ills facing this nation, even if they have to make them up.

Ms. Malkin's latest opus is about how the Obama administration is the most corrupt to date. The book came out before the first 100 days of the administration had been completed. Clearly she put a lot of thought into the topic. Other highlights of her career were a defense of racial profiling and she thought the Japanese internment camps were a good idea. She is a bomb thrower when she appears on that bastion of deep thought and intellectual political discourse; The Fox News Network.

Ann Coulter says things just to say them. I really don't think she believes anything she either writes or says during interviews. She fag bashes and yet she adores her gay brother and gay best friend (Matt Drudge). Her writing is hysterical and not just because her logic is so laughable but because it is so falsely incendiary. Her career has been based on the headlines she has generated and now that the MSM is ignoring her we don't really hear much from her.

Then there is the clown prince - Glenn Beck. Mr. Beck has written so many books lately you have wonder when he has to the time do his comedy routine on Fox News five nights a week. His star will fade and I predict it will fade soon and his career will drop hard and it will drop fast. People are going to tire of him. I can't wait to see what he has to do to keep in the headlines. I predict will try to gin up some anger over Michelle Obama and it will fail to catch on. In a desperate act he will turn on his tear machine and announce a hunger strike and when that fails to attract the needed attention he will perform an act of self immolation live on TV clutching his Time Magazine cover.

While we are on the topic of fiction. Is Bill O'Reilly capable of writing about anything other than himself?

Books by these type of great thinkers sell by the millions but does anyone really read them? I have never heard anyone quote them or discuss them in the lunch room, around the water cooler or at the local tavern.

Since Sarah Palin's book was not really written by her I am not going to mention it again, I hope.

I have not read any real fiction this year so your suggestions will be most helpful.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Worst / Best Obama Appointments

Worst Obama appointment

Rahm Emanuel - The former ballet dancer was a very effective head of the Democratic Campaign Committee when he was a Congressman, he is credited with finding the candidates to take back control of the House of Representatives. He is tough as nails and some would say ruthless in his desire to get what he wants. He was critical to the successes of the Clinton administration and by all accounts his dream job was to be the first Jewish Speaker of the House. He should have stayed in the House and pursued that dream.

He has the drive and discipline to be an effective Chief of Staff and by all accounts he runs a very tight ship. But, the modern White House Chief of Staff has to be much more than that In everything he does and with every move he makes he is the Presidents chief surrogate, when the COS speaks he speaks for the the President. Emanuel seems to be alienating people left and right and the White House appears to be unfocused and lurching from issue to issue. The White House does not seem to be in control of it's own agenda or message.

A President with such little Washington insider experience would have been better served with a schmoozer, ultimate insider as his Chief not a hammer. If Obama would have asked me I would have suggested Tom Daschle for the position - everybody on all sides in Washington likes the affable former Majority Leader. Three of the most effective White House Chief of Staffs were all Washington insiders, Ronald Reagan had James Baker for his very successful first term, Bill Clinton had Leon Panetta for his very successful middle years and George W. Bush had Andy Card for his successful first term.

Sorry Rahm, I like and admire you but for the good of this President it is time for you to bow out gracefully and turn over the reigns to someone else.

Best Appointment

Hillary Rodham Clinton - This was a bold, imaginative and creative choice. Why not bring your biggest rival into the fold. Why not bring in one of the most effective politicians in the country into your tent. Why not bring her much loved husband onto your side and have him work in tandem to your agenda.

The Secretary of State should be a super star. When she walks into the UN, Nato or any other organization people should instantly have respect for her. When the Secretary of State visits and ally they should not only jump but say how high in the process. When the Secretary of State visits and non-friendly nation it's leaders should tremble in her presence and desire to do everything they can to please her. In Hillary Rodham Clinton the President of the United States has this.

Thank you, Mr. President for making such a wise choice for your surrogate on the world stage.

Worst / Best Republicans

Year End Review: Worst / Best Republican - with so many to choose from let me give you the nominees.
  1. Charlie Dent - Our congressman voted to amend the constitution to limit the definition of marriage, he voted to allow the government to torture, he votes lock step with the leadership and opposes everything the President supports. He has gone from a likable and approachable State Senator to a boring, standoffish, better than us congressman. Maybe that's what happens to you when you go to Washington but he is not the same Charlie Dent who served in a very bipartisan way in Harrisburg.
  2. Joe Lieberman - Oh wait he's a Democrat err I mean Independent - more on this ponderous, sanctimonious phony later.
  3. John McCain - I expected him to be cranky after his loss and he has not disappointed. His remarks at Ted Kennedy's funeral reminded me of why I have always had a soft spot for John McCain but all that good will has been wiped away by his vote against Sotomayor and his endless blind rage at the President. He is back to the John McCain still hoping to be loved by his own party so he will say and do anything to appease the wacko right. Earth to Cindy's husband - they will always hate you so you might as well return to the McCain who attempted to move the country forward and leave this loser behavior behind.
  4. The Congressional leadership - They criticize the way the Democrats run things even though they ran things exactly the same way, the reason their poll numbers are not rising as the Democrats are dropping is because they offer nothing and people are smart enough to see through their hollow words.
  5. John Boehner - I think he has spent so much time in a tanning bed that it has affected his capacity to make sense when he speaks.
  6. Sarah Palin - Please just go away and take your foolish Facebook postings with you. She will never ever become President nor will she even become the nominee. Her new novel has been nominated for best fiction.
  7. All the Senate Republican who voted for Sotomayor when she was nominated by the first Bush, promoted by Clinton and then they voted against her for Supreme Court. You have no integrity are shameless and in fact you disgust me.

The Winner - DICK CHENEY

Do I really have to explain this? I am beginning to believe he is losing his mental faculties and his grasp on reality. Or did he ever really have a grasp on reality? Thanks Dick you are helping my President's reelection almost 3 years before it kicks off.

Best Republican


Did I agree with much of the Reagan agenda? No. Ronald Reagan was a decent man and man who really tried to do what he thought was best for the country he loved so much. Ronald Reagan was fair, Ronald Reagan always found something good in everyone, Ronald Reagan did what he said and meant what he said. He tried to find a common ground and he never resorted to the politics of personal destruction. Ronald Reagan was the last decent national Republican.

I miss Ronald Reagan and I wish his gracious widow best wishes as we enter another decade together. Thank you, Ronny and Nancy you served your time in Washington with grace, good humor and were class acts. Even though they may try none of the current crop of Republican leaders will ever be able to fill your noble shoes.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Snark Alert!

The year end review begins tomorrow!

Who is the worst Republican?
Who is the best Republican?
Who is the best Democrat?
Who should be driven from the Democratic Party?
What is the #1 political story of the year?
What is the #1 news story of the year?
Best / worst TV show?
Best / worst movie?
Best / worst work of fiction?
Best / work work of non-fiction?
Best / worst celebrity?
Best / worst pundit TV/Radio?
Best /worst pundit print?
Best Obama appointment?
Worst Obama appointment?
Occasional surprise guest opinions!
Best / worst public appearance?
Best / worst musical act?
Twitter vs Face book?
Best / worst non-American leader?
Predictions for 2010?
Hopes and wishes for 2010?
What did I learn?
What will I miss about 2009 and the entire decade?
Thank god this year / Decade is over!

And many more thought provoking pearls of wisdom.

Your suggestions and advise will be very much appreciated.

In the mean time check out the link below for View From the Third Floor for the definitive list of our nations greatest and worst Presidents.

Doris Keans Goodwin has nothing on me.


Monday, December 21, 2009

You Need To Know What I Know

Tomorrow we will begin our year end review - The events that impacted our world, the people who made a difference either for the good of humanity or to it detriment. There will be some top 10 action and some worst of the worst postings.

It has been quite an eventful year / decade.

I am looking forward to discussing; John Boehner's tan, John McCain's firefly like attention span, remembering Ted Kennedy (again), what great a job Hillary Rodham Clinton is doing, junky talk show hosts and their moral authority, Brooke Astor, football, Republican hubris, Republican hypocrisy, Democratic demands for perfection, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Afghanistan, South America, gay marriage, death, taxes, Birthers, teabaggers and what ever else enters my thought process.

This will be so exciting and enlighting for you all.

Until tomorrow.

Friday, December 18, 2009

I Miss You

Sorry for the lack of postings. I am a bit brought low these days.

Finding things to discuss without too much navel gazing is difficult at the moment. Once the fog clears and it always does I will be a whirling dervish of postings. All the voices in my head want the come out and play.

Perhaps after the holidays, perhaps sooner. I am hoping for sooner it is getting loud in my head.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

An Explanation: A Politcal History of Me

I have a clear recollection of the days around JFK’s assassination, I was 4 years old. I do not remember the events but I remember there was a lot commotion around the Flad household. I loved cooking shows during my preschool years and I would pull out my mother’s pots, pans and wooden spoons and cook along with Julia and Graham, maybe I learned how to drink from Graham. While watching one of my shows I remember my mother screaming out and just sobbing and I remember running to the kitchen to get a dish towel because she was crying too hard for a Kleenex. I remember the family sitting glued around the TV for the next few days and what we watched made no one laugh and often made the adults sad. This is my earliest recollection of world events and I think somehow this was where my passion for politics and current affairs stems from. As a family we always watched the news from Philadelphia, New York, Scranton and the network newscasts, the Lehigh Valley did not have a local broadcast at the time. My parents would get a morning and evening newspaper delivered every day and on Sundays my father would buy the New York Daily News as well. I was surrounded by news all the time. Clearly it affected me because now by choice I am surrounded by news constantly.

Flash forward to 1968 and I am in the third grade and I am following closely the events of Vietnam, Martin Luther King and the Democratic primaries. Our household again came to a complete stop during those awful days of March when MLK was put to rest and then again in June when Bobby Kennedy was killed. I remember my parents getting a phone call from an old friend early in the morning telling them about RFK. We all sat at the TV in shock, I got ready for school and ended up in a foot race with Joanie Morello to be the first one to tell our teacher the horrible news, as if she did not already know. I remember the service at St. Patrick’s, the train ride to DC with all the people standing along the tracks with flags and the night time burial next to his brother. I was transfixed by the events and forever changed, I do not remember who my family supported but I was clearly a Kennedy boy. During the summer I begged my parents to let me watch the conventions and they relented to a point. I do not remember watching the violence of Chicago but I do remember Walter Cronkite telling me about it the next day. My father was working at Ingersoll Rand at the time and we went to the union hall to get something and I grabbed up all the Humphrey buttons I could find and wore one every chance I got. By this point my parents had been taking us to Sunday evening prayer services to end the war. Something tells me that my folks voted for Nixon because he had a plan to end Vietnam, I don’t think I ever asked them in all these years, I don’t know why either. Now in the fourth grade on Election Day I gathered some of my pals and we walked from Centennial School to the polling place at the Junior High chanting “Humphrey Humphrey he’s our man, Nixon belongs in the garbage can”. I am pretty sure Humphrey won our ward because of my efforts that day. My first campaign ended in defeat but I was undaunted.

Over the next few years I discovered a WWII war hero named George McGovern who was a Senator from South Dakota. I remember sitting at our vacation house reading the Sunday New York Times Magazine cover story about him, this was the summer of 1971 and I was 12. I was allowed to watch the more of the conventions that summer. By the time the fall campaign came around so into the McGovern campaign that I quit the Boy Scouts because I was not allowed to wear my campaign pin on my uniform. In truth, I was not really cut out to be a Boy Scout I never fit in. During the fall campaign I met someone who would become my lifelong friend and one the people I admire in life, Easton’s State Rep. Bob Freeman, he was 15 I was 13. We spent many weekends and after school hours trying to elect Sen. McGovern President. Bob and I became closer friends throughout the years with one minor bump in the road. Bob was the first person I came out to some 30 years ago. He was supportive and enlightened in a time when few people were.

McGovern of course lost the election and the nation was worse off for it.

During this time I met a man who taught me more than I needed to know about local politics and how to really work a grassroots effort, Max Rosenbloom. Max was an old time district leader and controlled the votes in Easton’s 8th Ward West with an iron fist. His influence ran into other parts of the area but in this voting precinct he was king of all he saw. I learned how to knock on doors, I learned how to talk real politics and I learned and how to cajole. Max was the master, his word was gold and he never went back on a promise. Max could have benefited from his power but he did not instead he secured his power and influence by assisting people in his ward. When my father was on strike Max found odd jobs to help keep food on our table and always hired my mother to be a poll watcher on election days. As I got older Max never minded that I would strike out on my own and not support his candidate, it did not matter because he would always win the ward. I remember one local election I decided to take Max on and I really worked the ward for my candidate, we knocked on every door some twice, I went back on my own to follow up and I set up a strong get out the vote effort on primary day, just like Max had shown me. He put his big arm around me and told me that I did a good job but it would not matter because he undid all of my hard work, but I could tell he was proud of me. After the polls closed we went in to watch the vote count. On the machines that day my candidate won, I did it I beat the old man; I just sat there with a very cocky expression that only someone in his early twenties could have all smug and know-it-all. Then we counted the absentee votes. Oops, I neglected to cross all my T’s, we got crushed and my candidate lost the ward and I was humbled beyond belief. I got home after the election party, we lost, vowing never to get involved again and threatened to support the Republican in the fall. After a few weeks I was back on it working for Gene Hartzell, the Democrat who went on to be the most effective County Executive our county has ever had, my candidate in the primary my former high school teacher now State Rep. Rich Grucela. I think of Max Rosenbloom often. About a week ago I ran into his grandson and as we were speaking he started to smile and got this kind of wistful look and said “You know my Grandfather loved you” I told him that I loved his grandfather also and that he was great man and one of the best people to have ever touched my life. After an awkward silence we wished each other well and parted company. Max Rosenbloom may have been a king maker but he was a better man and more of a giant then many of the kings he created.

In 1975 my friend Bob enlisted me in another quixotic campaign; Alice “Tinker” Vitelli was running for Mayor of Easton. This really was a campaign destined to fail but it was fun and thrilling along the way. We were the left of the left in this field; we were the hippies, the tree huggers, the intellectual elite. We were running against two candidates that had the support of the machine and one really odd gadfly. Our only hope of winning was to squeak though if the two machine candidates split the establishment vote and gadfly would take the far right wacko vote and we would be secure with the liberal activists. We had it all mapped out but of course races for Mayor of very small cities really do not break down on ideology, they are based on relationships and experience. We lost the primary and I decided to abandon the Democratic Party and worked tirelessly for the GOP nominee in the fall, we lost. I returned home to the Democrats and discovered Jimmy Carter. No one had heard of him yet. I sent a letter to the campaign and offered to head the effort here; fortunately for them they were able to find someone other than an 11th grader to lead the campaign, lucky for me they found my next door neighbor Debbie. Here I was ready to tilt at windmills again. Bob and I parted company here, he supported Mo Udall.

I am not sure I can clearly say what Jimmy Carter means to me, the right words never really come to mind but there is no national political figure who has affected me the way President Carter has. I think his was my first really grown up campaign effort and I came of age during his presidency. I began to formulate my life views during that time, I started to figure out the various aspects for my life and come to terms with who I was as a person. I don’t want to get to psycho babble here but I was becoming a man at this time and because politics was how I defined myself in those days, Jimmy & Roslyn Carter and Walter Mondale & Joan Mondale are as important to me as Jack, Bobby and Teddy Kennedy. I fully admit Jimmy Carter was not the most successful President that’s just being a realist, Jimmy Carter is a good man and forever will be an inspiration to me and someone I will always adhere the tag of greatness to. On this fact there is no room for discussion and it is not something that is even open to debate. You want to discuss policies, effectiveness fine but the content of his character no.

My senior year in high school I was working full time for the Carter campaign I was so sure of myself and this man from Georgia that I invited the chairman of the county Republican Party to debate me at a high school assembly. Looking back on it now I am sure I was lucky to be saved from this event by a teacher strike. Jimmy Carter was my first winner and boy was it sweet, we were going to change the world we were going to heal America. After the horror of the Nixon years and the shame he brought on this nation the American people had the wisdom during our bicentennial year to elect my choice for President. I will save my Watergate memories for another time. I was now the 17/18 year old wonder kid of the local Democratic Party. Candidates were calling me up and asking for my support, the future was so bright I needed shades, I was going to make Richard Daily look like a rank amateur.

There was on big problem, politics was the only part of my life that was really working. I was not a great student, I could not find a way to replicate the energy and drive I put into politics in the class room. I did well in what I liked but struggled mightily in subjects I did not see a use for and could not find the energy to overcome my difficulties. All of my SAT points were on the verbal side and my score was painfully low, Yale was not going to be my next stop in life. I went to community college and pretty much failed there. I was not ready for college; the only thing I was ready for was running campaigns. I took time off put some money in the bank and grew up a little went back got my Associates Degree and took some more time off because I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and I knew that a future in public office was out of the question and no one was going to hire a chief of staff without a full college degree but as much as I loved learning I hated school, so I learned retail.

Also during this time my hormones were on fire and I had no idea how to channel that energy and it really affected many other aspects of my life. I don’t think I was confused as to who I was sexually I was just confused how to deal with it, I had my orientation figured out in the fourth grade but how to deal with it was a whole different issue.
But, politics was there to comfort and nurture me and to give me comfort and an outlet for a lot of pent up energy.

1980 came along and we had to face Teddy Kennedy in the primaries, no easy task. I ran for alternate delegate to the convention. In that year neither campaign could afford to turn away any supporters so they did not select a slate, I was one of 27 people running for the 3 slots. I was ninth on the ballot and that is where I ended up on Election Day. I campaigned tirelessly I was out giving speeches most nights and knocking on doors. I went back to school and oddly enough my grades did not suffer during this time. I ended becoming the chief speech maker on behalf of Jimmy Carter. I was passionate, sarcastic and full of fury, all this despite a rather pronounced stutter. I attended an event and some of Bobby Kennedy’s sons were going to be there to speak on behalf of their uncle. The young Kennedy staffers did all they could to keep me away from the Kennedy boys. After all the speeches were made and we were socializing I really wanted to meet these famous sons of this great Democratic family but I had to do an end run around the Kennedy staff. I wanted to shake their hands and express my admiration to Bobby Jr and Max Kennedy. I finally got my chance and Bobby joked about his protectors by saying I was not as rough on his uncle that he had heard I was going to be, he told me they thought I was going to try to start a fight or something. I apologized and Bobby assured me that I was fine; he put his arm around me and escorted me to meet his brother and some other folks from the national Kennedy campaign. It was such a high for me that Bobby Kennedy Jr would be so kind to me. After they left I could not help but gloat about my few minutes of basking in the Kennedy glow to the Kennedy staffers for the rest of the primary season, I have to admit that after that night they were a little friendlier.

The Carter people offered me an internship at the White House that summer and I split my time between the White House and the campaign headquarters. It was truly one of the best summers of my life. I was turning 21 and on my own for three months. This would be my opportunity to finally come to terms with myself. It never happened and I’m really not sure why either. I had full White House access and VIP volunteer status at the convention later that summer. I was in the hall the night of the best speech Teddy Kennedy ever gave and despite the fact that I was head to toe in Carter gear it was a remarkable moment and there was not a dry eye in the house including mine.

That year I was also helping to run the congressional race of Jeanette Reibman and the state house race for Bob Freeman. We all lost badly, Bob’s race was much closer and that set us up for a rematch two years later, we won. I was beyond crushed after that election. I cried every time I saw Jimmy Carter on TV and I pouted for a long time. Most people were very kind to me during this time but I was in a world of hurt and lost as to what to do next. I graduated from NCC that December and not sure of my next steps but I was not ready for school. Back to retail and campaigning.

I also decided to face that other issue. I did so quite successfully and I became a different person some of my sharp edged intensity was a little softer and I started enjoy my life a little more. I fell in love and had my heart broken and decided I was ready for school. I had my mind made up and set my course to go to Penn State in the fall, the Mondale campaign offered me a job and much to my surprise I turned it down. I was ready to go to college and then move to Washington DC and find a way to work my way up to Chief of Staff of The White House. I was set as of January 1984. In February 1984 my life changed again, I met him and I never looked back. I went on with my plans for getting my degree and instead of moving to DC, I moved to Bethlehem and we began to build a life together. So it was back to retail and politics. I excelled at both and worked on campaigns big and small. I was on the losing end more than the winning end except for my old friend Bob. I signed on early for the Clinton campaign and felt the same sense of euphoria and hope I did in 1976. I was a Democratic Committeeman, I was on the executive committee of both the city and county parties, TJ Rooney called me the “Moral Voice of the Party”, I headed dinners and fundraiser, I designed brochures and posters, ran volunteer efforts and was a chief surrogate speaker in the area for many campaigns.

In 1994 I ran for State Committee, managed a campaign for state house and was an advisor for Bob’s Senate race. The state race was a train wreck, the candidate was having a midlife crisis and was melting down before his family and friends and was so occupied with his personal issues he did not have the energy to campaign. I was the odds on favorite to be elected to state committee, I lost and I was unemployed. I looked for work and worked full time for Bob Freeman. 1994 was a very bad year to be a Democrat and the results here matched the results around the nation. Bob lost by a handful of votes to a person so inferior in every way and at the end of that campaign I was as the British would say Gutted. I had no job, no real prospect and the thing I have cared about since I was eight years old had let me down for the last time. I was appointed to a term on State Committee but all the passion had left me. I served my term and then I just walked away from active participation in electoral politics. In 2004 Bob had an opponent and I worked the polls for him but that’s it.

I am still very much interested in politics; I study it and follow it as closely as ever. I still talk about it constantly and have kept my friendships so I have kept up on the gossip and behind the scenes action. I will put a bumper sticker on my car and wear campaign buttons. I will attend fundraisers and even mail letters and cards to my friends and neighbors asking them to support my endorsed candidates but I doubt that I will ever get involved in a campaign again. I just don’t have it in me anymore and my life has moved on. Having said all that I am feeling the old tug to assist our excellent young mayor become our excellent young congressman. If Bob Freeman has a real race this year I may have to get involved but I am never ever going to give my heart and soul to it again.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I am thankful for the following
· Guy has been here to support me and make the ups and downs less harsh for more than 25 years
· My family puts up with all this nonsense for more than 50 years
· My sister is rounding the bend and the finish line is in site –
· I have a job
· The support of co-workers and friends showed my brother and our entire family after Mike died
· I live in a great neighborhood in a great small city in a great area
· Some really good old friends and some really good newish friends
· Adderall works
· Barack & Michelle Obama are in the White House
· Joe & Jill Biden are in the Naval Observatory
· Hillary Clinton has the biggest office in Foggy Bottom and her husband is still working to make the world a better place
· Whereas I am still saddened by his death I am thankful that my old friend Teddy Kennedy worked so hard to make this a better country
· Lou Dobbs is off the air
· That most people who read books by the likes of Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin never really read them.
· Few people consider the people listed above to be serious thinkers
· I am able to write things and people read them
· I am an American Citizen
· JoePa
· That I can change the channel every time Joe Lieberman is on
· Twitter and to a lesser extent Facebook
· I can use words in conversation that some people do not understand
· I have a health care plan (not great but better than nothing)
· Frank Rich, Maureen Dowd and Tom Friedman of the NYT and Joan Walsh of Salon
· I will have more than enough to eat tomorrow and that I had the common sense to contribute to every red kettle
· I may not be as well off as I was 3 years ago but I am in a much better place than so many people around

Best wishes to one and all this holiday season. Eat well, drink sensibly, drive sober, love your family, hold your friends closely and share what you can with those who will be hurting and needing this season.


Donald Flad Jr

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Take A Bow

While reading The Huffington Post I saw that some of the President’s critics were calling him to task for bowing to the Emperor of Japan the other day. They neglected to acknowledge that the Emperor of Japan bowed to the President also. The Japanese people bow to each other all the time. It is a show of respect. I bow so much in Japanese restaurants and stores my back hurts at the end of the visit. The President was not bowing in subservience to an Emperor he was greeting a man in the common tradition of the man’s culture.

Dick Should Not Be Talking Smack About Foreign Policy

The Republicans are trying to scare us about putting some of the Gitmo prisoners on trial in New York City and they have been trashing the President for being thoughtful and taking his time to make the best decision possible about how to proceed in Afghanistan. The Republicans used to be perceived as the stronger party on foreign policy issues, I was never sure they deserved that reputation but it was a widely held view. I say was because Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice were very successful in destroying that reputation. So who do the Republicans in exile allow to be their chief spokes people on all things foreign policy and defense matters? Dick Cheney & his unhinged wing nut daughter Liz, the former Vice President was the chief architect of what is arguably the most inept administrations in many generations and I am not sure what exactly Liz brings to the table, she promotes herself as an expert because she worked in the State Department. Does she really think that anyone believes she would have received that appointment if her father had not been the great puppet master of the Bush administration?

The Attorney General announced on Friday that the key planners of 9/11 would be put on trial in Federal Court in New York City. The GOP has whined that the site of the trial will on be a few blocks from where the World Trade Center stood. I am not sure why that is an issue. What better place than lower Manhattan for the trial of the men that caused that big hole to be created in lower Manhattan. Trust me; the citizens of New York can handle a trial of this magnitude. There have been many a high profile trial at this location, the federal government, the State and City of New York will be well prepared for this trial.

Another Republican argument is that these thugs should be put on trial via the military system they set up. This system has proven to be a failure, there have been only three convictions, many military lawyers do not believe in it. The 9/11 attacks were on the entirety of civilization not just the US military. What better message to send to the world that the US will not hide these trials, we will show the world that the US justice system works, the bright light of a public trial will show the world that our legal system of this great republic will prevail over the darkness and pure evil of these men. We have a better system, we are the better people, we are the shining city on the hill and we are not afraid of fair and legal trial. Justice will be served and the entire world we see it. Do the Republicans really think that these people are going to be acquitted by the citizens of New York City and be allowed to walk out of Federal Court into the loving embrace of their families, please what kind of fools do they take us for?

A few weeks ago the discredited chicken hawk draft dodger former Vice President whined that President Obama was dithering about what the next steps should be taken in Afghanistan. His complaint is that the President of the United States was being thoughtful, that he was considering all his options, that he was not rushing to judgment and that he wanted to be sure he was making the best possible decision before committing more of our treasure and more of our troops to a war that was so badly mismanaged by Cheney in the first place. Perhaps if Bush and Cheney had put a little more thought into their efforts in Afghanistan this President would not be in the position he finds himself today. Perhaps if our previous leaders had been interested in gathering enough information and hearing from all sides they would not have started a second military effort in Iraq. Because Dick Cheney did not answer his nations call when it asked him to serve it he has no understanding of what it like to send men to war. President Obama also never served in the military but at least he is relying on the best and the brightest to advise him on this issue, he is not rushing to judgment before he risks the life of one of his citizen warriors.

There are so many failed Republican foreign policy decisions this post could go on forever, I’ll be back.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What The Needy Yet Thrifty Are Reading

Let’s see what Advice and How-to books the American people are reading, according to The NY TIMES. The Times also includes books the editors don’t know how to categorize. This is the paperback list which means the people buying these books are thrifty as well as needy

#10 – Rich Dad’s Conspiracy of the Rich by Robert T. Kiyosaki – Money lessons gleaned from the financial crisis. Is this the guy who wrote Rich Dad / Poor Dad? I didn’t read that either. These types of books are really boring and yet my book case is loaded with them. I have never completed any. Perhaps that’s explains my current financial and underemployment situation.

#9 - The Biggest Loser Simple Swaps by Multiple People - How to get healthier by substituting better dishes and ingredients. I’m assuming that this book is exploiting the success of the TV show. What’s next a movie directed by Rob Reiner? How about just a little common sense and self restraint? “My son is not fat he’s just big boned”

#8 – Hungry Girl 200 Under 200 by Lisa Lillian – 200 hundred recipes with fewer than 200 calories, for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack time. Is 800 calories a day healthy? Do these dishes taste like rice crackers? The publisher is St. Martin’s when did this great name in the book world start hanging out with Oprah and Dr. Phil?

#7 - Buy Ketchup In May And Fly At Noon by Mark Di Vincenzo – Lot’s of answers to the question “What’s the best time to? Perhaps this book may be useful but do I really need to spend $13.99 when the internet is free? No.

#6 - The Love Dare by Stephen & Alex Kendrick with Lawrence Kimbrough – A 40 day challenge for spouses who want to practice unconditional love. Huh? I am assuming that Alex is Stephen’s wife and not his sister or boyfriend and where does Lawrence fit in if this is a book for married couples? Does it take 40 days to practice at unconditional love? What happens if at the end of 40 days your wife decides to put conditions on her love? The opus has been on the chart for 57 weeks, clearly I am missing something here.

#5 – Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman & Kim Barnouin – Vegan diet advice from the world of modeling. Models are writing a book about eating. Next thing we know Sarah Palin will be writing a book about speaking in clear and declarative sentences. I wonder if vodka and cigarettes are vegan.

#4 – The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle – A guide to personal growth and spiritual enlightenment. This new age bible has been on the chart for 80 weeks. A lot of people really like this guy. I admit I have never read any of his pearls of wisdom but I have flipped through them. If you say it enough times, if you really want it to happen, if you will yourself to it your dreams will come true. Well guess what Eck, it does not work that way, and I wish it did but the real world takes a little more effort, politics and bullshit than your goo goo, wish upon a star, Disneyesque type ending. But, then he is a very wealthy guru and I’m not.

#3 – The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman – How to communicate love in a way a spouse will understand. Why does it take a book to know how to speak to the person you have chosen to spend the rest of your life with? I suspect Victoria and Albert, George and Martha, John and Abigail, Christopher and Don or Ronny and Nancy did not need a book to make their relationships survive. They just made it work. Guy and I make it work. But, for 117 weeks people who are too lazy to try have been turning to Mr. Chapman.

#2 – What To Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Markoff & Sharon Mazel – Advise for parents to be. I can’t relate because I will never be in this position and looking around me I don’t think the best advice book has been written. Then again billions of babies are born every week in this world and most of the parents have never had to read a book about it.

#1 – New Moon by Mark Costa Vaz – The illustrated companion to the movie – Lot’s of pictures of shirtless guys, lots of behind the scene scoops to part 2 of this film trilogy. This book will make a great Christmas present for your nephew if you think he’s gay or his 13 year old sister.

Please don’t accept my review as the final word for these books I have not and will not read them.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Check Out These Folks

Check out the must reads I have links to on the right. You will laugh, cry, shake you head in disgust and maybe open some new horizons.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

This Is What Happened On Election Day

Virginia: For more than a generation the recently elected President’s party has lost the race for governor in Virginia. That is the trend in this election. Yes, the Democrats poured as much money as the Republicans did into the race. They had to do something to try to make it competitive. Yes, the President did campaign for Sen. Deeds. He is the head of the party and he wanted to do all he could to support the nominee. The voters in Virginia told the exit pollsters that the President was not a factor in this race. They told the exit pollsters that they held a higher opinion of the President yesterday than they did on the day they gave him their electoral votes. Sen. Deeds ran an awful campaign, he never told the people who he was or what he really believed in and he was more dull and bland than Michael Dukakis. Sen. Deeds never connected with the voters. The winner Mr. McDonnell was personable and charming; he was successful at keeping his more wing nut views away from the voters and talked about the issues that mattered to people the most, local taxes and local job creation. He had also served as Attorney General and was better known state wide and more experienced on the larger stage. Sen. Deeds was unable to connect with the new voters who last November were so critical to the Obama victory and they stayed home in droves. The Obama voters are Obama voters; I suspect we will see them return next year when the election is about national issues not state and local issues.

New Jersey: John Corzine deserved to lose. Not so much that he was a bad Governor but he was a bad leader. In fact he really did not lead at all. He was bland, colorless and seemed to lack any vision. He ran for governor because the last elected governor was forced to resign because he cheated on his wife with a male staffer. Corzine & the Democrats were never able to shake the stench left by L’ Affair McGreevy. Gov. Corzine only bold action was the disastrous attempt to save the radio career of Don Imus, we all remember him not wearing a seat belt while riding in the front seat of the speeding state SUV and almost losing his life when that SUV crashed all in an attempt to bring peace between a radio hack and the girl’s basketball team of Rutgers. This event showed where his priorities were and they were clearly not with the people of Warren County but with a millionaire disc jockey who lives in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Then came all the corruption charges brought against Democratic politicians and rabbis this summer. I am certain that Corzine is above petty corruption (too rich to bribe) but it was just another example of the corruption that defines so much of New Jersey politics and New Jersey politics has been dominated by a very dysfunctional Democratic Party as of late. Like the voters of Virginia the voters of New Jersey tend to clean the governor’s mansion every eight years. Also, like the voters of Virginia they told the pollsters they found the President personally very popular and a majority of voters said they were not taking the President into the voting booth with them. This election was about very local issues and no national trend can be found.

Congressional races: There were two House seats up for grabs yesterday and both were won by the Democrats. The one in California the result was expected. The other was in upstate New York. This seat has been held by the Republican Party almost as long as there has been a Republican Party. The first Republican was elected in the 1870’s; this seat has not been held by a Democrat in almost 150 years. This seat caught the interest of the two radio/TV personality leaders of the Republican Party with histories of addiction problems and the woman who failed in her obligation to the voters of her state by quitting rather than fighting for them, this seat that for almost 8 generations has been held by the party of Ronald Reagan, this most Republican of seats was won by a Democrat. The voters in the two areas of the country that had the opportunity to vote on national issues and decide on the person they sent to Washington, not Richmond or Trenton to represent them in the national debate and vote on the President’s agenda, voted for a Democrat. These were the only two races with national consequences and the Republicans and Conservatives were rejected.

So when you tune into the chattering classes over the next couple of days keep in mind that they are talking about themselves to themselves for the benefit of themselves and they know that no one will watch them unless they make mountains out of mole hills and stories out of thin air.

My review of the local election to follow.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Election 2009: The Reviews Are Planned

I will make this prediction for Election Day 2009. The chattering class and the punditry will say that the big loser was President Obama. I suspect that many already have their columns already written and are just waiting to fill in some numbers. They will say that this non federal election was a referendum on the Obama presidency. They will say that the results do not bode well for his programs and policies. They will say that he must re-group; they will call on the President to surround himself with some wise old DC hands and suggest that Rahm should resign. The Fox set will be full of joy and gloat that the American people agree with them and have turned their backs on the President. The addicts who lead the Republican Party from the lofty perches of radio will take credit for the humiliating Presidential defeat. They will say all that and more.

They will be of course overly dramatic and they will of course be wrong.

These local elections tomorrow have nothing to do with President Obama. Tip O’Neil once commented that all politics is local and that is exactly what this election is, local. People will not be carrying the President into the ballot box tomorrow. The elections being held tomorrow are about local issues and home town concerns. We are not voting on war, we are not voting on health care, we are not voting on relations with Iran and we are not voting on this President’s less than nine months in office.

We will be voting on how our schools are run, how our streets are cleaned, and the type of person sitting on our local courts and in two very different states we will be voting for governor. Our concerns this election day are far removed from the fights and intrigue of Washington DC but the big talkers will convince themselves that this election is about what is going on in Washington DC. They will of course be talking about themselves to themselves; they will not be talking about how we live day to day here in Bethlehem or Easton.

Here’s what’s going to happen tomorrow:

New York City Mayor: Mayor Bloomberg wins a third term. He really is a Democrat, he ran as a Republican for his first two terms because he thought it would be the cheapest nomination to buy. Now, he is running as an Independent on the Republican line. He deserves to win even though his serving a third term may be illegal.

Governor of Virginia: The Republican will win and not because the voters hate Obama. He will win because the Dems have been in the Governors seat for 8 years and it’s time for a change. The Democrat deserves to lose after running one of the worst campaigns since Billy Carter ran for office in the late 1970’s.

Governor of New Jersey: Tossup. John Corzine has done a really bad job. The Democrats have so dominated the states politics for such a long time people just really want a change. Again, this is all local and has nothing to do with Michelle Obama’s arms. The Democrats are viewed as corrupt and incompetent and the people of the garden state are just exhausted by them.

NY 23: Who the hell knows? The GOP candidate just dropped out because she had no support within the party leadership, they are supporting the Conservative Party candidate. The Republican nominee has endorsed the Democrat. The last time a Democrat won this seat was in the 1870’s. No one is predicting this bad boy.

That’s it my brilliant readers. That is the extent of the political races that the chattering class will say is a referendum on the President of the United States. They will say it but we do not have to believe them. Send them a tweet or an e-mail telling them that they are wrong and if they want to discuss it further they can meet us at the bar of Hotel Bethlehem and we can clarify their thinking and leave them with the tab as punishment for their shallow stupidity.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Football, Food & Curing Cancer - This Sunday

I am attending/volunteering at the 2nd Annual Chili & Wing Cook off to benefit the local chapter of the American Cancer Society.

The event is a presentation of the great people with Nazareth Area Chamber of Commerce.

Watch the Eagles VS Giants game and eat some great food.

Local restaurants and caterers will be offering up some of the tastiest grub you will find anywhere. Sam’s Club will be providing the extra large screen TV’s

Why: Benefit the National Cancer Society

Where: Hampton Inn Easton – Route 248 between 25th ST/22 and route 33.

When: This Sunday, November 1 - doors open noon – game starts @ 1:00

Cost: Only $15.00 / Cash Bar / Pizza, snacks, energy drinks

Details: Prizes for best team spirit – best chili – best wings – there will be exciting raffles

Special Souperbowl Rematch
Meals on Wheels is making Seafood Chowder / North Star Adventure is making Cream of Crab Soup

For more details on buying tickets or to become a chili or wing vendor

Contact the Nazareth Area Chamber of Commerce
610-759-9188 or 610-759-5262 or contact me

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Bias In The Fox House

I have been amused by watching the members of the chattering class fall all over themselves to defend Fox News and to be critical of the White House’s decision to freeze Fox out of guests from the administration. These talkers hate Fox News and wish nothing but professional ill will to anyone involved with the network. They believe that Fox gives journalism a bad name and yet they pretend this outrage at the White House’s exclusion of the network.

The President and his people can speak to whomever they choose and not speak to whomever they choose. There is a long history of Presidents and staff freezing out certain reporters, newspapers, radio stations and now cable news networks. Bush 43 did not allow his people on MSNBC. It’s not like the people who only watch Fox are really interested in anything the President has to say. After all they have an addict and a philanderer to tell them what is moral and the right way think. The chatterers are trying to make it sound as if the President is ignoring large quantities of voters. The viewer ship for any given FOX show is a few hundred thousand and we are a nation of over 300 million people. If you only get your news from Fox the chances are that you are not going to vote for many Democrats or the President anyway. How many tea bagging birthers do you know who are saying positive things about Barack Obama?

I am not sure it was wise to telegraph this strategy as publicly as the White House did; it has become yet another distraction. On the same token I understand why the President would not want to reward the network that has spread the birther movement, created that racist tea bagger event in DC and led the ridiculous drumbeat against his stay in school and work hard speech during the first week of school.

The critics of the President say he is only speaking to friendly questioners or at least questioners who have shown proclivity to the center left. I watched most or part of his most recent Sunday chatathon. The questioners asked the tough question and did not seem to hold back. The downside that morning of all things Obama was the lack of diversity in the questions there was some slight variations but overall the questions were all very similar. Despite the best efforts of the punditry that were left out of the marathon the President seems to be well served by the effort and one can point to that weekend was when his numbers began to rebound.

The Fox News networks conservative bias is clear. The critics like to point out the MSNBC is also biased but in the more liberal direction. It may is true that some of MSNBC’s stars are more to the left than the hosts of Fox but a show hosted by Joe McCarthy & Joe Kennedy would be to the left of Fox. For the critics to compare the bias found on Fox to the bias found on MSNBC is like comparing the intellectual drive & pursuit of knowledge by Sarah Palin and that of Hillary Rodham Clinton. Yes, Keith Olberman and Rachel Maddow tend to side with the President on most issues but I have also seen them come after him when they believed he fell short. How many times did we see Fox challenge Bush/Cheney? Does Fox have a host that leans left to compare with the conservative leaning MSNBC host, Joe Scarborough? If The Fox News network showed even a slight interest in covering both sides of the story I believe the President would reward them with some of his staffers but as long as the network continues to carry the conservative/ Republican message as loyally as a staffer of the RNC, they deserve to be left out of the good graces of the Obama administration.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

What Are You Reading?

Instead of a re-cap of the news I thought I take a look at what America is reading according to the New York Times Book Review. Go on to see the complete lists. The only book on this list I have read is True Compass by Ted Kennedy. I cannot pass judgment on the quality of the books but I can comment on the fact that they are on the list and what it says about us as culture.

#16 The Case For God – by Karen Young – Ms. Young is a former nun and she is trying to rescue God from atheists and literal true believers. How do you rescue God from someone who does not even believe that God exists? If you are a true believer than what is there to rescue, you are already on Ms. Young’s side. In the old days I would have picked this book up and the chance is I would not have finished it.
#15 The National Parks – by Dayton Duncan & Ken Burns – A companion to the PBS Show. I have seen this book and it is a great coffee table book. Your friends will be impressed with your support of PBS. Keep in mind that you will have to dust it but it will make a great last minute gift to your secret Santa. Not that Ken Burns needs anymore money but someday I hope he will spend some of it on a big boy haircut, I mean really, one would think someone as old as Mr. Burns would stop having his mommy cutting around the salad bowl she puts on his head.
#14 Culture Of Corruption – Michelle Malkin – This little gem has been on the list for 10 weeks and is about how corrupt the Obama administration is. I read the dust cover of the opus and then took a shower. When this book came out the administrations was only a few weeks old and yet this genius is calling it the most corrupt presidential administration. To really appreciate this author please look up some of her visits to Fox News or her column in the NY Post. I know George Will, George Will is a friend of mine and Michelle you are no George Will. She is someone that only a birther could take seriously.
#13 Half The Sky – By Nicholas Kristof & Sheryl Wu-Dunn - Mr. Kristof is a must read for me and he should be for you too. His columns in the NT Times are compelling. For many years he has exposed the heinous sexual crimes and oppression against women throughout Asia and Africa. This book continues that campaign.
#12 End The Fed – By Ron Paul – The Texas Congressman explains why the Federal Reserve Bank needs to be abolished. The Tea baggers try to claim the honorable Mr. Paul as their own but he has not embraced them. He is a thoughtful and decent man who truly believes in a small government and libertarian principles. He is not a nut case and should be taken seriously.
#11 America On Purpose-By Craig Ferguson – The comic and talk show host writes about his life and journey to citizenship. I don’t care, I don’t want to be mean but really I do not care.
#10 Official Book Club Selection-By Kathy Griffin- the comedian writes her memoirs, again.
#9 Outliers-By Malcolm Gladwell – This cat is really interesting but I don’t think I’m smart enough to really get him. I tried Blink and I blinked all the while I was falling asleep.
#8 The Greatest Show On Earth-By Richard Dawkins-A defense of evolution and a counterattack on intelligent design. I am sure this is well done but do we need an entire book on it. All we have to do is slap these morons on the back of the head and quote Cher “Snap out of it”
#7 Where Men Win Glory-By Jon Krakauer- Mr. Krakauer is a brilliant writer and few people tell true stories with more clarity, you cannot put his books down. Because I am cheap I will wait for the paperback or take it out of the library. His other books were gripping. This one is about the Pat Tillman friendly fire death.
#6 High On Arrival-by Mackenzie Phillips-Yuck! We have all heard the details. I can’t even think of a clever comment on this train wreck of a life.
#5 The Murder Of King Tut-By James Patterson-I suspect that it is the author that is driving the sales on this book. How many people really care about the death of the Boy King of Egypt?
#4 The Time Of My Life-by Patrick Swayze & Lisa Niemi-A memoir. Again, not to be mean but I really just do not care. I am sure he was a very nice man and their relationship appears to be one for the ages but why would I want to read about it?
#3 True Compass-By Edward M. Kennedy- The memoirs of one of the pivotal figures of the last 40 years. A great read. I can hear his voice as he is telling me the story of his life.
#2 Arguing With Idiots-By Glenn Beck-It should be titled Arguments By An Idiot. I wonder if the people who buy books by Glenn Beck actually read them. I have never heard one person quote me one thing from any of this blowhard’s books. I hope what I just wrote makes this clown cry because the headache his rambling gives me brings tears to my eyes.
#1 Have A Little Faith-By Mitch Albom-I am sure this is a very nice and comforting book. I will not be reading it.

Well, there you have it my review of the bestselling books in the land. I have not read them and I will not be reading most of them but I will not let that little fact get in the way of my expressing my opinion on them. Wow! I feel just like all those people who were critical of the Presidents back to school speech before they even had a chance to read it. I like the bliss that ignorance brings.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Let Rush Alone

I don’t really understand the fascination with and the national obsession that is Rush Limbaugh. Every media outlet was all over the story of the quest to be part of a group trying to buy the St. Louis Rams. Every newspaper, website, network news program, talk TV shows, radio talk shows, most water coolers and every lunch room in the country were obsessed over this story. Here is the boiled down version. A radio talk show host was going to be a minority partner investor in one of the worst football teams in the NFL. Rush was going to have no real authority with the team, he was not going to be involved in day to day management decisions and nothing he said or did was going to impact the players or the greater game itself. He was going to write a fairly large check and hope to someday get a return on his investment. That’s it, nothing more nothing less. This is not really a story and certainly not worthy of the 24 hour, day in and day out coverage it received.

Why was this nonsense such a big story? Rush Limbaugh is a huge star. He is someone people love to love and love to hate. He represents what is great about the American dream. If you work hard, if you are unique, if you have some talent you can be very successful. You don’t have to be a Harvard grad; you don’t have to be born into noble or wealthy conditions to make it to the top of your field. You just have to have that certain thing that attracts people to you. You also have to have the guts to stick with it. You have to have the fortitude to enjoy the highs and make it through the lows. He is one example of the success that can happen in this great country.

Make no mistake I am not even close to being a fan of Rush Limbaugh – in fact on my Twitter site I vowed never to use his name and refer to him with a reference to some self control problems he had a few years ago. I think most of his comments are shallow and only touch the surface of the issues; I don’t think he really digs down and does the hard work to find solutions to our many problems. He has been around so long that even the most casual listener can predict where he will fall on any given issue. This is why he said he hoped the President failed because he knew it would get the attention of the MSM and he would be back in the headlines. It will be interesting to watch to see how far he is willing to go now that Glenn Beck is sucking up so much of the right wing oxygen. It will be fun to watch if these two get into a wing nut cage match.

His being dumped by his fellow investors says more about the type of men they are than it does about the people who led the drum beats in opposition to Rush being part of the NFL. Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony & Gloria Estefan are all investors in the Miami Dolphins and nothing changed expect the men who really run the team have some fresh cash flow. Rush was going to be in the same situation and yet the entire nation convulsed over this issue. How was this important? Why did we care? What was really the point? If a man who has earned his money honestly and has worked hard for it wants to spend some of it on a sports team let him. It’s his bloody money and if this how he wants to spend it, so be it. I can think of far more harmful things someone like Rush Limbaugh can do with all that money.

I am calling on congress to set up a special committee to look at every investor of every professional sports franchise because the American people have the right to know that their sports teams are being funded by men and women who neither are without flaw nor have never made a controversial statement.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Are You Smarter Than An Immigrant?

Last week a friend asked me for some assistance with her citizenship test practice sheet. She had most of the questions already answered and answered correctly, thanks to the Internet. I don't think the government cares how one gets the answers they just want the person to get the answers. My friend had multiple answers for each question thus giving her more options per question in case her first answer does not come to her. She did a very thorough job and I told her so. She really did not need my assistance but since I am the politics/history geek she was very proud of herself.

There were 100 questions and she will be asked to answer up to 10 of them. The questions will be chosen randomly by the examiner and it is up to the examiner if they will be oral or written. She must get six correct.

Here are the questions I would ask of someone born and educated in this country. Let me know how well you do. I will publish my answers tomorrow. I don't have a copy of the official answer guide, I am just assuming my answers are correct.
  1. What is the Supreme Law of the land?
  2. What is freedom of religion?
  3. How many amendments does the Constitution have?
  4. We elect U.S. Senator for how many years?
  5. If the President and the Vice President are both unable to serve, who becomes President?
  6. Who is the Chief Justice of the United States now?
  7. There were 13 original states. Name three?
  8. What did the Emancipation Proclamation do?
  9. Name one American Indian tribe.
  10. Who was the first President?
  11. Who was President during WW I?
  12. Name one of the two longest rivers in America.
  13. What ocean is on the west coast of America.
  14. Name one state that borders Canada.
  15. Name one state that borders Mexico.
  16. Why does the flag have 13 stripes?
  17. What major event happened on September 11, 2001, in the United States?
  18. Name one U. S. territory.
  19. Name your U. S. Representative.
  20. Name one branch or part of the U.S. government

Since my test is for people the birthers do not have to worry about I am asking 20 instead of 10 questions.

Good Luck

Monday, October 12, 2009

They Are Out There

I am one of those people that other people think they can talk to. Maybe it's the Howdy Doody face, I just seem to be approachable. Or it could be that anyone who knows me knows that I have an opinion on everything. I have a little knowledge about a lot things and it takes me pretty far in dealing with these folks who just feel compelled to speak to me.

I was speaking with some people about not much of anything when one of them said she was sick of Michelle Obama and how she was always talking about how hard it is to be black and how she is looking for sympathy for being descended from slaves. My head nearly snapped off as I turned to look at her and could only utter Huh? (witty I know). She said that she was tired of blacks blaming white people for their ancestors slavery when it was their fault to begin with. Now I am not above having a bring it on conversation with people but this was neither the place or time. But, I had to ask for more details.

I pointed out that it was white people who were the slave owners and that the slaves that were being owned were black and from Africa. Who else was there to blame. Her response: They were. Thinking she was just trying to get a rise out me I said "Yeah they just jumped onto those ships and put themselves in irons and set for a better life in America as property of some fat white guy and that the women were particularly eager to be raped and have their children sold to other plantations - good times indeed." She said the the wealthy Africans sold the poor ones to be slaves and therefore it was the black peoples own fault. I said that they were still slaves though. She responded that reparations were bullshit. I looked over to another person in this little group who just stood there with his mouth open. I asked if she was serious or was she just trying to get a rise out of the old white liberal with the black life partner. She informed me that she was serious and that the fact of it was not open to debate. I was stunned and I wanted to learn more about the genesis of this theory but other people came up and the subject was dropped. My other friend just shrugged, chuckled and congratulated me on my self control.

I am rather fond of the this woman, I think she has a lot of street smarts and common sense, or at least I did. She is hard working, smart, has raised two children alone and decided to go back to community college to better her life. So I was kind of floored by this. I have never seen any racist behavior in how she reacts with other people. We never really talked much about politics so I really don't know where she stands on other issues but I never got the impression she was a wacko right wingnut. Maybe she is. I just hope to hell she's not a birther.

This brief conversation made me wonder about how these theories get started. Are the people who dream up odd theories and conspiracies unstable? Are they delusional? Can they be treated with drugs and psychotherapy? Do they have too much free time on their hands and then their minds wander off the reservation of normality? And, what about the people who subscribe to these theories, what is it that allows them to believe this stuff? What happened in their lives to leave them open these ideas?

Did you know there are many people walking around out there who actually believe that President Obama is the Anti-Christ?

Next time you are in line at the grocery store look around you and try to pick out the person that thinks Hillary Clinton killed Vince Foster in the White House and took his body out to the national park where he was found. Does the person with the soy milk, turkey burger and a head of lettuce in his basket really believe there are 13 Grand Masons that really control everything in the world? Maybe I am just being paranoid?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

And the Award goes to...

I have posted the President's response to winning the Nobel Prize below. But first my thoughts.

My first response was surprise and then I thought the haters are going to have a field day with this and they have. I have not spent a lot of energy listening to what they have to say, it has all been pretty predictable and of course exaggerated. The same people who were happy when a great American city lost out on the Olympics are now unhappy they the world has embraced the American dream. Are these people really patriotic Americans and really how much do they love their country? Is their hatred for President Obama and their lust to return to power so strong that they do not realize that this is not just an honor for President Obama but an honor the American people who elected him?

As a nation we should be proud that our President has won this award. But, are we? Some of us are. I am. I admit that it may be a bit premature but the fact that the international community now views the President of the United States as a figure of hope is an honor that can not and should not be ignored. Ronald Reagan referred to America as a shining symbol of hope that the world looked up to. By awarding the President of the United States this award today the Nobel Committee acknowledges that.

This award will assist the President on the international stage. It reflects the international community's relief that change has come to Washington and that the United States is once again ready to lead not as a bully but from the bully pulpit. Awarding the Nobel Prize so early in his term is a down payment on the future of America's world leadership.

From the President:
This morning, Michelle and I awoke to some surprising and humbling news. At 6 a.m., we received word that I'd been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009.
To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who've been honored by this prize -- men and women who've inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace.
But I also know that throughout history the Nobel Peace Prize has not just been used to honor specific achievement; it's also been used as a means to give momentum to a set of causes.
That is why I've said that I will accept this award as a call to action, a call for all nations and all peoples to confront the common challenges of the 21st century. These challenges won't all be met during my presidency, or even my lifetime. But I know these challenges can be met so long as it's recognized that they will not be met by one person or one nation alone.
This award -- and the call to action that comes with it -- does not belong simply to me or my administration; it belongs to all people around the world who have fought for justice and for peace. And most of all, it belongs to you, the men and women of America, who have dared to hope and have worked so hard to make our world a little better.
So today we humbly recommit to the important work that we've begun together. I'm grateful that you've stood with me thus far, and I'm honored to continue our vital work in the years to come.

Thank you,

President Barack Obama

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Does the Right Wing Love America?

For more than a generation or at least since the late 1960's the right wing in this county has claimed to love this country more than the left. "America Love or Leave it", "God Bless the USA", "Morning in America" were some of the slogans the right has used to help them in their flag waving. They claimed to be more loyal to this country than the left. Remember all the grief the Dixie Chicks went through. Note all the talk radio drama when Michelle Obama inartfully described the pride she had last year. And, the Democrats were not allowed to be critical of the Bush foreign policy

The left allowed the right this claim because many of my brothers on the left are intellectual snobs. It was beneath them to wear a flag pin, they would not put their hands over their heart during the national anthem. These may seem like small things but image matters in politics. The left supported the right to burn the flag, favored ending school prayer and supported a more open, permissive and multicultural society. All things I agree with on constitutional and moral grounds but the left allowed the right to turn these things into anti-American activities. They of course are not. The left never really learned how to fight back. Maybe it is beneath us to get into the gutter with these people.

But, it turns out the Right wing only loves this country when the Republicans have power. We have a US Senator going to travel to Honduras to support an illegal goverment and give voice in oppostion to the policy of the US government. Some would call that treason and you know the GOP would be calling for criminal charges if the parties were reversed. It was fine with the right wing that a member of Congress shouted the President was a liar during a joint session address. Again, if the shoes were on the other party there would have been calls for criminal charges. The President of The United States travels to Copenhagen to support a great American city in it's bid for the Olympics. A project that would have generated tens of thousands of jobs, brought in millions of taxes and billion dollars of tourist money. The Republicans, their supporters and the addicts that are their chief spokes people on the radio and Fox news are happy, thrilled, overjoyed that America lost. Is this an example of "My Country Right or Wrong"?

I hope someone out there can explain to me how hoping Chicago lost it's bid and partying like it's 1956 when it did lose is pro American. To me it looks like these people really hate this country and if that's the case they should leave. I will be more than happy to be standing on the docks or tarmac and give them a big wave goodbye.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

A Review of Recent Events

  • The Pope has a spider crawl all over him and it makes the evening news.
  • Does anyone really think that if Obama did not go to Copenhagen the GOP would not have criticized him? Had Chicago lost and POTUS did not try they would have questioned his patriotism.
  • Can how John Boehner maintains his tan be healthy for him?
  • The democratically elected government of Honduras is overthrown and the US reacts in concert with the rest of the world and condemns this action. Sen. Jim DeMint R SC decides to go the Honduras and say the world is wrong. Democracy is not to be supported by the leaders of the Republican party. Where will that lead?
  • Speaking of the leaders of the Republican party - the two biggest leaders named Glenn and Rush were happy the US lost the bid for the Olympics. These two addicts are happy the US lost and yet their supporters call them patriots. Stop and think about that for a moment. They hate our President so much they are happy the US did not win.
  • A Democrat gets a little colorful on the house floor and the GOP calls for him to apologize. This is the party that gave us Birthers, Death Panelists, Matthew Shepard's death was a lie, the census is bad, school health programs are secret sex / abortion clinics, the First Lady is related to apes, the Democratic health care plan will kill the disabled and not cover members of the GOP and YOU LIE. And, they really expect the American people to support their outrage?
  • In Harrisburg leaders want to tax your tickets to the State Theatre but not cigars.
  • In Harrisburg our elected officials get paid yet do nothing for over three months.
  • In Northampton County most council members are too busy to do their jobs and yet they collect their paychecks.
  • The punditry tries to equate the Ensign scandal to the Letterman scandal. A US Senator cheats on his wife with a staffer's wife who is also on his staff, gives a job to one of their children, gets the male staffer a job as a lobbyist which is illegal for him to hold and has his parents write a really big check to the man, his wife and two of their three children and the other is a comedian who had affair(s) with adults on his staff. Are they really the same? Both are wrong but one is the same US Senator that moralized about everyone else caught up in a sex scandal and one made snarky jokes about them. Are they really on the same level?

It is a world gone mad I tells ya a world gone mad.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Legislative Process Does Not Work

Pennsylvania is not alone with a dysfunctional legislature, many legislative bodies in this country do not work.

In California the leadership was forced to lock people in the chamber so they would be forced to hammer out a budget, I'm sure this violated some fire escape laws. In New York state three power hungry guys switched parties and then switched back but in the mean time younger members were asked to run to the front in order to wrest control of the microphone. Then the three returned to the bosom of the Democratic party and were rewarded with leadership positions. One of the party switchers is on trial for slashing the face of his lady friend.

But states are not the only legislative bodies in a state of disrepair. The Philadelphia city council threatened to strip the mayor's office of vital funding that would have left the city less safe unless the mayor restored funding for their tax payer funded cars. The New York city council voted to ignore the instructions of the voters and allowed themselves and the mayor to run for another term, but just this one time. Sure. The Easton city council voted to appoint the mayor/president's wife to fill an unexpired term. Allentown might as well not even have a council they are so ineffective and impotent. And, then there are the Easton and Bethlehem school boards. Someone needs to contact the Bravo Networks Andy Cohen about a reality show.

The failings of the Congress of the United State are so well documented on an hourly basis that I don't need to go into a details here. The low lights are so bountiful that I don't know where to begin.

Legislatures do not work for a few reasons. There is too much money to be made and spent in campaigns. The parties are so weak and have not real power that they cannot command any loyalty, see money. And, everybody wants to be a star, no one wants to work their way up through the system, it is so bad that freshman are given chairmanships of subcommittees before they even can find the private member only restrooms.

Member loyalties are to the contributors and to the special interests that assisted the candidate during the campaign. The parties no longer contribute anywhere near the money to the candidates that the interests do. Campaign managers come from lobbying / consulting firms and not from the party organization. Party is merely a line to run on and little else.

The government has gotten so big that congress has been forced to expand the reach of it's oversight role, thus creating committees and subcommittees to look at everything from defense spending to the maintenance of the restrooms at parks. Each needs a chair and a ranking member.

School boards are exempt from the money interest since their campaigns cost very little and the members are not paid. School boards don't work because few members really care about the big picture. Many people run for school board to promote a personal agenda, my favorite school board members are the ones who send their children to private school. What really is their motivation in seeing to the education of other peoples children?

One commonly suggested fix to the money problem is to enact strict campaign financing reforms to wring the money out of the system. On it face this appears to be a good proposal but these proposal will not pass Supreme Court review because they violate the first amendment to the constitution. My dear friend Bethlehem City Treasurer Kaija Farber once told me that in Finland a big billboard is set up in the center of the community and candidates running for local office are given the space the size of a poster to list their reasons for running, that's it. Not a bad idea considering there are still posters from the 1968 presidential race along some of our highways.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

PA Is A Sad State

It was supposed to be passed in June. In the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the place where pen was put to paper and a nation was born, a place where another pen was put to paper and one of the greatest legal documents ever created was written, the US Constitution. A place that was the home of Ben Franklin, a place where the battle that turned the tide in the civil war took place in Gettysburg. The Pennsylvania that led the industrial revolution, the place that made the steel used the build the nations highways, bridges, tunnels, and great skyscrapers. Pennsylvania has one of the great Ivy League university's. Pennsylvania that has two of the nations greatest symphony orchestras and some of it's finest museums. In Pennsylvania lives the greatest college football coach in history. Ike, the general that saved Europe from Nazi domination chose to live in Pennsylvania. And, Pennsylvania is the birthplace of the single worst President in our nations history, James Buchanan. Which leads me to this fact.

Pennsylvania has yet to pass it's budget.

School districts are running out of money, poor children are not allowed to attend pre-school, vendors are not getting paid despite the fact they are still obligated to provide services. City's and counties are not getting reimbursed for the services they are mandated by law to preform, our county courts are running on IOUs. But, our bloated legislature and our Governor are getting paid. These guys are still getting their health care paid for. Their cars, travel and meals are getting reimbursed but for everything else the state is obligated to pay for. Too bad! If I did not do my job not only would I not get paid but I would not have a job at all. Yet these people have no problems paying themselves and clearly have no guilt about it at all. Nothing else is getting done and yet they are getting a paycheck.

Even the disasters that are New York State and California have budgets. Alaska had it's governor freak out and quit has a budget. But, not Pennsylvania.

Let me say here that I have a great deal of respect for many of our local legislators. Greg Dally, has my vote for judge because I think he is a decent, hard working guy and will bring a fresh perspective to the bench. He also does not have the name Lisa Boscola on his poster and for that reason alone he deserves my vote. I have known and respected Steve Samuelson since he worked for a local paper. Rich Grucela has been a friend since he was a young teacher with me in one of his first classes and Bob Freeman has been my friend since he was 15 and I was 13 and we were knocking on doors for George McGovern. Bob was the first person I came out to face to face and it was Bob's loss in 1994 that led to my decision to remove myself from active participation in politics. Bob is one of my oldest and dearest friends. I supported Ed Rendell during his first race for Governor against Bob Casey Sr and believe that he has been one of the bright lights of the Democratic party for more than a generation.

After a quarter of year now even I am even struggling with not holding these fine men accountable for the actions of their leadership and their Governor. I admit to not understanding all the details of this stand off but It has become increasingly clear to me that the debate is not about policy but it is about power. It's like these guys are six years old & having a breath holding contest or a blinking contest or they are tying to prove that the are the biggest man. After all this time they have proven only how small they really are and I wish they would all just hold their breath so long they pass out and real leaders emerge. I keep waiting for the good people in both parties to stand up to their leaders and take over. I keep waiting and waiting and waiting.

I will offer my campaign assistance to the gentleman listed above next year because I believe they are decent people who serve their constituents well but I will certainly understand the people who will have a difficult time voting for them and quite frankly will be unable and maybe unwilling to defend them over this ridiculous budget process. Even if they are not embarrassed, I am.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Martin On Main Lives to Entertain for Another Day

In the beginning of August I wrote that some downtown Nazareth merchants were not thrilled to have the Martin on Main Festival on their door steps.

I am pleased to report that a meeting was held this week between the merchants directly impacted by the festival and the event organizers. By all reports it was a great and successful meeting. All issues were aired and a consensus was achieved. The event will continue at it's current location and with the feedback from the merchants, next years event will be better than this years.

Congratulations to all parties for being able to discuss the issues openly and freely. And, congratulations to all parties for recognizing that this unique and wonderful event only benefits the entire Nazareth community.

I am already looking forward to volunteering next year.

Now if the the political leadership of this once great commonwealth could act like adults and pass a bloody budget. That is something I will address later but for now I want to celebrate the success of the Nazareth merchant community, the Nazareth Chamber of Commerce and the Martin Guitar aficionados.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Must You Really Be Rude

I love blogs and I read hundreds every week. Some every day and some occasionally. I read news blogs, art blogs, gossip blogs, porn blogs, photo blogs, opinion blogs, music blogs, gay/straight and mixed blogs. But I rarely read the comments, except for Lehigh Valley Ramblings and I only read them because I post my thoughts on Bernie's really informative and entertaining site of all things Lehigh Valley.

It's not that I don't care what people are thinking, I do, otherwise why would I spend so much time reading blogs? I don't read comments because so many commenter's are rude, coarse, crude, insulting, petty, foul, nasty and often uninformed. This may come off sounding a tad snobbish or elitist but most commenter's do not know what the hell they are talking about. If they did they would not resort to the petty insults and name calling. The ones that peeve me the most are the anonymous ones. If you are going to attempt to insult me or put me down at least have the guts to sign your name or at least your first name.

I am not writing this because of something written on our comments here. Most of our commenter's have been thoughtful, funny and have added to the conversations I have been trying to start. Thank you. Also, this site hardly gets the traffic of Bernie's so we'll see what happens if I get a lot more traffic. Though if the commenter's begin to resemble an Arlen Specter town hall meeting I will begin to edit.

It's not just the political or current events blogs that get mean comments., which covers all things gay is a really wonderful and informative site. Andy Towle is pretty much a godfather of not only gay bloggers but blogging in general. His site has won every major award and deserves all the praise it gets. Last week he posted a youtube video that was fun and really delightful. Five twentysomething gay guys posted a video where they danced, lip synced and interpreted the Miley Cyrus song Party in the USA. This video was really clever and very very cute. They guys were clearly enjoying their summer vacation on Fire Island and their youth. It was campy and clever. Will it be nominated for an Oscar of best short subject? No, but it was fun. I foolishly decided to read the comments. They were just awful. Many, if not most of the comments were so hateful, mean and down right vulgar that I was actually shaken. These people took something that was so fun and light and tried to turn it into something so awful, I could not even find the words to comment myself.

Why? Why do people have to be so negative, so hateful, so coarse and crude and why do they feel compelled to share their bleak and dreary view of the world with the rest of us? Expressing strong opinions is one thing, being mean, rude or even just down right stupid is something else. Unless you are really bringing something to the conversation I really don't want to hear/read what you have to say. Calling people names, belittling them and their views does not make you smarter than them. In fact it makes you small and unworthy of my time and efforts.

I don't want a world without dissent, lord knows I loves me a good debate and I am willing to take on all comers but I will just walk away if you are confrontational or disrespectful or rude. I will not allow myself to be brought to the gutter. No one should.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Values Voters or Are They

The Values Voters met this week in DC.

Why has the Main Stream Media (MSM) accepted that these people are The Value Voters? I have a very strong set of values, choose charities to support based on my values and I vote based on my values. Why am I not considered a values voter by the MSM? Are my values not as good as theirs?

Every person has values yet the MSM only acknowledges this group of extremists as the one true Values Voters.

The conservatives are so much better then liberals at owning words. They own the words values, family, traditional, patriotic, strong country, strong defense, strong foreign policy.

If the right uses the word compassion it is compelling but if liberals use the word compassion we are giving dirty, filthy people who may or may not be legal citizens all the benefits of the founding Europeans.

They use the word traditional and the MSM hearkens back to the good old days when things were more simple. Let's look at the good old days. Blacks could not vote, sit at Woolworth lunch counters, stay in hotels in Las Vegas or get the same education as me. In the good old days women could be teachers, mothers, secretaries and shop girls. In the good old days we had to practice ducking under our desks to protect ourselves from a nuclear bomb being dropped on the 13th street exit of route 22. Those are the days the traditional value voters want to return to. So, why does the MSM not call them to account for this? Fear.

Brian Williams (I am a big fan) and his peers are so afraid of being called biased that they tread so lightly on what the right is really saying it allows it to become acceptable. They don't ask them why they want to return to a time of segregation and discrimination. They don't ask them why they want to poison the air and water. They don't ask them why they want to return to the cold war. They don't ask them why they want to return to a time when women were limited to what they could aspire to and they don't ask them why they want to return to a time when I could be thrown in jail just for whom I love.

At one session this weekend the speaker said that all pornography makes people gay. Trust me looking at Playboy as a ten year old had no bearing on my sexuality. Another speaker argued that Christians are being silenced, they of course held the meeting during the Jewish New Year thus precluding Jewish involvement in the festivities. They barred the press from covering Bill O'Reilly's remarks accepting the Press Freedom Award. They all spoke about taking America back but they never really said from whom. I have a theory but I am hesitant to say it.

If ignorance is a value than yes these people meeting this weekend in DC are value voters.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

My Old Politics vs Todays Politcs

Many folks are bemoaning the coarseness of our political culture, politics has always been rough and tumble in this country, we now just see more of it because it is in our faces due to the 24 hour news channels and the Internet. But, I have to admit that it does seem so much more mean spirited than when I was involved in the running of local and regional campaigns and leading local efforts on behalf of state and presidential campaigns. I gave up active involvement in the mid 90's.

Campaigns and politics today seems to be more about power than improving our nation, state, county or city. The national Republicans seem to only care about hurting this President rather than attempting to work with him to solve our massive problems. The national Democrats seem more interested in internal power struggles and enacting revenge of Republicans for stealing the presidential election in 2000 and for the foul misleading campaigns run against democrats in the Gingrich era. The politics of personal destruction seems to be the norm and the politics of hope and the future seem to be fading into the fog of my memory.

I am old enough to remember when statesmen, a few women, led this nation, politicians seem so much smaller now. The great and soaring debates in the Senate are now just talking points and sniping with flip charts flapping in the background. Ted Kennedy the last serving member of that era. They used to do combat all day and at night retire to the Speakers Office or to some restaurant or private club to play poker, have drinks and a meal. A lot of work was accomplished in those after hour meetings, friendships were formed across party lines and relationships developed. This allowed for compromises to come about and legislation moved forward and the government worked.

Now it's all about scoring points, appealing to the base and attracting campaign contributions. It's about saying outrageous things so you can get a segment about you on one of the many news/talk shows on MSNBC/CNN/Fox. Those evening sessions in the House shown on c-span are not real sessions and not really debates. Member's can just schedule time and speak to an empty chamber. Newt effectively used these sessions when he was managing the GOP takeover of the House in the early 90's.

Local politics was never this mean before. I remember speaking on behalf of candidates and criticizing our opponents position but I don't remember the name calling and the personal attracts. Most of us believed that we would need their support after the primary so we did not want to piss them off too much. We would also need their supporters to join us knocking on doors. We always retired to the bar in the back the room bought each other drinks, gossiped and talked about our families, our jobs and what was going to happen during the next presidential or gubernatorial campaign. This behavior often followed into the general elections. We did not hate the Republicans we just thought our ideas were better and I believe they felt the same way. Granted it was easy to be a Democrat in Northampton County because we always won. But, after candidate nights we would always ask about each others families, tell each other about upcoming events and of course gossip.

What is at stake now is no more or no less important than what was at stake then. The future we face is nor more or less uncertain, our foreign enemies no less or more scary and the world around us is no more or no less settled than it was then. So what is the difference now?

I am not sure - my answer may come to me over a series of postings but right now I just can't sum it up. Politics reflects the culture so as our culture coarsens I guess it just makes sense that our politicians will coarsen also. But why is it happening?

Friday, September 18, 2009

My Little Town

Guy and I just returned home from the Greek Heritage & Food Festival, now at the festival grounds below the Hill to Hill bridge in downtown Bethlehem. I'm not sure Guy really wanted to go but I am one of those community minded types who believes it's important to support as much as I can in town (in Easton also). Plus a co-worker's daughter was dancing.

Guy has quite a following in town and instantly became the center of attention, much to my dismay. After all, most bloggers are attention whores, why else would we think every thought is worth posting out there on the interwebs. So I stood by and was the dutiful second fiddle. Finally we ran into my friend the Treasurer of Bethlehem, surely she would fawn over me. No, Guy and Kaija had to talk about her grandchildren and I was left searching for the beer tent. I'm beginning to ramble here so I will get to the point.

We can walk three blocks to a lot of great shopping, history, food & drink. We also spend a lot of quality time with friends who live 3 doors down from the State Theatre in Easton and walk around downtown Easton to great shopping and eating. We never visit our friends in center city Allentown, we make them come to us. It is a shame that the third largest city in the Commonwealth is such a dead zone and lags so far behind Bethlehem and little Easton.

At one point in our lives Guy and I toyed with moving to a place in the suburbs but after a particularly lovely weekend roaming around our neighborhood and spending quality time at the Apollo, Starfish and the Hotel B. we decided that our lives would not be as great if we moved to the townships and so we have stayed put for more than 25 years. We can even walk to a hardware store. Granted this is not the urban hotbed that guy grew up with or the one I dreamed of escaping to as a teenager reading Vanity Fair & wearing my Polo collars turned up. But we really enjoy being able to walk to great shopping, superb restaurants, drinking spots and great cultural festivals.

If we had a grocery and liquor store and were the idle rich we could sell our cars.