Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Week in Review 8/30/09

What else happened last week.
  • Court order torture report released. Cheney said once these were released it prove that torture was effective. They were released and they proved just the opposite. Yet, he claimed differently. Facts are stubborn things Mr. Cheney and no matter how you try to convince the world you are right - you are wrong.
  • Bad deficit news - painful revelation by the White House that things could be worse in 10 years if growth does not occur more aggressively. The new deficit hawks are screaming. I guess they found their voice after 8 years of silence.
  • Tom Delay to be a contestant on Dancing with the Stars. Proves that Bruno is the only star on that show.
  • Junky on the radio gives a bloated gloat about predicting EMK would not live long enough to see health care reform past. Such a foul stench coming off the radio.
  • VA proves there are no death books given to veterans. Sarah Palin just winks.
  • Levi Johnston said he would pose nude for the right amount of money. If you are interested in contributing to this worthy cause let me know I will e-mail you the address.
  • Our state still does not have a budget and yet the people hired (elected) to do so are still getting paid. If I did not do my job I would get fired thus not earning a pay check. Something to think about next November
  • Tiger once again struggles in a NYC area golf course
  • Bethlehem man arrested for sticking his penis through a fence
  • John McCain bitch slaps his town hall into submission. Good for him for not putting up with vulgar cretins.
  • John McCain booed for standing up for the President

I am sure much more happened but the only thing I cared about was remembering my friend Teddy.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Edward Moore Kennedy 1932-2009 - reaction 4

I missed the funeral today - the cretins at work would not watch it. The things I suffer. I did catch some of it on NPR and I thought the President was spot on and Teddy Jr almost made me pull over as I was driving home.

We turned on coverage around 5:30 or so before the cortege made it's way to the Capitol. When the Senator and his family arrived at the Capitol to the thunderous applause and cheers, that was it for me. The tears just started to flow. I was watching real love, real devotion and an overwhelming respect for a man who was such an important part of their lives. The Capitol Police estimated 900 + staffers and members on the steps and about 4,000 people across the street. Congressman Kennedy's remarks saying his father would have been nothing without his staff was so touching.

But, when the crowd unwilling to let the great man go started singing patriotic hymns I just lost it. I was in need of a good cry so I did not fight it too hard. 5,000 + people breaking out into to song trying to keep the casket of this man close to them for just a few moments longer spoke volumes to the world. As the cortege moved down the street people shouted out Thank You or We Love You and the family responded with waves of acknowledgement.

Crossing the bridge the Senator left DC for the last time.

Darkness overcame the internment and the final act of this life led in such a public manner was hidden from us and the family was allowed to say goodbye alone.

I am not sure if I have anything else to say about Teddy. I will miss him greatly. He was the thunderous voice for the voice less and the forgotten and his service to the nation was second to none.

Again, I have to say Thank You Ted Kennedy. Thank you Kennedy Family for allowing him to be our Uncle Teddy too.

Edward Moore Kennedy 1932-2009 - reaction 3

We watched the entire EMK memorial service last night. In fact I live tweeted it. It was wonderful and I am glad the family shared it with the nation. Speaker after speaker touched my heart and I was quite emotional throughout. The evening was heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. Every time Vicki got up to give the speaker a warm embrace my vision blurred a little because a tear developed. She has become a Kennedy woman with her strength and grace.

A little while ago I wrote about my disappointment in Sen. Hatch, he is someone I would never vote for but he is someone I was able to admire because I believed he always did what he thought was right. Lately some of his votes seemed to have been panders to the extremists that control his party, so I was disappointed. The thought has occurred to me after watching his really moving remarks last night that he may be adrift without his friend, the loss he expressed last night was the real deal. I will try to be less harsh in the future.

VP Biden's stories of how Teddy comforted him at times of great sorrow were so moving. I liked how the VP included the family in all aspects of his remarks, "your husband did", "your father will be", "your brother said", I thought that was really quite effective.

Gov. Patrick's story about the dinner was priceless and having the great Brian Stokes Mitchell sing Impossible Dream left no eye dry on our couch. When the voters of Iowa let the great John Culver slip through their hands I was stunned but now it just baffles me. He was brilliant. John McCain was as usual a class act and a true gentleman Senator

Joe and Caroline lived up to this great families reputation and revealed themselves to be ready to take up some of the slack left by the loss of one of our leaders.

It was a night of great joy, full of hope and love. I was glad to be able to be part of it even if it was just from my couch here on the third floor.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Edward Moore Kennedy 1932-2009 - reaction 2

Yesterday was my 50th birthday, I did not meet it with the dread of turning 40, in fact I embraced it. I woke up looking forward to the day. I knew I was in for a teasing at work and Guy was going to take me out for dinner, we went to the Hotel B and had a great date.

I turned on MSNBC expecting to see Willie instead Morning Joe was already on and then I saw it on the top of the screen - Sen. Edward M. Kennedy 1932 - 2009. I dropped to the couch and my eyes started to tear and in just seconds I felt sadness, grief and a little disbelief. I knew it was coming, he did not attend Eunice's funeral, but like the death of anyone you admire, respect and has influenced your life, you are not quite ready for it. I was 3 when he entered the Senate and 4 when his brother the President was assassinated. I do not remember that day but I do remember running for a dish towel because my mother was crying so hard and I have flickering images of the days that followed

I was 8 when the other Senator Kennedy was assassinated and I remember every detail of those days. I became enthralled by politics during that year. I'm sure not many 8 year olds beg their parents to watch the political conventions. I am an age peer of the Senator's children, nieces and nephews. I grew up with them. When they suffered I suffered right with them. When they triumphed I triumphed with them. I am a child of the Camelot generation not just by my age but of my political beliefs. We are the last generation to be influenced by and understand the significance of the New Deal. My parents are a year younger than Senator Kennedy, children of the generation that came through the New Deal. They are the heirs of the greatest generation. Fortunately my parents chose to be followers of Camelot thus passing onto me and my siblings the sense of right and wrong that was personified by the good fights Senator Kennedy led.

Teddy and I have not always been on speaking terms. I am a Carterite, thus Teddy and I agreed to disagree from 1979 - 1981. We forgave each in time to unite for the next national elections. I have never looked back.

We are all aware that the Senator was a deeply flawed man but those flaws influenced who he was and making amends for those flaws pushed his passion to not leave the least of us behind. There will be plenty of time for us to discuss this but now is the time for remembering the strength, the compassion, the love of nation and the love of his family.

The greatest of all American political dynasties comes to us from a position of great wealth and privilege. The have been given much but what they have given this nation in return is even greater than 10 times their wealth. Three sons never had a chance to turn grey or live to see their promise come to fruition. The man we morn today took the legacy of not only his family but of his entire generation onto his broad Irish shoulders and fought the good fight for equal opportunity, for a cleaner world, for civil rights and civil liberties and for a better and stronger nation that truly would be the envy of the world. Ted Kennedy's name is attached to every major law that moved this nation forward for last half century

After John Kennedy died it was said "Johnny we hardly knew ye", we can't say that about Teddy. We actually knew too much but to those of us who loved him and viewed him as a leader for our cause we look past that and remember his great contributions to this greatest of nations.

I will miss you Edward Moore Kennedy and on behalf of a grateful nation I wish you God's speed and all the blessings of his creation.

Thank you Teddy!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Edward Moore Kennedy 1932-2009 - reaction 1

The New York Times; Paul Krugman

“I don’t have much to say, except a personal thought. I remember the days, several decades ago, when Ted Kennedy was treated — mainly, but not only, on the right — as a figure of derision. He was mocked for his appearance, his personal life, his unabashed liberalism.
And now he’s remembered as a great man. The thing is, he didn’t change — he always was"

So much to say, but I want it to come out right. I am feeling real loss today.

Edward Moore Kennedy 1932-2009

The Lion is now at rest.

A grateful nation mourns.

Thank you Teddy.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Do I find Mrs. Palin Disgusting? You Betcha.

It turns out now Mrs. Palin has once again joined in the lie spreading. She is posting on her facebook page about the VA death book, which does not exist. The VA has released a copy of the guide and has condemned those who are spreading falsehoods and trying to scare our veterans.

Really Mrs. Palin have you no shame? Have you no sense of decency? Have you no integrity? Did your parents never tell you lying was wrong? What kind of role model are you for your children? You do know that you have a son serving in the military and is currently overseas and who some day will be a veteran? Do you want someone as crass and despicable as you trying to scare him and exploit his fears when he is an older man and in need of the services provided by the VA?

Really madam have you no pride in your reputation? You behavior is bordering on immoral or at least unethical. You are a shameless grand stander Mrs. Palin, with no respect for the truth. God is watching.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Excuse Me Is That A Non Issue In My Soup

The news media, bloggers and commentators are starting to get board with the birthers, deathers and town hall shouters. So, in order to distract the debate and derail the President, the shameful exploiters are now going after the sacred of the sacred. Veterans.

The man who was in charge of religious affairs during the last administrations is trying to rile up veterans about end of life planning information made available to veterans. He is claiming that the VA is trying to encourage veterans to think about giving up and ending their lives. Of course no such document exists. He is referring to a resource that was written during the Bush presidency that offers advise about living wills and the such. It turns out the this man has written his own guide and would prefer people use (purchase) his. He is creating this issue for his own profit. Shameful.

But, somehow I am not surprised. Here is another right wing extremist trying to scare the American people for two reasons. Derail Obama and make money off of peoples fears. Shameful.

The next non issue is the pace at which positions are being filled by the administration. We are being told it is too slow. Now, if memory serves me right, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H W Bush, Bill Clinton and George W Bush were all criticized for exactly the same thing. There is nothing new here people, now move on to the next non issue. Anything to distract us from what we should be talking about and another thing to rile up the extremists.

Any guesses about what will be the next big non issue? The cost of dry cleaning the cloth napkins after state dinners, perhaps?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

POTUS Please Enjoy Your Vacation

I saw a commercial on-line that was critical of POTUS taking a vacation. It was an anti-health care reform ad. I wonder if these same people were critical of Pres. Reagan or Pres. Bush 43 who took more vacations than all the other Presidents combined. The only time I was critical of Bush 43 for taking a vacation was when he chose to stay on it during the worst of Katrina. All I am asking for is consistency. If you oppose Presidential vacations for all Presidents than bravo for this ad other wise you insult the intelligence of the American people and I turn my back to your foolishness.

The President, unlike the conservative Governor of South Carolina is never out of touch with his staff or military commanders. He takes critical staff people with him wherever he goes. He still gets security and intelligence briefings, he still has a direct line to the Pentagon, he still can pick up the phone and call PM Brown. Bottom line is the President of the United States is never really away from his job.

This great republic will survive if the first family is away from that big white building they live in for the rest of the year.

Please health care scarers be serious about the issue and do not waste the money of the well meaning people contributed to your organization by running ads that really mean nothing and bring nothing useful to the debate.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Tom Ridge: Selling books does not make you a hero

Our former Gov. Tom Ridge has dropped a bomb today, or at least his publisher with the assistance of MSNBC dropped a bomb.

Powerful forces in the Bush (43) administration tried to pressure him into raising the terrorist color level just before the 2004 election thus ensuring the election of President Bush. Who among us did not suspect the raising and lowering of terror alerts were politically motivated? And, if you die hard Bush supporters really looked into your hearts you too would admit this. Will you do that for me? Please?

If Sec. Ridge was so outraged by this why did he not resign at that time? His supporters say he resigned right after the election, some thirty days after the supposed pressure was given. Yet the honorable Mr. Ridge did not mention this at his resignation press conference? He said he was resigning because he needed to earn more money to put his children through college. Let's investigate that statement.

As a congressman Ridge earned over $100k, as governor he earned over $100k, as cabinet secretary he earned over $100k. You can't afford to send your children to college after over 20 years of earning that much per year? There are parents who work 2 jobs each and their college age child works and they take out loans to afford college. Tom Ridge could not afford to send his children to college after earning more than $100k a year for 20+ years? What an insult to the hard working people who paid his salary for all those years. Today on Hardball they kept referring to him as honorable and noble. If that were true he would have told the truth when he resigned but he chose to be a loyal Republican first, someone who chases after a quick dollar second and a patriotic, truth telling American only when he needs to sell books.

Oh, and can someone tell me what great achievement he accomplished as our Governor? I lived through it and I forgot that we had a Governor in between Robert Casey Sr and Ed Rendell.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Oh Dear Our National Conversation Has Turned Into a Pub Brawl - in 2 parts

Part II

I actually got worse. A women accused the President of following a Nazi policy and asked the gay Jewish Congressman why he too supported this Nazi policy, which does not exist in any of the bills working their way through congress. And, I have been hearing commentary that Barney Frank was rude and disrespectful. Cong. Frank does not have to suffer such fools. It also turns out the Hitler/Obama photo she was flashing around is a product of the Lyndon Larouche people. Google/Bing that name. These wackos have been haunting the Democratic Party for decades. These people are so far out there that they make junky radio top talkers and Glen Beck seem like fun loving progressives.

The history of this type of rude political discourse has a very long history in this country. In fact, it goes back to the beginning of the republic. In the beginning each faction had their own newspapers and many of the leaders within the factions had their own newspapers. These people would write such really awful and disgusting things about their opponents it would sicken many of my gentle readers. The accusations were made in such colorful terms and the not so subtle innuendo were so bold that many husbands would not let their wives read such things.

This continued well in to the 19th century and in some cases continues today, an example would be the NY Post, but the crap they write is Disneyesque compared to what our noble founding fathers wrote about each other.

Andrew Jackson's opponents were so harsh his wife Rachel died from stress of the attacks, Buchanan was referred to as an Aunt Nancy, Lincoln was mocked for his looks and lack of education, Grant was called a drunk, Cleveland had baby daddy sayings chanted about him, Taft had fat jokes, Harding was mocked as stupid (he was), Coolidge for his silent ways, FDR for his charming ways, Truman for his height, Johnson's supporters chanted In Your Guts You Know He's Nuts about Goldwater and ran the Daisy ad. Eisenhower was called stupid, despite his winning the war in Europe, Johnson's big ears. Kennedy was a Papist, his brother a N-word lover. Mario Cuomo's supporters in the race for mayor hung posters that read Vote for Cuomo Not the Homo. All candidates were called traitors by the other side.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I too participated in such behavior and I am none too proud of my actions. In 1968 I gathered some of my fourth grade classmates and we walked to a few polling places and I led the chant "Humphrey Humphrey He's Our Man - Nixon Belongs In the Garbage Can." I am not proud of this dark moment in this nations political discourse but I thought every one should know the shame I have been living with all these years.

This new era of nastiness can be traced back to the darkest of all our our modern political leaders, Richard M. Nixon. His dirty tricks committee really set the ball in motion for what our politics and political discourse has become. Many of those folks are still around and active today, Charles Colson, G. Gordon Liddy and Pat Buchanan to name a few. Another Nixon protege GHW Bush was so desperate to win he allowed the Willy Horton ad, spread Kitty Dukakis was a drunk and a Flag burner rumors and demonized the ACLU.

This was followed by 8 years of relentless attacks as well as costly and pointless investigations of the Clinton's that led to the impeachment trail of a President for not telling the truth about not being faithful in his marriage. It also led to the rise of the politics of personal destruction led by the very moral and strong family man Newt Gingrich. Then of course the Democrats could not rise above it and they destroyed the career of Robert Bork, tried to destroy Clarence Thomas and used threw the Nazi terms about Bush around pretty liberally.

Now that we have elected a black man President all restraints have been stripped away. I fear we have not reached our lowest point but where else can they go after the birthers. I shudder.

This seedy side of political discourse is as old as this great republic. It just that now the mean little people seem to be really stupid and lack much of the cleverness of the past 250 years of town hall shouters.

I suspect there may be a part III

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Oh Dear Our National Conversation Has Turned Into a Pub Brawl - in 2 parts

Part I

There was an article on today that was accompanied by video of a Jewish man speaking highly of the Israeli health care plan. While this man was speaking a woman started yelling HEIL HITLER. I can almost not find the the words to comment on this.

The national conversation on health care come to this. My friends on the left will lay it all squarely on the extreme right and the not so extreme right. They have a valid point. On the extreme right we have have the junky radio top talker saying the President is using Nazi tactics and following National Socialist programs. We have Glen Beck saying the President openly hates white people, we have Ms. Palin saying the health care plan would kill her baby and neglect her parents. Then there are all the birthers, death panelists and town hall shouters carrying loaded guns and holding up antisemitic and racist posters.

On the not so extreme right we have long time Sen. Grassley talking about pulling the plug on grandma, Orin Hatch voting against a woman he voted for twice before, Newt supporting Palin and her almost insane statements. Are there no moderates left in the Republican party?

If I were truly a hard core liberal Democrat I would stop there but I do try to be fair. There are those on the left that have not made me proud of my side of the issues. Cong. Nadler saying the shouters are fascist, Leader Reid and Speaker Pelosi questioning the patriotism of the loudest of the shouters. The liberals have thrown the Nazi references around aplenty.

Things do seem to be calming a bit. Maybe the media realized it has over covered the story, maybe leadership is pulling back because they realize they may go too far or maybe people are getting turned off by the crazies and beginning to fight back. I think the President's recent tour has helped to calm things down. People could see that town hall meetings could occur without all the shouting and histrionics. Even the people who really disagree with President Obama seemed respectful. Maybe it was the power of the office and maybe when the man himself was in the same room with them, they realized this might not be the place to boo, taunt, shout and generally act out.

So, this is what has become modern political discourse. Can it get worse? I sometimes think that something really tragic has to happen in order for people to take a step back and take a hard look in the mirror. I won't suggest here what that tragedy could be - those are words I cannot bring myself to write.

Part II - How did we get to this place.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Bethlehem Will Be Protected

Guy has been away all week, visiting his mom. And, as usual I led the swinging bachelor life, I came home from work and watched MSNBC & MTV Hits. I become a hermit when he is away. It's weird because when he is home I am more interested in being a tad more social, but left to my own devices I pick up one little tray of sushi from Wegman's, have a short conversation with Dr. Bombay and surf and now tweet.

On Saturday, I had to get out of the house and have a conversation with someone other than myself or about work. I walked down the to the Apollo about 4 blocks away and as I am coming up to the parking garage I notice two older gents sitting on the park bench sharing a 45 in a brown paper bag. That is something one does not see in downtown Bethlehem, but they were just sitting there talking so what the hell. As I am walking past them I nod and the one not holding the beer says "hello handsome young man" (I'm 9 days away from 50) so I waved and said hello. He then asked to bum some cigarettes and I said that I have never smoked and kept on walking. He complimented me on my healthy lifestyle, remember I was going to the Apollo in the middle of the afternoon have a few cocktails and a snack, so I am none to sure about the healthy habits, but I digress. I said yeah I try. He then tried to get up and could not, he asked if I could spare some money. I waved him off and walked on. A little annoyed

I do not often give money when these things occur and I did not this time. I almost called the police, and now 24 hours later I think I should have. We do not need drunken panhandlers in our business district (or anywhere else for that matter) annoying or scaring shoppers, tourists, diners or anyone else willing to support our local businesses. These people work too hard and have invested their lives in our town. So, why didn't I call the cops?

Guilt. I am a guilty white middle class liberal. And, I allowed the voice of William Sloane Coffin that often speaks to me in my left ear to get in the way of my civic pride.

A couple of years ago I was walking in downtown Easton with friend who owns a business on Northampton Street and something similar occurred. My friend did not hesitate to whip out his cell phone and call city hall, we watched the police come and have a conversation with the person. I have also seen my friend chase away johns. I am proud of him for his civic pride and wanting to protect his investment.

So, lesson learned. Beware cheap beer drinking, cigarette and money begging guys, my town is going to be protected. I am programming the police number in my cell phone as soon as I spell check this.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Which Super Hero are You

Your results:You are Spider-Man
Green Lantern
The Flash
Iron Man
Wonder Woman
You are intelligent, witty, a bit geeky and have greatpower and responsibility.
Click here to take the "Which Superhero are you?" quiz...

Leave a comment with your results.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Will Get Scolded

My mother will scold me for calling people stupid.

But really.

How stupid are these people?

How Stupid Are These People

The President has asked people to e-mail him their concerns, questions and comments about health care and other issues.

The Republicans and their supporters are claiming that he was going use these e-mails to create an enemies list.

A - How lame and desperate are they?
B- How stupid do they think we are?
C- How stupid are the people that believe them?

The ultimate Republican Richard Nixon is the inventor of enemy lists

No really, how stupid are these people?
A- Believe President was not born in this country?
B- Believe in Death Panels?
C- Use the word Socialist without any historic perspective?
D- Support Palin in her decision to quit in order to prove she is not a quitter?
E- Support Newt as pro-family despite his three marriages?
F- Believe POTUS hates white people....................?
G- Still resent the Clinton's for beating a President they hated?
F- Think an admitted junky is the voice of moral authority from 12 - 3 on the radio?
H- Hate deficit spending even though they were silent during the three Presidencies that created most of the the debt - Reagan - Bush - Bush

I could go on and on and on but there are not even enough letters in the excel columns.

But, really how stupid are these people? No really, can someone define how stupid these people are? I am not claiming that I am better than then they are, I just really want to know how stupid do you have to be to believe what they believe?

Damn, my head is pounding again - watching some music videos may calm me down. Even Lady Ga Ga makes more sense.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I Will Always Love Bill Clinton

Just watched my President Bill Clinton's speech before the netroots conference, this year being held in Pittsburgh. Netroots conference began as YearlyKos but has become so much bigger than those early meetings.

The speech was typical Big Bill, a bit rambling, a bit professorial and completely compelling and passionate. He was so supportive of the President you would have thought his wife won. He sounded like a 100% Obama supporter. I believe he was sincere and I think he is fully on board with our President and wants nothing but his complete success. President Clinton believes and I agree that if the President is successful we progressives will control the national agenda for 40 years. Providing we don't eat our young and beat ourselves up too much and that is a really big if, we are Democrats after all.

Part of the way through his address a really cute guy stood up and began to shout at the President. Because this broadcast was on Cspan viewers could not hear what he was saying, so I assumed he was a birther, teabagger, townhall shouter or a death panelist. But, something didn't seem right. He was white, OK, he was male, OK but he had a really nice body, a good hair cut and stylishly dressed.

Boing! He was shouting about DOMA and DADT. He is gay!

At first our Big Dog was pissed for the interruption, then he calmed down and promised the young man that he would address his questions. The young man said "Do you promise?. President Clinton responded with a whithering stare. The young man sat down looking very proud of himself.

President Clinton tried to continue but the more he thought about it he realized this was his opportunity to answer his critics on these two issues. His response was typical Bill Clinton. He blamed his times, his supporters, congress and said his hand was forced on both issues. He wanted to do the right thing but the nation was not ready to go there. And, you know what? He is right, the nation was not ready in the 1990's . He believes that we are now almost was ready. He regrets having to sign these two bills into law, he claims he did so because there was worse, much worse legislation pending and he wanted to avoid that.

My favorite line of his was when he asked the young man why he didn't do his part by pressuring his member of Congress to do the right thing and asking everyone in the room what they did to support these issues, the silence was deafening. And, that is why I continued to support Bill Clinton, we expected him to fight our battles for us. It is our battle, we cannot expect straight people to lead the fight. How many members of congress did we support who would actively work to overturn DOMA and DADT? Or, did we settle and just support our Democratic friends. I know I did and if you are honest you know you did the same.

President Clinton is as he usually is correct. Old friends may remember that I was about the only politically active gay guy at the time defending my President. Politics is about reality not about our dreams or about what a perfect world would be like. Politics is about dealing with the here and now. Campaigns are about hopes and dreams. Governing is about what can be done.

President Clinton supports the overturning of both DOMA and DADT. Once again, I believe him and believe that he will do all he can to ensure this happens.

He clearly did not intend for this to be the focus of his speech but he is so smart and so in tune with how to get his message across that he wrapped it all up by saying that this is our time and this is our opportunity to set the nation on it's right course and when this current President is successful, progressives will lead this country for one or two generations.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Exploiting the Anger

Someone asked me if I had few cocktails before I posted. The answer is no.

I have looked back at some of my more ranting posts.

I suppose some of them have been a bit over the the top. But, I am so outraged by the birthers, teabaggers and town hall shouters that I might have gone over board with my response. It's not hard to do when you have Sister Sarah speaking foolishly about death panels.

I am sure that some of the people suddenly showing up at town hall meetings with Arlen Specter and other members of congress are sincere, just not the birthers or most of the teabaggers and 99% of the town hall shouters.

There are folks who have been consistently critical of government spending and are truly libertarian in their beliefs who are attending the town meetings as they always do but they are being drowned out by the people who discovered outrage when a Democrat who is black was elected President. The news reports I have seen of these town hall meetings have been really quite disturbing. The level of anger and hatred seems to be really extreme. I am sure some of this anger has been bubbling under the surface for years. But, where was all the anger when Bush was starting a war based on lies? Where was the anger when both Bushes ran up 75% of our national debt and the younger Bush ran up more debt than all other Presidents combined? Why were there no teabagger rallies in 2001 - 2008? Bush, the younger entered office with a balanced budget. Where were the teabaggers?

Some commentators have said that the media is exploiting the crazies and it may be, but these people are trying to exploit the media right back. There was the man who claimed he was beaten up by pro Obama people at a town hall session but was caught on film leaving the event just like everyone else, nothing happened to him. He reminded me of the young white woman, a McCain supporter from Ohio who claimed to have her face cut by black Obama supporters last fall, we all know the truth of that story. One speaker at a town hall yesterday said Stephen Hawking would be killed (by death panels) if he lived under the British health care system. Stephen Hawking is British - he lives in England and he has been treated by their system of health care. Today Dr. Hawking said he would not be alive today without the British National System of health care. A woman yesterday tried to shame Arlen Specter by saying a 74 year old man with cancer would not be treated under the death panel system and asked how as an 80 year old man with cancer he felt about it. He response calling out her lies was so angry that everyone in the room (at least the clear thinking ones) knew he was speaking the truth and she was clearly crazy.

I could go on and on but if I do my headache will just return. The great issues of the day deserve a spirited and thoughtful national conversation. It's a shame it has been hijacked by people not convinced the President is a citizen and by people who bring loaded guns to town hall meetings. Times are tough and people are convinced that their government does not work any more and they are angry, I get it. But, I can't help but think that the powerful status quo interests in this country are stirring up the pot with the help of headline grabbers like Beck, Dobbs, the junky radio top talker and the GOP leadership so no real change happens. We the people have to remember we voted for change last November and we have to push back just as hard to ensure it happens.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Bravo Musikfest - Say it ain't so Nazareth

Another Musikfest has come and gone and again we all bask in the glow of this great event. It is the single most anticipated, talked about, reported on, blogged about, twittered event in the entire Lehigh Valley and beyond.

The growth in Musikfest is a testament to visionary leadership, loyal and dedicated volunteers and a grateful and supportive community. From it's humble roots, it is now an event that covers all the worlds music. It's has performances on more than just the downtown stages, I look forward to when it expands well into the South Side and onto the BethWorks area. I look forward to watching this greatest of events for our area become one of the must be at events in the nation.

I hope all who live here understand the growth that events like Musikfest and the other festivals in Bethlehem have done to benefit the Bethlehem economy. Not just during the days of the events but by the people who return again and again during the year because they are so impressed with our city and treated so well by it's businesses and citizens.

Last week I posted about how great Martin on Main was in Nazareth. I have heard disturbing reports that some downtown merchants were upset about the event. This is an event that brings in 4,000+ people for one day to walk past local merchants doors. How long days it take to get 4,000 people to walk through the downtown Nazareth business district? This event is an opportunity for local business owners to put out the welcome sign and invite new people into their establishments. If they did not capitalize on it, shame on them.

If the Martin company wants to move the event to my neighborhood, downtown Bethlehem, we would love such a classy, upscale event honoring an icon of American music. Ask the leaders of Easton, Bangor, Bath, Pen Argyl if the would welcome this event. I am certain not a no would be heard. Martin on Main can do for Nazareth what Musikfest has done for Bethlehem if it is managed right, marketed correctly and supported by the good people of Historic Nazareth.

Friday, August 7, 2009

A conversation about my rant

Guy: I read your rant about Obama opponents & race.

Me: What did you think?

Guy: It was fine

Me: What does that mean?

Guy: It was good

Me: Was I over the top?

Guy: You were fine

Guy is Black & I am (see picture) of Irish decent

Am I too hung up on the issue? Am I a guilty white liberal? Yes

I have never really understood racism and I never will, thanks to my parents for that. What is it borne from? What causes it? It is most certainly a learned behavior.

I have never lived it.

Guy has.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Welcome Justice Sotomayor

Congratulations to Judge Sonia Sotomayor, very shortly she will be introduced as Madam Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Everyone of those Senators who lowered to the occasion and voted against her will be required to address her as Madam Justice. It is proper protocol and Senator's are hung up on protocol. I would love to be in the room when Sen. Little Jeff Sessions and Madam Justice meet at a social event.

Justice Sotomayor was confirmed with the support of only 9 Republicans and I am certain that none of these negative vote were truly a vote of conscience. If these guys truly looked deep into their souls and voted his conscience she would have had close to 80 votes.

These out of touch white men of privilege voted out of fear of their narrow base, their desire too please the the Birthers, the Insurance company funded town hall protesters and the Teabaggers. They are scared to death of alienating the Junky Radio Host and his followers.

If they truly believed in this 230+ year experiment in government by, of and for the people they would have voted for Sonia Sotomayor. But, instead they allowed the petty self interest of gaining campaign contributions from those listed in the paragraph above to come first and the needs of the country to come in somewhere far down the list.

Welcome to SCOTUS Justice Sotomayor, our thoughts and prayers are with you as to take on this new challenge to further the vision and ideal that is the United States of America. I rest some of my hopes for the future of our nation on your Wise Latina shoulders. I am convinced that our nation will be better off for your service on the High Court.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Is Race the Motivation

I have been thinking about all the negative energy and money being spent by the extremists and racists that are leading the attacks on Obama.

Is everyone opposed to Obama a racist? Of course not. There are truly good people who have genuine disagreement with the way the President wants to lead but they are not getting any press. The true blue Ron Paul supporters are not to be put in the same category as the Teabaggers, the Birthers and many of the people showing up at town hall meetings shouting down the speakers and not allowing a discussion of the issues that face this nation These people hate Obama for four reasons 1. Black 2. Black Democrat who is smarter and more successful than they are 3. He is not an athlete or entertainer which are the only acceptable way for Black people to be successful 4.Black father white mother.

No one can tell me the Birther movement is not based on the color of the Presidents skin, if he were white no one would question where he was born.

Where were all these teabaggers when Bush ran up more national debt than all the presidents before him combined? Why did these people and their racist hateful slogans and posters only come out when we had a Black Democrat in the White House?

Why weren't people shouting down the congressmen who did nothing to hold Bush accountable for all the lies spread before the start of his war?

Post racial my ass, we are generations away from that.

The birthers, the teabaggers and the shouters all take marching orders from Savage, Beck & the junky radio host. Can anyone tell me with a straight face those three do not race bate and exploit class and cultural difference in a very negative and sinister way?

Did you know that over 60% of southerners are not sure the President is really a citizen and almost 90% of people from the west, northeast and the midwest know the President is a citizen.

I really do not want to write about this again but I am sure I will be forced to.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Dent vs Callahan Pt 1

Next years 15th congressional district race promises to be one of the most exciting and most watched in the country. This race will be on the tongues of political junkies from coast to coast.

The very popular Charlie Dent is being challenged by the exciting Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan.

A lot of people in both parties really like Charlie Dent and I admit he does a good job at the meet and greet and by all accounts his constituent services is second to none. He is a nice guy, from a good and well connected family. His aunt was the legendary GOP leader Mary Crisp Dent, a national party leader before and during the Reagan years. She was pushed to the side by the reactionary forces that took control of the party in Reagan's name, even though he was nothing like them, but her connections certainly did not hurt Charlie.

Some powerful Democratic friends of mine are torn by their fondness for Mr. Dent and the excitement Mayor Callahan creates wherever he goes.

I am not conflicted, my problem with Charlie Dent is not how he acts as a congressman it is how he votes as a congressman. I don't know John Callahan's position on all the things I care about but I am willing to guess that they will be closer to my vision of America than Charlie Dent's.

I am very excited about the opportunity to support the campaigns of both John Callahan and Joe Sestak. Next year ought to be quite a year.

Hello Joe! Goodbye Arlen?

I don't want to wish my life away but I can not for the 2010 election season to take off.

Congressman Joe Sestak from a suburban Philadelphia district has entered the race for the Democratic nomination for the US Senate. Congressman Sestak is only in his second term but he has proven himself a national leader and an effective spokesman for the values of the Democratic party.

His opponent is the incumbent Democratic Senator Arlen Specter, of course earlier this spring Arlen Specter was the incumbent Republican Senator a title he has held since 1981, before that he had run for Governor and the Senate as a Republican and served as District Attorney of Philadelphia as a Republican. Before that he was a Kennedy Democrat with unbridled ambition. When the Democrats refused to support him he ran as a Republican. His first claim to fame before being elected to public office was that he developed the single bullet theory as counsel to the Warren Commission investigating the assassination of President John Kennedy.

Arlen has never let a core belief system get in the way of his naked ambitions, he has flipped and flopped more than almost any politician in my memory. This has served him well in general elections, he could claim the title of moderate in a very moderate state.

But, now the gig is up. The reactionary extremists who now control the Republican party have been gunning for him since he voted against Robert Bork and they have chosen this election to hold him accountable, they have their best chance to be rid of him. As did the all the people of Pennsylvania.

But, the Vice President had other ideas. He wanted to save his old friend and convinced him to become a Democrat. Since Arlen Specter only really believes in Arlen Specter he became a Democrat and has the support of the Democratic establishment. The thinking was that the GOP candidate would be easy beat in November because he is on the extreme right of the extremist Republican party. The establishment have shown their tin ear on this issue. The real, true and loyal Democrats here on Main Street do not really like Arlen Specter and we were looking forward to being rid of him for good.

Enter Admiral Sestak.

Six years ago Bush, Cheney and Little Ricky Santorum dragged Specter over the finish line and he barely won the primary. The rank and file Democrats have no such loyalty to Sen. Specter.

I am predicting 10 months before the primary that President Obama, VP Biden and Gov. Rendell are going to wake up that Wednesday morning with a little egg on their face, because the Democratic nominee for the US Senate will be Congressman Joe Sestak.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Martin On Main

Having recently just posted about how much I like Musikfest and how it is the biggest event of the year here in the Lehigh Valley this post may seem like a contradiction, but it is not.

I served on the Martin on Main committee via my involvement with the Nazareth Chamber of Commerce. This was the second year for this event honoring all things Martin Guitar in the borough where they are made, Nazareth, PA. The event began last year to celebrate the 175 anniversary of the company. It was so successful that people wanted it to become an annual event.

Oddly enough this year was better than the anniversary year. We had more food vendors and more crafts people. The downtown restaurants all had outdoor cafe seating and the Allentown/Bethlehem Brew Works created a blonde ale just for the event, Martin Summer Strummer. I spent a few hours pouring beer and it was a great success and a tasty one two. The Fegley family run a great civic minded business and if you have not been to one of their three Brew Works locations get thee to the brewery and support this local family venture.

There was a main stage with Martin devotees from across the planet each performing 3 song sets (there were so many of them) and some big name act, who I never heard of but people were all abuzz about him, he was quite good. The music was mostly acoustic and very folk oriented.

If I heard one more song about a dust bowl surviving Irish nun who was an outlaw murderer who lost his job and tried to feed her family on a farm in the middle of Kansas City during the time of the great potato famine brought on by a callous big business man whose wife left him for a leper living in San Jose but wanting to hitch hike to Memphis, I was going to scream and then someone saved the day by playing a little Dylan followed by a James Taylor cover. There were also a few small stages through out the area where people could jump on and play. The entire event was about a block and half long plus the main stage area in the center square of town. There were also lot's of young guys just playing wherever they could find an audience and the cute factor was really quite high.

It was bloody hot but a really great day. Hopefully this really will continue as an annual event and I hope I get to be asked to be on the planning committee again. I think Musikfest missed out on a great cross marketing opportunity. They were approached but never responded. Next year I will be more aggressive in my follow up. This was a really great celebration of an international icon that is made here in the Lehigh Valley. I hope that Martin On Main will grow to have the same economic impact on lovely downtown Nazareth that Musikfest has had on my downtown.