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.