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.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

There Is Not A Racist Everywhere I Look

Over the past two weeks Mike Lupica in the Daily News, Joan Walsh on and she who must be obeyed, Maureen Dowd have come to believe there is an under current of racism. Today, during an interview with NBC, President Jimmy Carter has also come this conclusion.

So, as I was gearing up for another hell raising rant I heard an essay on NPR this afternoon by John McWhorter about this subject. Mr. McWhorter is an author and works for a conservative think tank and he is African American. He sees evidence of racism in some of what is being said and done by the President's opponents. He thought that race may be behind Cong. Joe Wilson's rudeness last Wednesday but he concluded that no one really knows what was really going through the Congressman's mind we do not know what he was thinking at the time. He concluded that unless someone confirms what is behind their words and actions we should be careful about throwing the word racist at people.

Is is easy to accuse Barack Obama's opponents of being racist but, it is so easy that it is intellectually dishonest and it not only diminishes the arguments in defense of the President but makes them less effective.

When I hear the statements made by Glenn Beck and that other guy on the radio I am sure it's racist. When I see people carrying posters that read "The zoo has an African lion and the White House has a lying African" or "Hey Barry show U.S. your Smallpox vaccination" or "Trade Obama Back to Kenya" or "Whats the difference between the Cleveland Zoo and the White House" or "Obama Bin Laden" or a poster of a black man who looks like the President picking the purse of a little old lady and a sea of Confederate flags are at each teabagger event, it is really really easy to assume racism is behind these protests. When I see a Congressman from South Carolina with a history wedded to the old south shout at the President from the well of the house chamber I tend to suspect racist motives. But, I will defer to Morning Joe Scarborough that we really do not know what is in Congressman Wilson's heart.

Except for the extreme fringe, most of the President's opponents are honest, hard working, patriotic citizens, they may be sometimes misguided and often wrong, but they are not racist and it is unfortunate that they are being lumped in with the loons. John McCain is not a racist.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Wet Hood On Sale

The Historic Hood is on sale in the rain.

Come visit us at East Market & Penn Alley.

My first lecture on civility in politics begins @ 9:00 AM followed by the tour of my Kennedy collection @ 10:00 AM


Friday, September 11, 2009

9/11/09 - We Pause to Remember.

Remembering the darkest day in our nations history.

May we all honor this day in our hearts and with our actions.

The Hood Is On Sale

Come one come all

Bethlehem Center City Historic District Annual Side Walk Sale

Saturday, September 12, 2009

8:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Look for the yellow signs around the district – about 20+ households around the district will be participating officially. Participating homes will have maps to guide you around the neighborhood.

This is a great opportunity to explore our beautiful area and pick up some fabulous bargains in the process.

We will be set up at East Market Street and Penn Alley.

Looking forward to seeing everyone tomorrow.

Rain or Shine!

You will know us by our t-shirts.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The GOP Response

Wednesday night I watched the Barack Obama I voted for. He has always been there, just a little more low key than I wanted him to be. Last night he was masterful, he owned the room and he clearly won last night.

The GOP response was so bad that everyone has forgotten what the Doctor, Congressman,, Lordship buyer, thrice malpractice responder had to say. More people remember his shirt collar, wide tie, weird lighting and bad sound more than anything he said. He clearly did not read or listen to the President's speech before he made his remarks on national television.

Then we had the GOP waving a few thin pages around to prove they too had a plan. Did they show anyone those pages last night? Did anyone see what what written on those pages they were waving around? For all we know it could have been Joe McCarthy's list of Communists working at the State Department or the list of hookers Sen. Vitters visited, or more copies of fake Kenyan birth certificates. The one thing we do know for sure that it was not Republican alternative suggestions for moving the economy forward, not suggestions for easing the housing or credit crisis, or reasonable alternatives to any of the President's plans. How do we know this? Have you heard the Republicans say anything but NO this year?

And, then there is the Honorable Joe Wilson, Republican of South Carolina. His disgraceful behavior last night was not the worst thing a Congressman from South Carolina has done while serving. During a debate just prior to the civil war a House Member from South Carolina stormed onto the Senate floor and beat a anti-slavery Senator with his cane.

Some leading Democrats are calling for Joe Wilson's head, asking for his censure or removal from the House. This is an over reaction. Democrats and Republicans are both guilty of rude behavior during Presidential addresses. Both sides groan, hiss, sigh and moan but no one has ever shouted out YOU LIE during a Presidential address or shouted out anything for that matter. It was rude, disrespectful and beneath his office. But, then these days is anything really beneath a congressman? Maybe a Pennsylvania state legislator.

What was he thinking? He has apologized. Did he mean it? Where was his self control? How can we trust a man with no self control to do what is best for this nation?

Should he be punished? No, he has embarrassed himself and his party enough. He truly summed up the quality of the national Republican Party and showed the world who was behind all the crazy behavior at the town hall meetings this summer. It was not the liberals carrying guns to meet the President, it was not the liberals waving Obama as Hitler posters, it was not the liberals calling left handed gay Jewish congressmen Nazis, it was not the liberals running around with fake Kenyan birth certificates. No, my dear readers these people were bought and paid for by the supporters of fine men like Joe Wilson, RSC.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Teddy Kennedy's Letter to President Obama

I will post my thoughts on The President's masterful speech a little later. Instead I want to remember my friend Sen. Ted Kennedy with his very moving letter to the President .

Office of the Press Secretary
May 12, 2009
Dear Mr. President,
I wanted to write a few final words to you to express my gratitude for your repeated personal kindnesses to me – and one last time, to salute your leadership in giving our country back its future and its truth.
On a personal level, you and Michelle reached out to Vicki, to our family and me in so many different ways. You helped to make these difficult months a happy time in my life.
You also made it a time of hope for me and for our country.
When I thought of all the years, all the battles, and all the memories of my long public life, I felt confident in these closing days that while I will not be there when it happens, you will be the President who at long last signs into law the health care reform that is the great unfinished business of our society. For me, this cause stretched across decades; it has been disappointed, but never finally defeated. It was the cause of my life. And in the past year, the prospect of victory sustained me-and the work of achieving it summoned my energy and determination.
There will be struggles – there always have been – and they are already underway again. But as we moved forward in these months, I learned that you will not yield to calls to retreat - that you will stay with the cause until it is won. I saw your conviction that the time is now and witnessed your unwavering commitment and understanding that health care is a decisive issue for our future prosperity. But you have also reminded all of us that it concerns more than material things; that what we face is above all a moral issue; that at stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country.
And so because of your vision and resolve, I came to believe that soon, very soon, affordable health coverage will be available to all, in an America where the state of a family’s health will never again depend on the amount of a family’s wealth. And while I will not see the victory, I was able to look forward and know that we will – yes, we will – fulfill the promise of health care in America as a right and not a privilege.
In closing, let me say again how proud I was to be part of your campaign- and proud as well to play a part in the early months of a new era of high purpose and achievement. I entered public life with a young President who inspired a generation and the world. It gives me great hope that as I leave, another young President inspires another generation and once more on America’s behalf inspires the entire world.
So, I wrote this to thank you one last time as a friend- and to stand with you one last time for change and the America we can become.
At the Denver Convention where you were nominated, I said the dream lives on.
And I finished this letter with unshakable faith that the dream will be fulfilled for this generation, and preserved and enlarged for generations to come.
With deep respect and abiding affection,

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Van Jones Had To Go

I think Van Jones had to go. He was becoming a distraction and the President can afford no distractions at this time. Granted, the extreme right led by the Junky Radio Top talker and the Addict TV talker really ginned up the factors that led to his demise. Van Jones could have survived all the attacks except one - he was a TRUTHER. Truther's believed the President of the United States knew about 9/11 and allowed it to happen or that 9/11 was an inside job.

I try very hard to be consistent thus avoiding taking part in the silly seasons of politics. I hated when my friends on the left called Bush a Nazi, I hated it when they called Reagan a fascist. I opposed them when they shouted down people on the other side. Yes, I protested right along with them but I try very hard to find the time to listen to the other side providing they are willing to listen to me. If they shout - I may shout but more often then not I will utter such clever things like "Shame on you" or I'm sure your parents are proud of your bad manners" and walk away cursing myself for not being quicker with more clever quips.

Because Van Jones was a truther he needed to go. His firing shows the integrity of the Obama administration. But, I have to ask why is it unacceptable to have a Truther as a junior White House assistant but it is OK to have Birthers, Death Panelists, Death Bookers and Brain Washing accusers to serve as Congresswomen, Senators and or Governors. Where is their integrity? Oh yeah they are the leadership of the Republican Party integerity is an unknown concept to them.

Monday, September 7, 2009

My Head Hurts

It was a weird week. A fitting ending to a crappy summer. The weather was lousy for much of the summer. I really did not do anything interesting. We had a painful death in the family that I have not even begun to recover from. We have not been into the city since Easter. Work is work. We never got around to seeing some friends I was determined to see. And, someone who I think can be a great President blew the good will and the hopes of the American people.

This summer was truly the politcal silly season, really it was the polical insane season. We had people on medicare not wanting the government's involvement in their medical choices. We had truly one of the dumbest people on the planet today controlling the national debate while she can't control her own life nor could she control the high school drop out stud muffin that is her daughter's baby daddy.

We had people debate the birth of the President. We had people bring guns to Presidential events. We had known drug abusesrs with multiple marriages moralizing to us from the airwaves and winning the debate (for now). We had people biting the fingers off of people at congressional townhall meetings. We had a woman call a left handed, gay Jew a Nazi and people were critical of him for being rude to her. I can't even read the comments on The Daily Beast without getting thobbing headaches.

I could go on and on but you get the point.

What happened to all the hope? How do I break the ennui that I find setting in? All of my friends know that my glass is half empty but after these last few months there may be powder at the bottom of the glass.

I want my hope back.

The Presidents Scary Remarks are Published

The remarks the President will give on Tuesday have been published on the official White House site. The link is above.

I am certain the wingnuts will find something in it to twist and use for their filthy, perverted, dirty, disgusting means.

The haters will all look very foolish very soon. None will admit they were in error and none will admit the talk was worthwhile.

I don't really need to comment further on this - I do not suffer fools well, so I will leave them to the dark recesses of their warped minds and loose morals.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Memo From the Easton Area School District

This was e-mailed to me this morning- Why is the lunacy of the extreme fringe right wing allowed to control the conversation in the country? Does anyone think The Director of Teaching & Learning will feel foolish on Wednesday morning after all is said and done?

610-250-2400 ext. 35036 Fax: 610-250-9730 STEPHEN FURST, DIRECTOR OF TEACHING & LEARNING (K-12)

September 5, 2009

To Members of the Easton Area School Community:
In response to the numerous telephone calls and e-mails from members of the Easton Area community expressing concern over President Barack Obama's speech on Tuesday and the national firestorm of protest that has ensued, the Easton Area School District Administration has decided to secure a recording of Tuesday's Presidential address for administrative review rather than allow our staff members to show it at their discretion in their classrooms. Also, given the short notice of this event, we could not guarantee that every student would have the opportunity to view the President's speech; therefore, acquiring a copy of the speech for possible future use by our teaching staff, in a manner consistent with school district policy, seems to be a more prudent and equitable initial approach to dealing with this controversial issue.

During the week of September 7th, the District Administration will review the Presidential speech and accompanying lesson plans to ascertain if their use is appropriate for classroom presentation and, if deemed necessary, will decide on a venue and procedure for future use by our staff members. This proactive approach to viewing the Presidential speech should not be interpreted as a slight to our President or the judgment of our staff members; rather, the District Administration is attempting to balance the benefits our students will gain from viewing this speech during the school day against the potential disruption that may occur to the educational process on Tuesday, September 8th, and beyond.
In the meantime, we encourage families to discuss this issue as they deem appropriate and view the speech should they so decide, as we believe that our parents are presently in the best position to deal with and manage this situation for the benefit of their children.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Memo From the Bethlehem School District

UPDATE - 09/6/09 - I noticed a small typo on my part the word reference was typed referenced - I apologize. I wanted to ensure this was accurate.

This is going to be a long post.
Below is a form that went out this week from the Bethlehem School District to the parents.
Keep in mind as you read this that the President of the United States wants to address children at the beginning of the school year about working hard, getting good grades and staying in school. Also keep in mind that both President and Mrs. Reagan did this, George HW Bush did this and George W Bush was doing this while the airplanes hit the twin towers. GWB was reading a book about owning goats, he was reading this book in Florida, it is illegal to own a goat in Florida.

Dear Parents,
I have received many calls from parents and have had inquires from teachers in reference to President Obama's address our nation's students, scheduled to air at 12:00 noon on Tuesday, September 8.
In lieu of the district coming out with a definitive stance, I want the following to to be done here at (school):
  1. We will not view the address as a whole student body.
  2. Grade levels will decide whether they will watch it, and if the will watch it live or use technology to later show what parts they think are developmentally appropriate for their students.
  3. If a grade level does decide to view the speech, the following will be taken into consideration

a. Lunch times will remain the same

b. One classroom per grade level will be used for viewing and other classrooms used to provide an alternative activity for those students who do not want to view it, or those students whose parents request that their child(ren) not view it.

c. A menu of classroom activities to do with the address will be available in the office.

If your grade=level teachers decide to show the address, I want to give you the parent the option to have your child watch the address or have your child in the alternative activity provided by the teachers. To so please complete the form below.

This form must be returned on Tuesday, September8. It is the child's responsibility to give it to the teacher.


Please complete the form by checking one of the boxes and returning it Tuesday, September 8

Student's Name:_________________ Homeroom:________________

___ My child may view the President's address if the class is viewing it.

___Please place my child in the alternative activity if the class is viewing the address.

Parents signature:_________________ Date: ___/_____/_______

So that went out this week.

There was a time that Bethlehem the school district was one of the most admired districts in the Commonwealth. The current leadership has certainly changed that.

And, now when the President of the United States wants to encourage children to stay in school this formal star of the state has decided to join Glenn Beck.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I Don't Want That Man Speaking To My Child

During the presidential race last year John McCain was asked if Obama was a Muslim, was foreign born, anti American, supported terrorists etc etc etc. At each stop the honorable Sen. McCain defended his opponent's integrity and reputation. He would not allow people to shout traitor, hang him, put him jail or many other hateful things. This hurt Sen. McCain and sent some of his potential voters to the fringe candidates or to stay home.

His running mate however did nothing to discourage this type of activity even when people shouted about killing Mr. Obama. Sen. McCain is despised by much of the Republican party and Mrs. Palin is a much sought after speaker and the darling of the GOP and right wing elite. This is the nature of the Republican party in 2009.

These people have been around since the beginning of the Obama campaign and no one can tell me this is not about race. These people would have said vile things about Hillary but I doubt it would have skirted violence, it just would have been rude, disrespectful, kooky and weird. I doubt anyone would be putting a Hitler moustache on HRC.

So we have the birthers, the town hall shouters, gun carriers, death panelists, death bookers, left handed gay Jews are Nazists and Obama is Muslimists.

Now we have the people who don't want the President of the United States to speak to their children because they do not want their precious angels to be corrupted by the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

And, what is POTUS speaking to them about - staying in school, working hard, getting good grades and being good citizens. What an awful thing. How scary! I have to write this and I am sorry I have to write this. They don't want to their precious little darlings to hear the words of the scary black man.

This craziness is not just coming from the fringe it is coming from official leaders of the Republican party. Oh now wait the fringe leads the 2009 Republican party.

At the 2008 Texas GOP convention a vendor sold a pin that read "If Obama Wins Can We Still Call It The White House", the party leaders had no objection and the pin sold well.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Yes I Am

The other day the Dean of Lehigh Valley bloggers; Lehigh Valley Rambling (see link), referred to me as an unabashed liberal. Thank You Bernie, I will take that as a compliment.

I am unabashed in that I really don't worry about what people think about me. The only time I do is when they sign my paycheck, and then only what they think of me as an employee. Other wise only Guy, my family and friends matter and even then my interest depends on the issue at hand.

Yes, I am a liberal. I am a classic liberal in the tradition of Reinhold Niebuhr or in the political traditions of FDR, Truman, JFK, Henry Jackson and Hubert Humphrey and some others.

I don't want to insult anyone but Rev. Niebuhr may not be a household name. He was the most influential reformed Protestant theologian of the 20th century, he taught at Union and Columbia, he was a proponent of A Just War and and activist Social Justice Christianity and brought both into the mainstream. In college I was required to review his writings and was floored. This man was the single biggest influence on my view of the world and I did not even know it. I was raised in the United Church of Christ and Niebuhr teachings were at the core of our church's positions, we spoke his prayers and our preachers quoted him liberally. Others may know him as the author of the Serenity Prayer that is used by AA & NA. This beautiful prayer was written decades before Dr. Bill realized his problems and if one were to read the entire thing one will find it so much more inspiring than the portion used by the 12 steppers.

Traditional liberals are strong on national defense, pro military, for hard work, are not anti business. Despite what the far right accuses we are not socialists but believe that government plays a role in lifting peoples lives. We believe that government can be a tool for improving the human condition and that there must be a social safety net to catch those who fall through the cracks of mainstream life. Yes, the system can and has been abused and we need to reign in programs that have gotten to far from their original intent.

It is the liberals who have moved this nation forward, it is liberals that have democratized this democracy, it is liberals who have broken the color and gender barriers, it is the liberals who work to include all aspects of American society into the American dream. The next time you hear the extreme right wing try to demonize us ask them why they were on the wrong side of the civil rights movement, the wrong side of the women's rights movement, the wrong side of the marriage movement, the wrong side of the clean water movement, the wrong side of the clean air movement, why they opposed America's involvement in WWII, why they are on the wrong sides of Aids funding and awareness and the wrong side of health care reform.

My recently departed friend Teddy Kennedy was often slammed for being an Extremist Liberal. This could not be further from the truth, if he really was a flame thrower he would not have been able to accomplish as much as he did. The political leaders listed above would be considered center left not far left in today's political climate.

So yes, I am a Liberal and I am proud of it and will never back down from it. Though as time moves on some readers may be surprised at the stands I take or maybe not.